Director: Aleksei Fedorchenko
Personal Interest Factor: 7
Here we have something unusual, a contemporary Russian film. Aside from Night Watch, I can scarcely remember a new Russian film even being released in the US. This even though the old Soviet film industry (Eisenstein and Tarkovsky being the two most prominent filmmakers I know of) has a tremendous place in the history of cinema. The Gene Siskel Film Center, in their description, promise “mystic traditions, tall tales, and erotic flashbacks weav[ing] a strange story that cryptically yet powerfully contemplates life, loss, and death.” Sounds good to me, I’m there. I expect to find a significant number of Russian speakers in attendance when I go. Seriously.
The Sitter (trailer)
Director: David Gordon Green (Undertow, Snow Angels, Pineapple Express, Your Highness)
Personal Interest Factor: 2
Not sure why I’m including this in the main section instead of the “Also this week” section. It doesn’t look funny, and it has a premise that kinda played itself out more than 20 years ago. Yet here it is. Besides that, when did David Gordon Green become the default director for R-rated comedy? This is his second already this year, and they’re both very badly reviewed as well. Their combined Metacritic score, 69, doesn’t make for a good movie, even if it is appropriate given the sophomoric level of humor the films seem to be indulging in. The whole situation is just sad.
Young Adult (trailer)
Director: Jason Reitman (Thank You for Smoking, Juno, Up in the Air)
Personal Interest Factor: 6
A couple weeks after The Descendants comes another movie by a director that I think it brutally overrated. This one concerns me because it sure looks like a movie built around a character who exists mostly as a target for the filmmakers’ scorn. On the other hand, I’ve always thought that Charlize Theron was an underrated actress, even back when she was playing token females in lousy movies.
Young Goethe in Love (trailer)
Director: Philipp Stölzl (Baby, North Face)
Personal Interest Factor: 5
Goethe is somewhat of a celebrated figure in Chicago for some reason, and I’m not sure why. The city’s German institute is named for him, as is a street in the ritzy part of the Near North Side and, it appears, a public elementary school on the Northwest side. There’s also this very prominent monument in Lincoln Park. Anyway, I saw the trailer the other day and the movie doesn’t look like much. Reviews indicate the same.
Also this Week:
Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone (trailer) – doc with self-explanatory title
Garbo: The spy (trailer) – doc about a WWII double agent
New Year’s Day (trailer) – Garry Marshall strikes again!