It's the End of the World As We Know It, and She Feels Fine: Kirsten Dunst Embraces Misery in 'Melancholia'
Kirsten Dunst needs a jolt. It’s 10 a.m. on the first Sunday of this year’s Toronto Film Festival, where Lars von Trier’s apocalyptic new drama Melancholia is making its North American debut. And though she arrives not a second late – punctuality is a point of pride with the Point Pleasant, New Jersey, native – the jetlag is beginning to show.
“Look at me, this is totally pathetic,” she says with a bemused grin. “Coca-Cola in one hand, a coffee in the other. Coca-Cola is absolutely terrible for you, but I drink it anyway. It’s one way to start the morning.”
By now, it doesn’t take a well-honed Spidey sense to recall that, almost exactly a year ago, Tobey Maguire (35), Kirsten Dunst (28) and director Sam Raimi (age unimportant) parted ways with Sony Pictures and Marvel over the studio's decision to send superhero alter ego Peter Parker back to high school, essentially changing horses midstream and rebooting a billion-dollar franchise still seemingly at the peak of its powers.
Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson & the Olympians series may not have risen to the heights of world-conquering success that J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books did, but to young, adventure-loving readers and fans of Greek mythology, the San Antonio-born author’s page-turners are indispensable. That they would eventually land on the big screen seemed a no-brainer.
With Christmas, Kwanzaa and Festivus just a week away, the holiday season is in full swing, the malls are packed with last-minute shoppers, and the city's indie theaters are playing host to some of the year's most satisfying films.
With the Dec. 31 deadline for 2009 Academy Award consideration fast approaching and at least one surefire Best Picture contender – Jason Reitman's Up in the Air – arriving at theaters this weekend, it's a perfect time to catch a movie. As always, here's a list of the finest films now playing at your local indie theaters.
Based on Danish director Susanne Bier’s 2004 drama, Jim Sheridan’s sure-handed remake is not about a torrid love triangle, as the film’s ad campaign provocatively suggests. It is about Sam, a dedicated husband, father and Marine whose experiences as a Taliban prisoner in Afghanistan leave him bitterly withdrawn from his family and tortured by guilt.
Sam (Tobey Maguire) is his father’s golden child, a onetime football star who married his high-school sweetheart (Natalie Portman) and went on to serve his country. He prepares for a fourth tour in Afghanistan without complaint, not because he misses the heady rush of combat but because he takes pride in his work.
No, it’s not quite the return of John Carpenter that longtime fans have been anxiously awaiting since the 61-year-old director’s last film, 2001’s underrated Ghosts of Mars. But that’s no reason to scoff at the news that Ronald Moore, the creative force behind the Sci-Fi Channel’s much-heralded Battlestar Galactica relaunch, is planning a prequel to Carpenter’s 1982 classic The Thing.