Friday One Sheet: I Dream Too Much

While this looks more like a book cover than a movie poster, I applaud the use of colour and space. Subtly, it’s snowing on flowers here, and quite beautiful stuff. As to what the movie is about or how it will be about it, is left completely to the imagination, but maybe that is the thing.

(Apropos of nothing, why is the R and the H in the title to be weirdly capitalized?)

Trailer: Cooties

“Oh look! Carnage.”

This is what happens when you let the Saw people play with the Glee people. It’s the teachers vs. the students in this latest iteration of the Zombie-Comedy-Siege film, Cooties. In 2015, when zombie comedies are done to death, this one against all odds, looks pretty darn good.

Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill, and Jorgé Garcia star as the teachers who have to fight off their entire classrooms due to a fast-zombie outbreak which only affects humans who haven’t gone through puberty yet. Before you can mash Who Can Kill a Child together with The Faculty and Shaun of the Dead, some kid can yell, “Ewww, Cooties!”

Trailer: The Midnight Swim

Sarah Adina Smith’s debut feature, The Midnight Swim, is about the psychological ecosystem of three sisters during a visit to the family house on the lake. It subtly flirts with both the supernatural and the interpretation of captured (and being captured on) video. The film made some waves (sorry! sorry!) on the Festival circuit in 2014, I adored it when I caught it at Fantasia last year.

When their mother goes missing in Spirit Lake, three half-sisters travel home to settle her affairs. The youngest sister, June, a documentary filmmaker, captures their bittersweet homecoming. But when the sisters jokingly summon a local ghost, their relationship begins to unravel and they find themselves drawn deeper and deeper into the true mystery of the lake.

The Midnight Swim will be released both theatrical and VOD on June 26th. Have a look at the trailer below.

Review: Good Kill

“Keep compartmentalizing” is a piece of advice from a commanding officer to his ace pilot. This is darkly humourous, intelligent screenwriting because these drone-piloting soldiers spend 12 hours a day literally inside a box, albeit an air-conditioned one filled to the brim with technology, with fresh coffee available if needs be.

A day of drone warfare fought, the service men and women leave the base and go home to BBQ with their family and drink beer in the nearby Las Vegas suburb, a pebble-lawned stretch of cookie cutter banality not far away from the dazzling gratuitousness of The Strip. Things go from grim but necessary to deeply disturbing slowly but inevitably, and often didactically, in Good Kill.

The film focuses on Major Tom Egan (Ethan Hawke), a former F-16 pilot and a veteran of many tours. He is now ‘grounded’ in the tiny box on wheels enacting a play-station war; one of low risk of physical harm (barring carpal tunnel syndrome) on which he compensates by making the damage 100% psychological. Egan’s icy disposition and years of experience make him one of the current top performers in piloting drones.

Hawke’s performance is miles apart from his life-long work with Richard Linklater, not to mention as different as possible from the testosterone meathead cinema-depictions of fighter pilots in thrill oriented blockbusters like Top Gun and its numerous copy cats. Egan ignores the gung-ho nature of the two tech support co-workers, the young guys that keep the communications to the remotely piloted aircraft humming along. Egan is quietly respectful of the competence of his equally young female co-pilot (Zoë Kravitz) while carrying out any order from his commanding officer (Bruce Greenwood, who gets all the good lines and let’s face it, is a national goddamn treasure).

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Clips from Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Lobster

Not exactly a trailer, but given the general weirdness intrinsic to the films of Greek auteur Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth, ALPS), they could function as one. Much like his French contemporary, Quentin Dupieux (Rubber, Wrong), film-language and odd characters are the driving force to understanding the extreme ends of human behavior.

An architect checks into a hotel after his wife leaves him. Set in a society that highly values relationships, the architect has but 45 days to find a new partner or else he will be transformed into an animal of his choosing.

The Lobster is currently playing at Cannes, Lanthimos has a cast of international stars including Collin Farell, Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly, Ben Whishaw, Olivia Colman and Lea Seydoux. Watch some of them speak in sublimely weird ways in the two clips which are tucked under the seat.

