‘Housebound’ Trailer

The last movie I reviewed, Calvary, was a pretty good film, despite a lack of balance between dramatic and comedy elements.  I mention it because I think that I found a movie that gets it right.  Gerald Johnstone‘s Housebound revolves around a woman (the aptly named Morgana O’Reilly) as Kylie Bucknell, the partner of a not-too-competent criminal who’s caught while failing to rob an ATM.

I assume that she’s considered to be be just an accomplice, a first offender, or perhaps she’s underage because instead of going to prison she has to stay with her mother in the boonies, and wear one of those electronic anklets that inform the police if she leaves the residence.

And Kylie hates living with her mum, who appears a bit daft, though it appears that that’s the least of her problems.  The house seems to be haunted (her parents, for whatever reason, didn’t pick up on the signs, such as lights that go on and off for no apparent reason, doors that open without the presence of a draft or a person on the other side, etc) by a ghost with murderous intent.

As I said, it looks like fun because it’s all about balancing the humor with the horror.

‘Calvary’ Review

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 4.20.12 PM

John Michael McDonagh’s Calvary had a preview showing in Washington, DC, where the director as well as Brendan Glesson discussed not only what they were trying to do with the film, but the broader landscape that it existed in.

Interview

A discussion with John Michael McDonagh and Brendan Gleeson

There was a period for questions from the audience as well, which made for a pretty interesting evening.  It also had an (unfortunate) effect of highlighting what McDonagh was trying to do with Calvary, and was only occasionally successful at.

Which I will get into momentarily.

Brendan Gleeson plays Father James Lavelle, a Catholic priest in Ireland, who’s faith was his sword and shield in a world where he now serves as little more than a person of interest, of curiosity.  It’s an attitude that he contributes to, and seeming cultivates, seeing that he wears traditional Catholic vestment on virtually all occasions.

His clothing harkened back to a time when a Catholic priest was believed to virtually of unimpeachable morality, before the seemingly rampant pedophilia in the Church stained the reputations of all that promoted its teachings.

As you can probably tell, Calvary is a pretty serious film; and if that were it’s only goal, it could be called nothing less than a rousing success.

But McDonagh is more ambitious that than, which in this particular instance is problematic because Calvary also wants to be a comedy–admittedly of the very dark variety–and comes up short.

The problem is that the subject matter is so serious, so loaded with pathos, that the comedy has to be bold as well, and for the most part, it isn’t.  Though there is one moment, when Father Lavelle has a potentially violent encounter with Dr. Frank Hart (Aidan Gillen) that you could see where the film is trying to get to.

There are other instances and characters that are included for what I assume is primarily comedic effect, such as an altar boy, which works, and an odd parishioner, which doesn’t and brings to mind the two murdered twins from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining more than anything else.

And the movie needed more humor because it’s not an easy film, and it’s inclusion would have gone a long way toward justifying the ending, which is more Mel Gibsonesque that I would have expected.

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Comic-Con Trailer

Originally I was going to open things up with the trailer for 50 Shades of Gray, but let’s be honest:  I don’t care about that movie, and if you’re reading this blog you probably don’t either.  And not that anyone asked, but–since I am being honest–the best thing that could have happened to Charlie Hunnam was leaving what looks to me potentially like a train wreck.

Based on his answers to the interviewer’s questions Hunnam should be in politics because few actors are so effortlessly self-effacting and diplomatic.

So, instead here’s the trailer for George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road,” from Comic-Con 2014, where the bondage is less about eroticism and more about…bondage.

‘Tusk’ Trailer

Tusk comes courtesy of Kevin Smith, a director that I find more interesting as a media personality than as a director.  The last film of his I saw, Red State, I recall being disappointed over because it advertised itself as one thing–a horror film–when it was actually quite another–essentially a thriller about religious zealots.

His most recent effort appears to be vaguely similar to Stephen King’s Misery, in that someone (Justin Long) is held captive by a nutcase, though in this case it seems that the protagonist is less interested in breaking bones than changing the very form of his captive.

Into a walrus, by surgical means, if the trailer is at all accurate.

Looks like fun.

‘Hot Tub Time Machine 2′ Red Band Trailer

You don’t watch a movie called Hot Tub Time Machine expecting any sort of high-brow humor–and if you did it’s all on you because there wasn’t any be found–but what you did get was three actors thrown in the pretty bizarre situation, and their idiosyncratic ways of coping and adapting.

When you think about it, it could actually be the Citizen Kane of hot tub time machine movies.

The first time around apparently appealed to more people than just me, because Lou (Rob Corddry), Nick (Craig Robinson) and Jacob (Clark Duke, which can’t be the name he was born with) are back in Hot Tub Time Machine 2.

This time around it seems that the guys have, predictably, fraked up the future.  This really bothers someone (whom I am willing to bet is either Nick or Jacob), who then attempts to kill Lou.  Nick and Jacob get Lou back into the time machine, and attempt to stop the would-be killer.

It goes without saying that they bring their own special brand of incompetence to the proceedings.

‘Patrick’ Review

Patrick: Evil Awakens

Some Memories, And Coma Patients, Are Best Left Alone

Mark Hartley‘s Patrick, is currently on Netflix, and is surprisingly a engaging little horror film (before it jumps the rails, that is).  I was expecting something silly, on the level of an Asylum feature, it was actually pretty engaging, before the aforementioned rail jumping.

