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Euro-AICN: Berlin; Am

Father Geek reporting in with Robert Bernocchi, Grozilla; Ethan and our regular Euro-crew of informants for this weeks jammed-packed Euro-AICN Monday Column, but as usual first there's something that was sent direct to ol' Father Geek here at the Geek Headquarter's Compound high in the Central Texas Hill Country...

Hi, Just some words to say that the nominations for the Cesars 2002 (equivalent of the Oscars in France) have just arrived.

The movie "Amélie" obtained 13 nominations including best film, best director (Jean-Pierre Jeunet), best actress (Audrey Tautou), best actor in a supporting role (Jamel Debbouze), best actress in a supporting role (Isabelle Nanty), best screenplay (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Guillaume Laurant). Vincent Cassel has also been nominated for best actor in "Sur mes Lèvres" by Jacques Audiard. The ceremony will occur the 2nd of March.


Great, but not totally unexpected news... AMELIE was ol' Father Geek's #2 Favorite Film viewed in 2001. No small task given the worldwide competition. Now, here's a bit of coolness from England that I'm sure will get a rise out of you...

Hello there sir, and greetings from Merrie Olde Englande.

I'm just writing to inform you in advance that Guy Ritchie's new film "Love, Sex, Drugs And Money" will be screened here in Reading on Wednesday night.

It's a remake of the Italian film "Swept Away" and stars Ritchie's wife Madonna. I'm planning on seeing it as I'm a fan of "Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels" and loved "Snatch". Just wanted to know if you'd be interested in a report on it for the site, bearing in mind it'll only be a rough cut? I understand Ritchie has quite a cult following in the States and thought it might be of interest. Otherwise, keep up the good work!


Father Geek back. Soooooo, What do you think? Want to see more about this one? Of course you do! I guess we'll hear more later in the week... If you're in the area you should drop by and see this preview, and send us your ideas. Now, on with our regular report for today...

Hi people. A few scoops and a lot of interesting stuff this week. Do you want to see unpublished pics of the deleted scenes of LOTR-FOTR? And to get first hand news about a possible David Mamet's project? Are you interested to know what french actor will play Lt Blueberry in Jan Kounen's upcoming movie? And the movies that will be presented at the festivals of Berlin (which starts on february, six) and the rumoured ones at Cannes? So, just read everything.

LOTR-FOTR unpublished pics

I was able to get a few images of FOTR unseen in Peter Jackson's movie. I'm wondering if we'll see these scenes in the DVD version. Meanwhile, enjoy these images by clicking here: Click to Check It Out

An interview with Pep Squad director Steve Balderson

I get a very interesting interview with Steve Balderson, the young acclaimed director of Pep Squad, currently working on pre-production of Firecracker, starring Edward Furlong and Dennis Hopper. In the interview, Balderson talks about his upcoming film and Edward Furlong dismissing from T3. Moreover, he speaks also about Museum Guard, a book he adapted and that it's rumoured as a possible movie by David Mamet. Finally, he told me he is uncertain what his next project will be, after releasing Firecracker. You can look at the interview by clicking here: Just Click Now

Grozilla has great news for us, about Lt Blueberry and a few festivals in France as Cannes.

Don't know if you ever read the adventures of Lt Blueberry, but this is for decades now, one of the coolest french comic-book. Jan Kounen (Doberman) is working for quite five years now on an movie adaptation of it. You all heard many rumors about who will act the main character in this western epic. Through last months, names of Hugh Jackman, Willem Dafoe, Michael Madsen were printed. But today, the official Kounen's site announced that Vincent Cassel is the guy. Cassel is growing and growing as one of the most brillant french actors. Able to be brillant in "auteur" films like the wonderful Jacques Audiard's Sur mes l趲es, as to be the most dedicated guy to action flicks and genre movie. For those of you who still don't know him , he's the bad guy in Brotherhood of the wolves, as currently one the two russian blokes in Birthday girl. I'm sure he'll does good work as Blueberry, even if I'm not sure he's the better choice. Jackman bear more ressemblances with the character... Anyway, this cast choice will for sure delayed (again!) the shooting of Kounen's second effort ; Cassel is currently shooting Brian Helgeland's Sin eater and has to shoot after that L'aventurier, another movie version of some french hero : Bob Morane. Christophe Gans expect to direct it, partly in Thailand, at the end of 2002. Some buzz say that besides Cassel as Morane, the very underrrated Michael Rooker will play his sidekicks Bill Ballantine. In the novels and the comics, Ballantine is a very strong character, indeed some stuff for Rooker. I just hope this buzz is true.

