Palindromes (2004) - News Poster

(2004)

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Sundance ’17 and on to Rotterdam ‘17: Interview with Kirsten Tan, Writer and Director of ‘Pop Aye’

Sundance ’17 and on to Rotterdam ‘17: Interview with Kirsten Tan, Writer and Director of ‘Pop Aye’
This first feature of Kirsten Tan premiered in Sundance ‘17 World Cinema Dramatic Competition. Its provenance is Singapore but it takes place in Thailand. It continued onward to the Hivos Tiger Competition at Iffr (R’dam).

The thrill of interviewing here in Sundance is that you see a film; you have an impression and while it is still fresh you meet the filmmakers without having much time for any research or reflection. And then you get to see them again as “old friends” when you meet again in Rotterdam.

As Kirsten, her producer Weijie Lai and I sat down at the Sundance Co-op on Main Street here in Park City, I really had little idea of where the interview would take us, somewhat analogously to her film in which an architect, disenchanted with life in general, being put aside as “old” in his own highly successful architectural firm and in a stale relationship with his wife,
See full article at SydneysBuzz »

Stephen K. Bannon’s Indie Film Career Contradicts His Alt-Right Vision

Stephen K. Bannon’s Indie Film Career Contradicts His Alt-Right Vision
Stephen K. Bannon’s ascension from Breitbart News executive to President-elect Donald Trump’s chief White House strategist and senior counselor shocked the world, in no small part because the alt-right figure has no background in government management. However, it’s not the first time Bannon has attempted to lead an industry outside of his professional experience. Bannon’s new role may be an ideal platform for propagandistic ambitions, but his career in independent film — first in distribution, then production — casts doubt on how much he believes in any of it.

Ten years ago, Bannon oversaw the distribution of independent films released by Wellspring Media, a company that supported a wide range of international cinema as well as gay-themed and other “transgressive” titles. Movies acquired and released under his tenure include the experimental Lgbt documentary “Tarnation” and “Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry,” a pro-Kerry documentary that opened during the 2004 election.
See full article at Indiewire »

Tiff 2016: Five Questions for The Levelling Director Hope Dickson Leach

In 2007, Hope Dickson Leach landed in the pages of Filmmaker Magazine as part of our annual 25 New Faces list. Her darkly comic brother-sister relationship drama, The Dawn Chorus — about siblings who recreate the plane crash that killed their parents — had been tearing up the festival circuit, and the Columbia Film School grad was developing a feature about a teenage girl who blames Princess Diana for her parents’ divorce. Dickson Leach had been working as an assistant for Todd Solondz on his film Palindromes, and her work was occasionally thought of as having the same satiric stripe. […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine »

Todd Solondz on Wiener-Dog, Not Directing TV and Working with “Remarkably Stupid” Dogs

Todd Solondz has been exploring his animal side. Granted, the films that first placed him at the forefront of independent American auteur cinema – Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995), Happiness (1998), Storytelling (2001), and Palindromes (2004) – were well-acquainted with the bestial side of human behavior, offering unflinching and sometimes repulsive examinations of bullying, pedophilia, abortion activism, racial fetishization and the adhesive properties of semen. Since 2009’s Life During Wartime, a theoretical sequel to Happiness, Solondz has toned down the bad-boy transgressions of his first few films, allowing his humanist sympathies to rise to the surface. Building on the structural aspects […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine »

Watch: Lola Kirke Takes Us Inside the Mind of an Epileptic in this Surreal Short Film

  • Indiewire
Watch: Lola Kirke Takes Us Inside the Mind of an Epileptic in this Surreal Short Film
Read More: Watch: The Best Part About Suicide is 'The Going Away Party' Indiewire has partnered with NoBudge, a site dedicated to showcasing innovative low budget filmmaking, to present some of the most exciting new work in independent film. Each month actor/filmmaker Kentucker Audley will select a highlight from the NoBudge film library and premiere it right here on Indiewire. Check out this month's short, "I Remember Nothing," above, and be sure to watch more great films at www.NoBudge.com. Zia Anger’s short film, which appeared last year at Locarno, New Directors/New Films and AFI Fest, uses conceptual daring and an uncommon wit to paint a kaleidoscopic portrait of a young woman in trouble. In a move that calls back to Luis Bunuel’s "That Obscure Object of Desire," and Todd Solondz’s "Palindromes," Anger enlists a series of five women to don the auburn wig and softball jersey of Joan,
See full article at Indiewire »

