Cinecast Episode 380 – More Hovering

 
Party crasher on the set of the RowThree Cinecast arrives in studio in the form of one Sean Dwyer from Film Junk. More well-equipped to take the punches from Matt Gamble than anyone, it turns out to be a much more agreeable show than we anticipated – even with the latest Wachowski output being compared to Citizen Kane. That’s right, from the Ascension of the Jovian Gas Giant to the depths of Jude Law’s Russian sea we are a literal high and low podcast. Later in the Watch List, Sean and Andrew look deep into the “Black Mirror” while Matt and Kurt praise another successful editing venture of the great Louis C.K. – of course it doesn’t stop there. We have Steve McQueen, Spike Lee and “that one about the Nazis” on Amazon TV; among many other tid-bits of discussion. We’re happy and honored that Sean could finally make an appearance and happy to hear of the many upcoming moments of greatness still to come from the Film Junk crew.

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: The Black Sea

What to make of the career of Scottish director Kevin MacDonald? He started out his career making documentaries until mountaineering doc Touching The Void became of of the highest grossing docs ever made. He went on to try his hand at Oscar Bait (The Last King of Scotland), Hollywood star vehicles (State of Play), Sword and Sandals epics (The Eagle) and Young Adult fiction (How I Live Now), all to mixed success.

Here MacDonald tries his hands at the sweaty submarine thriller, mixing elements of treasure hunting adventure and the horrors of men. It looks like solid entertainment somewhere in the middle ground, pop genre cinema with high production values, but not squashed by CGI. I am not entirely sure if Jude Law is miscast or daring as a rogue submarine captain who pulls together a misfit crew of Brits and Russians to go after a sunken Nazi treasure in the depths of the Black Sea. Greed and desperation over shares of the spoils turn the already fragile crew on one another in the cramped environment.
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Review: Dom Hemingway

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Petty gangster, safecracker, loud mouth, loose cannon, thief, deadbeat dad, pint guzzling, word-smithing, cat killing, boorish thug Dom Hemingway is the type of guy you would have no tolerance for in real life, but generally gravitate towards on screen. Twelve years is a long time, but Dom did his time in silence to protect his betters, and after being set free of Her Majesty’s Pleasure (I’m assuming not for good behavior) attempts to pick up the pieces of his life. While on the inside, his wife died of cancer, his daughter grew up and had kids, his boss go very, very rich, and his only friend in the world, Dickie – a snappily attired Richard E. Grant with his hangdog face, shooting glasses and shrugged shoulders – remaining loyal. He is not out of the joint for 24 hours before he’s had group sex with high class hookers, violated the non-smoking law in the local pub, and filled his nostrils with coke on top of the smoke and beat the living hell out of the man who married (and buried) his wife while he was on the inside. All of this pent up rage and sexual bluster is of course Dom’s way of not processing the guilt of missing out on his daughter’s (and grandson’s) life.

Like Eric Bana in Chopper, or Tom Hardy in Bronson, Jude Law gets to look really ugly with facial scars and yellowed, gold-capped teeth. He gets to act really crazy, and burn up the screen with monologues about the majesty his his mighty cock, even thought writer director Richard Shepard’s film is more of an amuse-bouche than anything else however. It aspires to dig into the psychology of a larger than life character, while indulging in all those larger than life aspects while Dom attempts to get his life of crime back on track. It breaks things up into ironically titled chapters to facilitate this. I confess, I am a sucker for films in which characters who manage a micro-moment of communication by a silent but loaded, wave of the hand, and this movie has that at one point. But there are also shenanigans. Pithy, violent, frankly, ridiculous shenanigans that put Dom Hemingway strictly in movie fantasy territory. Not that there is anything wrong with that, it’s just that the movie never quite manages to have its cake and eat it too.

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Extended Thoughts: The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest HotelThe highly stylized and ever whimsical Wes Anderson has struck again with his latest gem, The Grand Budapest Hotel. A delectably decadent treat, the film unfolds as a kind of matryoshka nesting doll: a story within a story within a story. Peppered with his usual array of players, the troupe is joined by newcomers Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, and Saoirse Ronan to stupendous results. The film hums with zealous energy, rife with vulgarity-laced elegance. It hovers, its feet inches above the ground, the ethereal existence of a Wes Anderson creation done to perfection.

The scene opens on a young girl in present-day, a book firmly clutched in her arms, as she visits the gravesite of who we will come to know only as Author. Hotel room keys adorn a bronze bust of the man, reminiscent of the romanticism of attaching locks to bridges. Lifting another layer, we are in the office of Author (Tom Wilkinson) in 1985, as he recounts his visit to the titular hotel in 1968. You can see where this is going.

In 1968, we encounter a younger Author (now played by Jude Law) at the Grand Budapest Hotel. Shockingly reminiscent of the Overlook, it’s hard to imagine the place as a residence of glamour and class. The wallpaper peels, the orange carpets look as if they haven’t been cleaned in well over a decade, and the tiles crackle and fall from the walls. It’s a sad, desolate place, where the sparse tenants keep firmly to themselves. That is, of course, until our young Author encounters the mysterious Mr. Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham), the current overseer of the Overlook Grand Budapest. With nary a cajole, Mr. Moustafa agrees to tell Author his life’s story over dinner. Would you like to know more…?

Snappy New Red-Banded Trailer for Dom Hemingway

“You’ve got to get control of yourself… And put on trousers!”

