Categories
Cinema

UK Cinema Releases: Friday 8th July 2011

NATIONAL RELEASES

The Tree of Life (20th Century Fox): Terrence Malick’s fifth film arrives in UK cinemas after winning the Palme d’Or at Cannes and a wrangle involving the film’s initial UK distributor Icon. The creation of the world is intercut with story of a Midwestern family in the 1950’s and we follow the eldest son as he tries to reconcile his feelings towards his father (Brad Pitt), mother (Jessica Chastain) and the wider cosmos. [Selected cinemas nationwide / 12A]

Trust (Lionsgate UK): Drama about the parents (Clive Owen and Catherine Keener) of a teenage girl who is stalked by an online sexual predator. Directed by David Schwimmer, whilst Liana Liberato co-stars as the young girl. [Selected cinemas nationwide / 15]

The Princess of Montpensier (Optimum Releasing): Bertrand Tavernier directs this period drama, based on the 1662 romance by Madame de la Fayette. Set amidst the religious wars of the period, it stars Mélanie Thierry in the title role, as a woman forced into marriage while loving another man. It co-stars Gaspard Ulliel, Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet, Lambert Wilson and Raphaël Personnaz. [Selected cinemas nationwide / 15]

ALSO OUT

Super (G2 Pictures): Dark comedy about a man who becomes a superhero vigilante (Rainn Wilson) and his sidekick (Ellen Page). Directed by James Gunn, it co-stars Liv Tyler and Kevin Bacon. [Selected cinemas / 18]

Holy Rollers (Crabtree Films): Comedy-thriller about how Hassidic Jews were recruited as mules in the late 1990s to smuggle ecstasy pills from Amsterdam into New York. Directed by Kevin Asch, it stars i Graynor, Danny A Abeckaser, Jason Fuchs, Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Bartha. [Selected cinemas / 15]

Film Socialisme (New Wave Films): Jean-Luc Godard’s latest film consists of three movements, including a Mediterranean cruise ship, multi-lingual conversations, a pair of children, and six sites from around the world in Egypt, Palestine, Odessa, Hellas, Naples, and Barcelona. [Selected cinemas / PG]

> Get local cinema showtimes at Google Movies or FindAnyFilm
> Recent UK DVD & Blu-ray releases including Don’t Look Now and Apocalypse Now

Categories
Interesting

Christopher Nolan and David Fincher on Terrence Malick

Fox Searchlight have released a video of directors Christopher Nolan and David Fincher talking about Terrence Malick.

Used as a way to promote The Tree of Life ahead of its wider US release on July 8th, it makes for interesting viewing.

Nolan has often cited Malick as one of his favourite directors, whilst Fincher has listed Days of Heaven (1978) amongst his all-time favourite films.

It is a smart way of marketing The Tree of Life to audiences concerned by the unusual nature of the film and perhaps says to geekier audiences that there is more to cinema than just comic book adaptations and Hollywood conventions.

The Tree of Life is in limited release in the US and opens wide on July 8th, the same day as the UK release.

> Watch the featurette in HD at Apple
> Official site
> Malick spotted in Cannes
> Reviews of The Tree of Life at Metacritic (currently has a score of 87)
> Find out more about Terrence Malick at Wikipedia and MUBi

Categories
Awards Season Festivals

The Tree of Life wins the Palme d’Or

Will the Cannes win for Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life boost its box office and awards season chances?

Despite being the most eagerly awaited film at this year’s festival, it divided critical opinion after screening last Monday and tonight’s win was, for some pundits, something of a surprise.

Can a film as bold and out there as Malick’s film is reported to be, really click with modern upscale audiences?

Some might pour cold water on the idea of this film being an Oscar contender and an arthouse hit, as it seems to take the usual ingredients of Malick’s films and takes them to new levels of sheer Malickness.

Take this paragraph from Todd McCarthy’s review of the film for the Hollywood Reporter:

“Brandishing an ambition it’s likely no film, including this one, could entirely fulfil, The Tree of Life is nonetheless a singular work, an impressionistic metaphysical inquiry into mankind’s place in the grand scheme of things that releases waves of insights amid its narrative imprecisions. This fifth feature in Terrence Malick’s eccentric four-decade career is a beauteous creation that ponders the imponderables, asks the questions that religious and thoughtful people have posed for millennia and provokes expansive philosophical musings along with intense personal introspection”

Somehow I don’t think this quote is going on the poster.

Let’s also not forget the very existence of this film in 2011 is something of a miracle.

Malick apparently approached Bill Pohlad, the head of production company River Road, several years ago with the basic idea for the project.

Filming began in 2008 and over the course of three years Malick shot and refined the film which features an extended sequence showing the birth of human existence (!); a family in 1950s Texas (starring Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain); and present day scenes of a man (Sean Penn) reflecting on his childhood.

