Due To Special Circumstances

A place where I jot down my musings on art, life, politics, philosophy and culture.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Movies I'm Excited About (December/January)

Let's get right to it. Apologies in advance for the lack of recognizable US productions in this update but there honestly hasn't been anything I thought was worth a mention hitting the press these past two months, it's been pretty quiet on the movie front altogether to be honest but there have been a few promising efforts that have surfaced.

Stingray Sam
Directed by Cory McAbee
Canada



Oh God YES! For you poor unfortunates who haven't seen McAbee's amazing The American Astronaut, stop reading this and go hunt down a copy asap. It's a truly wonderful indie flick with the quirk turned up to 11 and some great characterization. This new miniseries is a crazy cowboy space musical western. A serialized telling of the adventures of Stingray Sam and the Quasar Kid as they attempt to rescue a girl who is kidnapped by a genetically mutated intergalactic spaceboss. Well worth your time.



The Inhabited Island
Directed by Fyodor Bondarchuk
Russia



I'm not going to lie to you, I have next to no idea what is going on in this trailer, but the film is the biggest budget thing Russia has ever produced and has some amazing production values. I'll grant that the lead actor looks pretty uninteresting but the film is adapted from a story by the Strugatsky brothers, who also wrote Stalker. Bondarchuk is a master at delivering stunning imagery and thrilling action, whether he's any good at actual plot is another matter.



Red Cliff 1 and 2
Directed by John Woo
China



God I want to have both halves of this right now, but sadly I must wait until the DVD of part one gets imported before I can sample this expensive expensive movie. Let it just be said that this is a cinematic adaptation of part of the War Of The Three Kingdoms. No Lu Bu sadly... But plenty of Tony Leung.

Here's a taste of Part 2.



Original
Directed by Antonio Tublén And Alexander Brøndsted
Denmark



An off-kilter debut comedy by this duo which seems to owe a lot to Wes Anderson and the Coen Brothers. It deals with the misadventures of a loser who seeks to change his life by a move to Spain from dreary Denmark. First, however, he must deal with his insane mother and the violent attention of a femnazi, as well as come to terms with some truly weird hidden truths about his friends and family.



El Juego Del Ahorcado
Directed by Manuel Gómez Pereira
Spain




A moody and dark thriller, centering around murder, suicide, kidnapping and madness. Starring the always smoking hot Clara Lago, it looks to be a tense character study. The cinematography looks great.



Bronson
Directed by Nicolas Refn
UK/Denmark



From the genius who gave us the unparalleled Pusher trilogy comes this fascination exercise in biographical magic realism. Tom Hardy (Heathcliffe in the recent Wuthering Heights TV movie) gives a dynamite performance as Charlie Bronson, a man who considered himself an artist, his craft being violence. This is less a wholly accurate retelling of this notorious man's life, than it is a surreal exploration of performance, fame, insanity, theatre and vanity. It looks fantastic.



Medicine For Melancholy
Directed by Barry Jenkins
USA



A sweet little movie about the fuzzy in between zone between one night stands and commitment, comfortable living and compromised lives as well as urban isolation and the outsider's perspective of being in a vast minority. It stars Wyatt from the Daily Show so make of that what you will. I think it looks fun.


Tokyo Sonata
Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Japan



One of the great unsung talents of the Japanese film scene, Kurosawa (no relation to Akira), has always been an auteur who has made horror films which are more about human relationships than things that go bump. Now he's got a shot at a more conventional drama about a family on the verge of implosion. The music is by none other than Kasumasa Hashimoto, one of the leading artists in Japan's amazing experimental music scene and one of my personal favourites.


Adventureland
Directed by Greg Mottola
USA



A goofy comedy set in an amusement park in the 80's starring key players from both Superbad and Hot Rod and written by the guy behind the former movie. It's stupid but hopefully it's hilarious. Plus Kristen Stewart has suddenly become unfathomably attractive lately and this movie has her in it so go figure.


