The Gushing Cinephile: November 25, 2013
I’d like to start off this edition of The Gushing Cinephile with a non-film related topic. As most of you know, the next-gen console war officially got underway with the releases of Playstation 4 and Xbox One this month. Personally, I stood in line this past Thursday evening for quite some time to ensure that I obtained my next-gen gaming system, the Xbox One…which I’m loving to death by the way! That being said, I’m rather curious as to what you, my fellow bloggers and readers, think of the newest consoles, their capabilities, and video-gaming in general. This affects movie lovers as well, considering that you can watch Netflix and rent or buy movies on them, in addition to utilizing the consoles as Bluray/DVD players. So please respond to the poll below and drop a comment regarding anything to do with gaming.
First up, a badass poster from one of the best films 2013 has to offer, “Big Bad Wolves.” You can check out our review of the flick by clicking here and the poster below!
Homage to giallo “Berberian Sound Studio” will be hitting home video December 10, 2013.
One of my favourites from TIFF 2012, “Sightseers” will finally be coming to Bluray in North America on December 10, 2013. You can check out our review here!
What I’m sure will be nominated in the foreign Oscar category, “The Hunt” starring Mads Mikkelsen will be invading your personal lives on December 10, 2013. Check out our review here!
With a star-studded cast and disturbing content, “Devil’s Knot” has got my attention…
The latest release from Joe Swanberg (Drinking Buddies) unveiled a trailer this past week? The film is entitled “All the Light In the Sky” and has got its hooks in me.
Darren Aronofsky’s biblical epic “Noah” unleashed its first trailer. Maybe it’s just me, but I was a little let down. Don’t get me wrong though, still looking forward to it!
Now we’re talking! Lars Von Trier’s sex addiction epic “Nymphomaniac” finally released a full-length trailer. Be aware, it is a red-band trailer containing graphic nudity, so people 18 and over only!
James Franco and Jessica Chastain! Count me in! This is the trailer for “Tar!”
I think that I’ve finally decided that I’d travel to see Jason Clarke in a film. “Swerve” is his newest outing and I can’t wait to catch it!
It may be short, it may not contain a lot of actual content, but this teaser for “Sherlock: Season 3″ has done its job.
That’ll do it for this week’s edition of The Gushing Cinephile. I hope you enjoyed it!
Charlie Countryman (2013)
See, this is why you should always watch a film that interests you no matter what, regardless of the general consensus. I don’t know why, but it seems like the past few years have been overflowing with hidden gems that many have dismissed, simply presuming that the opinions and habits of other (idiotic) film-viewers are infallible. Films like “On the Road,” “Only God Forgives, and “The Counselor” have all been notoriously smashed by critics and the general public alike, resulting in an abundance of undeserved negativity, virtually non-existent box office returns and so on. For example, I’ve read a few articles on all the aforementioned flicks, including “Charlie Countryman,” and they’ve all been deemed irrefutably flawed by the majority, in some way, on the top two reviewing websites, those being IMdB and Rotten Tomatoes. The only reason I bring those two up is because in my experience, they’re what a significant amount of movie-goers check for info and testimonials before heading to the theatre or renting a flick.
People are impressionable you know, when they read a bad review, see terrible opening weekend numbers, it sticks with them, and as much as I try to be, I’m no different. I’ve been excited about “Charlie Countryman” for a while now, but when I saw this black hole of hate engulfing it, I became a little leery. The only thing that kept pushing me forward were my past experiences with the films I previously mentioned. They were all shot down before even being given a legitimate chance. So I vowed that I’d never toss a film to the wayside without due diligence, and boy has that attitude payed huge dividends. While not a contender for best picture of the year, “Charlie Countryman” does have purpose and merit. It’s different, intriguing, heart-wrenching. This might be a bad thing for some, but I like to be sad with a film just as much as I like to be content. So let’s do away with useless cinematic conventions and give the underdogs a chance. Finding films with value on the periphery are all the more rewarding and personal, they stick with you.
“Charlie Countryman,” Directed by Fredrick Bond and written by Matt Drake, is an extreme love story you won’t soon forget starring Shia LaBeouf, Mads Mikkelsen, Evan Rachel Wood, Rupert Grint, and Til Schweiger. Not to mention tremendous supporting performances from Vincent D’onofrio, Melissa Leo, and John Hurt. Now, with a cast of this caliber, it’s easy to see how some have set the bar unreachably high. But let’s discuss the film itself for now, we’ll return to the performances in a bit. We join Charlie (LaBeouf) in a bit of a crisis, his mother is not longed for this world and he’s struggling with the simplicity of his existence. After his mother passes, Charlie sets off to Bucharest in order to keep a promise he made to her and to realize, experience his life. On the plane, Charlie finds himself in another precarious situation regarding death and promises. Upon landing, amongst the chaos and confusion, Charlie meets Gabi and immediately falls in love, but soon understands that anything worth while comes with sacrifice.
