Thursday, March 25, 2010

THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS

United Kingdom/Canada
2009
122 minutes

An immortal storyteller failing to make a living as a carnival attraction has sold his daughter to the Devil in exchange for immortality, but when she saves a young man from hanging in modern-day London their luck changes. Lively, inventively surreal fantasy whose plagued production (star Heath Ledger died from an accidental overdose halfway through the shoot and was replaced by Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law for Ledger in the fantasy sequences that remained to be shot) is virtually unnoticeable from the end result, more cohesive and far more enjoyable than most of its cult director's output.

A Lionsgate release supported by the UK Film Council. Samuel Hadida presents an Infinity Features Entertainment/Poo Poo Pictures production in association with Davis Films Productions; with the participation of Téléfilm Canada; a co-production of Poo Poo Pictures Productions and Parnassus Productions.
Starring Heath Lodger, Christopher Plummer, Verne Troyer, Andrew Garfield, Lily Cole; and Tom Waits; with Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law.
Directed by Terry Gilliam; produced by William Vince, Amy Gilliam, Samuel Hadida, Terry Gilliam; written by Terry Gilliam and Charles McKeown; music by Mychael Danna and Jeff Danna; director of photography (Technicolor), Nicola Pecorini; original designers and art directors, Dave Warren and Terry Gilliam; production designer, Anastasia Masaro; costume designer, Monique Prudhomme; film editor, Mick Audsley.
Screened: distributor advance press screening, UCI El Corte Inglés 12 (Lisbon), March 5th 2010.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

EDGE OF DARKNESS

USA/Great Britain
2010
117 minutes

A Boston police detective sees his daughter killed by a bullet apparently meant for him, but the closer he looks the more he realises she was the real target and her death is connected to her work at a military contractor. Solid star thriller effectively condensing and updating a 1985 British TV series.

A Warner Bros. Pictures (in the US) release. GK Films presents a GK Films/BBC Films/Icon Productions production.
Starring Mel Gibson; Ray Winstone, Danny Huston, Bojana Novakovic, Shawn Roberts, David Aaron Baker, Jay O. Sanders, Denis O'Hare.
Directed by Martin Campbell; produced by Graham King, Tim Headington, Michael Wearing; screenplay by William Monahan and Andrew Bovell, based on the TV series Edge of Darkness written by Troy Kennedy Martin; music by Howard Shore; director of photography (Technicolor, Panavision), Phil Meheux; production designer, Tom Sanders; costume designer, Lindy Hemming; film editor, Stuart Baird.
Screened: distributor advance press screening, UCI El Corte Inglés 12 (Lisbon), March 3rd 2010.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

THE LOVELY BONES

USA/United Kingdom/New Zealand
2009
134 minutes

A teenage girl is murdered by a psychotic neighbour and watches from above on the way her family deals with the loss. Technically impeccable but dramatically uneven combination of creepy murder mystery and throwback to 1940s celestial melodramas from a celebrated best-seller whose main fault lies in its uncertainty of tone.

A Paramount Pictures release. Dreamworks Pictures presents, in association with Film 4, a Wingnut Films production.
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Michael Imperioli; and Saoirse Ronan.
Directed by Peter Jackson; produced by Carolynne Cunningham, Fran Walsh, Peter Jackson and Aimée Peyronnet; screenplay by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, based on the novel by Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones; music by Brian Eno with Leo Abrahams and Jon Hopkins; director of photography (DeLuxe, widescreen), Andrew Lesnie; production designer, Naomi Shohan; costume designer, Nancy Steiner; film editor, Jabez Olssen; senior visual effects supervisor, Joe Letteri. 
Screened: distributor advance press screening, Zon auditorium (Lisbon), March 4th 2010.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

THE BOOK OF ELI

USA
2009
114 minutes

In a post-apocalyptic America, a mysterious stranger heading West arrives at a makeshift town where the local self-appointed ruler takes an interest in the book he carries with him. Star sci-fi actioner whose rather derivative script and vaguely religious subtexts are unable to hide that it is in fact a stylishly handled, updated old-fashioned western.

A Sony Pictures Releasing International (int'l) release. Alcon Entertainment presents a Silver Pictures production.
Starring Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman; Mila Kunis, Ray Stevenson, Jennifer Beals, Frances de la Tour; with Tom Waits; and Michael Gambon.
Directed by the Hughes Brothers; produced by Joel Silver, Denzel Washington, Broderick Johnson, Andrew A. Kosove, David Valdes; written by Gary Whitta; music by Atticus Ross, Claudia Sarne and Leopold Ross; director of photography (Technicolor, Panavision), Don Burgess; production designer, Gae Buckley; costume designer, Sharen Davis; film editor, Cindy Mollo; visual effects supervisor, Jon Farhat.
Screened: distributor advance press screening, Columbia-Tristar-Warner screening room (Lisbon), March 2nd 2010.

Friday, March 12, 2010

TONY MANERO

Chile
2008
93 minutes

In 1978 Santiago del Chile, a small-time dancer is obsessed with the lead character of Saturday Night Fever and will stop at nothing to achieve his dream of becoming the Chilean Tony Manero. Dark, disturbing character piece given added resonance by the political context in which it is placed and the quasi-vérité handling.

