Cinecast Episode 315 – From Shakespeare to Prada to Zombies

Three theatrical reviews from three wildly different films. Top 5 List of 2013 so far. The advertising differences of Pacific Rim and The Counselor. A fair bit of Watchlist chat, specifically on the Coen’s Man Who Wasn’t There, and Sundance Original series, Rectify. This ain’t a short one, 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…




Mike White
Orange County

“Drop it Low”
Esther Dean & Chris Brown




The Bling Ring
Much Ado About Nothing
World War Z




5) Expedition to the End of the World
4) Before Midnight
3) Mud
2) Stoker
1) Upstream Color

5) Before Midnight
4) Iron Man 3
3) Fast Furious 6
2) Side Effects
1) Stoker




– “Rectify” (season 1)

The Man Who Wasn’t There
Silver Linings Playbook
End of Watch




Blue Jasmine
The Counselor
I’m So Excited
Pacific Rim




– White House Down
– Byzantium



~ COMMENTS or QUESTIONS? ~ (general)


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


  1. “315 and my name is Andrew James. I’m from Minneapolis and I’m joined by Greetings welcome to the Row Three Cinecast this is episode number Thurt Halfyard out of Toronto.”

    That editing flub made for a humorous couple of seconds.

    • That seems to happen every now and again in post processing. This isn’t the first time. Consider it our gift to you!

  2. Seriously, has Gamble died?

    Or is he lying comatose somewhere, a keyboard by his twitching hand, producing random Cinecast comments in the same way as unlimited monkeys are producing the works of Shakespeare over unlimited millenia?

  3. Nah, Gamble’s been swamped by the overly busy Summer season at his theatre, and cannot seem to meet our schedule. Plus Minneapocalpyse that weekend, so there is that, we were lucky to get a show in the can at all!

    • Yeah, its a combination of being very busy at work the past six weeks and just not seeing anything. After 12 hour days I’m just not in much of a rush to hang out at work to watch a movie.

      All the big ones have opened now so my schedule should open up after the 4th and I can go back to calling Andrew and Kurt fucking idiots for your listening pleasure.

  4. Perhaps others can post their top five of the year so far and you can make it a listener interaction segment next show.

    Here’s mine:

    5) Ghost Graduation
    It’s a shame not many people are going to be able to see this lovely Spanish teen horror-comedy, which is heavily influenced by John Hughes films. I’d highly recommend it if you can find it.

    4) Valentine Road
    My top film of the Hot Docs film festival, which wasn’t even on my radar when the fest started. However, I’m very happy that this was recommended to me and I highly recommend checking it out when it eventually airs on HBO (which produced the doc).

    3) Stories We Tell
    If I saw this during it’s regular run in late-2012, it would have been near or at the top of my 2012 list. However, it still currently has a decent ranking on this year’s list.

    2) Before Midnight
    This film is at a very close second. As I was pondering my rankings, I decided that I still like my top film better, which of course is….

    1) Stoker
    My love for this film was solidified when I rewatched it on blu-ray (which BTW was selling for a full $10-13 less than most new blu-rays these days). The cinematography and editing in this film is exquisite and I could very easily pause the film at any point and look in awe at the mise en scène.

  5. Yeah, Pacific Rim looks mindless, and giant, Jazzercize-controlled Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Ems isn’t a winning concept in my book. I will be getting dragged to see this, so I still honestly hope Del Toro can do something interesting here.
    The Bling Ring sounds good, though!

  6. Here’s my top 5 of the year so far:

    1. Inside Llewyn Davis: The Coen Brothers on top form are hard to beat. Slight on story, but filled with wonderful characters, great music and the kind of warped humour the Coens are famous for, this is likely to stay in my top 5 throughout the year if not claim the number one position come January.

