Cinecast Episode 411 – We Wanna See The Business

Despite seeing nearly 100 films combined at TIFF 2015, Ryan from The Matinee and Kurt indulge Andrew by getting out to the multiplex to see the latest Johnny Depp performance, as James “Whitey” Bulger in Black Mass. We have a spoiler discussion on that, but needless to say, no one was overly pleased with Andrew for suggesting it. Kurt and Ryan attempt to wrassle TIFF to the ground after 11 days of shared screenings and food. They, in part, hash out the bests, the beasts and the worsts (or in the cast of Love 3D, the wurst) of some of the films on hand.

But wait, there is more.

Ryan and Andrew have a Watch List which includes re-evaluated Spielberg, various Afflecks and a new-ish film starring Matthew Broderick. Hunker down with your favorite blankie, take out your blue contact lenses, and settle in for the show!

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 for HBO’s Vinyl

Bobby Canavale, an untapped resource of genius if there ever was one, and Juno Temple star in this ‘Mad Men of the 1970s record industry’ new show from HBO, Vinyl. Produced by Martin Scorsese, Mick Jagger and Terrence Winter (The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire). This is a dream team kind of project that might collapse under its own weight of talent, but I’m hoping that it is simply amazing.

Teaser: Horns

Based on the novel from Joe Hill (Stephen King’s equally prolific/talented son) comes Alexandre Aja’s (High Tension, Mirrors) film version starring Daniel Radcliffe and Juno Temple. I managed to catch this one at TIFF last year and admired the British Colombia cinematography which is dark, damp and delightfully fecund. I like Radcliffe in this film. It is nice to see him spread his wings (much like Elijah Wood) after exiting mega-franchise Fantasy Blockbusters for darker, more modest horror territory. I still wasn’t overly impressed with the results, or the wasted casting of Ms. Temple. There is a shape and structure struggling to get out, but not quite making it.

The teaser is restrained in terms of story beats or even the basic concept, focusing on the theme and mood. Have a look and let us know if you are in any way ‘teased’ by it.

TIFF Review: Horns

horns

“A“re you Horny?” asks Juno Temple of Daniel Radcliffe in one of the more tranquil moments in this goofy yet sincere adaptation of Joe Hill’s by all accounts quite good novel, Horns. Their two lovers, Iggy and Merrin lay like Yin and Yang across a spread blanket in the leafy Washington State forest, their own little eden. They kiss while the camera looks on from heaven only to have it then quickly drill down into the ground to look up from Hell as we learn that shortly after their playful kiss that Merrin is murdered and Iggy is kind of the chief suspect. David Bowie’s “Heroes” plays on a turntable only before it is physically impeded to produce that ominously SLLLOOOOWW deep sound that only vinyl can produce. The town mourns the loss of Merrin, its Laura Palmer, the perfect girl struck down in her youth. This kind of crime brings out the worst kind of weirdness in small towns. It is impossible to miss the Twin Peaks-y vibe going on here, hell, Heather Graham is even serving coffee and pie at the local diner. Iggy cannot convince anyone of his innocence, not his parents, not his future father in law and least of all the salacious local news media, but all of this become a heck of a lot harder when he literally starts to sprout horns from his head. Is he becoming the devil the town is all projecting upon him with their accusatory stares?

I am all for jarring tonal shifts in films, the Koreans do this kind of thing masterfully, but the throw-back towards 80s high concept fantasy and 21st century addiction on CGI and bloated run times go together like oil-and-water. In spite of decent performances from the leads, there is something unflatteringly off about the storytelling and plethora of secondary characters. Director Alexandre Aja the storyteller seems to have peaked with Haute Tension a decade ago when he kicked off the wave New French Horror, his American work is glossier, but more muddled. While Horns is a step up from Mirrors or Piranha 3D, it is still muddled. He can never seem to focus on what is important – that is the love story between Iggy and Merrin. Cutting away for lengthy flashbacks, revenge story theatrics and procedural sleuthing work well in long form TV, but every element feels sloppy, rushed, and undeveloped. The film has a heyday with Iggy’s horns giving him the a kind of super-power to bring out the worst kind of pettiness in people where tone is over-the-top silly, more Joe Dante than Dante Alighieri. A woman comically gorges on donunts inhibitions and propriety thrown out the window, a doctor drops all levels of professionalism to screw his nurse, and the media have a literal scrum over a scoop. When this power starts to have his family and friends confess and misbehave, it becomes almost unbearably tragic. Separate scenes with Iggy’s mom and dad, played by Kathleen Quinlan and James Remar, see both parents reject their son in the most raw manner. Merrin’s father, a tiny but pivotal part handled by the always reliable David Morse, plays out with the kind of dark poignancy (“She was my favourite thing about you.”) of a Stephen King novel – this is perhaps no surprise considering Joe Hill is the Horror Master’s son.

