The 400 Blows (1959) constituted the songs of innocence for Antoine Doinel, then Stolen Kisses (1968) and Bed & Board (1970) make up his songs of experience. Made in relatively quick succession almost a decade after director François Truffaut's iconic debut, they found Jean-Pierre Leaud's hero mired in the negotiations of adulthood. The key to understanding Doinel's transitions is Antoine & Colette (1962), a modest short film made by Truffaut as a part of Pierre Roustang's omnibus project, Love at Twenty (with Shintaro Ishihara and Marcel Ophüls). A portrait of teenage Antoine's pursuit of beauty Colette, the semi-autobiographical work introduces us to the primary drives of his adult life.
- The opening film of Venice 2014, here's our five-star review of Alejandro González Iñárritu's Birdman
- Kelly Reichardt again explores the relationship between people and their environment in Night Moves
- Gillian Robespierre's impressive debut Obvious Child aims to confront life's uncomfortable truths
- The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari captures German Expressionism in its most tentative and visionary mode
- Notions of childhood innocence and guilt through complicity play against one another in Wakolda
These Are the Rules (2014) is a modest work of quiet desperation, but it's obvious restraint and slow unwinding has a powerful, unsettling and ultimately moving effect. Middle-aged bus driver Ivo (Emir Hadžihafizbegović) lives with his wife Maja (Jasna Žalica) in a tidy, if dreary high rise apartment. It is a life of routine where something always need to be done: shoes by the door, door handles to be fixed, a new battery for the car. Their relationship is based on low level bickering, which - it becomes apparent - is actually another species of affection, watching TV and eating together. One morning their 17-year-old son, Tomica (Hrvoje Vladisavljevic), comes in having spent the night out.
Senza Nessuna Pietà (2014) is a slickly made yet brutally clichéd piece of implausible and ultimately inconsequential nonsense. Mimmo (Pierfrancesco Favino) is a construction worker who sidelines for his criminal uncle collecting debts and roughing people up. A burly giant of a man, he really has a gentle heart and is pained by the violence he must perpetrate, especially at the behest of Manuel (Adriano Giannini), his sadistic conniving cousin, an epically unattractive squirt of sleaze. Things come to a head when he's tasked with ferrying a young prostitute, Tania (Greta Scarano), to and from a tryst with Manuel.
Hungry Hearts (2014), a claustrophobic drama about a young couple and their conflicting views on parenting. Adam Driver plays Jude (Thomas Hardy would be a good point of reference here), a lanky engineer living in New York. He meets Mina (Alba Rohrwacher), an Italian working at the embassy, in unfortunate comic circumstances. He is having an awkward toilet moment and she accidentally locks herself in the bathroom of a restaurant with him. There's a kooky feel to the opening scene which is played out in a necessarily cramped close up, which will have Driver's fans from HBO's Girls getting perhaps the wrong ideas.
The Judge, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall. Over the proceeding week and a half, before the cinematic cornucopia reaches its conclusion with Brit Alan Rickman's A Little Chaos, festival-goers will attend almost 300 feature films and over 100 shorts. The jam-packed programme, taking in various theatres across the city, comes bursting with a staggering 139 world premieres as well as an array of films already lauded on this year's international festival circuit. Since its inaugural incarnation back in 1976, TIFF - as it's affectionately known - has grown into one of the world's primary annual film festivals and the 2014 lineup looks like a particularly strong one.
Divine Trash. The documentary's success manifested itself into a warranted trophy at that year's Sundance Film Festival for Best Documentary. Yeager comfortably capsuled the work of Waters' subversive world and scrutinised the workings of his gregarious troop of deviants, the Dreamland crew. Amongst the director's habitual go-to's was the 300-pound transvestite accredited with the now lionised stage name, Divine. Of all of Waters' malformed masterpieces, Divine - or Harris Glenn Milstead as she was christened - was the most schismatic, carnal and pivotal to the destruction of conformity.
Bad Neighbours (2014) is a tired and contrived effort which once again posits Rogen as an adult fighting with his adolescent urges (a character trait which first emerged seven years back with Knocked Up) in a routine which is really beginning to grow stale. Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) are a reasonably balance young couple enjoying the early stages of parenthood. Their suburban bliss is shattered one day by the unexpected arrival of a rowdy hard-partying college fraternity next door. The house leaders, Teddy (Zac Efron, replete with severely ripped, cartoon-like torso) and Pete (Dave Franco) are a popular campus duo intent on turning every night into a drug-fuelled riot.
