A great sci-fi movie opens this weekend, and it isn’t Transformers. Bong Joon-ho‘s Snowpiercer is finally out in the US. The film is in limited release, but it is the original cut. That’s right — Harvey Weinstein relented from his notion of drastically trimming the movie. So we don’t have to live with a version of this social breakdown allegory that is shorn of twenty minutes, and stitched back together with voiceover.
Chis Evans stars in the film as one of a small group that makes up the last of the human population on Earth. These people are all confined to a train that protects the people from sub-arctic conditions outside. Within the little bubble of the train’s society, the remaining civilization has broken down into two factions. The underclass resides at the rear of the train, subsisting on gelatinous processed food cubes and living in squalor. The upper class enjoys outright luxury in the forward cars. Their well-to-do-ness is not relative to the ugly conditions at the back; it looks more like a first-class ticket on the Orient Express.
Tensions come to a head as Evans leads a violent rush from back to front, and a huge cast plays into the action. Song Kang-ho, Go Ah-sung, Jamie Bell, Ewen Bremner, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, and Ed Harris all have roles. The action is top-notch, the characters are exaggerated to just the right degree, and Bong’s directorial hand is calm and authoritative. Hopefully you’ll be able to get out to see Snowpiercer this weekend; tell us what you thought of the film below. Read More »
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The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby may look like a pretty standard romantic drama, but it has an unusual origin. The film, which is the debut of writer/director Ned Benson, originally played the Toronto Film Festival in very different form. There, it was two films, “Him” and “Her,” which together told the story of the difficult relationship between Conor (James McAvoy) and Eleanor (Jessica Chastain), and the aftermath of a particularly difficult time in their lives.
At Cannes, the project showed up as one film, sub-titled “Them”, which picks and chooses footage from both of the original halves to merge the distinct viewpoints of the original films to create a single film that is a bit more mainstream. This first Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby trailer gives a glimmer of Chastain’s performance, which won acclaim at the festivals, but hides the core trauma that threatens to destroy the relationship between the two characters. Read More »
After some protracted disagreements with the Weinstein Company, Bong Joon-Ho’s Snowpiercer will finally hit theaters this weekend in the form that Bong intended. I’ve been a huge fan of Bong Joon-Ho since I saw Memories of Murder on DVD years ago. I find that he’s able to deftly balance wildly divergent tones in his films, from the zany to the serious, from the fantastical to the relatable.
While I had a few issues with Snowpiercer’s script (particularly some of its third-act exposition), it’s a singular film that’s like nothing else out in theaters right now. If you are lucky enough to have this film playing in a theater near you, definitely check it out.
I had the chance to chat with Bong Joon-Ho when he was here in Seattle hosting a Q&A for the film. We spoke through a translator and discussed the use of violence in Snowpiercer, his script-writing process with Kelly Masterson, and his struggles to get final cut. This interview has been edited for length and clarity, and to eliminate spoilers.
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This week, audiences in the US finally get to see Bong Joon-ho‘s post-apocalyptic sci-fi film Snowpiercer. It is a terrific movie — an intense tale of social strife with a spectacular cast and a real aesthetic vision. (It also has some of the best action scenes in a film so far this year.)
Even with all the great stuff Snowpiercer has going for it, one asset really stands out. Tilda Swinton can be relied upon to give an attention-getting performance in just about anything. Here, she throws herself into the material, putting some dental appliances to good use and spitting out dialogue with a conviction that could wither just about any onlooker. But not Chris Evans; in this clip, Swinton’s speech only angers him, and makes him more determined to act. Watch below. Read More »
In light of this new Paddington trailer, the recent #creepypaddington meme is even more odd than it was in the first place. (Granted, it was also rather funny.) Because there isn’t anything creepy at all about this footage. Here we see the bear Paddington (endearingly voiced with grunts and gasps by Colin Firth) as he tries to navigate a few of the complexities of modern life. That includes a long sequence in a bathroom, much of which is utterly adorable. Watch below. Read More »
Sin City is a place of excess, and the new Sin City: A Dame to Kill For trailer should fit right in. There is the parade of stars and notable guest-stars, from Josh Brolin, Eva Green and Joseph Gordon-Levitt to Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, and Powers Boothe. Then there’s the violence, and the sex, and the splashes of color splattered across the stark black and white imagery. Looks like there’s a lot going on in this new trip to Sin City; watch the trailer below. Read More »
A live-action adaptation of the popular book series Paddington is one of this year’s big Christmas films. The Weinstein Company released a teaser trailer a few months back but it offered only a glimpse at the talking bear. Now, the first images from the film – which features Nicole Kidman, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters and Jim Broadbent – have been released. That, in itself, isn’t particularly exciting. What the photos spawned is.
In the photo (seen above) Paddington looks rather ominous, which inspired an online meme called “#CreepyPaddington.” There, people have been photoshopping the bear into various horror movies and the results are pretty hilarious. Check out a bunch of Creepy Paddington images below. Read More »
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Alejandro Amenábar, despite having made only a few films, has quite the resume. One of his early features was remade by Cameron Crowe as Vanilla Sky, and he directed The Sea Inside (which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, and helped introduce Javier Bardem to global audiences) and The Others.
Now he returns this year with a new film called Regression. The crime thriller stars Ethan Hawke and Emma Watson in a story where Watson plays a young woman who accuses her father of a horrific crime, of which he has no memory. The first image of the pair (above) has just been released. It’s not a cheery image, but the return of Amenábar is a good thing indeed.
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