Fantasia Review: For Love’s Sake

 

The latest razzle dazzle genre mash, For Love’s Sake, from the maddeningly prolific Takashi Miike tackles the high melodrama of unrequited love with a gaggle of high school seniors as they collectively pave the road to hell with good intentions via breaking out into song and dance numbers. Lest one, for even a second, think that Miike has hopped on the microtrend of gleeful high school musicals, the director cranks up the absurdity (and the deadpan) of the musical numbers: dance fights (including Miike’s over-the-shoulder take on the Oldboy corridor fight), J-horror gags, and lot wind and fire – all the while drenching everything with irony and bloody violence. And because the film is based on an early ’70s Manga (Ai to Makoto) the songs are crafted to resemble the J-Pop of the era. The word Bourgeoisie is thrown around a fair bit.

Would you like to know more…?

How Do You Write a Joe Schermann Song [Soundtrack Preview]

Our buddy Gary King (New York Lately, Death of the Dead) keeps on diving from genre to genre so I suppose it only makes sense that at some point a filmmaker like that is going to tackle a musical. King seems to be attacking this one with gusto and a visual flair not often seen in indie film making.

How Do You Write a Joe Schermann Song features all original songs written by Joe Schermann and all performed by the talented cast (Joe Schermann, Christina Rose, Debbie Williams). And you’ll be able to hear the incredible orchestral arrangements written for the songs by composer Ken Lampl.

“This truly has been a memorable collaboration…What I really dig about these songs is that I asked for Joe to create different styles for each lead character. He took it and ran with it. I love these songs. In the film, you will hear his influences of Sondheim, Jason Robert Brown and yes, even Springsteen in them.”

We’re looking forward to finally checking out the film sometime over the next 12 months on the festival circuit (I know for a fact it’s been submitting to many!). Before that, a full fledged trailer should be on its way and today we’ve got a soundtrack preview of some of the songs all set to stills from the film. Take a listen and look to the video below and see what you think.
 

 

1. “I WANT” performed by Christina Rose (0:00-0:36)
2. “WRITE ME A LOVE SONG” performed by Christina Rose and Joe Schermann (0:36-1:18)
3. “I FELL IN LOVE” performed by Debbie Williams and Joe Schermann (1:18-1:56)
4. “30 DAYS OF RAIN” performed by Debbie Williams and Joe Schermann (1:56-2:22)
5. “I HATE SUMMER” performed by Christina Rose (2:22-2:46)
6. “MOTH TO THE FLAME” performed by Christina Rose and Debbie Williams (2:46-3:25)
7. “HOW DO YOU WRITE A JOE SCHERMANN SONG” performed by Joe Schermann and Company (3:25-4:43)

 

Cinecast Episode 217 – Capraesque!

 
 
With no Matt Gamble to be heard this week, we decided we needed someone to take the feminine point of view on the Cinecast this week. Row Three contributor Jandy Stone stops by to give some schooling to the boys on the MGM musicals of the 1940s, Yasujirō Ozu and Agnès Varda. We dig into Super 8, that accomplished and elusive Spielbergian zone of nostalgia known as the ‘Amblin Film,’ and whether or not the Rubik’s Cube was popular in small town America in 1979. Do we think it is a Goonies or merely a *batteries not included? Basically, Kurt continually bags on the JJ Abrams whilst confessing to really like Super 8. We also have a look at the state of 3D as the summer gets underway in earnest, and we might not see eye-to-eye on Braveheart. Lots of DVD picks and a few tears are shed as more Criterion titles gently slip through the tight grip of Netflix.

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!


 
 

 

To download the show directly, paste the following URL into your favorite downloader:
http://rowthree.com/audio/cinecast_11/episode_217.mp3

 
 
Full show notes are under the seats…
Would you like to know more…?

