Monday, May 26, 2014

2014 Cannes Film Festival Recap

     
     The 2014 Cannes Film Festival concluded this past Saturday and from the majority of scholarly reactions, critics and film bloggers, this is was quite an exceptional year on the French Rivera. The Festival included films from David Cronenberg, Bennet Miller, Jean & Luc Dardenne, Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Xavier Dolan, Nuri Bilge Ceylan and Jean-Luc Godard. Top heavy with Cannes veterans and highly anticipated film premieres. The eventual winner of the coveted Palme d'Or was Mr. Ceylan and his 3 hour and 16 minute film Winter Sleep. The film was heralded all-around, but it was not a complete unanimous series of appreciation. That does not detract from the excitement I have at looking forward to seeing this talky, slow paced film from the great Turkish filmmaker. His past work, especially Climates (2006), is quite special.
     The best news in my book was the high praise David Cronenberg's Hollywood satire Maps to the Stars received. Once again, this film polarized critics (no surprise there) but the one's that really liked, really, really enjoyed it and thought it was one of Cronenberg's best. Julianne Moore won Best Actress for her role in the film and I hope it leads to serious Oscar attention for this amazing, amazing actress. The screenplay by Bruce Wagner is supposedly quite brilliant as well. Another film that received almost unanimous praise was Mike Leigh's Mr. Turner, which focuses on the great, oddball British painter J.M.W Turner. The film was loved by many film reviewers and the great Timothy Spall won Best Actor for playing the title role. Loving Leigh's films, and really loving Cronenberg's work, I am highly excited to see both of these films.
     Bennett Miller's third film, Foxcatcher, had its world premiere and the reviews were ecstatic. The film, which many said is a dark look at the American Dream, stars Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo and an almost unrecognizable Steve Carell. Both Tatum and Carell received high acknowledgments for their roles and will both be in the race for best actor. Miller and the film will most likely receive many Oscar nominations and from the trailer, it appears to be an extremely dark, bleak film. Miller received Best Director at the festival.
     So, already four films that look amazing and sound great, but nothing compares to the critical appreciation and over-the-top high marks for Russian auteur Andrey Zvyaginstev's fourth feature film, Leviathan. I mean, the Internet went insane for how good this multiple character, crime and corruption drama film appears to be. Having seen his first film, The Return (2003), and still needing to see his third, Elena (2011), I can only anticipate how great this film will be. It has to be. Sony Pictures Classic picked it up quickly and that is great home for foreign films. The film won Best Screenplay at the festival and apparently just missed the Palme.
     The other two films that received consensus adulation were the Argentinian black comedy Wild Tales, from Damián Szifron, and the Canadian wonder kid Xavier Dolan's, he is only 25 and has five films under his belt, Mommy. The Szifron film I knew little about, or him for that matter, and Dolan is Quebec's version of a young Godard. Both films received very positive notices and both appear to be necessary viewing. Dolan's film tied with, ironically, Jean-Luc Godard's well received, shocker in France, although I love Godard, Goodbye to Language, for the Jury Prize. And Alice Rohrwacher's The Wonders took home the Grand Prix and started a high bidding war for distribution.
    Not everything was a complete knockout though. The opening night, out-of-competition film Grace of Monaco, starring Nicole Kidman, got brutally panned. Ryan Gosling's directorial debut Lost River, although receiving some positive recognition and comparisons to David Lynch and Beasts of the Southern Wild, overall got beat-up pretty bad. Still looks quite interesting, even if it is in the fantasy drama realm. Tommy Lee Jones second feature film directorial effort, The Homesman, received mixed notices, although I believe there were more positive than negative. Big word was on all the odd, eccentric turns the film took throughout. And the much loved and admired French auteur's the Dardenne Brothers returned to the festival with the Marion Cotillard starrer Two Days, One Night. Nothing was really standing out from the reviews I read, but nothing bad either. The same can be said of Ken Loach's supposed last film, Jimmy's Hall. Nothing bad, but nothing signifying greatness.
     Whew... What it would be like to attend this festival just once. Following all the film bloggers and websites, reading reviews and tweets was exciting and exhausting, just sitting on this side of the fence. My list for films to see throughout the rest of the year and into the beginning of next is growing and growing. All of these films appear to be really exciting and Jane Campion and her jury appear to have been well-rounded in their respect and appreciation for the films, has evident by the awards given at this year's Cannes Film Festival. Oscar and festival season, and September, are only a few months away!!!

Photo credit by totalfilm.com.
   

