Trailer #2 for Katheryn Bigelow’s Detroit

“Change is coming.” is the mantra of this second, ominous trailer for Kathryn Bigelow’s retelling of the 1967 Algiers Motel massacre during Detroit’s 12th Street Riot’s. There is also a period snapshot of the city, including a rather tense collection of police coercion, both in the station house, and in the field. This film looks like a technical and emotional tour-de-force, and remains one of my most anticipated films for 2017.

Cinecast Episode 484 – It’s Unfunny ‘Cause It’s True

The reviews for Baywatch were simply too toxic for even Andrew to stomach, and so it was a stay at home and check out the latest offerings from Netflix kind of week. Luckily Brad Pitt and Tilda Swinton step in to hopefully offer up something militarily wondrous over the Memorial Holiday weekend with War Machine. But does the material match up to the cast/performances? Also, while The Bad Batch does not hit theaters for a month or so, we managed to get into a sneak peek screening and so have a decent discussion on Ana Lily Amirpour’s sophomore effort. It’s one of those films (with empirical evidence provided herein) that requires a second watch to truly appreciate. The Watch List has a documentary double-dose, a 90s Oscar contender, home invasion meets slasher flick, the capture of Osama Bin Laden and we close it all off with some joyful misogyny courtesy of India.

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: Katheryn Bigelow’s Detroit

Katheryn Bigelow has, since The Hurt Locker, been effectively upping her game for complex pictures out of hot-button American issues. Here in the midst of a particular sharp peak of racial outrage over the past two years, comes her retelling of the Algiers Hotel murders and Detroit race riots in 1967. Detroit features John Boyega (Attack The Block, The Force Awakens and is unquestionably a high calibre movie star at this point), Anthony Mackie, John Krasinski, Jack Reynor (’71) and Game of Thrones’ Gilly, Hannah Murray, among many, many others. Seriously, the number of credited actors here is massive, as it was in the exceptional Zero Dark Thirty. I have no doubt the resulting film will command the ongoing conversation on racism in America when it is released this August.

On a technical level, this of course looks astounding, but I am probably safe in guessing that Detroit is going to pack some big intellectual and emotional punches. Here is a loaded line of dialogue: “It’s just a starter pistol, it starts races.”

Cinecast Episode 407 – Martinis and Back Slapping

 
Legendarily short show here folks. We like what we see, there just is not much to get into with it. First off is Easy-E, Dre and Cube lighting fires and white-washing in Straight Outta Compton. Then we get back to more “classic” styling with designer suits, 60s fashions, and a really nice bottle of Moët in Guy Ritchie’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E..

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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Fantasia 2015 Review: Cash Only

Cash Only

What is colder, Albanian hell or Detroit in winter?

Elvis Martini sits rather uncomfortably in the middle of both over the course of a few days where his world spirals out of control. He has the courts breathing down his neck for monies owed in an arson attempt gone horribly wrong, he has the church holding its hand out for educating his young daughter Lena, and he has half a dozen dead-beat tenants in his crumbling low-rise who will not pay their rent while the bank is about to foreclose on the building.

And things are about to get much, much worse. (As the Serbians enter the mix.)

Not since Nicolas Winding Refn’s Pusher has a low level criminal gotten himself in over his head in such short order. And like that gritty mid-1990s Copenhagen street film, things crackle and hum with energy born of desperation and pure survival instinct. Couple that with the spectacularly crumbling 21st century Detroit setting and the American-Albanian subculture sitting in the middle of it and you have, at least in cinematic terms, a quite an opportunity. Far more than mere homage director Malik Bader (Street Thief) and writer-star Nikola Shreli inject an emotional vulnerability to Elvis that offers an extra ply of resonance. His world, as ugly and low-rent as it often is, sticks with you long after the inevitable plotting fireworks pay off.

