Eddie Marsan

worldsend08

It’s pretty clear that Edgar Wright and his sometime co-writer/star Simon Pegg are movie junkies. Their series Spaced was all about allusions to their TV and film favorites, while the first two installments of the “Cornetto trilogy,” Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, were tributes to zombie and action flicks, respectively. With The World’s End, the homage and referencing continues. Even though the message of the movie is to move forward not backward, and even though it’s apparently a veiled criticism of Hollywood’s own nostalgic impulses, it’s okay for a movie this clever to have its influences and predecessors as long as the acknowledgment is through nods to the past works rather than a recycling or cloning of them. One key difference between what Wright does and what the remake/reboot machine does is he provides a gateway to older movies and the machine creates a substitution, a replacement. As a true movie lover, Wright is known for hosting programs of beloved classics and cult classics, usually in hopes of introducing his fans to stuff they’ve never seen. He also likes to name other films that have informed his work and are worth checking out either prior to or after seeing his movies. The following list is not all selections that he has credited nor that he would necessarily endorse. It’s a combination of some of his picks (found mentioned elsewhere) and some of my own, some obvious and some not, some great and some just worth a look for […]

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Jack the Giant Slayer

Jack the Giant Slayer is like an expensive remake of The Brothers Grimm, except more pricey and less interesting. Director Bryan Singer has always been a reliable director, but as is sometimes the case with Terry Gilliam the audience for his latest work seems unclear. It’s too goofy for most adults, not energetic enough for kids and instead exists as a tonally bizarre, lethargically paced oddity. It does manage the occasional moments of light-hearted entertainment, but they’re few and far between resulting in a strange and surprising misfire since on paper Jack’s journey sounds like a sure thing of a popcorn movie.

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We’ve been hearing about Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s next film together as co-writers for a while. A mashup between the concepts of the pub crawl and the apocalypse, The World’s End has been said to be the third film in an informal trilogy that started with Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Other than Wright directing and co-writing the film with Pegg, we’ve also known from the start that Pegg was set to re-team with Nick Frost as its stars. But, seeing as the film’s synopsis says that it’s about five friends in their forties trying to recreate an epic pub crawl they completed when they were younger, there’s always been a question of who else was going to be joining the cast. Well, a press release put out by Universal today not only confirms a couple names that have been floating around for a while, it also adds two more to the mix.

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War Horse is a sprawling war epic that’s so old-fashioned it belongs in a museum. Not only has director Steven Spielberg painstakingly recreated the look and feel of a classical picture of this scope, imbued with a heavy dose of mid-century British formalism, he’s essentially made a carbon copy of a David Lean movie. Such a nostalgic enterprise would be welcome if it told a story worth telling, with the strong, determined characters and bold cinematic brushstrokes of a Lean picture. Spielberg’s film does nothing of the sort — it’s a stodgy, ridiculous movie with a horse that simultaneously serves as an allegory for the bond that unites all mankind and a symbol of profound, idealized purity.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr goes rogue and infiltrates his local IMAX theater. First, he scales the wall of the plus-sized building and slides in undetected through the air vents. He slowly lowers himself into a theater seat to enjoy an early screening of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Unfortunately, he finds himself in the middle of a wild crowd of six-year-old kids for the early screening of the latest Alvin and the Chipmunks movie. To deal with the psychological damage, Kevin then stumbles into the Sherlock Holmes sequel and later finds an extra seat in Young Adult, where he can imagine that his chubby caboose could land a hottie like Charlize Theron.

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Did you not already get your fill of the Jack and the Beanstalk myth from this year’s Puss in Boots? Good, because Bryan Singer has his own (live-action) take on the tale, and the results look to be similarly cartoonish. Listen, you try to make magic beans look menacing while also crafting a giant goddamn beanstalk that pops up out of the ground without it looking totally bizarre and silly, okay? Oh, you did already? Oh. Oh, that looks nice! While there was a fair bit of buzz around Singer’s Jack the Giant Killer before the film blossomed into existence (see what I did there?) mainly regarding Singer talking about the project for over two years, casting rumors as to who would be starring as the titular Jack (Aaron Johnson and Andrew Garfield were both talked about before the role went to another superhero kiddo, X-Men: First Class‘s Nicholas Hoult), and a delay that pushed the film back almost a year, news on the project has been surprisingly scarce since it started filming earlier this year. So what’s the finished result of the classic tale reimagined going to look like? Well, if you believe this trailer, a bit like a cross between Puss and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Check out the first trailer for Jack the Giant Killer, complete with its own big-eyed orange kitty (seriously), after the break.

