Cinecast Episode 179 – CGI Blood

 
Gamble returns to bestow much love on Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (SPOILERS!) and naysay anyone else in the process. The discussion gets more confusing as you go along, brevity (or coherence) is not our strong suit, Andrew was significantly disappointed by the film and Kurt does what he can to remain aloof of the whole ‘fan-culture’ thing. The conversation eventually segues into video game experience (and that is a first on this show). Also on the docket, Sly Stallone’s retro-action picture The Expendables (SPOILERS!). There is a little Roman Polanski talk and Martha’s Vineyard Green-Screening in The Ghost Writer, a revisit of Vicky Christina Barcelona as well as mucho love for Sam Rockwell in Safe Men and Matchstick Men. To complete the ‘man quadrilogy’ there is also mention of Michael Douglas’ A Solitary Man and Jeff Daniels/Ryan Reynolds comedy Paper Man.

As always, please join the conversation by leaving 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_179.mp3

ALTERNATIVE (no music track):
http://rowthree.com/audio/cinecast_10/episode_179-alt.mp3

 
 
 
Full show notes are under the seats…


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IN-HOUSE BUSINESS:
Background music alt track
UPDATE: DVD Giveaway winner was contacted and is getting his DVD this week. Congrats dude.


MAIN REVIEWS:
The Expendables (Andrew’s review)
Scott Pilgrim (R3view)


WHAT ELSE WE WATCHED:
A Solitary Man
Paper Man
Matchstick Men
Safe Men
Step-Up 3D
The Ghost Writer
Vicky Christina Barcelona


DVD PICK #1:
        Andrew:
The Good, The Bad and the Weird
(Marina’s review)

       

Kurt:
The Good, The Bad and the Weird
(Marina’s review)

       

Matt:
The Good, The Bad and the Weird
(Marina’s review)

DVD PICK #2:
        Andrew:
Red Riding Trilogy
(Andrew’s review)

        Kurt:
The Good, The Bad and the Weird
(Marina’s review)

        Matt:
The Good, The Bad and the Weird
(Marina’s review)


OTHER DVDs NOW AVAILABLE:
Black Orpheus (Criterion) [Blu-ray] “Dexter” (s4)
DOA: Dead or Alive [Blu-ray] Furry Vengeance


OTHER STUFF MENTIONED:
Red Dead Redemption
I Spit on Your Grave remake
Dexter
The Other Guys
Steve Coogan
The Break Up


NEXT WEEK:
Get Low
Centurion


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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Jandy Stone
Guest

So, uh. You guys like The Good, the Bad, the Weird, huh? 🙂 I heard about it on like EVERY podcast the week after it left LA. Not sure whether to blame LA being early on the release circuit or me being behind on podcast listening. Anyway, it's top of my Netflix queue, but I graciously put Greenberg ahead of it for rot's sake. Next disc, though. Crazy Korean goodness. Ooh, actually I also have Memories of Murder out right now, too. I could have, like, a Korean mini-marathon.

Antho42
Guest

A Cinecast without Matt Gamble is like making fried eggs without the eggs.

Antho42
Guest

"I could have, like, a Korean mini-marathon."
Have fun.

By the way, looks like your becoming a Californian (using "like").

Jandy Stone
Guest

I've always used "like" too much, even before I moved to LA. 🙂 It might be getting worse. When I use it in writing, it's always intentionally, though.

Jay C.
Guest

Gamble: I can guarantee you that I half chuckled ONCE in Scott Pilgrim and the rest of the film was spent in silence. You agree that the film is first and foremost a comedy and the fact that I didn't find it funny is the main reason I disliked the film.

Regarding Matt and Kurt's discussion on whether or not the film is a dream….I totally agree with Matt. I don't think it is.

I can totally understand why many people like Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. I just didn't. It wasn't funny, the story did nothing for me and the action was just not for me. When the references aren't over my head I just thought they were either too obvious or uninteresting.

