Blindness

"Either the blindness spread the panic or the panic spread the blindness."

When Fernando Meirelles showed his 2008 film Blindness to José Saramago, the author of the original book upon which it was based, Saramago loved it. Unfortunately for them, neither critics nor audiences connected with the allegorical film. It’s a tough watch with questionable character motivations and a fairly depressing world view. But some people still really love it, creating quite a variety of reactions to the film well worth talking about. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we discuss the penultimate film in our Disease Films series, Meirelles’ Blindness

We talk about why the film worked for Andy but didn’t work for Pete and how, for both, there are still gaping problems that should’ve been worked out. We discuss the cinematography and production design and how they work together to really create an interesting world on film, even if there are elements one could call on the nose. We dig into the technical side of the VistaVision camera and why the production team likely used it for filming. We look at the actors – from Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo to Danny Glover and Gael García Bernal – and what they’re all bringing to the table. And we look at the variety of locations they filmed at including Brazil, Canada and Uruguay. 

It’s a problematic film that some people may like while others may hate, but it is an interesting allegory all the same and certainly fun to talk about. So check it out and tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

Andy's Trailer: Allied — "It’s just a teaser, but I’ll see anything Robert Zemeckis does. The fact that it’s a WWII story written by Steven Knight with Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard starring is just icing on the cake.”

Pete's Trailer: The Good Neighbor — "James Caan is incredibly scary. Just, as a person. He’s a scary person. In fact, there were moments that I actually thought Kathy Bates was the victim that one time. Remember that? He’s that scary of a guy. And now he’s playing the role of the scary guy in a SUPER-Rear-Window-vibed film. I’ll see this, and probably regret it for so many reasons."

Children of Men

"Very odd what happens in a world without children’s voices."

It’s unfortunate that Alfonso Cuarón’s film Children of Men never found the audience it deserved, at least theatrically. Sure, it has been hailed as one of the best films of the year it was released, is often cited as one of the best science fiction films of the 21st century and was critically praised but for whatever reason, the audiences didn’t show up. The film lost money on its theatrical release. But Cuarón’s film is brilliant. It’s powerful. And it leaves you with a sense of hope for humanity.

Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Disease Films series with Cuarón’s 2006 film Children of Men. We talk about the theme of hope and the religious overtones within the film, looking at why they work here and how they differ from the original novel written by P.D. James. We chat about Cuarón and his penchant for long shots, noting how there are over 30 minutes of shots in this movie that run 45 seconds or longer in single takes. We look at what it takes for Cuarón and his team to pull off these incredibly complicated shots. We discuss the performances, including Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Caine and Clare-Hope Ashitey, and why Owen should’ve been nominated for an Oscar. And we deliberate on why this film was critically received so well but never quite found its footing.

It’s a marvelous film well worth watching and discussing. We enjoy talking about it here, so what are you waiting for? Tune in!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

Andy's Trailer: The Edge of Seventeen — Official Red Band Trailer — "This is the perfect movie for me to watch before my daughter gets to this age. I have a feeling by that point, I won’t be able to handle it. But seriously, it looks hilarious. And sad. And honest. And touching. No surprise to see James L. Brooks producing it."

Pete's Trailer: Complete Unknown — "I loved Maria Full of Grace. While I never saw his other features, when this showed as writer/director Joshua Marston’s next film I jumped at it. Not only does it feel like a return to form for him, it stars one of my very favorite actors in Rachel Weisz. Starts this month if you can find it!"

Serenity

"You can’t stop the signal."

Most people involved in making Joss Whedon’s 2005 film Serenity acknowledge that it was a near miracle that they got to make it. The TV show upon which it was based, “Firefly,” was canceled before its 14 episodes all aired and it seemed dead. Luckily, the rabid fanbase clamored loud enough and Universal saw that there may be an audience for a continuation of the story after all. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Disease Films series with Whedon’s conclusion of his “Firefly” story, 2005’s Serenity

We talk about why the film works and what Whedon brings to the table, notably his sharp story construction and snappy dialogue. We chat about the cast, looking primarily at Serenity’s crew members and their antagonist played by Chiwetel Ejiofor. We look at the look of the film and why Jack Green’s cinematography works so well for us. We marvel at the stuntwork done by the cast, notably Summer Glau and Nathan Fillion as they handled most of their stunts to brilliant effect. We talk about the release of the film and why we think it didn’t do that well at the box office. And we take note of a fascinating milestone this film represents in the advancing world of digital film projection.

It’s an amazing science fiction western noir film and is one of our faves. Definitely check it out, then tune in to this week’s show!

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

Andy's Trailer: The Hollars — "Family comedy drama films can sometimes work for me and sometimes not. This looks like it will fall in the ‘yes’ category and I really hope so because I’d love to see John Krasinski bring more to the table as a director."

Pete's Trailer: The Great Wall — "This looks like quite a spectacle. The problem is, on some level, I think I’m actually offended by it, but I can’t figure out why. I guarantee my opinion is based in some part on the dumpster fire that was Jason Bourne."