By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist September 6, 2011 at 5:22AM
Can't make it to any of the festivals? Or didn't get the selections you wanted while shopping for your TIFF tickets? Well, hopefully these pics will tide you over. The Venice Film Festival has a plethora of new looks at some films that will be making waves this fall.
First up is an old/new pic from Whit Stillman's "Damsels In Distress." The image first appeared earlier in the year but was pulled for reasons too boring to go into here. Now it's back. Set to close the Venice Film Festival and then hit TIFF this weekend, Stillman's long awaited return to filmmaking is certainly promising. The film stars Greta Gerwig, Analeigh Tipton and Adam Brody in the college-set tale about a trio of girls who seek to help depressed students through their own program of musical dance numbers and good hygiene, and, no, we don’t know what that means either. The first clips from the movie certainly live up to its outlandish premise and suggest something whimsical and arch in nature, so we're pretty pumped. Sony Pictures Classics will release the movie, though no date has been set and we presume it will be depend on what reactions from Venice and TIFF will be like.
Our expectations recently cooled on Todd Solodnz's latest, "Dark Horse." The film, which the director promised to be lighter and less controversial than his previous efforts, was compared to a Kevin James movie by our man in Venice. The story centers on a grown man-child Abe (Broadway veteran Jordan Gelber, pictured above) who navigates a relationship with a manic pixie dream girl played by Selma Blair. Mixing fantasy sequences into the narrative fold, the end product is ultimately a muddy mess. Our reviewer called it "a film to be admired rather than to be liked, and a long, long way from the director’s best work."
Yes, we know, Jessica Chastain. The woman is everywhere this year, but if you want to see where it all began, look no further than Al Pacino's meta-documentary "Wild Salome." Like "Looking For Richard," the film is a (less successful) attempt to delve into Pacino's creative process as he decides to mount a production of Oscar Wilde's play and digs deep into his research. The production, which cast Chastain in the lead role opposite Shouty McGodfather, is largely regarded as the breakout turn which launched her career. So if anything, the film will be worth watching for Chastain, though as our Venice correspondent noted, distribution might be difficult as the film "is unlikely to attract even much of an arthouse crowd."
And speaking of distribution woes, Abel Ferrara hasn't really had a properly released movie in what seems like a dog's age. Well, he hits Venice with his latest, the apocalyptic "4:44 Last Day On Earth" and with the press screenings suddenly being reduced from two tomorrow to a single one tonight at 11 PM -- make of that what you will. Starring Willem Dafoe and Natasha Lyonne, Ferrara has thrown his hat into the end-of-the-world trend, with his tale centering on a couple spending their last afternoon together in an apartment with the end of everything set to happen the next day at -- you guessed it -- 4:44. After Venice, the film will hit Deauville and NYFF.
Finally, these images are from Madonna's poorly received, but apparently beautifully set- and costume-designed "W.E." Starring Abbie Cornish, Andrea Riseborough, James D’Arcy and Oscar Issac, the film tells parallel stories of the love affair between King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson, which led to the royal’s abdication, and the 1998-set story of a woman, Wally Winthrop, who grapples with romantic problems of her own and an obsession with the life of the Duchess of Windsor. The film, once tipped as a possible awards horse, is now a lemon sitting on the The Weinstein Company's fall slate. Madge may need sympathy right about now, but for God's sake, don't give her any hydrangeas.