Monday, March 31, 2008

I'm Not There

(USA/Germany, 2007, 134 minutes)

A biographical fantasia on the life and times of celebrated singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. Not so much a standard biopic as a filmed essay on Dylan's cultural significance and identity shifts, with the singer being portrayed by six different actors according to the period and only the loosest narrative arc to join them all together. It's hard not to admire the ambition and the craft put into the film, but whether you will appreciate it comes down to your knowledge and appreciation of Dylan.

Celluloid Dreams World Sales presents an Endgame Entertainment/Killer Films/John Wells/John Goldwyn/VIP Medienfonds 4 production, in association with Rising Star and Grey Water Park Productions. Starring Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Marcus Carl Franklin, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, Ben Whishaw, Charlotte Gainsbourg, David Cross, Bruce Greenwood, Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams. Directed by Todd Haynes; produced by James D. Stern, John Sloss, John Goldwyn, Christine Vachon; screenplay by Todd Haynes and Oren Moverman, based on a story by Todd Haynes; director of photography (colour and b&w, widescreen), Edward Lachman; production designer, Judy Becker; costume designer, John Dunn; film editor, Jay Rabinowitz.  

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Interview

(USA/Netherlands, 2006, 84 minutes)
 
A political journalist is sent against his will to interview a fashionable actress. Shrill, tedious two-hander that wants to have an opinion on celebrity culture and journalism as rape but doesn't have anything other to back it up than contrived plotting, wisecracking dialogue, murky photography and tone-deaf handling, wasting two game performances in the process.

Cinemavault Releasing presents a Column Film/Ironworks Productions presentation, in association with Kiss The Cactus Holding and Nieuw Amsterdam. Starring Sienna Miller, Steve Buscemi. Directed by Steve Buscemi; produced by Bruce Weiss, Gijs van de Westelaken, Scott Hornbacher; screenplay by David Schechter, Steve Buscemi, based on the film Interview directed by Theo van Gogh and written by Theodor Holman from an idea by Hans Teeuwin; music by Evan Lurie; director of photography (Cineco), Thomas Kist; production designer, Loren Weeks; costume designer, Vicki Farrell; film editor, Kate Williams. 

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Death Sentence

(USA, 2007, 105 minutes)

After his son is killed in a senseless hold-up, an insurance executive goes after the gang members who did it. Terse, efficient B-thriller.
 
Twentieth Century Fox and Hyde Park Entertainment present an Ashok Amritraj/Baldwin Entertainment Group production. Starring Kevin Bacon, Garrett Hedlund, Kelly Preston, Aisha Tyler; and John Goodman. Directed by James Wan; produced by Ashok Amritraj, Howard Baldwin, Karen Baldwin; screenplay by Ian Mackenzie Jeffers, based on the novel by Brian Garfield, Death Sentence; music by Charlie Clouser; director of photography (Foto-Kem, widescreen), John R. Leonetti; production designer, Julie Berghoff; costume designer, Kristin M. Burke; film editor, Michael N. Knue. 

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Mist

(USA, 2007, 126 minutes)

A strange, unearthly mist rolls into a small town, and a number of people trapped inside the supermarket find out there are deadly creatures in it waiting to prey on them. Eerie horror thriller that builds up a fine head of gory steam and sustains its dark, disturbing mood throughout; the bleak ending singles it out as a more thoughtful, adult entry in the genre.

Dimension Films presents a Darkwoods production. Starring Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden, Andre Braugher, Toby Jones, William Sadler, Jeffrey de Munn, Frances Sternhagen, Alexa Davalos, Nathan Gamble. Directed by Frank Darabont; produced by Frank Darabont, Liz Glotzer; screenplay by Frank Darabont, based on the novella by Stephen King, «The Mist»; music by Mark Isham; director of photography (Technicolor), Rohn Schmidt; production designer, Gregory Melton; costume designer, Giovanna Ottobre-Melton; film editor, Hunter M. Via; special make-up and creature design, Gregory Nicotero, Howard Berger; visual effects supervisor, Everett Burrell.  

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Bucket List

(USA, 2007, 94 minutes)

Two men diagnosed with incurable cancer decide to go out in style, by performing all the items on their list of things to do before you die. Amiable star vehicle that is unsure whether to go for sober weepie or light black comedy and ends up being neither, but still provides some fun along the way largely thanks to its well-cast (if typecast) stars.

