Archive for January, 2012

Sundance Film Festival 2012 (19-29 January)

January 29th, 2012 - admin

Predictions that the US dramatic competition would include Antonio Campos’ Simon Killer proved to be correct.  The keenly awaited follow-up to his debut feature, Afterlife, stars Brady Corbet as the New Yorker whose retreat to Paris takes unexpected turns.


The world cinema dramatic competition has an the eye-catching world premiere of Wish You Were Here.  Kieran Darcy-Smith’s debut feature, starring the fast emerging Joel Edgerton, depicts a mysterious holiday disappearance that triggers uncomfortable revelations further down the line.


Jennifer Baichwal’s cinematic version of Margaret Atwood’s best selling book, Payback, is one of many high-profile arrivals that reflect Sundance’s position as a prime launching pad for documentaries.  Karin Hayes’ and Victoria Bruce’s feature doc, We’re Not Broke, a topical look at the US’s unprecedented budget deficit, will attract attention.


New features from Julie Delpy and Spike Lee screen in the premieres showcase where, in a sign of the times, none of the films have sold in advance.


Selected films:


The Atomic States of America

Don Argott & Sheena M. Joyce


There are high expectations that the new feature doc from Don Argott & Sheena M. Joyce will prove as eye-catching as its title, The Atomic States of America. Based upon Kelly McMasters’ A Memoir From An Atomic Town, it comprehensively revisits the alleged threat that nuclear reactors pose to humanity. The devastating earthquake-induced destruction of Fukushima Power Plant has, of course, provided a new context to the debate.  World Premiere

(US Documentary Competition)



Father’s Chair

Luciano Moura


A doctor’s troubled home life goes from bad to worse when his son goes missing.  His extensive search proves to be a journey of self-discovery, though, as he reassesses his true identity beyond the public persona.  World Premiere

(World Cinema Dramatic Competition)



Filly Brown

Youssef Delara and Michael D. Olmos


Filly Brown promises an unconventional look at the conflicts that arise between family and the music business by avoiding genre cliches.  A dodgy record producer offers a young hip-hop singer a crack at stardom but at a troubling cost.  Newcomer Gina Rodriguez leads the cast.

(World Cinema Dramatic Competition)



For Ellen

So Yong Kim


Last time out, So Yong Kim, the South Korean filmmaker now based in Los Angeles, returned to her homeland for the Treeless Mountain, a wonderfully perceptive portrayal of two children left behind when their mother emigrated to the US.  Her latest film, For Ellen, looks at the complications surrounding family separation from the opposing angle when an American father encounters difficulties in reuniting with his estranged daughter. Set in a New York State border town, it stars Paul Dano (Meek’s Cutoff, Little Miss Sunshine) & Jena Malone (The Messenger).  World Premiere

(US Dramatic Competition)



½ Revolution

Omar Shargawi & Karim El Hakim


Omar Shargawi & Karim El Hakim’s hand-held cameras provide a birds-eye view of last year’s Egyptian revolution as experienced on the chaotic and bloody back streets of Cairo way beyond the full glare of the world’s media.  The arrest of the filmmakers by the secret police provided an early indication of the pending political unrest after the collapse of Mubarak’s regime.  North American Premiere

(World Cinema Documentary Competition)



The Imposter

Bart Layton


Bart Layton’s intriguing new documentary, The Imposter investigates the extraordinary disappearance of a teenager, who reappears a few years later in another continent claiming an horrific abduction ordeal.  Marketed as being a documentary in thriller form, it contains many twists that almost defy belief. With documentaries frequently turning to dramatic narrative techniques for a more compelling audience experience, and serious dramatic cinema often searching for a purer reality, the two different genres are frequently operating in similar territory.  World Premiere

(World Cinema Documentary Competition)



Nobody Walks



Russo-Young returns to Sundance with her third feature, Nobody Walks, for an intricate take on family politics.  A young New York artist (Olivia Thirlby) moves into a comfortable LA household and disturbs the equilibrium of compromises that have held the family together.  World Premiere

(US Dramatic Competition)




Jennifer Baichwal


Jennifer Baichwal (Manufactured Landscapes) provides cinematic form to Margaret Atwood’s bestselling book, Payback, in her intriguing new feature documentary.  Approaching the subject from unexpected angles, she will explore the huge variety of obligations that arise during our everyday lives and their fundamental importance in shaping wider society.  Payback will premiere at Sundance prior to a US release during the end of April.  World Premiere

(World Cinema Documentary Competition)



