Festival Miscellany

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Re: Festival Miscellany

Postby Big Magilla » Sun Oct 30, 2011 2:17 am

December 9th in L.A. and New York, January 12th elsewhere.
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Re: Festival Miscellany

Postby kaytodd » Sun Oct 30, 2011 12:42 am

I remember We Need To Talk About Kevin (Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly) played at Cannes in May. The film and Tilda Swinton were well received. Is there going to be a US release to make it eligible for 2011 Oscars? I haven't heard anything about it in months. It played at the Mill Valley Festival a couple of weeks ago but I do not remember reading reviews from Toronto or Telluride. I liked the book (not particulary original but a good read) and am looking forward to the film.
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Re: Festival Miscellany

Postby Cinemanolis » Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:57 pm

Hi guys,

i just returned from Venice here's what i thought of the movies i watched

4.44 Last Day on Earth 1/5
Alps 3,5/5
Carnage 4/5
Contagion 3/5
A Dangerous Method 3/5
Dark Horse 2/5
The Exchange 2,5/5
Eva 3/5
Faust 3/5
Himizu 2/5
The Ides of March 3/5
Killer Joe 3,5/5
People Mountain People Moon 2/5
Quando La Notte 2/5
Sal 2/5
A Simple Life 3/5
Shame 4,5/5
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy 4/5
W.E. 2/5
Wilde Salome 2/5
Wuthering Heights 2,5/5

P.S. Welcome back Damien

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Re: Festival Miscellany

Postby Mister Tee » Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:20 am

I guess, at this point, if you remember when Whit Stillman was a hot director, you're dating yourself. But here's a positive response to his latest.

Damsels in Distress
Whit Stillman's whimsical campus comedy "Damsels in Distress" is an utter delight.
By Leslie Felperin
'Damsels in Distress'

A film that raises laughs even with its end credits, Whit Stillman's whimsical campus comedy "Damsels in Distress" is an utter delight. Making a welcome return to helming after a long sabbatical following 1998's "The Last Days of Disco," Stillman proves he still knows how to write crackling, articulate dialogue for quirky preppie characters whom he loves laughing at as much as with. Pic's young cast, led by Greta Gerwig, features enough up-and-coming names on its roster to pull in a younger demographic to supplement Stillman's older fan base, which should rescue "Damsels" from the niche, upmarket margins.
Sweet-natured Violet (Gerwig, "Greenberg") and her coed coevals Rose (Megalyn Echikunwoke, "24," "That '70s Show") and Heather (Carrie Maclemore, "Gossip Girl") are college students on a mission. Dedicated to making Seven Oaks U., their alma mater, a more fragrant and pleasant place, they seek to combat the Neanderthal male populace's body-odor problem by promoting good hygiene, and stoically accept it's their lot in life to date frat boys far more stupid and less good-looking than themselves. After all, as Violet says in one of the pic's many quotable lines, "The tendency, very widespread, to always seek someone 'cooler' than yourself (is) always a stretch, often a big stretch. Why not instead find someone who's frankly inferior?"

Among their other projects (Violet's lifelong ambition is to invent a new dance craze) and philanthropic enterprises, they run the suicide-prevention center on campus where the doughnuts are free, but only to anyone verifiably depressed. Accompanied by Lily (Analeigh Tipton, "Crazy Stupid Love," "America's Next Top Model"), the newest addition to their clique, they're willing to rush to the aid of anyone in a tailspin after a recent break-up, their survival strategies usually revolving around the advisability of dating uglier, stupider men than oneself.

Violet's help backfires on her when one student, Priss (Caitlin Fitzgerald), takes up with Violet's own intellectually challenged b.f., Frank (Ryan Metcalf), a frat boy so dim he literally doesn't even know the color of own eyes. At least he can identify colors, though, unlike his buddy Thor (Billy Magnussen, superb), who has been educationally handicapped by his pushy parents' insistence that he skip kindergarten. Later, Violet connects with Charlie (Adam Brody), one of Lily's beaus, who like Violet is not all he seems and has a gift for reinvention.

