Trailer Trash (Talking) Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

So yeah I watched this trailer. My initial thoughts?

  1. Well, I did not laugh this time – that is definitely a plus. When I saw the teaser that was released earlier this year before a film I do not even recall now (maybe Age of Ultron?), was left in tears. The trailer was dark, the voices were mumbled and I had not a clue what was going on.
  2. At least I know what the story is about vaguely. Yeah I know teasers are just that – their objective is to tantalize you enough that you want to know more. But as I stated in item #1 the teaser did not do anything for me.  In fact it initially left me confused. I was like, Where is Lex Luthor? Thankfully this fuller trailer answered that for me.
  3. Why so dark? Again, fully aware that DC’s comic universe is definitely a little bleaker than Marvel-land. Seems like that trend of contrasting styles is continuing in each respective cinematic universe. Side note: kind of funny these dissimilar styles especially when one considers that on television/Netflix the reverse is true with Marvel seemingly going shades darker with programming such as Jessica Jones and Daredevil while DC has gone the CW route with family-friendly Arrow and The Flash.
  4. Wonder … Wonder Woman. Have not been following this production schedule so don’t really know how big a role Wonder Woman actually has in film. There seems to be a lot of ground that needs to be covered in the whole Superman v Batman squaring off, and that says nothing about the insertion of Mr LOOTOUR into the fray.
  5. What is Batman thinking? I get it. You are mad at the damage caused by Superman vs General Zod. But really? Squaring off against an alien? Am curious to see how that works out for him. But it does seem like, according to the trailer, Alfred (Jeremy Irons) is telling him he needs to stop and think for a precious moment.

Ultimately still up in the air about whether or not I am going to see it in the theater …

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Who am I fooling? Sure I am gonna catch this, even if I am bracing for disappointment.

So what are your thoughts?

“Alien: Covenant” Title Treatment, Synopsis and Release Date Revealed

I thought this might be of interest to some of my readers – the title treatment for the forthcoming second chapter in the Alien prequel trilogy, Alien: Covenant:

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… and here is the official plot synopsis:
Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created in ALIEN with ALIEN: COVENANT, the second chapter in a prequel trilogy that began with PROMETHEUS — and connects directly to Scott’s 1979 seminal work of science fiction. Bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, the crew of the colony ship Covenant discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world — whose sole inhabitant is the “synthetic” David (Michael Fassbender), survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition.
Now you might recall my disappointment in 2012’s Prometheus, and will pardon me if I wait to find out more the details of what is in store for us. I expended a lot of goodwill and “blockbuster anticipation capital” for the franchise on the first go around, so my hesitation is really a matter of self-preservation.
At least it does seem as if the films’ creators learned one lesson from Prometheus – they extracted the best thing about that film in my opinion (Fassbender). Now as it stands, and based on my reading of the above synopsis, it might be an interesting cinematic exercise – having a synthetic (of all entities) performing in what is essentially in a “one man show.”
I could take a stab at potential themes, etc. that could be derived from this type of story, but (like I said earlier) it is probably best to wait until I actually have something to view before making any sort of analysis.
We do have a release date – Alien: Covenant is scheduled for release on October 6th, 2017. In other words, we have a little time to mull over our feelings.

 

The Force Will Be With Me …. Always

At this stage, my relationship status with the Star Wars franchise can best be described as ‘mixed.’

There have been bumps in the road, but overall, I have had a lifelong appreciation, some might say obsession, with Star Wars episodes 4-6 especially; so much so that as a youth:

  • I read the novelization of Star Wars an innumerable amount of times (don’t ask me to recall anything); as well taking multiple trips to the library to read articles and companion books about the Star Wars universe. Big deal you might say, but I will admit, even now, to not being the most voracious of readers – so this was in fact quite a feat of accomplishment for me.
  • Founded my own Star Wars fan club at my elementary school – granted there were probably only 5 members, and they were friends who probably just pitied me.
  • I took to playing with my brothers’ action figures and sets, once they aged out of them (don’t think they are aware of that fact — SURPRISE, guys).
  • I remember it like it was yesterday the moment my brothers came in from seeing Return of the Jedi in the theater and regaling us all with a blow by blow detail of what happened. It was so cool.
  • During a few bouts of illness, I passed my days of convalescence away by getting up early in the morning and timing it just so that I could watch every episode of the trilogy in succession before my dad and brothers got home from school. Please note younger readers – I was a youth in the time of the dinosaurs and when you would have one – maybe two televisions in the house and you had to do this interesting thing called SHARING. But I digress.

