Friday, July 26, 2013

ONLY GOD FORGIVES - REVIEW

Only God Forgives
May 22, 2013 (Festival de Cannes)
July 19, 2013 (United States)
90 min
Thailand (English / Thai)

Written and Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn


With Only God Forgives Refn and Gosling team up again to tackle religious themes and revenge threads in heavily influenced but unparalleled visual storytelling. The end result is Taxi Driver of the Far East.

My first dive into the films of Nicolas Winding Refn came with Drive in 2011. After winning Refn the Best Director award at Festival de Cannes the film went on to garner the accolades of critics and otherwise cinephiles. Naturally I sought out Drive myself to see what all the excited praises were about. While several scenes left me quietly astonished I was somewhat resistant to the overall hype immediately after that first (and to this day only) viewing of Drive, but over the last two years it has grown on me like a cool scar. It's a film I'm constantly thinking back on and find even more rewarding when I plug in my own interpretations. It's risen to become a favorite of this young new decade. 

Earlier this week I analyzed the opening credit sequence of Drive. In the opening credits for Refn's follow-up film, Only God Forgives, we move along the edge of an impressive blade. It's red (from light, not from blood) against a darkened backdrop of fiery waves. Cliff Martinez's score warms up: A slow brooding drum (heart)beats, an instrumental-equivalent of chanting monks fades in, then the smaller and rapid Oriental-staple drum is heard... It all builds to a long church organ note that sounds right out of a haunted house amusement park right. "This is a horror movie," I told myself. That opening track is called "Only God Forgives" and leads us right to the film's opening title.

Julian (Ryan Gosling) resides in Bangkok, Thailand with his older brother Billy (Tom Burke). They oversee a boxing club which works both as an apparent hobby and a front for a drug smuggling business. These details become almost entirely arbitrary after Billy sets in motion an unyielding chain of sins and punishments beginning with the rape and murder of a 16-year-old prostitute (only after he couldn't find a 14-year-old). Almost immediately these crimes are brought to the attention of Lieutenant Chang (Vithaya Pansringarm) of the Thai police who we first see marching up the neighborhood street and into the scene of the crime. Chang allows the girl's father to do what he will with Billy. Afterwards Chang punishes the father for not taking better care of his daughter to begin with. This is a pattern found throughout Only God Forgives: All acts are brought forth to be accounted for, any room in which Chang catches up with characters serve as a court room - he's the judge, jury and executioner.

The film is primarily split between scenes with Julian and Chang, intersecting the two on more than one occasion. Chang is fearless, always on the alert and seemingly flawless. He's the last man you'd want to cross. Pansringarm has only been in the acting game for the past three years (so far as IMDb reveals). While Chang himself is worthy of worship, it's Pansringarm's depiction of the lieutenant that makes him so admirable and simply one of the badasses of modern cinema. Julian is an entirely different soul to examine. Half of his scenes are suspended in a hypnagogic limbo. If Chang marshals the space between Heaven and Earth then Julian maunders between Earth and Hell. 

One of the many cinematic frame of references you'll hear when describing Only God Forgives is Kubrickian. There's careful corridor crawls that feel like the beginning of A Clockwork Orange or any number of shots in the Overlook Hotel(Funny, the only other film I'd say that about this year is Rob Zombie's The Lords of Salem of all things.) These are mostly employed in/around Julian's headquarters which feel more like a purgatory the longer we're there. Julian's daymares make for our cinematic nightmares. Chang is the consequence coming down the hall and appearing in the doorways. It's like Dave seeing older versions of himself in the final chapter of 2001: A Space Odyssey. That's what many of these surreal and seemingly silent (despite Martinez's offerings) sequences in the film feel most akin to. But instead of the black and white color scheme we dealt with there, we're seeing primarily black and red here.

There are two women is Julian's life: the prostitute Mai (Rhatha Phongam) and his mother Crystal (Kristin Scott Thomas). Mai often accompanies Julian during these other worldly moments. Crystal comes to town upon learning of her son's death. Forget Lady Gaga, this woman is the mother monster. Her first question to Julian is "How did you kill him?" (regarding the vengeful father that took Billy's life). Julian explains the complications and how Billy was not (at all) innocent. She shocks us when she responds, "I'm sure he had his reasons." Kristen Scott Thomas knocks the curve ball out of the park. Like Mo'Nique in Precious, she's an unlikely candidate for a menacing matriarch, which makes her all the more effective when she surprises us and pulls it off. Oh, and when the two women in Julian's life converge it is one of the most unfortunate "take you home to meet my mother" scenes in any story ever told. You can compare these with the two women we see in Chang's life for further contrast.

