Sunday, July 19, 2009

waiting and moping--i mean HOPING!

I'm just about slumped and pouting in the wood, like Ms. Gainsbourg here. It's not that I don't love a classic "summer movie" summer movie (thought Drag Me To Hell was some good clean fun) - I'm just kind of fed up settling when I wanna see go out and see a movie these days. Everything's a crapshoot. What wouldn't i mind seeing? The Hangover, maybe? The new Jim Jarmusch? I went and saw Up. I didn't mind sitting through that. The 3-D was pretty unmoving, but it was satisfyingly sweet-natured. Psyched myself out of seeing Public Enemies, then a good friend reaffirmed my instincts and now its gone. Maybe a rental. Bruno is supposed to either suck or just not be as good as Borat. I will probably see it tonight. But it's been nice out (raining and then not raining and all) so I'd be just as content to shrug all this nonsense off and go for a walk and dream of...


Inglorious Basterds

director: Quentin Tarantino
release date: August 21, 2009

thoughts: Not thrilled with his last three movies, and i don't like eli roth AT ALL as an actor. But this could be fun in a tasteless kinda way.

Das wei├če Band (The White Ribbon)

director: Michael Haneke
release date: December 25, 2009

thoughts: loved both versions of Funny Games. am interested in anything this guy directs.

The Expendables

director: Sylvester Stallone
release date: in production

thoughts:The new Rambo was great. Stallone knows his way around the action genre, ghastly warts and all. pros: Stallone, Lundgren, Rourke, Arnold cons: Jason Statham, Jet Li, Steve Austin.

director: Lars Von Trier
release date: unknown

thoughts: Lots of controversy. Wasn't nuts about Manderlay, but this looks very promising. As one of the pickiest horror fans on the planet, one helmed by this masterful director is like a dream come true. Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg are two actors that I've often admired and enjoyed, though Dafoe for perhaps much longer and I adore brutish, bratty filmmaking when it is strong!

The Road
director: John Hillcoat
release date: October 16, 2009

thoughts: this can't miss. John Hillcoat's work is impeccable. The source material is extraordinarily good. And the stills so far are gorgeous. Probably the film in this list i've been anticipating the longest.

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans / My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done
director: Werner Herzog
release dates: 2009/2010

thoughts: This was the only interesting still from Port of Call that I could find. The poster and trailer are both kinda unmoving. Actually there were a couple of funny moments in the preview-like Nic Cage making time with a hooker, screaming and shooting at people all at once) I don't trust a fair share of promotional stuff anymore anyway, so I'll just go ahead and drop it. Some Herzog films are better than others, but he's never released anything that's at all compromised, so I'm game. ideally, bad lieutenant will be a sick and snappy return to lunatic form for Nic Cage. My Son... is a bit more promising, as it seems to be more of an original story with no marquee names attached. plus it's got the actor who does an amazing job as the unforgettably creepy guy in Bug. I'm pumped for both films, though, as they're sure to be something unique and no doubt profoundly unsettling.

Taking Woodstock
director: Ang Lee
release date: August 14, 2009

thoughts: lots of character actors. not too showboaty. since it's Lee, i'm hoping for something more unexpected and subtle than past films about hippies.

Where The Wild Things Are

director: Spike Jones
release date: October 16, 2009

thoughts: Spike Jonze! Of course I loved this book as a kid, but a new Spike Jonze film is the real cause for excitement. Heard there was some disagreement about the tone an early version of the film. Hopefully the final product isn't compromised in the least, as Jonze is one of the few directors who has a truly flawless track record. And the cast is absolutely dreamy with such favorites as Catherine O'Hara, James Gandolfini, Forest Whitaker and Tom Noonan providing voicework.

Fantastic Mr. Fox
director: Wes Anderson
release date: November 13, 2009
thoughts: Reservations about The Life Aquatic aside, Wes Anderson makes refreshingly singular, highly entertaining films everytime out. It's good to see, though, that he's veered from his minutia tableau formula with the travelogue Darjeeling Limited and this, an animated feature adapted from Roald Dahl's book. As much as I enjoyed Up, it'd be nice to see some family movies that aren't so po-mo and winking in style. Something solely in its own world would be wonderful. And if my faith proves out, Jonze, Anderson and Gilliam will be leading the charge.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
director: Terry Gilliam
release date: September 4, 2009

