The 87 Most Interesting Movies of the 2012 European Film Market (or 87 Movies You Probably Haven’t Heard of But Need On Your Radar)
There’s a solid chance that you haven’t heard of most of these movies. Yet they exist ‐ out there somewhere as a thorn in the side of movie fans trying to see as much as possible. Nuggets of potential waiting to be picked up from the movie orphanage by a distributor and given a warm home with cup holders in every seat.
The European Film Market is fascinating for that reason and for the way people attend it. Tickets this year were around $600, but that’s a reasonable price for companies sending representatives trying to find the next moneymaker for their company or the hot movie to bring to their festival. That means screenings come complete with people on cell phones and unimpressed buyers walking out after ten minutes to hustle next door to see if the other movie playing has any promise to it. It’s a bizarre way to watch movies, but it makes a kind of sense given the massive size of the movie list compared to the tiny amount of time to see everything.
There were upwards of 675 movies in the EFM this year, all of them with their own selling points. Here are the 87 most interesting-sounding with descriptions found in the official catalog. For the most part, I haven’t seen these movies (and didn’t even know about many of them until the Berlin Film Festival), but they all have something going for them that should earn them a spot on your radar.
4:44 The Last Day on Earth
The Pitch: “A loving couple lives in a beautiful apartment. It’s just a normal afternoon ‐ except that tomorrow, at 4:44, the world will come to an end.”
The Point: Director Abel Ferrara and star Willem Dafoe, with an intriguing (if not Von Trier-ian) concept.
5 Broken Cameras
The Pitch: “5 Broken Cameras looks at Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat, who has been documenting his village’s resistance to advancing Israeli settlements since 2005, using the 5 cameras of the title. Each camera tells a part of the story.”
The Point: A doc with an interesting angle, timely subject matter, and a reluctant storyteller who ends up getting a new camera every time one is broken in the conflict.
The 25th Reich
The Pitch: “Five American GIs stationed in Australia in 1943 get caught in a secret OSS time-travel mission gone awry. Sent 50,000 years back in time, they must retrieve an alien spaceship that may help to win the war against Hitler.”
The Point: Did you just read the pitch? Awesome.
The Pitch: “Based on the Chinese Revolution, 1911 follows Huang Xin (Jackie Chan) & Sun Yat Sun (Winston Chao) fight for a better life for the people of China and lead the revolt against the deteriorated Qing Dynasty.”
The Point: Already out on DVD with a Hunter seal of approval, they’re most likely looking for distribution in other markets, or perhaps a theatrical here in the States.
The Pitch: “In 20XX, to prevent the rise of vicious crimes, the government introduces a new justice system where the defense and prosecutor go head-to-head in open court. Within just three days, a guilty or not guilty verdict is decided…”
The Point: Directed by Takashi Miike…
The Pitch: “Melanie Laurent teams up with her Inglorious Basterds co-star Denis Menochet in her directorial debut. A heartfelt, hopeful and bittersweet take on love and rebirth.”
The Point: The premise is generic-sounding, but Laurent is an impressive actress who deserves some attention for being on both sides of the camera now.
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
The Pitch: Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry is the inside story of a dissident for the digital age who inspires global audiences and blurs the boundaries of art and politics.”
The Point: A firebrand, bizarre activist with a mind for design and sculpture, Sundance Selects has recently picked it up to show in theaters near us.
The Pitch: “Love, trains, insanity and history all descend upon a railway dispatcher deep in the heart of Central Europe…”
The Point: This is the rotoscope animation project that had a trailer last year. I have it on good authority that it’s a slow-burning revenge thriller with an engaging visual style.
The Pitch: “Hedge-fund magnate Robert Miller is desperately trying to complete the sale of his trading empire before the depths of his fraud are revealed. An unexpected bloody error forces him to turn to the most unlikely corner for help.”
The Point: Richard Gere stars with Susan Sarandon and Tim Roth. Plus, it’s the first feature narrative from Nicholas Jarecki ‐ the guy who wrote, and was then kicked off of, The Informers.