Larry Smith is the man behind the camera, he has been collaborating with Refn since Fear X (2003). Smith worked on the set of three of Kubrick's last four films before becoming a director of photography for hire. This further explains the influence. He'll be making his own directorial debut in the coming years with Trafficker in which Pansringarm is slated to star. I am ecstatic for that day. Only God Forgives still has (one of) the best trailers of the year and it's largely due to its photography. The more flashy shots were advertised, including a couple of action sequences in which Chang reigns supreme, but it's the consistent creative framing in the smaller moments that do the heavy lifting. This is a gorgeous piece of cinema, frontrunner for 2013's best cinematography, and ultimately a neo-noir with one foot firmly back in German expressionism. The silhouette of a brutal murder within the red door at the end of a hallway, the aerial viewpoint as two fighters square off in a ring without boundaries, and a tracking shot along a lake while Chang conducts his blade-training routine during sunrise are all moving images that are easy to recall.

I still have the majority of Refn's work to catch up with (more eager now than ever to do so) and so I'm not able to call this his masterpiece. Besides, this brave storyteller clearly has another dozen in his blood. I'll suffice to say it's one of his master works for now. Drive was a strange piece of art for being half a pop-romance cruising film and half a depraved and relishing blood-fest. Only God Forgives is only that second half, though decidedly less glorified. A majority of the heinous acts I've described are obscured or happen off-screen completely, though in nearly every case we don't get away without seeing the results. It's a lot less effecting when taken as a Buddhist allegory of Gods and Devils waging a war upon the streets of Bangkok. I can already tell this film begs for an analysis piece where I won't have to drawn lines as to what plot points to give away. Ultimately the title is what I'm left with (and naturally what we started with). It's open to interruption how our title, "Only God Forgives," could be verbally expressed or more importantly who it is referring to. This is a film that asks those questions, lends those possibilities, and arches the back of cinema.

"Time to meet the devil."
- Billy



★★★★★

CONTENT: strong bloody violence, grisly images, some sexual content and dialogue

Updated 8/8/13

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

RECENTLY BEHELD: JULY 15-21, 2013 (PART 2)

_________________________________________________________________


(2013)



Ain't The Bodies Saints is a Bonnie & Clyde story if they had been young, in love, and caught sooner to prevent their inevitable tragedy. Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck are spouses who are forced by law to part when Affleck's character goes to prison after a crime spree. The style felt to get in the way of the story as much as it punctuated it, but what a beautiful film with great performance by Mara and Ben Foster especially.

★★★½
_________________________________________________________________


(2011)


In preparation for attending my first Comic-Con I purposefully checked out Morgan Spurlock's recent documentary all about the widely known annual geek fest in San Diego. It's a great crash course about what it is and what it means to so many people (both celebrity and fan alike). 

★★★½
_________________________________________________________________


(2013)


Writer/director Nicolas Winding Refn teams up with American heartthrob Ryan Gosling again (see 2011's Drive) in a nightmarish Bangkok for Only God Forgives. This is definitely the most beautiful film I've seen this year (photography by Larry Smith) but also the most depraved. If it weren't for the surrealism that lends itself to an allegory of God and the Devil it would be hard to recommend let alone stomach. It's incredibly divisive but I've already decided it's masterful.

★★★★★
_________________________________________________________________


(2013)


I saw Pacific Rim for a second time on Saturday, mainly to see it with my wife for her first time. I'll admit, it was not as awesome as my first viewing - even the "battle for Hong Kong" as it shall hereby be known as was lackluster. Maybe I was too worried that my wife wouldn't like it (though she did!) or maybe all the excitement evaporated. In any case, nobody can take my first viewing from me.

★★★★½
_________________________________________________________________

Rubber
(2010)



Rubber begins with a police chief coming out of a car trunk and addressing an audience (who are spectating characters in the film) with a monologue about "no reason." Behind the meta framing is the story of a tire named Robert who can blow crap up (mostly human heads) through telekinesis. The rest is for the birds.

