Archive for the ‘United Kingdom’ Category

Happy Birthday, Brian Glover!

April 2, 2010

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The Last-Minute ND/NF 2010 Preview, Part 1: Amer to El hombre de al lado

March 24, 2010

Continuing the tradition of previews which are barely posted before the first film premieres and then go entirely unread, we present to you the first part of our New Directors/New Films survey. The annual smorgasbord, organized by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, cherry-picks the festivals for the best work by first-time filmmakers. What isn’t so nice is the old couple sat behind you who keep up a running commentary throughout each film. But that’s life on the Upper West Side. In the first part of our preview, we throw some alliterative phrases at dramas set in Muslim Detroit and Iran’s border, while Bill Cunningham and Candy Darling present two different views of the greatest city in the world. Hit those titles to watch trailers and more.

Amer

For their debut feature, experimental filmmakers Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani turned to the giallo thrillers of Dario Argento and Mario Bava for inspiration. This isn’t just a spooky movie, but a coming-of-age film, as Ana suffers extreme situations at three key life stages. Amer–French for “bitter”–is less about narrative than immersing the audience in a senses-shattering sexual awakening. Game on!

Beautiful Darling: The Life and Times of Candy Darling, Andy Warhol Superstar

At Andy Warhol’s Factory, stars-in-their-minds learned how to become real works of art. So any portrait of a Superstar has a certain sideshow interest. Famed for a reference in Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side,” Darling turned herself from a Massapequa scamp into a blonde glamour queen who adorned Warhol’s films and even a Tennessee Williams play. Chloe Sevigny reads the late idol’s letters in James Rasin’s doc.

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The Great SXSW 2010 Preview Dump: Festival Favorites, Part 3

March 11, 2010

A lot of quality rounds out the section seeking to capture the best of the fests. Winter’s Bone has already attracted garlands from Sundance and could become a film of the year. Then there’s Harmony Korine’s latest atrocity Trash Humpers. The real gem, though, may well be Det røde kapel, whose trailer implies it could be the looniest caper ever set in North Korea. Skip seeing that lousy R&B band and add these to your checklist. Click on the titles for trailers where available.

Read our SXSW Headliners Preview.
Read the first part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read the second part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read our SXSW Narrative Features Competition preview.
Read our SXSW Documentary Features Competition preview.
Read the first part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read the second part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read our SXSW Lone Star States preview.
Read our SXSW 24 Beats Per Second preview.
Read our SXSW SW Global preview.
Read the first part of our SXSW Festival Favorites preview.
Read the second part of our SXSW Festival Favorites preview.
Read our SXSW Preview: Headliners here.
Read our SXSW 2010 Preview: Spotlight Premieres, Part 1 here.
Read our SXSW 2010 Preview: Spotlight Premieres, Part 2 here.

The Oath

My Country, My Country director Laura Poitras’ new doc reaches SXSW after hitting Sundance and Berlin. Poitras has taken a ride Osama bin Laden’s chauffeur and his brother-in-law. Both were former members of al Qaeda who ended up taking very different turns. In probing their choices, Poitras digs up the roots of fanaticism and hints at a future that lies beyond suicide bombings and online beheadings.

Det røde kapel (The Red Chapel)

Simon Jul Jorgensen and Jacob Nossell wanted to visit North Korea to perform their revue The Red Chapel. They invited director Mads Brügger along. He took a camera. What follows seems hardly believable, not least because one of the Korean-born comics is a spastic and everyone might be insane. Having seen the trailer, one YouTube commentator begs the question, “How did they get out alive?”

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The Great SXSW 2010 Preview Dump: Festival Favorites, Part 1

March 11, 2010

They can’t all be world premieres, you know. So quit your complaining and suck up the cream of the other festivals, lovingly curated for you by an underpaid festival staffer. Floating on the surface of the great cinematic morass are the new film from Steven Soderbergh (good news, it’s shorter than Che!) and Michael Caine adding some dodder to Death Wish. Among the documentaries, the wistful trembling of Michel Gondry’s family tree is matched only by the weirdness of the global baby market. Click on the titles for trailers where available.

Read our SXSW Headliners Preview.
Read the first part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read the second part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read our SXSW Narrative Features Competition preview.
Read our SXSW Documentary Features Competition preview.
Read the first part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read the second part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read our SXSW Lone Star States preview.
Read our SXSW 24 Beats Per Second preview.
Read our SXSW SW Global preview.

