Roman Polanski

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venus_in_fur_still

The first trailer for Roman Polanski‘s Venus in Fur actually debuted a few months ago. But alas, that trailer was in French, leaving all us non-Francophones out in the dust. We could look at the pictures. We could hoot when the pictures looked nice, scratch our heads in confusion when they didn’t. But anything above orangutan-level comprehension was a bit of a stretch. Well, now the English-speaking world has its own Venus in Fur trailer, with subtitles and narration and a full grasp of “who are these people and what are they doing.” That’s the good. The bad is that our English-language introduction to Venus in Fur has lost a certain something in translation.

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Rosemary

Because nothing says “fun” like a Roman Polanski horror flick from the 1970′s, NBC has decided that their best way of turning their sinking ship of a network around is to transform Rosemary’s Baby into a shiny new limited series for primetime. Except this time around, the young couple and their demon spawn eschew Manhattan for Paris, “where this edge-of-your-seat thriller unfolds.” Apparently, Satanism is en vogue in that part of the world this time of year. The network is mum on details at this point, but offers up that it’s a modern retelling of the Ira Levin novel. Isn’t that a bit heavy for network TV? Call me old fashioned, but sandwiching in devil rape between whatever those crazy kids are doing on Camp this week and a rerun of Parks and Rec might not be the best move for NBC. Fun fact: I wrote one of my very first film reviews for this movie. It was one sentence: “My uterus is very, very sad.”

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ForgetIt

There were so many great crime movies that came out of the ’70s that it would be something of an endeavor to compile a list of the best. But chances are, if you had a bunch of people get together and do just that, Chinatown would be near the top of most of them. This modern take on classic noir is beloved to the point where it’s the sort of thing that gets studied in film classes, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s got iconic moments, a legendarily despicable villain in land developer Noah Cross (John Huston), Jack Nicholson giving a solid leading performance that isn’t as showy and distracting as his later stuff and it’s put together by the trained eye of a master director. But it also has a number of readily apparent flaws that make it questionable as to whether or not it should stand shoulder to shoulder with the greatest movies in cinema history, as many people claim that it does. Another great crime film from the same era is The Long Goodbye, a sort of subversion of the noir genre that embraces its tropes but updates its setting to the laid back, alternative medicine-embracing culture of early ’70s Los Angeles. Unlike Chinatown, this isn’t the sort of film that has grown in popularity over the years. It has its fans, and it might show up on some of those “Best of the ’70s” lists if the people you’re surveying are big into the […]

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Ray Liotta

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting column that lives on because Kate Erbland was goodly enough to step in and keep it going for a couple days. Let’s all thank Kate. Thanks, Kate. Usually when movies are already filmed it means that their casting process has been completed. Not so for a Robert Rodriguez film, though. This guy does pretty much every job on his sets and relies on studio assistance for very little, which allows him to play by his own rules and march to the beat of his own drummer. Sometimes that opportunity for flexibility can result in movies that feel like they’ve been slapped together by a madman, but sometimes it leads to a movie being able to make amazing last minute additions, like how his in-production Sin City sequel just added Ray Liotta, Juno Temple, and Jeremy Piven to its already-stacked cast. Indiewire isn’t sure which characters they’re going to be playing, but probably that doesn’t matter much. Liotta and Piven always just play themselves, and Temple, well…she can do anything she wants.

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Year in Review: Best Criterion

It seems like every year we have to begin this particular article with the disclaimer that we aren’t necessarily talking about the best releases Criterion put upon us this calendar year. If one made a list of top 10 home releases in a given year one could conceivably litter that list with nothing but Criterion releases, and still find themselves in the same predicament. Here, our approach to this article has, more often than not, been based on a wow factor in one of many different areas. Either a wow for the presentation of the release, a wow for the personal discovery of something previously unknown, a wow for the collective power of a set, or, occasionally the most fun, a wow for the “I can’t believe Criterion released that….I’m really happy Criterion decided to release that…but seriously can you believe they released that?” This year was no different in any of those respects for Criterion as they continue to put out some of the most impressive releases month in and month out with films that have been in dire need of the Criterion treatment for a long time (Purple Noon), notoriously maligned and controversial artworks that deserve a second chance (Heaven’s Gate), their continuous support for the unique voices of the next generation of filmmakers (Tiny Furniture) while trying to also include the early works of some of modern cinema’s most exciting visionaries (The Game, Being John Malkovich, Shallow Grave); which, on that note, brings us to our first […]

