Passionati

Film

Coldplay secretly releases “Midnight”

Coldplay released a new track earlier today at midnight Ulaanbator time. That’s the capital of Mongolia. First impressions: the track is gorgeous.

It’s a stripped down sound. Lovely electronica without a formula or traditional song structure. Chris Martin’s sincere voice is almost unrecognizable. In fact, this doesn’t sound like Coldplay – and yet you know it is.

Supposedly, this track will appear on the band’s next album. Well who cares. This is produced by Jon Hopkins. It’s more experimental than anything Eno has done with Coldplay recently. “Midnight” is an unhurried track that takes its time. Starting slowly and moving into a sweet spot – ever so insistently. And yet there are no characteristic Coldplay traits. No packing everything into one song. No over reliance on guitars.

And btw – I call bullshit on the Bon Iver comparisons. Rubbish. No explanation needed.

The music video is bad ass. I watched it several times. It must have been easy to shoot above L.A. but the negative affect works. It’s definitely worth the five minutes. Bravo Coldplay. Molto bravo.

The new single "midnight" at midnight, of course...


Luis Guzman Vs. Duck Sauce

This HBO ‘Made In America’ trailer is a great homage to Duck Sauce’s Barbara Streisand video (almost 62 million hits). Our boys A-trak/ Duck Sauce, Asher Roth with Bieber and Pusha-T are all in there.


Harsh City: THC and booze fueled LA adventure

Editor’s Note: Watch this film if you’re up to it!

Christian Bale is my favorite flawed character actor. I would want to fuck with character in a dark alley. This is a film Hunter Thompson would have loved. Drugs, sex, violence, and the underbelly of LA. Not to mention destructive friendships and recklessness that is powerfully upsetting. Bale is menacing. He’s scary. I’ve met people like this in real life. And once they have their first drink – I want to step off the ride asap. I imagine that a soldier’s life during a war is awful regardless – but this seemed to convincingly communicate the aftermath of war (for a soldier) better than any other portrayal I’ve seen.

Its not an easy  movie. There is no happy ending. There is no reward. And yet its a helluva ride. You up for it?

Background

Haunted by nightmares from his murderous military past, the honorably discharged Jim (Christian Bale) spends his time between his impoverished fiancee in rural Mexico and cruising the streets of east L.A., knocking back beers and smoking joints with his buddy Mike (Freddy Rodriguez). They also pawn a gun, run into some trouble with a jealous gangster, and fool Mike’s girlfriend (Eva Longoria) into thinking he’s actually dropping off resumes instead of getting drunk and high with his buddy. Homeland Security meanwhile wants to recruit Jim for some special ops in Central America, but first he has to pass a urine test.

This is the directorial debut of David Ayer, who wrote TRAINING DAY, which this film resembles with its smog-saturated cinematography and loving attention to the minutiae of male bonding and “homey codes” in and around L.A.’s inner-city drug culture. One never knows where the story is going, or what’s around the next corner in this off-center yarn, and Ayer captures that uneasy feeling of cruising through a bad part of town in a car with someone who you slowly realize cannot be trusted. Christian Bale delivers, as usual, a towering performance: growing progressively more disturbed as the film goes on, he weeps, roars, struts, shouts and flips out, maintaining audience sympathy all the while.


Flame & Citron is compelling, stunning cinema

Stylish and yet retains gritty period realism

In the mood for a war film? Flame & Citron is based on the lives of two Danish resistance fighters. Wel,l okay, they’re assassins. Nazi assassins mostly. The two central characters have real chemistry and the performances are compelling. Mads Mikkelsens’ quirky Citronen, a nervously energetic, emotionally charged man and his partner, the red-haired, cool-headed Flammen (Thure Lindhardt). The film is stylish and yet retains gritty period realism – yet its dreamy and noir-ish. The film is full of the politics we rarely see depicted in a convincing way in world war II films, double cross, intrigue, coffee, alcohol, cigarettes, and even a femme fatale. The leading men have relationship problems and this frankly makes the film more believable. There is no glamor in this story, and there are frayed and broken relationships strewn everywhere – but this is a film about Nazi occupied Denmark. Think “Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid”, or really more accurately the stylish “Bonnie & Clyde”. Its a stunning film and is based on a true story.

Duncan Alney is equally inspired by Wyclef Jean, Brian Eno, and Kieslowski. He’s living the American Dream with his wife Angela and their cats Boogie, Pookie and Zooie.


