Trailer: Bong Joon-Ho’s Okja

To rave reviews (and this trailer is not afraid to splash a lot of them on screen) at Cannes, Bong Joon-Ho’s Okja is currently enjoying a very successful release in South Korea. It will play Netflix world-wide on June 28th. The first teaser, along with Tilda Swinton’s viral-style teaser, was to guarantee mandatory viewing spot for this year. To those who really want to get a look at the ‘super-pig’ at the heart (emphasize on heart) of the story, this trailer offers that in spades. It also features a curiously sweet cover of Nine Inch Nails “Something I Can Never Have,” which I like a lot more than the usual, ‘slow choir cover’ of an angsty pop song. The trailer also features a lot more Paul Dano, but mainly the focus remains on An Seo Hyun and her creature. Fun fact, to those who watch all the credits here, British Author, Jon Ronson (“So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed”) who writes about empathy in an sharp and accessible way, is also the co-writer of the screenplay.

Cinecast Episode 484 – It’s Unfunny ‘Cause It’s True

The reviews for Baywatch were simply too toxic for even Andrew to stomach, and so it was a stay at home and check out the latest offerings from Netflix kind of week. Luckily Brad Pitt and Tilda Swinton step in to hopefully offer up something militarily wondrous over the Memorial Holiday weekend with War Machine. But does the material match up to the cast/performances? Also, while The Bad Batch does not hit theaters for a month or so, we managed to get into a sneak peek screening and so have a decent discussion on Ana Lily Amirpour’s sophomore effort. It’s one of those films (with empirical evidence provided herein) that requires a second watch to truly appreciate. The Watch List has a documentary double-dose, a 90s Oscar contender, home invasion meets slasher flick, the capture of Osama Bin Laden and we close it all off with some joyful misogyny courtesy of India.

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

We’re now available on Google Play!

 

 
 

Would you like to know more…?

An advert inside of Bong Joon-Ho’s latest film, OKJA, asks, “What do unhappy pigs dream about?”

Netflix is releasing Korean master Bong Joon-Ho’s latest science fiction picture, Okja, with Jake Gyllenhaal and Tilda Swinton, and their unorthodox advertisement takes a page out of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, by presenting a bit of corporate marketing to stand in for a teaser trailer. Watch Tilda Swinton in a white wig try to enhance your calm with the technological wonders of her large, benevolent, pharmaceutical company.

Would you like to know more about super-pigs? Well, here you go.

Teaser: Bong Joon-Ho’s Okja

It is the Korean auteur’s second collaboration with Tilda Swinton (after Snowpiercer) and his second creature feature (following 2005s The Host.) Netflix has ponied up some large cash for, Okja, a science-fiction animal-cloning story that, judging by this Netflix-Korea teaser, is a mixture of English and Korean language. Other than that, it gives you the tone of the piece, as a good teaser-trailer should.

Ahn Seo-Hyun, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Shirley Henderson, Giancarlo Esposito, and Lily Collins also have major roles. The film pops up on Netflix in June.

Review: A Bigger Splash

We all, at one point or another, would love the luxury of escaping; from our personal problems, our physical woes, our responsibilities, our history, or our future. The wealthy elite have this ability, at least in theory. They flit off to their villas and cabins, their homes away from home, where they might recuperate at their leisure. Such is the case in A Bigger Splash. The troubled celebrities of our story find themselves in hiding, yet incapable of escaping their past woes, or those of the world. Despite their best efforts, no one, no matter their wealth, can escape reality.

Luca Guadagnino’s I Am Love follow-up, A Bigger Splash, showcases this escapism while touching on complex issues such as gender performativity, sexuality, and international conflict with subtle, understated grace and simultaneous volatility. It’s a slow burn, the kind of film that improves on each viewing, and reveals new depths the longer it stews in the foreground of your mind.

Splash focuses on aging rock star Marianne Lane (Tilda Swinton). A gender-swapped David Bowie, she’s in recovery-induced hiding with her lover and companion of six years, documentary filmmaker Paul de Smedt (Matthias Schoenaerts). She recently had vocal chord surgery to help regain her failing voice. The result is that she cannot speak, both out of physician-mandated recovery instructions, and an actual inability to produce sound.

