Friday, 18 April 2014

REVIEW - MOOD INDIGO (MICHEL GONDRY)


A cinema all of one's own. How refreshing to observe a filmmaker making unrestrained, unrestricted use of the tools at his disposal to realise his most fantastical artistic ambitions. Michel Gondry embarks on his most frivolous flight of fancy yet in Mood Indigo, a film so fraught with thoughts and details that it can go from delightful and delectable to diabolical in mere seconds. Over its full runtime, Gondry achieves something similar with the film entire, literally sapping the colour and the energy from it, smoothly and swiftly transforming something ineffably effervescent into something melancholy, even cruelly so. This is a transition that Gondry makes delicately, and where his inventiveness will not suffice to carry the film any longer, he reveals an appreciation for human emotion that's often absent from his cinematic creations. Mood Indigo receives its classical narrative structure from its decades-old literary source, and though Gondry navigates this easily, it's an archaic sequence of events that has been bestowed upon a film that strives to be wholly modern. Were he less occupied with finding novel ways of achieving that modernisation within the context of this story arc (which becomes harder to disguise the further it progresses), his striving might not have gone so much to waste. Yet all fragments of this busy, often brilliant film, have qualities of their own. In fact, though it's far from fair to discredit the innovation Gondry displays most prominently in the film's opening act, Mood Indigo's start is its weakest, in the moment. He rather overplays the fantasy elements, and over-embellishes his creation - it doesn't completely come off as the wondrous wizardry it's intended to, and Gondry ends up looking like a major try-hard. But at least he's trying hard to achieve a cinema all of his own. For all that it didn't work for me, I'm sure it works terrifically for him. It's auteurism run wilder than wild, and that is, in 2014, rather refreshing.

TRAILER FOR PAUL HAGGIS' RETURN TO DRAMA, THIRD PERSON


It's sure taken a long time for this star-studded drama to show up since its TIFF premiere brought it plentiful pans from critics. Crash was a long, long time ago for Paul Haggis, alas. It'll screen at Tribeca later this month, before upcoming releases in Belgium and Japan, though no US release nor UK release have yet been arranged. Judging by the above trailer, it's no wonder.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

FINAL X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST TRAILER


Alright! Enough already! We get it, Fox! You've got a shitload of money riding on this bollocks! But you'll make it back, k? In merchandise! Now plz stop shoving this down our throats or no-one's gonna bother even seeing the film cos we'll all have seen it already in the fucking trailers!

DECODING ANNIE PARKER - POSTER


Steven Bernstein's Decoding Annie Parker opens in limited release in the US on the 2nd of May, over a year after it premiered at last year's Palm Springs International Film Festival. I posted the trailer for it last week.

TRAILER AND CLIPS FROM TSAI MING LIANG'S STRAY DOGS


Don't ask me how come it's taken so long for me to post these. Heck, I saw Tsai Ming Liang's next film, Journey to the West (which is brilliant) earlier this year, before I'd laid eyes on these videos at all. It has screened at several festivals and picked up many awards, including the Grand Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival, its premiere location. Until now, it has only been released theatrically in France, and no other dates have been set. With the great response from festival juries and critics, I sorta can't wait!

ROHMER-ESQUE TRAILER FOR ROHMER IN PARIS


Well, what did you expect?! Richard Misek's personal journey through the legendary films of one of cinema's all-time great auteurs doesn't have US or UK release dates yet, but when I get the chance to see this well-received documentary, I'll take it!

OSCAR DATES ANNOUNCED FOR NEXT YEAR - CEREMONY ON THE 22ND OF FEBRUARY


Academy voters will have only a little over 13 days to cast their votes for the Oscars this year, with the nominations period thankfully commencing after the final weekend of December. With no Winter Olympics to compete with, the ceremony returns to the last Sunday in February. Below are key dates:

  • 08/11 - The Governors Awards
  • 29/12 - Nominations open
  • 08/01 - Nominations close
  • 15/01 - Nominations announced
  • 06/02 - Final voting opens
  • 07/02 - Scientific and Technical Awards
  • 17/02 - Final voting closes
  • 22/02 - APOCALYPSE NOWWWWWWWWW Oscars

TRAILER FOR DOUBLE PLAY: JAMES BENNING AND RICHARD LINKLATER


Critics who have caught this documentary on the festival circuit, many of whom likely consider James Benning and Richard Linklater as among America's foremost contemporary filmmakers, seem to have enjoyed it. This lively trailer promises an intriguing, charming film, but it hasn't quite sparked my interest. I'll definitely see it if I get the chance, though. No theatrical releases have yet been announced for any international territories.

TWO STUNNING TRAILERS FOR ALEKSEY GERMAN'S HARD TO BE A GOD


Aleksey German's final film, Hard to Be a God, has only received a theatrical release in German's native Russia since its premiere at the Rome Film Fest last year. The film, which was twelve years in the making including six(!!) in the filming, was completed after German's death last February by his widow and career-long collaborator, Svetlana Karmalita, and his filmmaker son, Aleksey Jr. An interesting note: this was initially supposed to be German's directorial debut in the 1960s, and German had even assembled a crew on  location before Russian forces invaded Prague. What Ukrainian masterpieces might emerge 45 years from now?! Critical responses have ranged from a few pans to several outright raves; judging by what I know of German's filmmaking talent, and what I've seen here, I'm leaning toward the latter in gauging what my own opinion of the film will be, when I eventually see it. The above trailer contains no spoken words; the below trailer does, and they are subtitled from Russian into English.

FOX COOKING UP A SEQUEL TO MRS. DOUBTFIRE


This is one of those films from my childhood that'll never depreciate in personal value for me. Which is partly because I always knew it was shit. The funniest thing about it is when Mrs. Doubtfire tries to convince us she's English. Bitch plz, you're from Mars. Anyway, for some reason, Fox thinks it's a good idea to revive the flagging careers of director Chris Columbus and actor Robin Williams by greenlighting a sequel, which David Berenbaum (Elf) is scripting. Well, it's not a good idea.