I feel silly getting riled up over a trailer for a reboot of a series about humanoid turtles who become pizza love ninjas in New York City, but hell, I’ve had a few days to stew over it, a few days to read the countless nerd-thoughts of it all around the internet, and you know what?
This is going to be fucking stupid. Which isn’t a surprise, because Michael Bay is a soulless piece of shit. Even though this opinion is not particularly novel or new, thanks for letting me vent, internet.
Cinéfranco, arguably the most significant International Francophone Film Festival in English Canada, has started. Running from March 28th through until April 6th, the Toronto-based film festival showcases the rich diversity of Francophone cinema, in an attempt to help promote and better appreciate French film. This year’s programme addresses the anxiety of aging, historical heroines, immigration, love, romance, and wrestling, all of which are merely the tip of the iceberg.
Jean-Marc Rudnicki’s Les Reines du Ring (Wrestling Queens) had its English Canada premiere on Saturday, March 29th. The film centers on Rose, a young single mother who’s just recently been released from prison. Held responsible, and punished, for a horrible accident, she’s had her son taken away from her, and placed into foster care. Having found a job at a local grocery store, she’s getting her life back on track. All that’s left is to win back the trust of her now disappointed young son. The way back to his heart is through one of his greatest passions: professional wrestling.
Rose assembles a team of coworkers, each woman facing their own unique life changes. As they train alongside retired wrestling veteran Richard the Lionheart, they conquer their personal obstacles, and assert themselves as the new face of female professional wrestling. Would you like to know more…?
Kurt Halfyard boards a plane to Minneapolis specifically to talk face-to-face with Andrew about his two favorite things: his Doppelgänger, Russell Crowe and The Bible. Sex is everywhere with Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac (vol 1). We skip 1984 this week but will be back next with Purple Rain and Part II of the sex movie. Fifteen years have passed, yet we still love to talk about the mind blowing nature of The Matrix. And we cap it off with Noah’s double bill, Snowpiercer (sorry about the *MILD SPOILERS* on a film that has not played domestically yet – Kurt gets a bit carried away – but really what is said in this episode does not dent the number of turns/revelations in the film, which we suppose, is itself a spoiler…)
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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Summer begins now! Welcome to the annual Mamo Summer Box Office Competition, and this, our kickoff episode – in which the Matts lay out their vague theories on how things will go down in the domestic marketplace for the summer of 2014.
Use this thread to enter the contest. Entries are valid between March 30 and April 30, 2014.
THE SUMMER STARTS ON MAY 1 AND ENDS ON AUGUST 31, in terms of movies you can pick. Please work by domestic release dates only and with domestic grosses only. Scores will be tabulated after the Toronto International Film Festival is over.
Players will submit the following:
Top ten films, in order of total grosses. Also total gross $ amount and opening weekend gross $ amount. So as an example, submissions should look like this:
1. Kind Hearts and Coronets, $402 million, $175 million
2. The Ruling Class, $375 million, $150 million
Points awarded for:
A. 1-10 Points for film rankings. If you are bang on (your #1 pick comes in #1) you get 10. If you are 5 places away (your #8 film comes in #3) you get 5, etc.
B. 10 bonus points for every film who’s gross you have within 5 million of the actual gross.
C. 5 bonus points for every film who’s gross you have within 10 million of the actual gross.
D. 1 bonus point for every film who’s gross you have within 20 million of the actual gross.
E. 10 Bonus Points for every film who’s opening weekend gross is within $1 million of the actual opening weekend gross.
F. 5 Bonus Points for every film who’s opening weekend gross is within $5 million of the actual opening weekend gross.
G. 1 Bonus Point for every film who’s opening weekend gross is within $10 million of the actual opening weekend gross.
E. 10 point bonus for every film you have ranked correctly AND within 5 million of the actual gross AND within $1 million of the opening weekend gross.
F. For the purposes of calculating weekends – Films opening on a Wednesday are counted until the first Sunday they are released. Films opening on Memorial Day weekend are counted until the following Monday. Films opening the week of July 4 are counted from whenever they open in that week until the first Sunday of their release. Example – Spiderman opens on Tuesday, July 3. Your guess for weekend gross would actually be its 6 day total, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Kelly Reichardt’s minimalist eco-thriller Night Moves edges closer to its commercial release (May 30th in the US) after a successful run on the festival circuit (My review is here), this engaging, tense trailer has been cut for the film to showcase, quite effectively, the vibe of the film which involves three extreme environmentalists (Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, Peter Sarsgaard) who plan on blowing up a damn to save the spawning river for the local fish.
One more poster from Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy. This one was designed by Sam Smyth and highlights the spider imagery in the film, certainly suggesting its connection to the key – both the one exists in the film, as well as the the more ‘big picture’ key to figuring out exactly what the film is trying to be. Further with this, the tagline on the key art is “Chaos is Order Yet Deciphered” which is the declarative opening quote on that kicks off the film.
If you like the kind of nexus you might get from crossing David Lynch and David Cronenberg, and the film is still playing somewhere nearby, you should really give this unusual film a try.
Director: Ted Kotcheff Screenplay: Evan Jones Based on a Novel by: Kenneth Cook Starring: Gary Bond, Donald Pleasence, Chips Rafferty, Sylvia Kay, Jack Thompson Producer: George Willoughby Country: Australia/USA Running Time: 109 min Year: 1971 BBFC Certificate: 18
Getting a prestigious Masters of Cinema re-release on the same day as White Dog seemed fitting for Wake in Fright, as it reminded me of that film in a number of ways. Both are brash indictments of states/institutions as well as humanity in general and both had a difficult history which caused them to be pretty much forgotten for a number of years. Wake in Fright got off to a better start, not only gaining critical praise, but playing at the Cannes Film Festival. Like White Dog it didn’t play so well at home though (Australia in this case) and understandably so, as it doesn’t cast the country in a good light at all. Nevertheless, the film proved a pivotal piece of Australian film history. Along with 1971′s Walkabout it helped kickstart the Australian New Wave, bringing the country’s film industry back to life after decades of despondency following its groundbreaking early years (Australia produced the world’s first ever feature film, The Story of the Kelly Gang back in 1906).
