Author Archive

  • Machete Don’t Tweet


    We’ve known about this for a while, but thought if you weren’t convinced, here’s a little more absurdity for you in a final trailer release. I think surprisingly, I’m actually on board for this. The first Machete was just alright; with a few great moments and some neat “grindy” effects but kind of plodding through most of it. But if Part II can take all the good stuff from One, amp it up and keep it running for the full 90 minutes (which this trailer sort of suggests), then I think this will be a really nice getaway from all of the Oscar-bait material starting up in late October.

    There’s also this little incentive:

    Amber Heard
    Alexa Vega
    Sofía Vergara
    Vanessa Hudgens
    Jessica Alba
    Mel Gibson
    Michelle Rodriguez
    Lady Gaga
    Danny Trejo
    Carlos Estevez
    Antonio Banderas
    Demian Bichir
    Cuba Gooding Jr.
    Edward James Olmos
    William Sadler

  • Mondays Suck Less in the Third Row


    Check out these links:
    Ennio Morricone LIVE! (probably your last chance)
    470 Ft of dolly track (PT Anderson’s newest film BTS)
    U.S. Supreme Court decides Universal v. Sony, as VCR usage takes off
    8 Kid-Friendly Movies That Parents Will Actually Enjoy
    25 Best British Crime and Gangster Films
    80s Horror movie typography
    Cinematography breakdown (Ben Stiller’s “Secret Life of Walter Mitty”)



    Facts that sound like bullshit:
    – There is a planet that is covered in burning ice. Not dry ice. Ice, but it’s incredibly hot. It is called Gliese 436 b. Its surface is at a constant 800ºF, but the ice remains as ice because the gravity of the planet is so incredibly powerful that it compresses all of the water vapour into a solid state.

    – One tiger killed 430 people.

    That tiger killed more people than 300 years of worldwide shark fatalities.
    - More people than snakes, bears, wolves, and spider fatalities combined in the U.S. in the last 100 years.
    One tiger.

    – Mammoths were lumbering around Siberia 3600 years ago.
    The Egyptians were making pyramids 4000 years ago.

    – The time when the tyrannosaurus lived is closer to today than it is to when the stegosaurus lived.

    – 14 years before the Titanic sank, a fictional story was written by a man named Morgan Robertson. In the story, the ship was described as the largest ever built at the time (same as the Titanic), it was also woefully short on lifeboats, and it also struck an iceberg and sank. The ship in the story was also a triple screw propeller liner, and it was named the Titan.

    – Pope Stephen VI had the corpse of his predecessor (Pope Formosus) dug up and made to stand trial.

    – The original, medically approved procedure against drowning was blowing smoke up your ass.

    – 30% of numbers in the real world start with 1.

    – Mantis Shrimp punch their claw faster than a bullet, creating a cavitation bubble that creates a flash of light and about 8000 degrees of heat when it collapses. If the claw strike doesn’t kill its prey, the shock wave can.

    – A standard 52 card deck of playing cards has 80,658,175,170,943,878,571,660,636,856,403,766,975,289,505,440,883,277,824,000,000,000,000 possible combinations permutations. If you were to randomly shuffle a deck of cards right now, it would be extremely improbable that the resulting combination permutation has ever been seen in the history of earth.

    – Honey never spoils. If stored properly, you could eat 3000 year-old honey.

    – “Will Will Smith smith?” and “Will Smith will smith.” are both complete sentences.





    Still my favorite of the trilogy. But this is pretty amusing.

    » Read the rest of the entry..

  • Is Woody Allen “Irrelevant?”


    In a recent Cinecast Episode, the guys were asked where they would place Woody Allen amongst the elite directors of all time and the word irrelevant was thrown around.

    So is Woody Allen an “irrelevant” director at this point in his career? Well first of all, what does it mean to be irrelevant? And what does “this point in career” encompass? For the latter, let’s just take the past ten years = past ten films = roughly 20% of filmography/career. For the former, that’s a little trickier. Webster defines relevant as “having significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand; having social relevance“. The matter at hand would obviously be film direction. So does being demonstrable mean sheer output of film? It certainly could, but if that’s the case, obviously Allen would have no trouble passing the bar on this one as he releases about one film per year. So that isn’t it.

