If you want to pry at another of their works, check this one out. It is not videoclip but pure advertisement.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
If you want to pry at another of their works, check this one out. It is not videoclip but pure advertisement.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Permito-me esta pequena incursão num tema alheio ao cinema por, ao mesmo tempo que vinha tendo várias discussões sobre o assunto, nos últimos dias, me ter deparado com declarações extremamente lúcidas, simples e directas sobre a natureza desta e outras reformas - poderão ficar a conhecê-las no vídeo que segue no final deste artigo.
Foi sob protestos de vanguardismo, progresso e fraternidade histórico-cultural que os determinados responsáveis máximos portugueses e brasileiros assinaram o novo acordo de unificação da língua portuguesa e é precisamente sob esses argumentos que se espreguiçam agora os seus defensores. A língua, ainda mais profundamente do que aquilo a que chamamos cultura, é a identidade máxima de um povo, ou não fosse a primeira o que nos permite construir, manter e aceder à segunda. É a mais genuína e desinteressada convenção social que erguemos, é a voz da pátria. É logo aí que merece desconfiança a pretensão legalista de forçar a evolução linguística, que aqui aconteceu tal como numa revolução: não se flui pelo presente mas rompe-se com um passado. É a parlamentarização da gramática, uma mesquinha manobra política a que muito bonita e correcta fica a atribuição do nome "democracia", que dogmaticamente logo nos remete para os ideais fascinantes da Revolução Francesa. E se política é, o que teremos nós a ganhar com isto ? A dissolução do português latino em detrimento do português sul-americano. Mero disfarce, que apenas retira força cultura a Portugal. Alguns pretendem salientar a força prática desta medida com o facto de que ora em diante os brasileiros poderão ler português e os portugueses brasileiro ou de que agora se escreve precisamente como se fala (sobre este último ponto, nem escreverei, remeto directamente para o vídeo). Para começar, deixemo-nos de demagogias. Um português que não consegue ler brasileiro ou um brasileiro que não consegue ler português têm um nome que é igual nas duas línguas: preguiçoso. Depois, este desleixado fato (refiro-me à roupa e não a uma verificação efectiva de determinada situação !), que se auto-proclama de pragmático e moderno, não quer saber, olhar ou ouvir o exemplo do verdadeiro pragmatismo: o anglo-saxónico. Teremos noção da quantidade de divergências verbais, morfológicas, sintáticas, que existem entre o chamado British e o American English ? A preocupação que uns, europeus, e outros, americanos, têm em relação a isto traduz-se, aliás, muito melhor no seu dialecto do que no nosso: who cares ? (um americano poderia trazer-nos algo mais intenso, who fucking cares ?)
Em suma, não digo que seja carnavalesco, mas é uma grande fantochada. Vejam o vídeo.
A épica adaptação das jornadas de T.E. Lawrence, por David Lean, é aquele pelo qual mais anseio.
Há muitas outras sessões de interesse, que podem consultar aqui.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Next thing, on August, an excerpt of Trent Raznor's soundtrack was deliberately disclosed. A few weeks ago, an allegedly non-official tumblr titled Mouth Taped Shut was born to display sets of backstage photos and videos, which could only have been taken by someone pretty close to the making of the piece.
Last week, a surprise eight-minute exclusive to some viewers trailer came out and dissipated most of the still standing doubts about this being or not a viral campaign. Finally, this week was released the first official trailer on the Internet. One can't see much of a difference from the Swedish film, so far.
Another of this week's promotional highlights was the release of the first trailer of Clint Eastwood's J.Edgar. The film tells the story of J. Edgar Hover on building the FBI and is carried out by Leonardo Di Caprio in the main role. I'd say it doesn't start great, with that voice off, but does get much better.
Both will premiere in the US near the end of the year and despite having not watched them yet, I can say they're some of the strongest Oscar'12 contenders. The first may pray for Best Film, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress, Best Soundtrack and Best Cinematography; the later might as well go for at least Best Film, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and, with great chances to win, Best Actor.
