Archive for July, 2009

Trailerama: Aruitemo aruitemo (Still Walking)

July 30, 2009

It’s no secret that Kore-Eda Hirokazu is one of Squally’s favorite filmmakers. His latest is the story of a family haunted by death – territory the director covered in a very different fashion in his ’90s debut Maribosi. The trailer only gives the most fleeting impression of his flair for tender moments, although IFC First Take hammer home the obvious comparisons to Ozu’s work. Other useful reference points: Assayas’s Summer Hours and Edward Yang’s Yi-Yi.

Trailerama: Fantastic Mr. Fox

July 30, 2009

Respect to Wes Anderson. He hasn’t made the same movie again. He’s made a kids story that looks like it might have been directed by one of the Tenenbaums. The antiquated stop-motion animation is all texture; the art direction is intense; Clooney and co. deliver the gags with the regularity of Mussolini’s railways. What’s dubious is how well Anderson’s urbaneity will jibe with author Roald Dahl’s fox-eat-chicken universe.

DVD Debut: Fast and Furious, Bad Lieutenant

July 28, 2009

Bad LieutenantDVD Debut on VH1.com isn’t happy about the Nicolas Cage remake.

Speaking of naked Harvey Keitel … The Life on Mars star does some of his, er, barest work in this 1992 freak-out from Abel Ferrara. Like De Niro’s Taxi Driver on meth, his copper is at the end of a very frayed rope. He’s running low on drugs and booze, resorting to prostitutes to get it up, leching on teenage joy drivers, and in the middle of one helluva losing streak. The rape of a nun, however, might offer a second chance. Seventeen years later, it’s a can of turps to Scorsese’s champagne, but still righteously shocking.

Trailerama: The Yes Men Fix the World

July 27, 2009

How many performance art documentaries get themselves a sequel? A sense of humor is key to the Yes Men’s canny detournement of corporate culture, and might make this film easier to swallow than anything with Naomi Wolf. In Bichlbaum and Bonano’s sights this time are Hurricane Katrina, Bhopal and other big business misdemeanors. Looks like this film has its share of funny suits and a veritable gallery of British newsreaders.

Trailerama: Crude

July 27, 2009

Documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger recovers from the experience of exploring Metallica’s creative process by getting his hands even dirtier. Crude reports on a lawsuit by Amazonian Indians accusing the Chevron corporation of contaminating their environment. Spectacle comes in the form of the Ecuadorian legal system, which holds its trials at the scene of the crime. Oh, and Sting.

Trailerama: Fish Tank

July 25, 2009

Andrea Arnold’s second feature starts out like it’s going to be Hard Times in Chav-town, then takes a turn into unexpected territory. Less kitchen sink, more softens hands while you do the dishes.

Trailerama: Alice in Wonderland

July 23, 2009

Having approached Gothic degree zero with Sweeney Todd, there really was nowhere else for Tim Burton to go. The prospect of adapting Lewis Carroll’s mathematically-minded kids classic certainly sounded appealing. A shame, then, that this version appears to opt for a Return to Oz approach. This might be the tightest visual control Burton has taken of a film since The Corpse Bride. It still looks airless and ugly. The script was penned by Linda Woolverton, who has been pretty quiet since co-writing 1994’s The Lion King.

Trailerama: Bright Star

July 22, 2009

Hard to believe it’s been six years since Jane Campion’s film maudit In the Cut. She’s spent the interim hitting the books, especially John Keats’s poetry. Her take on the Keats/Fanny Brawne affair appears to tread a line between Romantic rapture and Garden State.

DVD Debut: Watchmen, Coraline

July 21, 2009

CoralineIt’s big, blue and balls out. It’s DVD Debut on VH1.com.

Coraline is the work of another comic book maverick gone legit. Neil Gaiman is best known for his work on The Sandman. This stop-motion ‘toon turns his award-winning kids book into the darkest fable since Pinocchio. Blue-haired Coraline is bored with the rainy Northwest and her neglectful parents. A hole in the wall takes her to the family she’s always dreamed of having. As usual, what one wishes for is not what one really wants. A gripping tale filled out with great characters and lyrical flights of animated fancy.

Trailerama: Man on a Mission

July 21, 2009

Videogame designer Richard Garriott was a man with a dream. He wanted to blast off into space. Fortunately, he had the money to do it, thanks to some Russians who aren’t particular about who they send into orbit. Austin-based filmmaker Mike Woolf’s documentary follows Garriott as he preps for the big blast off and also muses on the future of space tourism.