★★★
_________________________________________________________________

(1991)


Leave it to Eleanor Coppola (Francis' wife) to direct a behind-the-scenes documentary about the grueling making of Apocalypse Now. You'll shake your head in disbelief at all the obstacles that the director, his family, cast and crew went through during shooting in the Philippines, which took the better part of a year in. Only Vietnam itself was more of a headache, only fitting for a glimpse behind the best war/anti-war movie I've ever seen.

★★★★½
_________________________________________________________________

Seen any of these films? What did you see last week? Please feel free to share your thoughts or your own recently beheld in the comments below!

Here's last week's Recently Beheld.

Also, see what else I've seen this year in my Letterboxd diary.

RECENTLY BEHELD: JULY 15-21, 2013 (PART 1)

How was your week? Comic-Con was raging on down in San Diego and I was able to poke my head in for day. I was also able to squeeze in quite a few films, so many that I've split this edition of Recently Beheld over two posts. Here's what I beheld...
_________________________________________________________________

The Lone Ranger
(2013)


Previously director Gore Verbinski and star Johnny Depp tackled the Western genre with 2011's Rango, a surprise computer-animated gem in a genre thirsty for innovation. I more than approved when I learned the same team would be taking their antics to a live-action re-imagining of the classic series The Lone Ranger. The result is one of the oddest blockbusters in recent memory (perhaps since Verbinski's Pirates of the Caribbean: The World's End). Depp tired me as Tonto, Armie Hammer was a great choice for the title character though. It's a shame the plot gets as mired and unfunny as it does, but there are two spectacular and extensive action sequences with trains at each end of this picture that I cannot wait to watch again and again.

★★★½
_________________________________________________________________

(2008)


Thank God I'm done with this series! I've got an unfortunate obsession to see things through to the end. Such was the case with the live-action adaptation of Death Note, a popular manga and (naturally) anime series in Japan. These three films are also Japanese produced. The initial concept is a winner, but it was already stretched thin over the first two films. With L Change the World we're left with nothing but a convoluted storyline and the worst acting this side of Twilight. I'm so sick of Death Note that I don't even want to bother with what came before the movies even though I've been told they're far superior.

_________________________________________________________________


(2013)


Brit Marling goes undercover to infiltrate a tight-knit anarchist group known as The East. Marling and co-writer/director Zal Batmanglij previously delivered Sound of My Voice, a film with similar intrigue that mildly worked for me. The East is even less successful with more characters to juggle and an over-bearing sincerity that struck me as false scene after scene. It's only been a few days and it's already fading from my mind.

★★½
_________________________________________________________________


(2012-13)


Sarah Polley's intimate documentary of her own family is one of the year's must-sees. The story of her parents' relationship, the kids' upbringing in Canada, and the realization that she herself is not her father's daughter all culminate in a touching and fascinating fashion. With so much drama you wonder how any of this could end well, but we're in good hands because Sarah was always in good hands. This is my favorite documentary of the year so far and a threat to this list I made at the top of the month.

★★★★★
_________________________________________________________________


Click here to see Part 2 of what I watched last week.

Seen any of these films? What did you see last week? Please feel free to share your thoughts or your own recently beheld in the comments below!

Here's last week's Recently Beheld.

Also, see what else I've seen this year in my Letterboxd diary.

THE FILM TOME PODCAST - EPISODE 6: DANCING IN THE SUN


Curator's Note: We're still playing catchup with our backlog of episodes. There's one more after this and we'll be back on track! While this episode was recorded all the way back in January and includes Trent's report on the Sundance Film Festival, most of the films he reviewed have yet to come out and so they are still special previews.




In this episode of The Film Tome Podcast we run through the usual segments and then share our respective most anticipated films of 2013. We also review two Oscar-nominated films, The Impossible and Zero Dark Thirty.

There's three easy and free ways to take in the podcast: Listen below, download below or subscribe on iTunes. Please share your feedback with us in the comments below and share this podcast with the cinephiles in your life. You can find all of our previous episodes here on The Film Tome or by doing a search for "The Film Tome Podcast" on iTunes. Thanks for listening and happy watching everybody!






