Cinecast Episode 222 – Goooochebaggery

 
 
After a fortnight hiatus, the Cinecast makes a most triumphant return back from Fantasia, furnace-level heat, and retro-future Nazis. This is somewhat of a quintessential episode because it includes everything we are (in)famous for: Bashing the comic-book film formula, an epic show length, film and people’s names mispronunced, wandering trains of thought, talking over one another, more than a hint of unpreparedness, out-of-the-blue spoiler bombs and Matt Gamble getting really angry.

We’ve got a **SPOILER LADEN** review of Captain America to dive into, and dive we do. Furthermore, Gamble offers two sneak peek reviews: First for The Change-Up with Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman as well as the large-ensemble screwball comedy Crazy, Stupid, Love. Rounding out the 5 minutes shy of four hour show are Kurt’s exploits at the Fantasia Film Festival, Shivers as a Peep Show, some love for Chris Sarandon in the original Fright Night, Bradley Whitford as a 70s era copper, four entire words on Harry Potter, and more Indiana Jones references than you can shake a shield at. Lastly, with apologies to Bob Turnbull, Andrew was quite disillusioned with The Illusionist.

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_11/episode_222.mp3

 
 
Full show notes are under the seats…



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MAIN REVIEWS:
Captain America: The First Avenger **SPOILERS!**


FANTASIA FILM FEST RECAP:
Red State
Milocrorze: A Love Story
Attack the Block
The Reef
The Wicker Tree
Ip Man 3
Another Earth
A Lonely Place to Die
Troll Hunter
Phase 7
Retreat
Love
Birthright
Ninja Kids
Underwater Love
Marianne


SNEAK PEEK REVIEW:
The Change-Up (Matt’s review)
Crazy, Stupid, Love


THE WATCH LIST:

Andrew
Kill the Irishman
The Illusionist

Kurt
Shivers
Fright Night

Matt
Fright Night
Harry Potter 7b
Rango
Love Ranch


INSTANT WATCH NEW RELEASES/EXPIRING SOON:

Matt
The Good Guys (new)

Kurt
A Woman Under The Influence (expiring 8/2)
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (expiring 8/2)

Andrew
Winter’s Bone (new)
Pitch Black (new)


DVD PICKS:

Kurt
My Dog Tulip
High & Low (Criterion) [Blu-ray]

Matt
American Grindhouse

Andrew
Source Code
Ironclad


OTHER DVDs NOW AVAILABLE:

Jandy’s DVD Triage


OTHER STUFF MENTIONED:
Matt Brown defends attacks Ghostbusters II


NEXT WEEK:
Cowboys and Aliens
Terri
Tabloid
Attack the Block (?)


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
Gord
Guest

Epicness! Looking at the line-up, I think when TIFF rolls around this year you guys might actually break your record.

antho42
Guest

Andrew– thanks for the DVD.

Marina Antunes
Admin

I can barely keep up with the 2 hour shows. How the fuck am I going to squeeze in this 4 hour epic? I guess I’m not sleeping all week.

Nat Almirall
Guest

Regarding the Captain America review, I think the disagreement over Tommy Lee Jones’ character stems not so much from the performance than from the fact that the character is just there to spout one-liners (pithy they may be–“You’re not kissing me” was great). In that instance problem lies with the writing, not the actor.

That said, I’m on Kurt’s side in not liking the film. I was longing for a Where Eagles Dare-type WWII film as well, and while it may be pointless to moan about what I wanted, I found the action pretty uninspired. Case in point, Andrew referenced the scene where Captain is surrounded by the flame-throwing laser-robot-Nazis (never thought I’d have to write that description again)–that was the only part in the action where I seriously wondered How’s he going to get out of this?, and then he just gets captured. Lame.

Just like The Wolfman and, yes, The Rocketeer, Johnston takes a lot of interesting concepts and trivializes them through either minimal exploration or altogether ignoring them.

