Cinecast Episode 237 – One T or Two?

Well, Gamble’s Back. But after the Thanksgiving Weekend blow-out there is precious little in the way of new releases, making this show a Mega-sized “The Watch List” episode. Before we go there, we delve into our favourite female performances of 2011 (of all shapes and sizes.) One small observation: We talk a lot of documentaries this episode, and go over a lot of TV series; particularly Matt who was laid up with a sports injury for over three weeks and watched a metric tonne of TV/film/etc. The latest from Errol Morris, Werner Herzog, and another go around with Bellflower. Take it away Gamble.

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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Full show notes are under the seats…

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– Kurt on The Matinee Cast


5) Shailene Woodley – The Descendants
4) Jessica Chastain – Take Shelter
3) Allison Pill/Marion Cotillard – Midnight in Paris
2) Kirsten Dunst – Melancholia
1) (listen)

5) Saoirse Ronan – Hanna
4) Elle Fanning – Super 8
3) Aggeliki Papoulia – Dogtooth
2) Melissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids
1) (listen)

5) Cate Blanchet – Hanna
4) Berenice Bejo – The Artist
3) Carrie Mulligan – Shame
2) Olivia Colman – Tyrannasaur
1) (listen)


Black Lightning
Titicut Follies
– “The Walking Dead” (season 2.0)

The Corporation
– “Breaking Bad” (seasons 2-4)

Into the Abyss
Pulling John
Horror Express
– “Misfits”
Attack the Block
The Muppets
The Descendants
American Grindhouse
Copyright Criminals
The Captains
Candyman: The David Klein Story
An Inconvenient Tax
Vanishing of the Bees
Creatures that Defy Evolution: Vol. 1
Penn and Teller’s Magic and Mystery Tour
Last of the Mohicans
The Shadow
– “Legend of the Seeker”
– “Dungeons and Dragons” (animated)
– “Terra Nova”
– “Grimm”
– “Once Upon a Time”

Jandy’s DVD Triage

Awards Circuit

Young Adult
The Sitter

Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, or email us: (general)


Andrew James
Podcaster. Tech junkie. Movie lover. Also games and guitar. I dig music.


  1. Welcome back, Matt! You’ve been missed. Can’t wait to listen to this tomorrow. (And kudos to you in advance for putting Melissa McCarthy on your list. BRIDESMAIDS is still my favorite comedy of the year).

  2. Kurt i think you got Oranges and Sunshine a bit wrong as a “sitcom ensemble with Hugh Laurie and Oliver Platt” It’s the debut film from Jim Loach (son of Ken) about a child adoption scandal in the 80’s

    Heard it’s an ok well meaning film and that Emily Watson is terrific. Speaking of which my favourite female performance of the year would probably be Emily Watson in Appropriate Adult if we weren’t just talking in film

    My top 5 based on UK releases
    1. Lubna Azabal (Incendies)
    2. Takako Matsu (Confessions)
    3. Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine)
    4. Melissa Leo (The Fighter)
    5. Trine Dyrholm In a Better World

  3. In theory I should love MR. NOBODY and BELLFLOWER, but in execution, I was completely dumbfounded by both. Watching them was a mind-numbing experience, and I realize they’re completely different films. It’s funny that Film Junk beautifully summarized both feelings I had for both films.

    But both are examples of movies that I read the synopsis for, get pretty excited, and then as I watch them… feel completely disinterested. Kurt said it best – I was disengaged by a certain point to where I couldn’t fathom what was going on and I stopped caring. I thought the acting was pretty awful in BELLFLOWER, and found very little to admire about it. Again, I like the idea of equating an apocalypse with a breakup, but the way the filmmakers chose to tell the story may have been original for some, but not the least bit interesting to me. Both films seemed to be style over substance, and I know that’s a cliche criticism at this point, but if there was substance… I couldn’t hone in to what it was. Regardless, I certainly like hearing other people’s take on BELLFLOWER, but where that movie failed… I felt like Miranda July’s THE FUTURE succeeded. Tear me a new one if you like, but I’m on board with July’s stylistic quirkiness over the guy that made BELLFLOWER.

