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…

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.

**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.

Would you like to know more…?

Review: Spring

“You saw me all fucked up and I am still here.” So says Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) to his Italian girlfriend, Louise (Nadia Hilker), after discovering that her ‘little secret’ is well outside his comfort zone. It is this moment, well into the film when Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson’s Spring becomes something special. This is not the sweet notion that Evan, a nice California guy drifting through Italy while escaping a number of problems at home, is willing to make a serious commitment to a preternaturally attractive girl after only a few weeks in a foreign country. No, it is the staggering human trait that we can get acclimatized to the strangest things so incredibly fast if we are willing to accept and roll with the punches. For better or worse.

Set mainly in a tiny Italian village of Polignano a Mare, the platonic ideal of picturesque European exoticism, there is a wonderful shot of Evan arriving as an eager tourist. The camera, gliding in slow motion, follows his sight line as he walks through the town taking in the sort of panorama of a post card come to life: Old men playing chess, church bells ringing, sunlight bathing the 1000 year old cobble stones all briefly capture his gaze until the camera swishes past the woman in the red dress. Panning back to Evan, he does almost a twirl, drunk on the possibilities of being rootless in Europe for the first time. As with the character, so is the film.

Evan decides to stay and finds himself employment on a local farm that is run by a nattily dressed, jauntily capped widower. The widower is played by character actor Francesco Carnelutti who looks alarmingly like Italy’s Christopher Plummer and confirms something about the directing duo’s debut Resolution: That they have a knack for casting interesting faces to occupy the periphery and set tone. The town, as small as it is, offers many opportunities to keep running into Louise and a kind of courtship ensues between the naive Yank and the worldly European.

Would you like to know more…?

Friday One Sheet: Ran

Much like the dearth of quality cinema in the first few months of the year, quality one-sheets are hard to come by. So for the second week in a row, we go back to a classic image, this for Kurosawa’s last big hurrah, the period-war epic, Ran. The movie was in colour, but this quad poster emphasizes the fog, the scale and the motion with high contrast black and white, blood red accents on the flags, banners and pennants, and a canted angle.

Sublime.

There is something to be said about reducing the colour palette to make a striking. (Even if, in a more recent case, it is just a late career action picture with Sean Penn.)

(Hattip to Tederick Tumbles for pointing out this rare-ish Japanese Quad)

Transporter: Refueled [trailer]

It is not just Hollywood interested in rebooting franchises ever few years, Luc Besson’s production-house Europa is getting in on the action by retooling the Transporter trilogy with a new lead, Ed Skrein, now that, I suppose, Jason Statham has graduated to the Fast Franchise. With all the talk of technology in this traile, before of course getting to the testosterone and tits, comprising the three “T”s of these films, I am more than a tad surprised that they opted for just another Audi, when they could have gone with a Tesla.

Let’s Scare Matthew Price To Death!

Our friends over at The Modern Superior Podcast network are hosting side projects from both of the Mamo! Matt’s. Matt Brown’s SuperZero focuses on all things super hero. Matt Price on the other hand, is asking a number of podcasting pals to recommend horror films to him for Let’s Scare Matthew Price To Death.

Mr. Price was generous enough to let me participate in the second episode of the show, which went online today. The movie, as indicated by the picture above is Kim Jee-Woon’s remarkable haunted house slash familial meltdown horror, A Tale Of Two Sisters

Hop on over there and give it a listen.

Friday One Sheet: Frankenstein Three Sheet

Got a spare $225000 burning a hole in your pocket? This ultra-rare 3-panel (2 meter long, 1 meter wide) “3-Sheet” poster for the Universal Monster classic, 1931s Frankenstein, is up for auction. It is a ultra-large sized variant of the original one-sheeet design which was only printed in small supply for promotion of the film upon its original release, and all were though lost or destroyed until this one was discovered in the 1970s in an abandoned movie house on Long Island. I’m confident that this is the most expensive “floaty head” poster in existence.

The Daily Mail has more.

Trailer: Con Man

In what is likely the fastest IndieGoGo campaign to ever hit a million dollars (less than a day), Alan Tudyk’s already-in-production web series, Con Man, is aiming to kinda-sorta be his Galaxy Quest (or at least the first act of that film.)

Reuniting Firefly co-stars Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, with other geek friendly pals (James Gunn, Seth Green and Felicia Day) and focusing on the odd goings and experiences of a fictionalized version of Alan Tudyk in the Sci-Fi convention world, hampered by the fact that a fictionalized Fillion has gone on to “Matt Damon level” A-List stardom.

The series is a light-hearted take on the personalities, luminaries, and characters in the sci­fi community we are privileged to call ourselves members. Con Man is a way to share some of the surreal occurrences we have had, while telling the story of a guy learning to love and embrace his fans.