Enter Harry Hawkes (Ralph Fiennes), Marianne’s ex and a major music producer, and his newly discovered nubile daughter, Penelope Lanier (Dakota Johnson). The two impose themselves on Paul and Marianne’s recovery away from the world, while Harry plays on Marianne’s impetuous nature, urging her to sing and live hard despite her limitations. The result is an explosive clash that thrusts all manner of normalcy into a surreal atmosphere of loss.

A Bigger Splash is an erotic drama, a thriller of sorts that uses its intricate character study to fuel its intrigue. We are pulled in by the sexual escapades of our leads, as opening scenes set the tone with nude sunbathing, and silent pool-side orgasms. As Harry and Penelope arrive, the silence is broken, predominantly by Harry, who can’t seem to keep his mouth shut. The majority of the film’s dialogue is left to the men, who speak on behalf of Marianne, the mute, domesticated rock star, and Penelope, the nubile sexpot whose power is in her eyes and her hips.

But this representation of gender is conscious, depicting an exhilaratingly problematic depiction of contemporary gender roles and performativity. We are given two women left to portray the entire spectrum of female presence in society; Marianne, the ageing rock star with no voice or conceivable role in society other than to be adored, and Penelope, the youthful beauty who must use her body to get ahead, and has no concept of consequence. Her millennial approach to life seeps into the lives of her father, and his friends, poisoning things from the outside with a subtle glance and a grin. Would you like to know more…?

Trailer: Hail, Caesar!

The Coen Brothers’ latest film looks to be capitalizing on what they do so effortlessly: Wacky and convoluted kidnapping comedy. Set in the 1950s, in Hollywood movie studio, Capitol Pictures, where a super expensive sword and sandals picture is underway. Their main contracted star, Baird Whitlock, played by George Clooney, is flubbing his lines and wasting a lot of pricey resources (and apparently, there also a sailor musical with Channing Tatum called “Merrily, We Dance” shooting next door.) The would-be blockbuster is in trouble, and that is before Whitlock is kidnapped by a mysterious group known as “The Future.” Even if there is nothing more to that name than simply a set up for a phone-message gag, shown here in the trailer, that’d be fine, because it’s that good.

Taking place a fair bit on Studio backlots with all the hustle and bustle and politics, it will come as no surprise that the cast, is ridiculously stacked. Scarlett Johansson is back in a Coen Brother’s film (after only the tiniest of roles in The Man Who Wasn’t There), as is Tilda Swinton (Burn After Reading) and Fred Melamed (who was a scene stealer in A Serious Man.) Frances McDormand is a given, but here they’ve made her the editor, in the picture. New faces for the directors include Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill and Josh Brolin, the latter playing the studio boss. But if you keep going down the cast, you’ll see Clancy Brown, Christopher Lambert, Robert Picardo, Fisher Stevens, John Carpenter regular Peter Jason has a small role, and then there is Dolph Lundgren. (Hopefully he gets in a bar fight with Tatum.) With Roger Deakins behind the camera and Carter Burwell doing the music, well now, you’ve got yourselves a picture, don’t you. Cut and Print.

Finite Focus: Tomatina

If you have seen today’s “Google Doodle,” or read this VOX story, you will know that today is the 70th Anniversary of La Tomatina. The strange Spanish festival in which as many as 50000 people have a tomato fight and soak in the acidic juices until the authorities fire-hose the lot clean.

In Lynne Ramsay’s magnificent 2011 film, We Need To Talk About Kevin, Tilda Swinton plays a mother who is resentful of both her having a child and her own upper-middle class domestication. She remembers her experience in Buñol, packed between young writhing bodies kicking around and basking in red juices. In another part of the film, Ramsay also uses Swinton framed in a grocery store by a wall of canned (tamed) tomatoes as the prison that mid-life has become.

The flashback sequence was shot during the 2010 Tomatino festival with Swinton in the middle, gloriously wide-screen and slow motion. The scene ends with Swinton’s mother waking up and leaving her house to find it (and her car) splashed in red paint by her fellow citizens, as her son, possibly stewed in the resentment and frustration of the mother, has grown up to become a neurotic sociopath responsible for murdering his fellow students in a school shooting – which of course is young people splashed in a different kind of red. Nature, meet nurture. Symbolism meet irony.