I'll leave you a candy. A disturbing eye-catcher promotional video for this year's edition of the Viennale, the Venice International Film Festival. Watch out guys, this one comes from long-time last seen David Lynch.
Monday, September 19, 2011
Best drama series: Mad Men
Actor in a drama series: Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights
Actress in a drama series: Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Supporting actor in a drama series: Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Supporting actress in a drama series: Margo Martindale, Justified
Best comedy series: Modern Family
Actor in a comedy series: Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Actress in a comedy series: Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
Supporting actor in a comedy series: Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Supporting actress in a comedy series: Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Best miniseries or TV movie: Downton Abbey
Actor in a miniseries or movie: Barry Pepper, The Kennedys
Actress in a miniseries or movie: Kate Winslet, Mildred Pierce
Supporting actor in a miniseries or movie: Guy Pearce, Mildred Pierce
Supporting actress in a miniseries or movie: Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Best reality competition program: The Amazing Race
Best variety, music or comedy series: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Directing for a comedy series: Michael Spiller, Modern Family
Writing for a comedy series: Steve Levitan and Jeffrey Richman, Modern Family
Directing for a drama series: Martin Scorsese, Boardwalk Empire
Writing for a drama series: Jason Katims, Friday Night Lights
Directing for a variety, music or comedy series: Don Roy King, Saturday Night Live
Writing for a variety, music or comedy series: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart – Steve Bodow, Tim Carvell, Rory Albanese, Kevin Bleyer, Rich Blomquist, Wyatt Cenac, Hallie Haglund, JR Havlan, Elliott Kalan, Josh Lieb, Sam Means, Jo Miller, John Oliver, Daniel Radosh, Jason Ross, Jon Stewart
Directing for a miniseries, movie or dramatic special: Brian Percival, Downton Abbey
Writing for a miniseries, movie or dramatic special: Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey
Saturday, September 17, 2011
The man from New York, who once named a film after his dearest town, began this European journey in London, with Match Point, post-carding it on Scoop (coming back in Cassandra's Dream and in You'll Meet a Tall Dark Stranger) and flew to Barcelona with Vicky and Cristina. For the time being, he'd finished a trip to the capital of France and was ordered a work in Rome. "No work of art can compare to a city.", notes Gil Pender, Woody's clearly depicted alter-ego here. Don't let this deceive you. If Woody indeed exquisitely painted Paris with its incredible finesse and romance, he far exceeded the touristic expectations, and one might say he once again deconstructed himself while brushing a moving, wit and universal story.
Anyone who's had the chance to fall in love with the city may be immediately charmed. Three-minutes of jazzy non-dialog shots of the most emblematic places to visit - the Eiffel Tower, the Champs Elyssées, the Louvre, Notre-Damme, Monmartre, the Senne, the Moulin Rouge and so on. And when to the smart first dialog is attached a picture, you hear "Monet" and struck against your seat for you're actually starring at a living Bridge of a Pond of Water of Lillies, with Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams crossing it.
You will now visit Allen's commonplaces, such as the creative work, the unstable relationships caused by the protagonist's neurotic self-doubts, the pseudo-intellectualism or the snappy betrayal. But now, just like in Manhattan, the helmer, and so the characters, is truthfully in love with the place and that waves out intensely and enchantingly. Harry is not applauded by his thankful characters but Pender time-travels to the 20's Parisian clubs where once dwelt his idols. Masters like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Cole Porter, Picasso, Buñuel or Dali. It is extravagant and reflective and yet warm, cozy and there's this girl to fall in love to. It's magical.
