Cinecast Episode 314 – Punchy, Punchy

Thanks to our buddy Anthony (@fullantho) for dropping by to be Superman’s bodyguard as Kurt and Andrew flop around with Zack Snyder’s very expensive wet noodle of a Superhero film. Since three’s a charm, we have three feature reviews in this episode before getting to The Watch List. We will not only be talking about Man of Steel, but also the quasi-indie thriller The East and the current who’s who of young stars facing the book of Revelations and more dick jokes than you can shake a stick at, in This is the End. Jerry Seinfeld makes somewhat of a return in our Watch List as a man with exotic cars and famous friends and a taste for java and pastries. Kurt talks wuxia films both past and present while focusing on the awesomeness of King Hu on the big screen. We wax positively on the careers of Tom Cruise and Mark Ruffalo as well as how to elevate a simple genre film into a classic using just great cinematography and good screenwriting. Have at it, folks.

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…




– Movie Club Podcast recording June 26th (Tristram Shandy and Naked Lunch)
– Kurt’s “New to Netflix” series on Twitchfilm
– Kurt’s kids talk Police Story

Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Gene Hackman and Terence Stamp
Superman II

“Land of Confusion”




Man of Steel
This is the End
The East




– “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” (season 1,2) | watch it here

Midnight in Paris
Silver Linings Playbook

A Touch of Zen
Police Story




– The Bling Ring
– World War Z
– Much Ado About Nothing




Kurt: Twitter | G+ | Letterboxd
Matt: Twitter | LetterBoxd | Where the Long Tail Ends
RowThree: Twitter | G+ | Letterboxd | Pinterest



~ COMMENTS or QUESTIONS? ~ (general)


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Kurt stop watching whatever you are watching and begin The Sopranos. It is time for you to meet the most complex character ever created.


I decided to be “that guy” and see how much Sopranos was going on Amazon these days. Season 1 on Blu ray for under 20 bucks.

Soo… looks like I’ll be rewatching some Sopranos soonish.

Kurt Halfyard

I should get on that, too. I’ve never seen the show. 7 seasons is a daunting thing.


It is, but it is also the best television show ever made… so…

just watch the 4 minute clip I posted in the Gandolfini thread, that should sell you.

That and Buscemi is in it a lot, as actor and director.

Nat Almirall

Add to that The Nerdist podcast with Billy West and John DiMaggio where West breaks out his Gandolfini impersonation — and also, a rewatch of The Man Who Wasn’t There is always in order.

Rick Vance

I will agree with that I am at Season 6 right now and this thing has trumped every single TV show I have watched before. It is an incredible achievement and probably the most important TV show to ever be made.


Imagine what it was like when it came out! The first season is finding its way but everything after is the best television, period. The Wire is a close second.

Kurt Halfyard

I’ll get there eventually. Sad that Gandolfini was still doing fabulous film work and should have had another two decades in him at least. He also leaves behind a 1 year old daughter. Sad.

Rick Vance

So Marvel & DC comics have been redoing the origin of all the major characters pretty consistently for 70 years (Batman is currently in the midst of doing just that) Most of the major stories people will recommend will either pay great lip service to the origin (Dark Knight Returns, All Star Superman) or just flat out be the origin (Year One, Birthright).

Part of that ties into the nature of the weird limbo these characters exist in. They are in a perpetually state of to be continued. Marvel & DC comics are quite possibly the messiest version of serialized storytelling in the world right now.

This also plays into the common misconception that Superheroes are the ‘Modern Myth’ or ‘Mythical’ tales for our modern times. One of the major components to myths is that they have definitive endings. In that way Superheroes are really the modern Folklore, tales continued interpreted and modified on as they go on into the ages with each teller adding and embellishing certain details to fit the times in which the story is being told.

Also for 90% of the characters who stick in your head the origin is the keystone and the most important story and in a lot of cases the best one. So if you are exasperated with that concept I would suggest steering very clear of the films (I predict the frequency of origin stories to increase until the whole thing crashes down).

Rick Vance

I will say it since you guys brought it up, TF3: Dark of the Moon is a major blockbuster entrenched in a major franchise that has balls.

Also has no regard for the audiences wishes concerning said franchise and is solely concerned with creating the movie that resulted of that (For the better).

Sean Kelly

Dark of the Moon is probably my favourite of the Transformers films (though I never got around to buying the film on DVD).