For much of the review Matt counters Andrew's complaints by talking about how many references the film contains and how many he gets that Andrew doesn't. This seems to be a pretty common thing. I guess people really like the idea of having a film that speaks to them on that sort of level. To me inside references should be sprinkled throughout a film as an accent. Take away the references in Inglourious Basterds and you've still got a great film. Take away the references in Scott Pilgrim and I have no idea what you've got. You've got nothing. The film is designed as a vehicle for the references. That's fine if people like this as some sort of experiment but it just doesn't interest me.

Kurt says busy doesn't equal bad. I say busy doesn't automatically equal good either. It certainly didn't for me.

Again, the biggest problem with the movie is it is in my opinion, NOT funny.

For the record, I have always said I think the word 'pander' is almost meaningless when it comes to films. If there were ever a reason to use it, I think Scott Pilgrim is the one. The references in this film are akin to all of the people getting off on the buried references in the Pixar films. Blah.

Jay C.
Guest

And I still love Edgar Wright. No hate towards him here. I just think the source material is simply not my bag.

Matt Gamble
Guest

I can guarantee you that I half chuckled ONCE in Scott Pilgrim and the rest of the film was spent in silence.

Perhaps if your maw wasn't stuffed with poutine ….

Jay C.
Guest

It has to be done.

Antho42
Guest

In todays Cinecast ( the Scott Pilgrim' segment), I feel sorry for Matt Gamble: dealing with Kurt's and Andrew's lunacy (Andrew argued like a child, while Kurt was in limbo).

Antho42
Guest

I agree with Kurt on modern video games.

Jandy Stone
Guest

Andrew, you're just getting jaded. 🙂 Edgar Wright's career is putting together existing things in ways that feel fresh. Most of the negative reviews I've seen are from people who do like his other stuff, but I'm just not sure how this is that much different than what he does in his other films and TV series in taking existing genres and tropes and mashes them all together. It's like a longer, more elaborate, more detailed version of the scene in Spaced where Tim and Daisy take out a bunch of thugs with finger guns. Now, maybe it's not fresh because he's stealing from himself, but really, his genius is riffing off existing stuff. Why would this be any different?

I definitely got a Speed Racer vibe off it, too, but whereas I think Speed Racer is an amazing and overwhelming experience due to its visual design and non-stop speed despite an overly juvenile script (both in writing and execution by the actors), I felt like Scott Pilgrim was more consistent throughout – obviously it's still high-school-esque, but in a less earnest, more tongue-in-cheek kind of way. And I enjoyed Zoolander, but again, I didn't give a damn about any of the characters and I liked the characters in Scott Pilgrim. Obviously there's not universal agreement about that, but I found them relatable in spite of the exaggerated nature of the film in a way that Zoolander's characters aren't even trying to be.

Do you mean references to specific video games? I got the sense more that it WAS a video game rather than referencing specific ones…but I'm not enough of a retro gamer to catch all the references, I'm sure. But it's structured and plays out like a video game, whether the references are specific or not. (Some are, like I think one of the weapons is from Soul Calibur, right? Someone who's actually played Soul Calibur can correct me.)

Jandy Stone
Guest

BTW, I'm not saying Scott Pilgrim is as good as Shaun or Hot Fuzz or Spaced – I'll need more time and rewatches of all to decide that. But I enjoyed the initial first viewing experience just as much. Part of that is that I'm more in tune with the video game/music style and setting than with either zombie movies or buddy cop movies, neither of which are genres I really care for that much, and at least in the case of Shaun of the Dead, that was the film that first opened me up to even watching other zombie movies. And it took me two viewings of Shaun to get over my inherent distaste for zombies in general. I'm still not a fan of buddy cop movies, except for Hot Fuzz. So there's probably an element of source material affinity here as well – as Jay said, it's not his thing, and it is my thing, so a lot of our very different reactions may be simply that.

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

Spaced is all on hulu, you should give it a watch.

Every comment I've started has ended up apologizing for the film as a guilty pleasure almost, and I'm not willing to do that – partially because I've decided I don't like the whole "guilty pleasure" designation (why feel guilty for something pleasurable), but also because I really do feel it's better than that. But I will say that I do tend to value style a lot, and if something's highly stylized in a way that makes me happy, a lack of substance isn't really an issue to me. I think Scott Pilgrim has more substance than saying that suggests, though – I'm just not really able after only one viewing to articulate much more than "that was awesome." It may be I'll never relate to the film on any level other than whiz-bang surface enjoyment, and I'm okay with that – but I did definitely enjoy it on that level, whereas you and Matt (Brown) and Jay obviously did not. And that's fine. I'll take my enjoyment and run with it.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

We compare, because we care!

