Cinema City Film Quiz #175

[25 September 2016]

Winning Team:
Freaky Vice Friday Versa
Genre – They all take it in turns going to work and playing in a band

Runners Up:
Miami Vice Versa.. With Sexy Results
Genre – Judge Reinhold swaps bodies with both Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell to bust a Colombian chocolate cartel
Disappointing Friday
Genre – The Olsen twins swap bodies and nobody notices in this ultra-low budget sequel

ROUND I: Pre-Production
1. What is the name of the NASA mission detailed in Ron Howard’s Apollo 13?
2. Which actor played the role of Ace Ventura in Pet Detective and Nature Calls?
3. Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith starred together in which franchise?
4. What is the title of the third Fast And Furious film?
5. In Speed, the bomb is activated once the bus accelerates to what speed?
50 MPH
6. The following songs are from which film, One Jump Ahead, Friend Like Me and Prince Ali?
7. What were the titles of the two major asteroid collision blockbusters released in 1998? (one point per correct answer)
8. The following quote is from which film, “Fool of a Took!”?
9. How many people are in the line-up in The Usual Suspects?
10. Hans Gruber, Colonel Stuart, Simon Gruber, Thomas Gabriel and Yuri Komarov are villains in which franchise?

ROUND II: Filming [Body Swap Special]
1. What is the title of the 1976 body swap comedy featuring Jodie Foster and Barbara Harris, remade in 2003 with Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan? Scary Sunday? Weird Wednesday? Freaky Friday?
2. Who played the role of Josh Baskin in Big? Tom Hanks? David Moscow? Greg Spinori? (one point per correct answer)
3. Who directed Face/Off? Ang Lee? John Woo? Stephen Chow?
4. Which two actors switch places in The Change-Up? Patrick Dempsey & James Marsden? Jason Bateman & Ryan Reynolds? Andy Samberg & Chris Pine?
5. How many adaptations of Jack Finney’s The Body Snatchers have been adapted to date? 2? 3? 4?
FOUR (Invasion Of The Body Snatchers 1956 and 1978, The Body Snatchers 1993, The Invasion 2007)
6. Rob Schneider’s The Hot Chick was made for $34 million. How much did it make at the box office? $54 million? $106 million? $237 million dollars?
7. In All Of Me, Steve Martin ends up sharing his body with Lily Tomlin but can only control one half, which half is it? Lower half? Left half? Right half?
8. In Day Watch, Anton is framed for murder and must hide by switching bodies with a shape-shifter named Olga. What animal can Olga change into? Owl? Bear? Fox?
9. Most people attribute the box office failure of John Carpenter’s The Thing to the release of which movie? Alien? ET: The Extra Terrestrial? Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back?
10. Vice Versa is one of the few films that had the same crew shoot in three separate US States on the same day. True or False?
TRUE (while filming on an Amtrak train they passed through Illinois, Michigan and Indiana)

ROUND III: Post-Production
1. How many people have piloted (excluding co-pilots and the mystery pilot in the Episode 3 cameo) the Millennium Falcon in the Star Wars film?
FIVE (Han Solo, Leia, Lando Calrissian, Rey, Chewie)
2. The following quote is from which film, “Gentlemen, you had my curiosity but now you have my attention”?
3. What is Rambo’s first name?
4. John Hammond, Ian Malcolm and Roland Tembo are characters in which film?
5. How many James Bond films (eon productions canon) have been released to date?
6. The following quote is from which film, “You dirt eating piece of slime, you scum sucking pig, you son of a motherless goat”?
7. Which Indiana Jones film breaks the narrative flow and takes place before its predecessor?
8. A Bug’s Life is an adaptation of which movie?
9. If Doctor Strange will be the 14th Marvel movie, what is Guardians Of The Galaxy?
10. How many men perform on stage at the end of The Full Monty?
SIX (Gaz, Dave, Lomper, Gerald, Horse, Guy)

