Cinema

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Cinema Clips: Tale of Tales

Posted By on Wed, May 18, 2016 at 11:15 AM


This is one oddball movie. Tale of Tales sort of comes off like David Lynch’s Princess Bride. Italian director Matteo Garrone (Gomorrah, Reality) adapts three fairytales and sort of mixes them together, creating one semi-consistent and relatively cohesive narrative.

In one of the stories, John C. Reilly plays a king (he actually looks like the Burger King) who must stalk a sea monster and get its heart so that his queen (Salma Hayek) can devour it and become pregnant. In another, Toby Jones plays another king who becomes fascinated with a flea, feeding it blood and steak until it grows to the size of a large sow. In yet another, Vincent Cassel is a king who falls in love with the voice of what he thinks is a fair maiden, but it turns out to be an old lady.

All of these characters share the same universe. There are times where it becomes a little lifeless, but the visuals are always remarkable, and some of the performances (especially Hayek and Jones) are pretty great.

Garrone knows how to put a film together on the visual side. He can use a little tightening up with the verbal part. Still, the overall experience is a good, albeit very bizarre, one, and lovers of decent fantasy films should indulge (Available for rent on iTunes, Amazon.com and On Demand during a limited theatrical release).

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Monday, May 16, 2016

Cinema Clips: The Meddler

Posted By on Mon, May 16, 2016 at 11:45 AM

Susan Sarandon gets a fun vehicle she deserves with this fine directorial effort from Lorene Scafaria (Seeking a Friend at the End of the World), who also wrote the clever and sweet screenplay.

Sarandon plays Marnie, a New Jersey widow who has moved to L.A. to be near her daughter, Lorie (Rose Byrne), a screenwriter dealing with the breakup of her latest relationship. Marnie has a bunch of money and a lot of time on her hands, so she calls her daughter constantly, brings her bagels, and basically drives her crazy. When Lorie heads back east to shoot a pilot, Marnie winds up befriending Lorie’s friends and making a few new ones, including Zipper (J.K. Simmons) and his chickens. Sarandon takes what could be a cliché character and makes her an endearing one, imbibing Marnie with a genuine warmness that makes her a welcomed “meddler” rather than a nuisance. Byrne disappears for a good chunk of the movie, but when she’s around, she and Sarandon have convincing mother-daughter chemistry. Simmons, normally the purveyor of brash, harsh and funny characters gets to show off his soft side, and Zipper is a real winner.

It’s a cute movie that isn’t too cute, and a must for Sarandon fans. Cecily Strong, Lucy Punch and Michael McKean have small but memorable roles among the strong supporting cast.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Casa Video Top 10

Posted By on Fri, May 13, 2016 at 12:00 PM

bigstock-set-cinema-popcorn-and-soda-114973988.jpg

So, what are we watching this weekend?

  1. The Revenant

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Cinema Clips: High-Rise

Posted By on Tue, May 10, 2016 at 10:00 AM


Director Ben Wheatley, who made a couple of weird films with A Field in England and the brilliant horror-comedy Sightseers, gets even weirder with his latest, an adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s 1975 novel about warfare inside a high-rise building.

Tom Hiddleston is Robert, a doctor who moves into the building to get a new start on life. He has an affair with the beautiful woman downstairs (Sienna Miller), makes himself some new friends, and even gets to know the building’s eccentric architect, Royal (Jeremy Irons).

Things are going relatively well in the complex, save for a couple of control panels and elevators breaking, when an occupant falls to his death. That sets off a chain reaction where the tenants fall into an anarchic state. They rape, they pillage, and they paint their own apartments with no authority to do so.

Wheatley’s movie has echoes of Gilliam and Kubrick, although he has an incredibly unique vision unto himself. Hiddleston is good in the lead, slowly falling into madness. There are times where the film doesn’t make much sense, but it’s always insane and somewhat enjoyable.

