Cinecast Episode 127 – Striving for Consistency

Episode 127:
Not a whole lot going on in the theaters these days, but somehow we manage to come up with a discussion on summer movies, latest docs and whatever else we happened to catch. Oh, and Matt hates Christians.

The Show Notes have left the building in the short term. Bear with us.

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COVERED IN TODAY’S SHOW:
Outrage
Kurt’s review
Lakeview Terrace
Saving Grace
Marina’s review
Inferno
Seeking Wellness
Summer Movies
– Row Three guide to summer
Not Quite Hollywood
“On the Road”
Bedtime Stories

DVD picks:
Waltz with Bashir
The Pianist
My Dinner with Andre
Last Year at Marienbad

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Lee
Guest

Andrew you are spot on about Lakeview Terrace as far as it is "obvious and corny" but also is "slightly better than mediocre". I do feel as though the film would have been more effective with say Forest Whittaker or Terrence Howard who have less bad ass baggage. While I do like Jackson’s presence in some roles there is a kind pay check to pay check kind of laziness in his performances of late.

I felt that Jackson didn't play it with a subtlety at certain times and those other actors could have brought a little more depth to the character.

In the end it is a very simplistic and heavy handed multiplex thriller that while has a director who's earlier work I have enjoyed, this was for him I would assume to be a crank it out by numbers thriller to get back on track after Wicker Man.

I think the worst crime about this film is the fact is does not spark any kind of debate in a racial context, even crash which I don’t like at all, I can see it could get people talking on some basic level.

I was wondering if any of you guys had come across another LA based race concerned thriller called Bone( also known as Houswife and Dial Rat for Terror). It's from 1972 directed by Larry Cohen and is shocking, funny and very thought provoking about prejudice and the culture at the time. Very diferent in tone of course but a film I would like to get your take on.

Kurt
Guest

I love Larry Cohen, yet have not heard of this one. Is it out on DVD even?

Lee
Guest

It has a region 2 release by Anchor pay which I picked up for two english pounds, which is the best dvd bargain I have ever found for the quality contained within.

Cohen rules. A whole lot more extreme and satirical in its view of white middle class/upper middle class values of the 70's in a hazy California, it does reminds me of The Swimmer and Save the Tiger, in which they portrayed the limitations of their worlds based on the vacuous culture.

Just checked and there is a blue underground release of it for north america/canada.

Lee
Guest

I didn't mention that Yaphet Kotto is Bone and he gives a tremendous performance.

Matt Gamble
Guest

For the record, I do not hate Christians, just crazy Christians. Perfectly normal Christians, like my family, are almost tolerable.

Goon
Guest

I understand what Matt is trying to say, but when you bring the word 'crazy' into the fray, its just begging for me to smugly say "Yeah, those crazy nuts who go so far as to believe the world is 6000 years old, unlike the normal christians who merely believe god sacrificed himself to himself to save the world from himself, and that it was necessary because a talking snake tricked a woman created from a mans rib into eating an apple"

Matt Gamble
Guest

That's why they are almost tolerable.

Goon
Guest

Kurt pronunciation spotting:

Hedgewig vs. Hedwig

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

@Goon, one of many, many pronunciation errors. we should have a disclaimer at the beginning of the show, particularly in episodes when I'm talking foreign films!

Ouch on Hedwig!

Andreas
Guest

"Not quite Hollywood" was released in UK recently as RC2 DVD. So if you own a region free dvd player…

Goon
Guest

re: DVD pick – picked up My Dinner With Andre at Bay ST video for around half what HMV is selling it for. Cant wait to sit down with it, but it will have to take second banana to the Limey, which I finally picked up as well.

rot
Guest

really? I gotta get me a copy then, thanks for the tip.

Goon
Guest

I also noticed there that the Criterion rerelease of the Seventh Seal was only 26 bucks. HMV isn't selling it for a whole lot more, but its a better deal. That store is just great for Criterions, when Kurt and I went there I got Ikiru for a great price.

I would have picked up Seventh Seal but I know I had to keep aside some dough to pick up Mad Men season 2 on Tuesday, as well as the 5 disc complete series of the State.

