Writer-director Nicole Holofcener’s films about how the other half live have always left Squally a little cold. Her latest adds the twist of Catherine Keener’s guilt over the good life. Her antiques dealer makes a living from buying low and selling high. She and husband Oliver Platt are also waiting for their next door neighbor to die so they can expand their apartment. In the plus department, it’s always good to see Keener in a starring role. The cast is rounded out by a gaunt Rebecca Hall and Amanda Peet, who flutters her eyes at Platt. So nice to hear that acoustic faux-blues riff that turns up whenever a comedy is being marketed to the Starbucks set, too.
Archive for the ‘Trailerama’ Category
Bill needs to find a livelihood that will allow him to keep writing his blank verse. He decides on setting up an organic food stand called, natch, The Happy Poet. His jousting with economic ruin is accompanied by the familiar indie film staples of a scruffy friend, an alluring woman who smokes a pipe, and the threat of a few broken bones if the dream doesn’t succeed in turning his life around. Writer/director/star Paul Gordon‘s film looks like a smallscale charmer. Screening at the SXSW Film Festival.
A retired porn star is pulled back into the game to wipe out some old debts. He finds himself screwing for his life. Debut director Srdjan Spasojevic’s gruesome thriller looks like Hostel with added money shots–it’s a premise that might be more digestible if it wasn’t lensed in a digital-intermediate style that insists on seriousness. But what do you expect from the people who brought you Sarajevo? Sergej Trifunovic is our priapic hero. Spasojevic co-wrote the screenplay with Aleksandar Radivojevic, who once worked on something called E-Snuff. Screening at this year’s SXSW Film Festival.
How can you hate on this? This story of a young Muslim man (Julian Gant) torn between taking over his family’s taxi stand and going to university was made by participants in the EFEX (Encouraging the Filmmaking Experience) Project. Sure, the performances look a little wobbly and the drama appears to consist of friends and family weighing in on our divided hero’s conflicts. But there’s lots of fresh faces and a dedication to recording the realities of living in one of America’s most neglected cities. The neo-neo-realism marches on. Let’s just hope the kids who made this don’t give up on their dreams of cinematic glory. Written and directed by Sultan Sharrief. Due to screen at this year’s New Directors New Films Festival.
Not to be confused with the Italian sexploitation film of the same name, Étienne Sauret‘s film profiles the scientist who discovered and then popularized the effects of ecstasy and other psychedelic drugs. Dr. Alexander Shulgin, as you might expect, is revered by many and hated by others. Let’s hope the film is longer on interviews with the scientist than it is with imagery of gurning ravers. Screening at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival.
Anvil never knew they had it so good. In Tehran, a musician can be locked up just for playing rock music. That doesn’t stop the kids from trying. Now the story of these aspiring rockers is told by Bahman Ghobadi, a Kurdish filmmaker best known for Turtles Can Fly. They face power outages, passport problems and the ever-present fear of being busted. The film is a mixture of improvisation and a script from Ghobadi’s wife Roxana Siberi. What counts is the unique spirit of rebellion it chronicles, one that recently took to the streets during Iran’s disputed elections.
Following years of civil war, Sierra Leone seeks some kind of reconciliation through a specially convened war crimes tribunal. At the heart of the trial is Issa Sesay, a member of the Revolutionary United Front accused of war crimes ranging from use of child soldiers to sexual violence. Rebecca Richman Cohen‘s film isn’t just a real courtroom thriller. It also asks questions about whether the international community is truly prepared to find justice when the crimes are beyond belief. Screening at this year’s SXSW Film Festival.
Sigur Ros fans will know their lead singer Jonsi has a solo album, Go, arriving in the shops soon. To promote it, he’s cooked up this unusual live concert documentary with Dean DeBlois, director of the Icelandic band’s tourfilm Heima and–believe it or not–kiddies favorite Lilo & Stitch. Must be an uber-fan. The conceit of this doc is Jonsi performs Go in its entire, in his living room, in an acoustic style. The end results look a lot more intense than you’d expect. Here’s a taster. [Reader’s voice: “Doesn’t sound very ‘acoustic,’ does it?” Squally: “No.”]
In the years sine his untimely demise in 1994, Bill Hicks has become a god among comedians. His take-no-prisoners style often saw him willfull battling audiences. His acute political observations struck right at the heart of George Bush Sr.’s vision thing. It’s a good story worth retelling, although in this sequence, directors Matt Harlock and Paul Thomas resort to using some pretty chintzy-looking animation. Screening at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival.
Somebody somewhere is writing a thesis about the use of the “long embrace” in comedies. Here it gets an airing in this Garden State knockoff. Chiselled Josh Hopkins (Cougar Town) is the advertising executive who is called back home when his father dies. In Lebanon, he gets entangled with a young relative who will no doubt teach him a few life lessons and a more appropriate girlfriend (Mary Beth Hurt) who will give him a chance to use them. Written and directed by Ben Hickernell.