Charles Dance brought a much needed sense of dread and gravitas to things, and he reminded me somewhat of Peter Cushing of Christopher Lee, both of whom possessed the ability to make sub-par material at least interesting.

Unfortunately, no one–other than the writers, or maybe Edward Norton–can do anything to make a silly story less so, or help a movie regain the goodwill its lost (misplaced somewhere around the half-way mark).

Events unfold place almost entirely in a moody villa that houses the Roget Clinic, where Doctor Roget (Dance) experiments on his patients, assisted by his daughter, Matron Cassidy (Rachel Griffiths).

As of late the doctor seems particularly preoccupied by Patrick (Jackson Gallagher), whom was somehow put in a comatose state after murdering his mother and her lover.

Roget is particularly fond of electroshock therapy, as well as a drug that will look eerily familiar to anyone that’s seen Re-Animator.  If he’s able to bring Patrick out of his coma, it will prove that his theories are correct, and enable him to regain the fame and notoriety he once had before a fall from grace (something involving illegal experiments probably similar to those he’s currently performing, I’d guess).

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I Know That Rocket Isn’t Hispanic, But…

In the TV Spot No. 17, from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy you see a bit more of Groot and his relationship to Rocket.  Though what interested me most about the trailer is the way Rocket speaks.  He says: “Yes, you did, I just saw you do-ing it.  Why you ly-ing.”

And he sounds awfully ethnic, in fact, Hispanic.  Since Rocket is voiced by Bradley Cooper it’s seems unlikely that’s the feel he was going for; but don’t take my word for it, listen around the 0:04 mark.

It’s an odd bit of voice work.

‘Boyhood’ Review

Boyhood

 

Boyhood Is A Fascinating Movie More Because Of How It Was Made, Than The Movie Itself

I just saw Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, and it was pretty interesting, though mostly on the technical level (it was filmed over a period of 12 years); as an exercise in innovative filmmaking.  As a movie meant to engage an audience, it’s way too long–clocking in at almost three hours–and also curiously mistitled because for a movie named ‘Boyhood’ it deals very superficially with the ‘boy,’ of the title, Mason (Ellar Coltrane).

Traditional movies, when you see a young person age any length of time they’re typically played by a younger actor; so to see an actor literally age in front of you is pretty remarkable.

The problem is that Linklater doesn’t do anything–beyond the obvious–with his innovative idea.  Mason and his family go through ups, as well as downs (exemplified mostly by Mason’s mom, Patricia Arquette, and her serial marriages).

The actors all do their jobs well, though Ethan Hawke is particularly welcome as Mason’s father.  The thing is, if you take away the fascinating way that the movie was made, I honestly think Boyhood would be a pretty ordinary drama because when you get down to it the concept–watching a character literally age before our eyes–is the most interesting thing that it has going for it.

Though once you get used to that, which for me happened sometime around the 2 hour mark, when I began to get a bit antsy, and things got a bit less interesting.

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‘The Prince’ Trailer

From what I can tell from the trailer Brian A. Miller‘s The Prince has nothing at all to do with Machiavelli’s book, which is a pity because I think it would be particularly neat to see a bad guy who treated it as his moral compass.

That being said, the ‘Prince’ is this particular instance is Paul (Jason Patric), who was known by that moniker when he was an assassin.  Now he works as a mechanic–I have no idea why.  It seems to me that it would be good job to take if he wanted to stay under the radar, but seeing that we’re talking about movies and assassins are generally really well-paid, I am not quite seeing it.

In any case, somehow his activities in that prior life are discovered by Omar (Bruce Willis, unfortunately not Michael K. Williams), who apparently had someone he loved killed by the Prince, and wants payback.

So he kidnaps Paul’s daughter.

Now you’re probably wondering if I just forgot to include Liam Neeson, and you’d be right because it does sound like a more morally ambiguous version of Taken.

And what is it with John Cusack, who plays ‘Sam?’  This is the second movie that I have seen him in where he plays second fiddle to another actor.  The first was Frozen Ground, with Nick Cage (great movie, by the way) and now this.  And that’s not meant to be critical of Jason Patric, though Cusack could probably bring a greater earnestness to the role.

And also, doesn’t it also sound like an Antoine Fuqua movie?  It feels like something that he was, at the the very least, considered for because it fits perfectly with the type of films he tends to work on.

‘Alien: Isolation’ Trailer

Alien: Isolation, if the trailer does the game any justice, is gorgeous.  The original Alien, the movie that came out in 1979, directly inspired the videogame and was (and still is to many) considered to be one of the scariest movies ever made.

The game play (as far as I can tell) as well as cinematics are directly based on the movie, down to reintroducing familiar characters like Dallas (Tom Skerritt), Lambert (Veronica Cartwright), Ash (Ian Holm), Parker (Yaphet Kotto), Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and I assume Brett (Harry Dean Stanton, who recently turned up in last year’s The Avengers) as well as flashbacks to Kane (John Hurt).

As I said, it’s an attractive game, but begs the question:  Why are they mining so deeply into the Alien franchise?  While some of the sequels weren’t particularly good (arguably, Alien 3 and indisputably, Alien: Resurection, the screenplay which was written by Joss Whedon), you can’t mine the past–in either games or movies–if the makers of either expect to have any sort of a future.

Which is why I am wondering why the designers of the game didn’t use a new scenario and characters that revolved around the Alien and an isolated group of humans.  If the gameplay was good I am reasonably sure that players would have no issue with characters they were unfamiliar with.