  4. Matt: If we were going to do documentary filmmakers failing to make fictional films successfull, There would have to be a spot for Blair Witch 2.

  5. Matt: did you watch Penn & Teller’s Magic and Mystery Tour on netflix instant? and if yes they only can air the Egypt show for some reason. the other two aren’t bad. you can find them on a torrent.

    Kurt: Penn & Teller Get Killed in out on dvd through the Warner Archive.

  6. Vaughn. It’s cool that Warner’s is offering some way to get this very under-appreciated Gem (It’s directed by Arthur-“Bonnie&Clyde” Penn, but with all the TV ubiquity of P&T these days, it seems insane that there isn’t a business case for a more widely available DVD/BLU disc release.

    FYI Toronto (and probably other big cities), there are a number of boutique video stores that Rent Warner-Archive DVD-R discs out, so you don’t have to drop a lot of $$ for a burned single-layer DVD with no packaging to see some of the rarer titles.

  7. Kurt, that’s cool you have video places renting the Warner Archive titles. There’s a boutique rental store in West LA – I’ll have to see if they carry them. Too bad I don’t live closer to it. I’d be there every day. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I really wish, though, that Warner Archive would put those movies on demand somewhere. Obviously Netflix Instant would be nice, but even somewhere they could be rented digitally like iTunes or Zune or Amazon. There are a TON of movies in the Warner Archive that I’d love to see, but not very many I particularly care to own. Seems like throwing a digital copy on a server somewhere would be even less overhead than burning DVD-Rs on demand.

  8. Regarding Bellflower: to put it into Row Three terms, I found the characters in Bellflower shrill. To put it into Film Junk terms, I found the acting/cinematography brutal.

    I would love to do a Movie Club podcast in which we all discuss Bellflower and Mr.Nobody. That would be the show of all shows. Maybe Matt could enlighten us with some of his ‘real’ film analysis (making his points by being the loudest/screaming like a 13 year old). ๐Ÿ˜‰ BUUUURRRRNNNNNNNNNNN.

    P.S. I actually like Dogtooth quite a bit, I just wasn’t on that episode. I talked about it when I was back though.

    P.S.S. Dark Wind is NOT worth the discussion unfortunately. It’s just middle of the road boring.

  9. “Dark Wind is NOT worth the discussion unfortunately. Itโ€™s just middle of the road boring.”

    The worst kind of movie, actually.

  10. Yeah, definitely. It’s worth checking out as a curiosity, but I think Morris’ handling of a fiction feature would be much more interesting at this stage of his career.

  11. All civility and manners would go out the window for a BELLFLOWER and MR NOBODY episode of Movie Club. I’m certain someone’s head would explode – SCANNERS-style – about halfway through recording.

  12. After three days of you moping because I beat you I had to let you have a little dignity back.

    BTW, what was it you called me when I won? Oh right, a cunt. Sportsmanship is alive and well in Jay Cheel.

  13. I probably shouldn’t be surprised that 3 people who agree on enjoying Dogtooth also agree on disliking The Last of the Mohicans. A fine 19-year old film, looks mesmerizing on Blu-ray, and you’re still missing the boat. What an unpredictable podcast – never change, guys!

  14. In all fairness, I’ve not seen The Last of The Mohicans since its Theatrical release. I’ve been itching to revisit it for ages and have another look with ‘fresh eyes.’ 20 years later.

  15. Misfits love. Sweet. We watched through the first two seasons in a matter of a week. S3 starts off a bit rocky because they lose a major character – you’ll be pissed Matt – but by episode 3 they’re somewhat back on track.

    Before you get to the first episode of S3, be sure to check out the webisode.

    Have you finished S2?

  16. I really disliked Bellflower to the point where I have yet to finish it. Agree that it has a unique look and the gearhead factor is definitely appealing but the first half goes nowhere. I didn’t even get as far as the apocalypse. I may give it another go but not from the beginning

  17. I’ve still got the series 2 finale to finish, Marina. I had already seen on IMDb that Sheehan had dropped out after the second season, which sucks as he really carries most of the first two seasons. Hulu only has the first two seasons so I’ll probably just wait and gorge on 3 once they pick that up.

