TIFF 2014: Masters, Midnight Madness, and Vanguard Unveiled

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One of my favourite things about the Toronto International Film Festival is the diversity.

TIFF announced a relatively large chunk of its line-up last Tuesday which featured some early award-season frontrunners and a slew of high-profile talent. Now, a week later, TIFF heads in a completely different direction with its Masters, Midnight Madness, and Vanguard programmes. This announcement is for all the die-hard horror fanboys and edge-of-your-seat thrill seekers out there! That said, we haven’t forgotten the art-house hunters and idol chasers.

As always, I’ve provided synopses and trailers/images for the flicks that caught my attention. You can check out the full list of films announced today by clicking the corresponding programme title: MastersMidnight MadnessVanguard. If you’re interested in seeing our TIFF post from last week, simply click here! Finally, for the full list of films screening at this year’s festivities, click here!

The remainder of TIFF’s 2014 lineup will be released in the coming weeks and will feature films from such programmes as Discovery, Mavericks, and Wavelengths…to name a few. There is still a ton of films to be revealed and I’ll be posting accordingly so keep it locked here at The CInema Monster!

VANGUARD:

Over Your Dead Body: Takashi Miike, Japan

A theatre troupe rehearsing a classic play of murder, betrayal and phantasmagorical vengeance find life bloodily imitating art backstage, in this wild cinematic detour from madly prolific Japanese auteur Takashi Miike (13 Assassins).

MASTERS:

The Face of an Angel: Michael Winterbottom, United Kingdom

Kate Beckinsale and Daniel Brühl (Rush, Inglourious Basterds) star in this fictionalized version of the notorious Amanda Knox murder case from ever-adventurous director Michael Winterbottom (The Trip, 24 Hour Party People, The Trip to Italy).

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Adieu Au Langage 3D (Goodbye to Language 3D) Jean-Luc Godard, France

Winner of the Jury Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, the new film by Jean-Luc Godard is a visually sumptuous and richly complex meditation on history and eternity, being and nothingness, desire and death.

MIDNIGHT MADNESS:

[REC] 4: Apocalypse: Juame Balaguero, Spain

Confined to a high-security quarantine facility in the bowels of an ocean liner, a ragtag group of survivors fights for their lives against infected zombie hordes, in the long-awaited climax to the spectacularly popular Spanish horror franchise.

Big Game: Jalmari Helander, Finland/Germany/United Kingdom

Trapped in the wilderness after Air Force One is forced down by a terrorist attacked, the President of the United States (Samuel L. Jackson) must rely on the survival skills of a 13-year-old woodsman, in this thriller co-starring Ray Stevenson, Jim Broadbent and Felicity Huffman.

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The Guest: Adam Wingard, USA

Writer-director duo Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard (A Horrible Way to Die, You’re Next) serve up a slick, eighties-style action thriller with this story of a mysterious and devastatingly charming visitor (Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens) who arrives at the home of a bereaved family claiming to be the best friend of their dead son.

Tusk: Kevin Smith, USA

Kevin Smith brings his comedic chops to a disturbing new milieu in this Canuck-baiting chiller about a popular podcast host who descends into straight-up madness when he heads north of the 49th parallel.

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A BIG thank you to TIFF for providing a majority of the content in this post.

TIFF 2014: Galas and Special Presentations Announced

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Yes, I’ll wait patiently for you to scroll through the list of galas and special presentations announced today that kicked off TIFF 2014… Okay, Ready?

Today was the first of several press conferences scheduled to unveil the slate set to take over Toronto from September 4th to the 14th at the 39th Toronto International Film Festival! With rumours swirling and early award season buzz-buzzing, TIFF CEO and Director Piers Handling and Artistic Director Cameron Bailey took to TIFF Bell Lightbox and informed all those in attendance and tuning in online exactly what they’ll be watching come September. As I mentioned earlier, only the festival’s galas and special presentations programs were announced today. The remainder of TIFF’s 2014 lineup will be released in the near future and will feature films from such programs as Masters, Discovery, Mavericks, Vanguard, Midnight Madness, and Wavelengths, just to name a few. There is still over 200 films to be revealed and I’ll be posting accordingly so keep it locked here at The CInema Monster!