Right off the top from the plot’s description, it’s clear to see that “Charlie Countryman” isn’t anything out of the ordinary story-wise. This isn’t a problem, simply push the tale’s lack of originality to the back burner and enjoy the film’s strengths. Director Fredrick Bond does a marvellous job capturing the harsh, underworld beauty of Bucharest. A city that doesn’t often get he chance to strut its stuff on the big screen. Complimenting the skylines and structures is a magnificent, entrancing soundtrack that is lively, ambient, and intoxicating. The score, for me anyway, was the pleasant surprise of the entire film. Now, although writer Matt Drake did struggle creating something of individuality and that will stand the test of time. There is some terrific dialogue that’ll give you reoccurring chills. He didn’t get a lot of things right with “Charlie Countryman,” but the one thing Drake’s script isn’t, is cliche.
Getting back to the portrayals, I mean, what can one say? It’s hard to blame anyone here for “Charlie Countryman’s” faults. In the title role, Shia LaBeouf clearly cherished every moment on screen and the honest ambiguity the character afforded him to unleash. The sadness, happiness, and emotional range he executes is flawless. As for his character’s lover, Gabi, portrayed by the lovely Evan Rachel Wood, there’s nothing to dwell on brashly here either. The accent may get a little ridiculous at times, but she’s equally as emotionally invested as LaBeouf. Now, the main reason I caught this flick was to watch Mads Mikkelsen. No offence to the cast or crew, some of which whom I adore greatly, it’s just that he’s just near the top of my to-watch-list. While Mads doesn’t blow the top off “Charlie Countryman,” he doesn’t phone it in. With his resume, it’s simply hard to turn up a performance that rivals his greatness. The supporting cast is also superbly strong. Compiled of some of the best in the business, if the story and cinematic aspects don’t get you, the cast surely will.
Superlatively acted, visually striking, and emotionally strong. “Charlie Countryman” may not have the staying power some might have hoped, but is definitely strong enough to evoke a response.
Charlie Countryman: 7 out of 10.
The Hunt (2012)
With a shocking, at times inconceivable script, menacing atmosphere, and an immaculate performance from Mads Mikkelsen. The Hunt is a rampant, threatening, suggestive thriller faultlessly depicting the limitations of social acceptance. Also drawing serious arguments regarding the affect of current societies impressions on young, innocent minds. The Hunt’s insight into the grave consequences of having access to temptation, knowledge, and private information at the tips of our fingers is bewildering. The Hunt marvellously assigns blame, judgement, and disappointment at the populaces boundless skepticism and untrustworthiness when they so willingly provide every secret, thought, location, emotion, and potentially damaging information unnecessarily. With an emotional, uncompromising heart flaming at its core. The Hunt is driven by the bonds forged between family and friends.
Lucas (Mikkelsen), who recently separated from his wife, is struggling with his lonely life and for custody for his son. Living in a small town, he has found a job assisting in teaching a group of children. When Lucas and Nadja (Alexandra Rapaport) strike up a meaningful relationship and his son delivers good news, it seems that Lucas’s luck has finally changed. As things progress with his career, relationship, and son, all is not well with Lucas’s good friend Theo and the School where he teaches. They are hit with some disturbing news and now Lucas finds himself in the middle of a vicious manhunt.
The Hunt is heavily reliant on the three modes of persuasion and the viewers ability to discover and understand them. Being able to create unjustified discomfort in the viewer while conversely presenting them with undeniable proof of the truth throughout the entire feature is an astounding accomplishment. But rendered useless if the reason for the emotion is miscomprehended. The Hunt boldly states that there is no returning from a tarnished reputation. Distinguishing equal importance to ones actions and others perception of them. Still, even though we know what is really happening, we get caught up in the pandemonium and begin to question our own thought process. It is unprecedented that a films message peer pressures an audience to discard the truth. Who knew that it could even be administered to viewers, let alone work effectively.
Director of The Hunt, Thomas Vinterberg’s astounding camerawork is something to marvel. Impeccable shots of a melancholic landscape and breathtaking views of small towns and its citizens, in addition to capturing their expansive emotions are but a taste of what Vinterberg has to offer The Hunt’s viewers. Vinterberg, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Tobias Lindholm, should be applauded, as well as Lindholm, for their poignant, original script. Instead of retracing what others have done, their tale of the relationships we forge, the mistakes we make, and the deceptive cunning of innocence is extremely relevant and unsettling. Even though the main focus is on one man’s struggle, the supporting cast and their gradually realization of the truth and the indifference they feel towards it is portrayed evenly.
To say that a single performance makes a film has never been truer. The Hunt would be lost without its lead, Mads Mikkelsen. His characters ability to separate the rage and invest in peaceful ignorance radiates through Mikkelsen’s portrayal. The subtle, infuriating helplessness his character succumbs to, Mikkelsen portrays beautifully and perfectly. Leading towards his demise, Mikkelsen remains composed and doesn’t crumble under any circumstance throughout The Hunt. The only supporting performance worth noting is Thomas Bo Larsen. His performance almost matches Mikkelsen’s stride for stride and considering how masterful Mikkelsen is in The Hunt, that’s high praise. Overall, the acting in The Hunt equals the quality and compassion of the script and directing, making a modern masterpiece.
The Hunt is terrifically acted, superbly directed, and vastly intelligent. I highly recommend this film to any cinephile.
The Hunt: 8.5 out of 10.
Don’t forget to check out blogger talk in the discussion section and this past weeks top 10, have a great day!