Cinecast Episode 439 – Reality is Highly Overrated

And we’re back! After some jam packed scheduling issues, feverish festivals, sleep deprivation and in-town guests, The Cinecast rises once again. Kurt has a full report on a very successful HotDocs outing and the boys take a special amount of time on our friend, Jay Cheel’s film, How to Build a Time Machine. While Kurt stumbled through Toronto’s documentary scene, Andrew was able to catch up with a bunch of late release festival fare just now hitting theaters in his neck of the woods. These include Jeremy Saulnier’s
Green Room, Tom Hiddleston in the visually striking, High-Rise and one of Kurt’s favorite films of last year, the most excellent Louder than Bombs.

We’re nixing the Game of Thrones talk this season due to scheduling and logistic issues, but that just allows a little more talk about what’s on the “big screen”. Andrew talks Patrick Wilson driving a limo that nearly gets cut in half, the production problems in a female-driven western, Kevin Bacon’s mustache, a documentary on Chris Farley and his very first viewing of a Frank Sinatra film (which was excellent!).

It’s a tight show proving once again the boys can take a couple/three weeks off and have no problem jumping right back into the proverbial saddle. 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…?

Friday One Sheet: High-Rise and the Skinny Poster

Say what you will about the end product (and I did, here), but the marketing campaign for Ben Wheatley’s adaptation for J.G. Ballard’s 1970s novel High-Rise has been exceptionally well done. Every poster thus far has been exceptional, and the trailers (the latest of which is tucked under the seat) have been good too.

Here, we see the return of the ‘skinny poster,’ the long, narrow format which was quite popular in the Golden Age of Hollywood from the 1930s until the 1950s. While High-Rise is more ultra-modern punk in its aesthetic, but the skinny format emphasizes height, and the fall. Overall, I’ve really liked the sparse posters, and teaser style trailers. The films pitch-black humour is indeed there front and center in the tagline right above the falling man.

Would you like to know more…?

Trailer: High Rise

Here is a trailer that promises so much, teases a little, and generally is snappier that the film itself. Ben Wheatley’s High Rise adapts J.G. Ballard’s disturbing science fiction novel into a disturbing film. And yet, here, the trailer, which doubles as a video brochure advertisement of the eponymous building itself, wants to soothe you in, while hinting at the nastiness to come. Tom Hiddleston, Elizabeth Moss, Jeremy Irons (glimpsed here as the Architect) and Luke Evans star, but really, it is the building more than anything that is the centerpiece of the film, and the trailer-makers here know it all too well.

My TIFF 2015 review of the film is here.

TIFF 2015 Review: High-Rise

In an audience empathy test, killing the dog is perhaps the most capital of movie-crimes. Here is gleefully committed in the opening minutes, as a bellwether for the casually curious to beware. Several other canine-murders are peppered throughout the film, each more grim than the last, lest you miss the point. Subtlety of course is not aim here, the films central and titular edifice is a super-sized, dangerously insular apartment building where the floors at the top are bent both figuratively, and literally. Society in microcosm.

And we arrive at the point where the long juggled adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s 1975 novel, High Rise, makes it to the screen. At one point director Nicolas Roeg was scheduled to make it, at another Vincenzo Natali was attached. Ben Wheatley (and his writing partner, Amy Jump) deliver a retro-futurist grotesquerie of hate and suffering. A cinematic endurance test as it were. Wheatley has never been one to let a lot of empathy get in the way of his comically brutal style of filmmaking, and he has managed squeezed every last drop of it out of it, here. This is triple distilled satire, to be served cold with a garnish of mania.

Tom Hiddleston, here a lean but blank slate, plays Dr. Robert Laing. A successful neurosurgeon recently recovering from an vaguely alluded to family tragedy, he is looking for both anonymity as well as a way to move up the socioeconomic ladder. This disturbingly massive condo tower is built on the edge of nowhere. Seagulls cry desperately on the soundtrack, often, but are never seen. We see only their shit dropping from the sky onto the endless field of 1970s automobiles and parking-lot skirting the building. It is a recognizable kind of addled future-version of Britain along the lines of Brazil, only with far more smoking, and sideburns (courtesy of an unrecognizable Luke Evans). Wheatley has set the film at about the same time as the publication Ballard’s novel. An interesting choice, because the promise of future looks stale, ugly and dank.

Being the first of many such buildings under construction, which we see in wide, slightly dodgy CGI inserts, early adopters of various social strata get to participate in the process of working out the bugs. Of which their are many, including wonky elevators, thermostats and the occasional brown out. The architect of the project, Mr. Royal (wobbly played by Jeremy Irons), resides in a verdant, almost medieval idyll at the top with his crazy wife who holds Marie Antoinette by way of Gatsby parties for the residents of the upper floors. His vision for the project is “a crucible for change.”

And that it is.
Or something.

Would you like to know more…?

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…?

Trailer: Only Lovers Left Alive

Only Lovers Left Alive

Jim Jarmusch is at his most Jarmuschian as he envisions immortal vampires who have seen it all, traversing around urban centres of the world before settling in old Detroit, as gothic a place as one might find in America in 2013. Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston listen to rock and roll, talk science, art and cuddle in the dark before a spunky Mia Wasikowska comes along to break up the oh-so-romantic ennui. I believe it is fair to say that the trailer here captures the tone of the film pretty well, right down to the spinning record, and the jet-setting. One of the strengths about this particular take on the vampire is that it is not in any hurry to get anywhere, and that is just fine. The greek subtitles on this international trailer for the film only add to its own sense of the cosmopolitan decay.

My review of the film can be found here.

TIFF 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…?