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Friday, May 8, 2009

A Film Snob's Anit-Blockbuster Summer Movie Preview

Summer movies are products, plain and simple. Studios nowadays are owned by corporations. Corporations that make a wide array of products, cereal for example. When an executive green-lights a film, he needs to know exactly what audience is going to see it and how it can be packaged into an aggressive marketing campaign (i.e. High School Musical). He cares as much about a film as he does about a box of cereal. He'll never see the film, he'll never eat the cereal. Every once in a while we get a Spiderman 2 or Ironman or Dark Knight. But more often than not we're stuck with Wanted or Hancock or Pirates of Who Gives a Shit About A Movie Based On A Fucking Roller-Coaster (Fuck You, Disney). So, I give to you (all 5 of you), my answer to those assholes with my picks for Summer Flicks Not To Be Missed!

Rian Johnson's follow up to Brick is a fun, stylish con man movie that I was lucky enough to catch at AFI last month. Although it sort of falls apart in the last act, it consistently kept a smile on my face throughout. Rachel Weisz is adorable, as is Rinko Kikuchi (the naked Japanese girl from Babel). Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody are perfectly cast as brothers, demonstrating great chemistry.

This is the first frilm from Jim Jarmusch since 2005's underrated Broken Flowers. Jarmusch has been one of the most solid independent filmmakers of the last twenty years, always making interesting, genre defying films. Isaach De Bankole stars as a mysterious loner in Spain, intent on finishing a job. This marks his first starring role for Jarmusch after supporting roles in three of his previous (Night on Earth, Ghost Dog, and Coffee and Cigarettes). Rounding out the cast are John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Paz De La Huerta, Alex Descas, and Gael Garcia Bernal.

I love Woody Allen. I still see all of his films in the theatre. I know he's not the filmmaker he once was, but I'd be willing to put Vicky Christina Barcelona, Match Point, Hollywood Ending, Sweet and Lowdown, or any of his films up against any piece of shit studio film any day. This film stars Larry David and Evan Rachel Wood as two people who begin a odd relationship after a chance meeting. And, it's his first film shot in NYC in five years. Oh, by the way, this is his 42nd film. Fuck you, haters.

The best/most original/honest film about relationships I've seen in a long time. Caught it at AFI and it blew me away. Go see it.

Here's the deal with Ang Lee: dude has one of the most eclectic filmographies of any modern filmmaker. The Wedding Banquet, Eat Drink Man Woman, Sense and Sensibility, The Ice Storm, Hulk, Brokeback Mountain, Lust, Caution, and now this. Taking Woodstock stars Demetri Martin (I know, right) in the true story about how Woodstock became Woodstock. Great supporting cast includes: Tim Sigur look alike Liev Schreiber (in drag!), Emile Hircsh, Paul Dano, Eugene Levy, Kelli Garner, and Imelda Staunton.

Steven Soderberg is one of my favorite filmmakers working today. He makes big successful studio films just so he can make intriguing experimental films like Full Frontal and Bubble. TGE marks his second film in collaboration with Mark Cuban owned 2929 Productions. Back in 2004, he signed a three picture deal to create ultra low budget experimental films that would be released theatrically, on DVD and Pay-Per-View all at the same time. Bubble was a experiment in location, only using the resources (actors, props, etc.) of a very small town. The second film in the series is about a high class call girl who is more than a hooker, she becomes your girlfriend. The experiment is in casting: the lead actress is a real life porn star, Sasha Grey (just google her name, see what pops up). I was able to see this film earlier this week, and I loved it. It's not for everyone, but if you love beautifully photographed films with a bunch of subtext, see this film.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the recommendations. These all look like interesting films. Tina and I still have our yearly tradition of going to see every Woody Allen film in the theater.