Cinecast Episode 444 – Gorgeously Sleazy

And the summer theatrical season continues to be of zero interest to our heroes. Luckily the De Palma retrospective is about to kick off at the TIFF Lightbox and continues all summer long. So we’ll loosely follow that schedule for the time being. Last week we reviewed De PalmaNiro in Hi, Mom and this week we keep going with the Travolta vehicle, Blow Out. From there, we move on to a little more delightfully trashy fare from William Friedkin and Tony Scott. Lastly Danny Boyle never gets enough credit for his amazingness.

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: November Man

While this all looks kind of generic in the overly mined out super-spy genre and it also features both a former 007 (Pierce Brosnan) and Bond Girl (Olga Kurylenko) action-thriller November Man does have the great Roger Donaldson at the helm. This Aussie who started his career in New Zealand and launched the career of Sam Neill, has turned out so many diamonds in the rough, including 1977’s Sleeping Dogs, as well as Thirteen Days, The Bank Job, Thirteen Days, No Way Out, , White Sands, Cadillac Man, that I have about started losing count at this point.

Code named ‘The November Man’, Peter Devereaux (Brosnan) is a lethal and highly trained ex-CIA agent, who has been enjoying a quiet life in Switzerland. When Devereaux is lured out of retirement for one last mission, he must protect valuable witness (Kurylenko). He soon uncovers this assignment marks him a target of his former friend and CIA protégé David Mason.

Mamo #275: The “Death” of the “Moviestar”

Taken a look at the Hollywood moviestar lately? Some might argue that the star system is dead, but don’t tell Liam Neeson – he’ll prove you wrong and kick your ass. Plus, we talk about Matt’s James Bond series, From A to Bond – already in progress on The Substream! – and heap praise on Shorts That Are Not Pants.

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Cinecast Episode 177 – Veneer of Terrible

Without the Gamble here to grace us with the newest multi-plex fare and zero interest in anything going on theatrically, Kurt and Andrew got together over a couple of virtual beers and looked at Agora once again with new vigor. There were also some recent DVD screenings to discuss including Kurt’s swan dive into season one of another popular TV show, “Breaking Bad”, and Andrew’s slight reassessment of Rian Johnson’s Brick. And finally(!) the store shelves are seeing a nice selection of newly released movies on video this week including a healthy dose of Blu-ray re-releases which provide enough fodder for a longer than normal walkabout through the weekly DVD picks. All these things and a few nuggets more – hopefully you’re into the whole brevity thing as we are able to keep it under an hour and a half.

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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“The Greatest” Trailer

Immediately after arriving at home from seeing An Education a few months back, I declared that Carey Mulligan was going to one day be a big big star – of likely Julia Roberts caliber. Not exactly going out on a limb there, but still.

Then a pair of films receive buzz at Sundance. Then an Oscar nod and in the top 5 best dressed at the Kodak that night. This is the beginning of the beginning folks.

The other film at Sundance, not nominated for a best picture Oscar, was The Greatest, co-starring Pierce Brosnan and Susan Sarandon. Yesterday a trailer for the film hits the Tubes of You and was suddenly removed. Thanks to the gnarly kids over at Trailer Addict, we’re still able to check out the clip.

The film concerns a pregnant young girl whose boyfriend dies in a car crash, and the uneasy relationship she forges with his parents. Overly melodramatic at least, vomit-inducing at worst, I fear the movie could be rather eye-rolling. Still, Mulligan looks good here and for now, she’s got my money.


Quick Thoughts: Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Percy JacksonI don’t doubt that Rick Riordan’s series is a fabulous read. Full of Greek mythology and more than a little action, it makes for a fast paced tale of adventure but how that translates onto the big screen isn’t exactly great. I’m sure one of the reasons Fox brought director Chris Columbus on board to direct the first film in the series may have something to do with his success in kicking off the Harry Potter franchise. What they failed to take into account is the fact that Harry Potter already had a rabid fanbase where as Percy Jackson…let’s just say he’s no pre-pubescent magician.

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief has a whole lot going for it. The story of demigods living amongst humans in the modern world certainly offers many an opportunity for story telling. In this particular world, Zeus has forbidden the gods from communicating with their mortal children in fear that they will overlook their Godly duties but when Zeus’ lightning bolt is stolen, Zeus gets angry (and a little irrational). He knows his brother Poseidon didn’t steal it but he thinks Poseidon’s son Percy may have and so an ultimatum is set: return the bolt in two weeks or face war. Typical God stuff wouldn’t you say? It also brings this whole Gods not interacting with their half human kids into question.

Here’s where the story really kicks off (as much as it ever does). As everyone searches for the bolt (who wouldn’t want to rule Olympus?) Percy comes to know his true origin, is taken into a camp for special kids (other demigods like himself), gathers a few troops and heads off to rescue his mother who has been kidnapped by Hades, the ruler of the underworld, a dude who also happens to be his uncle. Basically, there’s a whole lot going on including some digging through Greek mythology. To the film’s credit (likely due to screen writer Craig Titley who adapted Riordan’s book) the convoluted associations between characters and the mythology associated with them is peppered throughout the film quite well. The only problem is that with all of the supernatural stuff flying around, the film still manages to be pretty dull.

