30 May 2009

Echo: The Times on Up

Manohla Dargis of the NY Times, I've just read, echoes my sentiments (unbeknownst to her, I'm sure) about Up and about Pixar and has in doing so reminded me of a few things that I wanted to say in my original review but forgetfully omitted.

First, I wanted to say how disappointing it was to me that a significant number of the plot-points in Up were clearly taken from the plots of other films - plots of which, it seemed to me, Pixar was shadily hoping its audience wouldn't be cognizant: plots of such well-known films as The Wizard of Oz (1939), as exemplified in Up by Russell's flying on the leaf-blower, by the castellar chase by the minion-guards, and of course by the lone house caught in the storm; Howl's Moving Castle (2004), as exemplified by the aged anti-hero, fighting on a long journey to recover his youthful spirit; and La Maison en Petits Cubes (2008; which I did mention in the previous review), as exemplified by the whole wordless initial sequence. As there is no way that the filmmakers of Up could have been ignorant of these films, these kinds of uncredited, inexplicit, yet unambiguous "borrowings" are a little too on-the-crafty-side for me and, as such, for their unoriginal, borderline-plagiaristic inclusions, force me to reconsider my respect for the innovation and integrity that supposedly define the studio.

Second, I wanted to make a point of mentioning the extremely odd choice that it was to let the ultimate demise of Charles Muntz go by without even a moment's regret, remorse, or mourning on the part of Carl Frederickson. Indeed, Muntz was the (rather makeshift) antagonist and Frederickson, the rather misanthropic protagonist; but, if the audience were truly to be made to believe that Frederickson had been successfully appealed to by the emotions of his experience, appealed to be right open to the plights of others (e. g., Kevin), however unlikely to him they may be; then why why why would Mr. Frederickson not even flinch at his effective murder of Muntz, another human being, who furthermore was his childhood hero??? I mean, what?! I was astounded. The film was effectively saying that people, whatever the may have once meant to us, because they have motivations opposite to our own, deserve whatever punishment, however fatal, circumstance may happen to wreak upon them. That such a grave and malignant pronouncement can live and find voice within a Disney-Pixar film is not only outrageous but also thoroughly incoherent in the context of their canon, in which virtue always must rule the day. (Note that, as such, this feat and fall is not that of any traditional villain, any trace of whose virtue is categorically and imperatively erased, lest there be the need to remorse his or her demise afterwards; for, after all, it would hardly be considered heroic to annihilate a character with even the slightest shred of humane decency. That fact is why, of course, the demise of all other villains in the canon, from the Wicked Queen to Jafar and beyond, has not been problematic. Muntz' demise, however, is problematic, precisely because he does retain the "human touch," a quality most notably given to him early on in the film as his being an honorable man of science, admirable and admired by the most innocent youth of the world, out only to defy the sullying of his reputation, and noble to a T. Though he may become angry when provoked, it is never made unambiguously clear later on, as it would have needed to be, that his years out in the wilderness or his separation from the eyes of the media have stripped him of whatever humanity he may have once at least appeared to have; still initially hospitable to his guests [if a bit dazed by his extreme isolation], still beaming with the genuine ambition for learning and science, and - most importantly - still kindly to animals, unless otherwise provoked, Muntz' character is a bit suspect of holding on to that problematizing goodness and so completely breaks what otherwise should have been a routine triumph for the protagonists. Whether or not this complication of character arose out of the [misguided] desire to flesh out the archetypes of the action/adventure and animated canons, beyond their traditional 2-D walls, the fact remains that so complicating him cracked with the fundament of the play. Tsk tsk, writers.)

Third, I came close to saying so in my piece, but Manohla did the justice of making explicit this accurate critique:
Though the initial images of flight are wonderfully rendered — the house shudders and creaks and splinters and groans as it’s ripped from its foundation by the balloons — the movie remains bound by convention, despite even its modest 3-D depth. This has become the Pixar way. Passages of glorious imagination are invariably matched by stock characters and banal story choices, as each new movie becomes another manifestation of the movie-industry divide between art and the bottom line.

