Review: Good Time


“Don’t be confused, it is just going to make it worse for me.”

This might be the line that best sums up Good Time, a high stress ultra-stylized sprint through the nether regions and institutions of New York City at night. The picture is shot in gloriously frenetic close-ups imbued with a unique pulse. A rhythm that builds its own kind of character-based mood. Kaleidoscopic colours, and film grain rendered via capture on analogue stock, hold up magnificently even when projected digitally. But sit close to the screen at your own risk.

With the exception of the opening and closing scenes, and a brief breather when two characters sit down on the couch and watch a few minutes of COPS on television, things are brilliantly dense in the handling of urgent and fucked up situations. There are layers upon layers (physically echoed in the wardrobe of the lead character) of things happening at any given moment in the frame. And these are happening at speed. Characters talk (and shout) over top of one another, and yet the exquisite sound design and superbly executed camera work never leave the audience behind.

The soul of the picture is the knotty relationship between two brothers. Constantine ‘Connie’ Nikas is wholly inhabited by Robert Pattinson; a performance brimming with surprises. Pattinson’s recent run of work has demonstrated many talents that have been set free after the actor was freed from the mopey shackles of the Twilight franchise.

Connie is a gifted and clever criminal, at in an improvisational sense, at the street level. With his bipolar girlfriend (a terrifyingly wonderful Jennifer Jason Leigh) or his special needs brother, he finds himself surrounded by people who simply cannot keep up with his penchant for being in the moment. His brother Nick is somewhere on the spectrum, mostly deaf, and clearly requires an empathy and structured environment that Connie in incapable of ever providing.

Nick, played wonderfully by Ben Safdie, one of the two directors, is introduced in extreme close-up (naturally) in the quiet opening minutes of the film. He is in the office of a social worker who is trying to provide said empathy and structure at the request of his grandmother, who has had it with her grandsons petty criminal activities.

Minutes into the assessment he is forcibly dragged from the corner office by Connie to participate in an ill advised bank robbery to finance a trip and possibly a life out of poverty in Queens. At this point Daniel Lopatin’s (Oneohtrix Point Never) propulsive score kicks in and the chaotic energy of the film really never lets up.

Good Time is the ultimate pop-arthouse show-don’t-tell drama cum thrill ride. Fifty years ago, nobody would be able to follow a movie with so much going on at the same time. Our media processing sensibilities have arrived to this moment when the Safdie Brothers are wrestling editing and film-grammar to the ground – building upon moments from their previous picture, Heaven Knows What). They do so for our viewing pleasure without ever leaving our hearts or minds behind.

Using a combination of actors and real cops, prison guards and even gangsters, Good Time ratchets up the stress over (more or less) an all night odyssey of bad choices. In the tradition of After Hours (or Tchoupitoulas or Night On Earth) the bulk of film takes place over a short span of time, where anything can and will happen. Indeed when you put Jennifer Jason Leigh and Pattinson in a scene sparks o’ crazy fly off the screen. There is a scene in a bail bond office that is destined to be studied for years for its sheer chutzpah and craft.

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Trailer: Map To The Stars


After watching this trailer, I’m still not sure entirely what the latest David Cronenberg film is actually about, but it has Julianne Moore trying to recapture her youth, and an ambitious Mia Wasikowska with burn scar-tissue on her face. In orbit these two are John Cusack, Olivia Williams, Carrie Fisher, Sarah Gadon and Robert Pattinson. Map To The Stars is described as “A tour into the heart of a Hollywood family chasing celebrity, one another and the relentless ghosts of their pasts.” I’m liking Cronenberg in dry/hysterics comedy mode, and that it polarized the Cannes audience last May is only a positive in my book. Check it out below.

Review: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2

Breaking Dawn Part 2 Poster

Director: Bill Condon (Dreamgirls, Kinsey, Gods and Monsters)
Screenplay: Melissa Rosenberg, Stephenie Meyer (novel)
Producers: Wyck Godfrey, Stephenie Meyer, Karen Rosenfelt
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Ashley Greene, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Billy Burke, Mackenzie Foy, Michael Sheen
MPAA Rating: PG13
Running time: 115 min.

