Cinecast Episode 229 – But Fate Runs Another Course…

 
 
It is festival time folks! With Kurt returning from the Toronto International Film Festival, and Gamble MIA due to the Twin Cities Film Festival – which Andrew recaps a few titles – there is precious little time for us to get to the weeks regular releases. Those looking for talk on Moneyball can consult the previous episode of the Cinecast, Over/Under. So prepare for a lot of monologuing (in brief spoiler-less spurts) on many of the festival titles – some of which will end up in the fall slate of films on the domestic front, others will probably be only released abroad until the end up on DVD or VOD. Join us as we tour through festivaland at warp speed. Also, for something completely different, Willem Halfyard comes into the mix to beef up The Watch List segment and Andrew gets to talk a bit of Star Wars from the perpective of two different generations of viewers.

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_229.mp3

 
 
Full show notes are under the seats…



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TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL:

Midnight Madness:
The Day
The Raid
Kill List
You’re Next
Sleepless Night
God Bless America

Other:
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Take Shelter
The Awakening
Kotoko
Tyrannasaur
Melancholia
Drive
Killer Joe
Page Eight
The Artist
Headhunters
The Descendants
Shame
ALPS
Carre Blanc
Crazy Horse
Volcano
Dark Horse
Keyhole
Martha Marcy May Marlene
The Moth Diaries


TWIN CITIES FILM FESTIVAL:
Fargo
50/50
Machine Gun Preacher
White Knight
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil
A. Hitler (aka The Empty Mirror)


THE WATCH LIST:

Andrew
Star Wars [Blu-ray] – Pearl Jam 20

Willem
City of Ember


DVD PICKS:

Kurt
Mimic (The Director’s Cut) [Blu-ray] – Carlos (Criterion) [Blu-ray] – Ricky-Oh The Story of Ricky
Viva Riva!

Andrew
Carlos (Criterion) [Blu-ray] – The Phantom Carriage (Criterion) [Blu-ray]


OTHER DVDs NOW AVAILABLE:
Jandy’s DVD Triage


INSTANT WATCH NEW RELEASES/EXPIRING SOON:

Kurt
They Live (new)
Slap Shot (new)

Andrew
Ironclad (new)
Breaking Bad (season 1-3)


OTHER STUFF MENTIONED:
More Willem and Miranda reviews
Kurt on The Substream
Kurt on the MatineeCast


NEXT WEEK:
Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame
Take Shelter
Moneyball


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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Goon
Guest

my backlash isn’t to the critical response, it’s just an additional thing or an aside that I’m responding to. The big deal whittled down is that it’s style over substance and that I don’t dig that style. I find it empty, uninvolving, robotic, lazy, and the way Refn applies it comes off as desperate to convince me of its coolness.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Different eyeballs see different things, I see none of that in this film.

Goon
Guest

So Ryan Gosling… in a Scorpion satin jacket, tears into a strip club, threatening a man with a hammer and a bullet to his forehead, while naked women sit around him with posed blank expressions. Reeks of desperation.

As opposed to the violence of Bronson which was a matter of established danger where I feel the style elevates the violence as a matter of reflecting Bronson’s charisma and art.

In Bronson I think i see a marriage of Refn’s style and the content. In Drive I see it imposed upon the film in an obnoxious, insulting way, right down to the lyrics at the end saying ” a real human being and a real hero”, literally telling you what to think.

But I’m repeating myself at this point. Just clearing up for Andrew the rejection has everything to do with the movie itself and very little to do with critical reception. I bring up the people saying it has depth though to make my point about Gosling’s character being a blank slate. In some reviews I see him compared to a Travis Bickle disturbing psycho, and in others he is described as a superhero, and this is what the Scorpion jacket means… and then filling in the blanks about why certain characters respond the way they do, theorizing on backstories that were never given, in my opinion, apologetics.

rot
Guest

I see the superhero thing pretty explicitly, I mean they hang on the scorpion on his back as if to say he is a hero by way of Spiderman.

antho42
Guest

No, the stripper scene is a surreal episode like the concert scene in Blow Up.

“A real human being and a real hero”
The movie is selfaware
Ryan Gosling’s AV Club interview:
VC: He’s simply called “Driver.” Do you feel he has any identity outside of driving?

RG: No, I don’t. I think he’s somebody who’s seen too many movies. He’s confusing his life for a film, and he’s made himself the hero of his own action film. He’s just kind of lost in the mythology of Hollywood.

