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Bureaucracy and the Beast

(B&B is in the public domain of everyone’s childhood so Boblius refuses to acknowledge plot details as “spoilers.”)

Before he’s THE BEAST, Beast is a tax-and-spend Prince. He vacuums income from the subjects of his French village to throw lavish parties where he prances around like Agador from The Birdcage (but somehow isn’t the gay character people are up in arms about?). The villagers are happy to RSVP in the affirmative for pre-Beast’s parties as long as he doesn’t mock them.

That's more like it.
That’s more like it.

When a disheveled and smelly (one assumes) crone stumbles into pre-Beast’s latest party offering a single rose in exchange for shelter during a horrific storm, he laughs her offer away. Only pre-Beast gives out the roses in this edition of Bizarro Bachelor. For his haughtiness, the crone reveals herself to be an Enchantress (we wouldn’t want to call her a witch in a movie starring Hermione) then transforms pre-Beast into THE (CGI) BEAST. Finally. Now he looks like the Beast from our childhood. Whew. (more…)

trumbo

Trailer of the Year of Awards – Trumbo

Bryan Cranston brings his expertise to the role of real-life blacklisted screenwriter, Dalton Trumbo.  Jay Roach, director of the Austin Powers and Meet the Parents franchises, creates a certain fun loving swagger to what is one of the more serious chapters in American and Hollywood history – the investigation to out Communists by the House Un-American Activities Committee in the late forties

While blacklisted, Dalton Trumbo won an Academy award for the screenplay of The Brave One which he wrote under the pseudonym, Robert Rich. In 1993, Trumbo was awarded a posthumous Oscar for his screenplay for Roman Holiday, in which screen credit was given to another writer who was awarded the statue at the time.

The trailer here moves along with some classic swing jazz, behind-the-scenes antics of Hollywood’s golden era, plus Louis CK as Trumbo’s fellow blacklisted screenwriter Arlen Hird (Oscar nod in his future?). The trailer plays out more traditionally than the others we’ve been nominating, but Hollywood loves it when films are made about its history and industry, so including this trailer for some sort of meaningless award, is just par for the course. Plus, any chance to highlight how awful elected officials can be when they decide to go witch hunting American citizens based on what they think (commie or no commie), and to give you another perspective the next time you watch Trumbo and Stanley Kubrick’s collaboration on Spartacus, I’m all for.



2015 Trailer of the Year Award nominees so far:

Mad Max: Fury Road

Black Mass

Cop Car

Joy

child44

Film Review – Child 44

[Editor’s note: The following is a guest review by Brian Watt originally posted in the members only section at Ricochet. It has been posted here with permission from author.]

Only a handful of theaters around the country are still showing the Ridley Scott-produced and Daniel Espinosa-directed Child 44. It is available for pre-order on Amazon and iTunes now, so should be released for sale or rental within a month. If you search for reviews of the film you’ll find a mix of opinions and several of them negative though IMDB does display an overall rating of 6.4 out of a possible 10, which isn’t that bad. Most critics and moviegoers have complained that as a thriller Child 44 is just not taut or thrilling enough and instead is too dark, brooding, oppressive and ponderous — essentially not akin to other flashier blockbusters in the genre – any of the films in the Bourne series or even more realistic and slow-paced spy thrillers that probably tread more closely to actual spycraft, like Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

If you want extreme car chases through the streets of Moscow, motorcycles racing over rooftops, explosions hither and thither or endless and preposterous martial arts fights where good guys and bad guys leap onto walls and do back flips and break each other’s kneecaps, then Child 44 will surely disappoint — though it does have three intense fight scenes, particularly one aboard a train, that all appear much more realistic and chaotic and less choreographed than anything you’ll see in a Bourne or Bond film.

Chikatilo-mugshot
Chikatilo mugshot

It seems to me that the more salient reason Child 44 will disappoint is because it is not a spy thriller at all and I would argue is not intended to be a thriller but more of a detective story while also a graphic indictment of how dehumanizing communism is when practiced. The film is based on the Tom Rob Smith novel of the same name (which admittedly I’ve yet to read), but which I understand is loosely based on real-life serial killer, Andrei Chikatilo, also referred to as the Butcher of Rostov or the Rostov Ripper, who was active between 1978 and 1990 and who sexually assaulted and brutally murdered 52 women and children that authorities know about in Russia, the Ukraine and the Uzbek regions during the latter years of the Union of Soviet Socialist states.

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