Posts Tagged ‘Mark Ruffalo’

Berlin 2010 Preview: Competition, Part 1

February 3, 2010

The Berlin Film Festival is often overshadowed by Cannes Film Festival as it’s very difficult to dock a yacht in Berlin. It’s endured for 60 years, though, as an early warning system for the best of the year’s international art house fare. The Competition strand features those films vying for the Golden Bear, which in past years has gone to Jose Padilha’s The Elite Squad and Claudia Llosa’s The Milk of Sorrow. The field’s first half features Japanese war stories, the making of one of the worst films ever made, criminals old and young and the returns of Polanski, Baumbach and Popogrebsky.

Bal (Honey)

Turkish director Semih Kaplanoglu’s fifth film is a father/son story set in the remote mountains. Young Yusuf is ostracized at school for his stammer, but worships his beekeeper dad, who tends to a network of precarious treetop hives. When his father is called away on business, Yusuf follows him into the forest.

Kyatapira (Caterpillar)

Lieutenant Kurokawa returns from the front of the second Sino-Japanese War. He’s had his arms and legs blown off. Shigeko is expected to dutifully attend to her immobile war hero husband. Director Koji Wakamatsu’s previous film, the acclaimed United Red Army, still awaits release in the U.S. Based on the story by Edogawa Rampo, which was censored by the Japanese authorities in 1939.

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Sundance 2010: Winners and Losers

January 31, 2010

Last night the Sundance Jury handed out its prizes and audience awards. The big winners were the hill people noir Winter’s Bone and Obselidia, a romance which was only lacking a stamp reading “Sundance-approved.” More eyes will turn to the backrooms, where lucrative deals were being cut. Focus Features picked up Lisa Cholodeniko’s The Kids Are All Right, with Julianne Moore and Annette Bening as a lesbian couple. Lionsgate agreed to distribute Buried, where Ryan Reynolds struggles to escape a coffin armed only with his cellphone (and some great reception). Harvey Weinstein worked his silver-tongued magic and went home with the rights to The Tillman Story (formerly I’m Pat _________ Tillman) and Blue Valentine, which created Oscar talk for its leads Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. Other buzz films included the Interwebs documentary Catfish and Banksy’s debut Exit Through the Gift Shop. Anyway, we’ve got some envelopes to open …

Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Dramatic Film

Winter’s Bone. A clear favorite among critics, Debra Granik’s adaptation of a novel by Daniel Woodrell is a chilling thriller set in the Ozarks. A teenager (Jennifer Lawrence) goes in search for her father, who skips jail after a bust for running a meth lab. Big trouble awaits. “My advice? Discover this one now.” said Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir. It’s been picked up for distribution by Roadside Attractions.

Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Documentary

Restrepo. The documentary follows humpy journalist Sebastian Junger (The Perfect Storm) as he spends a year with the 173rd Airborne’s Second Platoon. The unit has been assigned to the deadliest valley in Afghanistan. “I’ve never seen combat footage like Junger and [co-director Tim] Hetherington get in Restrepo,” wrote Noel Murray in The Onion. “It’s raw, relentless, and made all the more unsettling by the fact that the soldiers can’t see who’s shooting at them.” National Geographic have the broadcast rights.

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Sundance 2010 Preview: U.S. Dramatic Competition

January 11, 2010

Here’s where the Sundance faithful really sit up and pay attention. They might even turn their cellphones off in the screening room. It’s where Steven Soderbergh first came to prominence, where Kevin Smith transcended his obesity and where Quentin Tarantino revived the fortunes of Stealer’s Wheel. Can we expect similar breakouts this year? Well, the most common theme are misfits coming together and falling apart. So that’ll be Joseph Gordon-Levitt at rock bottom and a bereaved teenager, James Gandolfini trying to make Kristen Stewart the daughter he never had, and a librarian and a film projectionist heading out to Greed country. If most of these movies are playing it cool in scrutinizing togetherness, though, they boast some red-hot talent. Read on ..

Click here to read our U.S. Documentary Competition Preview
Click here to read our International Documentary Competition Preview
Click here to read our International Dramatic Competition Preview

Blue Valentine

Who’s in it? Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams
What happens? On the verge of splitting, a couple head to a theme hotel to spice up their marriage. The film cuts between the present and a past courtship, when the pair were filled with hope about the future.
Why we like it: Ryan Gosling earned our undying devotion with Half Nelson. Michelle Williams came into her own last year with Wendy & Lucy. Let’s see some fireworks!

Douchebag

Who’s in it? Andrew Dickler, Ben York Jones, Marguerite Moreau
I said, who’s in it? Well, you’re only going to know Dickler if you carefully scrutinize the Borat credits for the editing department. That’s what makes Sundance so AWESOME! Independent film, baby!
So what happens? When his estranged brother becomes obsessed with finding his fifth grade sweetheart, Sam Nussbaum (Dickler) agrees to ditch his upcoming wedding and tag along. The fractitious road trip allows everybody’s favorite d-bag meme to be explored in detail.
Why we like it: Because after watching all those Iraqi War documentaries, we’re going to need a few mumblecore-style titters.

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