ROUND IV: Promotion & Release
1. How many of Ramona’s evil ex’s must Scott battle in Scott Pilgrim? 6? 8? 10?
EIGHT (including Nega Scott)
2. When Francis Ford Coppola cast Al Pacino in The Godfather, he didn’t realise he couldn’t do which two things? (one point per correct answer) Speak Italian? Drive a car? Tie a neck-tie?
3. What is the name of the fictional city in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? Vulgaria? Latveria? Robania?
4. Which film starred Keanu Reeves, Forrest Whitaker, Chris Evans and Hugh Laurie? Pride & Glory? Street Kings? Dark Blue?
5. How long is Jaws in the film of the same name? 15ft? 25ft? 35ft?
6. What is the name of the leader of the lycans in Underworld, played by Michael Sheen? Lucius? Luke? Lucian?
7. How many of the 45 passengers survive until the end of the movie in Alive? 4? 11? 16?
8. Which Wes Anderson has grossed the most at the box office? Fantastic Mr Fox? The Grand Budapest Hotel? The Royal Tenenbaums?
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL ($174million – Grand Budapest Hotel, $71million – The Royal Tenenbaums, $46million – Fantastic Mr Fox)
9. Which Resident Evil film introduced the character Claire Redfield? Resident Evil: Extinction? Resident Evil: Retribution? Resident Evil: Apocalypse?
10. In Pretty Woman, Edward takes Vivian to see the opera La Traviata which is about a prostitute falling in love with a wealthy man. True or False?

Screenshots: Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides / Into The Woods / Ed Wood
Poster: What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
Actor: Johnny Depp


Bad Cop. Worse Cop.

John Michael McDonagh

Alexander Skarsgård
Michael Peña
Tessa Thompson

Detectives Terry Monroe [Skarsgård] and Bob Bolaño [Peña] patrol New Mexico with their own understanding of the law. Their actions are vicious, selfish, crass and thoroughly unacceptable but they get the job done. In their latest endeavour to both subvert and extort those involved in a high paying robbery, Bob and Terry get wrapped up in a level of crime above their usual street hoodlum association and as the individual running the scheme, James Mangan [James], is a respected diplomatically protected British Lord their usual methods aren’t going to work.

Ultimately, War On Everyone suffers from similar problems as Seven Psychopaths. For a little background, John Michael McDonagh and his brother Martin are both exceptionally talented playwrights and filmmakers. Martin followed up the absolutely amazing In Bruges with the rather flash, LA-based dark comedy Seven Psychopaths. But the finished film wasn’t really up to par. It was still razor sharp, hilarious in places and wonderfully acted but it lacked the simple narrative spark that made its predecessor feel so fresh and exciting, leaving a film with several standout scenes but a rather muddled and convoluted plot that dragged it down. Similarly, fresh off the independent success of The Guard and the stunningly superb Calvary, John Michael McDonagh has created a slick and highly stylised piece that doesn’t say nearly as much, lacking the depth and poignancy of the other two films. It’s almost as if these two thrive on simple, low budget pictures which keenly focus on personal tales and the second they try to get a message across in a release with some money behind it, it comes off as heavy handed and forced. The content is still vastly superior to other lazy releases mockingly dubbed comedies but when a parallel is drawn between this latest offering and his past achievements, it falters – which is often the double-edged sword of producing high calibre work.

Both the leads and the script are unabashedly antagonistic, taking potshots at every sensitive subject from gender to race to religion. At times one could argue the interactions are offensive simply for the sake of it but somehow the film earns a reasonable amount of grace for its audacity and the level of satirical wit utilised in its execution. Having said that, the sheer volume of absurdity is such that this film is very much a fantasy piece; even though you could easily have a change of tone with the same script and end up with a serious statement about abuse of police authority. Bob and Terry are ludicrousness personified, reliant upon various intoxicating substances and self-centeredly dismissive to the daily procedures and trivialities of their work. And yet they are anti-heroes, their motives are to make the world a better place (in their own jaded view) but do not believe in indiscriminate murder to enforce the law. It’s this complexity that elevates them above the very two dimensional beings that they would be in lesser hands – both in terms of writing and performance.

