Cinecast Episode 194 – An Island of Loneliness

 
 
After several weeks of ‘shooting the shit’ and not bothering with the current film releases, we attempt to make up for lost time, and even (mother mercy!) get ahead of the game. This episode is loaded down with SPOILER-style reviews of two films in limited release (there is your fair warning) and one that many are looking forward to this Christmas. But fear not dear listeners, Black Swan is getting wider by the week and Finnish oddity Rare Exports, a delightfully deadpan anti-Christmas kids flick is probably coming to a theatre near you any moment now, hopefully VOD or other distribution channels will follow. The last is the Coen Brothers latest, a re-envisioning of the Charles Portis novel that is similar enough to the 1960s John Wayne movie in story and plot that spoilers are more or less moot. The boys pour on the love of classic westerns as well as experimental looks in the genre from Cat Ballou to Deadwood. And being that years end is just around the corner, it is time for lists once again. All three of us present our TOP FIVE female performances as an appetizer for our ten picks of the year. Some great DVD choices this week lead into a rousing “discussion” (and by discussion, we mean an epic They Live styled “PUT THE GLASSES ON” smackdown with Gamble doing his best Roddy Piper and Andrew assuming the stoic Keith David position) of how ‘interesting’ Michel Gondry’s Green Hornet is for what it is. It is worth staying to the end for that one, even if Kurt throws up his hands in exasperation of the whole argument. Oh, and just to mix things up a little we talk some Terrence Malick and the recently web-release Tree of Life Trailer.

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_194.mp3

ALTERNATIVE (no music track):
http://rowthree.com/audio/cinecast_10/episode_194-alt.mp3

 
 
Full show notes are under the seats…



  show content



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IN-HOUSE BUSINESS:
Background Music (also now available as separate download in iTunes)
Tree of Life trailer


MAIN REVIEWS:
Black Swan (Kurt’s review)


OTHER REVIEWS:
Rare Exports (Andrew’s review)
True Grit (Andrew’s review)


WHAT ELSE WE WATCHED:

Kurt:
2001: A Space Odyssey (IMDb) | Netflix
Wild at Heart (IMDb) | Netflix

Matt:
Warrior’s Way (IMDb) | Netflix
Meet the Feebles (IMDb) | Netflix

Andrew:
Man on Wire (IMDb) | Netflix
The Thin Red Line (IMDb) | Netflix
Anonyma (IMDb) | Netflix
Uncertainty (IMDb) | Netflix
Dragon Hunters (IMDb) | Netflix


TOP FIVE FEMALE PERFORMANCES OF 2010:

Andrew:
5) Patricia Clarkson (Shutter Island)
4) Julianne Moore (The Kids Are All Right)
3) Carey Mulligan (Never Let Me Go)
2) ???
1) ???

Kurt:
5) Ruby O. Fee (Womb)
4) Emma Stone (Easy A)
3) Greta Gerwig (Greenberg)
2) ???
1) ???

Matt:
5) Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass)
4) Ashley Bell (The Last Exorcism)
3) Emma Stone (Easy A)
2) ???
1) ???

DVD PICK #1:
        ANDREW:

The A-Team
(IMDb)
(Netflix)

        KURT:

The Quintessential Guy Maddin!
(IMDb)
(Netflix)

        MATT:

Exit Through the Gift Shop
(Andrew’s review)
(Netflix)

DVD PICK #2:
        ANDREW:

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
(IMDb)
(Netflix)

        KURT:

Hard Boiled
(IMDb)
(Netflix)

        MATT:

Legend of the Guardians
(IMDb)
(Netflix)


OTHER DVDs NOW AVAILABLE:
The Other Guys
Micmacs
Cyrus
Nanny McPhee Returns
Despicable Me
Gasland
The Trotsky
Disengagement

Vampire Circus [Blu-ray] True Grit (1969) [Blu-ray] Harsh Times [Blu-ray]


OTHER STUFF MENTIONED:

Tree of Life trailer


Rare Exports shorts:
#1

#2


Kurt’s kids interviewed after watching the swanky newly struck 70mm print of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey


Conversation with Douglas Trumbull


Green Hornet trailer:


NEXT WEEK:
TRON: Legacy
I Love You Phillip Morris
The Tempest
Green Hornet


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

 

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Antho42
Guest

Yeah, I cannot wait till the superhero fad dies out. The genre just doesn't work in live action form. Most of them are action films that simply contain superheros and, for the most part, they aren't imaginative or groundbreaking action films. At best, they're simply average. The only exception are Nolan's film — but these movies are at their weakest when Bruce Wayne puts on the bat suit.

