Cinecast Episode 359 – Downtown China

 
Not sure even where to start with the monologue this week. Let’s see, there’s The Bay-Man’s fourth installment in the giant robots fiasco; which inexplicably is really easy to get worked up about. It’s not really worthy of hate, nothing to love, yet so easy to rant about. There’s a “sick, twisted desire” to torture ourselves over this movie – plus always an opportunity to delve into Andrew’s sordid history with the franchise.

Before all of this is Bong Joon-Ho’s English language debut with Snowpiercer and it’s overly satirical view of our apocalyptic, dystopian future on a crazy train. And Chris Evans is there. And protein bars made of shitty CGI.

The 1984 project continues with Val Kilmer’s first starring role in Top Secret!. He sings, dances, talks backwards, bar fights underwater and delivers punchlines that will be stolen by countless films for the next thirty years.

The Watch List sees Kurt wrapping up Breaking Bad, Andrew living in Tiny Houses, and Matt enjoying Disney’s Amblin knock-off currently playing in theaters. It’s a 150 minute power rant. LATRINE!

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: Frontera

I simply cannot get enough of Ed Harris playing sheriff in any flavour or tone, whether it is period western Appaloosa, farcical-black-comedy of Sweetwater, or here in the modern border culture of Arizona in Frontera, the man can ride a horse and that is good in my book. Michael Peña, Amy Madigan and Eva Longoria co-star in the debut feature from Michael Berry, which is opening VOD July 31st, with (as per usual with Magnolia pictures) a limited theatrical release in September.

A former Arizona Sheriff’s wife is killed while riding on their Ranch property. It would appear a Mexican man crossing in to the US illegally is at fault. As former Sheriff and current Sheriff search for answers, lives are changed forever.

A very Magnificent Red Band Trailer for Snowpiercer

Snowpiercer, Bong Joon-Ho’s post-apocalyptic ‘society on a train’ action movie based on the French Graphic Novel (“Transperceneige”) has been released in pretty much every market except for USA/Canada at this point. There is even a uber-complete Blu-Ray in France if you have 40 Euros to spare. It is getting a proper (un-cut, original South Korean version) release at the end of June here in North America, and the powers that be have made, by far the most elegant, accurate and enticing trailer for the film that I’ve seen in any language or territory.

This is how you market a high-concept film folks, offer the big images, but do so in a clear, concise and well articulated fashion. And it certainly helps to have Tilda Swinton doing the talking. (“Precisely 74% of you shall die.”)

DVD Review: Sweetwater

Other than a musical performance of The Blue Danube by some townfolks at one point, there is little sugar in the western town they call Sweetwater. There is, however, unfettered corruption in all positions of authority. The bank, bears the ironic moniker of Hugh’s Integrity and Trust, but Hugh (the always excellent Stephen Root) takes great delight in the act of all but robbing his customers. The current sheriff is a lazy and incompetent blowhard and the local brothel madame (Amy Madigan)sold her own daughter into the prostitute trade without a second thought about it. The general store’s proprietor has a Porky’s style peephole for watching the few ladies in town strip down to their underwear when trying on the fancy dresses he retails. All are under the iron fist of Josiah, the preacher and literal shepherd who runs the biggest Ranch in the valley, called Holy Land (a western counterpart to Django Unchained’s Candi Land.) Josiah is tightly wound, spiritually crazy and exudes 24 karat hypocrisy through every pore of his alabaster skin. Jason Isaacs, here plays one of those great mustache twirling madmen who at one point crucifies someone on an upside down cross. Sweetwater is that kind of movie.

Saddling up a near A-list cast of character actors heaping on gobs of production-value, in the parlance of our times, Sweetwater is a western trashterpiece. The film might be an acquired taste, but for those who might detect its tannins and notes of ironic humour and wordplay in the story, there are many, many delights. In rapid succession we are introduced to a bearded Mormon-Prophet Josiah and his particular brand of apocalyptic preaching, the playfully competent prancing hired lawman, Jackson (Ed Harris – whose manner and wardrobe seem to be channeling Doctor Who), and the straight-backed frontierswoman, Sarah (January Jones) frolicking with her Mexican husband, Miguel (Eduardo Noriega) on their dusty ranch property in the dusky evening. We will watch all of these actors chew scenery in their own fashion over the course of the next 100 minutes. They will make elaborate speeches, offer flinty glares, and dwell a bit in their idiosyncrasies before the obligatory climax in which everyone will shoot at each other. But O Brother! What scenery will be chewed before we get there.

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Cinecast Episode 324 – Floating Fire

Better late than never right? We stick to the Thursday recording schedule for one more week. But it’s a good week; we get to review Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity! And Dolby ATMOS. It ain’t all hugs and rainbows like on other podcasts; Andrew takes real issue with a few things and it might require a rewatch and possibly a three-watch to clear everything up. But we do offer up some unofficial, warm-up homework to kick of the 2013-14 school year (disaster movies and tears in space). The Watch List includes mumblecore, Italian horror, state of modern animation, Jim Jarmusch, found footage and Def Leppard. Settle in, it’s a pretty fun thrill ride with very little chance of debris.

