Cinecast Episode 211 – Save it for the Spank Bank

 
 
Rather fast and casual this week folks; we sound like surly video store clerks! With Canadian Elections and Scotch vying for attention, it was hard to keep our thoughts about this weeks theatrical releases. An unnecessary heated debate ensues over the first two episodes of “Game of Thrones” after reviewing both Fast Five and Thor in quick succession. With HotDocs in full swing, Kurt gives an overview on what he has been watching on the big screen. This includes the festivals opening night films, an enthusiastic house for Beauty Day, midnight surreal lullaby of murder and madness, James Marsh’s debut documentary Wisconsin Death Trip, and what gets the conversation into heterosexually murky waters, Boy Cheerleaders. DVDs are still in the ho-hum stages of the year apparently, so we go to the standby Criterion release and the proto-grindhouse Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez vampire flick from the mid-nineties. Still, we keep things (relatively) civil this week and have fun with the varying directions the show takes us. Welcome to May.

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!


 
 

 


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To download the show directly, paste the following URL into your favorite downloader:
http://rowthree.com/audio/cinecast_11/episode_211.mp3

 
 
Full show notes are under the seats…



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MAIN REVIEWS:
Fast Five
Thor


HotDocs:
Beauty Day
POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
Fightville
Wisconsin Death Trip
Bobby Fischer Against The World
Superheroes
Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop
Boy Cheerleaders
The Edge of Russia


WHAT GAMBLE WATCHED:

Matt
Hesher
Hardcore
– “Pushing Daisies”


DVD PICKS:

Kurt
From Dusk til Dawn [Blu-ray] – Fat Girl Criterion [Blu-ray]

Andrew
From Dusk til Dawn [Blu-ray] – Fat Girl Criterion [Blu-ray]

Matt
– “Penn and Teller’s Bullshit” (s 1-8)


OTHER DVDs NOW AVAILABLE:
Green Hornet
The Dilemma


INSTANT WATCH NEW RELEASES/EXPIRING SOON:

Kurt
Clockers (exp. May 11)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (exp. May 15)

Andrew
Contact (new)
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (exp. May 6)

Matt
Gorky Park (new)
– “Jay C and the Wield Warriors” (exp May 3)


NEXT WEEK:
Stake Land
Meek’s Cutoff


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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Senor G
Guest

What’s with the audio?

Goon
Guest
Britney
Guest

Can someone name me a mainstream director today that they think shoots action well? It’s not just you guys but other people on podcasts and blogs have ragged on Bay, Nolan, and Scott brothers for while now. I have no idea what people are looking for.

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

Joe Wright shot action very well in Hanna, I thought.

Matt Gamble
Guest

Park Chan-wook
Bong Joon-ho
Kim Jee-woon

Really a ton of stuff out of South Korea is ridiculously well shot and uses a lot of varying styles. From sloppy and raw to glossy and eloquent. They also do a very good job of laying out the dimensions of the sequences and maintaining good spatial relationships so the viewer can tell what is going on onscreen even when it is chaotic.

American directors have really gotten away from that and rely too much on absolute chaos to form an action scene. Its why the shaky cam became so popular, because it allows the director to hide a ton of flaws in the choreography of the scene, and results in the scene being much faster and cheaper to shoot.

That’s not to say shaky cam can’t be used in a good action scene, its just very hard to do it and most directors simply don’t have the chops for it.

Antho42
Guest

Britney:
Matt Gamble’s picks
Johnie To
Alfonso Cuaron
Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
Michael Mann
Wilson Yip (Ip man)
Takashi Miike
Takashi Kitano
Quentin Tarantino

Matt Brown
Admin

By Asgard!! A fine review of THOR!

Goon
Guest

So… Thor.

I thought this film was garbage, and just a hairs breath better than Daredevil. It felt… unfinished.

The dialogue is horrible (resisted the Thorrible pun), everything looks plastic and Power Ranger-y, its tonally inconsistent, Thor doesn’t actually gradually earn his humanity or ever actually become likeable, in fact he’s kind of a douchebag throughout, just wandering through crappy fish out of water Crocodile Dundee type scenes with obvious sitcommy comedy beats, all telegraphed.

The action scenes are video gamey to start and Sky Captain-y by the end. Too many times the film is shot at these angles that reminded me of Batman and Robin or the Grinch. For an ‘epic’ tale the cinematography is just not there.

The only thing I can say positively is the acting was okay, and that clearly the could have done more with better writing.