Between Cash Only, teen stalker picture It Follows, and Jim Jarmusch’s elegiac vampire digression, Only Lovers Left Alive, you cannot get more vibrant production value (and implicit metaphor) value than the current state of urban Detroit. For hip and exciting films, this is ground zero, folks. If the philosophy of ‘write what you know’ is in play here, and the seemingly effortless verisimilitude herein suggests that Nikola Shreli has seen a thing or two.

But the revelation here is his acting. He carries earnest-arrogance of Vin Diesel with a high-empathy underbelly that suggests his quick, short manner of speaking is barely concealing depth and character. And somehow he manages to rock a pair of pinkish track pants through much of the film with his dignity intact. No small feat, particularly in contrast when climbing into a vintage Mercedes Benz.

Elvis does bad things, really bad things, and not just petty criminal scams, lies and eventually murder, but also sloughs his daughter on one of his tenants to pursue meaning sex with another tenants fiance, or picking impotent drunken fights at one of the few friendly gatherings in the neighbourhood. And yet, you never leave Elvis’s corner, because world is shit, and he is so on the verge of sinking below the surface of the muck, you want to see his increasingly frenzied fight against it succeed.

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Review: Only Lovers Left Alive

OnlyLoversLeftAlive

Detroit is the new Transylvania in Jim Jarmusch’s delightfully detached vampire reverie, Only Lovers Left Alive. The film manages to significantly build upon and outdo Neil Jordan’s recent Byzantium in terms of clawing back the genre from its more recent sparkly teen-focus. The mature tone is pregnant with the kind of disaffected slow gaze that would probably result from a century or three on this imperfect earth with its revolving social cycles. It achieves a modern-Gothic romanticism better than pop culture’s own aging vampire-queen Anne Rice ever managed in novel form or when adapted to celluloid It evokes the people exodus and urban decay of Motor City in such a transcendent fashion that it nearly renders Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s Detropia redundant. Undoubtedly, this is the white-haired director firing on all cylinders even as he is not in much of a hurry drive any sort of plot. The patience in pacing echo the lifestyles of the quasi-immortals caught up in music, art and ennui.

At first glance, some might label the movie slight due to its complete lack of concern for plotting, but any film which allows the viewer to breathe in so deeply, to revel in its dark spaces and eclectic moods is anything but. Only Lovers Left Alive is akin to listening to an exceptionally good album from end to end. The film even visually suggest this in the opening shot of the camera spinning and fading into vinyl spinning on its turntable. Jarmusch’s own band, Sqürl provides a droning, but warm and fuzzy, score that is wonderful thing in which to get lost in itself.

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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.

TIFF Review: Only Lovers Left Alive

OnlyLoversLeftAlive

Detroit is the new Transylvania in Jim Jarmusch’s delightfully detached vampire reverie, Only Lovers Left Alive. The film manages to significantly build upon and outdo Neil Jordan’s recent Byzantium in terms of clawing back the genre from its more recent sparkly teen-focus. The mature tone is pregnant with the kind of disaffected slow gaze that would probably result from a century or three on this imperfect earth with its revolving social cycles. It achieves a modern-Gothic romanticism better than pop culture’s own aging vampire-queen Anne Rice ever managed in novel form or when adapted to celluloid It evokes the people exodus and urban decay of Motor City in such a transcendent fashion that it nearly renders Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s Detropia redundant. Undoubtedly, this is the white-haired director firing on all cylinders even as he is not in much of a hurry drive any sort of plot. The patience in pacing echo the lifestyles of the quasi-immortals caught up in music, art and ennui.

At first glance, some might label the movie slight due to its complete lack of concern for plotting, but any film which allows the viewer to breathe in so deeply, to revel in its dark spaces and eclectic moods is anything but. Only Lovers Left Alive is akin to listening to an exceptionally good album from end to end. The film even visually suggest this in the opening shot of the camera spinning and fading into vinyl spinning on its turntable. Jarmusch’s own band, Sqürl provides a droning, but warm and fuzzy, score that is wonderful thing in which to get lost in itself.

Would you like to know more…?