As Luck Would Have It
The Pitch: “An unemployed advertising executive decides to take advantage of an accident he has, after yet another humiliating work interview.”
The Point: New Alex De La Iglesia? Yes, please.
Battle of Warsaw 1920
The Pitch: “From Oscar-nominated director, Jerzy Hoffman, and Oscar-nominated cinematographer, Slawomir Idziak, comes an epic tale of bravery and love that depicts the Polish battle for independence against the Bolsheviks after World War I.”
The Point: Hoffman was nominated for Best Foreign Film back in 1974 for The Deluge ‐ another historical drama. Here, he’s teaming with Idziak, who’s nomination was for shooting Black Hawk Down. That’s one hell of a partnership, especially if the veteran still has some skill left in him.
The Pitch: “A writer locks himself in a meat cooler, determined to finish his screenplay. As the temperature drops, the lines between fiction and reality blur and Jack’s script comes dangerously to life.”
The Point: Edward Furlong stars, but it’s really Michael Berryman’s grisly, Hills Have Eyes-face that gets the blood boiling, even if the premise is just ridiculous enough to be (sorry) cool.
The Pitch: “Animals/People: Along the rhythm of the changing seasons they watch one another. Bestiaire unfolds like a filmic picture book about mutual observation, about peculiar perception.”
The Point: A truly clever concept that delivers a unique movie-watching experience. It’s a doc that works unnervingly well on the deep end, and even without the subtext, it’s still gorgeous moving photography of animals.
Beyond the Black Rainbow
The Pitch: “Set in a futuristic 1983, Elena finds herself held against her will in a mysterious facility under the watchful eye of the sinister Dr. Barry Nyle.”
The Point: Definitely not for everyone, but you’re not everyone right? “Writer/director Panos Cosmatos’s deranged trip down the rabbit hole feels like Cronenberg and Argento furiously impregnated a robot named TARKOVSKY.” Hellish, impressive and downright weird as hell.
The Pitch: “Using a handful of real events; the Ecstasy revolution, armed bank heists, an insurance scam and the biggest drug bust in the country’s history, this is the story of a transformational period for the Icelandic underworld.”
The Point: Seriously, Northern Europeans are really into crime. The real draw here is Nicholas Winding Refn’s name as executive producer.
Bollywood: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told
The Pitch: “Love it. Hate it. What is it? Regressive or modern? Melodramatic or Mythic? Utterly unique. Bollywood.”
The Point: With such a massive presence on the world stage, a documentary about such a huge movie movement might be just the thing to shake hands and introduce itself to those (like me) who shamefully know little about it.
Chicken With Plums
The Pitch: “From the directors of the acclaimed Persepolis ‐ A celebrated violin player slips into his reveries and reveals his poignant secret.”
The Point: The fantasy hinted at in the pitch and the pedigree of Persepolis.
The Pitch: “Ewan is a secret service agent working deep undercover. When the agency confirms there is a terrorist cell operating in London, Ewan is given a new mission: to find and kill them all before they strike again.”
The Point: Charlotte Rampling co-starring is one thing, but Sean Bean seems to make solid films that don’t get much written about them. The only response to almost missing out on Black Death is to keep a sharp eye on Bean. Plus, “Sharp Eye on Bean” is as bad a title as “Cleanskin.”
Comes a Bright Day
The Pitch: “An offbeat, coming-of-age love story set during the armed robbery of London’s most exclusive jewelers. Sometimes funny, often dark, always captivating and never what you expect.”
The Point: Love story in the middle of a robbery? Sounds great. With Imogen Poots? Sounds even better.
Coming Home (A Moi Seule)
The Pitch: “Gaelle is suddenly released by her kidnapper Vincent, after eight years of captivity. As she had to earn her freedom day-by-day against him, she has to do so again, facing her parents a world she discovers.”
