Tag Archives: keira knightley

CinEffect Podcast Episode 137


Maybe the real podcast was the friends we made along the way.

To listen to this episode, click here.

You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes and a traditional RSS feed, as well.

Follow Chris on Twitter & Letterboxd
Follow Alex on Twitter & Letterboxd


(0:00) Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival (Mafia III)
(0:28) Intro

(2:17) Final Fantasy XV
(34:29) Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (plus some Dishonored 2)
(49:42) Mafia III

(1:17:09) Collateral Beauty
(1:39:21) 20th Century Women
(1:45:48) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

(2:11:33) Coming Soon…
(2:34:42 ) Links/Outro

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Filed under 2017, cineffect, film, games, movie, podcast, review, video games

CinEffect Podcast Episode 72

imitation gamedragon agewild


We apologize in advance for the screwed up audio in this episode, but please don’t blame us. Blame God for blighting Chris this way.

To listen to this week’s episode, click here.

You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes and a traditional RSS feed, as well.


(0:00) Episode Audio Disclaimer
(0:59) El Condor Pasa by Simon & Garfunkel (Wild OST)
(1:37) Intro


(5:22) Alien: Isolation
(21:23) Dragon Age: Inquisition
(44:51) Elite Dangerous
(1:03:39) Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze
(1:06:45) Alex’s Amiibo Addiction

(1:16:13) Starry Eyes
(1:25:10) Tamako Love Story
(1:34:51) Wild
(1:49:41) The Imitation Game
(2:01:23) Palo Alto
(2:15:20) Big Eyes

(2:27:01) Links/Outro
(2:29:58) Palo Alto by Devonte Hynes (Palo Alto OST)

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Filed under 2015, anime, cineffect, film, games, movie, podcast, review

CinEffect Podcast Episode 51

wish i was heregunbusterlucy

You know the problem with hiding behind a podcast? It’s that everyone can hear you.

To listen to this week’s episode, click here.

You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes and a traditional RSS feed, as well.


(0:00) Noriko’s Theme (GunBuster OST)
(0:27) Intro

(3:11) Brief The Walking Dead S2E4 Impressions
(7:43) Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late

(21:17) GunBuster

(45:21) The Purge: Anarchy
(59:02) Begin Again
(1:14:05) Lucy
(1:40:16) Wish I Was Here (Plus Garden State)

(2:14:11) Coming Soon to Theaters…
(2:21:18) Links/Outro
(2:22:22) So Now What by The Shins (Wish I Was Here OST)


Filed under 2014, anime, cineffect, film, games, movie, podcast, review, tv

Recent Movie Round-Up 12/18/2012

On today’s entry of Recent Movie Round-Up, it’s the end of the world as we know it, a Duplass double-feature, and Marion Cotillard being very sexy as usual. Mini-reviews galore!

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (Lorene Scafaria, 2012)
For those of you who don’t pay too much attention to the box-office scene, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World was something of a bomb, with a small budget of $10 million and a domestic gross of $6 mil. Ouch. In hindsight, it’s a little easy to see why. The film deals with an impending apocalypse and instead focuses on the melancholy drudgery of how normal folks in the world are coping with it. And it’s a comedy. Somewhat.

The first act of this film is pretty exceptional, with a sense of world-building that is interesting and hilarious all at once as it looks at how apocalyptic events can alter social taboos (One memorable scene in particular involves a typical suburbanite house party being broken up by one of the members shouting “SOMEONE’S BROUGHT HEROIN! WOOOO!” Lorene Scafaria, the writer of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist making her directorial debut here, nails the tone of these scenes just right, acknowledging the melancholy while also finding dark amusement with it.

Sadly, the second act rolls around and the film kind of meanders, transforming from an original, droll comedy to a romantic road-trip comedy with all that apocalypse stuff just hanging around in the background. There are a few amusing moments, one of them involving Community‘s Gillian Jacobs and Cloverfield‘s TJ Miller, but it’s mostly just padding. The chemistry between Steve Carrell and Keira Knightley is surprisingly warm and sweet, but their dialogue together is unfortunately pretty stale.

