Sunday Video Essay: The Darjeeling Ltd.

Everyone has a favorite Wes Anderson movie – or some just don’t like any of them. But for those that love to argue about which is his best, the only way you can be wrong is if you haven’t seen them all at least twice. Almost no other director is as auteur as Wes Anderson in my mind… OK, maybe Almodóvar, Wes Anderson is auteur in not just visuals, tones and style. He auteur in that his films (all of them; yes, even Fantastic Mr. Fox) take at least two viewings to fully take in. Love them or hate them, I insist you give them each a fair shake. And by fair shake I mean watch it again.

This fellow sticks by his Darjeeling Limited love. And I can support that. Even though Tenenbaums is still my personal favorite. Enjoy this defense piece Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman and Owen Wilson, starring in Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited.


Video Review: Shaun The Sheep

I just sent my children on a plane to their grandparents across the continent for the remainder of the summer. But just because they are not here with me to take in another dose of Aardman Studios’ delightful Shaun The Sheep feature film – and you should, it is the best modern-silent movie since The Artist – allow them three minutes to convince you from their take on the film a few months ago at the TIFF KIDS Film Festival.

Video is embedded below.

Trailers From Hell does We Need To Talk About Kevin

AKA, why I love Brian Trenchard-Smith.

Joe Dante’s ongoing project devoted to cinephilia centered around trailers, Trailers From Hell, has been doing fine work for years, and is a site I visit regularly as much for my love of Dante’s sensibility as for my love of trailers in and of themselves. The most articulate ‘Guru’ on the site – most really quite great but the ex patriot Briton-er who long ago set up shop making super-trash in Australia, Brian Trenchard-Smith is king. The site cut its teeth on trash horror action pictures from the 1950s onward, but has grown enough to make space for modern art films like We Need To Talk About Kevin and Holy Motors along side stuff like Night of the Lepus or Queen of Outer Space.

And, just so it is crystal I am on the same page, critically, as Trenchard-Smith, here is my archival review of the same film, which was one of my favourites of 2011.

Kids Talk Film #22: Gravity

In space, nobody can hear you scream, but in Dolby Atmos, well, that’s a different story. I took my children to see Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity on the big screen, mainly see if that would change their opinion about a future career in the space exploration industry – they expressed trepidation at this after watching 2001: A Space Odyssey back in 2010. Afterwards, Willem (age 10) and Miranda (age 8), had plenty to say about the film; this might be their longest episode to date. Fire in zero G, Clooney’s habit of nattering away and using up precious air-jets, how long Sandra Bullock can hold her breath, and other details are up for debate.

Further episodes, including Ang Lee’s Life of Pi, Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits, Ron Fricke’s Samsara as well the Studio Ghibli Marathon done for Twitchfilm, can be found at the Kids Talk Film Vimeo Channel.

Kids Talk Film #19: Jaws

After bugging/begging me for some time to watch Jaws, and the long-time-coming upgrade of our home theatre equipment to 1080p/Blu, we desided to christen the re-opening with a trip to Amity Island and a boat ride on the Orca with Team Spielberg. Afterwards, in sunny suburbia, my son and I have a chat about the ins, outs and whathaveyous of the movie, the diets of Great White Sharks, the hubris of grizzled sea captains and the reliability of municipal politicians. *Note Spoilers* within the below video if a 40 year old film can be spoiled at this point.

This is a part of an ongoing series of short film discussion videos in which I take the kids to see stuff without the Pixar/Disney label attached. Enjoy.

Further Episodes (as well as the Studio Ghibli Marathon done for can be found at the Kids Talk Film Vimeo Channel.

Video Review: Dead Man Down

Andrew called this out earlier, praising the directorial excess and the nice cast (Noomi Raapace, Colin Farrell, Isabelle Huppert, Terrence Howard) as one of the hidden gems to look for in this dour spring moviegoing season, but he was only going by the trailer. Now, Mamo!’s Matt Price has seen the film, and video reviews Niels Arden Oplev’s stylish action thriller, Dead Man Down; heaping it with praise in, exactly that, good direction. And as a part of The Substream‘s Watch This Instead (WTI) format he goes on recommends an even more stylish action thriller to accompany it. We’re on the same page today, Mr. Price.

Video Review: Gangster Squad

Everyone who has seen Gangster Squad is describing it as a very, very bad cartoon. Matthew Price over at The Substream gets very hot under the collar whilst calling out !Bullshit! on Ruben “Zombieland” Fleischer. A charlatan and a waster of cinema-goers time and money is the implication in his verbal rant where he goes on to recommend instead one of the finer films on the ‘inner life’ of thugs and career criminals, namely Mike Newell’s Donnie Brasco.

Kids Talk Film #18: Life of Pi

A number of people suggested that I take my children to Ang Lee’s Life of Pi as it was a discussion worthy ‘family film.’ While the raging tiger scenes scared my daughter off from going on this particular cinematic journey, my son, Willem had a few things to say about man eating islands, spirituality and religion as well as storytelling and suspension of disbelieve. This is a part of an ongoing series of short film discussion videos in which I take the kids to see stuff without the Pixar/Dreamworks/Disney label attached. Enjoy.

Further Episodes (as well as the Studio Ghibli Marathon done for can be found at the Kids Talk Film Vimeo Channel.

The Substream sorts out the Black Wednesday Movie Release Logjam

With the impending American Thanksgiving bonanza on the horizon there are a lot of films released today for people to attend in between over-eating and over-shopping. In the weekly Watch This Instead segment (WTI), mustachioed Canuck Mike Cameron, whose handsome mug is seen often over at The Substream, breaks down the pros and the cons of the myriad of movie options before settling on a confident recommendation for his favourite film of the year.

Video Reviews: TIFF Midnight Madness (all of ’em)

The gang assembled for TIFF almost every night at Midnight to catch up on the days films as well as anticipate what gory and gonzo cinema would scar our psyche in the Midnight Madness sidebar. Below (tucked under the seat) are a few of the Substream segments that Rajo and Mike prepared with a series of guest hosts for each night of the Madness. Matty Price, Matthew Brown, Kurt Halfyard all host a segment (and cameo in other segments), while occasional row three contributor Tom Clift was all the way up from Melbourne, Australia to talk about his festival in Part 10 of the video series. Plenty more friends, critics, film directors, hell, even Programmer Colin Geddes’ mom chime in, along with random folks waiting in line, on what it is like to attend TIFF Midnight Madness – and why you should be planning out your way-after-hours vacation time for September 2013.

Videos are tucked under the seat.

Would you like to know more…?

Kids Talk Film #14: PlayTime

Before Willem and Miranda (Kurt’s kids) to back to school after this labour day holiday, they get a big dose of cinema-school with a 70mm print viewing of Jacques Tati’s 1967 classic PlayTime! Episode #14 finds them talking about the film from the road as they get the heck outta town!

The entire series, designed to be a not-too-varnished look at how young kids process movies both in storytelling, plot and meaning, can be found on the Vimeo Kids Talk Film Channel.