The Golden Age. The Golden Ages. We all lure at a time and a place we can't belong to, for in this relies the beauty of it - a nostalgia of a lost, unknown, unreachable past, accounting for all the paradoxes such statement hoists. To the most possible way, we all have our Belle Époque. That is nowhere but in the books and in how we read them, in the paintings and in how we gaze at them, in the movies and in how we watch them, in the music and in how we listen to it. Somewhat like a fairytaily curiosity; our Romantic inheritance. All along, we have Paris in the rain.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Saturday, September 10, 2011
2011 was a particularly competitive edition of the Venice Film Festival. Several films were considered potential laureates of the prestigious Golden Lion, yielding the most diverse sets of bets and predictions around the Internet. We're talking about The Idles of March (George Clooney), Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy (Tomas Alfredson), Wuthering Heights (Andrea Arnold), Alps (Giorgos Lanthimos), Contagion (Steven Soderbergh), A Dangerous Method (David Cronenberg), Shame (Steve McQueen) and, although gathering very mixed reviews, Faust, by the Russian Alexandr Sokurov. The last was the favorite of the team headed by 2008 Golden Lion winner Darren Aronofsky.
The film I probably expect to see the most from this furnace, the Greek Alps, won Best Screenplay, an accomplishment I am therefore most pleased about and in which I bear my most serious expectations, having watched the prior Dogtooth. Michael Fassbender took the Coppa Volpi for Best Actor for his performance in Shame and Wuthering Heights won Best Cinematography (by Robbie Ryan).
The list of winners:
Golden Lion (Best Film)
Silver Lion (Best Director)
Cai Shangjun, “Ren shan ren hai (People Mountain People Sea)”
Coppa Volpi (Best Actor)
Michael Fassbender, “Shame”
Coppa Volpi (Best Actress)
Deanie Yip, “Tao Jie (A Simple Life)”
Special Jury Prize
Osella (Best Screenplay)
“Alps” (Giorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou)
Osella (Best Cinematography)
“Wuthering Heights” (Robbie Ryan)
Marcello Mastroianni Award (Best Young Actor)
Shota Sometani, Fumi Nikaido, “Himizu di Sion Sono”
Best Film, Venezia 68: “Shame”
Best Film, Orizzonti and International Critics’ Week: “Two Years”
Special Mention: “A Simple Life”
Premio del pubblico “Kino” – International Critics Week Award
Label Europa Cinemas Award
“Présumé Coupable (Guilty)”
Leoncino d’Oro Agiscuola (Golden Lion Cub) Award
Cinema for UNICEF Commendation: “Terraferma”
Francesco Pasinetti (SNGCI) Award
SNGCI Commendation: “L’ultimo terrestre”
“The Ides of March”
Queer Lion Award (Best Gay Film)
Arca CinemaGiovani Award
Best Film Venezia 68: “Shame”
Best Italian Film: “L’ultimo terrestre”
Biografilm Lancia Award
Jury Award: “Pivano Blues – Sulla strada di Nanda”
C.I.C.T. UNESCO “Enrico Fulchignoni” Award
“O le tulafale (The Orator)”
Best Film Venezia 68: “Shame”
Best Film – Il cerchio non è rotondo Award: “O le tulafale (The Orator):
“Io sono Li”
Special Mention: “Pasta nera”
Fondazione Mimmo Rotella Award
Future Film Festival Digital Award
Special Mention: “Kotoko”
Nazareno Taddei Award
“Tao jie (A Simple Life)”
Lanterna Magica Award (CGS)
“Io sono Li”
La Navicella – Venezia Cinema Award
“Tao jie (A Simple Life)”
Lina Mangiacapre Award
“Io sono Li”
Special Mention: Fabrizio Cattani – “Maternity Blues”
Gianni Astrei pro life Award
“Tao jie (A Simple Life)”
AIF – FORFILMFEST Award
Mouse d’Oro Award
Mouse d’Argento: “Kotoko”
UK – Italy Creative Industries Award – Best Innovative Budget
“L’arrivo di Wang”
Equal Opportunity Award
“Tao jie (A Simple Life)”
Gillo Pontecorvo Award – Arcobaleno Latino
Gaetano Blandini, Nicola Borrelli, Gian Marco Committeri, Roberto Lo Surdo, Mario La Torre
Christopher D. Smithers Foundation Special Award
Interfilm Award for Promoting Interreligious Dialogue
Vittorio Veneto Film Festival Award
Special Mention: “Eva”
José and Pilar, the documentary on the Nobel Prize for Literature laureate José Saramago, was picked by the commission appointed by the Portuguese Institute of Cinema as the Portuguese candidate for Best Foreign Picture to the Academy's consideration until the official announcement of the nominees for the Oscars 2012, on January 24th.
