Trailer: Equals

A futuristic love story set in a world where emotions have been eradicated, there is a long tradition of this idea in the history of pop cinema and literature, from the big dumb action of The Island and Equilibrium, to George Lucas’ cooler ideological THX-1138, flower-powered Logan’s Run, all the way back to George Orwell’s seminal novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. It is good happenstance that Ridley Scott, who famously re-purposed the iconography of Orwell for Apple Inc. as a TV advertisement to launch their Macintosh computer, acts as the producer on the film.

Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult star in the film as the couple breaking down the barriers , along with some impressive Chinese & Japanese architecture. I dug the film quite a bit when I caught it at TIFF last year.

Trailer: Mr. Right

We’re fans in these parts of Anna Kendrick and Sam Rockwell (and Tim Roth). But I will tell you, after Seven Psychopaths, this kind of film is staring to leave me a bit cold. In Mr. Right Kendrick for the “perfect” guy, who happens to have a very fatal flaw: he’s a hitman on the run from the crime cartels who employ him. I’ve seen Spanish director Paco Cabezas loathsome gangster picture, Neon Flesh (That review is here), and I am not sure if Mr. Right is right for me.

You can judge for yourself with the trailer below.

Trailer: The Lobster

After a long lap around the festival circuit, from Cannes to TIFF and beyond and commercial releases in most of Europe at this point, The Lobster, the latest bit of satiric weirdness from Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth) nears its domestic release on this side of the pond. And thus, a new trailer, which should be quite familiar to those who remember the previous trailers, only this one has more Olivia Colman which is always a good thing.

For the uninitiated, The Lobster is Lanthimos’ internationally star-studded English language crossover, and features Colin Farrell as a lonely man who goes to a specialized singles resort to find love, at the risk of being transformed into an animal, if coupling is unsuccessful. There he meets several men and women in the same predicament, including John C. Reilly, Ben Whishaw, Angeliki Papoulia and Léa Seydoux. Things come to a head with the boutique hotel after he runs away with Rachel Weisz.

Review: Hail, Caesar!

“Squint! Squint against the grandeur!” so the film director can be heard offscreen during a series of dailies, which unspool in a Hollywood Studio screening room midway through Hail, Caesar! If the Coen Brothers did not definitively poke their finger in the eye of the crass factory of dreams that is tinsel town in Barton Fink, they take another look, albeit a more broader and effervescent one, at the foibles of making pictures in the late 1940s. Considering they use the same fictional studio, Capitol Pictures (“Where the writer is king!”) one might think of their latest as the loosest of sequels to that 1991 Cannes winning film. More interestingly, Hail, Caesar! is a playfully spiteful grab-bag of in-jokes in old Hollywood and the own eclectic filmography.

Josh Brolin is Eddie Mannix, Capitol Pictures’ executive producer, problem solver, and media fixer, a character loosely based on the real man of the same name, who served the same function for MGM (and was thought to be complicit in the death of the original on-screen Superman, George Reeves.) The Coen’s give us an exceptionally busy 27 hours in the life of Mannix, the span of time between two Catholic confessions, where the devoutly converted catholic obsesses over the minutiae of his marriage and personal life, while compartmentalizing, and fully omitting, the myriad of sins of his profession.

A job that entails supervising four movies being shot on the studio lot, all plagued by problems in their own unique ways. The sword-and-sandals, ‘Jesus Picture’ star, Baird Whitlock (George Clooney, sillier than ever – an injoke reminiscent of Steve Buscemi’s ever decreasing mortal remains in the Coenography) is missing, and the gossip columnists (both played by Tilda Swinton, both underused), the sailor tap-dancing musical has an alarming case of closeted gayness (and a wonderful cameo from the Highlander frenchman, Christopher Lambert), the Busby Berkeley mermaid picture has a star (Scarlett Johannson, in a glorious Noo Yawk accent) and whose fish tail is getting more ill-fitting by the hour due to a pregnancy scandal about to break, and a Euro-flavoured drawing-room melodrama has been saddled with an aw-shucks singing cowboy leading man (Alden Ehrenreich in a breakout performance) who is far, far out of his depth.

Mannix navigates this shifting sea of apocalyptic problems (at one point, a mushroom cloud is presented on screen in the manner of The Hudsucker Proxies‘ Hula-Hoop), strung together by the Coens with their penchant for noir-ish plots, with an almost savant-like talent that is the antithesis of both the Dude, Jeff Bridges’ boozy and drugged flailing in The Big Lebowski, or Billy Bob Throton’s Ed Crane, the quietly ambitious Barber in The Man Who Wasn’t There. Whitlock’s kidnapping is abetted by both by a spiked drink and a dry cleaning truck, so they are clearly nodding to both, while demonstrating there are so many orthogonal directions to take neo-noir that the surface has only been scratched in the past 75 years.

Would you like to know more…?

Friday One Sheet: Ava’s Possessions

It is all about the colour palette with this eye-grabbing key art for indie horror picture, Ava’s Possessions, a film I regret missing when it played last years Fantasia Film Festival (had it had this poster, I might have made time for it!) With its vibrant teal gradient, blood red martini and pale skin tones each making the other stand out a little further. The pink neon titles further evoke the bar-fly allusions that go right along with the tagline. Superb!

Trailer: Miles Ahead

It is trailer day here at Rowthree, and here we have Don Cheadle’s biopic of Jazz (er, social music) legend Miles Davis, which is seems to be retold as a heightened story of cool, crime and a wee bit of heist excitement. Not your run of the mill biopic, for sure, and Cheadle is on double duty as both the star and the director (his debut film after his adaption of Elmore Leonard’s Tishomingo Blues fell through a decade ago).

Miles Ahead apparently did not set the New York Film festival on fire when it debuted there last October, but it certainly looks like a fun time at the movies. Any movie where Ewan MacGregor is sucker-punched in the face can’t be all that bad. It gets a release via Sony Pictures in a couple months on April Fool’s Day.