This week, get hooked on the original screen adaptation of the Millennium trilogy with Noomi Rapace in THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. We’ve also got a classic from the Coen Brothers, an essential Spike Jonze/Charlie Kaufman collaboration, and more.
Writing movies is hard. This week, let’s show a little appreciation for all the struggling screenwriters out there. Sometimes, the only thing you can do is just write a movie about yourself, as Charlie Kaufman did (portrayed above by Nicolas Cage). And sometimes, that’s what ends up winning awards.
This week, around the 10 year anniversary of our last military foray into a foreign land, let’s think back to lessons not learned from an earlier conflict. We’ve got Michael Caine starring in a film that explores the ethical morass surrounding even the early days of the Vietnam War, in a sleeper of a film that shouldn’t be missed. And don’t forget our four other featured films this week, including Robert Downey Jr. in a career-making performance, an early Coen brothers classic and more.
Sundance Channel Spotlight on Meryl Streep, Thursday starting at 8PM
Meryl Streep is one of the busiest working actresses today, starring in 3 films in the last year alone: IT’S COMPLICATED, FANTASTIC MR. FOX and JULIE & JULIA, for which her performance as the much beloved Julia Child has earned her yet another Oscar nomination. In fact, Streep has been nominated for an Academy Award nearly every year since her very first nomination in 1979 for THE DEER HUNTER. And even though her roles in films like THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT’S WOMAN (1981) and POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE (1990) have won her much deserved critical acclaim, she’s only managed to snag two of the golden statues, the first in 1980 for her role opposite Dustin Hoffman in KRAMER VS. KRAMER, which also won in all the big categories that year (Best Actor, Director, Screenplay and Picture), and a second time in 1983 for SOPHIE’S CHOICE.
Streep continues her 17-year nomination streak at next month’s Academy Awards, and in celebration Sundance Channel is showing 3 of her perhaps not lesser-known but recent under-awarded roles all in one night.
In his feature films, Spike Jonze has successfully melded his singular sensibility with other equally distinctive voices (Charlie Kaufman in BEING JOHN MALKOVICH and ADAPTATION, Maurice Sendak and Dave Eggers in WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE). But for a taste of pure, unadulterated Jonze — to really appreciate the deadpan high concepts, the absurdist melancholy, the skewed sense of enchantment — turn to his music videos and short films.
Written and directed by Jonze (and financed by Absolut Vodka), the half-hour I’M HERE, the high point of a strong opening shorts program, follows in the venerable tradition of sci-fi stories about robots who discover the contradictions of the human heart. Sheldon (Andrew Garfield) is a sad-eyed android librarian in an unfriendly Los Angeles where the robots lead an underclass existence and seem fated for a lonely obsolescence. (He and his fragile fellow bots certainly look like last century’s models: boxy heads, Lego-like appendages, protruding wires.)
Spike Jonze planned his upcoming release of WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE very well. He seems to be all around us. For starters, the latest issue of Wholphin includes three short Maurice Sendak-based pieces he directed. They’re very DIY (as in not very good) but they’re cute and kooky and serve a purpose, namely, to get us all amped up for the real, long-awaited, much-anticipated thing itself, in theaters Friday.