• Wish I Was Here [teaser]

    2

    Haters be damned. Seriously. Garden State was one of the best films of 2004 (especially for a first time writer/director!) and continues to delight and entertain me every time I pop it in the DVD player about every 12-18 months. But I’ve been lamenting the fact that Zach Braff hadn’t bothered to do anything else since. Then along comes Kickstarter.

    It raised quite the controversy when Braff announced he’d make his next movie if we could help pay for it. No controversy for me; I was glad to help out. So I backed it and I’m hoping for the best while following production diaries over the past few months.

    And here comes the teaser today. I’m not entirely sure what to make of it, but it looks damn good visually and it’s got The Postal Service aurally. And what’s this? Could Kate Hudson finally, finally(!), be putting on a performance that comes close to her Oscar nominated Penny Lane?

    Take a look at the trailer below and see what you think. The film also stars Braff, Ashley Greene, Joey king, Jim Parsons and Mandy Patinkin.

  • Cinecast Episode 348 – Immediately to Eleven

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    So Game of Thrones is finally back on the air with a brand new season. Does it live up to the wait we had to endure or was it a bit of a let down? Matt and Kurt also deliver a back and forth on the two wide to semi-wide theatrical releases this week in Captain America: Winter Soldier as well as Jodorowsky’s Dune. We dive into a very Red Dawn in which fantasy and reality’s lines are blurred which Kurt takes quite an issue with. The Minneapolis Film Festival is in full swing and Google and Bollywood make their appearances known. Danny Boyle is in the mix along and apparently the 90s b-squad is going for a comeback in Jerome Sable’s Stage Fright. Seriously, Minnie Driver is still around?

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

     


     

    Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!


    DOWNLOAD mp3 | 124 MB
    if player is not working, try alternate player at bottom of this post

     
     
    Full show notes are under the seats…
    Would you like to know more…?

  • MSPIFF 2014 Review: Google and the World Brain

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    Director: Ben Lewis
    Producers: Viva Van Loock, Bettina Walter
    Starring: Various speakers, experts and current and former Google Employees
    MPAA Rating: NR
    Running time: 90 min.
    Country of Origin: UK

    Google and the World Brain screens this Saturday, April 12th at 6:00pm
    [tickets]

     
     

    (4/5)

     

    Love ‘em or hate ‘em, or no opinion either way, Google is here to stay. Chances are if you’re reading this, you’ve used Google at some point. Very likely in the last ten minutes. If this site’s stats are accurate, you’re even very likely to be using a Google product this very moment. It’s safe to say Google is as much a part of our lives as television ever was. They’re always innovating, always coming up with ways to make life “better.” And they’re growing. Fast. So in the early part of this century, when Google decided they wanted to scan every book ever made into a colossal digital library, some eyebrows were raised – some out of curiosity, some out of fascination, some out of skepticism and many others, out of fear and anger.

    The World Brain is a concept by H.G. Wells which talks of a world encyclopedia that is accessible by all human beings in order to make their lives better and hopefully contribute to world peace. Google has taken this concept and run with it. The plan is to digitize every single book ever printed (that is still in existence) and make them available to everyone. At first glance, this sounds like a great idea: free information for everyone, anytime, all the time. But there are concerns. Copyright of course being a glaring issue. Monetizing “orphaned” pieces of publication. Or possibly even an Orwellian monopoly of information.
    Would you like to know more…?

  • MSPIFF 2014 Review: Gangs of Wasseypur (parts 1 & 2)

    4

     


     

    Director: Anurag Kashyap
    Writers: Akhilesh Jaiswal, Anurag Kashyap, Sachin K. Ladia, Zeishan Quadri
    Producers: Anurag Kashyap, Guneet Monga, Sunil Bohra
    Starring: Manoj Bajpayee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Tigmanshu Dhulia,
    MPAA Rating: R
    Running time: 320 min.
    Country of Origin: India

     