Review: Sell Out

Eric Tan has just been fired from his job for building a 10-in-One Soy Product machine that will not break down, even after the warranty expires, thereby pissing off his clueless corporate masters who are baffled that anyone in their large conglomerate is making an original product (to the point where they have cribbed the company Mission Statement of being about quality and originality, from another, presumably ‘lesser’ company). He tries to buy poison for a suicide attempt, but the cashier will not accept the torn bit of currency (which she, only moments ago, gave him from a previous transaction at the same store.) And will not take a credit card because the purchase is less than the store-policy minimum. So goes punchline after punchline in this densely written Monty Python-esque musical from Malaysia. Sell Out! (or $311.0u7 if you prefer the cash register title card design that does not show up until the exact halfyway point in the movie.) And yes, the movie asks if that is 50% over, or 50% left, in a fashion. I will stop now, as it is better to just let the film pummel you with all that it has to offer. Suffice it to say, this is a cult classic in the making, an impressive feat for a first time filmmaker. It is not even clear whether or not the film is a bit of a shaggy mess on purpose to make it even more lovable. Or this is the weird headspace the film puts you in when you catch your breath. It is even funnier if you close your eyes when Peter Davis (who plays Eric) is speaking because he is a dead ringer for director Edgar Wright. Why am I even mentioning that? No reason.

Eric’s story is one of three competing, overlapping, opposite narratives umbrellaed by the FONY corporation, which in itself is a character (after all, Corporations are people too). The other two stories involve the ambitious and morally bankrupt host of a PBS style show on artists who really wants to be doing reality television, and the forgetful CEO and his smoking yes-man as they follow the really FONY mission statement, “Make Money.” The film itself drops the satirical hammer on Asian directors making films mainly for the film festival and foreign markets, even as it is itself filmed in English, and includes English subtitles for the entire duration of the film. You know, just in case. Yeo Joon Han makes a cameo of himself as a highly pretentious filmmaker, doing his interview nude. Thus we fall down the meta-rabbit-hole, yet are caught gently before we hit bottom by all the narrative strings coming together neatly and possibly even elegantly in the end. It’s a marvel. Derek Elley argued during his Variety review that the film has no sense of comic timing, and that there are huge chunks of non sequitur ‘bits’ (shapeless direction) that could have excised about 20 minutes to make the film leaner and slicker. But he is completely missing the bigger picture. Sell Out! is as much an SCTV styled arc of comedy sketches that ensnare all of the main characters in the absurdity that modern Malaysia (and the world in general) have to offer the average working stiff. Bureaucracy, poverty, fickle power-mad bosses, exorcising (not exercising) your inner dreamer, Karaoke morality lessons without anyone singing (that would be you, fictional audience!), and lots of death. It’s all a big joke. Sell out with the rest of us. It is frightening and true and silly and well worth your time. Life it too short.

Sell Out! is playing in Toronto at The Royal From December 3-9th.

Newly Released Teaser for “How Do You Write a Joe Schermann Song”

I think I can speak for all of us around here when I say that one of our truest loves is the art of independent cinema. When a good one comes along we sit up and take notice. A couple of years ago, writer/director Gary King wow’d us with his visually pleasing New York Lately. Since then he’s been a busy guy with a couple of other experiments in various genres until finally settling into the world of musicals with his latest project, How Do You Write a Joe Schermann Song.

Not being much of a fan of musicals in general, I gotta say this one looks pretty sweet. And from the mouth of the director himself, “this ain’t your momma’s musical” as it gives off a really pretty All that Jazz feel. Not soap mouth, slow crap. This one looks like it really will electrify the screen with some fast pace tunage and King’s flair for visual awesome.

Check out the teaser below and you can get more info on the movie; including Twitter and Facebook links as well as some behind-the-scenes production bloggy stuff over at the film’s official site.

 

 

Oh shucks! Score: A Hockey Musical looks swell eh?

Score: A Hockey Musical Movie StillEarlier today, film lovers and many a TIFF festival regular scratched their heads at the announcement that this year’s selection to open the festival (usually a Canadian film), was a hockey musical from One Week director Michael McGowan titled Score: A Hockey Musical.

Say what? A hockey musical? Are you serious? Apparently they weren’t pulling our leg because the good folks at Twitch have dug up the trailer for this possible atrocity and the truth of the matter is, it’s not actually that insane. If nothing else, it’s a bit charming and yes, Canadian all the way.

The film stars Stephen McHattie as a recruiter who discovers Farley, a 17 year old kid with potential to be the next Sidney Crosby. His parents (played by Olivia Newton-John [?] and Marc Jordan) aren’t keen on the idea of Farley playing organized sports but when he signs into a major hockey league and finds his star on the rise, he also realizes that the public wants more than he’s willing to give.

It’s completely over the top, hilarious and quite frankly, the beset thing since sliced bred. OK. Maybe not that great but it certainly has potential. Wonder if I can convince my other half that it’s a hockey movie and leave off the musical bit until we’re sitting in the theatre. Cruel? Nah.

