Monday, September 5, 2011

THE FILM TOME REPORT: ISSUE 43


NEW IN THEATERS

  • Burke and Hare* / 34%
  • Contagion / 80%
  • Creature*
  • Main Street*
  • Shaolin* / 67%
  • Warrior / 87%
* = limited release

NEW IN STORES


  • Chalet Girl / 82%
  • Everything Must Go / 76%
  • Hanna / 71%
  • Vidal Sassoon: The Movie / 67%
  • X-Men: First Class / 87%
% from Rotten Tomatoes

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TRAILER ROUND-UP*

*Last month I missed a couple of weeks for "The Film Tome Report." Chances are I will have a special issue for a Trailer Round-Up Catch Up later this week to cover many of the trailers I missed. Besides missing those weeks, there has been A LOT debuting lately. Also, enjoy a new and improved Trailer Round-Up Awards below!


At first glance I thought "Machine Gun Preacher" was some grindhouse action flick (a la "Hobo With A Shotgun"), but that assumption was very off base. Based of the true story of a former drug-dealer (played by Gerard Butler) who had a spiritual rebirth and then traveled to help found Angels of East Africa. "Machine Gun Preacher" comes to us from Marc Forester (director of "Finding Neverland" and "Stranger Than Fiction"). The trailer features some battle scenes that definitely lives up to the film's name, but will it pull off being both an action film and a moving drama when it needs to be? The film hits theaters on September 23rd.


I'm not sure if I could give you a synopsis for the upcoming sci-fi thriller "In Time," but it would appear it involves a world of people who don't look a day older than 25-years-old. The rich live forever, the poor die young, and everyone has their life's time limit transcribed on the arm. It is a complex concept penned by writer/director Andrew Niccol. He has created other stories that could be described as utterly unique, he wrote both screenplays for "The Truman Show" and "Gattaca." Justin Timberlake, who I think might be a better actor than he is a musician, stars as a man who is running out of time in a world where that is everything. Cillian Murphy, Olivia Wilde, Amanda Seyfried, and Vincent Kartheiser (Pete Cambell from "Mad Men") also star. This has an intriguing premise and offers a slick vision of the future. It will be in theaters just in time for 10.28.11.


Viewer discretion is advised for the disturbing and sensual trailer for the "The Last Circus." From cult director Alex de la Iglesia ("The Day of the Beast" and "The Oxford Murders") comes this bizarre carnival of a project set during the Spanish Civil War. A clown struggles with his occupation when he really rather be on the battlefield. It is "Moulin Rouge!" by way of Rob Zombie. I thought we would only see stuff this crazy coming from the South Korean film industry, I guess I was wrong. In any case, the set design, costumes, and cinematography are all pretty great in their own crazy way. "The Last Circus" is currently showing in select theaters.


The Spy Kids might have all the time in the world, but audiences do not, which is why you should think long and hard before you decide to see this film. Okay, you might not need to think that long or that hard. Some moments are laughably bad, such as Jessica Alba's delivery of "Children, I am a spy." (Other lines of dialogue will confirm for you that this is most surely a case of style over substance or spectacle trumping story.) The special effects are two fold: There is a moment where the baddies freeze time with some stellar results and then another scene where they command their robotic dog to go into "attack mode," which looks far away (in the past's recycling bin) to how such effects should look in 2011. There is a similar yet much better moment with a killer rabbit in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" anyway. When I was younger I wanted to see the first "Spy Kids," I remember mildly enjoying it. I do not think this is a series that is getting any better. "Spy Kids: All the Time in the World" in 4D is currently in theaters. "4D?" you ask. Apparently you will receive a Scratch-n-Sniff card, which they are calling "Aromascope." Ebert recently wrote a journal entry about the phenomenon, which you should know isn't new.


Colin Firth. Is there nothing this man can't do? Last year he won Best Actor at the Oscars for his perfect portrayal of a King George VI in "The King's Speech." Now he has shed his native British accent and taken up a Southern accent in "Main Street." A southern town is in need of a change in this story written by Horton Foote who brought such literary classics to the screen as "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Of Mice and Men." The ensemble cast also includes Patricia Clarkson, Ellen Burstyn, Amber Tamblyn, and Orlando Bloom. All these ingredients would appear to make a promising film (and I thought it was a rather promising trailer ) which is why its current 4.8 rating (out of 10 mind you) on IMDb is puzzling. Some of us will just have to see for ourselves. The film is currently available on iTunes and will move into select theaters on September 9th.


