David Cronenberg makes strange movies. I don’t mean that he makes movies about things that are strange, though he does that, too. What I mean is that his films depict a reality that is very specifically different from our own, no matter how closely his imagined spaces may resemble the real. In fact, when his creations are more superficially real than not, the strangeness and sense of disconnect is intensified. We see things that should be familiar, or predictable, but aren’t. One of Cronenberg’s chief gifts is that he makes us see the potential in situations that seem to have little energy hidden within them.

Which brings us to this first clip from Cosmopolis, the film in which Cronenberg adapts the novel of the same name by Don DeLillo, with Robert Pattinson as a young billionaire who is struggling, in several ways, with his own existence. The first trailers for the film suggested the wild and weird, but this clip is very much of the strange. Pattinson and Sarah Gadon, playing his wife, have a conversation in a cafe. It plays out a bit stilted and odd, but free of the context of the film I can’t tell if what we’re seeing is really part of the life that troubles Pattinson’s character. I do know I want to see a lot more.

Check out the clip below. Read More »

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I’ve written a bit in the past about the effort by David Cronenberg and Dino De Laurentiis to produce Total Recall, a movie based on Philip K. Dick‘s story We Can Remember it for You Wholesale. The short recap is that prior to making The Fly, Cronenberg cranked out a dozen drafts of a Total Recall script and realized at the end of that process that he and Dino were never going to be on the same page. So he moved on, eventually made The Fly, and years later Paul Verhoeven directed the Total Recall that starred Arnold Schwarzenegger.

As is often the case for a development project from major players that is many drafts into the process, concept art was created for Cronenberg’s Total Recall. We’ve just never seen any of it, until now. Read More »

The first teaser trailer for David Cronenberg‘s Cosmopolis was a delirious ode to the filmmaker’s middle period — a chapter in his career that we’d begun to think was closed for good. But in that teaser for the adaptation of Don DeLillo‘s novel about a young billionaire who pulls strings from within a high-tech limo, we’re flashed with wild images of Robert Pattinson engaging in illicit sex, watching what seemed to be a dinosaur-sized rat, putting a bullet through his own hand, and musing about boundaries and desire. In short: vintage Cronenberg in all its glory.

Now the full trailer for Cosmopolis is available, and it expands on that teaser very nicely. We get a lot more of the story, including a good introduction to Pattinson’s character’s wife and possible voice of conscience (played by Sarah Gadon) as well as a motley crew of personalities including Juliette Binoche, Paul Giamatti, Mathieu Almaric, and Jay Baruchel.

The tone looks even more old-school Cronenberg than what we saw in the teaser — his affinity for a very particular dialogue cadence and isolated shot staging is very much on display. This one looks entertaining as hell, frankly. Read More »

The primary lineup for the competition slate at the 2012 Cannes has been unveilend, and it is a very strong list of films. There are quite a few expected entries: David Cronenberg‘s Cosmopolis, Lee DanielsThe Paperboy, John Hillcoat‘s Lawless (formerly The Wettest County), and Andrew Dominik‘s Killing Them Softly (formerly Cogan’s Trade), and we already knew that Wes Anderson‘s Moonrise Kingdom would open the festival.

But the international lineup is even more exciting, with films such as Rust & Bone from Jacques Audiard, Amour from Micheal Haneke, The Hunt from Thomas Vinterberg, and Mekong Hotel from 2010 Palme d’Or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul. As is occasionally the case with Cannes, this year’s lineup features many returning Cannes award winners; it’s a world-class program.

The downside to all of that is that Paul Thomas Anderson‘s The Master and Terrence Malick‘s as-yet untitled romance starring Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem didn’t show up in the list. There is some time for them to be added to the festival lineup in some measure, but (as expected) we’ll likely have to wait until this fall for The Master. As for the Malick movie… well, it’s Malick, so who knows?

You’ll find the lineup as it has been announced so far after the break. Read More »

Chatter about who could or should direct the Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire began the second word got out that the first film’s helmer, Gary Ross, might be leaving the franchise. And now that his departure’s officially been confirmed, the conversation has further heated up, not just among fans but among Lionsgate studio execs as well.

A search has begun in earnest for Ross’ replacement, and if the first three names we’ve heard are indicative of the direction that Lionsgate is going, Ross’ exit could actually end up being a blessing in disguise. Among the filmmakers supposedly in the mix are Alfonso Cuarón, David Cronenberg, and Alejandro González Iñárritu. Read more after the jump.

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Well, hello, David Cronenberg! In 2012 the director is going to unleash his second film in two years, and for those who thought A Dangerous Method was too dry, it looks like Cosmopolis might be for you. A teaser has just landed for the film, and it looks nuts.

The film stars Robert Pattinson in an adaptation of a novel by Don DeLillo, and it looks like Cronenberg’s most overtly sexual movie since Crash, and his most visually strange since eXistenZ. What we see here of Pattinson’s character Eric Packer, a young billionaire with a rather specific and dark worldview, makes him seem to fit right in the mold of a classic Cronenberg character like Videodrome‘s Max Renn. “I’m looking for more… show me something I don’t know” could have come right out of Renn’s mouth. Check out the footage — which definitely isn’t work-safe — below. Read More »

David Cronenberg is about to do the first television work he has done in some time. The director did a lot of work for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in his early days, and he even directed episodes of some Canadian-shot shows that you might not associate with his particular brand of cinema. (Ever seen his episode of the tepid late ’80s show Friday the 13th: The Series?)

But now Cronenberg is about to take a commanding role in a series: he’ll direct the pilot for a series called Knifeman, and serve as exec producer for the show. Even better for those who have hoped to see the director return to the subject matter of his ’70s and ’80s output, the show will be based on a biography of “a radical, self-educated surgeon,” and the “unorthodox lengths he will go to uncover the secrets of the human body.” Read More »

David Holtzman's Diary

Hello. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jordan Hoffman and I’m an old man. Well, not THAT old, but, let’s just say that for me the phrase “VHS or Beta?” was more than just an indie band, it was an actual decision.

After film school I worked in the development offices of a New York-based production company for a few years, then did some solid Web 1.0 work at About.com. Then I made two independent films, both of which are good, neither of which made me any money. Eventually I got back into the writing game, working at Hearst’s UGO.com for over four years and now I’m having a blast reviewing and writing about film for a number of different publications.

The fine folk here at /Film have allowed me this weekly column to put on my bifocals, peer into the rich history of cinema and make some recommendations that may be unknown to you.

Since the big release this weekend is the extremely entertaining Chronicle I thought it might be a good idea to think back to a time before Cloverfield or go deeper than The Blair Witch Project. Read More »

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