Cinecast Episode 273 – It’s TIFF 2012!

Thanks once again to Ryan McNeil of The Matinee for dropping back in for our huge TIFF recap (and almost spoiler-free!). Andrew sits in quiet solitude on the sofa, acting mainly as an audience member (admittedly, mostly fiddling with Pinterest and playing Tiger Woods Golf) with much amusement as Ryan and Kurt recap a large chunk of their TIFF experience. Sadly, due to the late hour of recording, there was no time left for The Watch List. We are happy, hoever to kick of the Fall Semester of homework assignments. The discussion gets pretty spirited where there is agreement and disagreement on many of the films screening at this years festival. Drop in again next week for a return to our usual programming: a lengthy discussion on PT Anderson’s The Master and responses to this first volley of homework assignments.

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_12/episode_273.mp3

 
 
Full show notes are under the seats…



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IN-HOUSE BUSINESS:
– Jandy on The MatineeCast (coming soon)
– Ryan’s1000th day in a row posting at The Matinee (coming soon)
– Kurt on Mamo! podcast


TIFF RECAP:
Amour
Ghost Graduation
Seven Psychopaths
A Place Beyond The Pines
Jump
Like Someone In Love
Here Comes The Devil
Painless
Room 237
————Previous Rowthree Post on The Shining Conspiracies
To The Wonder
Cloud Atlas
Byzantium
The Impossible

Ryan:
Frances Ha
Much Ado About Nothing

Kurt:
Everyday
Gangs of Wasseypur
Berberian Sound Studio
Leviathan
The Brass Teapot


HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT:
Question: In the world of movies today (i.e. still alive and working), who is currently “the master?”
email your response


NEXT WEEK:
The Master


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

FOLLOW US:
Andrew: Twitter, G+, Letterboxd
Kurt: Twitter, G+, Letterboxd
Matt: Twitter, LetterBoxd
RowThree: Twitter, G+, Letterboxd

 

Cinecast Cinecast
Hosted by Andrew James, Kurt Halfyard, Matt Gamble and the occasional guest.

31 Comments

      • Well, if they do, here’s a primer:

        Essentials:
        Treasure of the Sierra Madre
        Under the Volcano
        The Dead
        The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean
        List of Adrian Messenger
        Asphalt Jungle
        The Man Who Would Be King
        Maltese Falcon
        Prizzi’s Honor
        Night of the Iguana

        The WWII Documentaries
        Report from the Aleutians
        The Battle of San Pietro
        Let There Be Light

        Good Misfires:
        In This Our Life
        Across the Pacific
        Wise Blood

        Didn’t Like Them But Other People Do
        African Queen
        Key Largo
        Moulin Rouge
        Fat City

        Reply
        • You have Key Largo and List of Adrian Messenger mixed up on your lists.

          Interestingly, I also don’t care for African Queen very much, even though I’m a big fan of both Bogart and Hepburn. I don’t know why it didn’t work for me.

          Reply
          • For me the best thing about Key Largo is Huston’s comparison of Edward G. Robinson taking a bath to a crab without his shell.

            Adrian Messenger is just trashy fun, from GCGD Scott’s creepy mustache and utter lack of detective skills to the overly stylized sets to the fake cameos, for me it’s Huston most outright fun film, though Roy Bean is very close.

  1. I am really kicking myself for not making more of an effort to see Gangs of Wasseypur Part Two. While I enjoyed Part One, I thought the film could have cut down on the number of characters it was following. However, it sounds like Part Two pulls everything together quite nicely.

    On the point of social media enhancing the film festival experience, I have to agree that it made TIFF so much fun this year. By time the latter part of the week hit it felt really odd to sit in Silver Linings Playbook (one of only three films I saw by myself) and not run into at least one person I knew.

    Lastly, I was pleasantly surprised by The Sessions as well. John Hawkes and Helen Hunt are great in it…and this is coming from a person who normally is not a fan of Hunt.

    Reply
    • Part one merely lays out the context and the players. Part II goes to town with everything in such a rewarding, entertaining and above all, easy to follow, way.

      Man, I love this movie.

      Reply
  2. So let me get this straight. The movie that says you are going to get old and die, which we all know, that idea is worth of praise and Haneke is OMG awesome.

