Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...
The big distributor exhibition here in the US is Showest, which’ll happen later this spring. There are similar exhibits all over the world, and we’ve got a report today from Mark G., who’s in Germany, where he just peeked at the materials for a number of big films coming out this year. Check it out:
it's me again, reporting from the MÃ¼nchner Filmwoche (Munich Film Week) where most distributors show their stuff to the exhibitors who arrive from all over Germany and Austria. The week ends with the Bavarian Movie Awards and the traditional Film Ball. I will stick to the stuff you probably haven't heard of yet. Unfortunately, I have much less to report this year:
ENGLISH LANGUAGE MOVIES:
THE JACKET: We saw only a couple of minutes and the editing was a bit too fast so I did not get the whole idea behind the thriller with Adrien Brody and Keira Knightley. But it sure looked like a variaton of THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT which, of course, isn't a bad thing.
THE DARK: Promoreel from the Horror movie which looks like THE RING without the tape. Sean Bean stars, could be frightening, but with Horror movies you never know...
STAR WARS: EPISODE III: A seven minute promoreel about the making of REVENGE OF THE SITH. No new scenes, but we could see a lot of the filming of the sword fight between Anakin and Obi Wan (no fx), probably the same scenes that leaked many months ago. Of course all the workers were excited about the return of Darth Vader, and so am I...
ROBOTS: We saw two scenes: The first four minutes which includes the birth of Rodney Copperbottom and another scene when the young adult Rodney arrives in the big city, meets Fender and tries to get into a company to sell his newest invention. Looks funny, the animation is great, but I didn't get the urge to see the rest of the movie right away.
MERRY CHRISTMAS/JOYEUX NOEL: Plenty of production stills from the German-French co-production about the truce between German, French & Scottish troops on Christmas Eve during World War I (true story). Of course you can't tell a thing from production stills, but it sure looks expensive (a $22 Mio. budget is a lot for a European movie) and it got Daniel BrÃ¼hl (GOOD BYE LENIN), Diane Kruger (TROY) and Benno FÃ¼rmann (THE PRINCESS AND THE WARRIOR).
THE BROTHERS GRIMM: A ten minute promoreel which looks like a mixture between SLEEPY HOLLOW (especially in the scenes we saw because Heath Ledger looks like Johnny Depp's younger brother in those), THE COMPANY OF WOLVES, all the fairytales of the brothers Grimm and a touch of LEGEND (mainly because of the studio setting). Very difficult to say how this one is going. Could be a mess, a noble failure or great entertainment. I think Terry Gilliam is going for an INDIANA JONES-style ride with Ledger and Damon as the unvoluntarily Indiana and a reluctant Jones, but I could be totally wrong...
MADAGASCAR: Twelve Minutes, some of the scenes were not finished. The sequence we saw started at the 35 minute mark (at least that's what we were told) when the animals awake in their transportation boxes on board of a ship. What follows are several minutes of hilarity, including the takeover of the ship by the penguins and the arrival of the four main characters on Madagascar. If DreamWorks doesn't mess with the rest of the movie this thing will be BIG ($350+ million USA). Everyone I talked to agreed, this was the highlight of the week and everyone was sad, that the movie stopped after 12 minutes. By the way DreamWorks, in case you're reading: Get those penguins a spin-off movie!
WALLACE & GROMIT: A three minute promoreel, but sadly almost all the scenes we saw were from the short films.
KING KONG: A seven minute promoreel with Peter Jackson talking about what King Kong will be like. The reel had dozens of production artwork, including Kong fighting the dinosaur. Kong looks meaner and stronger than in the previous movies, but we still have to see a movie picture showing the big ape... Jackson emphasized that he wants to create many new monsters Kong has to battle.
After two great years for the German film industry thanks to many blockbusters, everybody thought that 2003 & 2004 will be a tough act to follow. But one trend emerged during the Munich Film Week: Most trailers of the German movies got a better response than the American counterparts (this has nothing to do with politics, it's just that the German movies are more interesting to German audiences than the umpteenth RING clone (and there were plenty).
In case you're interested, last year's top movies in Germany:
1. 9,2m tix sold DREAMSHIP SURPRISE (German SF spoof)
2. 6,6m tix sold 7 DWARFS (German Snow White spoof)
3. 6,5m tix sold HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF ASKABAN
4. 5,3m tix sold SHREK 2
5. 4,5m tix sold THE DOWNFALL (German war movie)
6. 4,4m tix sold TROY
7. 4,1m tix sold THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW
8. 3,5m tix sold BROTHER BEAR
9. 3,3m tix sold SPIDER-MAN 2
10. 3,0m tix sold SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE and THE INCREDIBLES
BLUTHOCHZEIT (BLOOD WEDDING): This one looks interesting because it got the Peckinpah touch, at least judging from the promoreel: A dreaded businessman (a great Armin Rohde) celebrates his son's wedding in the restaurant in a castle on the countryside. Because the menu is not to his liking an old quarrel between him and the restaurant owner (Uwe Ochsenknecht) is rekindled and he refuses to pay the bill (about $25.000). The wedding company leaves the restaurant but the bride and the businessman's wife are still in the restroom, so the restaurant owner takes them hostage (but calls them guests) until the bill is paid. Of course the situation escalates from here and we get to watch a powerful tug of war between the two parties.
SOPHIE SCHOLL: A powerful drama about the last days of Sophie Scholl, a member of a student resistance group called Die weiÃŸe Rose (The White Rose) in the Third Reich. She was put to death in 1943 along many other members of the group. Will play at the Berlin Film Festival.
SIEGFRIED: A spoof of the biggest German legend, the NIBELUNGEN. We saw four minutes which looked like a mixture between the French-German ASTERIX and 7 DWARFS. Not my cup of tea, but three of last year's four biggest German hits were spoofs...
We saw many more trailers, scenes and promoreels from other German movies, including the movie version of Corinne Hoffman's bestseller THE WHITE MASSAI, Til Schweigers newest directorial effort BAREFOOT and Doris DÃ¶rries newest dramedy THE FISHERMAN AND HIS WIFE, but most of those movies will not make it to the United States...
Well that's it for now, as usual, never mind my English and this is the link to the German-language report on my website.
P.S. After watching clips, scenes and promoreels of almost 100 movies, I am pretty sure, that 2005 will be a much better year in terms of quality than the dreadful 2004...
Thanks, man. I agree about the MADAGASCAR penguins. When Dreamworks sent us the reel for BNAT this year, the penguins stole the show. And I’m jealous that you saw GRIMM footage. I’ve heard so many horror stories about the film, but I’m such a big Gilliam fan. More than any other film this year, I hope the buzz is wrong on that one...