    Pulling back, deliberately and slowly, from a soap-opera on the TV which is all song and dance and character introductions, the 315 minute long Gangs of Wasseypur kicks off with a single shot Johnnie To style unbroken assault on the stronghold of Faizal Khan with automatic weapons, grenades and narrow alleyways. It’s the bright herald of a major film career just leaping onto the international stage. Let us get this out of the way first: Anurag Kashyap’s generation spanning story set in the coal capital of India and spanning almost 70 years comfortably, nay confidently, belongs alongside the great crime sagas of the cinema: The Godfather Trilogy, City of God, Bertolucci’s 1900, Heimat and Election. The perfect nexus of history, craft, thematic heft, and balls-to-the-wall entertainment, it why cinema was invented in the first place. It is HBOs “Deadwood” rogues gallery of character actors as much as it is the legacy scheming driven plot mechanics as “I, Claudius.” Rare is the opportunity of novel-style story telling and mighty cinematic craft to come together in such a marvellous package. It’s a gift to film lovers. Shown into two parts, each one well past the 2.5 hour mark, but conceived as a single film it, in the director’s words, shows “frogs in a well,” 200,000 people spread across three streets. The rough and impoverished criminals are unwilling to leave or even look beyond the small neighbourhood and spray as much blood as possible for ownership of its organized crime opportunities which are equally transient.

    Wasseypur may change hands geographically (India to Bengal), ethnically, even religious borders are mobile, but the Khans and the Singh’s have been at each others throats since the dawn of the coal era where two patriarch’s fought over the rights to hijack coal trains. When Ramadhir Singh kills Shiva Khan in this conflict, the Kahn’s young child Sadar shaves his head and vows to destroy Singh, not by murder, but my unravelling his empire piece by piece. As Singh enters politics to cement his empire, Sadar collects a growing number of wives, fathers several sons and kills a lot of folks with a machete. The law stays out of Wasseypur for fear of escalating slaughter, and a fair bit of carrot-stick mechanics from Singh. Part one of the diptych has an almost documentary feel, it even weaves a hefty of documentary footage to establish the context of the era spanning the 1940s up until the 1980s. Popular music from the cinema and TV act as a greek chorus to the proceedings, but begin to establish a theme that will pay off in the second part. Namely that the second generation of gangsters are so influenced by what is thrown up on screen, it leads an elder Singh to offer, “Everyone has his own movie playing inside his head, it it were not for the damn movie’s there would be no fools in this country.” This as the film slowly moves out of history lesson mode and into Scorsese mode. One advisor Nasir (think Robert Duvall or Derek Jacobi) narrates the film Goodfellas style as the crime moves from the coal industry to owning the fisheries, to unabashed extortion, to eventually the burgeoning Iron business. If it is hard to keep track of the characters in the first 90 minutes of the film, they’ve all been immortalized after that point with impeccable attention in narrative craft establishing relationships and motivations and territory.

    Would you like to know more…?

  • Mickey Rooney 1920-2014

    2

    Another passing of a Hollywood Legend, perhaps one of the longest careers in the history of cinema, Mickey Rooney started as a child actor at age 2 and was working still at 93 on multiple film projects the supporting roles he was accustomed for the latter half of his career. Rooney was in the process of appearing in B. Luciano Barsuglia’s adaptation of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, when he died at home, surrounded by his family at 93 years old.

    A willing and able actor in the studio system (He did a number of films with young Judy Garland) and beyond, the man has an incredible 300+ film and TV acting credits, and this doesn’t count all of his time spent on stage. Personally, I remember him in his most racist caricature in Breakfast at Tiffany‘s where he plays the upstairs Japanese neighbor and yells a lot, which is perhaps a more unfortunate legacy. His broad comic humour, short stature, and boundless enthusiasm won him many fans, particularly in Hollywood’s golden age, just as his wild-child alienated others as the studio system was crumbling.

    Married 8 times (the last of which lasted 37 years) he has a staggering amount of children, grand children and great grandchildren. Cue the biopic going into pre-production in 5…4…3…

    The Guardian has more, here.

  • Review: Lost Heroes

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    LostHeroes

    Director: Will Pascoe
    Producer: Tony Wosk
    MPAA Rating: NR
    Running time: 107 min.


