Cinecast Episode 141 – Something to Toy With

Episode 141:
Super thanks to Rian Johnson (Brick/Brothers Bloom) for dropping by and magically rolling with Gamble’s proverbial punches. Making up for Andrew’s illness, Rian throws his four cents into the pool of fantasy that is Where the Wild Things Are and also dropping some Coen Brothers love in a more detailed examination of A Serious Man. With of course the usual DVD talk and bits of other nostalgia and B-films.

Thanks for listening!

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Intro/Outro information: show content

RSS Feeds: show content

About the Hosts: show content

MAIN REVIEWS:
Where the Wild Things Are
A Serious Man

OTHER FILMS MENTIONED:
Evil Demon Golfball from Hell!!!
Rian Johnson’s upcoming project, Looper
Burn After Reading
Return of the Living Dead
Hausu

DVD PICKS:
Andrew: Blood: The Last Vampire
Rian: It’s Garry Shandling’s Show: The Complete Series and Black Adder Box Set
Kurt: Monsoon Wedding
Matt: Plastic Man: The Complete Collection

BLU RAY:
Rian: Ichi the Killer
Andrew: Waterworld

 

 

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Goon
Guest

Pretty great episode, Rian was awesome and fit in well with everyone. jaw drop at Gamble's below the belt punch.

Notes:

seems Rian watched WTWTA similarly as I did, just came out with a different overall evaluation.

Burn After Reading is awesome and gets better every time.

Gamble needs to see Funky Forest, stat!

The Future Cops thing is all over the internet on any video site you want to search, I've seen the Street Fighter ripoffs dozens of times but not the movie.

Larry Sanders is available as a season 1 set or the best of collection (which I have). The latter is the better buy, and will probably sadly be the only choice you'll ever get.

Matt Gamble
Guest

Funky Forest has been added to my Netflix queue. I shall try to get to it sooner rather than later.

Rian really was great and was a huge reason why the episode was so fun to record. After I heard him reciting Slash Fiction about the /Film guys on their own podcast I figured be able to roll with any punches I might throw and he handled them pretty easily.

Hopefully he'll join us again sometime.

Goon
Guest

The guy who starred in Mongol and was one of the main characters in Survive Style 5+ is all over Funky Forest. That movie also is missing any real narrative and is more like vignettes, and a lot of them actually move quite slowly and rely on one fucked up thing getting slightly grosser or funnier as it goes along, as you just soak in the pure Japanese fuckedupness of it all, and think to yourself all along "This is what happens to culture when you drop a nuclear bomb on it"

Kurt
Guest

We would not want Gamble not to be Gamble, and yea, Rian was swell and knows how to carry a joke.

The actor you are thinking of Goon is the great Tadanabou Asano, who happens to be a significant character in Ichi The Killer (perhaps the design inspiration for Christopher Nolan's JOKER design as well, with the slit mouth.)

Goon
Guest

i love that dude. That dude is the argument that every Japanese person should grow their hair long and have a beard

it seemed everyone was on their best behaviour through the show – it took Gamble to reveal how things really work and it continued on quite amusingly from there.

Goon
Guest

A Serious Man is the best movie of the year. Wow. Will def. see again once it expands wider. One of my favorite shots is the over the shoulder shot at the first rabbi's office, where the shoulder cuts off the word "Rabbi" on the nameplate, showing exactly the amount of respect most people have for young priests/preachers of any denomination.

Goon
Guest

I havent been so pumped hours after seeing something as I still am from ASM. It has more of a 90s Coen vibe overall, is the 'screwball tragedy' vs. Burn's 'screwball comedy', definitely has Barton Fink's subtlety in a number of places and as Kurt mentioned, some Election overtones. I found the second rabbi sequence where they did the story of the man with "Save me" on his teeth to very much resembled a Tarantino sequence. More than anything, A Serious Man is a Coen movie for Coen fanboys, and I think a number of those very same will walk out with it among the top 3 of their filmography. I do.

Goon
Guest

Even though most know I'm a pretty mean ol' atheist, I grew up with a pretty religious family and my mom actually worked (as in salary) for our church, and we saw priests come and go of various ages and intellects. The way the different priests are portrayed by age/respect/help, etc is so truthful to both the perception and reality of the people from the church.

Those that have said this story could have been adapted to a christian church if only the Coens had that upbringing are pretty spot on. I love how ASM can both show respect to the religious community as it at the same time undermines the amount of help they can provide in their hour of need.