I think people generally overlook this in his films because he at least puts in the effort that other filmmakers wouldn’t in setting up some intriguing sequences (in this case the train sequence, propaganda, the WWII setting, etc.) but he never mines their potential (as someone such as Spielberg in Raiders did) — it’s either the most basic acknowledgement of the setup (someone’s on a train, so there has to be a threat of them falling off the train) or outright suspension (laser-robot-Nazis who are basically just laser-robots). Simply put, he’s not very creative.

Matt Gamble
Guest

I think that is a fair critique of Johnston, he clearly wants to be Spielberg but he simply isn’t as talented.

And I think claiming that Jones isn’t particularly well written is probably fair as well, though I would disagree. Knocking the film because the casting agent did their job well is fucking stupid and makes it look like Kurt is just reaching for something to be surly about.

Matt Gamble
Guest

Marina, I think this might be one of our more entertaining episodes in some time. The time certainly seemed to fly by while recording it, which isn’t always the case with some of our longer episodes.

Tum Tum Tyranus
Guest

Kurt’s intro to The Watch List is Godlike.

Nat Almirall
Guest

Andrew:

Whether that’s his intent or not (and regardless of the many opportunities he had to give himself up), my point is that it’s the only moment in the action scenes that really had me interested…and nothing came of it.

Brittany
Guest

Only about 45 mins in and already this argument is up there with 28 weeks later. Matt and Andrew, I’m totally with you on this one. You have to compare a film with other like films in the genre.

Nat Almirall
Guest

@Gamble

Of course, if Kurt hadn’t, you two could not have had such an epic dust-up. Also have an idea for a High and Lowbrow theme, but I’ll need to know James’ breaking point on bestiality.

CS
Guest

Milocrorze: A Love Story sounds interesting to say the least. Kurt, are there any other Fantasia films that you mentioned in the show that stand a good chance of hitting Toronto After Dark this year?

In regards to The Illusionist, I have to side with Bob and Kurt as I really enjoyed the film. It made my “best of 2010” list as well. I will say that I did think the girl was one of the biggest “moochers” in cinema history though.

I had no idea the director of Fright Night was the same guy who made Child’s Play (which I absolutely love). I think Fright Night is currently on Netflix Canada, I will have to give it a watch this weekend.

Jim Laczkowski
Guest

Just listened to this awesome beast of an episode. So many moments where I laughed my fucking ass off. Fright Night is sooo great… but don’t bother with the sequel by the way. And I think the guy who did Easy A recently did Friends With Benefits and had nothing to do with Crazy Stupid Love.

Looking forward to the next two episodes in a row of Director’s Club in which Kurt has nothing but kind words about the filmmaker we’ll discuss. Then I expect the complete opposite for Matt’s appearance.

Goon
Guest

Matt spanked Kurt pretty good in this one on points.

What the arguments against Cap here and from a few others I’ve heard sound a bit like 😉

Man: How many of you kids would like Captain America to deal with real-life problems, like the ones you face every day?
Kids: [clamoring] Oh, yeah! I would! Great idea! Yeah, that’s it!
Man: And who would like to see him do just the opposite — getting into far-out situations involving robots and magic powers?
Kids: [clamoring] Me! Yeah! Oh, cool! Yeah, that’s what I want!
Man: So, you want a realistic, down-to-earth show… that’s
completely off-the-wall and swarming with magic robots?
Milhouse: And also, you should win things by watching.

Kurt
Guest

I expected from its period setting that Marvel might break with its formula, but alas, this one nearly follows it to the letter. At least the love interest (shallowly developed at best) was not held hostage by the big baddie.

Kurt
Guest

My issues with the growing number of superhero movies seem to be met with disregard insofar as people cannot see the forest for the trees. People speak of the genre getting better, but it seems to have replaced a lot of more adult oriented blockbusters/thrillers, the 40-60 Million type movie that has been dying a slow death, in light of these 200+ million tent poles.

Goon
Guest

I don’t know why but I started laughing out loud when you wrote “but alas”

Aaron
Guest

I felt pretty much the same about Kill the Irishman, Andrew. Overall it just isn’t very inspired.
One weird fact: apparently Tara Reid was one of the producers on it. Yes, that Tara Reid.