Ifp Screen Forward: Five Questions for Producer Mike S. Ryan

Ahead of his conversation at tomorrow’s Screen Forward conference, Mike S. Ryan fielded five questions about his career and recent Filmmaker piece “TV is Not the New Film.” A producer on such films as Meek’s Cutoff, The Comedy and Palindromes, Ryan explains how transmedia represents an loss of faith in the filmic medium, why True Detective is an exception to the rule of the TV writer as auteur, and what he looks for in a script. Filmmaker: In your “TV is Not the New Film” piece, you mention that the move to transmedia shows a “[loss] of faith in the medium,” while many others seem to argue that transmedia is […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine »

Ifp Screen Forward: Five Questions for Producer Mike S. Ryan

Ahead of his conversation at tomorrow’s Screen Forward conference, Mike S. Ryan fielded five questions about his career and recent Filmmaker piece “TV is Not the New Film.” A producer on such films as Meek’s Cutoff, The Comedy and Palindromes, Ryan explains how transmedia represents an loss of faith in the filmic medium, why True Detective is an exception to the rule of the TV writer as auteur, and what he looks for in a script. Filmmaker: In your “TV is Not the New Film” piece, you mention that the move to transmedia shows a “[loss] of faith in the medium,” while many others seem to argue that transmedia is […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine_Director Interviews »

Production Begins On Todd Solondz’s ‘Wiener-Dog’; Full Cast Includes Brie Larson, Zosia Mamet & More

Indie filmmaker Todd Solondz loves to play within his own cinematic universe ala Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino. 2009’s “Life During Wartime” is a quasi sequel to 1998’s “Happiness” and 2004's "Palindromes" begins at the funeral for Dawn Wiener, the protagonist from his debut feature “Welcome to the Dollhouse.” Well, Solondz is either ignoring his own cannon or just changing history with “Wiener-Dog,” his upcoming Annapurna Pictures comedy. The movie stars Greta Gerwig as the aforementioned Dawn Wiener grown up and the comedy tells several stories featuring people who find their life inspired or changed by one particular dachshund, who seems to be spreading comfort and joy Principal photography has begun on “Wiener-Dog,” and Annapurna has revealed its cast which includes the previously in-talks Julie Delpy, plus Kieran Culkin, Danny DeVito, Brie Larson, Ellen Burstyn, Zosia Mamet and writer/actor Tracy Letts. Megan Ellison is producing through her Annapurna...
See full article at The Playlist »

Ioncinephile of the Month: Lance Edmands (Bluebird)

Ioncinema.com’s Ioncinephile of the Month feature focuses on an emerging filmmaker from the world of cinema. Prior to the film’s TriBeCa Film Festival world premiere debut, we’ve had the pleasure to profile Lance Edmands on a couple of occasions, namely, our In the Pipeline spotlight. Matching the frigid, desolate Maine backdrop with a communal sense of sorrow, Bluebird features an outstanding group performance with Amy Morton leading a cast comprised of Louisa Krause, Emily Meade, Margo Martindale, Adam Driver and John Slattery (the Karlovy Vary Film Festival honored the four women). Usually, we get more into the mechanics of the film, but we took the opportunity to discuss technology and distribution – both changed tremendously during the film’s journey. Here’s this month (February/March) profile on Lance, and as always, make sure to click on over to his Top Ten Films of All Time list
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

Todd Solondz’s Twisted Cinematic Family Tree Sprouts a ‘Welcome to the Dollhouse’ Follow-Up

