Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday Clips #4

Some clips of interest to get you through a Friday that feels like a Monday!

The Simpsons do Breaking Bad in this neato couch gag:
Scrubs star Zach Braff pleading for your cash to help him get his follow-up to Garden State off the ground (naturally not everyone is over the moon about this Kickstarter trend post-Veronica Mars; I for one won't be contributing): The guerilla filmmaking competition known as 48 Hours is back for another year, with new sponsor Rialto Channel, and their new promo is pure brilliance:
This will likely be the most uplifting vid you'll see all week... Tilda Swinton leading a dance-off at EbertFest to honour the late film critic Roger Ebert:

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

For the Star Wars Fan with Everything #26

The entirety of Episode IV: A New Hope animated in 1 minute!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Trailer: Man of Tai Chi

Last year we saw some promising behind-the-scenes footage from Keanu Reeve's directorial debut, the martial arts film Man of Tai Chi; now the international trailer's arrived, we can see what it actually looks IN the film, and I have to say, I'm a little less enthused about the other stuff. Seeing Reeves intone, "Let.. the show... begin" was a bit painful, as was imagining him as some sort of villainous mastermind who oversees his operation in front of a gazillion screens. We get snatches of Yuen Wo-ping's choreography, not long enough of anything to go wild about, but I'm sure it'll deliver in the fight department. Where's Iko Uwais??

Michael Shannon Reads Insane Sorority Letter

Like Christopher Walken or Werner Herzog, Michael Shannon could probably read a telephone book and make it sound like the most magnetic thing to listen to. Give him a vitriolic sorority letter? Amazing. I missed the whole drama about this letter last week, but here's Shannon reading it in his own magnificently ranty way we've come to know and love from his roles in Boardwalk Empire, Take Shelter, Premium Rush, etc. Warning: profanities ahead.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Trailer: Man of Steel

Well damn. That'll shut us Snyder skeptics/cynics up! Although I think some of us said the same thing about Sucker Punch and look how that turned out lol. Anywho, the new Man of Steel trailer is out, revealing a jumble of bombastic action bits that'll no doubt get the fans salivating in anticipation. Supe is set to blow us into the back of the theatre in June.

The ABCs of Death, Anthologies, etc.

Only a few sleeps to go now before the 26-chapter horror omnibus The ABCs of Death finally makes its appearance on NZ soil. Described as an "anthology that showcases death in all its vicious wonder and brutal beauty", it'll screen at the mighty Civic Theatre in Auckland this Saturday as part of NZFF's Autumn Events programme. I did a bit of backtracking to find previous mentions of this film here, and it was first announced way back in May 2011! So yeah, it's been a long time coming. Here are a few things to get you up to speed for all you need to know about it:

The Red Band trailer (squeamish/sensitive viewers can skip it):
Interviews with producer Ant Timpson (Incredibly Strange): NZ Herald, Flicks.

And if you're thinking, "I wonder if Fatso has any of these anthology things for rent?" Why, yes we do! I did some digging into our library and came up with these horror anthos - most of them available for Get Now now:

Black Sabbath
Cat's Eye
Creepshow 2
Dead of Night (1945)
Dead of Night (1977)
Dr. Terror's House of Horrors
Spirits of the Dead
Tales from the Crypt
Tales from the Darkside: The Movie
Tales of Terror
The House that Dripped Blood
3 Extremes
3 Extremes II
Trick 'r Treat
Twilight Zone: The Movie
Two Evil Eyes

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Clips #3

The dazzling trailer to Elysium, which I missed out on posting on Wednesday, thanks to the lightning fast speed of news updates on the internet:
The Fast and Furious 6 trailer re-cut with remote controlled cars, and it's scarily similar:
This one's for hardcore Woody Allen fans who have 45 minutes to spare... the complete works of his st-st-stammers, as compiled by The Huffington Post. I made it about 15 minutes in, and it's actually hilarious, but decided I had more pressing matters to attend to....

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Thoughts on Oblivion

Tom Cruise's shiny new sci-fier Oblivion is out in cinemas today. Wondering how it is? Let's break it down into easy-to-digest bullet points and stray obseravtions (no spoilers):
  • Director Joseph Kosinski, who previously gave us the thoroughly underwhelming Tron: Legacy, is not a natural storyteller. He's first and foremost a stylist, a lover of sleek, painstakingly designed surfaces, and it's evident in the way Oblivion's lumbering, lurching narrative is at odds with its seductive tech glossiness.
  • Tom Cruise performs with his usual generic leading-man intensity.
  • It's a thinly veiled anti-God screed.
  • Olga Kurylenko: miscast, wooden. All the romantic stuff is dreadful.
  • I was wondering where I'd seen those spherical drones before, and it just dawned on me: Phantasm! :)
  • Actually you'll be wondering where you've seen a lot of Oblivion from, and the answer is a LOT of other sci-fi. Unfortunately Kosinski never transcends the material's lack of originality.
  • The effects work on Oblivion IS superb but I'm starting to get a little iffy of the following type of shot, which I first started noticing in Prometheus.... basically it's a lone-figure-riding-in-a-vast-landscape-type shot that's meant to convey just how dwarfed the figure is by the expansive surroundings etc. But I think my problem with it is is that it doesn't (not to me anyway) - the super-crisp CGI rendering looks pretty and all, but somehow robs the image of its intended power. Too unreal? The "uncanny valley" thing? I dunno. I'm probably just talking out of my arse - but it's just something that's crossed my mind.
  • Verdict: Some nice eye candy but mediocre, leaden movie.
  • Wednesday, April 10, 2013

