Trailer: War For The Planet of the Apes

War. What is it good for?

The rebooted Planet of the Apes series keeps on chugging, and keeps on empathizing with the Apes, while making the human villains more vile with each chapter. Here we have a genocidal Colonel played by Woody Harrelson with his military apparatus, juxtaposed against Ur-Ape, Caesar (Andy Serkis returning) taking in a human orphan. As always the motion capture animation of the Apes is astounding.

After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own quest to avenge his kind. As the journey finally brings them face to face, Caesar and the Colonel are pitted against each other in a battle that will determine the fate of both their species and the future of the planet.

Oh, and writers, please, let us all place a moratorium on “I didn’t start this , but I WILL finish it.” (blech.)

Sunday Video Essay: Prometheus Primer

With Alien: Covenant on the horizon, it is about time for a religious primer of the images and ideas considered in Prometheus. Here video blogger Eugene Baldovino looks at the various Egyptian, Christian, and Mayan images and stories that are incorporated into the basic storytelling DNA of Ridley Scott’s Alien Prequel. Since that prequel is on its way to becoming an entire prequel trilogy, and the second part has the very religious subtitle of Covenant, have a look. His theory at the end, feels more like Interstellar, than Alien (this video was recorded prior to Christopher Nolan’s film), but the journey leading there is pretty intriguing.

Trailer: Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol.2

A new Guardians of the Galaxy movie, means a new 1970s pop-rock collection of song, and that is led off here with Fleetwood Mac. All of showcased here, including a lot more of the effortlessly effective humour from James Gunn’s direction. Oh, and Kurt Russell. This particular corner of the Marvel universe is the only one I bother with, because it more than the rest of the studio’s franchise building efforts feel beholden to corporate sameness. Guardians of the Galaxy still feels like it has its own personality, and some directorial auteurism, propelling it along.

Trailer: Alien Covenant

Let the franchise pandering continue with the latest trailer for Prometheus Sequel, or just another Alien movie, Alien: Covenant. Clearly the trailer is highlighting a lot of classic tropes of the ever increasing franchise of xenomorph films, but the trailer does highlight an interesting dynamic across all these varied films, that of the community on the ship. The first Alien movie was blue-collar workers in space, and the second film was gung-ho marines, the third movie was uneasy inmates and the fourth one was, ahem, Firefly. Prometheus was an uneasy collection of corporate mercenaries, kind of 2nd and 3rd string of competence (hence all the dumb mistakes they make, which people relentless write off as ‘plot holes’ or ‘bad writing’.)

Covenant has the crew organized as romantic couples, settlers for a new world. Since sex and violence and inter-species rape has always been churning in this franchise, I’m actually quite curious to see how this plays out. But at the moment, yes, all the ‘give them what we think they want’ aspects of the Covenant marketing campaign have been putting up a lot of red flags.

Also, the Australian and New Zealand locations sure look sweet here.

Friday One Sheet: Wiener-Dog

Todd Solondz has been rather quiet in the past few years. Cinephiles in the 1990s immediately warmed to the tone of his awkward-by-design black comedy, Welcome To The Dollhouse, which featured a shy tween girl, Dawn Wiener (aka Wiener-Dog), getting into unpleasant situations. Now, 20 Years later, Solondz has made this sort-of sequel cum anthology film. Dawn Weiner (now played by Greta Gerwig, not Heather Matarazzo) is in one of the parts, but the film is not named after her. The wiener dog is quite literally present here, not just a nasty nick-name, and is the one element that binds the four stories together. The eponymous canine, or at least its hind quarters, are featured on the rather minimalist poster for the film,

The quite funny, and talent loaded trailer is also tucked under the seat, for the curious.

Would you like to know more…?

Trailer: Blade Runner

As the sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 cyberpunk-ennui par excellence, Blade Runner slowly trundles along towards being made, the 2K re-release (known as The Final Cut) of the original film is coming to select cinemas, I am aware of the BFI doing a special release nation-wide in the UK, as well as TIFF LIGHTBOX in Toronto in spring. A brand new trailer has been cut for this release, and it’s a master-class in evoking the images, the plot, the characters and the overall feel of the film in an very elegant package.

