Cinecast Episode 461 – Unicorn Pink

Having a week hiatus gives us double the amount of cinema to dive into the following week. So here we are with five, count ’em 5, theatrical reviews. We kick it off with a likely Oscar contender in Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight – or as we put it, what will be the dominating force at this year’s Indie Spirit Awards. Marvel kicked off it’s newest franchise potential with Benedict (x2) in Doctor Strange. Kelly Reichardt is back with another slice-of-life picture in Certain Women. The film has has heart and some stellar performances, though may be a bit unsatisfying for many. Nicolas Cage and Willem Dafoe are let off their leashes Dog Eat Dog and Kurt announces the female performance to beat this year from Rebecca Hall in Christine – no, it’s not a remake about a killer car. We also briefly touch on Rachel Weisz and Timothy spall in Denial. The Watch List includes a mini Michael Mann Marathon (MMMM), a revisit to unconventional Peter Weir, a comedy special and a few horror titles to cap off October with. While the summer was legit the worst movie-going season of our lives, this fall is shaping up to be one of the best. So hold on to your hats, the Cinecast is just getting warmed up!

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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DVD Review: A Special Day

Director: Ettore Scola
Screenplay: Ruggero Maccari, Ettore Scola, Maurizio Costanzo
Starring: Sophia Loren, Marcello Mastroianni, John Vernon
Country: Italy, Canada
Running Time: 106 min
Year: 1977
BBFC Certificate: 12


CultFilms’ second release heralding their entry into the boutique home entertainment label scene, after Two Women, is A Special Day. Another Italian award-winner starring Sophia Loren, yet otherwise quite a different film, A Special Day is a 1977 period drama directed by Ettore Scola. I must admit I hadn’t heard of it before being offered a screener to review, but looking the film up, it seemed to have received fantastic reviews and was deemed strong enough to be included as part of the Criterion Collection, so I figured it must be worth a shot.

A Special Day, as the title suggests, is set over one day in Rome in 1938 – the day Adolph Hitler arrived in the city on his visit to Italy, which was still a fascist dictatorship at the time (and WWII was yet to kick off), so the German dictator was hugely popular in the country. After a newsreel introduction setting the historical scene, we are introduced to Antonietta (Loren) and her family. The tired housewife has six children and an ungrateful husband (John Vernon), who are all preparing to join the huge parade in honour of Hitler’s visit to the city. They all rush out the small apartment, along with most of the inhabitants of the block of flats, leaving Antonietta to tidy up after them and trawl through her usual list of household chores. When the family’s pet bird escapes out the window and lands outside a neighbouring apartment though, Antonietta heads over there to try and catch the bird, seeing that the inhabitant has also stayed at home during the celebrations.

The neighbour is Gabriele (Marcello Mastroianni), a persecuted ex-radio presenter who is contemplating suicide. Antonietta’s arrival brightens his mood though and he tries to keep her from leaving him alone. She’s reluctant at first, nervous about what the neighbours would think of her fraternising with a man other than her husband, but soon warms to him, glad to be distracted from the drudgery of her day to day life. As the two get to know each other better we discover an important difference of opinion as well as a revelation as to why Gabriele is so troubled

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Sunday Video Essay: A Tribute To Kubrick’s The Shining

Sensually scored to Pink Floyd’s “Careful with That Axe, Eugene”, Arnaud Lallouet cuts a superb argument for the filmmaking of Kubrick’s classic horror picture. All those steadicam shots, combined with meticulous use of colour and framing. Obviously, when there is a chance to catch this film on the big screen, you should always sieze the opportunity. For now, I hope you enjoy this ‘five reasons’ kind of reminder..

Review: Trolls

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When the winter weather starts to set in, my spirits get low. I can’t help it. It’s dark when I leave the house in the morning, it’s dark when I come home and I spend most of the day indoors, occasionally looking out a window at either rainfall or a grey sky. So while Hollywood chooses this time of year to start shelling their award hopefuls, many of them emotionally draining dramas, the search for a palette cleanser seems more of a necessity than a choice and this year, DreamWorks Animation is delivering the goods.

Let’s be clear: Trolls is not particularly deep or nuanced. It’s an animated musical about Princess Poppy, the cheerful leader of the incessantly happy trolls, who leads a rescue mission to save her friends from the Bergens, a race of miserable creatures who believe happiness can only be achieved by eating trolls. Along the way Poppy falls in love and captures the heart of Branch (the grumpiest of the trolls), saves her friends and teaches the Bergens that happiness comes from within – not from eating her friends.

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Trailer: Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman has had a long troubled journey to the big screen. But she’s almost here, and taking a page out of Captain America, it appears that Warner Brothers, who have recently been pretty terrible with DC properties, has cut a fun, colourful picture that just happens to be a period piece. The dialogue is a bit on the hokey side, but that is a welcome change from the grim, moribose DC-verse that has been on screen for the past decade. Gal Gadot seems to look pretty effortless in the role, and complaints diminutive size, appear entirely unfounded here. She kicks ass with the best of them.

Friday One Sheet: Trainspotting Then And Now

Thus far the advertising and trailer for the 20 years later follow-up to Danny Boyle’s classic Trainspotting (adapted wonderfully from Irvine Welsh’s novel) have been copying the look and feel of the original film to the point of almost repetition. I know this is how you get butts in seats, but I hope the film is more than just a ‘reunion tour’ of aging Scottish junkies. I like UK Quad posters, a lot, so I’m showing you these.

For comparison sake, here is the iconic poster from the 1996 original.

Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill

Not really big news, but you gotta see this. We’ve been saying for years how chameleon-like Gary Oldman is. He’s played so many varying characters with such truth and/or flamboyance that it’s almost unbelievable. But this one takes the cake! Here is Gary Oldman playing former British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill for the upcoming film, Darkest Hour, directed by my man Joe Wright. The film also stars the talents of Lily James, Ben Mendelsohn, John Hurt and Kristin Scott Thomas. See you in the theater seats.

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After the Hype #163 – Captain America: Civil War

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Are you #TeamIronMan or #TeamCap or – let’s be honest here – #TeamSpiderMan? This week we get down to brass tacks and duke it out Marvel style with CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR. Come for the infighting, and stay for what is basically Avengers 3. I mean, seriously, they are all in this thing. Rich Roy and Rob Pugliese join us and rock the breakdown, as usual. Lots of stuff here, so ASSEMBLE!

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