. Once again, October is upon us and a film fan’s fancy’s turn to horror. Though I’ll watch scary/creepy films any time, I like to pack October full of first time horror watches. My first four consist of: The Taking Of Deborah Logan, V/H/S: Viral, Creep and The Nightmare.
The Taking Of Deborah Logan (Adam Robitel – 2014)
I thought I would start my viewing with several “found footage” style horror movies – mainly because they are just so damn plentiful these days. Though many people are sick of them at this stage, I can usually still find something appealing in them if they make an effort to build atmosphere and don’t simply go for the cheapo jump scares. Much of The Taking Of Deborah Logan does indeed do the former we watch a documentary film crew slowly realize that the Alzheimer’s patient they are capturing on camera is not quite afflicted with the standard form of the disease. As the titular character starts to descend more and more into seeming madness and the supernatural angle becomes more apparent, the film loses a bit of steam – it forgets the basic premise of setting up an unsettling environment and goes for back story and plot. Neither of those are anywhere near as disturbing as, say, a simple shadow or an old woman’s unexpected appearance in an attic. Still, the film has its moments if you can get past some of the inherent problems these films typically have (e.g. the necessity to fabricate reasons to keep a camera running or the shells of characters that do little more than complain).
This little slice of nastiness from John Hillcoat (The Proposition, The Road), a director who knows his way around balancing bleak and heart, looks to be pushing the envelope of Sicario and Training Day as far as it can go.
Triple 9 has elements of the militarization of police, the war of attrition with crime and violence (severed heads abound), and everyone thrown into the blender. Props to whoever came up with the kids ‘this little piggie’ to score this trailer, because it is damn effective with the imagery on display.
The cast is beyond stacked: Woody Harrelson, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Norman Reedus, Casey Affleck, Aaron Paul, Anthony Mackey, Gal Gadot, Clifton Collins Jr., and somewhere in there is Kate Winslet. All stuck in John Hillcoat’s murky grime. I cannot wait to wade into this urban warzone in February 2016.
We were well into the first week of the festival when we recorded this on Saturday and naturally since it’s now Monday, we’re now even furher into the frey.
Reporting from the trenches (actually the very pleasant courtyard of The Cinematheque on a lovely sunny day!), I’m joined by friend of the podcast Bill Harris (@soundjam69) – who also co-hosts the great The Green Screen of Death with Adrian Charlie (who we talk about in passing and whom you can find @Adrian_Charlie) – as we talk movies so far (or more accurately, he talks movies so far and I occasionally chime in).
The Vancouver International Film Festival runs September 24 to October 9. For full listing of films and tickets, visit the official website.
For up-to-the-moment updates from the festival, be sure to follow us on twitter. Bill is at @soundjam69 and I’m at @themarina.
Director: Nancy Meyers (It’s Complicated, The Holiday, Something’s Gotta Give, What Women Want) Writer: Nancy Meyers Producers: Suzanne McNeill Farwell, Nancy Meyers Starring: Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, Rene Russo, Anders Holm, Adam DeVine, Zack Pearlman MPAA Rating: PG-13 Running time: 121 min.
Nancy Meyers is a brand as identifiable as any currently existing in Hollywood. From films like Something’s Gotta Give and The Holiday, the writer/director has made herself known for her particular style of well-lit, amiable comedies starring A-listers looking to have a pleasant break from the harder fare that they usually take on. The Intern, her latest, fits squarely into the rest of her canon, while also surprisingly raising the standards she usually adheres to. While her previous efforts are as pat as they come, leaving your mind as quickly as they enter it, The Intern has a bit more lasting pleasantries to keep you reflecting on the admittedly diverting experience that Meyers delivers. This largely comes from the unconventional pairing of Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway in the leading roles, an unusual duo who bring a surprisingly wonderful chemistry to the table in this light comedy about working in the modern age, seen from two unique viewpoints – the modern working woman who is looked down on by misogynistic men, and the older male seen by many as past his usefulness simply due to his age.
Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro) is widowed and retired, but he can’t get settled into a life of doing nothing the way that his friends have – at least those who are still living, as he’s finding himself regularly attending funerals as the days go on. He’s tried everything from learning Mandarin to tai chi, but nothing seems to do the trick. By chance, he happens upon a flyer advertising a senior internship program at About the Fit, an upstart e-commerce fashion company run by founder and CEO Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway). When he gets the job, he’s assigned as the personal intern for Jules, despite the fact that she doesn’t remember agreeing to the program in the first place, nor does her extremely busy schedule allow her time to deal with an elderly employee who she’s worried won’t be able to keep up. Naturally, it turns out that Jules needs Ben as much as he needs her, with their opposites attract friendship developing pleasantly over the course of two hours, as Meyers steers us on this enjoyable ride loaded with gorgeous sets and pretty people.
With all the excitement for fast cars, flying super heroes, dinosaurs and international spies each summer, some of us who enjoy our slow burn stories from the 19th century have to consider ourselves lucky if we get one western picture (from a big studio) in a year. But saddle up pardner, this year we get/got several. And if the quality of Slow West, The Keeping Room and The Salvation (and some might consider Far From Men or The Homesman 2015 western releases) is any indication, the two we’ve got coming up from Quentin and Craig Zahler are going to be real treats.
Bone Tomahawk brings Kurt Russell back into the western genre and also stars Richard Jenkins, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox and holy shit it’s Sean Young!
Though this is a directorial debut from Zahler, this trailer has gotten me pretty excited to get my boots dusty with Bone Tomahawk in between all of the explosive mega-blockbusters coming in this last gasp of 2015.
The latest 007 adventure is going to land in theatres in about a month (a week or so earlier if you are on the other side of the pond), and the final trailer is here to emphasize action, action and more action. With a garnish of Christoph Waltz.
It being a Ridley Scott production, it is not surprising that there is some incredibly handsome poster art kicking around for it. The film lands in over 50 territories today, and some of the best posters from the film are tucked under the seat.
Bryan and Jon are joined by the almost-always Chewie and Ryan, with special guest Mackenzie to discuss the divisive BIG HERO 6. Don your cape or mask or super hero implement and join us in the discussion! We also reveal what we’re doing for Halloween this year on the podcast. Hint: you get to vote.
Get Your Cast To Mars is a three part micro-podcast focusing on the planet Mars. In anticipation of Ridley Scott’s blockbuster spectacle The Martian, join Matthew Brown and Kurt Halfyard as they consider the red planet as an image, an idea, and a somewhat rare place visited in the cinema of the past 100 years.
BONUS EPISODE! We look at a stranded Matt Damon as he sciences the shit out of Mars, represented here as a logic-problem to be solved by a capable optimist. Because this is a bonus episode, we also compare and contrast The Martian to Ridley Scott’s previous, far more misunderstood, science fiction film, Prometheus. In both cases, the spacefaring crews land on new worlds but are not ready to meet their maker.
Viewing Syllabus: The Martian (2015) and Prometheus (2012).
All three episodes + the bonus episode are available for streaming (see table of contents below) directly from the site, or are a part of the RowThree podcast feed, ready for you to send them to whatever electronic device you prefer.