January Weekend Viewings & Everybody’s Chattin’

Happy Friday everyone, and welcome to another edition of Everybody’s Chattin’!

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It’s been a week filled with sub-zero temps here, and indeed it’s been brutal waking up to – 12˚ F in the morning but hey, it makes us all Minnesotan tough! I’ve lived here about a year longer than anywhere else in the world, including my home country, so I count myself a Minnesotan now 😀

Well, we’re still smack dab in the middle of movie dumping grounds of the Winter months, so I’ll definitely be skipping all of the new releases this weekend. Yet another Hans Christian Andersen’s butcher-job adaptation Hansel & Grentel: Witch Hunters, Jason Statham’s Parker and the Farrelly brothers’ star-studded Movie 43 all looks like they’re only worth a rental, at best.

I plan on watching the BBC’s Emma starring the lovely Romola Garai that my co-worker lent me, and hopefully catch up on a Jimmy Stewart movie and more of The IT Crowd!

Now it’s time for links!

ApocalypseNowPosterYou know I adore my pal Michael‘s TMT series and this week he reviewed Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam-war themed classic Apocalypse Now. I’m not a war movie buff, but I might have to give that a watch at some point.

Another classic review of a film I haven’t seen yet, but I’m definitely intrigued as I quite like Chuck Heston. Jeff of The Stalking moon recently wrote an in-depth review of The Omega Man (1971). This one also deals with the ‘apocalypse’ but this time involving a plague caused by biological weapons! Reminds me of 28 Days Later, but with Moses, er I mean Heston being the only one left to save the human race. Yeah, I’m game for that!

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AnthonyMackieManyFacesAnother favorite blog series of mine is Nostra‘s ‘The Many Faces’ and today he’s highlighting one of my favorite actors, Anthony Mackie. I’ve only seen about five of his films so far, and though he didn’t have a leading role in most, he’s always great to watch. I missed Night Catches Us at TCFF a couple of years back where he’s actually the lead, so I have to catch that soon. I’m thrilled that the 33-year-old Louisiana native will be in Captain America: Winter Soldier!

Eric just posted a few rental mini reviews and I’m glad to see he has some nice words for Headhunters! That’s one of my favorite films of 2012. Haven’t seen the other three though, I’m pretty sure Killer Joe is not my cup of tea.

UpstairsDownstairsPosterYou can always count on Terrence to post the latest movie trailers every week, but this sci-fi drama is one I’ve been wanting to see: Upside Down. I love a sci-fi star-crossed romance, which is why the premise of this one intrigues me. Check out the latest poster and trailer of the movie starring Jim Sturgess and Kristen Dunst. I really hope this turns out good!

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I carry this picture with me always… that’s Floppy sitting on my lap

Lady Sati recently reviewed another winning clay-mation feature from Tim Burton, Frankenweenie. The premise should appeal to every dog lovers, and as someone who lost my beloved Floppy in grade school, I know it’ll be quite emotional for me. Sati actually rated it higher than Corpse Bride which I like, so I definitely need to rent it soon!


Keith is apparently a huge fan of French Cinema. His recent review of Girl on the Bridge sounds quite intriguing. What he said here really sold me “… the real magic of this picture lies in the unusual relationship between these two lost souls.” The film stars Daniel Auteuil and Vanessa Paradis (Johnny Depp’s former flame).


Now lastly, I’d like to highlight a new blog I discovered recently. Mr Rumsey happens to be a fellow Bond fan as well, so it’s been fun ‘chatting’ with him about Bond, even though I need to get him to come around on his thoughts on Dalton, ahah. In any case, check out Mr Rumsey’s Film Related Musings blog.

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He recently did a sweet review of one of my 2011 favorites, Warrior.

I’ll be doing this for future Everybody’s Chattin’ post whenever I come across a new blog I like.


So what are you going to see this weekend? Whatever you do, hope it’s a good one!