Warner Bros. Pictures presents a Zadan-Meron/Reiner-Greisman production; produced in association with Two Ton Films. Starring Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman; Sean Hayes, Beverly Todd; and Rob Morrow. Directed by Rob Reiner; produced by Craig Zadan, Neil Meron, Alan Greisman, Rob Reiner; written by Justin Zackham; music by Marc Shaiman; director of photography (Technicolor), John Schwartzman; production designer, Bill Brzeski; costume designer, Molly Maginnis; film editor, Robert Leighton. 

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Tracey Fragments

(Canada, 2007, 77 minutes)

A confused Winnipeg teenager has a mental breakdown while looking for her missing brother. Non-descript melodrama of teenage misery disguised under post-modern split-screen handling; the idea might have something going for it if it was more than just window-dressing to hide the flat narrative.

Bavaria Film International presents a Shadow Shows production, in association with Corvid Pictures and Alcina Pictures; produced with the participation of Telefilm Canada and Astral Media, in association with The Movie Network, Movie Central, Rogers Telefund. Starring Ellen Page, Max McCabe-Lokos, Ari Cohen, Erin McMurtry, Slim Twig, Zie Souwand, Martin Villafana; and Julian Richings. Directed by Bruce McDonald; produced by Sarah Timmins; screenplay by Maureen Medved, based on her novel The Tracey Fragments; music by Broken Social Scene; director of photography (colour), Steve Cosens; production designer, Ingrid Jurek; costume designer, Lea Carlson; film editors, Jeremiah Munce and Gareth C. Scales; conceptual design, Jeremiah Munce.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Horton Hears a Who!

(USA, 2008, 86 minutes)

Ditzy elephant Horton discovers there's a whole universe living happily in a single speck of dust carried away on a clover, but nobody believes him. One of Dr. Seuss's classic children's tales is expanded into a lively family comedy, breathtakingly animated but somewhat underscripted.

A Twentieth Century Fox release. Twentieth Century Fox Animation presents a Blue Sky Studios production. With the voices of Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, Will Arnett, Seth Rogen, Dan Fogler, Isla Fisher, Jonah Hill, Jaime Pressly, Amy Poehler, Andrew Osgood; and Carol Burnett. Directed by Jimmy Hayward, Steve Martino; produced by Bob Gordon, Bruce Anderson; screenplay by Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio, based on the children's book by Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel), Horton Hears a Who!; music by John Powell; art director, Thomas Cardone; film editor, Tim Nordquist.  

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Love in the Time of Cholera

(USA/Great Britain, 2007, 138 minutes)

In turn of the century Colombia, a romantic clerk pines for over 50 years for the teenage sweetheart that broke his heart. Misjudged and miscast adaptation of a celebrated novel that completely misses the tone required to make it work on the screen, reducing romantic tragedy to a far-fetched if luxuriously presented soap opera.

A Stone Village Pictures presentation/production, in association with Grosvenor Park Media. Starring Javier Bardem, Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Benjamin Bratt, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Hector Elizondo, Liev Schreiber, Ana Claudia Talancón, Fernanda Montenegro, Unax Ugalde; with Laura Harring; and John Leguizamo. Directed by Mike Newell; produced by Scott Steindorff; screenplay by Ronald Harwood, based on the novel by Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera; music by Antonio Pinto; songs by Shakira; director of photography (DeLuxe, Panavision), Affonso Beato; production designer, Wolf Kroeger; costume designer, Marit Allen; film editor, Mick Audsley. 

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Bonnie and Clyde

(USA, 1967, 110 minutes)

In 1930s America, a small-time waitress elopes with a petty thief, and together they become legendary outlaws. Period gangster melodrama cleverly done as anti-heroic, counter-cultural allegory.

Warner Bros. Pictures presents a Tatira-Hiller Productions production. Starring Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Michael J. Pollard, Gene Hackman, Estelle Parsons; with Denver Pyle, Dub Taylor, Evans Evans, Gene Wilder. Directed by Arthur Penn; produced by Warren Beatty; written by David Newman and Robert Benton; music by Charles Strouse; director of photography (Technicolor), Burnett Guffey; art director, Dean Tavoularis; costume designer, Theadora van Runkle; film editor, Dede Allen. 

Saturday, March 15, 2008

10,000 B. C.

(USA/Germany/South Africa, 2008, 105 minutes)

After his fellow tribesmen are kidnapped by a mysterious foreign tribe, a pre-historic hunter fulfills his destiny by leading a coalition of tribes into rescuing them. Dull, plodding epic that takes itself far too seriously while relying too much on state-of-the-art visual effects and dazzling aerial imagery to conjure the emotion its artless script and non-existing performances is incapable of generating.

Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with Legendary Pictures, a Centropolis Entertainment production; produced with the assistance of the Department of Trade and Industry of South Africa. Starring Steven Strait, Camilla Belle, Cliff Curtis; narrated by Omar Sharif. Directed by Roland Emmerich; produced by Michael Wimer, Roland Emmerich, Mark Gordon; written by Roland Emmerich and Harald Kloser; music by Harald Kloser and Thomas Wander; director of photography (Technicolor, widescreen), Ueli Steiger; production designer, Jean-Vincent Puzos; costume designers, Odile Dicks-Mireaux, Renee April; film editor, Alexander Berner; visual effects supervisor, Karen Goulekas. 

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Lovebirds

(Portugal/USA, 2008, 81 minutes)

Six tales of love and friendship that take place over the course of one night in Lisbon. Amiable but flimsy mosaic whose energy and visual flair makes up for its lack of a proper script.

A Midas Filmes release. A BA Filmes/Arco Films/EGEAC/RTP presentation/production, in association with Midas Filmes. Starring Michael Imperioli, Ana Padrão, Joaquim de Almeida, John Ventimiglia, Drena de Niro, Marcello Urgeghe, Nick Sandow, Rogério Samora, Johnny Frey, Cleia Almeida, Filipe Vargas, Dmitry Bogumolov; with the special participation of Fernando Lopes and Joe Berardo. Directed and produced by Bruno de Almeida; written by Johnny Frey, Bruno de Almeida; directors of photography (colour, digital video), André Szankowski, Edmundo Díaz; production and costume designer, Zé Branco; film editors, Bruno de Almeida, Pedro Ribeiro.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Lobos

(Portugal, 2007, 102 minutes)

After an unspecified crime, a man runs away with the 16-year old niece he's in love with. Unconvincing melodrama, handsomely shot but amateurishly written and performed. 

Paulo Branco presents, with the participation of MC/ICAM and RTP, a Clap Filmes production. Starring Nuno Melo, Catarina Wallenstein, Francisco Nascimento, Maria João Luís. Directed and edited by José Nascimento; produced by Paulo Branco; written by Alberto Seixas Santos, José Nascimento; music by Nuno Rebelo; director of photography (Light Film/Schwarz Film, DV transferred to 35mm, widescreen), Mário Castanheira; art director, Nuno Gabriel Melo; costume designer, Margarida Marins. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Caramel

(Lebanon/France, 2007, 95 minutes)

The joys, disappointments and affairs of the hairdressers and customers at a Beyrouth hair salon. Amiable ensemble romantic comedy that doesn't offer anything new beyond its exotic location but more than stands up to its English-speaking counterparts.

Anne-Dominique Toussaint presents a Les Films des Tournelles/Les Films de Beyrouth/Sunnyland/Roissy Films/ARTE France Cinéma co-production, with the participation of Fonds Sud Cinéma, Centre National de la Cinématographie and Ministère des Affaires Étrangéres-Agence de la Francophonie, with the support of Cinéfondation. Starring Nadine Labaki, Yasmine Al Misri, Joanna Moukarzel, Gisèle Aouad, Adel Karam, Siham Haddad, Aziza Semaan, Fatme Safa, Dimitri Stancofsky, Fadia Stella, Ismail Antar. Directed by Nadine Labaki; produced by Anne-Dominique Toussaint; screenplay by Nadine Labaki, Jihad Hojeily, Rodney al Haddad, based on an idea by Nadine Labaki and Jihad Hojeily; music by Khaled Mouzanar; director of photography (LTC/The Gate), Yves Sehnaoui; production designer, Cynthia Zahar; costume designer, Caroline Labaki; film editor, Laure Gardette. 

Monday, March 10, 2008

Tapas

(Spain/Argentina/Mexico, 2005, 83 minutes)

Tales of love around a tapas bar in a Barcelona neighbourhood. Amiable but non-descript ensemble comedy-drama. 

Filmax presents a Luisa Matienzo and Julio Fernández production for Tusitala and Castelao, in co-production with Mónica Roza and Moro Films; in association with El Terrat; with the participation of TVE, TV3, Programa Ibermedia; with financing from Institut Català de Finances; with the collaboration of Ajuntament de L'Hospitalet, INCAA, Ministerio de Cultura – ICAA, Generalitat de Catalunya - Institut Català de les Industries Culturals. Starring Ángel de Andrés, María Galiana, Elvira Minguez, Rubén Ochandiano, Alberto de Mendoza, Darío Paso, Alberto Jo Lee. Directed and written by José Corbacho and Juan Cruz; produced by Luisa Matienzo, Julio Fernández; music by Pablo Sala; director of photography (Image Film/Cinecolor Argentina), Guillermo Granillo; art director, Mireia Carles; costume designer, Toni Martín; film editor, David Gallart.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Definitely, Maybe

(USA/Great Britain/France/Germany, 2007, 111 minutes)

A newly-divorced New York advertising man tells his daughter the story of his love affairs. Easy-going, smart romantic comedy employing fresh talent.

