Tuesday, June 4, 2013

At the Movies – June 2013 – Part 1: Independent Films

Art-House Dramas:

The Bling Ring (Sofia Coppola) – Crime Drama – Jun 14
Summary: Based on true events: a group of fame-obsessed teens decide to go on a burglary rampage and rob the homes of many celebrities they idolize. Filmmakers: Writer-director Sofia Coppola seems like the perfect person to make this film (what is essentially a made-for-TV story), as she will bring great writing and style to it like she has down with her other female lead narratives: The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation (one of my personal favorite films), Marie Antoinette, and Somewhere. She is working with frequent collaborations composer Brian Reitzell (Hannibal), cinematographer Harris Savides (who passed away during production), and production designer Anne Ross. Composer Daniel Lopatin and cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt (who often worked with Savides as a cameraman) also contribute to the film. Cast: It stars Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Emma Watson, Claire Julien, Taissa Farmiga, and Georgia Rock, with Leslie Mann and Gavin Rossdale in support. A few celebrities play themselves in cameos as well. Expectations: The Bling Ring looks like a lot of fun. Sofia Coppola should bring a wonderful sense of style and music to the film, while capturing the celebrity-crazed characters well (probably with her great blend of sadness and hope). It was accepted to the Cannes Film Festival as a film Un Certain Regard, and played to somewhat polarizing reviews. It is a must-see for fans of Coppola’s work. Trailer: HereReview: Here.

Byzantium (Neil Jordan) – Drama Thriller – Jun 28
Summary: Two mysterious women show up at a resort in a small coastal town seeking shelter. Intrigued, the residents inquire about the women with hopes of uncovering their secret, but are met with deadly consequences. Filmmakers: Director Neil Jordan returns to the vampire subgenre with Byzantium hoping to recapture the same magic as his film Interview with a Vampire – though, this has a slightly different spin on the supernatural creatures. He is also well-known for is Oscar winning drama The Crying Game. He is working with composer Javier Navarrete (Pan’s Labyrinth), great cinematographer Sean Bobbitt (The Place Beyond the Pines), and production designer Simon Elliott (Bleak House). Cast: It stars Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton, and features a strong supporting group, including: Warren Brown, Caleb Landry Jones, Daniel Mays, Sam Riley, Jonny Lee Miller, Kate Ashfield, Maria Doyle Kennedy, and Tom Hollander. Expectations: Byzantium looks like a moody fantasy thriller and an interesting take on vampires (we need a good teen vampire drama after the sheer awfulness that was the Twilight Saga). The cast is also a big selling point for me. Saoirse Ronan is one of the great young actresses right now (maybe the greatest). During its advanced screenings, the film played to mostly critical praise. It is worth checking out for fans of the genre. Trailer: Here.

Art-House Comedies:

I’m So Excited (Pedro Almodovar) – Comedy – Jun 28
Summary: On a flight from Madrid to Mexico City, the on-board crew realizes that the landing gear does not work and that they will need to crash land the plane. However instead of embracing their impending anguish, the crew and passengers engage in gleeful revelry. Filmmakers: I’m So Excited is Spanish writer-director Pedro Almodovar’s nineteenth film. He is considered one of Europe’s greatest current filmmakers with films such as All About My Mother, Talk to Her, and Volver. He is working with frequent collaborations composer Alberto Iglesias, cinematographer Jose Luis Alcaine, and production designer Antxon Gomez. Cast: The ensemble features Blanca Suarez, Paz Vega, Cecilia Roth, Lola Duenas, Javier Camara, Hugo Silva, Antonio de la Torre, Penelope Cruz, and Antonio Banderas. Expectations: I’m So Excited looks like a very light comedy –a bit like a 1960s satire with the bright vibrant colors and design work. Critics have panned the film during its advanced screenings, calling it a step backwards for Almodovar. Many compare it unfavorably to his early work like Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! This is probably only worth checking out for big Almodovar fans. Trailer: Here.

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