Guest Reviews from fellow TCFF Bloggers: Frankenweenie and The Master

I was away at an interactive design conference all day today, folks, but I wanted to introduce you to two fellow TCFF bloggers who’ll be covering the film fest with me. June actually covered TCFF last year for her Girl Producer blog, but this will be the first time Emery will be covering the film fest. She’s currently studying film at the U of M Film.

Thanks June and Emery for your reviews!


FRANKENWEENIE 

Ah a beloved story of a child and his dog mixed with Ghoulish looking people, black and white theatrics, and animal zombies. Wait… what?

Frankenweenie started at a short film that got Director Tim Burton fired from Disney. Yep, fired. So it is only fitting that years later he is hired back and given a chance to revisit his old tale now embraced by Disney.

So what to say about the film? It is definitely true to the Burtonesque nature of things with it’s dark theatrics and beloved stop motion claymation and snappy humor that you have to be quick to catch. And in old Disney fashion there is something for both kids and adults to enjoy. Having seen the short years ago I was excited to see how things played out in the feature version. The thing about Burton is that he always creates fascinating abstract characters and that remains true in this film.

This is a great Halloween film that the whole family can enjoy, just be aware that there are some darker moments in the film that may be unsuitable for those really young.

– review by June Neely

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3 out of 5 reels


THE MASTER

The Master is a period piece, set directly after WWII, it focuses on a veteran named Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix), who is returning home. Either the war wreaked havoc on his mental state (a victim of PTSD) or he is inherently a troubled person. Whatever the reasoning is for his behavior/personality there isn’t a place for him in this post-war environment. This is the case until he meets Lancaster Dodd (the always lovely Philip Seymour Hoffman) and his wife Peggy (Amy Adams), who are the founders and leaders of The Cause; the Cause is a theologically-based group that exhibits traits of a sophisticated cult.

Lancaster recognizes that Freddie needs help and takes him in, believing that he can fix him. The two men’s personalities are dissimilar to such an extent that all of their interactions put you on pins and needles. Each character brings their own tension, and each interaction creates new discomfort – laughter seems to be the most appropriate reaction. Considering Paul Thomas Anderson’s past work, if it wasn’t unsettling and confusing, many viewers would be disappointed.

Over the course of the film, The Cause becomes more and more questionable. Before the release of this film, there were rumors that this was going to be a Scientology movie– P. T. A. based The Cause and Dodd’s character loosely off of L. Ron Hubbard (founder of Scientology) and his original group of followers. Despite resemblances, any connection with the current religion has been denied.

Paul Thomas Anderson is a highly acclaimed writer-director; he is responsible for a mere six feature films, yet all of them have numerous accolades. The acting is award-worthy, but I doubt that this will rake in the awards like 2007’s There Will Be Blood, but fans of PTA will be far from disappointed.

This is not a movie – as in something you would want to see in your leisure for quick (mindless) entertainment – this is a film. The cinematography is breathtaking (I saw it in 70mm – every shot looks like a photograph); this film is driven by its characters, which are genuine and memorable, and though the narrative takes a back seat, it is far from dull.

One of the quirks of Freddie Quell’s PTSD is that he’s a raving alcoholic, and there are a few points during the film where Freddie is shown making his own product. I have found an interview from the Vulture website that discusses the plausibility of distilling and getting intoxicated with household chemicals (worth a read after you go see The Master).

The R rating is deserved; Freddie has bad habits and the audience is given a full serving of his mature lifestyle. I walked out of the theater with my faith in today’s film industry totally restored. I am trying to give away as few plot spoilers as possible, while whole-heatedly advocating everyone to go see this. Waiting for it to come out on DVD is fine and dandy, but missing an opportunity to see this on the silver screen would be foolish.

Fun fact about the film: The Master grossed an average of $146,000 per theater during its limited release (sep. 15 and 16)– the second-highest total for a limited-release live-action film.

– review by Emery Thoresen

4 out of 5 reels


Thoughts about either one of these films? Let’s hear it in the comments!