Cinecast Episode 439 – Reality is Highly Overrated

And we’re back! After some jam packed scheduling issues, feverish festivals, sleep deprivation and in-town guests, The Cinecast rises once again. Kurt has a full report on a very successful HotDocs outing and the boys take a special amount of time on our friend, Jay Cheel’s film, How to Build a Time Machine. While Kurt stumbled through Toronto’s documentary scene, Andrew was able to catch up with a bunch of late release festival fare just now hitting theaters in his neck of the woods. These include Jeremy Saulnier’s
Green Room, Tom Hiddleston in the visually striking, High-Rise and one of Kurt’s favorite films of last year, the most excellent Louder than Bombs.

We’re nixing the Game of Thrones talk this season due to scheduling and logistic issues, but that just allows a little more talk about what’s on the “big screen”. Andrew talks Patrick Wilson driving a limo that nearly gets cut in half, the production problems in a female-driven western, Kevin Bacon’s mustache, a documentary on Chris Farley and his very first viewing of a Frank Sinatra film (which was excellent!).

It’s a tight show proving once again the boys can take a couple/three weeks off and have no problem jumping right back into the proverbial saddle. 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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Trailer #2: Burying The Ex

The latest film from Joe Dante, Burying The Ex is rather flatly lit and somewhat lacking in stylistic verve, but there is a pretty solid screenplay at the core of it all. At least this second trailer doesn’t go plot point by plot point, like the first one.

Max (Anton Yelchin) is a nice guy. Evelyn (Ashley Greene) is his overbearing but incredibly beautiful girlfriend. Max knows it’s time to call it quits, but there’s just one problem: he’s terrified of breaking up with her. Fate steps in when Evelyn is involved in a freak accident and dies. Evelyn returns in zombie form and is determined to take her boyfriend back from her nicer, cuter, possible soul-mate replacement, Olivia (Alexandra Daddario).

Burying The Ex comes to VOD June 19th, with an accompanying limited theatrical release.

Trailer: Burying The Ex

Yes it has been 6 Years since Joe Dante released a feature film. The Hole is a so-so picture, with surprisingly good (and restrained) 3D, that very few folks in Canada or the US got a chance to see due to poor distribution, so more or less, it has been 12 years since Mr. Dante has had a theatrical feature in the multiplex (Looney Tunes Back in Action). As much as I quite adore his Trailers from Hell website (Seriously, spend some time there, it’s great!) and his occasional TV work, I’d really like to see a return to form.

By all accounts, Burying The Ax is not going to be that thing, and a muddled, often obvious trailer (cut rather artlessly considering trailer editing was Dante’s Truck & Trade for years under Roger Corman) seems to confirm this.

However.

Most Joe Dante pictures have a way of aging rather magnificently, from The Howling to The Burbs to Gremlins 2. So I look forward to being wrong on this.

Max (Anton Yelchin) is a nice guy. Evelyn (Ashley Greene) is his overbearing but incredibly beautiful girlfriend. Max knows it’s time to call it quits, but there’s just one problem: he’s terrified of breaking up with her. Fate steps in when Evelyn is involved in a freak accident and dies. Evelyn returns in zombie form and is determined to take her boyfriend back from her nicer, cuter, possible soul-mate replacement, Olivia (Alexandra Daddario).

Burying The Ex comes to VOD in June (with very limited theatrical.) To that I say, sorry folks, despite the success of both Warm Bodies and the Evil Dead remake (note image above, and how it resembles the original Evil Dead poster) Joe Dante’s multiplex days appear to be over. I remain hopeful that this is not the case, but we will always have Trailers from Hell.

Trailer: Only Lovers Left Alive

Only Lovers Left Alive

Jim Jarmusch is at his most Jarmuschian as he envisions immortal vampires who have seen it all, traversing around urban centres of the world before settling in old Detroit, as gothic a place as one might find in America in 2013. Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston listen to rock and roll, talk science, art and cuddle in the dark before a spunky Mia Wasikowska comes along to break up the oh-so-romantic ennui. I believe it is fair to say that the trailer here captures the tone of the film pretty well, right down to the spinning record, and the jet-setting. One of the strengths about this particular take on the vampire is that it is not in any hurry to get anywhere, and that is just fine. The greek subtitles on this international trailer for the film only add to its own sense of the cosmopolitan decay.

My review of the film can be found here.

