Cinecast Episode 129 – Boot Bombs and Boxcutters

Episode 129:
SUPER SPOILER!! edition of the Cinecast today with both Public Enemies and Duncan Jones’ Moon. Then we talk about some fun trailers recently. Thanks to Matt Gamble from Where The Long Tail Ends for keeping things spirited per usual.

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

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COVERED IN TODAY’S SHOW:

Public Enemies (Kurt’s review)WARNING SPOILERS!!
– – Miami Vice
Stoning of Soraya M.
MoonWARNING SPOILERS!!
– – Silent Running
Whatever Works (no one saw it)
– – Woody Allen movies
TRAILERS:
2012 (recut)
Push (Marina’s review)

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Rusty James
Guest

I too would like to see a sequel to Moon. I was hoping we'd get to see the world's most awkward family reunion. Or at least some kind of planet of the apes ending.

So much was made of his family that I would've liked to have spent some time with them.

dan
Guest

Nice show, guys. I'm with Kurt on PE. Along with the visual style, I liked Mann's choice to not mythologize Dillinger and give very little context. I mean, Dillinger is basically a thug who is very good at being a criminal, and this comes across by choice in PE–it wasn't really trying to show much more. By not mythologizing him, the movie avoids the possible cliches that would normally come with these type of criminal stories, and I appreciated that. I totally understand why people didn't like the movie…it's not perfect and it didn't exactly blow me away (although many sequences in the movie did). It either works for you or it doesn't, and it happened to really work for me. What I don't understand is why Matt and other commentors are so offended by this movie, calling it garbage and so forth. If anything, the movie is at least competent (way beyond competent to me).

dan
Guest

Really enjoyed Moon as well, but can't really get with the personal hell theory. Sorry Matt.

Matt Gamble
Guest

Who says you need to be cognizant of being trapped in Hell? It's the repetition of a task that he not only hates, but destroys him that alludes to it being Hell. He is trapped and unable to reach his family, and he will never be able to. He is stuck in an unending loop of death and despair for all eternity. That, coupled with the origins of the Prometheus story, which is one illustration of the Greek's idea of Hell, only further confirms it.

Also look at it from this perspective. Rockwell's Earth counterpart sold his genes (clear metaphor for selling his soul) to a company so he would never have to leave his family. He didn't care about anyone except his own personal gain. His wife also makes note of how much Sam's clone has changed and grown by being on the Moon. In an ironic twist, Sam's clones regain their humanity by being trapped in an environment that they despise. But when the new clone is revived, he is a replica of the empty and soulless Earth version of Sam. But when he discovers what his Earth counterpart has done, he quickly realizes how awful it is, because the one thing he fears is being forever unable to reach his wife and daughter. He doesn't look out for himself, he tries to save the dying clone. He sheds his selfish ways and acts towards the greater good because he sees what he will become. A broken and dying man who will never get to see the one thing he truly cares about. In essence he is fighting to save his soul from eternal damnation.

You really just need to realize that everyone's idea of Hell is different, and just because what Sam is going through isn't your's, doesn't mean it isn't his.

Henrik
Guest

I listen to the show once in a blue moon, and I get a namecheck. How often do you mention me on this show?

I didn't hate Public Enemies, I just didn't like it that much. Not everything is a love/hate scenario Matt.

Matt Gamble
Guest

I've never claimed everything is.

Kurt
Guest

*************Potential SPOILERS**************It certainly works as a metaphor. It's not by accident that Earth is always placed in the frame above the Moon. I still think the girl he is halucinating is more random and a function of his illness than literally a genetic-future-memory or present link to his 'real' daughter

Kurt
Guest

Is Henrik really condescending or does everyone just picture him saying so.?

Matt Gamble
Guest

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But how can it be a random function of his illness to hallucinate a vision of his actual daughter at her true age? That's decidedly anything but random.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

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Are we 100% certain the same actress was doing the hallucination scenes?

Matt Gamble
Guest

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I just watched it again tonight. Its her. I'd bet Andrew's life on it.

And to further push my Prometheus opinion, that also draws direct reference to Frankenstein and man's nature of pushing too quickly with technology without thinking about the consequences. Which I think we can agree is yet another theme that shows up in the film.

Henrik
Guest

"Is Henrik really condescending or does everyone just picture him saying so.?"