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Friday One Sheet: The Silenced

I have always been a fan of South Korean posters. They take a simple still, color and buff the hell out of it, and do not clutter it up with much else beyond a title and a release date. Often there is no credit block.

Such is the case here, for the upcoming horror-mystery film The Silenced. Beautiful symmetry of women standing in file, with the lead character (played by Park Bo-Young) looking pleadingly at the camera and the head of the institution facing away at the end of the line. This kind of poster tells you everything you need to know, tonally, without giving anything away plot-wise, and it does it with grace.

Also, I have tucked the trailer, which features some pretty lush production design, under the seat.

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Review: Mad Max Fury Road

There and back again, a breeders tale.

When you boil all of the fireworks and prop-fetish out of the latest Mad Max film, Fury Road, you really have simplicity. The women are fed up with the men using them as chattel – literally, as seen in a human dairy farm made for the purposes of feeding the big-bad, Immorten Joe, and his mutant children, ‘mothers milk.’ The remaining, less tethered, women decide to leave, but then, given few options for emigration in a desert planet, decide to return. Vehicular mayhem of the likes never put up on screen in the history of cinema ensues. And there are consequences of upsetting the social order of things, mostly the crashing and burning of things, but a few lessons are learned along the way.

Mad Max, at least in the ever-increasing-in-budget sequels, has always been the iconic Ronin who wanders into town, tipping the scale of social order by his masculine independence. He is a symbol in a world of warlords and cowering, dirty plebian peasants.

In the rather muddled opening prologue seemingly run at 1.5x speed and laden with superfluous micro-flashbacks of the disappointed children who have taken root in Max’s subconscious, Max is captured by Immorten Joe’s ‘War Boys,’ stripped of his V8 Interceptor, and arrives at the Citadel to coincide with the younger women, those not tied to a milking apparatus, making their exodus. The gambit involves the outposts only female warrior, Charlize Theron here a hard-beaten alloy of Pris, Cherry Darling, Meredith Vickers, and Sarah Connor folded to steel and decorated in cosmetic axel-grease foundation. Imperator Furiosa has a plan to smuggle out the last of humanity’s corn-fed center-fold DNA to the mythical ‘green place,’ beyond the desert sandstorms under the guise of a regular gasoline and ammunition resupply run. Joe straps on his Vader-meets-Bane breathing apparatus and engages in pursuit. Max gets entangled.

Fury Road is essentially a remake of the (superior) template-setting 1981 sequel, The Road Warrior. It replaces gasoline with lady-flesh clad in fluttery white maternity wear, and aims to get way-the-fuck-beyond the Thunderdome. This is helped considerably by hundreds of millions of 21st century studio dollars. For George Miller nerds, there are enough callbacks to the original films (from actors to onscreen images) to fuel a good sized jerrycan. The wild practical stunts involving vehicles and men leaping from car to truck to monster-truck, or dangling from poles and any number of resulting slap-stick visual gags buried in a modern CGI spectacle reminded me more of the set-pieces in Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger than George Miller’s previous desert chases. Perhaps this seeded the desire for the film to be about how we watch these kind of movies. Maybe it is.

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Trailer: Jem And The Holograms

Less eighties cartoon, more YouTube and Katy Perry fame shenanigans. I’m not entirely sure what to make of this latest Hasbro re-invention of its me-decade intellectual property for the big screen. Somehow the trailer evokes the bitter-sweet joys of The Fault in Our Stars and seems as far as possible from the satirical jokiness of Josie and The Pussycats.

Admittedly, I am nowhere near the demographic of this film, but I implore you, completely without any sort of snark or snobbery, to please tell me if the execution of this idea is good or simply horrible. Juliette Lewis and Molly Ringwald (the two patron saints of good/horrible) make supporting role appearances in the trailer below.

Trailer: Arabian Nights

Playing at Cannes in three separate 2 hour parts, Miguel Gomes (Tabu) examines contemporary Portugal with dozens of short stories in the structure of the classic Arabian Nights structure. Gorgeously shot, but I’m sure ponderously pace, this is certainly not going to be for everyone, but I also expect if you get the chance to watch all six hours of it together, it will probably be a very rewarding experience.

A film that asks “Where are stories born?” and answers, “They spring from the wishes and fears of man.”

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