The advertisers are not shy about throwing in most of the good bits from the film in order to get your butt in the cinema; to eyes that have seen (and very much enjoyed) the film things all appear a bit spoiler-ish. Nevertheless, the latest Red-Banded preview for Jude Law gangster dramedy Dom Hemingway has landed. Richard E. Grant’s wonderful hangdog face is on display, even if the focus is clearly on Law sporting a big personality, and an even bigger mouth in this delightfully bombastic trailer that is cheeky in more ways than one.

Trailer: Dom Hemingway

Dom Hemingway

The trailer is a bit spoilerific at times, but otherwise is a pretty high energy showcase of this fun gangster romp. Jude Law and Richard E. Grant play aging low level gangsters looking to get what is owed to them after Law’s eponymous Dom Hemingway is released from jail after doing many hears covering for his boss. Law and Grant play well enough off each other, and the screenplay gives them a lot of great monologues and wordplay to keep things lively along with the stagy, but interesting visual style. Game of Thrones’ Dragonlady herself, Emilia Clarke has a minor role as Dom Hemingway’s estranged daughter and makes a brief appearance in the trailer below, but mainly it’s the Jude and Dickie show. Thankfully, they hold back the big monologue and most of the safe-cracking sequence, the films two main highlights.

Also give Kurt’s review from TIFF a read.

TIFF Review: Dom Hemingway

horns

Petty gangster, safecracker, loud mouth, loose cannon, thief, deadbeat dad, pint guzzling, word-smithing, cat killing, boorish thug Dom Hemingway is the type of guy you would have no tolerance for in real life, but generally gravitate towards on screen. Twelve years is a long time, but Dom did his time in silence to protect his betters, and after being set free of Her Majesty’s Pleasure (I’m assuming not for good behavior) attempts to pick up the pieces of his life. While on the inside, his wife died of cancer, his daughter grew up and had kids, his boss go very, very rich, and his only friend in the world, Dickie – a snappily attired Richard E. Grant with his hangdog face, shooting glasses and shrugged shoulders – remaining loyal. He is not out of the joint for 24 hours before he’s had group sex with high class hookers, violated the non-smoking law in the local pub, and filled his nostrils with coke on top of the smoke and beat the living hell out of the man who married (and buried) his wife while he was on the inside. All of this pent up rage and sexual bluster is of course Dom’s way of not processing the guilt of missing out on his daughter’s (and grandson’s) life.

Like Eric Bana in Chopper, or Tom Hardy in Bronson, Jude Law gets to look really ugly with facial scars and yellowed, gold-capped teeth. He gets to act really crazy, and burn up the screen with monologues about the majesty his his mighty cock, even thought writer director Richard Shepard’s film is more of an amuse-bouche than anything else however. It aspires to dig into the psychology of a larger than life character, while indulging in all those larger than life aspects while Dom attempts to get his life of crime back on track. It breaks things up into ironically titled chapters to facilitate this. I confess, I am a sucker for films in which characters who manage a micro-moment of communication by a silent but loaded, wave of the hand, and this movie has that at one point. But there are also shenanigans. Pithy, violent, frankly, ridiculous shenanigans that put Dom Hemingway strictly in movie fantasy territory. Not that there is anything wrong with that, it’s just that the movie never quite manages to have its cake and eat it too.

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Friday One Sheet: Dom Hemingway and a Monkey

Jude Law is Dom Hemingway (and you’re not.) There is your attitude, star power and rather simple design all in a nutshell. The fancy furniture, and neat Scotch indicate equal parts crime boss, and asshole, although the synopsis of the film indicates he is a safe-cracker. Close enough. One thing the poster does not hint at is, Richard E. Grant, but since he certainly has less face recognition (outside of Withnail & I and Hudson Hawk fans), I can see why they kept things simple. I like, and hopefully will be catching this one at TIFF soon.

Quick Thoughts: SIDE EFFECTS

 

 

Soderbergh just keeps the magic coming. Side Effects is a wonderful little thriller with little red herrings and complicated character inter-workings that all mesh together to keep the audience engaged and on their toes. Sure there are some minor believability strains and a couple of plot devices that one must just accept for the sake of a fun movie, but for the most part Soderbergh has put together a smart little thriller that reminds a little bit of Allen’s Match Point.

There’s a good deal of setup and routine before the axe is brought down and brought down hard. The audience is toyed with again and again. Particularly if you’re a Soderbergh aficionado, your head might be spinning even more so; trying to figure where exactly he’s going with all this. Character motivation, depth and intrigue is layered onto the plot weavings for an even more complex tale of deception.

While there are not really any real standout lead performances (although Jude Law does sparkle per usual), look for Ann Dowd as unquestionably the best performance in the film in a very supporting role. A nice follow-up to her Oscar nominated performance in Compliance.

While probably not going to win any awards next year and very likely isn’t going to land on a lot of top ten lists, Side Effects is a solid, “Hitchcockian” thriller that might seem a little conventional and even transparent at the outset, I think you’ll find a lot to love if you just go with the flow. Allow the dreamlike quality of the atmosphere and the score to lull you into a false sense of knowing security. If you do that, you (and the movie) will be wrapped up in no time and you’ll realize you just spent 110 minutes having a really good time.

  

Second Trailer for Soderbergh’s “Side Effects”

The last trailer released for the latest Soderbergh deal made very little sense but was pretty intriguing. I have to say, this second trailer gives only a hint more about the plot of this thing; but I’m still fairly in the dark. Which is a good thing as I like to go into my movies clean. Though I have to say I’m less excited this time around for some reason.

Anyway, here’s the vid. Take a look and tell us what you think…

 

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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