(500) Days of Summer director Marc Webb's first instalment in this Marvel franchise reboot, 2012's The Amazing Spider-Man, failed to live up to its presumptive title was something of a disappointment, as a refreshing take on the web-slinger was much needed after the bloated mess that was Sam Raimi's previous trilogy closer, Spider-Man 3 (2007). Returning to directing duties for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014), Webb - aided by screenwriters Alex Kurtzman, Robert Orci and Jeff Pinkner - clearly goes for the taken sequel analogy that bigger means better, yet his (and Marvel Studios') drive to piece this sequel together with a larger ensuing collage ultimately proves to be its unfortunate undoing.
Three Hearts (2014), a slickly presented and thespy relationship drama which flounders on its own lack of originality, humourlessness and absence of credibility. Marc (Benoît Poelvoorde, in his second film of the festival), a tax inspector from Paris, misses his train and finds himself trapped in a provincial town for the night. A chance encounter with a woman Sylvie (the obligatory Charlotte Gainsbourg) leads to a Before Sunrise-style wander through the streets until sunset. The encounter is chaste and coy - they neither exchange names nor phone numbers - but the two are obviously attracted to each other and arrange to meet in Paris at a fountain.
Far from Men (2014), a handsomely shot drama set during the Algerian War of Independence, joined the race for the Golden Lion at Venice 2014. Following his Spanish language Cannes entry Jauja (2014) earlier this year, multi-lingual Viggo Mortensen essays the role of Algerian-born Frenchman Daru, a teacher in an isolated school near the mountains. It is 1954 and the rebellion against French colonialism is in full swing. One day the local policeman turns up on horseback with a prisoner roped behind. Daru must escort the man to the near town where he is to be tried for murdering his cousin.
The Cut (2014), which screened in competition at the 71st Venice Film Festival and tells the tale of a father's search for his family.
Pineapple Express (2008) and Your Highness (2011) to his work on hit TV show Eastbound & Down and striking debut George Washington (2000), Green has graduated into spiky character studies of Americans leading lives of quiet and not so quiet desperation. Last year he was on the Lido with Joe (2013), a marvellously gritty Southern noir which teased out one of Nicolas Cage's best performances in years. This year, Green returns in competition with Manglehorn (2014). Al Pacino plays the title character, A.J. Manglehorn, a seasoned locksmith by profession and a serious man.
★★☆☆☆When Ulrich Seidl unveiled plans to make a documentary on everyday Austrians and their relationships with their basements, almost everyone jumped to the conclusion that this would be about Joseph Fritzl. In the Basement (2014), which screened out of competition at the Venice Film Festival this week, makes no mention of Fritzl, even though the very idea of the infamous figure adds a layer of dank mould to the underground antics of Seidl's subjects. The film begins with a man sitting in his basement watching intently a huge snake in a large glass tank. As the shot lingers we notice movement. A guinea pig snuffles about at the far end of the tank, tentatively and unwittingly getting approaching its demise.
The Humbling (2014) is a bird of an entirely different feather to the screwball antics of She's Funny That Way (2014) or the anarchic brio of Birdman (2014). Featuring a masterly turn by Al Pacino, The Humbling is actually closer to Pacino's own theatre-based documentaries Looking for Richard (1996) and Wilde Salomé (2011) in its looseness and postmodern playfulness. It's also by turns moving and very funny. Simon Axler (Al Pacino) is an ageing actor in decline and verging of a nervous breakdown.
The Beast, Blanche, Goto, Isle of Love, Immoral Tales and Short Films and Animation), we have a Blu-ray bundle to give away including a copy of each film. This is an exclusive competition for our Facebook and Twitter fans, so if you haven't already, 'Like' us at facebook.com/CineVueUK or follow us @CineVue before answering the question below.
Director Marc Webb's epic retelling of the Peter Parker/Spider-Man story continues when The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) swings into stores and online this coming Monday (1 September). Starring British actor Andrew Garfield as Spidey, Emma Stone as love interest Gwen Stacy and introducing new villains Electro (Jamie Foxx), Rhino (Paul Giamatti) and The Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan), our hero really has his work cut out this time. To celebrate the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) this Monday, we have THREE DVD copies of the superhero sequel to give away. This is an exclusive competition for our Facebook and Twitter fans, so if you haven't already, 'Like' us at facebook.com/CineVueUK or follow us @CineVue before answering the question below.