Matt Gamble– There's a difference between superhero and nonsuperheroe comic book films. So far — without a doubt — comic have a good record. The most interesting comic books films are the ones that aren't from the superhero genre, such as Battle Royal, Oldboy, Ghost in The Shell, Akira, Nausicaa, A History of Violence, Scott Pilgrim, Men in Black(maybe due to nostalgia), and etc.

Having said that, I'm really looking forward to the Green Hornet. At least it has the potential to go beyond the genre, dull tropes.

PS- Super films should get rid of the playout origin story structure.

Antho42
Guest

I might be the only person in the world — although I'm still a noob when it comes to Kubrick's filmography — that has Eyes Wide Shut as their favorite Kubrick film. There's something very sinister about a cult that has orgies while wearing Venetian masks.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Rare Exports in Toronto Dec 16-30 @ The Royal (608 College St.)

SCREENING TIMES:

Friday December 17 @ 9:30pm

Saturday December 18 @ 7pm and 9pm

Sunday December 19 @ 7pm and 9pm

Monday December 20 @ 7pm and 9pm

Tuesday December 21 @ 9pm

Wednesday December 22 @ 9pm

Thursday December 23 @ 9pm

Friday December 24 – closed

Saturday December 25 -closed

Sunday December 26 @ 9:15pm

Monday December 27 @ 9pm

Tuesday December 28 @ 7pm

Wednesday December 29 @ 7pm

Thursday December 30 @ 7pm

This Movie Looks FANTASTIC on the big screen.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Didn't get to talk about it on the show (although we've talked many times in the archives about EWS) – but I re-watched Eyes Wide Shut on MOnday of this week. I'm a big lover of this film, now, I've had a troubled history, but now I'm ready to call it a masterpiece. The use of colour in this film is insanely good (the reds, blues and 'off-white stings of light').

I also dig that the last line of dialogue in Stanley Kubrick's filmography is simply "Fuck."

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

2001: A Space Odyssey REDUX? With 10-15 new minutes? Hmmm…. http://geektyrant.com/news/2010/12/16/17-lost-min

Marc Saint-Cyr
Editor

That's funny – I just re-watched Eyes Wide Shut last night after 2 or 3 years. It's fantastic – one great dream film. It and Mulholland Drive would make a hell of a double bill.

And it's a great Christmas movie too!

Darcy McCallum
Guest

at my local IMAX for Tron, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7OWmrYC6pA&fe

Tron Legacy 3D midnight screening update – The IMAX bar will be open, funky tunes from the Tron Daft Punk soundtrack playing from around 10pm, Tron 80's video game trivia from 11pm, Frisbee competitions and lots of prizes to be won! Don't forget to check out the EXTREME 3D PROJECTION on the IMAX plaza from 9-11pm starting tonight. Have fun and see you on the grid!

LISTENING NOW TO THREE HOURS OF SHOW.

Darcy McCallum
Guest

Gondry wanted to do Green Hornet in 1995, lets hope its more his film than a Rogen/Goldberg scripted action'comedy. TRAILER LOOKS CHESS BUT GOOOOOD…

Darcy McCallum
Guest

Comedy nods r all comedies or musicals, I know that will win The Kids Are Alright, great sex comedy, best US comedy of the year, Red is self-knowing old-people unfunnyness, Alice in Wonderland is well acted but visually unassured, don't wanna see Burlesque, will see The Tourist on Dec, I doubt its a comedy, Jolie funny? Depp has a beard which means he's in reserved mode , but hey, he has too nods, WHERE IS RUFFALO?

rot
Guest

Regarding Black Swan's wrought characterization… would you apply the same criticism to The Red Shoes? You have a ballet instructor that is ONLY interested in the art, a ballet dancer that lives to dance… there is no secret that Black Swan is homaging The Red Shoes… is this reliance on archetypes okay in one film but not the other?

Not every film requires sophisticated characterization… hell in ballet or opera you have just the opposite, you have a reduction to abstract beauty and the sublime. Its not a flaw that Aronofsky is using characters as brushstrokes in this film, that the intensity of feeling is not attached to three dimensional characters, its intentionally more of a Wagner experience, a playing with mood not individuals. And the same goes for The Fountain, there too characters are not perfectly realized, they are abstractions within a very clearly poetic framework to evoke the essence of love and longing and grief. They are high drama, not dissimilar from what Douglas Sirk is praised for doing. Should I criticize Rock Hudson's character in All That Heaven Allows for being a shell of a person, not fully realized?