The Cove – Shocking, Saddening. Why are 23,000 dolphins being killed every year in Japan?

Watched “The Cove” last night. Shocking. Here’s a clip. I encourage you to watch it. It’s gut wrenching. Visceral. Saddening. Too many emotions to describe.

– Duncan Alney


True Blood Returns: Season 3 teaser

Back for it’s third season, True Blood is definitely an acquired taste. Here’s a teaser for y’all hard core fans. Dowload your own season 3 posters here.


RIP Dennis Hopper: Born To Be Wild

Dennis - we'll always love you

Man I’ve loved Dennis Hopper most of my life. Born to be wild. Dennis Hopper lived hard and he burned bright. Here’s some of the memorable and funny things he said.

Like all artists I want to cheat death a little and contribute something to the next generation.

I’ve been a Republican since Reagan. I voted for Bush and his father. I don’t tell a lot of people, because I live in a city where somebody who voted for Bush is really an outcast.

I should have been dead ten times over. I’ve thought about that a lot. I believe in miracles. It’s an absolute miracle that I’m still around.

On his 8-day marriage to Michelle Phillips The first seven were pretty good.

The alcohol was awful. I was a terrible alcoholic. I mean, people used to ask how much drugs I did. I said, ‘I only do drugs so I can drink more’. I was doing the coke so I could drink more. I mean, I don’t know any other reason. I’d start drinking in the morning. I’d drink all day long.

I made a picture called Super Mario Bros, and my six-year-old son at the time said, “Dad, I think you’re probably a pretty good actor, but why did you play that terrible guy King Koopa inSuper Mario Bros?” and I said, “Well Henry, I did that so you could have shoes”, and he said, “Dad, I don’t need shoes that badly”.


Blade Runner: Cinema at it’s best

If you haven’t seen Blade Runner, it’s high time you did. It’s much more than science fiction. It’s probably closer to what parts of Tokyo and LA look like now or what they will look like in a very short time. Sans flying cars. This film has influenced film making in general – film you’d know. While the film never made a huge impact at the box office in 1982, it has become over the last 28 years one of the most discussed films. Because of it’s themes in general and of course whether or not Deckerd is a replicant or not. There are fan sites, social media pages, festivals and much more. If you’ve seen it before, I hope you enjoy this incredible moment in cinema.

Roy in his final moments. Possibly some of the finest moments in cinema.


DEVO return with first new album in 20 years!

Devo return with fresh new album

“Thirty years ago, people said that we were cynical, that we had a bad attitude,” says Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh. “But now, when you ask people if de-evolution is real, they understand that there was something to what we were saying. It’s not the kind of thing you want to see proven right, but it does make it easier to talk about.”

“The world is in sync with Devo,” says his band-mate and co-writer Gerald Casale. “We’re not the guys who freak people out and scare them – we’re like the house band on the Titanic, entertaining everybody as we go down.”

And so, now is the time. More than three decades after the release of their visionary debut, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo, and a full 20 years since their last studio album, Devo is back with the aptly titled Something for Everybody. The long rumored, wildly anticipated album (which was launched with a memorable performance in Vancouver at the Winter Olympics) features the band’s classic line-up – Mark and Bob Mothersbaugh, Gerald and Bob Casale—joined by drummer Josh Freese (Nine Inch Nails, Guns n’ Roses).

Produced by Greg Kurstin (The Bird & The Bee), the album also includes contributions from John Hill and Santi White (better known as rising hip-hop star Santigold), John King of the Dust Brothers, and the Teddybears.

Though the 12 songs on Something for Everybody are built on Devo’s signature mechanized swing, the recording and presentation of the album saw the band experimenting with an entirely new approach. Greg Scholl was brought in to serve as COO for Devo, Inc., and – working with the advertising agency Mother LA – conducted a series of studies through the www.clubdevo.com site to help the band with its creative decisions, from color selection to song mixes.

click for hi res

“We decided to actively seek comment and criticism from outside people and use that as a tool, rather than shunning or ignoring it,” says Gerald Casale. “Our experiences participating in secondary creativity – things like corporate consensus building, focus groups—make you appreciate the connection that an artist has to society.”

“In the past, Devo was very insular,” says Mark Mothersbaugh. “This time, I became intrigued with the idea of having people who understood Devo actually work on the songs, and to do to our songs what we did to ‘Satisfaction’ on our first record. Don’t put any boundaries on their production style; let them bring what they needed to make Devo be what it should be after waking up from suspended animation for 20 years.”