She's Funny That Way (2014). Owen Wilson stars as protag Arnold Patterson, a director preparing a play for Broadway. The night before casting begins, Arnold - using the name Dennis - calls up an escort agency and gets them to send over Izzy (Imogen Poots), but instead of the usual 'wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am' takes her out for a romantic dinner followed by a ride through Central Park. Channelling his inner Richard Gere, he offers Izzy $30,000 if she gives up her life as a working girl to follow her dream of becoming an actress.
Black Souls (Anime Nere, 2014), the first Italian film in to screen in competition at Venice 2014, is a grimly serious family tragedy centred around the feuds within the Calabrian equivalent of the Mafia, the 'Ndrangheta. The film begins in Amsterdam where a business deal is going down between mob boss Luigi (Marco Leonardi) and some Spanish, or South American partners. It doesn't really matter which as this proves to be largely an irrelevance to the rest of the film. In fact, the story has a couple of false starts and seems to stumble into being, but this also might be a way of subverting our expectations. Luigi is one of three brothers whose father was murdered by the local boss back home.
99 Homes (2014), a dramatic thriller set at the sharp-end of the housing crisis. The very first shot shows that there is blood on the bathroom walls of America. The recent economic travails are not just some victimless white collar larks - Margin Call style - but rather a human tragedy, the result of an ongoing and systematic fracking of the middle-class, driving thousands of homes into foreclosure and leaving families on the street. Shedding his superhero costume, Andrew Garfield plays Dennis Nash, an ordinary working stiff - a construction worker - living with his son (Noah Lomax) and his mother (Laura Dern) in their small suburban home.
Tales (Ghesse-ha, 2014) presents the interlocking lives of several disparate Iranians trying to make sense of modern day Iran; imagine a Shortcuts set in Tehran and with a predominantly female cast. A documentary filmmaker takes a late night taxi, filming the streets and only half listening to the stories that the taxi driver tells of his life. The taxi driver asks why he never filmed him. "Because you didn't ask me too," the filmmaker says before disappearing into the night and leaving the taxi driver to the unfolding of another story.
Of Gods and Men (2010) director Xavier Beauvois' latest film and Venice Golden Lion hopeful The Price of Fame (2014), but unfortunately the execution proves extremely poor. The talented Benoît Poelvoorde ;plays Belgian crook Eddy, a thief who has just been released from prison.
The President (2014), which attains the open force of a parable while at the same time maintaining the excitement and tension of a political thriller. Georgian actor Misha Gomiashvili plays the President of the title, who reigns over an unnamed country. His grandson (Dachi Orvelashvili) sits on his knee, dressed in a military uniform and asks for ice cream, which he's not allowed for health reasons. To distract the boy, the President has him order by telephone that all the lights in the city be turned off. It's a brilliantly absurd moment showing the childishness, flippancy and immorality of absolute power.
Obvious Child (2014), aims to confront life's uncomfortable truths. From the moment Donna (Jenny Slate) begins her stand-up routine with an anecdote about vaginal discharge, you know you're in for something different. Stand-up has recently become a podium for women to confront the restraints of a patriarchal society. Donna certainly conforms to the confrontational paradigm of the contemporary female comedian. However, this wry tale of a twentysomething comedian's unplanned pregnancy thankfully proves anything but conventional.
Night Moves (2013). The film examines an act of terrorism on a hydroelectric dam and the resulting effect on the three activists that perpetrate the crime. "At the very beginning," Reichardt explains in our interview with the director, "John Raymond [the screenwriter] and his partner spent some time on this farm - the farm we actually ended up shooting on. He was getting pretty fascinated with the small world polities that surround the community."
Old Joy (2006), the director's latest delves into the ambiguous world of fanatical environmentalism in a location ubiquitous with her oeuvre, Oregon. Where as her previous work, Meek's Cutoff (2010), strained relentlessly against its genre conventions and was widely labelled as an anti-western, Night Moves (2013) gives similar credence to the traditions of the thriller. This gripping film eschews typical tropes and character archetypes in favour of gradually wrenching the audience's collective stomach with a building tension.
Mad Men star Jon Hamm (who plays ad man Donald Draper in the hit AMC show) could make a money-centric, hard-balling sports agent look appealing, and this is exactly what he does in Disney's Million Dollar Arm (2014). Based on a true-story and directed by Craig Gillespie, Hamm stars as J.B. Bernstein, who in a last ditch attempt to save his ailing career sets up a reality show contest in India to find fledgling cricket players that he can train up and convert into pitchers that are destined to play in Major League Baseball. Roping in curmudgeonly sports talent agent Ray (Alan Arkin) and his business partner Asah (Aasif Mandvi), the trio fly east to find their players.
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