DVD Review: Cohen & Tate

Director: Eric Red
Screenplay: Eric Red
Starring: Roy Scheider, Adam Baldwin, Harley Cross
Country: USA
Running Time: 86 min
Year: 1988
BBFC Certificate: 15


Cohen & Tate was a bit of a shot in the dark viewing for me. I had a vague memory of someone (Blueprint: Review’s Justin Richards I think) mentioning the film to me in the past, which is why the press release piqued my interest, but the reviews (from the few I could find) were a bit mixed. I figured I’d give it a chance though as it sounded interesting and Arrow are generally dependable for selecting titles worth watching.

I’m happy to say I’m glad I gave it a shot, but happy isn’t the right word to describe Cohen & Tate. It’s a pitch black thriller which opens with the brutal murder of the parents of 9-year old Travis Knight (Harley Cross). He’s the only witness to a mob hit and the gangsters responsible are keen to get hold of him. So, after dispatching Travis’ parents and a couple of FBI agents keeping them all ‘safe’, two hitmen, the titular Cohen (Roy Scheider) and Tate (Adam Baldwin), take the boy on a long drive to Houston to see their employer. His future looks bleak, but Travis doesn’t give up trying to escape and, in the strained relationship between the mismatched hitmen, he sees a chance to turn them against each other to gain his freedom.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – Trailer #2

Even most of the Marvel haters out there enjoyed watching Star Lord and Groot goof up the universe a couple of summers ago as Guardians of the Galaxy. So much so that a sequel is just six months away. And Disney wants to make sure we’re all aware. So here’s a little bit more than the first trailer offered. If you don’t know what sort of material to expect from this movie, this will give you a better idea…

Review: Manchester by the Sea

Director: Kenneth Lonergan (You Can Count on Me, Margaret)
Writer: Kenneth Lonergan
Producers: Lauren Beck, Matt Damon, Chris Moore, Kimberly Steward, Kevin J. Walsh
Starring: Casey Affleck, Lucas Hedges, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 137 min.

 

 

My original posting of this review can be found on LetterBoxd

 


2016 doesn’t deserve a film as good as Manchester By The Sea. To say that Kenneth Lonergan’s latest is the best film of his career may not seem like it means much, given that it’s only his third feature in 16 years after You Can Count on Me and the notoriously delayed Margaret. However, considering the fact that those two films are near masterpieces, giving Manchester By The Sea that qualification means that it ranks among the best of the century so far, and quite easily stands as the best film I’ve seen this year with only a month left to go for the unlucky contenders looking to unseat it. It’s unfortunate that we’ve gotten so few Lonergan films over the course of such a long time, especially when you can’t turn around without another superhero extravaganza smacking you in the face, but if it takes this long for him to consistently deliver at this level of quality, then it is damn sure worth the wait. Manchester By The Sea takes the ideas and the skills that he’s been honing in his craft over his first two features and fine tunes them to create something devastating, beguiling, incredibly intimate, and emotionally raw.

Centered on janitor Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck), who returns to his hometown that gives the film its title after the death of his brother Joe (Kyle Chandler), Lonergan’s film is as honest an exploration of grief as we’ve seen in the movies, examining both the immediate after effect of a devastating loss, as well as the ripples that continue to live on with us years after the fact, as the present day storyline is cut in with flashbacks to explain why Lee has shut himself off from the world to such a degree. Lonergan uses a brilliant and unconventional structure to dole out these fragments of the past in a way that feels almost poetic, like the waves of the sea splashing up against the present day as Lee struggles to face all of these old memories and suffers the guilt and self-destructive anger that he’s tried so hard to bury inside by running away all these years. Against his knowledge, Joe has named him the guardian of his nephew Patrick (Lucas Hedges), forcing Lee to stick around longer than he had planned to try to figure out what to do with the boy, but it’s only a matter of time before the weight of this trauma crashes into him and finally knocks him over.

