Ingenious

discs see you tomorrow everybody

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. See You Tomorrow Everyone (UK) Satoru Watarai (Gaku Hamada) graduates from primary school with only one certainty. He plans on never leaving the “projects” where he lives. The gated community of apartment complexes also features stores, restaurants, recreation areas and more, and Satoru sees no reason to leave. As the years pass by he watches as his friends move away, he loses the love of his life, and he begins to question his physical inability to set foot outside the projects. Director Yoshihiro Nakamura is no stranger to ridiculously good cinema, and anyone who’s seen Fish Story, Golden Slumber, or A Boy & His Samurai knows that he mixes entertainment and emotion in wonderfully rare ways. His latest lacks a fantastical element or song-related hook, and instead focuses on the presumably stunted life of one man affected by a singular traumatic moment. The first half plays like a loosely melancholy comedy before a shift sets in to up the emotional stakes dramatically, and the result is an incredibly affecting look at the intersection of fate and the life we make of our own will. [Region 2 DVD extras: Introduction, interview, trailer]

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Jeremy Renner Ingenious

There’s a scene in Ingenious where Sam, the seat-of-his-pants flying salesman, convinces Matt, the quirk-filled inventor, to gamble away the money they have to re-invest in their novelty gift business at the dog track. His brilliant can’t-lose method? Bet large on the dog that drops a deuce before getting into the gate. It’s slightly less than scientific, but there’s a good chance that writer/producer Mike Cram was feeling a blend of what Matt and Sam felt at the track when he and director Jeff Balsmeyer emerged from the festival circuit without any viable distribution offers. There were deals on the table, but nothing close to ideal, meaning Cram and company were about to take a massive gamble. It’s a position that thousands of filmmakers find themselves in every year, but Ingenious was different in one specific way: the guy playing the slick co-lead had just been nominated for an Oscar after bursting onto the national scene. The movie had (by a standard business measure) crapped out during its festival run, but Jeremy Renner (and a firm belief in the quality of the film) gave the production team good reason to bet on themselves to win.

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There’s a solid chance that you haven’t heard of most of these movies. Yet they exist – out there somewhere as a thorn in the side of movie fans trying to see as much as possible. Nuggets of potential waiting to be picked up from the movie orphanage by a distributor and given a warm home with cup holders in every seat. The European Film Market is fascinating for that reason and for the way people attend it. Tickets this year were around $600, but that’s a reasonable price for companies sending representatives trying to find the next moneymaker for their company or the hot movie to bring to their festival. That means screenings come complete with people on cell phones and unimpressed buyers walking out after ten minutes to hustle next door to see if the other movie playing has any promise to it. It’s a bizarre way to watch movies, but it makes a kind of sense given the massive size of the movie list compared to the tiny amount of time to see everything. There were upwards of 675 movies in the EFM this year, all of them with their own selling points. Here are the 87 most interesting-sounding with descriptions found in the official catalog. For the most part, I haven’t seen these movies (and didn’t even know about many of them until the Berlin Film Festival), but they all have something going for them that should earn them a spot on your radar.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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