Below you will find what I feel to be the highlights of today’s slew of films. You can find the full list of Galas and Special Presentations by clicking the corresponding title.

GALAS:

Foxcatcher: Bennett Miller, USA

Based on true events, this film tells the dark and fascinating story of the unlikely and ultimately tragic relationship between an eccentric multi-millionaire and two champion wrestlers. Starring Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Vanessa Redgrave, and Mark Ruffalo.

Maps to the Stars: David Cronenberg, Canada/Germany

David Cronenberg forges both a wicked social satire and a very human ghost story from today’s celebrity-obsessed culture. Starring Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Olivia Williams, Sarah Gadon, John Cusack and Robert Pattinson.

This is Where I Leave You:  Shawn Levy, USA

Shawn Levy’s dramatic comedy follows four adult siblings who return home after their father’s death to spend a week with their over- sharing mother and an assortment of spouses, exes and might-have-beens. Confronting their history and frayed relationships among those who know and love them best, they reconnect in hysterical and emotionally affecting ways. Starring Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll and Kathryn Hahn.

Wild: Jean-Marc Vallée, USA

After years of reckless behaviour, a heroin addiction and the destruction of her marriage, Cheryl Strayed makes a rash decision. She sets out to hike more than a thousand miles on the Pacific Crest Trail all on her own. Starring Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Thomas Sadoski, Michiel Huisman, Gaby Hoffmann and Kevin Rankin.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS:

99 Homes: Ramin Bahrani, USA

After his family is evicted from their home, proud and desperate construction worker Dennis Nash tries to win his home back by striking a deal with the devil and working for Rick Carver, the corrupt real estate broker who evicted him. Starring Andrew Garfield, Laura Dern and Michael Shannon.

The Drop: Michael R. Roskam, USA

The Drop follows lonely bartender Bob Saginowski through a covert scheme of funnelling cash to local gangsters in the underworld of Brooklyn bars. Under the heavy hand of his employer and cousin Marv, Bob finds himself at the centre of a robbery gone awry and entwined in an investigation that digs deep into the neighbourhood’s past where friends, families, and foes all work together to make a living — no matter the cost. Starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, and James Gandolfini.

The Imitation Game: Morten Tyldum, United Kingdom/USA

Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Alan Turing, the genius British mathematician, logician, cryptologist and computer scientist who led the charge to crack the German Enigma Code that helped the Allies win WWII. Turing went on to assist with the development of computers at the University of Manchester after the war, but was prosecuted by the UK government in 1952 for homosexual acts which the country deemed illegal.

Nightcrawler: Dan Gilroy, USA

Lou Bloom, a driven young man, discovers the nocturnal world of L.A. crime journalism. Joining a group of freelance camera crews who film marketable mayhem, Lou makes his own place at the table, aided by Nina, a veteran of the blood-sport that is local TV news. Blurring the line between observer and perpetrator, Lou finds his calling in a murderous world reduced to transactions. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed and Bill Paxton.

Still Alice:  Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, USA

Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children, is a renowned linguistics professor who starts to forget words. When she receives a devastating diagnosis, Alice and her family find their bonds tested. Alice’s struggle to stay connected to who she once was is frightening, heartbreaking, and inspiring. Starring Kristen Stewart, Alec Baldwin, Kate Bosworth and Julianne Moore.

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The Theory of Everything  James Marsh, United Kingdom/USA

The extraordinary true story of one of the world’s greatest living minds, Stephen Hawking, who falls deeply in love with fellow Cambridge student Jane Wilde. Hawking receives an earth-shattering diagnosis at age 21. Together, Stephen and Jane defy impossible odds, breaking new ground in medicine and science. Starring Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, David Thewlis and Emily Watson.

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While We’re Young:  Noah Baumbach, USA

Noah Baumbach’s exploration of aging, ambition and success, stars Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts as a middle-aged couple whose career and marriage are overturned when a disarming young couple enters their lives. Also starring Amanda Seyfried, Adam Driver, Charles Grodin, Maria Dizzia and Adam Horovitz.

