A colleague of mine recently went on somewhat of a diatribe about how the movie industry has gone to crap, that he couldn’t remember the last time he had seen a good movie. I suggested that he was only partly correct; that perhaps he was simply looking in the wrong direction and that in actuality it would seem there has never been such an abundance of quality filmmaking coming out of a single era. It simply exists – surprise – outside of the realm of the big budget Hollywood blockbuster. Case in point, here are three very different soon-to-be-released films that look absolutely phenomenal:
The Science of Sleep
Long awaited, The Science of Sleep seems to approach the subject of dreams much in the same way as Gondry’s previous work Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind did memory. Gael Garcia Bernal plays Stephane Miroux, a young man whose inability to differentiate between dream and reality wreaks havoc on his romantic interests. The naive stylings of the stop motion work in this film is like nothing else. Visit the official website for an equal bout of absurdity.
Before this latest effort, Alejandro González Iñárritu has made films that examine wrenchingly heavy subject matter from a personal, almost microcosmic perspective. 21 Grams for example was almost claustrophobic in the way that we were entrenched in the lives of its characters. With Babel, it is as though Iñárritu has maintained the intensity but opened it up to “a range never seen before in his films”; to a global-spanning storyline that links Morocco, Tokyo and the Tijuana border. As stated in the synopsis: “This film brings back the ancient concept of BABEL and questions its modern day implications: the mistaken identities, misunderstandings and missed chances for communication that, though often unseen, drive our modern lives.”
I read a review of this movie in the New York Times this weekend and it immediately caught my interest. Ryan Gosling plays a white Brooklyn schoolteacher named Dan, who shuns the set curriculum to instead engage his students in “dialectics and realpolitik”. But before you dismiss this as yet another take on “Dead Poets Society” or “To Sir with Love”, it turns out that Dan is struggling outside of the classroom with crack addiction and the demons that come with it. Defined boundaries blur between teacher and student, innocence and experience; out of which an interesting friendship develops in what looks like a powerful and intense ride.