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31 Days of Horror - October 2011

They said it couldn’t be done. A fifth year of 31 Days of Horror? 31 more terror, gore and shower scene-filled movies worth highlighting? But Rejects always say die and never back away from a challenge, so we’ve rounded up the horror fans among us and put together another month’s worth of genre fun. Enjoy! Synopsis Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow) and her husband Guy (John Cassavetes) move into an old Gothic Manhattan apartment building with an unsavory reputation. An aura of evil hangs over the building according to their good friend Hutch, but Rosemary and Guy aren’t put off by the stories and rumors. This is their dream apartment, and no tales of murder, mayhem and covens of witches are going to stop them from moving in. Their next door neighbors, Roman and Minnie Castevet are friendly and helpful, more helpful than Rosemary could ever imagine. Suddenly Guy, a struggling actor, starts getting the parts he’s missed out on. An actor suddenly goes blind, paving the way for Guy to get his career on track. Things are going better than ever and Guy who had been reluctant to have a child is all for it much to Rosemary’s surprise and delight. But be careful what you wish for especially when your ambitious husband has become BFF’s with the creepy couple next door.

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Reject Recap: The Best of Film School Rejects

To paraphrase Loverboy, everybody’s waiting for the weekend… to read the best original movie-related content on the web. So, come on baby, let’s go back to the start and give the past week of Film School Rejects a second chance. But first, we want to remind you of the category links on this page that will help you find the most recent reviews (including new releases Dredd 3D, End of Watch and The Perks of Being a Wallflower) and trailers (new spots for The Hobbit and The Life of Pi included) as well as the sidebar of all your favorite columns. And, of course, this week brought the start of Fantastic Fest, so you’ll want to look back on what films we’ve covered so far, such as Frankenweenie and Holy Motors. Keep this link handy through the next five days or so.

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Here’s a story that’s likely to make you squeamish. Director Roman Polanski, who famously had to flee the United States after being caught violating a pubescent girl in the most thorough way a person can be violated, is all set to direct an “erotic black comedy” about a director who engages in sadomasochistic role play with the actresses who audition for him. Cute, right? The film in question is called Venus in Fur, and it’s an adaptation of the award-winning play of the same name, which was about a writer/director who was trying to put on an adaptation of the 1870 novella of the same name. The play was by David Ives, the original novella by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (which is where the term “masochism” comes from), and the film will come from an adapted screenplay by Polanski and Ives, acting as co-writers. Venus in Fur will be French-language, and actors Emmanuelle Seigner and Louis Garrel are set to star.

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Roman Polanski has more than one story to tell. In a lifetime dedicated to storytelling, it is ironic that his own life experiences have been the stuff that good Hollywood films tend to made of. No doubt much will be made of the fact that the Memoir was filmed while Polanski was under house arrest in Switzerland, and indeed the film takes the controversial “American problems” as the director himself refers to them here as the starting point but the documentary is a good deal more than an opportunity to clear the director’s name. Instead it tells the story of his entire life, in which Samantha Geimer is merely one chapter, and – most enticingly for film fans – in Polanski’s own words (and occasionally those of “host” Andrew Braunsberg). Rather than opt for a narrative-type documentary, director Laurent Bouzereau opts instead for a feature length interview with his subject, presided over by Polanski’s friend and production colleague Braunsberg in the inquisitor’s seat, inter-lacing personal photographs with stock historical footage and sequences taken directly from Polanski’s films. In honesty, these visual ornaments are only brief distractions, and for the main part the film allows Polanski to merely tell his own story, which was a good decision given his story-telling abilities and his natural charm.