Speaking of performance, Peña and Skarsgård are a really great pairing; one the fast-talking, foul-mouthed, highly intelligent cop who has clearly worked his way up through a department rife with racism and incompetence, the other an alcoholic thug with very little substance in his life other than simply existing but gifted with a strong moral compass and zero tolerance for specific levels of criminality. The key to these individuals being interesting, maybe even enigmatic, is that they are high-functioning, disappointed and frustrated by the bureaucracy of their jobs and the limitations which ensure crime rates remain high. With such deviant, flippantly disrespectful individuals, creating a villain worse than them is quite tricky and relies on a grossly detestable character brought to life with some major acting chops; War On Everyone, regrettably does not have that. What we end up with is Lord Mangan played by Theo James. He’s highborn, wealthy and condescending (everything the average audience would arguably hate.. or envy) but just in case he doesn’t come across in a sufficiently unpleasant way, there are two things a scriptwriter can do to turn the audience against them: the mistreatment of children or animals. It’s a trope that guarantees aversion so much that it’s almost farcical. The choice here was to opt for mistreatment of children, specifically a kid in Terry’s care, which does the job of justifying the action taken against the villains. And this is the film’s greatest flaw. The world is a pretty shitty place, the film goes out of its way to tell us this, but it needs to have some sort of closure otherwise the story would be frustrating – like real life. So by the end of the film, we won’t be happy with an arrest (contemporary audiences never are), we want blood, vengeance, justice. And writing a story that resolves itself by simply making the problem go away is frankly dull, unimaginative and escapist nonsense.

From a technical standpoint everything runs smoothly and efficiently. The cinematography is reminiscent of 1970s buddy cop flicks, heavily emphasized by Lorne Balfe’s distinct score and several screenwipes. In fact, everything other than the actual setting is designed to pay homage to a genre long since passed, as if an attempt has been made to say, “Can you imagine what it’d be like if we had those cops like Dirty Harry working in today’s society with our levels of technology, political correctness and regulatory oversight?” I don’t think it necessarily decides whether this is a positive or negative, just highlights an amusing ‘what if’ scenario. Overall, War On Everyone is perfectly enjoyable (providing you like your comedy blacker than coal) but not nearly up to the standard of McDonagh’s previous work. Whether this was an active choice to make a more accessible release or not will only be seen with the quality of his next feature.

Release Date:
7th October 2016

The Scene To Look Out For:
Midway through the film changes up completely, taking the events out of New Mexico and over to Iceland. Bob and Terry turn up with little jurisdictional authority and immediately begin the search for their snitch who has absconded. Upon arrival, wearing their regular suits, both men are stood in the town centre, clearly freezing. At this point Terry asks what the plan is. Bob explains that as Reggie is black, he should be easy to spot. Before Terry can even finish writing off their idea as flawed, Bob calmly calls out “there he is” and we snap to a shot of a man in an afro and a purple suit amidst a sea of white faces. It’s as hilarious as it is ridiculous.

Notable Characters:
Tessa Thompson’s role as mother, lover and carer is a relatively interesting one but boils down to little more than a cul-de-sac. She’s a decent person who enjoys Terry’s company but there isn’t a lot to her character, she’s just an accessory in his sparsely decorated house. She exists there but doesn’t really further the plot or have much of an arc at all. Kudos to Thompson for elevating her above the bland oddity of a well-read ex-stripper.

Highlighted Quote:

In A Few Words:
“An acceptable comedy but pales when compared to McDonagh’s previous work”

Total Score:


Cinema City Film Quiz #174

[11 September 2016]

Winning Team:
The Creature From The Cilla Black Lagoon
Genre – Scouse monster horrifies holidaymakers with her scary big teeth

Runners Up:
Fun With Dick And Lon.. With Sexy Results
Genre – Road movie starring Lon Chaney and former US Secretary Of Defence Dick Cheney travelling to Wally World
The Vincent Price Is Right
Genre – Horrifying game show where contestants have to guess the cost of their own funeral
Power Hour
Genre – Come to Mummy
Genre – Frankenstein making love to Catwoman startles the Invisible Man

