Ahhh, Millennium Entertainment, prolific purveyor of second rate trash cinema, and the ersatz heir to Cannon/Golan-Globus. Usually I try to ignore their star-driven exercises in formula, but this one, directed by a woman (April Mullen), which might be a first for the company, caught my eye.
Canadian cult actress Katherine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps, American Mary) stars as an ass-kicking, Memento-memory’d woman out for revenge after a violent thug (Christopher Lloyd, chewing scenery magnificently) had her husband killed. Another cult Canuck actor, Michael Ironside (a personal favourite), plays the cop out to catch (or help?) her before she gets the job done. Blend that up with oversaturated colours, crazy shifts in tone, and other forms of acute lack of restraint and I am all in. Hopefully this Domino-lite will get some limited theatrical somewhere, but I’m not holding my breath considering it has been out on BLU-Ray in The US since January.
With much sadness, I report that Leonard Nimoy, Actor, Director, Singer, Photographer, Poet, purveyor of Vulcan logic-and-heart-of-gold, has passed on. Whether you were a Star Trek fan (he was in pretty much every reboot and incarnation of the show in some capacity), an admirer of the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, or just enjoyed songs about Hobbits, Nimoy always delivered the goods.
Not to be too obvious, but he lived long and prospered, and his legacy allows that we benefit from such fine work.
In light of the strong rumour than Dennis Villeneuve is going to be the director of the long delayed sequel with a returning Harrison Ford, enjoy this handsome poster above. If we are going make another legitamite Blade Runner film (1998s Soldier doesn’t count), I cannot think of a better choice than the director of Enemy and Incendies to give it his best shot.
Here is hoping that he does NOT listen to Ridley’s whispers that Deckard is a Replicant.
Will Andrew Niccol’s latest capture the imagination and box-office in a similar fashion to American Sniper? On the surface, both films share a number of commonalities, not the least of which are soldiers having to kill their enemies from afar, with a certain unquestioning detachment. Niccol has made a career out of questioning the emotional and psychological significance of where we are and where we are going in terms of technology and its applications; from the sci-fi genetics drama Gattaca (also starring Ethan Hawke) to synthetic actors in S1Mone, to his screenplay for Peter Weir’s The Truman Show. Here he gets to play in the theater of the current Middle East and drone warfare. I think Good Kill will be better than American Sniper, but likely ignored by the public at large due to a falsely perceived copy-cat-itis.
In an air-conditioned shipping container somewhere in the Nevada desert, a war is being waged. Behind a door that reads “YOU ARE NOW LEAVING THE USA,” five flight-suited US Air Force officers operate drones that hover above “zones of interest” in the Middle East. At the press of a button, tiny targets viewed on computer screens vanish in plumes of smoke, as in a videogame. Egan (Ethan Hawke) used to live to fly. Now, he spends eight hours each day fighting the War on Terror by remote control and the remaining time at his suburban home, where he feuds with his wife (Mad Men’s January Jones), and numbs his boredom, rage, and guilt with alcohol. When Egan and his crew are told to start taking orders directly from the CIA — which selects its targets based not on personal profiles but patterns of activity — the notion of a “good” kill becomes even more maddeningly abstract, and Egan’s ability to comply with his superiors’ directives reaches its breaking point.
“It looks like nature found a way.” This line of dialogue, spoken late in the film is one of two perhaps unintentional Spielberg references in Aeon Flux, puts the film nicely in the sphere of the biological-minded science fiction. The novel cyberpunk aspect, biotech gone wild, is rather nicely ported over from the Peter Chung’s anarchic animated TV series. Scissor-like flesh-seeking blades of grass and fruit-on-the-vine capable of firing poison loaded darts at both a high rate and velocity offer interesting visual thrills and botanical challenge for Aeon as she tries to infultrate the sprawling lair of her arch-nemesis Trevor Goodchild. Accompanied by fellow state-terrorist (a welcome Sophie Okonedo) who was forward thinking to have her feet surgically replaced with hands for an acrobatic edge, they dance and dive their way through the most unique corporate greenscape ever committed to celluloid.
In the 10 episode TV series, there was never an attempt at narrative continuity either within a show or across the series. Each episode more or less had Aeon attempting to thwart one scheme or another of Bregnan scientist-dictator Trevor Goodchild, but at the same time dealing with her lust for him. The film does have the feel of an extended episode with the concession to mainstream multiplexes being a story is structured in a far more straightforward manner, somewhat amplified in stakes.
Elaborate, vaguely Asian architecture and costume design give you a very interesting world to look at. It was a smart move to set the film away from the Orwellian model of dark and dreary dystopia, even if the visual palette occasionally treads into Star Trek: The Next Generation territory. Aeon and her fellow feminine rebels-against-the-man, lead by fiery-haired and ghostly Frances MacDormand, do not need to meet in clandestine back alleys or bunkers, but rather take a pill and meet their leader in some sort of pharmacological state of being. Phones are implanted directly into the ear, video-email can be sent by spores in a glass of water. Production design reigns supreme.
Continuing what I call the South Korean school poster-art (idiom: a clean, polished picture of a single or pair of characters with a pleasing, but vague background) we have this one for a Mary Elizabeth Winstead starring drama, Alex of Venice. Soft and warm lighting with subtle lens flaring gives off an innocent, glowing impression. And while I’m not absolutely crazy about the dueling fonts in the actual title presentation, I will admit that it does draw the eye and adds a strong visual element to an otherwise simple design. That being said, I like simple.
Bent Hamer’s quirky, visually formal romantic comedy was one of the most surprising pleasures at last years Toronto International Film Festival. In matters of science and love, if you get down to the most first-principle measurements at atomic levels, it’s more of an agreed upon reference than actual fact. What a novel and unusual way to articulate a life! The film might be on the nose at times and it’s driest of dry Norwegian humour is a bit of an acquired taste, but it is so brilliant and beautiful in how it goes about itself, that I fell in love with 1001 Grams, unequivocally.
When Norwegian scientist Marie attends a seminar in Paris on the actual weight of a kilo, it is her own measurement of disappointment, grief and, not least, love, that ends up on the scale.
Aaron Moorhead & Justin Benson’s Spring is one of those savvy genre films that mixes up two distinct film styles, the Richard Linklater walk-and-talk with the body horror creature feature. The result is something sweet, and something new. Check out our review of the film here, and the give the new trailer, which is about as spoilery as the comparison in the previous sentence, a watch. No worries about spoilers, with this film, the devil is in the details, and the joy is in the execution, the surprises lie elsewhere from the plotting.
A young man in a personal tailspin flees the US to Italy, where he sparks up a romance with a woman harboring a dark, primordial secret.
Fittingly, the film will be released this…wait for it…this Spring.
Handsomely artificial, lush steam-punk production design, and an excellent cast (Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, and Mia Wasikowska), Crimson Peak, judging by the trailer, seems to continue Guillermo del Toro’s recent ‘inert’ dramatic streak. To put it bluntly, the actors look trapped by the sets and costumes, and the CGI so utterly out of place in this Turn of the Screw/The Innocents kind of homage, that I hope there is much more than meets the eye. Have a look at the trailer below (although judging by the millions of views on Youtube, you’ve probably already seen it by now. Feel free to weigh in on the comment section.
Set in Cumbria, in a crumbling mansion in a largely rural and mountainous region of northern England in the 19th century, young author Edith Cushing discovers that her charming new husband Sir Thomas Sharpe is not who he appears to be.