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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


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Entries in Liam Neeson (10)


Tim's Toons: Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet

Tim here. To the right kind of viewer (e.g. the kind writing this review), Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet is THE animated event of 2015. Which does not, unfortunately, turn out to mean that it is THE best animated film of 2015, or even in the running for that title. But let us not accentuate the negative; it's still a special and enormously idiosyncratic little movie, and its failures are honorable.

The film is a long-simmering passion project for producer Salma Hayek, one of the many ardent fans to accrue to Gibran's 1923 English-language collection of essays (Gibran was Lebanese, as was Hayek's grandfather). When, exactly, she decided that the adaptation needed to be done in animation is anyone's guess, but it was exactly the right choice: the book consists primarily of a series of spiritual lessons in the form of prose poetry, with the ghost of a narrative connecting them. The film by necessity fleshes out that narrative considerably and literalizes it, but the meat of the film is still those essays: eight out of Gibran's original 26, each handed off to a different luminary in the world of international animation.

Those eight sequences are easily the best reason to see The Prophet.

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Women's Pictures - Kathryn Bigelow's K-19: The Widowmaker

Anne Marie's 'Women's Pictures series' continues with July's subject Kathryn Bigelow...

Films about the Cold War are an unusual bunch. Whereas most war movies have a streak of jingoism necessary to the action ("fight the enemy, kill the enemy, win the war for God and country!"), the point of films about the Cold War - barring any alternate realities - is to actually avoid conflict. Men in these movies are forever preparing for war, even as they frantically try to prevent it. Instead of fighting soldiers, men fight bureaucracy, accidents, and misinformation. Done poorly, these films can feel like a trip to the DMV: too much paperwork and waiting in line. Done well, the looming cloud of Doomsday can overshadow even the most seemingly insignificant decision. There may be no genre more anti-war than the Cold War Film.

K-19: The Widowmaker, Kathryn Bigelow's first war film, is a fictionalized retelling of the misfortunes onboard Russia's first K-19 nuclear submarine that nearly caused World War III. Amidst government negligence, rushed manufacturing, and political malarky, Captain Alexei Vostrikov (Harrison Ford) is assigned to captain the submarine's crew, led by the former captain, Mikhail Polenin (Liam Neeson). 

Neeson & Ford's Gruff-Off after the jump...

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Run All Night and the Liam Neeson Ass-Kicking Hierarchy

Michael C. here.  It has been over six years since Liam Neeson reinvented as filmdom’s reigning action hero by making “I will find you, and I will kill you” sound less like a threat and more like a statement of simple fact. Since then, a sort of unofficial franchise has formed around the concept of Neeson as a grim dispenser of violence. This series, not including would-be franchises launches like Battleship and The A-Team, breaks down into three distinct groups. They are:

  • Pure, unadulterated schlock. Only the faintest trace of plot or character. Just Neeson methodically throat-punching his way through an unending supply of sleazy Euro-Villains bent on doing unspeakable things to his loved ones: Taken 1, 2, 3
  • Still schlock, but with bonus bells and whistles. Supporting characters, a high concept premise, and a plot of rapidly escalating absurdity. Slightly less throat punching than the Taken films, but still a lot of throat punching: Unknown, Non-Stop
  • Actual films of substance smuggled into theaters. Under the guise of another Neeson schlock-fest, naturally. Little to no throat punching. Occasional implied wolf punching: The Grey, A Walk Among the Tombstones

For a while it looks like the latest entry in this series, Jaume Collet-Serra’s currently underperforming Run All Night, is poised to join Grey and Tombstones in that elite third group...

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The only movie theater within 45 minutes of my mom's house 

Nathaniel's annual adventure in Utah begins. We hit Sundance tomorrow.

Sundance (which begins tonight) gives me a good excuse to visit my mom each year. She lives in the middle of nowhere about two hours from the festival. Her town is so small that there's not even a convenience store so I have to drive 15 miles to a the only nearby "town" to get my coffee each morning. I zoom down tremendously flat freeways with cows grazing on either side. When I get my coffee I always glance at what's playing at the local movie theater, the only one in something like a 45 mile radius.

Currently they're showing Meryl Streep ACTING and Liam Neeson killing people. That's a surprisingly apt description of contemporary mainstream cinema out here in the middle of nowhere.


Box Office: The Lost Cause of September

Amir here, back to weekly box office reporting duty. Coming back from TIFF, I tried to catch up a bit today with all the sales numbers I’d missed since August. It turns out the biggest bit of news was... the release of Forrest Gump IMAX??? Really, September? Is that the best you can do? Turgid stuff.