Over the course of the last four years, the distribution company set up by Pohlad and Bob Berney (the now ironically named Apparition) came and went, whilst the film’s release was delayed from 2009 until 2010, when some expected it to play at that year’s Cannes festival.

A few months after that didn’t happen, Fox Searchlight eventually stepped in as US distributor, there were rumoured grumblings from exhibition folk that the film was too esoteric, and UK distributor Icon got in to a fight with international sales agent Summit over the release date (which means the UK opening is currently in limbo).

When the film was finally unveiled at Cannes last week, the divided responses were perhaps predictable, but the feverish anticipation before it screened and the added kick of a Palme d’Or win might actually say something powerful about the state of cinema in 2011.

In the same weekend that a movie based on a fairground ride dominates the global box office, could there be actually be an upscale hunger for a maverick auteur like Terrence Malick?

Fox Searchlight are past masters at releasing awards season bait (even if they only have one Best Picture win) but

At the moment, it seems like Win Win and The Descendants would be their most likely shots at Oscar glory.

Could it be that this upscale movie breaks out of the die-hard cineaste realm to become a respectable arthouse success?

Not only is there the unusualness of the project (I can’t think of anything remotely similar in recent memory), but also the selling point of its reclusive, poet-genius director.

I’m sure he has sincere reasons for doing zero press, but whether intentional or not, it just stokes the aura surrounding his already legendary status to levels that must leave PR professionals gasping in awe.

Could it be possible that the unusual and ‘uncommercial’ qualities of The Tree of Life and its director become a strength rather than a weakness?

> Official site and Tumblr
> Terrence Malick at Wikipedia
> Reviews of The Tree of Life from Cannes 2011

Categories
Cannes Festivals

Tree of Life Cannes Reactions

Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life finally premiered in Cannes today, but how was it received by the world’s critics?

The basic deal seems to be that the film is Malick turned up to 11 (heavy themes treated with a stunning visual sense) and that it’s going to divide people.

A new Malick film with Brad Pitt is already a must see for cinephiles around the globe and the positive trade reviews from Variety and The Hollywood Reporter perhaps indicate that however crazy it gets, discerning audiences are going to have a lot to absorb and discuss.

Whether it can crossover into the glare of the awards season remains a big question but this is already an event that has gone down in recent Cannes lore and Malick’s usual refusal to do any publicity has just stoked the must-see vibes around this film.

Here’s some brief snapshots of reactions from various critics:

POSITIVE

MIXED

NEGATIVE

Here are some of the reactions in image form.

> Check out more reviews on The Tree of Life from Cannes at MUBi
> Watch the trailer

Categories
Images Thoughts

Tree of Life Dinosaurs

A closer look at the stills for Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life reveals two dinosaurs.

As the new film from one of cinema’s most enigmatic directors draws nearer, there has been much talk about the trailer, if it will screen in the UK before Cannes and the whole business about the dinosaurs.

According to the film’s sales agent Summit, the barebones story is:

“the tale of a Texas boy’s journey from the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as a ‘lost soul in the modern world’, and his quest to regain meaning in life”.

Whatever, the finished result the anticipation of a Malick film starring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn with Emmanuel Lubezki as DP has cineastes rightly excited.

But what is the sequence involving dinosaurs all about?

When VFX Supervisor Dan Glass gave a fairly detailed interview to Little White Lies about his work on the film, it was promptly taken down (presumably at the request of the producers and distributors) as he may have violated a non-disclosure agreement.

But traces of it remain online and he essentially confirmed that there would be dinosaurs in the film and that Malick had incorporated notes and negatives he’s been working on since the 1970s (!).

As for other details, the effects shots used “extraordinary source imagery from actual probes and telescopes”, some of the film was shot in IMAX, the VFX work was done to a “very high resolution” and the music and sound are reportedly “tremendous”.

Speaking of high resolution, Fox Searchlight recently released some hi-res stills from the film on their official Tumblr blog, including a shot of the dinosaur.

But look closer here and you will find another one in the frame.

In addition to all this is the stand off between UK distributor Icon and US sales agent Summit over the release date.

Icon are still insisting that they will have a press screening of the film on May 3rd, before opening on May 4th.

Obviously this would wreck the carefully laid plans of the world premiere at Cannes and the subsequent US release by Fox Searchlight.

As I write this there is still nothing about the film on their official website and it has been reported that there is some behind-the-scenes wrangling over the release with sales agent Summit saying:

“‘The information regarding the May 4th U.K. release is incorrect. Icon Film Distribution Ltd. does not have the right to distribute The Tree of Life in the U.K, as it is in default of its agreement. The matter is pending before an arbitration tribunal in Los Angeles.’

But according to another report Icon are still adamant that they are going to release it on May 4th.

The Tree of Life may (or may not) open in the UK on May 4th and will screen at the Cannes Film Festival on May 16th before opening in the US on May 27th

> Official site and Tumblr blog
> More on Terrence Malick at Wikipedia
> David Thomson profiles Malick at The Guardian