Cinecast Episode 166 – A Heavy Maritime Layer

 
Please give a warm welcome to Dr. James Gillham from Wherethelongtailends.com for providing a counter to our generally favorable views of The Human Centipede (SPOILERS!) – and not always fun being the one guy in the room willing to defend Scarlett Johansson – obviously stemming from a quick review from Matt Gamble on the deep existentialism of Iron Man 2. We get back into the habit of tangenting away from the focus which usually leads to good things but here ultimately ends up going back to the Star Wars saga (yes, again). Retro Hot Docs titles are finally caught up with as well as some (un)decent exploitation films of years past and coming soon. Our DVD picks this week are fairly unanimous, but give way to a nice argument about fat Alec Baldwin vs. skinny Alec Baldwin. Enjoy with a smile.

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:
http://rowthree.com/audio/cinecast_10/episode_166.mp3

 
 
 
Full show notes are under the seats…


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IN-HOUSE BUSINESS:
Kurt’s Sci-Fi post: Science Fiction of the New Millennium


MAIN REVIEW:
The Human Centipede (Andrew’s review)


HOT DOCS:
Spellbound (IMDb)
Dish (IMDb)
David Wants to Fly (IMDb)
And Everything Is Going Fine (Rot’s review)


OTHER REVIEW:
Iron Man 2 (IMDb)


WHAT ELSE WE WATCHED:
Blakes 7
Star Wars: Episode III


DVD PICKS:

Andrew:
How I Got Lost
(Andrew’s review)

        Kurt:
Hang ’em High
(IMDb)

        Matt:
Daria: Complete Series
(IMDb)

        James:
Daria: Complete Series
(IMDb)


 
 

BLU RAY:

Andrew:
M
(IMDb)

        Kurt:
The Edge
(IMDb)

        Matt:
M
(IMDb)

        James:
M
(IMDb)


OTHER DVDs NOW AVAILABLE:
Edge of Darkness
Legion
Daybreakers
North Face
The Karate Kid (I & II)
[Blu-ray] The Magnificent Seven [Blu-ray] Rock n’ Roll High School [Blu-ray]


OTHER STUFF MENTIONED:
Extremities
Birdemic
Gone with the Pope
The Baxter
Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants


NEXT WEEK:
Robin Hood


PRIVATE COMMENTS or QUESTIONS?
Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, or email us:
feedback@rowthree.com (general)
andrew.james@rowthree.com
kurt@rowthree.com

 

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rot
Guest

that is so weird, I just watched Vicky Christina Barcelona for the first time last night and I don't know what context you were talking about Rebecca Hall but I found her captivating onscreen, more so than Scarlett Johansson. I didn't care for the film that much, its one step up from a Spanish soap opera, but she definitely stuck out.

Matt Gamble
Guest

It also has a 6.9 average score, which is hardly impressive. By comparison Iron Man 2 is currently tracking with a 6.5 average score. I stand by the stance that VCB gets by solely on the performances of Bardem and especially Cruz. The rest of the film is worthless.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

I have a review that nibbles at that. The voice-over in VCB is particularly grating at the beginning. http://www.rowthree.com/2008/08/07/review-vicky-c

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Ironman R3view. I'm very happy with my words on Iron Man it sums up the very expensive ho-hum enterprise of this franchise. http://www.rowthree.com/2008/05/05/r3-review-iron

Nat Almirall
Guest

Wow. Kurt: It wasn't on this podcast, but I just listened to (I believe it was you) your takedown of Saving Private Ryan. I respect the fact that you're way more goddamn articulate than myself and have ball-crunchingly good taste in flicks, but I'm lost as to why you think SPR's a bad movie.

Personal tastes I can understand, but your criticisms sounded like you had a bone to pick–maybe to generate comments on this blog…and I guess you succeeded.

But SPR, at least for me, is the among the greatest counter-arguments to anti-Spielbergians. Every critic accuses him of being sentimental, and yet in this flick he delivers one of the grittiest, blood-soaking, slop-inducing battles that the screen leaves you quivering to. You said you liked it, so fair enough, but the rest of the movie you said was bad, and that's where I, respectfully, can't go on.