Now, why is it the wisest choice ?
- Universality: José Saramago is a Nobel Prize winner who sold millions of books and had them translated into 42 languages. He is also a huge example of the rare successful thrivings of the Portuguese culture in the Anglo-Saxon market and society.
- Has power and influence to reach the Academy: it is co-produced by Pedro Almodóvar and Fernando Meirelles, both members of the Academy and recognized filmmakers who either won or were nominated for Oscars.
- Critical and viewers acclaim: got very good reviews wherever it has already been (even in Variety, although it is still to premiere in the US) and gathered the most tender and positive comments by the public worldwide.
- Will race for Academy's Best Documentary: it will go through the the qualifying run for the category, providing the US distributors with a chance of a synergy of promotion for both candidatures, beneficing of somewhat like a "mutual pressure".
- Worldwide premiering: has premiered in Portugal, Brasil, Spain and Italy and will premiere in Mexico, US and Canada.
- Made people care: even if just a little, even if still a vast minority, it made people actually discuss Portuguese cinema - which should be the right choice for the Portuguese representation. People don't care about Portuguese cinema but this time there were those who wanted to give their symbolical support by signing a petition about the film. And then it is all over the national news while last year I can only remember three lines in a newspaper about "To Die Like a Man.
- Outsiders: the Academy also goes for films that break their traditional patterns and expectations - "Dogtooth" (2010) is thematically and aesthetically though and risky; "Waltz with Bashir" (2009) is a fake documentary animation; "12" (2008) is a foreign remake of an American classic; "Paradise Now", attributed to the Occupied Palestinian Territories; "The Red Balloon" (1956), a short film which won Best Original Screenplay. The time would come when a documentary would make it to Best Foreign nominee.
Still manages to sound like fiction: as many reviewers wrote, it "ends with the illusion of the pure documentary", and shows you people that suddenly are fascinating characters who you follow in a very nice adaptation of a traditional narrative to a documentary. After the fic-doc, what about the doc-fic ?
And because, personally, is one of the greatest Portuguese pieces I've ever watched.
Friday, September 9, 2011
"José e Pilar", de Miguel Gonçalves Mendes, co-produzido por Fernando Meirelles e Pedro Almodóvar, foi escolhido como o candidato português aos Óscares, pela comissão reunida pelo Instituto do Cinema e Audiovisual. Pelos mais variados motivos, sobre os quais, aqui e agora, não se discorrerá, a melhor aposta possível. Parabéns a toda a equipa.
O filme estreou esta semana em Itália e estreará, ainda em Setembro, no México. Já garantiu distribuição nos EUA e no Canadá.
"3. Por que razão é tão reduzida a representação de sexualidades não-normativas no cinema português?
Não faço ideia... ou será porque Portugal é um país ainda um bocado atrasado?"
Somos atrasados !
Thursday, September 8, 2011
"The William Friedkin of The French Connection and The Exorcist may be but a distant memory, but Killer Joe proves that at 76 the Academy Award-winning director is certainly no back number. A likeably unpleasant slice of adults-only Texas noir, which aims at the funnybone as much as the jugular, this adaptation of Tracy Letts’ play proves better suited to a big-screen adaptation than the last Friedkin/Letts collaboration, the hysterical Bug (2006).