AVC: Why do you think his day job as a Hollywood stunt driver isn’t enough for him?

RG: I think that he’s psychotic, but he’s not a psychopath. He’s a myth as well, you know? We tried to treat the film like a fairy tale, like Los Angeles is this fairy-tale land based on fantasies, and he’s the knight in his mind and Irene [Carey Mulligan] is the damsel in distress. Bernie Rose [Albert Brooks] is the evil wizard, and Ron Perlman’s the dragon he needs to slay.

AVC: What do you imagine his dream life would be?

RG: I think you wander into that in the film. Cars can have a hypnotic effect. You can get in a car and get out and not really remember the trip. We tried to make this film about driving, not about driving fast or stunts. When you drive, you can kind of put your identity aside in the passenger’s seat, because you’re not being watched, and you can just be the watcher. So you wander into this driver’s conscious and kind of experience his life through his point of view.

AVC: And yet as detached as he is, isn’t there something inside him that leads him to forge a personal connection with Irene?

RG: He’s enacting these movie fantasies on her as though she’s some kind of damsel that needs to be rescued. It obviously doesn’t go over very well. We spent a lot of time rewriting the script. Originally, it was intended to be a big-budget film made with a studio, and it didn’t really involve a character driving around and listening to music because it’s the only way he can feel. It didn’t have a fairy-tale quality. It was much more realistic. It was a great script, but it was so authentic to gang culture and this world in Los Angeles that it would almost have to be a Ken Loach-style film to match the authenticity of the script. That’s just not the dream Nicolas and I were sharing.

antho42
Guest

What separates Driver from Le Samourai is that the Driver is trying to be Jeff Costello (the protagonist of Le Samourai). He comes close, but deep down, he is no Jeff Costello — i.e., a cold blooded, existential protagonist.

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

I felt that the “real human being, real hero” bit was pretty ironic, actually. Not necessary telling you that you should think that way about him. Also, that’s not just at the end – it’s also in the scene where he takes Irene and Benicio to the LA River.

Goon
Guest

See Jandy… I mean I think you prove my point about the blank slate, interpretation and apologetics… you can say it’s ironic or self-aware, and you can listen to the Film Junk review talk about him literally being a superhero. And both sides are giving the film a huge glowing pass.

Goon
Guest

“I think he’s somebody who’s seen too many movies.”

And yet the actual action hero skill he possesses is so suspiciously perfect. Having it’s cake and eating it too. Ugh. GAGGGGGGG.

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

Well, he IS a movie stuntman, so he’s probably got some skillz.

Whether he’s a blank slate or not, I guess I don’t see the problem with that. A lot of great movies are ambiguous and open to interpretation. I consider that a strength, not a weakness.

toro913
Guest

Martha Marcy May Marlene was my favorite of the 41 movies I saw at TIFF, so don’t let Kurt’s dislike of the movie prevent you from seeing it. I feel that his will be a minority opinion (not that it’s not valid).

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

MMMM was our good friend James McNalley’s favourite film of TIFF. I understand I’m a bit of a dissenter on this one, and there is lots to recommend in the technical/craft of the film, but the actual story fell completely flat for me.

Darcy S McCallum
Guest

Being that film is a visual medium, I believe that style is substance, I think the one thing Drive lacks (as does The Limey) is tension, a true sense of threat or danger, I couldn’t help but think at various moments how this film is far better than Somewhere, but no where near as surprising or engaging as the rather un-existential but still mind tripping, Mulholland Drive.

As for MMMM, my only problem with that I think is the best film from this years Sundance is, I don’t think Elisabeth Olsen is that ruthless in her performance, I think a better actor could of made us believe her actions, which for the most part r dumb, pretentious ect, though in terms of style, supporting cast, EDITING & ENDING, Marthy Macy is rather outstanding, I can see that Kurt is saying, yes the film could feel like cult-romanticizing or just plain out of it’s depth, but at least it works on some psychological, menacing level, John Hawkes character, in both mind and matter could pistol whip Ron Perlman & Albert Brooks, sometimes a film is only as good as it’s antagonists, not just it’s protagonists.

Goon
Guest

“Being that film is a visual medium, I believe that style is substance”

I guess that means Michael Bay makes very… substantial films?

