Review: The Sisterhood of Night

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Director: Caryn Waechter
Writer: Marilyn Fu, Steven Millhauser (short story)
Producers: Elizabeth Cuthrell, Lydia Dean Pilcher
Starring: Georgie Henley, Kara Hayward, Willa Cuthrell-Tuttleman, Olivia DeJonge, Kal Penn, Laura Fraser
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 104 min.


The current crop of YA movies may be, for the most part, burning up the box office but the majority of them don’t feature regular, everyday kids dealing with regular, everyday problems. Yes, the messages are mostly positive but how likely is it that a girl will have to save the world from the grips of a power hungry leader with her bow and arrow?

The easy thing to do is chalk The Sisterhood of Night up to modern retelling of the Salem witch trials and it certainly is that but it’s also far more. Based on a short story from Pulitzer Prize winning author Steven Millhauser and adapted by Marilyn Fu, the story takes the concept of the witch trials and sets it in today’s highschool world complete with the perils of social media.

The grown-up Georgie Henley (of The Chronicles of Narnia fame) stars as Mary Warren, an artistic and largely independent teen girl who, after a couple of run ins with an attention hungry Emily Parris (Moonrise Kingdom’s Kara Hayward) decides to take a break from social media. She updates Facebook one last time and then turns her attention to real world connections. The teen soon befriends a pair of other girls and the trio begin the Sisterhood of Night, a by invitation-only club that sees girls getting together in the middle of the night in the woods and what they do there soon becomes the centre of a scandal.

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The “Anals” of Film History – “Human Centipede III” Trailer

Taking the franchise to new lows; not just in subject matter, but apparently in deliberate production value as well, the producers of The Human Centipede III seem to be making an intentional attempt at making one of the most disgusting franchises in film history look more like a Grindhouse picture devoid of suspense or creativity or purpose – but rather just an attempt at laughable stupidity.

Part II (The Full Sequence) was almost literally a piece of shit already, but at least it had some interesting meta-moments and well thought-out characters. This looks like a romp of shithole proportions. Congratulations Dieter Laser, you’re back – and you get to work with Eric Roberts.

 

True Detective Season 2 Teaser

Be prepared for more grim, angsty personal and professional portraits of cops from Nic Pizzolatto and HBO. This time, it’s Vince Vaughn and Colin Farrell looking downward and determined as the music plays. Highways and drought and California nightmares. Plus, Colin Farrell in a thick moustache. I couldn’t be more in.

A bizarre murder brings together three law-enforcement officers and a career criminal, each of whom must navigate a web of conspiracy and betrayal in the scorched landscapes of California. Colin Farrell is Ray Velcoro, a compromised detective in the all-industrial City of Vinci, LA County. Vince Vaughn plays Frank Semyon, a criminal and entrepreneur in danger of losing his life’s work, while his wife and closest ally (Kelly Reilly), struggles with his choices and her own. Rachel McAdams is Ani Bezzerides, a Ventura County Sheriff’s detective often at odds with the system she serves, while Taylor Kitsch plays Paul Woodrugh, a war veteran and motorcycle cop for the California Highway Patrol who discovers a crime scene which triggers an investigation involving three law enforcement groups, multiple criminal collusions, and billions of dollars.

True Detective Season 2 begins its run June 21st.

MSPIFF Review: The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared

 


 

For all of us who feel Robert Zemeckis’s Forrest Gump is a sentimental, condescending insult to cinema audiences everywhere, and Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is not any better, we finally have an entry into ‘the man who fumbles successfully through history’ nano-genre to call our own. Do not let the maladroit title fool you, Felix Herngren’s big screen adaptation of the bestselling novel by Jonas Jonasson, is a Swiss-fucking-watch in the plotting department, and savagely amusing in its come-what-may temperament. It sneaks up on you in similar ways as Jo Nesbo’s Headhunters even as it dazzles you with the sweep of history.

After a tone-setting and highly unfortunate incident involving a sweet kitty, a hungry fox and a bundle of dynamite, one of cinemas strangest heroes, Allan Karlsson, finds himself confined to a retirement home on the eve his centenary year on this little planet called Earth. The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared (hereafter The 100 Year Old Man) is the delightfully absurd story of our eponymous very senior citizen who does indeed bail out the open glass portal of his tiny room right on the day while the nurses are attempting to count and light all those candles on his marzipan cake, but it is also the story of us as a conflicted and nutty species.

