Film buff, composer, podcaster, and friend of the Cinecast, Jim Laczkowski continues his exploration of Steven Soderbergh’s prolific filmography from an earlier episode of the Director’s Club Podcast; which, not coincidentally, featured Andrew James. Focusing on many of Soderbergh’s film projects from The Limey onward, Jim invites both Kurt & Andrew into the mix to get down and dirty with Bubble, Contagion, Solaris, Ocean’s Twelve, The Good German, Haywire, The Informant! and more. From stunt cameos, to 1940s camera lenses, to mental health, to the art of the montage and atheism vs. belief. Yea, there is a lot of ground to cover.
Legendarily short show here folks. We like what we see, there just is not much to get into with it. First off is Easy-E, Dre and Cube lighting fires and white-washing in Straight Outta Compton. Then we get back to more “classic” styling with designer suits, 60s fashions, and a really nice bottle of Moët in Guy Ritchie’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E..
As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!
This is the one where Sean Bean and Jimi Hendrix show up.
By now, whether you have read Andy Weir’s surprise hit, self-published novel or not, you know that an astronaut, played by Matt Damon, gets accidentally stranded on the Red Planet. Left to his own devices and remaining gear scattered about, he has to ‘science the shit’ out of his situation while a rescue operation can be put together by both his fellow crew members currently headed back to Earth, as well as NASA mission control. The trailer has a lot of familiar beats from previous ones, but also has a fair bit of new footage as well. Nice to see some can-do American spirit on display without rampant flag-waving. Go Science!
During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring “the Martian” home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible rescue mission.
The Martian will bow at this years Toronto International Film Festival, before receiving a wide theatrical release in early October.
Sundance hit, The Witch, offers up a very intense, quite disturbing trailer. The self-labelled, “New England Folktale” from director Robert Eggers is not so much about viscera or ritual or the usual witch cliches, but the power of superstition, fear, and family values imploding under immense survival pressures and religious beliefs in the New World in the 17th century. It is unrelenting grey and grim, almost black and white in colour palette, and I kind of wish this was released on American Thanksgiving. As the film continues on the festival circuit (next stop: TIFF), it will not be getting a commercial release until 2016.
New England, 1630: William and Katherine lead a devout Christian life, homesteading on the edge of an impassible wilderness, with five children. When their newborn son mysteriously vanishes and their crops fail, the family begins to turn on one another.
Director: Alex Ross Perry (Impolex, The Color Wheel, Listen Up Phillip)
Writer: Alex Ross Perry
Producers: Elisabeth Moss, Alex Ross Perry, Adam Piotrowicz, Joe Swanberg
Starring: Elisabeth Moss, Katherine Waterston, Patrick Fugit
MPAA Rating: NR
Running time: 90 min.
Pretend for a moment “Persona” doesn’t exist. This is the lesbian “The Master”.
Am ambivalent about vouching for Queen of Earth as Alex Ross Perry’s fourth and best film, especially after last year’s crackerjack Listen Up Philip — but holy crap, what a piece of work this is, resplendent, euphoric, and surprisingly complete. Does that mean all its ends are tied up? Not exactly. I’ve seen Queen of Earth a grand total of about 2.5 times now and I still can’t figure it out. But don’t go mad — it’s by design. And when it comes to style, Perry alongside cinematographer Sean Price Williams and composer Keegan DeWitt (both “Philip” alumni) keep the irrational tension keen-edged throughout the course of its rigid 90-minute running time.
Elisabeth Moss, reteaming for her second tour with Perry, delivers the so far apex performance of her big-screen career, channeling the passive, starry-eyed minx she so acutely portrayed on “Mad Men” into a woman on the last-gasp verge of a full-blown nervous breakdown. As Catherine, an insomniac wreck since the one-two of her artist father’s suicide and subsequent romantic fallout with boyfriend James (Kentucker Audley), Moss is fearless and terrific, especially in many of the film’s lengthy closeup shots which ask her to do an expressive lot with little.
Right up there with her is Katherine Waterston as Ginny, a trust-fund kid who welcomes Catherine to vacation at her parents’ New York lake house. The past of Catherine and Ginny’s friendship (or something more) is nondescript, but writer-director Perry has a monster’s ball mirroring flashbacks from the summer before with the conflict of the current one.
Like Listen Up Philip, Queen of Earth has an eclectic range of influences, here the artier horror of Roman Polanski (Knife in the Water, Repulsion), David Lynch (Mulholland Drive, Blue Velvet), and Bergman while still carrying over “Philip’s” class clash of Noah Baumbach, Whit Stillman and Woody Allen. And yet Queen of Earth, like Peter Strickland’s The Duke of Burgundy from last winter, is above all the strident vision of an incoming auteur, lyrical as it is bizarre if you’re willing to look close enough.