And Everything is Going Fine

A guy sitting behind the desk is not everybody’s idea of entertainment. Spalding Gray, however, wasn’t everybody. His monologues explored history, show business, and his complex personal history and ailments in a way that was as riveting as open-heart surgery. Collaborator Steven Soderbergh has drawn on 90 hours of footage to fashion the late performer’s neurotic autobiography.

Crying With Laughter

Cinema has never really gotten to grips with the lonely hell of the stand-up comic. Maybe spritzing for a living is just too much of a one man show. Director Justin Molotnikov’s Scottish take adds a helping of revenge to the patter. Joey (Stephen McCole) tells a funny tale onstage about an old school friend. Alas, the buddy is in the audience and he ain’t laughing. This is one heckler Joey is going to regret snapping back at.

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The Great SXSW 2010 Preview Dump: SX Global

March 11, 2010

There is more to life than Texas. Although, as any Texan will tell you, not much more. So hurrah to SXSW for looking beyond its borders to the world outside. While the inclusion of a Native American-themed documentary in the “global” slot is troubling, the rest of the lineup fulfills its brief. In the U.K., CCTVs and databases makes Daily Mail readers of us all. There’s glimpses of Finnish living rooms and the very edges of time. There’s love, loss, incarceration, impotency, death. When all else fails, there’s always Viagra to act as our troubled planet’s the great uniter. Click on the titles for trailers where available.

Read our SXSW Headliners Preview.
Read the first part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read the second part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read our SXSW Narrative Features Competition preview.
Read our SXSW Documentary Features Competition preview.
Read the first part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read the second part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read our SXSW Lone Star States preview.
Read our SXSW 24 Beats Per Second preview.

The DeVilles

Teri Lee Geary is a burlesque performer who looks like Marilyn Monroe and swings her tassels by the name of Kitten DeVille. She’s married to punk rocker Shawn Geary. DeVille is obsessed by the 1950s of Eisenhower. He’s mired in the 1980s. Now, after a quarter century of mismatched bliss, it’s coming undone. Documentary filmmaker Nicole Nielsen Horanyi is there to film the kitschy Strindberg action.

Erasing David

Keen to find out how much the U.K. government and its corporate databases know about him, filmmaker David Bond (Lions of Green) drops off the grid. Then he hires a pair of detectives to find him using available information. As another film once put it, we live in public. Bond’s discoveries, however, serve to fuel his paranoia about living in the surveillance state of Knifecrime Island.

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The Great SXSW 2010 Preview Dump: 24 Beats Per Second

March 11, 2010

Closely paired with the SXSW music festival as it is, seems only fitting that the Film Festival dedicates a swathe of programming to films about music. If writing about music, though, is like dancing about architecture, than making a movie about music is like building a novel. To help you chew over that little pensee, here’s a celluloid mixtape highlighting the ethno-funk of David Byrne, the poison pen of Magnetic Fields, the rock ‘n’ roll riot of Tehran, the continental drift of Broken Social Scene and the prune juice of Levon Helm. Click on the titles for trailers where available.

Read our SXSW Headliners Preview.
Read the first part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read the second part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read our SXSW Narrative Features Competition preview.
Read our SXSW Documentary Features Competition preview.
Read the first part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read the second part our SXSW Emerging Visions preview.
Read our SXSW Lone Star States preview.

Ain’t in It For My Health: A Film About Levon Helm

With Robbie Robertson gone Hollywood and both Rick Danko and Robert Manuel plucking harps, it’s up to drummer Helm to shoulder The Band’s cosmic Americana spirit. This EPK highlights the creation and promotion of Helm’s acclaimed 2007 album Dirt Farmer. The irascible coot spices the brew with stories from the frontlines of addiction, pestilence and bankruptcy. Directed by Jacob Hanley Hatley.

Beyond Ipanema – Brazilian Waves in Global Music

Brazil often seems like America’s reflection on the other side of the equator. The two countries have enjoyed an uneasy cultural relationship where we give them Homer Simpson in return for Joao Gilberto. Guto Barra’s tuneful documentary charts the musical exchange, from the early days of Carmen Miranda and her fruit basket titfer to Talking Heads’ promotion of the tropicalia movement led by Caetano Veloso. Formerly known as Beyond Ipanema – America’s Love Affair With Brazilian Music.

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The Great SXSW 2010 Preview Dump: Spotlight Premieres, Part 1

March 10, 2010

It may lack the glamour of Cannes or the smell of Venice, but really, is there a friendlier place to premiere your film than SXSW? Probably not and the surfeit of alcohol and food can even make up for the most disastrous debut. The Spotlight Premiere category boasts cherry-picked features and docs making their bows. The first part features everything from porn stars to hip-hop nobodies, intergalactic personality crises to one man’s ongoing battle with his Internet service provider. Who couldn’t relate? Click on the titles for trailers.