All of this to say Star Wars was a major part of my life. And in many ways, I can credit these three films being one part of what got me so passionate about movies. In fact, I give them a lot of credit.

Even as I got older and my cinematic tastes broadened and came to include multiple genres, there were still moments of fond recollection as I recalled these films. During my college years, I paid service to this mindset going to the re-release of at least one film (I think it was The Empire Strikes Back). If my roommate is reading this, I hope she will confirm which one(s) me might have seen in Charlottesville.

So, you can imagine my excitement at the very mention of prequels (Episodes 1-3) …

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… but then I got to the end of The Phantom Menace (the only one I went to the theater to see of the set).

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Needless to say, it did feel like a part of my childhood had been decimated by a world-weary, adult-level of cynicism. It followed that seeing these films felt more like an obligation than an event one meets great anticipation. I feared, maybe the magic was gone forever.

Years of dormancy followed, filled with the continued excitement of simply going to the movies, attending film festivals and just the business of getting on with one’s adult life.

So when (again) there was a major Star Wars announcement – that we would be moving forward with the story set in a galaxy far, far, away, I met it with a curious ambivalence.

Details trickled in and I made note of them and then, earlier this year, THIS happened:

Legit tears of I don’t know what – streamed down my face. I could not describe it. I watched that trailer I don’t know how many times, I texted family and friends describing my elation. I endured buffering on my YouTube feed, watching the live Star Wars trailer event, which included the seemingly odd experience of watching people watch the trailer breaking it down and reacting.

Yeah! Something to look forward to!

Fast forward to this past weekend’s events in San Diego (SDCC) – and this happened …

… followed by the pleasure of seeing old and new friends on stage talking about their experience.

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 10:  (L-R) Actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley and Oscar Isaac at the Hall H Panel for `Star Wars: The Force Awakens` during Comic-Con International 2015 at the San Diego Convention Center on July 10, 2015 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney) *** Local Caption *** John Boyega; Daisy Ridley; Oscar Isaac

SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 10: (L-R) Actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley and Oscar Isaac at the Hall H Panel for `Star Wars: The Force Awakens` during Comic-Con International 2015 at the San Diego Convention Center on July 10, 2015 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney) *** Local Caption *** John Boyega; Daisy Ridley; Oscar Isaac

 

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 10:  (L-R) Actors Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford at the Hall H Panel for `Star Wars: The Force Awakens` during Comic-Con International 2015 at the San Diego Convention Center on July 10, 2015 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney) *** Local Caption *** Carrie Fisher; Mark Hamill; Harrison Ford

SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 10: (L-R) Actors Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford at the Hall H Panel for `Star Wars: The Force Awakens` during Comic-Con International 2015 at the San Diego Convention Center on July 10, 2015 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney) *** Local Caption *** Carrie Fisher; Mark Hamill; Harrison Ford

All to be capped off by a wonderful, surprise celebration for the fans …

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 10: Following the `Star Wars` Hall H presentation at Comic-Con International 2015 at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, Calif., the audience of more than 6000 fans enjoyed a surprise `Star Wars` Fan Concert performed by the San Diego Symphony, featuring the classic `Star Wars` music of composer John Williams, at the Embarcadero Marina Park South on July 10, 2015 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)

SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 10: Following the `Star Wars` Hall H presentation at Comic-Con International 2015 at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, Calif., the audience of more than 6000 fans enjoyed a surprise `Star Wars` Fan Concert performed by the San Diego Symphony, featuring the classic `Star Wars` music of composer John Williams, at the Embarcadero Marina Park South on July 10, 2015 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)

I don’t think anything more needs to be said about the level of elation I feel.

In the end, all of this was to say the force has indeed been re-awakened in me and I cannot wait until the holiday season to catch Star Wars: The Force Awakens on the big screen.

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 10: Following the `Star Wars` Hall H presentation at Comic-Con International 2015 at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, Calif., the audience of more than 6000 fans enjoyed a surprise `Star Wars` Fan Concert performed by the San Diego Symphony, featuring the classic `Star Wars` music of composer John Williams, at the Embarcadero Marina Park South on July 10, 2015 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)

SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 10: Following the `Star Wars` Hall H presentation at Comic-Con International 2015 at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, Calif., the audience of more than 6000 fans enjoyed a surprise `Star Wars` Fan Concert performed by the San Diego Symphony, featuring the classic `Star Wars` music of composer John Williams, at the Embarcadero Marina Park South on July 10, 2015 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)

 

P.S. the downloadable app is pretty kick-ass too 🙂

 

The Third Man (1949), RESTORED

My film story, The Third Man was never written to be read but only to be seen … For me it is impossible to write a film play without first writing a story.

