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Most anticipated of ’07: 40-31

In today’s slice we have a trio of films that were already featured at international film festivals and country of origin but haven’t surfaced yet stateside, and we have the Top 50’s only documentary film.

In today’s slice we have a trio of films that were already featured at international film festivals and country of origin but haven’t surfaced yet stateside, and we have the Top 50’s only documentary film.

51*. The Devil and Daniel Webster – Alec Baldwin
50. The Meat TradeAntonia Bird
49. Mister LonelyHarmony Korine
48. La Vie en RoseOlivier Dahan
47. Across the UniverseJulie Taymor
46. Youth Without YouthFrancis Ford Coppola
45. MargaretKenneth Lonergan
44. The Inner Life of Martin FrostPaul Auster
43. Hallam FoeDavid Mackenzie
42. Death at a Funeral Frank Oz
41. An American CrimeTommy O’Haver

40. Smiley Face
When: First Look Pictures – Will premiere at Sundance and will most likely get a Spring release.
Who: Youth fascinated helmer Gregg Araki.
What: Written by Dylan Haggerty, Faris will play Jane, who by accident eats her psycho roommate’s pot cupcakes. She spends the rest of the day desperately trying to replace the cupcakes, pay the gas bill, get to her audition and accompany her friend to the dentist.
Why: Never been the big fan of his films prior to the first-rate Mysterious Skin. This one might look like mindless fun with Anna Faris in the lead.
39. Spring Break in Bosnia
When: The Weinstein Company – TBD.
Who: Richard Shepard’s stock rose with 05’s The Matador.
What: The Bosnia-set drama is drawn from an Esquire magazine article by Scott Anderson about journalists Sebastian Junger and John Falk, who made a half-hearted attempt to catch Radovan Karadzic, an alleged architect of ethnic cleansing. The comic thriller follows a young journalist (Eisenberg), a seasoned cameraman (Howard) and a discredited journalist (Gere) who embark on an unauthorized mission to find the No. 1 war criminal in Bosnia.
Why: Shepard’s last film got the buddy comedy formula just right – we can expect the same this time out as well.
38. Stop-Loss
When: Paramount Pictures – Studio might find better time slot in Autumn schedule.
Who: This is Kimberly Peirce’s long-awaited sophomore feature.
What: Written by Peirce and Mark Richard, this is about the controversial statute now used by the U.S. Defense Dept. to extend soldiers’ combat time. The story centers on a soldier (Phillippe) who returns home to Texas and is called to duty again in Iraq through the military’s “stop-loss” procedure. The soldier then refuses to return to battle.
Why: It’s been a long, long time since Boys Don’t Cry and should fit and clash perfectly with current sentiments on U.S. foreign policies.
37. Jindabyne
When: Sony Pictures Classics – After premiering at many fest in 06’ SPC launches this on April 27th.
Who: Aussie Ray Lawrence.
What: Written by Beatrix Christian, this is an adaptation of a Raymond Carver short story set in Australia. Stewart Kane, an Irishman living in the Australian town of Jindabyne, is on a fishing trip in isolated hill country with three other men when they discover the body of a murdered girl in the river. Rather than return to the town immediately, they continue fishing and report their gruesome find days later.
Why: Been looking forward to Lawrence’s follow up after the brilliant Lantana.
36. Black Snake Moan
When: Paramount Vantage – Showcased at this year’s Sundance, with a February 23rd release in the cards.
Who: Craig Brewer looks to have drastically improved from his Hustle & Flow intro.
What: In a small Tennessee town, two unlikely souls are about to be lured together at the sticky crossroads between rage and love. Found lying on the side of the road, beaten and nearly dead, is Rae (Christina Ricci), a 22 year old who has developed a reputation around town for having an insatiable “itch” for sex. Her rescuer is Lazarus (Jackson), an ex-blues guitarist who has grown used to life’s relentless strains of trouble and sorrow.
Why: Ricci looks great, camera trickery looks fun and reminds of 70’s exploitation films.
35. Reservation Road
When: Focus Features – November 9th.
Who: Terry George should leave a better impression than his overrated Hotel Rwanda.
What: Based on Jonathan Burnham Schwartz’s novel and adapted for the screen by him, two haunted men and their families are engulfed by the emotions surrounding an unexpected and horrendous death. Ethan, a respected professor of literature at a small New England college, is wracked by an obsession with revenge that threatens to tear his family apart. Dwight, a man at once fleeing his crime and hoping to get caught, wrestles with overwhelming guilt and his sense of obligation to his son.
Why: The kick ass cast (Jennifer Connelly, Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Ruffalo) and that cold atmospheric details.

34. Red Road
When: Tartan Films – March 9th.
Who: Dane director Andrea Arnold won an Oscar for Best Short film.
What: Jackie works as a CCTV operator for Glasgow council. Daily she watches over a small part of the world, takes seriously her duties to protect the people moving about in her monitors. Jackie steers clear of involvements with anyone, has life sorted in a way that suits her. Her life has an order, a calm, she has orchestrated it to be this way because in the past Jackie has known the greatest pain a human can know. Then one day a man appears in her monitors, a man she thought she would never see again or wants to see again. Now the opportunity presents itself, she is compelled to confront him.
Why: Picked up many kudos from international festival circuit in 06’. This is part of a rather interesting film trilogy experiment.

33. Rendition
When: New Line Cinema – Most likely a late, 4th quarter release.
Who: Gavin Hood comes off international success of Tsotsi.
What: Written by Kelley Sane, the multilayered story centers on a CIA analyst (Gyllenhaal) based in Cairo who finds his world spinning out of control after he witnesses the interrogation of a foreign national by the Egyptian secret police. Witherspoon will play the pregnant American wife of the national. Arkin will play a senator who tries to help Witherspoon in her search for her missing husband. The investigation eventually threatens the senator’s position in Washington.
Why: He won Best Foreign Oscar last year, but more importantly – this was chosen as one of the best (the blacklist) scripts of 06’.
32. The Host
When: Magnolia Pictures – After a successful 06, this gets released on March 9th.
Who: Rookie director Bong Joon-ho shall have a long and lengthy career behind the camera.
What: Gang-du (Song Kang-ho) works at a food-stand on the banks of the Han River. Dozing on the job, he is awakened by his daughter, Hyun-seo ( Ah-sung Ko), who is angry with him for missing a teacher-parent meeting at school. As Gang-du walks out to the riverbank with a delivery, he notices that a large crowd of people has gathered, taking pictures and talking about something hanging from the Han River Bridge. The otherwise idyllic landscape turns suddenly to bedlam when a terrifying creature climbs up onto the riverbank and begins to crush and eat people.
Why: A Hollywood remake is already in the works for Korean box office smash.
31. Rolling Stones documentary
When: Paramount Pictures – Perhaps a late 07 launch.
Who: Martin Scorsese finally gets satisfaction.
What: This will focus on the two concerts from the group’s current “A Bigger Bang” tour as well as historical and contemporary behind-the-scenes footage and interviews.
Why: I’m not a fan of the legendary rock band – but Scorsese sure is. He has got loads of talented cinematographers ready to film the concert.
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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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