    Though the comic book isn’t selling as well as it did before the bubble on comic book speculation burst, the industry seems to be experiencing a resurgence. The movies, at least the Marvel ones, are performing well both in the box office and critically, and comic books seem to have entered the mainstream consciousness at a level we haven’t seen since World War II. But with the exception of Wolverine, the heroes and heroines we mostly see/read about are American and even he doesn’t quite fit the profile of truly “Made in Canada.”

    Anyone who knows anything about Canadian comics knows that over the years there have quite a few Canadian made and bred heroes. Captain Canuck is likely the most popular but there have been others, from the heroes of the old Canadian Whites to the recent Heroes of the North and Will Pascoe’s documentary Lost Heroes tracks both the heroes and their creators through the years.

    Beginning with the rise of Canadian comics during the war Pascoe, with the help of historians, collectors and creators, traverses the wilderness of Canadian superheroes, tracking the rise and fall of publishers and the heroes and heroines that came through the years. From Nelvana of the Northern Lights (the first female superhero, she beat Wonder Woman to the stands by a few months) to Alpha Flight, Lost Heroes does a fantastic job of not only shining a light on the forgotten heroes but also on the history of comics through the decades and the continued battle to create heroes and books that have a uniquely Canadian vision.

    Would you like to know more…?

  • Friday One Sheets: So Many Expendables

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    The ever expanding roster of soldiers of fortune in Sylvester Stallone’s Expendables franchise gets a handsome black and white photo shoot, and a trailer just in case you are not photo gallery’d to death. If there is ever a case of character-posters getting out of hand, I present it below, tucked under the seat. But I will give it this, the black and white, minimalist style here with the lighting equipment visible in the frame does impart the overkill-basics ethos of the series.

    Would you like to know more…?

  • Review: Dom Hemingway

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    horns

    Petty gangster, safecracker, loud mouth, loose cannon, thief, deadbeat dad, pint guzzling, word-smithing, cat killing, boorish thug Dom Hemingway is the type of guy you would have no tolerance for in real life, but generally gravitate towards on screen. Twelve years is a long time, but Dom did his time in silence to protect his betters, and after being set free of Her Majesty’s Pleasure (I’m assuming not for good behavior) attempts to pick up the pieces of his life. While on the inside, his wife died of cancer, his daughter grew up and had kids, his boss go very, very rich, and his only friend in the world, Dickie – a snappily attired Richard E. Grant with his hangdog face, shooting glasses and shrugged shoulders – remaining loyal. He is not out of the joint for 24 hours before he’s had group sex with high class hookers, violated the non-smoking law in the local pub, and filled his nostrils with coke on top of the smoke and beat the living hell out of the man who married (and buried) his wife while he was on the inside. All of this pent up rage and sexual bluster is of course Dom’s way of not processing the guilt of missing out on his daughter’s (and grandson’s) life.

    Like Eric Bana in Chopper, or Tom Hardy in Bronson, Jude Law gets to look really ugly with facial scars and yellowed, gold-capped teeth. He gets to act really crazy, and burn up the screen with monologues about the majesty his his mighty cock, even thought writer director Richard Shepard’s film is more of an amuse-bouche than anything else however. It aspires to dig into the psychology of a larger than life character, while indulging in all those larger than life aspects while Dom attempts to get his life of crime back on track. It breaks things up into ironically titled chapters to facilitate this. I confess, I am a sucker for films in which characters who manage a micro-moment of communication by a silent but loaded, wave of the hand, and this movie has that at one point. But there are also shenanigans. Pithy, violent, frankly, ridiculous shenanigans that put Dom Hemingway strictly in movie fantasy territory. Not that there is anything wrong with that, it’s just that the movie never quite manages to have its cake and eat it too.

    Would you like to know more…?