Largely due to its poor performance in its home country I imagine, Wake in Fright became a famously “lost” title though. Good quality prints of the film had pretty much disappeared, preventing any sort of home video release for decades. Thankfully, in 2004, one was found in storage somewhere, spotted just in time as it was labelled “for destruction”. The print wasn’t in great shape, but the film’s editor, Anthony Buckley, headed a restoration project, re-releasing it in 2009 to great acclaim. It was even screened at Cannes again in the Cannes Classics selection, making it only the second film (after L’Avventura) ever to play twice at the festival. After this, the film has been able to grow in stature once again and is considered a classic of Australian cinema (although it must be said the director was Canadian and the production was a collaboration between America and Australia).
Dreamscapes and fluid transitions dominate the otherworldly aesthetic of Robert Lepage’s oeuvre. His seamless transitions across time are stunning, while he allows a kind of whimsy to seep through even his bleakest pieces. He’s a transitional master, blending time and space with elegant fluidity. No genre is out of reach, and each film has his unique eye branded upon it.
In celebration of this masterful mind, TIFF Bell Lightbox in conjunction with the Glenn Gould Foundation are honoring the Canadian filmmaker and stage director, this year’s recipient of the Glenn Gould Prize. The Prize is awarded to an individual for a unique lifetime contribution that has enriched the human condition through the arts. Lepage’s elegant, sensual, and highly theatrical work has certainly made its mark on Canadian cinema. This short retrospective runs from March 27th until April 1st, and showcases eight of Lepage’s films, including his latest film Triptych, the cinematic adaptation of his nine-hour theatrical production Lipsynch.
The series begins tonight, Thursday, March 27th, at 6:30pm with Lepage’s cinematic debut, Le Confessionnal. A beautifully shot drama, the film follows two estranged brothers as they attempt to unravel a family mystery. Delicately transitioning across time, the film flips between 1952 and 1989 in Quebec City. In ’89, Pierre Lamontagne has returned home after the death of his father, a presumably careless man who severely neglected his diabetes, leading to his demise. As he attempts to paint over the stained memories of his childhood home, he seeks out his long estranged adopted brother, Marc, in an attempt to discover his birth father. Would you like to know more…?
The calendar still says spring but the movies are clearly screaming summer. A new Marvel movie, a couple of indies, a handful of horror movies and some kick ass action in this month’s line-up means that there’s a little something to get even Dale (Letterboxd), Colleen and I (Letterboxd) excited.
And the Wagner doc I couldn’t remember… it’s Wagner & Me with Stephen Fry.
Director: Samuel Fuller Screenplay: Samuel Fuller, Curtis Hanson Based on an Article & Book by: Romain Gary Starring: Kristy McNichol, Paul Winfield, Burl Ives Producer: Jon Davison Country: USA Running Time: 90 min Year: 1982 BBFC Certificate: 15
White Dog is a film with a chequered past. Telling the story of a dog that has been trained to attack black people, the film picked up controversy before it was even released. The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) caught wind of the production early on and requested a visit to the set. Rumours that the film was racist and could incite racial hatred and copycat dog training spread fast and the film was pretty much shelved on completion in the US. It had a small release in Europe and picked up some decent reviews, but in its home country it was hidden away for years. After watching the film myself I’m rather baffled as to why it was deemed racist though. That couldn’t be further from the truth and it seems clear that the detractors hadn’t actually watched it.
White Dog begins with bit-part actress Julie Sawyer (Kristy McNichol) hitting a dog in her car late one night. She takes it to a vet and nurses it back to health at her home whilst she waits for someone to pick it up. When no one comes, she decides to keep it. She soon discovers however that the German Shepherd has been trained as an attack dog, and not just any attack dog, but a ‘white dog’, one that has been conditioned to specifically go for black people on sight.
Julie’s boyfriend and others try to convince her to put the dog down as well as a renowned Hollywood animal trainer (Burl Ives) who spots its evil mindset. However, a black trainer at the same site, Keys (Paul Winfield), vows to do everything in his power to un-train the beast. Julie agrees to let him do his work and the film follows the difficult process to see if this hatred can be eradicated.
When all was done and said (and said, and said, and said) about Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel, my final conclusion was that the film was ultimately far more about Michael Fassbender’s David character, an inquisitive android who perhaps oversteps his bounds against his human creators, than Noomi Rapace’s Elizabeth Shaw (an altruistic human who perhaps oversteps her bounds against her own cosmic creators). Either way, both characters have an open-ending upon the films final shot leaving them slightly battered, but free to cruise the stars and have further adventures in some capacity.
It turns out, according to The Wrap (and the internet echo chamber) that there will be a follow up, likely focusing on David. Ridley Scott is eyeing the Prometheus sequel for the director’s job; which of course assumes his health at nearly 80 permits such a huge effort as another Alien film. Twentieth Century Fox has hired the writers of Transcendence (Wally Pfister’s directorial debut about a man/machine hybrid forcefully commandeering the planet’s collective technology) and Green Lantern (yea, that one that lost Warner Brothers a few shekels) to cobble a screenplay together.
We generally don’t focus on news items at this site, we wait for a trailer or at least a proper production still. But I cannot help myself here, as a rather enthusiastic fan of the messy but beautiful 2012 film, I hope this gets made and that they hit their targeted 2016 release date.