Friday, November 27, 2009

The Twilight Saga: New Moon

(USA, 2009, 130 minutes)

Vampire Edward leaves Bella to protect her from his own kind; she finds solace in the arms of a Native American friend who turns out to be a werewolf at immemorial war with the vampires. Second of the four Twilight books to be made into a film, unsuccessfully introducing the series' more fantastical universe into the central romance; the serious intensity of the romantic plot doesn't jibe with the campy horror movie elements, but fans of the books won't really mind.

Summit Entertainment presents a Temple Hill production, in association with Maverick Films/Imprint Entertainment and Sunswept Entertainment.
Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Ashley Greene, Rachelle Lefevre, Billy Burke; with Michael Sheen; and Dakota Fanning.
Directed by Chris Weitz; produced by Wyck Godfrey, Karen Rosenfelt; screenplay by Melissa Rosenberg, based on the novel by Stephenie Meyer, New Moon; music by Alexandre Desplat; director of photography (DeLuxe, Panavision), Javier Aguirresarobe; production designer, David Brisbin; costume designer, Tish Monaghan; film editor, Peter Lambert; visual effects supervisor, Susan MacLeod.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Capitalism: A Love Story

(USA, 2009, 127 minutes)

Michael Moore investigates the roots of the economic crisis that brought down Wall Street at the end of 2008. The director's usual roster of agit-prop montage and documentary polemics is here balanced by a looser structure and, especially, a much welcome more personal and humane tone, but still this paradoxically entertaining indictment of modern American capitalism is unlikely to preach beyond the converted.

Paramount Vantage and Overture Films present, in association with The Weinstein Company, a Dog Eat Dog Films production.
Directed and written by Michael Moore; produced by Anne Moore, Michael Moore; music by Jeff Gibbs; camera (DeLuxe), Daniel Marracino, Jayme Roy; film editors, John Walter, Conor O'Neill, Pablo Proenza, T. Woody Richman, Alex Meillier, Tanya Meillier, Jessica Brunetto.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Julie & Julia

(USA, 2009, 119 minutes)

In 1948, Julia Child arrives in Paris with her diplomat husband and, dazzled by French cuisine, goes on to write what became the essential cookbook on French cooking; in 2002, Julie Powell, a frustrated New Yorker about to hit 30 whose life has not gone according to her plan, decides to cook her way through the book in one year as a project to find her true self again. Utterly charming star comedy cleverly intertwining two real-life stories – Powell's and Child's — into a smart, moving portrait of different women brought together by the joy of cooking, with delightful performances from both stars.

Columbia Pictures presents an Easy There Tiger/Amy Robinson/Laurence Mark production.
Starring Meryl Streep, Amy Adams; Stanley Tucci, Chris Messina, Linda Emond, Mary Ann Rajskub, Jane Lynch, Frances Sternhagen.
Directed by Nora Ephron; produced by Laurence Mark, Nora Ephron, Amy Robinson, Eric Steel; screenplay by Nora Ephron, based on the books by Julie Powell, Julie & Julia, and Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme, My Life in France; music by Alexandre Desplat; director of photography (Deluxe), Stephen Goldblatt; production designer, Mark Ricker; costume designer, Ann Roth; film editor, Richard Marks. 

Friday, November 20, 2009

Tetro

(USA/Argentina/Spain/Italy, 2009, 127 minutes)

A young man finds his long lost older brother, who left home to become a writer, eking out a living in Buenos Aires and not wanting to hear from his family or his past ever again. Breathtakingly filmed, baroquely old-fashioned melodrama of family secrets that invokes alternately magical realism, American Gothic, opera and Greek tragedy, but never truly finds an identity in between and suffers from a miscast, leaden lead.

American Zoetrope presents a production of American Zoetrope; a co-production of Zoetropa Argentina, Tornasol Films, BIM Distribuzione; produced with the participation of INCAA, TVE, Canal Plus España, ICAA and Instituto de Crédito Oficial.
Starring Vincent Gallo; also starring Alden Ehrenreich, Maribel Verdú, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Carmen Maura.
Directed, produced and written by Francis Ford Coppola; music by Osvaldo Golijov; director of photography (b&w with colour inserts, widescreen), Mihai Malaimare Jr.; production designer, Sebastián Orgambide; costume designer, Cecília Monti; film editor, Walter Murch.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ne change rien

(Portugal/France, 2009, 103 minutes)

A documentary following French actress Jeanne Balibar rehearsing for her rock performances with musician Rodolphe Burger and for a role in Jacques Offenbach's operetta La Périchole. Not so much a traditional documentary, more of a breathtakingly moody tone poem that will be mainly of interest to fans of the director and the star, but manages to grasp the essence of music making without really seeming to try.

