Friday One Sheet: [Korean] Youth

My love for Korean movie posters is probably well known in these parts. Usually only one or two characters in a simple full bleed still image that is rich in colour and texture and simplicity. The poster for Paul Sorrentino’s is no exception to this. Michael Cain resting on a tree stump overlooking a verdant Austrian valley. It’s a direct still from a drop-dead gorgeous (if too much on the nose at times) film.

Cinecast Episode 411 – We Wanna See The Business

Despite seeing nearly 100 films combined at TIFF 2015, Ryan from The Matinee and Kurt indulge Andrew by getting out to the multiplex to see the latest Johnny Depp performance, as James “Whitey” Bulger in Black Mass. We have a spoiler discussion on that, but needless to say, no one was overly pleased with Andrew for suggesting it. Kurt and Ryan attempt to wrassle TIFF to the ground after 11 days of shared screenings and food. They, in part, hash out the bests, the beasts and the worsts (or in the cast of Love 3D, the wurst) of some of the films on hand.

But wait, there is more.

Ryan and Andrew have a Watch List which includes re-evaluated Spielberg, various Afflecks and a new-ish film starring Matthew Broderick. Hunker down with your favorite blankie, take out your blue contact lenses, and settle in for the show!

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: Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth

Paolo Sorrentino has been a darling on the festival circuit in the past few years with both 2008’s Il Divo and 2013’s The Great Beauty. The latter of which walked home with the Best Foreign Language Oscar of that year.

Here he has oldsters, played by Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel ,struggling with retirement (or rather, impending retirement) at a boutique hotel in the Alps. The trailer for his latest, Youth, angles it as both an emotional and a pedantic experience. That sounds about right. Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano and Jane Fonda also star.

The film certainly looks gorgeous, was well received at Cannes, is playing on this side of the pond at TIFF, and opens commercially in December.

Fred and Mick, two old friends, are on vacation in an elegant hotel at the foot of the Alps. Fred, a composer and conductor, is now retired. Mick, a film director, is still working. They look with curiosity and tenderness on their children’s confused lives, Mick’s enthusiastic young writers, and the other hotel guests. While Mick scrambles to finish the screenplay for what he imagines will be his last important film, Fred has no intention of resuming his musical career. But someone wants at all costs to hear him conduct again.

VIFF 2014 Review: Beautiful Youth

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Regardless of how news outlets spin current world events, by now everyone is more or less aware that the global economy is in trouble and that some countries are doing far better than others. Europe has been experiencing particularly difficult times and those difficulties have appeared here and there in film, in some instances more bluntly than others. Spaniard Jaime Rosales’ Beautiful Youth is the most recent, microscopic look at the hardships faced by a young couple in Spain.

Ingrid García Jonsson and Carlos Rodríguez star as Natalia and Carlos, a young couple in love. She’s dropped out of school and spends her days at home, hanging out with friends and occasionally shop lifting make-up while Carlos works odd jobs and conspires with his friend to open his own business. In an effort to generate quick cash, the pair agree to appear in a porn, a venture that turns out to be only the first in a long line of schemes to generate income. Making money to take care of themselves becomes both a thing of the past and a thing of immediate urgency when the young couple is faced with a new challenge: parenthood.

Beautiful Youth could easily have become a cynical movie about the difficulties of being young amid a recession but instead, it’s a testament to human resilience. Watching Natalia and Carlos grow and mature over the course of a few short years is a beautiful reminder of how the events of our lives shape the people we become, even if the changes aren’t immediately apparent. Both Rodríguez and Jonsson give great performances but the film focuses mostly on Jonsson and the challenges she faces and the actress shines in the role.

Rosales takes a verite approach to Beautiful Youth which gives the movie an added layer of reality. On a few occasions, Rosales uses technology in an interesting and new way to mark the passage of time and showing the changing relationship between Natalia and Carlos and though I appreciate the approach here, I hope it doesn’t become a regular thing in features.

Beautiful Youth neither glorifies nor frowns on the actions of Natalia and Carlos, it simply presents an unabashed look at coming of age under difficult circumstances and it does so with a glint, however small, of hope.