Pic is chockfull of daft digressions and sweetly silly subplots, but the ensemble goes at it all with such deadpan rigor, it plays like vintage screwball comedy minus the pratfalls, apart from what must be one of the most uproariously funny suicide attempts in recent film history. Positively boiling with sharp, almost casually dispensed zingers, repeated phrases (Rose is constantly on a suspicious vigil against "playboy or operator types"), and dialogue that might not be so funny when repeated in isolation but is hilarious in context, Stillman's screenplay is a thing of beauty.

Helmer's comic timing is likewise right on the money, but in a largely self-effacing, quietly efficient way that recalls the old-school craftsmen of Hollywood's golden age, like Howard Hawks in a breezy mood. Given the pic's retro feel, it's entirely appropriate that the climax tips its hat to Fred Astaire with a dance scene modeled on the Astaire-Joan Fontaine rug-cut from "A Damsel in Distress" (1937). One can't help but wonder what Stillman would do with the budget for a full-on musical, but even though this unfolds in the same well-heeled milieu he's previously explored, there's a freshness here that suggests his 13-year hiatus from directing hasn't done him any harm. Those inclined to dislike Stillman's work won't be persuaded otherwise by "Damsels," but fans will be more than satisfied.

Shot on HD, the pic doesn't have the same glossy, glassy prettiness of Stillman's earlier film-shot work like "Metropolitan," "Barcelona" and "The Last Days of Disco," but it's still executed with pro polish by lenser Doug Emmett. Extra credit is due costume designer Ciera Wells and "special fashions" by Kristen Blomberg for kitting Violet and her friends out in just the right kind of prim but interesting A-line frocks and neat accessories that endow them with a pleasing mix of glamour and ladylike dowdiness.

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Re: Festival Miscellany

Postby Mister Tee » Sat Sep 10, 2011 11:48 am

Meirelles' latest was on the "deserve its own thread or not" bubble, and the lack of enthusiasm from Variety here pushes it into generic territory.

360
What goes "La Ronde" comes around in Fernando Meirelles' "360," a circular study of modern couplings.
By Peter Debruge

What goes "La Ronde" comes around in Fernando Meirelles' "360," a circular study of modern couplings that expands the inquiry of Arthur Schnitzler's 1897 play to a global scale without finding much new to say about love. With a multilingual cast of mostly unfamiliar faces, plus a few stars, "360" feels too abstract, orchestrating break-ups and hook-ups in a passionless vacuum. For screenwriter Peter Morgan, it's the same problem that plagued "Hereafter" spread across an even more unwieldy ensemble. International prospects look good, though it's hard to imagine a U.S. outfit taking it for a high-priced spin.

Opening in Vienna, where Schnitzler set his play, "360" may have been inspired by "La Ronde" -- a work that has been adapted by Max Ophuls, Roger Vadim and countless stage directors before -- but it abandons the source's structure. Instead of cycling through couples, where one member of each encounter leads to the next, Morgan's script appears to adopt the grand-canvas, intersecting-lives template employed everywhere from "Crash" to the Robert Altman oeuvre.

But the pic's ever-revolving characters scarcely rise above the level of thin sketches -- a problem that presents itself from the opening scene, in which a photographer/pimp (Johannes Krisch) demands special favors from a Slovakian woman (Lucia Siposova) looking to break into the high-end escort business, and persists to its disappointingly pat ending. What "360" needs are some 180-degree moments -- scenes that take an unexpected turn from the direction in which we know they're headed. Instead, the various recycled encounters feel so familiar and on-the-nose that we can predict pretty much where everything is going from the outset.

The hooker's first client is married British businessman Michael Daly (Jude Law), who of course speaks to his daughter by cell phone from the bar where he's arranged to meet his call girl. Back in London, his wife, Rose (Rachel Weisz), is trying to break things off with her Brazilian lover, Rui (Juliano Cazarre), whose tomcat antics have finally become too much for g.f. Laura (Maria Flor). She, in turn, hops the first flight back to Rio, only to be grounded in Denver, where she connects first with a grieving older man (Anthony Hopkins) and later with a convicted sex offender (Ben Foster) just out of prison.