The structure of the screenplay is precise. The dialogue (at least I found) is superb–the sequence where Hanks admits his job back home validates those last two assertions. I can't think of another war film that so fuckingly captured the suddenness of a man–any man–thrust into battle, and even if one did, so did this.

Damon's performance I have a soft spot for, well, no, not soft, because it's plausible, and convincing. You mentioned he was on screen for about five minutes, I'd say the same (although research disconfirms that), but for someone the whole total of the movie amounts to finding, well, there's a lot of pressure on his performance, and his left us both with a memory of one.

And the ending, Ah! the perfect, perfect ending, Spielberg somehow makes it a character moment, and a first-rate battle. Despite his use of blue-drenched cinematography, there's enough of a connection that you can see the blood coming from his characters as they, one by one, die. Die.

…which is rather unsentimental.

And I liked the twist at the end, but again, that's personal preference.

Anyway, thanks for inspiring such a passionate response. And a guy far better poised to respond is here: http://toddalcott.livejournal.com/?skip=20&ta

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

I thought I made it pretty clear that the Normandy Landing is pretty intense and awesome filmmaking, but so much of what follows is treacly overblown emoting. Its wishy-washy stuff, particularly the framing story. No issue with the acting which elevates the rather ho-hum screenplay. I'll take the feistier Big Red One, or the more meditative The Thin Red Line, heck, I'll take Spielberg's Munich which is 10 times the film that the post-Normandy-scene SPR is.

Funny thing is that I really, really like Matt Damon. I thought his performance in THE INFORMANT was one of the best performances of the year. Tied only with Christoph Waltz's Hands Landa. But in this, he is a prop. Much like the 'all the other brothers dies, we have to save this one' just pushes my buttons the wrong way.

I think people were quick to praise the film too much due to its knock-out opening scene. That being said, it was still a better film that Shakespeare in Love. It was a weak year for Oscar that year. The Thin Red Line should have taken it. Or barring that, on the opposite end of the spectrum, OUT OF SIGHT should have taken it for being just too damn entertaining.

Anyway, thanks for the link, I'll have a look, and someday I'll revisit SPR. I've only seen the film the one time in the theatre, but that was the impression I was left with upon leaving.

Henrik
Guest

Yeah, SPR is pretty unsentimental. Opening and closing a movie with an american flag waving, and an old man at a cemetery crying while his family comforts him. That's pretty cynical.

Even the battle scene is glossy and over-produced to the point of feeling fake. I see nothing in SPR that makes it more believable than Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. Just tons of CGI, sound design and whatnot. If you want to see what an intense and realistic battle scene looks like, there is one obvious place to go to be impressed – Dr. Strangelove.

Henrik
Guest

Oh, and the Hanks character right from the beginning I thought was a complete ripoff of Joshua Chamberlain, and when he said he was a teacher, I (mentally or physically, I can't remember) threw my hands in the air and scoffed at Spielberg and Rodat.

I actually way prefer how Emmerich treated Rodats sentimental BS in The Patriot, because he embraced it and went overboard with a sentimental score, pretty faces and colorful imagery, rather than try and treat it like a serious thing (I mean the story in Saving Private Ryan is beyond ridiculous, who but Spielberg could possibly take it seriously, it's like the plot of a fucking Mel Brooks movie).

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Note to Henrik, I fail to see the difference between the ludicrous sentimentality of SPR and the ludicrous self importance and idiocy of Lady in the Water. Pick your poison I guess. Both filmmakers take themselves quite seriously to mixed results. I'm not saying that either of these films would be better if the filmmakers didn't take the material seriously, it is just that the material is not very good in the first place.

Munich and Unbreakable are far better films.

(Yea, I'm trolling… because I care.)

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Just because the cinema of Roland Emmerich is completely unpretentious and never, ever, aims to be high-brow, doesn't make it any good. The patriot is bollocks from start to finish. It's Axe cologne for nose-breathers. No offense. I find it hilarious that this is one of your goto oddball film choices.