    2. The Punk Syndrome: Following the day to day lives of a Finnish punk band made up of men with mental disabilities, The Punk Syndrome is one of the warmest, most honest and funniest documentaries I’ve seen in years. It doesn’t have a very strong structure/narrative, but it makes up for this with a wonderfully unforced and heartwarming look at the band and their relationships. Very funny without taking the piss and touching without wringing out their problems, it’s an intimate, raw, rock documentary that just happens to be about a group of musicians with various disabilities.

    3. Wreck it Ralph: It’s classed as a 2013 release in the UK. I really enjoyed this. Being a bit of a gamer I loved all the references and things, but really it’s the solid narrative and fun, original ideas that got me. Plus it looks great.

    4. Stoker: I loved it. The story is slight and the writing flawed but it’s meticulously well crafted in terms of mis-en-scene. The visuals, soundtrack and performances (specifically Mia Wasikowska) are excellent and the film sucks you in with its seductively disturbing and sexy atmosphere. This is a stylish coming of age story of the highest calibre.

    5. The Great Beauty: I mentioned this in the comments section for Bob’s review of La Dolce Vita. This film by Paulo Sorrentino is basically a modern reworking of that film’s idea; taking a freewheeling ride around the high society of Rome and cutting it down along the way. I actually preferred this to Fellini’s film though (which I’m not a big fan of) because it’s much funnier and contains a more likeable and relatable lead in Toni Servillo.

  7. 5. Furious 6
    Best spectacle and character fueled action of the year.

    4. Pain & Gain
    Gaudy, stupid and downright hilarious. The Rock is in great form this year. The joke is that the characters in this movie don’t sound any different than the characters in any other Michael Bay film.

    3. Evangelion 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo
    The end of the second film promised the record scratch as it were of the universe on repeat and the third film delivered. Absolutely stunning animation on display the infusion of CGI into the drawn stuff has not slown down some people at all.

    2. Spring Breakers
    This sums up my thoughts on this movie:

    1. Upstream Color
    The theme is the same yet the content is remarkably different from Primer. The amount of the visual and audio quality has improved however is a marvel. I want more science fiction like this, and more Dune references.

  8. 20 minutes of Much Ado About Nothing and I was out the door. I didn’t absorb a single thing, not even through body language. It was like trying to watch a foreign film without subtitles. Apparently my ability to decipher Shakespeare is quite poor. I’ll never know if this movie is actually any good.

    The only thing reconfirmed is that Whedon hires people to read lines in his preferred rhythm, not to actually ACT. I swear, other than Steve the Pirate and Agent Coulson, I don’t think he has anyone in his usual group of actors that I can say is actually anything better than okay.

    • I saw it last year at TIFF with Whedon & the cast there. I absolutely loved it while my wife quite hated it despite being just as big of fan of Whedon & the cast. I hadn’t actually read the play but I was totally able to absorb it.

      That said, parts of it were so great I thought because of the body language. Parts of it (not sure in the first 20 minutes) you could almost ignore what they were saying and pick things up through body language.

      Also part of what was great, sometimes via Whedon sometimes via the cast was little jokes and puns off what they were saying versus the actions.

        • LOL!

          Well, I don’t think I’m quite as dedicated film fan as most there on Row Three, in that I don’t see as nearly as many films compare to most people on this site. That said I’m a big fan of certain creators and mention something involving say Joss Whedon or perhaps Neil Gaiman and I’ll throw in my 2 cents.

        • Actually, thinking about it, I might have not had ever found Row Three if it wasn’t for Joss Whedon. 😛

          As I stumbled onto Mamo thanks to their second episode being on Serenity and they had posted their podcast on the Serenity message boards that Universal was running. I became a fan of the show following them eventually to RowThree, which I’m not sure if I would have stumbled onto it on my own.

    • That’s too bad Goon. The movie actually gets good after about 20 minutes. I literally dozed off a few times in the beginning but caught on easily once the actual plot started to kick in. It was quite funny and charming.