Thursday, May 22, 2014

UNDER THE SKIN

Under the Skin


Directed by Jonathan Glazer
Written by Walter Campbell & Jonathan Glazer

     What a surreal, psychological trip Under the Skin is. I watched director Jonathan Glazer's existential science-fiction, horror film a week ago and it has not really left my mind since that viewing. It is quite powerful, but not over bearing or too arty. It results in many unanswered questions. It is mesmerizing, sensual, horrific, frustrating, engaging and immersive. I said it was a science-fiction, horror film, but one that is unlike anything made before. It feels has if Glazer paid an impressive tribute to Kubrick, Lynch, Jodoworsky and Roeg, and created his own link in this chain of undeniably, distinct great filmmakers. Under the Skin is one haunting damn film that will stick with me for quite some time and, at the same time, will be one that requires multiple viewings.
     An unnamed Scarlett Johansson plays an alien in human form that seduces passersby on the streets of Glasgow, Scotland. She brings them back to a vacant house. Once she is in the house, she slowly walks, unclothing, as do her male counterparts, walking over a glossy black mass. The men seep into this eerie black liquid while she walks undisturbed. She is feeding something. An urge. A hunger. A hidden ship or father alien. A seduction and extermination of sexually obsessed men with nothing more on their mind. No reason is fully given, but these continuous scenes engage the audience to uncover the deeper meanings, dissect the varying masculine and feminine symbolism, and attempt to unlock any figurative suggestions that the filmmaker is putting forth. The real questions is, what is being said?
     The first half of the film is strictly Johannson driving around Scotland picking up strangers and bringing them back to this house. Once she picks up a shy, deformed young man, she begins to feel some sort of humanity and sympathy. She allows this man to not be ravaged by this black substance and frees him from this feeding. This enrages her counterpart, another unnamed character, the man on the motorcycle. He appears to be some kind of leader or boss over Johansson's character. Once she has freed the deformed man, she is on the run, not in a panicked, commercial thriller way, but in this artful, highly beautiful, haunting situational dilemma. Her journey from hunter to hunted rounds out the film, and her identity is uncomfortable unveiled towards the end. The big point is that realization of having no feeling or understanding of where you are at, to feeling compassion, discovery and fear in this foreign world.
     I will fully admit that I left the cinema somewhat confused, full of questions and a little frustrated, but in a good way. This is a film that requires multiple viewings. What is the deeper significance of sex and the bad versus good nature of human beings, or foreign ones? What is it like to be required to perform a service and then go against the grain in the passion and confusion of new discoveries? Is it a film that has deeper meanings, but is equally and specifically focused on pushing the boundaries of style and sound in film? Is it a film that shows the objectification of woman as merely sex objects in the view of brute, disgusting males? So many questions that outweigh the answers. That is one of the joys and discouraging pleasures of Under the Skin.
     The questions will only be enhanced, or caught, through more discussion and analysis with more viewings. It is undeniable that Ms. Johansson gives a subdued, yet powerful, engaging performances. It is probably her best work and she is striped down, both literally and emotionally. There are many scenes where she is fully nude and I hope this film is not fully watched just for that. There is so much more amazement with this film then Ms. Johansson's nudity. She has few lines, but what she does with her eyes, body and gestures is quite stunning. She appears to be so natural on Earth, but ironically is not from this planet. She has put on a suit of beauty to acquire her task. A facade to drain and hide. She speaks with a charming English accent when seducing her passersby. However, these men speak with an almost indecipherable thick Scottish accent and this really speaks to the barriers between these different beings. The range she gives form the first half of the film where she is picking up en, to when she is on the run and going through the varying discoveries of her human skin and body is seriously fine, haunting work.
     Glazer, who has not directed a film since 2004 with Birth, has one artistically, stylized vision. The references earlier of Kubrick, Lynch, Jodoworsky and Roeg are evident from the visuals; to the mesmerizing opening sequence of her eye, and more, that is something magnificent to witness on the big screen; to the haunting, penetrating, brooding score from Mica Levi. Everything can be seen as an homage to these great filmmakers, but Glazer has created a work of his own, full of multiple textures and meanings. A film that will be polarizing to some and something of a masterpiece to others. I fall into the latter category, even if I feel I need more viewings, which is always a good thing. One of the amazing things about this film is that I cannot wait to see it again, even though there are some highly disturbing moments. Especially the one with the family at the coast. Seriously chilling and unsettling.
     And yes, that score from Levi is something to behold. It is without a doubt one of the most haunting things I have heard since Jonny Greenwood's brilliant work on Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood. The music is so key to the ebbs and flows of this film. The mood is set, enhanced and evolutionary with every striking string, deep breath and pounding beat. It has stuck with me since the film and I got the films soundtrack from a friend immediately after seeing the film. It is so special, terrifying and is flat-out genius. With that score, the moody, grayish cinematography from Daniel Landin is a perfect fit as well. I could look at this film with just the score and cinematography, and be completely satisfied. All elements are working at the highest form in this film.
     Under the Skin is one of the best films of 2014. When a film holds my attention completely, asks the audience, and myself, to be so engaged in every line and scene, and causes serious mental aptitude in its dissection, I am fully appreciative and thoroughly pleased. It is a shockingly beautiful art film, haunting horror film and mystifying science-fiction film, all in the realm of deep existentialism. All elements work beautifully and Scarlett Johansson gives an astonishing, muted, brilliant performance. Under the Skin will not be for everyone, but this is the type of film I love and one I am dying to see again.

Photo credit by IMDB.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Film Trailers: MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT


     The trailer for the annual Woody Allen film has arrived. His latest, Magic in the Moonlight, comes hot off the heels of his well-recieved effort from last year Blue Jasmine. I have stated this before that Allen is my favorite filmmaker of all time and anything he makes, I am first in line. Allen's new film appears to contain many themes that have been present in his past works: oddity of the male-female relationship, dissecting the fantasy from the real, and doing all with an undercurrent of wry, ironic, neurotic humor. Colin Firth, who has been in a rut since his run of good films like A Single Man, The King's Speech and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, plays a English stage performer who is brought in to debunk a believed-to-be mystic, played by Emma Stone, in the South of France. Emma Stone feels to be the perfect fit for Allen's style and narrative assembly. The trailer looks solid and the only question is whether this is Midnight in Paris Allen or Scoop Allen. The Allen of Manhattan and Hannah and Her Sisters is long gone. Cannot wait regardless. Enjoy, and the film will be released on July 25th.


Photo credit by ropeofsilicon.com and trailer by YouTube.

Film Trailers: LIFE ITSELF


     When I really became obsessed with cinema a little over ten years, part of that love of film came from  watching Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel discuss, debate and breakdown film on their critics show on TV. I loved watching them go at it over films they agreed upon and did not. Ebert is that critic that is the most accessible for all film lovers and the casual observer. He could write so intelligently, but without a hint of being pretentious or didactic. I owe so much of my cinema education to his reviews and books, and he really enhance my appreciation of cinema as a true art form. I am really excited to see the new documentary on Ebert's life from Steve James, Life Itself, which also received raves at this years Sundance Film Festival. This is an instant for any film lover and does not look to be just a puff appreciation piece. Ebert was the most famous mainstream film critic in the world and one of the best. Enjoy!


Photo credit by IMDB and trailer by YouTube.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

GODZILLA (2014)