Adoration
Directed by Atom Egoyan
USA



From the man who gave us The Sweet Hereafter and Aratat is the story of a boy who uses a school assignment to investigate the reasons and facts behind his father and mother's death in a car accident. It's a fusion of multimedia, memory, opinion and emotion, wrapped up in a curious scenario of false identity. I have to admit the lead actor sort of annoys me in this trailer, but I trust Egoyan to yet agan surprise me by his light touch and complex themes.  


Wendy and Lucy
Directed by Kelly Reichart
USA



This is a movie which has come into a lot of critic's top ten lists and seems unusually prescient given the current economic situation. Wendy and Lucy is the story of a young woman (Michelle Williams) and her dog who gets stranded in Oregon and must deal with increasingly difficult cirumstances as her few safety nets collapse. Kelly Reichart made the interesting if flawed little movie Old Joy which and all bets are on this being proof of a director hitting their stride. 


Che
Directed by Stephen Soderbergh
USA



I probably should have mentioned this film in earlier blog posts but only recently has a full trailer been released. If ever anyone needed proof of how great the RED Camera truly is, just cop a load of the cinematography in this four hour epic which will be split into two films. Benicio Del Toro has widely been hailed as giving the performance of his life in this immensely ambitious biopic, all produced, directed, written, shot and edited by Soderbergh himself. Talk about auteur!


Gomorrah
Directed by Matteo Garrone
Italy



This movie has recieved thundering approval from all the critics I care about and is regarded as the best mafia film since... well ever. It's a multi-layered look at the realities of organised gangs in Naples and the violent horror that seeps through every pore of life in this city. The reaction from most people upon watching it is apparently almost apocalyptic shock. Garrone is the man behind the brilliant The Taxidermist, one of the best unseen movies around. Check this film out as soon as you can.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Movies I'm Excited About (October/November)

Thanks to various complications and commitment, (being down south for three weeks being the primary culprit) I was unable to update my list last month. So, I now present to you a condensed of my discoveries over the last eight weeks. Firstly though...

A Small Portion Of Random Movie News

Yes, the rumours are running wild in Hollywood that Ridley Scott, director of AlienGladiator and Black Rain is primed to direct an adaptation of Monopoly. Where the hell this is going to go is anyone's guess, but I'm looking forward to a heart-breaking moral tale of capitalism and greed from the perspective of a shoe who dreams of owning a string of hotels that charge insane levels of rent.

Mr. Monopoly

In other news, Arrested Development: The Movie is apparently closer than ever to being greenlit. The show's creator Mitch Hurwitz is pushing hard for the feature's production and all the cast is keen to get on board. This could be interesting or, like so many other small-screen big-screen adaptations, it could be a colossal waste of time.

John Boorman of Deliverance fame is working on a new animated Wizard of Oz movie. Now before you start foaming at the mouth, keep in mind the story has been told many many times before cinematically and one more shot at it isn't going to destroy the classic 30's movie. The concept art looks really interesting and this will reportedly stay closer to the spirit of the novel.

A prequel of X-Men (no, not the Magneto or Wolverine movies), is currently in the works, with rumours of it's name being X-Men: The First Class and it will supposedly deal with our core team of mutants as they first attend Xavier's school. Here's the kicker, it will be written and quite possibly directed by Joe Schwartz, the genius behind Gossip GirlChuck and The OC.

Also, the remake of George R. Romero's The Crazies, not a particularly great movie itself, is finally on more solid ground, with it's lead being confirmed as none other than Timothy Olyphant, the bad guy in Die Hard 4.0, the good guy in Hitman and Sheriff Bullock in a little show called Deadwood. 

Terrance Malick is reportedly thinking of putting the tale of Gawain and the Green Knight on the big screen. Although this rumour comes from Jim Caviezel so take from that a fair dose of crazy. Regardless, if executed in Malick's traditional lyrical meditative style, it could be one of the most hypnotic movies ever made. Keep an eye out for more news on this. 

