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I'm Not There, Control to Film Forum

No sooner was Reeler HQ closing for the weekend than Film Forum slid its fall premieres slate under the office door. And it's a hell of a program -- no doubt putting its junior neighbors around the corner at IFC Center on notice. There will be no Melville restorations anchoring this fall's Film Forum box office. To wit:

Oct. 3: Lake of Fire, Tony Kaye's doc on the abortion battle in America, a straight-up Oscar front-runner;

Oct. 10: Control, Anton Corbijn's celebrated Cannes alum about the life and death of Joy Division front man Ian Curtis;

Nov. 21: I'm Not There, the long-long-long awaited Bob Dylan biopic directed by Todd Haynes and starring six actors as the legendary songwriter (opening on two screens);

Dec. 12: Nanking, Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman's stunning doc about the 1937 Japanese atrocities in Nanking, China -- another awards-season short-lister that devastated pretty much everyone who saw it at Sundance.

Sam Riley as Ian Curtis in Control, opening Oct. 10 at... Film Forum? (Photo: The Weinstein Company)

Starting the season Sept. 7 is the long-delayed release of John Turturro's Romance and Cigarettes, the all-star Queens musical featuring James Gandolfini, Kate Winslet, Christopher Walken, Susan Sarandon and Steve Buscemi among others. A heavy balance of docs round out the program, including the piano-building chronicle Note By Note: The Making of Steinway L1037, Marco Williams' haunting history Banished, the cemetery flick Forever and the late Marion Cajori's intimate Chuck Close, about, well, you know. Fashion and foreign-language aficionados will be happy to see Rodolphe Marconi's documentary Lagerfeld Confidential on the list, and The Violin, the black-and-white drama that Guillermo Del Toro pronounced "one of the most amazing Mexican films in many a year," premieres Dec. 5.

Literally everything on this program looks great, and there are plenty of high-profile surprises. The biggest shock (at least to me, but I'm easily excitable and have been drinking anyway) is the presence of two of The Weinstein Company's biggest fall releases opening away from IFC Center, which hardly has a monopoly on TWC titles but whose parent company, Rainbow Media, is in deep with Harvey on international sales and home video. The Sixth Avenue gang has never ceded this kind of juice -- especially with premieres -- to its Houston Street competitor. (And if you didn't think they were competitors before, you'd better believe they are now.) The Angelika, sure. Sunshine, maybe. But Film Forum? What a coup, especially with I'm Not There; IFC is currently commemorating Haynes' editor Jim Lyons in a midnight-movie series and has a long-standing Dylan fetish (resuming Aug. 1, if you're interested).

Honestly, I'd almost rather see Control at IFC Center, just for the sound. Anyway, I needed a little cutthroat exhibition drama on my Friday night; these Weinstein exclusives I picked up at Blockbuster are kind of awful.

Posted at July 27, 2007 8:37 PM

Comments (3)

"Romance & Cigarettes" is hardly anything worth getting excited about. Its very uneven and I found it kind of disconcerting that something so in love with its eminently flawed and cartoon-like characters (played very enthusiastically by an all-star cast; unfortunately, talent only goes so far without a consistently well-conceived set-up).

I wouldn't say it's terrible but I wouldn't say it's that good either. Middle of the road will seem kind of lenient but considering how bipolar it feels, it's a puzzling mess with some erratically well done scenes of insane blue collar operatics.

As much as I love the marriage of the FF and "I'm Not There," I must say I'm a little saddened that the movie isn't getting more mainstream distribution. I had a fantasy that the movie would sneakily subvert its way into the mainstream of America culture (i.e., Empire 25, Magic Johnson Theaters, etc.), but, alas, that's not to be!

I'm really excited to see this movie. Haynes is interesting and there is a great concept using talented actors. I love Dylan so I'm either going to love or hate this film.

However, I think I'm just as curious to hear the soundtrack. Eddie Vedder, Sonic Youth, Sufjan Stevens , Yo La Tengo, Jeff Tweedy, and John Doe are all doing Dylan covers! That's insane. I'm really curious to hear it come the 30th of October. Has anyone heard the soundtrack?

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