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Editor’s Note: Max Allan Collins has written over 50 novels and 17 movie tie-in books. He’s also the author of the Road to Perdition graphic novel, off which the film was based. With his new Mickey Spillane collaboration “Lady, Go Die” in great bookstores everywhere, we thought it would be fun to ask him for his ten best films noir. In true noir fashion, we bit off more than we could handle… We have to begin with a definition of noir, which is tricky, because nobody agrees on one. The historical roots are in French film criticism, borrowing the term noir (black) from the black-covered paperbacks in publisher Gallimard’s Serie Noire, which in 1945 began reprinting American crime writers such as Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain, Raymond Chandler, Chester Himes, Horace McCoy, Jim Thompson, Mickey Spillane, W.R. Burnett and many others. The films the term was first applied to were low-budget American crime thrillers made during the war and not seen in France till after it. The expressionistic lighting techniques of those films had as much to do with hiding low production values as setting mood. In publishing circles, the term has come to replace “hardboiled” because it sounds hipper and not old-fashioned. I tend to look at dark themes and expressionistic cinematography when I’m making such lists, which usually means black-and-white only; but three color films are represented below, all beyond the unofficial cut-off of the first noir cycle (Kiss Me Deadly, 1955). Mystery genre expert Otto Penzler has […]

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Director Roman Polanski is no stranger to scandals, so it should come as no surprise that his next project will cover a real-life event that was very scandalous. The subject matter in question is the infamous Dreyfus affair, which doesn’t have anything to do with Richard Dreyfus’ married life, but instead involves a Jewish Captain of the French army named Alfred Dreyfus. You see, back in 1894 Dreyfus faced court martial because of accusations that he had been passing secrets to the Germans. After being found guilty, he was sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil’s Island – but that’s not where his story stops. It continues when the head of French counter-intelligence, Colonel Georges Picquart, realizes that the real traitor is still at large and attempts to prove as much. His efforts lead to clashes with superior officers, framings for crimes he didn’t commit, and, eventually, his own imprisonment. Strange things were afoot at the Circle K. Eventually Dreyfus was cleared of all charges and released, but not until he had endured 12 years of investigations, media attention, and imprisonment.

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Robert Towne won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, but what most don’t realize is that the original script for Chinatown was over 300 pages long. That would have made quite the shooting schedule. Roman Polanski‘s enduring noir classic is headed to Blu-ray soon which means seeing J.J. Gittes getting his nose cut in high definition. Plus, we’re giving a copy away, and the one we have has Robert Towne’s signature on it (thanks to the intrepid team at Dolby Labs who secured it legally). If you’re into that sort of thing. So how do you get your hands on it? Glad I made it seem like you asked.

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Recently, Flavorwire got a kick out of a post from Slacktory where they used that ever-present man behind the curtain called Google to see what our internet age connects with celebrities. Then, we got a kick out of Flavorwire’s answer which involved 25 famous authors and what the search engine had to say. The experiment is simple. Type a name into Google Image Search, and the program automagically suggests more words to narrow down your search. Judging from entries like “white people problems” for J.D. Salinger and “death, oven, daddy” for Sylvia Plath, it seems like Google might be kinder to famous movie directors. Some of the responses fully encapsulate the person’s artistic output while others push toward the fringe, but all are shaped by what we’re searching for. Here’s a few things Google thinks you should add to the names of some of your favorite filmmakers.

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I spoke with John C. Reilly a few months ago for Terri, and now the seemingly always-working actor has two drastically different films coming out for the holiday season. While Terri was a humanistic and empathetic portrayal of naturally flawed people, Roman Polanski‘s Carnage is a cynical and full-blown satire of pretentious, childish adults. It is 79 minutes of characters slowly revealing their dark, immature, and somewhat understandable views. Reilly’s other film, We Need to Talk About Kevin, a mostly liked but slightly divisive film, is probably one of the most misunderstood movies of the year. Lynne Ramsay‘s film, as Reilly perfectly puts it, is meant to be taken almost as a dream. Very few scenes should be taken literally. I recently had the chance to discuss both films with Reilly, along with Roman Polanski’s specificity, the responsibilities of an actor, and when tools become human beings.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr goes rogue and infiltrates his local IMAX theater. First, he scales the wall of the plus-sized building and slides in undetected through the air vents. He slowly lowers himself into a theater seat to enjoy an early screening of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Unfortunately, he finds himself in the middle of a wild crowd of six-year-old kids for the early screening of the latest Alvin and the Chipmunks movie. To deal with the psychological damage, Kevin then stumbles into the Sherlock Holmes sequel and later finds an extra seat in Young Adult, where he can imagine that his chubby caboose could land a hottie like Charlize Theron.