Marc Forster, a director who seems to have enjoyed jumping from genre to genre any chance he gets in his brief career, (Monster's BallFinding NeverlandStayQuantum of Solace) has been signed as the man to helm the anticipated adaptation of Max Brook's zombie epic,World War Z. God only knows how he'll work with the material, but I'm hoping for all-out undead insanity.

On to the movies...

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Where The Wild Things Are
Directed by Spike Jonze
USA

After years and years of this project famously being delayed, threatened with the axe and all around banished to the bowels of development hell, Spike Jonze's Where The Wild Things Are is finally preparing to make it's way into cinemas. It promises to contain almost no CGI at all, dazzling cinematography and bright warm colours. I look forward to a heartening, weird and fantastic story of a boy and his imagination. Next to Gondry, no-one but Jonze could pull it off.

No trailer as of yet but check out the stills.



The Pleasure Of Being Robbed
Directed by Josh Safdie
USA

A quiet, quirky and interesting little movie, 24 year old Josh Safdie's debut, The Pleasure Of Being Robbed, which was produced and filmed mostly by himself and fellow members of a New York art collective, tells the story of a young woman (Eleanore Hendricks) who either suffers from kleptomania, or just takes intense pleasure out of re-appropriating other people's stuff. It was shot guerrilla style on the streets of Boston and New York and features a cast of non-actors. All press concerning this movie has hailed it as a wonderfully funny, bizarre and refreshingly unsentimental character study.


Slumdog Millionaire
Directed by Danny Boyle
UK/India

It seems that once again Danny Boyle has proven why is consistently one of England's most interesting directors. Much like Marc Forster and Michael Winterbottom, he seems unrestrained by any genre. He's had his share of blinding successes, (Trainspotting, Millions) and even his failures have been interesting in their own ways (Sunshine, The Beach). This film has garnered an insane amount of critical goodwill and has smashed every festival it's been screened in.

Slumdog Millionaire begins with a young, uneducated, poverty-stricken man named Jamal (Dev Patel - yes that's the guy from Skins) on the Indian edition of the show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, having responded to every question correctly barring the final one. Before he can answer the last query, the show runs out of time. He is then taken by the show's security police, (led by the ineffable Ifrran Khan) and interrogated to the point of torture, with the producers of the show unconvinced that a simple person from the slums could have possibly given all the correct answers. The film then proceeds to dive in and out of Jamal's past, revealing along the way the horrors of poverty in India, his life-long love for Latika (Anil Kapoor) and how the events of this young man's life have provided him with the answers to every question of the show.


Dear Zachary
Directed by Kurt Kuenne
USA

A film that has been lauded as one of the most emotionally raw documentaries produced in the past decade, Dear Zachary begins as a video chronicle by Kurt Kuenne of his best friend's Andrew Bagby's life, following his brutal murder, in the hopes of giving Bagby's newly born son a chance at knowing his father. The first part of the movie deals with a series of interviews with Andrew Bagby's closest friends and associates as they share all the amazing and joyous experiences they shared with this almost universally beloved individual. However, over the course of the filming, it is revealed that the murderer of Bagby is most likely his ex-wife, who flees to Canada with their child. What follows is a harrowing story of the ineptitude of the Canadian legal system and the extraordinary tenacity of Andrew's parents as they suffer emotional torment from their son's murderer in their battle for custody of the last remnant of their child.


12
Directed by Nikita Mikhalkov
Russia

One of the more interesting remakes of recent times, Mikhalov's (of Burnt By The Sun fame) 12 is a reworking of Lumet's classic 12 Angry Men, with the narrative transposed to Russia during the Chechnyan Civil War. Set almost entirely inside a converted school gym, the film follows the course of deliberation as the jurors weigh the balance of a young man's life. Each juror carries with them a history and a motive, which colours their verdict and their reasoning. The course of justice and Russian history is placed under the microscope in this explosive and tense character study.