Beautiful Youth plays VIFF again on October 2nd. Check out the VIFF program for tickets and additional screening information.

Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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Director: Stephen Chbosky
Screenplay: Stephen Chbosky
Producers: Lianne Halfon, John Malkovich, Russell Smith
Starring: Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller, Emma Watson, Paul Rudd
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 103 min.


Life has sucky moments. It’s just the nature of the beast. Good things happen and then bad things happen but when you’re in high school, it seems like the bad things are world shattering. It probably has something to do with science and hormones and growing up but there’s something inexplicably emotional about most high school movies, be they stoner comedies or hard hitting dramas, that always seem to dredge up some ounce of emotional reaction and if they don’t, and there are a few exceptions, they’re worthless garbage because let’s face it, regardless of whether you were one of the popular kids or one of the library nerds, we all experienced moments of happiness or sadness that have stuck with us over the year.

Stephen Chbosky’s novel-turned-movie The Perks of Being A Wallflower is only the latest entry into the dramedy subgenre of high school movies and it has some good DNA. Chbosky’s novel was much celebrated when it was released in the late 90s and it was adopted by a generation as their book, the book that told their story. In reality, it’s a timeless book, one that ignores dates but somewhat dates itself with music and the now-dead art of the mixed tape.

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DVD Review: The Wave

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Director: Dennis Gansel
Writers: Dennis Gansel, Todd Strasser (novel)
Producer: Christian Becker
Starring: Jürgen Vogel, Frederick Lau, Max Riemelt, Jennifer Ulrich, Christiane Paul
MPAA Rating: NA
Running time: 107 min.

In April of 1967, a high school history teacher in Palo Alto, California launched a week long experiment called “The Third Wave.” The experiment was an attempt to show students how Germany could have overlooked the signs of trouble and full heartedly accepted the Third Reich. In 1988, a YA novel titled “The Wave,” author Todd Strasser took the original experiment and expanded it into a story.

The Wave Movie StillFast forward to 2008 and the release of Dennis Gansel’s The Wave. Gansel adapts Strasser’s story to modern day Germany and project week. History teacher Rainer Wenger is saddled with the task of discussing autocracy and during the first class, the students argue that they find it impossible to believe that a dictatorship could arise in modern Germany. Enter Wenger’s idea: turn the one week project into an experiment of sorts. It starts small with the class wearing uniforms, creating an image to represent the group and eventually even creating a specific greeting but right off the bat things go badly. Some students are completely against the idea while others are so fervently involved that it’s clear things aren’t going to end well. As the week progresses, things get further and further out of hand until it all unravels in a dramatic closing act which, though it doesn’t exactly surprise, manages to punch you in the gut.

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VIFF 09 Review: The Girl

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Fredrik Edfeldt’s feature debut is the type of film I long for and rarely get: a beautifully shot film which captures as much emotion and story from silence as it does from any dialogue.

The Girl is a simple story of a 9 ½ year old girl that through a series of events ends up alone while the rest of her family goes on a mission to Africa. But this is noHome Alone full of comedic adventure instead, it’s the story a look at the worlds we create as children, the observations, choices and mistakes we make all of which help shape the adults we later become.

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Cera in Youth in Revolt Trailer

Youth in Revolt One SheetThe first and last picaresque novel I read was J.P. Donleavy’s “The Ginger Man”. It was an interesting exercise but overall it was not really my cup of tea (though it did have some hysterical scenes). Now it looks like I may, somewhat unwillingly, be making another jump into the style to see just what all the hubbub surrounding “Youth in Revolt” is about.

C. D. Payne’s novel features a 14 year-old boy name Nick. He’s going through puberty, is obsessed with girls and sex and then he meets Sheeni. To gain her attention, he creates a bad ass alter ego named Francois Dillinger who says and does everything Nick doesn’t.