His revelation came when the Teddybears did a remix of the song “Watch Us Work It,”an idea initiated by the Mother agency. “They took Josh Freese’s drums off and put on a sample from something we did back in, like, 1982. And I thought, ‘That actually is better!’ That was when I first really saw that Devo had something to absorb, as well as something to impart.”

Certainly Devo has had plenty to convey since Gerald Casale founded the group in Akron, Ohio, in 1973. The band was an extension of a multi-media exploration of the concept that mankind’s progress had ceased, and the process of de-evolution had begun. Devo’s early work caught the attention of such icons as Neil Young and David Bowie, and, with such hits as “Whip It” and “Girl U Want,” and the accompanying, revolutionary music videos, the group became one of the defining acts of the 1980s.

Devo’s sound, style, and philosophy have been an influence on artists from Rage Against the Machine to Lady Gaga. Kurt Cobain once said, “Of all the bands who came from the underground and actually made it in the mainstream, Devo is the most challenging and subversive of all.”

In 1990, Devo morphed from a recording and concert act to putting more focus on individual pursuits and various creative enterprises. Mark Mothersbaugh, along with brother Bob, and Bob Casale, began making music for films and television, working onPee-Wee’s Playhouse and Rugrats and the movies of Wes Anderson. Gerald Casale directed scores of commercials and music videos for the likes of Miller Lite Beer and Mrs. Butterworth’s to Rush, The Foo Fighters, and Soundgarden respectively. (“Everything we’ve done outside of Devo is basically a permutation on the theme we started with,” says Mark Mothersbaugh.) Meanwhile, Devo‘s music remained a staple in movies, commercials, and videogames.

After appearing sporadically in concert and working on 2006’s Devo 2.0 project—with kids providing the vocals to Devo songs—the band began the stop-and-start project of making new music. “It was now or never,” says Gerald Casale. “We’re all still alive, and we can all play and sing—probably better than we ever did in the past. These new songs, like ‘Don’t Shoot (I’m a Man)’ or ‘What We Do,’ are as Devo as anything Devo has ever done.”

Especially notable on Something for Everybody is the focus its songs bring to the vapid absurdity of so much contemporary speech (don’t miss the closing wail of “Don’t tase me, bro!” on “Don’t Shoot”). Mark Mothersbaugh points out that, for all the attention usually given to Devo’s funky robot sound, this has always been a central aspect of its work.

“We grew up in a time when we saw hippies become hip capitalists, when the real punks truly destroyed themselves, and we came to the conclusion that rebellion was obsolete,” he says. “We saw subversion as the most successful form of change, so we always had an attraction to loaded phrases that you can reshape and subvert to fit your own needs.”

Gerald Casale adds that Devo really was looking at today’s world when writing the new songs. “The tautology of a line like ‘What we do is what we do’ is taken straight from hip-hop,” he says. “And words like ‘bro’ and ‘dude’—we’re surrounded by it all the time, 20-year-olds don’t even see any irony in it anymore.”

Devo for our times. A band that evolves, even as the world around them confirms the decay they have long suspected. With Something for EverybodyDevo has gained from experience, honed its attack, and stands ready to sound the alarm for another generation.

“As angry young men who have been validated, we have the possibility to do something that resonates like it did back in the early days,” says Mark Mothersbaugh. “It’s the same car, just now with air bags, power brakes, and steering.”

“We’re inspired by reality,” says Gerald Casale, “because the world is so ridiculous and stupid. DE-EVOLUTION IS REAL.”

TRACK LISTING:

TO BE ANNOUNCED ON MAY 17th

CURRENT LINE-UP:

Gerald Casale – Bass Guitar, Bass Synthesizer, Vocals
Mark Mothersbaugh – Synthesizers, Vocals, Mutated Guitars
Bob “Bob 1”  Mothersbaugh – Guitar, Vocals
Bob “Bob 2” Casale – Guitar, Keyboards, Bass Synthesizer
Josh Freese – Drums

SELECT DISCOGRAPHY:

1978 – Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!
1979 – Duty Now for the Future
1980 – Freedom of Choice
1981 – New Traditionalists
1982 – Oh, No! It’s Devo
1984 – Shout
1988 – Total Devo
1990 – Smooth Noodle Maps
2010 – Something for Everybody

