Tuesday, March 25, 2008

RED ROAD review

Winner of the Jury Prize at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, the feature length debut by Brit writer/director Andrea Arnold is a dark, riveting, and awkwardly sensual tale of an employee of a private security firm that monitors the cctv cameras in a rough neighbourhood of North Glasgow. In a fantastic performance by Kate Dickie, Jackie lives a solitary existance, watching the everyday dramas of life around her through the security cameras, except for the occasion unfulfilling shag with a married co-worker in his car. One day she spots Clyde (Tony Curran), an ex-con who she becomes obsessed with for reasons we don't discover for most of the film. The only other piece of information we're given is that she has lost her husband and child in unrevealed circumstances.

RED ROAD is supposedly the first in a trilogy of films under the ADVANCE PARTY concept. The concept came out of a discussion with Lars Van Trier and the executive producers Lone Scherfig and Anders Thomas Jensen. Each film would be made by a first time director and producers, using a set list of characters and back stories which the directors could then write their story around. The same actors would be cast for all three films. The focus on which particular characters would be up to the individual director, but all the films would have to take place in Scotland.

As we watch Jackie's obsession with Clyde grow into a dangerous yet sexualized place her motives come into question despite the obvious pain that she's in, and you find your loyalties shifting right up until the reveal of their past connection.

Despite the ending, which compared to all that has come before might seem a bit trite, RED ROAD is a great tragic story told with a deft and rawness than is rarely found in a mainstream/studio picture. Apparently the second film is in 'development limbo', but I'd be very curious to see where this material goes from here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I *heart* movies

Honest to blog, we can be a jaded lot sometimes. (Yes, I can hear you grinding your teeth in anger for referencing JUNO!) Well, Final Girl has challenged us all today to not be cynical, blase, or unmoved by our passion for film and our spare time at work to write about it.


Final Girl asks us to "Write about a movie you adore. Write about a single movie moment you adore. A performance, an actor, a trailer you're looking forward to like crazy. Write about that time you went to the movies and what you saw made you so happy you wanted to make out with the screen. Write about that film you couldn't stop thinking about for days, and how awesome that feeling is."

I think it's a pretty keen idea, so here goes:

Dude, I'm telling you that really happened, for REAL!

It's 1999, I'm working in the warehouse of a highly upscale department store, and much to my chagrin, I eventually explain to a co-worker that THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT isn't a documentary. I love the fact that the marketing actually confused people. It reminds me of the time I faked a dead body in the woods for my best friend to find on his birthday. Good times.

Coming Attractions

Remember when one of the only ways to find out about a new movie was to be surprised by it's trailer in a theatre? Me neither ;) Regardless, I love trailers. It's a little premature rush of joy and expectation for something that can seem so perfect, like catching a smile from a beautiful stranger on the other side of the room. Sure, she might just turn out to be a drug dealer, but at least that first contact was pure and full of hope. Hardly original I'm sure, but being utterly stunned by the CLOVERFIELD trailer last summer was a brilliant bit of awesome, and it completely overshadowed the infuriating parody of a film I was there to see in the first place.

"He IS the Kwisatz Haderach!"

Fresh in my mind after the recent news that Peter Burg wants to go back to the desert planet of DUNE one more time, I have a great love for the film version by David Lynch. There's an utterly haunting and creepy scene right near the end where Alia (played by the then 8 year old Alicia Witt) stands silently, knife raised, destruction all around her, triumphant. It freaks me out every time!

Alicia Witt as Alia, relevant to posting

Alicia Witt now, completely irrelevant to posting

There are wolves in the cinema

No one can argue that the best place to see a film is in a theatre, crammed with like-minded folk who are there to have a good time. Many of my best experiences have been at Midnight Madness screenings during the Toronto International Film Festival. Back in 2001 at the premeire of Le Pacte des loups (Brotherhood of the Wolf) almost a thousand rabid movie fans howled along madly with the wolves on screen!

Two more reasons to howl at this film!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Film Title... yadda yadda yadda

OK, I'm sure it's not just Chan-wook Park's film titles that get scissored upon release on this side of the world, but for some reason this really grinds my gears! I'M A CYBORG BUT THAT'S OK is being released in the UK next month with the shortened title I'M A CYBORG. In 2005 I saw SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE, but for it's theatrical and dvd release it was cut down to LADY VENGEANCE. Now I realize that especially with foreign films their English titles can be somewhat... fluid, but after these two films toured many festivals and were critiqued and blogged about, what's the fracking point of changing their titles??? Shortened attention span? Groan.

Also, apparently Charlize Theron wants to produce and star in a remake of SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE. Groan... again.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Wanted: mindless fun, girl with gun

I've often wished that someday Angelina would come along and change my life forever. Apparently she came along to this McAvoy guy instead.

Yet another comic book adaptation, although this one looks nothing like the source material, WANTED looks like it could be ridiculous cheesy fun. I've been disappointed lately with 'popcorn' flicks I've hoped to enjoy, such as SHOOT EM UP or JUMPER, which failed to be either fun or funny.

* Robots have loved Angelina since HACKERS, deal with it!

She really seems to love her firearms.

Who Watches The Watchmen?

Considered one of the greatest deconstructions of the conventional superhero story, Alan Moore's WATCHMEN is canon for any self respecting comic book geek. If you're not familiar with the book, it's very far removed from what you imagine a comic book is. Time Magazine considers it one of the top 100 English language novels written from 1923 to present. It's adaptation into film by Zack Snyder has been the source of much debate, and now we get our first good look at five of the main characters.

First thoughts... Ozymandias' spect'ab'ulous costume gives me pause, but I'm still on board overall. At this point it's still impossible to surmise how this will turn out, but I'll be there opening weekend to find out.