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Film festivals allow you to get way ahead on your movie viewing. At Sundance, Cannes, Telluride and Toronto you can see movies that will be released throughout the coming year and into the next. That's what Roger Ebert does every year, and here are some of the movies he's already written about for the next few months, into November....
CANNES, France – There are entries that have been liked and even loved, but the 2006 Cannes Film Festival reaches its halfway mark looking like a fairly lackluster year. Only Pedro Almodovar’s “Volver,” a high-spirited memory inspired by his childhood in La Mancha, has been embraced by critics and audiences. “Volver” means “to return,” and resembles in its exuberant nostalgia Fellini’s “Amarcord” (“I Remember”).
Q: "Taxi Driver" scribe Paul Schrader's long-shelved version of "Exorcist: The Beginning" is finally seeing the light of day at the International Festival of Fantastic Film in Brussels. Given the lukewarm reception toward Renny Harlin's version, is there any chance of success for Schrader's more restrained, theologically terrifying film here in the States? Chris Lettera, Youngstown, Ohio
Q. Considering the mixed reaction Elia Kazan got for his Lifetime Achievement Award--due to his artistic brilliance but lousy moral judgment--do you think Leni Riefenstahl will be acknowledged during the "in memory of" presentation at the next Academy Awards? If so, do you predict applause or protest? (Alexander Higle, Stamford CT)
Q. I just read your review of "The Contender" with Jeff Bridges and Joan Allen. My wife and I had to laugh when we saw the trailer, because we just KNEW Gary Oldman's character was going to be an evil, mean and nasty Republican. As it turns out, we were right! "Random Hearts" is the only film I can recall where a Republican politician was treated as a sympathetic character in a Hollywood film. Can you think of any others? (Marc Giller, Tampa, FL)
Q. In the trailer for "Highlander: Endgame," the villain is cut in two, is called a sorcerer, suspends a sword in mid air, and views people on a magic floating crystal ball. The heroes are seen jumping through a "Poltergeist"-style swirling vortex. None of these scenes are in the movie. The villain isn't a sorcerer, just a guy good at cutting off heads and hissing like the Emperor in "Star Wars." I've since found out from the "Highlander" internet newsgroup that the scenes I mentioned were shot just for the "Highlander: Endgame" trailer and were never going to be in the movie. Not even scenes that were later cut but scenes that were never going to be used. How different can a trailer be from the film before it is just lying? (Ian Boothby, Vancouver)