Friday One Sheet: Minimalist Medusa [Acrimony]

A minimalist, two colour poster for Tyler Perry’s latest non-Madea film, Acrimony showcases the Greek creature Medusa in stark black against a red field. There is shadow that resembles a curtain, but otherwise the poster favours simplicity. There is no credit block, just the name of the film, the lead actress (Hidden Figures‘ Taraji P. Henson), and the R-Rating logo down in the lower left corner. Note there is another pink (of course, it’s 2017) minimalist, poster with a similar hand-drawn and stenciled look, that plays with what is probably the first act of the film, if the Medusa is the ‘revenge; portion of the film described as, “a faithful wife tired of standing by her devious husband is enraged when it becomes clear she has been betrayed.”

Teaser: I, Tonya

After making big waves at this years edition of the Toronto International Film Festival, both in terms of audience appreciation, as well as upstart distribution Neon paying $5 Million dollars for the rights, the Margot Robbie starring biopic I, Tonya gets a snappy, stylish and snarling little teaser to when the palette. Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl, Fright Night) directs and Allison Janney (shown only briefly here) also stars in the flip side of the story of Tonya Harding, the exceptionally talented figure skater that defied the image of the sport by being a whole-lot ‘trailer trash’ in terms of her presentation. If you were around in the 1990s, she became a household name in North America and the woman everyone loved to hate during the 1994 Olympics after details (and a guilty plea) came to light about her violent assault on fellow American skater Nancy Kerrigan.

Blu-Ray Review: Carnival of Souls – Criterion Collection

Director: Herk Harvey
Screenplay: John Clifford
Starring: Candace Hilligoss, Frances Feist, Sidney Berger, Art Ellison, Stan Levitt
Country: USA
Running Time: 78 min
Year: 1962
BBFC Certificate: 12


Once in a while, a film that was initially deemed a failure finds a new lease of life several years later, becoming what is often referred to as a cult classic. One such film was the 1962 horror Carnival of Souls, which was originally released as a double bill with The Devil’s Messenger, to little fanfare. Over time the film found its fanbase though, leading to a re-release in 1989 which helped cement its cult-status. What’s particularly sad about this very long road to recognition though was that the director Herk Harvey and writer John Clifford never made any other feature films, as they were retired by the time people’s love for Carnival of Souls finally appeared (and they have since passed away). The pair worked for Centron Corporation, an industrial film company that made corporate and public information films. They made Carnival of Souls in their holidays, then went back to their day jobs at Centron, which is a real shame as it’s a fantastic film and I’d have loved to have seen what else they could do.

Carnival of Souls opens with a car full of young women, including Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss), getting into a road race with a car full of young men. What starts as a bit of fun ends in tragedy when the girls’ car careens off the side of a bridge into the river below. The car can’t be found, but hours later Mary appears from the river, dazed but physically healthy. She’s so traumatized by the event, she feels she has to leave town to escape the memory of what happened. So she heads off to Utah to be a church organist. On the way, she drives past a strange abandoned pavilion on the Great Salt Lake and finds herself strangely drawn to it. It triggers visions of a strange, pale-faced man though who keeps appearing and drawing ever closer. As no one else seems to see him, she begins to question her sanity. Being a strong-willed woman, she feels the need to face the problem head on.

Would you like to know more…?

Cinecast Episode 499 – Automat

Blade Runner 2049 fixes some things about the original 1982 film. This is exactly why Andrew is happy and why Kurt is pissed off. Also, is it basically a remake in disguise? The boys dissect. Up next, what if The Coen Brothers and Quentin Tarantino were married and their child was a gore hound? You’d have S. Craig Zahler and Brawl in Cell Block 99 would be his sophomore effort.

Kurt is back from Sitges and we get a little taste of that experience at the beginning of the show. Towards the end of the episode, Andrew has been turning off his brain with mostly junk cinema while Kurt saw his favorite film of the year. Have a listen and make your case/point in the comments below.

