Trailer: The Revenant

leorevenant

Rev·e·nantˈrevəˌnäN,-nənt – noun
a person who has returned, especially supposedly from the dead.

Hot off the success of last year’s Best Picture winner Birdman, Alejandro G. Iñárritu is shifting gears with The Revenant. The film is a period piece revenge thriller adapted by Iñárritu from Michael Punke’s 2003 novel based on the true story of 19th century fur trapper Hugh Glass.

Over the years, the project has gone through quite a few hands before ending up on Iñárritu’s lap. At one point, Park Chan-wook was attached to direct with Samuel L. Jackson to star. Later on, John Hillcoat and Christian Bale were in negotiations.

As you’ll see in the trailer, with the final product, Iñárritu has crafted what appears to be a spectacularly beautiful film starring Leonardo Dicaprio as the weary protagonist hellbent on revenge against his companions (one played by Tom Hardy) who rob and leave him for dead after he’s attacked by a grizzly. Needless to say, it looks fucking awesome.

The Revenant drops into theaters stateside on Christmas Day 2015.

Friday One Sheet: The Hateful 8

The promise of a ‘Western with winter’ in the vein of The Great Silence, Ravenous, Jeremiah Johnson or McCabe & Mrs. Miller is just about as compelling as just about anything in cinema for yours truly. You can guess at the tingle that this particularly painterly poster offers. Kudos to Quentin Tarantino and other keeping the genre alive (and this year promises to be particularly kind for gunslingers and ne’er-do-wells.) The Hateful 8 with its gritty tagline (I can practically hear that line being spoken by Kurt Russell or Bruce Dern) alongside foot prints and blood. And a collection of hardened men against the backdrop of gently falling snow. Bliss.

Cinecast Episode 403 – Two Hundred Eighty-Eight Thumbs Up

It’s a night time desert out there in the cinemas these days. Things are so chilly that Andrew does not even want to dwell on his Minions experience over the weekend (but rest assured, he does anyway). Also in the melange is conversation on True Detective, Telugu MEGA-EPIC Baahubali: The Beginning, the slew of trailers dropped at a certain pop cultural event, plus and a number of random tangents and what-have-yous. Not really a typical Cinecast, but things are not the trainwreck you might think (more on that bit of miscommunication in the show). Apologies for The Cranberries closing out the show, it’s an Amy Schumer thing.

(show notes below are limited)

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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Review: Baahubali – The Beginning

Director: S.S. Rajamouli (Eega)
Writers: S.S. Rajamouli, Vijayendra Prasad
Producer: Prasad Devineni
Starring: Rana Daggubati, Satyaraj, Prabhas, Anushka Shetty, Tamannaah Bhatia
MPAA Rating: G
Running time: 159 min.

 

 

The original posting of this review can be found at Malaysian Blogger/Journalist Allan Koay’s website, The Storyboard

 


Some years ago, when Aamir Khan’s Ghajini came out, a friend of mine was all excited to see it solely because it was a remake of Christopher Nolan’s Memento, which was one of his favourite films. He did, and came away sorely disappointed, even though it generated positive reviews, achieved blockbuster status in India and did well around the world. The problem was, he had gone to the movie expecting it to be like Memento, but was met with the usual Hindi song-and-dance and melodrama.

The problem was, he didn’t understand Indian cinema.

The film industry in India is one of the biggest, most prolific in the world. Forbes reported that 1,602 films were produced in 2012 alone. The Indian film industry is also completely self-sustaining. By number of tickets alone, Bollywood outsells even Hollywood (even though Hollywood revenues remain unmatched).

So, why did that friend of mine not get Indian films?

The massive juggernaut that is Baahubali, the Telugu/Tamil fantasy epic directed by S.S. Rajamouli, has a story that we’ve come to be all too familiar with – the rivalry between a good king and his evil brother who usurps the throne while the good king’s son escapes death as an infant only to return as an adult to avenge his father. Yet the film works, for two reasons. One, it is well-directed, imaginative, a barrel of fun and is genuinely exciting. And two, it is appropriately over-the-top, melodramatic and fearlessly idiosyncratic in the grand, old Indian-cinema tradition.

The film also uses Hollywood fantasy-epic conventions, such as two colliding hordes on a battlefield and stylish slo-mo’s, something we’ve seen over and over and should now be a tiresome staple of big battle scenes. But in the hands of Rajamouli, there are many refreshing twists and turns in Baahubali‘s 45-minute battle where everything that happens advances the story, unlike in a Hollywood film where big battles are mostly just for showing off CGI.

Yet, I knew I wasn’t just seeing an Indian-cinema version of a Hollywood fantasy epic. What I was experiencing was quite something else. I started to think about why I like Indian cinema and what draws me to it.

Like no other cinema in the world.

Mainstream Indian films work according to their own rules and by their own logic. They are like no other mainstream films in the world. In fact, Indian mainstream cinema is like no other in the world.

