Last week in Part 1 we noted, in between all the blockbusters, 2019 has some really weird movies heading our way. Maybe you want big-name actors playing against type. Maybe you want a hyper-sexual and hyper-violent musical horror movie about a rave. Maybe you want basically every famous person making a movie together in secret. Whatever you’re here for, 2019 has you covered.
A visionary director has made a techno-dance horror movie that won awards at Cannes
Gaspar Noé is not a guy who shies away from violence, drugs, or nudity. His film Enter the Void is about using psychedelics and features what can only be described as laser sex in its final scenes. His Irréversible is a non-linear exploration of the trauma that occurs after one of the most violent and graphic rape scenes ever put on film. This is not light filmmaking.
So when word got around that he was working on a musical, that was a little odd. Noé doesn’t usually play in the fluff genres. When the film premiered last year at the Cannes Film Festival, however, it became clear that this movie is far, far from fluff. Check this out (warning it’s Rated R for a reason):
Okay, so graphic violence, simulated sex, beautiful people terrified and bleeding, and boy-oh-boy does something seem wrong with that punch. On second thought this appears to totally be in Gaspar Noé’s territory. Three things we know for sure: it has received near-universal critical acclaim. It won the prestigious Art Cinema Award at Cannes and was given an R rating by the MPAA for “disturbing content involving a combination of drug use, violent behavior, and strong sexuality, and for language and some graphic nudity”. It just happens to be a techno dance musical. Sounds intriguing. It hits theaters in the US on March 1st.
Robert Pattinson and Juliette Binoche star in a high-concept, sex-filled, sci-fi tear-jerker
If you haven’t been paying close attention you might wonder what happened to the male lead from Twilight. The short answer is that he starting doing art-house movies directed by guys with last names like Cronenberg and Herzog. Robert Pattinson’s career has moved from “teen heartthrob” to “celebrated actor in movies with much less immediate popular appeal”. He’s now working with some of the greatest living actors and directors, and Claire Denis’ High Life is his second pairing with Juliette Binoche.
Here’s a taste of the weird this movie brings: aside from the now-infamous “Fuckbox” featured in the film, which seems totally plausible since the film is centered around sexual experimentation, reproduction, and parenthood, Pattinson’s role was originally written for Phillip Seymour Hoffman. That’s quite a shift in casting. It’s a science fiction film that is focused on the nature of fatherhood. The concept is that Pattinson is a criminal who learns he has a daughter via artificial insemination, but also he’s in space. Finally, the person billed after Pattinson and Binoche is… Andre Benjamin, aka Andre 3000. Sure, musicians make capable actors, and Andre 3000 has some other credits to his name, but not in art-house space movies.
Like Climax, High Life has played on the festival circuit, and also like Climax it too has received widespread acclaim. It opens in the US April 12th.
The guy who divided the Star Wars community is going back to his ‘whodunnit’ roots
The only thing that can get a Star Wars fan more riled up than midichlorians is the mention of Rian Johnson. Depending on who you talk to, his Last Jedi either destroyed the Star Wars franchise or saved it. But before he became a central flash-point in geek debate, he made a couple of excellent mystery thrillers. Looper was a cool sci-fi thriller and Brick is a sterling example of creative neo-noir.
His upcoming movie Knives Out is a return to those roots. The stunning cast he put together includes Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Lakeith Stanfield, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Christopher Plummer, Don Johnson, and Michael Shannon. Johnson sent out this tweet back in October:
That’s it. That’s all we know. Cast, genre, title. One of the biggest directors in the world right now assembled some of the most famous and in-demand actors alive for a secret project. Your movie JJ Abrams. We’ll have to wait for the end of November to know more.
Nic Cage is adapting HP Lovecraft with a very unlikely director
If the name Richard Stanley doesn’t immediately ring any bells, there’s good reason for that. He hasn’t directed a major feature film in well over 20 years. The reason why he hasn’t directed a major feature film is the interesting part. To make a long story short, he was fired from his gig directing the notorious Val Kilmer/Marlon Brando flop The Island of Doctor Moreau and he went nuts. Like, “escape into the jungle and live as a hermit while occasionally sneaking back on to set dressed as an animal-person” kind of nuts. Making that movie was so top-to-bottom crazy that there’s a documentary called Lost Soul chronicling all of the insanity. Once he returned to civilization he more or less gave up filmmaking.
So, of course, his first significant directorial effort in ages has Nicolas Cage in the lead. Nicolas Cage is not an actor who is prone to playing sane characters in sane movies. Last year’s Mandy was pure grindhouse psychedelic madness—and also great—which makes it a tough act to follow. HP Lovecraft’s work certainly provides the material, seeing as how almost all that the author writes about is how cosmic horrors eventually drive his characters insane.
It’s in production now with a goal of releasing by the end of 2019. There have been mutterings that HP Lovecraft doesn’t translate well to film. If anyone can do his craziness justice, though, it’s gonna be those two.
That sums it up for this two-part series on all the craziness that’s coming to cinemas this year. Strap in and check back in, as I’m sure we’ll keep you updated on the weirdness soon coming.