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Fantasia 2013 Review: Magic Magic

We get to a point, midway in Sebastián Silva’s empathy endurance test, Magic Magic, where a blonde girl in a bathing suit is standing on the edge of a cliff, alone. She goes through the motions of trying to work up the resolve to take plunge into the ocean several meters below. She laughs uncomfortably, with a touch of hysteria, and has awkward stop-starts with jittering hand movements and unflattering body language. Below, her companions have already made the jump and are waiting for her. Their words of encouragement eventually move to increasingly less polite cries of “Do it, already” or “Finish something you’ve started.” Cut to an awkward boat-ride back to the cottage. This scene might be the litmus test on whether or not you will accept such a particularly horrific odyssey that steadily escalates for 90 minutes. 

Are you frustrated with young Alicia’s failure to execute? Or are you deeply sympathetic to her discomfort and awkwardness? Magic Magic is a horror film of social norms and narcissism in equal measure. One where the horror comes from the discomfort of the lead character in a situation that slowly, deliciously, spirals out of control. The movie is quietly obsessed with spirals (and mirrors), and at one point someone says, ‘Relax your eyes and stare at the centre.’ Stay for the closing credits.

Young Alicia is played by Juno Temple, a fearless and versatile young actor, one of the best working working at the moment. Here she delivers a memorable descent into that unhinged and hysterical state of mind that horror movies seem to impose on women. This happens meticulously, the result of precisely calibrated filmmaking. One guesses that Kier-La Janisse who penned a full book on the subject, House of Psychotic Women, would be a fan.. 

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Cinecast Episode 296 – Praying at the Juno Temple

Without much going on in theaters currently, Andrew and Kurt take to the internet and discuss the current VOD release of The Brass Teapot starring Juno Temple and Michael Angarano. A quiet little 80s style suburban fable with a a dash of Dante, a sprinkle of The Great Recession and a dollop of light bondage. Andrew sorts out his security issues with the Google-machine and the video edition returns. All the better to see you with (my dear) as we delve further into the Orson Scott Card boycott – which is a do-over of the Polanski debates had on previous Cinecast shows. Andrew finds pleasure in needling our frequent co-host, Matt Gamble, when he can’t defend himself. The Watch List is also Polanski heavy as well TV-talk with disparate subjects ranging from “Game of Thrones” season 2, and the long running medical dramedy with Zach Braff in “Scrubs.” We delve into the 1% defense examined in Richard Gere’s Arbitrage and sad-sack Stallone in James Mangold’s Copland.

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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[mp3player width=560 height=76 config=cinecast.xml file=http://rowthree.com/audio/cinecast_13/episode_296.mp3] DOWNLOAD mp3 | 129 MB
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Full show notes and VIDEO version are under the seats…
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MSPIFF Review: The Brass Teapot

 


 

Director: Ramaa Mosley
Screenplay: Tim Macy
Producers: Darren Goldberg, James Graves, Ramaa Mosley, Kirk Roos, Natalie Simpkins
Starring: Juno Temple, Michael Angarano, Alexis Bledel, Billy Magnussen
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 101 min.
Country of Origin: USA

 

Alice (the always wonderful Juno Temple) and John (that kid from Sky High, Michael Angarano) are a cute, if callow, young couple caught in the cogs of the economic downturn. His business degree has only landed him a telemarketer job and her art-history degree leaves her going to one failed job interview after another Her To Die For wardrobe choices and perky attitude does not appear to help when the other interviewees have more qualifications or experience. They pay their credit cards with other credit cards, which would actually make living paycheque to paycheque kind of a step up. Passive aggressively poked by their more fiscally stable family, who just want the young couple to get on with it and have kids, and jealous of their wealthy trust-fund ‘friends’ from high school (who ignore them yet invite them to lavish parties for the purposes of show off) somehow Alice and John are happy enough in their day-by-day existence until the eponymous mystical money brewing apparatus lands in their lap.

