Cinecast Episode 232 – Storm’s Coming…

 
 
With Take Shelter on the agenda this episode we are joined by the knowledgeable and articulate Jim Laczkowski (The Director’s Club Podcast). We spend a lot of time on this one with *FULL-ON SPOILERS*, so be warned if you have not seen the film yet -and you should- but be sure to have a listen to Jim’s musical take on the subject at the very least. Onward to The Watch list and we have the diverse menu of didactic misogyny, Kevin Costner, identity swapping in Africa and Europe, 911 documentaries, military narcotics and induced haunting, Roald Dahl, and one more lap with Drive and the ‘introverted cinema of cool.’ There is also DVD, Netflix, and a little of the old John Carpenter to round out the show.

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_232.mp3

 
 
Full show notes are under the seats…



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IN-HOUSE BUSINESS:
– Welcome JIM LACZKOWSKI from The Director’s Club Podcast (next episode John Carpenter) – Thanks for the Review Bumper Music DUDE!
Toronto After Dark Film Festival
Flyway Film Festival
High and Low Brow (A Night to Remember, The War Game)


MAIN REVIEW:
Take Shelter ** SPOILERS!! **


THE WATCH LIST:

Kurt
The Woman
The Passenger

Jim
Jacob’s Ladder
Drive

Andrew
9/11
The Human Centipede (Full Sequence)
Dances with Wolves (extended edition)
Pulp Fiction


DVD PICKS:

Kurt
Kuroneko (Criterion) [Blu] – The Last Circus [Blu]

Andrew
Red State
Willy Wonka & Chocolate Factory (3-Disc 40th Anniversary Collector’s Edition) [Blu-ray]

Jim
Beats, Rhymes and Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest
Willy Wonka & Chocolate Factory (3-Disc 40th Anniversary Collector’s Edition) [Blu-ray]


INSTANT WATCH NEW RELEASES/EXPIRING SOON:

Kurt
The Sentinel (expiring Oct. 31)
Southern Comfort (new)

Andrew
The Ward (new)

Jim
Assault on Precinct 13 (expiring)
Short Circuit (expiring)


OTHER DVDs $ NETFLIX NOW AVAILABLE:
Jandy’s DVD Triage


OTHER STUFF MENTIONED:
102 Minutes that Changed America


NEXT WEEK:
Toronto After Dark Film Festival
Flyway Film Festival


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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Domenic Lanza
Member

I reviewed Take Shelter, for those who may be interested:

http://www.rowthree.com/2011/10/11/review-take-shelter/

Gil
Guest

I love “Clean, Shaven”! Good on you, Jim Laczkowski. I am really looking forward to “Take Shelter”, you guys have also gotten me interested in checking out Human Centipede based on the discussion last week. Keep it up, you guys rock.

Jim Laczkowski
Guest

Thanks Gil. It’s a really original approach to portraying mental illness… it asks a lot of its audience to damn-near become schizophrenic along with the lead character. Even the way things unfold, is unclear and fractured. I didn’t enjoy the time spent with the detective quite as much as Peter Greene, but it’s an incredible experience to sit through (a bit short at only 79 minutes though). I highly recommend CLEAN SHAVEN and KEANE. I need to see Lodge Kerrigan’s other two films for sure.

Had a great time on this show. Sorry that I tip-toed around my interpretation on THE WOMAN, but I really want to re-watch it when I’m not super-exhausted… and have a clearer mind about what to expect and hopefully, how to process it all. It’s not something to really discuss at length until a lot more people have seen it which I hope happens soon, cuz I know it’s coming out on DVD relatively quickly. Kurt did a great job with his review and I’m definitely more in the positive side on it. But I am still unsure if I truly feel that it’s pure exploitation, or, really brilliant social commentary meshed with a psychological horror movie.

Ross Miller
Member

@Kurt and Jim – You guys have totally convinced me to blind-buy The Woman 😉 I know we talked Kurt and you said it’s more of a rent just in case but I’m very interested in it now. I usually can’t stand movies that are purely trying to provoke you (I haven’t seen Von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark and by your description Kurt I can tell it’s going to bet yet another Von Trier movie I will despise) but I want to experience it, all the way through.

Ross Miller
Member

On The Woman again – would you say it’s worth getting on Blu-ray or would good ol’ DVD do just fine?

Jim Laczkowski
Guest

I think DVD for THE WOMAN is fine. It’s not a movie that “looks” especially fantastic that it requires a Blu-Ray purchase. It’s more about the content. I’m just really eager to hear what other people think about the movie once they see it. I’m not a fan of the last act especially, but there are things about the movie I really responded to.

PS I am currently uploading a 2nd version of this episode. It has both channels (right and left) so ya’ll can have the intended stereo version of the show. Not sure why it was recorded that way, Andrew… but maybe you can re-upload the episode to the server after I email you.