Gamble, if you're reading this, I'm pretty sure you love that crew. Check this link – they released their unreleased 1995 comedy album for FREE recently, and its awesome.
http://www.megaupload.com/?d=2EMDPBQT

Matt Gamble
Guest

Awesome. Thanks for the heads up.

Mike Rot
Member

For All Mankind bluray coming to me from Amazon next week, can't wait, and Henrik I got a killer deal on Bergman's Scenes from a Marriage on Amazon too, I think it was a third of the original price.

Rusty James
Guest

I'm just gonna post this here cuz why not…

is it bad that i like Script Girl?

Goon
Guest

ATTN: ROT

AWAY WE GO is awesome! You know, I've listened to a lot of people talk about this now and knew what to expect and what people were ragging on, but I did not expect that I'd laugh more during this movie than anything else so far this year. Genuinely surprised at that.

Holy crap, I like Maya Rudolph in this movie, and you know what I've said about her. Krasinski is amazing. I adored this couple.

I found all the people they met (even Maggie) pretty true to people I've known, even when you consider how amped up they are for comedy's sake. I know these people, they definitely exist. The Montreal couple especially ring true, I know their pain all too well from so many friends in bad relationships who I hope never see this movie because it could spur the end of them :/

As for the ending, I dont think it was PERFECT or anything, but I dont see what the negative hubbub is about, and overall I dont see the 'drowning in quirk' thing either, especially compared to something like Juno. I think the tone of those scenes might have benefited from a different song or score, and maybe to get cut through a little faster, but I was just fine with it, and since I had things spoiled for me, I was looking in advance for the clues about this other house, and they seemed so blunt actually, that I think some people werent paying enough attention.

5/5

I also saw MOON, and yes despite the loving cribbing, I walked away feeling I had seen one of the best sci fi movies I'd ever seen. Great story, appropriate use of humor, loved GERTY, great mood, Rockwell really is Oscar nom worthy (but maybe not a winner). I really hope this gains some more momentum, and damn the Toronto critics for trying to steer people away from this fine film.

5/5

And to top off the day, I picked up a DVD from HMV that I had been led to believe did not exist in North America: Funky Forest. SWEET

rot
Guest

two 5/5 films in a single day, holy shit you must be in a good mood!

Maybe now you can see why I was getting defensive about Away We Go, and the just plain wrong argument of Gamble and Andrew in tow that this was in any way a film about achieving financial status (this notion of the ending being a deus ex machina because of its acreage boggles my mind). but I have fought that fight, I should give it a rest.

I think you are wrong about Moon, but nobody's perfect.

Goon
Guest

I capped off the day with the Limey, so a very good day indeed

Trailers before the movies I took note of:

(500) Days of Summer – I could see the possibility of annoyance, but I'm definitely going to give that one a chance.

Before Moon was a trailer of a movie that took place in the middle east, and it was presented very creepily and seemed ominous, and I thought "This is really interesting, why havent I heard of this? What is it?"

…and then the title came. It's the Stoning of Soraya M.

So I've heard the stories from Gamble about the fans and detractors at his theater. But now I'm intrigued to hear about it from someone who has the chance to see it.

Rusty James
Guest

@ Gamble and Andrew in tow that this was in any way a film about achieving financial status (this notion of the ending being a deus ex machina because of its acreage boggles my mind)

What!

fuckin matt gamble….

Matt Gamble
Guest

I've never said the film was about acquiring financial status. Way to deliberately misrepresent my opinion Rot.

rot
Guest

Its on the cinecast so I leave it up to everyone else to listen and decide. But you made an emphatic point of how ridiculous the ending is and made the emphasis on the 'deus ex machina' of the house on that it is this giant house that they could have had from the get go and everything in between was pointless because they always had this house. Then Andrew changed his mind and agreed with you, and in the comment section of the cinecast stated as much that yeah its pretty weird that they would go through all this trouble when they had the answer all along.

but the physical house, the financial security is NOT the answer to the story, that is what I kept saying over and over while you ignored the comments. They were not looking for financial security, they were not even looking for a house, they were looking for a HOME, a different concept altogether, and the reason they went from place to place is not because of acreage or good deals, it was because of people, they wanted family and friends to be close to (the final house HAS NO PEOPLE!) . The reason they can at that moment go back to that house is because Verona has made an emotional journey to be resolved to return to her family home, she fought through the pent up pain about losing her parents and now sees quite clearly that is her home. That is not a deus ex machina, that is a quite brilliant topper of how to resolve her issues… and what I like most about it, is it didn't come from learning life lessons from all the destinations the way a conventional story would go… she got to that revelation because of an orange tree in Florida.