A Fabula production; with the support of Cine en Construcción, Corfo, Hubert Bals Fund; in co-production with Prodigital, Universidad de las Comunicaciones, TVN.
Starring Alfredo Castro; Amparo Noguera, Héctor Morales, Elsa Poblete, Paola Lattus, Nicolás Musso; and the participation of Enrique Maluenda.
Directed by Pablo Larraín; produced by Juan de Dios Larraín; written by Pablo Larraín, Mateo Iribarren, Alfredo Castro; director of photography (Cinecolor), Sergio Armstrong González; art director, Polín Garbisú; costume designer, Muriel Parra; film editor, Andrea Chignoli. 
Screened: distributor press screening, Cinema City Classic Alvalade 4 (Lisbon), February 25th 2010.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

CINERAMA

Portugal
2009
76 minutes

Two men and a woman kidnap the former boss of the deceased brother of one of them. Bewilderingly oblique arthouse moodpiece that abandons conventional narrative after its first twenty minutes and then meanders amiably but apparently pointlessly through some striking visuals.

Paulo Branco presents a Clap Filmes production, with the financial support of ICA and RTP-1.
Starring Sofia Marques, Diogo Dória, Ricardo Aibéo; António Fonseca, Meirinho Mendes, Rita Loureiro, João Cabral.
Directed and written by Inês Oliveira; produced by Paulo Branco; music by João Madureira; director of photography (Light Film), Paulo Abreu; art directors, Maria José Branco, Nuno Gabriel Melo; wardrobe, Margarida Morins; film editor, Rui Mourão.
Screened: distributor press screening, King 1 (Lisboa), February 24th 2010. 

Thursday, March 04, 2010

ALICE IN WONDERLAND

USA
2010
108 minutes

A young Victorian girl about to turn 20 and about to become engaged to a young man she hates follows a white rabbit down a tree hole and finds herself in a strange and wondrous place she is unable to recognise, but where everybody seems to remember her. Visually inventive big-budget fantasy that is neither a retelling nor a sequel of the original Lewis Carroll books, but lies somewhere in between, and there lies the rub: it's not quirky enough for fans of both the book and the director, and the visuals aren't sustained by the predictable little story. Adequate as a timepasser, though.

Walt Disney Pictures presents a Roth Films/Team Todd/Zanuck Company production.
Starring Johnny Depp; Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Crispin Glover; and Mia Wasikowska; with the voices of Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen, Timothy Spall, Barbara Windsor.
Directed by Tim Burton; produced by Richard D. Zanuck, Suzanne Todd, Jennifer Todd, Joe Roth; screenplay by Linda Woolverton, based on the books by Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass; music by Danny Elfman; director of photography (Technicolor; 3D), Dariusz Wolski; production designer, Robert Stromberg; costume designer, Colleen Atwood; film editor, Chris Lebenzon; visual effects supervisor, Ken Ralston.
Screened: distributor advance press screening, Zon Lusomundo Colombo 10 (Lisbon), March 2nd 2010.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

HOWL

USA
2010
84 minutes

The story of the origin and creation of Allen Ginsberg's 1950s beat poem Howl and of its later obscenity trial in San Francisco. Intriguing, offbeat biopic of Allen Ginsberg that uses the form and narrative of fiction to tell a documentary story; while it doesn't always work, namely due to the failed attempts at illustrating the poem through animated segments, when it does work is quite accomplished.

A The Match Factory (int'l) release. A Werc Werk Works production in association with Telling Pictures and Rabbit Bandini Productions.
Starring James Franco, David Strathairn, Jon Hamm, Bob Balaban, Alessandro Nivola, Treat Williams; with Mary-Louise Parker; and Jeff Daniels.
Directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman; produced by Elizabeth Redleaf, Christine Kunewa Walker, Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman; screenplay by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, based on court records, interviews and the poem Howl by Allen Ginsberg; music by Carter Burwell; director of photography (Technicolor), Edward Lachman; production designer, Thérèse DePrez; costume designers, Kurt and Bart; film editor, Jake Pushinsky; animation designed by Eric Drooker.
Screened: Berlin Film Festival press screening, Berlinale Palast (Berlin), February 12th 2010. 

Monday, March 01, 2010

TUAN YUAN

Apart Together

China
2010
97 minutes

Two lovers separated by the Chinese civil war reunite after sixty years apart after he is finally allowed to return to Shanghai, with unexpected results. Modest melodrama of modern China that crams far too much than it can stand on its slender frame; the excellent performances go a long way towards making it palatable.

A Celluloid Dreams (int'l) release. A Lightshades Film Productions/Xi'an Movie and Television Production Company/Jiuzhou Audio Publishing Company/Western Movie Group Company/Beijing Zhongtian Peak Culture Communication Company production.
Starring Lisa Lu, Ling Feng, Xu Caigen, Ma Xiaoqing, Monica Mo.
Directed by Wang Quan'an; produced by Wang Quan'an, Wang Le, Du Daning, Wang Zhanliang, Ouwen, Ruan Yusheng; written by Wang Quan'an, Jin Na; music by Ma Peng; director of photography (Beijing Cinelabs), Lutz Reitemeier; production designer, Yu Baiyang; costume designer, Zhang Min; film editor, Wu Yixang.
Screened: Berlin Film Festival advance press screening, Cinemaxx 7 (Berlin), February 11th 2010.