OFFICIAL BAND WEBSITE:

www.clubdevo.com


The Black Hole: a very short film

A 30 something man, Charlie, is working the night shift. He is very tired and has had a long day already. Everyone else has gone home and he has a huge pile of copying to do, with important deadlines for the next day. He is dazed from sleep deprivation and spinning out a little from his coffee high, necking Pro Plus and washing it down with his 5th cup. The room is atmospherically lit with the sodium glow of florescent lighting and we get a real sense of repetition, monotony and a man who is completely bored with his job – on the edge of quitting but with nowhere else to go. Without warning the copier begins to shake and make strange noises, the scanner flashes repeating over and over, but nothing is coming out of the printer. Charlie is clearly annoyed, hitting the machine and punching buttons. The copier suddenly goes silent and still – Charlie throws his hands up in frustration. Out of desperation he kicks the copier and it spits out one A3 print of a large round black spot centred on the page. As he moves the paper his coffee cup falls into this black hole. Slowly he edges towards the copier – a low angle shot from the POV of the hole sees him step into frame. He peers over into the hole wondering where his coffee cup has gone. Inquisitively he rolls up his shirtsleeve and gingerly moves his hand towards the hole – his fingers twitch as they near the black ink. Unbelievably Charlie’s hand sinks straight into the printed page just like it was an Acme toy hole from a cartoon. He puts his arm further and further in until its right up to the elbow, fishing around for his coffee cup. The copier jerks to a halt – Charlie pulls his arm out with a sudden movement, slightly freaked out. The cup is in his hand – he clicks it a few times staring mystified at the hole. We now watch as Charlie discovers what other fun he can have with the hole. He sticks the piece of paper up on the vending machine and pulls out a bar of chocolate to eat. Charlie begins to think. What practical uses could this hole have – is there any way that he could make this gift from the photocopier gods work to his advantage. Will greed get the better of him?

Written by Philip Sansom & Olly Williams


Edouard Salier: Juicy Noir

Edourd Saliers noir video for french duo Air track "So light is her footfall"

How would you like to swing on a black star? Carry darkness home in a jar? Noir never went away for some of us. Whether its watching Maltese Falcon or Blade Runner, or the recent Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Noir is sexy, breathe taking, and visually delightful. Here’s a couple of recent videos from Edouard Salier. One for Air and the other for Massive Attack. Enjoy in the dark.

Massive Attack-Splitting the Atom-directed by Edouard Salier from edouard salier on Vimeo.


Dov Samuel: My Top 5 Films

5 films you can’t miss from Dov Samuel

Top 5 films you can't miss

Not all of my top 5 films are necessarily what you would find on a list of the all time greatest films.  I could teach a film class and list off the greatest films of all time, but you can find that on line and there’s already been plenty written about all those films.  Here’s my list in alphabetical order.

1.  Blue Velvet

2.  Chungking Express

3.  Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

4.  North By Northwest

5.  The Wild Bunch


– Dov Samuel

Dov Samuel knows film. Like a fat kid knows cake. He's a sensitive storyteller and believe me, you know his work.

Dov Samuel is an editor. He’s worked on the X-Men series, Super Bad, The Interpreter, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and the soon to be released The Hungry Rabbit Jumps. Born in Toronto, he lives in LA with his wife, Belle, and their daughter, Charlotte.


Shutter Island: Deceptive, tender masterpiece

Leonardo Di Caprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley and Martin Scorcese brings a masterpiece to life

Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo in Martin Scorcese's Shutter Island

Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo in Martin Scorcese's Shutter Island

Mark Ruffalo and Leonardo DiCaprio in Shutter Island

Regardless of what you read or see, Shutter Island is worth seeing. Its a fantastic film. Scorcese has taken a brilliant book and lovingly brought it to life with painstaking detail. Sure, its a seemingly deceptive script. Sure, it’s not completely faithful to the trailer. But it’s actually better than trailer leads you to believe. Yes, its an uncomfortable film. It will shock you at times, and move you to question everything you see on screen. It’s a happy thing to see that a solid film can be successful at the box office. I propose that it is, in some ways, the trinity of American film today – Scorcese the father, DiCaprio the son, and Ruffalo is the holy ghost (he’s a vastly under appreciated actor). Listen, here’s the deal – screw the bad reviews. Take a risk and go embrace this film. It will f#$% you up. In a good way.

By the way, Ben Kingsley (I’m an Indian American and I refuse to call him Sir) is a multi-faceted, uber-talented actor and contributes significantly to what makes this film memorable.

