It’s always cool to poke fun at the government, especially at their most frivolous. Pirate Radio, directed by Richard Curtis, follows the antics of eight DJs who daringly continued to play rock records in the middle of the North Atlantic, despite the angry protestations of British officials. The rock ‘n’ roll dissenters include Academy Award winner Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans, Nick Frost, Kenneth Branagh, and many others. Pirate Radio, which came out in the U.K. back in April as The Boat That Rocked, opens in the U.S. on November 13th in select theaters.
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The legacy of iconic pilot Amelia Earhart still sparks curiosity today. Amelia Earhart is now the subject of a new biopic simply entitled, Amelia, starring Hilary Swank, Richard Gere, and Ewan McGregor. Under Mira Nair’s direction, the film traces Earhart’s (Hilary Swank) aviation milestones, all within the undercurrent of her burgeoning intimate affair with George P. Putnam (Richard Gere), a well-established publisher. Like all procedurals, the movie acts not only as emotive siphon but also history lesson. Filled with crisp tableaux and acting powerhouses, Amelia opens October 23rd in limited release.
With every brushstroke, Rembrandt often painted an Amsterdam filled with social malaise fueled by wealth mongering at the height of the Dutch Golden Age. Documentarian Peter Greenaway scrutinizes Rembrandt’s famous genre piece, Nightwatch, as a means of forensic investigation into the country’s criminal underbelly. The movie speaks to art’s relevance as civilized society’s premier tool of education, communication, and preservation. If you can get over the visual echoes of PBS, then Rembrandt’s J’accuse is something definitely worth seeing. Rembrandt’s J’accuse opens Friday, October 21st in select theaters.
Alice in Wonderland will be out early next year March 5, 2010. Tim Burton here forgoes a direct remake of the animated film, instead reinterpreting it as something of a sequel to the original version of the story (yet not totally akin to the actual sequel to Alice and Wonderland, Through the Looking-Glass). A 19-year-old Alice (Mia Wasikowska) fears her Victorian socialite fate and runs away with the White Rabbit (Michael Sheen). Alice returns to Wonderland in a time of radial regime change. The Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) has captured the throne, leaving Wonderland in chaos. The Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp), Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry), the Caterpillar (Alan Rickman) and a slew of other magical creatures team up with Alice and the White Queen (Anne Hathaway) to defeat the Red Queen and save Wonderland. Working with a combination of live action and digital techniques, Burton’s futuristic, neo-goth aesthetic translates well with the whimsy of Alice in Wonderland.
Faust, eat your heart out. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is Terry Gilliam’s highly awaited new movie, which is set to be released in the U.K. October 16th, and Stateside December 25th. Gilliam’s imagination reaches new transcendental heights with this latest fantasy thriller. Doctor Parnassus, played by Christopher Plummer, makes an infamous deal with the Devil in exchange for immortality. As a leader of a traveling theatre troupe, Doctor Parnassus showcases to the world his Imaginarium, a magical mirror that lets people explore stunning dreamscapes. Soon, the Devil (Tom Waits) comes to get his due and sets his diabolical clutches on Doctor Parnassus’ daughter, Valentina (Lily Cole). When a mysterious stranger, Tony (the late Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, and Jude Law), joins the troupe, he and Parnassus must rescue Valentina together. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is cinematic shock therapy at its most spectacular level.