Toronto After Dark 2013: Odd Thomas Review

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Based on the acclaimed Dean Koontz novels of the same name, Odd Thomas, written and directed by Stephen Sommers (The Mummy, The Mummy Returns) is unfortunately flawed. While I haven’t read the books, and can’t attest to its strength as an adaptation, it fails as often as it succeeds as a film. With an incredibly strong lead cast in Anton Yelchin, Addison Timlin, and Willem Dafoe, it delivers outstanding performances, stellar chemistry, and piles of entertainment. Where it fails is in the overuse of CGI, a flailing supporting cast, and poorly executed plot twists. Nonetheless, in typical Sommers style, it moves a mile a minute and is a pile of fun.

Odd Thomas is an odd 20-something young man. Yes, that really is his name. Odd. A clairvoyant with the ability to commune with the dead and sense looming danger, he attempts to keep a low profile by living in the small town of Pico Mundo, where little ever happens. That is, of course, until now. Something tells Odd that all hell is about to break loose on his little town, and it’s a race against the clock to figure it out and prevent the promised carnage.

Odd Thomas is unfortunately one of those films plagued by stellar performances, and little else. Yelchin, Dafoe and Timlin all offer stellar chemistry, and manage to make the often stilted and forced dialogue appear as charming as was likely intended. Would you like to know more…?

Review: Fright Night (and the Male Notion of Defending the Household)

The fascinating thing about the Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl) re-envisioning of Fright Night is that it kind of goes backwards in its notion of roles and responsibilities. This version may not quite have the pacing (I won’t say logic, because neither the original nor this remake traffic in this), meta-horror (the original predates Scream by a decade) or Hughes-ian eighties teen-relationship elements that make the original far more fun, but it has one scene that is an absolute doozy. Jerry (Colin Farrell), who is the Vampire-next-door, recently discovered by Charlie (Anton Yelchin), has yet to be invited into the Brewster home. This is common enough in vampire lore, and extrapolated to great dual meaning (home/relationship) in the Swedish Vampire movie Let The Right One In. Here, Jerry offers thinly veiled threats to Charlie from the homestead threshold, in the form of advice on Charlie’s role as defender of his own property and his women. The scene could have be played as slightly amusing, or in our new century of women’s rights and all that, even quaint – instead it plays quite feral. Imbued with an old-school masculinity right down to details such as a six-pack of Budweiser, one bottle broken and spilled. It is surprising. Well, maybe not so surprising considering a Twilight joke made earlier in the film, and along with the mention of those books (and films), the emasculation of the entire vampire myth along with it to a weepy celibacy and romance tale. Yes, the 1980s had Anne Rice, but I digress.

This is the kind of scene that makes a movie worth watching simply for those 3 minutes. Going to the ‘backward’ statement above, I always felt there was an unexplored foppish, homosexual element to Jerry and his wolfen man-servant in the original, and his communion with Evil Ed, Charlie’s dorky best friend, which may have even been forward thinking in the mid 1980s. Here they’ve gone aggressively the other way, Charlie is far less dweeby (than William Ragsdale’s 1985 performance) having ‘come into his own.’ Several characters in the movie remark how much ‘bigger’ he is from in his senior year of high school. Peter Vincent, albeit less vulgar than David Tennant’s Las Vegas showman-rock-star-caricature, was a lonely vain man, not a power-tripping yet under performing sex-addict. Yet curiously, it is an act of cowardice, a failure to ‘man up’ at a crucial point in childhood that defines both Peter Vincent and underscores Charlie Brewster’s heroism. In the original, it was the power of belief (or faith), in this one, it is the power of muscles and a hard cock. Note the final-magical stake that has the power to save all of Jerry’s victim/slaves. As evil Ed (Yes, even McLovin’ is tougher and harder edged than Stephen Geoffreys, if not as fun) says at one point, pussy makes the head grow soft (OK, actually, I’m not sure exactly what that means, but presumably if you are to be a man, the blood should be running elsewhere…) Don’t get me wrong, the ladies in the new Fight Night are far more capable and aware (particular Charlie’s Mom) than in the original, and they aren’t afraid to swing a mace or wield a Real-Estate sign (a cute post-housing-bust nod that works very nicely with the transient, and much affected in 2008, Las Vegas setting.) But everything points in this film to the man’s job to protect his women. Wrong? Quaint? Boneheaded? Your baggage, not mine. I am just calling it as I see it. Fright Night is going to kick the living crap out of the dreadful looking Straw Dogs (2011) remake in terms of what it has to say about such things.

