Trailer: The Snowman

 

At one point the big film adaptation of Jo Nesbo’s serial killer novel, The Snowman, was to be directed by Martin Scorsese. Eventually the job went to Thomas Alfredson, a Swedish director who is no stranger to murder set stories in the ice and snow, as he stormed onto the global stage in 2008 with coming-of-age vampire drama Let The Right One In. This trailer mixes almost repetitive exposition with some really intense images, and a cool soundtrack. It’s hard to get a read on whether the story (one of many featuring the authors lead detective, Harry Hole) will be more Zodiac or Seven, but all things point to the latter. Rebecca Ferguson, Michael Fassbender, Val Kilmer, Chloë Sevigny, J.K. Simmons, and Charlotte Gainsbourg ensure the film will have no shortage of acting talent, combine that with a Hossein Amini (Drive, The Wings of the Dove and Alfredson’s exceptional directorial chops, and this has prestige written all over the gruesome subject matter.

Trailer: The Disaster Artist

 

Based on Greg Sestero’s best-selling tell-all about the making of Tommy Wiseau’s cult-classic, The Room, which has taken the title of the “Best Worst Movie Ever Made” from other inept stalwarts like Plan 9 From Outer Space, Troll 2, Fateful Findings and Manos: Hands of Fate, The Disaster Artist looks, from this trailer, to strike a good balance between the personalities of its stars, James Franco and Seth Rogan, and actually having a script (written down and everything) this time.

It has been impressive to see the cult of The Room grow over the past decade, but cinephiles are kidding themselves if they think the vast majority of moviegoers are even aware of Tommy Wiseau’s odd romantic tragedy. This new comedy tell-all stands a good chance of kicking things (or rather, casually tossing the football) into the widest popular culture frame. I like this trailer in particular, in that it is essentially just one scene from the movie, both The Room and The Disaster Artist, and a scene that fans of will know pretty well. It encapsulates everything that one might imagine behind the scenes, but everyone gets the humour of the situation instantly, it appears that this could indeed stand confidently beside American Movie, Ed Wood, and not just be another throwaway Rogan-Franco spliff.

The film debuted to excellent reviews at the SXSW Festival and will be released by A24, wide, on December 1st, 2017.

Cinecast Episode 491 – No Acronyms

“Game of Thrones” is back on the air! Feels like it’s been eons since we last left westeros; and if the lines on the faces of many of the actors’ faces is any indication, it has! At any rate, Matt Gamble joins Kurt and Andrew as they dissect the season premiere (s07e01). Before that though, Andrew and Kurt have little to complain about with the final(?) entry in the Planet of the Apes trilogy. We also have a decent Watch List towards the end in which Andrew visits 80s movie star icons, Gamble has taken advantage of his position to see some other current theatrical fare and Kurt has a preview screening for Lady Macbeth. So yeah, it’s a pretty packed show and we manage it as well as three apes possibly could.

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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Trailer: Robodoc

 

The epic sized documentary and oral history of Paul Verhoeven’s ‘Porno-Violent’ American Jesus picture, 1987’s Robocop gets an equally epic sized 5 minute trailer. This project was a kick-starter from a couple years ago and has continually grown, but it appears that the creative team behind it have wrestled all the interviews and multimedia to the ground enough to cut the first trailer. Shoot-from-hell anecdotes, political satire, and other topics abound, and I am sure the documentary feature will be touring the festival circuit shortly.

This retrospective covers the making of RoboCop and its sequels as well as the cultural impact over the last 30 years and has been supported with over 90 of the original cast and crew.

Since I personally chipped in a few shekels to the campaign, I can confidently say, “I’d buy that for a dollar!”

Second Trailer: Blade Runner 2


 

If you want action and chases and a lot more Jared Leto, well then, this recent trailer for the Blade Runner sequel is probably tailored to your liking. Sure it sells it like a more conventional action-blockbuster, which I am confident it will not be, but there is your marketing department for you.