What do you mean?

rot
Guest

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I'm liking the subtext that Gamble is giving the story of Moon, actually I'm liking it a whole lot better than the film itself, which without it, is pretty uninspiring to me. Like Public Enemies I found my mind drifting off, I found the pacing slow and what is happening not really that engaging. I didn't feel that it added much to the genre, there was a lot of derivative components (Hal and the Primer score), and the dramatic impetus of using clones never added up to much, and is better served in a story being made into a film in production that shall remain nameless.

There were also a lot of conveniences of plot to let the narrative go where the author wanted it to. This has got to be the worst system of surveillance ever concocted. I think the central conceit of the film had a lot of promise, I just don't think the execution of it and the fine details of the narrative actually worked. I also didn't find Sam Rockwell compelling, yes shoot me now, but I haven't drank that kool-aid. I should have cared a lot more about a character in this plight, and how this was set-up, that emotion was absent.

rot
Guest

while I am often a supporter of restraint in cinema, I don't think the restraint in Moon is effective, and that distinctions need to be made between kinds of restraint rather than praise anything that slows down and undercuts the dramatic instinct. Sometimes restraint is just dull and lifeless and posing as something more significant.

Moon is a lot of posturing, wearing the accoutrements of better sci-fi films in the hopes that the audience will accept it as similarly great by association. Its made even more upsetting because the central conceit of the story and in particular Gamble's reading into the film IS great, its a film I like in concept but not in execution.

The story is using some really heady and existential themes, its hard not to achieve some level of gravitas with them, and so its again only by association that anything seems pensive and important in the film, the story, the direction, doesn't effectively lift these themes into the realm they deserve.

Despite what Gamble and Kurt say on the cinecast, I didn't feel any real lived-in quality to Sam Rockwell's character, there were devices in place to suggest to the audience time has passed, but when things start to happen, after three years of nothing, the reactions feel false, the relationship between Sam and Gerty feels false, the emotional core of Sam and his wife feel false. Or maybe not entirely false, but not as poignantly portrayed as they ought to have been for the narrative to work for me. They just felt functional, the story is serviceable, ambling along to get at the conceit.

Given the story, the novelty of it, it is very hard to screw this up, and I think people are perhaps being too kind to the film or too forgiving for how little it aspires to do despite its heady themes. Even Gamble's theory I don't think is effectively played out in the film (I haven't listened to the cinecast, so maybe it will convince me otherwise). I just think it is an easy film to praise because of things it talks about, it addresses, but how well it achieves the underlying dramatic components is something altogether different.

dan
Guest

I came in to Moon not knowing anything about it (except it had Sam Rockwell on the moon) and with no expectations, which is why I was very pleasantly surprised by it, especially when it went in the direction it did (which I didn't expect). I wasn't blown away but do think it was a moderately thought-provoking, visually intriguing sci-fi telling. It had some minor plot issues for me, but was very solid. I kind briefly got a supernatural vibe in the beginning, but was glad they went the scientific route instead cause I hate supernatural shit. Sam Rockwell was superb. He always kind of annoyed me in the past with his smugness, but thought he was excellent here.

I can see where you're getting your hell/prometheus theory from Matt, but I think there's a flaw in your logic: Sam wasn't misereable or in despair. He was definitely lonely and maybe depressed, but like Andrew pointed out, he had a very workman-like attiude and went about his days trying to keep himself occupied. It didn't seem like he ever hated his job or situation. Even when he found out he was a clone–he wasn't exactly angry or miserable, especially the older Sam. He handled the self-revalation in a very realistic, almost zen-like manner. It was definitely hard-hitting, but he was very accepting of the revalation and made peace with it. I liked this aspect of the movie.

rot
Guest

that is why I say I want to see Gamble's film, not the one Duncan Jones' made. And I am a bit harder on this then most here, but I think we are somewhat meeting in the middle, its just seeing the glass half empty or glass half full. I see the lost potential in the film and it bothers me enough that I can't be enthusiastic about what we are left with, however serviceable it may be.

Matt Gamble
Guest

Even when he found out he was a clone–he wasn’t exactly angry or miserable, especially the older Sam.

The newest clone most certainly was angry. He tore the ship apart, trashed the older's Sam's model that he had worked on for 900+ hours without a second thought and then physically beat him up.

Their also is another context that Sam is going through a life cycle in 3 years. The younger Sam is brash and headstrong, acting before thinking, while the older Sam is weak, feeble and much more resigned to his situation because he no longer has the energy or the will to struggle and fight. Their is a distinct difference in how the two clones react to the situation because one is essentially a teenager while the other is on his death bed. The older clone is angry and upset, shown by him driving out of range of the station and calling his wife. He is desparate (driving around the Moon is an action previously considered unthinkable and overly emotional to the reserved and elderly clone) and that is his emotional breaking point.

dan
Guest

You're right about the differences between the older and younger Sam, which was another reason why I like the movie. I still don't see how it relates to the hell theory. It just seems like you're trying to add a layer of subtext that isn't there. For what reason, I have no idea.

