Friday One Sheet: The Post

It is no secret, I love negative space in poster design. Here is the key art for Steven Spielberg’s Nixon Era ‘document leak’ movie, The Post, starring Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and a slew of others. The poster offers out of the ‘boxes of all the actors’ hack style poster, and goes for the ‘large steps of an institution’ image, with a tiny Hanks & Streep (facing away from the viewer) dwarfed by those steps. In light of the crisp Helvetica typeface, I do like the included handwritten signature of a release date, particularly because it seems that the story of the film is to obtain that signature to publish the secret government documents.

I have tucked the trailer below the fold to give you an idea of the kind of Oscar-bait America-Feel-Good exercise that the film might be. Cynicism aside, it feels clearly motivated by something like previous Oscar-winner Spotlight (And in the rich history of movies about newspapers, Zodiac and All The President’s Men) and that is pretty fine. It also feels a bit like a spiritual sequel to Bridge of Spies, one of Spielberg’s more underrated recent films.

Would you like to know more…?

Trailer: Swinging Safari

It has been a few years since The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – 23 in fact – and while director Stephen Elliot has been working on and off in the ensuing decades, it appears here he has returned to the over-the-top form that made for such a wonderful cult film. Swinging Safari is a very broad and colourful comedy set in an very over-styled swinging-1970s Aussie milieu, the film stars Guy Pearce and Kylie Minogue, among others goofing it up at key parties and other poolside shenanigans. Will it work for 90 minutes? Who knows, but it looks like a lot of silly fun.

1970s Australia: A 200-ton blue whale washes up on a local beach and the kids think it’s the biggest thing that’s ever happened in their lives. Behind closed doors, the Mums and Dads of this quiet suburban cul-de-sac celebrate in their own special way, by joining the sexual revolution. It’s a time of boxed wine, bad hair, bad styles, bad choices, but good times. And like the rotting whale, it’s all about to go spectacularly wrong.

Trailer: P.T. Anderson’s Phantom Thread

“Whatever you do, do it … carefully.” There, ladies and gents is the mission statement of P.T. Anderson in a nutshell. His latest film, Phantom Thread, which has quietly been winding its way through post production reunites the director with his star Daniel Day-Lewis, here strangely channeling late-period Ralph Fiennes (just close your eyes, and you can see Fiennes in the role just through the audio association). Of course, it is clear from the trailer that Day-Lewis shall deliver as mesmerizing a performance as his Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood. Here he plays a mysterious tailor that likes to sew mysteries into his garments. The film follows his relationship with a waitress (Vicky Krieps) he courts, and eventually makes a model for his clothes.

Set in the glamour of 1950’s post-war London, renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock and his sister Cyril are at the center of British fashion, dressing royalty, movie stars, heiresses, socialites, debutantes and dames with the distinct style of The House of Woodcock. Women come and go through Woodcock’s life, providing the confirmed bachelor with inspiration and companionship, until he comes across a young, strong-willed woman, Alma , who soon becomes a fixture in his life as his muse and lover. Once controlled and planned, he finds his carefully tailored life disrupted by love.

Visually impressive, yet somehow cold and austere as well, in a fashion that brings Anderson closer to Kubrick and further from Altman. I expect the dual meaning title Phantom Thread will be a stand out in a year that has been a spectacular year of ambitiously visual projects, including Dunkirk, Blade Runner 2049, mother!, Okja, War For The Planet Of The Apes, Lady MacBeth, Hagazussa, Valley of Shadows, The Killing of A Sacred Deer, A Cure For Wellness, and The Florida Project.

Teaser: I, Tonya

After making big waves at this years edition of the Toronto International Film Festival, both in terms of audience appreciation, as well as upstart distribution Neon paying $5 Million dollars for the rights, the Margot Robbie starring biopic I, Tonya gets a snappy, stylish and snarling little teaser to when the palette. Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl, Fright Night) directs and Allison Janney (shown only briefly here) also stars in the flip side of the story of Tonya Harding, the exceptionally talented figure skater that defied the image of the sport by being a whole-lot ‘trailer trash’ in terms of her presentation. If you were around in the 1990s, she became a household name in North America and the woman everyone loved to hate during the 1994 Olympics after details (and a guilty plea) came to light about her violent assault on fellow American skater Nancy Kerrigan.

Trailer: Marvel’s Black Panther

I have read more than a few afro-future science fiction novels, and I have to say, that despite the Marvel brand on this film, I’m impressed with the world that Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed) and his team have built with Black Panther. Helped enormously by the big paydays with the Guardians of the Galaxy films, a more gonzo and original feel to the latest Marvel movies makes them visually impressive to say the least. We don’t post a ton of trailers for comic books around here these days because they are all starting to look the same, but lo and behold, he comes a new look.

After the events of Captain America: Civil War, King T’Challa returns home to Wakanda. He soon finds his sovereignty challenged by factions within his own country. When two enemies conspire to bring down the kingdom, T’Challa must team up, as the Black Panther, with C.I.A. agent Everett K. Ross and members of the Dora Milaje—Wakanda’s special forces—to prevent a world war.