so listen to Matt's critique of Away We Go here and let me know if I am crazy:
http://www.rowthree.com/2009/06/16/cinecast-episo

rot
Guest

to be more exact, the Away We Go review begins at 1:16, I listened to it again, and it is there, the two points I have been railing against consistently, the notion that the characters in this film MUST earn things, and that everything is pointless because they already had what they needed in the first place (i.e. a big ass house).

and in the cinecast Matt tears into me about some comment I made… this is the actual comment as it existed right below the point he stopped engaging in the conversation:

"Matt, Eggers books are just as messy as this movie, how do you try and encapsulate A Heartbreaking Work, its not about two orphans getting along in a Party of Five kind of way, its all over the shop, and intentionally, beautifully all over the shop, the tangents are what give the book its flavor, and the same happens here with Away We Go. Instead of story tangents its tone, its wrestling with the ability of being poignant in a world jaded with expectation. What if the substance of the film as film was no longer of relevance, and only what it gets out of you be the point… I see Eggers struggling with ways to bypass your fixed positions of what a story ought to be, but without succumbing to the opposite, being post-modern ironical. There has to be a third way to go, and Eggers more than anyone else strives for that third way. People unconscious of the grooves most films takes either/or will short fuse with this film and try and critique on the basis of something it has no intentions of being… it does not want to be light indie fare, it does not want to be a bonafide FILM, it does not want to be an issue film, it wants to make you care about the people in the film and recognize truth in them.

I know this position is a lot like arguing for the emperor’s new clothes and it expects a lot out of everyone to be able to see it this way, I know how flimsy this position seems, but I guess I just see it differently.

I have no idea what deus ex machina you are talking about."

Goon
Guest

"you made an emphatic point of how ridiculous the ending is and made the emphasis on the ‘deus ex machina’ of the house on that it is this giant house that they could have had from the get go and everything in between was pointless because they always had this house."

He's right, you did, it was because of you and Andrew that I was preparing to hate the ending even as I was enjoying the rest of the movie so much. You guys acted like the 'are we fuckups' thing was a financial thing and that having this house should have proven otherwise from the get go and that the whole thing was masturbation.

And besides, since its Rudolphs' dead parents home which is probably just as much Grace's as hers, it doesnt solve any of the 'fuckup' questions. Her character is 34, they died when she was 22. Clearly this couple have been together a while, and yet they've let that house just sit there for over a decade. They could have moved there anytime, but it took having a baby and going on a trip to make them realize it. Completely reasonable to me.

There's been a couple times my gf and I was thinking about moving, and in our heads its always been to go right into the heart of TO, but other times we think about going right back to St. Catharines or Aurora to near where 'home' is, but where our families no longer are. It would take something a bit more extreme to spur that.

I mean its clear to me – they're having a kid, they're thinking of the environment to raise it and the movie clearly establishes all the time that they really do care about this. Their parents are bailing, the family stuff in other cities isnt ideal, and their other friends are either horrible or not good to be around right now, their final option is both a choice AND a last resort.

That house is pushed to the end of their queue similarly to how Verona won't marry him. If they were more blunt about the house at the beginning she may have said 'never' about that too.

Mike Rot
Member

and they don't cease being 'fuck-ups', the story doesn't aspire to earn anything, they find they own place in the world and that is enough. How often in our lives do we earn anything? We just move forward, and revelations can come from as silly a thing as an orange tree in Florida, and that to me is the liberation of this storytelling.

Kurt
Guest

I thought the Orange Tree and that scene was the clumsiest scene in the film. I have more problem with that then the finale (although the finale doesn't entirely work for me either, almost anyone I know if they were sitting on that they'd jump and move in, kids or not.

Anyway, the way the orange tree scene is played out reminds me of something that Paul Haggis wrote with Hillary Swank talking about putting her dog down, you know Double-Barrel-Shotgun foreshadowing…..but obviously your mileage may vary on that scene.

