Peter Dinklage

New trailer for Rememory starring Peter Dinklage and Anton Yelchin

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New trailer for Rememory starring Peter Dinklage and Anton Yelchin

Early next month Rememory, a murdery-mystery-sci-fi thriller, will appear in select theaters, starring Peter Dinklage and Julia Ormond alongside Anton Yelchin (…that is never going to not feel weird and sad to see scenes he filmed years ago in a new movie..) but it will be available for free on Google Play on August 24. See below for the trailer and the official word from the studio.

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Review: Pixels

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Review: Pixels

In 1982, in the hopes of establishing peaceful communication with extraterrestrial life, NASA launches a time capsule into outer space containing images and footage of Earth life and culture. However, the aliens that find the capsule misinterpret the enclosed video-feeds of classic arcade games as a declaration of war, thus sending various assaults on Earth using arcade characters from the past to destroy the world. The President and his old friends from his arcade days must gather together and defeat the alien onslaught before it’s too late. What could have been a pretty lousy movie ends up being a really fun family movie for all to enjoy.

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Movie Issues: X-Men: Days of Future Past

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Movie Issues: X-Men: Days of Future Past

One of the most anticipated movies of this summer would be the new installment in the X-Men franchise: X-Men: Days of Future Past. In this new chapter, the future of humanity is a dark and desolate place. Humans created a new weapon to hunt mutants, The Sentinels. Things look pretty bleak as the mutants are on the edge of extinction. But the X-Men have once last hope, they send Wolverine back to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants. With a mix of the original cast and new cast, this becomes one epic adventure and race against time for all.

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Movie Issues: Knights of Badassdom

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Movie Issues: Knights of Badassdom

This week the guys get their LARP on by watching the  2013’s Knights of Badassdom. We follow a bunch of LARPers for their big LARP weekend, but trouble arises after they unwittingly conjure up some serious evil in the form of a blood-lusting succubus from the pits of hell itself! It’s a comedy filled blood fest with really good horror effects, an awesome looking demon, and Peter Dinklage being the coolest dude ever. We also discuss the new Marvel plan to have movies until 2028. It’s a full show, so grab your cardboard broadsword and download, because this is about to get crazy! Read On

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Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

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The short version:  Prince Caspian (the movie) is gorgeous and a total snore.  All the best effects houses worked on the computer and practical effects.  The locations are in the stunning environments of the Czech Republic, Poland, and New Zealand.  Every dollar of that budget is on that screen, trembling to blow your mind.  Aslan looks more real than ever.  Only the centaurs suffer from a discomfiting uncanny valley effect to their gait – quite a feat considering there are no real-life centaurs to compare them to.  Caspian himself is a perfect fantasy novel prince.  He’s handsome, confident, vulnerable, delicate, smoldering, flawed, blameless, with lush hair and a lusher accent.  All this beauty in the service of another empty Spectacular Spectacular makes me weep for the craftsmen.

Interpreting novels soaked in metaphor and symbolism and allegory is hard enough (see The Golden Compass, or better yet, just read it), but the screenwriters chose to whitewash C.S. Lewis’ Christian-themed epic by eliminating much of the plot and character stuff that makes a story a story.  Instead, the film focuses on a series of foregone-conclusion battle or chase scenes.  It’s great to see the locations, the meticulously crafted sets and props and costumes and effects.  It’s lovely to the point of distraction – crystalline blue rivers trickling like dreams through dense primeval forests, bearing handsome people squinting purposefully into the golden sun.  But this Chronicle of Narnia has excised the element that makes these books the classics that they are – heart and faith – in favor of empty, bloodless action and grandeur.

None of the actors are at fault.  Our original 4 leads (Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley, and Anna Popplewell) still hold their characters’ base qualities despite being little more than rooks and knights in a huge territorial battle that does not involve them.  Warwick Davis, nearly invisible under makeup in the Harry Potter movies, gets one of the few developed characters in the movie (Nikabrik), followed by Peter Dinklage as Trumpkin. Sergio Castellitto (Miraz) does some fine chewing of his delectable scenery as the evil Telmarine usurping Caspian’s throne.

The music is nice, I suppose – I didn’t notice it one way or another until the very end when – DISNEY PLEASE STOP DOING THIS! – a horrible contemporary pop song begins playing over the end action.  I have no idea why Disney thinks this is something anyone wants ruining movie after movie, particularly those set in a time and place very removed from our own.  The mood is ruined, the songs are terrible, and it just stains the whole already strained proceedings.  After eliminating much of the story and therefore failing to engage us, the least you can do, Disney, is not chase us out of the theatre on a crappy song.  That long list of names at the end did some great work but we can’t bear to stay in the room to respect their craftwork.