A Sociedade Óptica Técnica production, in co-production with Red Star Cinéma; associate producer, Cinematrix; financially supported by ICA, RTP, Centre Nationale de la Cinématographie.
With Jeanne Balibar, Rodolphe Burger, Hervé Loos, Arnaud Dieterlen, Marco de Oliveira, Joël Theux.
Directed and photographed (b&w) by Pedro Costa; sound, Philippe Morel, Olivier Blanc, Vasco Pedroso; film editor, Patrícia Saramago.

Friday, November 13, 2009

2012

(USA, 2009, 153 minutes)

Solar flares trigger changes in the Earth's crust that lead to massive landmass displacement and the destruction of our civilization; an idealistic scientist devises a plan to save as much as possible before the catastrophe hits, but it happens sooner than predicted. Dull end-of-the-world spectacular marrying state-of-the-art trick effects technology, old-fashioned bargain-basement plotting and hamfisted TV-level dialogue; basically an inflated B-movie that would be twice as better (if not by much) at half the length.

Columbia Pictures presents a Centropolis production.
Starring John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Thandie Newton, Tom McCarthy, George Segal; with Danny Glover; and Woody Harrelson.
Directed by Roland Emmerich; produced by Harald Kloser, Mark Gordon, Larry Franco; screenplay by Harald Kloser and Roland Emmerich, partially inspired by the book by Graham Hancock, Fingerprints of the Gods; music by Harald Kloser and Thomas Wander; director of photography (Deluxe, Panavision), Dean Semler; production designer, Barry Chusid; costume designer, Shay Cunliffe; film editors, David Brenner, Peter S. Elliot; visual effects supervisors, Volker Engel, Marc Weigert.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Moon

(USA/Great Britain, 2009, 95 minutes)

A mining supervisor serving a three-year contract on a derelict remote extraction base on the Moon suspects something is amiss. Ingenious little sci-fi mystery, handsomely made on a meagre budget and with a superb lead performance.

A Stage 6 release. A Liberty Films production in association with Xingu Films and Limelight.
Starring Sam Rockwell; Dominique McElligott, Kaya Scodelario, Benedict Wong, Matt Berry, Malcolm Stewart; and Kevin Spacey.
Directed by Duncan Jones; produced by Stuart Fenegan, Trudie Styler; screenplay by Nathan Parker, based on a story by Duncan Jones; music by Clint Mansell; director of photography (DeLuxe, Panavision), Gary Shaw; production designer, Tony Noble; conceptual designer, Gavin Rothery; costume designer, Jane Petrie; film editor, Nicolas Gaster. 

Friday, November 06, 2009

The Brothers Bloom

(USA, 2008, 114 minutes)

A sibling team of conmen sets up an elaborate sting on a ditzy heiress, but she begins to relish the adventure too much and one of the brothers falls in love with her. Sparklingly inventive combination of heist movie, screwball comedy, metafictional narrative and romance that shouldn't really work but does thanks to inspired writing, virtuoso handling and strong performances.

Summit Entertainment and Endgame Entertainment present a Ram Bergman production.
Starring Rachel Weisz, Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo; Rinko Kikuchi; with Maximilian Schell; and Robbie Coltrane.
Directed and written by Rian Johnson; produced by Ram Bergman, James D. Stern; music by Nathan Johnson; director of photography (Modern Videofilm, Panavision), Steve Yedlin; production designer, Jim Clay; costume designer, Beatrix Aruna Pasztor; film editor, Gabriel Wrye. 

Thursday, November 05, 2009

New York, I Love You

(USA, 2008, 101 minutes)

Ten love stories set in New York City. The second compendium in the Cities of Love series, after Paris Je t'aime, is a makeshift collection of indistinguished, mostly slight shorts that could have been set anywhere in the world; a couple of them do stand out, but not enough to pull up the film.

Vivendi Entertainment presents, in association with Palm Pictures, an Ever So Close/Visitor Pictures production, in association with Sherazade Films, Also Known As Pictures, Benaroya Films, Plum Pictures, 2008NY5 and Grand Army Entertainment; financed through Grosvenor Park Media.
Starring Hayden Christensen, Andy Garcia, Rachel Bilson; Natalie Portman, Irrfan Khan; Orlando Bloom, Christina Ricci; Maggie Q, Ethan Hawke, Chris Cooper, Robin Wright Penn; Anton Yelchin, James Caan, Olivia Thirlby and Blake Lively; Drea de Matteo, Bradley Cooper; Julie Christie, John Hurt, Shia LaBeouf; Taylor Geare, Carlos Acosta, Jacinda Barrett; Ugur Yucel, Shu Qi, Burt Young; Eli Wallach, Cloris Leachman; Emilie Ohana, Eva Amurri, Justin Bartha.
Directed by Jiang Wen; Mira Nair; Shunji Iwai; Yvan Attal; Brett Ratner; Allen Hughes; Shekhar Kapur; Natalie Portman; Fatih Akin; Joshua Marston; Randy Balsmeyer. Produced by Emmanuel Benbihy and Marina Grasic. Written by Hu Hong, Meng Yao, adapted by Israel Horovitz; Suketu Mehta; Shunji Iwai, adapted by Israel Horovitz; Olivier Lecot; Jeff Nathanson; Xan Cassavetes and Stephen Winter; Anthony Minghella; Natalie Portman; Fatih Akin; Joshua Marston; Hall Powell, Israel Horovitz and James Strouse. Music by Tonino Baliardo; Mychael Danna; Shoji Mitsui; Jack Livesey and Peter Nashell; Mark Mothersbaugh; Atticus Ross, Leopold Ross, Claudia Sarne; Paul Cantelon; Nicholas Britell; Ilhan Ersahin; Marcelo Zarvos. Directors of photography (Technicolor/DuArt), Mark Lee Ping Bing; Declan Quinn; Michael McDonough; Benoît Debie; Pawel Edelman; Jean-Louis Bompoint; Mauricio Rubinstein; Andrij Parekh. Production designer, Teresa Mastropierro. Costume designer, Victoria Farrell. Main editor, Affonso Gonçalves; film editors, Affonso Gonçalves; Allyson C. Johnson; Shunji Iwai; Jennifer Augé; Mark Helfrich; Cindy Mollo; Jacob Craycroft; Tricia Cooke; Melody London. 