Universal Pictures presents, in association with Studio Canal, a Working Title Films production, in association with Ringerike Erste Filmproduktion. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Isla Fisher, Derek Luke, Abigail Breslin, Elizabeth Banks; and Rachel Weisz; with (uncredited) Kevin Kline. Directed and written by Adam Brooks; produced by Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner; music by Clint Mansell; director of photography (Technicolor, widescreen), Florian Ballhaus; production designer, Stephanie Carroll; costume designer, Gary Jones; film editor, Peter Teschner. 

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Other Boleyn Girl

(Great Britain/USA, 2008, 115 minutes)

Two sisters from the English country aristocracy find themselves groomed to become mistresses to king Henry VIII. Not the expected historical romance, but actually a bodice-ripper doubling as a primer on political intrigue, with pitch-perfect casting and handling.

Universal Pictures International and Columbia Pictures present, in association with BBC Films and Relativity Media, a Ruby Films/Scott Rudin production. Starring Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson; and Eric Bana; Kristin Scott Thomas, Mark Rylance, Jim Sturgess, Eddie Redmayne; with David Morrissey. Directed by Justin Chadwick; produced by Alison Owen; screenplay by Peter Morgan, from the novel by Philippa Gregory, The Other Boleyn Girl; music by Paul Cantelon; director of photography (DeLuxe), Kieran McGuigan; production designer, John-Paul Kelly; costume designer, Sandy Powell; film editors, Paul Knight, Carol Littleton.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

No Country for Old Men

(USA, 2007, 121 minutes)

A Texas hunter comes across a drug-dealing massacre and makes with $2 million in cash, but finds himself chased by a merciless psychopathic killer. Impressively taut, moody thriller that is alternately bleakly tragic and blackly funny.

Paramount Vantage and Miramax Films present a Scott Rudin/Mike Zoss Productions production. Starring Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson, Kelly Macdonald, Garret Dillahunt, Tess Harper. Directed and edited (under the alias Roderick Jaynes) by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen; produced by Scott Rudin, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen; screenplay by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men; music by Carter Burwell; director of photography (DeLuxe, widescreen), Roger Deakins; production designer, Jess Gonchor; costume designer, Mary Zophres. 

Monday, March 03, 2008

Ils

Them

(France/Romania, 2005, 77 minutes)

A young couple living in an isolated country house are terrified by mysterious intruders. Sleek, effective suspenser that exploits cannily an excellent premise and makes good use of its low budget.

A Mars Distribution release. Richard Grandpierre presents an Eskwad/Studiocanal/Castel Films co-production, in association with Canal Plus and Ciné Cinéma. Starring Olivia Bonamy, Michael Cohen. Directed and written by David Moreau and Xavier Palud; produced by Richard Grandpierre; music by René-Marc Bini; director of photography (Scanlab, LTC, widescreen, digital video), Axel Cosnefroy; production designer, Florin Gabrea; costume designer, Elizabeth Méhu; film editor, Nicolas Sarkissian. 

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Darwin Awards

(USA, 2006, 94 minutes)

An obsessive ex-cop and a no-nonsense insurance investigator travel across the US chasing bizarre accidents due to human stupidity. A great premise for an all-star screwball comedy is wasted on what seems like a dismally unfunny no-budget vanity home movie, with unconvincing performances and an undercooked script.

Icon Entertainment International presents a Tavistock Films/WowFilms/Blumhouse production. Starring Joseph Fiennes, Winona Ryder; David Arquette, Ty Burrell, Josh Charles, Kevin Dunn, Nora Dunn, Judah Friedlander, Lukas Haas, Tom Hollander, Brad Hunt, Juliette Lewis, Julianna Margulies, Tim Blake Nelson, Alessandro Nivola, Chris Penn, Max Perlich, D.B. Sweeney, Robin Tunney, Wilmer Valderrama; also starring Adonal Foyle, Tom Wright, Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman, Richmond Arquette, Mickey Breitenstein, Josh Kornbluth, Jerry Harrison, John Doe, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Metallica. Directed and written by Finn Taylor; produced by Jane Sindell, Johnny Wow, Jason Blum; music by David Kitay; director of photography (Monaco Laboratories), Hiro Narita; production designer, Peter Jamison; costume designer, Amy Brownson; film editor, Rick le Compte; visual effects supervisor, Marjolaine Tremblay-Silva.