The point is not whether Winona Ryder's character is developed to the point of nuance… the point is does the sum narrative threads as packaged as they are convey a sense of disorienting madness building towards an emotional punch… Black Swan, like opera, like ballet, is meant to be something felt and not necessarily in service of intellectual conceits.

The characters are means to an end, not ends in themselves.

rot
Guest

essentially, my issue with Gamble and Kurt's criticisms of Black Swan, as well as Goon's criticism of Malick films comes down to what I see as a complete lack of appreciation for cipher-storytelling. It is immediately a fault if a character is not "fully realized" irrespective of context, as if there is no other way a film can succeed but through the virtue of characterization, and in particular ONE MODE of achieving characterization.

I disagree with Kurt on The Fountain, the characters are never fully realized, the scenes they have are cliche, are obvious, are the stuff of high drama, but that never bothered me because they existed within a context where everything was playing operatic… its not THOSE characters in particular you care about, you care (if you do at all) about the idea of loving that deeply, about your own feelings of that depth, and the real or plausible grief you would feel in that situation.

Goon may dislike this word, but fuck it… it's poetry. If you don't understand poetry, outside of it, it seems pretentious, inside, it feels like art. It is not a justification, it is a declaration… something is felt here. In the Fountain, Aronofsky was evoking the poetic of love… in Black Swan he is evoking the poetic of tragedy. The final scene isn't just a final scene, it is the culmination of everything that came before it… you feel it only because you have experienced the ballet dancer's life up until then.

rot
Guest

the character shifts in Barbara Hersey's character did not feel like a directorial flaw, there is a very clear myopic viewpoint in the film, we are seeing aspects of Hersey's character, we never see a scene of her outside of Portman's character, it's not the job of this film to tie up loose ends and make us 'understand' her fully. Think of what it is like if you are really physically sick, and every so often you have encounters with your caregiver, and they come in, and they act a certain way one day, and the next day they act a different way, but you are so self-involved with what is bothering you immediately that you don't preoccupy yourself with the ins and outs of those around you. That is how I see Black Swan operating… it is a myopic cinematic experience… and a brave one at that, because it is not interested in doing the legwork to appeal to purists of fleshing out side characters motivations and even exactly defining where the hallucinations begin and end… if you have no bearing, the effect of the final is the all the more powerful. If you have a scene of Barbara Hersey's character talking to her friend explaining her point of view that undermines the significance of what happens in the end, you are always supposed to be unsure.

rot
Guest

I am trying to help you, Andrew, on your island of loneliness 🙂

rot
Guest

do you see any characters in Black Swan talking without the myopic perspective of Portman's character involved? Is that, too, a directorial flaw, or intentional?

Take for example the scene in the lobby with Portman, Cassel, and Ryder… you see Ryder and Portman clash, than Cassel takes Ryder aside and they talk in private… do you get a chance to hear what they talk about, out of earshot of Portman? No. Is that a fault of Aronofsky's, a misstep where he could have fleshed out Ryder's character? No. Ryder's character is an idea, a projection of the future, of what this career path could end up like, it is not about THAT PARTICULAR character.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Can I say that this was all done better in LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. Think about it. Hakan is Winona Ryder, Oscar is Nina/Portman, Cassel is Eli.

All the characterizations are fully fleshed out in LtROI.

Discuss.

Mike Rot
Member

and I am saying it was never Aronofsky's point to compete that way, so may as well compare Let the Right One In to My Fair Lady… or compare Charade to The Bourne Identity.

Kurt
Guest

Fair enough. I understand where you are coming from (I've not seen The Red Shoes, or any P&P films for that matter- yes, I know, shame on me!)

Expectations for me were set by his previous filmography, even The Wrestler, which had real live people in them, or conversely went to crazy extremes. This 'middle-ground' headspace, or as you say, intent with this particular film, may take time for me to adjust to. Certainly my gut reaction was not as favourable as it has been with his previous work. Thus my reaction to it. Of course I still like the film. In time I may come to love it. Just not today. I do appreciate the perpspective on this though, Rot. You've opened my eyes a bit!

Mike Rot
Member

If it was truly about fully realizing characters and Aronofsky failed at that attempt, then I like I said, point to a single scene where Nina is not directly involved? Is that a coincidence?

If you accept it was intentional that we are catching glimpses of characters through Nina's myopic perspective, than you ought to be able to let go of the criticism of lack of characterization in the film, or at the very least acknowledge your hang-ups on that point are your own and not the fault of Aronofsky and what he was trying to do.