And with Texas’ own Matthew McConaughey in fine sardonic form as the eponymous Joe – a West Dallas detective who operates a lucrative sideline as a hitman-for-hire – the new picture certainly has stronger commercial possibilities." (Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter)
“Killer Joe” is funny but pitilessly withering in its evocation of undated Southern blue-collar living, casually peppering its script with curled-lip references to thrift stores and fried chicken. Does it think this ill of all such class members or just this one nasty little family?" (Guy Lodge, In Contention ***)
"It won’t change the face of cinema history, and it won’t win any awards (it’s too downright dirty for that), but it’s furiously entertaining, and a very strong piece of drama from a director who hasn’t much luck in the last thirty-odd years. Whether his collaboration with Letts continues or not, let’s hope that Friedkin has more in the pipeline closer to “Killer Joe” than to " (Oliver Lyttelton, IndieWire, B+)
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Literary classic "Wuthering Heights" charioted into Venice under veils of modernity, drove by grim, erotic, forbidden coldness
"As refreshing as a dawn walk in winter on the Yorkshire moors, Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights shows how 21st century cinema can — and should — go about boldly revitalizing even the most familiar literary properties. Emily Brontë’s oft-filmed, multi-generational 1847 tale of forbidden passions in rural northern England may deal with fictional events set 300 years in the past, but Arnold and her collaborators depict them with a vivid, urgent vibrancy that instantly and absorbingly erases the gap of centuries." (Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter)
"Nature is the true star of Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights, a raw and affecting adaptation that will bring a new audience to the Brontë story. Windswept moors have never looked as bleak as they do here, nor as rain-sodden. The Yorkshire Tourist Board shouldn’t expect a boost in visitor numbers." (Anita Singh, The Telegraph ***)
"An admirable attempt to strip the story of "Wuthering Heights" down to its barest, most primal elements, helmer Andrea Arnold's first period feature and first adaptation of another writer's work is unfortunately more interesting in theory than it is to watch. Working with mostly non-professional thesps whose inexperience drains away much of the material's intrinsic passion, pic is dramatically flat and almost stylized in its austere excision of dialogue, non-source music and, strangest of all given the book's romantic rep, overt love scenes. Helmer's name and the title alone will guarantee distribution, but "Wuthering" won't reach arthouse B.O. heights." (Leslie Felperin, Variety)
"It’s not quite a tearjerker, Arnold playing up the anger of the novel, and we sort of feel that’s the way that it should be. It is, however, incredibly powerful, extremely sexy (there’s one scene that takes place between Cathy and Heathcliff after the latter has been caned that’s more erotic than anything we’ve seen in a while), and a truly remarkable reinvention of a text that beforehand, we weren’t sure we ever needed to see on screen again. Arnold might misstep a little at the last with the use of a new song, “The Enemy,” by Mumford & Sons, but for 99% of the running time the 2011 version of “Wuthering Heights” is a model of how to bring a classic novel kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century." (Oliver Lyttelton, IndieWire)
"Emily Brontë's windblown romance is stripped of its period frills and sweeping score. It comes caked in grime and damp with saliva. The script is salted with profanities, while the plot finds room for brief moments of a nudity and an animalistic al-fresco sex scene. Heathcliff, the Byronic forefather of English romantic fiction, is black." (Xan Brooks, The Guardian)
Monday, September 5, 2011
"Put it this way: it’s possible another film may soon emerge to spearhead Britain’s assault on the coming awards season. But after the world premiere here at the Venice Film Festival of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy, it would be a huge surprise. A superb adaptation of John le Carré’s brilliant, intricate Cold War spy novel, the film is a triumph. It’s packed with superb British actors, all at the top of their game, with the lengthy book skilfully condensed into just over two hours of riveting narrative." (David Gritten, The Telegraph, *****)
"The best film, and surely the favourite for the Golden Lion, is Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. A clammy and classy adaptation of John Le Carré's novel, it conjures up a lost world of early 1970s London, a film of sealed rooms, Wimpy bars and shadowy Islington houses. These spies have their meetings in leak-proof, smoke-filled Portakabins encased in a vast bunker they call "the circus". The plot hangs on a "rotten apple", a mole in the MI6 system that needs to be weeded out." (Jason Solomons, The Guardian)
"There’s no doubt Alfredson could have used more running time simply to give a proper airing to all four potential traitors – Tinker (Jones), Tailor (Firth), Soldier (Hinds) and Poor Man (David Dencik) – and thus keep the audience guessing a while longer. Fans of the genre will finger the culprit early and without that added layer of suspicion, the big reveal is left feeling perfunctory, almost blasé. Minus that last cathartic gasp, Tinker Tailor Solder Spy settles for being a very good as opposed to a superb spy thriller." (Matt Mueller, IndieWire).