The Point: That’s one serious concept, one rife with dark corners and difficulties for a young woman probably destroyed by her imprisonment.
The Pitch: “A specialist carrier is hired to deliver a mysterious case to the underworld’s most dangerous hitman.”
The Point: Why isn’t Jason Statham in this? Because Jeffrey Dean Morgan is. And because Mickey Rourke is.
The Pitch: “Abe is a 30-something who lives with his parents and collects toys. Miranda is a 30-something who has moved back in with her parents after her literary/academic career crashed. Out of desperation, Miranda agrees to marry Abe.”
The Point: It should be noted that Christopher Walken is involved, but maybe it’s more important that it’s new dramedy work from Todd Solondz. Pick which name perks your ears more and run with it.
Dead Before Dawn 3D
The Pitch: “A bunch of college kids accidentally unleash an evil curse that causes people to kill themselves and turn into Zombie Demons (aka Zemons).”
The Point: Purposefully ridiculous, it apparently doesn’t get going until the zombies show up, but when it does, the kitschy horror goes full comedy with impressive make-up work.
Death For Sale
The Pitch: “Three young adults are committing petty crimes in their hometown. Boredom, betrayal, blind love and loss of identity are the elements that bring three friends together only to lose their way little-by-little.”
The Point: It’s a coming-of-age story interrupted by a heist film that deals heavily in what manhood means and lets the grit of Morocco do a lot of the talking.
Death of a Superhero
The Pitch: “Donald is a different kind of superhero. In his real life he is sick. But the 15-year-old has an outstanding talent to animate with pen and ink; a dark world in which an invincible superhero battles a deadly nemesis.”
The Point: Toying with reality, it’s a welcome premise with all the regular superheroes flying and web-swinging around everywhere.
The Pitch: “It all starts with a kiss for Audrey Tautou in this deliciously delicate romantic comedy based on the bestselling novel already translated into over 15 languages worldwide.”
The Point: There’s a reason Tautou is always in these kinds of movies, and she’s the reason they’re usual great.
The Pitch: “A chronicle of three weeks in the lives of several high school teachers, administrators and students as seen through the eyes of a substitute teacher.”
The Point: Tony Kaye directs here, and he hasn’t done much of note since American History X, but Adrien Brody, Christina Hendricks and James Caan make a great cast for him to utilize. Oddly enough, he’s following it up with a movie called Attachment.
Eddie ‐ The Sleepwalking Cannibal
The Pitch: “Lars, once a young art-world celebrity, is slipping away fast into the land of has-beens, but he refuses to paint. His inspiration is carnage ‐ blood, guts and limbs ‐ and he’s vowed to never to down that dark road again.”
The Point: The title. Really just the title.
The Pitch: “Rachel, a 15-year-old Mormon girl, discovers a forbidden rock music tape. Three months later, she claims to have had an immaculate conception. Her parents arrange a marriage, but Rachel runs away to the closest city, Las Vegas.”
The Point: Billy Zane! But seriously, it’s an interesting-sounding twist on the coming-of-age tale that could potentially produce a baby made by Rock ’n’ Roll.
Farewell, My Queen
The Pitch: “July 1789. Versailles carries on isolated from the rest of the world. Sidonie the Queen’s reader knows these will be the last days she’ll spend at her queen’s side. Rioters have taken the Bastille. What will become of the court?”
The Point: Lesbianism in Marie Antoinette’s heart and lap might be a marketing tactic, but both Diane Kruger and Lea Seydoux provide strong performances in a vibrant costume drama.
The Pitch: “23 international thinkers, government advisors and Wall Street money-men explain how to establish a moral and just society and how to create a new economic world dramatically improving the quality of life for billions.”
The Point: Wow. Tall order. The kind of think-piece and living brainstorm session that seems necessary and fascinating. Why not play “What If” with our current economic problems?
The Pitch: “A group of freeloading roomies living in the lap of luxury at their rock star friend’s Beverly Hills mansion are faced with the demise of their sweet set-up when they discover their digs are being put up for sale.”