The filmic perspective in The Black Swan is NOT a reliable, nor thorough, storyteller ON PURPOSE.

If Nina's singular drive myopia is the perspective of the film, should we expect thorough 'understanding' of characters from such a perspective? Wouldn't THAT be a flaw?

Mike Rot
Member

Not a fan of The Red Shoes, poorly developed characters 🙂

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

OMG, I 100% agree with Mike about something. Wow. I think I get what Kurt wanted out of the film (I haven't listened to the podcast, but based on other comments), but I agree with Mike that it wasn't trying to be that. What it was trying to be, it achieved. Now I want to watch it again. Nicely put all around, Mike.

Except the part about The Red Shoes, that movie is awesome. :p

Matt Gamble
Guest

Antho, I’ve explained to Gable roughly 328 times that I like many comic book movies – just not super hero comic book movies.

Once again, Green Hornet isn't a comic book hero. It started as radio plays and expanded to some serials in newsprint, film serials and a television show. He's appeared in comics from time to time but so has Meatloaf. I mean, I guess we can call Fight Club a comic book superhero movie then.

Mike Rot
Member

To me Black Swan is a continuation of the first-person style of The Wrestler and the cipher-storytelling of The Fountain, with a little Requiem final scene crescendoing for good measure. Had I saw this film without any foreknowledge I would have guessed it was Aronofsky.

Mike Rot
Member

and the subway perv also would have been a big ass clue 🙂

Matt Gamble
Guest

The filmic perspective in The Black Swan is NOT a reliable, nor thorough, storyteller ON PURPOSE.

And I wouldn't disagree with that. My issue is that the broad strokes and false narrative he did paint were done clumsily and rather obviously, thus causing a stagnating experience. He made a finger painting, which I'd be impressed with if I didn't know he was capable of more, and if I didn't know that this is what he consistently falls back on when he struggles to convey true and real emotions and actually challenge the viewer rather than placate them. He's an emotional flim-flam man and I'm growing weary of his childish tricks. I want something with actual depth, and he's simply incapable of providing it because he's more concerned with the con.

Matt Gamble
Guest

I want directors to challenge themselves and to take on something different*

*Except Michel Gondry.

Mike Rot
Member

even if Aronofsky was an emotional flim-flam man in his storytelling, which I don't agree with, there is something to be said for how he manages to squeeze great performances out of his actors. Ellen Burstyn in Requiem, Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler, Natalie Portman in Black Swan… he seems to be an actor's director and is not like Kubrick was in his stifling attempts to render performance inert for the purpose of the visual. Maybe it is not owed to his direction, I don't understand how it works, but it keeps happening with his movies… whatever flaws you can find in them, Burstyn breaks your heart, Rourke breaks your heart, Portman really does become (and not just CGI) the Black Swan.

Matt Gamble
Guest

there is something to be said for how he manages to squeeze great performances out of his actors.

At the expense of everyone else's performances. And being that he uses actors that are already quite talented, I'd argue that he isn't squeezing shit. In fact, I'd argue the actors elevate his material rather than the other way around.

Mike Rot
Member

True Grit an earnest entry in the Coen Brothers' canon? I am suddenly very interested. The 'snark' is the stuff I prefer to due without.

Mike Rot
Member

I have not, going in fresh.

P.J McFly
Guest

Wondering where the other "alternate" track is if I don't like all the blabber over the music?

P.J McFly
Guest

Ah ha…in the show notes-cool!

rot
Guest

my top 5 female performances

1. Lesley Manville (Another Year)

2. Natalie Portman (Black Swan)

3. Greta Gerwig (Greenberg)

4. Tracy Wright (Trigger)

5. Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine)

I think the Best Actress category is going to be incredibly solid this year.

rot
Guest

Caught True Grit, and I am with Andrew, or actually even less ecstatic than he… I guess 3/5 being generous. Like most Coen films there are enough individual scenes that are interesting but like most Coen films they don’t amount to much and can get kind of exhausting. The actress is great, but Bridges did nothing for me with his mumbling, and yes absolutely Barry Pepper becomes Harry Dean Stanton, that is fucking eerie!

rot
Guest

I haven’t seen the original but I found myself on occasion willing John Wayne into a scene out of sheer boredom with what Bridges was doing in his stead. I think I zoned out about four times during True Grit, reminds me most of Miller’s Crossing in that respect.

Goon
Guest

True Grit rocks my christmas socks. Loved Bridges. I’m up in Edmonton and there were people in actual cowboy outfits in my audience 😛

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