– Duncan Alney


Behind Sting’s “Englishman in NY”

If you’ve listened to Sting, you’ve definitely heard this song and specifically the line “It takes a man to suffer ignorance and smile, be yourself no matter what they say”. Branford Marsalis’ groovy, yet slightly sad sax stays with you long after the song is over. I always thought the song was somehow about Sting and his early days in New York. Instead, the “Englishman” in the song is none other than the  famous eccentric Quentin Crisp.

According to Wikipedia, “Quentin Crisp (25 December 1908 – 21 November 1999), born Denis Charles Pratt, was an English writer and raconteur. He became an icon of homosexuality in the 1970s after publication of his memoir, The Naked Civil Servant, brought to the attention of the general public his defiant exhibitionism and refusal to keep his sexuality private. Sting wrote the song not long after Crisp moved from London to an apartment in New York’s Bowery. Crisp had remarked jokingly to the musician “…that he looked forward to receiving his naturalization papers so that he could commit a crime and not be deported.”

The beautiful video was directed by David L. Fincher, and featured scenes of Sting and his band in New York, as well as the elusive Crisp. At the end of the video, after the song fades, an elderly male voice says: “If I have an ambition other than a desire to be a chronic invalid, it would be to meet everybody in the world before I die… and I’m not doing badly.” In many ways, the true star of the video is the city itself with Quentin Crisp making appearances. You’ll also see glimpses of the twin towers – like ghosts in the distance. Sobering.


Sting – English Man In New York
Video link: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2dr5x_sting-english-man-in-new-york_music

John Hurt reprising his famous role as Quentin Crisp

Trivia:

  • An Englishman in New York, the movie which was released last year, stars John Hurt, who reprises his famous role as Quentin Crisp. The film focuses on the later years of Crisp’s storied life.
  • The Black Eyed Peas sampled the track for their song “Union” which also features new vocals from Sting.

To order either of these CS’s please click:

Blind date: a very short film

I’ve got a lot of friends back on the dating scene – looking for a spark, updating their match profiles, and going out on dates. This is dedicated to them! God forbid you should find a persistent hair!


David Byrne & Fatboy Slim: Free Download

Wha wha wha what! Thats right. David Byrne and Fatboy Slim Baby! Songs about Imelda Marcos. Its a project that is focused on what makes famous people tick, what inspires them to re-invent themselves again and again. Anyone thinking Madonna? And here’s the first track from none other than Santigold. More tracks on the album from St. Vincent, Martha Wainwright, Sharon Jones and more. Check it check it. And a little slide show made by David himself!

– Duncan Alney @firebelly

On the Corner: Paris

Miles Davis - On The Corner

My friend Robin is a New Orleans cellist, music ethnography scholar and community arts activist. Nine times out of 10 her music recommendations change my life. (I met my husband backstage at a Dirty Dozen Brass Band concert she organized.) Last week she shared this link from a concert she’d been invited to attend in Paris.

This skillfully produced live footage from Cite de la Musique is a gem. Legendary jazz musicians commune with the spirit of 1970s-era Miles Davis in this gem of live concert footage.

Tabla player Badal Roy mesmerizes with melodic percussion. Saxophonist Dave Liebman portrays uninhibited genius—arrogant, subtly awkward, human and vulnerable. His performance makes listeners believe a similar creative energy rushes just beneath the surface—ready to spring forth—in every one of us.

Don’t sleep: the footage will only be available through February 20, 2010.The entire show is 1 hour, 44 minutes and worth every second.

On the Corner: Paris

– Emily Peláez

Emily writes about Belgian beer, gardening, mood music and vegetarian culinary experimentation.


Viggo Mortensen: 10 questions

Just saw The Road. While we work on the reaction to the film, here’s some Viggo Mortensen to get pique your appetite. An interview with Time Magazine to get a bit deeper into the man himself.

Viggo Mortensen - Passionati

– Duncan Alney


John Mayer talks about “Battle Studies”

Since so many of you are consuming John Mayer on here, here’s some more on the new album from the lips of none other than John Mayer himself.

John Mayer - passionati


New Year’s Eve Tradition: Dinner for One

Dinner for one: The same procedure as every year

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My friend Ashley Johnson and I watched this film a few months ago. Watching this film on New Year’s Eve is a tradition in many parts of the world. I particularly enjoy this line “the same procedure as every year James.”