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The bleak, grey world of Tyrannosaur will be familiar to anyone who’s spent time in the cinematic universe of British miserablism, that subgenre of grim movies set on the isles. Protagonist Joseph (Peter Mullan) inhabits a milieu of depressed flats and rundown pubs, living a hopeless existence on the estate in Leeds. Yet, the movie is the feature filmmaking debut of the terrific character actor Paddy Considine, who is not content to simply wallow in the misery.  The director transforms what, at first appears to be the straightforward portrait of a violent man, into an affecting love story that chronicles his subtle redemption. In doing as such, the filmmaker has given an exceptional vehicle to Mullan and Olivia Colman, who plays a shopkeeper named Hannah. Considine’s characters are not simply defined by first impressions and easy conclusions; instead, they’re afforded the opportunity to grow and change, to reveal the reservoirs of experience, the unexpected strengths and profound, hidden weaknesses that collectively define their lives.

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Almost a year ago we got our first glimpse of William Monahan‘s (the writer behind The Departed and Kingdom of Heaven) directorial debut, London Boulevard, but it’s unfortunately taken a while for it to open in the states. Originally the film was going to be released by FilmDistrict, then not too long ago IFC took over distribution. While the British gangster pic wasn’t greeted with the best response, I happen to like Monahan’s debut a whole lot. This trailer, which is fairly similar to the U.K. one, is well representative. It sells the slickness and cool factor just right, where the film works best. The film isn’t as grand or as epic as The Departed, but it’s a smooth and clever directorial about a gangster trying not to be a gangster. And, yes, Ray Winstone is as fun as he looks in this trailer.

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William Monahan‘s directorial debut, London Boulevard, has been sitting on the shelf for some time now. The gangster pic got released in the U.K. last November, but we have seen no official press materials stateside. FilmDistrict was originally going to distribute the film for us American folk, but that no longer seems to be the case. IFC Films has swung in and picked up the U.S. distribution rights. With the talent involved, it could very well be their first investment to earn more than ten dollars. Considering they are a company that takes admirable chances, good for them. They will be giving Monahan’s film their usual indie treatment. First, it’ll premiere on VOD (October 5th), then later on hit limited release (November 14th). One would think a movie starring Colin Farrell would get a wider release than this, but the strategy makes sense. London Boulevard is not the most commercial film, and it’s far from a critical darling. The movie was ripped to shreds by critics in the U.K., and it’ll probably be received the same way here.

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The opening of The Disappearance Of Alice Creed is a fantastic how-to guide on planning, preparing for, and executing the abduction of a human being. So be sure to pay attention and take detailed notes. Two men walk silently through a store picking out items for the day ahead… a drill, rolls of duct tape, a ball gag… just the essentials. We see them next applying skills they picked up in shop class to secure and soundproof a van and a bedroom. (I’m pretty sure the latter was featured on an episode of the TLC show, Trading Spaces.) Remodeling complete, they dress in identical uniforms, drive out in to the world, and return with a writhing and whimpering woman with a hood over her head. They arrive at the dimly lit bedroom, and without uttering a single word to each other or to their wiggling prize they shackle her to the bedposts, remove all of her clothing, take some pictures, dress her in sweats, and leave her in a dark and locked room. Her name is Alice Creed. And before her ordeal is over secrets will be revealed, relationships will be shattered, and everyone’s will to survive will be tested.

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Alice Creed

Trailers are so 2009. Welcome to the future of film marketing as Anchor Bay releases the first five minutes of The Disappearance of Alice Creed onto the interwebs! Yeah, I know it’s not the first film to market itself this way (hell, Wolverine upped the ante by releasing the entire film in advance), but it’s still an interesting move. Doubly so in this case as the lead actress is nowhere to be seen…

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Imagine Taken if the young girl who got kidnapped also had a set of special skills and planned on fighting back.

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kevin-reportcard-header

Kevin Carr sits his chubbiness down and sees if Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, Sherlock Holmes and It’s Complicated can make the grade.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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