I like to make comparisons because I do believe in pop-culture, one thing echoes another, and it give (hopefully) anyone reading the review a sense of how I saw in those type of echoes. Plus it is how my brain works when watching movies. The product of seeing far too many movies!

Jandy
Guest

See, and I think Scott Pilgrim tries to be everything and DOES work. We'll probably not agree on this.

And regarding comparisons, I go back and forth on this. I do think a film ought to be able to stand on its own, but I also really enjoy the process of finding connections and echos to other films. It's like an added bonus. And some films, like all of Wright's works, Tarantino, Godard, etc., almost DEMAND it. It's part of their aesthetic.

Matt Gamble
Guest

– Anime style running and stylizations – including some of the music (Final Fantasy – which, sorry Gamble, is based on Japanese literary and anime)

Uhhh, those games are taking it from Manga and anime, which was my point. You can't say its a Final Fantasy reference when it is clearly something that had been used years earlier and from a different medium. This is like how Kurt falsely claimed the Iron Man movie was ripping off Robocop.

I’m glad someone can recognize that this is “high school-esque” – and so very obviously so.

And once again, you're claiming this is a high school comedy, directly calling it Nick and Norah's Playlist, when the film is clearly mocking those kinds of films and that concept of youth. It is a satirical film afterall. Its an incorrect assertion and repeating it over and over isn't going to make it true.

As for video game references you're missing:

Gideon had a health meter and occassionally the others did as well.

Each chapter of the story was told as levels in a game.

Level ups

Character classes/powers

Boss fights (ala Mega Man, the game I think the film is drawing from the most)

Warp zones

Points for defeating enemies as well as overcoming obstacles (these show up throughout the entire film)

Restarting game after death and advancing through level

Continuing game

And these are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. I'm sure there are plenty more.

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

"Boss fights (ala Mega Man, the game I think the film is drawing from the most)

– these were the repetitive Mortal Kombat fights throughout the film."

No, boss fights are not the same as Mortal Kombat fights. Mortal Kombat is all fighting, right? Boss fights come at the end of a level. Scott Pilgrim is like a lot of small level bosses (each ex), and then the big boss at the end, which he has to play twice. The coins are repeated every time because, guess what, THEY ARE IN GAMES. And every boss is worth more coins, which is why the first one is just a few pennies, and then the big boss shatters into a flood of coins. It's fully consistent with the video game structure. I mean, it's fine if you don't like it, but video games, especially from the 8-bit era, are repetitive (with each repetition bigger and more elaborate) exactly like this, so it would be inconsistent for Scott Pilgrim to be any different.

I should actually listen to this podcast at some point, huh? I think Gamble and I might actually agree for once ever. 🙂

Matt Gamble
Guest

kind of the same as the last thing and it only happens that one time during Gideon fight.

Nope, each character was introduced with their character class.

– right. the coins. which I thought cool… until the 5th or 6th time it happened

So now you want it to abandon the universe because you've seen it before. This is a Reed level argument.

– these were the repetitive Mortal Kombat fights throughout the film.

Except each fight increased in difficulty and was worth more points. That's a blatant reference to platform gaming, which predates Mortal Combat.

– I also didn’t really get this from the film, or it wasn’t very clear.

Their was a short line of dialogue for why she was passing through Scott's brain and for why they could travel through doors.

– right. the coins. which I thought cool… until the 5th or 6th time it happened.

This is a Reed level argument. You complain about not enough video game references, then complain that the reference is consistently maintained. Is the game just supposed to stop distributing points and rewards?

– this doesn’t happen.

Sure it does. Its the final shot of the film, thus reiterating that the entire movie was a video game.

– Ok, I guess I see what you mean by each chapter. i.e. each boyfriend is sort of another level. I don’t think the story is divided into levels though.