In “Up” that divide is evident between the early scenes, which tell Carl’s story with extraordinary tenderness and brilliant narrative economy, and the later scenes of him as a geriatric action hero. The movie opens with the young Carl enthusing over black-and-white newsreel images of his hero, a world-famous aviator and explorer, Charles Muntz (Christopher Plummer). Shortly thereafter, Carl meets Ellie, a plucky, would-be adventurer who, a few edits later, becomes his beloved wife, an adult relationship that the director Pete Docter brilliantly compresses into some four wordless minutes during which the couple dream together, face crushing disappointment and grow happily old side by side. Like the opener of “Wall-E” and the critic’s Proustian reminiscence of childhood in “Ratatouille,” this is filmmaking at its purest.
In time Carl and Russell, an irritant whose Botero proportions recall those of the human dirigibles in “Wall-E,” float to South America where they, the house and the movie come down to earth. Though Mr. Docter’s visual imagination shows no signs of strain here — the image of Carl stubbornly pulling his house, now tethered to his torso, could have come out of the illustrated Freud — the story grows progressively more formulaic. And cuter. (Dargis, 2009)
If you can, I urge you to keep reading Manohla's review, for a more complete analysis of the ways in which the above is true for Up and its creators - including yet another example of how they "borrowed" from filmic history. All I have left to add here is that the reason why I didn't touch the 3-D aspect of the film, as you may have expected I would, was that I found nothing worth saying about it: It was technically well rendered and, since it was practically globally used, there was no room for making a critical distinction regarding its potentially intentional artistic usage (i. e., in contrast with traditional 2-D imagery); it was, in short, unextraordinary and in its form the norm. That's all. Good watching!

Reviews: Pixar's Partly Cloudy and Up

Considering the atmospheric conditions upon which both of this year's offerings by Pixar rely, one may expect me to fill these reviews with meteorological metaphors and quips, designed to bring a thematic cohesion to the works and their reflection here and ultimately to make for more bubbly reading. However, one would be wrong: I was not so carried away by the winds of those features last night, to let my conscious rationality be clouded by a few flights of fancy; everything you will read here will be clear, straightforward, and with absolutely no chance of rain - alright, that last one was a bit of stretch, but at least, let's say, I got them all out of my system. Now, onto the reviews:

Partly Cloudy, Genre: Short Film (Animated) / Fable
This year's short film is a fabular short, constructed to tell the story of a misunderstood artist whose one sustaining relationship, with his carrier, becomes strained due to the elaborate severity of his creations. They, though beautiful, elicit nothing but tangible fear from that carrier, and it is that fear that forms the basis for the conflict: Will the artist need to change who he is and what he creates, in order to fit in and maintain the relationship that keeps him afloat (so to speak)? (O, come on; it slipped out. In any case) This story, I must say is one of the best in Pixar's œuvre of shorts that I have seen to date, it being rivalled only by those of Knick Knack (2000) and For the Birds (2002). Not coincidentally, it seems, "fitting in" is the trope best handled by the animators at Pixar, as even its best long feature (i. e., Finding Nemo) rests on that trope; and, though of course one may wonder whether that fact may or may not be because that trope is something of which the animators themselves have had significant and passionate-making personal experiences, the fact remains that perhaps it should stay the moniker of their future additions to the canon. Such speculations, however, are beside the point. Partly Cloudy, as it is founded in storytelling, is indeed a miraculous achievement for Pixar, but that status does unfortunately not exempt it from the downfall of nearly all Pixar films, long and short: While begun beautifully, with dazzling animative sequences and soaring argumentative ambitions, the story invariably gets hewn down to two or three over-simplified elements (as if the storytellers were deliberately pandering to the patronizing view of children held by the common socioculture, instead of treating them as every bit as capable of understanding the nuances of human expression as anyone else, which of course they are) and then crumbles on such insufficient structuring under the heavy weight of its top portion. The trick, it seems, to making these variably doomed features the best they can be is to balance out the weightiness of the fore part with the relative weightlessness of the aft part and therefore to see how little you can allow room for said crumbling. In this case, the crumbling was little, but not unnoticeable. Primarily, the artist (a stormy grey cloud), it is never made clear to the audience, is that brooding artistic type who makes the creations he does because he alone has the ingenious capacity too; rather, it seems from the visual storytelling (e. g., the relative height of that cloud in the sky to the heights of the other clouds, which were higher; the relative lack of mirth that the cloud experiences relative to that which the other clouds experience) that the cloud is the outcast cloud, either charged by a higher design that he cannot change with making those babies - yes, the clouds' creations are all infants of various species, to be carried by their assigned storks to the hopeful parents on earth - that no other cloud wants to make, which would explain the lack of mirth, or else left to make such out-of-the-mainstream babies, because his attempts at making mainstream ones fail every time, which too the visuals would seem to make the case. (I only hold to the initial argument about the cloud, instead of simply deferring to one of two evidentiarily supported interpretations of the film, because of a statement by the artists at Pixar that divulges the cloud's true nature and storyline. Indeed, it is because of that statement that most of these crumblings in this short film make themselves known.) Then, for all its build-up, the resolution of the conflict is presented far too simplistically. There is definitely not a long enough time spent on tension, clearly defining what exactly the conflict is, how exactly it affects the artist's livelihood, and why exactly it is not his onus to change, if he be the genius-creator whom Pixar attests to his being. Within seconds - and a few scattered showers, bluntly inserted for panderingly comic effects - his beaten-down, yet resilient, yet still perhaps defecting stork returns to him after having procured protective gear (which hardly do anything of the sort) from another, more mainstream cloud; the two then embrace; and finally all is practically put back as it had been at the beginning of the film: a menacingly smirky electric-eel infant is presented to the stork and almost nothing has changed anywhere. The only possible didacticism to be derived therefrom is that one needn't change who one is to maintain the relationships one has to those who are closest to him; those closest will appreciate one and return to him always, regardless of who he is. While such a message is of course a nice sentiment and ostensibly, according the to statement, just the one the folks at Pixar were aiming for, it rapidly and almost entirely undercuts the fact that there are at least two beings in any relationship and that, unless both are willing to arrive at a compromise, the one's wish that the other will change is just selfish masturbation. (It is that bluntly black-and-white.) The story, for all its good intentions, then simply reinforces the negative attitude of an artist - or really any person with a creative bent - to remain stubborn and unyielding to all the entreaties of the world around him - no matter how innocent those entreaties may be - for surely the world will eventually yield to him. That only slightly more complex reading of the tale is definitely not what the Pixar men and women (at least consciously) intended to convey - or, at least, I hope it was not - and therefore casts a serious blow to an otherwise beautifully examined little piece. For this kind of shoddy and inconsistent storytelling, I give Partly Cloudy only a