Godzilla


Directed by Gareth Edwards
Written by Max Borenstein

     Godzilla, at least from the trailers, felt like my only hope for a decent blockbuster film this summer. Sadly, it was a disappointment. Not a total wash, but a missed opportunity. The biggest issues is the miss guided story and the flat, dull performance from one of the leads. Well, the lead that took over from the quality acting from Bryan Cranston. I can respect the beginning of the film, but after the filmed moved forward, that quality was nothing more than a waste and had little interest or valued purpose to the rest of the film. The best part of the film was the tease building up to the big reveal of Godzilla himself, but nothing more. Just a way, way too long, remake/reboot that had no pulse and life. The one chance I had hoped for this summer came down hard, much like San Francisco in Godzilla.
     Godzilla focuses on nature reclaiming its rightful place at the top of the food chain on Earth. A prehistoric monster, attempted to be killed by atomic tests in the 1950s, but failed. Scientist Dr. Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) inspects an enormous fossil at a mining site in the Philippines in the late 1990s. What he uncovers is something much more frightening as a spore, a parasite, still alive after all these years somehow, has managed to break free from this fossil in search of food in the form of radiation. It travels to a nuclear plant in Japan where nuclear engineer Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) realizes that the tremors the plant is feeling is not an earthquake, but something much, much worse. The plant implodes and we move forward 15 years. 
     Not a bad build up. Somewhat dramatic, if a little too hammy or Spielbergian, and suspenseful. I am into it, but then if fell off the tracks. We are introduced to the biggest problem with this film -- the character of Ford Brody, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Ford is the son of Joe and has recently arrived back home in San Francisco from the military as a bomb specialist. Right away when he goes home to his wife Elle (Elizabeth Olsen) and son, he has absolutely no emotion, personality and one annoying whiny little voice. Sorry, but the horrible acting, and more terribly, the storytelling is just completely uninteresting. You think you would have a tremendous amount of emotion seeing your family for the first time in awhile, but he just has this dull, boring look on his face. Got to give me something more than that. Taylor-Johnson's character and acting is just one of the most boring, dull performances I have seen in a long time. 
     Ford travels to Japan where his father has become somewhat of a obsessive nut and is in jail for trespassing on the quarantined site where he worked at the nuclear plant. Joe knows something is amiss and he must find out. What they unravel is that a gigantic, insect-alien looking creature is the cause for the collapse of the plant and this creature has come out of its shell. This thing is quite impressive to look at and goes on a rampage seeking out its mate. Ok... Destruction ensues, lives are lost and we are only slightly teased at the behemoth monster that lives in the deepest parts of the ocean. Now that this MUTO, as it is called, has come out, Godzilla is on the way to battle this, and the female MUTO that was stored at a nuclear waste site in Nevada. The battle is on. The king of the Earth is at stake. Honolulu, Las Vegas and San Francisco are demolished. That is your film, but what garbage, Hollywood crap it turned into. 
     I have already mentioned the bad acting and character writing for Aaron Taylor-Johnson, but killing off his father in the first thirty minutes and turning Ford into the main lead was an horrendous decision. Cranston kept me engaged and excited for the film and when he died, so did the rest of the film. Taylor-Johnson brought nothing, but Watanabe, Olsen, Sally Hawkins, Juliette Binoche (in a small role) and David Strathairn at least kept the acting up to par. The beginning of the film ended up being completely irrelevant to entirety of the film. It stretched it out way too long and exemplified poor decisions in the narrative. At least that beginning was at least good on its own merit. Bad choice by director Gareth Edwards (Monsters) and screenwriter Max Borenstein to kill off Joe and turn the boring Ford into the main human character in the film and waste that start to the film. 
     Yes, it is all about the monster, and he looks fantastic. So much better than the shit look of Godzilla in the Godzilla film from 1998. Detail focused and the insect-looking MUTO's look quite impressive as well. I also liked the fight sequences between Godzilla and those MUTO's, but that is about it. Well, I did like the slow build up to the eventual unveiling of the famous monster. The story is just so flat and boring. It feels like the inspiration wants to be there, but was held back for whatever reason. Too much softness and Godzilla being here to safe humanity. NO. He was not saving human beings, but killing off the enormous creatures that threatened his powerful existence. There is a scene when Godzilla is somewhat beaten and exhausted, and while he is laying on the ground he and Ford look into each others eyes. Is this suppose to be some sort of recognition or connection? From the human standpoint, yes, I can see that, but the monster could care less about the human beings. Too stupid and had the soft, emotional acceptance from a Spielberg film, except nowhere near as good. Just overall a disappointing conclusion and overall film.
     Gareth Edwards Godzilla has a few, and I mean a few, decent moments, but is overall not a very good film. This film is nowhere near as good as the original Japanese film Gojira (1954). I love the suspense and silliness of that film, but this one could have been so much better. Keep Cranston as the main character and the film could have gone in so many better, more creative directions. The attempt at keeping the myth and lure of the monster Godzilla is there, but not enough to even remotely make this film interesting. Good luck to the rest of the summer. I am sure more and more disappointments will be on the way. 

Photo credit by IMDB.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Criterion Collection Releases for August 2014

     The Criterion Collection announced its new releases for August 2014 last Thursday and we finally get a title that has been anticipated for quite some time. The film has been hinted at in New Year's Day Criterion drawings for a couple of years and it is finally being released. Alfonso Cuaron's wonderful road, coming-of-age comedy/drama Y tu mamá también (2001). The film is one of those special films that can be quite raunchy and daring, but at that same time be touching and one hell of an emotional ride. The film really put actors Gael García Bernal (along with Amores Perros), Diego Luna and Maribel Verdú on the American film map and supplanted Alfonso Cuarón as one of the top directors in the world. I completely thrilled that this film is getting a stellar release from Criterion. I am sure some of the hold up was Cuarón working on Gravity, but this is an instant buy. I can finally replace my old DVD. The film will be released in dual-format on August 19th and I really like that exquisite, poignant cover art.

     Another release I am really excited for is the introduction of the great Spanish auteur Pedro
Almodóvar into the Criterion Collection with Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1990). One of my top ten favorite directors and one that has not made a terrible film yet. This is one that will be another instant purchase. Containing dark, sexual comedy and not afraid to take on just about anything, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! follows an unbalanced former mental patient played by Antonio Banderas and the woman he holds as his prisoner in trying to convince her to marry him. Almodóvar is like no other filmmaker in the world and his beautiful and blunt use of dialogue and language is incomparable. Cannot wait for this one to be on the film shelf. The film will be released in dual-format on August 19th and the colorful cover art is perfect.


     John Cassavetes gets another film in the collection with Love Streams (1984). If you have not seen a Cassavetes film, change that immediately. Start with A Woman Under the Influence (1974) and continue. You will not be disappointed. I have seen all of the films in the Cassavetes box set form Criterion, as well as Husbands, but I have yet to see Love Streams. Being a devout Cassavetes admirer, this is another instant purchase. He creates stories and films for actors. It is all about the actors and creating honest, real worlds for real people. The best, and it is one of his last films he starred and directed in. Also, working with his wife and brilliant actor Gena Rowlands. The film will be released in dual-format on August 12th. The cover art goes right along with the style of the box set as well. 