The Tale Of Despereaux
Directed by Sam Fell and Rob Stevenhagen
USA

I'm not for a second going to pretend this is on here for any other reason than my bizarre love affair with the original book. Yes it's another story about a heroic mouse, crossed with elements of Dumbo and The Secret Of NIMH. Just take my word for it that the tale is a doozy and it's great fun. That's only my opinion of the book of course, for all we know the studio has bastardised the novel beyond recognition I Am Legend style. Watch and wait.


Christmas On Mars
Directed by Wayne Coyne and George Salisbury
USA

The Flaming Lips direct and star in an insane trippy film about colonisers on Mars trying to celebrate Christmas. It's freaky ridiculousness with surreal bursts of vibrant colour amidst high contrast black and white, techno-organic imagery and a weird droning soundtrack. Only the brave or incredibly high need apply.


JCVD
Directed by Mabrouk El Mechri
France/Belgium/USA

I know I know, a recommendation for a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie that isn't Universal Soldier? Hasn't he been irrelevant and churning out awful dtv stuff for the best part of a decade and a half? That is exactly the point of both this film and my curiosity. A truly loopy self-reflexive expose of Van Damme, this movie is gaining a fair amount of critical acclaim for truly allowing the man to deliver more than badly staged kicks to the head. The film follows the characted of JCVD as played by JCVD. He's a washed-up third rate action star who is much worse at combat than his screen appearances suggest, is broke and has lost custody of his daughter after a bitter divorce. Completely demoralized and with nowhere else to go, Van Damme returns home to Brussels to stay with his parents. Needing money he takes a trip to a nearby bank and is suddenly caught up in a robbery/hostage situation. The police believe he is the one responsible and a media circus ensues.


My Name Is Bruce
Directed by Bruce Campbell
USA

Keeping in the theme of self-reflexive movies about faded movie stars, try this one. My Name Is Bruce revolves around cult film hero Bruce Campbell as he struggles with annoying fans and terrible movie gigs. One day he is approached by a group of yokels to come and defend their town from a hideous demon. Mistaking their plea for help as a lucrative film job, he happily signs on. Only when he arrives does he realise that there is no movie and his previous acting experience leaves him completely unprepared for facing anything actually dangerous. It looks hilarious.


I Come With The Rain
Directed by Tran Ahn Hung
Vietnam/Korea/USA

No that's not a misprint. That is the same Tran Ahn Hung who gave us the incredible Cyclo and Scent Of Green Papaya. He has completely switched gears and is making a psychological thriller about a shattered ex-cop (Josh Hartnett) who is hired by a billionaire to retrieve his son. It's a blend of horror, surrealism and detective story, set in some amazing locations and directed by a certified genius. Yes the promo voice-over is dodgy, but just look at that cinematography. Oh and by the way, the music is by Radiohead. 

Here's a 5 minute promo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkqvoEoya3s

Die Schnieder Kranheit
Directed by Javier Chillon
Spain
A mock-documentary short of a 50's educational piece about a viral outbreak caused by a monkey from space crash-landing in Germany. What else do you need to know?



The Forbidden Door
Directed by Joko Anwar
Indonesia
I really liked Joko Anwar's Janji Joniit was one of the funniest comedies I'd seen in years, the acting was all top notch and the production values were great. It really opened my eyes up to what our closest neighbour has to offer cinematically. Now Anwar is trying his hand at comedy horror and it looks like he's hit it out of the park. A famous sculptor's life starts to unravel after he receives mysterious messages from somebody desperately seeking his help.



The Wrestler
Directed by Darren Aronofsky
USA

The critics have been going nuts for this movie, by all accounts it's the movie that Sin City promised to be. That is, Mickey Rourke's official comeback. It's somewhat of an odd choice for Aronofsky, who shot to fame with his intensely inventive dissections of thought, emotion and meaning with PiRequiem For A Dream and The Fountain. I have to admit that with all three movies the scripts were, in my opinion, underdeveloped and lacked that killer punch. Well this time he's interpreting somebody else's screenplay and how he copes with no crazy editing or special effects is anyone's guess. This is already hotly anticipated as an Oscar winner in at least the best actor and best film catagories.