Four books, five movies and millions of fans and dissenters later, the phenomenon that started as a dream has come to an end. Ups, downs, indifference; it’s been a hell of a ride and one that has changed the landscape of Hollywood and fandom, at least temporarily. I can only imagine the level of pressure on director Bill Condon. Not only responsible with completing a franchise, he was essentially tasked with wrapping an entire movement and as suggested by Breaking Dawn Part 1 (review), he was not only up to the challenge but moving in the right direction. So what of the conclusion? Is Bella’s ascension to vampirism successful and her eternal romance with Edward last? Obviously the answer to that is yes but the delivery is better than this fan could have hoped for.

Breading Dawn Part 2 Movie StillThe problem with Stephenie Meyer’s final novel is that it encompassed too many events. Everything seems to happen in “Breaking Dawn:” Bella and Edward get married, they have a baby, Bella dies and reawakens as a vampire to find that her daughter is a half-breed who is growing at an alarming rate and if that’s not bad enough, the Volturi, the Italians who keep tabs on the vampire world, come knocking when they think that the Cullens have broken one of their laws by creating an immortal child. The entire thing culminates into a battlefield showdown for a battle that never comes. Or doesn’t it?

With the exception of Eclipse (review), by far the most action heavy of the stories, the action sequences in the Twilight franchise have seemed like a stretch, a requirement of the studio to attract the all important 18-34 male demographic but Condon is the only filmmaker to incorporate the fight sequence, a fantastic sequence at that, into the story without missing a beat. It doesn’t feel forced or squeezed in but it’s likely to give more than one fan a minor heart palpitation with its opening, not to mention a collective sigh of relief when its over. Aro (the great Michael Sheen really playing up the maniacal) and his brothers have more than just “protecting the race” on their minds and when the battle lines are drawn, it gets violent and ugly while remaining free of blood.

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Review: Cosmopolis

Cosmopolis Movie Poster

Director: David Cronenberg (The Fly, Videodrome, A History of Violence)
Screenplay: David Cronenberg
Producers: Paulo Branco, Martin Katz
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Samantha Morton, Paul Giamatti, Kevin Durand, Juliette Binoche, Jay Baruchel
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 108 min.

Director David Cronenberg used be all about creeping us out while making us think. With the likes of The Fly, Scanners, The Brood, Dead Ringers and my personal favourite Videodrome, he delivered some of the most memorably creepy imagery in film history within what somehow still managed to be intelligent and thought-provoking experiences.

As of late, however, Cronenberg’s tact has changed to a more grounded approach with often shocking moments of violence thrown in for good measure (see A History of Violence and Eastern Promises). His last film A Dangerous Method, a disappointingly subdued and frankly tame experience, certainly wasn’t a return to the earlier style and going by his latest, Cosmopolis, he doesn’t seem be much interested in that anymore.

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Vintage Cronenberg is back with Cosmopolis Teaser

After detouring into period setting and psychoanalysis with A Dangerous Method, the more aggressive, violent and contemporary David Cronenberg is back: Hand shootings, eye stabbings, monsters running amok downtown. This looks like the most aggressive and genre-ish work the filmmaker has made in years. I am reading the Enter The Void stylings of the titles in this trailer as a good sign. And yes, Robert Pattinson looks great here.

Samantha Morton, Paul Giamatti, Matthieu Amalric, Juliette Binoche, Kevin Durand and Jay Baruchel round out an impressive supporting cast. Cosmopolis is based on Don DeLillo’s novel of the same name:

Eric Packer, a 28 year old multi-billionaire asset manager, makes an odyssey across midtown Manhattan in order to get a haircut. Covering roughly one day of time and includes highly sexed women and the theme of father-son separation. Packer’s voyage is obstructed by various traffic jams caused by a presidential visit to the city, a funeral procession for a Sufi rap star and a full-fledged riot. Along the way, the hero has several chance meetings with his wife, seeing her in a taxi, a bookstore, and lying naked in the street, taking part in a movie as an extra. Meanwhile, Packer is stalked by two men, a comical “pastry assassin” and an unstable “credible threat”. Over the course of the day, Eric loses vast amounts of money for his clients by betting against the rise of the yen. Packer seems to relish being unburdened by the loss of so much money, even stopping to make sure he loses his wife’s fortune as well, to ensure his ruin is inevitable.