Dawn Wiener is dead, long live Dawn Wiener! Todd Solondz‘s second feature film, Welcome to the Dollhouse, is hailed as the filmmaker’s big breakthrough — a bold, gross, weird and uncomfortably honest look at one awkward tween’s coming-of-age in nineties New Jersey. The film starred Heather Matarazzo as Dawn “Wiener Dog” Wiener, an outcast desperate to fit in with her bone-headed peers, her terrible family and a classmate who repeatedly attempts to rape her. As is Solondz’s signature, the film is admirable and unique, even if you feel like you need a shower after watching it. The Hollywood Reporter now reports that Solondz is “sort of” working a sequel to the 1995 Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning feature film, as the filmmaker is currently casting for Wiener-Dog, billed as “an ensemble indie that is tied together thematically by a dachshund.” Moreover, “the script tells several stories featuring people who find their life inspired or changed by
See full article at FilmSchoolRejects »

Todd Solondz returns to Dawn Weiner, but a new actor will step in to play the part

  • Hitfix
Todd Solondz returns to Dawn Weiner, but a new actor will step in to play the part
Todd Solondz has always built his characters into an interconnected world. "Welcome To The Dollhouse" was the film that served as our introduction to his misanthropic take on the world, and it also introduced us to the character who remains my favorite out of all of his, Dawn Weiner. Played by Heather Matarazzo, Dawn Weiner was a beautiful outsider, a blissfully dorky little girl whose struggle to figure out how to fit in the 7th grade was both funny and painful, and Solondz wrote her with a remarkable amount of empathy. I would argue that Solondz has not been able to always strike that same balance and many of his films feel more mean, like he's an angry god raining on his own personal Jobs just for the hell of it. In both "Palindromes" and "Life During Wartime," characters from "Dollhouse" made a reappearance, but the character we would most
See full article at Hitfix »

Cuba Journal 2: U.S., Revolution and the Caribbean

The first day of the Havana Film Festival I was at the Hotel Nacional, registering for the festival, seeing familiar faces from Cuba and the Caribbean and old friends from the USA: Oleg Vidov and his wife Joan Borsten were there as Oleg who had starred in 3 Soviet films made in Cuba was an honored guest. Havana regulars were there: Marlene Dermer, director of Laliff and Laurie Anne Schag, VP of International Documentary Association. Laurie Anne not only gives tours of Cuba with her colleague Geo Darder, but this year she also screened her film at the festival, the documentary Oshun’s 11 about a tour of the Yoruba Orisha religion in Cuba.

Harlan Jacobson of Talk Cinema and Sarah Miller brought in tours as well and we went together to the Acapulco theater to see the Puerto Rican romantic heist movie Hope, Despair (La Espera Desespera) by writer/ director Coraly Santaliz Perez (♀) . Im Global’s Bonnie Voland the VP of Marketing was there with with Stuart Ford and his friend. Bonnie gave a great presentation on marketing which I will report on in these pages soon. Im Global and Mundial, their their new joint venture with Gael Garcia Bernal, showed The Butler and Bolivar: The Liberator. This new Mundial title was oddly programmed at the same time as the Venezuelan version of the exact same story, Bolivar, el hombre de las dificultades by Luis Alberto Lamata, a Venezuelan-Cuban-Spanish co-production. I wonder if both cinemas were packed or if one was more popular than the other. Publicity and marketing at this festival is a strange and unknown process, though I know Caroline Libresco-produced and Grace Lee-directed American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs brought in audience after a radio interview with Caroline and Grace had aired.

Ruby Rich was also here giving a very interesting presentation on Queer Cinema whose historical roots (Todd Haynes, Derek Jarman) were mostly unknown to the young Cuban audience. She is an old hand in Havana, having attended the festival in the heady days of the 1970s. The theme of homosexuality was prevalent in many of the films this year. A government Institute of Human Sexuality has been established under the leadership of the daughter of Raul Castro, and Cuba has apologized for its past treatment of homosexuality. This reversal has opened the doors of freedom. Filmmaker Enrique Pineda Barnet, the writer of Soy Cuba, the great Russian-Cuban epic, used to have to work underground with his personal homosexual films (After his fame was established with La Bella del Alhambra he was “allowed” to work underground). He is now able to be officially accepted with his works like Verde, Verde which showed in the Festival. Venezuelan Miguel Ferrari’s Azul y no tan rosa was feted for his treatment of this little-discussed issues in his home country.