The Point: Even though the aren’t starring, Broken Lizard is at the heart of the movie. Bond girls Denise Richards and Jane Seymour are also at its heart. And Olivia Munn. Plus, Dave Foley provides the sex appeal.
From Up On Poppy Hill
The Pitch: “Yokohama, 1963. A love story set amongst the high school students who were the first generation of a new Japan, perfectly captures the hopes of a new dawn.”
The Point: New anime co-written by Hayao Miyazaki and directed by his son, Tales from Earthsea director Goro Miyazaki.
The Giant Mechanical Man
The Pitch: “An offbeat romantic comedy about a silver-painted street performer and the soft spoken zoo worker who falls for him.”
The Point: Quirky? Probably, especially with Jenna Fisher, Malin Ackerman, Chris Messina and Topher Grace involved. Hopefully director Lee Kirk will rise above his previous writing work.
The Pitch: “Fourteen-year-old Ellis is getting ready to leave his home in Tucson for his freshman year at an East Coast prep school. This means leaving behind his flaky, new age mother and the only real father he has ever known, Goat Man.”
The Point: Although Allison found it lacking in consequences and weight, maybe Vera Farmiga as a hippie mother and David Duchovny as a man who hangs out with goats will be enough for it to entertain.
God Bless America
The Pitch: “A subversive, violent and darkly comedic social commentary on post 9/11 America, about a man who starts killing society’s cruelest people.”
The Point: Oh, Bobcat Goldthwait. Either the trailer sold you or nothing will.
The Pitch: “A slacker who discovers a talent for brawling joins the local hockey team as the ‘muscle.’”
The Point: Hardly a stranger to the movie blogs, its trailer punched a tooth out even if it looks a bit standard as a comedy.
The Great Magician
The Pitch: “For love and for country, a magician pulls his biggest trick out of the hat.”
The Point: A historical mystery from the man behind Shinjuku Incident with Tony Chiu-wai Leung in the lead role, this is got the kind of deceptive elements that could be a lot of fun.
The Heineken Kidnapping
The Pitch: “Amsterdam, 1983. Alfred Heineken, one of the wealthiest brewers and the most influential man in Holland, has one weakness: he feels invulnerable. It takes a band of hot-headed men to crumble down this wall of invulnerability.”
The Point: It’s a movie that comes with its own six pack.
The Pitch: “Award-winning director Derick Martini brings us an emotive, often funny but compelling story about 13-year-old Luli’s life on the road and the extraordinary experiences that will shape her life forever.”
The Point: Chloe Grace Moretz (and you know it’s indie when the “Grace” comes out) tries her hand at coming of age on the road to Las Vegas ‐ a popular destination for teen youths. Plus, she does it with the director behind the high quality Lymelife.
The Pitch: “A high school valedictorian who gets baked with the local stoner finds himself the subject of a drug test. The situation causes him to concoct an ambitious plan to get his entire graduating class to face the same fate and fail.”
The Point: Yes. Hell of a plan. This one’s been on the market for a while, and Neil liked it back at Sundance 2010, but you can judge for yourself by watching the trailer and letting the image of a stoned Adrien Brody roll around inside your brain for a while.
House of My Father (Casa de mi Padre)
The Pitch: “Scheming on a way to save their father’s ranch, the Alvarez brothers find themselves in a war with Mexico’s most feared drug lord.”
The Point: Another friendly face, considering it made our Most Anticipated of 2012 list.
How To Stop Being a Loser
The Pitch: “Useless with women, James’ luck changes under the tutelage of pick-up artist, Ampersand. As he learns the art of seduction he begins to wonder about Ampersand’s intentions and questions what would truly make him happy in life.”
The Point: An odd concept which could have mileage under its UK banner, but the real draw here is Richard E. Grant (from Withnail and I) in the starring role.
The Pitch: “1880: With the help of his friend Edmund, young doctor Mortimer Granville invents the world’s first vibrator, which proves to be an extraordinary success.”