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2015 Emmy Nominations

bettercallsaul

The nominations for this year’s Emmy awards dropped today and we have ’em for you, courtesy of Variety. The first few are listed immediately below and the rest of the nominations are after the jump.

I’m particularly pleased with all the love for Better Call Saul, which I think was the best television of the past year (along with some of the strongest performances).

Who or what is missing? Any surprises? Snubs? Chime in below!

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
“Better Call Saul”
“Downton Abbey”
“Game of Thrones”
“Homeland”
“House of Cards”
“Mad Men”
“Orange is the New Black”

OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES
“Louie”
“Modern Family”
“Parks and Recreation”
“Silicon Valley”
“Transparent”
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
“Veep”

LEAD ACTOR, DRAMA
Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”
Kyle Chandler, “Bloodline”
Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”
Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”
Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom”
Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan”

LEAD ACTRESS, DRAMA
Taraji P. Henson, “Empire”
Claire Danes, “Homeland”
Viola Davis, “How to Get Away with Murder”
Tatiana Maslany, “Orphan Black”
Elisabeth Moss, “Mad Men”
Robin Wright, “House of Cards”

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DVD Review: Housebound

Director: Gerard Johnstone
Screenplay: Gerard Johnstone
Starring: Morgana O’Reilly, Rima Te Wiata, Glen-Paul Waru, Ross Harper, Cameron Rhodes
Country: New Zealand
Running Time: 107 min
Year: 2014
BBFC Certificate: 18


New Zealand seems to be leading the way in horror comedies of late with What We Do in the Shadows and Housebound both doing well on the genre festival circuits. I enjoyed the former quite a bit even if I was slightly disappointed after the hype. Nevertheless, it whetted my appetite for more kiwi horror comedy, so I was more than happy to check out Housebound on its UK DVD release.

Housebound opens with a botched cash machine robbery by a young woman, Kylie (Morgana O’Reilly). We hear in court that it’s not her first arrest and attempts at rehabilitation have failed, so the judge orders her under house arrest at her mum Miriam’s (Rima Te Wiata) house. Kylie isn’t at all happy with this, since she thinks her mum is an absent minded, gossiping bore. Miriam claims the house is haunted, which Kylie scoffs at until she starts to experience spooky goings on herself. Once these start to really unsettle the pair, they call upon Kylie’s probation officer, Amos (Glen-Paul Waru), who happens to be a keen paranormal investigator on the side. Together they discover a mystery behind the house that must be unravelled before the dead can be at peace.

Housebound is a very different beast to What We Do in the Shadows. Where that took horror characters and presented them in a distinctly non-horror fashion for laughs, Housebound is more of a classic horror story with humour more naturally integrated within it. Because of this, the film is less obviously fresh or attention grabbing as a lot of popular recent horror films.

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Mamo 414: Too Big To Con

Mamo!

With San Diego Comic Con 2015 now safely behind us, we ask our annual question: what was it all for? Batman fought Superman, Suicide Squad came out, The Hunger Games continued to dominate and we sort of just don’t care any more. At what point did Comic Con cease to be a launchpad and became a temporary meatspace incarnation of something we more routinely call “the internet?”
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New Horizons Flies By Pluto Today

Nine years in the making, the release is today! OK, so this isn’t really movie-related, but since we’re all dreamers here and appreciate the profound, the majestic, the awe-inspiring, the grandiose and I’ll say it, the awesome, just a little trailer here of what’s to come today from NASA and “deep” space. This trailer is pretty chill inducing.

Today is the big day!

Review: Minions

Directors: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin (Despicable Me 1 & 2)
Writer: Brian Lynch
Producers: Janet Healy, Christopher Meledandri
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney, Steve Coogan, Jennifer Saunders, Geoffrey Rush, Steve Carell, Pierre Coffin
MPAA Rating: PG
Running time: 91 min.

 

 

My original posting of this review can be found at Film Frontier

 


The Minions are coming! The Minions are coming!

You’d have to be a real grouch to not love the Minions! Sure the bright yellow, bean-shaped, goggle-wearing rascals may have only been the comic relief in the adorable Despicable Me movies, but to many moviegoers, including this one, they were easily the best part of the show. And why wouldn’t they be? With their googly eyes, gobbledygook language, sunny disposition, goofy mischievousness and endearing ineptitude, these squishy suckers were practically manufactured for one reason and one reason only: to make kids (and adults) fall in love with them.

Obviously sensing a golden opportunity to mine millions out of their minions, the folks at Universal have promptly upgraded the yellow banana beans to leading men status for the aptly titled Minions. But some things are better off served as sides. And that’s the case with the minions too. Although the movie, which was co-directed by Pierre Coffin & Kyle Balda and written by Brian Lynch, is sporadically witty, looks gorgeous and never less than amusing, it becomes evident halfway through that there’s only so much you can mine out of these characters – especially with the story at hand.

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