    But the movie that tells you you’re going to get screwed over by the company you work for, which is just about as obvious, but you know, actually helpful as you live your life, that’s trite and is why Cloud Atlas sucks.

    Ooooooookaayyyyyyyyyy.

    Reply
    • It must be excellent to boil things down to black and white, Corey. This comment is empty. There is so much nuance in how each of those two films had an effect up on me that lead up to what (according to you, is at best a contradiction, at worse, hypocracy).

      Oddly enough, I can relate to the couple in Amour as actual people behaving (imperfectly) as people. Where as everyone in Amour is a type, a cipher and vessel for cheap storytelling.

      Your mileage may vary.

      Reply
      • What I’m saying, is that when you kept going back to the idea of the movie itself, alone, you were attacking them as old and obvious and boring.

        If the Cloud Atlas story about getting screwed over by your job is obvious and/or boring, then Amour’s “you will die” message is especially obvious and boring, because it’s so much more direct, without analogy, and in my opinion, I didn’t even buy them as a couple at all. I never saw the couple in Amour as particularly loving, in action or dialogue, and there’s never a true bubbling under of what he’s going through to reach the point he ultimately reaches in that film. Amour is not touching and moving, it’s cold and distant and nihilistic.

        Reply
  3. Kurt, you lost me when you said Ralph Fiennes’ character in In Bruges was the weakest part. Ryan for the win!

    The description I am hearing of Amour reminds me of what it was like watching Death at Grace doc… where you are just watching people die as it actually happens. That doc scarred me, and I get the feeling Haneke is doing something similar in dramatic form.

    Reply
  4. There’s a film that I saw at TIFF that I would like to bring attention to, which was both a film that affected me on a personal level and also resulted one of my most well-received blog posts ever.

    The film is called TOWER and it’s a Canadian film in the Discovery programme and it was described in the official synopsis about being a “character study about a thirty-something loner who tries to keep the world at arm’s length.”

    As someone with Asperger’s Syndrome, I related strongly to the premise of the film and this connection only got stronger as I watched the film. Now, Asperger’s was not mentioned in the film and when I asked the director during the Q&A, he said that it was his intention not give any labels to the main character (the director later mentioned on Twitter that I had asked the most interesting question – https://twitter.com/MDFFca/status/245942191749476353).

    That said, I saw this as not only a movie about a guy with Asperger’s Syndrome, but the most genuine and non-biased portrayal of the disorder I’ve ever seen on film.

    Anyways, here’s my review for the film, which ended up being 3rd in my top 5 of the festival: http://www.skonmovies.com/2012/09/tiff12-my-thoughts-on-tower.html

    Reply
  5. With Ryan on To the Wonder but hoping to see something different next time around. My take on Affleck’s job in the film was not to say fuck the Earth, enjoy your time while it lasts… there is a deliberate contrast made between the beauty of the earth and its monuments in the nostalgia of France, with the angular and tilled monstrosities of the modern world that Affleck’s character is a direct participant in. To me that is there to show this conflict in the individual that mirrors the conflict of his emotions between the romantic and the real, how once you dig deeper beneath the soil that beauty is undermined. The work of his employer is (literally) seeping into the lives of the residents, what one thinks of as isolated, spills over. The selfishness of the employer is the selfishness of Affleck’s character writ large. Everything we do has a ripple effect (hell there is one long shot of a water ripple in reverse if I remember right). All the characters in the movie are trying to negotiate the Ideal and the Real in their lives, Bardem’s priest does away with the fantasy of religion and tries to help the people directly in what small way he can. I am unsure what the film is ultimately saying in the final sequence, whether one should surrender to the Ideal or accept reality. Olga’s seemingly triumphant twirl towards the wonder seems to be saying Fuck reality, you lived it, it exists, it transcends it all. I don’t know. I need to see it again.

    The characters are ciphers, and that is a large part of my problem here. It feels cold, detached. Beauty as something Ideal, not grounded in emotion, not cut as cleanly as Tree of Life which correlated to memory. It plays like a commercial version of love, like when a bank wants to sell you an idea of happiness and how they can help you with your dream. I want it tethered to something real, but on first viewing I don’t see it.

