After the Hype #93 – Marvel Cinematic Universe Battle!

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Marvel fans assemble! Bryan and Jon duke it out with Nick, Tom, and Cody to determine which film in the MCU reigns supreme. You won’t believe what they come up with…or you will. Note: For the sake of simplicity, only films within the new Marvel Universe counted.

 

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Cinecast Episode 391 – Melted

Our “Game of Thrones” recaps are always a favorite part of the show – at least for us. Without a show last week, we have two episodes to catch up with. Episode 2: “The House of Black and White” and Episode 3: “High Sparrow.” We’re all over the Westeros map this time and many plot threads and characters are analyzed including Dr. Frankenstein, Eyebrow guy, Leprachaun man, Inigo Montoya, Ridley Scott, Davros, Fabio and Melted Danny Glover. It’s a hell of 120 minutes on television! We’ll see you tomorrow for a festival episode (Hot Docs and MSPIFF).

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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After the Credits Episode 170: May Preview

FINALLY!

FINALLY!

The time is finally here. After months of waiting, Mad Max: Fury Road is finally opening. But there is more than Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy kicking ass this month and Colleen, Dale (Letterboxd) and I (Letterboxd) take a look at some of the other movies opening in May, including a whole lot of what appears to be excellent counter programming.

Other stuff we talk about:

– Vancouver Co-Op Radio
– Damn Cougars Facebook page

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Final Fury Road Trailer

The final, Mad Max: Fury Road trailer popped up online yesterday. It features much of the wild tone and imagery of all the previous trailers, but this one exists more or less to communicate the actual story beats.

At this point, I’m not sure what Warner Brother’s feels they need to sell with the film, either people are chomping at the bit to see the promised insanity and over-the-top imagery, or they have decided it is not for them.

I’d argue that the marketing folks nailed everything there is to nail with the Comic-Con trailer last year, with its Clockwork Orange meets massive post-apocalyptic chase imagery, but if need to scratch the itch for a few new bits of Fury Road before the films May 15th release date, this trailer more than hits the spot.

Blu-Ray Review: Blood and Black Lace

Director: Mario Bava
Screenplay: Marcello Fondato
Starring: Cameron Mitchell, Eva Bartok, Thomas Reiner
Country: Italy/France/Monaco
Running Time: 89 min
Year: 1964
BBFC Certificate: 18

Mario Bava is one of the most highly influential directors in genre cinema. His films are rarely listed as the greatest of all time, but his work kick started a number of sub genres as well as inspired numerous more famous directors. Bava’s first credited feature, Black Sunday (a.k.a. The Mask of Satan) in 1960, was a sumptuously gothic horror which looked beautiful (he began his career as a cinematographer) but was laced with violent imagery, including an incredibly gruesome opening sequence where a spiked mask is hammered into a suspected witch’s face. This caught people’s attention and is still considered one of Bava’s best films. A few years later, he directed what is considered the first real giallo (violent Italian ‘whodunit’ thrillers to put it simply), The Girl Who Knew Too Much (a.k.a The Evil Eye) in 1963. He is also believed to have created possibly the first slasher film with A Bay of Blood (a.k.a. Twitch of the Death Nerve) in 1971. His violent, stylish brand of filmmaking, which often set plot aside to let the mood, tone and visuals replace/provide the substance, was hugely influential on numerous horror and thriller directors, particularly other Italian masters such as Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci.

Blood and Black Lace came shortly after The Girl Who Knew Too Much and a few years before A Bay of Blood but is equally as important. It more clearly defined the giallo genre than its predecessor and also contains a number of the tropes of the slasher movie, meaning it could also be considered one of the films to forge that sub-genre. The importance of this film certainly must have been felt by the genre-loving folk over at Arrow Video as they have just released a gorgeously well remastered and loaded dual format blu-ray/DVD set. I was lucky enough to be sent a copy to review so below are my thoughts on the film and extra features.

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Cinecast Episode 390 – The Wicker Man Principle

The plan is to have a new show every day this week. Wine, women and song tend to get in the way of our plans quite often but that’s the plan. For today’s episode, Kurt and Andrew sit down face to face and administer The Turing Test to Ex Machina (spoilers!) over a couple of pints. It’s up to you to determine if we pass or not. We kick things off with a brief conversation about the latest Star Wars trailer so that Andrew can further confuse himself and listeners as he tries to clarify things. Later this week will be a massive Watch List, Game of Thrones recaps and a Festival Episode.

