Cinecast Episode 404 – Shawshanky

Though it’s a little earlier in the week than we’re used to recording, we do get back into somewhat of a more normal groove with the Cinecast this week. We’ve got a main SPOILER review with Trainwreck. There’s some dispute over who’s film this is, Apatow’s or Schumer’s. Or both? Either way, Andrew and Kurt both enjoyed the film but have differing thoughts as to why we liked it. True Detective continues to wind its way into the hearts of your humble hosts. One of us as a love potion and the other as a sickly poison. But hey, we like to like what we like. Submarine movies are inherently awesome – especially with a grizzled Sean Connery at the helm. Prison escape movies are kind of that way too. We lament our cinematic truancy of the 1950s and Rock Hudson. We follow it all up with some Kevin Bacon and some Leland Orser. And then Andrew muffs the sign off.

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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Blu-Ray Review: Cemetery Without Crosses

Director: Robert Hossein
Screenplay: Dario Argento, Claude Desailly, Robert Hossein
Starring: Michèle Mercier, Robert Hossein, Guido Lollobrigida, Daniele Vargas
Country: France, Italy, Spain
Running Time: 90 min
Year: 1969
BBFC Certificate: 15


I‘m a huge fan of Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns. I class Once Upon a Time in the West as my all time favourite film, let alone western. Because of this I’ve been keen to watch more films from the sub-genre, away from Leone’s work, but unfortunately very few have made their way to UK DVD/Blu-Ray. Perhaps due to the success of Quentin Tarantino’s spaghetti western homage, Django Unchained, some titles are finally coming out of the woodwork though. Arrow have released a few and their latest acquisition, Cemetery Without Crosses (a.k.a. The Rope and the Colt or Une corde, un Colt) isn’t a 100% spaghetti western, more of what Alex Cox called a ‘baguette western’ (it had a French director and stars), but it’s very much influenced by the Italian films of the era.

The film opens with Ben Caine (Benito Stefanelli) getting chased on horseback and then murdered in front of his wife Maria (Michèle Mercier). The killers are part of the notorious Rogers family and generally get away with their crimes due to their strength, power and influence over the local sheriff. Maria is out for vengeance though and enlists her old friend Manuel (Robert Hossein) to act it out for her. Much like in A Fistful of Dollars, Manuel begins by gaining his enemy’s trust, infiltrating the gang. This doesn’t last however as he kidnaps the beautiful daughter/sister of the family. Maria uses this hostage to exact her revenge.

I will say this before I start going into what I liked and didn’t like about the film; I was extremely tired when I watched it and in a particularly bad mood. So although I did like the film, I imagine I might have liked it even more given a better viewing situation.

Anyway, onto my critique.

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Treaser Trailer: Synchronicity

Synchronicity

Time travel concepts and Blade Runner science fiction noir come together in Jacob Gentry’s Synchronicity. Gentry is perhaps best known for the quirky-absurd middle vignette in the 2007 apocalypse triptych, The Signal and has a particular knack for sync’ing up framing and action to electronic music, which you will see on display in the teaser trailer below.

The film is startlingly ambitious for what is probably a very tiny budget, and is playing at this years Fantasia International Film Festival. The film stars horror-indie regular AJ Bowen (The Guest, House of the Devil, Rites of Spring) and the villain is played by iconic Canuck character actor and ham (literally, watch ABC’s “V: The Final Battle”) Michael Ironside, who is also at Fantasia, starring in the Quebecois post-apocalyptic kids adventure, Turbokid. Go Michael!

Trailer #3: American Ultra

American Ultra

If there is one thing that stoner-super-spy comedy American Ultra is doing right, it is with passive understatement, and the casting of Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart seems perfect in this case. Also digging the Molly-Day-Glo set-piece. It only has to overcome the fact that this concept (without the pot) has been done hundreds of times at this point.

After three trailers, are you ready for The Bourne High-dentity? (Sorry, that one is mine.)

Mamo 415: Ant-vengers, Assemble!

Mamo!

The Marvel Cinematic Universe offers up its weakest opening weekend since The Incredible Hulk with Edgar Wright Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man, so we assemble the avengers – Norm Wilner from Now Magazine and Someone Else’s Movie, and Greg LeGros from See You Next Wednesday and Time Bandits – to geek out over what’s gone on in the MCU (and the Distinguished Competition, as well). Plus, smoked meat!

Blu-Ray Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past – The Rogue Cut

Director: Bryan Singer
Screenplay: Simon Kinberg
Based on a Graphic Novel by: Chris Claremont, John Byrne
Starring: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Peter Dinklage
Country: USA/UK/Canda
Running Time: 142 min (Rogue Cut) 126 (Theatrical Cut)
Year: 2014
BBFC Certificate: 12 (although the commentary is rated 15)


I like to moan about super hero movies. There seems to be an endless stream of them nowadays with these extended universes and such, so I’ve grown very tired of hearing about them. 90% of online chatter seems to surround the latest super hero movie trailer or casting news. Personally I couldn’t give a s**t about most of it and become a snob hiding in the corner with my indie movies and classic re-releases. However, despite my grumbling, I’ve actually enjoyed most of the super hero films I’ve seen during this decade-and-a-half boom.

