We must admit, the last couple days have been tough here at MMC! and morale is lagging with things looking to get worse before they get better. I’m not sure if Wes Anderson’s new short Come Together (2016), a promotional work for H&M stores, helps the situation by offering some Christmas cheer or gives some further reason to mope by another Anderson’s characteristic sad sack dollhouses, but we’re glad for it either way. Enjoy it now here, before it appears on the Criterion Collection’s eventual release of The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), and we’ll see you in December!
The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Little Murders.
After directing the successful off-Broadway revival of Jules Feiffer’s acclaimed play, Alan Arkin made his feature film directing debut translating the senseless, hysterical world of Little Murders to the screen. Apathetic photographer Alfred (Elliott Gould) and feisty optimist Patsy (Marcia Rodd) are a young mismatched couple in a frantic metropolis where sniper attacks, power outages, and obscene phone calls are commonplace. With riotous supporting performances by Vincent Gardenia, Elizabeth Wilson, Jon Korkes, Lou Jacobi, Donald Sutherland, and Arkin himself, Feiffer’s satirical screenplay takes absurdist aim at the meaningless violence and spreading disenchantment in American life and produces a blackly hilarious comedy classic.
- New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
- Audio commentary from 2004 featuring actor Elliott Gould and writer Jules Feiffer
- New interview program with director Alan Arkin, stars Elliott Gould and Marcia Rodd, and writer Jules Feiffer
- Short films directed by Arkin – T.G.I.F. (1967), People Soup (1969), Samuel Beckett is Coming Soon (1993), and Blood (Thinner Than Water) (2004)
- Gene Deitch’s Academy Award-winning short film Munro, written by Feiffer
- Theatrical trailer and TV spots
- PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film scholar Jim Emerson and Roger Ebert’s original 1971 review
It’s been a while since MMC! has offered a “Trailer Tuesday” post. I’m going to try and make “Trailer Tuesday” a monthly feature with aims at celebrating trailers for upcoming movies, films recently announced for spine numbered editions, and trailers that caught our eye (regardless of the feature’s quality).
The last month has offered a lot of trailers that are pure eye candy, but the most stunning belongs to Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017). As a fan of the originals BDs (read: French comic books) by author Pierre Christin and artist Jean-Claude Mézières, I must say that Besson’s realization of the series’ far-future world is impeccable and, as often happens in his other films, it may likely carry the film over any weaknesses in its plot or performances – fingers crossed!
A week or so following the closing of the Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival, voting went up on its website for the short film program. SFFF’s top short was Seth (Zach Lasry, 2015), one of our favourite short films of the Fest. As per the filmmakers’ synopsis:
Manic man-child Seth lives in his own demented world where time is of the essence, his only friends are his stuffed animals, and the words of Michael Jordan inspire him to take all the shots he can.
Enjoy! Hope you like corn!
The last 10 films I’ve watched are mostly decent (Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders), good (Trouble Every Day, Man vs. Snake, Tenderness of the Wolves, The Life of a Horse Trader), or nearly great (Odd Man Out, Triptych). Etiquette’s Pictures release of Hangs Upon Nothing stands as this last 10’s masterpiece, a hazy, shimmering surf travelogue that basks in home movie immediacy, 16mm texture, and free-form, non-narrative lyricism. Jeremy Rumas’ film cannot be recommended highly enough.
- Hangs Upon Nothing (Jeremy Rumas, 2014)
- Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders (Rick Morales, 2016)
- Trouble Every Day (Claire Denis, 2001)
- Man vs. Snake: The Long and Twisted Tale of Nibbler (Andrew Seklir and Tim Kinzy, 2015)
- Tenderness of the Wolves (Ulli Lommel, 1973)
- Triptych (Ali Khamraev, 1979)
- Odd Man Out (Carol Reed, 1947)
- The Life of a Horse Trader (Keigo Kimura, 1951)
- Blackenstein (William A. Levey, 1974)
- The Shallows (Jaume Collet-Serra, 2016)
While technically not a film, Hervé Hadmar’s 3-episode, French mini-series Beyond the Walls (2016) was a great discovery. As a title exclusive to AMC’s new horror streaming service Shudder, it alone makes the site’s free trial period worthwhile. The series’ lead Veerle Baetens channels her inner-Linda Hamilton playing a damaged woman who becomes lost in a vast house that exists outside of normal reality and is home to a very old evil. More an atmospheric dark fantasy than an all-out horror film, Beyond the Walls was compelling viewing throughout its 2+ hour running time.
The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Our Friends in the North.
Based on Peter Flannery’s 1982 stage-play, this award-winning BBC mini-series charts the lives of four friends from Newcastle over four decades – Nicky, a radical socialist preoccupied with the class struggle; Tosker, a cocky young man with dreams of celebrity and success; Mary, who struggles with the pressures of marriage and motherhood while pursuing her own professional ambitions; and Geordie, a troubled young man who flees his hometown for London. Over its nine episodes, Our Friends in the North traces the fortunes of an ever-changing England through the break-out performances of Christopher Eccleston, Mark Strong, Gina McKee, and Daniel Craig. The Criterion Collection is proud to present this sprawling milestone in British drama for the first time ever in North America.
- New 4K digital restoration, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
- Interview with Christopher Eccleston and Gina McKee
- Retrospective with Peter Flannery, producer Charlie Pattison, executive producer Michael Wearing, and directors Pedr James and Simon Cellan Jones
- New interviews with Christopher Eccleston, Gina McKee, Mark Strong, and Daniel Craig
- Visual essay by playwright Michael Eaton
- Complete soundtrack listing with chart history
- Precis and color stills of the original first episode
- TV spots
- PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by film scholar Marcus Hearn and television scholar Robin Nelson