Trailer: Slow West

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Ahh, westerns. We love ‘em so much here in the third row, they have their own category.

Slow West premiered to positive reviews at Sundance this year and by the looks of the trailer, I can see why. The film, which is directed by John Maclean, stars Michael Fassbender as a gunslinger guiding a young man, played by Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road), across the west to find his love. It co-stars Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises, Killing Them Softly), Rory McCann (Game of Thrones), and Brooke Williams.

It looks a little less gritty and a little more fun–that’s to say a little less Wild Bunch and a little more Josey Wales.

Slow West drops in select theaters on May 15, 2015.

TCM Classic Film Festival 2015: A Preview

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The Sixth Annual TCM Classic Film Festival is nearly upon us – four glorious days of immersion in classic film in the heart of Hollywood along with hundreds of our fellow classic film fans. It’s the best time of the year for those of us who love Hollywood’s golden era of filmmaking.

This year hasn’t been without its controversy, as the early press releases announced programming such as Hollywood’s enduring classic…Apollo 13 (1995)? Malcolm X (1992)? Out of Sight (1998)?! But never fear – though TCM is bringing some newer films to the table, in order to woo some fans who haven’t quite made it as far back in Hollywood history as others, to expand the reach of their theme History According to Hollywood, and honor certain guests like editor Anne V. Coates and stunt coordinator Terry Leonard – they’ve still got PLENTY of pre-1970 films to choose from.

In fact, choosing is the hard part! Some of these time slots are so packed it’s nearly impossible to choose what to see. Such is our burden. I’ve gone through each timeslot, and detailed the choices in each one – basically what to look for if you want to catch all the essential films, if you’re looking for lesser known discoveries, or if you want to make the most of experiences you can’t get anywhere else. Obviously, these are all subjective to some degree.

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A few general suggestions to start with, based on my five years experience of this festival.

Plan Meals and Bring Snacks

The schedule is VERY packed if you want to see something in every slot. You’ll often be running directly from screening to another line without a break. Plan ahead and make sure to eat in any hour long breaks you have. It’s not a bad idea to bring some small bags of chips and a bottle of water with you, in case you end up crunched for time. The theatre doesn’t really make a big deal out of it for festivals – if you’d rather not sneak in food, they do have actual restaurant food and a bar as well as regular theatre food. Plus there are several relatively quick restaurants scattered around the top level of the Hollywood-Highland Center, including a pizza place, a Quizno’s, a Johnny Rockets, a Mongolian Barbecue, and a few more right next to the theatre.

See Something at Each of the Palaces

TCL Chinese, the Egyptian, and El Capitan are the centerpiece theatres and they are all pretty amazing venues. The Egyptian is a bit plainer these days than the other two on the inside, but the balcony is very nice. Head up there, because a lot of people don’t know it’s there and the middle front has the best view in the theatre.

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**UPDATED** Full Trailer: Mission Impossible 5

In its fifth entry, the Mission Impossible franchise doubles down on crazy-real stunts involving its aging leading man, Tom Cruise. Previously, he was climbing around on the outside of Dubai’s Burj Kalifa skyscraper. Here he is struggling on the outside of a gargantuan military aircraft as it takes off. Impressive stuff.

The rest of the trailer is more of what you would expect from the fifth entry of a franchise. Christopher McQuarrie taking over for Brad Bird in the director department seems like an OK choice, but the screenplay, written by Iron Man 3 scribe Drew Pearce and video game writer Will Staples, involves a shadow-agency — an evil mirror of the IMF — and is as lazy as one can get; probably another indication of Bad Robot being the ongoing shepherd for the franchise.

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Mamo #399: It Follows That It Follows Would Do Well

Mamo!

OK here’s what happened: we’d just finished recording a new episode of Let’s Scare Matthew Price to Death with our friend Dan Gorman, when we got to talking about It Follows, horror movies at the box office, and why every big movie in the genre seems to be treated like the biggest thing ever. What… er… followed was a pickup game of Mamo with one of our favourite guest stars!
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Review: Spring

“You saw me all fucked up and I am still here.” So says Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) to his Italian girlfriend, Louise (Nadia Hilker), after discovering that her ‘little secret’ is well outside his comfort zone. It is this moment, well into the film when Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson’s Spring becomes something special. This is not the sweet notion that Evan, a nice California guy drifting through Italy while escaping a number of problems at home, is willing to make a serious commitment to a preternaturally attractive girl after only a few weeks in a foreign country. No, it is the staggering human trait that we can get acclimatized to the strangest things so incredibly fast if we are willing to accept and roll with the punches. For better or worse.

Set mainly in a tiny Italian village of Polignano a Mare, the platonic ideal of picturesque European exoticism, there is a wonderful shot of Evan arriving as an eager tourist. The camera, gliding in slow motion, follows his sight line as he walks through the town taking in the sort of panorama of a post card come to life: Old men playing chess, church bells ringing, sunlight bathing the 1000 year old cobble stones all briefly capture his gaze until the camera swishes past the woman in the red dress. Panning back to Evan, he does almost a twirl, drunk on the possibilities of being rootless in Europe for the first time. As with the character, so is the film.

Evan decides to stay and finds himself employment on a local farm that is run by a nattily dressed, jauntily capped widower. The widower is played by character actor Francesco Carnelutti who looks alarmingly like Italy’s Christopher Plummer and confirms something about the directing duo’s debut Resolution: That they have a knack for casting interesting faces to occupy the periphery and set tone. The town, as small as it is, offers many opportunities to keep running into Louise and a kind of courtship ensues between the naive Yank and the worldly European.

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Friday One Sheet: Ran

Much like the dearth of quality cinema in the first few months of the year, quality one-sheets are hard to come by. So for the second week in a row, we go back to a classic image, this for Kurosawa’s last big hurrah, the period-war epic, Ran. The movie was in colour, but this quad poster emphasizes the fog, the scale and the motion with high contrast black and white, blood red accents on the flags, banners and pennants, and a canted angle.

Sublime.

There is something to be said about reducing the colour palette to make a striking. (Even if, in a more recent case, it is just a late career action picture with Sean Penn.)

(Hattip to Tederick Tumbles for pointing out this rare-ish Japanese Quad)

Cinecast Episode 385 – The Way of all Flesh

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There are a lot of rookies out there. The Cinecast ain’t one of them. We’ve seen this before. We’ve seen that before. And we’ve also seen this. And somehow, despite everything discussed today basically being re-hashes of things that have come before, we’re retain the capacity to be impressed, inspired, encouraged and offer kindness. Andrew and Kurt consider the immediate future of the Cinecast as well as the long term future and then in the spirit of re-hashing old things, bitch about pre-show cinema commercials for old time sake. If you put a dollar (or more) in our PayPal, we’ll send you a copy of the show sans the commercial bitching. In The Watch List this week: classic Dr. Who, children being burned alive, whistle blowers, Wes Anderson plot holes and Zach Braff screwing college girls. It’s all here glorious audio format if you only can believe… in a little magic.

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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Transporter: Refueled [trailer]

It is not just Hollywood interested in rebooting franchises ever few years, Luc Besson’s production-house Europa is getting in on the action by retooling the Transporter trilogy with a new lead, Ed Skrein, now that, I suppose, Jason Statham has graduated to the Fast Franchise. With all the talk of technology in this traile, before of course getting to the testosterone and tits, comprising the three “T”s of these films, I am more than a tad surprised that they opted for just another Audi, when they could have gone with a Tesla.