Friday One Sheet: A Perfect Day

The temptation, when you have a big name ensemble is to splash their faces on your poster, either through a series of boxes down at the bottom, or floating heads. This is why I like the design of this poster so much, it is almost if the cast of the film, including Benicio Del Toro, Olga Kurylenko, Time Robbins and Mélanie Theirry are staring at you in challenge to watch the film. Well, either that, or you are the dead body they are leaning over. Just by camera angle this poster is immediately provocative.

The story from Dr. Paula Farias’s novel “Dejarse Llover,” was adapted for the screen by director Fernando León de Aranoa and involves a group of aid workers try to resolve a crisis in an armed conflict zone.

For your pleasure, I have also tucked the trailer under the seat.

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Cinecast Episode 394 – Sculpting, Not Puppeteering

Cinecast Classic-style! The same great taste you remember and love. We heed not at the beck and call to assemble with Avengers this week. Mother’s Day is coming, so we need to talk about Mommies. And a Mommy we talk about! Xavier Dolan’s work of wonder, Mommy, is at the top of the heap this week and I can’t think of an episode in which both Kurt and Andrew are as blown away as they are while discussing this picture. From there, the guys talk about “Game of Thrones” (Sandsnakes, Raegar Targatheon, Harpys and Parabolani) and cap off their joint reviews with the not-quite-great Robot & Frank. Quentin Tarantino makes another appearance on the wath list, as does Ender Wiggin, Big Bird and AIDS.

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!

 

 
 

 
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Cinecast Episode 392 – Man Candy

Both of the guys were at film festivals last week. Andrew at Minneapolis Int’l Film Festival and Kurt at HotDocs. We each pick four films from the screenings and give short capsule reviews. Coincidentally enough, two picks from each of us are of the western genre. Who knew you could have a western documentary, but apparently you can have more than one. Bill S. Preston Esquire directed a doc and apparently the story of Kurt Cobain has not completely been told as Montage of Heck goes deeper and is quite excellent. Michael Fassbender (who opens the audio of the show) teams up with Kodi Smit-McPhee and Ben Mendelsohn in Slow West and Brit Marling defends her manor and her life in a post Civil War wasteland in The Keeping Room. All this and more inside. Grab a cup of bottomless java and have a listen!

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!

 

 
 

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TCM Film Fest 2015: Don’t Bet on Women

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Jeanette MacDonald is mostly remembered for her series of light operettas with Nelson Eddy, and for slightly more adventurous classic film fans, for her series of Pre-Code musical comedies with Maurice Chevalier and Ernst Lubitsch. That doesn’t always stand her in good stead, since her particular brand of coloratura soprano singing phased out of mainstream popularity by the 1960s. I’m still a fan of her musicals, but I’m the first to admit they aren’t for everyone. It was a particular joy, then, to hear of Don’t Bet on Women, which is one of MacDonald’s very few non-musical roles, and quite a rousing Pre-Code as well.

Pre-Codes fascinate me not only because they tend to be more risque and innuendo-filled than films either earlier or later, but because the combination of nearly unrestrained sexuality and a society still bound to a great degree by traditional mores often yields films with a very conflicted view of masculinity, femininity, and gender roles. Don’t Bet on Women, aka All Women Are Bad (you can see where we’re headed here), starts off with Roger Fallon (Edmund Lowe) swearing off women following a tender scene where his ex-wife convinces him to pay her a generous allowance since she doesn’t want to make her new husband go to the trouble of, like, working. He and his buddy Chip decide to take a boys-only cruise.

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7 Worth Seeing At Hot Docs 2015

THE SANDWICH NAZI

Male escort. Art collector. Musician. Blowjob connoisseur. Sandwich maker. Salim Kahil’s deli is not for the faint of heart, plastered with warnings of verbal abuse and countless do-not-do’s. Customers recount the first time they saw his penis as if this was something one would expect as a regular lunchgoer. This crass Surrey BC restaurant owner seems to have one-upped New York’s famous Soup Nazi.

Everyone has been stuck on the bus with someone like Salim Kahil, or seen them berating people on a streetcorner. At first their outbursts seem funny-random, sad, just plain creepy (or all of the above), but you get used to them to the point that most of their stories start to run together. Such is the case within The Sandwich Nazi, a short film now expanded to feature length, whose stories and rants are almost entirely sexually based, and carry the film rather than punctuate a well told life story. As such one’s mileage may vary depending on how you take on a personality like Salim’s. He may grate on you immediately or over time. You may be laughing from start to finish. You may gradually find him endearing after being initially shocked.