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 are under the seats…
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Fantasia 2013 Review: Sweetwater

Other than a musical performance of The Blue Danube by some townfolks at one point, there is little sugar in the western town they call Sweetwater. There is, however, wall to wall corruption in all positions of authority. The bank, like the name bears the ironic moniker of Hugh’s Integrity and Trust, but Hugh (the always excellent Stephen Root) is anything but trustworthy, delighting in act of all but robbing his customers. The current sheriff is a lazy and incompetent blowhard. The local brothel madame (Amy Madigan) is the type who would sell her own daughter into the prostitute trade without a second thought about it. The general store’s proprietor has a Porky’s style peephole for watching the few ladies in town strip down to their underwear when trying on the fancy dresses he retails. All are under the iron fist of Josiah, the preacher and literal shepherd who runs the biggest Ranch in the valley, called Holy Land (a western counterpart to Django Unchained’s Candi Land.) Josiah is tightly wound, spiritually crazy and exudes 24 karat hypocrisy through every pores of his skin. A great mustache twirling madman who will at one point crucifies someone on an upside down cross. It is that kind of movie.

Saddling up a near A-list cast of character actors heaping on gobs of production-value, in the parlance of our times, Sweetwater is a western trashterpiece. The film might be an acquired taste, but for those who might detect its tannins and notes of ironic humour and wordplay in the story, there are many, many delights. In rapid succession we are introduced to a bearded Mormon-Prophet Josiah (Jason Isaacs) and his particular brand of apocalyptic preaching, the playfully competent prancing hired lawman, Jackson (Ed Harris) decked out in a sky-blue overcoat and plaid pants, and the straight-backed frontierswoman, Sarah (January Jones) frolicking with her mexican husband, Miguel (Eduardo Noriega) on their dusty ranch property in the dusky evening. We will watch all of these actors chew scenery in their own fashion over the course of the next 100 minutes. They will make elaborate speeches, offer flinty glares, and dwell a bit in their idiosyncrasies before the obligatory climax in which everyone will shoot at each other. But O Brother! What scenery will be chewed before we get there.

Would you like to know more…?

Trailer: Sweetwater

Despite a fair number of film roles, it appears thus far, Mad Men‘s January Jones has not been able to break meaningfully into the cinema. Here, writer-director Logan Miller has gone and anchored a film around her as an avenging angel in a purple dress.

In the late 1800s, a fanatical religious leader, a renegade Sheriff, and a former prostitute collide in a blood triangle on the rugged plains of the New Mexico Territory. Those western archetypes are played with a little bot of that old time scenery chewing by Ed Harris, Jason Isaacs and of course, Ms. Jones. They may be hard to spot, but the talented Eduardo Noreiga and Stephen Root (also cameo-ing in the much larger scale The Lone Ranger) round out the supporting cast. While Sweetwater does not appear to be re-writing any of the rules in the genre, its nice to see that some folks are interested in keeping the good old fashioned exploitation western alive and kicking.

I plan on catching the film during its lone screening Fantasia on July 22nd. But for those in the UK, the film was released on DVD in June under the title Sweet Vengeance. No release in the USA outside of the festival circuit seems to be forthcoming, yet.

Cinecast Episode 192 – Rub the Fuzzy Wall

 
 
It is a two man operation today, a very casual (and lengthy) conversation of a wide variety of movies. First up is a mixed, but leaning towards positive, review of Edward Zwick’s Love and Other Drugs, which features good chemistry between Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway, but a very mixed bag of tonal shifts. Then we talk a little TV with The Walking Dead. We revisit a number of (relatively) recent films from what is predictable about Predators to what is excellent about Duplicity to what is slightly baffling about Walker, Don’t Look Back and Get Him to The Greek. The video-game as a childrens film in French CGI oddity The Dragon Hunters, and how this similar themed movie differs from Dreamworks’ How To Train Your Dragon is discussed for a while. Then it is back into documentary land for an extensive revisit of King of Kong, as well as credit card debt and the state of the nation (circa 2005-06) documentary, Maxed Out. Andrew makes a case for The Illusionist, and talks about the use of music in Black Snake Moan. We close on all things Kubrick and Steadicam with The Shining and Birth. And some DVD love for Disney and Vikings and Mixed Martial Arts Melodrama. Pull a seat up to the digital fireplace, grab and Brandy and a cigar and lets talk some turkey.

As always, feel free to join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and as always, thanks for listening!

 


 

 

 

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Full show notes are under the seats…
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Trailer: “The Way Back”

 
This is about as cliché as it can possibly get kids. Peter Weir is notorious for overwrought, dramatic bullshit layered over the top of pretty heavy or epic story lines. The Way Back looks to be no different than the rest; in fact it looks like a prototype of Weir’s M.O. How many times have we seen a prison camp movie with people trying to escape or on the run? Put three zeros behind any digit and I would venture to say that guess would be pretty close to an accurate answer.

Still, if it’s been done a thousand times, there’s usually a reason. Watching human courage battling the odds (as obvious as they may be) still makes for compelling story telling. Drop in a cast of familiar faces that everyone loves (Colin Farrell, Ed Harris, Jim Sturgess and Saoirse Ronan) and you’ve probably got a critically acclaimed blockbuster on your hands.

The Way Back was scheduled to open in January, but now I guess there will be early screenings in L.A. and New York on December 29th… last minute try for the Oscars anyone? And judging from the subject matter and the straight-up “Hollywoodness” of this trailer, it’s exactly the kind of tripe that Academy eats up. At any rate, the domestic trailer was just dropped by Yahoo!, but there’s an embedded version right here. Just check under the seats…
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