– Graham Greene, Preface to The Third Man novella

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Over the years, I have had the occasion to reference The Third Man on this blog. I am sure one could imply that I am a fan, but let me more clearly and officially go on record and declare:

I. FREAKING. LOVE. THIS. MOVIE.

From the moment I heard that haunting zither, I was transfixed by the tale of American pulp writer Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) and his search to unravel the mystery surrounding the circumstances of friend Harry Lime’s (Orson Welles) recent death in post-war Vienna.

I think the thing I love lost about The Third Man is how in sync my own journey through the film is with that of our primary character, Martins. As the story develops and it becomes more and more apparent that things are not what they seem, the audience, along with Martins, is left wondering what lies around the corner and encouraged to find out the exact truth.

Aided by a wonderful featured cast (that includes Trevor Howard and Alida Valli) and stunning, visually-striking black and white cinematography (courtesy of Robert Krasker), this is a film I can watch over and over again and never tire of.

ThirdManBut, as the title of this post suggests, I am not simply writing here to wax poetic about The Third Man. I wanted to use this opportunity to bring to my readers’ attention that, thanks to UK-based Deluxe Restoration, in association with distributors Rialto Pictures and on behalf of Studiocanal, we now have an all-new, first ever 4K digital restoration of this classic coming to cinemas nationwide starting tomorrow (June 26th).

Regarding my thoughts on this undertaking. As much as I have seen The Third Man, this is the first time I ever saw it on the big screen. And in watching it, was clear, that the film has been “cleaned up” considerably, as one would expect. But beyond that, I don’t have a basis (i.e. a 35mm projection viewing experience) to compare it to; I look to my fellow readers who have had this privilege to comment below if they notice anything. While I know this may be of interest to many, for me, it doesn’t matter in the end. Simply having the opportunity to catch director Carol Reed’s masterpiece projected in a movie theater is more than worth the price of admission.

I have mentioned a few times the general excitement and glee I derive from screening classic films as they were crafted to be displayed. So I repeat – go see The Third Man, be it your first or fiftieth time. Check the listings to find a screening in your area;  if you are local to the greater New York City area, be sure to head down to Film Forum, where you can see The Third Man tomorrow and on through July 9th.

 

Tribeca Film Festival ’15 Preview

I sure as heck do not know where the time goes nowadays. No sooner was I decompressing from my trip out to Los Angeles for the TCM Film Festival, were my sights set again to my hometown (-ish) festival, Tribeca!

TFF15_MarqueeImage-300dpi

It’s the day before the official start, early screenings down and schedules sorted, so here is a quick list of what I am looking forward to ….

 

For Your Consideration

Slow West – Saw this Sundance award winner in January and am still recommending it her; check out my review on FlixChatter. Narrative

 

On My ‘Plan to See’ List

As I Am: The Life and Times of DJ AM – Often told in his own voice, the story of Adam Goldstein (known professionally as DJ AM), chronicles the musician’s meteoric rise onto the L.A. party scene to his equally precipitous and very tragic fall. Documentary

Indian Point – This one hits a little close to home (as I live in the Greater Hudson Valley); I am almost afraid to find out the status of this nuclear facility, the safety of which has been a constant presence in our local news in recent years. Documentary

A Ballerina’s Tale – A profile of Misty Copeland, the first African American soloist at the American Ballet Theatre® in decades. Note: this special screening scheduled for this Sunday (4/19) will be followed by a Q&A with Copeland and a dance performance. Documentary

BallerinasTale_Press_2

Mary J Blige: The London Sessions – A behind the scenes look at the recording of the R&B stalwart’s 13th studio album which takes place in … you guessed it – London. Note #2: this screening on Thursday (4/16) will be followed by a performance by the woman herself. Documentary

Monty Python’s The Meaning of Live – Part of TFF’s celebration of the legendary British comedy troupe, The Meaning of Live inter-cuts archival footage with a behind the scenes look at the team as they prepare for their final live show in 2014. Documentary

Far From Men (Loin Des Hommes) – A French language film set in mountainous Algeria starring Viggo Mortensen and scored by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. C’mon, now. Narrative