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MSPIFF 2015 Review: The Keeping Room


There have been hundreds of films about life after war. Dozens about life after The American Civil War. But the consequences of war from the women’s perspective seems few and far between when it comes to the flicker show. Painting a picture of post Civil War America in the south, from the point of view of the women left alone is a wonderful concept. The world depicted is a dreadful hardship and almost surreal in nature. Not all of the parts in this machine work as well within the general idea but it’s competent enough to make a person stop and think about what they saw. And if nothing else, it’s got some tense and exciting (and brutally gruesome) action/thriller moments with muskets and revolvers.

Looking at the image above you might think you’re about to stumble into yet another zombie movie. But you’d be wrong… but in a way, you’d be right. America had ripped itself apart at this moment in time and what was left in some of the country was an utter wasteland. The men in the area were all dead or captured, fled or on some sort of political mission. The women were left fending for themselves. What men are left are drifters, scoundrels and drunkards; looking to kill, loot, rape and burn anything they come across. Which of course is partly due to being exposed to the horrors of war first hand and suffering from a then undiagnosed PTSD. They don’t know how to stop killing.

“War is cruel” opens the picture. This is of course nothing new to audiences but war can be equally cruel to the innocents left behind and the Confederacy left standing (or not standing) feels just like a post-apocalyptic nightmare. Straying too far from home might get you killed. Keeping a fire lit or firing a rifle shot might attract unwanted attention from roughians. But the worst scenario is that you’re a woman. Wearing a red shirt in a “Star Trek” episode would be safer than not having a “Y” chromosome upon this landscape. Partly because you’re a vulnerable target, but also because you’re alone. It’s not uncommon for a woman to just shoot herself or throw herself into a river than try to struggle through a seemingly never ending tribulation.
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Shorts Program: The Dancing Pig (1907)

There’s more TCM Fest stuff to come, including a rundown of the Return of the Dream Machine program, which featured films from 1900-1913 projected with an original 1908 hand-cranked projector – it was a very special evening, and introduced me to one of the most amazing, incredible, and bizarre pieces of early cinema I’ve yet seen. It affected me so much that I feel the need to share it with everyone I know, in every outlet I have. Ladies and gentlemen, behold….The Dancing Pig.

[The most amazing thing about this short is that apparently this vaudeville program was so popular at the time that there were numerous film versions made of it, by almost every studio. This one from Pathe seems to be the main one that’s survived to today.]

TCM Film Fest 2015: So Dear to My Heart

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I grew up watching this film, and assumed that it was as much a part of everyone else’s childhood as it was mine, just like any other Disney movie, or other animal movies like Lassie Come Home or National Velvet. Apparently that’s far from the case, as only one other person I knew at the festival had seen it (and she’s a certified Disney fanatic who went to great lengths to obtain a copy), and most people had never heard of it until it was in the festival program. It has never been released on DVD except as a bonus through the Disney Rewards Program. I’m pretty sure we bought it on VHS when I was a kid, but it’s possible we taped it off the Disney Channel or something. As the sole person in my group who had nostalgia for the film, I found myself trying not to oversell it, fearing that it wouldn’t live up to my memories. Thankfully, while it’s definitely fairly minor Disney, its charm and winsomeness remain intact through some admittedly cornball plot development.

Young boy Jeremiah Kincaid wants nothing more than to own a prize racehorse someday (this being rural Indiana in 1903, it’s harness racing he’s thinking of, not Thoroughbred racing)…until one of the farm’s sheep has a black lamb and refuses to accept him, and Jeremiah convinces his granny (his parents are unmentioned) to let him raise the outcast. Soon Jeremiah has big dreams for the troublemaking lamb Danny, hoping to take him to the state fair and win a blue ribbon. Lots of other little vignettes fill out the story, notably a treacherous trip into the swamp for Jeremiah and his cousin Tildy seeking out a bee tree, and an overnight search for the lost Danny in a frog-drowner of a rainstorm.

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TCM Film Fest 2015: Why Be Good?

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I have a new favorite film seen in 2015.

Colleen Moore is absolutely, unequivocally the most adorable thing ever as Pert Kelly, a young girl who goes out and parties every night, embodying the carefree flapper spirit. We catch up with her when she’s agreed to go out with a super smarmy guy because he’s rich, but she clearly has limits on how far she’s willing to go. Exactly where those limits are become a sticking point when she trades out smarmfest for cleancut young Winthrop Peabody Jr (played by a very handsome Neil Hamilton) enjoying his last evening out before taking the job as personnel manager for his father’s department store. Turns out Pert is a clerk in the store, and when Peabody Sr discovers the kind of girl his son is going with, he objects – not because she’s a working girl (he’s too progressive for that), but because he assumes such a party girl has “been around,” as they say.

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