One of last year’s super hero movies that I liked quite a lot was X-Men: Days of Future Past. So when I was offered a chance to review the new Rogue Cut of the film, I decided to break away from my usual snooty high-brow/classic/cult posts to join the mainstream.

I won’t go into too much detail about the plot for X-Men: Days of Future Past as most of you will already have seen it. Basically, in the future, the world is a bleak and desolate place, particularly for mutants who are being hunted and killed by the all powerful Sentinels (big evil robots that can take on mutant powers). The X-Men have a plan though. They send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back into the subconscious of his 1970’s self to change events surrounding Mystique/Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), Charles Xavier (a.k.a. Professor X, played by James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (a.k.a. Magneto, played by Michael Fassbender) which led to the development of the Sentinel programme, spearheaded by Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage).

What The Rogue Cut adds in its 16 extra minutes, alongside a couple of minor changes here and there, is, as you might have guessed, a role for Rogue (Anna Paquin). She was a major character in the first couple of films, but was left on the cutting room floor when Days of Future Past hit cinemas. In these re-instated scenes she is saved from experimentation by Professor X (Patrick Stewart), Magneto (Ian McKellen) and Bobby/Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) so that she can help the wounded Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) keep Wolverine in his former subconscious.

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Mondays Suck Less in the Third Row

Check out these links:
35 Celebrities Pictures if they were Another Race
The Lost Ending of ‘The Shining’ Explained
The Science of ‘Inside Out’
The Work We Do While Asleep
Some classic films that almost had wildly different endings
Underwater graveyard full of WWII planes is otherworldly
Are you a HORROR junkie? This is probably worth a click…
Redditor looking for a “relaxing” movie
5 must watch films from the Criterion Collection (author concurs)



Since “Dogma” clearly forbids temporal and geographical alienation… (gracias Rot)

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Review: Ant-Man

Director: Peyton Reed (Bring it On, The Break-Up, Down with Love, Yes Man)
Writers: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, Paul Rudd
Producers: Kevin Feige
Starring: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Abby Ryder Fortson, Michael Peña
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 117 min.

 

 

My original posting of this review can be found on LetterBoxd

 


One thing a superhero movie, or any blockbuster, should never be is boring. Unfortunately, that’s the quickest criticism I would make of Ant-Man, which out of everything in the Marvel Cinematic Universe should have had the uniqueness to avoid that description the most. At this point in the game, being the 12th film in the franchise and the closer of their Phase Two, it’s no surprise that Ant-Man follows the Marvel formula from start to finish, but Guardians of the Galaxy just last year showed that you can be on the MCU factory line and still bring a flesh flavor to the mix that excites more often than it succumbs to tedium. Even with the much-discussed departure of Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish, this film had all the potential to be the quirky and charismatic jolt of energy that the franchise needed to stave off the fatigue it’s been plagued with increasingly the past few years of dolling out one overfamiliar entry after the next. Director Peyton Reed comes from a unique line of comedies, Anchorman director Adam McKay worked on a new draft of the script and right alongside him was star Paul Rudd, an unconventional and exciting choice to lead a big superhero extravaganza. So why did Ant-Man turn out so dull?

Maybe it was the tired plot, as Marvel’s patented routine of bland, one-dimensional, practically non-existent villains sees its newest member in the form of Corey Stoll’s Darren Cross, saddling a very talented actor with a character who doesn’t even warrant a second glance. The moment you meet this guy there’s no real sense of threat to him, so instead you sit back and wait for whatever is going to happen to wash him away so he can join Malekith and Ivan Vanko in the annals of nobodies. Cross got his feelings hurt when his mentor, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), wouldn’t share his big secrets with him so instead he spent decades trying to create what Pym did in order to…. um…. uh….. revenge…. or….. ? Well how about this, how about Pym’s sad story about his deceased wife leading him to neglect his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly), who now works for Cross but goes back to her father for help when she discovers what he’s going to do with this dangerous new technology. You see, the whole relationship is built around the fact that Pym has been hiding the truth of what happened to Hope’s mother and there’s this really big emotional moment where he finally tells her, letting her know that he hid it all these years, ruining his relationship with his only child and causing her to abandon him, because…. um…. crap…. well…. the movie needed an emotional scene?

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Trailer: The Revenant

leorevenant

Rev·e·nantˈrevəˌnäN,-nənt – noun
a person who has returned, especially supposedly from the dead.

Hot off the success of last year’s Best Picture winner Birdman, Alejandro G. Iñárritu is shifting gears with The Revenant. The film is a period piece revenge thriller adapted by Iñárritu from Michael Punke’s 2003 novel based on the true story of 19th century fur trapper Hugh Glass.

Over the years, the project has gone through quite a few hands before ending up on Iñárritu’s lap. At one point, Park Chan-wook was attached to direct with Samuel L. Jackson to star. Later on, John Hillcoat and Christian Bale were in negotiations.

As you’ll see in the trailer, with the final product, Iñárritu has crafted what appears to be a spectacularly beautiful film starring Leonardo Dicaprio as the weary protagonist hellbent on revenge against his companions (one played by Tom Hardy) who rob and leave him for dead after he’s attacked by a grizzly. Needless to say, it looks fucking awesome.

The Revenant drops into theaters stateside on Christmas Day 2015.