Grade: B+, technically astounding but literally confusing.

Up, Genre: Animated (Drama / Action-Adventure)

Up fails for exactly the same reasons that Partly Cloudy does: the beauty of its (nearly wordless!) set-up is first undone by the oversimplification and the pandering comedy of its middle and then confused by the insubstance of its end; and for that trajectory these two films from Pixar are a perfect match of imperfections and dashed expectations. Up, like so many other Pixar films (e. g., Wall•E), begins with breathtaking acuity, observation, and artistry - a combination of filmic virtue frequently best expressed by films that rely nearly entirely on their visuals to move their plots and their audiences. Wordlessly spinning the life of its protagonist, Carl Frederickson a man of adventure, with only the smallest embellishments by an enchanting Michael-Giacchino score (that unlike its predecessor is not overused/overblown to cover up the visual flaws in its film), the film, I from then knew, was setting itself up for greatness: great achievements or a great downfall. By setting such a high bar that not only brought out the best in skill from the Pixar team, in crafting images that without help succinctly tell the audience the salient features of a man's entire life, but also captured the attention of all members of the audience by so doing - not a peep was uttered by one of the many many children in my particular screening during these scenes, contrasting deeply with the atmosphere during other scenes - Up literally took itself to precarious heights, from which there would be only either an extremely skillful descent or a quick and chaotic plummet back to the mainstream. Dared I to hope for the former? In deep reminder of last year's skillful La Maison en Petits Cubes, I did and hoped that Pixar had taken a page from their colleagues and not from their marketers, who undoubtedly say that kids are grabbed by the slapstickery, the drawl, and the pointless absurdisms of the next phase into which I saw the film devastatingly move. For indeed, as soon as we reach Carl Frederickson at the age at which he remains for the rest of the film (i. e., a stodgy 78), the film takes a sharp turn in its tenor: Beautiful drama gives way to inconsistently comic action/adventure and the film splits itself into two: For its rest, it either halfheartedly attempts to wrap up several huge loose ends that were begun during its great opening (and fails to do so) or halfheartedly attempts to go on with its new design of goofy action/adventure ruling the day, all else be forgotten, especially sentimentality which had at first proposed itself to be the pivotal point of argument in the film. And, with that point shoddily lain by the wayside, with it not even being clear to the audience that objects of once extreme sentimental value no longer should hold that value for Carl, nor for the audience itself, when Carl discards all (and breaks some) of those treasures that he and his wife had preserved by haphazardly dashing them upon a desolate cliff, the film all but shred itself apart for me. From then on, throughout its extremely muddled and ambiguously pointed end, I resisted the urge to try to critique it any more than it deserved, for so monumental truly was its crumbling. Intertwining new plot points hardly made any sense, things of importance were mysteriously and suddenly devalued to nothing or else had been forgotten, and crude maudlinness supplanted the delicate devotion; I was done and fortunately so was the film, resisting the urge to awkwardly try to repair its severe missteps by revisiting its premises in several drawn-out epilogues/addenda. Saving its face only then were Mr. Giacchino's light score, which just managed to buoy emotion above the drowning point, and the animation's technical feats, which throughout had done texturizing work to the minutiae of surfaces that I have never before seen in animated film of any kind. Why not pay similarly remarkable attention to the details of your plot next time, Pixar? Then I won't have to end another review for you with a

