Anton Yelchin: 1989 – 2016

On a recent Cinecast, I believe it was during our review of Green Room, Kurt and I briefly went through Anton Yelchin’s filmography and noted that any film is just that much better whenever he shows up. So it’s with a heavy heart we have to report that the actor has met an untimely demise at the all too young age of 27.

Apparently Yelchin was found early in the morning pinned between his car and a mailbox. It appears that his own car, which was in neutral, somehow hit him and pinned him into a brick mailbox.

‘This is unreal,’ the actor’s friend Anna Kendrick tweeted on Sunday. ‘Anton Yelchin is such a talent. Such a huge loss.’

His Star Trek co-star John Cho added: ‘I loved Anton Yelchin so much. He was a true artist – curious, beautiful, courageous. He was a great pal and a great son. I’m in ruins.’

Chad Michael Murray tweeted: Just heard about Anton Yelchin. What a great talent and good young man. Gone far too soon…Terrible loss. You will be missed.’

Yelchin fled with his family to the United States as political refugees from St. Petersburg Russia when he was just 15. Which puts him at just 18 years-old before starring in a film in which he is the titular character alongside Robert Downey Jr in Charlie Bartlett. From the moment you saw Charlie Bartlett and saw him holding his own alongside the big guns, you could tell this was going to be a big star.

Yelchin chose wisely with his roles and tended to go with more intimate and interesting roles, rather than the big flashy ones. And he always succeeded – even if the movie did not. All of this of course until taking a huge role in 2009’s Star Trek as Pavel Chekov, navigator of the USS Enterprise which led to playing Kyle Reese in a sequel to the Terminator franchise one year later.

It’s too bad when something like this happens as all told he was a great guy and I’m positive he had dozens of fantastic performances ahead of him. You will be missed sir. God speed.

Kinda Trailer – Jack Reacher: Never Go Back


Entertainment Tonight released what they call a trailer of the new Jack Reacher film. Really it’s a bunch of clips along with commentary from the hosts. Still, it’s a good look at what to come for Tom Cruise.

Mainly I wanted to post this just to go to bat for Jack Reacher. I loved the concept of the character. He’s not a hero. He’s not a bad guy. He’s not a memory-loss case like Jason Bourne. And he’s not Ethan Hunt. He’s just a guy really good at being… whatever he is and does what he thinks is right; even when it means carrying out some suspect actions.

I actually think that Jack Reacher was one of the more refreshing takes on the action “hero” genre in a long long time. Sure I like the fun of Taken (the first one anyway) or Mission Impossible or The Bourne Ultimatum; but Reacher is something totally different – even if you can’t put your finger on exactly what that is. Which is probably why it got very mixed reviews from fans and critics; they just didn’t know what to do with it. Which is why it’s awesome.

Have a look at some sneak peak scenes from the second chapter of the cinematic version of Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, in theaters this October.


Review: The Neon Demon


One of the many striking things about Nicolas Winding Refn’s latest film, The Neon Demon, is how heavily it builds itself on the fusion of soundtrack and imagery. It is the first indication that we are in Only God Forgives or Valhalla Rising territory where static framing with and sonic force reign supereme, more-so than Drive or The Pusher Trilogy, although to be fair, both all of his films show a wonderful proficiency on setting a distinct rhythm to the storytelling.

The Neon Demon is a foremost a mood piece. Refn’s fellow countryman, Lars Von Trier, is fond of taking on abstract filmmaking challenges to inform his filmmaking, and here Refn seems to rise to a similar kind of dare. That is to take one of the most blunt storytelling cliches, “Hey, the fashion industry sucks the life out models and turns bright young things into sickly ghouls,” and the challenge is to apply such brilliant cinematic craft to the proceedings to make it appear more than what it is, akin to putting the glittery gemstones on Elle Fannings temple and cheeks. With The Neon Demon, appearances are not the goal it is the raison d’etre.

Through an delightful alchemy of influences – David Lynch, Ridley Scott, Stanley Kubrick and Dario Argento are all distinctly quoted – Refn not only pulls it off, he makes it look both inevitable and easy. It is as if the films sparkling closing credits (highly reminiscent of the best of the James Bond title sequences, or David Fincher’s Girl With The Dragon Tattoo opener) are saying, “Yea, all movies are made this way, aren’t they?”

Forgive the gushing, but for me personally, The Neon Demon was a balm after a pre-summer warm-up of sequels extruded at great cost only, seemingly, to tease for the next instalment for their own bloated franchises. A few recent exceptions, Fury Road, Ex Machina and Chi-Raq, in isolation, serve as reminders that pop-entertainment does not have to be vanilla or focus-grouped into mush: it can be ghastly, challenging and visceral. Refn practices what he preaches, with all the one liners in the film espousing the theme of, ‘Everything worth having is worth a little pain.’ If the movie is pulling you out with its juvenile dares, stick with it, the back nine is a constant series of jaw-droppers. Here is a filmmaker being both earnest and ironic, such that down is up and up and down. To live in the recent films of Nicolas Winding Refn is to live in a world that is too intense and too abstract to be real. In other words: Cinema.

Unlike typical offerings from the dream factor, this is cinema where life lessons and morality (and definitely good taste) are un-tethered. I wonder if this is what John Boorman was striving for with Zardoz before it collapsed under the kitschy weight of Sean Connery in a big red diaper and fuck-me boots? Refn borrows the prism of the mind sequence from that film, But I digress.

