A Very Gerry X-Mas! (Jay Cheel, 2010)

Merry Christmas from MMC!

This year, MMC! brings you good tidings of great joy by way of the Film Junk short, A Very Gerry X-Mas! (Jay Cheel, 2010). Starring Reed Harrington, made by Jay Cheel (director of another MMC! favourite – Beauty Day), and featuring a brilliant opening sequence by Rob NiosiA Very Gerry X-Mas! provides a quirky, awkward take on traditional holiday television programming. Part cooking show, part instructional video, part video confessional, part dream sequence, part fireside reading, this is all tongue-in-cheek, holiday goodness.

Happy holidays to everyone out there!  Stay safe!

(And our next post will go up before the end of the year … and this time I mean it!)

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SFFF Day 4 – Go Big and Go Home

The Saskatoon Fantastic Film Festival’s final day was even more massive than expected. With a packed program and an extra short film (moved from the previous day due to a technical issue), there was little downtime between screenings and the Festival’s final midnight show started late and wrapped well past 2:30 a.m. Those that saw the marathon day of screenings to its bleary end enjoyed without question the SFFF’s best block of films (plus some welcome giveaways for lucky attendees).

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Our Little Sister (Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2015)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Our Little Sister.

Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Our Little Sister (Umimachi Diary) is a scenic and gently sensitive domestic drama that confirms its maker’s reputation as a great director in the tradition of Yasujiro Ozu and Mikio Naruse. Adapted from a popular Japanese comic book, the film concerns three twentysomething sisters – Sachi, Yoshino, and Chika – who live together in an old, large house in the seaside city of Kamakura. When their long absent father dies, they travel to a small countryside town for his funeral and meet their shy, teenage half-sister for the first time. Bonding quickly with the orphaned Suzu, they invite her to live with them and the four sisters commence a new life of tentatively joyful discovery. With documentary precision and picturesque elegance, Our Little Sister is a touching survey of love, generosity, and the weight of family histories.

Disc Features:

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The Chickening (Nick DenBoer and Davy Force, 2015)

It’s inevitable.  At some point everyday, each of us think back to 2005, to Burger King’s introduction of the TenderCrisp Chicken Bacon Ranch burger, and to David LaChapelle’s “Fantasy Ranch” ad campaign, a trippy, countrified, sweetly perverse TV ad featuring Darius Rucker, Vida Guerra, Brooke Burke, and the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders.  But as much as we all love this crassly commercial riff on “Big Rock Candy Mountain,” universal questions still get asked – Why isn’t it nightmarish or disgusting?  Why isn’t it Kubrickian in its point of reference?  And where are the references to Tommy Wiseau and The Room (2003)?  Thankfully, Nick DenBoer and Davy Force have answered these questions with The Chickening (2015), a proof of concept pseudo-trailer and your latest masterpiece in “Cinegraffiti” (unless you’re my wife, who hated this and considered it nightmare fuel).

Be sure to read Birth.Movies.Death.‘s exclusive interview with DenBoer and The Chickening‘s press kit.

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (Peter Greenaway, 1990)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover.

criterion logoTaking aim at the neo-conservative values that dominated Britain through the 1980s, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover skewers the decadence and small-mindedness of the era with its visually sumptuous, overtly theatrical tale of food, sex, murder, and revenge.  Albert Spica (Michael Gambon) is a gangster and cultural dilettante holding court nightly at a gourmet restaurant before his wife Georgina (Helen Mirren) and his coterie of thugs, unaware that Georgina is carrying on an adulterous affair with a bookish diner one table over.  When Albert discovers the infidelity, his brutal action inspires Georgina to a gastronomic vengeance even more shocking and ghastly that Albert can imagine.  Writer-director Peter Greenaway presents a lavish cinematic feast steeped in the conventions of 16th century British revenge tragedy, inspired by 17th century Dutch painting, and voicing his harsh dissent over the social, political and cultural failures of Thatcherite Britain.

Disc Features:

  • New 4K digital restoration of the film’s original 124 minute version, approved by writer-director Peter Greenaway, with 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Audio commentary by Greenaway
  • The Art of Revenge, a new video piece with Greenaway on the influences of art and theater in The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover
  • New interviews with cast members Helen Mirren, Michael Gambon, Richard Bohringer, and Tim Roth
  • New interview with fashion designer Jean-Paul Gautier on the film’s costumes
  • Hubert Bals Handshake, Greenaway’s 1989 short film
  • “New Possibilities: Cinema is Dead, Long Live Cinema” and “Nine Classic Paintings Revisited,” two 2010 lectures by Greenaway at UC Berkeley
  • Behind the scenes footage
  • Trailers
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring new essays by film scholars Tony Rayns, Douglas Keesey, and Ruth Johnston

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Berberian Sound Studio (Peter Strickland, 2012)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents Berberian Sound Studio.

criterion logo1976.  A mild-mannered British sound engineer named Gilderoy (Toby Jones) arrives in Rome to work on the post-synchronized soundtrack to The Equestrian Vortex, a bloody tale of witchcraft and murder set inside an all-girls riding academy.  Thrown from the innocent world of English nature documentaries to the forbidding realm of exploitation cinema, he quickly finds his meek disposition clashing with the bitter actresses, capricious staff, and confounding bureaucracies of his Italian hosts.  Gilderoy’s simulated aural violence takes on a cruel edge in this environment, eventually revealing that it is his own mind that holds the real horrors.  As the line between film and reality blurs, is Gilderoy working on a film or in one?  A meta-horror tale that is equal parts paranoid thriller and loving tribute to the lost art of analog sound recording, Berberian Sound Studio is a spiraling dreamscape of personal and sonic mayhem.

Disc Features:

  • High-definition digital transfer, approved by director Peter Strickland, with 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • Audio commentary featuring Strickland
  • Interview with Strickland discussing the film’s production, the importance of sound to ’70s Italian genre cinema, and the impact of music on his work
  • Original Berberian Sound Studio short film starring The Bohemian Brothers
  • The Making of Berberian Sound Studio, a 47-minute documentary with Strickland and interviews with various cast and crew
  • Extended 1976 Box Hill documentary
  • Production design gallery reviewing the film’s dubbing charts with detailed director’s explanations
  • Deleted scenes with text descriptions and commentary by Strickland
  • What the Future Sounded Like, Matthew Bate’s 27-minute documentary on the Electronic Music Studio and the origins of experimental electronic music in England
  • A short video piece by Italy’s RAI television on the Milanese Studio di Fonologia Musicale
  • Trailer
  • Poster gallery
  • PLUS:  A booklet featuring new essays by critic Mark Kermode and music critic Alexis Petridis

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