SHOW NOTES


The Film Tome Podcast - Episode 006: Dancing in the Sun

Recording Date: January 27, 2013
Runtime: 1:07:15

Segments:
(2:00) Trailer Round-Up
(7:25) Trent: Sundance 2013 Reviews
(19:30) JS: Recently Watched
(25:45) Newsreel: JJ Abrams directing Star Wars 7
(30:55) Feature Presentation: Top 5 Anticipated films of 2013
(50:45) Review: The Impossible (2012)
(58:55) Review: Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

Music:
Scala & Kolacny Brothers - Nothing Else Matters, Scala & Kolacny Brothers (2011)
Fernando Velázquez - The Impossible Main Title, The Impossible OST (2012)
Alexandre Desplat - Seals Take Off, Zero Dark 30 OST (2012)

MOVIE MUSIC MOMENT: NIGHTCALL / DRIVE

Note: Video not available for embedding. Click here to watch.

"Nightcall" by Kavinsky (Feat. Lovefoxxx)
as seen and heard in
Drive (2011)

In honor of Nicolas Winding Refn's new film hitting theaters (Only God Forgives) this week's Movie Music Moment comes from his last film, Drive. After a refreshingly realistic yet ice-cool getaway scene we're treated to the film's opening credit sequence. An establishing shot looks down upon a downtown Los Angeles at nighttime just as Kavinsky's "Nightcall" begins. It's a synthpop spiral of keyboard punctuated with a repeating drum-track. It whispers '80s sensibilities while the hot-pink half-cursive credit font shouts it. I say the music whispers because unlike true '80s beats it doesn't feel sanctioned and dated (case in point: the Wildstyle Pirate Radio station in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City). This is largely due to the vocals.

Onscreen we're following the smoldering face of Ryan Gosling as he drives down the ghostly streets of the city, occasionally seeing his path via aerial view. He is simply making his way home where he parks and takes the elevator up to his bachelor bad, passing a certain neighbor on her way out to work a nighshift. Someplace where she needs a small rectangular name tag... He doesn't bother turning on the lights when he reaches his flat. He drops off his duffle bag and heads back out to his car. His apartment is just a storage-room and a workshop. The streets are where he sleeps drives.

The vocals on "Nightcall" switch between Kavinsky and Lovefoxxx. Him and her. His are rather scary on arrival, like a auto-tuned monster who lost his way in the recording of something beautiful, dark and twisted for a recent Kanye West album. To me it's Nosferatu, who is also terrifying on the surface, but if you just listen to what he has to say there is more than meets the ear. Then there's what she says in reply. Her voice containing what femininity sounds like: soft, caring, sensual, cautious. Here are their respective verses (in the full track these are repeated): 

HIM:
I'm giving you a night call to tell you how I feel
I want to drive you through the night, down the hills
I'm gonna tell you something you don't want to hear
I'm gonna show you where it's dark, but have no fear

HER:
There's something inside you
It's hard to explain
They're talking about you boy
But you're still the same


Besides making for a stylish opening this all works to set up the parable of Drive. The Driver (Ryan Gosling) and Irene (Carey Mulligan) embody these stanzas. There's not a lot of dialogue in the film. The soundtrack and its lyrics are part of the script and speaks for two leads. The film is mishmash of lovely scenes and brutal violence, they converge in that infamous elevator sequence later in the film (the same place the two pass each other in the opening credits themselves). The Driver himself has a sweet side and a sadistic side. Such is with "Nightcall." Such is with Drive.

What are your thoughts and interpretations of the opening credit sequence in Drive? Any other memorable Movie Music Moments from Refn films come to mind? (Only God Forgives has a few, but they'll have to wait for a future edition.) Please join the conversation in the comments below. Until next time, keep watching and stay listening.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

RECENTLY BEHELD: JULY 8-14, 2013

Hopefully you took some time away from the drama of current affairs to enjoy some of the offerings at your local theater last week. Fess up, who among you saw Grown Ups 2 (because clearly a lot of people did). Here's what I beheld...
_________________________________________________________________

The Heat
(2013)



The plot of this buddy cop film will neither surprise or enlighten you, but every time Melissa McCarthy opens her foul mouth you will likely be shocked by what words come out. McCarthy and and the straight-laced Sandra Bullock play off each other memorably well resulting in a few unforgettable scenes and frequent hilarity in-between. The Heat is one of the funniest movies I've seen in 2013. This is director Paul Feig's follow-up to his wildly successful raunchy comedy Bridesmaids. 