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What do you think of TIFF’s 2014 line-up so far? What’s at the top of your must-watch list? Join the conversation below!

A big thank you to The Film Stage and TIFF for providing a majority of the information!

 

The Best Films of 2014 (So Far)…

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Well, it’s that time of year again. We’ve reached the halfway point of 2014 and I am pleased to present my top 5 films of the year thus far! Click the link below and you’ll be redirected to my personal list along with my fellow CineKatz film lovers. Be sure to leave a comment/like!

The Best Films of 2014 (So Far)…

In other news, I’m hoping to have a few reviews posted directly on The Cinema Monster later this week or early next, so look forward to that. The films include “The Rover,” “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” and “Happy Christmas.” Also, I’m seeing an advance screening of “I Origins” next week, so keep an eye out for that write-up as well. Additionally, I’ll have a brand new VOTE! ready to go soon, so get ready!

Boyhood (2014)

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A little over a week ago, I was fortunate enough to attend the Canadian premiere of Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” at NXNE. Picking up quite a bit of steam during its festival run early in 2014, “Boyhood” is receiving tons of critical acclaim, and as a result, skyrocketed to the top of cinephiles most anticipated films of 2014. You can read my full review by clicking the link below which will redirect you to the article over at The Cinematic Katzenjammer! Please feel free to drop a like/comment.

Boyhood (2014)

The Guest List: Digital Shortbread

Today, I am thrilled to have Tom from Digital Shortbread contributing to The Guest List! If you haven’t been following what Tom’s been doing over at DSB, you’ve seriously been missing out! Aside from his incomparable insight, you’ll be greeted with plenty of interesting tidbits and a chuckle or two over at DSB. So make sure you head on over and subscribe/follow!

Meanwhile, here at The Cinema Monster, we’re always looking for Guest List contributions. So, if you feel the need to partake, the instructions and criteria are posted below!

All you need to do is shoot me an e mail (thecinemamonster@gmail.com) with your name, website info (if you have one), and the topic you have chosen for your top 10. If I like what I see, I’ll give you the all clear and you can begin composing your entry. Make sure to include a descriptive, yet brief introduction and a picture or clip for every entry in your top 10. Use my own top 10s and other Guest List entries as references. Then, send it back to me and we will discuss a date of publish!

I’m going to hand things off to Tom now, enjoy!

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As of late, and much to even my own surprise, I have had my nose stuck in a book. That’s right. A book. I . . . am . . . I am reading, I do read. . .yes, although the activity is far too much of a rarity for me these days. At least, when it comes to good old fashioned paperback-reading. The lovely blogs out here on the internet are mostly where I spend my reading time now, and everything out here is constantly so addicting it’s kind of easy to forget there are other forms of reading to engage in.

Finally, I am getting around to contributing something to one of these great pages I keep in my routine perusings. Joseph’s Guest List is something I’ve been trying to contribute to for some time now, but I’ve just never found the most inspiring topic to talk about, until now. Seeing that I’m deep into the book at this point, I’d figure this would be a good opportunity to take a look at some of the moments from Martin Campbell’s 2006 incredible adaptation of Casino Royale, stand-out moments in the film that I find truly represent James Bond, both the character and the story. Not only does this film qualify as one of my favorites in the Bond franchise, it’s one of them due to it’s successful and total reboot of the character itself, going back to before Bond earned his status as a Double-O agent. In fact it was done so well as to place the film on a short list of my favorite action films of all time. It really is that excellent. Without further ado, here are those scenes:

(These are in no particular order. . . because they are all just equally awesome moments.)

1) Catch me if you can: Sebastien Foucan (“Mollaka”)’s incredible athleticism in the film’s first blood-pumping action sequence marks a new level of ridiculous in movie stunt reels. His pivotal role as an unidentified bomb-maker attracts the attention of Bond, who must stop at nothing to track the man down and attempt to bring him into custody. That unfortunately will not be quite so simple. This scene is not only one of the first action sequences in the movie, it’s one of the best and a simply magnificent combination of using the skill of this unique athlete and a great temperature tester for the film that is to come.

