October Indie Preview
By Dan Krovich
A look at some of the upcoming independent film releases in October.
Good Night, And Good Luck
There was perhaps some reason to greet the idea of George Clooney as a director with some skepticism, but then Confessions of a Dangerous Mind was one of my favorite films of 2002. His second effort centers on journalist Edward R. Murrow's confrontation of Senator Joseph McCarthy. With the current state of the media receiving criticism, it seems like a good time to revisit a period when television journalism was more concentrated on presenting the news and less on being profitable entertainment.
The Squid and the Whale
Noah Baumbach's biggest credit to this point has been as co-writer of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, but now looks to have a breakthrough with his latest effort as writer/director. Baumbach went with the "write what you know" philosophy as the movie is based on his experiences growing up in 1980s New York through his parents' divorce. The cast includes Jeff Daniels (who is garnering awards buzz), Laura Linney, and Jesse Eisenberg (who held his own in Roger Dodger). The film also took home the directing and screenwriting awards at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.
It seems that enough time has passed since September 11, 2001 that we in the United States are ready to examine terrorism in movies. Of course, in the Middle East, terrorism has long been a regular occurrence. Paradise Now looks at the issue from the terrorist's point of view. When two lifelong friends in Palestine are recruited to be suicide bombers in Tel Aviv, they have to decide whether to go through with their mission. The film promises to spend less time on the politics involved and concentrate more on a character study of why these two individuals might perform such an act.
Three of Asia's most exciting directors combine to make an anthology horror film. Fruit Chan (Hollywood Hong Kong) from Hong Kong, Takashi Miike (Audition) from Japan, and Park-Chan Wook (Oldboy) from Korea each direct a segment of the film. On the basis of their previous work, these directors are likely to take the word "extreme" to heart.
Procedural shows such as CSI detail how the latest technology can be used to catch criminals, but another result of this new forensic technology is that some individuals who have been behind bars for many years (and some on death row) have been proven innocent in light of new data. After Innocence is a documentary about some of those individuals released from prison after being proven innocent. Entering the real world can prove difficult, especially considering that the exonerated often have less institutional support than the guilty once released.
Director Rodrigo Garcia showed he had a knack for directing actresses in his first feature, Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her. That probably didn't hurt in gathering another stellar cast of actresses (including Sissy Spacek, Robin Wright Penn, Glenn Close, and Holly Hunter) for his latest feature. Garcia follows a similar pattern as he did in Things You Can Tell, using an episodic approach to tell the story of an ensemble of characters. Additionally this time, he tells the story in nine continuous single shots.
While not Michelangelo Antonioni's most famous work (that would be his "trilogy" consisting of The Adventure, The Night, and The Eclipse or Blowup), but it's still good to see it getting the big screen reissue treatment. Jack Nicholson plays a reporter on location in Africa who decides to take on the identity of a dead man to escape from his life.
Michael Bentley's October Forecast
John Seal's October Forecast