    And I can totally understand why Bellflower will turn people off. It has some serious problems, but I still say that the themes it is trying to explore are interesting and it is being done in an interesting way. Wether it ultimately succeeds is another matter. Which is the same defense I use for Sucker Punch, which Kurt was all to quick to write off as well.

  18. Just watched The Room for the first time. Was surprised by the amount of similarities it shared with Bellflower. Maybe Tommy Wiseau should’ve shoehorned in some Mad Max imagery/quotes to pander to the film nerds, creating his own ‘personal apocalypse’ film. In the end, both films are pretty boring and insincere but at least The Room gets some laughs.

    P.S. Fans of the melodrama on display in both The Room and Bellflower should do themselves a favour and raid your local film school’s student film archives. TONS of ‘relationship apocalypse’ films at your disposal.

  19. There is such a profound difference in filmmaking skill between THE ROOM and BELLFLOWER that it’s kind of misleading to make the comparison.

    Shockingly lazy, folks.

  20. Antho42: To me The Room played like a film made by a guy who was less interested in telling a story than he was in making an investment/profit. It’s essentially soft-core, and seemingly designed to make a buck first and foremost.

    Kurt: You really don’t see similarities between the two films and their slow building relationship meltdowns?? Sure, the technical aspects are pretty different, but I think it’s pretty obvious that the two films share some similarities.

    Besides, how is this comparison any lazier/misleading than comparing Iron Man and Robocop?

  21. Both films use emotional extremes to connect with the audience. It’s like the classic student film ending. Due to a lack of ability and subtlety, you’ll find film students sending their main characters off of an emotional cliff (90% of student films seem to find the lead character shooting themselves at the end) as that’s their only way (and the easiest way) to elicit an emotional response from their audience. It’s much more challenging to elicit a connection/response from an audience using naturalism and subtlety than it is to shock them with some sort of extreme dramatic action or blunt shift in tone.

    It’s the same with acting. It’s much easier for an actor to display the extremes of emotion rather than express the same feelings through more subtle, interesting methods (their eyes). Example: The scene in American Movie where Mark claims that the actors are making a mockery of his script and then steps in to show them how it’s done (screams and yells louder than anybody else, which in his mind equals ‘good acting’).

    Bellflower seems to get away with this based 1. on its ‘original voice’ (aka it’s ability to speak to its own generation without alienating it and the way in which it can make outsiders feel ‘connected’ to something young and fresh. I’m sure MTV is dying to get their hands on Even Glodell.) and 2. the fact that, like I said before, it has shoehorned in Mad Max imagery to pander to cinephiles (and to give it a very lazy subtext that somehow still manages to astonish people). Otherwise, it’s just a middle of the road, undisciplined, poorly acted and overwritten relationship drama.

  22. It’s not what a film is about, it is how it is about it. So they are both about crumbling relationships with strong touches of melodrama, but the level of filmmaking on Bellflower is far far far more accomplished, interesting (outside of train-wreck) all around competent than The Room. Also, much of Wiseau’s mythology is that he spent somewhere around $2-3 Million dollars and pretty much self distributed. Bellflower is $0.5M at most and distributed widely across festivals and limited commercially by Oscilliscope.

    Touche on the Ironman thing. but my point on Robocop vs. Ironman, is that the way that Paul Verhoeven goes about it’s metal man story is far more interesting than how Jon Favreau does. One is satire, the other wishfulfillment.

  23. And there is your fundamental difference between THE ROOM and BELLFLOWER, one is a middle of the road somewhat overwritter relationship drama. The other is a wildly incompetent WAAAAY over-written (and simultaneously underwritten!) train-wreck of filmmaking.

    The comparison is a stretch. Due to a lack of ability and subtlety, you’ll find the critic making their main comparison bluntly as that’s their only way (and the easiest way) to elicit an emotional response from their readers.

  24. Robocop and Ironman are doing two different things in two very different ways. The only commonality is a guy in a metal suit.