Enrique Pineda Barnet’s meditation on what it means to be gay in Havana (Verde, Verde) marks his first film in years to be accepted into the official festival.

The U.S. invitees who give workshops here and at the international film school Eictv makes me wonder who is making the connections and how. Last year Hawk Koch and Annette Benning were here and created a support mechanism of AMPAS with the festival. This year, aside from Oleg Vidov Bonnie Voland and Ruby Rich, other American invitees giving workshops included Robert Kraft (Avatar, Titanic, Moulin Rouge) on film music was obviously brought in by the Academy. Mike S. Ryan, an independent filmmaker from New York was the big surprise as we never knew his role as producer of such films as Todd Solondz’s Palindromes and Life During Wartime, Kelly Reichardt’s Old Joy and Ira Sach’s Forty Shades of Blue, Hal Hartley’s Fay Grim and many more including Liberty Kid, the winner of HBO’s Latino Film Festival 2007 and Bela Tarr’s final film, The Turin Horse. His newly finished film is Last Weekend starring Patricia Clarkson and Zachary Booth. This Independent Spirit “Producer of the Year” winner was here working with filmmakers at Eictv, the international film school and also did a presentation in the festival conference series.

Im Global’s Stuart Ford and friend with Bonnie Voland at the Hotel Nacional

Oliver Stone, a favorite of Cuba since his HBO films Comandante and Persona Non Grata, brought in a History Channel doc series called The Untold History of the United States, made up basically of interviews with key people in the eras of World War II: Roosevelt, Truman and Wallace [sic],The Bomb, Cold War: Truman, Wallace [sic], Stalin, Churchill and the Bomb, The 1950s: Eisenhower, The Bomb and The Third World.

A fruit vendor on our walk to the Infanta Theater

Laurie Anne Schag secured radio promotion for Caroline Libresco of Sundance Institute and Grace Lee, here as a producer and director to show their new film: American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs. The audience at the Infanta Theater was mainly brought in by the radio show but also included us, the friends, and the Trinidad + Tobago delegation. The Q&A sessions were informed and informative as the Cubans and Americans discussed the notion of Revolution as put forward by Grace Lee Boggs a 90+ year old community organizer who came out of Barnard College in the 40s to Detroit and has never abandoned her Marxist Socialist standards but recognizes that social revolution can only succeed if the people themselves are revolutionized from grassroots action and within the individuals carrying out the action. Without transformation from within, action to change the government is only a rebellion. So what about the Cuban Revolution? The discussions were very enlightening and the audience felt that this film was new and interesting.

I attended the first of four screenings of Caribbean films hosted by ttff (Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival) at the Infanta Theater. My readers know from my blogs of last November how astonished and moved I was by the population makeup of Trinidad + Tobago and of the Caribbean in general. This area of small islands, formerly colonized by Spanish, French, German and Dutch has created a particular island culture society whose film culture is taking the next evolutionary step. Forming a marketplace and a place of cultural exchange among its constituents, ttff’s director Bruce Paddington is working with Cuba’s national film organization, Icaic’s Luis Notario to develop a real film market for Caribbean film. Apropos, Bruce was also showing his documentary on the Revolution in Grenada, called Foreward Ever: The Killing of a Revolution, which was the motto of Maurice Bishop the elected president who was forcefully removed and murdered by the opposition when the U.S. army under the Commander-in-Chief, President Ronald Reagan sent in forces presumably to protect the American medical students attending medical school there in 1983.

Twenty-five Cubans were also killed in the fighting which ensued on this otherwise always peaceful island where now a reconciliation among neighbors is still in process.