Also getting a healthy amount of trailer time are Robin Wright and David Bautista, but the real star here is the production design by Dennis Gassner and the cinematography by Roger Deakins.

Trailer: A Wrinkle In Time

 

Disney and Ava DuVernay are giving the world another film version of Madeleine L’Engle’s classic science fiction story, A Wrinkle In Time. Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, André Holland, Zach Galifianakis and Chris Pine star, along with a very hefty amount of production value that reminds me a little be of Gore Verbinski’s brand of sunny off-kilter weirdness. I like the look of this movie, a lot, like Tomorrowland but with more teeth. I’ve never read the novel, but have heard many praises sung for its mix of hard sci fi with pulp fantasy. The book has certainly stood the test of time, as it has been in print for more than 50 years, and this is the second feature film adaptation (the first was made in Canada in 2003 with Alfre Woodard.)

Martin Landau: 1928 – 2017

Not a good day for losing icons. Legendary actor Martin Landau passed away at age 89. Landau made his film debut as a henchmen in Alfred Hitchcock’s North By Northwest, and was a regular presence on both the big screen and the small screen thereafter massing a huge body of work from wide-screen epics Cleopatra and the Greatest Story Ever Told, to Mission:Impossible, Columbo and Space 1999 on the boobtube.

He h
He was especially beloved for his portrayal of Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton’s masterpiece, Ed Wood, and went on to work with Burton a few more times (doing voice work in Frankenweenie) and uncredited in Sleepy Hollow. His wicked smile, could shift on a dime to a long intimidating face, which allowed the actor equal comfort as the villain or the hero, and later on (see his Judge character in poker drama, Rounders) a father figure. In real life, he also offered his services as an acting coach and played some part in training Jack Nicholson, Harry Dean Stanton (who is a couple years older than Landau) and Angelica Huston among others.

As a young man, he hung out with James Dean and Marilyn Monroe, and as an older gentlemen, he remained working right up until his recent passing. His career had ups and downs, but he never faded away, and was one of those A-list character actors that are rare these days.

VanityFair has more.

George A. Romero: 1940 – 2017

It is with a heavy heart that we heard today that George A. Romero, god-father of the modern zombie, has passed due to Cancer in Toronto today. Romero of course gave us the Dead series of films starting in 1968 where he envisioned zombies not in the traditional Haitian, plantation sense, but as the end of the world, and as a (possibly accidental) metaphor for racism and the 1960s. It was also a rip-roaring good horror flick that has stood the test of time for nearly 50 years for being ahead of its time (in part due to the lead character Ben (played by Duane Jones) being black, but also in terms of narrative and filmmaking style).

The director started making industrial/commercial films for various companies after graduating from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, but after Night of the Living Dead he was a pretty major indie filmmaker and followed Night with a sequel, the more ambitious, both in gore and metaphor, Dawn of the Dead, which is considered by many to be one of the greatest films the genre has ever made. And while 1985’s Day of the Dead is kind of ignored by the mainstream lovers of the genre or considered ‘lesser’ than the first two entries, I personally love it dearly.

While Romero was often type-cast as ‘that zombie director’ he also re-invented the witchcraft film with Season of the Witch, government conspiracy and chemical weapons, The Crazies, the venerable vampire film as an addiction metaphor, Martin, as well as the creature feature anthology with Creepshow. There are so many nutty little corners of his career, from directing an episode to Mr. Rogers Neighbourhood, to (effective!) primate freak-out horror Monkey Shines, and gonzo medieval motorcycle cult favourite, Knight Riders.

Romero struggled in the 1990s and 2000s as he churned out a few more Dead films (including a modest sized studio entry, Land of the Dead) to diminishing returns. He moved to Toronto and acted as part-time mentor to several members of the local filmmaking community, and was popular at conventions and in repertory screening Q&As. I recall seeing him enthusiastically offer his unvarnished opinions on the large resurgence of the Zombie Genre he helped popularize in the early 2000s, a renaissance that has continued to this day. It is notable, that like John Carpenter, many of his classic films have been officially and unofficially remade, and homaged in every conceivable way.