Safety Not Guaranteed

Colin Trevorrow


Aubrey Plaza plays a magazine reporter, who chases a story with a difference by replying to a bizarre ad seeking a partner for time travel.  After discovering an intriguing person behind the eccentric façade, she cannot be certain that he is sane.  Mark Duplass co-stars in a potentially interesting variation of the romantic comedy.  World Premiere

(US Dramatic Competition)



Shadow Dancer

James Marsh


James Marsh’s keenly awaited IRA super-grass thriller, staring Clive Owen and Andrea Riseborough, probes the moral complexities that arise when family and ideological convictions clash.  Tom Bradby, an experienced political correspondent, adapted the script from his own novel of the same name.  Marsh has enjoyed considerable success with his recent documentaries including Project Nim, currently riding high in the awards season, and Man on Wire, which bagged the Oscar three years ago

(Premieres Showcase – out of competition)



Simon Killer

Antonio Campos


Antonio Campos’ keenly awaited follow-up to Afterschool was a hot tip for an US Dramatic Competition berth.  Starring Brady Corbet as a young New Yorker who retreats to Paris after a painful breakup and discovers that not all glitters in those parts that are off limits for the tourist board.  Campos came to the fore with his

short Buy It Now, which bagged the Cinefondation prize at Cannes 2005.  World Premiere

(US Dramatic Competition)



Red Hook Summer

Spike Lee


Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer, which screens out of competition, returns to the cutting edge urban reality of his early career.  Set in the same Brooklyn neighborhood as his masterpiece, Do the Right Thing, Sundance’s Festival Director, John Cooper, has raised expectations by announcing that Lee will reprise the charismatic lead that he played in his masterpiece, Do the Right Thing, over twenty years ago.  This time around, an Atlanta boy passes the summer with a grandfather that he meets for the first time.  Expect Lee to provide a snapshot of how multiple-cultural districts of this kind have changed during the intervening years.

(Premieres Showcase – out of competition)



Slavery By Another Name

Sam Pollard


Based upon Douglas A. Blackmon’s 2009 Pulitzer Prize winning book, Sam Pollard’s documentary will provide strong evidence that involuntary labour continued for many years after Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation through brutal racial suppression.  Pollard is best known as a film editor, whose 31 titles include Spike Lee’s Clockers and Bamboozled.  Laurence Fishburne will narrate.  World Premiere

(US Documentary Competition)



2 Days in New York

Julie Delpy


An indie romantic comedy sequel to her Allenesque 2 Days in Paris sees Delpy’s character with a new boyfriend exploring similar ground but in a new cultural context.  Chris Rock co-stars.  World premiere

(Premieres Showcase – out of competition)



We’re Not Broke

Karin Hayes’ and Victoria Bruce


Karin Hayes’ and Victoria Bruce’s topical new documentary, We’re Not Broke, tackles the single most important issue arising from the US’s unprecedented budget deficit and economic crisis; the grossly inefficient and unfair tax system.  It follows six activists demanding closure of multimillion-dollar tax loopholes that allow the largest corporations to hide their profits in overseas tax havens.  The film’s arrival coincides with a growing awareness amongst ordinary Americans that an equitable tax law could significantly curb the current austerity measures.  World Premiere

(US Documentary Competition)



West of Memphis

Amy Berg


Hot on the heals of Berlinger and Sinofsky’s concluding part of their Paradise Lost trilogy, Amy Berg turns her attention to the infamous West Memphis rough justice case.  Berg brings a forensic approach to deconstructing the process that secured the triple murder conviction of three teenagers based principally upon lifestyle evidence.  Atom Egoyan (Where the Truth Lies) is currently developing a dramatic version.  World Premiere

(Premieres Showcase – out of competition)



Wish You Were Here

Kieran Darcy-Smith


After a friend disappears during an easy-going holiday, revelations gradually surface that make it difficult for the others to continue with their lives.  Kieran Darcy-Smith’s debut feature employs non-linear narration to depict the characters before and after the fateful night.  In demand, Joel Edgerton, leads a cast that includes co-writer Felicity Price.  World Premierebuy online dapoxetine in buy levitra with dapoxetinefluoxetine classificationfluoxetine tablets 20mgfluoxetine 20 mg tabletsfluoxetine 10 mg side effects

(World Cinema Dramatic Competition)

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House of Tolerance (L’Apollonide – Souvenirs de la maison close)

January 27th, 2012 - admin

A Modernist return to the Belle Époque, made in the style of Alain Resnais but with a political edge more akin to Jean-Luc Godard, the House of Tolerance is a sombre yet resplendent evocation of life in a high-class Parisian brothel.