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2) “That last hand nearly killed me. . .” While Casino Royale is littered with moments that demonstrate very clearly that we have a tougher, grittier Bond on our hands, there is arguably no moment that accents his hardened characteristics better than when he gets slipped a drink by one of Le Chiffre’s men during a round late in the poker game. This moment is desperate but it is also 100% 007 material. Daniel Craig in this moment is everything I’ve envisioned the guy being.

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3) After hours questioning: Mark Casino Royale down as being the movie that features arguably the best and most stunning Bond girls ever. Yes, I’m willing to start that argument right now, and yes I’m prepared to defend my position. Need I mention anything more than the dazzling Eva Green as Vesper Lynd? Or how about earlier in the film, when we are introduced to Caterina Murino’s Solange? Is it fair to say that these two top them all? Probably not. But I’m saying it anyway. Between the two of them, Casino Royale possesses some of the most gorgeous scenery I’ve had the pleasure of ogling for a long long time.

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4) “Utter another syllable and I’ll have you killed.” No Bond film is ever complete without a moment of tension between 007 and his superior, M, played with gleeful acerbity by Dame Judi Dench. Shared writing duties amongst Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade seemed to pay off as they really nailed the relationship between these two, and no moment is better than when M discovers Bond in her apartment, casually browsing on her personal computer. What a cheeky bugger.

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5) Two orphans, a train and a half-decent plan: There are many things I love about this scene in the high-speed train en route to the high-stakes poker game set to take place in Casino Royale. But it’s the fact that the dialogue that flies between James and his most worthy female adversary in the gorgeous Vesper Lynd, a representative of the British Treasury on this risky mission, is some of the best dialogue found in the entirety of the Bond franchise. As the prickly accountant — who, by the way, isn’t entirely sold on the idea of MI6 pitting 007 in the game to begin with — and an always over-confident Bond get to know one another, words are weapons — they stab like knives and tear into one another’s psyches like bullets out of a chamber of a Walther PPK. It’s brilliant stuff.

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6) “Now the whole world’s gonna know you died scratching my balls!” Again, this is one of those scenes I have many, many reasons for declaring it as a top 7 scene in Casino Royale, but. . .ultimately this comes down to the sheer intensity of Mads Mikkelsen’s increasingly desperate and vicious Le Chiffre. The obligatory torture scene is handled with aplomb, rendering it one of the more gut-wrenching yet refreshingly simple scenes in the entire ordeal. And there’s nothing quite like James’ ability to throw out some quips while Le Chiffre sets about busting his balls.

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7) Cold-hearted bastard, or bound by duty? This is what we always wonder about the often-ruthless, occasionally affectionate James Bond. A man with a sensitive trigger finger with a strong patriotic compass binding him to his missions. Where does he draw the line though? After he strangles one of his assailants in a hotel hallway, he leaves Vesper in a very fragile mental state and later discovers her breaking down in front of his eyes. It gives him pause, and it opens our eyes to the first moment of Bond finally being aware of his brutal actions. This scene is both beautiful and heartbreaking, and is among the top reasons I think so highly of Casino Royale.

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Tracks (2014)

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In case you missed the news, I’ve started contributing to The Cinematic Katzenjammer, in addition to Gone With The Movies. Of course, The Cinema Monster will still remain my home. That being said, it’d mean the world to me if you could head on over to The CK and give my latest review (Tracks) a gander. And while you’re there, feel free to drop a like/comment, seeing as the site is also run through WordPress! So logging in and such won’t be a hassle. Just click the link below!

Tracks (2014)

If you did happen to miss the notice last week, you might have missed out on my review of “The Trip to Italy.” Don’t feel left out, it’s very easily rectified. Simply click on the link below and it’ll immediately direct you to the article!