The film, also titled Youth in Revolt, is adapted from the book by screen writer Gustin Nash who made a minor splash last year with Charlie Bartlett (our review), directed by Miguel Arteta and stars Michael Cera in the title role of Nick. The real surprise here is that for the first time, that I’ve noticed at least, Cera seems to be extending a little further than awkward/quirky teen. Though Nick fits Cera’s usual schtick, Francois seems a whole lot more direct and a bit of a douche which should prove interesting. Along with Cera, the film features a great cast of actors including Zach Galifianakis, Steve Buscemi, Justin Long, Fred Willard and Ray Liotta.

The trailer seems interesting enough and as Eirk Davis at Cinematical notes, it’s a bit Fight Club-esque. I’m simply a sucker for teen movies so this one is definitely on my radar.

Youth in Revolt opens on October 30th.

Trailer is tucked under the seat!

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Delpy’s Countess Gets a Full Length Trailer

The Countess Movie StillWhile doing a bit of research on Rembrandt (it’s all Greenaway’s fault), I had the thought to check up on the status of Julie Delpy’s upcoming film The Countess.

I’ve been impressed with the tidbits of information that have been released about the film, a dramatic adaptation of events surrounding the life of Elizabeth Báthory, a 16th-century Hungarian countess who was said to have killed virgins and bathed in their blood in an effort to keep herself young; but everything released to date along with the myth itself, suggested that this would be a dark and twisted tale and though it may be; the film’s trailer suggests something different. I should have guessed that coming from Delpy, who aside from starring also wrote and directed the film, this tale would be much more realistic and a sort of meditation on power, beauty and youth.

It looks low key but beautiful and I love that though it’s period and the costuming and set design look top notch, they are not at the centre of this trailer. It really is a look at the woman behind the myth and I can’t wait for the opportunity to see it. The Countess premiered at Berlin earlier this year but sadly, it has not been picked up for North American distribution. It has, however, been picked up for release in a few European markets opening in Germany on June 25th and the Netherlands on August 6th. Looks like I’ll be keeping watch for a European DVD release before the end of ’09.

VIFF Review Roundoup #2

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In this second instalment, we have reviews of:

Let the Right One In
Waltz with Bashir
The Desert Within
Welcome to the Sticks

Click on the film’s title to jump directly to the review.

Let the Right One In

Let the Right One InI wouldn’t say I’m an expert on vampire films, there are a whole lot of films before the 1980’s which feature vampires that I’ve yet to, and will likely never, see, but I have the back catalogue filled in nicely. From Nosferatu to Bella Lugosi and the modern classics of Interview With a Vampire, Shadow of the Vampire and even Coppola’s Dracula. Add in the action vamps like Blade and Selene and it’s pretty safe to say that if a vampire is involved, I’ll be watching it; even if it isn’t very good.

One of the film’s I was most looking forward to this year (we’ll leave Twilight out of the equation – for today) was the Norwegian tween vampire romance Let the Right One In. Kurt had said good things and he wasn’t kidding. I’m not sure he used the words but I will: brilliant.

In a day where loud, violent and bloody is the key to vampire movies, Tomas Alfredson’s film, adapted from the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist, is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Quiet, deliberately paced and demure, this is a film that revels in mood. But don’t let that turn you away: the film is just as bloody and gruesome as we expect from a tale about a creature that feeds on human blood to survive, it simply manages to use the violence much more effectively than most. Against the beauty and serenity of winter, the blood that flows seems that much more effective in its creep factor.

Sometimes, adding a vampire to the mix simply makes a film sexier but in some other cases, it adds an entire new layer of meaning, as is the case here. Not only do you have an individual who can live forever, the creature happens to be a little girl named Eli. A child who is dependent on killing to survive yet, she manages to keep herself in check around her new friend, Oskar. Then there’s the relationship between the two children which is as pure and innocent as one would expect from 12 year olds yet it’s tinged with something else, a mothering instinct brought in by Eli who suddenly becomes protector as well as friend.

I expected good things from Let the Right One In and from the moment, I walked away, I was not disappointed but over the past few days, I’ve returned to the film with a new thought, gathering some new meaning from some small action. Though on the surface this is pure, gleefully gorgeous genre filmmaking, there’s a whole lot more at play. I’m eagerly awaiting the opportunity to see it again: sooner rather than later.

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More reviews tucked under the seat!

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