After the Hype #142 – TMNT 2: The Secret of the Ooze

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It’s time to break out the mutagen because this party’s gonna shred! We joined The Front Row Movie Review Podcast yesterday to talk Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie (GO LISTEN NOW), and today we welcome The Front Row in our discussion of the super fun Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze. Special thanks to Craig McFarland for his epic turtle rap.

AND REMEMBER! Tokka and Razar AREN’T babies.

THE FRONT ROW MOVIE REVIEW PODCAST!

 

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After the Credits Episode 190: June Preview

When a dead guy becomes your everything...

When a dead guy becomes your everything…

Blink and you’ll miss it.

That’s exactly how we’re feeling as June rolls in and we are reminded that half othe year has come and gone with only a handful of really memorable movies and with only one or two worth any note coming in June. Yet… Coleen, Dale (Letterboxd) and I (Letterboxd) gather our wits and run down this month’s opening movies.

Is it really summer movie season? Because judging by these titles, you’d be hard pressed to guess it.

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Mamo 449: X’s and “Oh”s

Mamo!

This Memorial Day, we fondly remember the days when Memorial Day was a good time to open a blockbuster. With X-Men: Apocalypse and Alice Through the Looking Glass in the toilet, we castrate Fox’s management of the X-franchise before diving into the wider question of fan entitlement, platonic relationships, and Cap being in love with Bucky (cuz he IS, ok?).

Review: Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

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Director: Nicholas Stoller (Get Him to the Greek, The Five-Year Engagement, Neighbors))
Writers: Andrew Jay Cohen, Brendan O’Brien, Nicholas Stoller, Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
Producers: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen, James Weaver
Starring: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Chloë Grace Moretz, Kiersey Clemons, Dave Franco, Jerrod Carmichael, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Beanie Feldstein, Clara Mamet, Selena Gomez, Hannibal Buress
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 92 min.

 

 

My original posting of this review can be found on LetterBoxd

 


As a pretty big fan of the original Neighbors, even I can admit that Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is one of the more unnecessary sequels to come out in recent years, which is saying a lot given how quick studios have been to hit the greenlight on continuations of any movie that makes them a couple bucks lately, no matter how unwarranted they actually are. Thankfully, they were smart enough to get the ball rolling on this one quickly and have it released just two years after its predecessor, rather than risking a longer wait that would have resulted in its release being met with a lot of, “Wait… what was Neighbors again?”. Instead, the response is more, “… why are they doing a sequel to that?”, and it’s a pretty justified question. The truth is money. Certainly from watching the movie, you can tell that there’s no artistic or creative reason behind putting all of these people back onto the screen together to play out more or less the same scenario that we saw two years ago. It is worth mentioning that they at least brought back the entirety of the cast from the original, as well as Nicholas Stoller in the directing chair, something which doesn’t often happen with sequels these days, and helps it feel more like a return than a cash-in, even if that is ultimately what it is.

This time, instead of moving into their home with their new baby, Mac and Kelly Radner (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) have just sold their house in order to move into a new one with their soon to be born second kid, and instead of being tormented by a fraternity led by Zac Efron’s Teddy Sanders, they are up against a new sorority led by Chloe Grace Moretz’s Shelby, who is helped out by Teddy because obviously they had to figure out a way to get him back in the game (via a quarter life crisis that’s actually pretty amusingly played by Efron). That’s the ridiculous setup that tries to wring the same jokes from the same well, and surprisingly a lot of it does actually work the second time around. Everything about Neighbors 2 feels like you saw it already, because you did, but the reason the first film was so well-received is because the gags really worked, and so seeing them again with very slight variations is still pretty amusing a lot of the time. If you sit down and think about it for too long, it’s easy to get dismayed by the utter laziness in plugging tens of millions of dollars into doing the same exact thing. Fortunately, the movie makes sure that you’re having too much fun to really concern yourself with any of that.
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Blu-Ray Review: L’Avventura – Criterion Collection

Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
Screenplay: Michelangelo Antonioni, Elio Bartolini, Tonino Guerra
Starring: Gabriele Ferzetti, Monica Vitti, Lea Massari
Country: Italy, France
Running Time: 143 min
Year: 1960
BBFC Certificate: PG


Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1960 film L’Avventura is one of the most highly regarded films of all time. It’s one of the few titles to have been in Sight and Sound’s prestigious top ten greatest films list three times – second in 1962, only two years after it’s release, fifth in 1972 and seventh in 1982. It still stands in the longer most current list at #21 in the critics list and #30 in the director’s poll. However, it didn’t get off to the best of starts. Premiering at Cannes, the first screening was met with boos and jeers from the audience. However, the critics loved it and the film ended up winning the Jury Prize. Following its worldwide release soon after, the film became hugely popular too and helped revolutionise art house cinema across the globe.

Now I’ve never seen L’Avventura, but I’ve been aware of its reputation so it’s been on my radar for a while. Needless to say I jumped at the chance of reviewing this new Blu-Ray re-release as part of the prestigious Criterion Collection. The question is, will I side with the critics or the audience at Cannes?