The other four screenings of ttff were varied and interesting in their unique Caribbean points of view. The opening film, Poetry is an Island: Derek Walcott was a portrait of the St. Lucia poet and Nobel Prize winner for literature. The short film, Passage, by Kareem Mortimer, a filmmaker I have known for many years from the Bahamas and Trinidad, was astounding in its recall of one of the most degrading aspects of the slave trade, as black Haitians huddled in the tiny hold of a decrepit fishing boat as they were smuggled into Florida from Haiti. Another short, Auntie, from the Barbados by Lisa Harewood told of a current social issue in which “Aunts” take care of young children while their single mothers go abroad to earn money for their care. As the child in this movie reaches her teen years, her mother sends for her which leaves a grieving single woman “Auntie” alone with no thanks and no child to care for in her older years. Other shorts included The Gardener by Jo Henriquez from Aruba and One Good Deed by Juliette McCawley from Trinidad + Tobago.

The window on Caribbean issues was opened wide. The Barbados comedy Payday in which two friends decide to leave their job as security guards and open their own business was made on a shoe string but gave a picture of how the youth are living today with ganga, grinding dancing, sexy encounters told with a sweet mischievous naughtiness. Songs of Redemption, by Miquel Galofre and Amanda Sans, winner of ttff’s Jury Prize and the Audience Award goes inside what had been Kingston Jamaica’s worst prison until the new prison director introduced classes to educate the prisoners, including a music rehabilition program which goes beyond all expectation… Truly redeeming.

Trinidad + Tobago filmmakers Karim Mortimer from Bahamas, Lisa Harewood from Barbaddos, Alex (Egyptian/ Austrian / Bahamanian business partner of Karim, Shakira Bourne

The film program was suspended for a full day in which all cultural and entertainment events throughout Cuba were cancelled to observe a national day of mourning for Nelson Mandela.
See full article at SydneysBuzz »

The Best Movie Posters of 2012

  • MUBI
It was hard to whittle down my favorite movie posters to a straight top ten this year. There was no absolute stand-out like Chris Ware’s Uncle Boonmee last year, and the majority of film posters continue to be depressingly rote and uninspired, even though the explosion of Diy illustration has started to make inroads into the world of commercial film promotion. As a symptom of my indecision I have tended to group posters together more than usual; laid out like this the year doesn’t look half bad.

1. Wreck-it Ralph (with The Lorax and Life Of Pi)

On its own the Wreck-It Ralph teaser would still have been one of the best posters of the year—a wittily simple 8-bit pixellated key-stroke of genius that compresses a blockbuster 3D extravaganza into a flat, three-color arrangement of squares and tells everyone walking by exactly what they need to know (except
See full article at MUBI »

Blu-ray Review: Scathing ‘Dark Horse’ Flips Apatowian Formula on its Head

Chicago – Movie theaters have rarely appeared as depressingly airless as they do in Todd Solondz’s “Dark Horse.” Rather than confront his adult responsibilities, pathological man-child Abe (Jordan Gelber) storms into the nearest multiplex for his daily consumption of media-fed inspirational escapism. He quietly mouths the answers to pre-movie questions projected in the otherwise vacant theater, as his words fall on nonexistent ears.

For financially strapped young adults forced to live at home well past their teenage years, Solondz’s latest scathing satire may be a horrifying externalization of their worst nightmares. As a cautionary tale, it is both pitilessly bleak and oddly humanistic. Gelber, an actor best known for starring in the Broadway smash, “Avenue Q,” is so inherently likable that he causes the audience to root for his unfortunate character—not to fulfill his undeserved dreams, but to come to his senses.

Blu-ray Rating: 3.5/5.0

For roughly the film’s first two acts,
See full article at HollywoodChicago.com »

DVD review: Dark Horse

"Today is going to be the perfect day" , chimes the soundtrack to Todd Solondz's latest film, Dark Horse. Such upbeat opening scenes are uncharacteristic of Solondz's work, yet Dark Horse's misleadings begin with an energetic wedding party scene complete with revellers sync-dancing. His previous work, Life During Wartime, was a semi-sequel to Happiness; and his earlier film, Palindromes, challenged viewers with multiple actors playing the lead. Dark Horse is certainly more accessible viewing for non-Solondz followers, but its melancholy opening is merely the calm before the storm.