On the bright side, with awards season now slowly getting into full gear, we can look forward to the highbrow films the studios have been withholding from all us all year, starting with this weekend’s... The Maze Runner and This Is Where I Leave You? Damn it September; get your act together!

big name casts don't always make big time movies

01 THE MAZE RUNNER $32.5 NEW Review
04 NO GOOD DEED $10.2 (cum. $40.1)
05 DOLPHIN TALE 2 $9 (cum. $27)

Maze Runner easily topped the weekend’s box office. Our very own Nathaniel didn’t think much of the film and he seems to be with the majority. This is Where I Leave You? premiered at TIFF and was met with something resembling vitriol. Post-festival reactions from the mainstream press are only slightly better. The ensemble comedy starring Jason Bateman, Tina Fey and Adam Driver performed below expectations, as did the film that actually surpassed it to second place, A Walk among the Tombstones. The new entry in the “Liam Neeson as the Saviour in an Action Film” series failed most likely because its only hook was Liam Neeson as the Saviour in an Action Film, with no aid from planes or wolves.

Limited releases were more exciting.

01 TUSK $.8 NEW 
02 MY OLD LADY $.4 (cum. $.6)
03 THE SKELETON TWINS $.4 (cum. $.9)
04 THE TRIP TO ITALY $.3 (cum. $2.1)
05 CANTINFLAS $.2 (cum. $6)
06 LOVE IS STRANGE $.2 (cum. $1.5) Review
07 THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY: THEM $.1 (cum. $.2) right way to watch? / review of him/her
08 THE GUEST $.08 (cum. $.1) Review
09 ZERO THEOREM $.08 NEW Review
10 CALVARY $.05 (cum. $3.4)  

At least three films worthy of your time opened this weekend. Michael liked Tracks for the most part. I’ve been falling more and more in love with Stop the Pounding Heart, a modest, evocative film that blends fiction and documentary to study a religious community in Texas. It’s almost ethereal in its beauty and very challenging in its subtlety and frankness. There was also 20,000 Days on Earth (review forthcoming) which is a fictionalized documentary about the creation of Nick Cave’s latest album. It’s a very interesting film about the creative process and one that really delves into the psyche of the man at its centre to contextualize his work. None of these films passed the $100k mark and neither did Simon Pegg’s Hector and the Search for Happiness or Terry Gilliam’s The Zero Theorem (reviewed), but here’s hoping they get a fair shake soon.

What have you watched this week?



Salon "Dear serial tweet-favoriter: you are a coward" lol. a must read for anyone with a Twitter account
The Uncool Cameron Crowe's agonizing search for a title for Almost Famous (2000)... in notepad form
Film School Rejects two members of the staff watched "the 50 best movies of all time" and here are their takeaways from that two year process
Antagony & Ecstasy on King Vidor's The Crowd (1928) at the great end of silent filmmaking
Kenneth in the (212) shares a pretty great X-Men related Graham Norton wherein Fassy & McAvoy see gay fan art of themselves

MNPP tries to rekindle his love for George Clooney with his three favorite Clooneys. Good choices
Variety asks where the kids movies are this summer in the absence of Pixar
The Wire "Zac Efron hits bottom by accepting life advice from Tom Cruise" haha. I'm linking that for the title alone 
i09 see what your favorite webcomics would look like animated 
Cinesnark terrific examination of why Captain America films are what Superman films have failed to be 

news bits
Empire the ever employed Liam Neeson joins A Monster Calls... the new feature from the director of The Impossible. I can't wait until it's retitled something dull like "Dark River"
Cinema Blend The Flintstones getting a new animated feature because no franchise is allowed to ever die
In Contention The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby will be released in three different versions. It's a neat experiment but it fills me with horror. Goodbye final cut and "definitive" versions. That's a thing of the past (Malick, Lucas, and Scott have been trying to force that on us for years with their "oh, i'm sorry did i say i was finished i wasn't finished" tinkering so I'm sure they're thrilled.)
Guardian Andrea Arnold to direct first US film, a road trip called American Honey. I hope she casts professional actors this time. 


Tribeca: "Third Person," An Inconclusive Panorama of Trust Issues

Just a few more Tribeca reports to go. Here's Diana on "Third Person."

In another chapter on writer stereotypes (see also: 5 to 7), Paul Haggis’ Third Person opens on Liam Neeson’s hulking handsome frame sitting at a hotel desk, staring at his computer, with an open bottle of red wine and an ashtray heavily weighted down by burnt out cigarette ends. In the midst of the toiling and typing, he hears a child’s voice say, “Watch me.” This phrase becomes an iteration throughout the film, linking together three stories of loss and trust issues. You know how Paul Haggis likes to link (see also: Crash). To paraphrase author Michael (Neeson), all three are weak, but each have strong, albeit bordering on cliche, choices.

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