Overall, I think the film will actually get a cult following amongst 30somethings as it does lay a lot of parenting philosophies out on the table…in a funny/satirical Alexander Payne sort of way.

Goon
Guest

I wonder if thats DOWN KURT talking about the positivity trying to be expressed after taking aim at people for laughs the whole movie.

"almost anyone I know if they were sitting on that they’d jump and move in, kids or not."

I feel the dead parent issues were expressed clearly enough throughout the movie that this point just doesn't hold water.

Kurt
Guest

I'm struggling with interpreting that comment. I like that the film is very funny, I like the episodic parenting lessons, I just didn't like the ending all that much, even if the 'lets just do this ourselves' is absolutely the right and natural ending.

Goon
Guest

"I’m struggling with interpreting that comment."

In regards to the latter half of my comment, its established throughout the movie that her parents are dead and she has hangups about it, and that they never sold their parents house. The age when it happened and her age now is clearly stated (22 when they died, 34 years old now). I think its very much there that she has hangups that prevent them from taking the supposed "obvious" destination, that there is a very good reason they didnt just "jump on that", that they couldnt have arrived at that without exploring the other options. And I appreciate that they made it clear to me without beating me over the head with it. But I think a lot of people did miss it, esp. the filmspotting guys, because they act as if its out of left field.

rot
Guest

wow you too Kurt? how do you not see the distinction between a house and a home, and that these characters for all their flaws are not so materialistic as you would imply they ought to be (if only by averages)? I genuinely find this presumption about human behavior odd. I would say EVEN if there wasn't the emotional issues attached to the house that, like Goon says, are clearly addressed in the film, that inhibit them from going there first, EVEN without that, I would still say it doesn't make sense for them to go there because they are trying to find a place to raise their child around loving and familiar faces. There are no people at that house. If I was having a kid and I had the option of going to a house, no matter what size, far away from anyone I know, or to have a place close to people I know irrespective of the square footage of my lodgings… I would go where the people are. I would be suspicious of the motivations of anyone who did otherwise. This is endemic of the move out into the suburban wasteland because its cheaper and bigger, even if your family is all downtown. My wife's family is doing this, and they are regretting it. They used to be a part of a community, instant babysitting, ease of meeting up at the local bar, and now they are living far away in identical houses, and in their cases, are miserable, lonely, and fatter than ever before.

regarding the orange tree, first off all, the association that leads to the story is great, I like how natural that feels, you look at a tree to make an association, its not, I learned this and this and this from the story now I can say this (Matt's Earning logic). The story itself is told well, I think Maya does a great job in that scene, and the story is 100% Eggers/Vida (I am reading her book now), it holds onto that child-like wonder of the world. Vida in a podcast recounts her child-like discovery of the movie "A Farewell to Arms" and being engrossed and terrified by the film waiting to see when the arms would be cut off. Its that kind of honesty of expression that transcends the need of making a sober narrative structure that the jaded can accept.

This is why I was making such a point before about Eggers making a third way, that there is this binary assumption of how a story ought to work, earned or ironical and I think indifferent can also be added to the mix… indifferent but aiming to encapsulate true sensibilities. The orange tree story feels true to me, in my childhood I did similarly 'magical' things and I could see how that memory could unlock the past from its bitter emotions.

Goon
Guest

rot, can you recommend a book by either Eggers or Vida?

I should preface that I'm a tough sell on most fiction books. I mostly read essay and non-fiction books so I need whatever is funniest and/or has the best story, and not necessarily the best 'writing' from a technical standpoint.

Mike Rot
Member

Perhaps one of my top five books of all time is Eggers' A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. It is his autobiography but unlike any autobiography I have ever read. It is also a pretty big book, so if you wanted a quicker read I would recommend You Shall Know Our Velocity, which I believe is being made into a film. great premise, insane narrative twists… but really Heartbreaking Work is the go-to… and while Matt doesn't like that I say a foreknowledge of Eggers helps in the appreciation of Away We Go, I really think it does. Heartbreaking Work is a messy sprawling 'indifferent to style and standards' go where the heart tells him to masterpiece. The spirit of Away We Go is alive and well in that book, right down to the love of title-cards if I remember right, certainly fonts, prefaces and curiosities of the actual production of the book.

I am reading Vida's And Now You Can Go, but I have only started, enjoying it though.

