Cinecast Episode 362 – Primordial Dwarfism

 
Aafter nearly a three week hiatus, Weeeeee’re Baaaaa-aaack. In what is a true first on the Cinecast’s 8 year history, all three of Andrew, Kurt and Matt assembled in the same space to do a show with no telecommunications/web bridge. So, of course we pick a noisy bar and record over too many cocktails. With munchies and Montreal Smoked Meat, on the docket are three main reviews: Guardians of the Galaxy, Boyhood and Lucy which, oddly enough GotG gets the consensus favourite. Ever want to hear Kurt praise a Disney-Marvel production, now is your chance.

There is no 1984 project this week, but rest assured things will return to tomorrow with 2010: The Year We Make Contact next week, and Stop Making Sense after that.

Kurt does his annual 1+ hour recap of The Fantasia International Film Festival (which was also the source of the imported smoked meat) which is followed by a slew of titles from Matt (James Cameron Rape Sci-fi, Abortion Comedy, Punk Catharsis) and Andrew (Zach Braff, Heavy Metal, Alan Partridge and the last of Phillip Seymour Hoffman) with a little Terry Gilliam to round out the picture. LIVE FROM MINNEAPOLIS it is a lengthy, boozy, robust episode of the Cinecast, where bartenders, paramedics, rowdy billiard players, and the odd waitress all make for background character and salty language is tossed around in public spaces.

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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Movie Club Podcast #27: Naked Lunch and Tristram Shandy

T he Movie Club is back in session. Better late than never. This time, Kurt Halfyard moderates the show and is joined by Patrick Ripoll from The Director’s Club podcast, CriticalMassCast’s Corey Pierce and occasional contributor to Row Three Bob Turnbull from Eternal Sunshine of the Logical Mind discuss unorthodox adaptations of novels to screen by way of pretty established directors in Naked Lunch and Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story.

The streaming conversation as well as the downloadable audio podcast can be found at:

The Movie Club Site

 
There is a very slight audio glitch at the beginning while introducing the film titles and speakers, but after that clears up in a few seconds, all is good.
 
 
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The Movie Club Podcast page.

Trailer: The Look of Love

Michael Winterbottom, as prolific as he is, has had a particular brand of commercial success in his collaborations with Steve Coogan. The latest one is a biopic of Paul Raymond, a UK entrepreuner who opened up the UK’s first strip club, had a publishing empire, and was at one point the richest man in Britain. The Look of Love has all the trappings of 24 Hour Party People, stylized and slightly tawdry subject matter, fourth wall breaks, and splashy editing. And, with the addition of Imogen Poots, here playing Raymond’s daughter who was primed to take over the big business in the early 1990s, but then had a turn of her own, it looks like this one has another ace in the hole. I’m in.

Trailer: Trishna

 

Thomas Hardy is no stranger to Michael Winterbottom, this is his third kick at this particular can, the other two being The Claim, an loose adaptation of The Mayor of Casterbridge and Jude, an adaptation of Jude the Obscure. Trishna is a modern retelling of Tess of the d’Urbervilles, and while I didn’t love it (when I caught it at TIFF last year) there is no denying that it is beautifully shot, and features some impressive location shooting in both urban and rural parts of modern India. As the resident Winterbottom geek, I’d say that it continues his tradition of exploring stories through landscapes (mainly urban, but not always) but the acting and overall pacing get in the way of some wonderfully verite-like film-making. A disappointment for me, both the leads (Freida Pinto and Riz Ahmed) but your mileage may vary. The second trailer is below.

Based on Thomas Hardy’s classic novel story of one woman whose life is destroyed by a combination of love and circumstances. Set in contemporary Rajasthan, Trishna meets a wealthy young British businessman Jay Singh who has come to India to work in his father’s hotel business. After an accident destroys her father’s Jeep, Trishna goes to work for Jay, and they fall in love. But despite their feelings for each other, they cannot escape the conflicting pressures of a rural society which is changing rapidly through industrialisation, urbanisation and, above all, education. Trishna’s tragedy is that she is torn between the traditions of her family life and the dreams and ambitions that her education has given her.

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.


Con Air

1997 USA. Director: Simon West. Starring: Nicolas Cage, John Malkovich, John Cusack, Colm Meaney, Danny Trejo, Ving Rhames, Dave Chappelle, Steve Buscemi.

They just don’t make ‘em like they did back in the late 90s. On rewatch, the movie is as goofy as ever but done so completely deliberately; which is something I actually appreciate now, more so than my theatrical experience 15 years ago whereas I just looked at everything as action cheese. It’s as simple as it gets but the outlandish scenarios keep things interesting at every turn. The score is awesome! It’s a unique blend of mechanical sound effects (listen closely whenever Buscemi is on screen), heavy metal and strings. The action and effects still hold up (the Vegas crash scene is terrific!). And of course it’s Nic Cage in proper mode working next to a fucking great, over the top John Malkovich performance. It’s fun and funny. For good ol fashioned, proper action flicks, you could do a lot worse.
-ANDREW


