Blu-Ray Review: Swiss Army Man

Director: ‘The Daniels’ – Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert
Screenplay: Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
Starring: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Country: USA, Sweden
Running Time: 97 min
Year: 2016
BBFC Certificate: 15


Swiss Army Man is a film that rode in on a wave of hype after several festival screenings, but I feel it’s hype that both helped and hindered it. Becoming known as ‘the farting corpse movie’, or variations of that, helped give the film a great amount of publicity, but I think many might have dismissed it due to this over-simplified description. Sounding like an even lower brow version of Weekend at Bernies, the film can’t have appealed to the more ‘sophisticated’ cinephiles out there. But, having now watched the film, I’d say they’re missing out on something truly special.

Swiss Army Man opens showing Hank (Paul Dano) stranded on a desert island, preparing to kill himself as he’s given up hope of rescue. However, just as he’s about to do it, he spots a dead body (Daniel Radcliffe), washed up on the shore. This is no ordinary body either. It’s rather flatulent, which initially merely distracts Hank from his suicide attempt. When the farts get more powerful though, Hank realises this ‘wind’ can be harnessed more effectively and uses the corpse as a jet-ski to reach a neighbouring lush island which is littered with rubbish, suggesting it may be inhabited.

Once on the island, Hank struggles to find any more signs of civilization, but develops a great bond with the corpse (named Manny), who miraculously comes alive (if not mobile) after a while. Manny has no memories of his life before though and has many questions about the world around him. This prompts Hank to teach him, using the limited resources around them, whilst simultaneously altering his view of his own miserable existence. In particular, the two of them discuss the subject of love, as they tackle how to approach the elusive girl on the bus, Sarah (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), who seems to be a part of one or both of their memories.

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Trailer: Swiss Army Man

SwissArmyMan11

For those of you who thought Weekend At Bernies didn’t have enough feels, or enough special effects, two directors named Daniel bring you Swiss Army Man. Paul Dano, in a rare film where he does not appear to get beaten up by somebody, instead puts the corpse (ahem, the farting corpse) of Daniel Radcliffe through the paces of The Sundance Movietm. All joking aside, this film is getting stellar reviews, and is being released by the consistently astute A24.

Cinecast Episode 369 – Sometimes You Gotta Lie to Tell the Truth

We should retitle the show from Cinecast to “room full of loudmouths.” Matt Gamble is back on the show this week to add that extra dimension of bitching, praising, complaining, droning and bloviation that this episode needed to give the series a good crane kick in the ass. First up it’s the festival favorite TIME LAPSE, which despite its high concept and heady nature, the boys find surprisingly little to say about except that it’s pretty great. Andrew and Matt report on the Jeremy Renner vehicle, KILL THE MESSENGER – which peaked far too early in the run time. Pat Morita is the sensei for THE KARATE KID in this week’s volume of The 1984 Project. With The Watch List this week, it’s more Fincher, more Duplass, more sci-fi and high concept, cannibalism, Amazon Prime, Mike Meyers’ directorial debut and Harry Potter with horns. Lastly we argue about nothing regarding HBO’s newly announced method of content delivery.

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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Teaser: Horns

Based on the novel from Joe Hill (Stephen King’s equally prolific/talented son) comes Alexandre Aja’s (High Tension, Mirrors) film version starring Daniel Radcliffe and Juno Temple. I managed to catch this one at TIFF last year and admired the British Colombia cinematography which is dark, damp and delightfully fecund. I like Radcliffe in this film. It is nice to see him spread his wings (much like Elijah Wood) after exiting mega-franchise Fantasy Blockbusters for darker, more modest horror territory. I still wasn’t overly impressed with the results, or the wasted casting of Ms. Temple. There is a shape and structure struggling to get out, but not quite making it.

The teaser is restrained in terms of story beats or even the basic concept, focusing on the theme and mood. Have a look and let us know if you are in any way ‘teased’ by it.

No Trailer posted for Toronto Rom-Com “What If”

We are happy to recommend Michael Dowse’s wonderful rom-com, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan. In Canada it is called The F Word and in the US it is now titled the far more safe and generic What If. Movie selling folks and skittish would-be audiences, the F is for Friend.

To further add insult to injury, this freshly cut trailer squeezes out at least two of the films most wonderful surprises, is needlessly 3 and a half minutes in length, and in short, quite pisses us off. The love-letter to Toronto aspect is in full display, and this pleases us to some extent in light of all the other marketing shenanigans, but we still cannot show you in good conscience. Just go in knowing with Dowse (Goon, Fubar, It’s All Gone Pete Tong) you are in excellent hands.

Cinecast Episode 245 – White People Cure Racism Through Football

Welcome back to our little show. Lots of in-house business items on the table this week, including the first grading of this semester’s homework assignments. Kurt and Matt discuss found footage superpower movie Chronicle. We delve into the state of the reborn Hammer studios with spooky ghost tale, The Woman in Black. Then we talk Clint Eastwood, Chrysler and the state of the Nation through Advertising and Politics. The Watchlist covers a fair bit of talk on David Mamet, but also the woefully received Clint Eastwood rugby movie, Invictus. Also, terrorism, Carlos and the films of Olivier Assayas. And Miranda July revisited. It’s a pleasantly meandering show in an otherwise quiet movie-going month. Join Us.

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!


 
 

 

To download the show directly, paste the following URL into your favorite downloader:
http://rowthree.com/audio/cinecast_12/episode_245.mp3

 
 
Full show notes are under the seats…
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Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

HP6 One Sheet

Director: David Yates
Screenplay: Steven Kloves
Producers: David Barron, David Heyman
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, David Bradley, Jim Broadbent, Jessie Cave, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Frank Dillane, Tom Felton, Michael Gambon, Matthew Lewis, Evanna Lynch, Helen McCrory, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Natalia Tena, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, Julie Walters, David Thewlis, Bonnie Wright
MPAA Rating: PG
Running time: 153 min.

Harry Potter tends to sneak up on me. The films come at regular intervals, they look good, have a great cast of actors I can get behind and a story I like but I’ve never walked away from a new Potter film feeling wowed. My Harry Potter experience can and will now be divided into two: before Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and after.

HP6 Movie StillThe sixth entry into the franchise, Half-Blood Prince is a little darker, a little more comfortable in its skin and a film that knows exactly where it fits into the cannon. More than its predecessors, this one feels like part of a bigger story, a starting point for something important, urgent and dangerous which is likely to unfold in the final two instalments. The previous films were all entertaining enough but none managed to create an air of impending doom and gloom something this one does so in spades. Perhaps it’s the fact that this feels like a “set-up” film but there’s a definite sense that something big is brewing and as the closing credits rolled, I couldn’t help but wonder what is in store for the next one. So much so that I seriously considered giving the books a chance and reading ahead.

As someone who is largely unfamiliar with the minutia of the Potterverse, Half-Blood Prince starts off a little abruptly. I couldn’t recall how the previous film left off, what Harry was up to or why he was doing what he was doing and this film doesn’t hold your hand. It drops you in, assuming you know the details but also taking care to provide a little information for us ludites to follow along without feeling like I was wondering through a dark maze. I like the fact that writer Steve Kloves and director David Yates don’t feel the need to fill the opening few minutes with flashbacks or a retelling of what we’ve seen up to now and the opening beautifully sets up the rest of the film: hold on tight and don’t look away otherwise you’re going to be one lost muggle.

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