    Does irrelevant correlate with number of tickets sold i.e. box office numbers? That makes a little more sense, so let’s lightly analyze…

    Blue Jasmine N/A
    Rome with Love $73,244,881
    Midnight in Paris $151,119,219
    You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger $34,275,987
    Whatever Works $35,097,815
    Vicky Christina Barcelona $96,409,300
    Cassandra’s Dream $22,658,532
    Scoop $39,215,642
    Match Point $85,306,374
    Melinda and Melinda $20,085,825
    ROUNDED AVERAGE $62,000,000

    Now compared to Iron Man or Man of Steel (or any other movie about a man made of metal), the above graphic’s numbers might as well be in pennies. But in comparison to like-minded films, these are honestly pretty respectable numbers for low budget, indie dramedies/thrillers playing in less than 800 screens. Before Midnight isn’t done yet; but for a well respected, beloved franchise, why is it only at a measly $11 million and won’t come anywhere near Allen’s numbers – all the while playing on 900 screens? How about Mud? $21 million. Are Linklater and Nichols considered irrelevant? One is a highly established and extremely well received director and the other is an up and coming hot shot in indie cinema who is equally well-received critically. Don’t know/like those names? How about Joss Whedon and Steven Soderbergh? Their two films currently wrapping up semi-wide releases made a whopping $4,169,353 and $32,172,757 respectively. I would hardly call Whedon or Soderbergh irrelevant directors (putting aside Soderbergh is now done making movies). Hell, even 2 Guns starring arguably two of the most bankable stars in Hollywood right now barely make the same numbers Allen’s films do (on average) while playing on over 3,000 screens!

    Looking at the above examples, I’d say box office is a poor decision maker on deciding a film maker’s “relevance.” Sure you could come up with counter-examples but that would only help in kind of proving my point. If our annual box office competition has taught us anything, it’s that numbers are unpredictable and don’t really tell us much about the quality of a film or it’s director, cast or crew. And even if they did, in terms of where Allen’s types of films play, how many screens they’re on and what their competition is, the numbers are relatively large.

    Who is Allen’s audience? On the above mentioned Cinecast, it was brought to light that it’s only old people going to Woody Allen films. While I think that might be a bit of a sweeping generalization, it’s kind of hard to dismiss. *Personally speaking, the latest Allen film I saw in the theater (Blue Jasmine), was roughly 90% over the age of 65. And to take it further, probably 75% of those people were closer to 80 years of age. And I’m not kidding. But it was a packed house. So this begs the question: is relevance directly related to the demographic a film maker is shooting for?

    As sad as it is, I think this might actually be the best argument for proclaiming Woody Allen irrelevant. My gut reaction to this statement was “poppycock.” I mean what does it matter who the people are sitting in the seats? Why does it matter that they’re old? Cinema isn’t just for the kids. It’s for everybody. Still, in terms of film making craft and new ideas, Allen is hardly the trendy, hip, ground breaking director he once was. Despite making quality pictures, he isn’t really pushing anything new – in fact it’s arguable he’s consistently retreading old territory. Wes Anderson is a favorite around these parts but he’s already being criticized in some circles for just doing the same old same old over and over again and he’s a director with only seven features under his belt. Seven. Allen has upwards of 45. But it’s his old territory; and like Allen, there will always be people wanting to play in that playground even if they’ve seen it before.

    Still, doing something over and over again hardly makes a person relevant. Trying new things and striving for originality and breaking some new ground creatively is what keeps the buzz going. It’s why people continue talking about you and anticipating your next project.