Review: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Eclipse Movie Poster

Director: David Slade (Hard Candy, 30 Days of Night)
Screenplay: Melissa Rosenberg, Stephenie Meyer (novel)
Producers: Wyck Godfrey, Greg Mooradian, Karen Rosenfelt
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Ashley Greene, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Bryce Dallas Howard, Billy Burke, Charlie Bewley, Xavier Samuel, Daniel Cudmore, Christopher Heyerdahl, Dakota Fanning, Cameron Bright, Noot Seer, Michael Sheen, Graham Greene, Tinsel Korey
MPAA Rating: PG13
Running time: 124 min.

Let’s speak frankly, shall we? The Twilight franchise is not now, nor will it ever be, the all encompassing beast that is Harry Potter. Regardless of how much money the studio throws into the marketing machine, it’s wasted time, effort and dollars because as proven by the previous two films and now with the third instalment The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, they’re never going to win everyone over. The reasons why are too many to argue (and mediocre films are only one of them) and quite frankly, they don’t matter. Author Stephenie Meyer’s stories were never going to appeal to everyone, the key demographic has always been the hopeless romantic (and even some of those take issue with the story) and the films based on those stories clearly haven’t won over a large chunk of the population so why bother trying? The fan base is large enough, and ever growing, that the nay sayers are drowned out, even if they yell as loud or louder than the supporters.

Eclipse Movie StillAs clear from my thoughts on the previous two films, I am a fan and as one, I came to love these characters long before there ever was a Twilight (review) film and the movies have been a sort of icing on the cake. Some bits of the icing have been sweeter than others but Eclipse is, for this fan at least, the sweetest. By this point in the story, Bella is back with Edward and happier than she’s ever been but Victoria, the rogue vampire who has been responsible for much, though not all, of Bella’s heartache, has a new plan of attack. She’s building an army and brining them to Forks in an effort to wipe out Bella in retribution for the loss of her own mate but to do so, she first needs to dispatch the pesky Cullens who have adopted Bella as one of their own.

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David Slade rocks my morning: Eclipse trailer is badass

Twilight Saga Eclipse PosterI was so caught up with work this morning that I completely forgot about the new The Twilight Saga: Eclipse trailer which was premiering on Oprah today. And then someone sent me a link and it threw the rest of my day into a tailspin.

One viewing later and I was convinced that David Slade was indeed the right guy for the job (as if my praising of the selection even before it was official wasn’t enough of a clue). Movie Moxie said it best: the first trailer was girl friendly focusing on the relationship and the love triangle, barely hinting at the darkness that lures in this story and there was little sight of the visuals I expected from Slade. Enter trailer two which is very much guy friendly, ditching most of the relationship drama and the colour to focus on the impending doom.

Is it awesome? Yes. Yes it is. I’m not convinced it will turn the tide and change the minds of everyone but it certainly drowns away any concerns fans may have had with recent news surrounding editing and re-shoots.

Those opening night tickets can’t go on sale soon enough.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse opens June 30th.

Trailer after the break.

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The drought is over. First trailer for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse!

Twilight Saga Eclipse PosterWhen, in April of 2009, rumours floated of David Slade possibly directing The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, I was excited. A fan of both the franchise and Slade, the prospect of seeing them meet was almost too much to bear. When the announcement came that Slade had indeed signed onto the project, I was trhilled (read: beside myself with excitement).

A few months later the central cast members returned to Vancouver (with the exception of Rachelle Lefevre whose character of Victoria is now being played by Bryce Dallas Howard) along with some new faces and filming began on the third installment of the franchise. The sets were much more guarded and though the fandom was present at every corner, we seemed to be seeing less and less of what was being shot and were it not for the fact that the story originates from a book, those who haven’t read it will be hardpressed to tell you what it’s about.

