Sunday, May 07, 2006

Fighting the Movie Blahs

Seems like there have been very few new films to get excited about so far this year, but in actuality there are scads of interesting small films out there that just haven't made it to theaters yet. Fest coverage of the Sundance and Tribeca festivals has mentioned several films that caught my eye. Some may prove to be duds, but hopefully there are a few gems in this list:

Top Picks

  • The Big Combo - restored film noir with "sadistic gay hit men" (Lee Van Cleef and Earl Holliman)
  • The Case of the Grinning Cat - latest essay film from the brilliant Chris Marker
  • Color Me Kubrick - Malkovich plays a "gay, effete, alcoholic slob" who passed himself off as Kubrick, and it's based on a real case
  • Comedy of Power - Chabrol directs Huppert in what sounds a bit like an Erin Brockavich inspired by a real French Enron-style scandal (the "Elf Affair")
  • Half Nelson - drama about a Brooklyn middle-school teacher with a drug addiction--raves for the acting
  • My Dad is 100 Years Old - with Guy Maddin's Help, Isabella Rossellini makes a film about her dad Roberto
  • Old Joy - Raves for this American art film
  • Science of Sleep - Michel Gondry's proper follow-up to Eternal Sunshine
  • Soy Boricua, Pa' Que Tu Lo Sepas! (I'm Boricua, Just So You Know!) - Rosie Perez made this doc about the history of Puerto Rico and it's culture
  • Street Thief - doc about a Chicago based burglar responsible for over 100 safecrackings since 1996
  • Tell Me Do You Miss Me - doc about Luna's farewell tour
  • This Film is Not Yet Rated - doc. about the censorious American ratings system
  • Viva Zapatero - In Italy, the local Rupert Murdoch is also prime minister (Berlusconi), and this artist/activist took her critique on the road and filmed it (raves at Sundance and Tribeca)

Waiting for More Reviews

  • Air Guitar Nation - a doc about the competitive air guitar circuit
  • Backstage - French drama about a teen who befriends a pop idol
  • The Descent - about indie horror film about a group of women who go spelunking, looks terrifying
  • In Between Days - character study of a teenage Korean girl living in Canada
  • Iraq in Fragments - doc of the war thru Iraqi eyes
  • Land of the Blind - Radical and outrageous story of a nation plays with ideas of revolution and dictators, with Donald Sutherland and Ralph Fiennes
  • Lunacy - Svankmajer's latest stop-motion, with inspiration from Poe and de Sade
  • The Mist in the Palm Trees - a Cuban faux memoir
  • The One Percent - heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune interviews various the best and brightest about the state of the American economy
  • Ontic Antics - Ken Jacobs' latest stroboscopic experiment irradiates an old Laurel and Hardy film
  • Pineflat - Andy Warhol meets James Benning according the Film Comment
  • Punching at the Sun
  • The Shutka Book of Records
  • The Treatment - Unformulaic rom-com set in NY, featuring Famke Janseen and Ian Holm
  • Two Players from the Bench - another dark, nutty film from the land of Kusturica
  • Wordplay - doc about crossword puzzle and word puzzle maniacs, featuring Will Shortz
  • The Yacoubian Building - 3-hour Egyptian epic soap opera



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