    But back-pedaling again even further, maybe one could argue that these types of films make him even more relevant for a particular niche/demographic. Is it fair to say Tyler Perry is irrelevant because he only makes movies aimed at the black audience? Is Almodóvar irrelevant because almost all of his films are about gender identity, women’s issues and/or homosexuality? These examples open a whole new can of worms that I’m not really interested in exploring at the moment, but they do help illustrate that just because someone is making films for a very specific audience (intended or otherwise), doesn’t necessarily make them irrelevant on the whole. Maybe irrelevant to teens. Maybe irrelevant to action fans. Maybe irrelevant to vulgarians. But certainly not irrelevant to an entire generation of film-goers who look extremely forward to each and every release and are going to miss the hell out of Woody Allen when he’s gone.

    *As a side note, my theatrical screening of Blue Jasmine was a Tuesday matinee. This could help explain the age demographic of my particular screening. It might also explain slightly lower than average box office numbers as well. Since movie going numbers are inexplicably tethered to dollars rather than tickets sold, it would make sense the dollars shown are smaller since the majority of the film’s audience is going during the day. Ya know, because old people can’t stay up after 8pm. Again, another can of worms.

    The last bit of input I could bring in would come from critical reception. Rotten Tomatoes can be a bit arbitrary and each individual is going to have different opinions on artistic work; but in general, really high numbers (above 85%) mean a fairly high quality film that is both entertaining and smart in what it’s trying to accomplish and in general most people really enjoy.

    Blue Jasmine 89%
    Rome with Love 43%
    Midnight in Paris 93%
    You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger 45%
    Whatever Works 50%
    Vicky Christina Barcelona 82%
    Cassandra’s Dream 46%
    Scoop 39%
    Match Point 77%
    Melinda and Melinda 53%

    So of the last ten Woody Allen films, only one was outright horrible (Scoop), six of them fall into the mediocre or slightly less category, while four of them turned out to be pretty darn good – again, from critical standpoint. This is pretty all over the map. The guy isn’t making masterpieces time and again yet quite often he’s making highly successful, interesting and entertaining films. And it’s not only critics talking. The Academy (i.e. The Oscars, i.e. people in the industry) certainly takes note occasionally and adds to Woody Allen’s legacy as well.

    Blue Jasmine N/A
    Rome with Love 0/0
    Midnight in Paris 4/1
    You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger 0/0
    Whatever Works 0/0
    Vicky Christina Barcelona 1/1
    Cassandra’s Dream 0/0
    Scoop 0/0
    Match Point 1/0
    Melinda and Melinda 0/0

    If relevance is determined by your peers opinion of your output, Woody Allen might fail in this regard. A nom here and there is certainly better than most film makers and the highly acclaimed Midnight in Paris helps, but in general he isn’t the Spielberg of the 1980s and in this regard probably isn’t all that relevant in award land. Which also sort of compares him with other film makers of today.

    Still, it does seem that big name actors and actresses are clamoring to work with him: Baldwin, Clarkson, Cruz, Bardem, Sarsgaard, Blanchett, Winslet, Watts, Page, Eisenberg, Hopkins, Banderas, Sheen, McAdams, Wilson, Hawkins, McGregor, Ferrell, Farrell, Gerwig and many more. Some of them giving the best output of their careers (Cruz, Johansson, Brolin). Possibly even Blanchett and that’s really really saying something!

    Judging audience reaction is a bit trickier; particularly for Allen’s films. Basically all I have to go on is the internet and since the internet is mostly a youth game and since we’ve established that in all likelihood Allen’s key demographic is senior citizens it’s unlikely to find too many reactions online from this source. Again using Rotten Tomatoes as a guide, the audience ratings fall mostly in line with critics (slightly below in most cases) and one might surmise that this is because the old folks aren’t running home from the theater to blog about the movie they just saw or click a radio button on some ratings web site.

    I did briefly look at the average ratings for some of Allen’s films over on LetterBoxd and they mostly seemed to generally fall in line with what I see on Rotten Tomatoes. Again, this doesn’t really tell us much as the average age of a LetterBoxd user is probably somewhere around 26 (just a guess).

