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« A Spoonful of Linkage Helps the Blogging Go Down | Main | Sundance: 'Lilting' and 'Happy Christmas' »
Thursday
Jan302014

We Can't Wait #4: Under the Skin

Hey y'all. Now that I'm back from Sundance I can join in the "We Can't Wait" fun as we near the top of the Team Experience list. The team has been highlighting our top 14 (collectively) most anticipated films of the new cinematic year. We've already covered 13+ great movies and it falls on me to write up our fourth highest ranker.

Under the Skin
In which Scarlett Johansson plays an alien searching for man meat or skin or something. The men she seduces are never heard from again.

Talent
The entire reason this is on the list is surely The Film Experience's collective devotion to 2004's Birth, the misunderstood masterpiece by Jonathan Glazer. I don't have a pass/fail checklist of requirements for my team members here at TFE but if I did "Do you like Birth?" would be on the questionnaire. For reasons that are too too horrible to contemplate Glazer hasn't made a film since which makes Under the Skin something of a unicorn. Does it really exist? It must since we've seen stills of its delectable leading lady Scarlett Johansson all over the place and some lucky souls saw it at TIFF in the fall. I purposely avoided reviews hence this very vague write-up. I want to be surprised and transported. 

Why We Can’t Wait
Here's where I just repeat the intro points again: Glazer of Birth. Rare like a unicorn. Scarlett Johansson as extraterrestrial succubus.

But We Do Have To Wait
But only about 63 more days since A24, that godsend of a specialty distributor, is bringing it to us on April 4th.

 

Previously on "We Can't Wait"
05 Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson adapts Pynchon)
06 Into the Woods (Rob Marshall adapts Sondheim)
07 Snowpiercer (Boon JongHo does sci-fi)
08 Nymphomaniac (Lars von Trier Gone Wild)
09 Boyhood (Linklater's long-gestating family drama)
10 Big Eyes (Tim Burton back to the bio) 
11 The Last 5 Years (the Off Broadway classic goes cinematic)
12 Gone Girl (David Fincher thrills)
13 Can a Song Save Your Life (Keira Croons)
14 Veronica Mars (TV Sequel... hey, what's this doing her?)
runners up  just missed the cut

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Reader Comments (14)

Saw this in Toronto last year and came away pretty disappointed. First half is wonderful but in the second half it basically became exactly the movie I feared it would.

January 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

Roark: So, basically, a movie that's hazy and obtuse with heavy undertones of a sex negative viewpoint?

January 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Volvagia - that's a bingo.

January 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

YAAAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSS.

is my only reaction.

January 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMark The First

The trailers have been fantastic. And I love Scar-jo. I definitely want to see it.

January 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

Roark: And that's why I'm more interested in Lucy.

January 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Wasnt this already made under the titles "SPECIES" and spawned like 2 direct-to-dvd sequels? lol

January 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDave

Saw this at the BFI LFF and loved it. The score is killer...

January 30, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercatbaskets

This is one of the absolute best films I saw in 2013. Can't wait for the public release.

January 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

I loved this. Disturbed, moved, and creeped out. The Mica Levi is one of my favorite scores in quite a while.

Sex negative? We clearly see ScarJo's character make a change from a detached alien, in the prism of an outsider, to somebody who wants those human desires. There's a moment that I would say marks the transition point and if you feared the movie is exactly 'what you feared', then I wonder if that specific scene did not work for you, Roark. Because it deeply moved me and I am not exactly sure the premise could have continued in that sort of repetition without that scene and change. It's Roeg meets Ramsay.

January 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

CMG: I'm not saying I'd agree with that diagnosis (I might, I might not when I eventually see the thing), but you have to concede that's always the potential hazard of a movie like this. I'll give it (and Birth, for that matter) a shot, but, for a burst of ScarJo, Luc Besson's Lucy (which I mentioned) is probably my higher priority.
As for the list: (sigh) Shame about Guardians of the Galaxy almost certainly not being on here. Hope I'm wrong, but commercial risk IS something to admire and look forward to.

January 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Oh, this is an art movie albeit I actually found the story pretty straight forward. There were reported festival walkouts for a reason and I know exactly which scenes were the causes.

I also need to state there are some moments that are funny and definitely play for that.

I'm incredibly defensive about this film. It was my favorite at TIFF and it still stands as the best sci-fi movie ScarJo was in this year, and I've seen Her.

January 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

CMG - If we're thinking of the same scene, I didn't have a problem with that at all, though I wasn't moved by it either. I wasn't looking for the movie to keep repeating the same beats over and over, but the alien-ness of the first half or so was much more interesting and persuasive to me dramatically than the humanizing of the second half, and especially where it took ScarJo by the end. The ending was ugly, which would be fine if it didn't also strike me at the time as being the most obvious, easy ending possible. It just felt like all the air gradually drained out of the balloon.

And I wouldn't say it's overtly sex negative (my response to Volvagia above was too glib) but I certainly think it's open to that interpretation.

January 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

It's a great movie. The skin tone of the actress is much good.

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