ROUND I: Pre-Production
1. Cleopatra, starring Elizabeth Taylor, is about which ancient ruler?
2. Amelie is set in which country?
3. What type of animal is Bambi in the film of the same name?
4. The infamous Minions first appeared in which film?
5. Who was the lead villain in Spider-Man 2?
6. Who played the lead role in The Hurt Locker?
7. How many Star Trek films have been released to date?
8. Ted was released in which year?
9. Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman starred together in which film?
10. The following is the poster tagline for which film, “In the spring of 1980 the port of Mariel Harbor was opened and thousands set sail for the United States. They came in search of the American Dream. One of them found it on the sun washed avenues of Miami.. wealth, power and passion beyond his wildest dreams. He was Tony Montana but the world will remember him by another name..”?

ROUND II: Filming [Universal Horror Special]
1. Who played the title role in 1931’s Dracula? Boris Karloff? Bela Lugosi? Lon Chaney?
2. The following is the poster tagline for which film, “Warning! The monster demands a mate!” Night Monster? The Phantom Of The Opera? Bride Of Frankenstein?
3. Dr Jack Griffin is the lead character in which film? The Invisible Man? Frankenstein? The Mad Doctor Of Market Street?
4. The Wolf Man was released in which year? 1932? 1937? 1941?
5. What is the name of the tramp steamer in Creature From The Black Lagoon? Audrey? Katherine? Rita?
6. Reading aloud from what document causes Imhotep to rise from the grave in The Mummy? The book of the dead? The scroll of Thoth? The diary of Horus?
7. In The Man Who Laughs, Gwynplaine’s face is disfigured into a permanent smile but what happens to his father? Executed in an iron maiden? Hung, drawn and quartered? Boiled in oil?
8. The Hunchback Of Notre Dame is set in which year? 1210? 1482? 1674?
9. Why does Dr Mirakle abduct young virgins in Murders In The Rue Morgue? To feed them to the ape-like creature that terrorises him? To breed an heir to continue his work? To inject them with ape blood to form a hybrid?
10. The grisly nature of The Raven (dealing with torture, disfigurement and revenge) was a bit strong for 1935 audiences and led to a temporary ban on horror films in England. True or False?

ROUND III: Post-Production
1. What are the names of the three individuals who get lost in the woods in The Blair Witch Project? (one point per correct answer)
2. What instrument does Garth play in Wayne’s World?
3. Which film starred Jeff Goldblum, Clancy Brown, John Lithgow, Christopher Lloyd and Peter Weller?
4. Finish the following quote from a 1990 sequel, “No wonder this circuit failed, it says..”
5. Bad Grandpa was nominated for an Oscar in which category?
6. How many bullets does Man have in his pistol at the start of The Road (to clarify, not including the flashback sequences)?
7. How many years passed between the release of the original Gojira and the latest American remake by Gareth Edwards?
SIXTY YEARS (1954 / 2014)
8. Who directed Love Actually, The Boat That Rocked and About Time?
9. Of Jack Nicholson’s three acting Oscars, how many are for supporting roles?
10. The following is a description of which film: Jack Powell adjusts to life with an exaggerated form of Werner syndrome, meaning he is aging four times faster than other children?

ROUND IV: Promotion & Release
1. Which song does Olive dance to in Little Miss Sunshine? Pour Some Sugar On Me? Super Freak? Girls Girls Girls?
2. In Buried which of the following is not on Paul’s person when he wakes up? Lighter? Wallet? Knife?
3. Which of the following actors was born in the 20th Century (1900s)? James Cagney? Humphrey Bogart? Clark Gable?
CLARK GABLE (Gable was born in 1901, Cagney and Bogart both born in 1899)
4. How many men initially try to rob the First Brooklyn Savings Bank in Dog Day Afternoon? 3? 4? 5?
THREE (Sonny and Sal are abandoned by Stevie very early on)
5. Unbreakable was released in which year? 1999? 2000? 2001?
6. Which of the following has not appeared in a Quentin Tarantino directed film? Mike Meyers? Chris Tucker? Christian Slater?
7. In Primer, when Abe first goes back in time, how far back does he travel? One day? Six hours? Ten minutes?
8. Which of the following cast members of Dark Shadows does not play someone related to Barnabas Collins? Michelle Pfeiffer? Helena Boham Carter? Jonny Lee Miller?
9. What is the subtitle of the Matthew Vaughn film Kingsman? The Secret Service? Gentlemen Spies? Knights Of The Realm?
10. The original cast for Crimson Peak was Benedict Cumberbatch and Emma Stone, before being replaced by Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska. True or False?

