Lionsgate Will Release The Voices

The Voices is weird. Really weird, and violent, and even uncomfortable. The film features Ryan Reynolds as a mentally troubled guy who has a solid gig in a bathtub factory, and who finds himself acting out unconscious urges when he falls for a pretty girl at work. Those unconscious urges are often brought to the surface via pets owned by Reynolds’ character. See, the pets, a cat and a dog, talk to him, with the cat speaking in a rough Scottish brogue and the dog in a slow, gloppy and dopey drawl.

Marjane Satrapi, who directed Persepolis, made the film based on from a script by Michael R. Perry (Paranormal Activity 2). Now Lionsgate has bought US distribution rights, and will put the film in theaters later this year, hopefully without cuts. Read More »

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The Voices

After several attempts to go the modern leading man route toplining blockbusters, Ryan Reynolds makes a bold career choice with The Voices. He plays Jerry, a mentally ill man doing his best to live a healthy life. He likes his assembly line job, and asks out a beautiful girl. Things are looking up. Except for the fact he believes his cat and dog are speaking to him. What the cat says is not good, and not only because the pet spits vulgarities in a thick brogue.

Make no mistake. Marjane Satrapi, director of the stunning animated film Persepolis, has not made a version of Dr. Dolittle starring Ryan Reynolds. The Voices twists Jerry’s plight into dark shapes, resulting in a frequently disturbing, frequently hilarious and always surprising film. Read More »

Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

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In 2007, Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi made a splash with their acclaimed feature debut Persepolis, an adaptation of Satrapi’s autobiographical comic. For their new follow-up Chicken With Plums, the pair have drawn upon another of Satrapi’s tomes, this one the true-ish tale of Satrapi’s renowned musician uncle.

Superficially, the two projects seem like opposites. Where Persepolis was animated in stark black and white, their sophomore effort is (mostly) live-action and bursting with vivid color. What hasn’t changed, however, is Paronnaud and Satrapi’s proclivity for producing bold visuals and mixing serious emotion with playful humor.

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Hot on the heels of the release of a massive batch of films that will appear in the Toronto Film Festival, we’ve got the main lineup for the 68th Venice Film Festival, which runs from August 31 to September 10.

We knew that George Clooney‘s The Ides of March would open the fest (the trailer premiered last night and you can see it here) and this list confirms quite a few films that we imagined would be playing Venice. Our very much anticipated spy thriller Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy from Let the Right One In director Tomas Alfredson is on the list, as is Roman Polanski‘s tense closed-room drama Carnage, starring Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly and Christoph Waltz. And there is Alps, the second film from polarizing Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, whose film Dogtooth shocked, entertained and angered festival audiences in 2009.

The full list is after the break. Read More »

If you’re more interested in the typical fall slate of festival entrees than summer’s glut of tentpole action fare, this is a great week. The Toronto International Film Festival announced the first wave of films that will play the fest in September. This is a batch of about 50 titles, which makes up only a small chunk of the programming. Usually TIFF features between two and three hundred films. But these are some of the highest-profile entries.

Below you’ll find rundowns on the new films from George Clooney, Bennett Miller, Jay & Mark Duplass, Todd Solondz, Francis Ford Coppola, Cameron Crowe, Sarah Polley, Fernando Meirelles, Lars von Trier, Marc Forster, Steve McQueen, Alexander Payne, and Lynne Ramsay. No announcement yet of the Midnight Madness programming choices, always some of my faves, but this is a great start. Read More »

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