CINELATION | Movie Reviews by Christopher Beaubien
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New 27th Annual Vancouver International Film Festival 2008 Openers

by Christopher Beaubien • October 09, 2008 • Start the Discussion!

Vancouver International Film Festival | “Foreign Film”

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Michael Moore’s SLACKER UPRISING Is Free!

by Christopher Beaubien • September 05, 2008 • 2 Comments

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Bias Alert: This news comes just I have recently finished Michael Moore’s Election Guide 2008, thus having read every published word he has ever written including those from the obscure Adventures in a TV Nation.

That waskly old Liberal Michael Moore is rocking the vote (and the boat) with his new film Slackers Uprising. Much like in The Big One (1997) which chronicled Moore’s book tour for Downsize This!, this documentary follows Moore across the country’s universities and colleges. With young adults in attendance months before the Presidential Election of 2004, Moore beseeched the Slackers of America to find their shorts, scarf down their Fruit Loops sans milk and VOTE! The race was between Bush and Kerry and arguably over half the country felt the stakes were near-apocalyptic over four more years of the Sitting Duck in Office.

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Thy RELIGULOUS Trailer

by Christopher Beaubien • September 02, 2008 • Start the Discussion!

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Calling all agnostics, come November 5th, have plenty of body armor on because the unapologetic documentary Religulous is hitting theaters.

RELIGULOUS (2008) Trailer

That all heart, brainy and quick-witted political commentator, Bill Maher, takes us around the world to prod people about that hot button called God. There’s already some right-wing evangelist backlash against it. One wonders if there will be a boycott for the likes of Kevin Smith’s underrated Dogma (1999). Thank (insert your diety here) there are people out there willing tackle the bully boys that ram literal readings of the Old Testament down our collective throats.

Kevin Smith Joins The Protesters of DOGMA (1999)

Kevin Smith Laughs At The Protesters of DOGMA (1999)

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New Trailers for “W” and “Happy-Go-Lucky”

by Christopher Beaubien • August 11, 2008 • 2 Comments

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Poor, poor Dubya. With only half-a-year of his presidency left, Oliver Stone has him in the cross hairs and is ready to fire October 29th.

Two months since we have gotten the all-type Bushism poster, now here is the trailers that have official hit.

“W” Trailer #1:

“W” Trailer #2:

Looks like we’re going to see Dubya as all too human here. Much like how Stone saw Nixon in his excellent 1995 feature as a tragic figure worthy of Hamlet.

Hamlet
A man may fish with the Bush that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that Bush.

Just don’t skimp on the flaws, Oliver!

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Switching faces from tragedy to comedy, here is the new trailer for Mike Leigh’s upcoming Happy-Go-Lucky. This one is made for the North American audiences so be sure to take a shot of Insulin Glargine.

Now this trailer is just dying to make this bittersweet British comedy come across as a sweet-and-low Julia Roberts vehicle. A desperate attempt turning indie gold look like mainstream schmaltz. It has the banal Disneyesque-pop music cues, the kid-friendly editing wipes (swooshing sound effects are not optional), the garishly bubblegum-polished graphics, and the voice-over narration of Don LaFontaine in syrupy mode. Is Miramax really stooping this low for a Best Picture nom?

News Flash: a dozen years ago Mike Leigh’s Secrets and Lies (1996) got the coveted nomination, so have a little faith!

The international trailer that I wrote about 3 months ago is far superior and actually feels like it has the fingerprints of Mike Leigh on it.

The Real Happy-Go-Lucky Trailer

More about this movie

The sophisticated animated graphics with the cute and gritty edge – check! An editing aesthetic that does not condescend – check! The quirky yet somber soundtrack by Gary Yershon – check!

Question: Am I the only one waiting for the melancholy soundtracks of composer and Mike Leigh regular Andrew Dickson (High Hopes, 1988; Naked, 1993; All or Nothing, 2002; Vera Drake, 2004) to be released?

Happy-Go-Lucky will speak for itself (in limited release) on October 10th.

THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON Trailer Is Officially Online

by Christopher Beaubien • June 18, 2008 • Start the Discussion!

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Nearly a month ago, the trailer for the next highly anticipated film David Fincher film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button debuted before the fourth Indiana Jones movie on May 23rd. Now Fincher and Paramount Pictures have officially launched the teaser trailer today. For contemporary movie marketing, this is as good as it gets.

THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON (2008) Teaser

My first viewing of the trailer on the big screen was kind of a transcendent experience. Maybe greater than the one for The Dark Knight coming July 18th. Hell, it’s on par with There Will Be Blood from last year.

THE DARK KNIGHT (2008) Trailer

THERE WILL BE BLOOD (2007) Trailer

The angelic and somber score accompanying the teaser of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button comes from Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals – Aquarium sans the choir. It has been used in Terrance Malick’s Days of Heaven (1978) and a few Ren and Stimpy cartoons. Except for the odd line of dialogue that bookends the teaser, the music is dominant like a silent picture. It reminds me of the eerie, dialogue-free trailer for Dark City.

DARK CITY (1998) Trailer

Best of all, the David Fincher teaser doesn’t overstay its welcome clocking in at one minute and forty-six seconds. Too many trailers go to the trouble of cramming in every cool visual along with the final confrontation into two minutes and forty seconds. Over-eagerness does not suit a seducer.

button2The F. Scott Fitzgerald short story makes for a compelling hour’s read. It draws parallels to Daniel Keyes’ Flowers For Algernon. A baby is born wrinkled, decrepit and frighteningly able to talk candidly about the indignity of being given a milk bottle. As the time passes, Benjamin Button (nearly named Methuselah, referring to the son of Noah who reached the age of 969 years old) must contend with living a unique life of regressing to youth both psychically and mentally. He is always withheld from the conventional human experience, but strives for it anyways.

Within Fincher’s command after Zodiac (2007), his most successful feature, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button could become an instant classic. So long as Benjamin Button himself is a tragic character. It would be terrible if the filmmakers screwed it up with playing safe and happy with such a volatile and melancholy premise.

The film stars Brad Pitt (12 Monkeys, 1995), Cate Blanchett (The Talented Mr. Ripley, 1999), Tilda Swinton (Young Adam, 2003), Julia Ormond (The Baby of Macon, 1993), Elias Koteas (The Thin Red Line, 1998), Jason Flemyng (From Hell, 2001), and Taraji P. Henson (Hustle and Flow, 2005)

Christmas is looking very promising this year.