So Long And Thanks For All The Fish!

To all the writers, contributors, podcasters, and community members on ROWTHREE.COM:

We would like to thank you for making RowThree such as special space to shoot the shit about movies, cinema, soundtracks, directors, cinematographers, editors, mega-franchises, and poster art. It has been just a hairs breadth over a Decade since RowThree.com swung open its doors, and invited the internet in to sit down and have a movie discussion. In that time, a community blossomed, friendships were made, arguments were had, viewing recommendations were made and ideas were discussed. We were happy to play host to the writers, talkers and cue-card artists that have livened up the place.

What started with a few amateur writers assembling (John Allison, Jonathan Burdick, Andrew James, Marina Antunes and Kurt Halfyard) to consolidate their blogs into a community space has resulted in over 10,000 articles and 100,000 comments, hundreds of archived episodes of The Cinecast, Mamo!, After The Credits, and a potpourri of other podcast efforts. They will all locked and preserved in this space for a couple years. Feel free to enjoy them.

You can find Marina & The After The Credits players over at their new site: ATCPOD.CA
You can find the Mamo! Matt’s over at the Modern Superior Podcast Network with their DeathWatch podcast, as well as other side projects.
You can find Ariel Fisher also over at Modern Superior with A Frame Apart
You can find David Brook and his writing over at BluePrintReview.
You can find Matthew Gamble at Where The Long Tail Ends.
You can find Andrew very active at his Letteboxd Account.
You can find Kurt’s writing over at Screen Anarchy.
If you are itching for that Cinecast/Rowthree vibe, there is an effort underway to resurrect The Movie Club Podcast in the new year and put out episodes on a monthly schedule.

It was a privilege and a blast to work and play in this space. Cheers.

Television Trends – Who Decides What’s Hot and What’s Not?

Trends are a funny a thing. Whether you realize it or not, they are constantly forming right in front of your eyes and what’s more, some are more easily explained than others. In terms of the fashion industry, for example, there are many well-known trendsetters who only need to be seen holding a garment of interest before every man and their dog are wearing the item in question. However, when it comes to film and in particular television, the forming of trends is much more complex, especially with the emergence of on demand streaming platforms such as Hulu and Netflix.

IMAGE SOURCE: Pixabay

TV Is Now Borrowing From The Big Screen More Than Ever

In the US, box office takings for August 2017 totaled $625m according to the BBC, which indicates a 35% decrease when compared the same month last year. Whilst much of this is down to a perceived lack of high quality content, it’s also due to the fact that television series are borrowing the best elements and themes from the cinema and then simply doing a better job of incorporating them into their own programming. Many of the most popular current themes of programming within the television industry first found success on the big screen. Take the superhero genre for example – shows such as Jessica Jones, Daredevil and The Flash have enjoyed considerable success on the small screen and yet, it’s arguable that these shows would have never come to fruition had it not been for the success of flagship franchises such as X-Men and The Avengers on the big screen. Furthermore, a recent report from USA Today estimates that around 1 in 8 Marvel TV/Netflix show watchers are new to the superhero genre. All of this serves to show that while our interest in the superhero genre was rekindled by the cinema, it has been undoubtedly further whetted by television.

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Familiarity Breeds…Enjoyment?

While there are many different names for it, the familiarity principle or mere-exposure effect within social psychology could also go some way to explain how trends in television are set. The theory has it that an individual will develop a preference for something for no other reason than the fact that they are already familiar with it, whether this be on a conscious or unconscious basis. Take for example the iconic figure of Elvis Presley, his figure at Las Vegas combined with slot games have made for one of the most popular places to gamble. All you need is the comfort that there is a big brand behind the title and you will automatically be drawn to it, says researcher Dr Mark Griffiths. Author Margrethe Bruun Vaage’s Amazon bestseller The Antihero in American Television argues that the feeling of “familiarity is pleasurable” and that “television series activate mental mechanisms similar to those activated by friendship in real life.” In other words, viewers develop a shared bond between themselves and the characters on screen and the familiarity principle allows them to maintain this sympathetic attitude once it has been initially established.
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DC’s Films Aren’t Slowing Down

By now you’ve probably noticed that one comic book behemoth is soundly beating the other at the box office. DC is running well behind Marvel by most any metric or interpretation, to the point that many are discounting the DC Universe as a failed imitation. Others are spending time thinking of changes DC could make to attempt to compete with Marvel. The company that brought us arguably the world’s two most famous superheroes—Batman and Superman—has put out movies that earned poor reviews, and in some cases even mockery.

