Review: Trance

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Director: Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire, 28 Days Later)
Screenplay: Joe Ahearne, John Hodge
Producers: Danny Boyle, Christian Colson
Starring: James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel, Rosario Dawson
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 101 min.


Hot off the heels of having the world in the palm of his hand with the Olympic opening ceremony, Danny Boyle delivers his first feature film since the harrowing 127 Hours. Trance is a bewitching puzzle of a thriller that’s off-kilter fun from start to finish, reminding us of Boyle’s amazing ability to surprise his audience.

James McAvoy plays Simon, a fine art auctioneer who teams up with a gang of criminals in order to steal an expensive painting. However, the robbery doesn’t exactly go to plan, the painting goes missing and Simon apparently can’t remember what happened to it after taking a nasty blow to the head. The leader of the gang (Vincent Cassel) then decides to enlist the help of a hypnotherapist (Rosario Dawson) in order to unlock the memory in Simon’s head of where the painting is located.

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My 13 Most Anticipated Films of 2013

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In honour of finally seeing a 2013 movie that I’ve been eager to catch (Chan-wook Park’s Stoker – which was a heaping batch of candy and colour coated fun), I thought I would lay out some of the films I’m most excited to see in 2013. I’m sure I’ve missed a bunch (I’ve heard that Lucretia Martel has a new one coming out this year, but haven’t found any confirmation) and I could make the list even longer (sorry Richard Kelly and Terry Gilliam – you guys just missed the cut), but these 13 stand out as my most anticipated:

 

Mood Indigo – Michel Gondry

I’ve already mentioned in a previous post that this became my number one “can’t wait for it” movie of the year the second I heard about it. I’ll always be curious what Gondry does and this looks to have a great sense of wonder to it.

 

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A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence – Roy Andersson

This would likely be my number one if I could only be assured it was actually coming out this year…I was over the moon for Andersson’s last film You, The Living from 2007 (not to mention adoring his 2000 film Songs From The Second Floor), so I’ve been waiting somewhat, though only somewhat, patiently for the follow-up…After seeing The Story Of Film at TIFF 2011, I was able to chat very briefly with director Mark Cousins and he said he had seen Andersson’s new film and that it was amazing. And now that this is the third year in a row that predictions are being made about it’s arrival at Cannes, the patience is, ahem, wearing thin. The word “eager” doesn’t even come close to describing my anticipation.

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Trailer: The Look of Love

Michael Winterbottom, as prolific as he is, has had a particular brand of commercial success in his collaborations with Steve Coogan. The latest one is a biopic of Paul Raymond, a UK entrepreuner who opened up the UK’s first strip club, had a publishing empire, and was at one point the richest man in Britain. The Look of Love has all the trappings of 24 Hour Party People, stylized and slightly tawdry subject matter, fourth wall breaks, and splashy editing. And, with the addition of Imogen Poots, here playing Raymond’s daughter who was primed to take over the big business in the early 1990s, but then had a turn of her own, it looks like this one has another ace in the hole. I’m in.

New Trailer for Oblivion – Where’s WALL-E?

We’ve already seen a poster and then a first trailer for Oblivion, the upcoming big-budget sci-fi flick starring Tom Cruise. Now a new trailer has appeared and it’s bringing us more of the same vibe – a little bit WALL-E, a little Minority Report, a hint of War of the Worlds, a nod to Alien 3 and Pitch Black, some dashes of the video games Portal and Half-Life – a little bit of everything sci-fi really. It looks shiny and fun though it could provide for one of those hollow sci-fi experiences that’s all snap, crackle and pop but with nothing to make it last long in the memory. Hopefully that’s not the case.

The film is directed by Joseph Kosinski, whose previous and debut film was TRON: Legacy (which I actually really enjoyed), and has quite an impressive supporting cast including Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace, Seven Psychopaths), Andrea Riseborough (Shadow Dancer), Melissa Leo and Morgan Freeman looking as cool as ever. I’m filing this one under “cautiously optimistic.”

Are you liking the look of Oblivion?

Jackie Robinson Biopic [new poster]

Yeah yeah, yet another standard biopic with “courage, inspiration and heart.” An important story to be remembered and honored to be sure, but likely to be full of standard, Hollywood schlock. Still it’s got a few things I’m looking forward to: Alan Tudyk, Harrison Ford and baseball.

Harrison Ford has yet to redeem himself of the last fifteen years or so, but with each subsequent release in which he stars, I always hold out hope. Maybe this will be his comeback performance? *coughseriouslycoughdoubtitcough*

And hey, I’d be lying if I weren’t somewhat intrigued by the prospect of a new face in Hollywood that might turn out to be the next big thing in new-comer actor, Chadwick Boseman, playing the titular character.

Anyway, the poster below is kind of cool and you can catch the trailer under the seats if you’re interested.

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Ron Howard in talks to adapt Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book.

Back in April, it was reported that Disney acquired the rights to Neil Gaiman’s fantastic children’s novel The Graveyard Book. When it was announced, Henry Selick – the stop-motion director behind The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach, and Coraline – was set to direct what would be another stop-motion film. Somewhere along the way, the project fell apart or Disney lost confidence.

But the project is seeing new life, according to the Hollywood Reporter, this time with Ron Howard in negotiations to direct what will be a live-action adaptation.

This is great news, of course. The Graveyard Book is the best children’s novel I’ve read since Harry Potter – and in many ways, it was a much more enjoyable read for me. The book follows a young boy named Nobody Owens who is taken in and raised by the inhabitants of an old graveyard after his family is brutally murdered by a man named Jack. Ghosts from all centuries, vampires, werewolves, and a variety of ghouls make up the rich cast of characters where it is the supernatural who fear the humans – not the other way around. It’s thrilling and scary and genuinely touching, hitting on some very mature themes and beautifully exploring the trials and tribulations that come with growing up.

The book also won both the Carnegie and Newbery medals for best children’s book.

Have you read the book? If so, what do you think of Howard behind the camera? And are you relieved or bummed that the film will be live-action rather than stop-motion?

Trailer: Emperor

Playing a quite convincing General MacArthur during the late 1940s American occupation of Japan, Tommy Lee Jones puts in another solid performance and Matthew Fox holds his own. Emperor is a Good-Morning Vietnam!-ish (minus the comedy) drama directed by Peter “Girl With A Pearl Earring” Webber. I managed to catch it at last years edition of TIFF and it is a solid bit of emotional/sentimental filmmaking that should appeal to The King’s Speech crowd even as it smoothens over many of the nuances of Japanese cultural strife of the era.

As the Japanese surrender at the end of WWII, Gen. Fellers is tasked with deciding if Emperor Hirohito will be hanged as a war criminal. Influencing his ruling is his quest to find Aya, an exchange student he met years earlier in the U.S.

Auto playing trailer under the seats!

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