Curtain raiser: What to see at this year's Philadelphia Film Festival
The Philadelphia Film Festival has it all, from "Wild" to "Listen Up Philip" to a movie where Rinko Kikuchi hunts for the money from the movie "Fargo."
There are several dozen titles spread across the Philadelphia Film Festival’s two weeks, from giant comic book movies to tiny movies that have yet to be discovered by more than adventurous programmers. Return to our site to see capsule reviews running throughout the next fortnight.
Closing night goes to “Wild,” in which director Jean-Marc Valee, having helped Matthew McConaughey to an Oscar with “Dallas Buyers Club,” may do the same to Reese Witherspoon. She plays a woman hiking some thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, and if that sounds monotonous, know it’s been written by Nick Hornby.
Elsewhere: “The Imitation Game” tells of not only the top secret quest to decode the Nazi’s Enigma machine, but of its head brainiac, Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), who wound up punished by Britain’s anti-homosexual laws. And if tony English films are on one side, the other side is represented by “Big Hero 6,” Marvel’s first big toon.
Speaking of famous actresses, Marion Cotillard finds herself in “Two Days, One Night,” the latest grim but calmly observed social drama from Belgium’s Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne (“Kid with a Bike”). She slightly dirties herself up to play a worker rushing around after finding her bosses have asked employees to vote for keeping her or their much-needed bonuses.
Elsewhere: He’s only 25, but Canada’s Xavier Dolan is basically a master, with five features under his belt, one of them (“Laurence Anyways”) a nearly three-hour opus. His latest, “Mommy,” isn’t short either, but it’s just as acclaimed, focusing on a single mother with a violent son. Turkey’s Nuri Bilge Ceylan (“Climates,” “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia”) thinks even bigger, with his latest, “Winter Sleep,” running nearly as long as “The Godfather Part II.”
Last year director Peter Strickland impressed with his euphonious (and very pretty too) “Berberian Sound Studio.” His follow-up is allegedly even more astonishing. “The Duke of Burgundy” takes the Eurotrash sex films of the 1970s but considers what happens to its kinky lovers — here, a pair of spanking women — when they’re not actively engaged in eros.
Elsewhere: Ace cinematographer Jody Lee Lipes (“Girls”) tries his hand at directing a documentary, with the predictably visually ravishing “Ballet 422,” about the Lincoln Center’s crew. “Kumiko the Treasure Hunter,” meanwhile, has one of the craziest plots in recent memory: Rinko Kikuchi plays a Japanese loner who thinks the treasure in the Coen brothers’ “Fargo” is real and sets off to North Dakota to find it. It’s awesome.
The Philadelphia Film Festival runs through Sunday, Oct. 26th. You can explore the schedule and buy tickets here.
Follow Matt Prigge on Twitter @mattprigge