Having lived in apartments most of my life, I’d say much of what happens in this complex is fairly accurate.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Cinema Clips: The Man Who Knew Infinity

Posted By on Mon, May 9, 2016 at 10:43 AM


S. Ramanujan was one of the greatest scientific minds to ever roam the Earth. Writer-director Matthew Brown’s film chronicles the time he spent in London studying with G.H. Hardy and formulating some of his greatest mathematical breakthroughs.

While there is no doubt Ramanujan’s contributions to society are massive, the movie about how he reached his conclusions is a bit of a dud.

Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons labor hard as Ramanujan and Hardy, delivering admirable performances. However, much of this movie is men sitting at tables with pencils trying to figure stuff out, and men writing a bunch of numbers on chalkboards. This doesn’t make for captivating cinema. The movie brushes upon other subjects, such as the racism Ramanujan faced, and his wife back in India. These subplots do little to move the story along, and the film just sort of drags. Patel and Irons are not at fault. Heck, Brown had a monumental task making this story compelling. He is only about fifty percent successful. The movie is, ultimately, a bit of a bore. 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Casa Video Top 10

Posted By on Fri, May 6, 2016 at 9:45 AM

"Sweatpants while watching a movie? Preposterous!" - BIGSTOCK
  • BigStock
  • "Sweatpants while watching a movie? Preposterous!"

Your to-do list for this weekend: set yourself up with an icy drink, work out your summer survival plan and finish your Best of Tucson® ballot

When you're all done with that, maybe settle into your couch for a movie or two. Here's your Casa Video Top 10 for the week:

1. The Revenant

Continue reading »

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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Students’ Silver Screen Visions Come to Life This Weekend at the Fox

Posted By on Thu, May 5, 2016 at 4:45 PM


A handful of the UA's School of Theatre Film & Television Bachelor of Fine Arts seniors will share their thesis films with the Tucson community in the Institute’s “I Dream in Widescreen” screening event this Saturday, May 7, at The Fox Theater.

The event is the culmination of the entire BFA program, according to Lisanne Skyler, an associate professor at the School of Theatre, Film and Television.

“It is such a celebration of filmmaking and the creative process, and it really is an event that brings together the whole community because its not just students in the program that are working on the films, but also actors you might see in the community at the Rogue,” she said. “There’s really a lot of collaboration with the Tucson community.”

Skyler said the student filmmakers start synthesizing their story ideas and screenwriting their respective films over the summer before their senior year so that when they return to school in the fall, they’re ready to hit the ground running.

“By that fall semester, they’ve cast it, they’ve shot it and they’ve put together a rough cut,” she said. “And then in the first part of the spring semester, they start refining the cut, getting feedback, they start working on their sound design. And right around now, they’re putting on the finishing touches.”

Proud parent-like professor praises aside, the three BFA students I spoke to seem to share a collective attitude about “I Dream in Widescreen.” That being said, they’re excited it’s almost over. But not in a bad way.

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Monday, May 2, 2016

Cinema Clips: Francofonia

Posted By on Mon, May 2, 2016 at 10:31 AM


In what amounts to a very different sort of documentary, writer-director Aleksandr Sokurov ruminates on the French during the WWII Nazi occupation and, most notably, its impact on the Louvre art museum.

Sokurov utilizes archive footage, stills and reenactments to look over this part of world history and the importance of art to civilization. The film has idiosyncratic touches where the modern and WWII worlds mix (there’s a strange one involving a golf cart), and it’s safe to say it doesn’t play by any rules.

It qualifies as a great study on the Louvre and its importance to the art world and the absurdity of the Nazi regime. The film takes a little bit of time to get used to. Once you figure out the style the director is employing, it becomes quite fascinating. It’s a very unique, very loose history lesson of sorts, while being a nice little intellectual workout. It covers how the artworks were preserved, while even employing some funny little touches of random humor. You also get a solid piece of war history, all within a movie that is constantly surprising you with its approach to its subjects.

In short, it’s unlike most documentaries you are likely to see.

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