★★★½
_________________________________________________________________

(2013)



From the believable performances to the high fidelity of visual effects, Europa Report is an impressive sci-fi thriller worth your rapt attention. It's a faux-documentary built around what is essentially a found-footage voyage to the ice-covered moon of Jupiter. The construction is unnecessarily complicated, but the views on this ride make it all of worth.


★★★★
_________________________________________________________________


(2013)


We go from one of the year's funniest films (The Heat) to one of the most heart-breaking yet heart-warming. The Crash Reel follows Olympic hopeful Kevin Pearce who rose during the 2000s as one of the best snowboarders in the world. After an accident on the slope landed in him in a coma his dreams and brain cells were shattered. It's the rise, fall and crawl of a soul craving for an extreme sport that seems to come with an expiration date. The film's full heart and purpose are seen in members of the Pearce family who try to hold back their son and brother. Documentarian Lucy Walker's previous films Waste Land and Blindsight are also must-sees for one and all.

★★★★
_________________________________________________________________


(2013)


Set over a decade into humanity's efforts in the Kaiju War, we observe a final resistance to the monstrous alien threat in Pacific Rim. I like to think of this as an anime brought to life, through the fun-loving and create-feature eyes of one Guillermo del Toro. To risk sounding like a complete fanboy, this is simply one of the coolest movies I've ever seen on the big screen.


★★★★★
_________________________________________________________________


(2012-13)


The Hunt is an unsettling character piece of a secondary school teacher (played without reservation by Mads Mikkleson) accused for sexually assaulting a child. Even though we know the truth - at least what the film leads us to believe on a surface level - the series of events seldom fails to demand our utmost attention and pleadings. It's a societal study of how one drop of gossip can infect an entire community, in this case a Danish village surrounded by forestland.

★★★★½
_________________________________________________________________


(2013)



Take the topical and worldwide parameters of Soderbergh's Contangion and change the airborne pathogen to the popular-as-ever zombie apocalypse and you've got a case of World War Z. It's up to a former UN agent played by Brad Pitt to save the world, securing his family's safety in the process. This globe-trotting thriller is smart, scary and intense from almost beginning to end. World War Z is far better than was predicted, appeared and supposed to be making it one of the year's most pleasant surprises.

★★★★
_________________________________________________________________


(2013)


Here is the second installment of a horror anthology centered around a lame excuse for characters to put in a series of WTF VHS tapes, each a short film of its own. This young series is among the more exciting projects in the found footage sub-genre, but also the most heartless and depraved. Everything here looks pretty terrible (such is to be expected when one aspires to VHS-level quality), but the concepts are often nothing short of genius. Gareth Evans (director of The Raid: Redemption) has brought an extreme tape to the table that must be seen to be believed. The others are inferior but probably worth a horror aficionado's time and consideration.

★★★½
_________________________________________________________________


Seen any of these films? What did you see last week? Please feel free to share your thoughts or your own recently beheld in the comments below!

Here's last week's Recently Beheld.


Also, see what else I've seen this year in my Letterboxd diary.

EUROPA REPORT - VIDEO REVIEW

Having just posted my written review for Europa Report I am now going to share the video review that I did for MOVIECLIPS. I've previously shared some of the Instant Trailer Reviews I've been a part of, but this was my first time doing an entire movie review (and riding solo to boot). I've been wanting to try my hand at video reviews for a while now, so I'm glad my work was able to provide me with that opportunity. Let me know what you think in the comments below. I know my self-presentation for one thing needs a lot of work, onwards and upwards as they say. Hopefully I'll have more video reviews in the future, and if not through MOVIECLIPS then maybe on my own.

EUROPA REPORT - REVIEW

Europa Report
June 27, 2013 (VOD)
August 2, 2o13
89 min
United States (English)

Directed by Sebastián Cordero
Written by Philip Gelatt


From the believable performances to the high fidelity of visual effects, Europa Report is an impressive sci-fi thriller worth your rapt attention.

A half-dozen international astronauts have just blasted off from our planet's surface. Their destination? Europa, the ice-covered moon of Jupiter. Predicting that life can be found under it's frozen surface, the privately funded mission has garnered a great amount of press. No, Weyland Interprises is not behind this endeavor, though the immediate comparison to Prometheus is warranted. Like that film, whose second and third acts frustrated me as much as they probably did you, Europa Report is an astounding technical achievement only mired by its script and pacing. This film will be completely overlooked come awards season, but it has already made my shortlist for the best visual effects in 2013. This praise is made all the more astronomical when you consider the mere 18-day shoot at Cine Magic Studios in Brooklyn that comprised the production of this film.