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Being a parent is no easy task – when your child acts out or does something wrong, it’s hard not to take it as a personal reflection on yourself. In Carnage, after a playground altercation turns violent, the parents of the two boys involved decide to come together to try and come to a reasonable agreement on how to rectify the situation. What starts out as a civil conversation between the two parties quickly devolves into an honest and bitterly funny examination of not only each others’ parenting skills, but their marriages and even themselves as people. Based on Yasmina Reza‘s play, God of Carnage, director Roman Polanski takes the story to the big screen with four powerhouse performers who make being trapped in an apartment an engaging look at human nature you want to run away from, but at the same time are unable to tear your eyes from. After Nancy (Kate Winslet) and Alan Cowan’s (Christoph Waltz) son hits Penelope (Jodie Foster) and Michael Longstreet’s (John C. Reilly) son in the face with a stick, the parents decide to try and settle things like adults, but how they each think that should happen differs from person to person and those differences are eventually revealed when the Cowan’s (despite repeated efforts) find themselves unable to simply leave the Longstreet’s apartment.

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As it turns out, I’ve been slightly remiss when it comes to praising this year’s 25th edition of AFI FEST 2011 presented by Audi. I’ve tossed off comments about how the festival gets better with every passing year, but in the wake of today’s announcement of the festival’s Centerpiece Galas and Special Screenings, I’ve realized that I have not gone far enough. AFI FEST has not just gotten better this year, the festival has made a dramatic jump to top-tier status, rolling out titles that play like a cinephile’s Christmas list for 2011. Today’s lineup announcement is essentially a “best-of” list of this year’s festival favorites, including Michel Hazanavicius‘s The Artist, Steve McQueen‘s Shame, Oren Moverman‘s Rampart, Lynne Ramsay‘s We Need to Talk About Kevin, Roman Polanski‘s Carnage, Simon Curtis‘s My Week with Marilyn, Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, Gerardo Naranjo’s Miss Bala, and Wim Wenders‘s Pina. AFI FEST will run from November 3rd through the 10th in Hollywood, with all screenings taking place at The Chinese, the Chinese 6 Theatres, and the Egyptian Theatre. The best part? Tickets for all screenings are free (and available starting October 27). After the break, check out the full list, including descriptions and showtimes, of the films to be featured as AFI FEST Centerpiece Galas and Special Screenings.

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Translating a limited-setting play to the screen can be tricky business – it’s not often that stage plays that take place in just one or two locations are suited for a cinematic interpretation. To put it simply – how can people sitting around in a room be compelling to a movie-going audience? Well, when the people sitting around that room are Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, and John C. Reilly, and they’re directed by Roman Polanski, it’s pretty compelling. Based on Yasmina Reza’s play “God of Carnage,” Polanski’s latest focuses on two couples, the Longstreets (as played by Foster and Reilly) and the Bowens (Winslet and Waltz), tossed together after the Bowens’ son gives a good face-wacking to the Longstreets’ boy. Attempting a cordial meeting to hash out the results of the brawl, the Bowens and the Longstreets end up making their kids look tame, as they all end up going positively bonkers. Check out just how bonkers in the second trailer for Carnage, after the break.

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Yasmina Reza’s Tony-winning play “God of Carnage” doesn’t inherently lend itself to cinema. With four characters interacting in a single setting, and a narrative centered on a thin symbolic conceit, it’s the sort of dialogue-heavy project that could easily be captured with a tedious cut-and-dry, shot-reverse-shot filmic approach. It’s fortunate, then, that Roman Polanski has taken it on in Carnage, and filled the roles with some of the most interesting actors around. Say what you will about Polanski the man, but Polanski the filmmaker has demonstrated an almost limitless aptitude for creative technique. Similarly, Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz (four Oscar wins among them) have a preternatural gift for imbuing even the quietest moments with extraordinary, unconventional feeling. After young Zachary Cowan hits Ethan Longstreet with a stick during a playground brawl, knocking out two of Ethan’s teeth, the latter’s parents invite the former’s to their Brooklyn apartment to discuss the incident. Over the course of a tumultuous morning, Penelope and Michael Longstreet (Foster and Reilly) and Nancy and Alan Cowan (Winslet and Waltz) will spar, commiserate and touch on the essence of parenthood, manhood and the art of confronting modernity with a social conscience.

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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.17.2014
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published: 04.17.2014
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published: 04.17.2014
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