     The other new release during the month of August is Bob Fosse's fast paced musical All That Jazz (1979). The film is somewhat of an autobiography of the director and choreographer Fosse's own life and contains a career best performance from Roy Scheider. Not being the biggest musical fan, I am really excited to see this film for the first time, especially on bluray. The colors will be bursting off the screen and everything I have read on the film is that the energy and exhausting work ethic is presented in an intense, lavish way. The film will be released in dual-format on August 26th. The cover is quite nice too.
   
     The final film, and only upgrade, is the Japanese film from Shohei Imamura, Vengeance Is Mine (1979). This film is a blunt, vigorous and seriously intense crime thriller with a touch of dark, dark humor. The film follows the seventy-eight day killing spree of a Catholic man through Japan. I remember the first time I saw this film it somewhat disgusted me with how perverse and remorseless this man, Iwao Enokizu (Ken Ogata) could be, but also how brilliant of a crime film this was form Imamura. Textbook greatness right here. This is just a bluray upgrade since the DVD came out not too long ago, about 6-8 years. I want the bluray, but I already own the DVD so I might wait on this one for awhile. I love that cover. Quite sinister, strong and revealing. The bluray will be released on August 26th. Another great month of releases form the Criterion Collection. 

Photo credit by The Criterion Collection.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Film Trailers: CALVARY


     After really enjoying and admiring writer-director John Michael McDonagh's first feature, the hilarious and blunt The Guard, I am very excited to see his second feature Calvary. Starring one of his The Guard stars Brendan Gleeson, it follows Gleeson as a good Catholic priest whose life is threatened and he must fight off the forces of evil and temptation. It appears to have a comedic and dramatic tone to it and will most likely be something a little more. You can tell the depth is there and this film received great notices out of this year's Sundance Film Festival. I cannot wait to see this film. It also stars Chris O'Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Domhnall Gleeson, M. Emmett Walsh and Isaach De Bankolé. The film will be released on August 1st. Enjoy! And if you have not seen The Guard check it out.


Photo credit by ropeofsilicon.com and trailer by YouTube.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2

The Amazing Spider-Man 2


Directed by Marc Webb
Written by Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci 
and
Jeff Pinkner & James Vanderbilt

     If there is one thing, amongst many, that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is, is that it is not anywhere close to being amazing. What a pile of junk (shit) this film is and will always be. Boredom sunk in not ten minutes into the film. Villains that were completely uninteresting and a continued love story that had absolutely nothing to offer in any aspect of reality or fantasy. The first film, The Amazing Spider-Man, was not very good either, but this is one of the worst films I have seen all year and far worse than the first one. A dull, boring, CGI-infested film full of bad writing, storytelling and character development. This is not a good way to start off the Summer Blockbuster season, but we cannot expect much from Hollywood anymore when it comes to these series, sequels, reboots and remakes. This is the Hollywood film industry we live in now.
     I must have shifted in my seat a hundred times during this 2-hour plus cartoon. Yes, it felt and looked like an over priced animated film with a want-to-be comic book-y film look and feel to it. At least Sam Raimi's films had some decent story lines and more thorough focus on character growth. These writers, especially the horrendous Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, who have turned Hollywood blockbusters into mindless garbage, have no talent and weak creativity, much less five a shit about carrying on an engaging story. Spider-Man versus super villains from Oscorp. The end. An emotionless love story between Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). How can it be this bad when you have two talented actors in Garfield and Stone? Watch The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and find out. There is chemistry between the two actors, but not between the two characters. Give me a break. Give me a sense of honesty, compassion and reality at least.
     I was also hoping to be at least somewhat engaged by the villains Max Dillon/Electro (Jamie Foxx), Harry Osborn/The Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan) and Aleksei Sytsevich/Rhino (Paul Giamatti), but I should have known. No depth, no connection and no sense of menace or seriousness. Nothing that you get out of the Batman villains from Christopher Nolan's films. Just fancy graphics and build ups for future installments in this franchise. That is a big problem with these films. Everything is made for multiple films, instead of being grounded and focused on the film at hand. I happened to watch Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and liked the aspect of humanism finally being presented in a Marvel film, but still felt like it was just a setup for The Avengers sequel. It was half ok, but half terrible. Focus on one film and give a connection at the end or not at all. Enough of this crap.
     If you are going to make a sequel, it should grow and strive to be better than the first one. Example is Nolan's Batman films which hinted a clues for future films at the end, but each film stood its ground as a solid piece of entertainment and filmmaking. That got better or at least did not falter from the start. Most of the Marvel films are just setups for the next one and an easy way to entertain mindless Joe and Jane Popcorn moviegoers. There is nothing wrong with being entertained, but create a good story with some intrigue. Cannot expect that when Kurtzman and Orci are behind the pen or computer. There writing is junk, but they are multimillionaires because they write this drivel that the movie going public today soak up. Eye candy and wanting visually satisfying entertainment is all these people want. Film escapism can be good, but not like this.
    This "sort of" review is more about the emptiness in these Hollywood, comic book, reboot franchises than the actual film, which by the way, is horrendous. I do not even need to write about the story because there is nothing to write about. If you have seen any of these comic book films then you know what you are going in for, and if you liked the others, you will probably like this automatically. There will not be any intelligent discussion or film insight to this product. These films are a retail machine and do not appear to be slowing down. Money makers do not stop and in Hollywood they do not appear to grow. Expect more of the same for years to come. Here is to hoping Godzilla from Gareth Edwards, which does look suspenseful at least, turns out to be a pleasant surprise.

Photo credit by IMDB.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Creation Scene in Darren Aronofsky's NOAH


     The absolutely best scene in Darren Aronofsky's well-made Noah is that mesmerizing, stunning creation/evolution scene. The effects are strong and fit the unique vision from the director and Matthew Libatique's brilliant cinematography, especially those dynamic silhouette shots, are something to behold. It is quite amazing and nothing too preachy, yet really declares itself quite honestly. It is very special and some of Aronofsky's best work. Enjoy.


Photo credit by ropeofsilicon.com and scene by YouTube.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Barbarella Psychadela


     Having recently watched the cult, campy and extremely awesome Barbarella (1968) from Roger Vadim and starring the sexy Jane Fonda, I have to admit that this scene is what stuck with me the most. Those damn dolls are so creepy and unsettling. It is really funny at the same time, but extremely eerie too. It works. Overall, the film is super campy, cheesy, with a penchant for sexual freedom and made Jane Fonda a sex goddess. To be honest, the film is not very good at all, but it is a wild, visually striking trip to sci-fi territory from the late 60s. Enjoy this really eerie scene. 