From the onset Europa Report appears to be a found-footage film. A myriad array of cameras in and out of the ship that would make the creators of The Truman Show proud are our windows into the landmark mission. Handheld digital cameras and helmet-cams are later introduced to add to the vantage points. Finally the long-running bewilderment of "Why in the hell would the characters still be running around with a rolling camera?!" that has bothered the found-footage movement (i.e. see my review of Chronicle) is a non-issue. It then becomes clear, with the inter-splicing of news reels and interviews before/after the mission, that this is a heavily assembled project. Overall, it's more faux-documentary than found-footage, a sub-genre that horror seems to have brought home to its own nest. One' s verisimilitude need not stretch far for the believability frequently established here.

A couple faces amongst the crew stuck out: Michael Nvyquist, Daniel Wu and Sharlto Copley (of District 9 fame). Even with this relative fame onboard, these six delivered refreshingly realistic performances that seldom brought me out of the experience. Copley especially gives what is one of my favorite supporting performances of the year. We'll see if he can bump himself off the list in his villainous turn in Elysium, another card at the sci-fi table due out next month.

After a technical mishap leads to a fatal accident for one of the crew their mission takes on an all-new gravity. Speaking of which, that nerve-wracking sequence evokes the teaser trailer for Alfonso Cuaron's upcoming film, Gravity, which in turn evokes an unforgettable sequence in 2001: A Space Odyssey, one fo the best films - let along sci-fi films - ever crafted. If I haven't made it clear by now Europa Report  may have one of strongest airs of authenticity since Kubrick's masterpiece.

Europa Report completely nails several aspects of a space voyage, the take off and eventual landing for starters. After they are in the clear and out of the Earth's atmosphere there is a relieving jubilation aboard the ship and back home. Seat-belts are unfastened and Johan Strauss's "The Blue Danube" is queued (another welcome nod to 2001). Then there's the landing on Europa. How often have we seen landings on alien spheres in film? Everything from this year's Star Trek Into Darkness all the way back to Fred M. Wilcox's wondrous Forbidden Planet comes to mind. (That film by the way is a sci-fi classic pre-dating Star Trek, but feels like one of their galactic adventures nonetheless.) Europa Report may have the most impactful setting down on an extraterrestrial landscape since James Cameron's Aliens. Europa itself gets seen from afar (from outer space above) and then up close (upon and under it's surface), it's as convincing as anything NASA and the rest have shown us over the years. It's a foreign plane of mystere that has as strong an effect on the astronauts as it will on us. 

At one point a camera is brought under the ice and my thoughts were drawn to Werner Herzog's Encounters at the End of the World, a documented travel to Antartica, which might as well be Europa. In Encounters we meet the people who have drifted to the Arctic, it's small selection of indigenous life, and explore both sides of its glaciated ground. When we go under Herzog pontificates with the following, "Under the ice the divers find themselves in a separate reality where space and time acquire a strange, new dimension. Those few who have experienced the world under the frozen sky often speak of it as going down into the cathedral."

A quotation from Daniel Wu's character, one of the spacecraft's pilots, is repeated during the events of the film, "Even if we find nothing, it is in fact a discovery." This being a sci-fi thriller you can bet they'll be something. The film manages to regain its tension after what I felt was an unnecessary peak at drama-to-come during the first five minutes, no doubt an attempt to hook contemporary generations who don't care for slow Bunsen-style burns. From the time they send out one of the ship's droids, the film's rising action only continues to escalate. Less is more (especially when it comes to showing us what could be out there) and it appears that Ecuadorian director Sebastián Cordero fully understands that for that most part. I just wish that mentality would have been unbending throughout.

At times Europa Report's pacing feels akin to a (500) Days of Space as we jump back and forth through the timeline of the report. A digital counter at the the bottom of the screen keeps track of months, weeks, days and hours since they've left Earth, but I'll admit to losing track of the chronological flow. A cut and dry account from beginning to end, yes, much like a found-footage film, may have been much more effective. That also would have spared us from the talking head of Embeth Davidtz, a mission commander of sorts who provides the film with a narration after the events of the film. Her's is the only performance in the film that feels like just that, a performance.