Grade: B-, technically astounding but literally overhewn to a twig (and then broken).

29 May 2009

Review: Star Trek (2009)

Genre: Science-Fiction / Drama

This review will be short and sweet: appropriate, I guess, for the material on which it meditates - but perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself already. At its start, Star Trek (2009) introduces itself to be a searing melodrama, filled with heavy metaphors about purity and sacrifice and with overripe emotions that derive from overacting and overhyped scenarios. The old-story about the abandoned child - one that practically defines the entire Disney filmic canon - and that of the unlikely friends and that of the hesitant hero are by far not new entries into the world of storytelling, filmic, literary, or otherwise; and the fact that the franchise sees it fit to go out of its way, back in time, to invest its audience in dry recapitulations of those tropes is telling enough. So, I will stop here with the lambaste. Props are due only to Zachary Quinto, who manages to make a "human" out of his young Spock - as ironic as that may sound - and to the young Anton Yelchin (above), who brings a bit of comic light-heartedness that is still, at the same time, grounded - even during the midst of most "grievous" of battles. My last comment: Michael Giacchino, shame on you, for letting your music be prostituted out so, to mend the deep flaws in the visual-storytelling capabilities of this film's men at the helm and behind the lens.

Grade: D, entertaining perhaps but entirely unsubstantial.

17 May 2009

Reviews: Focus Features' Coraline and Sin Nombre

My reviews for these early-year releases from Focus Features - the animated Coraline and the live-action Sin Nombre - are, needless to say, much overdue - and for that lateness I do apologize. Having been released in February and March respectively, the two films have had a lot of time during which to simmer in my head since I saw them in theaters and perhaps, in a way, that dilation has been best: With the upcoming release of its arbitrary competitor, Pixar's long-awaited Up, the three-dimensionally (3-D) presented Coraline may be better treated in the light of its inevitable comparison's anticipation rather than in that of its conceptual isolation; and its partner film Sin Nombre, perhaps in anticipation of the next live-action release from Focus Features Away We Go, as both films - at least superficially - concern the flight of fledgling couples in distress. Though arguably these haps are quips of tenuous mettle, they nevertheless may supply some more interesting nuances into the developments both of the films themselves and of the studio Focus Features as an art house itself than a non-contextual reading of the films, one penned at an earlier date, may have done. At any description, let's take a look at the two films now and begin with Coraline:

Genre: Fairy Tale

Coraline, as an entry into the canon of animated fairy tales, is an adequate piece, fulfilling its most basic requirements with aptness and adding to that aptness thereafter a dash of sensuousness in colors and tone as well as a splash of cleverness in rhythm and rhyme that together formulate a charming but ultimately unextraordinary depiction: Structured with pin-point balance comparable with that of a tiered mobile, the film stepwise explores the light and dark aspects of adolescence for a female, each aspect carefully countered by at least one other aspect in the piece.