    So we’re still kind of stuck with the same question: what does “relevant” even mean? After all this digging I conclude it’s kind of a conglomerate of all these things mentioned above; with some things bearing more weight than others. Basically I think “relevant” is a little bit too broad of a term and too difficult to pin down an actual definition for in the case of an artist. Allen’s films may no longer be considered “event” pictures, but I lay that problem at the feet of the general audiences of today, not Allen. For the most part, people want and demand amazing CGI effects, 3D IMAX and explosions these days. If Kubrick were still alive and working today would he be putting up $100 million box office numbers? Maybe, but I kind of doubt it. Eyes Wide Shut did pretty well back in the summer of 1999 but it had a lot less to compete with and there was the X factor of Kubrick’s death and the last chance to see one of his new films on the big screen. So maybe a poor example I guess. But it does make me wonder if Kubrick was still around making awesome movies, would people go around calling him irrelevant if it was mostly just film snobs like you and me going to see them and only making $60 million?

    My final gut reaction is this, if someone is calling Woody Allen an irrelevant director at this point, it could be true, but it’s their own damn fault, their own misgivings and their own short-sightedness. Though it’s true that not all of his films are always really kicking in the most efficient gear, about every other one is received very well both critically, financially (relatively speaking) and from the audience (as well as can be determined from the web tubes). They maybe don’t have quite the panache that modern film makers are exploiting today and anything remotely resembling experimentation is non-existent, but that doesn’t mean these aren’t solid films that many people are still talking about today.

  • A Whole Bunch of New Clips from “Closed Circuit”


    In just a couple of weeks, Closed Circuit will hit selected theaters and I must admit I hadn’t heard much about it until now. It’s got a bit of a “Tinker Tailor…” vibe to it and lo and behold it is from the same producers. The film stars Eric Bana, Rebecca Hall, Ciarán Hinds, Riz Ahmed, Anne-Marie Duff, Kenneth Cranham, Denis Moschitto, Julia Stiles and Jim Broadbent. Mmmm Julia Stiles.

    Directed by John Crowley, of very underrated Boy A with Andrew Garfield, the movie’s synopsis is as follows:

    In the international suspense thriller Closed Circuit, a high-profile terrorism case unexpectedly binds together two ex-lovers (Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall) on the defense team – testing the limits of their loyalties and placing their lives in jeopardy.

    One morning, a busy London market is decimated by an explosion. In the manhunt that follows, only one member of the suspected terrorist cell survives who is arrested and jailed. Preparations begin for what promises to be the trial of the century.

    But as Bana and Hall’s characters begin to piece the case together, the outlines of a sinister conspiracy emerge, one that will draw them dangerously close again.


    At any rate, these new clips definitely have me intrigued. Take a look at the one below and then there are three more under the seats if you’d like to know more.


    » Read the rest of the entry..

  • In A World… Autographed Movie Poster Giveaway


    I just saw In a World… last night and found it hugely entertaining. Lake Bell is the new Miranda July – with a little bit more “sitcom” to her style than melodramatic art. In honor of the film’s release we’re offering a reader a chance to get an official In a World… movie poster autographed by writer/director/star Lake Bell herself.

    If you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out the trailer in the widget below. The movie is a stitch and pokes a lot of fun at the world of movie trailer voice overs. Lake Bell kicks ass and has put together something fairly unique – at least in concept.

    To win a poster, just pop your thoughts on the film, the stars, the trailer (or whatever) in the comments section below. We’ll pick out a lucky winner at random and contact you for your prize and shipping details. If nothing else, check out the film and enjoy yourself. My brief thoughts copied over from LetterBoxd are tucked neatly under the seats below as well.

    » Read the rest of the entry..

  • Cinecast Episode 321 – High Five for Vapid!


    Courtesy of Kurt’s children being out of town, we have more “currently available in cinema” reviews at one time than we’ve ever had on this show. We start with Neil Blomkamp and move seamlessly into Woody Allen. From there it’s on to David Gordon Green somewhat returning to his roots. Then it’s Orca, Drug Lords, murderous tyrants, “shit cinema”, “shit television”, tickle buttons and Katy Perry’s bits. You couldn’t pack more density into a sardine canister filled with diamonds. Matt Gamble is back and the show just about clears three hours, twice as many sighs and four times as many volume spikes; go figure.

