Trailer: The Shape of Water

Guillermo del Toro is certainly an auteur at this point in the game. I went to his private collection of memorabilia and childhood influences exhibit last year at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (aptly titled “At Home with Monsters”) and you could see the very distinct flavor of both his inspirations as well as his output.

All that said, this has a little more of “the feels” to it. Almost like Jean-Pierre Jeunet had a hand in production. In fact, if this trailer is anything to go by, it feels a little safe to me. A misunderstood or “different” person/creature is able to find themselves with another who is “different.” Meanwhile the evil scientists do evil stuff. I feel like I’ve seen this story a million times. I mean shit, Doug Jones as the guy in the water tank? Really?

Still, it’s del Toro and slew of great actors (Hawkins, Shannon, Stuhlbarg, Spencer, Jenkins, et. al), so this is still very definitely on the must see list later this year. Have a look below; am I way off base here?

Alexander Payne is “Downsizing”

I am not sure why I never come up with Alexander Payne’s name wehen asked who my favorite directors are. The usual names pop up such as The Coens or Tarantino or Kubrick. But Payne has for years, consistently created wonderful and intimate character pieces that are always fresh and exciting. Even a simple road trip movie between an old man and his son or a land dispute between brothers in contemporary Hawaii or just a guy who likes to wine and whine or a girl looking to become class president. The man doesn’t have the largets filmography out there, but his stories are 5/5 efforts every single time. And funny enough, Downsizing looks like it will be one of his larger pictures – in terms of scope and effects work… yet it still remains intimate.

Matt Damon and Kristin Wiig are a couple of the best working in the quirky dramedies of today. Hell, Damon’s best work is Soderbergh’s The Informant and he appears to be harnessing a little bit of that character here. This is Honey I Shrunk the Kids for adults – a comparison I’m positive I’m not the first to make. And while I’m often turned off by iconic pop-rock songs in my trailers of today, I can’t think of a better use of The Talking Heads. Yeah – I’m seriously looking forward to this “little” Christmas present in late December.

Tobe Hooper: 1943 – 2017

Tobe Hooper, probably best known for helming one of the most renowned and influential horror films of all time, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, has died of natural causes at the age of 74.

Because of it’s rather realistic vision and deranged sensibilities, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was a high water mark in horror cinema and one of the most profitable independent films of the 1970s. It put Hooper’s name on the map and he worked in television and film for nearly the next forty years. “Salem’s Lot” and Poltergeist to name just a couple of the more popular titles.

The director’s passing will have a lot of fans of the horror genre mourning today as Hooper was a true hero (and likewise fan as well) of the genre. Survived by two sons, he will be missed and well remembered by many.

Sam Shepard: 1943-2017

If your film was ever in need of the wise, tough as nails, good ol’ boy, you really couldn’t do much better than Sam Shepard. I know it’s a few days gone by at this point, but with the site problems we couldn’t get to it in a timely manner. Still, we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge this staple of American Cinema of the past half-century. And he will be missed after succumbing to the black veil resulting from complications of ALS.

Possibly best known by the older general audiences as Gen. Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier in The Right Stuff, he then was solidified as a solid star that became a household name. You could argue that he was typecast, but that isn’t always a bad thing in Hollywood. Cigar smoking military mastermind? Check. Seasoned cattle hand? Check. Sexy, small town widower? Check. Renegade from the southern law? Check. Straight up family man patriarch? Check. He played these roles, all of them, with aplomb.

Accomplishments include an Oscar nomination and The Pulitzer in 1979 for his abilities as a playwrite. He was romantically involved with Jessica Lange for a number of years and most recently was one of the stars of the much lauded, Netflix original “Bloodline”.

Shepard made his screen acting debut in Bob Dylan’s movie Renaldo and Clara. His film acting credits also include Steel Magnolias, playing the husband of the beauty shop owner; Terence Malick’s Days of Heaven, for which his movie career took off; Resurrection; Frances; Country; Fool for Love; Crimes of the Heart; Baby Boom; Bright Angel; Defenseless; Hamlet; The Notebook; Black Hawk Down; Don’t Come Knocking; The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford; Brothers; Safe House; Mud; August: Osage County; Cold in July; Midnight Special; Ithaca; In Dubious Battle; and You Were Never Here.

He wrote the screenplays for Michelangelo Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point; Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas, which won the Palme d’Or at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival; and Wenders’ Don’t Come Knocking. He also directed for film, including 1988’s Far North and 1992’s Silent Tongue.

Shepard also played drums in a band he formed called “The Holy Modal Rounders,” who were featured in Easy Rider, and he accompanied Bob Dylan on the Rolling Thunder Revue tour.

 
 

Operation Net Neutrality

If you stopped by RowThree yesterday (and a lot of other sites around the free web) you might have gotten an alert saying you need to pay more to access the site; or maybe it was blocked all together. This was a world wide attempt to bring awareness to the very real threat of us losing our precious internet to the greedy ISPs and corporations. On July 12th, the web came together in a way it never has before to defend the free and open Internet.