Catch it on HBO, but be sure you see it in high-definition.  I’m telling you, this movie is stunning to look at.
MPAA Rating PG
Release date 5/15/08
Time in minutes 140
Director Andrew Adamson
Studio Walt Disney Productions

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Death At A Funeral

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At first glance, Franz Oz seems an odd choice to direct this mannered farce of British embarrassment and mayhem. Oz is known for brilliance (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, In & Out, Little Shop of Horrors) and close-but-no-cigar misfires (Bowfinger, The Stepford Wives), but not so much snappy British dryness. He does a cracking good job with this ensemble piece. He gives everyone a moment to shine and overcomes the script’s forgetfulness in terms of providing much character background.

Matthew McFadyen is presiding solemnly over the funeral of his father, while his sad eyes belie the skilled straightman within. Family and friends descend, as they do, with different feelings, agendas, and a secret or two. To give away any discoveries that the plot unfolds would be unkind, but not just because they would be spoilers. The first third of the movie is very calm and dry: the humor that is present is subdued. It was a small while into the film when I fretted to myself that this would be just a smiley kind of comedy, “oh yes, how droll,” rather than a laugh-out-loud comedy. Certain key plot points set themselves up with clear purpose. Someone is going to find that object, I just know it, and then look out! Even with some of the inevitability of the story (I wouldn’t say predictability), there are surprises to be experienced, suspicions to be confirmed, and a soupcon of potty humor just to keep things interesting. Good farce should telegraph itself to a degree – the delight is in seeing how big the snowball can get, not what route it takes down the mountain before destroying the village. By the end, my audience and I were laughing uproariously. The minor embarrassments weathered stiff-upper-lip style by the characters balloon into dark hilarity. After the massive, ridiculous climax, Death At A Funeral tidies up after itself with a nice poignant denouement. You can’t begrudge them their victories when the journey was so enjoyable,

What a cast! McFadyen holds it together with his fretful eyebrows and rumbling fire. Alan Tudyk continues to be the funniest unknown in the movies. Peter Dinklage brings a dark derring-do to the proceedings, and Andy Nyman and Kris Marshall entertain with their very personae. The women are reduced (as they often are in comedies) to facilitators and emotional barometers, but I quibble. The characters’ stories and motivations and situations collide in a slow build to a sweaty, red-eyed climax, and it’s a hoot. Definitely go see it.

Side note: the R rating description mentions only language and drug content; the drug content is quite secondary to the rampant and hysterical nudity, the camera so close to a baby-smooth buttock you can almost feel it grazing your cheek (maybe that was wishful thinking on my part).

MPAA Rating R-language, nudity, drug content
Release date 8/17/07
Time in minutes 90
Director Frank Oz
Studio Warner Brothers

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The Station Agent

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I’m going to say it right now. I loved this film, I kept thinking about it in the days after I watched it, and I am having the hardest time writing this review because the film’s use of metaphor and character is so keen, I can’t discuss it without ruining the best parts about it. So if something slips, I am truly sorry, but please go see it.

There’s going to be plenty of press about how few movies use little people as anything but novelty characters, and I am not going to go on about that issue here. The actor playing the titular agent, Peter Dinklage, even has a hilarious tirade about this lamentable Hollywood truth in the excellent film Living in Oblivion. Dinklage plays a grave, quiet man, Finn, who keeps to himself who is then drawn out of his self-imposed exile against his will, even against his better judgement. He inherits a defunct depot in a wee town, and goes there to hide from the world, but still the world comes to him, despite him cultivating no niceties to encourage it.

The writer/director needed a way to show us why this man would feel a pressing need to be solitary without spending time on backstory; the answer was in dwarf Dinklage. We the audience get a taste of the perpetual and unsolicited attention that is inflicted upon someone who is physically different. The camera follows him in his solitary life past all the people who react to him in such absurdly different ways, and then we move on to understand the man behind the driving emotion of the character.

Finn’s depot fulfills two lifelong longings by owning this depot which just fell in his lap: his love of trains and his wish to hide from the stares, the insensitive comments, the world of curious fools. He meets Joe (Bobby Cannavale) who does not seem to notice or care about Finn’s appearance, but his own palpable loneliness is his own repelling quality. In one of the best character introductions I have seen in a while, Patricia Clarkson as Olivia barges into their lives and the trio are pulled together by the very things that set them apart.

What is marvelous about The Station Agent is not only the ensemble of Dinklage and Clarkson and Cannavale, three unlikely companions whose lives intertwine, but the way they circle and/or avoid each other. Dinklage’s curt speech patterns, Cannavale’s verbal diarrhea, and Clarkson’s mental incontinence swirl and dance and are endlessly fascinating, even if a scene appears only to exist to watch them interact (as compared to further the plot). No irritating whiffs of romance or unrequited anything needlessly complicate the mix. Just doors opening, closing, and falling open again of their own will.

This is a quiet, small, personal film, and it may not appeal to everyone. But if you want to see three people flower emotionally in a way you have never seen before, you should enjoy this film. The acting alone is worth a rental.

MPAA Rating R – language & drug content
Release date 10/17/03
Time in minutes 90
Director Tom McCarthy
Studio Miramax