thoughts: So Tideland wasn't so great. It seems that Gilliam's ideas work best on a large scale. I childishly find myself wishing that all the rich aesthetes in the world who love his work would throw mountians of money at him for every film he makes because they are all treasures - box office returns be eternally damned. Okay, so I haven't seen The Brother's Grimm yet, mostly due to the fact that there was a lot written about how Miramax Gilliam's original cut to ribbons and that he didn't stand behind the final product. The guy's had a tough time, and he doesn't deserve ANY of it, because he's a genius. It's too bad about Ledger, but my hope is that Dark Knight fans might open themselves up to why so many talented actors want to work with this director. He's trying to make something pure and original - and I have no doubt that this film will be as much. (Here's hoping Mr.Magorium's Wonder Empormium will ensnare some into and not deter some away from this similarly titled film.)

Life During Wartime
director: Todd Solondz
release date: in production
thoughts: Hopefully this film is an improvement over the provocative, not-Happiness-caliber experiment Palindromes. To be fair, though, I've yet to give it a second look and I suspect it warrants multiple viewings. While I'm still partial to Happiness and Welcome to the Dollhouse, there's no doubt in my mind that anything he does will be provocative and rewarding on some level. Plus IMDB lists none other than Paul Reubens in the cast! I was hoping his Tim and Eric appearance (as a talking, Mellies-style moon) was a good omen, and this news is beginning to prove that out. In Blow he made a somewhat ho-hum movie a little more interesting - and not just becuase of the pee-wee kitsch factor. I think Reubens is a good actor. I don't know why, with the hamburger train business in Nice Dreams or the farting in Mystery Men, but I see Reubens busting out with something awesome - and where better than in a Todd Solondz film.

A Serious Man
director: Coen Bros.
release date: October, 2 2009

thoughts: Don't know the cast! in an age of occasionally tiresome director/actor partnership trends, it looks like the Coens are making another comedy, this one set in the late sixties. Though I enjoyed it a lot at moments, I'm really hoping its an improvement over Burn After Reading. Something wasn't quite right about it - despite great perfomances from some of the cast.

director: 2010
release date: in production

thoughts: Margot At The Wedding was gorgeous, distressing, depressing and sweet. I liked some of Squid and The Whale as well. So far so good?

Blood Meridian
director: Todd Field
release date: 2009

thoughts: The pure gall of even Todd Field (though, aside from some good turns by Jackie Earl Haley and a couple others, 2006's Little Children pales to his debut effort - In The Bedroom) to tackle this novel is a fascinating turn of events. I would be surprised if it wasn't at least a fine spectacle - but I of course hope for impossibly more. Don't know if the "2009" release date on IMDB is one hundred percent - nor the "R" rating. I think a faithful adaptation of this book would require an extensive overhaul of the existing ratings system. Or maybe, since Cormac McCarthy has had an Oprah book selection (The Road - also rated "R") Blood Meridian is getting a The Passion-like nod of approval. Despite enjoying all manner of depraved material in films I inundate myself with, I get particularly queasy reflecting on the experience of a pretty relentless parade of depravities that is reading Blood Meridian. Field's got his work cut out, and I hope it goes well, because these are some of the sickest, most mercenary bastards I've ever come across in film or literature. Horrifying and brilliant performances would be required - ideally with little to no stars. Look at me - i'm wetting myself over this - i will see this no matter what if it goes through. Cormac McCarthy movies aplenty, I say...

Cep All The Pretty Horses, maybe. Or am I sleeping on a classic? signs point toward nope. Don't care for Matt Damon. Didn't make it through Gerry, not because I dislike Van Sant or minimalism, but because Damon and Casey Affleck were very boring indeed as characters. It's cool, I know. So was James Taylor in Two-Lane Blacktop? Riiiiight... I think characters with nothing much to say have their time and place. But they don't carry movies usually. No one has anything much to say in Last Days - cep Kim Gordon - but it is a strange hypnotic fractal of wonder sensates flaring off continuously rapturously (and not undue to Asia Argento's cute ass). I LOVE Last Days and it gets my highest reccomendation. Gerry was like one of those absurd 90s Calvin Klein commercials with mild-jinx in place of... hot-jinx? ..... well, that's it for me!. Lynch is off the grid, Cronenberg... Eastern Promises if you haven't yet - it's got some good performances and it's grueling but cool in a dark sort of way - like a lot of good Cronenberg. But I digress... with this:


because i said so.

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