Read our SXSW Film Festival: Headliners preview here.

American Grindhouse

For years, cinematic shit like I Spit On Your Grave and Frankenhooker was the sole province of videostore geeks with nothing left to watch. Then Quentin Tarantino changed everything. Elijah Drenner’s doc chronicles the homegrown exploitation films which used sex ‘n’ violence to part a rube from his buck and somehow became art with the passing of time. Without John Waters, amazingly.

Barbershop Punk

The title sounds like the worst film since Young @ Heart, but please come back and read the rest of this. Sure, Robb Topolski loves his barbershop quartet music. He’s the baritone in his own group. Where the punk comes in is when he butts heads with his Internet provider. Georgia Sugimura’s documentary watches how the brawl comes to involve Ian MacKaye, Janeane Garofalo and other free speech advocates.

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The Great SXSW 2010 Preview Dump: Headliners

March 10, 2010

Why not wait until 48 hours before the SXSW Film Festival kicks off to post our preview? That’s a question that will haunt Squally until we crawl into our premature grave. While nobler movie bloggers pack their bags for Austin–visions of Harry Knowles smeared with BBQ dancing in their heads—here’s a humble look at what’s screening over the next nine days. First up: a rattle bag of marquee fodder which includes the Duplasses’ venture into the mainstream, Robert Duvall facing off against Bill Murray, Rhys Ifans as a stoner hero and the triumphant return of Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Click on the titles to watch trailers.

Read the first part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.
Read the second part of our SXSW Spotlight Premieres preview.

Cyrus

The Duplass Brothers do a David Gordon Green, moving to a bigger budget and familiar faces, while mining a familiar seam of discomfort that doesn’t seem so radical in hindsight. Things look like they’re turning around for loser John C. Reilly when he meets the hot Marisa Tomei. The problem is she has a stay-at-home son played by Jonah Hill. That means he’s going to be plenty gross and creepy.

Four Lions

Fresh from Sundance, where it failed to raise hackles, comes British satirist Chris Morris’s terrorist comedy. A quartet of hapless Sheffield Muslims cook up a suicide bomber plot that, in the best tradition of Anglo-cringe comedy, comes undone through their own stupidity. The point is that while fundamentalism and dimwittedness go hand-in-hand, the results are no laughing matter. Feel-badness all ‘round, then.

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Fist of Film: They All Played Alice

March 5, 2010

The Rev. Charles Dodgson’s devotion to Alice Liddell is well-known, but is his fictional Alice really that plum a role? After all, it’s Alice’s task to act as audience avatar, a perplexed witness to the nonsensical residents at the bottom of the rabbit hole. Regardless, starlet Mia Wasikowa is the latest to fluff the tresses of the Victorian era’s dizziest blonde. While audiences flock to the Burtonized Alice in Wonderland, we thought it would be beamish to survey who else once ran with White Rabbits.

May Clark in Alice in Wonderland (1903)

The first surviving film that drew on Lewis Carroll’s fantasia was filmed by Cecil Hepworth, partly on the estate belonging to travel agent Thomas Cook. For the heroine of what would be the longest film yet produced in Britain, the Brighton filmmaker cast May Clark, a 14-year-old who had been doing odd jobs at his studio. Both Clark and the Hepworths’ dog Blair would reappear in Rescued by Rover (1905). Download it at Archive.org

Gladys Hulette in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1910)

Seven years after The Great Train Robbery, Edwin S. Porter directed a version for Thomas Edison. He cast the 14-year-old Hulette, a stage actress who didn’t share her contemporaries shame over appearing in silent films. The one-reel adaptation was well-regarded, despite excising many of Carroll’s characters. As an adult, Hulette appeared in John Ford’s Western The Iron Horse (1926).

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Trailerama: Erasing David

March 2, 2010

In the great tradition of stunt documentaries, David Bond exposes the depth of Britain’s surveillance state by vanishing. He’s challenged a pair of stylish private investigators to find him within 30 days, using only the information available on databases, online, etc. This trailer makes the whole affair seem intriguing–like a real-life Bourne Identity. But if Bond is in a bunker deeper underneath Piccadilly or wherever, how is he capable of “directing” the pursuit? These quibbles aside, his Orwellian nightmare provides yet more reasons to give Knifecrime Island a wide berth. Screening at this year’s SXSW Film Festival.