ENJOY THE SHOW
"Business or pleasure?" I just saw this film at the Telluride Film Festival and it was outstanding, worthy of being highlighted above and beyond the trailer, but I'll start with this since not that many people (outside of South America) have heard about the film yet. Wild Tales is a feature made up of six separate stories, an anthology film made by one director that focuses on the ridiculousness of modern society, and how it causes some people to snap. Each one is hilarious, each one is brilliantly conceived, each one has real characters and situations, and I loved every second of it. It's dark, violent, crude, but incredibly funny, extremely smart and reflective, and a worthwhile cinematic experience. Especially if you want to laugh your ass off. Enjoy!
Following yesterday's US trailer for the Cannes Palme d'Or prize-winning film Winter Sleep, we have another much buzzed about title from the French showcase of cinema debuting a trailer. This year, Russian filmmaker Andrey Zvyagintsev (The Return, Elena) returned to Cannes with his drama Leviathan, the story that is described as a gripping parable of class, faith and corruption, centering on a land dispute between a small-time mechanic and his local authorities that reaps unimaginable consequences. The film is actually inspired by the Biblical tale of Job, and looks like a provocative, masterfully shot piece of cinema.
Today's trailer is for a Taiwanese film from acclaimed filmmaker Tsai Ming-liang called Stray Dogs, which has already earned quite a bit of praise playing at Venice and TIFF last year. Tsai Ming-liang is known for his long takes, and this teaser plays up some of his static shots from the film while the rain pours down incessantly. "With each successive shot in Stray Dogs, he shows us a devastating portrait of a family living hand-to-mouth in the city’s underbelly," explains Scott Tobias in his capsule review from TIFF. It's a short teaser, but a powerful one presenting a film that looks heart-wrenching but mesmerizing. Take a look below.
"Your brothers may be dead or gone, but you're alive!" This looks fantastic! An early trailer has debuted for a film titled Far From Men, starring Viggo Mortensen along with Reda Kateb (seen in A Prophet, Zero Dark Thirty) set during the beginning of the Algerian War with France, in 1954. It's premiering at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals coming up next month, which is why there's a trailer out for it and it looks way better than I was expecting. The story follows the friendship these two men strike up in the midst of a war, and it looks very endearing, beautifully shot and compelling on many levels. Then again, it is Viggo Mortensen and pretty much everything he does turns out pretty good, so who am I kidding - it looks great.
"Sorry to insist..." Artificial Eye has debuted the first full UK trailer for the latest film from the Dardenne Brothers, called Two Days, One Night starring Marion Cotillard. You may have heard buzz about this film back in May when it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and went on to open in France later that month. Cotillard plays a working-class woman desperately trying to keep her job as she must convince her co-workers to vote for keeping her in a company-wide decision. It's one of the best films I've seen all year so far, moving swiftly and yet maintaining an incredibly sharp focus on what they're saying and what they're accomplishing. Marion Cotillard looks much more disheveled than before but that's all part of her like look in the film, which plays even more into her character. Riveting to watch - I highly suggest catching this film.
Two of 2014's best art films focus on disabilities - Blind, directed by Eskil Vogt, an exceptional film about a woman going blind that I reviewed from Berlinale; and The Tribe, directed by Miroslav Slaboshpitsky, a brutal but incredible Ukrainian film about a group of deaf students. The Tribe first premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in the Critic's Week sidebar, winning multiple awards at the end of that fest. I caught the film at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland - it is disturbing but powerful. The film is presented entirely in sign language, without any subtitles or translation or dialogue. It's the beginning of sign language cinema.
"Fight!" Yep, you read that right - this film is from 2010. This film opened in China/Taiwan/Hong Kong way back in 2010, and was released on DVD in 2011, but never made it to the US. In fact, it's just now getting released in the US under the title 14 Blades, even though the original title was akin to The Brocaded Robe Guards. Martial arts star Donnie Yen plays General Qinlong in this "kung fu thriller set during the Ming Dynasty and centered on a secret service agent (Yen) in the emperor's court who is betrayed and then hunted by his colleagues." If you're into kung fu or martial arts thrillers, it's worth taking a look at - though I fear many fans may have already seen this film over the last few years. This also features Sammo Hung.