Photo credit by IMDB and scene by YouTube.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

INTERSTELLAR Poster


     Here is the first poster for Christopher Nolan's latest feature Interstellar. Um...I do not know. I am just not feeling it. The poster that is. I know the film will most likely deliver and Nolan is a supreme filmmaker. He is one of the few filmmakers that can get a big budget and not waste it on CGI and shit acting. The poster just feels flat and a little too Spielberg-like. Getting a danger to happy vibe from the poster. Weird, but that is my first impression from the poster. Still highly excited for the film though. There should be a trailer with Godzilla in a couple of weeks. Interstellar stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Casey Affleck, Wes Bentley, Topher Grace, John Lithgow, William Devane, David Oyelowo, Bill Irwin, Ellen Burstyn and Michael Caine. The film will be released on November 7, 2014. I have also reposted the teaser trailer below. Enjoy!


Photo credit by IMDB and trailer by YouTube.

Monday, May 5, 2014

2014 Cannes Jury

     
     Writer-Director Jane Campion (The Piano) was already announced as President of the main Competition of films screening at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. The jury assembled is also quite impressive. It includes Writer-Director Sofia Coppola (The Virgin Suicides); Writer-Director Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson); Actor Willem Dafoe (Platoon); Actor-Director Gael García Bernal (Amores Perros); Actress Carole Bouquet (For Your Eyes Only); Actress Do-Yeon Jeon (The Housemaid); Actress Leila Hatami (A Seperation) and Writer-Director Jia Zhangke (Still Life). Stellar lineup of jurors and an excellent President. You can also read a list of the films in the main competition and other selections here.
     It is almost here. The Cannes Film Festival begins on May 14th and runs until May 25th. Enjoy!

Photo credit by theguardian.com.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

STAR WARS EPISODE VII Cast Revealed


     The hype and anticipation over who will be cast in J.J. Abrams forthcoming trilogy in the Star Wars franchise can come to some ease as the cast has finally been revealed. Nothing really shocking and no big "WOW" names, but overall an interesting, good cast. The first billed actor is Attack the Block star John Boyega and I assume he might be the lead Jedi of some sort. The lead female role will be played by relative unknown Daisy Ridley (Mr. Selfridge) who could be playing the daughter of Han and Leia. The rest of the new cast members are quite interesting with the presumed main villain to be played by Adam Driver ("Girls") and the possible rebel leader of some sort to be played by the excellent Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis). Another Jedi part might go to Domhnall Gleeson (About Time) and I am interested to see what role Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings) will play, whether it is live or motion capture. The legend/elder statesman role goes to the legendary Max von Sydow (The Seventh Seal) and will he be heroic or villainous. He can play both quite well.
    With all the new cast members, the original cast is returning as well. Harrison Ford - Han Solo, Carrie Fisher - Princess Leia, Mark Hamill - Luke Skywalker, Anthony Daniels - C-3PO, Kenny Baker - R2-D2 and Peter Mayhew - Chewbacca, will be reprising their roles in this first film, and maybe more. Supposedly, Han Solo has a very significant role in Episode VII, but there are so many rumors out there nothing will be known for awhile.
     No official title has been announced and there is still plenty of time before we might find out which characters the new cast members will be playing. All-in-all, I am rather pleased with the initial cast and intrigued for what comes ahead. I am especially pleased with the casting of Isaac, Driver and von Sydow, as well as Gleeson. And whatever role Serkis plays, he, or it, will be fantastic. I am very intrigued to see how Boyega and Ridley do and whether they breakout big or falter like Hayden Christensen. The only thing I am concerned about is how many damn lens flares will Abrams use? Please, chill on that shit! I like Star Wars and am looking forward to the film, but I am not geeky about it and if it was 15 years ago, I would be doing cartwheels. No matter what, it is going to make billions and billions. They all getting rich. Only time will tell if the end product is good, as Star Wars Episode VII will be released on December 18th, 2015.

Photo credit by ropeofsilicon.com

Monday, April 28, 2014

Film Trailers: MAPS TO THE STARS


     Julianne Moore working with David Cronenberg. Sold! Well, I am sold with anything either one of these exceptional artists are involved in, but together, it is going to be fantastic. Cronenberg is was one of the more intelligent, gutsy directors in cinema and this film appears to be some kind of satire on Hollywood and dysfunctional relationships. He has been in a bit of a slump with his last tow films, A Dangerous Method and Cosmopolis. Definitely not bad films, but nothing significant. Once again, is this the film where Robert Pattinson really breaks through. He was good in Cronenberg's Cosmopolis, but nothing special. I love seeing Cronenberg working with Moore and I really hope John Cusack delivers the goods that he is capable of. The man has been in a rut for quite some time and could use a quality picture. The cast also includes Mia Wasikowska, Carrie Fisher, Sarah Gadon and Olivia Williams. The film will have its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and I am sure, hopeful, a US date will occur by the end of the year. Really anticipating the reviews out of Cannes. Cannot go wrong with Cronenberg.


Photo credit by IMDB and trailer by YouTube.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Film Trailers: BOYHOOD


     I was fortunate enough to see Richard Linklater's latest, the 12-year in the making epic Boyhood at SXSW and it is without a doubt one of his finest achievements and unlike anything made in a long while. Astounding piece of real cinema with that genuine Linklater touch of over analyzing one's self, while at the same time searching for that self in the world. Trying to rationalize and produce intelligent thought about everything in life. And the realities of growing up with divorced parents. I absolutely loved it and you can check out my review here. Boyhood, with an outstanding cast, including Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, Lorelei Linklater and the spectacular Ellar Coltrane, opens on July 11th and hopefully a grand Criterion edition will be released by the end of the year. Enjoy!!!


Photo credit by IMDB and trailer by YouTube.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Film Trailers: COLD IN JULY


     Here is the trailer for Jim Mickle's Cold In July, based on the novel by Joe Lansdale. The film received high praises when it screened at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and will be apart of the Director's Fortnight section at this year's Cannes Film Festival. The trailer looks intense and is set during the 1980s in East Texas. Two fathers must put aside their bitter differences to uncover a darker truth, according to IMDB. The cast is great, with Sam Shepard, Vinessa Shaw and Don Johnson, but I am especially excited to see Michael C. Hall's work. After being great in "Dexter," I really want to see him shine on the big screen and word is very positive. A tense, dark, Texas thriller is right up my alley. The film will be released on May 23rd. Enjoy!