The movie saves itself big time with a surprisingly affecting and emotional third act that worked solely because of the aforementioned chemistry between the two leads. Scafaria certainly has chops as a director, but she just needs to nail some kinks in the pacing before she could land something truly great. Still, I’d like to see what she does next.

Humpday (Lynn Shelton, 2009)
Two straight men attempting to have sex with each other for a porn contest? HIGH-LARITY ENSUES, RIGHT?! Despite sounding like the premise of a bad Adam Sandler film, Humpday manages to wring as much truth out of its outlandish premise as humanly possible. Surprisingly enough, Humpday is one of the most observant examinations of the “bromance” I have ever seen, and its conversations about homophobia, gender expectations, and sexual taboos feel genuine and intimate. It takes a while to get to that point, but when it does, it sticks with you. The performances by Joshua Leonard and Mark Duplass certainly help lend it some truth. Speaking of Duplasses…

The Do-Deca Pentathlon (Mark and Jay Duplass, 2012)
The Duplass brothers’ latest film is about brothers in a feud who attempt to wrestle away their problems by participating in a sporting event of 25 different games, the winner being the best brother. And that’s how you segue, folks.

The only Duplass Bros. film that I genuinely loved was Cyrus, while the rest I found just okay, including The Puffy Chair and Jeff, Who Lives at Home (Though I haven’t seen Baghead yet). The Do-Deca Pentathlon, meanwhile, may be their most fun and enjoyable film that they’ve ever made. It’s light, for sure, but it also has a layer of empathy that makes this light material really hit home with the laughs and pathos. The two leads, Steve Zissis and Mark Kelly are really fun as well. Speaking of movies with two leads…

Rust and Bone (Jacques Audiard, 2012)
Okay, maybe that segue was a bit out of hand. Nevertheless, Rust and Bone stars Matthieu Schoenaerts and Marion Cotillard as a fighter and a SeaWorld-style whale trainer respectively. When one of them gets into a life-changing accident, it’s up to the other to bring them back up on their feet.

It’s a solid French drama, nothing more, but it’s worth seeing because of how good Schoenaerts and Cotillard are together. They depict their damages without making it the one thing that defines them, exhibiting many layers in their relationship that genuine and brave; especially when they show the not-so-sympathetic sides of themselves, refusing to hide the harsh truths of their characters. If any of you were annoyed by how Silver Linings Playbook dealt with damaged characters helping each other out by way of tired romantic comedy cliches, Rust and Bone will serve a much more realistic, reserved countermeasure. The final 10-15 minutes are especially emotionally satisfying.

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Recent Movie Round-Up 11/29/2012

In today’s rendition of Recent Movie Round-Up, we have mini-reviews for a Leo Tolstoy adaptation, a bipolar romantic comedy, a character study about a recovering drug addict, and Michael Caine shooting people. Because that’s automatically awesome by default.

Anna Karenina (Joe Wright, 2012)
A lavish period romance that manages to bring style and substance into a unifying whole. Unfortunately, it’s so stylized and so in love with its own boldly original imagery that it ends up being emotionally hollow. I’m mostly a fan of Wright’s work. I was bored when I first saw Pride and Prejudice, but that was mostly because I saw it when I wasn’t even in high school yet. Meanwhile, I loved both Atonement and Hanna, each were two favorites in their respective years of release. I even enjoyed most of The Soloist, his most critically divisive film.