    As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!






    Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

    DOWNLOAD mp3 | 122 MB
    if player is not working, try alternate player at bottom of this post


    Blue Jasmine poster Elysium poster

    Full show notes are under the seats…
    » Read the rest of the entry..

  • Cinecast Episode 320 – Robin Wright 2.0


    Keeping it rather short and sweet this week; but the kids are alright. Outside of our quick review of 2 Guns, we kind of just tease through some reviews for upcoming wide releases or show discussion topics. Mostly we just can’t wait for next week’s Blomkamp/Allen reviews. Still, we do manage to get through some talk about space Abyss, adult swim and another gander at Joe Wright’s Hanna.

    As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!






    Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

    DOWNLOAD mp3 | 63 MB
    if player is not working, try alternate player at bottom of this post


    Full show notes are under the seats…
    » Read the rest of the entry..

  • Covering Your Bases (Wednesday)


    A quick daily dose of a few of the most interesting/important stories of the past 24 hours or so that don’t get full posts here at RowThree. Follow this column each day (I’ll try to make it each day anyway) and you’ll have the “Cliff’s Notes” for just about everything interesting happening in the movie blogging universe.



    1) Thor: The Dark World Official Trailer #2
    So this is what Natalie Portman has decided to do with her career.

    2) Harrison Ford joins Expendables 3. Bruce Willis drops. Stallone pissed and happy at the same time.
    Apparently Stallone had some not nice things to say about Bruce Willis yesterday on his Twitter twits.

    3) Kevin Feige Says Marvel Has Its Films Planned Through 2021
    A lot can happen in movie world in three years; let alone 7. But hey, Marvel planned out The Avengers ages ago, so maybe thinking this many moves ahead isn’t the worst thing.

    4) Long-Lost Orson Welles Film ‘Too Much Johnson’ Found & Restored
    a three-part slapstick comedy starring Citizen Kane and Soylent Green actor Joseph Cotten, which were originally supposed to be screened with music and live sound effects, but the project was never completed and was thought lost. But it has just been found in Italy! The film will arrive in the United States on October 16th at the George Eastman House theater in Rochester, New York.

    5) More Awesome TIFF Titles Announced
    Lots of names. Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, Bruce McDonald – and Jake Gyllenhaal in three films.

    6) New Clips and a Boatload of Images from James Franco as Hefner in “Lovelace”
    I am very much looking forward to this. If for the cast alone. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Peter Sarsgaard should be in everything.

    7) “Sharktopus Versus Mermantula” Begins Filming
    These things just get more and more ridiculous. Which means I’m more likely to actually watch.

    8) Spike Lee Announces First cast Member and Teaser Poster
    You thought Zach Braff was taking shit for his kickstarter? Spike is taking it up the ass. But probably the movie will be good.

  • Mondays Suck Less in the Third Row


    Check out these links:
    Roger Corman’s top 5 Criterions
    17th Century Japanese erotic art (potentially NSFW)
    The eleven rules of the church of Satan (actually kind of seems about right)
    Deathstalker is streaming on Netflix



    I liked it better when it was called Army of Darkness



    Paul Reubens stars in “The Final Moments of Karl Brant”



    An ode to movie mainframes

    » Read the rest of the entry..

  • Friday One-Sheet: “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints”


    The trailer for this film got a lot of folks interested right away. And From the outset it seems to be something right up my alley and God knows I’m a huge Casey Uh-fleck fan. Still, the trailer felt a little bit like Malick-wannabe-wankery and kind of rubbed me the wrong way.

    On the other hand, I like the look of this French version of the movie marketing and how with one image kind of tells a little story all on it’s own. You have to fill in the blanks but it’s nonetheless quite intriguing. I’ll keep following the marketing for David Lowery’s (editor on Upstream Color) directing effort and see if the rubbing starts to with the grain instead of against.

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