Mike Rot
Member

huh, a screenplay for Heartbreaking Work had been written by Nick Hornby, I would kill to see that.

Goon
Guest

I absolutely HATED Not Quite Hollywood. if the mission is to make me care about at least one of the movies they talked about, mission absolutely not accomplished. This documentary has only one way of presenting anything, show 3 second clips at a time while each person gets no more than 8 seconds at a time to talk before skipping to the next person, while manic music plays in the background. And on top of this they overproduce everything with the graphics.

It's not like other movies don't use this technique for stretches, but it was absolutely torturous to watch here because they couldn't mix that style up with any other way of showing things or talking about things, no variety whatsoever in presentation.

0.5/5 for one trick pony filmmaking that wears out it's welcome in less than 15 minutes.

Kurt
Guest

Maybe you should watch SAM NEILL's "Cinema of Unease" it is the polar opposite approach (very stern, serious, forboding) on New Zealand cinema back in the mid (Pre-Wellywood) 1990s. It is very very good, next time we cross paths I can lend you my VHS, as it doesn't exist on DVD or VHS outside of the New Zealand TV Commission – http://www.nzvideos.org/cinema.html

Goon
Guest

I don't trust my VHS to not destroy tapes. It's kind of a random occurance.

I just want something that actually talks about the movies and the culture as if something is more important than another. NQH goes for a high energy pace while at the same time delivering this flatline of importance and hierarchy, and very early on abandons the cultural side of what was going on.

On top of this so much of it is just backstage gossip rather than being about the movie and its significance. It feels like someone just slammed together a bunch of those shitty 4 minute 'making of' docs that are filler even within bonus features.

Goon
Guest

When it comes to passionate movies about niche cultural movements, I think Metal: A Headbanger's Journey is my high water mark. Besides my own bias and love for the music, I can easily argue for what makes it a good film – the directors of "Metal" very easily lay out what they are setting to do, they establish a 'family tree' of how one thing inspires another, origins, what is an offshoot of what, that everything branches and flows naturally from one thing to another. It pays that there's also an anthropologist involved in that film who knows how to lay things out in such a fashion. And unlike NQH, "Metal" doesn't feel the need to talk about EVERYTHING they love.

NQH's genre format of division shows no hierarchy or real history, talks about what makes each film special in only the most shallow terms, crams everything in to the point that nothing feels special.

Honestly, I haven't loathed a movie as much in a while. I seriously think the direction and editing of this documentary is absolute shit.

Kurt
Guest

MMMMM, thanks for that. I'd hate for my rare VHS tape to be gobbled. Some time later then, on a VCR that will play nice.

I'm not going to argue completely FOR NQH, as it does get draggy here and there, but man, the clips in the film alone are a boatload of fun, and I do like the point that is made that one of the key themes in Aussie cinema (from Arthouse to Grade Z trash) is Bullying and brazenly bad behaviour.

Goon
Guest

"the clips in the film alone are a boatload of fun"

I can't deny that some of the clips are pretty fun, but after the introduction I stopped caring about them, and couldnt tell you what clips go with what anymore, everything just blurs together. I think people enjoy the clips enough that they give this thing a free pass, even though there isn't really anything memorable or substantive from any talking head. It's all the clips.

Say I make documentary about the history of Internet memes. 3/4 of my film is talking heads who just say "I love this next clip" rather than talking about the meaning behind the memes, deconstructing absurd humor and how things spread and evolve into new memes. The rest is clips of cats playing keyboards and people getting Rickrolled. Some, maybe even the majority, of people may end up having a good time watching and become inspired to watch the clips in full. But if all people end up talking about are the clips, I think you've failed in making your movie, if you even want to call that a movie.

When they're not doing backstage gossip, they're literally just really setting up clips like they're Bob Saget, "I love the part where he jumps out of his bed", and then he jumps out of his bed. "There was one shot where we don't show the whole explosion" and then they show the clip. I wasn't expecting this film to have a lot of depth, but I was hoping it would be more than just a step above a VH1 80s retrospective, or that "Boogeymen" slasher scenes compilation DVD.