Jonathan Hardesty
Guest

I guess it’s tough to hate too much on the Marvel films since they weren’t intended to be adult-oriented thrillers with smart writing from the get-go. Methinks Nolan missed the memo when he made his films. 😛

Jonathan Hardesty
Guest

Gotta say, the moment where Matt and Andrew were talking over Kurt made me bust out laughing. Good thing I was stuck in traffic or I might have had to pull over. “I’m done.” Yeah. The timing was great!

Kurt
Guest

Unintentional comedy provided by SKYPE (well, actually Yahoo IM, but same idea…)

Mike Rot
Member

Serials are successful because they cater to the lowest common denominator. There is a range within serials of rigidly formulaic to loosely formulaic. Some take detours, some take a lot of consideration of the movie-going experience, of saturation points in audiences, try to inject something new, whereas some will churn out the same formula as rigidly as possible over and over and over again… and that is Marvel.

What is formulaic in film does not need to be what formulaic in comic books… Matt’s bullshit argument about that The Dark Knight is nothing new because it has been done a thousand times in comic books… so fucking what… some people don’t read comic books, and we are talking about film. Should I break out my Emerson poetry to deduce what is formulaic in film? It is stupid. What parallels are there in cinema, and then you can see the Nolan universe for what it is, a refreshing new take to the genre in the cinematic form.

Harkening back to Star Wars?! When Star Wars came out it was something radical, it did deserve the recognition it got, and has held in our esteem since we saw it in that light. There is a timeline here your argument is overlooking… this is 2011, I may have been on board with the first Spiderman, not really, but it didn’t pain me the way Thor did now… now granted, someone may only have seen Thor and nothing else and find it remarkable, but we are talking within a particular group of people that are saturated to a point in film. We don’t need to worry about those other people. In the conversation Matt and Kurt had, it is a question of saturation among cinephiles, and that saturation point has not seemed to reach Matt the way it has others of us. Fine. It doesn’t change the argument that can be made regarding how rigidly formulaic a story is and how in lieu of a demonstrable saturation of this formula in the marketplace it is reasonable to say “this movie doesn’t work for me because it is not trying anything new”. It doesn’t seem to be a hang-up of just Kurt, or just me, I have heard a lot of cinephiles talk about this (Jay and Sean who seem right in the wheelhouse of comic book movies seem fairly disinterested in what they have been watching lately, including the latest Spiderman trailer, a franchise they are strong defenders of).

Eventually, enough times with not enough ingenuity, shit becomes boring.

Mike Rot
Member

I am all for judging a film by what it aspires to be, and not what you wish it was, but in the same way you can go off and say your viewpoint is the only thing that matters (the straw man argument Matt made of Kurt), you can also fallback in the other directions with equally bad judgment and say the film is untouchable because of what it aspires to be… most of these big budget summer blockbusters aspire to make money, and be entertaining as a secondary bonus. So irrespective of the quality of the film, if it makes money… mission accomplished. Wonderful defense.

Hector Gomez
Guest

This summer has been a complete let down not one good blockbuster action movie. Thank God in the next couple of years we have films coming out by Nolan, Del Toro, Scott, and Blomkamp. So we don’t have to “Turn are brains off”.

Matt Gamble
Guest

Serials are successful because they cater to the lowest common denominator.

Utterly ridiculous and wonderfully self-aggrandizing argument that is categorically untrue. Serials are successful because its a tied together narrative, and people like stories in worlds that they can continually revisit. Their’s a reason why almost all television is serialized. But then, according to Rot’s argument, The Wire is playing to the lowest common denominator simply because it is a serial. Quite frankly, that might be the dumbest assertion I’ve ever heard. Well, besides Bees being on the verge of extinction.

Every studio film aspires to make money. Even your precious Tree of Life (No, Universal invested $30+ million simply for the love of art!). Talk about a straw man argument.

Because a film follows a formula, that doesn’t make it crap. The same episode where Kurt lambasts comic book movies for following formula he extoles the virtue of the screwball comedy, which also rigidly follows formula. And here you are, the Malick fanboy, disregarding the fact Malick rigidly follows his own formula time and again, so much so Goon can telegraph a whole film without ever having watched it. Hell, Kurt’s most common critique lately is that movies won’t follow a rigid formula of always showing the credits before the film starts! The formulaic argument is blatantly hypocritical coming out of both of you. And quite frankly, lazy critique.