The action is yawn inducing, the effects good in places and laughably bad in others, the comedy occasionally works and falls flat in other places – it’s a bit of an uneven mess, one that’s heightened by the appearance of some amazingly talented actors. Makes you wonder what they were thinking when they agreed to some of these roles. From Kevin McKidd as Poseidon to Catherine Keener as Percy’s mother, there are a spattering of appearances from some heavyweights including Pierce Brosnan, Sean Bean, Melina Kanakaredes, Joe Pantoliano and Uma Thurman. When one appears, you can’t help but groan – yes, it’s that bad (with the exception of Sean Bean as Zeus who is just…well, awesome). As for the leads, Logan Lerman as Percy has a promising career ahead of him; he may not be great but neither is the material and he does show promise (along with a fair amount of screen presence) while Alexandra Daddario’s pretty face is likely to turn up again, hopefully in another role where girls kick ass.

Percy Jackson is a disappointment considering the amount of money thrown at it and the calibre of talent involved. It’s a bit of a slog at nearly two hours but you know what? It’s worth every penny for the awesomeness of seeing Hades and Persephone duke it out. Steve Coogan and Rosario Dawson are easily the highlight of the film and they steal the show in their short interlude. Someone should really think to cast them in The Life and Times of Hades and Persephone because they’re genius together. And seriously, is it even legal to look this amazing? And I’m not talking about Coogan.

Steve Coogan and Rosario Dawson in Percy Jackson

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer trailer

“You Cheeky Fuck!” Is spat out by Pierce Bronson in Roman Polanski’s latest film, The Ghost Writer, which is rumbling forward in post production to meet its Berlinale premiere despite Polanski’s recent arrest and detainment in Switzerland. From the look (and sound) of things, The Ghost Writer may have the over-the-top bombast of one of Polanski’s recent underrated gems, The Ninth Gate. Either that or the trailer folks have not the slightest clue what they are doing. A varied cast joining the foul-mouth former 007 includes Kim Cattrall, Ewan McGregor, Tom Wilkinson, Olivia Williams, Timothy Hutton and Eli Wallach. The Ghost Writer may or may not benefit from the recent (if that is the right word) controversy surrounding Polanski but the trailer (tucked under the seat) is not one that is going to win too many awards.

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First Trailer for Pattinson Romance Remember Me

RememberMeMovieStillSome credit needs to be given to the folks at Summit fore releasing this at the peak of Robsession. As the New Moon crew runs through the promotional ringer and RPattz and KStew are everywhere, they release the first full length trailer for Robert Pattinson’s newest film Remember Me.

Directed by TV regular and first time feature film director Allen Coulter, the film stars Pattinson and Emilie de Ravin (of Brink and “Lost” fame) as a young couple trying to keep their budding relationship strong amidst various family problems. The film also stars Chris Cooper (as Ravin’s over protective cop father) and Pierce Brosnan (as Pattinson’s uncaring father).

I haven’t been tracking the production that closely but am impressed that the studio managed to pump out a trailer so soon (the film isn’t scheduled to open until March 12, 2010) but what’s most impressive is that it actually looks promising. I’m not sure how well I guy Pattinson’s accent (I had a slight problem with it in the past) but the trailer suggests a promising drama. And no, not just because of the fangirls.

Trailer tucked under the seat.

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DeVito to Direct Ronan, Brosnan and Freeman

Saoirse RonanIt’s been a decade since Danny DeVito directed his last film for children. Matilda had a charming lead in Mara Wilson (a child actress whose career seems to have dried up) but the film wasn’t particularly good or memorable. DeVito seems to have improved over the last few years and it looks like he’s figured the time is at hand to return to children’s fare; this time hitting up tween market.

DeVito has adapted and signed on to direct Charlotte Doyle, based on a Newbery Honor book written by acclaimed American author Edward Irving Wortis (also known by his pen name of Avi). The novel is about Charlotte, a thirteen year old girl who makes a trans-Atlantic crossing from England to America in the 1832 and finds herself caught between a charismatic but ruthless captain and a mutinous crew. The project has attracted Oscar nominated Saoirse Ronan to the title role (this girl’s on fire! She has Death Defying Acts and the great looking City of Ember coming out this year), Pierce Brosnan as the captain and Morgan Freeman as the ship’s cook.

I’m not quite sure what to make of this. On the one hand, it’s a great cast but I’m not sure a film set on a ship in the 1830’s is going to manage enough material for a film. I haven’t read the novel so I could be way off but at the moment, I don’t see it. To make matters worse, I’m also not sure this is what tweens want to watch. Heck, “it” girl of the moment Abigail Breslin couldn’t sell a movie set in the 30’s how do these guys expect to sell this one set on a ship among a group of men? This may be dead before it even hits the water.