It seems to be the year for long shelved films getting released. Okay, the connection is tenuous but bear with us. Kenneth Lonergan‘s “Margaret” — which lay dormant for five years due to an unfortunate legal battle over running time — is finally out of the editing bay for release next month and now, two more films that have been flying well under the radar are now quietly getting some small theatrical releases before being scuttled to home video.
First up, an eagle-eyed reader tipped us the IFC Films calendar which reveals that screenwriter William Monahan‘s directorial debut “London Boulevard” will hit theaters (probably in limited release) on November 11th. While there was some initial excitement over the scribe behind “The Departed” and “Kingdom Of Heaven” going behind the camera for a film starring Colin Farrell, Keira Knightley, Ray Winstone, David Thewlis, Eddie Marsan, Anna Friel and Stephen Graham that enthusiasm quickly waned. Rumors of reshoots plagued the film and it skipped the fall festival circuit last year and was released in the U.K. in the wasteland of February this year, that seemed to seal the deal. Our man in England saw the film was not impressed calling it a “mess” and “a road you don’t really want to find yourself going down.” Still, with that kind of cast we’re at least still cautiously curious.
Remember, “Fireflies In The Garden“? No? Well, neither do we frankly, but with the announcement that after a few years of sitting on the shelf it’s getting a limited bow in New York and Los Angeles on October 14th in a film that will be self-distributed from the filmmakers. So yeah, when a film starring Julia Roberts, Ryan Reynolds, Willem Dafoe, Hayden Panettiere, Emily Watson and Carrie-Anne Moss can’t find a home three years after it unspooled at the Berlin Film Festival, that can’t be a good sign.
Directed by Dennis Lee (“Jesus Henry Christ“), the film chronicles the touchy relationship between an artsy son (Reynolds) and his hard-ass dad (Dafoe) with Roberts coming between the two. When the son publishes a book that apparently exposes his rough childhood where Dafoe tortured him Abu Gharib style apparently, family tensions are set off. We’re not sure what Panettiere’s role is but she appears in her underwear for some reason in the trailer (see below). This writer remembers seeing the trailer in theaters fairly often a couple of years ago but the film never materialized, but anyway, it’s here now though no word yet on if it will expand to more theaters. Check out the full synopsis below.
To an outsider, the Taylors are the very picture of the successful American family: Charles (Dafoe) is a tenured professor on track to become university president, son Michael (Reynolds) is a prolific and well-known romance novelist, daughter Ryne (Lucio) is poised to enter a prestigious law school, and on the day we are introduced to them, matriarch Lisa (Roberts) will graduate from college—decades after leaving to raise her children. But when a serious accident interrupts the celebration, the far more nuanced reality of this Midwestern family’s history and relationships come to light.
A closely observed exploration of the complexities of love and commitment in a family torn apart when faced with an unexpected tragedy, Fireflies in the Garden marks the feature directorial debut of Dennis Lee from a screenplay he wrote. Lee, a student Academy Award winner for his short film, Jesus Henry Christ, was inspired to write this semi-autobiographical family drama after his mother’s death in 2002.