The Trip to Italy (2014)

The Guest List: Cindy Bruchman

The Guest List is back! Yes, you read that correctly. After a long hiatus, the first ever segment created here at The Cinema Monster has returned and it’s better than ever! Today we have Cindy Bruchman offering up her entry to The Guest List gods in hopes of bringing the segment back from the dead! If you don’t already follow/subscribe to Cindy’s outstanding site, you are seriously missing out. Honestly, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more in depth, excellently written blog, and I’m sure this article will further cement that notion. The link to her site is above, so be sure to click on that and head on over!

Additionally, if you’re looking to submit your very own list to the segment, here’s how!

All you need to do is shoot me an e mail (thecinemamonster@gmail.com) with your name, website info (if you have one), and the topic you have chosen for your top 10. If I like what I see, I’ll give you the all clear and you can begin composing your entry. Make sure to include a descriptive, yet brief introduction and a picture or clip for every entry in your top 10. Use my own top 10s and other Guest List entries as references. Then, send it back to me and we will discuss a date of publish!

Next week, we have Tom from Digital Shortbread featured on The Guest List, so look forward to that! Now, without further delay, I will now hand things over to Cindy!

Best Production Design in Film:

Production Design in film is the place to where the audience escapes. Creating the visual backdrop and supplying the context that moves the narrative forward, it’s the art behind the film.

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Thanks to Joseph at http://www.cinemamonster.com for accepting my “Top 10″ list about the history of Production Design in film. Shouldn’t a cardinal rule in films be to offer great artistic design? After all, film is a visual experience that clings to your consciousness; the chance to create an alternate reality is a powerful medium. When I think of beautiful films, the ones that pop into my head are settings which showcase the grandeur of nature. Flawed films are elevated when breathtaking natural settings such as Legends of the Fall or The Last Samurai surround mediocre scripts. Take a strong script and watch the film catapult to near-perfection like Last of the Mohicans. Some criticize directors for providing style over substance like Wes Anderson and Quentin Tarantino, but they get away with it because they create artistic wonderlands.

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Originally called “Best Art Design” the category was renamed in 2012. Since 1947, it has shared the award with “Set Decorator”. Looking at the Academy Award winners, I’ve tried to narrow down the ‘Best of the Decade’ from 1920s to the present. Since it’s my list, feel free to disagree. I’m just sticking with Oscar winners. Your favorite film might never have been nominated and unjustly so. Here’s my Top 10 by decade:

One: 1920s

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There were only two years to choose from, 1927/28 and 1928/29. I picked The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1929) released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It’s a remake of the Thorton Wilder Pulitzer winning book. A great read. Have you seen the 2004 version starring Robert DeNiro?

Two: 1930s

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In 1938, Warner Brothers released this swashbuckling classic starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Claude Rains, and Basil Rothbone (What a name!) Filmed in Technicolor, the original men in green tights never looked so good.

Three: 1940s

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Now it gets harder. Citizen Kane and Rebecca were nominated but did not win. Those that did win, Gaslight, Anna and the King of Siam, and The Yearling had memorable art design. But, I’m going to pick my favorite ballet film, The Red Shoes (1948).

Four: 1950s

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Oh, boy. Look at these mighty contenders: Ben-Hur. On the Waterfront. Gigi. A Streetcar Named Desire. Sunset Boulevard. An American in Paris. How can I pick only one?

I’m going to go for my personal favorite. Dr. Nemo’s underwater world mesmerized me. That organ! Remember Bach’s Taccata in D? How perfect for the mysterious journey. My bet goes to the Jules Verne classic, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea starring Kirk Douglas, James Mason, and Peter Lorre.

Five: 1960s

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Anthony Masters is the man. 2001: A Space Odyssey was nominated but did not win in 1968. Other winners throughout the decade included Cleopatra, Lawrence of Arabia, and Camelot, but I have to go with my heart and proclaim West Side Story the winner of the decade.

Six: 1970s

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With grand choices like Cabaret, The Sting, and Patton to choose from, I opted for my film favorite, Star Wars.

Seven: 1980s

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This decade was easy to pick. Dangerous Liaisons was a perfect period piece.

Eight: 1990s

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A fabulous decade for film, I suggest a tie for 1993, Schindler’s List and 1997, Titanic.