Maybe some of you aicn-readers have heard about the Deauville american film festival. Each year in september, hollywood stars come in this city to promote films to be released in France in months following the events. This festival's always got huge coverage from french press of course lookin' for interviews with stars. Anyway, Deauville's got in spring, another festival which is surely the one to look at. Since four years, during four days in March, Panasia gives the best of asian production (not only from Hong Kong and Japan, but also South-east asia, india...) Last year, I discovered there among many films some jewels as Spacked out, The foul king or the masterful Time & Tide. This year Panasia will stand from march 7th to 10th. The film schedule is not fully revealed for now (wait until mid-feb to check it at but for now,among many guests not yet known, Johnnie To is announced to be there with a retrospective, as is Shing Sang-Ok, some not well known here, korean filmaker. A new director's cut of Kurosawa's Kagemusha is also to be screened as a world premiere of Patlabor 3 ! New section, this year, The off and Exp factory will give some look at some DV shot films.

Panasia a really a cool festival, people in charge there are real fans of asian cinema, they're really really nice. Adding that the price of tickets is quite cheap (24 € / a bit more than twenty dollars for an all-festival pass), then be sure that's the french place to be for filmfan at this time of the year.

As each year, there's always buzz growing from january to may about what films might be in Cannes film festival... I got a very interesting phone call yesterday, by someone very close to the festival. Besides that Gangs of new york doing the opening of the festival, Atom Egoyan's Ararat and David Cronenberg's Spiders to be screen on the Croisette (something evryone in film business seems to assume for months), my contact told me we could be surprise by some choices : Randall Wallace's We were soldiers and some Philip Noyce film (Rabbit proof fence) will very probably shown, over the competition... The Wallace one, I can understand it, Cannes always need stars to be there, and Mel Gibson is one , isn't he ? The Noyce film is more surprising, but maybe that means that this chap has been at last able to do some good film, as he did in his first years of carreer, before doin' hollywood crap..

If you got the good taste to come to Deauville in early march for Panasia, get ready to spend more time in France, in its south west, this time. In Toulouse will stand just after Panasia some Latin-american festival between 15th et 24th of march. Usually, the staff of this festival is just giving a wide panorama of the latest production for countries like Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and around.. It's often boring films, but from time to time, some can pick up very good stuff, like 25 watts or La cienaga.. But this year, this festival will get a very good reason to attend it : they announced Jos頍ojica Marins will be there ! Yes The ZE of Caixo, might very well introduce some of his films and have some Q & A with the audience...

There's also will be in this festival a retrospective of Juan Orol works. Never seen one of his films, but always heard of this guy as the mexican Ed Wood... Interesting. maybe worth a look...

And here we are with a list of movies that will presented at the Berlin Film fest.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend it as I did last year (a great experience!).

Thus, if someone of you will be there, send us your reports!

At the 52. Berlinale (6th - 17th February), the first under the aegis of the new festival director Dieter Kosslick, there are 23 films in competition :