Photo credit by IMDB and trailer by YouTube.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Film Trailers: THE ROVER


     The new film from Australian writer-director David Michôd, The Rover, looks as gritty and seedy as his clever, dark family crime drama Animal Kingdom (2010). The film follows a loner (Robert Pattinson) who tracks down the gang of thieves who stole his car. It takes place in small town Australia and the vast desolate outback. Everything about this film looks fantastic, including most of the cast, which includes Guy Pearce, David Field and Scoot McNairy, but I am skeptical about Pattinson. I still have not seen him knock it out of the park, not that he has too, but nothing has really made me say, "yea, he is something to look out for." Serviceable, but not a standout...yet. Same with his work in Cosmopolis for David Cronenberg. Working with quality filmmakers though: Cronenberg, Crobijn, Herzog and Michôd. We shall see. I trust Michôd since his wonderful work on Animal Kingdom. The Rover will premiere during the Midnight Selections at this year's Cannes Film Festival. Enjoy!


Photo credit by IMDB and trailer by YouTube.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

2014 Cannes Film Festival Lineup


     Early this morning, the film lineup for the 2014 Cannes Film Festival was announced and nothing is really standing out, at least from an American film perspective. No big standouts like Alejandro González Iñárritu's Birdman, Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice, Woody Allen's Magic in the Moonlight or J.C. Chandor's A Most Violent Year. Having said (written) that, there are a lot of interesting looking films from the usual Cannes club of directors. Films from Ken Loach, the Dardenne brothers, David Cronenberg, Xavier Dolan and Mike Leigh are all premiering and all look exceptional. It is just a little lackluster. No No Country for Old Men or Nebraska. The only real high-caliber film out of America that is showing is Bennett Miller's highly anticipated Foxcatcher, starring Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo and Steve Carrell. I am also interested to see how Ryan Gosling's directorial debut Lost River (aka How to Catch a Monster) turns out. We still have the Director's Fortnight and Critics' Week selections to go. More films will be announced later, but I really wanted to find out the goods on Birdman and Inherent Vice. Anticipation waits. Here is a complete list of the films announced so far. The festival runs from May 14 - 25. Enjoy.

OPENING NIGHT FILM
  • Grace of Monaco   d. Olivier Dahan
OFFICIAL COMPETITION
  • The Captive   d. Atom Egoyan
  • Foxcatcher   d. Bennett Miller
  • Goodbye to Language   d. Jean-Luc Godard (in 3D)
  • The Homesman   d. Tommy Lee Jones 
  • Jimmy's Hall   d. Ken Loach
  • Leviafan   d. Andrey Zvyagintsev
  • Maps to the Stars   d. David Cronenberg
  • Le meraviglie   d. Alice Rohrwacher
  • Mommy   d. Xavier Dolan
  • Mr. Turner   d. Mike Leigh
  • Saint Laurent   d. Bertrand Bonello
  • The Search   d. Michel Hazanavicus
  • Clouds of Sils Maria   d. Olivier Assayas
  • Still the Water   d. Naomi Kawase
  • Timbuktu   d. Abderrahmane Sissako    
  • Two Days, One Night   Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne
  • Wild Tales   d. Damián Szifron
  • Winter Sleep   d. Nuri Bilge Ceylan
UN CERTAIN REGARD
  • Party Girl   d. Mari Amachoukeli-Barsacq, Claire Burger & Samuel Theis
  • Amour Fou   d. Jessica Hausner
  • Bird People   d. Pascale Ferran 
  • The Blue Room   d. Mathieu Amalric
  • Charlie's Country   d. Rolf de Heer
  • The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby   d. Ned Benson
  • Fantasia   d. Wang Chao
  • A Girl at My Door   d. July Jung
  • Harcheck mi headro   d. Keren Yedaya
  • Jauja   d. Lisandro Alonso
  • Lost River   d. Ryan Gosling
  • Incompresa  d. Asia Argento
  • Run   d. Philippe Lacôte
  • The Salt of the Earth   d. Wim Wenders & Juliano Ribeiro Salgado
  • Snow in Paradise   d. Andrew Hulme
  • Titli   d. Kanu Behl
  • Turist   d. Ruben Östlund
  • Hermosa juventud   d. Jaime Rosales
  • Xenia   d. Panos H. Koutras
MIDNIGHT SCREENINGS
  • The Rover   d. David Michôd
  • The Salvation   d. Kristian Levring
  • The Target   d. Yoon Hong-Seung
SPECIAL SCREENINGS
  • Bridges of Sarajevo   d. various directors
  • Caricaturists: Fantasies of Democracy   d. Stéphanie Valloatto
  • Eau argentee   d. Mohammed Ossama
  • Maidan   d. Sergei Loznitsa
  • Red Army   d. Gabe Polsky
OUT OF COMPETITION
  • Coming Home   d. Zhang Yimou
  • Les gens du monde   d. Yves Jeuland
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2   d. Dean DeBlois
Photo credit by theguardian.com.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Criterion Collection Releases for July 2014