Nine: 2000s

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Okay, I know I’m supposed to pick Avatar, but I don’t want to. I’m not really a fan of the film. With CGI in full swing, worlds are magical places. It makes it harder to pick from Memoirs of a Geisha, Moulin Rouge! Chicago, Lord of the Rings I – 3, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I vote for the stunning world of the 1920s and classic Hollywood, The Aviator.

Ten: 2010s

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This should be easy, right? There’s only four choices: Alice in Wonderland, Hugo, Lincoln, and The Great Gatsby. Since I just picked Leo and the 1920s, I’ll skip it. Though I can do without Johnny Depp in make up, wonderland was a magical place and worthy of the award.

Would you dare to pick an overall winner from the 1920s to the present? CGI seems like cheating to me. It was harder to create colorful, magical places that were believable back in Hollywood’s classic era. That’s why The Red Shoes wins for me.

The Trip to Italy (2014)

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Since I started blogging a little over a year ago, I’ve been fortunate enough to make a ton of new friends, simply through a reciprocated love of film and television. Additionally, I’ve been given more opportunities to expand my craft and following through new outlets. The Cinematic Katzenjammer and its wonderful staff welcomed me and my contributions with open arms and I am eternally grateful. So please, head on over and check out my latest review, and while you’re there, be sure to have a look around! It’s run on WordPress, so please login and drop a like and/or comment. You can find my review and be redirected to the site by clicking below. Thank you!

The Trip to Italy (2014)

Top 10 Episodes of Community

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It might not have lasted for as long as its television comedy brethren like “The Office” or “How I Met Your Mother,” but “Community” built up a rather admirable cult following during its 5 season run. A devout fan base who’s loyalty and passion is equal to, possibly even greater than the more illustrious, long-running shows. That being said, having such a dense, furious following leaves a significant amount of room for disapprovers to flourish. I’m in the former, however, a majority of the people I surround myself with tend to dislike the show…intensely. There’s really no middle-ground here, one either loves or hates “The Greendale 7″ and their weekly antics. Whether that may be rescuing their dean from the clutches of a deranged, former Spanish teacher, a bottle episode, or referencing their all-time favourite films, “Community” is gone too soon, even if it is only one season.

Much like the show itself, you’ll either enjoy this top 10, or it’ll completely baffle and/or infuriate you. Regardless, without further delay, let’s get into it!

 

10: Home Economics: Season 1, Episode 8:

Highlight: “Getting Rid of Britta”

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9: Herstory of Dance: Season 4, Episode 8

Highlight: Brie Larson

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8: Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps: Season 3, Episode 5

Highlight: Test Result Reveal

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7: A Fistful of Paintballs/For a Few Paintballs More: Season 2, Episodes 23/24

Highlight: The Insecurity of Jeff

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6: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Season 2, Episode 14

Highlight: The Origin of “Fat Neil”

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5: Pillows & Blankets: Season 3, Episode 14

Highlight: Shot entirely like Ken Burn’s “The Civil War”

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4: Modern Warfare: Season 1, Episode 23

Highlight: Chang’s Epic Entrance

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3: Regional Holiday Music: Season 3, Episode 10

Highlight: Annie’s Christmas song/Abed and Troy’s rap

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2: Epidemiology: Season 2, Episode 6

Highlight: Zombies and Abba

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1: Contemporary American Poultry: Season 1, Episode 21

Highlight: “Goodfellas” and “The Godfather” references

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SIX SEASONS AND A MOVIE!

Godzilla (2014)

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Whether you’re a casual filmgoer or a diehard cinephile, it’s deceitfully easy to get caught up in hype, no matter how adamant one may oppose influence. The truth is, usually it isn’t even external pressures that wind up persuading us to a predetermined conclusion. We form our own biases, niches, and preferences, completely devoid of any convincing, leverage, or sway originating from peers, media, society, etc… Either way, a genuine, uninhibited opinion, free from preconceived notions is nearly impossible to form nowadays. And as much as I’d like to be one of the remaining few who can birth such a rarity, I cannot. I found myself lost amidst the chaos and destruction of “Godzilla’s” mammoth awareness campaign a few months beforehand, even as far back as the comic-con teaser released roughly a year ago. Needless to say, the sheer size of this beast and the terror insinuated through the film’s publicity endeavours snagged me irrevocably.