Should I break out break out my Emerson poetry to deduce what is formulaic in film? It is stupid. What parallels are there in cinema, and then you can see the Nolan universe for what it is, a refreshing new take to the genre in the cinematic form.

Poetry isn’t directly translatable to film, comics are. Their is a reason why studios latch on to them. But hey, if you want to argue that ignorance is your defense, by all means.

And yes, Nolan is a rehash in cinematic form. Burton made a “grittier” Batman over 20 years ago, as at the time pop culture still viewed Batman as pure kitsche, and Burton showed that you can take something that’s viewed as camp and make it darker and grittier, Nolan simply took yet another step, one that had already been done in the source material countless times and had been demanded by the masses, who you so easily dismiss as the lowest common denominator, for ages. But then, Nolan is liked by Cinephiles, so they’ll come up with reasons to back his playing to the lowest common denominator, but God forbid anyone else do it. They’re clearly just studio shills. But not Nolan. He’d never make a movie solely to make money. Well, except when he does.

Kurt
Guest

My credits at the beginning of the film argument is such that it is nice to ease into a film, and music and credits does that. Modern films are so interested in an opening film ‘Sting’ (a technique perfected by the James Bond Franchise to give up some serious action in an opening salvo before going back and setting up the plot for that episode) and in such a rush that nobody (particularly the summer blockbuster set) want to bother acclimatizing its audience to the film. Even Star Wars (which had no opening credits) gave the expositional crawl with overture.

I’m not saying every movie has to do it, but ignore this at your own peril, filmmakers!

The difference in extolling the screwball comedy, is that it is more of a tone than can be laid over any other genre (see modern examples of Burn After Reading, The Fighter, etc.) but ultimately these films are about normal (or quasi normal) folks, and not about a super villain destroying the world with his makeshift army of power-object. It gets a bit exhausting after a while, like most things, its not the comic book movie that is bad in and of itself, but studios have bloody well saturated the market with ’em lately and it’s exhausting, to the point where I skip 3/4 of them. I thought Cap might be different take on things. I was wrong. It even had the comic book fallacy of the hero fighting someone with similar powers who is just the ‘evil twin.’ Sheesh. The one thing CA had going for it was its unironic pro-america stance, a nostalgia for an earlier time. Hell, it wasn’t even the only period-comic book film this year! oi!

The reason why people latch onto Nolan is because his films ‘feel’ more adult oriented, and feel more grounded/weighty/etc. because so much is done in-camera. All that adds up to less like a cartoon, which is what the Marvel entries seem to be these days, particularly all the films that form the Avengers series (Albeit, I’ve not watched Incredible Hulk or Thor, but they look it from the trailers…)

Mike Rot
Member

I actually love serials, but it does appeal to a broader base because it is familiar, that is what I was saying. It is success not solely contingent upon it playing to a lowest common denominator, just that is a significant feature of it. Watching a lot of television I see this, it can get very conservative with how it plays with form, and with the stretching out of a story over a long duration (like say a Soap or a 50 year run comic book series) you can’t NOT become overtly familiar with such runs.

Malick’s formula is HIS OWN, which becomes than a question of auteur sensibilities. Maybe when I have seen the 25th iteration of Malick films I will hit my saturation point with that too, and agree with you… but five films, I am fine with that (we would be so lucky if Marvel were limited in their output to that number).

Summer blockbusters are engineered from a creative stand-point to make lots and lots and lots of money… they have less wiggle room to concern themselves with artistic integrity, than say a blank cheque to Malick allows. Sometimes the two synchronize, but more often they don’t. Nolan can do something different HIS OWN thing, because of his name, but when the name is Marvel you might as well say the name is movie executive X because it their bottom line that tends to motivate this enthusiastic embrace of serial ‘back-to-basic’ storytelling. They don’t want to challenge or offend or anything but get the largest amount of people into the theatres.