    I would argue that The Room and Bellflower are attempting to do the exact same thing, only one is more technically competent than the other. I still think that their ultimate goal (eliciting an emotional response from the audience via a relationship meltdown) is reached using cheap tactics.

    I don’t understand how one is a fair comparison and the other isn’t??

  25. Also, I think there’s something slightly more interesting about the train wreck than there is about the middle of the road (although I’d generally like to avoid both).

  26. They are both MEGA-BLOCKBUSTERS of their respective periods, Robocop is arguably loosely based (inspired) by the Iron Man Source Material. Both involve huge-mega corporations (with slimeball management) building a super-man.

    I agree, train wreck is often more interesting than middle of the road. I usually try to avoid the middle of the road, but am often drawn to train-wrecks.

  27. The Dark Knight and Norbit are also MEGA-BLOCKBUSTERS, but it doesn’t mean they’re up for comparison based on that fact.

    I’d argue Robocop could be considered ‘loosely based’ on ANY comic book franchise. Although I’m sure you’d agree that Robocop attempts to dig a little deeper than the simple ‘man in a metal suit’ concept. Iron Man is family friendly, mass appeal storytelling that isn’t so interested in subverting or satirizing. It’s designed to entertain as many people from as many different walks of life as possible.

  28. The Room and Bellflower are shockingly similar in their inept melodramatic writing. The only difference is the Bellflower douche has better taste in soundtrack and a modern music video sensibility that has managed to convince people there is something to the rest of his insipid tripe. And they are moth misogynistic revenge fantasies. At least The Room has MST3k group watch value.

  29. It’s a combination of details, not a single one. Robocop and Ironman are in the same genre, they have very large plot details overlapping, and I’d believe that they were both made to entertain a wide audience (although Robocop went with a harder “R” rating than Favreau’s Ironman – so sure it could be argued that IRONMAN aimed WIDER, but that is not to say that Robocop was aimed at a niche audience…) The Dark Knight vs. Norbit misses my point entirely, unless you are Armond White.

    Robocop signals out the IRONMAN reference explicitly in its own movie (the first criminal busted is seen with Ironman comic in a convenience store). I’m saying a combination of details makes these comparable. Verhoeven may be a better (more ambitious?) director than Favreau, but they are both very talented and smart guys.

    The Room vs. Bellflower has arguably three points of comparison: Melodrama, Relationship Meltdown, and Writer/Director/Producer indie. I have no issue comparing on these grounds, but the talent involved on the Bellflower side is miles ahead of the Wiseau side of things. This is my main point of contention in that comparison, and it’s a doozy…it puts the two films in entirely different leagues on ‘how they go about it’ – one with some talent, the other with little.

  30. “Iโ€™m saying a combination of details makes these comparable.”

    And that’s what I’m saying about The Room/Bellflower. I’m not sure why one is fair and one isn’t. You listed the comparisons right there in your comment. (I still disagree that Robocop and Iron Man set out to achieve the same thing, but whatever.)

    I would also add another similarity to your list: the whole man-boy angle, which is played out in The Room via some of the side characters, but mainly through Lisa, who seems to be a bit of a woman-girl.

    I think Goon summed it up best with the comment on them both being inept at writing melodrama. (some of the acting is equally horrible as well).

  31. Iron Man & Robocop attempting to show the same thing is insane.

    At the end of the day in Iron Man Tony Stark has vanquished the evil and the world is better.

    At the end of the day in Robocop the actions of the hero are rendered meaningless and the entire concept of the Superhero is shown for what it is wish fulfillment and nothing more because the corporation runs the city and he still works for the Corporation.

  32. “but the talent involved on the Bellflower side is miles ahead of the Wiseau side of things.”
    The cinematography/general style and soundtrack are better. But the style is still pretty ugly and draws even more attention to itself, since the acting and writing are just as bad as The Room, if not worse.

    Because “Fuck dude ,fuck, like fuck it man, like shit. What the fuck? What the fuck are you doing here?” is half the dialogue, and there are non sequitor melodramatic moments just as head shakingly ridiculous as the grandmother with breast cancer.


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