As the protagonist, the girl Coraline, finds herself at the age at which passive agreeability with her parents is a noticeably lacking detriment and during which motivations and questions regarding sex roles, expectations, and aspirations crop up; she winds her way through simplified extremes of archetypes long beholden by society as male, female, and not-yet-sexualized child. Attending the bizarre circus of a obtusely, counter-intuitively presented (i. e., almost complementarily, as if the yin to her yang; frequently literally upisde-down) male hyper-affected by bravado, scraggly stray hairs, and unfamiliar smelliness, Coraline encounters the traditional essence of the mature man whom so many tales in the same ilk (i. e., told from the maturing female's perspective [e. g., the original 'Beauty & the Beast' tale], the tale of the princess and the frog-prince) identify as a creature similarly rough, rowdy, and full of surprise. Finding the partner of this encounter, Coraline meets the traditional essence of the mature female, which is - as it is in so many familiar tales of the same ilk (e. g., the 'Sleeping Beauty' tale, the 'Cinderella' tale) - split up into its light and dark parts. This splitting is accomplished in more ways than one and furthermore is echoed in several characters of the story. Most obviously the split occurs dividing the compassionate, forever maternal qualities of her guised "Other Mother" from the violent, vying distresses of her revealed "Other Mother;" in this way, the split relies on a very traditional template for itself, a template that features those two archetypes (i. e., the warm, passive, and loving care-giver of youth and the fiery, aggressive, and sexual seductress of adulthood) in competing, almost symmetrically identical (e. g., being actually one in the same person), and purposefully externalized (i. e., outside the protagonist, so that the protagonist can psychically work the two out as she develops her own maturity over the course of the tale, before then reintegrating them and realizing them as two parts not only of her actual maternal figure [i. e., here, Coraline's "Real Mother"] but also and moreover of herself) ways.

This sexual-maturation conceit is echoed passively in the beautiful internalized sets, that not only are pupal in their constructions but also actively feature larvae and other seductive but predatory insects as furnishings, and is echoed actively in the aside dynamics of the two old stage-actresses whom, like the male circus-performer, Coraline is sent to see. These stage-actresses not only physically embody in grotesque transmogrification the extreme essences of female sexuality (i. e., large breasts on one and large buttocks on the other) but also emotionally conscribe their meta-histories as archetypes' within their former careers, their "Sirens" song (posted to the right, among the candidates "Under Consideration"), and their frilly accoutrements. Though, of course, Coraline is meant to eventually be deterred from these details (instead of being enthralled by them, as the unwitting adolescent would) - deterred, as many modern recapitulations of these adolescent stories deter, in order to promote the ideal of a more independent woman who values her intellect over her flattering affects - the existences of these details per se on screen reinforce the questions and concerns that the film's story is meant to meet.

And meet such questions and concerns it does in its limited, structurally bilateral fashion, opposing peril against purpose, masculine against feminine, and - most importantly, as it marks its place as an addition to this type of tale in the fairy-tale canon - dependence against independence. That is, the fact that the tale goes so far as to argue for the independent female, the female steered only by the wits of her own mind and steered only into the mists that those wits see fit to tremble - those mists not already unclouded for her by the pushing hand of steamroller-culture - is the high end of this animated story; no more the feverish, waifish demurettes, awash in the tides of time and situation, of fictions past like Flaubert's Madame Bovary (1857) or, closer to this instance, Paterson's Bridge to Terabithia (1977), del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth (2006), and even Meyer's Twilight (book 2005, film 2008). And the bilateralism that 3-D imagery in a predominantly 2-D film creates was not therefore wasted: Blossoming out of the screen whenever the points of action reflected something deep and internal, dynamic and frustrating, complex and intrinsic to Coraline arose, the 3-D imagery, I have to say, was in this instance a welcome artistic regard, comparable perhaps (in smaller scale) to the insights of its past usage mentioned by me first here; and, though of course I recognize that the films touted out by Pixar Studios are not darts tossed at the circle of artistic insight, I cannot foresee the utilization of 3-D as any more purposeful in Up than it was here, in Coraline, a presupposition which, if true, calls out Pixar for slubbing technique for gross-spectacle's sake and also elevates Coraline as the likely best animated (feature-length) work released this year - Focus Features' late-year, expected 9 notwithstanding.

However, despite these noteworthy qualities, the film failed to be any more than a slightly advancing exercise into the female-adolescent's psyche, as preserved by the fairy-tale canon, - in short, a clever film but not necessarily also an interesting one - and so merits no more or less from than its

Grade: B, good.

