All of which seems to further 2003 as the year of the outlandish fantasy. As Sylvain Chomet's singular vision brought us a work derived purely from an irrepressibly inventive mind with The Triplets of Belleville, here Canadian director Guy Maddin (Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary, Fleshpots of Antiquity) works from a co-authored original screenplay with Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains of the Day) in a manner that combines the storytelling and musical vitality of Topsy-Turvy with the visual imagery out of the German expressionism of F.W. Murnau (Nosferatu, The Phantom) but with its own richness of character. I call it "high concept 8mm."
Continue reading: The Saddest Music In The World Review
The unfortunate woman is 24-year-old Ann (the always appealing Sarah Polley), a struggling wife and mother who learns that a raging cancer will kill her in just a few months. Ann's initial response is to hide the news from her mother (Deborah Harry); very matter-of-factly, she continues to follow that M.O. by telling no one, including her husband Don (Scott Speedman, grinning way too much).
Continue reading: My Life Without Me Review
This set of interlocking tales involving gangsters, boxers, druggies, and plain old joes is alternately exciting and funny -- and often both at the same time. Whether it's John Travolta's Vincent Vega doing the twist with his gangster boss's wife and later miraculously pulling her out of a drug overdose, Samuel L. Jackson reciting the Bible or picking splattered brain out of his enormous afro, Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer robbing a diner, Bruce Willis throwing a boxing match and later ending up facing a couple of oversexed hillbilly degenerates, or Ving Rhames overseeing the whole proceedings, the movie is utterly brilliant, hilarious, and thrilling. Even the little things are perfect: Tarantino has never since quite managed to recapture his masterful use of the close-up and fantastically interesting lighting choices. It's one of only a handful of films that gets better every time you watch it.
Continue reading: Pulp Fiction Review
Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin is often compared to David Lynch. In reality, his influences hail from decades long gone: from the silent-era Germans and the early Hollywood pioneers. His exuberant, expressionistic 2000 short film "The Heart of the World," made for the Toronto Film Festival, was rightly hailed as a mini-masterwork, and now here he is with a new feature film that captures some of that magic once again.
"The Saddest Music in the World" takes place in 1933 Winnipeg. A wealthy beer baroness, Lady Port-Huntly (Isabella Rossellini) is the only one making a decent living; everyone wants to drink their sorrows away. To boost business she announces a contest to determine the saddest music in the world. Each of the world's countries may enter once, and so an estranged father and two sons from far corners of the globe reunite for the contest.
The father, Fyodor (David Fox), represents Canada, the happy-go-lucky Broadway producer Chester Kent (Mark McKinney) represents America and Roderick (Ross McMillan) represents Serbia. The woeful Roderick is a world-renowned cellist who mourns his dead child and his lost wife, Narcissa (Maria de Medeiros), who is now dating Chester. Chester champions the vulgar side of America, the urge to make everything big and bright with little regard for anyone else's feelings.
Continue reading: THE SADDEST MUSIC IN THE WORLD Review
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