Posted by R. Emmet Sweeney on January 10, 2012
I always work better with a deadline. Since the world is ending on December 21st, 2012, I expect to have the most productive movie-going year of my young, super-handsome life. In preparation for these blessed final hours in darkened theaters, I’ve drawn up a list of new releases I wish to see before my anticipated demise, those which I expect would give me the most pleasure in my twilight year. I hope it is also some help for you, dear reader, usefully arranged in descending order of preference.
Gebo et L’Ombre (Gebo and the Shadow), directed by Manoel de Oliveira
What better way to shuffle off this mortal coil than with the latest film from that ageless wonder, Manoel de Oliveira, the only man likely to survive doomsday. Gebo is an adaptation of the eponymous play by modernist Portuguese writer Raul Brandão (1867 – 1930), who was born in the same city as Oliveira, Oporto. The play is from 1923, and portrays an accounting clerk who is divided between wealth and honor, and who has to sacrifice himself to protect his own son. The production company, O Som E A Furia, rather blandly says the film, “portrays the poverty and the tragedies of life of ordinary people who can easily be related to contemporary life.” Other details are scarce, although you can read the play if you speak Portuguese, here. The sterling cast is made up of Oliveira regulars Ricardo Trepa and Leonor Silveira, plus the august triumverate of Jeanne Moreau, Claudia Cardinale and Michael Lonsdale. Likely to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May, it should hopefully reach these shores by the end of the year, in one fashion or another. Oliveira has already started production on another film, A Igreja do Diabo (The Devil’s Church), starring Fernanda Montenegro and based on the short story by Machado de Assis.
A Pigeon Sat On a Branch Reflecting On Existence, directed by Roy Andersson
This is more hope than reality, as there’s only a slim chance this gets completed in time to screen this year. But since I wanted to type out that amazing title, here it is. It is the third and final section of Andersson’s “Living” trilogy, following the extraordinary duo of Songs From the Second Floor (2000) and You, the Living (2007). In October the film was awarded 650,000 Euros from The Council of Europe’s Eurimages fund, and CineEuropa reported it is “shooting for a 2013-2014 delivery”. We might be waiting awhile. For a taste, here is Roy Andersson talking to Ethan Spigland in 2010, when he was calling it A Dove Sat On a Branch…:
Tsui Hark, whose Detective Dee and The Phantom Flame was one of the inimitable delights of 2011, makes his first foray into 3D with this martial arts extravaganza. It opened on December 22nd in Hong Kong, and while it should be easy to find DVDs of this at online Asian retailers, I dearly hope I can see it in 3D. An irrepressible showman with an innate command of action cinematography (if not narrative), this could be one of the visual treats of the year.
Casa De Mi Padre, directed by Matt Piedmont (March 16th)
Three Mississippi, directed by Adam McKay (Thanksgiving weekend, according to Vulture)
After a down year for American comedy in 2011 (Bridesmaids excepted), I am relieved that Will Ferrell will be appearing in no less than three movies in 2012 (I left off Dog Fight, in which Ferrell and Zack Galifianakis play dueling South Carolina politicians, because of wet rag director Jay Roach). I have been anticipating Casa since a trailer appeared almost a year ago. A parody of Mexican telenovelas, it has Ferrell playing frequently shirtless rancher Armando Alvarez, who is trying to save his father’s farm. The gimmick is that the film is almost entirely in Spanish, with Ferrell speaking the language phonetically throughout. With co-stars Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal, this looks just ridiculous enough for me to love. Three Mississippi is the latest collaboration between Ferrell and McKay, after The Other Guys in 2010. The duo has perfected an improvisatory approach to comedy, in which they push scenarios – and language itself – into realms of absurdity previously breached only by the Marx Brothers. I prefer John C. Reilly to Mark Wahlberg as Ferrell’s co-star, but I’ll take them however I can get them.
It’s a Terrence Malick movie, which at this point is enough. It stars Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Rachel Weisz, Javier Bardem and other famous people. Here is what IMDB says about the story:
Holly Motors, directed by Leos Carax
Leos Carax’s first film since Pola X in 1999. I know very little about this, other than its delightfully eclectic cast of Eva Mendes (a wonderful comedienne: see The Other Guys and Stuck On You for proof), Michel Piccoli, Kylie Minlogue and Denis Lavant. Here is the summary from CineEuropa:
Like a lone killer acting in cold blood and going from one hit to the next, he has a completely different identity in each of his intertwining lives. Like in a film-within-a film, he plays different roles. But where are the cameras, the film crew and the director? And where is his house, his resting place?”
Some production photos show Eva Mendes crawling out of a sewer, which would lead one to believe there are some elements borrowed from his segment of Tokyo! , in which Denis Lavant played a gibbering idiot named Merde who lived in the sewers, and who also wreaked havoc on the streets of Japan.
Tabu, directed by Miguel Gomes
After being enchanted by Our Beloved Month of August a few years back, I hotly anticipate Miguel Gomes’ new feature, Tabu, which was just announced to be part of the Competition slate at the Berlin Film Festival. Apparently unrelated to F.W. Murnau and Robert Flaherty’s film of the South Seas, its production company describes it thusly:
Otherwise all we know are that the stills are in B&W, and they look gorgeous.