Take a break from whatever ever you are doing, click the video below, bump the resolution to 1080p and soak in the timeless magic of this amazing film.

Friday One Sheet: The Blade Runner is Still Running

In light of the strong rumour than Dennis Villeneuve is going to be the director of the long delayed sequel with a returning Harrison Ford, enjoy this handsome poster above. If we are going make another legitamite Blade Runner film (1998s Soldier doesn’t count), I cannot think of a better choice than the director of Enemy and Incendies to give it his best shot.

Here is hoping that he does NOT listen to Ridley’s whispers that Deckard is a Replicant.

Trailer: Jurassic Park 4

JurassicWorld

Lots of StarLord but no mix tape (and very little sense of humour), Jurassic World looks about as lazy as they come in terms of sequels. Colin Trevorrow’s (Safety Not Guaranteed) direction here, looks to be exactly what a studio wants: Extruded plastic product. Judging by this digitally-bright and quite colourful trailer, Jurassic World is Jurassic Park minus any sense of wonder. Only the franchise remains, trapped in amber and poked for cloning every few years.

Toronto After Dark 2014 Review: The Town That Dreaded Sundown

 

 

Easily the biggest surprise and possibly my overall favourite film of this year’s Toronto After Dark film festival was Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s (director of several American Horror Story episodes) take on the 1976 early slasher The Town That Dreaded Sundown. Though that little film from 1976 has its supporters and certainly has some choice moments, it seemed like an odd pick for a revisit. The original as directed by Charles B. Pierce (director and star of the head-shakingly bad Boggy Creek II – And The Legend Continues – best known for being one of MST3K’s victims) is an awkward melange of horror/docudrama/slapstick comedy that tries to tell the actual events of a masked serial killer who terrorized Texarkana in 1946. And yet…There were some well-realized moments of genuine horror and interesting filmmaking. For his first feature, Gomez-Rejon seems to have focused on those positive aspects and has built a compelling, moody, surprising and absolutely gorgeous film.

Of particular note is the way he composes his frames. More than once during the film, I found my eyes roaming about the square footage on screen, trying to pick up all the little details and contrasting different colour combinations. I’m sure I missed some clues lurking in the background, but the simple pleasure of being pulled into this lovingly created canvas and wanting to savour each little corner, shadow and object was more than enough. If that sounds like a bit of an overstatement, it’s partly due to having very few expectations regarding not only the story but the level of filmmaking. It’s not that I thought the movie was going to be bad (the trailer is quite handsome actually), but from its opening tracking shot that pans down from a Drive-In screen playing the original film (and which continued through the parking lot filled with many of the films primary characters) it was obvious that Gomez-Rejon had very strong stylistic ideas for the film – all of which actually help move the story forward and engage the audience.

Would you like to know more…?

Cinecast Episode 361 – We Smell Our Own

With Andrew turning traitor over to The Matinee this week, Kurt & Matt cobble together a much more ‘raw’ style of show. Opening with a bit of name calling on one of the Filmjunk boys, before moving on into The Planet of the Apes franchise with the latest Prequel/Sequel/Reboot chapter. The 1984 project is on hold this week, but no matter, lots of time is spent on the joy, craft and strategies of Marc Maron as The Watchlist focuses on the WTF podcast, his stand up special, Thinky Pain, and other things related to interviewing celebrities and working folks on tour. Matt has a sort spot for Jason Bateman’s directorial debut, Bad Words, and Kurt loses himself in the two big war films of 1970: M*A*S*H and Patton. There is more in this loose and casual episode, so have at it.

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: Dawn of The Planet of the Apes

There has been a fair number of teasers and trailers for the latest Planet of the Apes movie and here is the promised final one before the movie opens in July. With a focus on Zero Dark Thirty‘s Jason Clarke who is operating as a kind of peace-keeper and is working with the original genetically modified ape, Caesar, to try to prevent the inevitable war between humans and simians in a decaying San Francisco.

Big on spectacle and action, we all know what’s coming, and this trailer certainly makes the promise to deliver.