     The Criterion Collection announced their new releases yesterday and some quality films are being released in the month of July, including one I have been waiting for for over a year. David Cronenberg's sci-fi thriller Scanners (1981) gets the dual format treatment. Thank you. Thank you. This might be my favorite film from one of the best directors of all time. The film, starring a sinister Michael Ironside, revolves around individuals called "scanners" who have telekinetic powers, but some want to use it for power and domination. The film will always be remembered for the exploding head, but the suspense, horror and deep dive into human psyche and powers is something of brilliance. David Cronenberg's masterpiece will be released on July 15th and that cover art is both spectacular and haunting.
    Even though the Cronenberg release is extremely exciting for myself, probably the biggest release
of the month, and maybe the entire year so far, is the 6 film box set of Jacques Demy films. A French master and someone that many film lovers have been dying to see join the collection for quite some time. Demy created his own cinematic universe and was quite different than the other French New Wave filmmakers that came out of the 60s. Romance, musicals, melodramas and fantasy, nothing was out of bounds for Demy. He also worked with some of the most beautiful European actresses, especially the gorgeous Catherine Deneuve. The set includes Lola (1961), Bay of Angels (1963), The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964), The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967), Donkey Skin (1970) and Une chambre en ville (1982). I am pretty sure this is a blind buy for me and I know the color films will look spectacular. The box set will be released in dual format, 13 discs in all, on July 22nd. 
     Another French film is getting released in July, but this one is getting an upgrade and is the complete opposite from the lavish Demy films. Robert Bresson's Pickpocket (1959) is a film of brilliant craftsmanship, with the minimalist of technique. The film swallows you in and is one hell of a suspenseful ride, much like Bresson's A Man Escaped. At only 75 minutes, Pickpocket examines the thrills and fears of a Parisian thief. Bresson is a filmmaker I have only recently gotten in to, but I am so thankful I have. Simple, economical and full of humanism, Bresson's films are pure cinematic poetry. Pickpocket will be released in dual format on July 15th. 
     I believe Christopher Nolan only made one mediocre film and that is Insomnia. It just did not completely work for me and after I saw the original
Norwegian film that Nolan's was a remake of, it really hit home. Insomnia (1997), directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg, is one exceptional murder mystery. It contains mesmerizing cinematography and truly unsettling situations. Stellan Skarsgård plays a Swedish detective who travels to a tiny Northern Norwegian town to investigate the death of a young girl. His own past and full daylight from the midnight sun unnerves him and his abilities in attempting to solve this chilling murder mystery. Great film and one that is far superior than the decent film Nolan made. The cover art for this one is quite amazing as well. That steely, light blue is hypnotic and somewhat terrifying. The film will be released in dual format, also an upgrade, on July 22nd. 
     The other film that will be released in July is Lawrence Kasdan's The Big Chill (1983). I can remember watching this film with my parents and slightly understanding the reconnection's and reminiscing moments, but really loving that awesome soundtrack that accompanied the film. Songs from the 60s, including tracks from Marvin Gaye, The Young Rascals and The Temptations, to name a few, helped make this a definitive film in the 80s and one that exemplified how great popular music can affect and be an integral part of a film. That great ensemble cast includes William Hurt, JoBeth Williams, Jeff Goldblum, Glenn Close, Tom Berenger, Kevin Kline, Mary Kay Place and Meg Tilly. A film for the baby boomers and one I might need to check out again. It has been awhile. The film will be released in dual format on July 29th. 
       And that is it for the month of July. Overall, a good month for releases and finally got Scanners!!! 

Photo credits by The Criterion Collection.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Film Trailers: THE HOMESMAN


     Tommy Lee Jones' second directorial effort and it looks like a good one. I thoroughly enjoyed his undervalued neo-western The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada and with The Homesman, it appears he has dived back in to his wealth of Western film knowledge and crafted something special. It somewhat reminds of a Coen brothers film with oddball characters and an unusual partnership during a quest or journey. The cast is spectacular, including Jones, who also co-wrote the screenplay, Hilary Swank, Miranda Otto, John Lithgow, Tim Blake Nelson, James Spader, Jesse Plemons, William Fichtner, Hailee Steinfeld and Meryl Streep. Damn!!! The release of the trailer this close to the Cannes Film Festival announcement almost assures its place in the lineup. Oh yeah, that great look it has comes from the wonderful cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto (Babel, Brokeback Mountain). The film does not have a release date yet, but should be picked up at Cannes and released later this year. Looking forward to this one. Enjoy the international trailer!


Photo credit by collider and trailer by YouTube.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Film Trailers: GONE GIRL


     Almost everything about this trailer works, as expected with any film from David Fincher, but I really do not like Richard Butler, from the Psychedelic Furs, cover of "She." They should have used the Elvis Costello version. It is eerie, cool, smooth and atmospheric as hell. The poster promotes a headline news worthy notion that will be prevalent throughout the film, I suppose. Fincher knows what he is doing and that is for sure. Ben Affleck looks solid, hopefully his best role to-date and one where he really shines. Rosamund Pike will of course be fantastic. Gone Girl, based off the best-selling novel of the same name from Gillian Flynn, who also wrote the screenplay, follows the disappearance of Amy Dunne (Pike) on her fifth wedding anniversary and her husband Nick (Affleck) who is now the prime suspect. I have not read the book yet and know the ending of the film is different from the novel, but anticipation is extremely high on this film. It is number 3 on my most anticipated films of 2014 list. Fincher is working with his fantastic crew again, including DP Jeff Cronenwerth, musicians Atticus Ross & Trent Reznor and editor Kirk Baxter. The film also stars Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit, Sela Ward, Missi Pyle and Scoot McNairy. Fox will release Gone Girl on October 3rd and it will certainly be in the Oscar and awards season race. Enjoy!!!


Photo credit by IMDB and trailer by joblo.com.



Film Trailers: GOD'S POCKET


     Here is the trailer for God's Pocket, one of the other, along with Anton Corbijn's A Most Wanted Man, of Philip Seymour Hoffman's final on screen performances. The film is directed by "Mad Men" star John Slattery, who also has directed episodes of that show. The film did not get received all that well at this year's Sundance Film Festival, but I am impressed with the trailer. Mickey (Hoffman) gets in over his head when he attempts to cover up the death of his stepson. Without a doubt I want to see this film, regardless of the reviews. The early 80's setting and what appears to be a somewhat mix of  a thriller and dark comedy. Plus seeing Hoffman. The cast also includes Christina Hendricks, John Turturro, Caleb Landry Jones and Richard Jenkins. The film will be released on May 9th. Still sad to think that Hoffman is gone. Cannot believe it. Enjoy the trailer.


Photo credit by IMDB and trailer by YouTube.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Film Trailers: A MOST WANTED MAN


     A Most Wanted Man, adapted from a John le Carre novel of the same name, is the new film directed by Anton Corbijn (Control, The American) and features the one of the last performances from the great Philip Seymour Hoffman. The film premiered at this years Sundance Film Festival and received a rather muted response. No one going crazy over it or lamenting the film. A dark, probing thriller, with little sunshine involved. I like films that are a little dark. I thoroughly enjoyed both of Corbijn's past two films, especially Control, which followed the short life of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis. They are extremely stylish and occur at a rather glacially pace. The film revolves around a Chechen Muslim who illegally immigrates to Hamburg, Germany and becomes involved in the international war on terror, according to IMDB. I am looking forward to this film because I thoroughly enjoy well executed thrillers, which I hope this one is, the beautiful cinematography from Benoît Delhomme that is evident in the trailer, and to see this wonderful cast perform, especially the late Hoffman. That cast includes, Willem Dafoe, Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright and Daniel Brühl. The film will be released on July 25th. Here is the trailer. Enjoy!


