We Need to Talk about Kevin
We aren’t terribly familiar with the work of Scottish director Lynne Ramsay, but We Need to Talk about Kevin intrigues us nonetheless. An adaptation of Lionel Shriver’s novel of the same name, about a mother’s struggle with grief and guilt after her son shoots up his high school, the film’s subject matter is enough to raise our eyebrows. But the real draw is that it stars Tilda Swinton, who would surely hold our attention reading the phone book. Also interesting: John C. Reilly is the movie’s other boldface name. Guess we’re going to find out how he does at playing it straight. We Need to Talk about Kevin doesn’t have a US release date yet, but considering the talent involved and the hot-button issue it addresses, we have no doubt it will pop up eventually.
Gus van Sant is both a hit-or-miss and a love-him-or-hate-him director. So, his latest effort is bound to be polarizing, especially with a plot that has been summarized (on IMDb) as follows: “The story of a terminally ill teenage girl who falls for a boy who likes to attend funerals and their encounters with the ghost of a Japanese kamikaze pilot from WWII.” Whatever the male equivalent of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl is called, van Sant is clearly a fan. And yet, despite our skepticism about the plot, the movie does star two of our favorites: Mia Wasikowska and Jane Adams. Restless makes its US debut September 16th.
Oslo, August 31st
The English-speaking world is still a bit in the dark about the second feature by Norwegian director Joachim Trier (a distant relative of Lars von Trier’s). This is the log line that’s been making the rounds: “One man, one city, 24 hours. Oslo, August 31st is a portrait of contemporary Oslo. A visually striking and quietly shattering drama about a man in deep existential crisis.” Honestly, this sounds a bit like other films we’ve seen about other solitary figures wandering through cities. But we’ve been chomping at the bit to see what’s next for the filmmaker whose first film, Reprise, was one of the strongest debuts in recent memory. And the fact that the “one man” in question is breakout Reprise star Anders Danielsen Lie bodes well. Oslo doesn’t seem to have American distribution yet, but if it’s half the film its predecessor was, it’s sure to get it at Cannes.
The Kid with a Bike
The Dardenne brothers are back, with another entry in their consistently strong back catalog of realist films set in working-class Belgium. The Kid with a Bike concerns an 11-year-old boy who grows attached to a young woman (Cécile de France) when his father abandons him at a hostel. The trailer above is in French, but even those who don’t speak the language should be won over by the relationship it depicts. There’s no US release date yet, but the Dardennes’ films have a pretty decent track record for making it to at least a few screen stateside.
This Must Be the Place
If you know anything about Paolo Sorrentino’s This Must Be the Place at this point, it probably has something to do with Sean Penn’s portrayal of aging goth-rock star Cheyenne. And it’s true, we’d pay the price of admission to spend some quality time with Penn’s Robert Smith impression. But let’s not forget that there’s a compelling story here, of Cheyenne’s quest to find the Nazi war criminal who tortured and killed his father. Co-stars include Frances McDormand, Judd Hirsch, and Harry Dean Stanton, while David Byrne appears as himself. According to IMDb, This Must Be the Place will see release in the US sometime this year, hopefully before it hits European theaters this fall.
Fairy tale retellings have been all the rage recently, from Catherine Hardwicke’s supposedly terrible Red Riding Hood to Catherine Breillat’s beautiful and disturbing take on Bluebeard and Sleeping Beauty. But don’t be fooled by the title of Australian novelist Julia Leigh’s debut feature. Her Sleeping Beauty is a college student (Emily Browning) who allows herself to be seduced by the dark fantasy world of high-end prostitution. The trailer doesn’t give away a whole lot of the plot, but this much is clear: The film certainly looks gorgeous. There’s no US release date yet, but we’re confident a movie that uses “erotic” so often in its marketing copy will eventually wash up on our shores.