The Brass Teapot feels like something that Spielberg would have produced in the mid to late 1980s. It mixes the overall story themes and narrative structure of Gremlins with the goofy morality play of The ‘Burbs and the money sense of one of those Danny Boyle found-bag-of-cash films. It feels like a well produced feature-length “Amazing Stories” episode which riffs on J.R.R. Tolkien’s precious One Ring and W.W. Jacob’s The Monkey’s Paw. It eschews any sort of weightiness to its stakes or consequences and is content to play out in a rather bubble-gum fashion. A fashion that is far too on the nose, at times, for its own good. Nevertheless, its earnest celebration of the cluelessness of American Middle Class – a cynicism free faith that eventually regular folk will to do the right thing is endearing in its own way. Its thesis is something along the lines of: Money is the root of all evil and suffering but offers a first amendment to that truism insofar as it is OK to have more than your fair share if you are a good American with a self-deprecating sense of humour. It is the breeziest post economic melt-down movie to come along with since 2008 (Even if I include the tangentially The Other Guys by virtue of that films wonderful closing titles.) The Brass Teapot has a heart stuck in the blockbuster pop culture quagmire of the 1980s, but I wonder if the Gen-X aged movie-nerd crowd will embrace it with the same uncritical open-arms as Ernest Cline’s bestseller, “Ready Player One”, or whether this film is the limit of how far a story can pander to its base.

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Trailer: The Brass Teapot

This trailer popped on line when I was out of the country back in January, but Tim Macy and Ramaa Mosley’s The Brass Teapot is worth revisiting in light of its February 28 VOD/iTunes release. Starring the always delightful Juno Temple (in light bondage gear, the trailer promises) and Sky High‘s Michael Angarano, as well Steve Park (Marge Gundersson’s insincere college chum who makes an extraordinary clumsy pass on her at the Radisson in Fargo) The film itself is surprisingly good, or at least a guilty pleasure, an effervescent ode to 1980s Joe Dante flicks, or a seriocomic Twilight Zone episode.

John and Alice live in small town America – 20s, married, very much in love, and broke. Once voted “most likely to succeed,” Alice struggles to make ends meet while her friends enjoy the good life. Her husband John, neurotic and riddled with phobias, just wants to get the bills paid. But an accident leads them to a roadside antique shop where Alice is spontaneously drawn to a mysterious brass teapot. It isn’t long before they realize that this is no ordinary teapot and that perhaps they have found the answer to all of their financial woes…

My review from last years TIFF is here.

Review: Killer Joe

When the name William Friedkin comes up in conversation, you cannot help but think of the directors crazy genius period in the 1970s with iconic films such as The Exorcist and The French Connection, or even his highly enjoyable To Live And Die in L.A. in the 1980s. The 1990s and early 2000s appeared to show a decline in quality output and it appeared that the magic was gone as the director headed into his seventies. Then came his chamber-drama Bug, a paranoid science-fiction noir with a whole lotta crazy showed delightful submission to the lead performances, Michael Shannon and Ashley Judd that its ricky one-room conceit worked some real magic. Two films hardly make a trend, but take his latest film and you’ve got to sit up and take notice: The man is taking some risks with genre and succeeding in doing things a little different with his collaboration with playwright Tracey Letts. Killer Joe is a straightforward, even slightly uninspired, noir picture with an excellent cast – all chewing scenery in their own ways – that gets a shot in the arm with its nutty third act. I suspect that this improves the picture on balance, even as it threatens to bring the whole house of cards down with twisted glee. Not unlike Sidney Lumet’s Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, the film is built out of classic noir conventions but keeps the circle of characters contained with in the family, to form a knotty plot that results in an intense domestic hell. Killer Joe goes one further as it morphs into a satire of power and violence and diminishing returns for the sons of America.
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Trailer: Killer Joe


One of the hidden delights of TIFF last year was this little southern fried noir featuring cowboy hats, zippo lighters, trailer parks and biker gangs all in orbit of the eponymous dirty cop, Killer Joe (Kurt’s Review). Matthew McConaughey and his very (VERY) game ensemble cast, including Gina Gershon, Juno Temple, Thomas Haden Church and Emile Hirsch knock this one out of the park, and the powers that be realize there is only one way to watch this thing: NC-17. William Friedkin used to get away with a lot of subversive behaviour in his 1970s output (The Exorcist, The French Connection and Cruisin’) but sort of petered out after the quite solid To Live and Die in LA. But his collaboration with writer Tracy Letts and very tight budget turned over a new page that really let him indulge in weirdness. Killer Joe is the new Friedkin all the way, and it is really, really good. Don’t bring your mom to the screening though.

After months of waiting, they’ve finally cut a trailer and damn if it isn’t one of the best ones I’ve seen this year so far. Just watching this one again, reminds me to kick myself for not putting this in my top 10 films of last year. When Pauline Kael said, “Movies are so rarely great art that if we cannot appreciate great trash we have very little reason to be interested in them.” She was talking about Killer Joe.