The Class
Directed by Laurent Cantet
France

A film that takes place exclusively within a single classroom, The Class is being lauded as one of the best films about the relationship between teacher and student ever made. The character of Francios is a teacher who believes in being straight with his class and in giving everyone a chance to prove themselves, but as he comes face to face with the realities of class divisions, racial tensions, cultural misunderstandings and sexual politics he is forced to question the validity of what he is trying to do and despairs at ever being able to give the kids in the school anything like a good education. The teenagers themselves are at first hostile to Francios, but as the film progresses they develop a more complex relationship with their unsually honest mentor.


The Broken
Directed by Sean Ellis
UK
I was really intrigued by Ellis' previous film Cashback, though I think it went off the rails a bit in the second act. That said, there's no denying it was a very well shot and edited film and dealt with some intelligent issues. This next film looks to me like Ellis has grown in leaps and bounds since then, as this looks to be an extraordinary psycho thriller. A young woman spots her doppelganger on the streets of London and we follow her as she descends into paranoid madness as her personality and identity utterly collapse. The trailer is a Japanese sub job, but it's a very well cut piece.



Mum and Dad
Directed by Steven Sheil
UK
Familial horror is a subject that is often attempted and rarely done well. Steven Sheil's film concerns a young immigrant to Britain who is offered a place to stay by a friendly pair of siblings. She takes them up, hoping for a new life in the UK. Unfortunately for her, the home she has been invited to is in fact run by two certified psychotics who chain her up and torture her, forcing her to obey nonsensical and cruel "rules of the house". It reminds me a lot of one of my favourite quirky horror flicks, Barraccuda, which had a young man "adopted" by the nightmare old man Monsiuer Clement and his mannequin wife. 



First Squad
Directed by Yoshiharu Ashino
Russia/Japan

If you'll remember from one of my earlier blogs, I have a huge obsession with the work of Studio 4c, one of the most inventive and crazy awesome animation houses in Japan. They specialise in pushing the format in new and ridiculous directions any chance they get. Well here's a feature produced in a joint project with a Russian production house that portrays the Nazi-Soviet war of the 1940's in anime glory. I don't really know what all those sword fights are about but it looks really really damn good. The soundtrack is by none other than DJ Krush and it promises to be a trippy and fascinating exploration of the Soviet war effort. Again, it'll never see conventional release in Australia, like everything else 4c produces. WHY DISTRIBUTORS WHY?!



The Clone Returns To Homeland
Directed by Kanj Nakajima
Japan
Already being touted as one of the most Tarkovsky-esque films made this year, The Clone Returns To Homeland is a masterfully well-shot science fiction exploration of identity and spirituality. Kohei Takamara is an astronaut who dies whilst working. With permission, scientists clone his body to, in a sense, ressurect him. However, the "new" Kohei only carries his childhood memories and relives the death of his twin through drowning ceaselessly. When he discovers his deceased former self, he mistakes this for his long dead brother and sets out on journey back to his hometown. It looks stunning.



A Christmas Tale
Directed by Arnuad Desplechin
France

I'm simultaneously very much looking forward to this film and secretly wishing I could hate it, thanks to one of my most loathed wanky film critics, Andrew O'Hehir, touting Desplechin as the greatest living film-maker in Europe. That said, I have to concede that Kings and Queen andThe Sentinel were both great movies and Desplechin is definately extremely talented. This film is nothing like a heart-warming sappy morality tale usually typified by such a title, but is in fact a somewhat experimental effort analysing the characters in a family, their secrects, lies, pains, heartaches, fears and loves over the course of Christmas. There are moments of levity and moments of sadness. Roger Ebert describes the movie as one which switches tones and approaches freely, shifting our perspective and our sympathies at the drop of a hat. Very interesting. And what a cast!


