Cinecast Episode 161 – Nightmares of Incomprehensibility

Picking up where we should have started last week is easy (at least we think so) as nothing really noteworthy was theatrically released over the weekend anyway (Those looking for yet another round of movie pundits bagging on the bad 3D and lack of coherence in Clash of the Titans look elsewhere, we wisely skipped this one). Instead we munch on some mumblecore-tinged Noah Baumbach, Greenberg starring Ben Stiller and a little How To Train Your Dragon earns some love for CG Animations second fiddle, Dreamworks. As a bonus, some retro goofery with Hot Tub Time Machine, depressed Danes in Terribly Happy and some steamy Canadian voyeurism with Chloe. As a further bonus, extensive Mad Men love from Gamble, cannibalism in the rain forests of Tasmania, Harrison Ford in the dirty back alleys of Paris with Roman Polanski and joined in the jungles of South America by Andre Gregory. Oh, and the joys of The Dude as President eating a shark sandwich. To confuse things further, some of our DVD picks are from this week and some are from last. It is a nightmare of incomprehensibility (in the parlance of our times), but it is a good time (parts of it, anyway) as we managed to make up for a messy part of the release calender with a lot of older movies on TV and Netflix. Enjoy.

As always, feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!

To download the show directly, paste the following URL into your favorite downloader:

Full show notes are under the seats…

show content

show content

show content

Greenberg (Rot’s review)
How to Train Your Dragon (Matt Brown’s [MAMO] review)

Hot Tub Time Machine (Jonathan’s review)
Chloe (Kurt’s review)
Terribly Happy

Van Dieman’s Land
Le Samourai
Gone Baby Gone
Dave Chappelle’s Block Party
The Contender
The ‘burbs



An Education
(Laura’s review)


I Sell the Dead
(Andrew’s review)




Bad Lieutenant
(Kurt’s review)

I freakin’ HATE Michael Mann!

The Baader Meinhof Complex
Smash Cut (Sasha Grey)
The Squeakquel
Afghan Star
Simon & Simon (season 4)
Dreamscape [Blu-ray] LoTR [Blu-ray] The Natural (director’s cut) [Blu-ray]

Dreamworks vs. Pixar
Mosquito Coast (IMDb) podcast (iTunes)


Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, or email us: (general)


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted

Baumbach is an acquired taste, I do get why Greenberg is hovering around 60% at RT. It doesn't pull its emotional punches, it doesn't ask you to sympathize, its more of a fly on the wall approach, and Kurt bringing up Rachel Getting Married is a valid comparison. Rachel's dinner speech would fit perfectly in the Greenberg universe.

For me the characters were 100% believable, there are layers to how Greenberg reacts to things in the film that on the surface may seem rude and 'quirky' but actually make sense within the context of his insecurities and a lifetime of resentment and not developing the most basic social skills to become self-aware. I love it when a film has characters that can become unhinged from any writer mandate and feel dimensional. Roger is not a bad person, he is not a good person, Florence is not a strong feminist character, she is not a perfect object of desire, they both create an uncomfortable unclassifiable relationship that is wholly theirs. I am not here to judge whether it is worthwhile or thematically profound, its believability is enough, it triggers something in me about how people get along in the world, how complex this shit can be. The labels and motivations I could give a fuck, them being themselves is what makes me enjoy this film.

It is a common fascination of mine when characters cease to be characters and become unfiltered embodiments of life, life being lived. There is a critical mass, a momentum, and its like the characters break free from the mechanics of storytelling to become something of their own. Of course there is a story still there, things are still constructed but the illusion is so great that it hardly matters; what matters is that these people feel autonomous. I suppose we all have our own yardsticks for when this critical mass occurs, for me its when I can start anticipating behavior not because of formula but tacitly from observing the character, its hard to put into words. Florence and Roger feel real to me, they pass the Turing test, and are not unlike some of my other favorite characters in such films as:

Wendy and Lucy

Rachel Getting Married

Before Sunset

400 Blows

I wrote a post about this, on what i call for lack of a better term, tacit cinema, my ultimate film-viewing sweet spot. I will be pleasantly surprised if anything this year beats out Greenberg on my list. I am hoping mumblecore may fall into this category, and Cassavettes which Matt brought up before (they both seem perfectly suited to my tastes).


With Le Samourai, Melville frames Delon into a superhero who's superpower is coolness. What I like about the film is the Abstract world that Melville's creates with his minimalist approach; I will like to see more minimalist approach in films. The only film-in recent memory – is 13 Tzameti.

Kurt Halfyard

Like all loner-tough guys (Mellville is an essayist of tough guys) he is beyond morality, existing merely in his own 'coda.' Western films generally soften this by having the hero/loner's heart soften/melt/change as a dramatic arc (Leone is an exception), but Samurai films usually keep this aggressively strict distance from emotion. And Le Samourai certainly goes all the way with it. It makes for cool cinema, if rather empty drama, but that is OK, and here it is taken to such extremes for the sake of 'cool cinema' that it kind of transcends drama in favour of a crazy cinematic state of mind.