Tuesday, January 4, 2011

At the Movies – January 2011 – Part 1: Art-House Films

Art-House Watch:

Barney’s Version (Richard J. Lewis) – Drama – Jan 14th [limited]
The film is about Barney Panofsky, an impulsive and politically incorrect man who lives his life to the fullest. Director Richard J. Lewis has a background in TV, this being his second feature film in an over twenty year career. He has quite a good and international crew on the film with Italian composer Pasquale Catalano, French cinematographer Guy Dufaux (who mainly works in Canada) and production designer Claude Pare who typically works on big films. The film has a wonderful cast, as it stars Paul Giamatti and co-stars Rosamund Pike (who is great in An Education and Pride & Prejudice and just needs a breakout role), Minnie Driver, Scott Speedman, Mark Addy (who is good in Red Riding: 1983), Rachelle Lefevre, and Dustin Hoffman (aka Mumbles from Dick Tracy). The film looks funny and touching and will probably be one of the better films of the month. Check out the trailer.

From Prada to Nada (Angel Gracia) – Comedy – Jan28th
 The film is about two sisters who live the spoiled high life in Beverly Hills. When their father suddenly dies, it is revealed that they are actually penniless and must move in with their estranged aunt in East L.A. – basically, it is a Latina spin on Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. Director Angel Gracia makes his feature debut with the film. Gracia has a Latino crew with accomplished guitar player and composer Heitor Pereira, cinematographer Hector Ortega and production designer Anthony R. Stabley. It stars Camilla Belle and Alex Vega and features Luis Rosales, Adriana Barraza, Nicholas D’Agosto, and Wilmer Valderrama in supporting roles. While this does not seem like a typical “art-house” film from the trailer (see below), it is targeted at a niche market (and I suspect Lionsgate is hoping it will have similar success with that market as Tyler Perry’s films have with their targeted market). It does look funny and when done well, Jane Austen adaptations make for entertaining films. Check out the trailer.

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