Back to the soundtrack. After two seasons of The Knick, Martinez’s retro-future-current-right-now jangle of electronic sounds and instruments haunts my dreams. I am not sure if the goal was for Vangelis-on-Ecstasy or KMFDM-on-Quaaludes, but it is somewhere in that space, and it sure hits the spot. Combined with the framed-tableaux cinematography – surely The Neon Demon started as a feature length expansion of that weird shot in Drive of all the fashion models motionless in their underwear in a weirdly lit nightclub that Ryan Gosling purposefully strides through – it is an immersive experience that transcends any semblance of Hollywood business-as-usual.

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Friday One Sheet: The Neon Demon

I can’t stop posting marketing materials from Nicolas Winding Refn’s forthcoming feature, The Neon Demon. This one is from the prolific Mondo imprint, who always take a less marketing driven approach and go for something a bit more artistic. The inverted triangles are well featured in the film, so that design element makes sense, and otherwise, the geometric, sterile weirdness is entirely the tone of the film (which, btw I’ve seen and is one of the most brilliant uses of tone and structure since Mulholland Dr.). A strange choice to go black and white when the film is all about the use of colour, but in our photoshopped and instagrammed filtered world, a black and white poster, with no shades of grey, certainly stands out in a crowd. As does The Neon Demon.

DVD Review: Evolution

Director: Lucile Hadzihalilovic
Screenplay by: Lucile Hadzihalilovic, Alante Kavaite, Geoff Cox
Starring: Max Brebant, Roxane Duran, Julie-Marie Parmentier
Country: France, Belgium, Spain
Running Time: 78 min
Year: 2015
BBFC Certificate: 15

Nothing to do with the 2001 sci-fi comedy of the same name, Evolution is an art-house horror film of sorts from Lucile Hadzihalilovic, the director of Innocence. I usually like art-house genre crossovers, so I thought I’d give this a shot.

Giving a synopsis is tricky as this is a highly unusual film. It opens with a young boy, Nicolas (Max Brebant), swimming in the ocean where he sees the dead body of a boy under the water. No one believes him, but we soon begin to realise that all is not what it seems in this seaside community and something suspicious is going on between the inhabitants. Speaking of which, for reasons never explained, the only residents of this village seem to be young boys on the brink of puberty and their ‘mothers’, who mainly seem a little too young to be so. The boys just play on the beach all day whilst the women tend to their needs, giving them ‘medicine’ at regular intervals and preparing their suspect looking meals. The plot thickens further when Nicolas and some of the other boys are taken to a hospital where they are treated for an unnamed ‘illness’.

I won’t go in to too much more detail about the plot as that would be spoiling things and, to be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what the hell was going on half the time. It’s a most unusual film. On one side this plays to the its strengths, presenting an incredibly mysterious story which you can’t second guess. On the other side, it makes the film quite difficult to maintain a grip on. This isn’t helped by the minimal dialogue and cold, expressionless performances. The presentation is art-house with a capital A in that sense.

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After the Hype #144 – The Witch



Hide ya babies, hide ya twins! This week we’re joined by our pals Hunter and Samantha to talk about the best horror film of 2016 – THE WITCH.



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Trailer: “31” from Rob Zombie

I sort of enjoy Rob Zombie’s bat-shit insanity in his horror films. He has a great director’s eye for horror and has some cool concepts and characters. But the writing is usually atrocious. And why does Sherrie Moon Zombie have to be the lead in every damn one of these things? I don’t know; I feel like I should like his stuff a lot more than I do. And to be honest, this trailer just looks kinda… dumb. A real shame.

After the Credits Episode 191: Littlest Hobo Media Spew – May

If we're lucky, this is the end of these ridiculous mashups

If we’re lucky, this is the end of these ridiculous mashups

We’ve seen stuff! Really!

Much of the TV we usually watch is either on hiatus or about to disappear on summer break so this month, Colleen, Dale (Letterboxd) and I (Letterboxd) touch base on a couple of finales, share thoughts on some recently seen movies, books and the usual rundown of podcasts!

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Poster: Kevin Smith’s Yoga-Hosers

What’s going on in the View-Askew universe* in the last couple years has mostly escaped me. Kevin Smith has run aground with interesting creations as far as I’m concerned; so I had no idea that his next project (which already screened at Sundance) was a kids film in which a couple of teen yoga enthusiasts battle “an evil presence” (something to do with miniature, Nazi Canadians).

Reviews have been less than great and if this marketing is anything to go by, I guess I’m not surprised. That said, this movie probably wasn’t made with the usual Smith fanboys in mind. It’s a film that appears to be geared towards younger teenage girls to OMG about – the critics voices maybe shouldn’t be taken as gospel at this point.

Still, judging by the trailer and the poster featured below, I feel like there is an intentional campiness on display from Smith here. Did he just not care about the project or are the effects supposed to look like an early 1990s after-school special and the poster supposed to look like early 2000s straight to DVD cover? I don’t know what’s going on here, but if I had to venture a guess, Smith has just given up.**


You’ll be able to judge the movie for yourself (or not) on July 29th. The starring leads are Lily-Rose Melody Depp and Harley Quinn Smith (yes, that is Kevin Smith and Johnny Depp’s daughters), and also features the likes of Johnny Depp, Kevin Smith, Haley Joel Osment, Vanessa Paradis, Adam Brody, Justin Long, Tony Hale, and Jason Mewes among others.

*I realize that not all of his movies are View Askew productions. That’s just what I call Kevin Smith movies.
** I’m pretty excited about Clerks III though.