Screenshots: Rush Hour / The Forbidden Kingdom / Kung Fu Panda 2
Poster: Enter The Dragon
Actor: Jackie Chan


Be Bold. Be Brave. Be Epic.

Travis Knight

Art Parkinson
Charlize Theron
Matthew McConaughey
Rooney Mara
Ralph Fiennes

Set in ancient Japan, the film opens slowly revealing the backstory of our lead, Kubo [Parkinson], a young one-eyed boy living in a cave with his ill mother. By day Kubo sets out to the local village and entertains them with origami brought to life with his shamisen guitar. Each day he ventures to the town alone and gets back before the sun sets. It’s only then that his grief-stricken mother comes out of her weak, almost comatose state and tells him stories of his deceased father’s heroism. But owing to her illness and a head injury suffered when Kubo was a baby, his mother has difficulty finishing said tales or recalling certain information. Learning the village has a festival where the populace light lanterns to commune with the dead, Kubo sets out to speak with his father, Hanzo. Distracted and frustrated by his lack of progress, Kubo inadvertently stays out after sunset and is immediately set upon by his mystical aunts [Mara], acting on their father, the Moon King’s [Fiennes] decree to capture Kubo in order to steal his remaining eye. Events transpire and Kubo must seek out three magical items with the help of a monkey charm brought to life [Theron] and a cursed samurai who is living as a human-beetle hybrid [McConaughey].

Anyone who has seen the previous releases from Laika will know that the production company really hasn’t put a foot wrong. Each animated story is intelligent, inspiring, funny in places and thoroughly entertaining. As far as the mainstream is concerned, they are one of the only animation studios that are producing vibrantly unique and really mature storytelling without pandering to intended audiences. Don’t get me wrong, Pixar are still the dominant leaders in broadly welcomed films of this nature (one only has to look at the maturity and originality in Inside Out to see that) but Laika’s movies deal with narrative settings and concepts that almost invites people specifically open to unusual or offbeat tales, over the average cinemagoer. While this could be construed as elitism against audiences, I see it more as an example of exceptionalism when compared to its competition; offering stories, characters and universes hitherto unseen in most family films.

One of Kubo And The Two String’s greatest strengths is that it doesn’t insult the audience’s intelligence. What we have here is a wonderful fantasy story that emulates legends and folk tales by not getting bogged down in exposition or overly explaining the magical elements. We don’t need to know the intricacies of Kubo’s powers or exactly who the Moon King is any more than a child needs to understand where Merlin’s powers derive from or the lady of the lake’s backstory before bestowing Excalibur to King Arthur; the moral and the drive are more important and this film excels when dealing with these elements. What’s more, it doesn’t automatically oblige to an audience’s happiness; too many films mistake satisfaction with joy and offer happy resolves every five minutes in case viewers inadvertently feel something other than utter positivity – “I didn’t like the film because it made me feel sad and I don’t go to the movies to feel sad.” When thinking about this release, I keep coming back to the word mature because everything in this film is very maturely handled; the tone is extremely dark at times, the themes of family, memory, duty, honour and bravery are explored without excessive romanticism, the use of pop culture references are completely absent and most satisfyingly, there isn’t a single fart, burp or toilet joke (unless you count projectile chicken egg birthing). To expand on that last point a little more (not the chicken bit), I appreciate a well-timed, well-delivered crude joke more than most but in family film’s it’s just a cheap laugh and there are so few executions which rise above that label. Case in point, I’ve seen the exact same gag, wherein a character gets scared and comically shits themselves so many times in the last year – it’s in the trailer for Trolls twice! It’s simple, dumb and always a side gag that serves to illicit a forced guffaw in a presumably lacklustre scene. So to find a film that families will watch that doesn’t resort to the easy sell is an extremely welcome treat.

