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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A Second Gorgeous Trailer For The Bad Batch

I was a fan, but did not fall full head over heals for, Ana Lily Amirpour’s The Bad Batch when I caught it at TIFF. The film bold and sure is beautifully brutal. There is no doubt, by following up her first film, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, that the director has a unique voice with her brand of film-making, but, like her first feature, this one left me emotionally flat; when I have no doubt the intention was to make emotions soar. But each time they cut a new trailer for this movie, the second of which can be found above, I itch to revisit the film. I hope I can find the emotional resonance among all the stylish bravado and hipster-cool (Keanu’s sunglasses and porn mustache alone!) that glue this dystopian cannibal romance together.

Much like her L.A. contemporary, Sophia Coppola, Amirpour certainly has a great sense of ambient soundtrack. And that doesn’t even get into the Ace of Base moment in the film.

Trailer: Kick-Ass 2 aka The Hit Girl Show

Ready for more violent/satirical superhero shennanigrams? Part two of the now intimated trilogy of films based on Mark Millar’s books is on its way with what remains of the original cast, Aaron Johnson, Chloë Grace-Moretz, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse – the latter stepping up into role of comic super villain, while the former two team up with a nearly unrecognizable Jim Carrey. It has the makings of a showdown between the ‘hero’ team and the ‘villain’ team, with a dab of Watchmen/X-Men/Incredibles in terms of authorities attempting to come down hard on ‘supers’ in general. Director Matthew Vaughn hands over the reigns to Jeff “Never Back Down” Wadlow.

Unsurprisingly, the trailer keeps its focus on potty mouthed killer Hit Girl, who by most accounts, was the reason for the success of the first film.

Movies We Watched

Sometimes we watch stuff that we want to talk just a little bit about, not a full review worth. These are those films. If any of the films reviewed are available on Netflix Instant Watch (US or Canada) or HuluPlus (US only), we’ll note that by putting a direct link below the capsule.

Buried

2010 USA/Spain/Frane. Director: Rodrigo Cortés. Starring: Ryan Reynolds.

An extreme form of one-room film, with the whole thing set in a coffin buried somewhere underground. Ryan Reynolds carries the film admirably as an army contractor who gets taken hostage and buried alive with just a cell phone and a few other items, with the intention that he will get a sizeable ransom from the US government for his release. As we know, the US government doesn’t negotiate with terrorists, leaving Reynolds hoping that the dispatched search and rescue team will find him before his air runs out. The film ratchets up tension admirably, keeping the audience engaged through 95 minutes of basically nothing happening except a man talking on a phone. There are nitpicks to be made, and I do wish there had been some better explanation for why he didn’t try to dig out through the obviously loose and relatively shallow dirt above him, but for the most part, it’s pretty effective as a tight-space thriller.
– JANDY

Netflix Instant (USA)

Gattaca

1997 USA. Director: Andrew Niccol. Starring: Ethan Hawke, Jude Law, Uma Thurman.

While Gattaca did not fly quite as far under the radar as The Man from Earth or Dark City, I cannot help but feel that it remains incredibly underseen and underappreciated. It is generally regarded as a strong film, to be sure, yet I would argue that it is among the greatest sci-fi films ever made. Nimbly toeing the line between the bleak and hectic Blade Runner and the philosophically draining The Man from Earth, Niccol’s universe not only feels realistic – it feels possible … if not probable. The physical presentation of the world is bleak, yes, but it is also vibrant and alive, crafting a future that is advanced, but not so advanced so as to be a distraction. This, of course, ignores the tremendous turns of Ethan Hawke and Jude Law, whose relationship is organic and beautiful. Uma Thurman is undoubtedly the weak link in the chain, but that may be as much a product of her underutilization, if not a side effect of the brilliance of most everything else.
– DOMENIC

Netflix Instant (CANADA)

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Bookmarks for November 9th

What we’ve been reading over the past week or so.

  • Paranormal Activity Will Not Save American Horror
    Paranormal Activity isn’t the beginning of a horror revolution, it’s the first financially positive after-effect from the ‘revolution’ 10 years ago. That’s a long time for a good idea to pay off just once. So studios will continue to play it safe, file this away as a fluke (which it is), make the sequel, and continue on with their lives.
  • Best & Worst: Movie Star Websites
    These days, all the chatter online seems to be about social networking – your Twitters, your Facebooks and such. But cinema stars are still maintaining websites hoping to entice fans to follow their work/buy crap with their name or face on it and pimp their latest musings. We decided to trawl the depths of the magical intarwebs to take a look at some of the cream of the crop – and some that are just rotten.
  • Why The Hell Was “Christmas Carol” Released Now?!?!
    Doesn’t it make more sense for Disney’s “A Christmas Carol” to be released closer to the more appropriate holiday?
  • Mainstream Media attention to new doc COLLAPSE is attention-worthy itself
    What’s incontrovertible is that we’re right now living through the giddiest age of apocalyptic cultural ferment that any of us have ever experienced. I think it’s safe to say that it tops the ones that accompanied the turn of the 20th century, and the advent of World Wars I and II, and the Depression era, and the social and cultural upheavals and meltdowns of the sixties and seventies, and the turn of the 21st century.
  • Artistic Childrens Films Are Getting Darker these days
    …where the regressive infantilism of grown-up comedies and action pictures is answered by a grave precocity. A movie like “Where the Wild Things Are” or “Fantastic Mr. Fox” play a kind of reverse dress-up, disguising adult anxieties in the costumes of innocent make-believe and fanciful spectacle. […] The impulse to protect children from these kinds of stories is understandable. Like adults, they experience plenty of hard feelings in their daily lives and they may want, as we do, to use movies and books as a form of escape. Bright colors, easy lessons and thrilling rides that end safely and predictably on terra firma have their place. But so, surely, do representations of the grimmer, thornier thickets of experience. That’s what art is, and surely our children deserve some of that too. Which includes movies that elicit displeasure and argument along with rapture.
  • Michael Haneke Uncut
    Talking shop, theory, and practice with the director of The White Ribbon, Cache, Time of The Wolf, Code Unknown, Funny Games and Benny’s Video.
  • Fight Club @ 10
    The secret to the enduring allure of “Fight Club” may be that it is, as Mr. Norton put it, quoting Mr. Fincher, “a serious film made by deeply unserious people.” In other words, a film as willing to take on profound questions as it is to laugh at and contradict itself: what is “Fight Club” if not the most fashionable commercial imaginable for anti-materialism? A movie of big ideas and abundant ambiguities, it can be read and reread in many ways.
  • Zhang says ‘Blood Simple’ has shades of [Stephen] Chow
    Zhang said his new film has shades of Chow’s signature nonsensical humor, but doesn’t go as far as the Hong Kong comedian known for “Shaolin Soccer” and “Kung Fu Hustle.” “There are some parts where we go crazy like Stephen Chow, but we don’t go as crazy,” he said..
  • Top 10 Cameron Crowe Moments
    Personally I’d put the “Tiny Dancer” scene from “Almost Famous” in my top ten scenes of all time, period. But here is CNN’s picks for best Cameron Crowe scenes.

Cinecast Episode 125 – Cultural Collateral

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Episode 124:
Somehow both Kurt and Andrew managed to miss out on Will Farrel running from dinosaurs as well as the Vegas tomfoolery in The Hangover. Instead we watched a bunch of subversive, exploitative and downright nasty cinema on DVD – that includes Twilight. New is overrated. Oh, and three cheers to Don Bluth.
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