John Cusack’s got shit to promote. So he recalls his terrible ’80s and tripping on LSD at the Super Bowl. (NYT)
Robin Hood is set to open this year’s Cannes Film Festival. With Russell Crowe, William Hurt, Danny Huston and Max von Sydow in the codpieced cast, assume the red carpet will be a little testosterone-heavy. (Cineuropa)
“Anti-christ” James Cameron wants to smash “f*cking asshole” Glenn Beck with one of those Avatar exo-skeletons. He calls it “dialogue.” (Vulture)
Son of No One, the new cop drama from Dito Montiel, casts both Juliette Binoche and Tracy Morgan–surely the WTF pairing of the year. The 30 Rock star does have something of the young Gerard Depardieu about him. (Vulture)
Don’t cry no tears. All good things come to an end. So do our tardy previews. The New Directors/New Films festival lights up the spring season by bringing to New York the best debuts from festivals like Cannes and Sundance. In the final assortment, there’s a lauded love letter to cinema from Mia Hansen-Løve, the welcome return of Judy Berlin director Eric Mendelsohn and a notable French addition to the “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” genre.
Abu Jandal and Salim Hamdan are buddies who took very different routes through al-Qaeda’s militant network. Jandal now works with Yemeni youth to temper their fundamentalism. Hamdan sits in Guantanamo, notorious as Osama bin Laden’s onetime chauffeur. The latest film from My Country, My Country director Laura Poitras is another unique look at the Middle East.
French film producer Humbert Balsan helped bring works by Bela Tarr and Claire Denis to the public. His life and death inspired this acclaimed new feature from Mia Hansen-Løve, partner of Olivier Assayas. It’s a fresh take on Day for Night, with an overworked producer (Louis-Do de Lencquesaing) juggling family and the fact that there isn’t enough hours in the day to achieve cinematic greatness.
Families take the center stage in the second part of our New Directors New Films preview. In the Netherlands, a couple comes undone thanks to a new arrival. In Italy, a concubine dares to wander outside a brood’s closed ranks. In Canada, mother and son make like a WWE production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? And you don’t even want to know what they’re doing to each other in Greece. It’s a line-up so gripping that film fans won’t even be able to turn from the screen to tell that elderly couple behind them to shut up. Hit the linked titles for more goodies.
Tako and Sandra oughta be poster children for the Netherlands good life. Successful in both work and in life, the childhood sweethearts are the envy of all their friends. Sandra’s pregnancy should be cause for further celebration. In Sander Burger’s domestic horror, however, the blessed event is the very thing that causes their bourgeois bliss to spectacularly deflate. Don’t stand too close to the canal!
Luca Guadagnino takes a few frames from Visconti in this fragrant family saga, garnished with plenty of love, Italian style. Tilda Swinton is the beautiful Russian odalisque who marries into a fashion dynasty. Her second-class spousal existence is upended when she falls for a humpy young chef. Problem is Swinton’s surging libido might bring down the rest of the clan with her.
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.
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.
The New York Times tells us all it knows about James L. Brooks upcoming How Do You Know. Frankly, it’s not a lot. The recap of the softball romantic comedy, pitched around some “can a big-star rom-com score?” hand-wringing, is that Reese Witherspoon is a ballplayer, and Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson compete for her heart. But did you know that Brooks is “known in these parts as the creator of a “Panic Attack!” cheer for his daughter’s soccer team”? (Or what that means?) And when will I’ll Do Anything get a director’s cut DVD release? (NYT)
Kevin Smith’s Red State, a horror movie which he once claimed was bleaker than Requiem for a Dream, is ready to roll. That’s Kevin Smith-bleak, of course, which for all we know is an empty refrigerator. The film is inspired by right-wing firebrand preacher Fred Phelps. Expect a Dogma-tic approach (i.e., totally headscratching) to the issues. (/Film)
In literary news, Emily Blunt is apparently good enough friends with Philip K. Dick to call him by his first name. She’s also playing a ditzy Lilliputian princess in a Gulliver’s Travels that will have little to do with Jonathan Swift. Raises frightening image of what a “Swift purist” might be like. (Inquirer)