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.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Spring '08 Trailer Round-Up

       Spring is here -- and has been for going on three weeks now -- so we’re long overdue for another seasonal trailer round-up. After a typically slow late winter movie season, things are definitely picking up as we move into the second quarter of the year. As such, it’s time to bring you, dear reader, a sampling of film previews that you won’t find on Apple’s download page.

       Regular readers will know that Frank Henenlotter (Basket Case, Brain Damage, Frankenhooker) is a favorite director of mine, and now -- after a more than 15 year absence from filmmaking -- he’s back with a new feature film to shock -- and most likely disgust -- but also entertain us as well. Bad Biology tells the tale of star-crossed lovers, Tom and Jennifer, who have some unique problems to overcome if they’re going make their relationship work; if you want to know more, take a look at the trailer -- I’ll warn you though, it’s NSFW (Not Safe For Work); actually, I don’t think it’s safe for viewing anywhere, really... Bad Biology has already screened in Germany, Philie, and NYC -- and while I’m not quite sure it will get an “official theatrical release” anywhere, any time soon, look for special, festival, and midnight screenings starting this spring and continuing throughout the summer.

       So Guy Maddin has a new film coming out, a self-described “docu-tasia” about the filmmaker’s native city called My Winnipeg. Despite my best efforts to track down a trailer, I have yet to dig one up -- however, if you go here, you can watch a brief clip from the movie -- yes, it looks great! No, don’t argue with me, It’s Clearly Great!! IT POSSESSES GREATNESS I TELL YOU!!! Now that my unbiased appraisal of a film that I haven’t actually seen yet is through, let me tell you that My Winnipeg receives a general release June 13. You will all go see it... Oh, yes -- you will!

       Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead -- now, with a title like that, do I really need to say anything more? At any rate, this latest offering from writer / director / con-man Lloyd Kaufman has been touted by many reviewers as a return-to-form for Troma pictures (in case you didn’t know, the leading producer/distributor of exploitation/trash filmmaking in the late 70’s and 80’s direct-to-video market). Now, of course, a “return-to-form” for Troma can only mean approximately 85 minutes of completely repellant, low-brow, potty humor -- mixed with equal amounts of gore and T&A; not something you (or me, at this point) would want to make a steady diet of... -- yet curiously satisfying on a warm spring night -- especially after the consumption of a half-dozen beers or so. Poultrygeist -- which has been completed for over a year now and has screened in any number of festival and “special” events (which just goes to show that any production company can achieve legitimacy just by sticking around long enough) -- finally goes into “official release” May 9th in NYC, and June 13th in Los Angeles; dates in other cities to follow, assuming the audience doesn’t rise up and burn all the existing prints.

       Harminy Korine has made a couple of so-so films and one certifiable work of genius in the form of Gummo, so a new film from him is always worth a look. His latest, Mister Lonely is another oddball tale of alienated outsiders -- this time celebrity impersonators -- trying to find their way in the world. Werner Herzog -- a great director and a very capable actor (and having met him, I can accurately say a pleasant fellow, as well) appears, as does the always fetching Samantha Morton (as a Marilyn Monroe impersonator -- good casting decision there!). The film opens May 2nd.

       The Foot Fist Way is a film I’ve been hearing things -- good things -- about for over a year now. It’s a comedy about a North Carolina “dojo master” who runs a martial arts training center -- an unlikely idea for a film perhaps, but apparently executed with enough skill to attract the attention of Will Ferrell and Adam McKay (Anchorman, amongst many others) to act as the films’ executive producers -- stepping in to arrange distribution for the film after surreptitiously receiving and viewing a tape of the already-completed project. The trailer looks funny enough, and upon moving to Florida after a childhood raised in NYC, I can say that I’ve met -- and even befriended -- my fair share of “Fred Simmons”. Their story should be told! ... and it will, starting May 30th.

       And finally, releasing on DVD May 27th, is the Alexander Korda production of The Thief of Bagdad -- this is a favorite film of mine, and must rank amongst one of my most-often-viewed when I was a kid (I think I watched it every time it appeared on channel 11 in New York). It’s a great film, and since it’s being released by Criterion, the DVD is bound to be stellar as well. The film stars Sabu and Conrad Veidt (as the bad guy -- of course), and was co-directed by Michael Powell -- a brit who made his name directing a series of films with Emeric Pressburger, under the collective name of The Archers. Here he shows as sure a hand at Action / Fantasy as he does with the Comedy / Dramas that made him famous. If you haven’t seen it, it should immediately go on the “must-rent” list.

Also of note, the previously globbed-about The Tracey Fragments receives its U.S. roll-out May 9th.

Next post -- 04/25/08