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New Films For the New Year: A Sneak Peek At Anticipated Films For Early 2003

Indiewire By Indiewire | Indiewire January 2, 2003 at 2:0AM

New Films For the New Year: A Sneak Peek At Anticipated Films For Early 2003
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New Films For the New Year: A Sneak Peek At Anticipated Films For Early 2003

by Eugene Hernandez and Wendy Mitchell



Lions Gate will release Steve James' acclaimed doc "Stevie" in March.

© 2002 Lions Gate


(indieWIRE: 01.02.02) -- Even though the new year is upon us, many
critics groups and others are still looking back at the best of 2002.
What a fitting time to take a subjective peek at some of the
anticipated films that will hit theaters during the first quarter of
2003.

January

Cowboy Pictures' re-release of Akira Kurosawa's "Ikiru" will
hit Film Forum tomorrow. The 50-year-old Japanese film explores the
story of an exec who is dying of cancer. Due on January 10, from New
Yorker Films
, is "The Son" (Le Fils) from Jean-Pierre
Dardenne
and Luc Dardenne ("Rosetta," "La Promesse"). The
film debuted at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival, where star Olivier
Gourmet
won the best actor prize. Additionally, the picture was selected
to represent Belgium in the foreign-language category of the upcoming
Academy Awards.

Another highly anticipated foreign-language entry, also up for Oscar
consideration, is Miramax's "City of God" (Cidade de Deus) from
Brazil. It will open in New York and Los Angeles on January 17. Fernando
Meirelles'
feature film, winner of the audience award at the recent
AFI Fest, also screened at Cannes 2002. A stylish, fast-paced look at
life on the tough streets of Rio de Janeiro. The film is sure to draw notice
for Meirelles' graphic, not entirely unflattering look at a group of
adolescent boys who are growing up in a world of drugs and violence.

Among the documentaries on tap this month are "Blind Spot: Hitler's
Secretary,"
from Sony Pictures Classics. Edited from a powerful
interview with Traudl Junge, a woman who worked as Hitler's private
secretary in the years leading up to his downfall, offers an insightful
portrait of the man and the end of the war, with tales from inside his
bunker. It will debut on January 24. Junge notably died on the eve of
the film's debut at the 2002 Berlin Film Festival. Another doc on
tap, this one from IFC Films, is "Lost in La Mancha," a look
at Terry Gilliam's attempt to make a feature version of "Don
Quixote." The movie, directed by Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe,
features appearances by Gilliam, Johnny Depp, Vanessa Paradis,
and many more, is set to open in New York and Los Angeles on January 31.

February

The masses may spend their Valentine's Days drooling over Ben Affleck
in "Daredevil," but there are plenty of indie options in February.
For features, there is David Gordon Green's hotly anticipated
"George Washington" follow-up, "All the Real Girls," an
adolescent love story set in a small town, starring Paul Schneider
and Zooey Deschanel. That one also opens on Valentine's Day, from
Sony Pictures Classics. Other narrative features for February include
"Lawless Heart" (February 7, First Look), an award-winning
British comedy by Tom Hunsinger and Neil Hunter.
ThinkFilm will finally release the delayed "Gerry" on February
14. That Gus Van Sant film has gotten a lot of early buzz, even from
moviegoers who don't like the idea of Matt Damon wandering around a
desert for hours. Also on V-Day, Paramount Classics will release
"Till Human Voices Wake Us," starring Guy Pearce and Helena
Bonham-Carter
, and New Yorker will release the Chinese feature
"Unknown Pleasures," which played at Cannes 2002. Later in February,
Sony Pictures Classics offers David Cronenberg's "Spider," a Cannes
and Toronto favorite starring Ralph Fiennes and Miranda
Richardson
. With less indie cred, but plenty of box-office potential, is
Miramax's "Dysfunktional Family," the Eddie Griffin stand-up
flick playing as part of Sundance 2003's midnight offerings. For the more
serious audience, Focus will release the 9/11-themed "The
Guys,"
directed by Jim Simpson and starring his wife,
Sigourney Weaver. It was picked up after a world premiere in Toronto
in September.

In documentaries, look for Mark Moskowitz's Spirit-nominated
"Stone Reader" (Jet Films, February 12) generating lots of
buzz following a win at Slamdance 2002, and a screening at Tribeca
2002
; "Amandla!," Artisan's Sundance-winning doc about
South African musicians; and 7th Art's "Black Picket Fence," about
life in public housing.

March

March comes in like a lion with some critical favorites due out during
the first week: Abbas Kiarostami's "Ten" (Zeitgeist), which
played well in Cannes 2002; Gasper Noe's controversial
rape-and-revenge story "Irreversible" (Lions Gate); and
Caroline Link's "Nowhere in Africa," Zeitgeist's release of the
German foreign-language Oscar submission.

Also, there is Rose Troche's "Safety Of Objects" from IFC, which has
a powerhouse cast (Glenn Close, Dermot Mulroney, Patricia
Clarkson
) plus literary cred (it's based on short stories by A.M.
Homes).

The second weekend of March brings Fox Searchlight's "Bend it Like
Beckham,"
a culture-bending comedy that was a "Greek
Wedding"
-style surprise hit in the U.K. (and other parts of Europe) but
we'll wait and see if U.S. audiences, who won't get the footballer reference
to David
Beckham, make it past the title. Miramax offers two that weekend -- the
Christina Ricci-starrer "Prozac Nation," and the Drew
Barrymore
and Ben Stiller project, "Duplex." Later in
March, look for "House of 1,000 Corpses" (Lions Gate), the first film
from rocker Rob Zombie. Lions Gate
will also offer Steve James' powerful documentary "Stevie," about
James' relationship with a troubled man he once mentored. That Spirit
Award-nominated film, showing at Sundance 2003, already did an
Oscar-qualifying run just after it was nabbed at the Toronto Film
Festival. First Look offers the thriller "Hypnotic," starring
Goran Visnjic, Paddy Considine, and Shirley Henderson.
Also, Miramax will release the delayed "Buffalo Soldiers," about a
disturbing group of U.S. soldiers stationed abroad, starring Joaquin
Phoenix
and Ed Harris. It was acquired at the Toronto Film
Festival on September 10, 2001, and subsequently held back due to obvious
concerns given the national political climate. How it will play amidst the
emerging national concerns over a war in the Middle East will be interesting
to watch. The film will have its U.S. debut later this month at Sundance.





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