Thursday, September 11, 2008

2009 and Beyond the Infinite: Part 2

A look into the films of the future.

Part 1 available here.

Dark Shadows
Release: 2010 (?)
Director: Tim Burton

The soapy sixties saga from creator Dan Curtis about time-shifting vampire Barnabas Collins and his dark legacy is always ripe to be drained of its blood. There was already the nineties' short-lived revival series, and this decade's botched teenage spin, but now it's Tim Burton's turn to revisit the Gothic mystery of Collinwood Manor. It sounds unexpectedly enticing! Naturally Johnny Depp's set for the lead, but this time it's as much about good casting as it is Burton's friendly obligation. The series had a tone of playful fantasy that can be Burton's specialty, although Big Fish and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory seemed like manufactured whimsy more than inspired streams of his imagination. See Edward Scissorhands or Beetlejuice for that. John August is writing the script and we can probably assume it will stick to the core story of Barnabas falling for the beautiful visitor Victoria Winters, who bears a striking resemblance to his long lost love Josette. It's all about witches, werewolves and Barnabas Fucking Collins! (John August is welcome to use that line in the film.) Burton's off doing his version of Alice in Wonderland first, also starring Johnny Depp, but we'll wait and see if he can recover some of that old black magic.

A natural progression.

Enter the Void
Release: 2009 (Cannes Film Festival)
Director: Gaspar Noé

If you've got a strong stomach or a substance abuse problem, this one's your golden ticket! Shocking and innovative French director Gaspar Noé (I Stand Alone) takes us on a psychedelic trip through the mind of a man on the brink of death. Noé says the film, which was recently completed in Tokyo, will be an exhaustive experience blending dreams, memory and startling streams of consciousness. He mentions his primary influence was the mind melding 2001: A Space Odyssey, which he already made direct connections to in the bold and controversial Irreversible. The trippy, "melodramatic" plot concerns a brother's efforts to save his sister while having a near death experience. It sounds radically visual with an inventive narrative, and there's no doubt Noé's got a little shock left in his system. Check out the film's striking poster art and more of Noé's thoughts here.

"Someone in here!"

Release: 2009 (?)
Director: Miranda July

Me, you and everyone I know loved Miranda July's indie/performance art debut. Her follow-up is a modern romantic comedy that, according to Variety, "turns on a young couple: Jason, goes off on an ecological mission; Sophie starts an affair with an older man. Both events threaten the relationship." Some threads of the film might even connect to July's recent short story collection No One Belongs Here More Than You. Expect big heart, inoffensive quirk, and possibly some small kids chatting poetically about scat.


Love and Other Impossible Pursuits
Release: 2009 (?)
Director: Don Roos

Am I actually looking forward to a movie starring Jennifer Lopez? To that I say, "Enough!" But then I look out the window and hell hasn't frozen over. It's just her good luck to be paired with a hilarious queer director and his perfect sardonic muse Lisa Kudrow. Don Roos, who gave us The Opposite of Sex and the undervalued Happy Endings, is back with another take on the perils and promise of modern relationships. According to the (far too spoilerish) synopsis here, the film follows an aspiring lawyer (Lopez) whose flirtation with a married senior partner (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) quickly spins into marriage, pregnancy, and dealing with a difficult stepchild. Did you just nod off? Well it takes some darker turns from there which sound like they'll definitely reap the heavy drama. It's based on a novel by Ayelet Waldman and could be more in keeping with Roos' 2000 feature Bounce. I'm not making this sound good at all... But Lisa Kudrow everybody!

Release: 2009
Director: Lars von Trier

Previously discussed here. While we wait on Washington and pray Nicole Kidman frees up her schedule, we get this equally drool-worthy prospect. Lars von Trier is fusing his notoriously horrifying take on humanity with a more genre-based horror. It's got a cabin in the woods, a demonic pregnancy and Willem Dafoe, all working their way under your skin. Do yourself a favor and gear up for this one by watching von Trier's miniseries spectacular The Kingdom (Riget). Because where else can you see Udo Kier's adult head emerging from a womb?

Rosemary had it easy.

Taking Woodstock
Release: 2009
Director: Ang Lee

Recently discussed here. I lust for any new Ang Lee film, devoid of caution that it could ever disappoint. (Covering my ears as you say The Hulk). Gay themes, Emile Hirsch and Jeffrey Dean Morgan! ...Oh, and something about music... or some kind of festival... maybe?

"Bring on shirtless Emile Hirsch! ...Oh, and the band. We should probably hear the band."

Release: 2009
Director: Kenneth Lonergan

Kenneth Lonergan's second feature has been a long time coming. It was way back in 2000 that he warmed indie-loving hearts with the magnificent You Can Count On Me. Stars of that film Mark Ruffalo and Matthew Broderick (plus your standard Culkin kid) are joined by Matt Damon and Anna Paquin for this morality based drama. The film follows Lisa Cohen (Paquin), a high school student witness to a horrible traffic accident. She feels as though the tragedy may have inadvertently been her fault, and in efforts to make things right with herself she brings about complications with those around her. It sounds like another richly rewarding character piece from Lonergan, and if it's anything like his debut we can expect some wonderfully natural dialogue and subtly affecting humor.

She's too depressed to be fucking Matt Damon.

Part 3 coming soon.

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