Russia

A Good Day to Die Hard Teaser

Though the atrocities committed by Len Wiseman’s installment in the Die Hard franchise, Live Free or Die Hard, were myriad, perhaps none was more grievous than its pussification of John McClane’s catch phrase, “Yippee ki-yay, motherfucker,” to the coy and no less offensive, “Yippee ki-yay, *gunshot noise*,” so that what should have been a hard R-rated action movie could get a PG-13 rating and play to an audience of teenyboppers who probably don’t even know what a Die Hard is. The first trailer for this fifth installment in the Die Hard franchise, director John Moore’s A Good Day to Die Hard, didn’t give us any indication as to whether or not the real version of McClane’s catch phrase would be reinstated in this film—instead it was just an adrenaline pumping mishmash of guns shooting, things exploding, and women undressing; which is fine and all, but doesn’t give us much to go by when judging how this film is going to differ from its predecessors. This international trailer for the film, along with a poster that was debuted by Entertainment Weekly, give us a little bit more of an idea of what to expect, however, and not all of it is good. This trailer gives us a little bit more plot (it becomes clear that McClane has traveled to Moscow to get his son out of some kind of trouble), it gives us a little bit more McClane dialogue (it turns out he’s still gruff and put upon), and it even […]

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Foreign Objects - Large

The goal of this column has always been to explore international cinema from all around the globe. To that end I’ve been an inconsistent tour guide as our destinations haven’t been as evenly spread about as they could have been. My own preferences lean towards traditional Asian, Western European and South American cinema which means Foreign Objects explores places like Africa, Eastern Europe or India very rarely. Russia is a huge country with a long-standing film community, but in our 131 installments we’ve only visited there twice… first for the abysmal Philosophy of a Knife and then for the mediocre Alien Girl. Which probably explains why it took so damn long for me to return… Elena is a fifty-something house wife to a well-off retiree named Vladimir. Together just two years, their relationship is more an extension of how they met than a true marriage. She was a nurse, he was a patient, and now her caregiver role continues. She sleeps on a couch, wakes early, keeps the high rise apartment clean and prepares Vladimir’s breakfast, lunch and dinner. Both have grown children from previous marriages, both of them irresponsible in their own ways, but while Vladimir has a soft spot for his daughter he harbors nothing but disdain for Elena’s son. A heart attack sidelines the old man, and with callous forethought he informs Elena that he’s going to change his will to make his daughter sole inheritor. What’s a mother with a son and infant grandson in need […]

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Drinking Games

As the Christmas week movies continue to roll out on DVD and Blu-ray this spring, you’re left with plenty of holiday-themed choices after Easter, like the weepy Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and the equally rapey The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and In the Land of Blood and Honey. Why not consider some invisible killer aliens to go in with the mix. Telling the story of random survivors on the streets of Moscow after a violent interstellar invasion, The Darkest Hour gives the world hope… if your definition of hope is a dancing at a killer club scene with Speed Racer before blindly battling electric aliens. While vodka might be the obvious choice, you might want something a little more light, especially if you opt for the at-home 3D version of the film. Focus might become a problem.

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Contemporary Russian cinema is an odd beast in the sense that not a lot of it seems to be reaching our shores. The last director from the region to make a splash in the Western world was Timur Bekmambetov. His modern day fantasies about the Swatch phenomenon, Night Watch and Day Watch, netted him production deals in Hollywood and his successful US debut with Wanted, but since then the iron curtain of creativity has seemingly been dropped back into place. But just because US audiences aren’t seeing them doesn’t mean they’re not out there. Case in point is the new film Alien Girl… a violent crime thriller about bad guys with guns and a badder woman with brains. And a vagina.

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