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Celluloid Closet

(USA/Great Britain/Germany, 1995, 101 minutes)

The story of the representation of homosexuality in American cinema from its early days to the mid-1990s. Despite what the somewhat dry subject matter might suggest, this is in fact an entertaining, authoritative documentary in classic “talking heads” mode, enlivened by stunning archival research and editing.

A Sony Pictures Classics release. Home Box Office presents, in association with Channel 4, ZDF/ARTE, Brillstein-Grey Entertainment, Hugh M. Hefner, James C. Hormel, Steve Tisch, a Telling Pictures production.
Narrated by Lily Tomlin.
Directed and produced by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman; based on the book by Vito Russo, The Celluloid Closet; narration written by Armistead Maupin; story by Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman, Sharon Wood; music by Carter Burwell; director of photography (Monaco Labs), Nancy Schreiber; art director, Scott Chambliss; film editors, Jeffrey Friedman, Arnold Glassman.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Material

(Germany, 2009, 164 minutes)

The last days of the German Democratic Republic seen through a number of personal and television footage of 1989. Sweeping, gripping documentary assembled from found footage that looks at history through a tiny personal lens and in so doing says more about it than many textbooks.

A Majade Filmproduktion presentation/production, in co-production with ZDF, in collaboration with ARTE; financed through Kulturstiftung des Bundes.
Directed and written by Thomas Heise; produced by Heino Deckert; music by Charles Ives; camera, Sebastian Richter, Peter Badel, Thomas Heise, Jutta Tränkle, Börres Weiffenbach; sound, Uve Haussig, Jürgen Schönhoff, Robert Nickolaus, Maxim Wolfram; film editor, René Frölke.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Dante 01

(France, 2007, 82 minutes)

A mysterious, identity-less man is admitted to a deep-space prison for psychotic killers where his presence mystifies the wardens and the prisoners. Dazzling but narratively opaque sci-fi fable whose stunning visuals, claustrophobic mood and haunting lead performance are somewhat wasted in a derivative and seriously underscripted plot.

A Wild Bunch release. Richard Grandpierre presents an Eskwad production, in co-production with Wild Bunch, in association with Sofica Cinemage; with the participation of Canal Plus and Cinécinéma; with the support of Région Île-de-France and Région des Pays de la Loire, in partnership with the Centre National de la Cinématographie.
Starring Lambert Wilson, Linh-Dan Pham, Simona Maicanescu, Dominique Pinon, Bruno Lochet, François Levantal, Gerald Laroche, François Hadji-Lazaro, Lotfi Yahya-Jedidi, Yann Collette, Dominique Bettenfeld, Antonin Maurel.
Directed by Marc Caro; produced by Richard Grandpierre; written by Marc Caro and Pierre Bordage; music by Raphaël Elig and Éric Wenger; director of photography (LTC, widescreen), Jean Poisson; production designer, Bertrand Seitz; costume designers, Chattoune and Fabien; film editors, Sébastien Prangère, Linda Attab; visual effects art director, Pierre Buffin; visual effects supervisor, Nicolas Chevallier. 

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Demsala Dawî - Sewaxan

The Last Season - Shawaks

(Turkey/France, 2009, 92 minutes)

A year in the life of the Shawaks, ethnic Turkish shepherds who raise sheep. Lively show-and-tell documentary that is less dry and more witty than usual.

A Mezopotamya Sinema/Yapim 13 Film Production presentation/production, in association with ARTE France - La Lucarne.
Directed, written and edited by Kazim Öz; produced by Kazim Öz, Suncem Koçer; music by Ardavan Kamkar, Abas Kemendî, Mohammad Reza Shajarian; camera, Kazim Öz, Özkan Küçük, Fesih Alpagu; sound, Memet Dalmaz.