Sunday Matinee: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

I was saddened to hear that filmmaker Tobe Hooper has passed away at the age of 74. His body of work started off strong in the 1970s with his legendary classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. He would several other horror movies like Eaten Alive and Salem’s Lot. The 1980s had Hooper working with Steven Spielberg on Poltergeist which has long remained a rumour that Hooper didn’t really direct it.

He also made some fun B horror movies like Invaders From Mars and Lifeforce. Once the 1990s hit though Hooper didn’t really anything significant. In fact other than some OK TV work his movies tended to be awful. But looking back at his career I realized somehow I have never actually tackled The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. I’m not sure how I could write all those 31 Days of Horror and never feature The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Strange.
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Sunday Matinee: The Wailing

Jong-goo (Do-won Kwak) is a police officer in a small village and lives with his wife, young daughter and mother-in-law. Jong-goo is woken up and called for duty because a woman has died in the village. Upon arriving the scene it’s actually a gruesome double homicide and the killer is a catatonic blood soaked man who was caught at the scene of the crime.

It seems that there have been a lot of gruesome murders in the town lately. Jong-goo buddy and fellow police officer tells him that folks think that it’s all caused by the arrival of a Japanese man (Jun Kunimura) who is living outside the town. He also tells him that a friend of his saw the Japanese man running around in the woods, naked except a loin cloth feeding on deer like an animal. Jong-goo doesn’t believe the story and both men are startled by a naked woman standing in the doorway of the police station. She disappears when they go look.
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Sunday Matinee: Bonnie And Clyde

Man lots of great movies are celebrating anniversaries this year. And celebrating it’s 50th anniversary today is Arthur Penn’s classic biographical crime film, 1967’s Bonnie and Clyde.

The movie was a biographical if somewhat streamlined, comedic, violent and action packed version of notorious outlaws Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway) and Clyde Barker (Warren Beatty). The movie takes some liberties with the actual events but it’s an awesome and entertaining movie.
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Sunday Matinee: Police Story 3: Supercop

One of Jackie Chan’s best movies turns 25 this year. It was the third in his Police Story series and the stunts in this film are nothing short of amazing.

Police Story 3: Supercop continued follow the adventures of Jackie Chan’s “supercop” Ka-Kui Chan. This time Ka-Kui has been requested by Interpol to work undercover with mainland China to capture a notorious drug dealer named Chaibat (Kenneth Tsang). The plan has Chan pretending to be a criminal and bust an associate of Chaibat’s out named Panther (Yuen Wah). Helping Chan out is a mainland Chinese cop Michelle Yeoh. Yeoh ends up posing as Chan’s sister and the two end up working for Chaibat after they bust Panther out of prison.
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Sunday Matinee: Kiki’s Delivery Service

Starting today for the next several months Cineplex is having a Studio Ghibli Anime Series added to their monthly screenings. Today and Wednesday August 2 they are playing Kiki’s Delivery Service. Today’s showing will be dubbed in English but Wednesday’s show will be in the original Japanese with English subtitles.

The next film in the series is Castle in the Sky and it will be played August 27 in English dub and August 30 in Japanese with English subtitles.
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Sunday Matinee: The Fabulous Baron Munchausen

Karel Zeman was a fantastic and amazing Czech filmmaker and animator whose work is wondrous to see. Zeman used live action and combined it with animated both hand drawn and stop motion to create amazing fantasy worlds.

Today’s Sunday Matinee is Karel Zeman’s 1961 The Fabulous Baron Munchausen. Loosely based on the Munchausen stories, this incredible fantasy follows the adventures of an astronaut who lands on the moon only to discover the crew from Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon, Cyrano de Bergerac, Baron Munchausen and others already on the moon. The group assumes that the astronaut is a moon man and the Baron decides to take him to Earth to show him what Earth is like.
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REVIEW: Dunkirk’s Imperfections Add to its Brilliance

It took me a while to figure out what bothered me about Dunkirk. All those five-star reviews were right: Breathtaking scenes, daring structure and emotional payoff. It was all there, at a scale seldom seen before.

Then it hit me: There isn’t a single original narrative in the film. Portraits of down-to-earth heroism have been done before and Dunkirk doesn’t break any new ground. Furthermore, writer/director Christopher Nolan’s favorite trick, messing with chronology for maximum effect, is more distractive than anything and I have serious doubts there was need for it.

That said, Dunkirk hits such highs, any shortcoming dwarves by comparison.

The film unfolds in three setup entwined together, but not necessarily concurrent. The first is the beach of Dunkirk, France, where 400,000 Allied soldiers wait for evacuation, surrounded by Nazi forces and intermittently attacked from above. We witness the havoc through the eyes of Tommy (newcomer Fionn Whitehead), a young private initially without other calling than coming out of this alive. Continue reading “REVIEW: Dunkirk’s Imperfections Add to its Brilliance”

REVIEW: From the Land of the Moon (or Sexy Kidney Stones)

As roles of ingénue begin to dry up in Hollywood, Marion Cotillard seems to be favouring French-speaking parts. She is practically a Cannes mainstay thanks to her collaborations with the Dardenne brothers, Jacques Audiard and Xavier Dolan.

One of Cotillard’s lesser known Cannes entries arrives to SK this week: From the Land of the Moon (the French title, Mal de Pierres, is so much better). Set in France in the 50’s, the film tells the story of Gabrielle, a liberated/unsociable (your pick) woman stuck in an arranged marriage. Even though her husband José (Alex Brenemühl) is remarkably tolerant to all her unpleasantness, Gabrielle sulks and mops non-stop.

A sexy case of kidney stones sends Gabrielle to a health spa, where she meets the handsomely crumbling Lt. Sauvage (Louis Garrel, The Dreamers). Gabrielle falls in love with him (or the romantic ideal he represents), a passion that leads to further estrangement from her husband. Continue reading “REVIEW: From the Land of the Moon (or Sexy Kidney Stones)”

Sunday Matinee: Tron

35 years ago today Disney released a movie into theatres that they would consider to be another box office failure for them (in the ’80s Disney wasn’t doing too good). The movie would eventually become a cult classic and 28 years later Disney would eventually make a sequel.

Tron was the brain child of writer/director Steven Lisberger who had previously made the animated movie Animalympics. Lisberger originally wanted Tron to be a completely animated movie but released that it wasn’t possible at the time. He opted for live action with a mix of backlit animation and computer animation. Tron was not the first film to use computer animation but it was one of the first to use extensive computer animation. 15 full minutes of computer animation including the legendary light-cycle scene.
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