Pray The Devil Back To Hell
Directed by Gini Reticker
Libera/USA

Already in the shortlist for oscar nominated documentaries, Pray The Devil Back To Hell captures the heroic efforts by the women of Libera, both Christian and Muslim, to end the cycle of violence and despair in their country. In the wake of decades of bloodshed, a united front of females was formed which opposed the seemingly endless corruption and murder. Instead of violence, the union promoted peace and tolerance and we watch as over the course of the years the movement grows in strength and purpose, to the point where even the gun-crazed militias start to listen.


Astroboy
Directed by David Bowers
Japan/USA

It's Astroboy in CGI, with Freddie Highmore and Nicholas Cage! Yeah I know, but it could be good! Maybe!? Sure thing! Let's go! *engages rocket boots*


Coraline
Directed by Henry Selick
USA

Neil Gaiman's Coraline was one messed-up book and Henry Selick is known for his messed up animation. All logic points to this being crazy great. Let's have a looksie. The blend of stop motion and cgi is getting pretty seamless, I had trouble spotting the difference in the trailer.

Anyway, Coraline is about a young girl who discovers a portal to an alternate reality where here parents are extra nice to her and she gets pretty much everything she wants. There's just one small catch. Everyone has buttons for eyes and pretty soon they're keen to sew a pair onto Coraline's corneas.


Black Dynamite
Directed by Scott Sanders
USA
Yes that's exactly right. Yes it is amazingly awesome. Holy Christ I want to see it now.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Movies I'm Excited About (September)

Milk
Directed by Gus Van Sant
USA



The 70's documentary The Life And Times Of Harvey Milk still stands as one of the greatest documentaries in the history of cinema, but the true story has never been adapted into a movie. I'm intensely interested in seeing how Van Sant pulls this somewhat conventional narrative off after finishing his more esoteric projects.

For those who don't know, Harvey Milk was the first openly homosexual man to run for public office, who was assassinated by Dan White, the city supervisor. It's an amazing and heartbreaking story and we'll have to see if Van Sant can pull it off. I'm betting an emphatic yes.


Synecdoche New York
Directed by Charlie Kaufman
USA 



Phillip Seymour Hoffman plays Caden Cotard, a depressive theatre director losing his automatic body functions (breathing, heart rate etc) who mounts his most ambitious project yet. Determined to make an epic about the painful mediocrity of everyday life, he stages a production inside a gigantic warehouse, building a mock-up New York and casting thousands to live out the narrative threads he assigns them. The play spirals out of control and the years begin to fall away and Caden must come to terms with not only the final outcome of his masterpiece, but the overall direction of his life and humanity.

Of course you all know Charlie Kaufman for his screenplays for films such as Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Being John Malkovitch and Adaptation. Now we finally get to see what his directing chops are like. Will he be a superb success, like Coppola and Kurosawa before him? Or will his lack of experience in creatively managing the somewhat more industrial process of film-making produce a massive failure? One way or another this movie looks fascinating. The broad outline is wonderfully bizzare, the cast is first rate and the cinematography is by legend Frederic Elmes, the man who shot Eraserhead and The Ice Storm.


Ballast
Directed by Lance Hammer
USA



Bela Tarr comes to America! Well maybe not, but the Hungarian director's stylistic fingerprints are all over this feature debut by Lance Hammer, which is a quiet and haunting picture about people attempting to piece together their lives after trauma. I have to say the cinematography looks great and the rhythm of the trailer is somewhat seductive. Lets see if it ever gets Australian release.


Sukiyaki Western Django
Directed by Takeshi Miike
Japan



Try and look past Quentin Tarantino's grating presence and consider just how amazingly crazy this movie could be. A western, filmed by Takeshi Miike (The Happiness of the Katakuris, Visitor Q, Dead or Alive, Audition, Ichi the Killer etc etc etc), where the weapons are entirely era inappropriate and everyone speaks phonetic English. It could be the greatest thing ever.

The plot is meaningless. The action is all. Embrace the weirdness.


