Trailer: 1001 Grams

Bent Hamer’s quirky, visually formal romantic comedy was one of the most surprising pleasures at last years Toronto International Film Festival. In matters of science and love, if you get down to the most first-principle measurements at atomic levels, it’s more of an agreed upon reference than actual fact. What a novel and unusual way to articulate a life! The film might be on the nose at times and it’s driest of dry Norwegian humour is a bit of an acquired taste, but it is so brilliant and beautiful in how it goes about itself, that I fell in love with 1001 Grams, unequivocally.

When Norwegian scientist Marie attends a seminar in Paris on the actual weight of a kilo, it is her own measurement of disappointment, grief and, not least, love, that ends up on the scale.

Trailer: Spring

Aaron Moorhead & Justin Benson’s Spring is one of those savvy genre films that mixes up two distinct film styles, the Richard Linklater walk-and-talk with the body horror creature feature. The result is something sweet, and something new. Check out our review of the film here, and the give the new trailer, which is about as spoilery as the comparison in the previous sentence, a watch. No worries about spoilers, with this film, the devil is in the details, and the joy is in the execution, the surprises lie elsewhere from the plotting.

A young man in a personal tailspin flees the US to Italy, where he sparks up a romance with a woman harboring a dark, primordial secret.

Fittingly, the film will be released this…wait for it…this Spring.

Trailer: Crimson Peak

Handsomely artificial, lush steam-punk production design, and an excellent cast (Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, and Mia Wasikowska), Crimson Peak, judging by the trailer, seems to continue Guillermo del Toro’s recent ‘inert’ dramatic streak. To put it bluntly, the actors look trapped by the sets and costumes, and the CGI so utterly out of place in this Turn of the Screw/The Innocents kind of homage, that I hope there is much more than meets the eye. Have a look at the trailer below (although judging by the millions of views on Youtube, you’ve probably already seen it by now. Feel free to weigh in on the comment section.

Set in Cumbria, in a crumbling mansion in a largely rural and mountainous region of northern England in the 19th century, young author Edith Cushing discovers that her charming new husband Sir Thomas Sharpe is not who he appears to be.

Rewatched and Reconsidered: Sabrina (1954)

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Sabrina is one of a few films that continue to benefit from Audrey Hepburn’s ongoing popularity. There are a few “classes” of classic film – ones that everyone knows like The Wizard of Oz, ones that are loved by die-hard classic aficionados, and ones like Sabrina that find an appreciative modern audience of people who are open to classic films but aren’t necessarily big film buffs in general. These people gravitate toward Audrey Hepburn as a style icon, and certain films of hers (especially this one, Roman Holiday, Funny Face, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Charade and My Fair Lady) stay perennially popular because they highlight her effortless style, effervescent screen presence, and ineffable wide-eyed innocence.

Perhaps my own struggles with loving Sabrina stem in part as a personal backlash against its popularity, the assumption of certain classic film watchers that it’s a great and classic film.

Karina Longworth has a great podcast called You Must Remember This, an exploration of stories from classic Hollywood, and she has an episode devoted to Audrey Hepburn and specifically the making of Sabrina – what it meant for Hepburn’s career, how it solidified her style (it was her first time wearing Givenchy, whose Parisian couture became inextricably linked to Hepburn for the rest of her career), and how it really established her career and her persona. I suspect that has a lot to do with its endurance in the popular imagination. Those aren’t the things that bother me in the film, either.

Would you like to know more…?

DVD Review: Spring in a Small Town

Director: Fei Mu
Writer: Li Tianji
Starring: Wei Wei, Shi Yu, Li Wei, Cui Chaoming, Zhang Hongmei
Producers: Bi Jianping
Country: China
Running Time: 94 min
Year: 1948
BBFC Certificate: U


I‘ve taken a break from reviewing documentaries (over at Blueprint: Review – sorry couldn’t resist a plug) to celebrate Valentine’s Day by watching a film which takes a poignant look at honouring a dying marriage and controlling adulterous desires.

Spring in a Small Town is a highly regarded Chinese film from director Fei Mu made back in 1948, a year before the founding of the People’s Republic of China when it promptly got pushed out of the public’s eye. Luckily it got restored in the 80’s and by 2005 it was voted the greatest Chinese motion picture of all time at the 24th Hong Kong Film Awards. It’s never had a UK DVD release though until now, when the BFI have followed up a cinema run with this home entertainment version.

