Friday One Sheet: Three Colours for Agent 47

We have no plans to actually bother with the Hitman sequel, Agent 47, but give the marketing team some props for this clean design of striking angles. Now it is debatable that this kind of bold, retro design will be appealing to the audience demographic they are likely to get into the theatre for the film, but, that is another story.

Points of note: The 47 combines nicely to form a graphic that is either an hour glass (the clock is ticking) or a slightly broken infinity symbol. Combine that with the converging perspective of the office towers, dwarfing the hitman on a field of red and it suggests the promise that a river of blood is going to flow downtown. It also echoes the design of the hitman’s iconic red neck-tie. Overthinking things? Maybe. But anytime we can have an uncluttered design, with classic and firm lines, it is a cause for celebration — regardless of the actual film in question.

Cinecast Episode 402 – Spooky Action at a Distance

Still not loads going on in the cinemas of summer, 2015. Yet we bravely venture on in the spirit of conversation (and possibly the longest running podcast – in terms of pure hours of content – on the internet? Help!); looking back wistfully at the works of Dante, Soderbergh and Cameron as we discuss the latest time travel debacle, Terminator: Genisys. Onwards, TV releases today are sometimes agreeable, sometimes controversial and sometimes divisive, so say we all with “True Detective” and “Hannibal” headlining our TV talk this week. But we also go back a stretch and revisit the new classic in Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men as well as another Laika studio entry, aching to be a classic, The Boxtrolls. Another shorter version of The Cinecast that finds the tangents of here and there; wherever the conversation seems to feel right.

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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Blu-Ray Review: A Letter to Three Wives

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Screenplay: Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Vera Caspary
Based on a Novel by: John Klempner
Starring: Jeanne Crain, Linda Darnell, Ann Sothern, Kirk Douglas, Paul Douglas
Country: USA
Running Time: 103 min
Year: 1949
BBFC Certificate: U


The romantic drama A Letter to Three Wives isn’t the usual sort of film I’d volunteer to review. However, I’m a big fan of All About Eve, which is also written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, so I was intrigued and anything released as part of Eureka’s Masters of Cinema series is worth a watch.

A Letter to Three Wives has quite a simple premise. Three friends, Deborah (Jeanne Crain), Lora Mae (Linda Darnell) and Rita (Ann Sothern) get a letter from a fourth ‘friend’ (the three are always bitching about her), Addie Ross, stating that she has run away with one of their husbands. She doesn’t say which one however and, as the three are away at a children’s picnic, they are left to grow increasingly more anxious about whether their husbands will be at home waiting for them. The rest of the film is largely made up of flashbacks, telling the wives’ stories. All of them have suspicions about their husbands, who all had their own interests in Addie, and all three relationships are growing strained in different ways.

It’s an interesting concept which is simple to describe, but paves the way for a rich and involving look at love and marriage. It’s refreshing to see an adult drama surrounding women. It’s well documented that films these days are far too male-centric. OK, so the stories here are about relationships with men so it might not pass the Bechdel test, but it makes a change from the typical damsel in distress or arm-candy roles too regularly dumped on women.

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Wet Hot American Summer: First Day at Camp [trailer]

I never saw the original film from 2001, but apparently it’s pretty funny. Funny enough that Netflix is releasing an 8-part mini-series that is a prequel to the original. The fact that it stars basically the same cast but they’re all 15 years older is part of the gag I guess.

Anyway, here’s the trailer if you’re into this sort of thing. Some bits work in here pretty well, others don’t. I quite like the “what?”, “nothing.”, “what?” banter at the end with Bradley Cooper and Michael Ian Black.

The cast is stacked: Elizabeth Banks, H. Jon Benjamin, Michael Ian Black, Bradley Cooper, Janeane Garofalo, Nina Hellman, David Hyde Pierce, Joe Lo Truglio, Ken Marino, AD Miles, Marguerite Moreau, Christopher Meloni, Zak Orth, Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd, Marisa Ryan, David Wain, Molly Shannon, Michael Showalter, Jordan Peele, Kristen Wiig, and introducing Jon Hamm.

 

Review: Ted 2

Director: Seth MacFarlane (A Million Ways to Die in the West, )
Writers: Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin, Wellesley Wild
Producers: Jason Clark, John Jacobs, Seth MacFarlane, Scott Stuber
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Seth MacFarlane, Amanda Seyfried, Jessica Barth, Giovanni Ribisi, Morgan Freeman, Sam J. Jones and a shit-ton of cameos
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 115 min.

 

 

My original posting of this review can be found on LetterBoxd.

 


When you’re the highest-grossing R-rated original comedy of all-time, there’s no question that you’re going to get a sequel as quick as the studio can get you to push it out, regardless of how little sense it makes to forge a franchise out of your initial product. As a result, here we are now, living in a world where Ted 2 exists. It should come as no surprise to anyone that Seth MacFarlane’s follow-up to his bromance tale of two best friends, one a dim lug played by Mark Wahlberg and the other a magically brought to life teddy bear voiced by MacFarlane, is more of the same and so your mileage for this sequel is entirely dependent on how much you were able to tolerate that first picture, and MacFarlane’s brand in general. While Ted 2 never reaches the turgid lows of A Million Ways to Die in the West, the writer/director’s misguided western spoof from last year, it also demonstrates yet again that his brand of comedy is far more suited for the half-hour television format of his series like Family Guy and American Dad than it is for a two-hour picture that requires more narrative heft and character development.

Those two things are nowhere to be found in Ted 2, despite the oddly topical storyline centered around the concept of Ted (MacFarlane) and John (Wahlberg) fighting for the bear’s civil rights when it turns out that he somehow slipped by the legal system all these years and is now suddenly deemed property in the eyes of the law, as opposed to a human being. Yes, it’s as ridiculous as it sounds and only looks more so whenever MacFarlane actually makes some sort of attempt to play straight this ludicrous premise. Ted 2’s story is filled with holes, but obviously that’s not what’s going to draw anyone to this kind of movie and so MacFarlane wisely makes a concerted effort to up the laugh ratio here from what we saw in the first film. While that earlier effort focused heavily on the flat romance between John and Mila Kunis’ Lori (whose absence here is surprisingly explained with solid reasoning and not at all distracting), Ted 2 is more about MacFarlane’s trademark blend of pop-culture riffs, nonsequiturs and general juvenile humor that is sure to be gobbled up by his key demographic (young men), but won’t convert anyone on the fence.

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