Cinecast Episode 455 – The Reitman Side of the Line

Right from the outset we have to apologize for the sometimes dodgy sound problems. The actual quality of the sound is pretty good… when it’s there. Due to the unco___s of the north woods, some of our discussion ____ and go. Much like this week’s DePalma _____ film, you’ll _____ fill in some of the blanks on _____ own. Speaking of that, for our (nearly) final DePalma retrospective review, we hit up his most recent film from 2012 starring Noomi Rapace and Naomi Watts entitled simply, Passion. It encapsulates much of what DePalma does so well in a tight, 90-minute “not-so-erotic” thriller. Next up, we found that we have our very own film maker here in the third row. David Brook is editor on a UK based film that he’s been warning us for months would eventually come across our desks. And now that it’s finally here, we’re so happy that it did! Powerhouse performances alongside competent direction and story telling revitalize the faux-documentary sub genre. Have a listen. Lastly, as if there wasn’t enough talk of pedophilia in this show, Andrew tackles a couple films that deal with the issue in very different ways… and in extreme variances of success. Kurt has a couple of TIFF pre-screens that the embargo hammer keeps us from discussion too much, but it rounds out a pretty nice Watch List for this week. We’ll see you all again post-TIFF!

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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Toronto After Dark 2015 – A Preview

 

The 10th edition of the Toronto After Dark film festival kicks off later today and runs for a solid 9 days (Oct. 15-23). The fest seems to have settled into its niche – it doesn’t look to expand beyond its ~20 screenings per year and likely won’t compete for big World premieres, but year after year it puts together an interesting and eclectic lineup of solid genre fare. Granted, there are typically some odd choices and a rather insistent need to pick thematic pairings (I have to assume many people are getting slightly tired of the zombie double-bills every year – or is that just me?), but there’s little doubt that genre fans who don’t make the trip to Fantasia and Fantastic Fest are rabidly happy that TAD rolls in the numerous big genre titles of the year to the big screen here in Toronto. And many of us are also rabidly happy about the late night pub gatherings.

With the shift to the downtown Scotiabank location in recent years, the more anticipated screenings typically sell-out (several have already done that) so the fest has instituted some late night second screenings for the more popular titles. Consult the full lineup on the festival’s schedule page) which should include trailers for the films as well. Here’s a short run down of this year’s titles (with the proviso that I’ve not watched any trailers or read much about any of these films):

 

Thursday October 15th

 

Tales Of Halloween – Though my love for horror anthologies was challenged a few years ago when Trick R’ Treat was screened at After Dark (I seem to be in the minority in not liking that film though), I have higher hopes for this particular effort. The stories are shorter, the directors are more varied & interesting and there has already been some solid reviews of it. All the tales apparently take place on the same spooky evening, so we’ll see if they manage to do any crossover/merging of the stories or if they are all standalone. I’d love it if they could bring some of the feeling of the old Amicus anthologies from the 70s, but I think we’ll be in for a pretty rousing fest opener regardless.

The Hallow – To be honest, all I needed to see was that the film was from Ireland…Of late, there have been numerous really solid atmospheric horror films coming from that isle (or at least funded via their film fund) like Dorothy Mills, Citadel and the recent The Canal. Though there isn’t necessarily anything specifically in common between those films, there is an appreciation of atmosphere and a willingness not to rush to jump scares. Even though The Hallow is getting stuck with the “scariest film at the fest” moniker (which always sets expectations too high), I’m hopeful that it will tackle horror in my favourite way – the one that slowly envelops and squeezes the breath from you.

 

Friday October 16th

Synchronicity – Sci-fi can be a tricky bet at smaller festivals like this (especially when you hear them being compared to much larger budget and classic films like Blade Runner), but TAD has chosen a few good ones the last couple of years and with director Jacob Gentry’s track record of The Signal behind him, there’s at least some solid talent involved. Given the title and the knowledge that there are likely some time travel paradoxes involved, the film promises to be a head-scratcher in a good way. Also, Michael Ironside plays a baddie, so there’s always that.

Lazer Team – I’ll be honest…I have much less confidence that Lazer Team lives up to any of its billing. Goofy comedic sci-fi can be even more difficult to hit right especially when your protagonists are (apparently from the blurb) idiots. I’m not familiar with the filmmaking team’s web series (Rooster Teeth), so this one is a crap shoot.

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Friday One Sheet: The Badass Walk (Neighborhood Watch)

Despite a deluge of new Prometheus posters (which, interestingly, push the ‘corporate’ angle in the Alien-Future), I have decided to highlight this Ben Stiller – Vince Vaughn ensemble comedy, if only because the poster articulates its concept so elegantly (pompous wannabe bad-asses protect the neighborhood vigilante style, a timely enough subject (see also Wim Wenders’ 2004 Land of Plenty, or the Noah Emmerich thread in 2007 Little Children, or more recently in the news, the Trayvon Martin Case). Good comedy comes from satire of serious issues, and we’ll see if the film sticks. My only pet-peeve with this poster design is the names of the actors are not above the pictures in the poster. This is a common problem in One-Sheet design, and one that needs to be fixed – it’s an easy fix, too. But I digress.

DVD Review: Tell Tale

Tell Tale Movie Poster

Director: Michael Cuesta (Twelve and Holding)
Writers: Dave Callaham, Edgar Allan Poe (short story)
Producers: Michael Costigan, Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, Martin Shore, Christopher Tuffin
Starring: Josh Lucas, Lena Headey, Brian Cox
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 93 min.

Josh Lucas. He’s handsome, charming and has the makings of a great romantic lead but he’s working outside of the Hollywood machine. I’m not certain that’s necessarily his choice but his last two projects have been well under the radar. I disliked Death in Love so much I didn’t finish it and yet I returned to see Tell Tale but with a cast that also includes Lena Headey and Brian Cox, the attraction shouldn’t come as too much of a shock.

Tell Tale Movie StillLoosely, very loosely, adapted from Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart,” Josh Lucas portrays Terry Bernard, a single father who has recently received a new heart. His daughter suffers from a rare genetic disease and between the two illnesses, his second home is the local hospital. Lena Headey plays Dr. Elizabeth Clemson, the specialist Terry deals with regarding his daughter’s illness and after a regular appointment, Elizabeth makes a move and the two start, reluctantly at first, dating. Terry’s post heart transplant recovery is going well until he comes into contact with a paramedic, causing his new heart to do all sorts of strange things. Though at first he thinks it’s in his mind, Terry soon finds himself in the midst of solving the mystery of were his new heart came from.

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Review: Harry Brown

There is a scene in Harry Brown when the titular pensioner has finally had enough of all the hoodie-hoodlums in his run-down neighborhood that he goes to buy some fire-arms and fight back himself. The ‘merchants’ actually drug-dealers themselves, who are selling him a gun are so horrific, so effective at generating tension and just plain getting under-your-skin that the film starts to head into full blown horror film. Pornography, mutilation and quite close to a snuff film within the film (actually, there are, in essence, snuff films in not one, but two difference scenes within the film), yet somehow the film manages to stay grounded by its own weird logic. When soaking in the angry B-film violence of the film, one cannot help but think back on the vigilante revenge drama, from Death Wish to The Brave One (and of course the similar and recent old-timer entry, Gran Torino). There is the meticulously handled establishment of background and motivation for the main characters eventual rampage, the run-ins and suspicious hunches with the detectives, and the eventual shit-storm caused when it all goes to hell in a hand-basket. But Harry Brown (besides the aforementioned gun salesman) has two, big, trump cards.

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