At the top of the trailer for "Brighton Rock" I was thinking I would write about yet another preview that felt so inclined to use the French horn blasts of concern and foreboding made popular by last year's "Shutter Island" and "Inception." I soon forgot about that because the performances found in this British thriller (Sam Riley, Andrea Riseborough, and Helen Mirren) set in the 1960s are far from run-of-the-mill. This film looks smart and beautiful with wall-to-wall emotions. I was engrossed and cannot wait to see what becomes of these characters. The film is currently in select theaters. (Again, kind of surprised by the low scores for this one as well on IMDb).


From documentarian Steve James ("Hoop Dreams") comes "The Interrupters," an inside look at those striving to stop gang-related acts of violence in Chicago. I recently saw the documentary "Crips and Bloods: Made In America," which was more of a history lesson that started to get into solutions during the film's final minutes. That seems to be what this one is all about. The documentary follows three Violence Interrupters as they hit the streets in desperate attempts to pulls others out of the vicious cycle, a rhythm they know all too well. When a film like this comes along, it helps you realize why docs are so crucial "The Interrupters" is currently playing is select cities. If you're not in one of them, put this on your "to watch" list when it becomes available in stores later this year.

Keep your boots in your stirrups partner, I reckon it's prime time for the Trailer Round-Up Awards:

Sick Cow*:
*This is a new addition to the Trailer Round-Up Awards, though this is a prize nobody should want to take home. The worst trailer (essentially the worst looking film) of the round-up gets labeled "Sick Cow." These are hefers that should be put out of their misery.


Ten buck skins says you'll groan in agony after seeing the trailer for "Jack and Jill" (if you make it to the end that is). Adam Sandler takes a page from the Eddie Murphy book of acting and plays Jack and Jill, adult twins who look astonishingly alike. Jill seems to just love spending time for Jack, but we get the feeling the feeling ain't mutual. The jokes on display here are twice as long as they need to be and not even half as funny as they ought to be. In some bout of madness (undoubtedly induced by a nice paycheck) Al Pacino plays himself and falls for Jill. This movie will plague your local theater on November 11th. We can do our future a favor by not supporting it, thus hopefully not getting more dross like this. To be fair, the movie-trailer-man voice does warn us that this is from the producers of "The Grown Ups."

The Head-Scratcher:


Yikes! "Archie's Final Project" is a very personal dramedy about a young man, Archie, who decides to make his high school film project a snuff film of himself. With this stunt he finally gets the attention of the hottest girl in school. The film is trying to make a statement with its dark subject matter and edgy satire, I'm just not too sure what it is. This trailer is pretty chaotic and I'm not sure what to think of this independent low-budget project. This "self-inflicted comedy" will be in select theaters on September 23rd.

Lasso of the Week:


Viggo Mortenson is none other than Dr. Freud himself in the trailer for David Cronenberg's upcoming drama, "A Dangerous Method." His protege, Dr. Carl Jung, is played by Michael Fassbender. The film documents Jung's work with a particular patient, Sabrina, played by Kiera Knightly. Cronenberg often delivers strange and mature subject matter in his films (his renowned remake of "The Fly," the recent "Eastern Promises" and the exemplary "A History of Violence" just to name a few). This actually looks to be his most straight-laced film yet. As a fine-looking period piece with powerful performances and a peculiar premise, "A Dangerous Method" looks to be an Oscar-contender for the upcoming award season. Look forward to this film at your local theater on November 23rd.

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ENLISTED


In honor of Labor Day, TIME presents a top ten list, the likes of which I've never seen before, "Top 10 Sweatiest Movies." I was waiting for their number 3, their number 2 was expected, and their number 1 is one I still am ashamed to report I have not seen. Any other sweaty movies come to mind that you feel missed their cut? I'd propose "Apocalypse Now."

