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International Eye Candy February 26, 2010 The international film world may not have ground to a halt last week but the arrival of the massive Berlin Film Festival certainly slowed things to a crawl as everybody cast their eyes on Germany to see what the big titles would be. But less material hitting the web doesn’t mean none and it certainly doesn’t mean there’s nothing worth seeing. So while this edition of the International Eye Candy may be a little slimmer than normal that doesn’t mean it isn’t loaded with the good stuff. We’ve got Norwegian gangsters, French animation, Australian cyberpunk, an oversexed hedgehog, a pair of hysterically campy entries from Malaysia – one intentionally so and one not so much – and a little something new from Steven Seagal. So without further ado, on we go! Let’s start with the hedgehog, shall we? Poland’s JEZ JERZY has long been hugely popular on the printed page, the underground comic starting in a significantly more family-friendly form before descending into a stew of sex, drugs, and so-dumb-it’s-clever social satire. You want SOUTH PARK level vulgarity as a hedgehog tries to get drunk and laid while fighting off neo-Nazis and mad scientists? This is the one for you. The film version of JEZ JERZY has been in the works for a good while now and a pair of trailers have arrived. One is straight animated raunch, the other casting the character as a sort of live action arthouse thriller, and both are brilliant. Find the JEZ JERZY trailers here Ask anybody who tracks international film and they’ll tell you that Latin America is the next market ready to explode. The arthouse side of things has been making noise for a while and now the commercial side of things is starting to make noise as well. Uruguayan single shot horror LA CASA MUDA impressed in a previous IEC and now here comes Colombia to challenge for the Latin horror crown with JUEGA CONMIGO. They are saying very little about what this one is actually about but it appears to involve some sort of doll based fantasy world and the teaser is nicely atmospheric stuff. Find the JUEGA CONMIGO trailer here You probably don’t need another reason to buy the upcoming DVD of Spike Jonze’s WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE but I’m going to give you one anyway. Spike’s a clever lad and so when he was prepping his adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s classic kid’s book it didn’t take him long at all to realize that Sendak had a whole lot of other quality material out there as well. And so he took advantage of the situation to bring a bit more to the screen while he was at it. Spike came up with the idea of commissioning a second Sendak adaptation as a companion piece to WILD THINGS and so he approached the Oscar-nominated directors of MADAM TUTLI-PUTLI and asked if they would be interested in creating a Sendak adaptation of their own to appear on the WILD THINGS DVD. And so the film version of HIGGLETY PIGGLETY POP, OR THERE MUST BE MORE TO LIFE was born. A fusion of puppet animation, stop motion and live action, this looks to be typically brilliant stuff. A trio of clips have been released to whet the appetite. Find the HIGGLETY clips here From Canada we hop over the Atlantic to visit Ireland for the latest from director Ian Fitzgibbon. Fitzgibbon’s previous film – the sadly overlooked A FILM WITH ME IN IT – is a fantastic piece of pitch-black comedy starring Dylan Moran (BLACK BOOKS, SHAUN OF THE DEAD) and he’s got another stellar cast in his upcoming gangster comedy PERRIER’S BOUNTY. Cillian Murphy, Jim Broadbent and Brendan Gleeson star in this one about a young man trying to escape a crippling from the gangster he owes a crippling debt to accompanied by his neurotic father. How neurotic is he? He believes he’ll die the next time he falls asleep. The trailer looks like great fun. Find the PERRIER’S BOUNTY trailer here Donnie Yen as a period-set kung fu superhero? That’s the goal with THE LEGEND OF CHEN ZHEN, a supercharged spin on the character player by Jet Li in FIST OF LEGEND and Bruce Lee in THE CHINESE CONNECTION. This one is still in production but an action reel has just been released. Murky? You bet. Clumsily edited? A bit. But good lord this has a lot of potential. Check out THE LEGEND OF CHEN ZHEN here And now what’s probably the highest profile piece of animation in this very animation-centric column ... French director Sylvain Chomet burst on to the scene a little over six years ago with THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE (aka BELLEVILLE RENDEZ-VOUZ) a wildly energetic, lovingly hand drawn throwback to years gone by. There is quite simply nobody else even remotely like Chomet in the world of animation right now and TRIPLETS won him a legion of fans around the world. Since then things have been quiet in the Chomet camp, with just a couple short films, as the director worked his way through the painstaking process of creating his second feature – an animated adaptation of an unproduced script by the legendary Jacques Tati. The film is THE ILLUSIONIST, it is finally finished and premiered in Berlin. No proper trailer but a lengthy clip reel has arrived. Check THE ILLUSIONIST clips here Another Berlin premiere here, this one my personal favourite film of the festival. Stellan Skaarsgard stars as lowly gangster Ulrik in the Coen-esque A SOMEWHAT GENTLE MAN. Freshly released from prison, he’s trying to rebuild his life and reconnect with his family while also fending off the amorous advances of his very unappealing landlady, dealing with a television that suddenly insists on showing only Polish language channels, and dealing with pressure to take his revenge on the man whose testimony landed him in prison for the past twelve years. This one is drily hilarious and, thankfully, the trailer includes English subtitles so everybody can share in the joke. Meet A SOMEWHAT GENTLE MAN here More from Berlin? You got it. Director Koji Masunari made a big splash in the anime world a few years ago with his series READ OR DIE and he’s looking to build on that reputation with his new kid-oriented sci-fi feature WELCOME TO THE SPACE SHOW. The feature reunites the entire creative team behind R.O.D. and looks to play straight to the crowd hungry to fill the gap between Studio Ghibli features with a story of young children drawn into an inter-stellar adventure during their summer holiday. The trailer showcases loads of amazing environments and creatures and the word is very good indeed. And, like A SOMEWHAT GENTLE MAN, the trailer is totally English friendly. Find the WELCOME TO THE SPACE SHOW trailer here Any fans of James O’Barr – author of THE CROW – out there? This one’s for you. Based on a short comic by O’Barr, Judd Tilyard’s FRAME 137 is a full out Australian cyberpunk short built around the skills of young Sam Ransom. He may only be ten but Ransom is certainly not shy about pulling off his own stunt and martial arts work, to say nothing of breathing fire and knocking back the occasional shot. Very stylish and shot in ultra-widescreen. Find the FRAME 137 trailer here One more piece of animation before we go camp to wrap up the column ... One of the true greats of world animation it remains a mystery to me how it is that none of Masaaki Yuasa’s work has ever been available in North America. Rising to prominence with his stunning feature MIND GAME, Yuasa has since worked dominantly in television dancing through visual styles as he crafts some of the smartest, most visually dazzling work in the world. His latest is YOJOHAN SHINWA TAIKEI and while details are still scarce it looks to be another high concept bit of work dabbling with sci-fi themes and, once again, the visual style is completely different from anything Yuasa – or just about anyone else – has ever done before. Check the YOJOHAN teaser here And now things get goofy ... Got a weakness for bad movies? Because Malaysia’s Julian Cheah has an unintentional slice of hilarity for you with KILLER CLOWN. Horrible in all the right ways, this vanity project from Cheah – who appears to write, direct, and edit all of his own films as well as starring in them – is delivered with such straight-faced sincerity that I truly believe all involved thought they were actually making something good. Baffling and hysterical. Find the KILLER CLOWN trailer here Also from Malaysia and also very campy – though intentionally so this time – is superhero comedy KAPOWW!! Yes, the double ‘w’ and the two exclamation marks are part of the title. Young man struck by lightning develops superpowers - goofy costumes, silly effects and overall hilarity ensue. Find the KAPOWW trailer here How to top those two slices of Malaysian madness? With a bit of home grown insanity, of course. Ladies and gentlemen, Steven Seagal is BORN TO RAISE HELL. Get your slice of Steven here

Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 26, 2010, 9:31 p.m. CST


    by orcus

    No wait, that does not sound right

  • Feb. 26, 2010, 9:42 p.m. CST


    by Disgustin_Justin

    a message for James Camron This movie was a complete waste and I feel that it offends ALL Transformers Fans around the world, that including myself. For one, it was a COMPLETE remaking of the Autobots from the Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. It gives the giant robots a bad name and makes them look like some deformed mutation of a rabid toy. I actually started to like giant robots after seeing Sam Witwiky and all his awesomeness on the big screen at the movies. That was until I saw your crappy remake of what you call to be a "giant robot". I don't see how you live with yourself for making it the way you did. If I made this movie, I would be ashamed to even admit that I owned it. How can a giant robot be killed with a arrow*? Better yet, have you saw the transformation of the man that is "supposed" to be the avatar? He sits in some chair and his entire body turns in to some mutated freak. If you would watch the transformation of Bumblebee he doesn't come close to looking as fake, cheap and or mutated as the Avatar. You tell me, who looks to be the better giant robot. Your stupid alien Movie didn't even make the top Movie for the charts; Valentines Day WITH TAYLOR Lautner! Get that this is MY oppinion and I felt I wanted to express it because I saw that your movie was talked about on this site. I wanted to let you know this is what i thought of the giant robot that sucks. FREAKIN LABOOF DID! TEAM LABOOF- cuz hes a REAL PERSON!