If the first Fright Night was a meta-comedy on horror and showmanship, this new take, a ‘good remake’ that re-jigs the dots on the face of the Rubix-Cube, seems to be a fascinating new (or re-new) statement of manhood in the 21st century. The new film may not be as purely entertaining as the original, but it has some balls.

New York, I Love You Trailer

New York, I Love YouI knew that at some point we’d posted a trailer for the anthology film New York, I Love You what I didn’t realize was that that trailer was posted a year ago.

The film premiered at TIFF last year and Kurt foresaw the film would open early in 2009 but for some reason, reviews perhaps?, it was shelved and forgotten until today when a sexy discombobulated new trailer appeared. With acting and directing contributions from a long list of talented folk (Park Chan-Wook, The Hughes Brothers, Faith Akin, Mira Nair, Yvan Attal, Shunji Iwai, Wen Jiang, Joshua Marston, Andrei Zvyanginstev, Brett Ratner, Shia LeBeouf, Blake Lively, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Anton Yelchin, Orlando Bloom, Christina Ricci, Chris Cooper, Kevin Bacon, Robin Wright Penn, Maggie Q, Ethan Hawke, John Hurt, Scarlett Johansson, Natalie Portman and Olivia Thirlby) this is bound to have a little something for everyone.

The trailer is not exactly eye popping but it certainly looks nice and I have love for much of the talent involved so I’m game. I still haven’t seen Paris, je t’aime but I may have to check it out before being sucked into this one.

New York, I Love You is scheduled for limited release on October 16th.

Now, who’s working on a Vancouver, I Love You?

Trailer is tucked under the seat!

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Terminator Salvation Comic-Con Panel Video

I‘ve talked at length at the possibility that maybe, just maybe, the upcoming Terminator Salvation will not only be good, but perhaps manage to restart the franchise. Then I got a little excited about the teaser trailer and now, the folks at IFC have edited together a good chunk of the panel discussion from SDCC. It’s an interesting watch and I’m particularly impressed by Anton Yelchin’s serious approach to the material and how well McG works the room. This guy is a charmer.

Thanks to /Film for the linkage.

Terminator Salvation Teaser ONLINE!

A few weeks back I mused as to whether the upcoming Terminator Salvation film could reboot the franchise. I was hopeful but not completely sold and though the teaser for the new film is now online and looking pretty decent, I’m still not sold.

The trailer is heavily reminiscent of the trailer for Cloverfield – shaky cam, looks like it’s cut together from handheld footage, destruction everywhere – and I was about to moan about how it was cut together from B-roll footage since we don’t get to see any of the stars but lo-and-behold, there pops Christian Bale. It’s only for a second but he’s in there.

I’m sold.

UPDATED with working, good quality trailer!

Could A New Terminator Restart the Franchise?

TerminatorI recently caught the last 20 minutes of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines on TV and I was surprised by how watchable it was. The film was widely panned when it was released a few years back and I remember why, mostly because they were the same complaints I had with the film: too over the top, the effects weren’t as cutting edge as those of the previous two films but for me, the biggest drawback was that I simply didn’t buy into the characters. A surprising turn considering I like both Nick Stahl and Claire Danes and watching only the ending of the film, I was surprised by their good performances unfortunately, combined with the rest of the package, it made for a forgettable film.

I’m not much of a fan of director McG so when news arose that the series was in line for a reboot titled Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins, I simply didn’t care but over the last few months the production has added a number of pretty big players, most of them good actors, which leads me to think that perhaps this reboot idea isn’t quite so bad.

Confirmed cast include Christian Bale, Anton Yelchin, Sam Worthington (who I really liked in Somersault (our review)), Moon Bloodgood (one of the few good things of Pathfinder), Bryce Dallas Howard and Josh Brolin is rumored to be in talks to star as the terminator. If that’s not impressive enough, news now is that Helena Bonham Carter is also in talks to star.

Could it possibly be that writer John D. Brancato has finally written a good script? Looking at his credit list, nothing, and I mean nothing, stands out as being even entertaining, never mind actually good. But with such big names signing on, I’m willing to assume that they’ve peeked the script and are happy with what they see.

I don’t think the franchise really needs a reboot, mostly it just needs to be left alone, but it’s an interesting universe for telling stories and it looks like this one will be looking at the origins of the battle between humans and Skynet with John Connor leading the rebellion against the world’s mechanized occupants.

I’m still not completely sold but do admit that I’m curious to see the final line-up and if they manage to improve on number three. At this point, I think it’s useless to even hope for meeting the greatness of the first two films in the franchise though I’m always open to surprise.