Tuesday, October 16, 2007

COMING SOON: Big & Small Screens

Soul Food(ish) and other notable films on their way (sooner or later) to your local cine 'matheque or 'plex, or your very own living room!
Updated Oct 16 2007

Here are upcoming big screen releases I’m glad we’ll get to see before too long...
THERE WILL BE BLOOD (Vancouver: January 11)

And no word about when Vancouverites will get to see the following but, like the truth, they’re out there somewhere, and Soul Food is on the case!
THE TEN (limited release Aug 3)
SEPTEMBER DAWN (limited release Aug 24)

And here’s what’s we’re waiting for, Soul Food-wise, at the local video emporia...
Now (subcribers only): ADAM’S APPLES
Nov 13: AMAZING GRACE at Videomatica
Nov 27: WAITRESS at Videomatica
Dec 18: ONCE released, BLADE RUNNER FINAL CUT at Videomatica



Blackest possible, utterly droll Scandanavian comedy either taunts or exults in the folly of the Christian faith, might even be my favorite film this year. Available from Film Movement, but only (so far) to subscribers! As soon as we the great unwashed get access, I’ll letcha know.

Oct 5: LA/NY Limited Release
Dec 18: Fancy schmancy DVD box sets
Lots of hoohaw over the years about the various edits of this film. Ignoring the detail, let it be said there’s much excitement among BLADE RUNNER fans over a special limited release big screen run and follow-up DVD package of the new “Final Cut” of this eighties sci fi landmark, which is loaded with God Stuff. I personally don’t find the religious bits compelling in this one, but many do, and what I do love is the kinetic cyber-punk-meets-Raymond-Chandler milieu – great looking, great energy.

Doug Cummings: "Ron, you simply have to see DARATT (DRY SEASON) if it comes your way. Think of it as a Chadian LE FILS ... The one film I saw at the Los Angeles Film Festival this week I would unequivocally recommend to everyone here is a film from Chad called "Daratt" ("Dry Season"). It won the Jury Prize at Venice last year, and it's part of the excellent New Crowned Hope series commissioned for Mozart's 250th anniversary. Building off the theme of vengeance and forgiveness in the composer's "La clemenza di Tito," the film is set immediately after the civil war when official amnesty was declared...taking the law into his own hands, an elderly man who lost his son in the war asks his grandson to avenge his death, and the determined teenager travels to a nearby village to assassinate the murderer. As the boy is devising his plan, the murderer--now a 60 year old baker--offers him a job.
“I don't want to say more, because this is a highly nuanced story that focuses on this strangely volatile, yet potentially positive relationship, and its myriad details and tensions in a way that is highly reminiscent (and I say that complimentary-wise) of the Dardenne's "The Son." The filmmaker, Mahamat Saleh Haroun, has said he was inspired by Mozart's violin concertos to make a make a film that evoked their minimalist power, resulting in a film with strong visual rhythms, a highly observant camera, and terrifically underplayed, simmering performances. I loved it."

Hollywood Reporter: "A love story set against the 19th century massacre of a wagon train of settlers in Utah at the hands of a renegade Mormon group. Voight plays the leader of the renegade Mormon faction, while Davidovich is a member of the wagon train who stands up to Voight's threats." Check the Soul Food post for excerpts from (and links to) responses from Mark Moring and Peter Chattaway.

Wow. Not for the faithful who are filmically faint of heart, director Carlos Reygada is fascinated with both Christianity and sex. (I mean, lots of us are, but we don’t necessarily put them both in the same movie. Which presents problems for some.) His third picture is set among old order Mennonites in northern Mexico. NYFF: “The world’s first talking picture in the medieval German dialect called Plautdietsch. SILENT LIGHT is set in Northern Mexico’s ascetic, self-contained Mennonite community and cast almost entirely with Mennonite non-actors. Building in emotional intensity, this elemental tale of love and betrayal is at once an ethnographic documentary and a quasi-remake of Carl-Theodore Dreyer’s Ordet. Reygadas too makes spirituality seem material, not least in the extraordinary, wide-screen landscape shots that bracket the action. With this, his third feature, he has secured a place in the forefront of contemporary film artists.” I had hoped it would be at the VIFF, but alas.

Aug 3: Limited release
An episodic comedy, ten short pieces each riffing on one of the commandments. Not exactly Kieslowski or deMille, but it could be funny. Tagline, “If He'd meant the commandments literally, He'd have written them in stone.” Cute. The trailer features way too many body part gags – is this for grade eights or grown-ups? - but I still reckon I’ll give it a try if it ever opens in Vancouver. (Even if I never see it, I’m glad it was made, if only for this headline at Christianity Today: “Christian ventriloquists say no to THE TEN.” Linking to this at the New York Times:
The Kid Quits the Picture
July 29, 2007, Sunday
by Allen Salkin
CLAPPY'S people decided to pass. After seeing a synopsis of a film script for ''The Ten,'' a comedy based on the Ten Commandments, they decided the part he was up for was not right for him. They did not think Clappy ought to appear in a sex scene...”

Can’t believe THIS IS ENGLAND left the theatres so fast. It’s really something: autobiographically inspired, 1983 setting, about a 12 year old working class English boy who falls in with a gang of skinheads after his dad's killed in the Falklands: you'll be on edge, and yes there's some violence that's tough to watch - not so much because it's grisly or gratuitous, but because you believe it, and it happens among characters you care about - but it's loaded with brilliant unexpected turns, heart-breakingly true characters. One of my favorite films of 2007.

"Martin Scorsese directs this 90-minute documentary on Val Lewton, the versatile and prolific writer of novels, nonfiction and poetry who entered the film business as a protégé of David O. Selznick in the early 1930s. Lewton went on to produce a number of stylish, low- budget horror films for RKO, notably the atmospheric CAT PEOPLE (1942), the engagingly macabre
(1943) and the chilling BEDLAM (1946)."

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