Before meeting each Evil Ex their is a title card that states it is Level 1-7 and states the place the level occurs.

Matt Gamble
Guest

So now it’s not a video game movie? I’m confused. But either way, one can certainly reference something that is drawn from something else. Everything is an evolution. Now you’re reaching just to prove you’re a nerd.

No, you're incorrectly referencing where that look and style comes from. It comes from Manga, not Final Fantasy. This is very important as the comic is designed to be much like a Manga book and Wright does an excellent job of using it in the film.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

I can't believe this conversation is still going. Suffice it to say that the world of Scott Pilgrim is a video-game fever-dream with all the requisite styles that contribute to both old style video games and the mange influenced novel? It's both, and both are connected in so many ways. And the movie is a fantasy-game of Scott's life.

Antho42
Guest

fever dream

You, seriously, need to re-watch the film to see that your "it is all a dream" thesis is completely wrong. Better yet, just read the film's/book's detailed, plot summary from Wikipedia.

Antho42
Guest

From Wikipedia:

One night, Scott begins dreaming about a girl on rollerblades that he has never met before. He later glimpses her in real life delivering a package to the library. Her repeated presence in his dreams, and a coincidental meeting at a party thrown by Stephen's on-off girlfriend Julie Powers, prompts him to become obsessed with finding out more about her. He discovers that she is Ramona Flowers, a girl who works for Amazon.ca and has recently come to Toronto from New York after a rumored messy break-up with someone named Gideon.

Scott orders CDs on Amazon as a pretext to meet her again, and receives an email from an unknown party (later revealed to be Matthew Patel) challenging him to battle, but Scott pays it little heed and promptly deletes it. After another dream about Ramona, in which she is carrying his package, Scott wakes to find her at his door. [strong]She explains that she uses subspace portals as part of her job to cross long distances in seconds; one such route passes through Scott's brain, hence his dreams.[strong]

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

I dunno Antho42, that wikipedia quote seems to lend more credence to my musings than smacking them out of existence…

Count the number of times 'dream' is used in that paragraph! heh.

Yea, I totally missed out on the 'mario pipes' aspect of Ramona though. That is pretty neato, but also adds the whole 'she is constantly in his dreams' and doesn't do a whole heckuvalot in real life other than his fantasy.

Rusty James
Guest

It's just terrible, pointless interpretation, Kurt, and it adds nothing to story.

A movie about a guy who tries to get his shit together because he meets a girl he gives he cares about is narratively much more fullfiling and interesting than a movie about a guy having an hallucination about how he wants to get his shit together.

And I especially take umbrage at your idea that we need to invent some literal explaination behind the film's crazy video game universe.

Goon
Guest

better quality Break-Up alternate ending video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88dC0EtkC7c&fe

Mike
Guest

Andrew VS. Matt! FIGHT!

The podcast background music should have been the Legend of Zelda soundtrack. 🙂

By the way, Scott Pilgrim is this year's Tank Girl. (use of comic book frames; animation references and tropes; mixing of styles, influences and genres; jarring, time-shifting edits; boss battles; hipster universe populated with assholes who have no chemistry…)

And for the record, I love the Tank Girl movie.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Also a fan of Tank Girl. Great soundtrack for that film too!

Craig Isberg
Guest

exceptional nerd rage!!!!!

Matt Gamble
Guest

By the way, Scott Pilgrim is this year’s Tank Girl.

God dammit this reference is so good it should have been mine!

KeithTalent
Guest

I know I'm late to the party, but the Row Three podcasts are so damn long, it takes me a while to catch up.

I would have liked this film quite a bit more if they had removed the fights entirely. The fights brought the film to a screeching halt and by the third one we actually exclaimed in unison: "oh god, here we go again" and I was checking my watch by about an hour in. The whole "Vegan Force" or whatever it was called was one of the most excruciatingly bad sequences I have seen in a film all year (that entire scene with the vegan boyfriend was painfully bad).

I was very much on board for the first 20 minutes, but it was all down hill from there. Maybe remove a fight or two so we can actually see some sort of relationship between Scott and Rmaona? I did not even believe them as a couple for one second.

So yeah, I guess I agree with Andrew.

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