Terry Gilliam’s Don Quixote Project Greenlit By Amazon

We do not generally publish news items here in the third row, and this is not even fully confirmed news, and this isn’t even the first time for this news. But screw it. Amazon Streaming is funding Terry Gilliam’s often aborted The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (see: Lost in La Mancha for the well documented cluster-fuck of the project) a pseudo-adaptation of Miguel de Cervantes famous novel.

According to an interview with the director at indiewire, Amazon is funding the film to get a brief theatrical run before becoming a streaming-only Amazon Prime product. He has even tapped John Hurt to star as the famous man of chivalry who tilts at windmills for a 2016 shoot.

Time will tell if this actually happens, but god, we hope it does.

Christopher Lee. 1922 – 2015

Iconic actor Christopher Lee has passed on at the age of 93. He leaves behind a fascinating career in which he specialized in intimidating figures of intelligence and power. For the UK’s Hammer studios, Lee made dozens of films (and 20 of those co-starring with Peter Cushing), where he played a very raw and masculine version of Dracula, often.

I will always have a fondness (and fear) of his Lord Summerisle in Robin Hardy’s The Wickerman, a cultured Scottish lord who presides over an island of pagans whose apple crop is dying and extra measures have to be taken to make the land fertile again. Lee sings, struts, dresses in drag and never once loses his authority or dignity in the role, right up to the harrowing ending.

Lee also played Scaramanga, the Bond villain in 1974’s Man With The Golden Gun. While quiet in the 1980s, he started to get small roles in the 1990s with his white hair, such as Richard Lester’s Return of the Musketeers, Joe Dante’s Gremlins and Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow before making a full career resurgence in the 2000s with The Lord of The Rings, where he played the fallen wizard, Saruman. After that, George Lucas used him extensively in the Star Wars Prequel trilogy (dovetailing nicely with Peter Cushing’s authoritative role in the original trilogy.) With his career back in full swing, top projects such as the remake of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory made fine use of his tall figure. Even Martin Scorsese found a nice against-type role for Lee in his tribute to all things cinema, the children’s adventure, Hugo.

With such a prolific career and legacy, an onscreen career that spans 8 decades, there is no other actor quite like Christopher Lee, a man of intelligence, taste and dignity, he was one of a kind and will be missed.

The Guardian has more.

Cinecast Episode 398 – Crying in the Darkness and Licking the Floor

Outside of the lengthy “Game of Thrones” discussion this week (which covers the last two episodes), we manage to stay pretty spoiler free, despite a main review for part of the 2015 western resurgence in Slow West. Also, Andrew hits the theater for the latest Cameron Crowe joint from Hawaii and the Brian Wilson / Beach Boys biopic, Love & Mercy. On the “television” front, Netflix and Kurt hangout for about 12 hours in the compelling mess that is “Sense8″ and Andrew finds enough commuting time to follow-up with Adnan and friends in the “Undisclosed” podcast. It’s a jam packed show full of fire and Australia; yes all of it (copyright Mark Kermode).

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

 

 
 

aloha-cinecastposter aloha-cinecastposter

 

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Zhang Yimou is “Coming Home”

I’ve been a pretty bi fan of Zhang Yimou since Raise the Red Lantern (where my Criterion release!?). He smartly strayed from his signature style (symmetry and extraordinary bright color palette) after Curse of the Golden Flower and moved on to different fare with Coen Brother remakes and directing English-speaking Americans. But it’s been four years now and we’re due.

What equally exciting is that he’s pairing up again with his longtime muse, Gong Li, for this latest picture.

I do admit this trailer feels a little dreary and overly sentimental, but at the same time, there’s something emotionally sweet and hypnotic with what’s going on here and I for one am really looking forward to seeing what he’s bringing to the table this time around. With fairly positive reviews coming out of TIFF, Coming Home will be hitting The States and Canada early this fall.

 

 
 

Review: Spy

Director: Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat)
Writer: Paul Feig
Producers: Paul Feig, Jessie Henderson, Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Miranda Hart, Bobby Cannavale, Allison Janney, Jude Law
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 120 min.

 

 

My original posting of this review can be found HERE

 


Spy is the third straight collaboration between director Paul Feig and his leading lady Melissa McCarthy (with Ghostbusters already lined up as their fourth) and it’s easily their best yet. Continuing with the formula they’ve established of taking typically male-dominated genres (raunch comedy, buddy action movie) and inserting a dominance of women into the primary characters, this one sees McCarthy take on the role of Susan Cooper, a well-trained CIA agent who has spent her time in the agency as the desk-bound partner in the earpiece of well-groomed field agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law). However, when criminal Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne) learns the identities of Fine and all the other top agents, Cooper volunteers to head into the field to take Boyanov down and retrieve the nuclear weapon she is in possession of before she sells it off to someone who means to use it.

So far, so pedestrian and Feig’s script (taking sole writing credit after his last two films were written by others) doesn’t do much to deviate from the traditional norms of this rote procedure we’ve seen done many times before. As was the case with The Heat, Spy doesn’t distinguish itself in terms of plot or narrative structure, playing out similarly to others in the genre in a way that can become a bit tiresome, especially as it extends to a bloated 120 minutes. Sure, it’s a comedy on the surface but at the same time Feig is determined to play the spy angle as straight as possible, as if Spy were simply a spy movie with jokes rather than a satire on the genre. It’s a move that speaks to the bold and innovative way that Feig inserts McCarthy into the role traditionally played by an inordinately fit leading man, but at the same time it can diminish the level of energy and excitement present elsewhere in the film.

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Trailer: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

Hey look, it’s Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie)! Also this is the last, new thing we’ll ever see the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman on screen for ever again (which saddens me on many levels). So there’s stuff in here to look forward to, and I admit that having read some of the novelizations, I’m somewhat interested in the conclusion here; but overall this is one of the most mediocre, but successful, franchises I can think of. From crappy, cheap set designs to questionable performances (by reputable (some, Oscar winner) actors), there’s just an overall sense of poor production value.

Of course there is a wide and varying difference of opinion on these films and the subject matter is somewhat intriguing. Unfortunately I just find that the execution of what could’ve really been an iconic franchise is wiped away with a lot of static.

Sorry, to bring down the atmosphere and I do hope these film makers can pull of something grand for the finale, but if we go with the history books, all signs point to another forgettable entry in the series.

 

 

Weekend of Trash XVII

I got together with the guys once again this weekend just gone for the 17th (recorded) Weekend of Trash (previous write-ups can be found in the category archive). I was too lazy this time around to do haiku reviews on top of my standard ones, but I still put together reviews of everything we watched over a weekend of sleaze, violence and downright nonsense. The reviews are only brief (I’m not about to start writing notes whilst watching action movies with my mates) and ratings are largely based on entertainment value rather than quality, so take them with a pinch of salt. I’ve included clips and trailers when possible too.

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