I have a theory that Perry, a known feline aficionado, based the perceptive dynamic between Moss and Waterston (the spitfire should-be Oscar nominee for her cagey dream girl in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice) on those of cats guarding territory — wherever one is, the other isn’t lurking far behind. Queen of Earth is a delicious provocation that’s certainly a must for anyone reading this, a mid-August rush of Lars von Trier calamity spiced with Harmony Korine pop conviction, that also amplifies as one of the most multifaceted depictions of depression in a hot minute. It deserves to be remembered as one of 2015’s standout films. Though by then, it might already be too late.
Quite honestly, the idea of a retelling of “Frankenstein” seems preposterous but since everything else is getting re-tooled and re-told, why not Shelley’s classic tale? This new revision comes at the hands of Max Landis (of Chronicle fame) and director Paul McGuigan who has been busy in TV land for the last few years but hasn’t directed anything of note since 2009’s Push.
As appealing as that writer/director duo is, the real catch here is the tag team of James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe who are playing Dr. Frankenstein and Igor respectively. I was on board from the word McAvoy but wasn’t expecting much from the project so color me surprised at the first trailer which is ridiculous, funny, kind of gruesome and which presents a movie that looks far better than anything I could have anticipated.
And since we’re already marvelling at this thing, can I also take a moment to note how funny this trailer is? Like, real comedic moments! This thing could actually work out for the best. Unsurprisingly, since McAvoy has chemistry with a door, he and Radcliffe looks right at home together. I’m sure Michael Fassbender is jealous.
Victor Frankenstein opens November 25th.
Director: Guy Ritchie (Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, Sherlock Holmes)
Writers: Guy Ritchie, Lionel Wigram
Producers: Steve Clark-Hall, John Davis, Jeff Kleeman, Lionel Wigram
Starring: Henry Cavil, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki, Luca Calvani, Sylvester Groth, Hugh Grant, Jared Harris
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 116 min.
The year of the spy movie continues with Guy Ritchie’s The Man from U.N.C.L.E., a big summer blockbuster based on the ‘60s television series. Focusing on the uneasy collaboration between American special agent Napolean Solo (Henry Cavill) and his former Russian adversary Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer), Ritchie takes us back for an origin story, showing us the events that forced these two men to work together against a common enemy, back when relations between the two countries were at their most heated. Working again with writer/producer Lionel Wigram, after the two successfully made a franchise out of Robert Downey Jr.’s Sherlock Holmes six years ago, Ritchie’s The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a welcome throwback to early Bond films, loaded with hip action, and always having a tongue planted slightly in cheek. Without ever veering too far into kitsch, the film expertly weaves the fine line between having fun with itself and knowing when things need to get serious. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is loaded with exciting, well-choreographed setpieces from the word go, keeping a spring in its step all the way to the finish line.
Opening with perhaps its finest sequence, Ritchie starts the film off by introducing our two agents on opposite sides, both in pursuit of Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander), the daughter of a German scientist who was Adolf Hitler’s top man during the war. Gaby is the key to infiltrating a criminal organization with intentions of the nuclear weapon variety. Solo’s mission is to bring her in. Kuryakin’s is to make sure that doesn’t happen. What ensues is an elaborate chase that establishes both men’s capabilities and conveys the zippy style and pulsing energy that Ritchie maintains for the remainder of the film. It’s a hell of a way to open up a picture, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is only just getting started. Once the players are all set into motion, with the two governments realizing that they need to join forces in order to stop a greater threat, the interplay between the leading men takes over, with Gaby in prime position to be the ace in the hole as the balancing point between the two. Solo’s cocksure swagger and Kuryakin’s arrogant bullishness clash time and again, resulting in a game of one-upmanship, even as they ultimately need to rely on one another to complete their mission.
Check out these links:
Barack Obama’s Spotify playalists for DAY and NIGHT
Kid asks dad for a “real” Thor hammer for his birthday
Mark Hamill’s awesome autographs
Creative Star Wars posters
129 Of The Most Beautiful Shots In Movie History
Kurt Halfyard told me to post this
Tianjin Chemical Explosion Visible From Space
Furniture and clothing made to look like human flesh and guts
Straight came Outta Compton like a box office rocket, so Mamo is on the scene to discuss the movie’s champions and critics, including (professional contrarian?) Armond White’s thoughts on the film and black activism in general. Plus we spend five or ten minutes with Fantastic Four, cuz it’s us.