The Point: It’s the Maggie Gyllenhaal vibrator movie with the trailer that already created all that buzz. Yes, creating. All. The. Buzz.
The Pitch: “Lvov, Poland, 1943. Hiding Jews from the Nazis in the city sewers, a petty thief must decide between saving himself or the Jews…”
The Point: Hey, now. Wasn’t this nominated for an Oscar?
The Pitch: “The incredible true story of two friends, a small-time inventor and a fast-talking salesman, who hit rock bottom before coming up with a gizmo that becomes a worldwide phenomenon.”
The Point: This Jeremy Renner-starring flick has also been around the block for a few years, but it will probably get second looks with his newly found stardom. Plus, what could the gizmo be?
The Pitch: “A young man, Sylvain, devotes his life to a local theatre condemned to bankruptcy in which he lives. He is the programmer, the operator, and the cashier. Every night after the show, he goes out for a murderous ritual.”
The Point: This Giallo-inspired iceberg of a slow-burn is also not for everyone, but it absolutely has lovable elements if you can withstand a snail’s pace that leaves blood in its tracks.
The Legend of Kaspar Hauser
The Pitch: “An adaptation of the 19th century Teutonic foundling story transposed to Sardinia. Vincent Gallo plays two roles: The Pusher, for which he speaks Italian, and the Sheriff, for which he speaks English. Musical score by Vitalic.”
The Point: Uh, what? Gallo is either a major turn off or a major turn on, but he’s divisive enough to make this interesting, plus it’s hilarious how they’ve marked his bi-lingual nature here as the crucial selling point. The original story is the real-life mystery of a man named Kaspar Hauser who claimed to have been raised in total isolation from people.
The Pitch: “When thirty-something Jesse is invited back to his alma mater, he falls for a young 19-year-old college student and is faced with the powerful attraction that springs up between them.
The Point: Not only is Elizabeth Olsen the indie It Girl right now, this is the second film from How I Met Your Mother’s Josh Radnor, and it features Allison Janey and Richard Jenkins. Also, Kate seemed to enjoy it at Sundance, and it already has US distribution.
The Pitch: “The Loft is home to the secrets of 5 men who use it for their sexual indiscretions. When a dead body of an unknown woman is found in their loft, friendships are tested, loyalties fade and marriages crumble as they mystery unfolds.”
The Point: A promising premise, and a cool cast including Karl Urban, James Marsden (who should be in everything), Isabel Lucas, and Wentworth Miller. Add to that director Erik Van Looy (who did The Memory of a Killer) and it all sounds spot on.
The Pitch: “When Molly returns to her long-abandoned family home, frightful reminders of a nightmarish childhood begin seeping into her life. She begins an inexorable descent into evil that blurs the lines between psychosis and possession.”
The Point: If director Eduardo Sanchez’s name looks familiar, it’s because he was part of the team behind The Blair Witch Project. He hasn’t struck gold in years, but Altered was decent enough, and he also apparently made a horror spoof called ParaAbnormal which was well-received. Might be time to see this freakishly tall director’s next evolution.
The Pitch: “Jacob is reclusive and forced by a rare disease to drink human blood. His world opens up when he falls in love with Mary. He must control his violent tendencies as the police suspect his involvement in a series of grisly murders.”
The Point: He’s a vampire that’s not a vampire. Very clever.
The Pitch: “Molly’s Girl is a funny, quirky comedy about a wonderful misfit girl named Molly who, although not gay, falls in love with a lesbian woman, a gay/lesbian rights activist.”
The Point: The sales pitch is not doing itself any favors there. A funny comedy? Oh, really? However, it sounds vaguely like a flipped Chasing Amy, and the director misleadingly shares the name of a gay member of The Kids in the Hall.
The Pitch: “An Algerian immigrant teacher takes over a Montreal middle-school class shaken by his predecessor’s suicide.”