Henrik
Guest

I like the movie quite a bit, everytime I have watched it I have been scared that now I will see the horror of it, but it consistently delivers good stuff. And it's fucking gorgeus.

I can relate much more to the out-there attempt at deconstructing storytelling in Lady in the Water (admittedly, a movie that has gotten worse since I first saw it), than anything in SPR. At least Shyamalan tries to show people why they should think he's a genius, where Spielberg just plays it safe and ends up at 90% on the global rotten tomatoes.

Henrik
Guest

"Just because the cinema of Roland Emmerich is completely unpretentious and never, ever, aims to be high-brow, doesn’t make it any good."

No, but it makes it better than if it were pretentious and tried to be high-brow.

Henrik
Guest

By that logic, wouldn't I enjoy seing the americans die? Anyway, it's that the battle is so post-produced, the sound effects of the bullets underwater, the wishy-washy near black-and-white tones, the dropping of sound and seing things in slow motion, the close-ups of the guns shooting down, all of these things just reak of CGI and Pro Tools in the same way that a Star Wars movie does. I had the same problem with the battle scenes in Flags of our Fathers, where Eastwood even took it a step further and had the X-Wing/TIE Fighter angles from inside cockpits of planes, first person shooting things. What I think feels real, is Dr. Strangelove. Compare the two, and you'll see how I feel like I do – wether or not you agree. The scenes are drastically different, and for me, one feels real and the other feels fake.

As for Xenophobic, anti-Americanism…

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_6-IIXAF5HOE/RoGs4CKYNcI

Henrik
Guest

"I’ve never been in combat, but remembering back when the movie came out and all of the dialogue I read and heard from vets was that it was so real that many of them had to leave the theater in tears."

All I can say to this reasoning is that it's the same argument Michael Bay uses to defend Pearl Harbor.

Antho42
Guest

"…Henrik likes being a contrarian." -Matt Gamble

Henrik
Guest

Go fuck yourself. We are having a discussion, and I am giving my honest opinion.

Marc Saint-Cyr
Editor

Having just finished listening to the show, I feel I should speak up a bit for Vicky Cristina Barcelona. I also quite like that movie – and I'd definitely argue that there are other good things in it besides Bardem and Cruz. They have the two flashiest roles, and they're both quite good, but for me, Rebecca Hall hands down steals the show. It's a real shame when she disappears for most of the 2nd half. ScarJo is alright, but she's kinda just there. Overall, I thought the movie works quite well – not without its flaws (that narrator!) or one of Woody's best, but solid.

An even better example of a movie in which Hall rocks and Johannson doesn't really have much to do = The Prestige.

Matt Gamble
Guest

I honestly think people take Shyamalan far more seriously than he does. The episode of Entourage that he appears in certainly implies that he knows how ridiculous people view him.

Henrik
Guest

And if you read The Man Who Heard Voices, it's clear that Shyamalan towards the end knew that Lady would not become the E.T.-style phenomenon he had hoped it could turn into. He was well aware of its problems, and how a mainstream audience probably would have problems getting on board with it.

Nat Almirall
Guest

Thanks for the thoughtful response! And I agree with Damon's stellar performance in The Informant, but I just don't see him as a prop in SPR. It may just be a matter of tastes/personal preferences, but, like I said, the entire movie builds up his character, and when he finally appears, I think the way Spielberg presents it and Damon pull it off by not making it dramatic.

But I do disagree with the assertion that the screenplay's ho-hum, and that's why I encourage you to read Alcott's analysis in the link (if I can't convince you to rewatch the film). For structure alone, it's pretty stunning. You don't have to agree with everything he says (and the guy knows what he's talking about, being an actual [i.e. paid] screenwriter), but you will come away with an appreciation of its complexity and (not to sound like a pretentious film student [too late]) thematic richness–even if you don't like the actual film.