  9. As for top 5 of the year… discounting Stories We Tell which was my no. 1 last year

    Before Midnight
    Frances Ha
    The Croods

    Gatsby is the worst thing I’ve seen with Spring Breakers a close second.

  10. I don’t think I can actually put together a top 5 as I haven’t seen 5 good movies that were released in 2013. Too much of the beginning of any year is catching up with the good movies of the previous year (last night I finally saw Silver Linings Playbook). Then the rest of the year has been some pretty lousy movies.

  11. The first half of this year hasn’t been strong, but if I had to scrape together a top five, they would be (in no particular order):

    Europa Report
    The Great Gatsby
    Side Effects

    I’m hoping and expecting that A Field in England will supplant one of those next week, but if all five appear in my top ten for the year, then 2013 will have been a crushing disappointment.
    I don’t count documentaries in my film lists, but if I did then Encounters at the End of the World would be high on the list.

        • Beautifully styled; a wonderful synergy of cinematography, music, editing and performance. The bit where a roped and brain-scrambled Reece Shearsmith emerges from a tent and bumbles across the field like some possessed marionette is one of the oddest, darkest, funniest, most unsettling scenes of any film this year.
          It’s bamboozling, but the more I think about it – and it’s been sluicing around my mind a LOT since watching it – the more i’m convinced it’s a real gem. A singular and hallucinatory slice of British Weird, and Wheatley’s the most interesting director in the country.

          • Personally I didn’t find it as weird and unsettling as I felt it needed to be or as much as everyone seems to be making out (I’m in the minority for not being a fan). Yes, a couple of sequences were strong, but it never really got under my skin on a whole. Aesthetically speaking, the black and white photography looked good, but I’ve seen the format used much more effectively elsewhere too. Here I thought it gave it a studenty feel rather than enhancing the look. Plus Reece Shearsmith’s performance didn’t work for me, I thought it was a bit weak and didn’t settle well with the others. Michael Smiley was great as always though.

            I’m probably being overly harsh on the film due to the fact that everyone else seems to be worshipping it, but I was disappointed as I’m a fan of his previous work and was quite excited by the concept.

            Did you watch it on the big screen or just on TV? I imagine a cinema viewing would increase the impact of the film. I watched it on an average sized TV.

            Each to his own anyway. I’m still keen on a re-watch despite my problems with the film.

          • The film has come in for a lot of stick from what I’ve seen: predictably being labelled as pretentious, too confusing and so on. The puzzle-box nature of it I liked; the density of the script and the fact that it is open to many readings, but, yes, it could have been less opaque, certainly.
            I was frustrated with it at times, but also captivated by its eccentricities. From the Goon-ish irreverence and surrealism to folklore myths about fairy rings, it captured something true about England, or the English psyche or something. Also it was wonderfully photographed, had some stunningly unique moments, and Reece Shearsmith (my heart sank when I saw him in the trailer) gave an incredible performance, I thought.

  12. My top 5:

    1) Upstream Color
    2) Before Midnight
    3) This is the End
    4) World War Z
    5) Star Trek Into Darkness

    Caught Frances Ha and Stories We Tell in 2012.

  13. 1) Man of Steel (that’s right)
    2) Upstream Color
    3) Side Effects
    4) Stoker
    5) This is the End

    Honorable mention: Spring Breakers. Still haven’t seen Before Midnight, Mud, Stories We Tell.

    I still don’t understand some of the “hate” for MoS, like it was offensive to them. 300 was offensive…thematically, I hated that movie. After multiple watches, I’ll always defend Man of Steel

    • 300 on rewatches got much better for me. I’m still watining for Emma’s defense piece on why it’s much more cerebral and interesting than Tree of Life. 300 is actually pretty awesome in that at least it knows what it is and just kind of strives for cool visuals and interesting fight sequences and characters. Man of Steel has none of that. It’s mostly nonsensical (or at least distancing in its moments), the characters are incredibly bland (and when you make Michael Shannon bland you’re doing something seriously wrong) and the fight sequences are boring boring. MoS is pretty much a lazy, nonsensical mess with no emotional beats or character depth at all. It’s a series of missed opportunities.