Led by an absolute powerhouse performance from the understated, incomparable Casey Affleck, there are scenes in Manchester By The Sea as devastating, grueling, almost impossible to watch through sheer heartache as any I’ve seen in recent years, and yet at the same time Lonergan knows that life is never a monotonous experience. Even in the most tragic of times, where it feels like all of our pain is insurmountable, there are moments of genuine humor, of awkwardness, of sheer unencumbered humanity that pop up to cut through the tension. The world doesn’t stop being the world just because we’re suffering, and so rarely has a filmmaker been able to capture this concept in such a genuine, organic way as this. Manchester By The Sea is an utterly wrenching watch at times, particularly in one standout scene featuring a performance from the great Michelle Williams (who is such a welcome sight to see back on our screens this year) that just tears the house down, but what’s most surprising is how hilarious it can be as well. Lonergan has such an acute finger on the pulse of humanity, all of its highs and lows and everything in between, and Manchester By The Sea is the most fully realized display of his powers to date.
 
 

Friday One Sheet: Canadian Side Boob

A subtle difference between Canadians and Americans is in regards to sex and nudity on screen. For years, movies that have been “R” rated in the United States for (often mild) sexuality or nudity get the softer “AA” (now 14A) rating in north of the border. This is reflected visually in the Canadian-Spanish co-production Menorca, a film about a suburban mom who sheds her domestic shackles on a journey of self-discovery. Clearly, the poster wants to show that ‘soccer moms’ are not dead yet, and if they want to have a beer while sunbathing topless in the wastelands of suburbia, it is a reflection that life doesn’t end with a mortgage. The Canadian version (above) of the poster reflects this. The US version (below) paints a bikini on each of the ladies, which diminishes, somewhat, the impact of pretty effective poster for this kind of drama.

Menorca gets a Canadian release sometime in December. There is no indication (at the moment) if it will even get a release in the United States, let alone the modified poster hang in any American movie house. It it currently playing at the Whistler Film Festival British Colombia, and there is a short trailer tucked under the seat, as well.

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After the Credits Episode 199: December Preview

Not soon enough!

Not soon enough!

Weeeeeeeeee’re baaaaaaaaaaaack!

After a short hiatus for various festival duties, the After the Credits crew is back and bringing you a preview of what to expect in December!

Take a listen as Dale (Letterboxd), Colleen and I (Letterboxd) check out what the month has to offer and weigh in on our excitement for what the holidays has in store for us at the movies. The conclusion? A little something for everybody.

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Trailer: Fences

Bring on the Oscar bait!

OK, perhaps this is not fair, when you have performers this good, namely Denzel Washington, and the incomparable Viola Davis, well, then I am certainly down for a ‘lay its cards on the table’ period family melodrama. Judging form the trailer below, one can likely expect to be told how to feel by the music and pointed dialogue alone, even those these actors could comfortably pull this off without all the cinematic excess. Both of them did, indeed, accomplish this in 2010, during the award winning Broadway revival of August Wilson’s Fences stage-play.

Troy Maxson, is a strong man, a hard man. He has had to be to survive. Troy Maxson has gone through life in an America where to be proud and black is to face pressures that could crush a man, body and soul. But the 1950s are yielding to the new spirit of liberation in the 1960s, a spirit that is changing the world Troy Maxson has learned to deal with the only way he can, a spirit that is making him a stranger, angry and afraid, in a world he never knew and to a wife and son he understands less and less.

Fences gets a limited theatrical release on December 16th before a wide release December 25.

Sunday Video Essay: Swearing In Film

Here is a pithy, but intelligent survey of how swearing can be, and is, used in various classic and contemporary cinema brought to us from Youtube channel, Now You See It. Whether it is Rhett Butler not giving a damn at the end of Gone With The Wind, or just about every character in Fargo dropping F-Bombs on that most dangerous of fools, Jerry Lundegaard, or Jules Winnfield’s reaction to the idea of giving a guy a foot massage in Pulp Fiction, I think this essay elucidates a lot of intrinsic notions of how to swear on screen.

Girls on Pop – Episode 9: So Many Movies!

Not soon enough

Not soon enough

After a few weeks of hiatus where one of us organized a festival and attended another while the other one went back to school, Sarah (@iBrockely) and I (@themarina) finally managed to carve out a bit of time this week to record another episode of the podcast.

With so many great movies playing at the moment, we skipped over much of our usual trailer talk to dig into a couple of recent movies while still finding time to fangirl just a little about the new Beauty and the Beast trailer!

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