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SNOW CAKE
Alex (Alan Rickman), a dry Brit with a past, becomes stuck in a snowy nowhere town in Canada after a hitchhiker he picks up dies next to him in a car crash. He ends up looking after the dead girl's autistic mother, Linda (Sigourney Weaver), with whom he develops an unlikely friendship, and excites the rest of the local women, particularly pretty neighbor Maggie (Carrie-Ann Moss). Welsh director Marc Evans, best known for thrillers My Little Eye and Trauma, directs this emotive drama with impressive subtlety, while the script by debutant Angela Pell, herself the mother of an autistic child, is incisive and moving. Audiences enjoyment of the movie, however, will probably rest on their feelings about Weaver's performance which has divided critics, some calling it masterful and moving, and others labored and over-the-top.

JINDABYNE
In 2001, 16 years after making his first film, Bliss, Australian director Ray Lawrence returned with his sophomore effort, Lantana, a dark ensemble drama starring Geoffrey Rush and Anthony LaPaglia, which reminded the film world of Lawrence's immense, untapped talent. Jindabyne, his comparatively speedy follow-up to Lantana, transposes a Raymond Carver short story to the Australian outback to tell the tale of four men whose discovery of a young girl's body on a fishing trip creates a rupture in their small town. Juxtaposing the beauty of the scenery with the intense emotional resonance, Lawrence creates a subtle yet compelling film which asks questions about male-female and white-aboriginal divisions, and boasts superb performances from an ensemble cast led by Gabriel Byrne and Laura Linney.

PATRICK MCGUINN'S DOUBLE WHAMMY
It was nice to see underground filmmaker Patrick McGuinn get theatrical distribution for his feature Sunkissed last year; despite mixed reviews the psychological thriller found fans with it's striking visuals and story of homosexual obsession. Something of a festival darling, McGuinn has steadfastly continued to make his very personal, very weird films over the years, with barely any concession to commercial parameters... yet the work itself is, oddly enough, quite accessible and fun. We dare-say this is a young filmmaker we'll be hearing a lot more of in the next few years...

 
     
 

CHECK OUT THE SPRING ISSUE
For those who bookmark the blog, head over to the main page where you can see select stories from the Spring issue of Filmmaker, which hits newstands today. Some of the features you can view on the site include an in-depth look by Alicia Van Couvering on the twentysomething filmmakers who’ve been dubbed “Mumblecore,” and James Ponsoldt talks to Charles Burnett on his masterpiece Killer of Sheep, which has finally gotten a theatrical release after 30 years. Enjoy.

 
     

ROUGH CUT WISDOM FROM THE BOOK OF CALEB
Below I posted about the upcoming IFP Rough Cut Lab I'm teaching with Gretchen McGowan and a group of fantastic advisors in June. The deadline is April 27 (find more info here) so we're in the final rounds of accepting and looking at material. But if you have a project and have been on the fence about submitting it, here's an email I received from Matt Manahan, who went through the lab last year with his feature The Book of Caleb (pictured). It might help you decide if the process is one that can help you and your film...

Read the complete stories at Filmmakermagazine's Blog...

   

EDGAR WRIGHT, HOT FUZZ - By Nick Dawson
Andrea Arnold’s beautifully crafted first feature, Red Road, the follow-up to her Oscar-winning short film, Wasp, was shot on digital video and exploits a fresh, bold palette in telling the story of Jackie (Kate Dickie), an alienated Glasgow policewoman whose job is to watch Glasgow’s banks on surveillance monitors. One day, she notices a man behaving unusually and, becoming fixated on him, crosses a line. Stepping out from behind her monitors, she follows him towards the dangerous housing project called Red Road...

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