    Early Buzz: Elysium

    Elysium, Neill Blomkamp's follow-up to District 9 is surely one of the most heavily anticipated films of the year, all the more so considering how little we've seen or heard of it. Some lucky industry peeps have seen sneak footage though, and word is that it's quite spectacular, showing what Blomkamp can do with a much larger budget and bigger stars (Matt Damon, Jodie Foster). In the absence of a trailer just yet, if you want to hear some early reactions click on the following video see three visibly impressed online journos raving about it (take a shot every time someone says "jaw-dropping"):

    Monday, April 8, 2013


    When Roger Ebert passed away last Thursday, I don't think I quite anticipated the extent of emotional outpouring that resulted. Obviously the presence of social media these days does have a way of magnifying things, and Ebert was the possibly most well-known film critic ever, but the wide-reaching grief at the news of his death drove home one point: he meant a heck of lot to a lot of people. Neither Donald Richie nor Andrew Sarris, similarly respected giants in film writing who died in the past year, received this much attention.
    Ebert was the rare critic who could cut through all the oft-perceived academic high-brow-ness of film writing and make it accessible to everyone. His conversational style, his unmistakable voice (both in writing and speaking) - which I can still hear, and will miss hearing - was often imitated but never bettered. He could preach movies, but not dumb it down, and as someone who reviews films, this is one thing I try to do, and I can tell you, it's not as easy as Ebert makes it seem to be.

    Here's a collection of heartfelt online tributes to the man:

    What Did Roger Ebert Mean To You? - AV Club Q&A
    Roger Ebert was a Superman - Thompson on Hollywood
    A Mentor to the End - Variety's Scott Foundas
    Roger Ebert Through The Years - clips
    Remembering the Roger I Knew - Suntimes blogger Jim Emerson on his colleague
    Roger Ebert, my mentor - Monica Eng, Chicago Tribune reporter

    Friday, April 5, 2013

    Friday Clips #2

    Good afternoon! Here are some wondrous Friday Clips to distract you from your boring desk job, cleaning up the mess your kids left in the lounge and me from writing a teary-eyed obit for Roger Ebert...
    If there's an actor better at losing his nut onscreen than Nic Cage, it's probably Gary Oldman. A supercut of his finest moments: Trailers for two comedies re-cut into sinister thrillers: Pineapple Express 2 April Fools trailer:

    Wednesday, April 3, 2013

    R.I.P. Jesus "Jess" Franco

    Again I'm the worst at obits, but need to say a few words about this guy since he's a crucial figure in opening my eyes up to a whole new dimension of cinema during my formative years of movie consumption. Jess Franco was, without a doubt, the most prolific filmmaker who has ever walked this planet. His output, over a 50-year period, is a mind-boggling, seemingly bottomless well of sex, horror and misc. genre flicks, a maddeningly labyrinthine filmography unlike any other. Yes, a lot of films were downright terrible, but scattered among them were some incredible works of unusual artistry, and I consider at least one of them - the dreamlike masterpiece Venus is Furs - to be an all-time favourite.
    With Venus, everything unique and personal about Franco's vision locked into place, and it produced for my money, a beautiful example of pure cinema that can rank up there with any great work of art. Anywho I've barely scraped the surface... I'll leave the real obits to the experts and recommend, if you're curious and need a gateway drug into European 'cult' genre, to hunt down and watch as many of his films as possible. Goodnight to you sir.

    Tuesday, April 2, 2013

    Trailer: Before Midnight

    [Possible spoiler follows: If you want to know absolutely NOTHING about this film, do not watch the trailer] Having only recently caught up with the terrific Before Sunset, I for one can't wait to see more of Jesse and Celine in Before Midnight, Richard Linklater's third installment in this brief-encounter-romance which began in 1995 with Before Sunrise. They're both a bit older and wiser now, and - shock horror (genuine) - together?? I actually didn't see that coming in the trailer; whether or not one might construe this revelation as a spoiler could be argued. But yeah I DID NOT KNOW. Anywho, hope this gets into our theatres sooner than later.