Archive for February, 2010

Happy Birthday, Ben Hecht!

February 28, 2010

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Spring Movie Preview 2010

February 27, 2010

Will Avatar make every successive Hollywood blockbuster look like it’s underachieving? For at least the next few months, the answer’s yes. Studios are responding to James Cameron’s monolith by turning everything into 3D whether it demands it or not. This slash ‘n’ burn blockbuster policy is in keeping with a season filled with retreads, reboots and sequels.

High points? While the prospect of Shrek 4 may no longer seem so appetizing—admit it, you didn’t even know it was being released this year—fanboys are salivating over the already spit-sodden Iron Man 2. The airport paperback set, on the other hand, are looking forward to Bourne Goes to Iraq, aka Green Zone. Carrie and co. will also flounce back onto our screens in a new Sex and the City.

Maybe Squally will stick to the return of Mike Newell and the singular pleasures of Tyler Perry. Regardless of the quality, feel the width. This is a star-laden line-up, with Johnny Depp, Matt Damon, Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett and Anne Hathaway all returning to the screen. While they cash the checks, we’ll continue to tip less mainstream fare in our Must See Movie series. Click on the titles for trailers, etc.

Alice in Wonderland
Release date: March 5
Starring Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter
After damn near 20 years of hit-making, Tim Burton finally found himself as a director by turning to established properties like Willy Wonka and Sweeney Todd. A marriage with Lewis Carroll should be a nice fit. Alas, this “sequel” to the original cockeyed gospel looks like an unholy mess. Depp channels Peter Lorre as the Mad Hatter.
Fun fact: Critic Gilles Deleuze proclaimed that Carroll’s final work Sylvie and Bruno “is no doubt the first book that tells two stories at the same time, not one inside the other, but two contiguous stories.” Heads up, Disney. Get Todd Solondz on it.

Green Zone
Release date: March 12
Starring Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Brendan Gleeson
Damon mans up as Roy Miller, a Chief Warrant Officer whose job sniffing out WMDs in Baghdad is compromised by the U.S. administration. In the time-honored Hollywood tradition, he goes rogue. Hey, if they didn’t want him to make waves, they shouldn’t have put him in the middle of the desert.
Fun fact: Bourne director Paul Greengrass first approached Tom Stoppard to adopt Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s book Imperial Life in the Emerald City, but was turned down.

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Happy Birthday, Elizabeth Taylor!

February 27, 2010

Trailerama: The Weird World of Blowfly

February 26, 2010

In 1969, Clarence Reid was just another songwriter working in the R&B trenches. Then he started penning songs like “What a Difference a Lay Makes” and performing them as his masked alter ego, Blowfly. Jonathan Furmanski spends some time with the ribald sexagenarian, who continues to live the dream. Fans like Ice T and Chuck D help tell the story of stag party success and financial ruin behind the man who “brings humanity to all the perversion.” Expect the air to turn blue at this year’s SXSW Film Festival.

Trailerama: Cherry

February 26, 2010

Veronica Mars‘ Kyle Gallner is a good-natured engineering nerd. This is his first year at college. Because this a movie, instead of committing suicide by the third week of semester, he beds down a sexy mature student (Laura Allen). Oh, and fights off the advances of her 14-year-old daughter (Brittany Robertson). Rod Stewart had it right. Written and directed by Jeffrey Fine. Screening at this year’s SXSW Film Festival.

Trailerama: Audrey the Trainwreck

February 26, 2010

This trailer for “A Film by Frank V. Ross” is a crystallization of the 2010 indie aesthetic. A chorus of voices exchange niceties and expressions of twentysomething angst. The visuals are of parties, meetings, cafe encounters. There is a steady stream of women. There are guys with facial hair and without facial hair looking at those women. There is a lot of thinking about sex without actual sex. There is an acknowledgement that these tensions continue in a workplace doomed to disappoint its employees. It is to now what Walking and Talking was to the early ’90s. What the trailer doesn’t tell you is what at the heart of this movie–a flirtation between an ATM parts purchaser and courier who meet on the ‘net. And no, we still don’t know who Audrey is. Screening at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival.

Happy Birthday, Dante Ferretti!

February 26, 2010

Trailerama: Io sono l’amore (I Am Love)

February 25, 2010

Tilda Swinton could star in a remake of Two Girls, One Cup and Squally would stand on a building rooftop to loudly proclaim her icy brilliance. Fortunately, there’s no fecal matter in Luca Guadagnino’s tragedy set among the Italian bourgeosie (at least as far as we can see). Swinton is the cool Russian cat who has married into a Milanese fashion house. A love affair with a chef, however, rips her courtly reserve to shreds. With its caresses, Vertigo hommages and booming John Adams soundtrack, the trailer gives viewers plenty to throb about. With Flavio Parenti. Guadagnino collaborated on the screenplay with Barbara Alberti (Il portiere di notte/The Night Porter), Ivan Cotroneo (L’uomo che ama/The Man Who Loved) and Walter Fasano (La terza madre/Mother of Tears).

Happy Birthday, Tom Courtenay!

February 25, 2010

Happy Birthday, Emmanuelle Riva!

February 24, 2010