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

We’re now available on Google Play!

 

 
 

Would you like to know more…?

Trailer: Marvel’s Black Panther

I have read more than a few afro-future science fiction novels, and I have to say, that despite the Marvel brand on this film, I’m impressed with the world that Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed) and his team have built with Black Panther. Helped enormously by the big paydays with the Guardians of the Galaxy films, a more gonzo and original feel to the latest Marvel movies makes them visually impressive to say the least. We don’t post a ton of trailers for comic books around here these days because they are all starting to look the same, but lo and behold, he comes a new look.

After the events of Captain America: Civil War, King T’Challa returns home to Wakanda. He soon finds his sovereignty challenged by factions within his own country. When two enemies conspire to bring down the kingdom, T’Challa must team up, as the Black Panther, with C.I.A. agent Everett K. Ross and members of the Dora Milaje—Wakanda’s special forces—to prevent a world war.

After the Credits Episode 219: VIFF Dispatch #3

The Vancouver International Film Festival is back for another year and with it, our semi-regular VIFF dispatches.

We’re back for our third update and final update from the festival. I’m (Letterboxd) joined by festival correspondent and friend of the podcast Mr. Bill Harris (Twitter), whom you can regularly find on The Green Screen of Death podcast along with Lisa, who joins us for another year as we count down our favourite picks from the festival.

Friday One Sheet: The Killing Of A Sacred Deer

Yorgos Lanthimos Killing of a Sacred Deer is so nice that I had to see it twice, at different festivals on opposite sides of the world. All of the posters for his films have been noteworthy, and while this one is not quite as remarkable as the first poster, which happens to be my favourite one-sheet of 2017, it is a curious design. Upside down, kind of collage-y and I’m not exactly sure if Nicole Kidman’s neck is really that long, or it is just a trick of the eyes with the superposition. But this one is certain to cause double takes if it happens to be hanging at the local multiplex.

Blu-Ray Review: Le Plaisir

Director: Max Ophüls
Screenplay: Jacques Natanson, Max Ophüls
Based on Stories by: Guy de Maupassant
Starring: Jean Gabin, Danielle Darrieux, Simone Simon
Country: France
Running Time: 97min
Year: 1952
BBFC Certificate: PG


Max Ophüls is a hugely respected director, but his work isn’t often seen or spoken about these days. I must admit, I’d never watched any of his films before now either. I guess his penchant for what look like grand romantic melodramas didn’t appeal to me, nor to the modern cinephile who tends to lean towards darker, grittier fare. My tastes are broader these days though, so I was keen to take the Ophüls plunge when a screener for Le Plaisir, one of the director’s last few films before his death in 1957.

Le Plaisir translates to ‘the pleasure’, and the film is made up of three stories that each examine different aspects of the sensation. The first sees a masked man burst his way into a dance hall and stiffly, but exuberantly dance around the room, before collapsing. A doctor (Claude Dauphin), on removing his mask, realises he’s actually quite an old man and takes him home to recover, where he finds out about his past through the man’s wife (Gaby Morlay). The second is the longest story of the three, and sees brothel-madam Julie (Madeleine Renaud) take all of her girls on a trip to the country to attend the first communion of her niece. The final short tale sees a painter (Daniel Gélin) fall deeply in love with his model (Simone Simon), then endlessly argue after they move in together. The painter leaves her, but they end up married in the end through tragic circumstances.

Would you like to know more…?

Blu-Ray Review: The Party

Director: Blake Edwards
Screenplay: Blake Edwards, Tom Waldman, Frank Waldman
Starring: Peter Sellers, Claudine Longet, Herb Ellis, Denny Miller, J. Edward McKinley, Steve Franken
Country: USA
Running Time: 99 min
Year: 1968
BBFC Certificate: PG


The Party is a film that has a strange personal relevance to me. I wasn’t sure if I’d seen it fully before watching this screener (although afterwards I felt pretty sure I had), but it’s a film I know best from some catchphrases (particularly “birdy num nums”) that my uncles used to quote with my dad. Due to this, I felt I had to take up the offer of reviewing the film, to better know this title that obviously had a big impact on my family.