  • Feb. 26, 2010, 9:51 p.m. CST

    JAMES CAMERON's not here!

    by frank cotton

    JEZ JERZY is gonna be great

  • Well why the fuck not?

  • Feb. 26, 2010, 10:25 p.m. CST

    Sorry N Shit

    by meta4

    But the new Nightmare On Elm Street trailer is out, and it looks fucking awesome...except for a couple jarring voiceovers with Haley (as Freddie), his voice always reminds me of ol' Rory. By the by....This article is fucking awesome I'm a foreign movie whore.

  • Feb. 26, 2010, 10:34 p.m. CST

    Gotta say, that's the wackiest headline I've ever seen.

    by rabidfnark

    Perrier's Bounty looks like something I could get into. I get kind of an In Bruges/Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels vibe from the poster and description. Plus its hard to go wrong with that cast.

  • Feb. 27, 2010, 12:19 a.m. CST

    Orcus, D. Vader

    by Continentalop

    Good to see a couple of CoCers here.

  • Feb. 27, 2010, 6:35 a.m. CST

    the seagal flick

    by chipps

    looked surprisingly good compared to what he has been coming up with lately. it makes me think - maybe the reincarnation of budda should have a think and start again. so soon after mr universe sean connery stopped with bond, he becomes the old man of indy and highlander. someday good actors know to switch gears. seagal could be a great 'older man, been around the block, a bit slower and fatter these days' actor. if he wasn't so vain.<p>i felt this twitch was a bit lacking in material - no fault of yours of course. a somewhat gentle man is the standout - sarsgard looks good in it.

  • Feb. 27, 2010, 10:40 a.m. CST

    Can't give up on it completely, Lop

    by D.Vader

    Though the CoC may have exiled themselves to new lands, a few brave warriors remain.

  • Feb. 27, 2010, 10:53 a.m. CST

    Yes Vader

    by Continentalop

    I noticed chipps has popped in here.

  • Feb. 27, 2010, 10:58 a.m. CST

    Spike Jonze...

    by Soundblaster

    ...proves himself not only an immensely talented director, but an excellent producer as well. The man is incredibly generous with his success and seems to truly care about assisting up and coming talent. I can't imagine 'Higglety Pigglety Pop!' being produced otherwise.

  • Feb. 27, 2010, 11:03 a.m. CST

    This article is just

    by belasco_house

    ...full of great stuff! Love it.

  • Feb. 28, 2010, 6 a.m. CST

    how could i not check out twitch?

    by chipps

    fucking awesome article. for the non exiles: i became a father on the 25th

  • Feb. 28, 2010, 8:16 a.m. CST

    Conti, gonna check out A Prophet based on your recommenation.

    by Stuntcock Mike

    Maybe today. Ben Hur is on TCM tonight though. That's four hours of magic right there.

  • Feb. 28, 2010, 9:24 a.m. CST

    Congratulations chips

    by Continentalop

    I'm glad to hear that. <p> Mike, see A Prophet when you get a chance. Damn good movie.

  • March 1, 2010, 8:34 a.m. CST

    Cheers, chipps!

    by Hawaiian Organ Donor

    Congrats on joining the ranks. Being a father is both a blessing and a curse.

  • March 1, 2010, 3:48 p.m. CST

    hey hawaiian

    by chipps

    long time no see. Hope everything is going well.

  • March 2, 2010, 11:39 a.m. CST


    by Hawaiian Organ Donor

    I wouldn't say that. Life is a steaming pile of shit right now, but you're a new dad so all is good.

  • March 2, 2010, 12:44 p.m. CST

    HOD, are you seriously that depressed?

    by Continentalop

    I'm not trying to interject, but are you really that down right now? Every comment from you is how you want to put a gun in your mouth. Slightly (ok more than slightly) worried about you.

  • March 2, 2010, 5:02 p.m. CST

    yeah man

    by chipps