Canadian film collective Astron-6 hits the big-time with a Midnight Madness slot at the Toronto International Film Festival this year, where they are unveiling their latest feature, a giallo spoof called The Editor. Stepping up the cast with some genre regulars including the incomparably Udo Kier, and the ubiquitous Paz de la Huerta, who of course, inspires some nudity where ever she goes. Enjoy this dense hand-drawn throwback key art.
Back to a more classic styled Cinecast for Andrew and Kurt this week, a relaxed conversation on two major celebrity deaths these past few days, the smaller theatrical releases: Magic in the Moonlight, I Origins, Coherence and film festivaling. It’s all pleasant and sweet agreement for the first half of the show but things slowly go south at the start of the 1984 Project (which sees Roy Scheider in 2010 but really just doing his character from Jaws) and the nerd-shit really hits the fan as Ready Player One enters the conversation.
As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!
Mamo gathers to discuss the life and death of Robin Williams.
From the heights of Hollywood glamour and sizzle to delightfully acerbic grand dame, Lauren Bacall was the type of movie star that we do not see anymore, and for that matter did not see much of even then. From classic noir pictures To Have and To Have Not and The Big Sleep in the 1940s all the way up to the 21st century arthouse fare such as Birth, The Walker and Dogville, Bacall was always a woman in control, grounded, and any attractiveness and desirability came as much from her assured self confidence as it did from her feline grace on screen. At 89 years old and still working (both on screen and on the Broadway stage) up to the time of her death, yesterday, she has a rare 7 decades of career that are well worth exploring.
This one is a punch to the gut. But, details aside, let’s take some time to remember the man, the legend, and share our favorite moments from his illustrious career.
Here’s a great scene from the awesome and underappreciated Death to Smoochy:
Be sure to share your favorite and most memorable moments!
Does Adam Wingard and Simon Barret, the duo behind A Horrible Way To Die and You’re Next, have the lastest riff on Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Pier Teorema? Recently there was the Dutch film, Borgman and at the turn of the century there was Takashi Miike’s Visitor Q. The basic concept is an unknown man comes to a family home, and turns it upside down for inexplicable reasons.
The Guest looks to be the most pop-indie of the bunch, but from the looks of this UK trailer, it’s pulling no punches. The film, which will be playing Midnight Madness in this years edition of the Toronto International Film Festival, stars Downton Abbey‘s Dan Stevens (it seems to be a rule right now that if you are a character on the popular UK show, you are given film roles of your choosing) along with Lance Reddick, Leland Orser, Maika Monroe and Joel David Moore.
Have a look at violent, playfully badass trailer below.
Check out these links:
Defining Film Noir
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Alien concept art for GotG
Ellen’s favorite Tweets of the week!
Menahem Golan, Passionate Auteur of the B-Movie, Is Dead at 85
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If you think “The Knick” patients have it bad … go back 50 years
10 reasons you’re wrong about the Star Wars prequels
After watching this trailer, I’m still not sure entirely what the latest David Cronenberg film is actually about, but it has Julianne Moore trying to recapture her youth, and an ambitious Mia Wasikowska with burn scar-tissue on her face. In orbit these two are John Cusack, Olivia Williams, Carrie Fisher, Sarah Gadon and Robert Pattinson. Map To The Stars is described as “A tour into the heart of a Hollywood family chasing celebrity, one another and the relentless ghosts of their pasts.” I’m liking Cronenberg in dry/hysterics comedy mode, and that it polarized the Cannes audience last May is only a positive in my book. Check it out below.
Director: Simon Hawkins, Zeke Hawkins
Writer: Dutch Southern
Starring: Jeremy Allen White, Logan Huffman, Mackenzie Davis, Mark Pellegrino
Producer: Justin X. Duprie, Brian Udovich
Running Time: 92 min
BBFC Certificate: 15
I love a good ‘noirish’ crime thriller, both in novel and film form. From the full on film noir of the 40’s and 50’s to neo-noir such as L.A. Confidential and No Country For Old Men, I’ve always been drawn to the dark, elaborate plots and hard boiled dialogue and content. So, when the press release for We Gotta Get Out of This Place popped up in my inbox, I jumped at the chance of reviewing the film.
The chief influence of this debut feature from brothers Simon and Zeke Hawkins isn’t really The Big Sleep or The Maltese Falcon or anything like that though (books or films). Barely 5 minutes into the film, when one of the characters is discussing the latest crime novel she’s reading, she pulls out and recommends South of Heaven by Jim Thompson. With this love of the author’s work coming back into the film a couple of times later too, it’s clear that We Gotta Get Out of This Place is an ode to the hardboiled American author. I must admit I haven’t read any of his books (even though I should have given my penchant for the crime genre) so I’ll probably have missed further references to them, but it didn’t stop me from appreciating the style the filmmakers were trying to recreate.
The plot of the film concerns the trouble three friends get into just as they approach a turning point in their lives. Living in a small town in Texas, cut off from the more forward thinking world of the city, two of the teenagers are keen to “get out of this place” as the title puts it. Having just finished school and being pretty bright, Bobby (Jeremy Allen White) and Sue (Mackenzie Davis) are all set to achieve this by going to college, with Sue’s boyfriend B.J. (Logan Huffman) due to be left behind to tread water in the backwards town. This doesn’t seem to phase him (at first) and he wants his friends to leave in style, so he takes the two of them out for the night of their lives. Not having enough cash to do so, B.J. foolishly steals a whole lot of money from his boss Giff (Mark Pellegrino) to fund the evening. Giff isn’t the most forgiving of people though and, when Bobby takes the blame and the others are implicated too, he threatens them into stealing back a larger amount of money from his own boss, Big Red (William Devane), or face the brutal consequences.
This setup got me totally hooked. You could see things were going to spiral out of control and the mismatched characters alongside some other complications (blossoming from the fact that Bobby and Sue clearly have the hots for each other) all pointed towards a film that would tick all of my boxes.
For the most part this was true and the film delivered the crime/noir tropes that I know and love as well as offering its own twist on them. However, I couldn’t help feeling that it never lived up to the strength of the opening third. Once the idea of the forced heist was set up and the love triangle started to take centre stage I felt the film dwindled a bit, leading to a less engaging mid-section. The performances are decent, feeling fairly natural (Huffman was a little over the top, although this was more due to the writing than the actor’s delivery) but the relationship problems weren’t really interesting enough to excite me like some of the initial ideas did.
B.J’s ways of dealing with the revelations get quite nasty, but ultimately the end result of this as well as the film’s finale in general felt a bit predictable. I was expecting a number of mind-boggling twists and turns, but instead there’s just (SPOILER) a predictable double-cross and a bog-standard ‘villain showdown’. (END OF SPOILER).
That said, the film is undeniably well made. In terms of mood and style, everything is handled brilliantly. There’s a first person perspective sequence in the middle which, although stylish and clever, sticks out like a sore thumb, but for the most part this is a dark and moody thriller/drama with some beautifully gloomy cinematography and a cool soundtrack.
There’s a nice hardboiled edge to things too, largely whenever Giff is involved. His scenes always demand your attention, partly due to a great performance, but also down to how downright evil his character is.
As good as a number of elements were, I couldn’t help feeling that We Gotta Get Out of This Place could have been that bit stronger though. It just lost a bit of momentum for me and then ended in a fairly uninspired manner. I’d still recommend the film to fans of Thompson and crime/noir in general, but don’t expect a Coen Brothers level reimagining.
We Gotta Get Out of This Place is out in UK cinemas on 15th August and on DVD on 8th September, released by Metrodome. I saw an online screener so can’t comment on the quality or features of the DVD release.