Marina Antunes
Admin

Things learned from this episode of the cinecast:

1) I guess I should watch WTWTA

2) A Serious Man is playing in town but I've been holding off on seeing it for some crazy ass reason. Will get to it next week.

3) Matt is still awesome though he needs to understand that though I get excited at the mention of vampire anywhere in a description, that doesn't necessarily mean that I'll a) watch it or b) like it.

Great show guys!

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

From Onion A.V.'s Q&A with the Coen's it augments the point I was trying to get at with the HATS in Miller's Crossing, the Coen's do stuff as much to pile it in there and make it feel right, moreso than any sort of analytical or 'de facto rigorous' approach:

AVC: The movie is embedded with little stories, like the opening vignette, that can be seen as an equivalent to Biblical parables, but it’s an open question as to whether they mean anything. Take the story the second rabbi tells, about the dentist who discovers a message written in Hebrew on his patient’s teeth. Is “The Story Of The Goy’s Teeth” an example of divine visitation, or is the moral that you should forget what you don’t understand and just live your life?

EthanCoen: [Laughs.] That’s so great. It’s just gratifying, I must say. It’s not even your question, it’s just gratifying to hear a complete stranger—or virtually a complete stranger—referring to the story of the goy’s teeth. It makes me feel like we accomplished something.

AVC: It’s your Grand Inquisitor.

JoelCoen: Yeah. We’ve got the parable of the goy’s teeth. We were sort of aware, while we were doing it, of it being an elaborate shaggy-dog story that fits into the story in an interesting way, you know? The beginning was more of a feeling thing. It relates only in the sense that it feels right. Retrospectively, you can sort of impose some analysis on it, and say “Here are the reasons,” or “This may have been partly what you were thinking at the time.” But we weren’t really thinking that at the time, we were just thinking it felt right.

Jonathan
Admin

I miss the days when my local theater used to bring these good, limited release movies, but then it would only be my old girlfriend and I in the theater, so they stopped bringing them, so I can never join in on discussions until a few weeks after the fact.

Although I did see Where the Wild Things Are, and share much of Rian's feelings towards it. I'm in the process of writing a review of it for my alma mater's newspaper right now, so I'll be back with some more thoughts when I better articulate them.

Marina Antunes
Admin

Props to Kurt for his DVD pick. Excellent choice sir! And if people still haven't seen it, THE NAMESAKE is excellent as is VANITY FAIR. Sadly, word on the street is that AMELIA isn't very good.

Kurt
Guest

Forgot to mention that the Amelia Ernhart biopic with Hilary Swank and Richard Gere is a Mia Nair film too. It comes out this week, I wonder if that was timed with Criterion's Release or just co-incidence.

rot
Guest

great cinecast guys, you should keep putting a rotating extra person in there, it seems to balance out the conversation better.

Looking forward to catching A Serious Man this weekend.

Goon
Guest

for any Toronto readers/contribs, THE ROOM is playing again at the ROyal tonight at 11:30 pm – its always a riot.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

I wonder if "Goose laugh" will be back for a second helping of Wiseau….

Goon
Guest

btw, we did managed to capture Goose Laugh on tape at that last screening, however I think you have to be listening for it to pick it out.

Goon
Guest

I would totally have gone again, but I'm going to see Mastodon and Adult Swim superstars Dethklok at the Sound Academy.

Other news of the day – I'm ashamed to admit that amongst my stack of new, hip, talk of the town cds such as Girls, the new Manic Street Preachers, WTWTA soundtrack, Atlas Sound, DangerMouse vs. Sparklehorse, etc, that I'm listening to Lady GaGa and enjoying it.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Aside, but connected to A SERIOUS MAN, I do not recall if I mentioned it on the Cinecast, but my viewing experience of the newest Coens flick was actually a Job-like experience as we had 3 wacky audience members in an underpopulated theatre.

#1 – Wildly loud laughter that laughed at EVERYTHING, even if nothing was really happening on screen.

#2 – Giggly girls who tittered and strangely inappropriate times (perhaps joking amongst themselves)

#3 – A couple in their late 60s explaining everything in the most inane fashion to each other -LOUDLY-

Since it was in the small cumberland theatre, all of these people were never more than 4-5 seats (in any direction) away.

That the film was still awesome and engaging througout this is a testament to the Coen's success here.

Goon
Guest

I look forward to the day where I can understand how someone finds the movie "joyous". I still think it's the most miserable movie (and by 'miserable' i mean the experience) I've come across in years.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Heh. You had the same reaction to the film as my daughter.!

Rusty James
Guest

I finally watched Paranormal Activity.