Photo credit by IMDB and trailer by YouTube.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Film Trailers: I ORIGINS


     This film was well received at January's Sundance Film Festival and the trailer does not disappoint, for the most part. Directed and written by Mike Cahill (Another Earth), I Origins, a sci-fi thriller that revolves around a molecular biologist who uncovers scientific evidence that might alter the future of our society. The film stars Micahel Pitt, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey and Brit Marling, who also starred in Another Earth. I like the look of the trailer and I am intrigued with the concept, but hope it does not build and build, and then not deliver in the end. I just have a slight feeling this might be that kind of a film, but I hope I am wrong. It needs to work based off this wonderful trailer. The film will be released on July 18th. Here is the trailer. Enjoy!


Photo credit by ropeofsilicon.com and trailer by YouTube.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Film Trailer: BORGMAN


     This trailer definitely has the feeling of unease part down. Borgman, written and directed by Alex van Warmerdam, is a Dutch film that was a pretty big hit at last year's Cannes and Toronto Film Festivals. A serious looking thriller, that evidently has touches of black comedy, but I see straight on thriller throughout this trailer. It has that cool, smooth, glorious look like all European films have and the trailer completely works for me. And, if it is anything like the great films of Michael Haneke or as good as the Greek film Dogtooth, I will be very impressed. Drafthouse Films, the film distribution company of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, will be releasing Borgman on June 6th. Good deal, because that means it will open in Austin! And by the way, the Drafthouse is the only place to go watch a movie comfortably and enjoy a quality beer. Here is the trailer. Enjoy.


Photo credit by IMDB and trailer by YouTube.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Film Trailers: CHEF


     Is this a return to form for Jon Favreau after his stint of big budget blockbusters with directing the first two Iron Man films and his work in Swingers? Well, who knows. I was mildly interested in attending the SXSW premiere of Jon Favreau's Chef, but nothing really drew me to it. It looks like a film that will display some succulent appearing food and show a passion for purity and originality in the cooking world. Jon Favreau, who also wrote the screenplay, plays a chef who goes out on his own after not being allowed his creative freedom at a famous L.A. restaurant. He starts a food truck in Miami and learns about the creative process that reignites his passion and he also attempts to put back his family. The film received decent reviews from SXSW, but it looks like it is going to have to sappy of an ending for me. The film also stars John Leguizamo, Scarlett Johansson, Sofía Vergara, Dustin Hoffman, Bobby Cannavale, Amy Sedaris, Oliver Platt and Robert Downey, Jr. Chef will be released on May 9th. Here is the trailer. Enjoy.


Photo credit by IMDB and trailer by YouTube.

Monday, April 7, 2014

CANNES Predictions and Possibilities

     Next week the films that will be showing at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival will be announced. The premiere film festival in the world and where the celebrities love to show off, there is also an strong emphasis on high quality films from high caliber filmmakers. Films from all over the world. You will have your regulars, the Dardenne Brothers, Ken Loach, David Cronenberg, and a few youngsters and new filmmakers, the Sundance hit Hellion from Kat Candler is suppose to be shown as well. Olivier Dahan's Grace of Monaco will kick off the festival on May 14th and the festival will run until May 25th. Grace of Monaco stars Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly, and follows the former Hollywood star as her husband Prince Rainier III (Tim Roth) clashes with French President Charles de Gaulle (André Penvern). 
     The great thing about this film festival is that it focuses on cinema. There will be some Sundance films present, but which ones? At least that festival, like Cannes, is all about film. I do love the film part of SXSW, but the overall experience is turning into a corporate shindig focused way too highly on how many celebrities can visit Austin, Texas. Sorry, but its true. After this, there is nothing significant until the end of August when the Venice and Telluride Film Festivals begin and then the expansive Toronto Film Festival in September. That is when it gets interesting, but Cannes will really let us know what is great, good, mediocre and bad. Jane Campion is this years Jury President.
     Well, here is a list of predictions, hopefuls and maybes for the upcoming festival on the French Riviera:

The Regulars:

Birdman   d. Alejandro González Iñárritu
Jimmy's Hall   d. Ken Loach
Winter Sleep   d. Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Clouds of Sils Maria   d. Olivier Assayas
Two Days, One Night   d. The Dardenne Brothers
The Assassin   d. Hou Hsiao-Hsien
Everything Will Be Fine   d. Wim Wenders
The Search   d. Michel Hazavanicius
Still the Water   d. Naomi Kawase
Mr. Turner   d. Mike Leigh
A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence   d. Roy Andersson
The Cut   d. Fatih Akin
Over Your Dead Body   d. Takashi Miike
Mommy   d. Xavier Dolan
Maps to the Stars   d. David Cronenberg
Knight of Cups   d. Terrence Malick
Coming Home   d. Zhang Yimou

High Probablilty& Most Likely:

Foxcatcher   d. Bennett Miller
Magic in the Moonlight   d. Woody Allen
Three Hearts   d. Benoît Jacquot
Bird People   d. Pascale Ferran
Far From the Madding Crowd   d. Thomas Vinterberg
The Rover   d. David Michod
Suite Francasise   d. Saul Dibb
The Homesman   d. Tommy Lee Jones
Welcome to New York   d. Abel Ferrara
La chambre bleue   d. Mathieu Amalric
Leviafan   d.  Andrey Zvyagintsev
Eden   d. Mia Hansen-Løve
The Normal Heart   d. Ryan Murphy
La rançon de la gloire   d. Xavier Beauvois

The Rest of the Maybes:

Inherent Vice   d. Paul Thomas Anderson
Boyhood   d. Richard Linklater
Maleficent   d. Robert Stromberg
Serena   d. Susanne Bier
While We're Young   d. Noah Baumbach
Big Eyes   d. Tim Burton
A Most Violent Year   d. J.C. Chandor
How to Catch a Monster   d. Ryan Gosling
Rosewater   d. Jon Stewart

     Last year, Abdellatif Kechiche's Blue Is the Warmest Color won the Palme d'Or. I have to say, I really hope Birdman, Inherent Vice (doubtful), FoxcatcherMaps to the Stars and A Most Violent Year show and we get to find out the quality of these films. Especially these films. I am keen to see how Birdman turns out, as this is González Iñárritu's first venture into comedy. We shall see next week when the films are announced.

Photo credit by IMDB.