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PAPRIKA
Paprika, packed with vivid colors and mind-bending animation, is director Satoshi Kon’s film about a futuristic invention, known as the “DC-Mini”, that allows therapists to enter into their patients subconscious to determine the cause of their problems. When the invention is suddenly stolen, it is up to one of the creators, Paprika, to enter this alternate world where anything goes and recover it. The film blends some ideas of other recent dream-related movies (A Scanner Darkly and The Science of Sleep) with the kinetic action of The Matrix. While American movie-makers have limited themselves to CGI, the Japanese continue to push the boundaries of animation. Paprika is a uniquely exciting film, at once entertainment and art.

 

THE BOSS OF IT ALL
Lars von Trier’s latest film, The Boss of It All, is a dark comedy set in Denmark about a man named Ravn, the owner of a rising company who creates an imaginary president in order to avoid the heat for the brash steps he’s had to take to build the company. When a group of Icelandic businessmen decide to buy the company, he is delighted ­ at least until they demand a face-to-face with the non-existent president. Ravn resorts to using an dimwitted, out-of-work actor (played by Jans Albinus) to assume the role of president. What results is a mixture of screwball and office comedy as Albinus struggles to convinces the Icelanders to buy from him. Ultimately, The Boss of It All succeeds in telling the tale of a man going though a moral crisis while providing laugh-out-loud moments along the way.

 

CANNES: ALL BETS OFF
So how, past midpoint is the race for the Palme shaping up? According to the dailies, the Coen brothers crime thriller, No Country for Old Men, leads the pack, while 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days, the miserabilist abortion drama from Romanian Cristian Mungiu, follows close behind. Frankly, I'm hoping a beaut from the coming lineup will edge them both out. My own informal survey, conducted at the various A-list events clamoring for my presence, revealed no critical consensus. Some critics find the competish films weak overall; others consider them the most exciting in years; while a third group prefers what's out of competition, such as Michael Moore's Sicko and Michael Winterbottom's A Mighty Heart...

 
     
 

SECRET LIFE OF HOLLYWOOD
Why go to the movies when you can read the newspaper? NY Times reporter David M. Halbfinger's recent piece "In Court Files, Hollywood's Mr. Fix-It at Work" includes snippets from the court case against detective-to-the-stars Anthony Pellicano. Halbfinger, along with co-reporter Allison Hope Weiner, has been shadowing the celebrity gumshoe for years. In this article, Halbfinger includes conversations that could be in any movie. Here's an exchange between Courtney Love and and Pellicano...

 
     

LET'S HEAR IT FOR THE UN-BUZZED
Sometimes the best here are the films without buzz. Yesterday afternoon, during a lull in the ongoing hysteria that is Cannes, I wandered into something called Bikur Hatizmoret (translated as The Band's Visit), a first feature from Israeli filmmaker Eran Kolirin [pictured]. I went because I could. The science of survival here is to go where the crowds are not.. And I was hoping to catch some z's and sit near the aisle for a quick departure...

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

   

THE DIRECTOR INTERVIEWS - HAL HARTLEY, FAY GRIM
For a period in the 1990s, Hal Hartley was one of a group of directors, along with Jim Jarmusch and John Sayles, who really defined what American indie filmmaking was all about. Hartley's Trust (1990), Simple Men (1992) and Amateur (1994), set in the suburbs of Long Island but seen from Hartley's unique perspective, were idiosyncratic, literate films which set the bar high for other writer-directors aiming to portray contemporary American life. Since the mid-90s, though, Hartley has broadened his focus, both thematically and geographically: Flirt (1995) told love stories on three continents; The Book of Life (1998) imagined a meeting between Jesus and the Devil at the end of the millennium; No Such Thing (2001) was a modern take on Beauty and the Beast set in Iceland; and Hartley's first foray into science fiction, The Girl From Monday (2005) was set in a futuristic world where humans were traded like property...

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