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THE DARJEELING LIMITED
Writer-director Wes Anderson's newest film is as idiosyncratic and amusing as his previous effort, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, if not even more so. Owen Wilson (who's appeared in every Anderson movie to date), Jason Schwartzman (star of Anderson's first hit Rushmore and co-writer of Darjeeling), and Adrien Brody (finally getting to show off his comedic chops) star as three woefully-estranged brothers gathered together on a mystical train expedition across India in an effort to reconnect. What makes Anderson's films so distinctive is the staggering degree of detail he builds into the production design, such as "the house" in Royal Tenenbaums, "the ship" in Life Aquatic, and now the intricately designed, title-derived "Darjeeling Limited train". Throw in some outstanding cameos from Bill Murray, Angelica Houston and Natalie Portman, and you've got the makings of yet another Anderson indie classic.

LUST, CAUTION
After being awarded Best Director for the controversial Brokeback Mountain immediately before being snubbed for Best Picture by sleeper Crash, Ang Lee is back and still refusing to play it safe. Lust, Caution is the story of a beautiful Chinese nationalist (Tang Wei) who goes undercover to assassinate a wealthy Japanese collaborator (Tony Leung) in Shanghai during the onset of WWII. The film was slapped with (yes, it's always slapped, never given) an NC-17 rating by the MPAA for - what else - "explicit sexuality." Instead of trying to fight the charge, Lee and his producers stood by the film, taking advantage of the attention-grabbing rating in hopes of intriguing audiences in a similar manner as Brokeback's touchy subject material did. Lust, Caution is such a well-combined hybrid mix of Hollywood and Chinese cinematic characteristics that only a director with Ang Lee's talent and experience could have possibly pulled off.

SAVING ANN ARBOR
The Ann Arbor Film Festival is one of the United State's oldest forums for showcasing experimental films. Unfortunately, due to some backwards thinking politicians who are under the notion that cultural conscience is a show on MTV, the festival recently had to forgo their state funding. Why exactly have they lost their funding? Well for starters for their non-compliance with state regulations [continue]

 
     
 

GAYLOR GOES TO THE SOURCE
Here's a Google link to a conversation that Scott Kirsner from CinemaTech had during the IFP Filmmaker Conference with Brett Gaylor, a Montreal-based filmmaker who is exploring new modes of collaboration for documentary filmmaking. If you go to the Google page you can download the 12-minute piece in a format suitable for playing on your iPod or PSP.

 
     

ALBERT LAMORISSE DOUBLE FEATURE
Janus Films will be unveiling two new pristine prints of Albert Lamorisse's endearing films The Red Balloon and The White Mane. An interesting figure of the 20th century, Lamorisse is probably best known for creating the board game Risk, although he was an avid photographer, documentarian and filmmaker. He would go on to win the Palm d'Or for The Red Balloon at the 1956 Cannes Film [continue]

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

   
 

IFP MARKET WRAPS
The 29th IFP Market drew to a successful close, with a number of attendees and panelists given a chance to wax poetic on the Filmmaker Magazine blog, lending a number of fresh voices and opinions to the coverage of all that transpired.

Pamela Cohn had a chance to sit down with Milton Tabbot during the Market, and it made for a rather fascinating interview. Mr. Tabbot, programming for the Market's Spotlight on Documentaries, held forth on a number of topics, from the growth in number of documentaries, to the role IFP plays in helping documentary filmmakers hone their vision and reach their goals.

Read the interview here.


 

WINTER CHILL
by Damon Smith
In 2005 indie director Larry Fessenden was troubled by the state of the world—specifically, by our leaders’ callow response to the threat of global warming. So he did what he does best: He made a horror movie. The Last Winter, about a skeleton crew of oil-dredge workers afflicted by madness and other disturbing phenomena in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, revisits some of the tropes in Fessenden’s spooky 2001 feature Wendigo, including a fearsome, shape-shifting deer-spirit. The film was overlooked when it premiered at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival, later acquired by IFC First Take (releases September 19), and recently earned enthusiastic comparisons to John Carpenter’s The Thing as well as the socially conscious art-horror of George Romero and David Cronenberg.


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