Friday One Sheet: Marketing Approaches of Cannes vs. Sitges

Two of Europe’s prestige festivals, one king of the art-house world and granddaddy of all film festivals, Cannes, and the other king of the genre-festivals, the equally sprawling Sitges festival in Catalunya, recently put out movie style posters.

Above is the Cannes poster, highlighting (original photo by David Seymour) silver screen star Ingrid Bergman. There is also a documentary on the actress “Ingrid Bergman, in Her Own Words” playing at the festival to mark her 100th birthday. The festival which has been as much about celebrity and opulent life-style as it is about the power of cinema, has recently been issuing posters highlighting icons, from Marcello Mastroianni, Juliette Binoche, Paul Newman, Maggie Cheung, Marilyn Monroe and Faye Dunaway.

Meanwhile, in Spain, Sitges has had an ongoing theme as well, highlighting classic genre films that have lifted or added a bit of class to an otherwise exploitative B-film vibe to many of these films. This year (below) they have highlighted David Fincher’s Seven in their poster, which nicely doubles as a metaphor for film festivals in general, but more particularly genre themed festivals; namely “What’s in the Box!?” Previous sitges posters have highlighted The Shining, Rosemary’s Baby, Blue Velvet, King Kong, Alien and Jaws.

Trailer: Kung Fu Killer

Mixing the police procedural and kung fu genres is an honored tradition going back to the Police Story films in the 1980s, and turning interesting new pages with both Sha Po Lang (aka Kill Zone) and Wu Xia (aka Dragon). In this tradition, it lends me to believe that Kung Fu Killer is probably the dumbed down English marketing title. But wait, it is in fact about a serial killer hunting down and killing martial arts masters, so there is kind of a directness in that title. Donnie Yen headlines a film filled with stunts, interesting locations for hand to hand fights, and all around style, given a little lift with CGI, but not over-doing it too much. Director Teddy Chan’s previous Bodyguards and Assassins was pretty flashy, pretty solid entertainment, and nothing leads me to believe that this will be otherwise.

In fact, I do really want to know what that room with the super-sized plastic skull is, and how the film gets there…

After the Credits Episode 169: April Preview

Not soon enough!

Not soon enough!

It’s starting. Though we’ve had a handful of interesting (and good) titles in the first few months of the year, it looks like we’re finally into good movie season with a couple of big titles opening in April. The summer is about to kick off big time and Colleen, Dale (Letterboxd) and I (Letterboxd) dig into the first batch of “summer” movies.

Other stuff we talk about:

– Vancouver Co-Op Radio

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Trailer: Maggie

Lionsgate mysteriously pulled this film from the schedule of the 2014 edition of Toronto International Film Festival at the last minute. Now the studio is quoting the TIFF festival guide in their trailer. Hmmm. Either way, Arnold Schwarzenegger joins the ongoing Zombie party with this tale of a father-daughter relationship strained by her infection with undead-ness in Maggie.

Comfortably wearing his years, and giving the film (or at least, the trailer) a melancholy tone, this is very much a new page in the Ex-Governor of California film career as he fully embraces his age, even if it feels like we’ve had far too many variations on the undead at this this point. Abigail Breslin, no stranger to the genre after appearing in Zombieland a few years ago, plays his daughter.

Have a look and leave your thoughts in the comment section.

Cinecast Episode 386 – Singing From My Hymn Book

Bread and butter. The Salvation is ours this episode, and it is all Mads Mikkelsen will get from the dawn of the oil era in the western United States. The Danish Western shot in South Africa plays as a metaphor for USA style Capitalism – a revenge movie where there will definitely be blood (even if it is all CGI) engenders a good hour of (*spoiler filled*) conversation. Our viewpoints differ, but ultimately the same conclusion is reached: the film is exploitative and pretty decent even if it is often unpleasant.