L’Avventura sees a group of wealthy Italian socialites head off on a yachting trip together. One of the group, Anna (Lea Massari), is having doubts about her relationship with Sandro (Gabriele Ferzetti). She’s had a month alone and this trip is supposed to be their reunion, but she’s not convinced she wants to be with him anymore. Part way through the trip, on visiting a small island where the two have an argument, Anna goes missing. The group are all distressed at first, but most give up caring quite soon. Her friend Claudia (Monica Vitti) and Sandro remain troubled by what happened though and set out to try and find her. After a while however, the two grow closer together and form a relationship as they gradually forget their friend.

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Cinecast Episode 442 – Pre-Madonna

For whatever reason, X-men seems to be the one Marvel franchise that your hosts seem to have some amount of loyalty to. Even though we all know that the third one is the worst, we traverse the murky waters of X-Men: Apocalypse – the “third one” in the slightly rebooted version of the franchise. With a busy week schedule-wise, there wasn’t much else to talk about, but Andrew threw together a quick, Memorial Day Watch List that includes very early Costner, Robert Mitchum vs a submarine and the very first film for Tom Cruise and Sean Penn. We meander a little bit around the state of the current multi-plex, but ultimately pledge to be back with an all-new Top Five list next and some other goodies. Have a seat and take a listen!

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!

We’re now available on Google Play!

 

 
 

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Friday One Sheet: Cosmos

The spirit of Polish poster design is alive and well with this, the one-sheet for the final film from art-horror master, Andrej Żuławski. The director of 1981’s marital freak out, Possession, as well as 1996’s scandalous drug and sex laced Szamanka passed on this year at 75, but not before completing his final film, Cosmos who passed on earlier this year. It may look simple, but there are some nice details in this design, the branches of the trees looking like both dendrites and constellations, the woman’s face who is looking heavenward with one eye, but at us the the other. And the tiny bird token hanging from the branch about the title and super condensed credit block. This poster is a work of art.

Review: A Bigger Splash

We all, at one point or another, would love the luxury of escaping; from our personal problems, our physical woes, our responsibilities, our history, or our future. The wealthy elite have this ability, at least in theory. They flit off to their villas and cabins, their homes away from home, where they might recuperate at their leisure. Such is the case in A Bigger Splash. The troubled celebrities of our story find themselves in hiding, yet incapable of escaping their past woes, or those of the world. Despite their best efforts, no one, no matter their wealth, can escape reality.

Luca Guadagnino’s I Am Love follow-up, A Bigger Splash, showcases this escapism while touching on complex issues such as gender performativity, sexuality, and international conflict with subtle, understated grace and simultaneous volatility. It’s a slow burn, the kind of film that improves on each viewing, and reveals new depths the longer it stews in the foreground of your mind.

Splash focuses on aging rock star Marianne Lane (Tilda Swinton). A gender-swapped David Bowie, she’s in recovery-induced hiding with her lover and companion of six years, documentary filmmaker Paul de Smedt (Matthias Schoenaerts). She recently had vocal chord surgery to help regain her failing voice. The result is that she cannot speak, both out of physician-mandated recovery instructions, and an actual inability to produce sound.

Enter Harry Hawkes (Ralph Fiennes), Marianne’s ex and a major music producer, and his newly discovered nubile daughter, Penelope Lanier (Dakota Johnson). The two impose themselves on Paul and Marianne’s recovery away from the world, while Harry plays on Marianne’s impetuous nature, urging her to sing and live hard despite her limitations. The result is an explosive clash that thrusts all manner of normalcy into a surreal atmosphere of loss.

A Bigger Splash is an erotic drama, a thriller of sorts that uses its intricate character study to fuel its intrigue. We are pulled in by the sexual escapades of our leads, as opening scenes set the tone with nude sunbathing, and silent pool-side orgasms. As Harry and Penelope arrive, the silence is broken, predominantly by Harry, who can’t seem to keep his mouth shut. The majority of the film’s dialogue is left to the men, who speak on behalf of Marianne, the mute, domesticated rock star, and Penelope, the nubile sexpot whose power is in her eyes and her hips.

But this representation of gender is conscious, depicting an exhilaratingly problematic depiction of contemporary gender roles and performativity. We are given two women left to portray the entire spectrum of female presence in society; Marianne, the ageing rock star with no voice or conceivable role in society other than to be adored, and Penelope, the youthful beauty who must use her body to get ahead, and has no concept of consequence. Her millennial approach to life seeps into the lives of her father, and his friends, poisoning things from the outside with a subtle glance and a grin. Would you like to know more…?

After the Hype #141 – Summer Blockbuster Battle

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We’re joined this week by long time friend and fan Justin Thiele – who brings us plenty of reasons why LAST ACTION HERO is not worthy of the title of BEST SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER FILM. That’s right, folks, it’s time for another battle episode and we’ve got some great movies to talk about. Jon defends PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL but can’t say the title right. Bryan makes a scary-good case for JAWS. Chewie whisks us away to nostalgia-town with TWISTER. Ryan dons the fedora and defends RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. So, which movie wins? Just going to have to listen to the episode and find out!

 

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