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After the Hype #91 – Battle of the Bonds

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This week Bryan and Jon are joined by Graham to discuss which Bond reigns supreme. Is it DIE ANOTHER DAY (Bryan’s choice), FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE (Jon’s choice), or GOLDENEYE (Graham’s choice)?

Does Daniel Craig have what it takes to oust Sean Connery as THE BEST BOND? Did Bryan, Jon, and Graham pick from too small a sample size? Is this all an excuse to gush over some really fun films? Will they do another Battle of the Bonds later?

God, just listen to the episode already.

 

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Blu-Ray Review: Sweet Smell of Success

Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Screenplay: Clifford Odets, Ernest Lehman
Based on a Novella by: Ernest Lehman
Starring: Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Susan Harrison, Martin Milner
Producer: James Hill
Country: USA
Running Time: 96 min
Year: 1957
BBFC Certificate: 12A


I recently moved house and with all the unpacking and DIY to do I’ve been building a bit of a backlog of screeners to review. In hindsight I should have been sensible and not taken any on over this period, but I struggle to turn down the opportunity to watch some of the interesting and exciting titles I get offered from my PR/distributor friends. If we’re talking about being sensible, I certainly shouldn’t have said yes to Arrow Academy’s new re-release of Sweet Smell of Success, as the offer came late when I was already very busy and it’s a film I’ve seen before and actually own on DVD. However, it’s such a great film which I haven’t seen for a long time and the chance to watch a nicely remastered Blu-Ray from the ever reliable Arrow family is very hard to turn down. So I didn’t.

The under-appreciated director Alexander Mackendrick made his US directorial debut with Sweet Smell of Success after a string of well-loved Ealing comedies in the UK (and the drama Mandy, a.k.a. Crash of Silence). The film follows slimy press agent Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis) as he worms his way through New York City’s nightlife, attempting to appease the all-powerful Broadway columnist J.J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster). This brutish journalist has the power to have a man “sentenced to death” (professionally speaking) and he has given Falco an important task, to break up the burgeoning relationship between Hunsecker’s sister, Susie (Susan Harrison), and the jazz guitarist Steve Dallas (Martin Milner). You see, although Hunsecker is a hateful and frightening person, he is incredibly protective of his younger sister and won’t let anyone else get close to her, particularly a lowly jazz musician. Steve is a good man though and the two are very much in love. This doesn’t stop Falco, who hatches has a plan to use Steve’s integrity to his advantage. As he puts it, integrity is “a pocket fulla firecrackers – looking for a match!” Once this is set up (pretty quickly), for the rest of the film the audience sits back and watches Falco put his devious scheme into action.

‘Sits back’ probably isn’t the right word though. Although the plot isn’t particularly dense (the film is largely made up of a lot of acid-tinged conversations), it’s an exhausting watch. The immensely quotable dialogue fires out like a machine gun (check out the IMDB quotes page) and the camera never stands still as we are whisked from nightclub to office to bedroom. It’s quite a dizzying trip into the depths of depravity one man will go to find what he calls success.

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Geoffrey Lewis. 1935-2015

Character actor Geoffrey Lewis passed on yesterday leaving a legacy of hundreds of wonderful character parts. He appeared in everything from Clint Eastwood westerns to The Devils Rejects and Fletch Lives.

Personally, I always used to confuse him with fellow character actor Marshall Bell, who I assume, both he fought tooth and nail for the same time of roles; namely grizzled, slightly authoritarian, often sympathetic but just as likely, a turncoat or a villain. Notably, Lewis is also the father of actor Juliette Lewis, who can be equally feisty and unpredictable on screen as her father ever was.

The Guardian has more.

Cinecast Episode 388 – It Follows

 
For those looking for our Furious 7 review, be sure to check out The RowThree Super Ticket. In here, it’s all indie horror making a big splash. Matt, Andrew and Kurt hash it out. Minimal editing, production and show notes here folks. If you want the full deal, we leave that up to Toretto and James Wan in another podcast.

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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Super Ticket Episode 5 – No More Funerals

Listen up woman! Shit’s about to get real. We’re not letting some snot-nosed Limey who thinks he runs the world get under the skin of this podcast. No sir, we’re calling in the cavalry. Mamo & Cinecast unite to dislodge any notion y’all got about taints or GPS parachutes. Cars do fly in this universe and damned we’ll be if any sum bitch, especially Jason Statham, is gonna take that away from us. We gots NOS in our brain and petrol in the veins, so sit down, have a tuna sandwich and chill with us. You can have any beer you like; as long as it’s a Corona. This is the Super Ticket, brah! And we’re talking Furious 7. Recognize.

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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