CINELATION | Movie Reviews by Christopher Beaubien
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  • Movie Review: WENDY AND LUCY (2008)

    Movie Review: WENDY AND LUCY (2008)

    Kelly Reichardt is like the kid who would rather make sand castles outside in drizzly weather while the others kids stay inside to text message each other. She rebelliously makes deliberately small-scale films that economize on staying power through simplicity, humility and nerve.

  • Movie Posters: LIFE DURING WARTIME (2010) and Other Films by Todd Solondz

    Movie Posters: LIFE DURING WARTIME (2010) and Other Films by Todd Solondz

    Over Todd Solondz's career from "Welcome to the Dollhouse" (1996) to "Palindromes" (2004), the posters of his films have been consistently inspired. Their designs and illustrations(!) convey the sweet and sour qualities of his controversial themes, which engage and then subvert our expectations.

  • Movie Review: INCENDIES (2011)

    Movie Review: INCENDIES (2011)

    Nawal Marwan is dead. The room is still and unbearably quiet. As the notary Jean Lebel (Rémy Girard) reads Nawal's final will and testament aloud, Jeanne (Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin) and Simon (Maxim Gaudette) are disturbed by their mother's final request.

  • My Own Movie Poster Design of Werner Herzog’s BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS (2009)

    My Own Movie Poster Design of Werner Herzog's BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL
    NEW ORLEANS (2009)

    Why didn't anybody else think of using the tagline "Don't Forget Your Lucky Crack Pipe!"? It's much better than "The Only Criminal He Can't Catch Is Himself."

  • Movie Review: HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL (1959 + 1999) and The Curse of Colorization!

    Movie Review:
    HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL
    (1959 + 1999) and The Curse of Colorization!

    It is calmest before the storm as five hearses roll up the hillside carrying five fresh victims. Very much alive for now, they have all been invited by that eccentric millionaire Frederick Loren (Vincent Price) for his wife's party... at the House on Haunted Hill.

Drawing on the Rest of Life During Wartime’s Cast

Written by Christopher Beaubien • August 03, 2011 • Start the Discussion!

Artwork by Akiko Stehrenberger from the Criterion booklet of Life During Wartime.

The cast of Life During Wartime (2010) from left to right:
Paul “Pee Wee Herman” Reubens (Andy Kornbluth), Shirley Henderson (Joy Jordan), Michael Kenneth Williams (Allen), Ally Sheedy (Helen Jordan), Rich Pecci (Mark Wiener), Michael Lerner (Harvey Wiener), Allison Janney (Trish Jordan), Emma Hinz (Chloe Maplewood), Chris Marquette (Billy Maplewood), Ciarán Hinds (Bill Maplewood)

As I suspected about the new Criterion release of Life During Wartime (2011) back in May, Miss Stehrenberger has illustrated the whole gaggle of characters from the film.

Beautifully done!

The arrangement of the characters complements their relationships to each other so thoughtfully. All three of the Jordan sisters are separated from each other. Joy is torn between her husband and the ghost of her ex-boyfriend. Helen, the black sheep, who has abandoned her family, is ignored by everyone. Most dominant is Trish, positioned up front. With her steely gaze, she has a dynamic presence. Her vibrant, almost violently paint-slashed dress suggests that she has survived a battle.

Notice how both Joy and Trish’s daughter Chloe have their arms behind their backs. I find Chloe standing in front of her mother has the stance of a foot soldier. Joy and Chloe also share similar hairstyles, head shape and facial features. How ironic that Trish is on her way to raising little Joy all on her own. Remember when Chloe wondered if baby carrots feel pain? That’s the kind of thought “Sensitive Joy” might have had as a kid.

Fathers and sons are paired together on both Wiener and Maplewood fronts. The two Wieners assume the same pose. I’m going out on a limb, but I doubt Bill has his hands in his pockets like his son does. Of course, Bill is cast off to the far right. The only character in the group he talks to is his son. Andy is on the far left – he’s dead with only Joy as his last connection to the the world of the living… or is it just in her head?

Criterion Gets a Life During Wartime (2010)

Written by Christopher Beaubien • May 18, 2011 • Start the Discussion!