The Point: Yet another Oscar nominee. It’s from Canada, so you know it’s good.
The Moth Diaries
The Pitch: “Rebecca begins her junior year at an elite girls boarding school and is caught in a web of obsession, jealousy and betrayal. Eroticism, death and the supernatural entwine in a powerful emotional drama.”
The Point: Director Mary Harron might best be known for American Psycho but her resume is solid, if not short. She’s earned a shot with anything she puts her name on.
My Brother The Devil
The Pitch: “Set in present day Hackney, London My Brother the Devil is a film about brotherhood and betrayal. It’s the story of two teenage British Arab brothers whose relationship is put to the test over the course of one summer.”
The Point: Although Arab films about masculinity are no rarity, this one shines with some surprising avenues and stand-out performances.
My Way (Mai-wei)
The Pitch: “On D-Day, two friends meet again in German uniforms on the shores of Normandy. When the war between Japan and the USSR broke out, they were dragged to the battlefield which led them to a long journey from Manchuria to Normandy.”
The Point: This sprawling, Korean war epic is definitely sentimental (read: Korean), but it has Saving Private Ryan-style battle sequences that are genuinely affecting and gorgeous.
The Pitch: Revealing the pitch they included as a sales guide would reveal too much of the story, but…
The Point: …it played Fantastic Fest, so you can read a review of Penumbra.
The Pitch: “Jean Dujardin and Gilles Lellouche lead a star-studded cast in a comedy exploring the triumphs, failures, glories and disasters of male infidelity in all its desperate, absurd and wildly funny variety.”
The Point: After The Artist, the OSS movies, and an Oscar win (for Dujardin) and Mesrine (for Lellouche), this seems like a no-brainer.
The Pitch: “Eli Smith (Jesse Eisenberg), his troubled mother Penny (Melissa Leo), and the hapless drug dealer Sprinkles (Tracy Morgan) have to face mistakes of the past, challenges of the future and the possibilities of love.”
The Point: See above.
The Pitch: “As edgy and explosive as Nicholas Winding Refn’s 1996 cult classic, this English language remake sees a smale time London drug dealer descend into debt hell following a spot of bad luck and a series of bad choices.”
The Point: Unnecessary remake? Reason to rewatch Refn’s Pusher trilogy? Excellent new take on old material? Time and viewing will only tell.
[REC] 3: Genesis
The Pitch: “Koldo and Clara are celebrating their wedding. Everything is running smoothly, until some of the guests start showing signs of a strange illness. That idyllic day quickly descends into a nightmare of the worst kind.”
The Point: It’s another REC movie. Wash off the stain in your pants from the last two and get ready.
The Pitch: “When a psychologist’s investigation into paranormal activity focuses on whether or not a world-renowned psychic is actually a fraud, her results are far from expected.”
The Point: From Rodrigo Cortes, the director of Buried, a film starring Cillian Murphy, Sigourney Weaver, Elizabeth Olsen (again) and Robert De Niro.
The Pitch: “While investigating a bizarre serial murder case, Tetsuo meets a mysterious woman, Sayoko. They feel a powerful attraction, but…”
The Point: Also known as Monster Killer, this features Yasuaki Kurata, the action star who appeared in Blood: The Last Vampire, Shinjuku Incident, and Legend of the Fist.
The Pitch: “Back from a tour of duty, Kelli can’t wait to rejoin her old life in the Rust Belt town in which she’s always lived. But slowly, her world comes to feel unfamiliar.”
The Point: This movie starring Linda Cardellini and the criminally Oscar-snubbed Michael Shannon is already out in some spots in the US, and it already has a trailer.
Revenge: A Love Story
The Pitch: “Grocery store clerk Kit’s world is shaken to the core after his girlfriend Wing is brutally raped by 5 policemen. Kit then seeks revenge. The media widely reports the incident of two cases of pregnant women dissected alive.”
The Point: Should that last sentence be there? Is it part of it? Who knows? Rob Hunter does. He called it, “an unusual mix of cruelty, morality and inappropriate sexiness.”