Cinecast Episode 359 – Downtown China

 
Not sure even where to start with the monologue this week. Let’s see, there’s The Bay-Man’s fourth installment in the giant robots fiasco; which inexplicably is really easy to get worked up about. It’s not really worthy of hate, nothing to love, yet so easy to rant about. There’s a “sick, twisted desire” to torture ourselves over this movie – plus always an opportunity to delve into Andrew’s sordid history with the franchise.

Before all of this is Bong Joon-Ho’s English language debut with Snowpiercer and it’s overly satirical view of our apocalyptic, dystopian future on a crazy train. And Chris Evans is there. And protein bars made of shitty CGI.

The 1984 project continues with Val Kilmer’s first starring role in Top Secret!. He sings, dances, talks backwards, bar fights underwater and delivers punchlines that will be stolen by countless films for the next thirty years.

The Watch List sees Kurt wrapping up Breaking Bad, Andrew living in Tiny Houses, and Matt enjoying Disney’s Amblin knock-off currently playing in theaters. It’s a 150 minute power rant. LATRINE!

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


 
 

 
 

Would you like to know more…?

Terry Gilliam’s “The Zero Theorem” Trailer

zerotheorem-header

I’m never sure quite what to make of Terry Gilliam; what’s going on in his head and quite often what he chooses to display on screen. In the world of art, this is a good thing. With The Zero Theorem already having played a number of festival and screenings, there seems to be no light at the end of this surrealistic tunnel for the hopes of a theatrical release States-side.

And just to tease that notion a little bit more, a foreign trailer has dropped and I have to say it looks quite imaginative in only the way Gilliam can dream. It’s got all of his signature, Brazil-like set designs and canted angles. It also boasts quite the impressive cast; including a shorn Christoph Waltz, Mélanie Thierry, Matt Damon, Ben Whishaw, Tilda Swinton and thank the heavens someone has cast David Thewlis!

With the French subtitles, I feel a little bit like I am watching a trailer for a Jean-Pierre Jeunet picture (which again is a good thing), but check it out and see what you think. If we can ever get any kind of release over here, I will be one of the first in line.

A very Magnificent Red Band Trailer for Snowpiercer

Snowpiercer, Bong Joon-Ho’s post-apocalyptic ‘society on a train’ action movie based on the French Graphic Novel (“Transperceneige”) has been released in pretty much every market except for USA/Canada at this point. There is even a uber-complete Blu-Ray in France if you have 40 Euros to spare. It is getting a proper (un-cut, original South Korean version) release at the end of June here in North America, and the powers that be have made, by far the most elegant, accurate and enticing trailer for the film that I’ve seen in any language or territory.

This is how you market a high-concept film folks, offer the big images, but do so in a clear, concise and well articulated fashion. And it certainly helps to have Tilda Swinton doing the talking. (“Precisely 74% of you shall die.”)

Review: Only Lovers Left Alive

OnlyLoversLeftAlive

Detroit is the new Transylvania in Jim Jarmusch’s delightfully detached vampire reverie, Only Lovers Left Alive. The film manages to significantly build upon and outdo Neil Jordan’s recent Byzantium in terms of clawing back the genre from its more recent sparkly teen-focus. The mature tone is pregnant with the kind of disaffected slow gaze that would probably result from a century or three on this imperfect earth with its revolving social cycles. It achieves a modern-Gothic romanticism better than pop culture’s own aging vampire-queen Anne Rice ever managed in novel form or when adapted to celluloid It evokes the people exodus and urban decay of Motor City in such a transcendent fashion that it nearly renders Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s Detropia redundant. Undoubtedly, this is the white-haired director firing on all cylinders even as he is not in much of a hurry drive any sort of plot. The patience in pacing echo the lifestyles of the quasi-immortals caught up in music, art and ennui.

At first glance, some might label the movie slight due to its complete lack of concern for plotting, but any film which allows the viewer to breathe in so deeply, to revel in its dark spaces and eclectic moods is anything but. Only Lovers Left Alive is akin to listening to an exceptionally good album from end to end. The film even visually suggest this in the opening shot of the camera spinning and fading into vinyl spinning on its turntable. Jarmusch’s own band, Sqürl provides a droning, but warm and fuzzy, score that is wonderful thing in which to get lost in itself.

Would you like to know more…?