Cinecast Episode 475 – Swimming Pools for Everyone

It was a distinct possibility that this week was going to be a war of words between your hosts over Kong: Skull Island (SPOILERS!), but no, as it turns out the movie is pretty damn good no matter what your cinematic bent. This isn’t the 25 foot, Pete Jackson Kong either. This is a 100 foot chain-swinging, spear-throwing, body crushing version. And thanks to some pretty impeccable film making, every moment is awesome.

Meanwhile, in The Watch List, Kurt got to hang with the new Xavier Dolan film, It’s Only the End of the World, checked out the much lauded documentary on race in america, I am Not Your Negro and watched Walter Hill make another run at The Warriors. Andrew watched Robert Redford and Susan Sarandon flying WWI bi-planes and then Chris Pratt and J-Law chasing the stars in Passengers (It is like a 4-hour version of the opening credits to “Star Trek: Enterprise). Some more goodies in here so check it out.

Drop the needle on a John Fogerty track and strap into the Helo for a thrill ride.

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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Review: Nightcrawler


Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler is essentially a perfectly crafted film. As it tells the story of naive scammer/thief Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal), the film never once seems to hit a sour note or lag its pace. Through our initial intro to Lou, some fleshing out of his character, his discovery of a new possible career path and the film’s gradual shift to action and cynicism, there aren’t any dead spots or moments where you might question the film’s direction. It’s not due to any attempt to dull the audience’s senses through too many fast paced cuts or loud obnoxious songs, but simply because the damn thing is so incredibly engaging from start to finish.

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Trailer: The Edge of Tomorrow

Tom Cruise simply can’t get enough of science fiction action pictures. If Oblivion was kind-of sort-of a bigger budget Moon, then Edge of Tomorrow is a bigger budget Source Code. Mr. Cruise, must be a fan of the cinema of Duncan Jones ? I have little doubt that Edge of Tomorrow will be a perfectly fine piece of entertainment when it arrives in the cinemas in the summer of 2014, but here in 2013, it already feels rather like we have been through this a few times already. Even the music in this glossy trailer feels like it is taking a page out of the marketing for Battle: Los Angeles. But hey, Emily Blunt and Bill Paxton is pretty swell in the supporting cast department.

Based on the novel, “All You Need is Kill” Hiroshi Sakurazaka and directed by Doug Liman (Go, The Bourne Identity) Cruise plays a soldier fighting in a war with aliens finds only to find himself caught in a time loop of his last day in the battle. While I’m a big fan of writer Christopher McQuarrie, seeing Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman contributing to the screenplay might contradict my ‘perfectly fine piece of entertainment’ theory in the preceding paragraph, as everything they touch turns to over-plotted under-developed diarrhea.


Welcome to January, folks – the month when studios tend to dump their dogs into the theatres. If you are not looking to play catch up on the pre-Christmas derby of Oscar hopefuls working their way to a wider release or partaking of the blockbusters deemed too ‘holiday’ for the summer season, you may be on the prowl for one of those buried gems of quality nestled amongst the Hollywood trash heap. Steven Soderbergh makes a solid case for the no-nonsense action thriller, and a bid for a few of your shekels, with Haywire. The film does nothing particularly novel. Another expendable super-spy chase slash revenge picture of which there were at least three of last year – Colombiana, Hanna and Ghost Protocol – and features neither an extravagance for expensive set-pieces nor the over-inflated high stakes. But what then separates this from last year, or a multitude of straight-to-video Jason Statham vehicles is this classic Roger Ebert bon mot, “It’s not what you do but how you do it,” which certainly applies here; even something that feels like this particular filmmaker could do in his sleep has such a precise polish and rhythm that not a second of this film feels superfluous. There are enough little touches and intangables to forgive Haywire for having nothing whatsoever to say other than Soderbergh knows his craft. The film is a walkthrough of all the things that director favours and have been showcased in his prolific c.v. The film knows to be lean and mean and is completely unpretentious about its execution.

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Cinecast Episode 206 – My Disney Compass is Spinning


Hello folks. We are back after a week off and we waste no time getting into a detailed, and probably too damn introspective, conversation about Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch. Is it a movie that panders so hard to its base, or a movie that stabs its core audience in the chest while smiling? Is it a case of too much director ambition, too little story telling chops or simply a product of too much fiddling on the studio end such that, and there is no debate on this last bit, things just end up a muddled mess? Matt and Kurt discuss the particulars (onward ye Soldiers of Cinema, this may be your toughest battle yet) and remain, astonishingly spoiler free in the process. Afterwards, it is around the table again (and again) for a lengthy session of what we watched. We go from cheese-merchants to sleaze-merchants (that would be from Don Simpson and Joel Silver to Elmore Leonard and Paul Schrader for those keeping score) before Gamble trumps all with crazy-awful Dan Aykroyd paranormal documentary TV. Kurt revisits a couple of childhood horror-kids flicks, Gremlins and Dragonslayer while Matt travels to New York for the premiere of Beauty Day. Andrew re-evaluates Polanski’s The Ninth Gate, and there is mucho talk about the Spanish Swords and Sandals and Science Blockbuster Agora. Of course, there is the proverbial much, much more in that segment (which clocks in at a staggering 110 minutes) as well as DVD picks, Netflix fresh and expiring picks and a tiny tangent on the Canadian Bandwidth Wars(tm). Grab your battle-axe, strap on your shield and wade into it.

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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Trashy, Pseudo Porn With a Message? Thoughts on Boxing Helena

Boxing Helena Movie StillBored and a little high from having seen the awesomeness of The Girlfriend Experience (our review), I thought I’d prepare for a screening of Surveillance (our review) by checking out Jennifer Lynch’s debut film Boxing Helena. Oh how quickly my afternoon went from uncommon to downright twisted and though the fact that the Lynch marathon started immediately after seeing Soderbergh’s film is pure coincidence, I can’t help but think that I couldn’t have found a better collection of films to watch together.

But this is about the younger Lynch. The one that started her career with a film that seems to have stunted her career for 15 years. So is Boxing Helena that bad? I’m not sure it is though it does provide a glimpse into Ms. Lynch’s take on sexuality, something which is also present in her recent films.

My first run in with Boxing Helena was in the mid 1990s on cable TV. Showcase had a tendency to show “risky” films in the late evening and flipping through the channels one night I caught the last 15 minutes of the film and I was morbidly curious as to how the woman ended up with no arms or legs. Lucky for me the film was re-aired immediately and I caught my first and final glimpse of Lynch’s career.

It stars Sherilyn Fenn (mostly of “Twin Peaks” fame) as Helena, a gorgeous, firebird of a woman who sleeps with and disposes of men like tissue. At some point, she has an encounter with Nick Cavanaugh, a rich but timid man played by Julian Sands who becomes obsessed with her but after much counselling from his good friend (strangely portrayed by Art Garfunkel or Simon & Garfunkel fame) he appears to move on. But he never fully gets over Helena. One night while on a jog, he peeks the woman of his dreams with another man and the obsession resurfaces. He throws a soirée, invites all the right people and to his pleasure, Helena makes an appearance. It’s here that the film takes an interesting turn. A series of events leads Helena to run away (down an embankment) and onto the road where she’s hit by a car and from here on in, we follow Nick and Helena into a twisted world of sexual repression and release.

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