And '98 also gave us Dark City, Elizabeth (I have a thing for England and flailing corsetted boobies), and, of course, Babe: Pig in the City

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

I'll come down on the side of loving Vicky Cristina Barcelona, too. I thought it was mostly a return to form for Allen, and the balance of different types of neuroticism in the Vicky and Cristina characters was intriguing and well-played by both Johansson and Hall. Though Hall ultimately stole the film, I think, Penelope Cruz notwithstanding. I did wish Patricia Clarkson had been given a bit more to do. The narration was grating at first, but I think it grew into itself as the film went along, and I enjoyed the dry humor of it by the end. It's not a perfect film by any means, or even a great one, but it's a solid Woody entry that comes off a ton better than most Woody films since the early '90s. Honestly, I liked it better than Match Point, which is good, but I think suffers from histrionics a time or two. Also, 1UP Marc on The Prestige; Hall was fantastic in that.

On Rosemarie DeWitt, she was also in Season 1 of Mad Men and the lead on that short-lived hostage negotiator show…what was that called…Stand-Off? Something like that. Opposite Ron Livingston.

M – Great film. I haven't seen it for a while, maybe this blu-ray release is my cue to revisit it. It is 1931, as Andrew said; one thing of note about it is it's one of the first films to really use sound design to tell its story. At the time sound was mostly used for dialogue or musical performances, but no one was really thinking yet how to integrate it into the story beyond that, but M used that strain of music and other sound elements very effectively to create character, drive the plot, and telegraph information to the audience.

I'll also unabashedly admit my love for Shakespeare in Love, since it's come under offhanded bashing in the comments. 😉 I saw that three times in the theatre, and refuse to change my opinion of it. It's still one of my favorites.

Marc Saint-Cyr
Editor

Agreed Jandy – M is one hell of a film. I proudly own the re-issue of the standard disc, and thanks to this Cinecast, I may also revisit it soon. And its use of music is indeed amazing – because of it, I'll never hear The Hall of the Mountain King the same way again.

Darcy S. McCallum
Guest

hey guysust i just accessed netflixs watch instantly from europe for free on trial and straight away watched 4 films why netflix tried to stop me, i might be able to get back in tonight, they did discover me but was into my third film, i watched:

Postal (watchable Uwe Boll, my first, enjoyable but flat 4/10)

Star 80 (basically Fosse's Lenny but with a porn star, 6.5/10)

Mammoth (quality Bernal, Lukas' best, depressing, 8/10)

Treeless Mountain (a lesser Korean film, very pondering, 5/10)

will try and watch Shanks the Clown, Heartbeat Decector tomorrow, seeing Allen's new film first thing 10:00am

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

I liked Treeless mountain a bit more than you. I am wondering if seeing those two little girls on a HUGE screen made a difference or not. It's not quite at the devastating level of Kore-Eda's Nobody Knows, but it is still a very fine bit of filmmaking.

Bob Turnbull
Admin

Few things are as devastating as Nobody Knows…I quite liked Treeless Mountain as well, though I saw it on DVD at home so the gargantuan Korean girl factor didn't come into play…B-) Even better though was So Yong Kim's previous film In Between Days which was kinda devastating in its own right from the perspective of one young teenage girl.

I enjoyed VCB a great deal more than Allen's 2 previous films at that point. Cruz and Bardem were great and Hall was very good playing an annoying character. ScarJo was about as good as ScarJo gets these days, but my goodness she was gorgeous in that film…Yeah, sorry, I know that's lame…

And Patricia Clarkson should ALWAYS be given more to do.

I always forget that M is from 1931…It just feels so much ahead of everything else from that time.

And props to Matt for mentioning Daria…

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Check out Lucky McKee's THE WOODS and Thomas McCarthy's fabulous THE STATION AGENT. They give Ms. Clarkson plenty to do. Also, David Gordon Green's ALL THE REAL GIRLS, she is in there just right.

I do recall that she was criminally wasted in VCB.

High Hopes that she has lots of screen time in EASY A!

Marc Saint-Cyr
Editor

I myself was most impressed by Patricia Clarkson in Dogville. She certainly makes her presence known amongst that ensemble cast.