Ross Miller
Member

@Kurt – You’ll be happy to know I bought The Limey on DVD and will be watching it for the first time. I also need to see Sex, Lies and Videotape (I know my early Soderbergh is lacking).

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Be sure to listen to The Limey commentary after your first viewing, it’s a great lesson in Director vs. Screenwriter and their conflicting visions of what the movie should be.

Rick Vance
Guest

Your talk of the Passenger reminded me of Limits of Control whose director came up later in the show, similar styles?

Jonathan Hardesty
Guest

Despite the spoiler-heavy review, I still want to see Take Shelter at some point. And to clarify: there’s nothing sane about Michael Shannon’s character in Boardwalk Empire 😛

rot
Guest

I found The Passenger the kind of slow-moving rumination I dislike, for whatever reason. La Notte, that is Antonioni I can 100% get behind, that is a masterpiece. In fact, didn’t we see it for the first time together Kurt at Cinematheque?

Jim made a convincing argument for Take Shelter, I will give him that. I still don’t love it, but I don’t dislike enough to put up much of a fight… to me it is on par with A History of Violence, something ordinary that for whatever reason everyone else found something Extraordinary.

9/11 docs. I have 102 minutes in the mail for me, and yes the French directors one is one of the most visceral experiences I have had watching movies. I am skeptical by Jay’s claims 102 minutes can top it.

Tom Clift
Guest

Dug the discussion on TAKE SHELTER, but after a second viewing I found myself less taken with it. It’s such a well acted, well shot, thought provoking film with a beautiful score and tons of interesting metaphor. And yet for whatever reason it didn’t quite click. After the nightmare sequences were so intense, the rest of the movie sort of petered out (until the climax, which is incredible). Still liked it but not to the same level that you guys did.

I’ve also seen THE WOMAN – actually saw it with a Q&A with McKee and Polyanna afterwards, both of whom were really interesting speakers (and totally unapologetic about the extreme content). Really liked the film as a visceral horror flick as well as a pretty clever social satire.

I’m also with Andrew in calling UNITED 93 the best film of last decade, so the doco 9/11 just shot to the top of my (Australian equivalent of a) Netflix queue.

Goon
Guest

Am I really the only one that thinks a storm as a metaphor for schizophrenia and mental illness is completely obvious and uninteresting?

Mike Rot
Member

My problem was it didn’t try beyond anything I expected to happen or that seemed obvious, like jump scares and storms… Jim mentioned Clean Shaven, that is a film that gets outof the safe and familiar zone and pushes buttons.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Tom, I’d disagree a bit with “CLEVER” as a descriptor of The Woman. My written review will pop up in these pages on Oct. 28th.

Tom Clift
Guest

I look forward to it 😛

Jim Laczkowski
Guest

@Goon: One can make the argument that storm imagery is overused. But it’s such an apt metaphor that really represents internal struggle & uncertain change. As someone who responds, studies, and pays attention to meteorology and psychology, it was the best of both worlds for me. I used to have incredibly vivid dreams that are similar and have dealt with an array of mental illness within my own family, so there’s definitely a personal bias involved for sure. One can say the film is “too simplified,” or the ideas have been expressed before, but the minimalistic slow-burn approach is something that I admire and the ideas are always interesting to explore in my opinion. Keep in mind that I love both MEEK’S CUTOFF and SOMEWHERE for similar reasons.

I wasn’t asking for the dreams to be either reminiscent of Nolan’s take or something Lynchian… to me, they conveyed exactly what they needed to… from how the character was experiencing his symptoms to the possibility of one’s home & environment being threatened by mother nature. If “home” represents the mind in a dream, then the storm can be perceived as the schizophrenia threatening to invade and uproot the foundation in which he’s built his life on.

Jim Laczkowski
Guest

I’m just grateful that I can appreciate this kind of approach to mental illness, as well as the more raw and intense approach that CLEAN SHAVEN embraces for its entire 79 minute running time.

Goon
Guest

I don’t know. I just felt watching it like… his character wasn’t really changing. He was kind of creepy, but boring and silent at the start, and he stayed that way, even if he was having crazy dreams. I got bored with the dreams because it was obvious he was dreaming and they went on long enough that I was just waiting for him to wake up.

Basically apt or not, the analogy was so obvious that it was just a chore to sit through, and I couldn’t take it any more. I didn’t buy that this guy had that family, he was that creepy and unlikeable from the start. I really really really didn’t like him. Once it got to the scene of him and his friend, and they’re having this non-conversation that would’ve fit in well with the equally boring Drive nonversations, and then he gives away the dog, I just gave up on the film. I had no investment to keep wathcing other than the right to give it a star rating, and that’s no reason to sit through anything if you’re not being paid to do so. If I was watching at home I would have fast forwarded through the rest.

I was in no rush to see this thing. I suspected it might bore me if I had to be honest. The trailer did nothing for me either. I only went based on word of mouth and the reviews. On every level this thing just did not resonate with me, some perfect (oh god) storm of apathy to the story, the actors, the characters, everything. Very little emotion either way towards anything going on in here.