There's something about seeing a film set nearly entirely in space from the open darkness of a theater. We're seated in our large chairs, like the astronauts onscreen, ready for take off, sharing a sense of wonder of what we're about to experience amidst a common black expanse. It's enough to fill that void until Gravity releases later this year. Europa Report is currently available on video on demand, but for fans of sci-fi, especially accounts with a striking allegiance to scientific realism, you may want to seek this out in theaters come August. Unfortunately the film is only getting a limited release at the beginning of next month, but if it is playing in a city near you and you're digging what you're hearing, it will be worth the voyage.

"Even if we find nothing, it is in fact a discovery."
- William Xu



★★★★

CONTENT: some frightening sequences, brief language

Thursday, July 18, 2013

THE FILM TOME REPORT: ISSUE 114


WEEKEND BOX OFFICE


1. Despicable Me 2 / 74% - $43.9M
2. Grown Ups 2 / 6% - $41.5M
3. Pacific Rim / 71% - $37.3M
4. The Heat / 63% - $14M
5. The Lone Ranger / 27% - $11.5M

Here's Scott Mendelson's analysis of the weekend box office over on Forbes.

NEW IN THEATERS



This Week
  • The Act of Killing* / 100%
  • Computer Chess* /100%
  • The Conjuring / 85%
  • Girl Most Likely* / 14%
  • Only God Forgives* / 47%
  • Red 2 / 42%
  • R.I.P.D.
  • Turbo / 65%


Last Week
  • Grown Ups 2 / 6%
  • Pacific Rim / 71%

* = limited release

NEW IN STORES


  • The Bitter Buddha / 94%
  • Bullet to the Head / 47%
  • The End of Love / 56%
  • Erased / 28%
  • Evil Dead / 62%
  • Solomon Kane / 65%
  • Wild Bill / 100%

% from Rotten Tomatoes
* * *

POSTER CHILD





This tease of a poster for Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is all about the 'stache, ban



This mondo poster for The Heat is an awesome callback to '80s action films.


This poster is our first glimpse of Edge of Tomorrow (formally known as All You Need Is Kill), directed by Doug Liman. It's an awesome suit our protagonist (Cruise) looks to be putting on.


* * *



CAST AWAY



John Lithgow (?!) and others join the cast for Christopher Nolan's upcoming sci-fi flick Intersteller. (Source: JoBlo)

* * *

ENLISTED




Today commences the San Diego Comic-Con, one of the biggest film geek events of any year. I'll be heading down for the day tomorrow. HitFix has listed their 10 most anticipated movie panels.



Die Hard  has been out for 25 years this week. Vulture ranks "The 25 Best Action Movies Since Die Hard."



In (dubious) honor of Grown Ups 2 HitFix considers "15 of the most unnecessary sequels of all--time."

* * *


THE GOOD



MOVIECLIPS lets us know what's must-see at Comic-Con today (Thursday). And here's their videos for Friday and Saturday.




In honor the action classic Die Hard's 25th Anniversary Matt Zoller Seitz shared a few words.

* * *

AND THE RANDOM




Neill Blomkamp (director of District 9 and his sci-fi follow-up Elysium) has recently talked about the possibilities of a Halo movie and a possible sequel a to District 9 among other things. (Source: JoBlo)

 * * *

OR THE COOL




Here's MOVIECLIPS with the Weekly Five (five things to be excited about this week in the world of entertainment!).



Check out this before/after effects reel for The Great Gatsby!



Nicolas Winding Refn did an Ask Me Anything on Reddit yesterday. I would've asked what somebody did ask, "Was the Driver autistic?" (Referring to the main character played by Ryan Gosling in Drive). Refn responded with, "Possibly." Translation = YES. I've been thinking back on the film through this lens for a while now and it makes perfect sense. Read the rest of that Q&A here and seek out Refn and Gosling teaming up again for Only God Forgives in select theaters this weekend!

Legendary Pictures has what they're calling the Godzilla Encounter at Comic-Con this year, no doubt in preparation for next year's Godzilla reboot. Check out 75 pictures of what this exhibit is via Collider.



Pacific Rim has left us debating some of the more important questions in life...


* * *


MAYBE THE HILARIOUS





How It Should Have Ended has tackled Man of Steel. Do you agree?



The Nic Cage's face on things fixation has really taken off, but you've never see it like this before!

* * *

TV TOO


Here is HitFix again, this time with their 10 most anticipated TV panels at Comic-Con.


* * *