      • I only agree with you on Shannon’s performance. He wasn’t horrible, but he was mediocre from his opening scene to his last.

        I’m realizing that most of Snyder’s films improve upon rewatch. Dawn of the Dead, Watchmen and now Man of Steel get better after each viewing (didn’t see Sucker Punch or the owl movie). I see what he’s aiming for in those films and end up appreciating them more. I would actually include least on a visual level, but its messages of superior race making, killing the weak and the extreme perversion of diversity make me face-palm. I don’t know Frank Miller’s political views, but it felt like he wrote us his right-wing republican wet dream fantasy. By the end, I couldn’t wait for Leonidas to die. He was an arrogant prick lol. And ironically, I think Man of Steel is a response to those themes in 300. I don’t know if Snyder intended that.

  14. I have only seen the first trailer of Pacific Rim, and I am not one appealing to the notion that there will be strong character emotion to be had… for me it is the Godzilla factor in the hands of a capable director, giant robots vs. giant monsters with style = summer fun. No superhero bullshit, no franchise burdening purists, just action-adventure.

    You guys have got seriously jaded. Outside of Marvel projects which I find painstakingly conservative in formula to churn them out en masse, I like spectacle movies, I can enjoy being on the edge of the adventure so long as the formula is buried under the weight of the spectacle and the spectacle gives the illusion of autonomy… I will believe a man can fly. Andrew compares Pacific Rim to Transformers, and I say, take Michael Bay out of the equation, and add Monsters, and add rain-soaked night scenes with a sense of ominous threat a la Cloverfield, and hell yeah, I am in. I am not even against the concept of Transformers, it is the Michael Bay part I am against.

    • Jaded? In my top 5 this episode were Iron Man and Fast & Furious. And I include those two with no irony whatsoever. I think they were positively terrific films. They are all spectacle but they also have some smarts, snappy or worthwhile dialogue, pretty decent performances and charcter arcs to go along with the theatrics. PR might have those elements, but judging from the trailers, I’d say those are the last things they care about.

      That said, I see your anticipation for the Godzilla/Cloverfield element and I can appreciate that to some extent.

      • Well, I’m fucking jaded.

        …But then again, I’m also looking forward to THE LONE RANGER, so what the heck do I know?

        • Maybe I am alone, but I am enjoying this summer a helluva lot more than last year and there is still Elysium, Pacific Rim, Only God Forgives, Blue Jasmine, and the new Gondry film to go.

          • Oh, there are good things to come for sure. I judge a summer by the number of times I foolishly get excited for the big-popcorn stuff, and the number of times I walk away disappointed….This year it was definitely MAN OF STEEL. And to a lesser degree Star Trek 2-redo.

            But the smaller fare: Much Ado, Mud, Upstream, Stoker, Before Midnight have all be sooo good.


      Also I feel both Andrew and Kurt’s discussion of the Hellboy movies are expecting of films that those films never intended to be.

      Movies still do BIG SCREEN spectacle better than any other medium on the planet so while that sun still shines I will make hay in it.

      • I actually quite like the HELLBOY films, the second one in particular….the argument being made is that they pale in comparison to del Toro’s smaller Spanish-language supernatural films.

  15. My wife keeps saying that people aren’t interested in Pacific Rim simply because the title sounds like a passionless sex-act.

  16. Oh this is incredibly nerdy but there is a HUGE difference between Transformers and Giant Robots just as there is a huge difference between Kaiju and Monsters.

    Your perception of Giant Robots through the filter of Transformers both new and old probably changes how you are going to react to this stuff too.

    The stuff I liked in Bay’s Transformers films was actually when it the Robots were acting the least like Transformers.


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