Coincidentally, the only other movie that immediately comes to mind regarding the overwhelming apathy I felt is… The Perfect Storm.

When I was a teenager every week I babysat kids of a schizophrenic while they went to “Friends of Schizophrenia” support groups. The schizophrenic was a nice, but creepy, woman, with a big moustache and a mullet and a constant expression that seemed to indicate she was not there. The house was full of Dali paintings. I have no idea if my experiences with her are tied at all to my feelings towards Take Shelter, but I’ve been thinking more about that the last couple days than anything in the movie.

Jim Laczkowski
Guest

@Goon: I guess if you really didn’t like the character, I can’t blame you for feeling indifferent to the movie as a whole. I had the absolute opposite reaction. I was excited to see it based on the director’s first film, and Michael Shannon is one of my favorite actors at the moment. So again, it could have something to do with preconceived biases and excitement. My expectations were met. I too have dealt with a schizophrenic myself, and felt this movie reflected that sense of detachment which I know won’t work for everyone. If he had been ignorant about his illness, then yes, I might’ve had a similar feeling that you did. But when I saw that he genuinely wants to solve the mystery of what’s happening to him, I felt a lot of respect and empathy for the guy. Going to the library, seeing a counselor, trying medication… all made me respect him because a lot of people would just choose to completely ignore it. Granted, I wish he would’ve told his wife a lot sooner, so he was guilty of having too much pride and not wanting to alarm anyone either. That’s a very human character flaw.

I certainly wouldn’t want my own family to know if I was “hearing things” and would try to handle them on my own unless they interfered with my ability to function normally. He should’ve said “I need help” a lot sooner, but I sensed that he at least was making an effort to change… even if that change didn’t really happen until the final fifteen minutes. I’m still thinking about the movie two weeks later, but I’m at least glad you found reasons to connect to your own personal experience.

Goon
Guest

“Granted, I wish he would’ve told his wife a lot sooner, so he was guilty of having too much pride and not wanting to alarm anyone either. ”

I guess since I was already lost, a lot of his decisions at that point felt like “movie pride”, the kind of frustration you feel watching LOST where people don’t tell anyone anything. They don’t tell, and her partner isn’t asking the right questions, or pressing any questions at all.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

I disagree. Part of the reason for Michael Shannon’s characters behavior (i.e. not telling his wife) was built well into the equation with his ‘middle-America’ pull-oneself-up-by-our-bootstraps attitude of self-reliance which plays perfectly into the STORM SHELTER metaphor.

One of the things I liked about TAKE SHELTER was how Shannon’s character wasn’t an idiot, was very practical and pragmatic, he was also afraid and felt he could deal with his anxieties in relatively practical ways. Perhaps a character flaw as David mentions above, but a very believable and acceptable one. Both Guys and Gals do this all the time with their health/pregnancy/pain issues. And that is sort of what TAKE SHELTER boils down too — When do you let the wife and friends into the equation? I thought it worked very well.

Goon
Guest

You don’t think that’s condescending and cliche at this point? Quiet salt of the earth ‘Merican who only speaks when he has to and oh god I’m already boreeeeeed

Goon
Guest

I guess I saw the behavior as something I’ve seen in over 100 King of the Hill episodes… but without any satire or jokes… combined with a mental breakdown story where the horrific dreams and visions aren’t even a fraction as interesting as the dozens of other stories that have been told like this.

I just don’t see where you guys felt this fit in and really added to anything out there.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

“You don’t think that’s condescending and cliche at this point? Quiet salt of the earth ‘Merican who only speaks when he has to and oh god I’m already boreeeeeed.”

Not at all, it is about a solid family guy, an upstanding member of the community, and an all around down-to-earth individual having everything thrown asunder by a debilitating unknown. It’s good, smart populist cinema, not boring at all. In fact, it is rare that this type of movie is ever made. I don’t think I want this story with jokes and aw-shucks-isms. Other than the ‘church sequence’ this film avoids the usual American stereotypes to its benefit.

The film also digs at where society breaks down (His insurance police / health care for his daughter, lack of any guaranteed support during a medical crisis, etc.)

Totally worked for me.

(I’m curious to what you think on the other, completely opposite Sundance entry this year, Martha Marcy May Marlene)

Goon
Guest

I dunno, for whatever you saw, I saw a Sling Blade Lite who I did not enjoy watching. Whatevs.

I’m looking forward to MMMM. The only negative talk I’ve seen on that from people we know was Andrew Parker.

rot
Guest

The one thing I liked about Take Shelter was how Michael Shannon’s character doesn’t fall into broad gestures, one way or the other, until he hits that moose lodge scene. I admire the restraint, like Jim said, showing him going to the library to look things up, small stuff like that. But the dream stuff and then adding in the family illness, the obviousness of where it was all heading, that is the stuff that just hung there for me without much effect.