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CAST AWAY


While this isn't news for an upcoming role in a film, it is news for an important role in next year's Academy Awards. I'm talking about who will host Hollywood's finest night. Reports are that Eddie Murphy is a likely contender. Director Brett Ratner ("Rush Hour" trilogy, "X-Man: The Last Stand," and the upcoming "Tower Heist" with Mr. Murphy) is already slated to produce the event. Here is JoBlo's thoughts on the matter. Let us hope for a show better than this year's, which I actually like for the most part, but I was in the minority. It was one of the most criticized Oscar telecasts in recent memory. James Franco's behavior that night still bewilders me...

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THE GOOD


Remember the amazing trailer for "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"? (It won my Lasso of the Week a few weeks back.) The film just screened at the Venice film festival. Afterward the premier, star Colin Firth spoke to journalists about film industry underestimating the intelligence of its consumers. This upcoming espionage thriller sounds like it is going to be a small film, a thinker if you will. Firth said that thinks "people do want to hear language at its best onscreen." He is optimistic that there is an audience for films like this. The Guardian has more.


Would you like to purchase a poster of your favorite movie to fill that awkward blank space on your wall? Remember that time your uncle got so furious he punched a hole into the back room? Are you in prison and trying to dig out? A poster of "The Shawshank Redemption" would be a perfect covering for your hole! Head over to the film section of AllPosters and check out the sweet Back-To-School sale currently going on. It ends on September 8th, so buy soon if that is your plan! Seriously, some great deals are to be found. Some posters are selling for only $4.98!

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THE BAD


Andy Hendrickson, chief technical officer at Walt Disney Animation Studios, recently spoke at a conference about story in tent-pole films. He strongly disagrees with the belief that it is "all about story." Instead, he tends to (I believe this hearkens to my writing about the new "Spy Kids" film during Trailer Round-Up.) Apparently he showed a list of the top 12 domestic-grossing films of all-time and stated that every single one was a spectacle film. Of Disney's recent "Alice in Wonderland" he said, "The story isn't very good, but visual spectacle brought people in droves. And Johnny Depp didn't hurt." As an independent writer and filmmaker (with professional aspirations) I find these comments rather sad. Film is a storytelling medium and that is what most should aspire to do to the best of their ability. I wonder what the namesake of the very studio he works for would say had he heard this speech. I think of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" and other early Disney features. The studio and filmmakers should never try and treat us to a story that "isn't very good." What are your thought and feelings about Hendrickson's comments? Variety has the whole story.

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AND THE WEIRD



Today we celebrate the 90th anniversary of Hollywood's first major scandal! Do you know of Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle? He is considered by some to be one of the very first movie stars, surprising because he was a fairly large fella (hence his nickname). In 1921, actress Virginia Rappe was heard screaming from a room in the St. Francis hotel in San Francisco. She was in there with Fatty. Days later she died. BBC News has a very interesting article (with an unsolved mystery at its core) about the event and what it did to Fatty's career.

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OR THE COOL


I'm keen on timelines of filmdom and here is a great one that charts from 2011 (a year we are all pretty familiar with) to 3001988 (a year I can honestly admit to never having thought of before)! "The Future According to Films" was made by Michael Hobson who I am now officially following on Twitter. Any science-fiction fans will eat this up!

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MAYBE THE HILARIOUS


Here is a fun video (an exclusive for Funny or Die) in which Steve Carell meets with the advertisers for his latest film, "Crazy, Stupid, Love." Carell tries to explain to them that his contract states that his head gets to be the biggest on the film's poster. Like the guy sitting opposite Carell, you might wonder if he really is Michael Scott (one of my my favorite characters ever). Enjoy!


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KEEPIN' IT SHORT


"Porcelain Unicorn" by Keegan Wilcox

This was grand prize winner of the recent Philips "Tell It Your Way" Competition. Filmmakers had to adhere by two rules in making their films: 1) Using only six lines of dialogue 2) Entries could not exceed three minutes. Having had to make a film with such a time constraint is very difficult. Lack of dialogue? Easier than having it if you ask me! This is a well-made short, part period piece and very professional. It is predictable, but precious. Special thanks to my mother for informing me of its existence.

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3 comments:

Nancy Zhou said...

That Last circus film scares the heck out of me!! clowns are scary enough they don't need to tie up with some revenge and sick murder story to scare people...

Galyn said...

Hey, you included The Porcelian Unicorn afterall!

Again, I will look forward to watching a trailer (Main Street to be exact) when I get home. MADLY!

Bryson and Tara said...

I'm excited to see Main Street, even despite the poor reviews.