Rick Vance

And lastly

I was also reminded of Matrix Revolutions in that last 45 minutes so I went back and watched all 3 of those movies and I will take the final fight in Revolutions over Man of Steel any day of the week. It is oozing style and is much better at linking the little fight bits with the grand gestures. Also Hugo Weaving is a much better villain.


The EVIL GENIUS over at Stand By For Mind Control Blog nails the problem with modern screenwriting, as evidenced by MAN OF STEEL, right here in Socratic dialogue mode:

ME: It begins on the planet Krypton—

BRAIN: I’m with you so far.

ME: –with Kal-El’s, i.e. Superman’s, ma screaming and giving birth to him.

BRAIN: Subtle. Go on.

ME: After which Jor-El, Supes’s dad, tells the council the whole planet’s going to blow up, because even though he told them not to, they messed around with the planet’s core anyway, and now they’re all going to die, when suddenly, mid-discussion, Zod storms in, shoots an old lady on the council with a funny hat (the lady is wearing a funny hat; Zod doesn’t shoot her with one), and proclaims himself the new ruler of Krypton, whereupon Jor-El, after Zod refuses his request to quit with the revolutionizing, runs away and jumps on a flying lizardbug that whisks him to the secret underwater chamber where the magical half-skull of a Neanderthal Kryptonian (I’m guessing on that bit) is kept, which, see, the skull, it has these sparkly designs on it, but those don’t really matter, because the thing is is that it’s the Codex, which means all of Krypton’s biological history—or the, like, DNA of everyone who ever lived? or of everyone who’s going to live? or something?—is on it, or in it, and it’s one of a kind, it’s seriously the most wowsers superskull ever, though strangely it’s neither guarded nor locked up, hence Jor-El has no problem nabbing it, swimming back out, and leaping to his death when the hovering attack ships try and fail to blast him from like ten feet away, only his leap doesn’t kill him, because, in a hugely surprising twist, from out of nowhere flies his winged lizardbug, who takes him home, where he then laser-zaps the Codex into baby Kal’s very cells before packing him into a spaceship and shooting him to Earth, one of the planets that, about 18,000 years ago, then imperialist Krypton sent scout ships to in an effort to establish far-flung colonies (colonies they later abandoned), although actually, back up a sec, it’s ma who presses Kal’s launch button, even though by now Zod has barged in and told ma that doing so will make him very angry indeed, so angry that when she does it anyway, he kills Jor-El, only then, before his henchman’s spaceship can blow up Kal’s escape pod, the good Kryptonians blow up Zod’s henchman’s ship and bring Zod and the rest of them to trial, where they’re judged not only by the (surviving) council members—the ones apparently at fault for the planet’s imminent disintegration, let’s not forget—but also by Kal’s ma, whose husband, you may recall from earlier in the film, stole the lone Kryptionian Codex, destroyed it by zapping its info into his son, and shot his son—which son, by the way, was born naturally, a totally illegal thing to do—to Earth, and nobody ever mentions this or even looks at her funny (at Kal’s ma), not even Zod, who you’d think, being on trial for his life, might bring it up, but so anyway he yells about racial purity and stuff, nobody cares, and he’s sent to like a weird snakey prison ship that turns into a scary triangle and zaps itself into the Phantom Zone, quite the stroke of luck as it turns out, because it’s basically right then that the entire planet blows up (the effects of which explosion release Zod from imprisonment), an event we watch through the eyes of the stoically accepting mother of Kal, the very special boy now on his way to Earth, and, one expects, further stupendous adventures.

BRAIN: I hate to say it, but color me impressed. Simply fitting that much into a single movie is quite a feat. And however loony it all is, I like the whole story taking place on Krypton. On the one hand, I hate backstory movies, but this is kind of cool, even daring, in a way, having the whole film not even be about Superman, but rather about the struggles of his parents on a dying world.

ME: Oh, I’m sorry. Was I not clear? That’s the first ten minutes.

BRAIN: Fuck you.

ME: Maybe twelve. Give or take.

BRAIN: Pardon me. I meant to say: FUCK. YOU.

ME: I swear on my grandmother’s grave!

BRAIN: Are you fucking kidding me? Let me remind you how Jaws opens: some kids are drinking at a beach bonfire. One stoned girl runs down to the water, strips naked, goes swimming, and is eaten by a fucking shark. Is that not exciting enough?


Sean Kelly

Antho definitely picked the wrong podcast to trash Stoker. It is probably still my top film of the year (though Before Midnight is up there as well) and I just got the film on blu-ray and look forward to rewatching it.

Arnold Schizopolis

Here’s my review of Man of Steel on Letterboxd

After watching it twice (Fri & Sat) and listening to various podcasts reviewing the film, I was surprised over the amount of people that really disliked it. After my first screening in 3D, I’ll admit was I a bit disappointed that I didn’t get a more cohesive version of a Superman narrative that the trailers were promising. But I still thought it was a solid sci-fi action adventure. My two biggest complaints were the choppy pacing of the Clark origin story and Michael Shannon’s generic General Zod. He’s supposed to be a GENERAL that’s able to lead men, yet he plays him as a pure psychotic. Shannon was still solid, but he ended up having the weakest performance compared to the rest of the cast.

While watching MOS a second time in 2D, I was able to focus more on the characters and this time around, I really loved it. As I explained in my letterboxd review, the hero’s journey was there. And for me, when a movie gets the character themes right and doesn’t really screw up the other plot elements, I become a believer!

I think a very polarizing film is usually a good sign for a film’s legacy. For me, MOS will be the perfect companion to Donner’s 1978 Extended Superman, simply because they are polar opposites in every way…except, the character of Superman. He’s realized impressively in both films. But it’s obvious MOS had the more difficult task and I’m thankful for it.


Haven’t seen “the east” yet, but what you said sounded a bit like “the edukators”, german movie from 2004:

Three anti-establishment teenagers play pranks on upper class people by breaking into their appartement and re-arranging their furniture.

I also liked the director’s other two films “Free Rainer” and “Das weisse Rauschen”. Check it out if you haven’t.

I am a big fan of your show for quite some time now. Especially the way kurt catches his breath BEFORE finishing his sentence leaving andrew with no chance to jump in without sounding rude.


[…] you think the end of Game of Thrones would reduce the length of the Row Three Cinecast? Silly […]


Late to the party on The East, but I’m gonna have to throw in with Andrew. I think this is one of the best films of the year. The character work is textured and layered, the story is fantastic, a real “Page turner”, and the examination of the Anonymous-y left wing politics is very thoughtful and measured. Completely up my alley.

And I hated Another Earth, so this was a huge surprise for me.


And Kurt’s anger about the East not going the cynical ending is suuuuuch bullshit. If it were ‘twaddle’ she’d run off with the dude with some romantic suggestions. Instead she pulls out from all of them, and from the last shot you see its rooted in her Christian background, which is extremely interesting to me given that she was infiltrating a left wing group which you would not associate with such things, and considering that right wing organizations are paying lip service to religion despite being as unChristlike as one could possibly get. That’s far more layered and a better commentary on where people currently sit politically than the usual brutal cynicism.

She’s pulled into the world, is tempted by it, but finds herself in the end. How dare a movie with these themes suggest any sort of alternative to pure despair. The ending Kurt wants is the twaddle.


I’m not exactly sure what I want, but I felt that the EAST was only a half-formed movie that never quite fully lives up to its premise. I wanted more. I’m not ‘forcing one ending or another’ onto the film, but I know I was 100% with what I got.

Maybe that THE EAST feels bigger than ANOTHER EARTH or THE SOUND OF MY VOICE, so my expectations were higher…


To me The East feels like an adaptation from a novel that doesn’t exist. The world feels rich and fully explored and many characters have little things going on in the way they carry themselves that are never really explored, aren’t all that important, but give that extra touch of authenticity a film like this needs. It could have very easily have been heavy handed and more straightforward culty but instead the tone shows a delicate hand. The spin the bottle scene is especially key, in one scene making them look like hippies, cults and genuinely warm in all one fell swoop. They do such an amazing job allowing you to believe she can be taken by these moments but still able to jump back to her other world. At no time does it feel like she has completely lost herself, or that she has completely betrayed anyone. I am very impressed with it. Only Before Midnight, NO and Stoker had me as rapt through every scene this year.

And of those NO and The East stand out to me for the authenticity in their characters. NO achieves it though more through visual (un)aesthetic. I don’t know if anyone has seen NO on R3?