By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire September 2, 2011 at 10:08AM
The end of the summer season is drawing near (in the N. Hemisphere of course) and Venice and Telluride are underway with Toronto coming very quickly. Here are some of indieWIRE's stories of the week nicely curated along with articles from our friends in the iW Blog Network.
Werner Herzog’s “Abyss” Nabbed by Sundance Selects Ahead of Toronto Premiere
Ahead of its Toronto International Film Festival debut next week, Sundance Selects has picked up North American rights to Werner Herzog’s film, “Into the Abyss.” Selects, a sister division of IFC Films and IFC Midnight, released Herzog’s most recent box office hit, “Cave of Forgotten Dreams,” which premiered at last year’s TIFF.
Nick Broomfield Raises $30,000 on Kickstarter; “Sarah Palin: You Betcha!” in Theaters September 30
Nick Broomfield’s latest documentary, “Sarah Palin: You Betcha!” has North American distribution and a release date.
Project of the Day: This is the One Where We Announce the Monthly and Weekly Prizes
Today’s kind of a big deal at indieWIRE: We’ve combined our editorial and our audience to create direct connections that can help filmmakers.
Pedro Almodovar To Serve As AFI Fest’s Guest Artistic Director
For its 25th anniversary, the American Film Institute (AFI) has announced that Pedro Almodóvar will serve as the Guest Artistic Director of AFI FEST.
Josh Brolin Signs On For Spike Lee’s "Oldboy" Remake
It looks like Spike Lee has got the man he wanted for his gestating “Oldboy” remake.
Closing Night Film for the London Film Festival: Rachel Weisz in “The Deep Blue Sea”
The 55th BFI London Film Festival will close Oct. 27 with the UK premiere of “The Deep Blue Sea,” starring Rachel Weisz and adapted and directed by Terence Davies.
Suzanne Blech In, Robert Baruc Out as President of Screen Media Films
Suzanne Blech has been elevated from Executive VP of Screen Media Films to President, the company announced today.
Cinemad Will Release “Shit Year” Starring Ellen Barkin This Fall
Microdistributor Cinemad Presents will release Cam Archer’s “Shit Year,” starring Ellen Barkin, in the U.S. this fall.
What to See, What to Skip: New Reviews This Week
This week, if 3D sharks don’t happen to be your thing, don’t fret. There are plenty of indie releases opening in limited release that are worth your top dollar. Figure out what to see by checking out all the reviews published this week on indieWIRE and our Blog Network.
REVIEW | Chinese Fantasy Epic “Detective Dee” Delivers A Better Ride Than Most U.S. Alternatives
A giant, hollow Buddha that dwarfs a city, spontaneous combustion, uneasy shapeshifting and gravity-defying martial arts: These are the far-reaching pleasures of “Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame.”
George Clooney’s “Ides of March” Debuts In Venice To Mixed Reaction
As the opening night film of the Venice Film Festival, George Clooney’s “The Ides of March” made its debut tonight in Italy, kicking off two straight weeks of non-stop high profile premieres at Venice, Telluride and Toronto.
Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method” Splits Critics In Venice
David Cronenberg has been a polarizing director since his days as an artfully bizarre Canadian B-movie director, and his latest work “A Dangerous Method” is proving that he has no interest in winning over his most skeptical critics. The film, which premiered today at Venice, will no doubt leave festival as one of its most controversial movies.
Madonna’s “W.E.” Gets Slammed at its Venice Film Festival Debut
When Madonna arrived in Venice today for the premiere of “W.E.,” her second feature as director, to a media frenzy, she was surely hoping the film would have a better reception than “Filth and Wisdom,” her critically challenged debut. Unfortunately, that isn’t going to be the case, and some critics have argued that the high-profile project might be even worse.
Venice Reviews "Carnage": Jodie Faster Coming Out On Top of Polanski’s Actors Showcase?
Reviews have landed for Roman Polanski’s "Carnage," playing at the Venice Film Festival.
Venice Film Festival Fulfills Expectations, but the Films? Not So Much.
“And yet we come back,” a colleague remarked as we stood with about 60 or 70 others waiting for a boat to take us from the airport into Venice—a boat that might come soon or not, a boat that, when it did arrive and we made it to the head of the line, was not the one we wanted and was already full besides. He sighed, smiling sadly. “Why is that?”
The 9 Indie Films You Must See This September
There’s a whopping 31 films listed on indieWIRE’s September calendar. From a cancer dramedy to a martial-arts family drama, check out indieWIRE‘s picks for the nine best options, and then check out the full calendar or iW’s fall movie preview; there’s many worthy films that didn’t make this list (including notable studio efforts like “Contagion” and “Moneyball”).
Critical Consensus: “Detective Dee” Is The Pick of the Week
Hark Tsui’s “Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame” hits theaters this weekend, and it’s the pick of the week, according to the folks polled on criticWIRE.
Fall Movie Preview: The 30 Must-See Indies
Summer is essentially over. Maybe not by the calendar, but certainly when it comes to Hollywood. The “Transformers 3"s and “Pirates of the Caribbean 4"s have come and gone, and for anyone who likes a mediocre $200 million-budgeted film aimed at teenaged boys, you’re out of luck for at least a few months. (Editor’s note: Yay.)
Who Were The Winners And Losers Of The Summer Of 2011?
As the summer winds die down with a flat and uninspired whimper, the realization sets in: the summer of 2011 was for the birds.