It was enjoyable.

Rusty James
Guest

well… your nephew is good at lawn darts…. I don't see what that has to do with Paranormal Activity.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Had an interesting conversation last night about Paranormal Activity with folks that saw it around the first time it made the festival circuit. Reaction to it was rather ho-hum, and there was some surprise that people were responding on the level that is making it very much a national mega-success.

Thoughts were:

a) Marketing = Self-fulfilling prophecy

b) It happens in the bedroom while sleeping

c) Accessible and Easy

d) Midnights screenings for audiences that do not normally go do midnight screenings = success because it is different

Curiously "Good Movie" never seemed to enter the equation….maybe some post-success elitism there, maybe not…

I've not seen the film (there has simply been much other stuff out there that interests me like WTWTA and A Serious Man, and this weeks, An Education) but I guess I'll get to it eventually, but It will be hard to process this film in lieu of all the hyperbola surrounding it at this point…sadly.

Rusty James
Guest

@ Way to keep up Rusty.

I'll tell you what I had trouble keeping up with, the roller coaster thrills of 'Paranormal Activity'.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

I wanted to see the film before the Hype bubbled, but I missed several opportunities…I'll get there eventually, perhaps on DVD or if the stream of theatrical releases slow down in November and PA manages to hold screens.

Marina Antunes
Admin

I'm all over PA this weekend. It's been a strange roll out for that film – been playing the Vancouver core for a few weeks but is now making it's way into the suburbs. I hope to catch up with it tomorrow.

Rusty James
Guest

@ I wanted to see the film before the Hype bubbled

I don't see why it matters. Does the film play worse if you know other people are enjoying it?

I actually thought that there was some pretty interesting subtext the film that I'd like to talk about.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

@Rusty, "I don’t see why it matters. Does the film play worse if you know other people are enjoying it?"

For some reason with a lot of these things, if I'm honest with myself, it really does. I'd like to tell myself that hype is a completely independent thing when watching a movie, but I'd probably be lying to myself, particularly in the case of horror movies that seem to gather mass attention, they are usual crap (ditto Science fiction) -> popular tastes does not often correlate with quality in those genres.

I'm sure when the house lights go down, if the movie is working, all the hype and whatnot will be irrelevant, but if the film is not working, it will only make matters worse. Bottom line is that a lot of peoples whose opinions I very much trust have been underwhelmed by the film (and they saw it well before the film got its second release wind) and thus it simply has not been high on my priority. Part of my feels obligated to watch it to participate in the conversation, but I'm not going to skip out on The Coens Brothers or WTWTA to see it. I'll get there eventually.

Rusty James
Guest

I guess you can wait for the backlash to begin (it already has), then maybe it will be safe to enjoy it.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

@ Rusty, "I guess you can wait for the backlash to begin (it already has), then maybe it will be safe to enjoy it."

I know you are being facetious, but it is it perhaps naive to think that the preceptions/preconceptions/etc do not play a point in how you like a film. The obvious example is how a film plays 5 years from now out of the bubble of blacklash/hype/buzz

Rusty James
Guest

Yeah, but I don't think the 5 years later perspective is the definitive statement on a film necessarily. It's not like there's going to be some point in the future where people stop being influenced by the goings-on around them.

Ebert once said he believes that the movies that seem the freshest at the time, the most urgent products of their time, are often the ones that age the worst.

That seems about right to me. For example: I loved Blair Witch Project in '99 though I dont think I'd like to revisit it again.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Trying to process that thought. I do know that often my "Top 10 list" is inverted 5 years after the fact. Weird, but true. Often the 6-10 films start replacing the 1-5. Often I fall into the trap of 'cinematically important' trumping 'something extremely well made.'

For instance Videodrome vs. The Fly. The Fly is an much, much much better made film, but Videodrome hogs the spotlight because its mulch of ideas (often sloppily articulated, but still quite visceral) tend to feel more urgent than the 'that was fucking well done nature' of a better film, and the fact that you keep coming back to the better one perhaps moves perception of it over time.

(The same could be said of If… vs. A Clockwork Orange, or even Solyaris (Tarkovsky) over Solaris (Soderberg))

Mike Rot
Member

I do not think I will ever get the Coen consensus that exists on Row Three but I am sure is rampant elsewhere. I think they are formalists, they are clever, they are funny, but most of what they do is to me nothing to get all that worked up about.