Ross Miller
Guest

Although I still really, REALLY liked the film (and I think I will probably love when it comes out on DVD and re-watches are easily done), I had problems with it that others seem to have looked passed.

The main problem with it for me is the constraint of the small scale made any huge, philosophical questions etc that it posed not really work right. I got the feeling of, "the ideas were too big for the bottle they were contained in," and whenever the film tried to "go there" it felt unfinished and not entirely satisfying (maybe it is for the very fact it went in those directions, but from a straight narrative, enjoyment perspective, it's not). I think I can say with some confidence that it won't appeal to the mainstream audience out there because of how ambiguous a lot of it is (not to mention the lack of action set-pieces which plague most sci-fi movies) – but even looking at it for what it truly is (not an action packed sci-fi film), the ambiguity I thought worked against the film instead of in its favour.

I realize a lot of this could be said about Kubrick's 2001, but I felt that movie had a grasp fully on the ideas and questions it was posing, whereas with Moon it's more along the line of posing them without fully knowing what it's talking about.

Again, I REALLY liked the film – there's so much detail in there, Rockwell is SUPERB IMO (sorry, rot:), Mansell's wonderful score (when is it any different with him?) and I love all the references to the different movies of the sci-fi genre (particularly loved the nod to HAL with the Kevin Spacey deadpan voiced GERTY computer). But I just don't think it's a masterpiece of any kind, and (at least not at this point) a "classic."

Matt Gamble
Guest

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One other potentially missed detail that illustrates how driven the older Sam is to see his wife and daughter.

When he crashes and Gerty revives the new clone, Gerty scrubs down the smiley faces Sam has drawn on the stainless steel in the shower that represent each day he has been there. It's his countdown to going home.

When the old Sam is finally walking around again he wanders into the showers, and upon seeing the removal of the smiley faces, he sits down and draws out all of them. That is 1085 smiley faces. That is the actions of someone desperate and singular minded. And the goal of that desperation is seeing his family.

Also, if you want an easier illustration of how Sam's predicament is Hell, take the Greek myth of Tantalus. The man condemned to Hell who is eternally thirsty and hungry and standing in a pool of water with fruit surrounding him. Yet every time he bends down to drink the water receeds and reaches for fruit the branches pull back. Sounds familiar doesn't it?

BTW, Tantalos was condemned to Hell because he served his son as the main course at a meal for the Gods.

dan
Guest

"the ambiguity I thought worked against the film instead of in its favour"

I agree. I thought the score was awesome, too. It set an ominous tone of isolation and sterility.

dan
Guest

If that's what you got out of it, Matt, props to you. It's just kind of needlessly pretentious. I don't want to have to brush up on my greek mythology and Dante's Inferno to enjoy the movie.

Matt Gamble
Guest

And if you want I can illustrate how the Greek myth of Orpheus also ties into MOON.

I'm not really sure why people seem so easy to acknowledge the obvious nods and references to science fiction, yet seem so bothered by the notion it might be doing the same with Greek mythology. Is it because they simply don't know Greek mythology as well? Which again seems odd since science fiction has used Greek mythology for its themes since Frankenstein. They go hand-in-hand. But then again, I studied Latin in HS and college, so I may just be taking it for granted.

If that’s what you got out of it, Matt, props to you. It’s just kind of needlessly pretentious. I don’t want to have to brush up on my greek mythology and Dante’s Inferno to enjoy the movie.

That's the genius of the film though IMO. You don't have to, and from what I can tell you enjoyed the film even without knowing or seeing the other subtexts, which is great. I see all these subtle references as enriching not necessary. The strength of the film is that the more you analyze and pull back the layers, the more you find. I know James referred to the film as a Russian Nesting Doll, and I think that comparison is pretty apt.

rot
Guest

these are sublime emotions and themes and they are not satisfactorily acted upon, it doesn't mean things have to be spelled out, but they need to live up to the emotions. I love Matt's idea of earth sitting above the Moon (which btw I didn't see, I must be blind) and that this tension between the two spheres are being played out… I felt no such tension, no fervent desire, no existential pang of despair, no operatic sense of the loss and the sacrifice made in the film. Its all done with so little interest by the parties involved, that it undermines the big sublime ideas it is talking about.

dan
Guest

I just got served obscure greek mythology style.

