In 2002, David Cronenberg’s Spider seemed like a departure for the director. He was known primarily as a genre expert – one who had taken standard horror and thriller motifs and turned them into very personal expressions of post-modern unease in films like his remake of The Fly and his adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dead Zone.
Traditionally, January is the time when studios dump their loser movies into the recycling bin of the public’s consciousness, tossing ill-fated action flicks with monosyllabic actors or woebegone romantic comedies with badly matched C-listers into theaters because people are too cold to leave the house anyway.
By January, the Oscar rush has come and gone, and it’s the time to cut one’s losses and release some of those less golden efforts in hopes that they might find an audience despite it all, even if it’s just angry people who get off on yelling epithets at the screen to impress their passive-aggressive dates.
Because it’s on a Monday this year, which means you’ve been dressing up in costume every night since Friday, this might just be the longest Halloween weekend ever. It’s not over yet, but if you’re partied out, or just out of fake blood, stay in and cozy up to the Halloween episode of my “My So Called Life.” Angela falls for the Jordan Catalano of the 50s, who’s ghost still haunts the school gym, and (spoiler) her parents get so turned on by their costumes (he’s a pirate, she’s Rapunzel) that they decide to stay in and role play instead of going to the neighbor’s party.
Once the clock strikes November, though, we ditch all things Halloween with EVERLASTING MOMENTS (2008), by Swedish director Jan Troell, who worked with Nordic heavy-hitters like Max von Sydow and Liv Ullman, who he directed in some of her finest films, including THE EMIGRANTS (1971) and THE NEW LAND (1972). Then we venture south to France with Claude Chabrol’s A GIRL CUT IN TWO (2007). Chabrol, who died just last year, is credited with starting the nouvelle vague. He was a critic at the famed Cahiers du Cinema in the 50s and directed…
The season of grossout comedies and screechy animated romps is spewing to an end as we brace ourselves for the period when actual quality films might come out of the darkness. And these films know they’re quality.
In fact, the releases from now till December 31 have been aggressively devised to win Oscars and will be prestigiously rammed down our throats until someone votes for them!
The top choices:
* Ages ago, George Clooney went from TV star to Oscar bait, and his new one will hardly stop his pedigree parade from marching on. It’s The Ides of March, directed by Clooney (who costars with Ryan Gosling), and seeing as it examines dirty politics from the inside, it couldn’t be any more tawdrily topical. Opens October 7
* Leonardo DiCaprio gets a star role—and hopefully some nice gowns—as FBI head J. Edgar Hoover in Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar. It doesn’t take an investigator to smell Oscar potential here. October 21
The 2008 Sundance Film Festival gets underway tonight at the Eccles Theatre with the Opening Night film, the world premiere of IN BRUGES, written and directed by first-time feature filmmaker and award-winning playwright, Martin McDonagh. With an international cast starring Ralph Fiennes, Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, IN BRUGES tells the suspenseful, twisted tale of two London hit men ordered to take a forced vacation in Bruges, Belgium, and how their subsequent time in exile goes awry.
Sundance Institute announced today the lineup of films screening at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival in the out-of-competition sections of Premieres, Spectrum, New Frontier, and Park City at Midnight.