Brady Corbet

Broad Green Pictures

Eden is a film about passion, at least at first. It’s about youth and the thrill of finding community in art, the music that takes over your soul. It’s about dancing, drugs, and sex. It’s Almost Famous and Finding Llewyn Davis, sort of. By the time it ends it’s covered over two decades of dreams and successes, setbacks and failures, all of the above and nothing at all. Mia Hansen-Love‘s fourth feature begins in the early 1990s. A French teenager named Paul (Felix de Givry) and his friends are on the cusp of falling deeply in love with garage, the genre of electronic dance music that grew up at Paradise Garage in New York City. These are early days, with raves held in caves and disused submarines hanging around the French countryside. Paul has a moment of revelation under some trees in the early dawn, his post-concert gray haze interrupted by a bright orange bird, animated into the frame like something out of Mary Poppins. This technique doesn’t come back, but it doesn’t have to. Hansen-Love lets us know from the beginning that for Paul, music is magic (and possibly hallucination).



If Antonio Campos‘ Simon Killer didn’t, oh, have the word “killer” in its title, the film’s first trailer – a stylish and slick little diddy – would be far more interesting. As is, it’s two minutes of us wondering, “well, just when is this guy going to kill someone?” We’ll spare you the waiting – Brady Corbet doesn’t kill anyone in this trailer, but he does wander around Paris and go to a ton of dance clubs (watch those strobe lights if you’re light sensitive) and try to cure a supposedly broken heart by way of plunging into a relationship with a sexy prostitute (Mati Diop). Campos’ film first premiered way back at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, where it divided critics left and right. Is it a finely nuanced character study with major bite? Or a gaudy little trifle that takes itself far too seriously? We’ll all just have to decide later this year, when the film finally hits theaters, thanks to IFC Films. At the very least, Simon Killer could become infamous for strobe-induced in-theater pass-outs. Get out your glowsticks and check out the first trailer for Simon Killer after the break.


Isla Fisher

What is Casting Couch? Today it’s a casting column that’s relying on the dreaded “short list” for content. You can’t really say that The Switch is a Jackie Brown prequel. Its story doesn’t really connect with the goings-on of Jackie Brown in any way, and Quentin Tarantino isn’t involved or anything. But it is an adaptation of an Elmore Leonard novel that features many of the same characters Jackie Brown did. Case in point: Variety reports that fiery redhead Isla Fisher is in negotiations to play Melanie, the same stoner surfer girl that Bridget Fonda played in Tarantino’s film. The Switch also features Mos Def and John Hawkes in the roles Samuel L. Jackson and Robert De Niro originally played, and Jennifer Aniston as a kidnapped housewife. Fisher’s character is said to be the manipulator of the story, and isn’t that always the case with these pretty girls?


Despite assertions that I would never consciously put myself through the draining experience of watching one of his films again, this morning saw the first screening of Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia, a film about the end of the world, as well as one that presents the triumph of melancholia, or the feeling that everything we know is hollow. So, now the credits have rolled, the world has ended and again, I find myself challenged by the dichotomy of a film that consciously aims to jar and jolt, rather than be pleasurable (is there any other way for this director though?). Like Malick’s The Tree of Life, Melancholia is experiential cinema, a film that has limited commercial appeal aside from the names attached to it, that is as much a manifestation of Von Trier as an artist as it is a film in its own right, and long after this film festival is done, it will be those two films that will command the most debate, side-by-side. Both are endurance tests, but Melancholia is something entirely different to that other film, even though both will no doubt split the festival. Is it successful? Incredibly so. Though it’s certainly not an enjoyable experience. But at the end of the day, that’s exactly what the infamous director set out to achieve.


Michael Haneke’s shot-for-shot remake starts with intensity and rolls on toward stupidity like a breakless freight train.

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published: 12.23.2014
published: 12.22.2014
published: 12.19.2014

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