One night merges with another as young girls pamper their wealthy clients in the lazy surroundings of a grand drawing room before occasionally gliding upstairs for ‘commerce’.  This is sex for sex’s sake, almost without trace of genuine desire; part of a routine where the idle rich play out their fantasies and rituals and the girls listlessly go through the motions.  Repetitive behaviour and repeated scenes become indistinct amongst a ‘Marienbad’ style distortion of time under the indifferent eye of a black panther languishing on a velvet sofa.


Harsh reality occasionally punctures the dreamlike haze; a syphilis ravaged body and a horrifically disfigured face are shocking reminders of lurking dangers.  Behind the scenes, one of the girls describes the smell as a mix of champagne and sperm.


This is a prison of intolerance from where there is no escape.  The madam charges the girls for room, food and clothes, and, like the modern day loan shark arrangements, it establishes a debt that is impossible to repay.  Clients, addicted to their own depravities, must return, funding a vicious circle of self-indulgent excess.  But, the landlord is greedy too, and increases the rent to a level that is beyond the reach of the madam.


Bertrand Bonello’s new film is a superb take on Godard’s prostitution metaphor for the Capitalist nightmare of self-destruction.  The performances are compelling, leaving us with a strong sense of the girls as institutionalised pawns in a larger game beyond their control.  The right film for the right motiliummotilium generic namefluoxetine classificationfluoxetine tablets 20mgfluoxetine 20 mg tabletsfluoxetine 10 mg side effects

Descendants, The

January 27th, 2012 - admin

Alexander Payne’s first film in seven years is a return to familiar themes but with a lighter touch and confidence that allows for a very mature reflection on male vulnerabilities in a changing world; free of the kind of sentimentality that so often blights lesser films with this kind of ambition.


Payne turns to George Clooney for his latest middle-aged American struggling with a crisis, partly of his own making.  Clooney’s finely tuned quirky characteristics, a throwback to the screwball comedies, are more than a trademark – a key part of the Clooney brand – but allow a seemingly imperceptible shift from comedy to serious drama.  This made for a particularly intriguing collaboration with Payne, who has combined both elements throughout his career with one reinforcing the other.  The humour remains here but both men tone it down in a nicely judged balance.


The film is set in Hawaii but not amongst the hula dancers and paradise holiday resorts, but where the locals go about their everyday business.  Clooney plays a rich lawyer, Matt King, whose descendants developed a powerful family dynasty having migrated to the Islands during the mid-18th century.  They acquired vast areas of Hawaiian landscape, carrying deep spiritual significance for the indigenous population, and King inherits the position of executive trustee with sole decision making powers.  Most of the beneficiaries are in favour of selling but King is not so sure.


His life at home had drifted into an easy pattern, a familiar mid-life complacency, where he had taken his eye of the ball, prioritising work over family.  And then, it all changed forever; his wife looking for thrills elsewhere, suffered a terrible speedboat accident from which she could not recover beyond being in a permanent coma.  This is the point where we join the film and the unravelling of a backstory where King gradually discovers the truth beyond the facade, which concealed the real lives of his wife and two daughters.


Clooney has a rare star persona, feeding as it does into other leading men from Hollywood’s heyday.  It is not one that he can simply set aside at will, as Brad Pitt did recently in his outstanding performance in The Tree of Life.  He must work with it, manipulating and reshaping where possible, and creating something that can accommodate the weight of history resting on his shoulders.  Clooney does a superb job here, taking us on King’s humbling journey of understanding and greater maturity, and delivers an affecting career-defining portrayal that transcends the humour in the precise way that we had hoped from his collaboration with Payne.


Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller play King’s daughters with behaviour problems, only some of which are attributable to their current situation.  Miller is the younger of the two and neatly shifts between victim and villain but, most of the time, remains between the two extremes where nothing is clear cut.  Woodley’s character, angry with her mother for having had an affair, fears that she is a chip off the old block.  It makes for an interesting take on the complexities of teenage angst and self-loathing that avoids the all too familiar conventions of clichéd rites of passage movies.


Robert Foster provides strong support as the distraught father unable to come to terms with his daughter’s accident.  There is a rage etched across his face of the kind that will remain ever.


And there is a short performance of remarkable perception from Beau Bridges, playing one of King’s cousins standing to gain from a land deal.  Fluctuating from drunken charm to obnoxious threats, as self-interest dictates, there is something in Bridges’ eye that hints at a greater understanding, an acceptance of the other party’s position that is not in any way apparent from his behaviour.  Bridges brings all his experience to bear on this small role and it is one of those that lingers in the mind after the final credits.


