Something hidden -- go and find it;
Go and look beyond the Ranges
Something lost behind the ranges:
Lost and waiting for you. Go!

-- from Guy Maddin's CAREFUL

Being a periodic meditation on some of the more obscure outlying regions of cinema;
regarding movies that are inadequately publicized and hence, easily overlooked --
and by cinema, it is meant in the larger sense of films/tv/DVD/internet --
that might be worthy of your interest, but perhaps has escaped your notice.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Winter '07 Trailer Round-Up

       Today is technically the first day of winter -- so no better time for another seasonal trailer round-up. As I’ve said before, both Apple and Yahoo do a fine job of providing access to upcoming movie trailers -- but there’s always a few that seem to get overlooked; so let’s take a look-see, shall we?

       January 8th sees the release of Lars von Triers The Kingdom, series 2 -- not to be confused with the recent Peter Berg film of almost the same title -- on region 1 DVD. One of the most unorthodox and iconoclastic filmmakers working today, von Trier took time out from his feature work -- and from being a co-founder of the Dogme 95 film movement -- to make this occasionally horrific, but more often funny, mini-series for Danish TV back in the late 1990’s. As a TV show, what’ll it most remind you of is Twin Peaks, with which it has numerous similarities; most prominently, a tendency to be almost indescribably weird and cryptic at key moments. What it’ll also remind you of -- if you even caught it before it was all-too-deservedly cancelled -- is the americanized remake, Kingdom Hospital; proof once again that even if you can follow a recipe, it still takes a talented cook to make it palatable. Unfortunately, despite plans for a third season of The Kingdom, it’s unlikely that it’ll ever be made, as one of the lead actors in the series -- Ernst-Hugo Järegård -- passed away back in 1998.

       The most controversial -- even downright scandalous -- film to screen at the 2006 Sundance Festival was Teeth, which’ll finally see its’ official theatrical release almost a year later to the day. Teeth is one of those movies about which the less you know going into it, the better -- suffice to say, it’s a rather unusual coming-of-age story, and I gather -- from early reviews and synopses -- that the filmmakers have opted for a more arthouse, rather than exploitative, approach to the movie's sensitive subject matter. While there is a trailer for this up on Apple’s website, this blog’s self-appointed mission to cover obscure -- even decidedly outre -- cinema, obliges me to include it here as well. At any rate, the distributor for the film , Roadside Attractions has put their money where their mouth is, and has arranged a limited release for the film in LA and NYC on January 18th; with more markets to follow. The least we can all do is return the favor and pony up for this one, and then hope it opens wide.

       Stephen Chow’s latest, CJ7 has a U.S. release in late January. A number of Chow’s earlier films -- notably Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle -- have helped to establish him as Hong Kong’s most popular and best comedic director/star; and it’s easy to see why. His films are consistently entertaining amalgams of movie parody, slapstick physical humor, and action film set pieces -- usually with a romantic comedy sub-plot as well, just to keep all the bases covered. CJ7 is clearly played for laughs, but it also seems to be lighter in tone -- even Disney-esque, in some regards -- than his usual offerings. I’m looking forward to it all the more, for Chow's change-up in style.

       Nightmare Detective is a horror flick from my favorite contemporary Japanese auteur, Shinya Tsukamoto. The fairly straightforward trailer would suggest that the film is just another conventional supernatural thriller; but as every Tsukamoto film starts from familiar genre roots -- and then quickly branches out into something different, even bizarre, from there -- I’m willing to bet that this one does too. Tsukamoto (who is as well known an actor, as he is a director, in his native Japan) shows up in the trailer embedded here -- seemingly in the role of the antagonist of the piece. Nightmare Detective will receive it’s region 1 DVD release come February 19th.

       Playwright Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges is a film that I don’t know too much about -- other than the fact that the trailer looks hilarious. While this may be McDonagh’s first feature, he’s written a number of acclaimed plays -- and directed one Oscar-winning live action short, Six-Shooter -- which I’m pleased to say is just great! -- so apparently he knows what he’s doing. In Bruges opens theatrically March 7th.

       Finally, also opening theatrically March 7th is Gus Van Sant’s Paranoid Park; advance word on the film has been strong -- supposedly Van Sant’s best in years, which is welcome news indeed. The film concerns a troubled teenaged skateboarder implicated in the accidental death of a security guard. The soundtrack (already available on iTunes) is a mix of what the hip-geoisie are listening to pop songs and -- more significantly to me -- a selection of some my favorite tracks from my favorite film composer: Nino Rota! Most significant of all, what’s presented here in the trailer looks compelling indeed.

Next post -- ‘07 Year End Review -- 12/28/07


jonderneathica said...

I feel compelled point out your inconsistent use of "it's" (a contraction of the phrase "it is") and "its" (a possessive pronoun).

In your second paragraph, you write that "Teeth" will "finally see its' official theatrical release...". The possessive pronoun "its" requires no apostrophe, just as "his" and "hers" are written without an apostrophe.

The last sentence of the paragraph on "Nightmare Detective" states that the film will receive "it's region 1 DVD release...". Again, "its" is the possessive pronoun. "It's" means "it is".

I enjoy your blog very much, and am only pointing this out to spare you any future apostrophe catastrophe.

grigorss said...

This is a persistent problem I've had that no amount of proof-reading on my part ever seems to correct. In fact, it's so pervasive that I had to take some standardized test over again back in high school (can't remember which one) because while I had aced the rest of it -- I completely botched the section on the use of the possessive pronoun. I've come to regard it as a harmless -- if completely charmless -- quirk on my part, and just kind of live with it; as others are quick to point it out and correct it. Meanwhile, the position of proof-reader for Beyond The Ranges . . . is open to any who wish to undertake it --
Starting: immediately!
Salary: the warm feeling you get in your heart knowing that you have done a good deed.

Pia said...

Good post.

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