Goon
Guest

around halfway through the ep – its been a very entertaining episode. I've actually turned it off partway during Moon because I became convinced I need to see it and didnt want it spoiled. Public Enemies on the other hand… eh. didnt care.

as someone who hasnt seen it, it was fun to try and figure out who was right simply by the strength of the arguments made, and by that standard Kurt, you got your ass kicked this time 😛

couple other things I noticed so far

– everyone is going for a Greg type story and succeeding

– for the first time ever I think I'm noticing some of the Minnesota accent tics in Andrew

– I've noticed another thing Kurt does a lot, what makes Kurt Kurt – the roundabout or extraneous ways of saying a movie name. Instead of citing "La Vie on Rose" he says "Olivier Dahan's 2007 film for which she won an Academy Award" – and all the other movies he rounds off have to include the directors name, its not Natural Born Killers, its "Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers", as if we'd mix it up with Wes Anderson's Natural Born Killers.

Henrik
Guest

Another thing that makes Kurt Kurt, he doesn't merely watch films, he actually "sits down with them".

Kurt
Guest

@ROT: "and the dramatic impetus of using clones never added up to much, and is better served in a story being made into a film in production that shall remain nameless."

I get it. I get it. I'm hugely looking forward to that one, despite the initial casting….

Kurt
Guest

@Goon: "and by that standard Kurt, you got your ass kicked this time "

Fair enough, but I find it a lot easier to take something down, than articulate why it is misunderstood or visionary. Matt just hasn't hit his 'peasant dish' Anton Ego moment with the film.

And you've not seen Jane Campion's Natural Born Killers? It's pretty swell.

Kurt
Guest

@ Henrik "Another thing that makes Kurt Kurt, he doesn’t merely watch films, he actually “sits down with them”."

You watch your cinema standing up? On the Treadmill? Well good on ya.

Matt Gamble
Guest

I occassionally ride a bike while watching.

Rusty James
Guest

@ another thing that makes Kurt Kurt, he doesn’t merely watch films, he actually “sits down with them”.

aaha ha ha ha. It's true. You got called out Kurt.

Rusty James
Guest

If you shake violently while watching a Bay film you can see what's happening. His command of mis-en-scene is masterful.

Henrik
Guest

It's just one of those little things that just comes off pretentious as hell, James Lipton-style elevating yourself.

Goon
Guest

ooooo kay. cant see comments. weird. posting to see if this works.

Goon
Guest

when i go to R3 in Firefox now, I cant see comments, yet I can see them in Google Chrome.

BUG ALERT

rot
Guest

I can see the comments in firefox, which firefox are you using?

Goon
Guest

…and then they stopped working in Chrome, and now show up in Firefox.. and they may stop working in another few minutes. i had my roommate check to see if it was just my computer and the same shit happened.

rot
Guest

thats weird because I have tried on two different computers, used chrome, firefox, safari and IE and everything looks fine. I was trying to migrate disqus over to the mainsite but have since deactivated the plugin… I just now removed the website from disqus as well (I think if anything, that was causing your persisting problem) however it says it can take up until 48 hours for them to remove the website from their records, so if the problem continues within that period it may be due to that.

Goon
Guest

I can see everything now on Firefox but I'm still worried that its going to happen again.

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

Don't worry, Goon, they disappeared because we're testing a new plugin. They didn't really go anywhere, and we've got everything backed up, too. Nothing's going to get lost.

Mike Rot
Member

I can't find the Do The Right Thing thread but I just wanted to correct what was passing as fact on that thread… DTRT was NOT nominated for Best Picture, the nominees in 1989 were

Picture:

"DRIVING MISS DAISY", "Born on the Fourth of July", "Dead Poets Society", "Field of Dreams", "My Left Foot"

so there wasn't this great Academy of the past to be envious of after all… what's worse, and something I never knew before watching the 20th anniversary dvd, Public Enemy's Fight the Power was an original song for the movie, and it wasn't nominated, one of the most iconic anthems ever made. what did it lose to?

Under the Sea – The Little Mermaid – Alan Menken, Howard Ashman

After All – Chances Are – Tom Snow, Dean Pitchford

I Love To See You Smile – Parenthood – Randy Newman

The Girl Who Used to Be Me – Shirley Valentine – Marvin Hamlisch, Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman

Kiss the Girl – The Little Mermaid – Alan Menken, Howard Ashman

I know, I know, the Academy is meaningless, but still RANDY NEWMAN over PUBLIC ENEMY!??!!!

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