Darcy S McCallum
Guest

Yeah lots to chew on, though the more I think about Drive, the more I realize that the acting and the cinematography are the only things I remember or grow fond of, the only time the film surprised me or stunned me was in the great opening scene and when we have the first shooting (yeah jump moment) but I think it’s a through line from Bronson, a film with great tone, character, acting and visual splendor, though as with Drive it lacks momentum, Refn’s film since Pusher feel like a collection of great scenes, and little more, which is the opposite of the brilliant, streaming Pusher sequels, and I haven’t any criticism of the score/soundtrack, yeah it’s great for the 1st third of the film, but the use of some Atticus/Rose and the ‘theme song’ badly used for me, and seriously the elevator scene? I totally love the quite moments between the main characters, in all scenes expect that one.. I think I just wanted something more twisted, so while bloggers tongue bath Drive, I just drool over Skin I Live In, which I think now it’s the only film left this year that could possibly top Snowtown as #1.. Damn.

Jim Laczkowski
Guest

I’m glad I finally saw Drive so I can start commenting on it. As I was watching the movie, I felt incredibly enveloped by it. At the same time, I was also trying to reject it because in some weird way, it felt self-conscious in some of the stylistic choices like the Scorpion jacket or the music or the graphic violence. But then I kind of realized that Gosling’s Driver character has no identity or past, so he’s going to color it in with these Hughes-era pop songs and by referencing the “Scorpion and the Frog” fable. There’s nothing else for him to latch onto except a girl he wants to rescue. He wears that rubber mask because he’s worn it in his Hollywood-related profession (not because it’s a disguise). Even the speech at the beginning and before the heist, feels like a rehearsed monologue. His communication skills are poor in reality, mainly because he’s mostly an introvert but also a psychopath. The biggest complement I can give Drive is that it doesn’t actually show the Driver character watching a movie becoming inspired by watching something like Rambo. That seemed implied. When I saw Rambo as a kid, I imagined myself shooting guys and rescuing soldiers because I wanted to be a hero. As I grew up, I realized that’s a ridiculous fantasy. For Driver, that hero fantasy is still sticking with him for the long haul.

I think my instinct to reject the film all while embracing it was how much I identified with the choices that Refn made, as if it were too good to be true. I felt the same way about PTA’s Magnolia too. Granted, I am not psychotic like Driver, but I definitely internalize a lot. And I listen to a lot of cheesy pop songs and think of Carey Mulligan as this ridiculously cute angel. My favorite TV show is Breaking Bad and Albert Brooks has made my favorite comedy of all time. So as all the elements came together for me, I almost sensed that maybe it was too good to be true… and that a real film “Critic” would be inclined to nitpick or talk about what didn’t work. However, I think everything worked and that felt both shocking and scary at the same time. If I base my emotional response to Drive, it’s the best film of the year. However, my initial gut reaction as a critic is to cite The Tree of Life as the best film of the year based on its cinematic importance. Who knows what I choose come January. So yes I am on board with those who adore Drive. Not to mention that I watched Refn’s other masterpiece Bleeder a week ago. So this guy is the real deal, and could potentially crack my top ten favorite directors list in the years to come.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

BLEEDER is so delightfully wrong in its climax. Ewwww.

Great film, anyone who dug the Pusher Trilogy should see out Bleeder, as it feels like an unofficial fourth entry to the series with a lot of the same cast..

Jim Laczkowski
Guest

To summarize all that I wrote above: Drive was almost everything I could want from this kind of movie, while also subverting my expectations at the same time.

Jim Laczkowski
Guest

And lastly, I couldn’t be more thrilled to have seen Contagion, Warrior, Moneyball and Drive all back to back. And of course I plan on seeing 50/50 next. It’s a great time to go to the theater again 🙂

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

As I said in the other thread, CONTAGION is in the running for my favourite film of the year. DRIVE I absolutely adored. MELANCHOLIA is amazing. Thank god for the autumn moviegoing season….

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

I’m kind of surprised you liked CONTAGION so much, Kurt. It seemed to me a movie that succeeded on pure craft, and you’re not generally that high on craft for craft’s sake. But maybe you saw more underneath it than I did.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

I kinda in awe of how well done everything is in this movie. The accents on ‘touch,’ the drama moments between so many characters without any cheese, and always with an eye on balancing ‘drama’ with ‘the big picture.’

Also, how Contagion is really a full blown horror film moreso than a ‘disaster flick.’