Genre: Drama

As for Sin Nombre, the film imported out of Sundance and Mexico into the Focus Features' line-up, what more can I say than call it a displacedly truthful tragedy that seemed to regard its characters more as chess pieces in its violent march to gravitas than as human reflections, caught in the ravels of the film's dilemmatic situations. Sparse and quiet, brash and impartial, the film was founded on the makings of a well-designed, introspective evaluation of ritual, but then failed to take into account that the players in its ritual were too a collective subject worthy of interest. Far too few are the instances of the storyline during which we as the audience are allowed to see the emotional and psychical toll (that the details and actions of the plot lay upon their actors) as more than just an accomplished marker preplanned by a screenplay, or as a human experience turned out and opened for us, as humans also, to see and comprehend. Such infrequency is a detriment to the whole of the work indeed, though I have to wonder if the responsibility for its existence may have been due to the limitations of its actors rather than to the method of its director. For, it is true, on those rare occasions that I was privy to the inner worlds of those people about whom I as an audience member was supposed to care, I found myself being allowed to enter only because of the acting gifts of Gerardo Taracena, who in his precise expressions revealed a significant depth of character in his Horacio, father of the female protagonist Sayra (played by Paulina Gaitán). While she and her fledgling mate Willy ("El Casper") occupy the majority of screen time, it was only Horacio who added to it, added more than any meager stand-in, technically affecting his lines, would have; and for that performance I applaud him. Apart from him, however, the film remained a stolid and grave examination, clinical and sterile (like an anesthesiologist's accompanist blade), of the dramatics that inhere in any couple with regretful pasts on a road to redemption, self-acceptance, and growth. As such, it I leave a

Grade: B-/C+, how may it have been different in the hands of other performers; how may Away We Go be different - not really for its differing plotline, which essentially appears to amount to the same thing, but - for its differing cast.

16 May 2009

Trailer: Precious

Another trailer for the lot here I present: the trailer for the film recently honored by a standing ovation at Cannes Precious. A work by producer/director Lee Daniels, producer of the well remembered Monster's Ball (2001), the film appears to quite sensitively depict the life of an underappreciated, overweight, black, and teenaged female by the name of Precious, a rôle played quite delicately - it seems - by newcomer Gabourey Sidibe, as if that life were itself a channel through which to express the angst of adolescence, of poverty emotional and physical, and of strife elementally human. Though of course it is still quite early for me (or anyone) to be lavishing such descriptions on it as facts or to be pretending end-of-the-year accolades, especially when the film still remains outside of my experience, there is something indescribably right and transformative about the tones of light, sound, and emotion conveyed by the trailer for this little big film that makes me believe that at very least - in recollective consideration of Halle Berry - the film is headed for nomination(s). As - who knows? - this film could turn out to be the "Frozen River (2008) of this year," I'll be keeping you all posted on whatever develops regarding it. Until then, enjoy the trailer (embedded from YouTube below).

P. S. No way: That's really Mariah Carey?! She looks so beautifully natural without all her typical air-brushedness that I almost didn't recognize her face.

14 May 2009

Trailer: Nine

The domestic teaser trailer for director's, Rob Marshall's, filmic adaptation of the popular Broadway-musical adaptation Nine is released today, and in all it shows the film to be stylistically no different from the way in which Mr. Marshall presented his last big musical adaptation, the much wowed but here recognizedly unsupersalient Chicago (2002). Presenting again Mr. Marshall's own unique brand of obliquely shot, dramatically choreographed dance sequences and erotic-dreamlike, hyper-sensual imagery - the kind laced with curls of smoke and embossed in red red red - the trailer reveals the film to be exciting, no doubt, but skillful, only possibly. Sure, its cast is tremendous but, if the feature like the trailer relegates all the non-uber-attractive, non--hiss-pop-and-bang of the action to the background (e. g., especially the older women of the cast [i. e., Sophia Loren and Judi Dench]), then the feature surely will fall flat. Contrast, Mr. Marshall, contrast - you seem so much to love it in your imagery but yet so much to ignore it in your overall storytelling. In any case, I'm feeling better about Daniel Day-Lewis' replacement of Javier Bardem as the lead and Federico-Fellini doppelgänger, Guido Contini. Nine is set to be released on the 25th of November of this year.