The Emperor’s New Clothes  – A documentary from award-winning director Michael Winterbottom (Jude, 24 Hour Party People) features comedian/social justice warrior Russell Brand in a no-holds-barred look at the worldwide financial crisis and its consequences. Documentary

Prescription Thugs –I am guessing this film will deliver what is exactly on the tin – a look inside the commerce and personal conflicts that have arisen from the alarming epidemic of prescription drug addiction. Also of note – filmmaker Chris Bell’s (Bigger Stronger Faster) own family suffered a personal loss directly related to this problem. Documentary

 

Of Interest

Franny – I am curious about this one because a couple of years ago, I attended to a Sundance Institute’s writing workshop/table read for this ‘work in progress.’ Now, it is finished and stars Richard Gere, Dakota Fanning and Theo James (Insurgent film series). Gere portrays an eccentric man who inserts himself into the lives of a newlywed couple (Fanning and James). It would be cool to see the final product. Narrative

The Armor of Light – Abigail Disney’s directorial debut looks at Reverend Rob Schneck, an evangelical minister who, likely going against many with whom he shares a common religious affiliation, is spreading a message criticizing the blight gun violence is having on our society. Documentary

Down in the Valley – A sports documentary by way of Emmy award winning Jason Hehir (The Fab Five) about the city of Sacramento’s efforts to prevent their NBA franchise (The Sacramento Kings) from leaving for greener (kaching!) pastures. Documentary

Tumbledown – With a cast headlined by Rebecca Hall and Jason Sudekis and a synopsis that put a smile on my face, I am more than a little curious. Narrative

Hannah (Rebecca Hall) and Andrew (Jason Sudeikis).Photography by Seacia Pavao

 

And Time Permitting …

There are a bunch of Tribeca Talks® and Short Programs (support the shorts!) that I am interested in attending as well, but I will take these in stride and attend as I am able to fit them into my schedule.

I am probably missing something but as you can see, there is a lot going on in Lower Manhattan over the next eleven days.

 

Anyone attending this year’s festival? What are you most looking forward to?

 

* Film synopses’ source: the official Tribeca Film Festival‘s Film Guide; photo credits: Tribeca Film Institute.

Jumping Ahead a Little …. Cannes 2015

Yeah of course I have a few more French film write-ups, my fully fleshed out TCM festival recap (check out my quick synopsis here) and my Tribeca preview due in the coming days, but let’s pause a moment and look ahead to May for the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, namely the poster for this year’s celebration of film on the French Riviera.

In recent years, I have really taken an interest in the artwork the festival organizers use to promote it. My personal fave was the Marilyn Monroe poster (Canned 65).

Well it is that time of year again, and here is the poster featuring and honoring legendary actress Ingrid Bergman –

cannes 68 poster

 

Follow this link to find out more about the history of the photo used and why they have decided to celebrate her now.

I personally like it and look forward to adding it to my poster collect, but what do you think?

Let me know what you think by visiting the Comments section below.

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Merry Month of March

Sure, every month here at i luv cinema is merry. But March 2015 is jam-packed; here is a preview of what is to come.

Rendez-Vous with French Cinema (March 6-15) – a co-curated event between the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Unifrance Films, Rendez-vous is celebrating its 20th year of bringing contemporary French cinema to North America. Starting with the opening night premiere of 3 Hearts, there is plenty to regale yourself with over the proceeding ten days whether you are a Francophile, cinephile or both! I am most looking forward to the aforementioned 3 Hearts, as well as Breathe, The Connection and Love at First Fight.

If you are unable to snag a ticket to a desired screening at Lincoln Center, additional screenings and discussions can be seen at BAM and the IFC Center.

 

Effie Gray (screening in late March; review to come in April) – scribed by Academy Award® winner Emma Thompson goes back to the Victorian England to look at possibly the most the notorious scandals of the time, involving the marriage of Effie Gray (Dakota Fanning) and art critic John Ruskin (Greg Wise). The film features an all-star cast including Emma Thompson, Tom Sturridge, David Suchet, Sir Derek Jacobi, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Riccardo Scamarcio and Claudia Cardinale.

 

TCM Film Festival (March 26-29) – I have only been once, but from my experience, the TCM fan community is awesome and I look forward hanging out in Los Angeles with my party peeps! I could attempt to give provide a summary view of what’s in store, but why bother, especially when there wonderfully crafted, comprehensive sites I can refer you to? Of course, the main festival website is a great start, but for a ‘boots on the ground’ perspective, I direct you to Will McKinley of cinematically insane for past and present coverage, as well as tips on how to maximize your festival experience.