"John Le Carre reportedly once said, "Seeing your book turned into a movie is like seeing your oxen turned into bouillon cubes." Maybe so, but in the case of helmer Tomas Alfredson's version of "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," the result is best likened to a perfectly seasoned consomme. An inventive, meaty distillation of Le Carre's 1974 novel, pic turns hero George Smiley's hunt for a mole within Blighty's MI6 into an incisive examination of Cold War ethics, rich in both contempo resonance and elegiac melancholy. Finely hammered to appeal to discerning auds and kudo-awarding bodies, "Tinker" should do sterling biz." (Leslie Felperin, Variety)
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Alps (Giorgos Lanthimos)
"Lanthimos continues to prove himself a supremely controlled, disciplined filmmaker: his use of focus alone could form the basis of a film school class, and it’s always interesting to note what he doesn’t show, frequently cutting off or obscuring faces and relying on body language. “Alps” has proven Lanthimos to be one of the most fascinating filmmakers anywhere right now, and, while there’s no immediate news on when it’ll hit on the U.S., or anywhere outside Greece, we’re confident it’ll be one of the most talked-about films of the next year: with so much to talk about, how could it not be?" (oliver Lyttelton, IndieWire, A).
"With 2009's acclaimed Dogtooth, Lanthimos earned a reputation as the laughing mortician of contemporary Greek culture. This splendidly icy, opaque picture goes further still, showing a world nudged off its axis and an emotional topography where the signposts are backwards and the satnav scrambled. Lanthimos has a habit of shooting his characters from behind, or half out of frame, keeping them mysterious and unknowable, while their listless reading of rehearsed lines walks the line between comical and creepy." (Xan Brooks, The Guardian, ****)
"Lanthimos again displays an impressive formal command that extends from the screenplay to the pic's technical prowess. Widescreen, shallow-focus lensing is beautifully composed and pays special attention to the faces of the actors, who again inhabit a space somewhere between theatrical and natural, befitting characters who are often involved in role play themselves. Further craft contributions are all topnotch." (Boyd Van Hoeij, Variety
"Doubling down on its predecessor’s polarizing absurdist humor and chilly formal grace, “Alps” applies those virtues to a more diffuse, ensemble-driven structure that is in no hurry to reveal its rich thematic adhesives of doubling and substitution. It’d be rash to call it a better film than “Dogtooth,” but it is, in the relative scheme of these things, a bigger one, and exciting evidence of restless formal development on the part of its director. (Lanthimos’ regular DP Thimios Bakatakis’ camerawork is as calculated and sparing with space and depth as before, but more active and richer in palette.)" (Guy Lodge, In Contention)
"Al Pacino has long been drawn to "problem" classics: "Richard III," "The Merchant of Venice" and now "Salome." It's not so clear the plays are drawn to him. Despite frequent declarations of his fixation with "Salome," Pacino as both helmer and star fails to make clear the source of this obsession; nor does he demonstrate a particularly focused understanding of the play or Oscar Wilde. Auds ignorant of either one will find information to sip on rather than chew, though Pacino's name guarantees limited arthouse exposure followed by rotation on culture channels." (Jay Weisserberg, Variety)
"Still, what a gifted film-maker McQueen is turning out to be. He composes every frame exquisitely, from the tableau-like opening image of Fassbender sprawled in bed looking dead-eyed. There’s an impressive a long tracking shot as Brandon runs the length of several city blocks, using the exertion to quell his inner rage. And then there’s a key scene in a club, where Sissy sings New York, New York from beginning to end. It’s usually performed in triumphalist mode, but Mulligan, a gifted chanteuse, turns it into a slow, mournful blues. For once, Brandon shows emotion, wiping away a tear; the song becomes a comment on the life that imprisons him." (David Gritten, The Telegraph)
"Few filmmakers have plumbed the soul-churning depths of sexual addiction as fearlessly as British director Steve McQueen has in "Shame." A mesmerizing companion piece to his 2008 debut, "Hunger," this more approachable but equally uncompromising drama likewise fixes its gaze on the uses and abuses of the human body, as Michael Fassbender again strips himself down, in every way an actor can, for McQueen's rigorous but humane interrogation. Confrontational subject matter and matter-of-fact explicitness will position the film at the higher end of the specialty market, but it's certain to arouse critical acclaim and smart-audience interest wherever it's shown." (Justin Chang, Variety)