I recently rewatched Burton’s Batman films… they hold up, a lot of flubs and absurd extensions of disbelief but especially Returns, it has a darkness that seemed at odds with the Blockbuster ethos. And lo and behold that trilogy was stopped, too dark, too far off the rails, better to go with something that is light and flashy and fun and safe. Point, serve.

Comic book movies are in bed with big budget Hollywood and in doing so they are taking what was already a rigidly formulaic serial enterprise and combining it with bottom line financial interests that stream-line narrative for profit. Like an old bitty watching her daily soap, they know the comic geek will come back for more why bother themselves with doing anything new… old works… old makes money (or it had until this lackluster summer)

Nat Almirall
Guest

@Rot

I don’t think it’s exclusively the studios’ fault. Captain America, as I mentioned earlier, suffers from a lot of the same flaws that appear in many of Joe Johnston’s films. The same could be said for Thor and Branagh, Green Lantern and Campbell, and especially Transformers and Michael Bay (granted not so much a comic, but still…).

It seems to me that the directors have more wiggle room than you’re acknowledging–it’s just that many of them don’t make films with the consistent quality of someone like Nolan or Malick.

Darcy S McCallum
Guest

In cinema there are no winners or losers, but Kurt was DOMINATED, GAMBLE one up..

Rick Vance
Guest

I don’t know if this has already been brought up but to say you want a Captain America movie without all the Superhero aspects is ludicrous, I mean the guy is CREATED with a crazy science formula by a Nazi defector in a contraption using VITA RAYS. I mean as soon as you play the Captain America card you are in for a movie that is VERY unlike other WW2 movies that Kurt brought up in relation. Captain America existing changes the game.

Also I am not sure if this has been brought up but HYDRA and the Laser Gun approach to it may have also been to appease the MPAA because lets face it Raider’s came out in a time when movie ratings were not crazy and I don’t know if you can even get Nazi’s into a PG13 movie anymore. There was no way this was going to be anything other than PG13.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

It seems having my ass handed in trying to tell people how inane and inferior comic book superhero movies (as a genre or not) are to classic adult thrillers, is my lot in life.

So Be It.

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

Finally made it through this episode (and now there’s a new one, so I’m behind again, gah!). Definitely a great one! And kind of weird to listen to because I kept agreeing and then disagreeing with both Matt and Kurt. I’m not sure how that works, but the continued comparisons between Captain America and Raiders of the Lost Ark intrigue me greatly. I enjoyed Captain America quite a lot; it’s certainly the best of the Marvel films so far, and that’s not quite damning with faint praise, because I’ve enjoyed several of the others as fun popcorn flicks. But I really enjoyed Cap’s earnestness without falling into goofiness or ironic self-awareness – it played like a 1930s serial would’ve played, and I liked that.

But in terms of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Raiders and Cap are the same genre with the same audience (and decent chunks of the same story), there’s not really any question about that. So on the one hand, Kurt is right that there’s no reason Cap and films like it shouldn’t be trying to be as good as Raiders and it’s an appropriate criticism that they’re not. (In other words, it’s not the same argument as something like “Cap sucks because it doesn’t have the depth and nuance of Citizen Kane”, which is ridiculous.) On the other hand, if you expect EVERY 1930s-throwback adventure film to be as good as Raiders, you will be disappointed by 95% of movies, because Raiders is exceptional. Captain America is solid entertainment, which is fine with me – if Hollywood released a film as solid and enjoyable as Captain America in theatres every week, I’d be pretty happy.

On screwball comedy, I don’t think you can just equate screwball comedy with farce. I wouldn’t call Three Kings or Burn After Reading screwball comedies; I guess there’s not a universally-accepted definition, but all the books and articles I’ve read about screwball comedies include a central romantic relationship, which neither of those films does. Burn After Reading I guess has romantic relationships, but I don’t think they’re central to the plot. When you look at it that way, it’s not just a tone laid over any plot (like farce could be), it also has a set of plot conventions – a courtship with obstacles that must be overcome, usually including a battle of the sexes to one degree or another, and usually treated in a farcical way.

Loh
Guest

Kurt is right here.  Captain America was a total mess past the first 20 minutes.