It’s that time of year again: the season of the holiday gift guide. And in keeping with tradition, if you’re looking for a present for that special cultural icon of yours (or just someone who reminds you of a certain famous face), Flavorwire has you covered. Here are our gift recommendations for some of the year’s biggest names in culture, whether they be naughty, nice, or lurking somewhere in …Read More
Any other bride would panic if the stretch limo carrying her to her wedding got stuck en route, too long to make a tight turn on a narrow country road. Not Justine, though. Her face lights up with perverse glee. She laughs. And we have our first sign that the heroine of Lars von Trier’s Melancholia does not respond to the world around her in precisely the way she’s supposed to.
Running at nearly four hours in this, its two-part, “audience friendly” version (there’s a five-and-half-hour uncut version out there as well), Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac is less a disciplined, focused motion picture than an all-you-can-eat buffet where the director overloads his plate, and encourages his audience to do the same. It’s a wandering, freeform exploration of the themes, subjects, and ideas of particular interest to the filmmaker — and sex is among them, certainly, but it doesn’t seem to be his primary focus, or destination.
Stellan Skarsgård may be best known as a European actor bringing elegance and menace to big-budget American films — he’s part of The Avengers world, important to Thor and its recent sequel, he was in David Fincher’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and he’s been a reliable villain-type-with-layers ever since he was in Good Will Hunting. But Skarsgård’s American career is just the tip of the iceberg. The biggest actor in Sweden, Skarsgård is such an important cultural export that there’s a picture of him at the Stockholm airport next to Sweden’s other touchstones (Abba, Bjorn Borg, Ingmar Bergman, Stieg Larsson, Pippi Longstocking). Perhaps Skarsgård’s most interesting long term-collaboration has come from his work with Danish auteur Lars von Trier: from Breaking the Waves to Melancholia, Skarsgård has been there as an often-bruised and impotent male character, bouncing off the dramatic femmes that populate Von Trier’s world.
At risk of getting all post-Oscar hyperbolic, I have a bit of good news: this is one of the best months for independent movies in a long, long time. Of the 11 films I had the chance to check out in preparation for this month’s indie guide, every single one is at least worth your time, and several are a good deal better than that; they offer a wide range of experiences, from familial comedy to baroque suspense to penetrating documentary to, well, Wes Anderson. (He’s kind of his own experience.) Our many, many recommendations for March movie-going are after the jump.