Henrik
Guest

Hmm, rewatched NQH after your comment Goon, and I liked it as much the second time, even though I agree with what you say. I just don't agree that it's a flaw, any more than it is a flaw of Religulous that it doesn't offer insight or depth. Who cares? I would have hated if the film tried to put more emphasis on the supposed importance of these shit films, I liked the parts where the people talked about not being feminists, or trying to make a statement, they just liked tits and guns and it made money. It would have made little sense to make a meaningful documentary about meaningless films, since you do it because you love the meaningless in the first place.

Goon
Guest

I don't know how you managed to rewatch it after my comment, I don't think my first comment was more than an hour and 40 minutes ago.

"any more than it is a flaw of Religulous that it doesn’t offer insight or depth."

Religulous fails not because it doesn't offer insight or depth, but because after almost a full movie of having no insight or depth, it acts like it did in a final hard sell.

There's a difference between talking about importance and talking about significance. As I've argued many times before, just because something is meaningless doesn't inherently mean it is insignificant. They can be symptoms of a certain mindset, an age of rebellion, or greed, or any other thing. NQH actually seems to promise a touch of this at the beginning that it subsequently ignores, only to devolve into a clip show.

Even on a base level this was supposed to be about what makes Australian exploitation unique and special and how it gave Australia a voice, or a mark, or an influence, and I don't feel that they made the case on any of these levels. Clip show.

Goon
Guest

In other words the way they set this thing up, the way it was presented to me as a layman, is that the only think that separated Australian exploitation from any other exploitation…

…is that its Australian. There was maybe one movie early on that tried to go beyond that, the dude that was walking around with shit everywhere and asking people about sex, but even that didn't really meet the assertion of being uniquely Australian. They bluntly said the whole setup was based off of Kinsey to begin with.

Maybe if it had even done some comparison or contrast, I might have learned something, but that would have probably gotten in the way of the clip show.

Henrik
Guest

I skipped the first 10 minutes, and it's at the end credits now ^^. Did you think I was lying? What a strange lie to make.

Who said it was supposed to be about anything? I can certainly say that I prefer the clip show to some boasting attempt to legitimize exploitation as an artform. I would seriously doubt any actual claim could be made that these films had a major impact on australian culture, or any culture, which is why it's mainly people involved with the production or fans who are in the documentary.

Introducing the films seems to be the most important thing to the documentary, and the right choice in my opinion. I think what they are saying is that, for the right audience, these movies have a place. This is just an introduction for that audience to get out there and watch them. Personally, I don't have much interest in any of these films (I thought Patrick stood out as looking pretty creepy and genuinely scary), but I do appreciate Quentin Tarantino speaking with passion about a giant pig, or hearing about a fucked up stuntman.

Goon
Guest

Even if you think its really not supposed to be anything more than a clip show/introduction, as my very first comment indicated, if that is the mission, it fails, because the editing/directing/pacing of the film is so ADD that everything blurs together even as its format seperates segments by film. there's no point of reference of where a person should start, whats for newbs, whats for the hardcores. Seriously, I think even as a guide to the films, it fails. I wish their obvious passion translated into a better sell.

What I hear from that argument is that an ambition/execution that amounts to "These films exist" is worthy of a pass. That's a bar so low an ant could pole vault it.

Goon
Guest

…if its an introduction to the films I don't know why they'd launch into all the backstage gossip that shouldn't really be for anyone but those with some familiarity to these films.

I actually even think a DVD of all of these movies trailers would sell them better than the movie does, unless you need QT telling you they're good to jump on them. There are a couple segments where all he says is "This is a good movie" before they cut to someone else.

This makes me want to throw on the Jackie Brown DVD and watch all the 70s exploitation trailers they piled on disc 2.

Henrik
Guest

"That’s a bar so low an ant could pole vault it."

Befitting of the subject matter, whose bars are even lower.

Goon
Guest

So if I make a documentary about farts, so long as the entire movie is just farting and nothing else, it gets a pass, because the bar should have been lower. I see. Nice.

Henrik
Guest

If you had passionate people and Quentin Tarantino talking about the farts, and the farts were clips of outrageous movies, it would get a pass.

Henrik
Guest

To be clear, I am not praising the film for what it did as much as I appreciate that it knew it shouldn't do more. Like I said earlier, it also makes sense to me that somebody who likes these films, would not feel any shame if his documentary about them was low-brow. It surprises me that somebody would except anything else.