1.5/5

Mason
Guest

I thought Christian Clemenson was more than 8 years older than Rainn Wilson, but there you have it. They do look vaguely similar, I guess. “Separate incidents.”
CC: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0166061/
RW: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0933988/

dan
Guest

Anyone else find the blatant product placement in Thor kind of offensive? This was the first time in a while where I found it so glaring and shoe-horned in. It was all Acuras in three-quarter profile and freaking Kashi Go-Lean crunch. Lame.

Ms Curious
Guest

The ‘blatant product placement’ in this film is beyond offensive. It actually shakes the audience back into the real world from time to time and ruins the film as a whole. One minute we’re in the heat of the action, the next it feels like ‘and don’t forget to buy…and sprinkle on top.’ Moreover, Thor doesn’t quite make it at any time as a hero, he seems bereft of any kind of real human emotion, who on earth could actually connect/relate to him? He is never portrayed as someone you’d actually like or per se want to have over for dinner.

Goon wrote: ‘Crocodile Dundee type scenes with obvious sitcommy comedy beats, all telegraphed’.

Frankly, I think ‘Crocoldile Dundee’ (and I could be biased being Australian), at least had some semblance of a plot, some kind of hero arc. ‘Thor’ on the other hand, leaves the notion of ‘hero’ kind of all over the show. Hero and entertainment score for ‘Thor’ a big fat ‘zero’.

Goon
Guest

“He is never portrayed as someone youโ€™d actually like or per se want to have over for dinner. ”

But of course Portman falls in love with him in 2 days and inspires the love and humanity in Thor strong enough to prevent a genocide. ๐Ÿ˜›

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

I must be totally oblivious to advertising – I rarely see product placement. Except computers. I usually notice what kind of computers/phones people are using, but it doesn’t bother me – they’ve got to use something, right? I did notice the Go-Lean cereal, but I didn’t know that was a real thing.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

I’m generally annoyed by product placement, it’s gotten particularly out of hand recently. Perhaps the only thing that I learned (but never confirmed) was that IRONMAN has the record for the most product tie-ins in a hollywood production. I find it pretty obvious when everyone in the film is driving the same type of car, or they linger a bit too much on a product with out some sort of sight gag or reason. I would have little issue with blockbusters dropping down from $200M+ production to $80M productions if they could not be beholden to their product-tie-ins. Marvel/Disney of course you just know is going to be one of the worse offenders.

David Brook
Guest

Yeah I didn’t notice any product placement and it’s usually something that really bothers me. Those products you mentioned mean nothing to me though, so that’s probably why.

I must say I enjoyed Thor though. It had it’s share of flaws and the ending felt anticlimactic, but I still had a lot of fun while it lasted.

I’m surprised you thought it was tonally inconsistent Goon though. For me the tone was what worked best. It stuck to it’s guns with it’s campiness in my opinion. This is generally how I prefer comic movies/blockbusters to be and not bloated moody dramas that try to be deep, dark, action-packed and exciting all at once. These films can work occasionally, but when it comes to summer blockbusters I miss the silly fun movies of the 80’s and early 90’s, which this seemed to channel.

David Brook
Guest

Bond films are terrible for product placement too. There’s always a tie-in car and watch in particular that the camera spends way too much time on.

antho42
Guest

I like product placement in the James Bond films; product placement is part of the Bond mythology.

I also like product placement when it’s done in a poppy/urban manner, a la Wong Kar Wai and Jean-Luc Godard.

Goon
Guest

To be honest I was too distracted by the shitty camera work in Thor to notice product placement. I saw the Go Lean thing though and it was prominently displayed. I didn’t know that was a real brand.

Maybe tonally inconsistent is the wrong phrase but this is what I meant: In Asgaard things feel a weird blend of goofy and Shakespearean dramatic. Loki isn’t camp evil, they’re really trying to sell the father/son/jealous brother story as somewhat serious. Whereas on Earth Thor was for me beyond just fish out of water, but as it kept going, unforgivably socially retarded and undevelopable, which is why his sudden wisdom, love story and return to godhood is so hard to swallow. And then things are supposed to be epic and a bit more serious again by the end.

So no, it’s not tonally inconsistent the way, say, Hancock is, but once we leave Asgaard there’s a shift that I think went too far for too long.

David Brook
Admin

I agree about the weakness of Thor’s story arc towards the end, it was pretty clumsy and overly convenient, but I didn’t mind the initial shift from Asgaard to Earth. The fish out of water gags were silly, but they were used sparingly enough and performed well enough to work for me.

I can totally see where you’re coming from, but it just kind of worked for me.

Ms Curious
Guest

Product placement wise here’s just a few, 7 Eleven, Go Lean Crunch cereal, Pop tarts, Acura cars, Taser X26, Ipod, Facebook, Budweiser beer, Dr Pepper and bic multi colour pens.