Despite the overall quality of the cast, none of the actors gets more than a few scenes in which to wrestle a real person out of scant details. Somehow, Hopkins manages to score an entire monologue, delivered in an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting where the character finds opportunity to articulate a personal epiphany; Foster also gets a solo in which he pantomimes a near-breakdown.

Otherwise, Meirelles keeps the emotions at a low boil, allowing other aspects of modern interaction to upstage the interpersonal connection. Mass transit factors as a recurring motif, not only enabling people to get away from their loved ones but also allowing strangers to meet en route to a common destination. Along the same lines, cell phones both collapse the distance between partners and create intriguing opportunities for betrayal. There are enough interesting dynamics to be found in those two elements alone; someone should make a movie about them.

Instead, the filmmakers seem fixated on the idea of how characters deal with metaphorical forks in the road, opening and closing "360" with voiceover from the hooker's sister (Gabriela Marcinkova) about how decisions make the world go around. A pair of Paris-based subplots illustrate that idea: A lovestruck Algerian man (Jamel Debbouze) nurses a secret crush on a married Russian co-worker (Dinara Drukarova), who opens up new romantic possibilities, both personally and for her distracted husband (Vladimir Vdovichenkov), when she requests a divorce. Each has the opportunity to decide his own fate, if you ignore the fact that the script denies happiness to the characters auds most want to succeed.

It's virtually impossible for the cast to remain plausible going through the paces of such a conceptually on-message movie. No doubt a more stylized approach would have served "360" better than Meirelles' muted, naturalistic touch, which eschews beauty shots in favor of more mundane commuter views of the film's many enviable locations -- London, Paris, Vienna, Minneapolis and Rio de Janeiro.

A glitch in the sound system at the film's Toronto Film Festival premiere resulted in a low vibration humming beneath the last half hour of the film, actually adding a welcome dramatic tension. Considering the odd mix of languages and accents, some snatches of dialogue (like anything Cazarre says) were also hard to make out.

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Re: Festival Miscellany

Postby Damien » Fri Sep 02, 2011 12:04 pm

Sonic Youth wrote:Oh, hello Damien! Welcome back.


Thanks, Sonic. :)
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Re: Festival Miscellany

Postby Sonic Youth » Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:09 am

Oh, hello Damien! Welcome back.
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Re: Festival Miscellany

Postby Damien » Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:49 am

FilmFan720 wrote:
Big Magilla wrote:The Guardian called it "the turkey that thought it was a peacock" which come to think of it could just as eaily apply to Sophia Coppola's Marie Antoninette.


Some of us thought that film was the peacock though!


Including me (and I much prefer it to Lost In Translation).

By the way, one of the London tabloids recently had a screaming front page headline: WALLIS SIMPSON WAS ACTUALLY A MAN!
"Y'know, that's one of the things I like about Mitt Romney. He's been consistent since he changed his mind." -- Christine O'Donnell

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Re: Festival Miscellany

Postby FilmFan720 » Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:17 pm

Big Magilla wrote:The Guardian called it "the turkey that thought it was a peacock" which come to think of it could just as eaily apply to Sophia Coppola's Marie Antoninette.


Some of us thought that film was the peacock though!
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Re: Festival Miscellany

Postby Big Magilla » Thu Sep 01, 2011 7:13 pm

The Guardian called it "the turkey that thought it was a peacock" which come to think of it could just as eaily apply to Sophia Coppola's Marie Antoninette, Vincent Ward's What Dreams May Come and any number of film released in the last dozen years or so.
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire

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Festival Miscellany

Postby Mister Tee » Thu Sep 01, 2011 5:02 pm

We don't need a separate thread for every movie reviewed in the next two weeks of festivals, so here's a spot for some of the lower echelon pack, beginning with Madonna's directorial effort.

This is actually a a fairly gentle review; some were scathing. I'm not much for pile-ons, even of celebrities, but I did get a laugh out of Guy Lodge saying, in reaction to this movie, "Come back, King's Speech -- all is forgiven"


W.E.
Madonna's sophomore feature doesn't have much going for it apart from lavish production design and terrific, well-researched costumes.
By Leslie Felperin
'W.E.'