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Originally what drew me to Gareth Edwards’ “Godzilla” reboot was the foreboding magnitude and apocalyptic nature of the film’s teasers and trailers. To be honest, the disgraceful, cliche-infested outing from 1998 still left a distinctly potent, gag-inducing taste in my mouth, and I was eagerly looking to wash it out. That being said, apart from Edwards himself, this revamping didn’t exactly have me from the get go. As I mentioned, the debacle starring the wonderful Jean Reno still lingered and the cast chosen for this reimagining left a lot to be desired. Not that I dislike any specific member of the ensemble, I just thought that those chosen weren’t able to handle the spotlight individually, so I remained slightly skeptical still. However, the helplessness and disturbing reality of the film’s tone towards humanities extinction overwhelmed me. Combine that with the monstrous, sky-scraper size of the creature itself and its defining, eardrum shattering roar…and I was won over.

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Heading into the theatre on opening weekend (surprise), there was only one thing on my mind. Did “Godzilla” keep its tone and atmosphere? I was very much on board with Edwards’ vision that would introduce the original movie monster into the modern day and I ached with anticipation, hoping he could pull it off. Unfortunately, upon conclusion, I don’t know what’s more tragic, the fact that Edwards didn’t fully realize the film I was hoping for, or that he almost did. Edwards is a talented filmmaker no doubt. “Monsters” is something to be immensely proud of, in my opinion. With “Godzilla” however, it does feel as if the plausibility and human aspect of the film clashed with the typical monster goodness we’ve come to expect from the “Godzilla” franchise. While both segments are individually entertaining, together, they didn’t meld as seamlessly as I’d hoped.

No one is readily to blame, and by no means is the film’s lacklustre delivery Edwards’ fault. I’ve simply deduced that plausibility and “Godzilla” (and everything that comes with it) do not go hand-in-hand. I feel that what I envisioned before seeing the film is precisely what Edwards’ wanted to end up on screen. Sadly, I struggle to imagine a scenario in which “Godzilla” and humanity co-exist, both thematically and physically on screen.

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As I stated earlier, the film can be separated into two segments. For roughly the first forty minutes, there’s little-to-no action, something I didn’t anticipate heading in. Drama takes centre stage and while consistently captivating, the characters aren’t nearly compelling enough. Because the characters are so bland and their stories, predictable, the cast feels like a slapped-together ensemble of supporting players. This should never be the case when you’ve got the likes of Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe, David Strathairn, and Aaron-Taylor Johnson at your disposal. All critique and judgement aside though, the cast does do their best with what they’re given, it’s just that not one of their performances will be remembered years down the road. Thankfully however, those who comprise the cast are talented enough and have already proven their worth, so we shouldn’t worry about their future being affected by this film.

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Now, for a significant chunk of this review, I’ve been rather neutral to negative. The truth is, in the same breathe that I harshly judge Edwards’ reboot, I applaud it for making an action film watchable again, for me anyway. I’m not the biggest fan of the genre and I don’t give top marks for sublime CGI. Most films try to pass on their looks alone, and while “Godzilla” is stunning to look at, it doesn’t solely rely on this fact. Even though it becomes, rather ironically, the only admirable trait of the film. Although its ambition and scale are rather stupendous in their own right, but not to the same effect. The best way to watch this giant-monster flick is to throw every preconceived notion aside and take it for what it is. It’s an action film with gigantic monsters and Edwards does the illustrious lizard and his companions justice. After all, we’re all here for the big guy and nothing else, although some memorable character turns would have been a nice addition.

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“Godzilla” delivers what we’re ultimately paying to see, but is rather lacklustre otherwise. One can’t help but feel that the premise and cast went to waste. That being said, we get enough of a look at the big guy and the carnage that ensues to make Edwards’ “Godzilla” worth the watch and immensely more successful than the 1998 debacle.

Godzilla: 7 out of 10.

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