R3 Triple Bill: Hitchcock-Reed-Tarantino


[The first in a series of posts: Row Three programming if we owned a Rep Cinema]

The Lady Vanishes – 7pm

Night Train to Munich – 9pm

Inglourious Basterds – 11:30pm

Beginning in a fictional Eastern European country with Hitchcock’s mystery romp, The Lady Vanishes, hopping trains into the Gestapo-strewn Czechoslovakia and Germany of Carol Reed’s Night Train to Munich and coming into station in Nazi-occupied France courtesy of Quentin Tarantino and his Inglourious Basterds, this triple bill is one perfectly paced adventure after another with characters and events bleeding into one another by three of the greats of cinema history. Each is a standalone pleasure but combined the films strengthen one other with their playing up of genre and wit. The British way of life (particularly the Brit abroad and the Brit at war) is played out in the three films operating in relatively the same historical time and place (Night Train in Munich was actually filmed during WWII,Inglourious Basterds, obviously playing more off the histrionics of it), and while The Lady Vanishes has some political commentary nestled in it (anti-appeasement sentiment in the final shoot-out) it’s chiefly a pulp spy story played for thrills. Inglourious Basterds and Night Train, while explicitly situated in and around WWII, are similarly more interested in the veneer of history, making their commentaries on the sly while relishing in the pleasures of pure cinema. Night Train begins with a montage of Hitler banging his fist upon a map of Europe, an image that Tarantino later plays for laughs. The anxiety of a British spy posing as a Nazi officer within a confined space of the enemy is also shared between the two films and both take their time to ratchet up the suspense. To begin the bill with Hitchcock and end it with Tarantino seems appropriate, for whatever originality Tarantino does possess he is not afraid to pay homage to the greats that came before him, and whether via De Palma or Hitchcock, Tarantino stays loyal to this lineage of pure cinema.

Charters and Caldicott

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Andrew Dominik Rescripting “Tell No One”

Back in 2008, I missed a screening of Ricky Gervais’ Ghost Town and was “forced” to see something else instead. Luckily, that film was the French thriller, Tell No One (review). A smart, yet exciting “on the run” movie on par with other great films of the sub-genre like The Fugitive or a Hitchcock thriller. Aside from a few hiccups, it really was one of the better films to be released that year. A good weeknight thriller if you’re interested in picking it up on home video.

So that being said, I’m usually left with a bad taste in my mouth when news is released that an American remake is on the way. However in this case I’m willing to make an exception for a couple of reasons. One, the story is a fairly straight forward plot driven film. It’s not exceptionally cinematic and the performances and actors involved are nothing that stand out as irreplaceable. Second, and more importantly, Andrew Dominik is at the ink end of the new script. Having written and directed the best film of 2007 (and currently working on a Marilyn Monroe biopic), I’m pretty much on board with anything the guy does. Though a director hasn’t been chosen for this remake, I would assume Dominik would be pretty high up on the list of possible candidates.

Focus features is notorious for dragging their feet a little bit with a lot of their productions, but in this case that’s probably a good thing so that the story is well thought out and told properly; especially after initially being in the incapable and now defunct hand of Miramax.

So yeah, despite my apprehension about other recent foreign pictures getting the Hollywood treatment (The Girl w/ the Dragon Tattoo, Let the Right One In), this is one that I’m super on board with and if in fact Dominik is allowed to direct, would shoot straight to the near top of my most anticipated list of 201…?


Trailer: Enter The Void

We have talked about it at length in these parts. Three of the regulars (Kurt & the Mamo! Matts) think it was the cinematic highlight of 2009 on the festival circuit and it is coming to a few select screens in 2010 courtesy of IFC. Do what ever you can to catch Gaspar Noe’s hallucinogen (Warning: photosensitive epileptics beware!) on as big of a screen possible. Kurt reviewed the experience at TIFF.

Apple.com has the new North American Trailer and it is tucked under the seat!
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Trailer: A Simple Noodle Story

The US trailer for Zhang Yimou’s remake of Blood Simple, with its title translating to A Girl, A Gun and a Noodleshop (aka A Simple Noodle Story) is 180 degrees different in tone from the slap-stick heavy teasers ran in China while the film played at Berlin earlier in the year. At least with this trailer you can tell it is indeed a remake of the Coen Brothers neo-noir. But the final product presumable contains both elements and is probably different than either the Chinese or US trailers. Yet, I like Zhang Yimou in general (both his flashy art-wuxia pictures, like Hero and House of Flying Daggers as well as his earlier social/political dramas along the lines of To Live and Raise The Red Lantern) and I am intrigued as to how the remake concept will work going the opposite direction across the ocean for once! Blood Simple is an elastic/generic enough noir picture that even labeling A Simple Noodle Story (is there a pun in the title?) a remake is almost redundant anyway.