And how Soderbergh managed to squeeze what would normally be a 6 hour TV mini or 12 Hour HBO season into a crisp 100 minutes without seeming to lose much. It really is quite an accomplishment.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

…And then there is the spread of disease juxtaposed on top of the spread of fear/information.

Really this film is one of the great films of our times.

*VERY MINOR SPOILER ALERT*

Lastly I can vouch for the autopsy skull scene. I was at a full autopsy a few years ago, and that was pretty damn accurate, the ‘face-peeling’ and all that.

Goon
Guest

Leonard Maltin was strangely funny making fun of Drive on Doug Loves Movies this week… “So in the first awesome opening scene it’s clear that Ryan Gosling can speak, and eloquently and with detail… and then we never see it again”

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Fun fact: Leonard Maltin’s publicist is a fan of the R3 Cinecast, and she asked Maltin to come onto the show (at a point where Maltin was promoting a book on overlooked film-gems), Maltin eventually refused because he though Andrew & Kurt cussed too much.

Goon
Guest

Weird. Well he went on Doug Loves Movies which is a lot dirtier than R3. But they have an entire game named after him on that show… and celebrity guests.

Goon
Guest

That article is catty sick burn after sick burn.

“Drive banks on American aesthetic insecurities and the tendency of some viewers to fill empty-canvas art with invented meanings.”

“Drive instead suggests a new brand of cool, one created when an infantilized strain of Comic-Con and fanboy culture discovered serious film. It’s fanboy haute couture, with its prettified coloring book simulation noir a safe pre-adolescent fantasy dotted with Mattel Hot Wheels, Peter Pans and Manic Pixie Dream Girls.”

“Drive is indeed an impressive feat of hocus-pocus. Nicolas Winding Refn has accomplished the impossible — that of selling a film on the merits of qualities it so plainly doesn’t possess.”

Needless to say, I agree with most everything he says here, and truly consider Drive one of the biggest frauds in recent cinematic history.

Kurt
Guest

I look forward to see if you love or hate Melancholia, Goon.

Goon
Guest

I haven’t disliked a Von Trier film to date. I have not seen Antichrist though. not sure I want to to be honest.

The Idiots is the only von Trier movie that I think if I re-explored, I would no longer like.

Kurt
Guest

There is a von Trier retrospective going on at LightBox in anticipation of Melancholia’s release, I’m hoping to check out Zentropa, The Idiots and a few other early von Trier’s that I’ve never seen. Curiously, they are not showing either of the RIGET series, and that actually kinda sucks…

Henrik
Guest

Is Zentropa = Europa? Then I highly recommend it.

Also, The Boss of it All. Very funny movie, though everybody except me and 3 other people seems to hate it. Very funny.

Kurt
Guest

I have a DVD copy of THE BOSS OF IT ALL, I’ve not watched it yet. I should probably get on that.

rot
Guest

I saw Europa, no Zentropa on the schedule. Haven’t seen but want to as well.

rot
Guest

Henrik, would you compare Europa to Element of the Crime? I hated that film, probably the only Von Trier I really dislike. The write up of Europa made it sound similar.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Zentropa = Europa. I hope that clears that up.

Henrik
Guest

I haven’t seen Element of Crime, but I am not really a fan of early Trier. For awhile I thought he only had one good one in him – Europa at the time – but after Obstructions/Boss of it All comedy period, I appreciate him alot more. I also read a book where a guy spends a few days with him and it was very entertaining. So I’m a fan, but probably a bigger fan than the movies demand.

TL;DR My guess is Europa is better than Element of Crime, even though I haven’t seen it, because Europa is very good.

Henrik
Guest

The Boss Of It All is Triers version of a Curb Your Enthusiasm, or more specifically, the danish clone “Klovn”, which was hysterical (Trier also wrote and directed an episode of “Klovn”. And the movie is hysterical.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

I really regret skipping Clovn at Fantasia…is it out on DVD in Denmark?

Marc Saint-Cyr
Editor

I just recently checked out Epidemic, and dug it a lot. Even though it’s part of the “Europa” trilogy that includes The Element of Crime and Europa, it feels like the odd one out with its pseudo-doc/meta feel. It’s still plenty inventive, though, and I had a lot of fun watching it.

Bonus: von Trier makes a fairly decent lead “actor” in it!

Henrik
Guest

Yeah, the movie is on DVD. Highly recommended, if you want some comedy that’ll make your toes curl – and then some.

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