Rites of Spring
The Pitch: “A ransom scheme turns into a nightmare for a group of kidnappers who become victims of a horrifying secret that must be paid every spring.”
The Point: Sounds killer enough, and it also features the always-versatile, indie horror icon AJ Bowen.
Safety Not Guaranteed
The Pitch: “A mismatched trio of magazine employees seek to profile the man behind a bizarre classified ad, seeking a partner for time travel.”
The Point: Beside Aubrey Plaza, Kristen Bell and Mark Duplass, the most notable name here is the classified ad itself which became an early viral internet meme back in 2005.
The Pitch: “Colette McVeigh ‐ widow, mother, IRA terrorist ‐ has lived the Republican cause for all of her 29 violence-shadowed years. Now, she’s an informer for MI5.”
The Point: Clive Owen and Andrea Riseborough both turn in stunning performances in the very calmly paced thriller from James Marsh.
The Pitch: “Vincent, meant to be one of the best cops in town, steals a big bag of cocaine from the drug dealers he was tracking. They counter-attack by kidnapping his son and threaten to kill him if Vincent doesn’t return the bag.”
The Point: While not as amazing as the hype outside theaters at Fantastic Fest 2011 would suggest, it was still a fun (and funny) action flick that turned a hectic nightclub into a crazed labyrinth of people chasing other people they wanted to kill.
Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview
The Pitch: “In 1995, Bob Cringely did the best interview with Steve Jobs, then lost the tape for 16 years. Witty, outspoken, visionary, Jobs offers his vision of a digital future and his passion that would bring us the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad.
The Point: A rare opportunity to look into our present and future by exploring an unseen part of the past.
The Pitch: “The fascinating relationship between a man in an iron lung and a sex surrogate who helps him lose his virginity.”
The Point: Fascinating, yes. Plus, the buzz from Sundance was huge for this one, and it stars the formidable John Hawkes.
Take This Waltz
The Pitch: “Swelteringly hot, bright and colorful, Take This Waltz leads us, breathlessly, through the familiar but uncharted question of what long-term relationships to do love, sex and our images of ourselves.”
The Point: Sarah Polley’s new work is another well-known entry featuring Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen and Sarah Silverman going tastefully nude. The recent trailer speaks to the marital drama boiling beneath the surface of a great life.
The Pitch: “It happens the day before, like a certitude that descends upon the bodies and minds of the one who has been chosen and the people close to him. No doubting it, no fighting it. Today will be Satché’s last day.”
The Point: Death just isn’t usually tackled as calmly and colorfully as this. It’s a celebration of life that dances across the screen while waving away the funeral dirges.
Top Cat 3D
The Pitch: “Top Cat and his gang face a new police chief and their old nemesis Officer Dibble, who will stop at nothing to prevent Top Cat’s scams and evict the crew from their beloved alleyway. The gang will do anything to outsmart the cops.”
The Point: So this one is the black sheep of the list. No profound statements, no deep filmmaking or poignant boldness. It’s still crazy though. There’s a Top Cat movie? From Mexico? Why? And why is the logline written like it’s going to be hellacious and intense? They’ll “do anything”? Will it finally deliver the desperate crime story Hanna-Barbera originally intended?
A Trip To The Moon & The Extraordinary Voyage
The Pitch: “The Extraordinary Trip by Serge Bromberg and Eric Lange. A documentary about Georges Melies and A Trip to the Moon restoration. Followed by A Trip to the Moon by Georges Méliès , restored in HD!”
The Point: Hugo has done a ton for Georges Méliès and his most famous film. Word on this flick is that it’s not constructed all that well, but that its subject matter and the stuff it uncovers are nothing short of incredible. It’s apparently going to be a big surprise for those curious as to just how exact Scorsese was when crafting his latest film. The answer? Excruciatingly accurate.
The Pitch: “Based on Thomas Hardy’s classic novel Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Trishna tells the story of one woman whose life is destroyed by a combination of love and circumstances.”