Before it preemed in Venice, advance word on "W.E.," Madonna's sophomore feature about Wallis Simpson and Edward VII, was that it was better than her debut, "Filth and Wisdom." Indeed it is, though that's not saying much: Burdened with risible dialogue and weak performances, pic doesn't have much going for it apart from lavish production design and terrific, well-researched costumes -- and it's in focus, which is more than can be said for the script. Nevertheless, interest in the subject and her Madgesty alone will ensure substantial royalties internationally.
Instead of a straight-up Simpson biopic, Madonna and co-screenwriter Alek Keshishian (helmer of "Madonna: Truth or Dare") have ambitiously opted for something trickier by weaving the story of Wallis (Andrea Riseborough) and Edward VII, aka David (James D'Arcy), and how he gave up the throne for her, with a contempo tale about Gotham-based femme Wally Winthrop (Abbie Cornish, appearing mostly catatonic), who becomes obsessed with Wallis' story when Sotheby's holds a sale of the duke and duchess of Windsor's possessions.

Married to rich psychiatrist William (Richard Coyle), Wally has given up her job at Sotheby's (where, according to some explicatory dialogue, she was the company's "No. 1 research assistant") to get pregnant via in vitro fertilization, but it hasn't worked out -- probably just as well, since her husband is a physically abusive jerk. Wally generates sparks with Sotheby's security guard Evgeni (Oscar Isaac), who's not just a smoldering bit of beefcake but an "intellectual" and a classical pianist, who lives in a super-spacious loft with his own grand piano. Sotheby's must pay good money.

If "W.E." were prose, it would be italicized and in bold caps, so banally does it juxtapose events in Wally's and Wallis' lives: We see Wallis having a baby beaten out of her by her first husband in the 1920s, just as Wally consults a doctor about IVF; Wallis meets Edward, then prince of Wales and heir to the throne in the 1930s, amid several would-be meet-cutes between Wally and Evgeni; and so on. At times, the two women walk into each other's stories and interact, a not-so-subtle sign that this is all some kind of amorphous fantasy, although whether it's Wally's fantasy or Madonna and Keshishian's is never quite clear.

The Wallis-Edward part of the film actually works passably well, largely due to the fact that their story is intrinsically more interesting, even if it's been covered elsewhere. Riseborough does an adequate impression of Wallis with a tremendous assist from Arianne Phillips' costumes, which seem to replicate the famous outfits Mrs. Simpson wore, down to the very buttons and individual pleats.

Unfortunately, the film feels much more interested in getting these details right than in making up its mind about where it stands on Wallis and to a lesser extent Edward, who has less of a presence here than he did as minor character in "The King's Speech." Aware that most auds today think of Edward as a Nazi sympathizer, the script acknowledges his reputation but airily dismisses it as mere "rumors," and conveniently ignores matters of historical record, such as the fact that the duke and duchess were honored guests of Hitler at his Berchtesgaden retreat as late as 1937.

It could be argued that it's Madonna's right to be selective about history in order to craft a narrative sympathetic to Wallis' side of the story. But the film seems to want to have its glossy, pink-iced croquembouche (glimpsed onscreen at a party) and eat it, touting Wallis and David as one of the great love stories, but also debunking that very myth by raising the notion that marriage didn't really make Wallis very happy. Oh well, at least this uber-material girl got lots pretty jewelry for her trouble, all of it shown in drooling closeups; Cartier is prominently thanked in the end credits, along with John Galliano and, particularly bizarrely, Leni Riefenstahl, which suggests Madonna has, if nothing else, reasons to be grateful to other people accused of harboring Nazi sympathies.

Craft contributions are of a higher order here than they were in "Filth and Wisdom," but the clunky montage sequences and blend of 8mm and 16mm film stocks plays like something out of a how-to-make-a-musicvideo handbook from 1991. Even more surprising, given that Madonna's forte is meant to be music, is the decision to score a speed-fueled party scene to the Sex Pistols' "Pretty Vacant," probably a tip of the hat to Sofia Coppola's "Marie Antoinette," but a derivative one.


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