Trailer: Woody Allen’s Wonder Wheel

The annual Woody Allen joint for 2017, Wonder Wheel, is a mob story set on Coney Island in the 1950s seemingly in Technicolor. Starring Kate Winslet (in Romance & Cigarettes mode), Juno Temple, Justin Timberlake, and a very potbellied Jim Belushi. The film revolves around Ginny (Winslet), the wife of a carousel operator (Belushi), who perks up when she falls for a handsome lifeguard, Mickey (Timberlake). But when her husband’s estranged daughter (Temple) resurfaces and also sets her sights on Mickey, it begins ‘the great unraveling of Ginny. Not as baroque or kooky as Jonathan Demme’s Married To The Mob, but still it looks like Allen stepping a (wee) bit outside his comfort zone here. Once again, Amazon Studios is funding, and while the film will premiere at the New York Film Festival on October 14, it will be seeing a wider release on December 1st.

The eponymous Coney Island Ferris Wheel is no stranger to being on screen, as it is featured in The Taking of Pelham 123, Remo Williams, Angel Heart, underwater in A.I., and in the opening credits of Walter Hill’s iconic, The Warriors.

Trailer: Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs

So, well within the vein of Fantastic Mr. Fox, comes Wes Anderson’s Japan-set new stop-motion animated feature. Isle of Dogs was not penned by Roald Dahl, but Anderson and his team certainly made Fantastic Mr. Fox their own when they adapted it for the big screen, and this feels almost like a sequel. Many of the Anderson regulars, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Bob Balaban, Jeff Goldblum, Frances McDormand, Harvey Keitel, F. Murray Abraham, Fisher Stevens are here, with some new voices added including Scarlett Johansson (who does a LOT of voice work these days), Greta Gerwig, Ken Watanabe, Bryan Cranston and Liev Schreiber. It looks familiar and great, and really, Fantastic Mr. Fox was one of the best things to happen to feature length animation some time, even if Anderson directed it over the phone from Paris to London.

The film gets a wide release date, March 23, 2018.

Trailer: The Shape of Water

Guillermo del Toro is certainly an auteur at this point in the game. I went to his private collection of memorabilia and childhood influences exhibit last year at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (aptly titled “At Home with Monsters”) and you could see the very distinct flavor of both his inspirations as well as his output.

All that said, this has a little more of “the feels” to it. Almost like Jean-Pierre Jeunet had a hand in production. In fact, if this trailer is anything to go by, it feels a little safe to me. A misunderstood or “different” person/creature is able to find themselves with another who is “different.” Meanwhile the evil scientists do evil stuff. I feel like I’ve seen this story a million times. I mean shit, Doug Jones as the guy in the water tank? Really?

Still, it’s del Toro and slew of great actors (Hawkins, Shannon, Stuhlbarg, Spencer, Jenkins, et. al), so this is still very definitely on the must see list later this year. Have a look below; am I way off base here?

Alexander Payne is “Downsizing”

I am not sure why I never come up with Alexander Payne’s name wehen asked who my favorite directors are. The usual names pop up such as The Coens or Tarantino or Kubrick. But Payne has for years, consistently created wonderful and intimate character pieces that are always fresh and exciting. Even a simple road trip movie between an old man and his son or a land dispute between brothers in contemporary Hawaii or just a guy who likes to wine and whine or a girl looking to become class president. The man doesn’t have the largets filmography out there, but his stories are 5/5 efforts every single time. And funny enough, Downsizing looks like it will be one of his larger pictures – in terms of scope and effects work… yet it still remains intimate.

Matt Damon and Kristin Wiig are a couple of the best working in the quirky dramedies of today. Hell, Damon’s best work is Soderbergh’s The Informant and he appears to be harnessing a little bit of that character here. This is Honey I Shrunk the Kids for adults – a comparison I’m positive I’m not the first to make. And while I’m often turned off by iconic pop-rock songs in my trailers of today, I can’t think of a better use of The Talking Heads. Yeah – I’m seriously looking forward to this “little” Christmas present in late December.

Trailer: 78/52


Alexander O. Phillipe’s compulsively watchable documentary on the 3 minute show sequence from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is finally getting a commercial release from IFC. And here they have cut a wonderful ‘talking heads’ sans talking heads trailer using the re-staging moments from the film. It pulls you in. And as all the critics quotes (curiously mostly nerd sites over more prestigious outlets) say, it is indeed an excellent examination of cinemas most famous murder. 78 Shots, 52 cuts, aka 78/52 comes to theatres and VOD on Oct. 13, 2017.

Trailer: Blade Runner 2029 – The ACTION Picture


 

The latest advert for Denis Villeneuve’s sequel to cult classic science-fiction-noir Blade Runner, is made for television. With that in mind, I never expected the tradition and history of this film to result in a generic shoot-em-up action picture, but hey, that is how one gets butts in seats. Of course, the trailer also gives more glimpses of the wonder post-urban world that cinematographer Roger Deakins and producer Ridley Scott magnificently deliver.

The internet is ‘freaking out’ and telling people not to watch this, as they embed it in the very-same ‘warning article.’ I am less caring about Spoilers, and more curious as to if this film will indeed be an action picture, and not an atmospheric, thoughtful science fiction film. Knowing Villeneuve (who recently made the nearly-gun-and-explosion-free Arrival, which brimmed with thoughtful sci-fi concepts and sophisticated film grammar, I am expecting the latter in spite of this bit of marketing.