Trailer: The Light Between Oceans

Derek Cianfrance has quite a number of fans in these parts, particularly for his break-out arthouse hit, Blue Valentine and his more complex, if flawed, followup, The Place Beyond the Pines. His films aim for a kind of heightened misery at the cause of circumstance, and how his characters tackle these emotional challenges.

In adapting M.L. Steadman’s book, The Light Between Oceans he looks to continue in this vein. The story of a couple, played by Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander, who find a baby girl washed up to their lighthouse home, only to discover many years down the road, the mother of the child, played here by Rachel Weisz continuing her phase of crying a lot on screen (see also, The Lobster and Youth, shows up and forces a dilemma on the non-biological parents who have raised the child for 4 years or more.

The gorgeous cinematography and camerawork here (see trailer below) by Adam Arkapaw (True Detective, Macbeth, Animal Kingdom) looks very much in the style of Emmanuel Lubezki, that I hereby will be referring this film henceforth to, The Tree of Strife.

The film comes out in September 2016.

Cinecast Episode 304 – Beware Movies That Are Named After Songs

A ‘Biggie Size’ episode of the Cinecast has Matt Gamble return to heap copious praise upon Mad Men and Game of Thrones. Never one to disappoint, he gets into fisticuffs with Kurt over the Evil Dead remake and ancient tomes made out of human skin. Andrew moderates like a champ and tries his utmost to keep the other two from fondling each others buttons in a delightful display of homoerotic movie-nerd posturing. Ahem. Before that business, there is a pleasant conversation on Derek Cianfrance’s A Place Beyond The Pines, as well as some home-theatre (and Blu Ray) discussion. It appears that Kurt will finally be joining movie fandom in the 21st century by going BLU. The Watchlist has a little Dwayne Johnson, a little Matt Damon, as well as the Activist Dude and “Food Insecurity” in America. We also talk a bit about the trailers for the Carrie remake as well as Elysium.

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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Full show notes and VIDEO version are under the seats…
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First Wave of TIFF. Rian Johnson’s LOOPER to open Fest.

I have to say that I’m both floored and delighted that the Toronto International Film Festival picked Rian Johnson’s Looper as their opening night film. (Not too long ago, Rian joined us for a cinecast episode). But the sci-fi action film is one of very many major titles slated for for the 2012 edition of TIFF. New films from Terrence Malick, Tom Tykwer, The Wachowskis, David O. Russell, Takeshi Kitano, Joss Whedon, Neil Jordon, J.A. Bayona, Chen Kaige, Baltasar Kormakur, Robert Redford, Joe Wright, Francois Ozon, Mira Nair, Derek “Blue Valentine” Cianfrance, Thomas Vinterberg, Noah Baumbach, Ben Affleck and many more (below.)

This is the first of many press releases from the festival (Which Variety leaked early; unfortunate for them, fortunate for us), and already the festival looks like a doozey. September cannot come fast enough!

Who is in for TIFF this year? Sound off in the comments section below on what (by the title or director) has got you excited thus far.

Initial Wave of titles.

“Looper” (Rian Johnson) (Opening Film)