Along this topic, I'm kinda curious about how she does in Cairo Time.

Kurt
Guest

With Dr. Bashir from Star Trek? I'm a bit leery of traveling Canadian dramas (see also the Painted Veil). I skipped Cairo Time at both TIFF and during its fairly wide Canadian release.

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

I liked Clarkson in Good Night and Good Luck, too. I remember being far more interested in the Clarkson/RDJ part of that movie than the actual main storyline. But then, I've never seen a movie where I didn't like Clarkson. She's one of the people whose movies I will go see purely on the basis that she's in them.

Didn't Marina see and like Cairo Time?

Kurt
Guest

Yea, well, Marina is a fan of A.I. so her taste is compromised

😛

/kidding.

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

Well, I can't fully condone being a fan of A.I., but we all have our skeletons. Remember, I own Resident Evil on blu-ray. 😉

Darcy S McCallum
Guest

isn't A.I a great conversation starter and ender, anyway if anybody can tell me of rare films on netflix watch instantly, tell me and don't watch James Wetsby's The Film Geek, i just did instantly its pants, next Shanks the Clown, saw Allen's new film, not as good as Whatever Works for me but i really liked that film and really like this one, his made three good films in a row for the first time since his 1996-1999 run.

Kurt
Guest

Yea, A.I. is certainly one of the more interesting failures, worthy of mucho conversation, see The Movie Club Podcast Episode for that, unfortunately, Marina couldn't make that one, but there is still a lot of ground covered there.

David Brook
Guest

Oh my god, your podcast made me miss my flight to Cannes!!!!!! I was sat in the queue at the gate waiting to get on the plane and whacked on my iPod to start on the latest Cinecast. I subsequently didn't hear the announcement that my queue was for 2 flights in one gate, meaning I just sat in the queue till mine had gone!!

The next flight I could get was Wednesday, so expect even less coverage of Cannes than expected. Plus the apartment has no WiFi after all so I might struggle to get much put up through the week.

Fuck!!!

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

This was not the intent of the podcast. It is supposed to encourage forwarding your love of cinema! Doh! Bad Luck.

But a few days in Cannes is better than no days in Cannes. I hope you catch a lot of stuff in your remaining time there, David!

murph
Guest

david, that sucks… 🙁

David Brook
Guest

Cheers guys. At least I'll still be there for Sunday when they replay all the 'in competition' films.

Great podcast by the way 🙂

Darcy S McCallum
Guest

you can see far more films at TIFF or MIFF, unless you have media accreditation which i don't have, i'm seeing only my 26th film tonight on Day 8, skipping Oliver Assayas' 312min Carlos for Cristi Piui's Aurora and Tamara Drewe by Stephen Frears.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Is the Assayas film actually an entire TV miniseries? Which explains the massive run-time.

I remember when TIFF screened the full Spike Lee Katrina mini, When The Levees Broke.

David Brook
Guest

Yeah you can't do much without accreditation, but I've got a shiny pass waiting for me! I have a short in the short film corner so I get a pretty decent level of entry – not quite as good as the producer/distributor ones though, I have to queue and hope for the best at marketplace screenings. How did you watch 26 without accreditation? What sort of pass do you have, Cinephiles? A friend of mine went in '08 on a Cinephiles pass and barely got to see anything.

Darcy S McCallum
Guest

well i've only seen 3 films in for Palme d'or with my cinephile international pass, you can seem films for free at the directors fortnight, remember to get on the Croisette every morning at 10am cause french cinephiles all sleep-in, helps if you have a mate from the Cote d'Azor region.

trackback

[…] just having the two of us sit and bicker with each other. For those of you who are devotees of the Row Three Cinecast, be advised this is the same episode we posted just last week on Row Three. And for those of you […]

Matt Gamble
Guest
Marina Antunes
Admin

I saw that earlier. One word: WHY?

Kurt
Guest

Why, I'll tell you why: "This cat toy is 100% medically accurate! "

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