  • Review: Captain America The Winter Soldier

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    Captain America: The Winter Soldier

    The Marvel universe has been beautifully brought to life, repeatedly. While some adaptations have been more successful than others, Captain America: The First Avenger pleased comic book fans, critics and laymen equally. The homegrown, wholesome as apple pie Americana vibe pulsed throughout the film’s two hour run time. The villain was the clear-cut Hydra, a Nazi-adjacent foe working towards omnipotence, against the earnest and eager ultra-hero, Steve Rogers. The dichotomy was simple, and straightforward. Captain America: The Winter Soldier takes that earnest do-gooder, and gives him a moving target. Though his hyper-moralistic stance is at times far too simplistic and idyllic, the sentiment remains solid and subversive.

    We find Capt. Rogers (Chris Evans) attempting to fit nicely into his daily life. An agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., he trains during the day, works when he’s called in, and does his duty to protect his people. Along the way, he absorbs some run of the mill peer pressure to get out of his cocoon, join the living, and give dating a shot. When a S.H.I.E.L.D. ship is taken hostage, Capt. Rogers and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) are sent aboard with a team to rescue the hostages, and reclaim their vessel.

    However, when Rogers discovers the Widow is on a separate set of orders, ultimately compromising the principle directive, he begins to question not only S.H.I.E.L.D.’s, but Nick Fury’s (Samuel L Jackson) motives as well. Confronting Fury as to his lack of trust in others, the onus is then put on the Captain to learn that universal trust isn’t always the best course of action. Sometimes those we place our deepest faith in are those with the most nefarious intentions.

    Enter Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford), Fury’s boss, and the film’s newest prominent character. With Redford’s past participation in films like Three Days of the Condor and All the Presidents Men, his role in the film as resident turncoat comes as little surprise. For those unfamiliar with the comics, however, the depth of this treachery is shocking. We’re left with a sinking sensation of distrust, as NSA-level surveillance and military force merge to form a subversive nemesis. Would you like to know more…?

  • Review: The Unknown Known

    2

    A snow globe shaking back and forth, little white flecks – snowflakes – swirl and obfuscate whatever is in the globe. Oh my what a loaded image. It is one of the chief ones Errol Morris employs in his lengthy interview with former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Another is an endless ocean of waves: a blank canvas or adrift in the endless wilderness? True to form, after 96 minutes of Rumsfeld speaking, I felt as if I learned nothing at all from what he was saying. A marvelous bit of form echoing content, although for the sake of learning from history, it can be a bit infuriating.

    Rumsfeld, very recognizable for doing so many podium PR sessions on TV for the better part of a decade, was (is?) a career politician from a young age and when these interviews were shot, he was hawking his memoir, Unknown & Known. He’s served as U.S. Secretary of Defense (twice), Congressman, White House Chief of Staff (and Dick Cheney’s boss), at one point was close to getting the Republican nomination to run for the Presidency. His second stint as Defense Secretary was during 21st Century America’s greatest foreign policy challenges, 9/11 and the War On Terror. He issued tens if not hundreds of thousands of memos, which he indeed calls snowflakes, and was an architect a lot of policy. He dictates many of those memos verbatim for the camera – a camera which almost desperately tries to keep up scanning the documents like a typewriter.

    UnknownKnown

    Would you like to know more…?

  • Trailer: Lucy

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    What if you combined La Femme Nikita, Crank and Limitless, with a dash of Her and made it a big shoot-em-up action fest? Well, it is just another day, in high-concept Luc Besson land. Lucy has pretty high pedigree though, considering there is American Superstar Scarlett Johansson in the eponymous lead role, Korean superstar Choi Min-sik as the principle villain, the ubiquitous Morgan Freeman on support and the Danish superstar Pilou Asbæk (A Hijacking, Spies & Glistrup) is tucked in there, somewhere, too.

    When a woman is used against her will as a drug mule, and the package implanted inside her starts leaking, she goes from sexy blonde tourist to deadly Black Widow, to all powerful Neo in about 90 minutes. Have we seen it all before? You Betcha. A girl has got to pay the bills, I guess – but take a look below.

    post-script: Remember that of the other two Scarlett movies opening this weekend, you should be checking out Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin over Marvel Hero-Unit #17.

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