One of the main draws for this film is the outstanding technical achievement. I know it’s stop motion, the end credits confirm as much and I’ve seen a few behind-the-scenes timelapses but I’m still blown away by how certain things have been accomplished. From the character motion and evocative performances to the sprawling sets and bold camera movements, it’s hard for your mind to accept that this is essentially a series of still images sewn together like a flip book. This usually leads to a lot of CGI bashing and bemoaning the industry for favouring it so heavily (partly justified) but even this film uses several computer generated composites to make certain background elements work, so I’ll refrain combating the opponent to praise your candidate. I think the difference is that any art form at the peak of its power can create truly spellbinding imagery and the beauty and detail on display here really does sell the medium and highlight its merit and future employment. Of course, the animation alone doesn’t ensure the film’s connection with an audience, it merely captivates them visually. It’s through the work of the sound design, score and voice actors that we get attached to these characters; thankfully, Dario Marianelli’s engrossing score and an extremely talented (albeit surprising choices) set of voice actors ensure just that.

However, this movie is far from perfect. While I was very entertained and would happily praise the bold style and narrative choices, a lot of people are going to see this film as inaccessible or cryptic. Personally, I love the idea behind why Kubo has only one eye but other viewers may find the intangible notion confusing or unsatisfying. What’s more the conclusion feels a touch rushed and one could argue the narrative is kinda formulaic and predictable but as the story is mirroring the form and content of myth and legends, you’re going to get a lot of standard heroic tropes, the trick is making sure the execution is original or pleasing enough that audiences won’t notice too much. In truth, most of what could annoy or ostracise people can be linked back to the trappings of folk tales and then you have to question whether this is the fault of the film or anything attempting to imitate these types of stories.

If you’re looking for something different to the standard fare and don’t mind being freaked-the-fuck-out by some pretty creepy imagery, Kubo And The Two String’s touching and heartwarming tale is the film for you.

Release Date:
9th September 2016

The Scene To Look Out For:
**Story-ruining spoilers within**
Monkey and Beetle having an argument while Kubo wonders off and builds a boat. So I worked out the twist fairly quickly. Clues are left in the dialogue that gives you a sort of heads-up about where certain character development is going. The fact that Hanzo is never depicted through flashback means that he either isn’t dead or he’s a villain or there’s some deeper aspect to his character – because film loves to show these random cutaways and any time it doesn’t, it’s saving it for a reason. But what worked really nicely is that the reveal doesn’t come as a shock. Sure, amnesia is a really shitty, weak device but its use is completely justified and elevated as more than just a set-up for a twist. At the start of the film Kubo asks his mother to describe what his father was like, outside of the stories she tells, what he was like as a person. Later, as Beetle and Monkey start to form a closer bond, it becomes subtly evident that a relatable family unit starts to form and while it could easily have developed into little more than a projected unity, the fact that the audience starts to work out the dynamic thanks to the interactions is a really nice touch.

Notable Characters:
Every character is great. The supports are very two dimensional and really only serve the story as ‘the scared townsfolk’ but they have enough personality that they’re not completely dismissible. As far as aesthetic and performance goes, I really like Rooney Mara’s dual performance as Kubo’s nameless twin aunts. Ethereal, malicious, scary and brought to life through haunting voice work, they are a compelling, relentless concept for henchman-level villains.

Highlighted Quote:
“First question. If I’m Beetle and you’re Monkey.. why isn’t he called Boy?”

In A Few Words:
“Exquisite imagery and design paired with a fun, thrilling adventure tale that rises above the norm; just what you’d expect from Laika”

Total Score: