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.

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Nobody can make schlock work like Cameron Crowe. His particular brand of RomCom Americana is simply unparalleled. That doesn’t mean it’s going to work for everyone, but it is at least working on a different level (for higher or lower) than anyone else making these kinds of movies. For me, I’m mostly on board; a couple of clunkers in there maybe – though “clunkers” might be too strong of a term – but for the most part, Crowe is an auteur.

Though it’s been four years since his last picture (which seems to be his modus operandi), to be fair he made three pictures in one year at the previous interval. So now he’s back with what feels a little bit more like the Cameron of old: dysfunctional relationships, quirky chemistry and only halfway funny one-liners/sequences that are actually really funny (or at least heartfelt) because Crowe brings something special out of his actors (see Cuba Gooding jr.).

tldr; – this looks pretty damn good.

Also, interesting way to start a trailer:

After the Hype #85b – Car Episode: Power Rangers!

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Hey gang! It’s morphin time as Bryan shares his love of the MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS in this car episode of AFTER THE HYPE. We will resume our longer episodes next week starting with Guardians of the Galaxy.

 

Follow us on Twitter at @ATH_Podcast and on FACEBOOK and we will love you forever!

Review: The Duke of Burgundy

 
Starting off with what is undoubtedly the opening credit sequence of the year, Peter Strickland’s The Duke of Burgundy never ceases to surprise and delight over its 100 minutes, offering a dry but meticulous humour and rhythm. Those credits, offering the promise of ‘perfume by’ and ‘lingerie’ by,’ evoke a specific period of Euro-sleaze cinema from the early 1970s that was drenched in velvet, silk and hosiery (and undoubtedly all kinds of musk). Harpsichords and cellos abound.

In Strickland’s previous film, Berberian Sound Studio, he took the mood and repeated patterns of the Italian Giallo to deliver a witty and uncomfortable workplace comedy. It was a film where a British man is driven mad simply by the culture shock of alien ungraspable protocols. It was terrifying, confusing and above all, funny as hell. Here he does a two-hander in an over sized, lushly designed manor house in the country exploring the sexual politics of two women immersed in the protocols of their own passions. Their only break between shared intimacy is in the meticulous study of moths and butterflies, creatures who are nearly infinite in variation, aid in pollination, and whose rapidly pulsing wings sound more than a little like a vibrator.

Young Evelyn arrives to work as the housemaid for the matron of the house, who haughtily finds fault in every task; a master who is clearly power tripping. Everything is heightened as Evelyn brushes the carpets on her knees, hangs damp underwear up to drip-dry, or slowly polishes the barrel of the microscope in the entomology laboratory, where hundreds of glass cases of moths and butterflies pinned to velvet pillows. If you can take your eyes off the production design here, your sympathies might slide towards poor Evelyn, but things quickly get complicated as it becomes obvious that she is seriously getting off on the ritual. Body language and pregnant glances are the key to unlocking this picture, so keep at attention.

Like nearly every scene in the film, there is a punchline. It is amusing to watch this film with a large festival audience (I hope everyone gets a chance) as certain visual cues become apparent at different times for different people, giving an atmosphere of someone on the verge of laughter at any given moment, while others are intent on something entirely different. I won’t give anything away, but suffice it to say, that as the film progresses, it gets murky, then clear, then murky again, in who is the slave and who is the master. The rhythms and cycles of The Duke of Burgundy echo the give and take between lovers. How far can things go before the proclivities of a partner begin to feel like a chore? When do the sexy outfits begin to be more constrictive than empowering? When does the purchase a human-toilet device start to feel like a compromise?

Wait, what?

Strickland is fond of saying that he does not deal in metaphor, but comedy is association, and the image a moth pinned by its wings and displayed glass is ripe. As is a room full of handsomely attired women lecturing one another on the minutiae of cricket sounds and colour markings. No matter, there is mood to spare – the film is nothing if not fully immersive. But it also traffics in playfully obscuring its own sight gags. Be sure to pay attention to the slightly out of focused middle ground during the films several moth seminars with out loosing focus of all the passive-aggressive judgement throughout.

Observation and understanding create entertainment and pleasure, that works just fine even whether or not you are familiar with the genre Strickland is archly riffing on and re-configuring. And boy, oh, boy those opening titles. For that matter, stay for the closing credits for further gems such as ‘human toilet consultant’ which are scattered throughout the text.

There is not a single man in The Duke of Burgundy, but the film doesn’t need any to show us some universal truths about the species and its mating rituals. I can still smell the perfume.

Friday One Sheet: Welcome To Me

It’s been a good week for Kristen Wiig, an actress who has come a long way to celebrity, and can now comfortably anchor a film on her star power alone. Her latest film gets one of the most handsome pieces of marketing this year, which to me evokes a South Korean style of doing movie posters; lean design elements, precisely spaced and coloured. The credit block is pushed up to the top, which is just the right amount of unusual from typical poster convention. And then there is that boom mike coming in off from the left. Do we need to know more? The tagline on the poster is so white it is nearly invisible, so here is an synopsis excerpt from the 2014 TIFF catalog, where it quietly played last year:

Alice Klieg suffers from borderline personality disorder, and though she manages it — and the accompanying medications and therapeutic care — fairly well, past tumult has left a broken marriage and strained familial relationships in its wake. She finds grounding in her daily routine, which includes memorizing every episode of Oprah and carefully monitoring her wardrobe and protein-laden diet. One can’t help but get the sense that Alice is straining to embrace bigger things, and when her numbers come up in the state lottery, suddenly she gets focused… on eighty million dollars’ worth of possibilities. In quick succession, Alice buys a stretch of hours at a local television company, eschews her medication and therapy, moves into a casino, and creates her own talk show about — what else? — herself. As her show gains an audience (despite some off-the-wall cooking and medical demonstrations), Alice realizes that viewers identify with her re-enactments of past hurts and social slights. What she doesn’t recognize is that her own hunger for fame may just reflect a deeper need to be heard.

Cinecast Episode 380 – More Hovering

 
Party crasher on the set of the RowThree Cinecast arrives in studio in the form of one Sean Dwyer from Film Junk. More well-equipped to take the punches from Matt Gamble than anyone, it turns out to be a much more agreeable show than we anticipated – even with the latest Wachowski output being compared to Citizen Kane. That’s right, from the Ascension of the Jovian Gas Giant to the depths of Jude Law’s Russian sea we are a literal high and low podcast. Later in the Watch List, Sean and Andrew look deep into the “Black Mirror” while Matt and Kurt praise another successful editing venture of the great Louis C.K. – of course it doesn’t stop there. We have Steve McQueen, Spike Lee and “that one about the Nazis” on Amazon TV; among many other tid-bits of discussion. We’re happy and honored that Sean could finally make an appearance and happy to hear of the many upcoming moments of greatness still to come from the Film Junk crew.

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: Last Knights

A pox on all your houses! Or Cancer. Which begs the question: Who in medieval times even knew what Cancer was? Apparently Morgan Freeman does. Along with (after The Knick) a slumming Clive Owen, Noway’s biggest star Askel Hennie (Headhunters) as well as Shohreh Aghdashloo and Cliff Curtis paychecks are cached considerable talents likely wasted on a grim, dour, and ultimately silly looking cash-in of the current Game of Thrones popularity. The Last Knights is directed by Kazuaki Kiriya, the Japanese director responsible a pair of films (Casshern, Goemon) big on ideas but small on execution and written by the guy adapted the Canadian novel Barney’s Version for the screen.

“A fallen warrior rises against a corrupt and sadistic ruler to avenge his dishonored master.”

I dare you to waste your money on this.