The Hunger

1983 USA. Director: Tony Scott. Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Susan Sarandon, David Bowie.

Finally, a Tony Scott film I can actually get behind. OK, I do like True Romance, but it doesn’t quite hit on all it’s cylinders with me – especially towards the end. Though the last 15-20 minutes in this modern day vampire story (well, it was modern day when it was released 25 years ago anyway – those hairstyles certainly couldn’t be mistaken as modern at this point), go slightly astray here as well, there’s a lovely slow build up as Catherine Deneuve marks medical researcher Susan Sarandon as her next companion. A lot is made of the steamy scenes between Deneuve and Sarandon, but they aren’t the focus here (in more ways than one – things are so soft focus you’d swear they were filmed through a feathered pillow). Deneuve plays the countess with a wonderful icy cool exterior that belies the real fire beneath and Sarandon’s big eyes soak all of it in (Bowie is actually very good as her previous companion as his Thin White Duke character slides perfectly into place). The style occasionally threatens to undercut it all, but (short of that last section) it achieves a strange tense balance that had me solidly entranced for most of it.
-BOB

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Trailer: Michael Winterbottom’s Trishna

 

Thomas Hardy is no stranger to Michael Winterbottom, this is his third kick at the can, the other two being The Claim, an loose adaptation of The Mayor of Casterbridge and Jude, an adaptation of Jude the Obscure. Trishna is a modern retelling of Tess of the d’Urbervilles, and my only hope is that the prolific director makes something of Frieda Pinto luminous actress that has yet to move out of the ‘wet-blank’ of screen presence. By giving her the chance to be the star of this film, here is hoping. Thus far only the hint of any spark was shown in Woody Allen’s under-appreciated You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, and was barely even registering beyond her looks in Danny Boyle’s disasterpiece Slumdog Millionaire and recent Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Shot and set in India, there looks to be plenty of song and dance here, but it’s probably not going to be that sort of film.

Based on Thomas Hardy’s classic novel story of one woman whose life is destroyed by a combination of love and circumstances. Set in contemporary Rajasthan, Trishna meets a wealthy young British businessman Jay Singh who has come to India to work in his father’s hotel business. After an accident destroys her father’s Jeep, Trishna goes to work for Jay, and they fall in love. But despite their feelings for each other, they cannot escape the conflicting pressures of a rural society which is changing rapidly through industrialisation, urbanisation and, above all, education. Trishna’s tragedy is that she is torn between the traditions of her family life and the dreams and ambitions that her education has given her.

In light of my recent lengthy discussion of Winterbottom (and his method of literary adaptation) over at The Director’s Club Podcast, I am anxious to take this one in when it plays at this years edition of TIFF.

The trailer is tucked under the seat.

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Review: The Trip

With no other knowledge about the film, the title “The Trip” might, to unsuspecting American ears, conjure up images of Road Trip and frat boy humor, possibly even the thought that Todd Phillips has snuck in a second movie this year to compete with his own The Hangover II, but one need only note that this one is directed by Michael Winterbottom and stars two of Britain’s best comedic actors (not nearly well enough known, sadly, in the US), and it’s immediately obvious we’re in for a different sort of experience here. And yeah, that’s a very good thing.

After working with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon on his brilliant adaptation of Tristram Shandy, Winterbottom brings them together again for a largely improvised comic journey through rural England, the two actors playing versions of themselves with so much real-life detail brought in that it’s difficult to tell where the line between fiction and reality lies. After his girlfriend returns to America for a job rather than join him on a restaurant tour of England (he’s writing an article or doing publicity or something in between acting jobs), Coogan cajoles Brydon into going with him, despite the fact that neither of them are particularly keen on the idea.

The trip takes a week, and the film divides up into days, each day basically having Coogan and Brydon drive cross-country to a new inn, sample lunch, maybe take in a sight or handle some publicity business, and head to bed, ready to do it all again the next day, all the while carrying on an ongoing conversation full of comedy bits or impressions. The trailer is basically an excerpt of the pair arguing over their Michael Caine impressions, and that plays a recurring part in the film (a too-often recurring, some will think), but there are plenty of other bits that play out, too, and the pair are so unassuming that you easily believe they just do this style of banter naturally in real life.

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TIFF Review: Womb

 

 

 
Young Rebecca finds the love of her life at a very tender age of twelve with Tommy. They spend an endlessly cloudy and rainy summer on a spartan beach where they share their souls and first kiss. They watch a snail crawl over a porcelain surface, the merging of sterile and virgin and organic and slimey. Being bound to move away to Tokyo after the summer, thousands of miles and 12 years of time do not stop Rebecca (now played by Eva Green at her most beautiful and detached) and Tommy (Matt Smith) from picking up right where they left off. An almost feral bond of love, these two are in another world completely when they are together, one where words are barely necessary such is their mutual connection. She has made a career programming sonar equipment, a job that can be done over the internet at the remote beach, and he is a biologist who has never moved away and has been breeding cockroaches for an activist stunt. All seems set for a life of bliss at the end of the world until Tommy is accidentally killed on the road to the protest – a cloning research and technology center built in the area. Instead of grieving his loss or railing against the cloning facility for causing the protest, she takes the more pragmatic approach. After all, she waited for 12 year in Tokyo, why not another 20 to have her Tommy return, in a manner of sorts. She gets very uneasy permission from Tommy parents (Leslie Manville and Peter Wight who could not get along in Mike Leigh’s Another Year, but have an implied intimate and healthy relationship here) to take a sample of Tommy’s DNA and use herself as the womb to birth the child – a copy of her former lover and soulmate. In a way, Womb is sort of a time-travel movie, the passage of time is rarely explicitly given, you can infer by the change actors for long stretches, but such is the relationship of Rebecca and Tommy that time does not have a lot of meaning when they are together. When Rebeca makes her return, Tommy is in bed with another woman, an apparent one night stand, she has the decency to make an attempt at introductions (“Like normal people”) while they immediately know who each other are, despite the passage of years. They only stare into each others eyes. People this into each other are kind of scary.

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