Here’s the scoop according to Wikipedia:

Dinner for One, also known as The 90th Birthday, or by its corresponding German title, Der 90. Geburtstag, is a comedy sketch written by British author Lauri Wylie for the theatre in the 1920s. Germantelevision station Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) recorded a performance of the piece in 1963, in its original English language. This short comical play subsequently went on to become the most frequently repeated TV programme ever (according to the Guinness Book of Records, 1988-1995 eds.; later editions no longer have the category).

The 18 minute single take black-and-white 1963 TV recording featuring British comedians Freddie Frinton and May Warden has become an integral component of the New Year’s Eve schedule of several German television stations and Danish national television. It has also been a cult television classic in GermanyNorwaySwedenFinlandFaroe Islands and Austria: On New Year’s Eve 2003 alone, the sketch was broadcast 19 times (on various channels). As of 2005, the sketch has been repeated more than 230 times. It is famous in other countries as well — including German-speaking Switzerland and South Africa. It is a New Year’s Eve staple in Australia on the SBS network.[1]

– Duncan Alney


The Plan: A short film

Ever wanted to just up and leave? To hell with everything. Just up and go. Well this film is about exactly that. Its a short film. And its entertaining.


Teeth: a short film

He who bites last…

I think you’re going to love this short film. Two old friends go fishing. One of them, feeling a little under the weather, sneezes and loses his teeth overboard. His friend finds this hilarious and to add to his good cheer he lands an enormous fish. Capitalising on his friends misfortune he plays a prank that backfires badly leaving the pair miserable and toothless. Be ready to LOL! Some fun trivia: The actor Niall O’Brien is the director, Ruairi O’Brien’s, father.

Teeth was co-directed by John Kennedy & Ruairi O’Brien and produced by Noreen Donohoe of Divamedia in association with The Irish Film Board. The film also features original music by Giles Packham and was shot on location at the Wicklow Mountains National Park, Glendalough, Ireland.

Teeth passionati

Director of Photography Ruairí O’Brien


Movie Update: Avatar looking strong

AvatarHere’s a quick update on what’s happening on the movie scene.

According to – By Gregg Kilday on Hollywood Reporter:

“Avatar” was named best picture by the New York Film Critics Online on Sunday.

“The Hurt Locker’s” Katheryn Bigelow was voted best director, while “Inglorious Basterds” took four prizes, including a screenplay award for Quentin Tarantino.

The New York group — not to be confused with the New York Film Critics Circle, which will announce its winners Monday — hailed Jeff Bridges as best actor for “Crazy Heart” and Meryl Streep best actress for “Julie & Julia.”

The supporting acting awards went to Christopher Waltz of “Basterds,” who also picked up the breakthrough performer award, and Mo’Nique for “Precious.”

“Basterds” also earned a mention for Robert Richardson’s cinematography.

“The White Ribbon” was named best foreign-language picture; “The Cove,” best documentary; and “Up,” best animated feature.

Marc Webb was recognized for his directorial debut with “(500) Days of Summer”

Best film score was “Crazy Heart,” with the award going to Steve Burton.


Heaven: Tykwer’s masterpiece

A must see for lovers of thought-provoking cinema

This film wasn’t a blockbuster, although it has drugs, guns, and drama. It doesn’t cater to people with an attention deficit. Instead, it feels new and its guaranteed to make you think. Heaven is a home run for one of my favorite directors, Tom Tykwer, and “X Filme” Project that he heads up. Tykwer, the director, is German, Cate Blanchett, one of the leads, is Australian, Giovani Ribisi, the other lead, is American, and Krzysztof Kieślowski (Three Colors) and Krzysztof Piesiewicz (the writers) are Polish, and the film is set in Italy. If you’re not familiar with Tykwer’s other work – I recommend “Run Lola Run” as another entree into his work. Kieślowski’s work is sheer genius – from his use of colors to the heavy symbolism to the intense character development – he stands alone in many ways and it’s tragic that more people aren’t exposed to his work. Tykwer is definitely a director’s director. All the details are thought through, and the emphasis is on executing the vision, not market research based outcomes.

heaven1

Yes, it’s philosophical. Yes it will blow you away. Yes it will make you think. And, yes, this film will stay with you longer after the last credit has rolled. It carefully examines both the needs and thoughts of the individual as well as that of society. This isn’t the film for people hoping to get a look at great Italian landscapes. It is the film for people hungry for a glimpse of the many facets that make up the complex human psyche. Giovani Ribisi and Cate Blanchett both turn in stunning performances. Welcome to the work of Tykwer. If you’re already familiar, then welcome home, once more!