A Serious Man is an average film, and from the hyperbole I was hearing prior, I think it is far less funny, far less complex, and far less profound than I was lead to believe going in. I agree with Matt that they set up rules and then break them, that's a clever conceit, that to me does not equal anything but parlor tricks. This is the story of Job and it builds to a punchline. Its fine, 3/5, but best film of the year I think not.

dan
Guest

Kurt, you're right into not wanting to rush out and see Paranormal Activity. It's not very good and definitely over-hyped. It was a homeless man's blair witch, really lacking any authenticity. I was seriously tempted to walk out, twice. It's really bland, and the characters seem to only exist to have the shit in the movie happen to them. I didn't know anything about the movie going in, except some vague rumblings of internet hype, but highly regret wasting my time on it.

dan
Guest

I caught WTWTA, in faux-IMAX no-less, and really enjoyed, but probably not to the extent that Kurt and Andrew seemingly enjoyed it. I was surprised how emotionally involved I was, especially with the romantic comedy moment that Kurt referred to. I'm surprised no one mentioned the phenomenal voice acting of James Gandolfini playing a bi-polar, borderline personality wild beast. He was funny, casual, and absolutely terrifying in the moments when he's losing it. He stole the show for me and was a perfect, unexpected choice.

Kurt
Guest

Dan: Better or Worse than "OPEN WATER"? I have a soft spot for open Water, because I have a love of watching cocky yuppies pay the price for showing arrogance in dangerous waters/cultures, but yea, really the characters in that one only exist to be stuck in their particular situation.

Rusty James
Guest

Kurt, do you expect some annonymous internet yahoo to predict whether you will like Paranormal Activity more than Open Water?

Rusty James
Guest

No offense Dan.

Jonathan
Admin

Rusty, play nice. Veteran commenters and us writers are the only ones that should be bullied.

I really don't have much interest in Paranormal Activity, although its always neat to see something so small become some successful. The wonders of internet hype, eh?

Goon
Guest

looks like Paranormal Activity had a very strong second weekend. I think it actually made MORE than it did last week.. WTWTA dropped at least 50%

dan
Guest

Kurt: I haven't seen Open Water in a while, but can say that PA is way worse. Open Water played on some pretty primal fears and the "how would I react in that situation" card, which worked for me. If I recall, it felt authentic as well. PA feels majorly contrived…and wasn't even scary. Nothing about it felt real. The characters had zero personality, their house had zero personality, and the writing was laughably bad, especially the scenes where they bring in that paranormal psychologist (which were brutal) who tries to logically explain the creepy shit going on. This movie felt like a poor, manufactured attempt at the documentary-style horror. You don't have to take my word for it. I'm just trying to save someone else from having the same bad experience I had. Just looking out.

Rusty: No offense taken, but I'm actually a long time listener of the cinecast and tend to lean towards Kurt's tastes in film, thus thinking that I can tell what he's going to like/not like. I don't comment that often because there's seems to be a tight-knit, predictable select number of commenters on here (i. e. the contributors to the site and like, two others). Where's the lurker love?

Goon
Guest

well know that you've emerged you may as well introduce yourself a tad.

Kurt
Guest

Well, it is very good to see that Warners will be making their money back with WTWTHA, hopefully they will enable filmmakers like Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry and the odder projects of Chris Nolan to keep reasonable (60M or so) budgets if required. Good news, and I think that WTWTA will do pretty solid DVD business, because there will be a lot of adults buying it for themselves…

Paranormal Activity, in its now 5th week of releases, trounced the latest SAW sequel (a franchise that will hopefully end up in the DtV cycle which it probably belonged right after the first sequel) and thw Saw series usually makes more than 60% of its take in the first weekend; so that makes me happy in some small way (as per Jonathan: "I really don’t have much interest in Paranormal Activity, although its always neat to see something so small become some successful.")

Kurt
Guest

…And Dan, welcome to the land of the vocal, always nice to have another voice in the wilderness of Goon's obsessions, Rusty's American pragmatism, Henrik's European Passive Agressiveness, Ross's Bon Mots, and Ashley's warm generosity…

(What will your boiled down to two adjective description be in a few months…) 😉

Rusty James
Guest

@ (What will your boiled down to two adjective description be in a few months…)

I like mine.

Kurt
Guest

In case you don’t follow Rian Johnson on twitter: (highly amusing riffing going on!)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/2011/10/17/rian-johnsons-feud-with-jason-reitman_n_1015113.html

Jonathan
Admin

Deadline dropped a bombshell about 10 minutes ago: Rian Johnson will be scripting and directing the next two Star Wars films. We’ll have to wait and see if Lucasfilm confirms this.

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