In this week’s column, we offer alternative viewing choices for your weekend viewing pleasure, plus a roundup of the past week’s distribution deals.
Melancholia. The latest feature from controversial director Lars von Trier has been dividing audiences since it premired at the Cannes film festival a few months ago. Kirsten Dunst stars as a newlywed suffering from depression, even as a new planet is discovered to be heading on a collision course with Earth.
“The film takes his ongoing obsessions -- the suffering of women, the failure of human social institutions, divine punishment -- and pushes them past what you've come to expect ... into the realm of the operatic,” our own Dave White says in his review. And Grae Drake observes: “?In this film, his slowly, barely moving impressionistic ‘paintings’ ramp up that experiment to create a movie so rich I wanted to take a bite out of it.”
Melancholia opens theatrically today in New York and Los Angeles, and is also available via Video On Demand (VOD) platforms.
Into the Abyss. A documentary (and commentary) about the death sentence by director Werner Herzog, the film has received generally positive notices, but there have been noticeably mixed reviews as well. Our own Christopher Campbell wrestled with the film when he saw it at the Toronto film fest recently: “?The director’s detached inquisitiveness is very present throughout. We have our own questions at the end, but we must do only with answers to what Herzog has thought to ask. Into the Abyss ends up more a horror movie about Texas overall than anything else.”
Into the Abyss opens theatrically today in 12 theaters across the country in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, and other locations.
Elite Squad: The Enemy Within. In Brazil, the men in blue are the enemies, not the protectors that they are meant to be. Directed by Jose Padiha, the sequel examines corruption in military and government ranks, as uncovered by a man of integrity. Reviews have been generally favorable. The film opens today in New York and next week in Los Angeles, before rolling out to Seattle, Chicago, Houston, Miami, and other cities in the following weeks.
Over the past week, seven new distribution deals have been announced. Here’s a roundup of the pertinent details.
Unforgivable. Drama, originally titled Impardonnables, starring Carole Bouquet and Andre Dussolier as a romantically-involved couple; directed by Andre Techine. Strand Releasing will release the film next spring. (Indiewire)
Deadheads. Horror comedy/adventure, starring Michael McKiddy and Ross Kidder; directed by Brett Pierce. Acquired by Freestyle Digital Media, which has slated a release in the first quarter of 2012.
Lovely Molly. Thriller starring Gretchen Lodge; directed by Eduardo Sanchez (The Blair Witch Project.) Picked up by Image Entertainment, which plans a theatrical release next spring. (Deadline)
Keyhole. Haunted house thriller, shot in black and white, starring Jason Patric, Isabella Rossellini, and Udo Kier; directed by Guy Maddin. Distributor Montery Media is planning a theatrical release for next spring. (Variety)
The Island President. Documentary by Jon Shenk on the efforts by the president of the Maldives to save his nation. Acquired by Samuel Goldwyn Films, which plans a February 2012 release. (Realscreen)
Sleepless Nights. French-language action thriller. Tribeca Film will release in 2012 on VOD and in theaters. (IFC.com)
Bel Ami. Drama set in 1980s Paris, starring Robert Pattinson, Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Christina Ricci; directed by Declan Donnellan. Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions has not announced North American distribution plans; the film begins opening overseas in February. (The Hollywood Reporter)
Trailer of the Week
London Boulevard. Keira Knightley and Colin Farrell star as an actress and her bodyguard, respectively, in a romance that revolves around the criminal underworld. William Monahan, a screenwriter who won an Academy Award for The Departed, makes his directorial debut.
Overall, reviews have been mixed. The film opens theatrically today in New York and is also available via VOD platforms.
The trailer is smashing! It makes the movie look stylish, funny, and brashly violent. I have no idea if London Boulevard as a whole lives up to what’s in the trailer, but it’s definitely worth two minutes and change to have a look.