Mr. Romero will be missed, but his contributions to the wilder side of cinema will likely never be forgotten.

The L.A. Times has more.

Trailer: Lucky

Happy 91st birthday Harry Dean Stanton! And the man keeps working, from his cameo in the Marvel Comic Universe, to reprising his part in the Twin-Peaks-verse (Fire Walk With Me) in Season 3. All those fine performances he gave to David Lynch over the years, here in this indie film Lucky, he gets to act along side Lync and get the rare starring role! Turtles, Ed Begly Jr., Tom Skerrit, Beth Grant, Ron Livingston and Barry Shabaka Henley also appear. This sun baked, crusty existential crisis (comedy) look marvelous, now can we talk about the bonus situation?

(Riiiiight!)

‘Lucky’ follows the spiritual journey of a 90-year-old atheist and the quirky characters that inhabit his off the map desert town. Having out lived and out smoked all of his contemporaries, the fiercely independent Lucky finds himself at the precipice of life, thrust into a journey of self exploration, leading towards that which is so often unattainable: enlightenment.

Friday One Sheet: Why Guns?

I am not meaning to pick on Atomic Blonde, a film I am very much looking forward to for both the amazing Charlize Theron and the impeccable camera work and fight choreography on display in the trailers. But take a moment at this poster as ask yourself does it really need a gun on display in it? Look closer. Now ask if it really needs an obviously photoshopped gun at an awkward angle. Wouldn’t the poster be better to showcase the movie star, the neon, the films title in a more minimalist way? I know marketing works best at a glance, not a deep closer look, but seriously, you almost get the lazy addition at a glance.

Putting guns on movie posters (and DVD/BLU-Ray box art) has been one of those time honoured traditions that is taken for a given that more people will buy or see your movie if violence and action are promised. But is this really the case? I am not aware of any exact research correlating the appearance of a fire-arm on the poster and box-office. I suspect just as many films bomb with the star holding a gun as not, but marketing puts them in the hands of the lead on the poster as a ‘just in case.’ It is often done really carelessly. Business Insider did a piece in 2016 on guns on posters and came to the conclusion in American wide release, 20% of all films have guns on the poster. That is not 20% of action films, or even 20% of ‘genre’ films, but everthing including period pieces, comedies, kids animated films, dramas, et cetera.

1 in 5!

If I may hazard a guess, it is likely that in action blockbusters it is more like 8 (or even 9) in 10. For a film like John Wick or The Expendables it makes sense to have a gun in the poster as the film is about assassins and soldiers on the warpath. It even makes sense in Atomic Blonde, which has been labelled sight-unseen as the ‘female John Wick.’ But does it HAVE to be there? Are there no smarter, better ways to make a movie desirable than without a gun? Particularly when you have to get a designer to retroactively smoosch one into the deign. See also: Robert Rodriguez’s vampire/heist comedy From Dusk Till Dawn. Or Timur Bekmambetov’s Wanted which has Angelina Jolie branding a pistol in the most awkward way. Or the poster for Andrew Niccol’s In Time, where Amanda Seyfried looking longingly into Justin Timberlake’s eyes isn’t enough, she must be strangely holding a gun while doing so.

The Thailand poster might have used the original image to make their poster for In Time, although the rest of the photoshop colours are ugly, Seyfried is just lovingly resting her arm on Timberlake’s chest. Or maybe Thailand just don’t like guns. Take the poster for the American remake of Bangkok Dangerous, it looks like it is the exception (that proves the rule?) insofar as Nicolas Cage’s enormous hand is so awkward WITHOUT a gun.

In conclusion, maybe the world needs less lazy-photoshop, but part of good poster design involves demonstrating the idea or feeling of your movie without resorting to cliches (unless you are imploding them.)