The film is set in the aftermath of the Sino-Japanese War (1937-45) and tells the story of the Dai family who are living in the ruins of their once wealthy home in a small town in rural China. Liyan (Shi Yu) is the husband, stricken with an illness which may be psychological, spending his days mourning for the past. Yuwen (Wei Wei) is his wife who has lost interest in the relationship and merely plays the part. The two are stuck deep in a rut until Zhang (Li Wei), an old friend of Liyan, arrives at the house after a decade away. It’s quickly apparent that Zhang and Yuwen have a history together too and thus begins a doomed love triangle, not helped by Liyan’s young sister who lives with them and also takes a shine to Zhang.

It sounds like classic, well trodden melodrama, but this is masterfully crafted cinema that transcends its narrative cliches. Also, before I get into the craft in more detail, the post-war setting adds depth and an air of melancholy and hopelessness to proceedings. In questioning the role of women, particularly wives, in catering for their husband’s needs, toeing the line whether they want to or not, it feels ahead of its time too.

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Trailer: The Water Diviner

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Compared to World War II, the First World War gets the shaft when it comes to representation on the big screen. Sure, there’s War Horse, All Quiet on the Western Front, Lawrence of Arabia, and Gallipoli, but overall, it seems for every film tackling the first, there are a dozen dealing with the second.

So, I’m always looking forward to a good WWI flick. Even if Russell Crowe’s upcoming The Water Diviner isn’t about the war itself, it is about the effects of that war–in particular, the effects of the Battle of Gallipoli on Australian families who lived with the consequences of their youth being sent into that particular senseless and avoidable slaughter.

Crowe, who directs as well as stars, plays a father who travels to the fallen Ottoman Empire (Turkey) to track down the remains of his boys. The trailer may be a bit heavy handed and give away a little too much of the plot, but overly dramatic is when Crowe is at his best.

The Water Diviner was Australia’s highest grossing film last year and won Best Film at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards. It opens stateside on April 24, 2015.

Contest: Win Tickets to see Hot Tub Time Machine 2! [Vancouver]

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Hot Tub Time Machine 2 opens in theatres on February 20th and we’ve got 4 double passes to give away for the advance screening on February 18 2015, 7:00pm at SilverCity Metropolis.

When Lou finds himself in trouble, Nick and Jacob fire up the hot tub time machine in an attempt to get back to the past. But they inadvertently land in the future. Now they have to alter the future in order to save the past… which is really the present, in the sequel from the same team that brought you the original cult hit.

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 stars Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, Adam Scott and Chevy Chase.

As mentioned we have 4 double Advance Screening Passes to give away. If you would like to win the passes let us know in the comments your 4 favorite 80’s songs before midnight PST on Monday, February 16. Winners will be chosen from all entries on February 17, 2015.

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Review: Kingsman: The Secret Service

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Director: Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake, Stardust, Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class)
Writer: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Producers: Adam Bohling, David Reid, Matthew Vaughn
Starring: Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Jack Davenport, Mark Hamill, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Caine, Sofia Boutella
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 129 min.


Spy movies have a tendency to feel constricting and demure. Even with all the action and gadgets of Bond, he always feels so serious and like there’s so little joy in his life. I guess that’s part of the appeal of the new Bond – he’s dark and secretive and the movies are gritty. Enter Matthew Vaughn. He seems to have looked at the genre, decided that it’s too boring and stuffy, gave it the finger and set out to deliver an epically rambunctious spy movie that flies in the face of convention, all the while maintaining most of the irreverence offered up by the source material from bad boy comics creator Mark Millar.

This isn’t the first time Vaughn and writing partner Jane Goldman (worth noting a woman has a hand in adapting a successful comic book property – not the first either) have taken on Millar. We all saw how Kick-Ass turned out; Vaughn and Goldman have proven they can aptly adapt Millar’s storytelling style to the big screen and the results in Kingsman: The Secret Service are a clear indication that Goldman and Vaughn should keep adapting Millar properties because the results tend to be spectacular.

Colin Firth goes action star as Harry Hart, the member of a super secret spy organization known as the Kingsmen. A series of events leads the group on a search of a new member and the current members have to provide a candidate. Hart finds his in his past, a young man who goes by Eggsy, newcomer star-in-the-making Taron Egerton, whose father once saved Hart’s life. What follows is a series of training montages as the recruits vie for the single spot on the spy team while Hart and his agency cronies including Mark Strong as Merlin and Michael Cane as Arthur (see the hilarious theme here?) lead the charge against Valentine, Samuel L. Jackson sporting a lisp (in what seems like one of the longest leads to a joke in a movie in some time), a mad genius who is trying to solve the world’s climate problem.

Would you like to know more…?