Around the Block
Before he impressed the world with Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Wunderkind director Michel Gondry made his name directing videos for musicians like Björk, the Chemical Brothers and the White Stripes. He's got great instincts and a real sense of play - as anyone who's seen making-of features on Sunshine will know. He can come up with shit on the spot. That same talent must have come in handy during the filming of Dave Chapelle's Block Party , part doc, part concert film about the comic's impromptu throwdown. Performers include Mos Def , Erykah Badu , Jill Scott and Kanye West - and, naturally, Chapelle, improvising throughout the day. The party begins some time in March .
Get a Jones on
Torontonians brag about how we get a ton of movies, but one of the not-so-great things about living north of the 49th parallel is that we sometimes get them - especially the arty ones released in the U.S. during the holidays - a few weeks after L.A. and New York. Witness Caché (see above), or Woody Allen's Match Point, which finally opens this week (January 20). Both made many U.S. critics' top 10 lists, as did The Three Burials Of Melquiades Estrada, Tommy Lee Jones's feature debut as a director. Jones plays a ranch foreman who, after his ranch hand friend is murdered, gets the murderer (Barry Pepper) to take the corpse to Mexico for burial. This is Sam Peckinpah territory, and the award-giving Cannes jury - which included novelist Toni Morrison - loved it. The script was penned by Amores Perros and 21 Grams screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga. Opens March 3
Michael Haneke is arguably most interesting mid-career European director alive. If he were making movies a couple of decades ago, he'd be huge. As it is, his darkly menacing films (Benny's Video, The Piano Teacher, The Time Of The Wolf) win prizes and play art house cinemas for a month or two. His new film, Caché (Hidden) , won three prizes at Cannes, and could suffer the same fate. Juliette Binoche and Daniel Autueil play a bourgeois couple whose comfy life is turned upside down when they start receiving videotapes of their intimate home life. Soon, the husband's questionable activities in Algeria during France's occupation are revealed. See you at the Cumberland - and then the Carlton - when the film comes out January 27
. . Where there's a Will
If ever an actor was born to play a role, it's Will Ferrell as the Man with the Yellow Hat, sporty sidekick of that inquisitive primate Curious George . Alas, the adaptation of the beloved children's books isn't live-action - it's animated, to match the look of H. A. Rey 's and Margret Rey 's books. (Advance stills look stunning.) Drew Barrymore , David Cross and Eugene Levy round out the list of voice-work actors. Can't wait to see the DVD feature of the actors monkeying around in a sound studio. Opens February 10 .
A lot of Bull
When it premiered at the Toronto International Film Fest, Michael Winterbottom 's latest was called Tristram Shandy: A Cock And Bull Story. Now it's simply A Cock And Bull Story . Maybe the studios wanted the titillation of a title with the words "cock" and "bull" in it. Or maybe they were worried the title would scare off viewers who hadn't heard of Laurence Sterne 's massive (and most say unreadable) 17th-century novel. Not to worry. The film, though still a pretty decent homage to the book, is really about the making of a film version of the book. Filled with asides, inventive set pieces and some clever barbs aimed at the film world, it could become the season's breakout film. Very funny cameo from Gillian Anderson . Opens February 17 .
One of the big surprises of 2005 was seeing 3rd Rock From The Sun actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt get into the skin of a jaded Kansas hustler in Gregg Araki's Mysterious Skin. The actor returns in another indie film, Brick , by writer/director Rian Johnson . In film noir style, a lone-wolf high schooler (Levitt) uncovers secrets in the school's cliques while investigating the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend. Sounds like Chinatown meets The Breakfast Club. Opens March 31 .
Back to Basic
File this one under guilty pleasures. Sharon Stone reprises her notorious is-she-or-isn't-she-a-serial-killer role of Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction . Hmmm... how will she top that interrogation scene? We'll find out March 31 .