  • "8 Femmes" (Dir.: Francois Ozon, France)
  • "Amen. (Der Stellvertreter)" (Dir.: Constantin Costa-Gavras, France)
  • "Baader" (Dir.: Christopher Roth, Germany)
  • "Beneath Clouds" (Dir.: Ivan Sen, Australia)
  • "Bloody Sunday" (Dir.: Paul Greengrass, United Kingdom/Ireland)
  • "Bridget" (Dir.: Amos Kollek, France/Japan)
  • "Brucio nel Vento" (Dir.: Silvio Soldini, Italy/Switzerland)
  • "Dekapentavgoustos" (Dir.: Constantinos Giannaris, Greece)
  • "Der Felsen" (Dir.: Dominik Graf, Germany)
  • "Halbe Treppe" (Dir.: Andreas Dresen, Germany)
  • "Heaven" (Dir.: Tom Tykwer, US/Germany)
  • "Iris" (Dir.: Richard Eyre, United Kingdom)
  • "Kis鲴鳥k" (Dir.: ZoltᮠKamondi, Hungary)
  • "KT" (Dir.: Junji Sakamoto, Japan/Korea)
  • "Laissez-Passer" (Dir.: Bertrand Tavernier, France)
  • "Lundi Matin" (Dir.: Otar Iosseliani, France)
  • "Monster's Ball" (Dir.: Marc Forster, US)
  • "Na-Bbun-Nam-Ja" (Dir.: Kim Ki-duk, Korea)
  • "Piedras" (Dir.: Ramon Salazar, Spain)
  • "The Royal Tenenbaums" (Dir.: Wes Anderson, US)
  • "Sen To Chihiro No Kamikakushi (Spirited Away)" (Dir.: Hayao Miyazaki, Japan)
  • "Shipping News" (Dir.: Lasse Hallstr� US)
  • "Sma Ulykker" (Dir.: Annette K. Olesen, Denmark)

Then there are 9 more films out of competition but in the official programme :

  • "Amadeus - Director's Cut" (Dir.: Milos Forman, US)
  • "A Beautiful Mind" (Dir.: Ron Howard, US)
  • "Gosford Park" (Dir.: Robert Altman, US)
  • "The Great Dictator" (Dir.: Chales Chaplin, US)
  • "Happy Times" (Dir.: Zhang Yimou, China)
  • "Molitva Za Getmana Mazepu" (Dir.: Jurij Illenko, Ukraine)
  • "Die Patriotin" (Dir.: Alexander Kluge, Germany)
  • "Taking Sides" (Dir.: Istvan Szabo, Hungary)
  • "Vill passiert - Der BAP-Film" (Dir.: Wim Wenders, Germany)

In the other sections of the festival (Panorama, Forum, Kinderfilm, German Cinema and the new section "Perspektive Deutsches Kino") there will be almost 800 films from 59 countries. After the sad news of her death the Kinderfilm section has decided to take in some adaptations of Astrid Lindgren's children's books. Rest in peace, Mrs. Lindgren, you will never be forgotten!

Claudia Cardinale and Robert Altman will receice honorary Golden Bears for their lifetime achievements.

Michael Mann and Gates of Fire

Michael Mann talks about his Spartan project in this month's Empire magazine Just Click Here to Get THE Full Story

Ethan attended the Fest Film Festival and talks about the movies he has seen... FEST is the Belgrade Film Festival which stands as a very relevant overview of world production for Serbian audience. I am covering press screenings and my reports are pretty much out of tune with actual programme. Still, these films and will be shown someday so I hope this could be a worthy preview.

- I Love Beijing by Ning Ying (assistant director on Bertolucci`s Last Emperor)...

is a typical urban melodrama which threads Wong Kar Vai`s paths without his flamboyant direction. Relevant only for its` presentation of Beijing nightlife.

- The Day I Became a Woman by fresh Iranian authoresse Marziyeh Meshkini...

is a low - budget rip-off of Emir Kusturica. It`s only virtue is pretty modest 80 minute lenght.

- The Son's Room by Nanni Moretti...

is as vulgar as its` cannes Award suggests. It begins as typical Moretti fare with Woody Allen wannabe feel but ends up as a shameless exploitation of emotions.

- Scarlet Diva by Asia Argento

This is a tough and gritty debut by Dario`s daughter. One of my friends said that whatever Dario creates (even a child) must be a masterpiece. It is a personal film. Personal to the bone. Personal about her own pathologic obssession about everyone wishing to fuck her. And I even can`t deny her. See it. Enjoy it.

- Mulholland Drive by David Lynch.

I really dug it even though I am not a particular Lynchophile. As long as you accept his game - you are going to love it since you can sense the smell of the auteur playing by his own rules.

- Bread and Milk by Jan Cvitkovic.

I have no idea how this 68 minute `student feature turned TV movie` won the Debut Award in Venice or wound up on FEST. It`s apretty poor B & W rendition of unbelievable family tragedy.

- Under the Stars by Christos Georgiou.

