Tomorrow the blog will begin to be invaded by brief peeks at 20 films we're excited to see in 2009 (at least at this writing -- trailers could change our pre-viewing feelings). Who is "we" you ask? This year I did the anticipatory mindmeld with Whitney of Dear Jesus, Fox of Tractor Facts, Joe of Low Resolution and JA of My New Plaid Pants to come up with the top 20. I am horrified to inform you that these so called "friends" did not help me place Stephen Frears Chéri on the list. The plentiful posts I've already done on the matter will have to be enough until its Berlinale premiere later this month. The other highest ranking "orphans" from my own personal list function as an accidental Natalie Portman Double Feature.
Brothers is from actor-friendly director Jim Sheridan (In America, In the Name of the Father) and its based on the Danish film by Susanne Bier which I've recommended for rental many times. In the original film Connie Nielsen (in a terrifically engaging and warm star turn) is an army wife whose husband (Ulrich Thomsen) has been shipped off to Afghanistan. His troubled brother (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) helps her out around the house and they form a makeshift bond in his absence. If the plot sounds similar it's because Bier herself didn't stray far from its distraught wife and uncomfortable romantic triangle that also characterized the plot of her English language debut Things We Lost in the Fire.
In the American remake Natalie Portman plays the tearful wife. The title characters are Tobey Maguire as the soldier hubby and Jake Gyllenhaal as the ne'er-do-well brother. I'm interested to see what mojo Portman can work on both of them. Think of how bewitched bothered and bewildered Clive Owen, Jude Law (twice!), Timothy Hutton and Jason Schwartzman have become in her presence onscreen. Even wooden Hayden Christensen was thrown by her. He was haunted by the kiss she should never have given him [gag] !
17 Photos of Isabel comes from writer/director Don Roos and I think he proved with The Opposite of Sex and Happy Endings that he definitely has his own voice as a filmmaker. It's a voice worth hearing from time to time. He's also the filmmaker we can thank for Lisa Kudrow's best performance (The Opposite of Sex) and even, arguably, Maggie Gyllenhaal's (Happy Endings) which is saying a lot. The film is about a woman who is having trouble with her stepson but I don't know who plays whom. Neither Kudrow (returning for a third round with Roos) nor Portman are playing a character named "Isabel". The working title was Love and Other Impossible Pursuits.
Did you like Roos' previous films? Do you share my intermittent Portmania?
The Official "We Can't Wait ~ Top 20 of 2009" kicks off tomorrow @ Noon. You can see other "orphans" at Low Resolution, Tractor Facts and My New Plaid Plants
In case you missed any entries they went like so...
We Can't Wait:
#1 Inglourious Basterds, #2 Where the Wild Things Are, #3 Fantastic Mr. Fox,
#4 Avatar, #5 Bright Star, #6 Shutter Island, #7 Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
#8 Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, #9 Nailed, #10 Taking Woodstock,
#11 Watchmen, #12 The Hurt Locker, #13 The Road, #14 The Tree of Life
#15 Away We Go, #16 500 Days of Summer, #17 Drag Me To Hell,
#18 Whatever Works, #19 Broken Embraces, #20 Nine (the musical)
intro (orphans -didn't make group list)