Critic’s Notebook | How the West Memphis 3 Release Transformed The “Paradise Lost” Documentaries
When the trio of Arkansas men convicted of crimes they may not have committed 18 years ago suddenly found themselves free on August 19, a significant chapter in the saga of the “West Memphis 3” came to a dramatic close. However, for viewers familiar with their struggles, the story had already ended twice before.
Venice 2011: A Guide To The Film Festival
It’s one of the year’s major international cinematic events and indieWIRE will be offering a variety of coverage over the course of the fest.
2012 Oscar Predictions
The 2011-12 awards season is slowly falling upon us and indieWIRE will be updating this chart of predictions for the 84th Academy Award nominations on a regular basis between now and late January, when the nominations are announced. Each week a chart update will be supplemented by a weekly awards-related column, which will often work to provide context for the list provided below.
For Your Consideration: 10 Things The Fall Fests Can Tell Us About Award Season
The Venice Film Festival begins Wednesday and that’s as good as a starting gun: It means the awards season is here.
With More Mainstream Acceptance, Is Queer Cinema in Trouble?
I’ve often wondered whether the lack of political urgency among today’s filmmakers living in the age of Obama, rather than the infuriating Reagan-Bush 1980s, has hindered the boldness and fury that has often driven strong cinema.
Talking TIFF: Co-Director Cameron Bailey On The 2011 Toronto Film Festival
Before you head to TIFF 2011, festival co-director Cameron Bailey wants to give you a heads up: It’s not the same festival you might have gotten used to.
FUTURES | Ami Canaan Mann Follows in Her Dad’s Uncompromising Footseps with “Texas Killing Fields”
Ami Canaan Mann, daughter to Michael Mann (“Heat,” “Public Enemies”), is one of this year’s most highly touted new talents behind the camera. Her feature film debut, “Texas Killing Fields,” starring Sam Worthington, Chloe Moretz and Jessica Chastain, world premieres at the Venice Film Festival and hits theaters October 14.
Nicholas Ray Was an Early Adopter: An Interview With Susan Ray on Her Husband’s Legacy
Of the big names premiering work at this year’s Venice Film Festival, one is particularly both notable and unexpected. More than 30 years after his death, legendary American filmmaker Nicholas Ray appears in the program—and not with a retrospective, but with a “new” work.
INTERVIEW: Ludivine Sagnier on Impersonating the Late Alain Corneau in “Love Crime”
In the late Alain Corneau’s final film, “Love Crime,” French star Ludivive Sagnier plays a driven ingenue at a multinational who engages in a deadly battle with her ruthless mentor, played by Kristen Scott Thomas. Think of it as a Gallic mash-up of “Working Girl” and “Fatal Attraction,” with a twist to rival the best potboilers.
Talking with Eli Craig, Director of Our VOD Pick of the Week: “Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil”
indieWIRE caught up with Eli Craig to dish on his love for horror movies and why he decided to mock them.
INTERVIEW | Joann Sfar on Serge Gainsbourg: “You have to understand what he sings.”
Cartoonist Joann Sfar’s name may not mean much in the United States, but in France he’s nearly as revered as the pop icon at the center of his directorial debut. “Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life” delivers a playful, stylized rendition of French musician Serge Gainsbourg’s wild and sultry adventures.
Watch: The Sad and Somewhat Promising Trailer for Kenneth Lonergan’s Long-Delayed “Margaret”
It’s been 11 years since Kenneth Lonergan impressed us with his directorial debut, “You Can Count On Me.” He’s finally back with his sophomore effort, “Margaret,” which was shot way back in 2005. It finally opens in limited release on September 30 after struggles in the editing room (they shot it with a reportedly 300-page script).
Watch: Alessandro Nivola is a Messed-Up Rocker Dad to Sensible Abigail Breslin in “Janie Jones”
The coming-of-age rock drama “Janie Jones,” which had its premiere at Toronto 2010, will be released by Tribeca Film on October 27.
Watch: Teaser for “Dogtooth” Director’s Latest Oddity, “Alps”
If you thought “Dogtooth” was provocative, just wait till you hear what “Alps” is about.
Watch: See Cannes Breakout Stephanie Sigman in “Miss Bala” Trailer
One of indieWIRE’s top picks out of the Cannes Film Festival was “Miss Bala,” a Mexican thriller that features a breakout performance from newcomer Stephanie Sigman. Get a taste for what all the fuss is about by checking out the new trailer for the film, courtesy of 20th Century Fox who release the film on October 14 in New York.
Watch: Trailer For Fred Schepisi’s TIFF Entry "Eye Of The Storm" With Geoffrey Rush
It has been a long time since Australian director Fred Schepisi has been behind camera. His last effort was the acclaimed HBO mini-series “Empire Falls” and before that his last feature film was 2003’s forgettable “It Runs In The Family.”
"Hunger Games" Teaser: Thrilling or Disappointing?
Reaction has been tepid to this "Hunger Games" teaser, introduced on video by a low-key Jennifer Lawrence at the Video Music Awards Sunday night, which reaches the film’s teen demo.
iW’s Online Video of the Day: Watch Joseph Gordon-Levitt Melt Hearts by Singing in French
Mon Dieu! Today’s video is a hot one, featuring a swoon-inducing Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
iW’s Video of the Day: Malcolm McDowell Breathes & Jack Nicholson Smiles in Kubrick GIFs
Be prepared to be awestruck. With “The Lion King” (and every other film marketed towards children and meatheads) getting a 3D release and endless promises to one-up the cinematic gimmicks of William Castle, it’s always nice to be reminded that technology can enhance our filmgoing experiences.