“To The Wonder” (Terrence Malick)
“Cloud Atlas” (The Wachowskis & Tom Tykwer)
“Argo” (Ben Affleck)
“The Silver Linings Playbook” (David O Russell)
“Love, Marilyn” (Liz Garbus)
“Free Angela And All Political Prisoners” (Shola Lynch)
“The Place Beyond The Pines” (Derek Cianfrance)
“Midnight’s Children” (Deepa Mehta)
“Hyde Park On Hudson” (Roger Michell)
“Great Expectations” (Mike Newell)
“Inescapable” (Rubba Nadda)
“Twice Born” (Sergio Castellitto)
“English Vinglish” (Gauri Shinde)
“The Perks Of Being A Wallflower” (Stephen Chbosky)
“Thanks For Sharing” (Stuart Blumberg)
“End Of Watch” (David Ayer)
“Imogene” (Robert Puccini and Shari Springer Berman)
“A Late Quartet” (Yaron Zilberman)
“Much Ado About Nothing” (Joss Whedon)
“Frances Ha” (Noah Baumbach)
“The Time Being” (Nenad Cicin-Sain)
“Writers” (Josh Boone)
“At Any Price” (Ramin Bahrani)
“Venus And Serena” (Maiken Baird)
“Byzantium” (Neil Jordan)
“Quartet” (Dustin Hoffman)
“Ginger And Rosa” (Sally Potter)
“A Liar’s Autobiography” (Ben Timlett, Bill Jones, Jeff Simpson)
“Foxfire” (Laurnet Cantet)
“In The House” (Francois Ozon)
“The Impossible” (JA Bayona)
“Hannah Arendt (Margarethe Von Trotta)
“Mr. Pip” (Andrew Adamson)
“Capital” (Costa-Gavras)
“The Attack” (Ziad Doueriri)
“Zaytoun” (Eran Riklis)
“The Deep” (Baltasar Kormakur)
“Dreams For Sale (Nishikawa Miwa)
“The Last Supper” (Lu Chuan)
“Anna Karenina” (Joe Wright)
“The Reluctant Fundamentalist” (Mira Nair)
“The Company You Keep” (Robert Redford)
“Jayne Mansfield’s Car” (Billy Bob Thornton)
“A Royal Affair” (Nikolai Arcel)
“Dangerous Liasons” (Hur Ji-Ho)
“Thermae Romae” (Hideki Takeuchi)
“Caught In THe Web” (Chen Kaige)
“Dormant Beauty” (Marco Belloccchio)
“Everybody Has A Plan” (Ana Piterbarg w/Viggo Mortensen)
“Kon-Tiki” (Espen Sandberg)
“Reality” (Matteo Garrone)
“A Few Hours Of Spring” (Stephan Brize)
“The Hunt” (Thomas Vintenberg)
“The Iceman” (Ariel Vromen)
“Lore” (Cate Shortland)
“No” (Pablo Larrain)
“Outrage Beyond” (Takeshi Kitano)
“Rust And Bone” (Jacques Audiard)
“The Sapphires” (Wayne Blair)
“Tai Chi O” (Stephen Fung)

TIFF Review: Blue Valentine




[Now Playing at a Theater near you!]

Quite by accident I had the opportunity to watch back-to-back films at the festival ruminating on the destructive force of love, ignited first in Tracy Wright’s haunting monologue in Trigger, and then extrapolated in fine detail through the anatomy of a divorce that is Blue Valentine.  Director Derek Cianfrance took twelve years to stew on what he wanted to say about love and marriage in his film Blue Valentine, the principle actors, Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling, had over half a decade to think about how they would bring Cindy and Dean to life – this rare gift to the creative process paid off astoundingly as the final product is second only to Ingmar Bergmans’ Scenes from a Marriage in its capacity to lay bare the wounds of love after the veil of the honeymoon phase has been lifted.  Like in Bergman’s film, the destructive force at play in the marriage of Cindy and Dean is not one of particular abuse or issue but rather emotional illiteracy. Try as they might to understand one another or even have a civil conversation, the lack of a common grammar keeps them perpetually on edge.  Complicating the matter is their mutual love for their daughter who goes through the majority of the film oblivious to the underlying fissures of their family unit.

The film intercuts moments of the first blush of love with scenes of the last gasp and inevitable destruction of their union, the two timelines building towards the harshest of contrasts by the final scene.  This play with chronology is reminiscent of Francois Ozon’s 5×2 and a far, far superior handling of what was attempted in 500 Days of Summer.  Out of this collage of moments a sense of who these people are emerge, the realization is slow in coming as pertinent information about their relationship is teased out, just when you think you understand a character motivation or takes sides on an issue, a new development in the story challenges your assumptions.  The effect is intoxicating.  When Cindy attempts to casually tell Dean of an encounter of a old flame in the liquor store, it’s like the air in the car is slowly escaping, and having not been privy to the history underlying their conversation what you are left with is visceral drama, is he going to lash out? Is she going to burst into tears? The scene teeters on the edge as does the bulk of the denouement. When the fireworks come, literally and figuratively, you know it has been a long time coming. Would you like to know more…?