Wright returns to period romance with Keira Knightley for the third time in his career as a filmmaker. This adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel nails the subtext perfectly using a wildly clever conceit for its visual aesthetic. Almost everything is filmed almost as if it was on a stage in an opera house, and I really mean just about everything. With the exception of some real outdoors shots, most of the scenes in this film look purposefully fake and stagey to accent both the inherent melodrama of the story and its take on class and reputation. The two most perfect examples of this visual dynamic-ness involve transitions. In one shot, Anna Karenina will be walking from one room to another. But instead of showing her go down a series of hallways to reach it, the walls are taken apart around her and stagehands bring in new walls and props for the next room. Another brilliant touch is when another character decides to exit a fancy party and take a stroll down the poor district, but instead of actually leaving the building (Which, in itself, already looks like an opera house stage), he climbs the stairs and reaches an area resembling the rafters of a theater stage, with ropes, rickety wooden walkways, and everything. But instead of stagehands, there’s just poor people wandering about in its backstage “alleyways”.

Aside from the incredibly original, gorgeous style of the film, we also have some terrific performances from Keira Knightley, Jude Law, and other supporting cast members. Aaron Johnson is pretty good in it too, but I simply can not take him seriously as an actor for some weird reason, most likely due to his most major role so far being Kick-Ass.

But despite the strong direction, visuals, performances, and musical score, it just didn’t connect on the emotional level that it should have. Instead of feeling the gravity of Karenina’s intense love affair, because the framing device both makes the world feel smaller than it actually is and distracts from the central story, I never had an emotional attachment to the events that transpired.

But still, I enjoyed it. For a period romance, it’s surprisingly energetic and entertaining, due to its visual splendor and great performances. It gets the job done, but doesn’t quite soar to the realms of greatness the same way the original novel, or even Wright’s other films Atonement and Hanna achieved.

Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russel, 2012)
Oh boy, this is a tough one. On a surface level, Silver Linings Playbook is pretty damn enjoyable. It doesn’t bring much to the table for the romantic comedy genre, even when it’s also trying to be a dignified portrait of individuals with serious mental illness and other psychological problems. And when it is focusing on the relationship between Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence’s characters, the movie shines thanks in part to their dynamic chemistry. It’s just a shame that it doesn’t infuse that great chemistry with a worthwhile story, which devolves into two of the most major Hollywood formula cliches humanly possible: “The Big Game” and a dance competition that essentially replaces any real character catharsis that the movie has going for it.

Thankfully, I still enjoyed myself for the majority of the runtime thanks to the aforementioned chemistry. But it’s also worth noting that Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver are excellent as well. In fact, between this and the flawed but interesting Red Lights, this has been a good year for De Niro, who reminds us why he’s one of the most legendary actors. Of course, he’s not Taxi Driver good again, but it’s certainly much better than, say, New Year’s Eve.

Oslo, August 31st (Joachim Trier, 2011)
Character studies don’t get more nuanced, sympathetic, observant, and elegant than Oslo, August 31st. This is a gripping portrait of a recovering drug addict who goes through an emotional odyssey within the span of a 24 hour period. The film is quiet and observational, never deliberately manipulating us down one emotional path, but leaving it open towards many. We can pity and despair for Anders, or we can even be outright contemptful of his actions and watch in abject horror as he spirals downward.

Thankfully, this nuanced approach works even further thanks to a terrific, three-dimensional performance from Anders Danielsen Lie, who brings the on-screen Anders to life and gives him a variety of layers. He accents his patheticness while still allowing us to understand that he’s really going through emotional turmoil. Without him at the center, the film would probably fail. With him, it’s a gorgeously heart-breaking experience with a killer, bleak ending. And at 90 minutes, it’s perfectly paced.

Harry Brown (Daniel Barber, 2009)
Your typical, generic vigilante thriller elevated by the mere presence of Michael Caine. Also contains good performances from Emily Mortimer and that guy who played Filch in the Harry Potter movies whose name escapes me (Sorry, Filch). Situations feel somewhat contrived, but at least the dialogue is, for the most part, pretty well done, and Daniel Barber gives the characters enough time to breathe. Plus, the main “action sequences” are held and drawn out much longer, allowing for some tension instead of slam-bang action we’ve seen a million times in thrillers of this ilk. Did I mention Michael Caine? That guy’s awesome, y’know…

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