    Reply
  6. One last point on Cloud Atlas (after hearing Kurt’s heated rant): I don’t think it is AT ALL an oversight that many of the storylines are genre tropes, and that each story is playing out a different genre. Again, playing like Lost, which does the same thing and to me the reasoning behind it is not that they have no ambition and are being lazy, but that if you are telling six different stories this complexly woven the last thing you want (or can even fit in considering the run-time) is stories that do not gain from the benefit of shorthand. It is using the shorthand of the tropes not to be profound but to expedite those story beats so as to let one concentrate more on the ride of it all, the musicality of it – same with Lost, the characters are widgets to move plot around, let the mystery unfold. The more fascinating part of the film is the connections, the superimposing of these events to make something bigger than the parts. For me the genre stuff was done tongue in cheek (Thug Hanks was not a mistake, God, there is no way you do that straight, they are having a laugh). Cloud Atlas is a playful movie, playful in its bizarre make-up, its use of genre, its audacity of creating a bizarro language, and clearly, Kurt, you didn’t come to the film as something winking, but as dead serious, which is strange if you loved Speed Racer. There is a lot of Speed Racer in this film, in just how it doesn’t go for the customary laugh but does stuff really goofy, as if to say fuck you and your expectations (let’s toss you off a building) we are here to have fun, I am the maestro, let’s go.

    A terrible film by normal measures, but I don’t see it aspiring to be normal.

    Reply
    • alright dammit, one more point: Kurt rails against the antiquated messages of Cloud Atlas, that we have in this day and age overcome a lot of the issues so as to make them feel dated. But that is the point. Think about where each issue is placed in the chronology of this story. The film is presenting a timeline of mankind’s biggest blunders, a survey of our ethical dilemmas as we evolve. Racism, homophobia, journalistic integrity, energy wars, they are all in the requisite eras when which they were most on the minds of people (note: the issue of identity of what makes a person a person is posed in the future, post-singularity). It is not a question of how dated they are, the thesis is not about anyone of them particularly but about what ethics is, how we replay issues and how to overcome them.

      In a sentence, Kurt, the problem is you are obsessed with the individual pieces not appreciating that in the act of pastiche you make something else from them.

      Reply
      • I’m saying that a lot of what might elevate a film like Cloud Atlas, feels a bit too late. Kinda like GREEN ZONE’s message about the GulfWarII felt way to late for its earnest denouncement of the reason (and lies) for the war.

        Reply
        • But do not most of the stories take place in eras where “feels a bit too late” is not the case? Judging only from the novel, unlike Green Zone, the story does not put that much emphasis on the contemporary, Anglo-Saxon worldview.

          Reply
  7. I’m on Kurt’s side in that I don’t totally understand the hatred towards To the Wonder (at least from those who liked Tree of Life). HOWEVER, he is wrong in that Benna Fleck does indeed whisper a single “Why?” in the film.

    Reply
    • I can confirm also that he does. And stuff like that, the lackluster score, the relatively uninteresting visuals, the character reduction to pure ciphers are largely why I hated the experience. At some point you reduce down to a bank commercial idea of ‘happiness’ or ‘love’ with all the context-less twirling through wheat fields. This feels the most superficial of Malick’s films, and for a theme as intimate as love it becomes a problem, for me. I don’t have much interest in the Hallmark ideal of love and loss (even the context-less throwing of the television seems like a music video insert). Conversation or at least time to sit with characters in some kind of intimate (i.e. unstaged) circumstance would be the means to tethering the emotion and using the twirling through wheat as the select accents. The most we have with Benna Fleck is a ten second clip in a grocery store, and then how he does his job. Otherwise he is like Olga’s shadow just walking behind her.

      Reply
  8. Damn it, one week into the school year and I’m already truant. I guess I’ll add my homework to next episode’s comments.

    Kurt: that description of Berberian Sound Studio was absolutely perfect. I actually thought of both Mullholland Drive and The Conversation a lot while watching it. I can see a lot of people being extremely bored by the film, but I loved it and found it strangely captivating and hilarious. Very fun movie and hot damn that secretary really boiled my potato. Yowzer.

    Reply

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