The Party takes quite a simple premise and simply lets it play for the duration of its running time. Peter Sellers stars as Hrundi V. Bakshi, an Indian bit-part actor working in Hollywood whose clumsiness ruins a film shoot. The director (Herb Ellis) rings his producer Fred Clutterbuck (J. Edward McKinley) to ask him to make sure Hrundi never works in Hollywood again, but Clutterbuck’s secretary accidentally takes Hrundi’s name as being down to invite to the producer’s exclusive party. The bulk of the film takes place at this party where Hrundi gets into all manner of trouble and social faux pas, helping the gathering degenerate into chaos. During all of this, Hrundi falls for aspiring actress Michèle Monet (Longet), who’s also having a hard time at the party due to her rude and aggressive date.

Would you like to know more…?

After the Credits Episode 218: VIFF Dispatch #2

The Vancouver International Film Festival is back for another year and with it, our semi-regular VIFF dispatches.

We’re back for our second update from the festival and once again, I’m (Letterboxd) joined by festival correspondent and friend of the podcast Mr. Bill Harris (Twitter), whom you can regularly find on The Green Screen of Death podcast.

Blu-Ray Review: Miracle Mile

Director: Steve De Jarnatt
Screenplay: Steve De Jarnatt
Starring: Anthony Edwards, Mare Winningham, John Agar, Mykelti Williamson, Lou Hancock
Country: USA
Running Time: 87min
Year: 1988
BBFC Certificate: 15


I‘ve often talked about how expectations can greatly affect how you enjoy a film. With Miracle Mile I didn’t know a huge amount about it before watching, other than the fact it was about the end of the world. However, I’ve long known about it and been interested in seeing it due to its inclusion in a top 1000 movies guide that came free with Neon magazine (which went out of circulation back in 1999). That guide was split into top 10 lists for specific categories and Miracle Mile was their number one pick for ‘apocalyptic movies’. An image of Anthony Edwards and Mare Winningham sharing an embrace was the image they chose (see below). That guide was a bit of a bible to me as my love of cinema was blossoming at the time, so I’d try to track down anything topping a category. However, Miracle Mile wasn’t a film that showed up in my local video store and it never made it to DVD. That is until Arrow announced they’d be giving it their spit and polish treatment and bringing it out on dual format Blu-Ray and DVD this month. So, being one of the titles from the guide that had ever evaded me, I was eager to review Miracle Mile when it was offered. The listing in Neon’s guide was all I was really going on though and the image they used always made me think the film was a quietly sad and subtle rumination on love and life at the precipice of disaster (that’s what I got from the image at least).

How wrong I was…

Miracle Mile sees museum guide and jazz trombone player Harry (Anthony Edwards) fall in love with the equally quirky Julie (Mare Winningham). They fix a time and place to go on their all-important third date (as Julie puts it beforehand, “I’m going to screw your eyes blue”), but a power cut causes Harry to sleep through his alarm to wake him for their midnight rendezvous. When he wakes in the wee small hours, he desperately tries to get in touch with Julie and ends up answering the phone at the diner where she works, hoping it’s her. It isn’t. The panicked voice at the other end thinks Harry is his father, and tells him that nuclear missiles are on their way to the USA and will flatten the nation in 70 minutes. A violent end to the call suggests this is no prank and as Harry describes what happened to the customers at the diner, a government worker there makes a call that further cements the fact that they should be worried. The people at the diner quickly make plans for escape via helicopter, but Harry won’t leave without Julie. He dashes off on a wild quest to find her and hopefully still make it to the chopper to have some tiny chance of survival.

Would you like to know more…?