Toho has unveiled the full-length feature trailer for the latest Studio Ghibli film, titled When Marnie Was There, hitting theaters in Japan later this month (it won't arrive in the US until next year). We recently featured the first teaser trailer for Marnie, which was short and made up mostly of the theme song from the film. In this full trailer we get a better sense of the story, about a young girl who befriends a ghost named Marnie, even though she doesn't release it's a ghost. There are a few playful scenes and fun moments, but as always it just looks absolutely beautiful. I'm curious to check this out, something a bit different from Ghibli, yet still made with the same passion and detail that goes into every single frame of their movies. Have fun!
Yes! The first trailer for my favorite film of the Cannes Film Festival this year has finally debuted. Xavier Dolan is a 25-year-old filmmaker from Quebec who has already made five films, and his latest is one titled Mommy. Starring Anne Dorval and Antoine Olivier Pilon as mother/son, the story is about her trying to raise her wild and violent ADHD child. The film is mostly presented in 1:1 format (as in the trailer) which is used as a storytelling device, but I won't ruin the important moments. Instead, I will say - this is our first glimpse at an innovative film that uses the big screen medium in fresh, exciting, unforgettable ways. Enjoy.
As much as I love Studio Ghibli, I'm not the biggest fan of these kind of casting updates. I prefer the original Japanese voice cast with subtitles, but as always it's hard to sell the film here in the US without dubbed English voices. GKids has unveiled the cast for the English language version of Ghibli's The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, directed by Isao Takahata, his first film in fourteen years. Providing the lead voice will be Chloë Grace Moretz, who is already everywhere and in every movie from Cannes to The Equalizer. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya adapts a classic story about a tiny girl found inside a shining stalk of bamboo.
Following World Cup fever, Brazil is poised to get even more attention, at least internationally, with the romantic anthology Rio, I Love You, inspired by the previous projects Paris, je t'aime and New York, I Love You. As one would expect, two trailers showcase a charming collection of short stories, all set in some gorgeous and interesting locales in the South American setting, and it looks much better than the animated film which shares its title with the city as well. Directors like Fernando Meirelles (City of God), John Turturro (Fading Gigolo) and Jose Padilha (RoboCop) all directed segments, and it looks wonderful.
Fans of foreign films may have already seen Lea Seydoux get passionate in the acclaimed French romance Blue is the Warmest Color (now available on Netflix Instant), and now the actress is finding love again in Grand Central, the second film from director Rebecca Zlotowski (Dear Prudence). The film follows the maintenance team working at a nuclear power plant, where new employee Gary (Tahar Rahim) is taken under the wing of Toni (Denis Ménochet). But complications arise when Toni's wife Karole (Seydoux) begins an affair with Gary, and we see how that begins to play out in the UK trailer for the film. Watch it!
Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi "bravely defies his 20-year ban on filmmaking yet again" to bring us his latest film, titled Closed Curtain, a follow-up to his last creation, This Is Not a Film from 2011. This new film plays with another meta concept: In a secluded house by the sea with the curtains shut, a screenwriter hides from the world with only his dog as company. The tranquility is abruptly broken one night by the arrival of a young woman fleeing from the authorities. Refusing to leave, she takes refuge in the house. But come dawn, another unexpected presence will change everything... The cast includes Kambuzia Partovi, Maryam Moqadam and Jafar Panahi. I'm intrigued, there's something about this. Maybe it's that dog.
Another interesting project on the slate in 2015. The next project from filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai has been confirmed and kinda/sorta announced, with some actual specific information about what it is. The Chinese filmmaker last brought us the beautiful martial arts epic The Grandmaster, but he hasn't made much else since My Blueberry Nights in 2007. Now he's getting ready to direct another romance, to follow up many in his career (like 2046, In the Mood for Love, Chungking Express). This one is an adaptation of Zhang Jiajia's short story Ferryman, as this will be titled, from the collection I Belonged to You sold in China. Read on.