Congress has already received more than 3 million emails and 100,000 calls. More than 1.7 million comments are on their way to the FCC (a new record for a single day). At Fight for the Future, the battle raged all day and it unfolded all over the net in real time. And more is coming…

As a small startup site ourselves, that potentially uses up quite a bit of bandwidth daily, with streaming videos and thousands of hours of podcast content, the fear of losing traffic because we can’t afford to compete with the big guys is of real concern to us and many other sites around the web – even some of the aforementioned big guys concur. We thank anyone and everyone who is doing their part to help retain net neutrality and keeping ISPs classified as common carriers under Title II. Thanks for your help, but the fight isn’t over. If you haven’t already and you live in the United States, be sure to pester your congressional representatives and let them know this is an important freedom/right of the citizen population.

This is not a democrats vs republicans thing. This is a fight that everyone who uses and cares about the internet should be involved with. For more information about Net Neutrality and why it is of utmost importance to everyone who uses the world wide web – either for personal or business purposes – here are a few places to visit:

Wikipedia
Save the Internet
What you can do.

Trailer: American Assassin

The Keaton resurgence keep coming and lately he’s been saying nerts to the aging process and getting a little more badass. I’ll probably be skipping the Spider-Man rebootmake but ironic that he plays a super villain with wings after the concept of his hit Birdman. But I digress.

Keaton is back as an aging super combat hero now under the employ of the government(?) to train new recruits into covert agents/assassins. Basically this is just an excuse to make another Bourne/John Wick clone but ultimately I have no problem with that as long as it looks good and the cast is interesting – which it is here. I can’t say I know much about Dylan O’Brien as I never watched The Maze Runner series, but he does look interesting here. Throw in Keaton and Kitsch and whole slew of reasonably fresh faces along with a boatload of Tom Clancy-esque action and you’ve got my attention; and money.

Have a look at the trailer below and tell us what you think. American Assassin opens in the U.S. along with back to school daze. See you there. At the theater that is, not school. This is a new kind of school.

Adam West: 1928 – 2017

After a brief bout with Leukemia, the real Batman, Adam West has left this world to fight crime on another plane. “Our dad always saw himself as The Bright Knight and aspired to make a positive impact on his fans’ lives. He was and always will be our hero,” his family said in a statement. Always good-natured and playful at heart, West had a way with his characters and his fans.

Probably most notable as the titular star of the 60s television series Batman, a humorous take on the caped, crime fighter genre; which of course spawned a film version of the same name later that year – which I might argue is still the best feature-length Batman movie to date. Apparently struggling for steady work after that show was cancelled, he did find some amount of recognition and fame as the eccentric and dim-witted (but lovable) mayor, Adam West, in Seth MacFarlane’s “Family Guy.” He also is in a handful of various television episodes and recognizable voice work here and there.

Adam West was 88 years young and he will be missed. The Hollywood Reporter has more…

Star Trek: Discovery First Look Trailer

With the huge popularity of the rebooted Star Trek films, I suppose it was inevitable that another go at a series would ensue. Hello to Jason Isaacs!

After the somewhat mediocre response to the last outing with Scott Bakula and company, I can only imagine that the game will be seriously upped for this endeavor. Bigger budget, better effects, higher profile cast and for the love of God get that opening theme song into something that won’t make people put between the sofa cushions!

Star Trek: Discovery has a lot of notable names and familiar faces but honestly… give me Michelle Yeoh commanding a starship and the rest of it can be filled with Tribbles for all I care. I think this is going to be a lot of fun though – and hopefully thoughful as well. Of course it could all end up imploding under the weight of the new movies, but with TV what it has been as of late, I’m fairly optimistic for this new series going

Friday One Sheet: Blade Runner 2049

Unfortunately it looks like the rage that was minimalism isn’t quite dead yet. I say unfortunately because while minimalism has its time and place, I tend to prefer creativity and flashiness and color – when it’s done well. Minimalism tends to stifle creativity and encourages laziness. Case in point here. Not these aren’t handsome looking posters; on the contrary they are quite eye-catching and definitely set a mood. But at the same time, they’re kind of boring.

And if you ask me, they look like Mad Max: Fury Road and a Fast and Furious movie respectively. Which I’m hoping, Bladde Runner 2049 is nothing like; despite the fact that I do like those movies, I’m hoping Blade Runner: 2049 is a bit closer to something like Looper in tone; or at least in pacing.

At any rate, I remain cautiously optimistic about this film. One moment I’m excited, the next I’m apprehensive. This new poster set does really nothing to swing the proverbial pendulum either way for me. So here’s to more hoping and waiting.

SW and Indy Release Dates Announced

Cut and paste job from Star Wars dot com

The Walt Disney Company and Lucasfilm announced today two major upcoming release dates.

Star Wars: Episode IX is now set for release on May 24, 2019. Directed by Colin Trevorrow, the film will close out the third Star Wars trilogy.

In addition, the fifth chapter of the Indiana Jones series is now confirmed for a July 10, 2020 release. Both Steven Spielberg, director of every Indiana Jones film, and star Harrison Ford will return.

Discuss (if necessary).