Clip from Rodrigo Cortes’ “Red Lights”

Thanks to Mack and the crew over at Twitch, we’ve got a new clip from the highly buzzed about film from Sundance, Red Lights. Now normally I don’t bother with clips as I like to go into films fresh.

But I made an exception in this case for two reasons. One, I know nothing about Rodrigo Cortes’ (Buried) second English language film, so this clip will help clue me in a little bit about what kind of vibe to expect. But two, I wanted to see Elizabeth Olsen in something other than just MMMM and see if she really has the chops for hanging with Hollywood elites (in this case Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy). I guess on that second front this clip doesn’t give much insight – though she appears to have more acting talent in one of her big, bright, shiny eyes than both of her twin sisters have put together. On the former however, I dig the cold, vaguely European style I get. Plus, without context, whatever they’re taking pictures of and looking for intrigues me.

Here’s the clip below. Once again, courtesy of Twitchfilm.

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.


2010 USA/Spain/Frane. Director: Rodrigo Cortés. Starring: Ryan Reynolds.

An extreme form of one-room film, with the whole thing set in a coffin buried somewhere underground. Ryan Reynolds carries the film admirably as an army contractor who gets taken hostage and buried alive with just a cell phone and a few other items, with the intention that he will get a sizeable ransom from the US government for his release. As we know, the US government doesn’t negotiate with terrorists, leaving Reynolds hoping that the dispatched search and rescue team will find him before his air runs out. The film ratchets up tension admirably, keeping the audience engaged through 95 minutes of basically nothing happening except a man talking on a phone. There are nitpicks to be made, and I do wish there had been some better explanation for why he didn’t try to dig out through the obviously loose and relatively shallow dirt above him, but for the most part, it’s pretty effective as a tight-space thriller.

Netflix Instant (USA)


1997 USA. Director: Andrew Niccol. Starring: Ethan Hawke, Jude Law, Uma Thurman.

While Gattaca did not fly quite as far under the radar as The Man from Earth or Dark City, I cannot help but feel that it remains incredibly underseen and underappreciated. It is generally regarded as a strong film, to be sure, yet I would argue that it is among the greatest sci-fi films ever made. Nimbly toeing the line between the bleak and hectic Blade Runner and the philosophically draining The Man from Earth, Niccol’s universe not only feels realistic – it feels possible … if not probable. The physical presentation of the world is bleak, yes, but it is also vibrant and alive, crafting a future that is advanced, but not so advanced so as to be a distraction. This, of course, ignores the tremendous turns of Ethan Hawke and Jude Law, whose relationship is organic and beautiful. Uma Thurman is undoubtedly the weak link in the chain, but that may be as much a product of her underutilization, if not a side effect of the brilliance of most everything else.

Netflix Instant (CANADA)

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Cinema of Trapped! The Tonal Differences between Buried and 127 Hours

Due to the proximity of the releases, I am sure that this is not the first article to compare and contrast two films that center around their protagonists being trapped for the majority of their films running time. Rodrigo Cortés’ Buried (Cinecast Discussion) features Ryan Reynolds waking up in a pine coffin with a cellphone, a torch and a pen. 127 Hours (Kurt’s Review) features James Franco trapped by a boulder pinning his hand at the bottom of a narrow ravine in a Utah National Park with a video camera, a bottle of water and a multitool. In both cases the directors decide to be clever with their camera work in order (I am assuming here) that the audience not be bored from lack of movement. With the use of ever more flexible camera equipment (and the ability to film both wide and in close up in tight spaces), there is a surprising amount of movement and energy for films in such limited environments. But this is where similarities end. the two lead performances, and the two overall theses of the films are strikingly different. Buried is a cynical political screed and 127 Hours is a self-deprecating yet uplifting story of triumph and revelation. Both films are ambitious in terms of delivering genre (survival) thrills and also being about something else; ultimately though 127 Hours is ultimately far more of a crowd-pleaser despite its explicit scenes of blood and viscera. More importantly, 127 hours succeeds because it builds a human character over the course of its running time, and lets that character breathe a bit outside of the ‘here and now’ trapped situation, whereas Buried is only the here-and-now, and despite Reynolds’ heroic efforts in the acting department, is left to be little more than a cipher for the writers politics.

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Buried = Vertigo

The movie might suck, the movie might be awesome. But one can’t argue with the fairly well conceived marketing campaign. The trailer is intriguing as hell and a couple of weeks ago a pretty subtle, but very effective motion poster was released.

Today I stumbled across this nice homage to Hitchcock’s Vertigo, in this newest poster from the latest Ryan Reynolds vehicle, Buried. Whether or not the movie has much in common with the former, it still a nice touch and is not only eye-catching, but also impressive with its depth and death it conveys. Simply from the posters alone, I’m getting kind of psyched up for this movie. For someone who is fairly claustrophobic, this picture might be a bit of a rough ride.

(click image for hi-res ride)

Buried will open in limited release on September 24, 2010 and will then go wide a couple weeks later on October 8. You can also keep up with future “Buried” updates via the movie’s official Facebook page. You can also keep up with them via the Tweeter thing or simply the old fashioned way; i.e. the official site.


Cool Motion Poster for “Buried”

Anything Tom Hanks can do, Ryan Reynolds can do better. While buried six feet under in a box with only a lighter. Buried is a one-man show of a movie in which Reynolds plays a civilian contractor in Iraq who after an attack on his convoy, finds himself waking up in a coffin with only a cell phone and a lighter.

After the teaser trailer was released some time back, I think a lot of us decided we’re secretly looking forward to this picture.

The trailer gives us a little bit of an idea of what to expect and this motion poster/ad doesn’t give us much more, but I sure like the general sense of claustrophobia, darkness and isolation the poster gives off.

Unfortunately the thing auto plays and there is some loud sound, so I’ve stuck it underneath the seats for your viewing pleasure. Maybe turn your speakers on before clicking Would you like to know more…?