Let The Right One Come In
Directed by Tomas Alfredson
Sweden



Coming off the back of the Texas Fantastic Fest with major awards and stellar reviews. Let The Right One Come In is Sweden's answer to all the simpering and neutered vampire fiction out there. It almost plays as a bizzaro version of the insanely popular female romantic fantasy series Twilight, with a young (seriously young) boy falling in love with an ancient vampire who looks like a little girl. This is horror played straight and all indications are that it's one that doesn't shy away from the ugly side of being a creature of the night. Despite appearances, vampires are not human. The film has already been slated for an American remake but I can't see why beyond the idiocy of the commercial marketplace. The production values look great. Highly recommended.


Sad Dream
Directed By Kim Ki-Duk
South Korea



Kim Ki-Duk is one of the great minimalist masters out there at the moment and after 3-Iron I'm prepared to go anywhere with him. I'll admit that I haven't seen his two latest efforts, but this new film looks some kind of incredible. A man discovers that an unknown woman is sleepwalking his dreams every night. Good stuff.



Waltz With Bashir
Directed by Air Folman
Israel



A surreal and visually dazzling exploration of war, guilt and memory, Waltz With Bashir utilises it's animation not just as a gimmicky portrayal of dreamstate, ala Waking Life, but actively explores the more emphatic tropes the style has to offer. It tells the story of an ex soldier from Israel who is haunted by his inability to remember his actions during the Lebanon War, in the form of violent dreams. He seeks out and interviews other soldiers and, from their testimonies, slowly re-creates his own experiences. There has been a strong push for more "adult" animation during the last five years or so. Let's hope it's a trend that continues.


The Good, The Bad and The Weird
Directed by Kim Ji-Woon
South Korea



This is getting slightly ridiculous. I can't believe how many westerns Asia is pumping out at the moment. Noodle Westerns are in apparently. Anyway, this is another film which did gangbusters at the Fantastic Fest. It won the audience award so you know it's at least got to be a damned good time.

Essentially a remake of Sergio Leone's original classic, TGTBTW twists the bizarreness level up to eleven with explosions, iconic dialogue and amazing action set-pieces aplenty. Well worth your interest. Keep an eye out for it.



The Soloist
Directed by Joe Wright
UK/USA



So far Joe Wright has shown himself to be an intensely focused and technically accomplished director who can pull great performances out of his cast in the service of classic adaptations with features such as Atonement and Pride and Prejudice. I kind of hate how he abuses Bach's most overplayed Cello Suite in the trailer, but there's no denying this looks to be an impressive and no doubt Oscar-hopeful feature. God bless the resurrection of Robert Downey Jr's career.

The film tells the story of an intensely gifted musician who also happens to be schizophrenic and the journalist who discovers him and crusades to get him the help and recognition he deserves.


Fear[s] of the Dark
Directed by Blutch, Charles Burns, Marie Caillou, Pierre Di Sciullo, Lorenzo Mattotti and Richard McGuire
France



Another fascinating exporation of the vast potential animation has to offer the cinematic world. This series of shorts exploring the notion of fear and horror has been given intensely positive reviews and is sure to cast a bit more light onto the criminally unheard of careers of graphic masters such as Lorenzo Mattotti.


Martyrs
Directed by Pascal Laugier
France



Another entry into the growing genre of New French Horror. This is a film which has gotten a lot of good press and has generated waves of controversy reagrding it's content. I don't want to go too much into it as the surprise and "fun" of the film develops from it's plot twists. Suffice to say, very bad things happen and people go very very crazy.



Revolutionary Road
Directed by Sam Mendes
USA



I'm both excited and horrified by the notion of this movie being made. Richard Yates' novel is something which has stayed with me since I first read it five years ago. It not only enormously shaped my view of the contemporary world, but gave voice to a lot of the gnawing existential problems that I felt lying under the surface of a lot of things. That someone has the audacity to take what is essentially a book that lives purely on the vibrant strength of Yates' narrative voice and transpose it into action without comment is a scary, yet intriguing notion. We'll see how it pans out. Mendes has shown he can do suburban angst well with American Beauty, but whether he can handle something as complex and beautiful as the lonliness of the human soul is something else entirely.

About Me

Timothy John Sharp is a writer/director based in Perth, Australia.