Thor it seems is quite the consumer. I still wouldn’t invite him over for dinner even if he did come with Budweisers in hand. ๐Ÿ™‚

Goon
Guest

Did you actually notice all of those products as it happened or did you just go find a list ๐Ÿ˜›

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

I think product placement doesn’t matter to me because, well, they have to be drinking something, eating something, driving something, using some kind of phone – why wouldn’t it be a recognizable brand? It would be more strange for me if it wasn’t. If I’m sitting in a cafe somewhere, or driving down the street, I’m likely to see ten or fifteen different branded things, so why shouldn’t I in a movie? The Go Lean box was noticable for me because it WASN’T a brand I recognized. If it had been Raisin Bran, it wouldn’t even have registered. As far as things like all the cars being the same brand, I don’t notice that unless they’re, like Mini Coopers or Aston Martins or something really visually distinct or rare.

Goon
Guest

Product placement matters more to me when its fed in there in a way that doesn’t seem necessary. I actually like the Fed Ex usage in Cast Away and it’s more interesting than if it had been ExpressCo or something. It actually to me adds to the feeling of losing everything.. but in say, I Robot, the shoes? Damn. Lame.

Goon
Guest

If a movie is a strange universe or something product placement will also stick out. Like Speed Racer… if that movie had Coke and Reebok and this and that blatantly all over it, it would destroy the illusion of this strange world these characters inhabit.

Mike Rot
Member

I agree with Goon, it depends if the film is situated in the real world. James Bond is a fantasy alternative universe that just happens to look like our world… when he stops to show off his watch in Casino Royale that is lame. It takes me out of the film and says “James Bond wears Rolex, shouldn’t you?”. That is what the film is thinking about in that scene, it is so painfully obvious shilling.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

That James Bond watch scene is a classic. I can’t believe I never noticed it when watching Casino Royale the first time. It’s a show-stopper.

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

That is true, if Thor had been drinking Dr. Pepper in Asgard, it absolutely would’ve stuck out. :p

antho42
Guest

The Burger King scene in Iron Man tops the watch scene in Casino Royal.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

The King of them all, Mac & Me:

Goon
Guest

I like the Burger King Iron Man thing actually, I dare say it fits into Tony Starks character and is supposed to suggest a return for him to LCD capitalism – welcome back to America! ๐Ÿ˜›

The big one that sticks out for me is the Subway scene in Coneheads, of all things. it was so blatant they made a real commercial at the same time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MA18qF9ggDc

Goon
Guest

Do they even have doctors in Asgard?

Ms Curious
Guest

Goon wrote: ‘Did you actually notice all of those products as it happened or did you just go find a list?’

All as noted with the exception of the cars and the taser, a friend pointed those out. Maybe some of the products jump out for us more because we know they’re iconic American brands. Like you can buy Dr Pepper and Budweiser here, but theyโ€™re not available in every store.

Goon wrote: ‘I actually like the Fed Ex usage in Cast Away’

I did too. To me that was really effective product placement, Fed Ex was blended into the story as whole and it kind of took on a personality of its own if that makes sense.

In contrast, Fed Ex made an appearance in a film called ‘Bowfinger’ (1999) and the line used when the Fed Ex truck pulls up each day is ‘See that FedEx truck? Every day it delivers important papers to people all over the world. And one day, it is going to stop here, and a man is going to walk up and casually toss a couple of FedExes on my desk. And at that moment, we – and by we, I mean me – will be important’.

That was too overt for me, it felt like a line devised by Fed Ex advertising executives.

Goon
Guest

one of my favorite product placements ever is Pepsi Perfect in BTTF2

Antho42
Guest

I rewatch Abre Los Ojos. Wow, Inception is pretty much a remake of this film.

dan
Guest

I usually don’t mind or notice product placement and sometimes, adding to the point Jandy brought up, not having real products or hiding brands in movies can work against authenticity or pull you out of the experience. What irritated me about Thor was the overtness of the product placement–the way items were shot or so prominently displayed/mentioned, with no subtlety. There were instances during Thor where I felt like I was literally watching a commercial, the Acura ad campaign especially. I haven’t had that feeling during a movie before, and it wasn’t good (granted I haven’t seen Transformers).

There was a shot in Thor were the shield agent is getting out of his Acura and it’s parked at an angle on a STRAIGHT road, to give the three-quarter profile display. Later there’s an overhead shot in the desert of a whole fleet of Acuras, almost literally all of their models. Maybe I’m hyper-sensitive to this shit and no one else noticed.? If Thor is any bellwether for product placement movie-making, I’m a little worried.

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