It is a blueprint roadmovie that belongs to the batch of generic flicks developed by European Funds in war - torn countries. And they use the shape of roadmovie just to justify integration of different nationalities. This one is about Greeks and Turks in Cyprus. Redeemed only by main actress` boobs.

Now, I want you all to tune on your favourite Deftones tune and root for Peja Stojakvic on the All - Star Game. Respect for Zeljko Rebraca`s Rookie All-Star gig in Detroit jersey. ,p.God bless, Ethan

Hamilton Mattress DVD review

DVD extras: Interviews with the authors, audio commentaries, behind the scenes, trailers, deleted shots

If you live in U.K., you probably have seen this adorable animated short. From the producers of the Wrong Trousers, this movie boats a very funny character, the aardvark Sludger, as the ad says, "the first aardvark in history to do anything interesting!".

In fact, the aardvark is tired of his banal existence. It's a situation we have already seen in many animated features (just think at Antz), but here it is brighten up by the main character's originality. Sludger is noticed by the caterpillar, who discovers his skills as a drummer and propose him to become his manager. The pair decide to move to Beak City, where they won't be as lucky as they expected. In fact, they have to face the population's discriminations, who at first can't accept that an aardvark could be a star. Hamilton Mattress, as many movies coming from England, is perfect both for children and for adults and is considered as a "kidult", a perfect term for this kind of products. In fact, while the children can easily enjoy the aardvark's adventures, the adults can get a lot of (more or less hidden) references. For example, the night-club where Sludger makes his exibitions reminds me of noir films as Gilda. And you can even find an hommage to slasher movies, when a chainsaw enters the scene. And this occurs without showing nothing offensive, but playing with audience's imagination. The best scenes show Sledger get dressed in his flat and when he gets excited playing drums for the first time in the night-club. And what about the red-carpet-treatment?

In short, a very promising debut for a series which can become an important franchise, almost at Wallace & Gromit: A Grand Day Out level. I hope that the sequel (currently in production) will be even better.

Vanilla Sky review by Ethan

When I heard that Cameron Crowe will be doing Abre los Ojos remake, I was stunned. I loved Cameron Crowe`s movies. Still, he betrayed me when he said that he is just working with the actors on the shoot and that his cinematographers handle the visuals all by themselves. Cameron Crowe could have been a great writer on this project. His script really does improve the melodrama between David and his best friend. The rest of his involvement however is pretty much disgusting. The original was a masterpiece because of its` realistic approach. It was sad and gritty and stylish at the same time. Some claimed it to be the best Philip K. Dick movie made from non - Dick material. The remake is lame. First of all David doesn`t get disfigured as much. Many people would sell their souls to look like disfigured David. Crowe and the suits didn`t have the guts to go all the way in the Tom Cruise movie. They should have because it pretty much flopped in the US. Crowe`s main problem is his inability to direct. Sure, he made some of the best movies ever but each one of those movies was conservative narrative shape. In Vanilla Sky he is pretty awkward in handling of time jumps and voice overs and colours. It feels like he cares more about details than the basic plot. As if one tree is distracting him from seeing the forest.

Most of these problems are strenghtened by clumsy visuals that are far worse than the proposed shot - for - shot remake. And the Penelope Cruz problem. I simply din`t dig her. Now, I won`t start my rant about Nicole Kidman and how I eternally adore her with all my heart. It`s just that I don`t dig Penelope Cruz very much. I don`t feel why David has to go through all the shit because of some Spanish slut that can`t even speak English when he has Cameron Diaz already bedded. But it`s just me. Compeletely personal stuff. On the level of storyline Vanilla Sky is a revelation for anyone who hasn`t seen Abre los Ojos. This level is pretty vulgar one when you tackle a movie. But friends like Harry can get seduced by that.

I am so sad to hear Tom Cruise force Amenabar to say he liked the remake. But when you make 30 - 40 million projects you must suck a couple of dicks. I mean, sucking one dick doesn`t make you gay. Right? See the original instead.

God bless, Ethan

P. S. As for soundtrack - it`s all hype. And it`s used childlishly. Look at the scene when David disposes the corpse. It`s the simple case of amateurish counterpointing. No one of the bigwigs (like De Palma) wouldn ever go for it.

That's all for today See you next week

Robert Bernocchi

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