The Trailer is tucked under the seat.

Would you like to know more…?

Want to Help Out a Good Director?

Joe Schermann SongI don’t think we’ve covered up our general love for Gary King’s New York Lately (My Review) and I know that both Andrew and I are eagerly awaiting What’s Up Lovely (Check out the Trailer). King’s next project that he would like to do is a musical called How Do You Write a Joe Schermann Song. King is trying to finance this movie using Kickstarter. Kickstarter allows anyone to donate money to the cause and he only has 9 days left in the pledge drive. King needs $30,000 for the pledge drive to go through (no money is donated if he doesn’t reach his goal). I’ve chipped in what I can and now I’d like to ask you to chip in whatever amount you can afford. As a special benefit of donating today you can get a free copy of New York Lately or What’s Up Lovely if you donate over $25.00. If you have already donated you can also add an an extra $5 or $10 to your contribution and you will receive one or both of them.

Can’t Wait for “NINE”

Only 31 days left on the year and not a single title has me more anticipatory than Rob Marshall’s NINE (which I am from here on out going to write in all capital letters). Normally I’m not a fan of these types of “overdone” musical spectacles but for some reason (not the reason you’re probably thinking) NINE grabs me in just the right way and I fully expect a break into my top ten experience for this one. I’ve raved about this movie enough over here and there and more recently over here, so this will be my final say on the matter until the movie hits my local theater. The third and most plot-explanatory trailer has been released and you can see it below the seats…
Would you like to know more…?

New Trailer for “Nine”

Admittedly I’ve been hyping this movie up around here – arguably too much. But I’m doing it for good reason(s). 1) Penélope Cruz. 2) It’s going to need the hype as I don’t think this is the type of movie that is going to speak to most movie goers just a week before Christmas. This is “one of the hardest sells of the year.” Until now?

This newest trailer is flashy and catchy with loads of sparkle and razzle dazzle. Showcasing a remarkable Kate Hudson (the character/actress I was least interested in watching) in sort of a Dreamgirls-esque montage; which I thought was a pretty fun and dazzling movie. I only hope Nine can live up to my now enormous expectations and delivers with its pre-release Oscar buzz. If this new (and much better) trailer is any indication, December 18th is going to be a foot stomping good time in the theater.

Finally! A Trailer for Sell Out!

SellOutIf you’ve been with us from the beginning, you may recall that at 2008’s VIFF, Colleen (fellow After the Credits co-host and lover of all things zombie) fell in love with a little Malaysian film titled Sell Out! about a product engineer who has developed a machine that will create 10 different product from soybeans. I’m sure there’s more to the film (including a woman who seems to love rubbing people the wrong way) but I can’t figure it out. All I can tell is that it looks like fun – complete with musical numbers.

Honestly, the only reason this is even news is that we finally have a chance to see what the heck Colleen was going on about. Sure looks like fun.

No clue when (or even if) this comes out on DVD; the trailer comes courtesy of the film’s recent screening at the Hawaii International Film Festival.

Check it out tucked under the seat!

Would you like to know more…?

Knightley & Wright Reunite for My Fair Lady Remake

KeiraKnightley&JoeWrightI was completely convinced that at some point, I had posted some information about an upcoming remake of My Fair Lady (pause for everyone to take a collective breath). It’s true; someone is going to remake the classic tale of a commoner turned lady with the help of a handsome and distinguished chap.

The project, which has been in development for some time, is one that Keira Knightley had been vying for but the actress had the likes of Scarlett Johansson to contend with for the lead role of Eliza Doolittle. For this fan, my money was always on Knightley who, I believe, is a much more talented actress than Johansson (though to give Scar Jo a little credit, she does have an album of Tom Waits covers. That doesn’t necessarily mean she can sing but someone out there thinks she has some talent) but alas, I’m not making the casting choices.

In the end, the coveted lead role has gone to Knightley. How did she get the upper hand? Likely thanks to frequent collaborator Joe Wright who has signed on to direct the film. So far, this project is an all around winner!

In sadder news relating to Wright, one of the director’s previously announced projects, Indian Summer based on the story of Lady Edwina Mountbatten (to be played by the brilliant Cate Blanchett) and her affair with the first Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru (a role which Irrfan Khan was rumored to fill) has been shelved indefinitely due to, according to Paste, Universal’s financial struggles.

Lose one, win one. All in all not a bad day for Wright!