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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TCM Film Fest 2015: Don’t Bet on Women

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Jeanette MacDonald is mostly remembered for her series of light operettas with Nelson Eddy, and for slightly more adventurous classic film fans, for her series of Pre-Code musical comedies with Maurice Chevalier and Ernst Lubitsch. That doesn’t always stand her in good stead, since her particular brand of coloratura soprano singing phased out of mainstream popularity by the 1960s. I’m still a fan of her musicals, but I’m the first to admit they aren’t for everyone. It was a particular joy, then, to hear of Don’t Bet on Women, which is one of MacDonald’s very few non-musical roles, and quite a rousing Pre-Code as well.

Pre-Codes fascinate me not only because they tend to be more risque and innuendo-filled than films either earlier or later, but because the combination of nearly unrestrained sexuality and a society still bound to a great degree by traditional mores often yields films with a very conflicted view of masculinity, femininity, and gender roles. Don’t Bet on Women, aka All Women Are Bad (you can see where we’re headed here), starts off with Roger Fallon (Edmund Lowe) swearing off women following a tender scene where his ex-wife convinces him to pay her a generous allowance since she doesn’t want to make her new husband go to the trouble of, like, working. He and his buddy Chip decide to take a boys-only cruise.

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Some Thoughts on Ex Machina

The great science fiction writer-philosopher Stanislaw Lem wrote, “We do not want other worlds, we want mirrors.” And to that extent, writer-director Alex Garland’s ominous take on A.I., Ex Machina is just that. It is far less about the potential birth of a new form of intelligence and far more an allegory about how men fear and control women. It demonstrates this both with Oscar Isaac’s recluse inventor, Nathan, and his billion dollar bachelor pad to Domhnall Gleeson’s sensitive young programmer, Caleb, who is clearly in over his head talking to AVA, the artificial woman, or rather woman void of agency, played by Alicia Vikander and some impressive CGI, in her glass cage.

Despite all the dialogue about Prometheus and Turing, and a score by Portishead’s Geoff Barrow which echoes the notes from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the film is best exemplified by how Nathan remembers Ghostbusters – as that movie where the ghost gives Dan Aykroyd a blow-job. Other remarkable scenes include a bit of spectacular discotheque dancing of Nathan with his mute Japanese assistant-servant-slave girl to establish dominance and intimidate Caleb as well as a secretive whisper between Ava and said assistant at a moment of weakness for both of the men which crystallized my reading of the film.

As an act of design and the distance between design and emotion, Ex Machina would make a very good double bill with Spike Jonze’s Her, albeit, Jonze’s film is more optimistic and warm, certainly less grim and grisly (and cool) than Garland’s take. Blade Runner, along with Soderbergh’s Solaris remain, remain, for me, the master-class entries on capturing the ‘feeling’ of it’s subjects consciousness, but Ex Machina more prosaically examines consciousness with a session-debrief narrative structure, and in-text nods to Wittgenstein’s Blue Book, along with discussion of several iconic thought experiments on consciousness. It’s a film and a primer and both work pretty well.

Ex Machina styles itself as a chess match between two men of different ideologies, but really it’s a sex match of dominance for the right to decide the fate of AVA. What makes it is a good bit of science fiction, because it shows just how much our impulses and biology bring out the worst in us, no matter how much technology, concrete or glass we put in between them. Well, that, and the inevitability that women will rule the earth.

Mondays Suck Less in the Third Row

Check out these links:
The 20 Strangest Sentences In The English Language
15 Popular Movie Poster Cliches
Bennett Miller Gets Christopher Nolan to Open Up About the Studio System and His Biggest Fears
30 Kids Who Would Later Become Super Famous
Rick Grimes Dad jokes, Carl!
If Game of Thrones took place entirely on Facebook (SPOILERS!)
Dry Dog Wet Dog
Tattoo of the year (it’s all in the reflexes)
While You Wait for Fury Road – 12 Post-Apocalypse films of Madness


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The International Space Station just got a new projector screen. Nice choice of film:

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