In an odd turn of events, Summit has decided to take a completely different approach to their marketing of Eclipse. By this point in the game with the New Moon release, we’d seen footage, treasers, a trailer and more images that we could shake a stick at (both official and unofficial) but for Eclipse, nothing. There’s one official picture kicking around which gives you very little and even the few leaked images which popped up a few weeks ago provided little indication as to what Slade’s version of the story would look like. Quite the feat considering the film is only three months away.

Yesterday, the studio released the first 10 seconds of the teaser, ten seconds that revealed nothing but threw the fandom intoa tizzy. Do you blame us? For a group which is so used to being drowned with material, this tease is a little painful. Thankfully, the studio has a little heart and the full trailer is now live, a mere 24 hours since our first glimpse. And that glimpse is interesting.

This looks nothing like a David Slade film – at least none of the David Slade films I’ve seen. It’s warm and sun bathed – not exactly what I had expected. Though there isn’t the over the top action crammed into this that there was into New Moon there was some hint at it (good thing too since this installment has more action than most of the others). It’s not what I expected by I do like it.

Let the snark fly!

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse opens to the universe on June 30th.

Trailer tucked under the seats!

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Cinecast Episode 144 – Feeling a bit “Rusty”

Episode 144:
Twilight is upon us! Thankfully our own expert on all things Twilight, Marina Antunes, drops by our virtual studio to offer her thoughts on the film as the guys in the row fell asleep or watched disaster flicks instead. And by popular demand, we also bring back time track listing (in the show notes below) so that you can skip over the stuff you don’t want and know right where to go to hear all about Team Edward vs. Team Jacob. We managed to catch some other stuff in theatrical release including 2012, Surrogates and the latest in the Oprah archive, Precious. Add to this our doomsday marathon, weekly DVD picks and some other bits of goodness, we hope you enjoy the show and be sure to drop us a line either by email or in the comments section below.

Thanks for listening!

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Review: The Twilight Saga: New Moon


Director: Chris Weitz (The Golden Compass, About a Boy, American Pie)
Screenplay: Melissa Rosenberg, Stephenie Meyer (novel)
Producer: Wyck Godfrey
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Ashley Greene, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, Edi Gathegi, Rachelle Lafevre, Billy Burke, Charlie Bewley, Jamie Campbell Bower, Daniel Cudmore, Christopher Heyerdahl, Dakota Fanning, Cameron Bright, Noot Seer, Michael Sheen, Graham Greene, Tinsel Korey
MPAA Rating: PG13
Running time: 130 min.

For months the anticipation has been building. After the success of Twilight (our review), it’s not too much of a surprise. The first film in the saga captured fans and non-fans alike and in a whirlwind year, everyone seems to have caught “Twilight Fever” in one way or another. Fans love to share their love and haters their hate but nothing will take down the building monsoon. From the beginning, The Twilight Saga: New Moon was fighting an uphill battle. The change of directors caused a wave of panic and anger amongst fans. There’s also the little fact that Edward, one of (if not the) franchise’s biggest draw, is missing from most of the source material. It couldn’t have been an easy decision for director Chris Weitz to come on board with so many obstacles laid out before him but the burning question is: did he succeed? Does the film live up to expectation? In a single word no, but not for lack of trying.

NewMoonMovieStillNew Moon picks up where Twilight left off. Bella and Edward are together and happy but it doesn’t last long. The story starts, in essence, on Bella’s birthday and while at the Cullen’s celebrating the event (an event Bella is not at all happy about), she cuts her finger, causing Jasper, one of Edward’s brothers, to come flying across the room in a blood frenzy. Edward, upset that he can’t keep Bella safe even from his family, leaves Forks throwing the young woman into a catatonic state from which she eventually breaks only out of pity for what it’s doing to her father. She finds solace in her friendship with Jacob and the two form a bond that borders on romance but never quite crosses the line. But all is not well as well as it seems on the surface for Victoria, one of the rogue vampires from the first film, is on the hunt for Bella. The closeness of threat has stirred a long dormant gene in some of the boys in Jacob’s tribe, including himself, turning them into wolves in order to protect their people. A number of events snowball into a final climax which has Bella traveling to Italy to save Edward from death at the hands of the Volturi, a coven which guards the laws that keep vampires secret from humans.

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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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