Two thirty-somethings stuck in adolescence meet at a wedding - she's clearly miserable and unimpressed by Abe, and he fails to take the hint when she gives him her work number. Although she lives a three-hour drive away and is clearly apathetic, Abe still attempts to start a relationship with Miranda, and viewers are left to watch the forming of this bizarre bond.
See full article at Shadowlocked »

Dark Horse-movie review

Todd Solondz is the master of suburban angst, but for me his films run hot and cold. When he’s hot, as in the recent Life During Wartime, he has an uncanny ability to find both absurdist comedy and poignant drama in the vicissitudes of everyday characters. When he’s cold, as in Palindromes, he can be positively off-putting. Dark Horse falls somewhere in between, which is frustrating because the movie shows so much promise. New York-based actor Jordan Gelber, who appeared in the original Broadway cast of Avenue Q, seems to be channeling Jackie Gleason (or perhaps Kevin James) as a blustery, overweight 30-something loser who still lives with his parents and blames...

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See full article at Leonard Maltin's Movie Crazy »

Tsr Exclusive: ‘Dark Horse’ Interview with writer/director Todd Solondz

Just as his films stand out with no comparison, there is no filmmaker like Todd Solondz. His films cover a wide range of topics, often forcing his audience to tackle taboos in ways that many people might find too uncomfortable. This is especially true with the contents of a strong filmography that encapsulates now seven movies, including Happiness (featuring a young and perverse Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Life During Wartime (a quasi-sequel to Happiness). His newest dark comedy, Dark Horse, about a man in his 30s with a severe case of arrested development, stars Jordan Gelber, Mia Farrow, Selma Blair, Christopher Walken, and Justin Bartha.

In person, Solondz is a one-of-a-kind, a very humble artist who is very careful with how he discusses his work. Of the filmmakers I have been lucky enough to interview, the pleasant Solondz remains a special kind of interview, in the best way possible. The last time we talked,
See full article at Scorecard Review »

Interview: Todd Solondz, director of 'Dark Horse'

Director Todd Solondz has always been know for controversial themes in his films such as Life During Wartime (2009), Palindromes (2004) and Storytelling (2001), but in his latest film Dark Horse (2011), starring Jordan Gelber and Selma Blair, he has taken a more heart warming approach. CineVue met up with the Us filmmaker to discuss his latest feature, which premiered at last year's Venice International Film Festival.

Read more »
See full article at CineVue »

The Hey U Guys Cinema Release Round-up : 29th June

Prometheus’ reign at the top of the Box Office chart finally came to an end this week as it drops down to fourth place with Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter landing the top spot. The Five Year Engagement also did pretty well going in at three, just behind MIB3 in second place.

Stephen Frears’ latest offering fared rather terribly though as despite a pretty widespread release it took only £117,000 in its first week. To put that into perspective, that leaves it trailing behind low-budget horror’s like Chernobyl Diaries and animated abominations likes Top Cat.

There’s not been a large-scale summer blockbuster released for a few weeks now so one of this week’s mid-carders will no doubt be hoping to capitalise. Out of the gaggle of movies out this week, relationship comedy Friends With Kids seems the obvious choice for Box Office success. It’s the directorial debut of Jennifer Westfeldt,
See full article at HeyUGuys »

Interview: Todd Solondz Embraces Ambiguity, Maintains Empathy in ‘Dark Horse’ with Selma Blair

Chicago – The term “arrested development” could easily be applied not only to every character in a Todd Solondz picture, but every neurotic man-child currently populating the vast majority of Hollywood comedies. What makes Solondz’s films so distinctive is their unrelenting absence of sentiment. He doesn’t provide his characters with implausible happy endings, but he does view them through an empathetic lens.

Solondz’s latest film, “Dark Horse,” observes the potentially repellant character of Abe (Jordan Gelber), a 35-year-old man who is unwilling to put forth the effort to succeed in life. He has an office job, but it was given to him by his exasperated dad (Christopher Walken). He wants to be independent, but still lives with his parents. He asks a sullen woman, Miranda (Selma Blair, reprising her role from Solondz’s “Storytelling”), for her hand in marriage without making any attempt at courting her. He yearns for his dad’s approval,
See full article at HollywoodChicago.com »
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