The trailer is tucked under the seat.
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Film on TV: August 9-15

visual acoustics.jpg
Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman, playing on Sundance on Wednesday

A few newly featured things this week, of varying degrees of interestingness. A day of Warren Beatty films on TCM on Monday bring bona fide classic Bonnie & Clyde, as well as his Best Director-winning film Reds and the not-particularly-successful but still interesting Mickey One, among others. A few notable documentaries show up throughout the week in Harlan County USA, Visual Acoustics, and Cropsey. IFC has both parts of Soderbergh’s Che playing back to back on Tuesday, and TCM brings out revisionist western The Wild Bunch on Friday.

Monday, August 9

7:35am – IFC – Spirited Away
Often considered Hayao Miyazaki’s finest film, it’s easily among the best family-friendly animated films in existence, full of magic and wonder, gods and spirits, and shapeshifting spells.
2001 Japan. Director: Hayao Miyazaki. Starring: Rumi Hiragi, Miyu Irino, Mari Natsuki.
(repeats at 2:15pm)

4:00pm – TCM – Mickey One
This is not a particularly great film, but it is interesting as a pre-Bonnie and Clyde collaboration between Arthur Penn and Warren Beatty, where they’re trying to do some of the same things in terms of bringing European style to an American story. It’s not nearly as successful as Bonnie and Clyde, but it does have its moments.
1965 USA. Director: Arthur Penn. Starring: Warren Beatty, Alexandra Stewart, Hurd Hatfield, Franchot Tone.
Newly Featured!

6:00pm – TCM – Bonnie and Clyde
This is a perfect film. If you have not seen it, see it. If you have seen it, see it again. In either case, rather than write again how much I love it, I will just refer you here.
1967 USA. Director: Arthur Penn. Starring: Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Gene Hackman, Estelle Parsons.
Must See

10:00pm – Sundance – Ran
Akira Kurosawa’s inspired transposition of King Lear into medieval Japan, mixing Shakespeare and Japanese Noh theatre tradition like nobody’s business.
1985 Japan. Director: Akira Kurosawa. Starring: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Terao, Jinpachi Nezu, Daisuke Ryu.
Must See
(repeats at 4:15am on the 10th)

10:30pm – TCM – Reds
Warren Beatty hasn’t directed a lot of movies in his career, but he won an Academy Award for this one, telling the story of John Reed, a real-life radical American journalist who witnessed the 1917 Russian Revolution and tried to bring Communist ideals to the United States.
1981 United States. Director: Warren Beatty. Starring: Warren Beatty, Diane Keaton, Edward Herrmann, Jack Nicholson.
Newly Featured!

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Shinsedai 2010 Review: The Red Spot

Director: Marie Miyayama
Writer: Marie Miyayama, Christoph Tomkewitsch
Producers: Martin Blankemeyer, Miyako Sonoki
Starring: Yuki Inomata, Hans Kremer, Orlando Klaus, Imke Büchel, Zora Thiessen
Running time: 82 min.

Global networking has become a more prominent and widely carried out activity in recent years than ever before. With the rise of internet culture and web sites like Facebook, Skype and even Chatroulette, it has become incredibly easy to make and maintain relationships with people all over the world. I myself have been privileged to form many such connections over the past year with people living in different parts of Canada , the U.S. and even Europe, either through my own travels or them coming to Toronto. Consequently, concepts of global community and cultural interaction are being touched upon in a number of ways in more and more films, one of which being Marie Miyayama’s debut feature The Red Spot.

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After the Credits Episode 87 – August Preview


To download show directly, paste this link into your downloader:

Dale (Digital Doodles), Colleen (Mary Ostler Wood Butchery & Other Stuff) and I talk about the movie opening in August.

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An “Unstoppable” Trailer

So most people haven’t been real impressed with anything Tony Scott has done for about ten years now. Me? Well despite the horrid outing of his last picture/remake, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, I’m still an apologist and defender of the man’s filmography. I’m still on board with just about anything the studios release with Scott’s name attached as director.

Not real surprising that Denzel takes the lead yet again for Tony Scott’s newest: Unstoppable. Washington has essentially been Scott’s “anti-muse” for the better part of 15 years and I imagine we’ll see the two collaborating for years to come. What might be of interest to many is the return of Chris Pine for a big role in a major studio picture. Was the Capt. Kirk role a fluke or can the kid bring something to the proverbial table? I feel like I’ve seen the premise of this movie ten times already (a runaway train loaded with chemical explosives) and was pretty underwhelmed with what I see in the trailer… until Rosario Dawson popped in. That’s it, I’m sold.

Is there any sort of excitement or interest in this movie (releasing November 12th) at all?

The trailer is tucked under the seat.
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