Watch out for one delightful scene where an extremely ungainly Clooney runs down a street upon learning of his wife’s affair.  It is moment of self-mockery, an unexpected parodying of his own screen persona that captures a wonderfully free spirit running throughout the production.domperidone for saledomperidone costfluoxetine classificationfluoxetine tablets 20mgfluoxetine 20 mg tabletsfluoxetine 10 mg side effects


January 20th, 2012 - admin

A timely first cinematic version of Shakespeare’s final tragedy arrives as popular uprisings challenge old guard tyrannies, and democracies come to terms with a new breed of leader with little to offer beyond self-promotion.


Seldom has the custom of staging The Bard in a contemporary setting seemed more appropriate than in this heavyweight portrayal of public power.  Penned at the beginning of the 17th century and looking back to Ancient Rome, it serves as an extraordinary political analogy for our times; savaging both ends of the political spectrum.


Set in modern day Rome but filmed on location in Belgrade, Coriolanus returns us to the destruction and terror of the horrific living nightmare that was the 1990’s Balkan Wars.  Veteran cinematographer, Barry Ackroyd, bringing to it the same immediacy that he captured so well in the Hurt Locker, thrusts us into the street warfare of detonations and sniping.  Occasional breaking news TV footage feels very different, presented from a distance with the protection of remoteness; neatly capturing our troubling immunity to horrific violence through media saturation.


The film marks the impressive directorial debut of Ralph Fiennes, who in the Shakespearian tradition of Olivier, Welles and Branagh, plays the title role.  Steely-eyed and often blood drenched, Fiennes’ Coriolanus is every bit the single-minded warrior, who is fearless and victorious in battle but totally out of his depth as a military tyrant in the political arena.  His ruthlessly honest pursuit of a shocking absolute power clashes with his enemies’ very dishonest democracy by manipulation; providing a dynamic of imperfect ideologies around which everything else revolves.


Vanessa Redgrave plays Coriolanus’ quietly intimidating mother, who rules the roost with her compromised tyranny through deceit, a combination of the worst elements of the other power-brokers.  Captivating and measured, Redgrave’s self-assured performance is a masterclass in the transformation of Shakespearian stage characters to something truly cinematic whilst remaining true to the original.


A word also for Gerald Butler’s thoughtful portrayal of Aufidius, who belongs to the same outmoded world as Coriolanus and accelerates its demise through compliance with its rules of honour.


The brief appearance of Channel Four’s newscaster, Jon Snow delivering the headlines in verse does grate a little but not so as to detract from an otherwise thought provoking and enjoyable adaptation.domperidone purchasemotilium for salebuy domperidone 10mgfluoxetine classificationfluoxetine tablets 20mgfluoxetine 20 mg tabletsfluoxetine 10 mg side effects

Useful Life, A

January 13th, 2012 - admin

This is one for those of us who spent our formative years indulging an obsessive interest in all things film at a local makeshift independent cinema, during a pre-DVD age when the publication of the programme became the highlight of the month.


Uruguayan film critic, Jorge Jellinek, plays a quasi-manager of the Cinemateca, a throw back to those earlier times but now faced with an endless battle against dwindling attendances, failing equipment and rising debt.  When its sponsor withdrew, with regret obviously, closure was inevitable.


It had been his life for 25 years, dedicated to promoting cinema as a serious art form.  We see him meticulously archiving records, researching Icelandic filmmakers and arranging a major retrospective for the Portuguese auteur, Manoel de Oliveira.  This is the stuff that fired our imagination – and still does – but, inevitably, not the younger generations of Montevideo.


The cinema’s closing ceremony is undramatic and dignified, as he silently joins a colleague going through the motions one final time where actions speak louder than words.  Its effect is devastating but his re-emergence into wider society opens new possibilities, many of which are touching and humorous.  An unexpected transitional moment, where he charmingly reprises a Cagney dance routine, is an absolute delight.


The film marks the end of a very specific era, one where auteur theory shaped the thinking of a generation and provoked an insatiable appetite for ongoing enquiry into the work of all serious filmmakers.  A victim of the chronic over-simplifications of post modernism and new technological powers of reproduction, the days are gone when all self-respecting cinephiles preserve the exclusive domain of the big screen and programmers could safely predict guaranteed audiences for leading auteurs.  But there will always be a demand for an alternative to the mainstream, particularly during troubled times, and it remains to be seen how that will manifest itself within a new world of multi-platforms.


Federico Veiroj filmed it in colour before transferring the print to black and white, fitting for the film’s subject.  As cinema embarks upon its latest journey, 3D, it sits comfortably alongside The Artist and Hugo in returning to earlier eras within a new domperidone tabletscost of domperidonefluoxetine classificationfluoxetine tablets 20mgfluoxetine 20 mg tabletsfluoxetine 10 mg side effects