For the first time, a film by Todd Solondz is getting the Criterion treatment. This is Life During Wartime (2010), one of the most exciting movies to come out last year that very few even noticed on its limited release. Now everyone has a chance to catch up with it as well as the characters from Todd Solondz’s most controversial film Happiness (1998). That’s right: Life During Wartime is Happiness 2! Now have Bill, Trish, Joy, Helen, Andy and the rest of the gang gotten along after ten years? Not surprising, they’re worse now than before.

Yes, Andy is still dead. Solondz just brings him back as a ghost to haunt his ex-girlfriend Joy. What luck Joy has!

At first glance, it appears that the designers at Criterion had their work on the DVD’s front cover handed to them. The final illustration and design of the original Life During Poster promotional poster by Akiko Stehrenberger was already at their high level of quality. All that was needed was to slap on that big C and set it to Screen. Before its theatrical release, I wrote about the process that the Life During Wartime movie poster went through to come to this.

That is until I found this on Akiko Stehrenberger’s bio:

Her illustrated poster, Life During Wartime, garnered press as well, which she recently adapted and illustrated the cast for the Criterion Collection DVD. She was deemed “Poster Girl” by Interview Magazine, and Creative Review published a 20 page zine of her illustrated movie poster work for their January 2011 Monograph series.

CONTINUE READING ►

Cinelation is on the LAMB

Written by Christopher Beaubien • May 13, 2011 • Start the Discussion!

This is my best impression of a lamb.

 

Last Saturday, Cinelation was submitted as the #922 website in the Large Association of Movie Blogs (LAMB). Special thanks to Rachel, one of the site’s leading authors, who took my website into consideration and posted it.

The next day I was encouraged by Max Covill of Impassioned Cinema who found Cinelation through the LAMB. Judging from his output, the name for his website is very appropriate.

Of the livestock available, thank goodness the LAMB’s mascot is an adorable, fluffy one instead of grotesquely characterized variant.

Like this one:

CONTINUE READING ►

Do You Know the Movies in the Facets Video Logo?

Written by Christopher Beaubien • May 11, 2011 • Start the Discussion!

It’s time to get to the bottom of this. Every time I play one of my DVDs for Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Decalogue (1988) series, I see the Facets Video logo: Six seconds that quickly fade in and out with fourteen movie clips a half-second each. Over the past seven years I have been able to identify four of them, which means I should be watching more films released by Facets prior to August 19, 2003.

I thought about getting in contact with Facets and asking them what these titles are, but what fun would that be for you cinephiles out there?

If you know which movies belong to any of these still images, write it in the comments and I’ll credit you along with the answer in this article.

CONTINUE READING ►

Movie Review:
HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL
(1959 + 1999) and The Curse of Colorization!

Written by Christopher Beaubien • April 15, 2011 • 1 Comment

The Black-and-White 1959 Version

The Colorized 1959 Version

When The Price Is Dead Right

Nightfall. It is calmest before the storm as five hearses roll up the hillside carrying five fresh victims. Very much alive for now, they have all been invited by that eccentric millionaire Frederick Loren (Vincent Price) for his wife’s party… at the House on Haunted Hill. How he spoils her! To make the night more interesting (for himself), he has decreed that the guests will win $10,000 each if they last until morning locked inside the spooky mansion. They needn’t worry about losing by default of death since the money will then go to their next of kin. That Frederick… always thinking ahead.

The guests are strangers to each other as well as their host. More interesting that way. They include a typist and wallflower named Nora Manning (Carolyn Craig), the confident pilot Lance Schroeder (Richard Long), the psychiatrist Dr. David Trent (Alan Marshal), the columnist Ruth Bridgers (Julie Mitchum – Robert Mitchum’s sister!), and the owner of the house Watson Pritchard (Elisha Cook Jr.) who is visibly frightened beyond his wits. He goes on and on about their imminent doom by the housed evil. Why go in? They all need money, you see.

Just upstairs held up in her room forever freshening her face is Annabelle (Carol Ohmart), Frederick’s scheming wife. Annabelle insists that it was not he who married her, but she. She also makes no secret of the fact that she loves only his wealth and wants it all for herself. Actually, Annabelle is just wife #4, but what’s most alarming is that those last three wives are dead. Frederick knows of Annabelle’s infidelities and can’t prove them. They’re a perfect match because Annabelle is smart and can hold her own. Frederick would surely agree she is a worthy opponent. Oh, how they love implicating their petty torments on one another! It is their mutual hatred that makes their relationship so strong.

CONTINUE READING ►