This year’s theme is ‘History According to Hollywood’ and kicks of with a red carpet 50th anniversary screening of The Sound of Music.

Enough about me – what are you looking forward to this month?

 

Looking Ahead …

I am going to keep this one short and sweet. I am certain to see a lot more than this quick list I compiled, but just based on word of mouth and general interest, these are the films that I am most looking forward to as we hurdle towards the latter stages of the 2014 cinematic calendar.

2014 Movies Late Summer Fall

Interstellar – well just cuz Christopher Nolan and outer space.
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them I really have no word for why I want to see this; I just do.
Frank – Looks a bit off beat and yes, … Fassbender sings!
The Two Faces of January – based on a Patricia Highsmith novel and starring Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst; the scenery looks absolutely lush.
Beyond the Lights – Is this a breakout year for Gugu Mbatha Raw? Anyone’s guess. But I am glad to see Gina Prince-Bythewood back on the big screen.
The Imitation Game – World War II espionage by way of Cumberbatch and Knightley. Matthew Goode and Charles Dance round out the cast.

So there you have it. Always good to have something to look forward to. Thoughts? Share below.

Coming Soon: Belle (2014)

This film was not initially on my “looking forward to seeing in 2014” list, but lists are always subject to change and modification. Belle, which premiered at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival, is the true story of mixed race Dido Elizabeth Belle, the natural daughter of an 18th century Royal Navy Admiral, and her life as a member of an aristocratic family.

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In reading the press notes for the film I was fascinated by how the film got its start. Belle’s writer, Misan Sagay, found inspiration when looking at this Georgian-era portrait of Dido Belle and her cousin Elizabeth, while visiting Scone Palace at the University of Saint Andrews in Scotland:

Dido_Elizabeth_Belle

Although Belle was not named in the guide accompanying the painting (attributed to painter Johann Zoffay), Sagay left determined to find out her identity.

In what can only be described as serendipitous, Sagay discovered that her son’s Godmother was a friend of Lady Mansfield, the 8th removed descendant of the character from the film, and from there the archives were opened, allowing Sagay to unlock the mysteries of the relationship between the two friends knows as “Belle and Bette”.   

The film gained a head of steam when producer Damian Jones, who also was familiar with the painting, came across Sagay’s script through a mutual friend.

For director Amma Asante, this film was an opportunity to tell a period story that simultaneously deals with the familiar themes of romantic machinations and the British class system, all within the context of the historical issue of slavery:

“I’ve never seen a film about the Jane Austen elements we know so well – the marriage market, the lives of girls growing up into society ladies, the romantic longing – combined with a story about the end of slavery,” says Asante. 

Check out the trailer here:

While the actual story is not be wholly unique, as we are fully aware that interracial relationships and their subsequent offspring occurred (duh), it has not received such a treatment on the big screen.

Equally of interest to me is how racial politics in light of the African slave trade are portrayed outside of the United States of America.

Finally, driving home my enthusiasm for Belle is that the story is told with a decidedly female voice, punctuated by the fact that the director is a woman of the African diaspora (Black British).

The cast features Gugu Mbatha-Raw (as Belle), Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson, Matthew Goode, Penelope Wilton and Miranda Richardson.

Belle will come to American screens on May 2nd.

In With the New (2014 Preview)

A couple of days ago I reflected on the year that passed in the world of cinema. As we usher in the new year, I wanted to take a moment to look ahead and see what lies out there on the horizon for cinephiles in 2014.

After scouring numerous of resources for Coming Attractions: 2014 Edition, I have come up with three films that I am really looking forward to seeing. As the year wears on and I attend festivals, etc., I am certain I will get a better sense of the buzz circulating around certain “must see” motion pictures. But until then, here are my early picks.

Interstellar It’s Christopher Nolan and science fiction. So yeah I will be seeing it on the big screen. Absolutely for certain.

 

X-MEN: Days of the Future Past It’s all about seeing what they are doing with this trippy, ‘timey-whimey’ business. Again HERE FOR IT

 

Muppets Most Wanted Just to change it up a little; besides I saw Hiddleston in the trailer. That’s good.

 

What am I missing? Comments. Below. And have a wonderful 2014 (at the movies), folks!!!