"Driven by a brilliant, ferocious performance by Michael Fassbender, Shame is a real walk on the wild side, a scorching look at a case of sexual addiction that’s as all-encompassing as a craving for drugs. Steve McQueen’s second feature, after his exceptional debut with Hunger in 2008, may ultimately prove too psychologically pat in confronting its subject’s problem, but its dramatic and stylistic prowess provides a cinematic jolt that is bracing to experience. This sexually raw film will stir considerable excitement among critics and serious audiences, making it an attractive proposition for an enterprising distributor in the wake of festival play in Venice, Telluride, Toronto and New York." (Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter)
Saturday, September 3, 2011
"Soderbergh creates a kind of tapestry of illness and panic, and the structure works like a charm, the film moving like a train, crossing continents and characters in a cut... the film is the kind of smart, grown-up entertainment that mostly doesn't get made anymore, a firmly entertaining, commercial project made with impeccable craft... it's also got a good deal of substance going for it, and it lingers on the mind, and on the skin, for some time afterwards." (Oliver Lyttelton, IndieWire, A-)
"I was shuffling nervously in my seat, edging away from the sniffling man next to me. Nobody shook hands or embraced after this screening... This is a straight-up movie, serious but, crucially, also slightly silly in the knowing Soderbergh style, always aware that it's a disaster movie, not a documentary." (Jason Solomons, The Guardian ***)
"It was well received, but... Contagion felt more like a superior studio thriller than a festival awards contender. On its own terms, it’s satisfying... its story is alarmingly believable and it dwells on the science involved in combating such a virus... anyone remotely concerned about the risk of infection in crowded public places may regard Contagion as a thoroughly believable horror movie." (David Gritten, The Telegraph)
"A shrewd, unsensationalistic, non-visual effects-dependent global disaster melodrama, Contagion creates a credible picture of how the world might react (and, up to a point, has reacted) in the face of a rapidily [sic] spreading mystery disease for which no cure exists.. the fine cast, likely solid critical reaction and undeniable topicality position this as a robust B.O. performer for the early fall season." (Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter)
Friday, September 2, 2011
"A Dangerous Method" endowed with appropriate mental stiffness though is not the Cronenberg we're used to
"David Cronenberg's career-long fascination with matters of the mind manifests itself in compelling but determinedly non-mind-bending fashion in "A Dangerous Method." An elegant, coolly restrained account of the friendship between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, and its ultimate undoing by a brilliant female patient-student who came between them, this complex story from the early days of psychoanalysis engrosses and even amuses as it unfolds through a series of conversations, treatment sessions and exchanged letters. Still, the absence of gut-level impact and talky approach to rarefied material mark it as one of Cronenberg's more specialized entries, destined for a small but appreciative audience." (Justin Chang, Variety)
"The recent career of David Cronenberg has been an interesting thing to watch. Having made his name with a very particular, icky brand of fetish-happy body horror, he hasn’t dipped back into that well for a decade now, preferring instead to take his obsessions and use them to spice up what in other hands could be standard fare. And generally speaking, it has worked well: “Spider,” “A History Of Violence” and “Eastern Promises” all have much to recommend them, all peculiarly Cronenbergian, but each pushing in a slightly different direction. But now, he’s made what, on the surface at least, might seem to be his biggest departure to date (...)" (Oliver Lyttelton, Indie Wire, B)
"Talky, cerebral and intensely complex in its depiction of a fraught three-cornered relationship, A Dangerous Method is quite unlike any other film by director David Cronenberg, still widely associated with blood, gore and body parts. " (David Gritten, The Telegraph)
