Posts Tagged ‘Michael Caine’

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 Italian Job: Memo to Croker

January 27, 2010

Made in 1969, the year following Roeg/Cammell’s Performance, The Italian Job is an interesting counterpoint to that Borges-gone-gangster head-fuck. The storyline has a similar relay race quality. Fresh from prison, the flash Charlie Croker (Michael Caine) receives a 16mm film. A thief has left his will on film. It is a plan to lift a payroll from an armored car in the middle of Turin. The gist of the scheme is neatly summed up by Croker as “4 million dollars through a traffic jam.” Clear some space on the poster.

Croker breaks back into prison to get the patronage of criminal boss Mr. Bridger (Noel Coward, having a relaxed time). Initially reluctant to commit his resources to the idea, the patriotic kingpin is swayed by news of an Italian-Chinese trading pact. Once this hurdle is cleared, it remains for a gang to be assembled, drivers recruited, and the mob to knock over the truck. Somebody says, “You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off.” The remainder of the film is devoted to a car chase with three Mini Coopers easily outwitting the police and their fiats. With the cars driving up, down and over anything in their path, the sequence may be one of the greatest car adverts ever filmed.

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The Slate: New Moon Gets New Sheen

April 13, 2009

Loews Astor Plaza

  • Michael Sheen is carrying on the great British thesping tradition of starring in any old toss. The actor has made his bones playing figures like Tony Blair in The Queen, David Frost in Frost/Nixon, and Brian Clough in The Damned United. But he’s fed his family with swill like Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. He’s since joined Twilight sequel New Moon as the leader of an Italian vampire coven. Sheen has a way to go before achieving the hacky stature of Sir Michael Caine, but he’s off to a nice start. (Variety)
  • London gangland dramas are two a penny, but London Boulevard is shaping up in the “great cast, lousy title” category. The film stars waifish Keira Knightley and shepherd’s pie-like Colin Farrell, and they’re being joined by hardman Ray Winstone, grumpy David Thewlis and the delightful Anna Friel. Farrell will play a released convict who becomes tangled up with in a waifish actress’ scrawny thighs. Winstone will be the gang boss who ensures mutual infatuation doesn’t run smooth. Booklist says Ken Bruen’s novel “packs one hell of a powerful punch.” (Variety)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean helmer Gore Verbinski has had enough shivered timbers, cheers, and would like to move on with his life. So does that mean more tragicomedies about depressed weathermen? No. The director’s staying soggy and sailing into Bioshock waters. Verbinski will be in charge of making the video game about a man stranded in an underwater city filled with psychotic fishy things into a movie that doesn’t suck. Arr! We mean, “glub!” (Variety)
  • The wilderness has done wonders for William Hurt. The 1980s most boring actor has blossomed in supporting roles like A History of Violence. Now he’ll hopefully be bringing bizarre line readings and facial hair to the untitled Robin Hood film that we love to rag on. He plays the Earl of Pembroke, a powerful noble who served both Richard the Lionheart and King John. Wikipedia also claims he was “the greatest jouster of his age.” We prefer to call him “the Liam Neeson role.” (Hollywood Reporter)
  • Looking for a little bit of that Wild Hogs male menopausal magic, director Kent Alterman (Semi-Pro) will direct Treehouse Gang for Warner Bros. The film, written by Tim Dowling (Role Models), centers on a group of adults searching for buried treasure and has been described as a grown-up Goonies. We’d make some “Chunk” gag, except that we spent our childhoods locked in a cellar without access to HBO. (Hollywood Reporter)