Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Weiner Dog Bought By Amazon

According to Variety, Amazon has just bought Weiner Dog. This makes sense, since the new head of Amazon Pictures is Ted Hope, who produced past Solondz features Dark Horse, Storytelling and Happiness. Apparently, to secure the film, Amazon has "committed to a significant theatrical release." This would then, or perhaps simultaneously, lead to the film streaming on amazon.com. There's no mention of any physical media, but hopefully somebody in that mix will remember DVD and blu-ray.

This isn't Amazon's only deal coming out of the recent Sundance Film Festival. They'll also be picking up distribution of Whit Stillman's Love and Friendship, his long awaited adaptation of Jane Austen's epistolary novel, starring Chloe Sevigny, Kate Beckinsale and Stephen Fry. So they've got two of my most anticipated films of 2016 on their roster - pretty impressive!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Weiner Dog Is Loose!

Todd Solondz's new film, Weiner Dog, just had its debut screening at Sundance Film Festival. Reviews are flooding in, which pretty much answer all our Weiner Dog questions about what to expect.

Apparently it's essentially an anthology in four parts, connected by a literal weiner dog that appears in all four stories. Yes, one of the four (the second) is a sort of sequel to Welcome To the Dollhouse, with Greta Gerwig as an older Dawn Weiner, who goes on a road trip with Brendan Sexton III's character, now played by Kieran Culkin. The first segment stars Julie Delpy as a mother of a cancer survivor who buys her son the dog. The third stars Danny Devito as a screenwriter forced to make a living teaching filmwriting to students. And finally, the dog winds up with Ellyn Burstyn as a woman who gets an unwelcome visit from her granddaughter.

I've just read ten reviews in a row (Variety, Vulture, Indiewire, The Guardian, Crave, Film Stage, Screen Daily, The Wrap, Gulf News and Madison) and they've all sort of run together in my mind, but they were all positive, ranging from high to mixed praise. and they all seem to agree that tonally, it's in keeping with Solondz's past work, which is always nice to hear as fans.

Now, let's just hope it's not a whole year before it breaks out of the festival circuit and us industry outsiders get to see it.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

New Solondz Film: Weiner Dog!

In addition to and apart from his segment of St Petersburg: A Category of Feelings, which has yet to be released, The Hollywood Reporter has just learned of a new Solondz feature in the works. It sounds like a real return home for Solondz... Firstly, Dawn Weiner, lead character in the Solondz classic Welcome To the Dollhouse, is set return in this film, entitled Weiner-Dog. THR describes the film, "an ensemble indie that is tied together thematically by a dachshund. But one of the stories also will center on Dawn Wiener, the character mercilessly teased as 'Weiner Dog' in the 1995 cult hit... The script tells several stories featuring people who find their life inspired or changed by one particular dachshund, who seems to be spreading comfort and joy."

Solondz fans will remember that he asked Heather Matarazzo, the actress who originally played Dawn Weiner, to reprise her role for Palindromes. As he describes in this About:Entertainement interview, "I begged Heather Matarazzo to revise this role, but she refused me. She did not want to ever play this character again." And because of that, the film opened at her character's funeral. So, I suppose this will be a prequel to Palindromes? Or perhaps it's better not to get hung up on the continuity. At any rate, it appears the role won't be played by Matarazzo this time around, which is still a shame. But it appears Greta Gerwig will be playing the part now, who you may know for starring in recent films by Woody Allen, Whit Stillman, Noah Baumbach and even her own Nights and Weekends.

At any rate, this film is also a return for Solondz in that it will be produced by Christine Vachon and her company, Killer Films. He hasn't worked with Killer since Happiness, so it looks like a lot of elements are circling back around for this new film.

Julie Delpy has also been reported to appear in the picture. But it should be noted that both her and Gerwig are still described only as being "in talks to star in the movie." So fingers crossed; but my hopes are certainly high.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Todd Solondz Next Film Will Be... Russian?

The Hollywood Reporter has just announced a new, Russian anthology film about St. Petersburg called St Petersburg: A Category of Feelings. Overseen by Fyodor Bondarchuk (son of Sergey Bondarchuk, and an established director in his own right), it will consist of ten short films, each by a different director. And yes, one of those directors will be Todd Solondz. The sub-films will be titled Pleasure, Effort, Trust, Envy, Repose, Shrewdness, Bravery, Uncertainty, Refuge and Glee... the first letter of each word spelling out "PETERSBURG," get it? There's no word on which of those will be Todd's entry, but maybe it's more fun to guess for now anyway.  Uncertainty perhaps?

Also fun to note is that another of the ten will be directed by French filmmaker Cedric Klapisch, which will make it a bit of an In Transit reunion for Solondz. According to the article, the film is already funded and they expect to have substantial international distribution. So it looks like a safe bet that we'll be able to look forward to this one.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Future Reloaded, New Solondz Short Film

This year the Venice International Film Festival commissioned 70 filmmakers who've had success at the fest to create original short films, between one and three minutes long. There are some compelling names on that list, including Catherine Breillat, Bernardo Bertolucci, Atom Egoyan, Isabel Coixet, Claire Denis and yes, Todd Solondz. The festival describes the series of films, collectively titled Future Reloaded, as, "both a collective tribute to the Festival (the world’s first film festival to celebrate its 70th edition) and a reflection on the future of cinema." The films have already been completed and at least most of them seem to be available onlime.

Solondz has both written and directed his film, which is produced by Laura Terruso and executive produced by Solondz regular Mike S. Ryan. It's a strange little film (which doesn't seem to have its own, individual title) reading excerpts from course catalog of a Chinese film school existing a thousand years in the future. Here, see it for yourself:


Interestingly, the IMDB has an entry for a two hour documentary called Venice 70: Future Reloaded, which lists all 70 of the filmmakers as co-directors. I don't know if this is an upcoming documentary about the short films, or very possibly just a lazy way to list all 70 short films as one easy entry to the database. I'm hoping it means that the festival intends to package all 70 films as a single DVD; but we'll see. At any rate, we've got an unexpected new short film by Solondz on our hands - enjoy!