"Despite having to cover stages in the trio's relationships spread over many years, Hampton's screenplay utterly coheres and never feels episodic. The dialogue is constantly confronting, articulate and stimulating, the intellectual exchanges piercing at times. Cronenberg's direction is at one with the writer's diamond-hard rigor; cinematographer Peter Suschitzky provides visuals of a pristine purity augmented by the immaculate fin de l'epoch settings, while the editing has a bracing sharpness than can only be compared to Kubrick's." (Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter)
"Handled by Cronenberg with characteristic fastidiousness but a surprising lack of perversity, “A Dangerous Method” will delight lovers of highbrow adult cinema of discussion and mildly disappoint those hoping the subject matter augured a return to the deranged, physicality-obsessed kinkmeister of old." (Guy Lodge, In Contention **1/2)
"Even the celebrated spanking scene fails to knock much life into David Cronenberg's lugubrious tale of the tussle between Freud and Jung" (Xan Brooks, The Guardian **)
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Polanski's "Carnage" looks brisk, crude and due cynical, although cast seems to deserve the major appraisal
"But the real battle in Roman Polanski's brisk, fitfully amusing adaptation of Yasmina Reza's popular play is a more formal clash between stage minimalism and screen naturalism, as this acid-drenched four-hander never shakes off a mannered, hermetic feel that consistently betrays its theatrical origins. Classy cast and pedigree should yield favorable specialty returns for the Sony Classics release, arriving Dec. 16 Stateside after its Venice and New York festival bows." (Justin Chang, Variety)
"s with his well-acted but somewhat embalmed 1994 adaptation of Ariel Dorfman’s “Death and the Maiden,” the director hasn’t broken a sweat trying to Polanskify material that speaks very much to his sensibilities in the first place — it’s not hard to imagine the beleaguered auteur filtering his own exasperation at the hypocrisies of the bourgeois moral police, however obliquely, through that of Reza." (Guy Lodge, In Contention, **1/2)
"he's right at home examining the venality of the human condition in the living room of the Brooklyn apartment that serves as the setting for Carnage. Snappy, nasty, deftly acted and perhaps the fastest paced film ever directed by a 78-year-old, this adaptation of Yasmina Reza's award-winning play God of Carnage fully delivers the laughs and savagery of the stage piece while entirely convincing as having been shot in New York, even though it was filmed in Paris for well-known reasons." (Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter)
"With this stealthy adaptation of the Yasmina Reza stage play, director Roman Polanski has rustled up a pitch-black farce of the charmless bourgeoisie that is indulgent, actorly and so unbearably tense I found myself gulping for air and praying for release. Hang on to your armrest and break out the scotch. These people are about to go off like Roman candles." (Xan Brooks, The Guardian, ****)
"Waltz, as the rudest man in the room, gets the best lines. It’s well-acted and giddily enjoyable, if slightly less so once the characters start to analyse their descent into barbarism." (David Gritten, The Telegraph ***)
"Had writer/director George Clooney and his co-scripters Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon injected The Ides of March with the intimate political conviction that made Good Night, and Good Luck a critical standout and a frontrunner for liberal patrons, the exit polls would be more positive on this political thriller juggling idealism and corruption with fairly predictable results." (Debora Young, The Hollywood Reporter)
"George Clooney's campaign thriller starts out with crusading zeal, but feels a little commercial for an opening night slot at the Venice film festival" (Xan Brooks, The Guardian, ***)
"The Ides of March provides a smart, confident kick start to a notably strong Venice film festival." (David Gritten, The Telegraph, ****)
"Pure politics isn't very often an audience-drawing subject matter for the cinema. Political corruption does a bit better. But political corruption plus sex is the best bet." (Derek Malcom, Evening Standard, ****)
"For a film that affects a jaded, it-was-ever-thus air about the reality of dirty politics (that title isn't exactly rich in ambiguity, either), the way it stares earnestly aghast at the characters' hypocrisies and double-crossings is itself naive at best, and downright disingenuous at worst." (Guy Lodge, In Contention, ***)