Resident Evil: Retribution 3D, directed by Paul W.S. Anderson (September 14th)
The Master, directed Paul Thomas Anderson
A battle of Andersons! W.S. is one of the few contemporary directors to fully investigate the possibilities of 3D, with both Resident Evil: Afterlife and The Three Musketeers templates for how to shoot fight scenes in depth, with multiple planes of action roiling at once. P.T. is one for grand statements and grander tracking shots, an ambitious auteur with capital A’s adept at sketching particularly charismatic strains of grandiose American self-deception. His next entry is about the rise a religious sect, reportedly based on Scientology, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman. I look forward to both, but admit, if I had to choose, that I’m a W.S. man (and a Jovovich one, too).
The Grandmasters, directed by Wong Kar-Wai
Whether or not this actually comes out this year is anybody’s guess, as Wong likes to camp out in his editing room, but this is his return to Hong Kong filmmaking after the awkward, intermittently affecting My Blueberry Nights, and it stars dreamboat Tony Leung. Its subject is Ip Man, the Chinese martial artist who trained Bruce Lee, and who was also the subject to two fine fight films starring Donnie Yen.
Others, in brief:
Bullet to the Head, directed by Walter Hill (April 13th)
Did you see it’s directed by Walter Hill? Well it is! And starring the intriguingly decomposing Sylvester Stallone. It’s Hill’s first theatrical feature since the underrated Undisputed in 2002.
Barbara, directed by Christian Petzold
Will premiere at the Berlinale. Have a pressing urge to gorge on the psychologically astute, visually controlled films of the Berlin School. Petzold (Jerichow, Beats Being Dead), is the exemplar of this style.
Curious to see how MMA fighter Gina Carano’s imposing physicality translates to the screen. Also, it’s Soderbergh’s first collaboration with writer Lem Dobbs since The Limey, which was great fun.
The Three Stooges, directed by The Farrelly Brothers (April 13th)
This is the project the Farrelly’s have been trying to make their entire career. Hopefully it unleashes the spastic, slapstick body-comedy-horror of their earlier work.
Lock-Out, directed by James Mather and Stephen St. Leger (April 20th)
The latest from the Luc Besson meathead factory, this Escape From New York knockoff drops wisecracking Guy Pearce into a max security space prison in order to rescue the president’s daughter (!). The trailer shows Pearce to be adept at falling and quipping.
MovieMorlocks.com is the official blog for TCM. No topic is too obscure or niche to be excluded from our film discussions. And we welcome your comments on our blogs and bloggers.
See more: facebook.com/tcmtv
See more: twitter.com/tcm
3-D Academy Awards Action Films Actors Actors' Endorsements Actresses animal stars Animation Anime Anthology Films Art Direction Art in Movies Asians in Hollywood Australian CInema Autobiography Avant-Garde Aviation Awards B-movies Beer in Film Behind the Scenes Best of the Year lists Biography Biopics Black Film Blu-Ray Books on Film Boxing films British Cinema Canadian Cinema Character Actors Chicago Film History Cinematography Classic Films College Life on Film Comedy Comic Book Movies Crime Czech Film Dance on Film Digital Cinema Directors Disaster Films Documentary Drama DVD Early Talkies Editing Educational Films European Influence on American Cinema Experimental Exploitation Fairy Tales on Film Faith or Christian-based Films Family Films Film Composers Film Criticism Film Festival 2015 film festivals Film History in Florida Film Noir Film Scholars Film titles Filmmaking Techniques Films About Gambling Films of the 1930s Films of the 1960s Films of the 1970s Films of the 1980s Food in Film Foreign Film French Film Gangster films Genre Genre spoofs HD & Blu-Ray Holiday Movies Hollywood history Hollywood lifestyles Horror Horror Movies Icons independent film Italian Film Japanese Film Korean Film Literary Adaptations Martial Arts Melodramas Memorabilia Method Acting Mexican Cinema Moguls Monster Movies Movie Books Movie Costumes movie flops Movie locations Movie lovers Movie Reviewers Movie settings Movie Stars Movie titles Movies about movies Music in Film Musicals New Releases Outdoor Cinema Paranoid Thrillers Parenting on film Pirate movies Polish film industry political thrillers Politics in Film Pornography Pre-Code Producers Race in American Film Remakes Revenge Road Movies Romance Romantic Comedies Russian Film Industry Satire Scandals Science Fiction Screenwriters Semi-documentaries Serials Set design/production design Short Films Silent Film silent films Social Problem Film Spaghetti Westerns Sports Sports on Film Stereotypes Straight-to-DVD Studio Politics Stunts and stuntmen Suspense thriller Swashbucklers TCM Classic Film Festival TCM Underground Television The British in Hollywood The Germans in Hollywood The Hungarians in Hollywood The Irish in Hollywood Theaters Thriller Trains in movies U.S.S. Indianapolis Underground Cinema VOD War film Westerns Women in the Film Industry Women's Weepies