Under The Skin

Yeah, we know, it's a bit ridiculous. Day one has just closed on the Venice Film Festival, Telluride kicks off in a couple days and by this time next week, the first 24 hours in TIFF will be nearing an end. It's that time of year, a bonanza of movie related goodness, and aren't you just glad it's not TV Spot #9 for some blockbuster movie you already forgot about? Long story short, there's a whole bunch of stuff headed to Colorado and with it some new images to go with it.

By now, you've probably heard us talk to death about some of these — "Under The Skin" and "Nebraska" in particular — so we'll just let the new longform synopses speak for those. As for some of the others, Agnieszka Holland's HBO miniseries "Burning Bush" and David Mackenzie's "Starred Up" -- starring Ben Mendelsohn, Rupert Friend ("Homeland") and rising star Jack O'Connell (he'll be in Angelina Jolie's next movie) -- hopefully the images and descriptions will shed a bit more light on them, until we get a chance to screen them ourselves. So, on this page the latest from Jonathan Glazer and Alexander Payne and on the next, the two newbies.

"Under The Skin": In search of loners, Laura (Scarlett Johansson) drives around the exquisitely moody landscapes of the Scottish highlands. She’s an alien,sent from afar and equipped with enough human language and awesome seductive power to capture, destroy and presumably send home human males. And then, her curiosity about her human body and an accidental act of pity disrupt her mission: talk about lost in translation! Jonathan Glazer, known for his brilliant music videos and SEXY BEAST, and cowriter Walter Campbell adapt Michael Faber’s acclaimed novel to create a surprisingly layered tale. UNDER THE SKIN begins like an effectively creepy sci-fi horror film, but soon deepens into a lyrical evocation of solitude and estrangement and a mournful lament for ephemeral earthly beauty.The photography by Daniel Landin is richly atmospheric, and Mica Levi’s musical themes provide an ominous depth. –LG (U.K., 2013, 107m)

"Nebraska": Woody (Bruce Dern, winner of Cannes best actor prize for a nearly wordless performance)is a broke, bitter,recovering alcoholic who barely speaks to his shrewish wife (scene-stealer June Squibb) or grown sons. After falling under the delusion that he’s won a mail-order sweepstakes, he embarks on a cross-country journey, his youngest son David (Will Forte) playing Sancho to his Don Quixote, and making discoveries about his father he never could expect. Telluride favorite Alexander Payne (THE DESCENDANTS,TFF 2001) explores cruelty, frustration and greed in this Middle American landscape, tempering it with thorough and obvious love. Phedon Papamichael’s bleakly beautiful black-and-white vistas and a superb cast of supporting performers(Stacy Keach, Bob Odenkirk and beautifully picked-and-managed nonprofessionals) make NEBRASKA Payne’s toughest,most tender and complex work yet.Think Ozu on the modern American prairie. –LG (U.S., 2013, 110m)

Under The Skin (skip)
Nebraska, (skip)