From there, The Watch List takes over as Kurt catches a few moments from the new Pixar feature and cautiously claims that they may have climbed from the pit of safe mediocrity that they have chosen to dwell in over the past few years. Andrew wanted more of Eva Green’s assets (her voice) and tries the 300 side-quel on for size. Kurt finds one of the key inspirations for Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom a sweet little puppy-love slice of life called, Melody. We close out the show with the much talked about doc-mini, “The Jinx,” which is catching headlines and turning heads, and we are not immune to the charms and the crutches of documentary film making.

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!



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Trailer: Slow West


Ahh, westerns. We love ‘em so much here in the third row, they have their own category.

Slow West premiered to positive reviews at Sundance this year and by the looks of the trailer, I can see why. The film, which is directed by John Maclean, stars Michael Fassbender as a gunslinger guiding a young man, played by Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road), across the west to find his love. It co-stars Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises, Killing Them Softly), Rory McCann (Game of Thrones), and Brooke Williams.

It looks a little less gritty and a little more fun–that’s to say a little less Wild Bunch and a little more Josey Wales.

Slow West drops in select theaters on May 15, 2015.

TCM Classic Film Festival 2015: A Preview


The Sixth Annual TCM Classic Film Festival is nearly upon us – four glorious days of immersion in classic film in the heart of Hollywood along with hundreds of our fellow classic film fans. It’s the best time of the year for those of us who love Hollywood’s golden era of filmmaking.

This year hasn’t been without its controversy, as the early press releases announced programming such as Hollywood’s enduring classic…Apollo 13 (1995)? Malcolm X (1992)? Out of Sight (1998)?! But never fear – though TCM is bringing some newer films to the table, in order to woo some fans who haven’t quite made it as far back in Hollywood history as others, to expand the reach of their theme History According to Hollywood, and honor certain guests like editor Anne V. Coates and stunt coordinator Terry Leonard – they’ve still got PLENTY of pre-1970 films to choose from.

In fact, choosing is the hard part! Some of these time slots are so packed it’s nearly impossible to choose what to see. Such is our burden. I’ve gone through each timeslot, and detailed the choices in each one – basically what to look for if you want to catch all the essential films, if you’re looking for lesser known discoveries, or if you want to make the most of experiences you can’t get anywhere else. Obviously, these are all subjective to some degree.


A few general suggestions to start with, based on my five years experience of this festival.

Plan Meals and Bring Snacks

The schedule is VERY packed if you want to see something in every slot. You’ll often be running directly from screening to another line without a break. Plan ahead and make sure to eat in any hour long breaks you have. It’s not a bad idea to bring some small bags of chips and a bottle of water with you, in case you end up crunched for time. The theatre doesn’t really make a big deal out of it for festivals – if you’d rather not sneak in food, they do have actual restaurant food and a bar as well as regular theatre food. Plus there are several relatively quick restaurants scattered around the top level of the Hollywood-Highland Center, including a pizza place, a Quizno’s, a Johnny Rockets, a Mongolian Barbecue, and a few more right next to the theatre.

See Something at Each of the Palaces

TCL Chinese, the Egyptian, and El Capitan are the centerpiece theatres and they are all pretty amazing venues. The Egyptian is a bit plainer these days than the other two on the inside, but the balcony is very nice. Head up there, because a lot of people don’t know it’s there and the middle front has the best view in the theatre.

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**UPDATED** Full Trailer: Mission Impossible 5

In its fifth entry, the Mission Impossible franchise doubles down on crazy-real stunts involving its aging leading man, Tom Cruise. Previously, he was climbing around on the outside of Dubai’s Burj Kalifa skyscraper. Here he is struggling on the outside of a gargantuan military aircraft as it takes off. Impressive stuff.

The rest of the trailer is more of what you would expect from the fifth entry of a franchise. Christopher McQuarrie taking over for Brad Bird in the director department seems like an OK choice, but the screenplay, written by Iron Man 3 scribe Drew Pearce and video game writer Will Staples, involves a shadow-agency — an evil mirror of the IMF — and is as lazy as one can get; probably another indication of Bad Robot being the ongoing shepherd for the franchise.

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