The Point: A classic story told by Michael Winterbottom with Frieda Pinto and Riz Ahmed starring.
Two Days In New York
The Pitch: “Julie Delpy strikes back with the sequel of Two Days in Paris. This time, her family will travel to New York for two unforgettable days. Will her relationship with radio host superstar Mingus survive this test?”
The Point: Delpy made a sequel to Two Days in Paris, so it should probably be seen immediately.
The Pitch: “Stacy and Goody have been living the good “night-life” in New York City as two young, beautiful vampires until love enters the picture and each has to make a choice that will jeopardize their immortality and much more.”
The Point: This is new work from Amy Heckerling, who directed Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Clueless. Essentially, she helped shape the perception of high school in movies for millions. Here she re-teams with Alicia Silverstone to mess around in the faddish vampire sandbox, but it won’t be surprising if she comes up with something more than the average storyline. Or maybe it’ll be a refreshing return to the brutal, beautiful world that vampires used to represent.
The Virgin, The Copts, and Me
The Pitch: “After watching a videotape of the virgin’s apparition in Egypt with his mother, who sees the virgin like millions of other Copts, Namir travels back to Egypt to make a film about the bizarre occurrence of these apparitions.”
The Point: A niche religion’s mythology being explored by an insider that lists itself both as a documentary and a comedy. Plus an opportunity to learn a different side of Egypt.
Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale
The Pitch: “Set in 1930’s Formosa, Warriors of the Rainbow tells the true story of the Wushe Incident in which the aboriginal Seediq tribe warrior Mouna Rudo led his people to rebel against Japan, then occupying the island.”
The Point: This didn’t make the cut for Best Foreign Film nominees, but it made the short list, and it looks really fantastic.
Welcome to Pine Hill
The Pitch: “Born from a chance encounter between director Keith Miller and star Shannon Harper (as himself), Pine Hill blends reality and fiction to follow a former drug dealer, seeking peace with his past and freedom beyond the concrete.”
The Point: That chance encounter came because Harper approached Miller while he was walking his dog and demanded that the dog actually belonged to him. And he was right. The pair looked into it, and the dog was one that Harper had lost previously. From that , this intriguing movie about the streets.
The Woman Who Brushed Off Her Tears
The Pitch: “Two mothers from different cultures struggle to avoid falling into their predetermined roles in society. One (Victoria Abril) has lost her son while the other searches for her lost husband and worries she may lose her son as well.”
The Point: Misleading arthouse title aside, this is a movie that’s more revenge drama than overt exploration of feminism. And that’s a great thing.
Would You Rather?
The Pitch: “Desperate to help her ailing brother, a young woman agrees to compete in a deadly game of “Would You Rather?” hosted by a sadistic aristocrat.”
The Point: An awesome party game turned into a thriller? Sounds great. It stars Brittney Snow, horror legend Jeffrey Combs and non-actress Sasha Grey.
The Pitch: “Dolph Springer wakes up one morning to realize he has lost the love of his life, his dog, Paul…In his journey to find Paul, Dolph may lose something even more vital ‐ his mind.”
The Point: From the director of Rubber, which means you’re either immediately on board or anxious to get to the next entry.
Your Sister’s Sister
The Pitch: “Your Sister’s Sister is a heartwarming comedy focusing on the relationship between sisters, where affection and rivalry compete for attention. The film stars Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt and Mark Duplass.”
The Point: It was also directed by Lynn Shelton.
The Pitch: “Zarafa recounts the magical adventure of an orphaned giraffe given by the Pasha of Egypt to the King of France, her friend Maki and Hassan, Prince of the Desert, in their epic journey that takes them from Sudan to Paris.”
The Point: It’s an animated adventure about a giraffe, and the visuals look vibrant and impressively detailed in an anime-like style.
Phew. That’s a ton of movies to look out for. Which ones are going on your Watch List? Which ones were already on it?