But if you think DC is going to slow down as a result of its questionable performance so far, you’ve got another thing coming. In the early months of 2017, one thing has become abundantly clear. DC isn’t just pushing forward with its film franchises, it’s going all-in.

If you’ve watched much television lately, you may have begun to see some teaser trailers for upcoming projects by DC and Warner Bros. While Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice hinted at the introduction of the Justice League, we’re about to start seeing standalone films for the heroes that have yet to really be introduced. Movies set for the near future include Wonder Woman (2017), Justice League (2017), The Flash (2018), and Aquaman. We know that Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, and Jason Momoa will be playing Wonder Woman, The Flash, and Aquaman respectively, and these are the figures that have been popping up in the teasers so far.

These pictures have been in the works for a while, and there was never any doubt that they’d be made, regardless of Dawn Of Justice and Suicide Squad falling short of expectations. We’re also starting to hear some rumblings about additional projects that may be slated for future dates. Recently, rumors have been circulating that Joss Whedon—the man responsible for a large portion of Marvel’s success—is in talks to write and direct a Batgirl film for Warner Bros. That, if only because of Whedon’s name, would certainly inject some new enthusiasm into the DC Universe.

Beyond future movies, DC is also expanding the reach of its titles and characters through the gaming market, where it has actually enjoyed more success. Fans are already excited about the release of Injustice 2 this May, and word is that DC and Playtech will also be partnering to release more online games based on the comic universe. This is a common practice for superhero properties, with licensed character content frequently being used to liven up casino site slots and other games. But even here DC is still playing catch-up with Marvel, and it looks like they’re going to be aggressive about it.

It’s not as if the movies DC has already released are done just yet! In the age of streaming, movies can gain a second life long after they’ve left the theaters. Sometimes, free of box office pressure and critical analysis, a superhero film can gain a sort of cult following just for being pure fun. Suicide Squad is on its way to HBO this April, with DC undoubtedly hoping that a result like this is in the cards.

Taken individually these plans aren’t particularly surprising It’s not as if DC was ever really going to surrender to Marvel. But the scope of the company’s plans for the years ahead is a bit larger than one might expect given the sputtering start to the DC Universe.

How Bingo Stars in Movies

If you’re an avid movie watcher then you will most likely have seen scenes that focus on all kinds of activities. One popular type of scene focuses on bingo and how people from all walks of life play this game. These games may traditionally be thought of as one for the elderly but you’ll see something totally different in these games.

Adam Sandler is more thought of a live action star but he also makes an appearance in one of our favourite kids films. The animated Hotel Transylvania is a smash hit and within this movie you see a few monsters getting their fix on this game. The bride of Frankenstein is just one of these characters, she’s a classic Jersey woman and even fights with her fellow cheating players.

Funnily enough, this isn’t the only time that a Sandler movie has had a reference to this game, perhaps he’s a closet player. In his hilarious classic Happy Gilmour, his grandmother is stuck in a nursing home but there is one glimmer of hope in there.

The thrilling movie Rampage may be the last place you’d expect this game to be featured but it does make an appearance. The joke in the scene is that the hitman walks through the bingo hall in full body armour but the players are too engrossed in their game to notice. This is one of the top scenes from bingo movies because it really captures the spirit of the game and makes fun of the players too. Even those on bingo sites can get so engrossed in the game that they don’t notice the world around them.

If you’re a fan of slapstick comedy then you may have seen the next movie on our list, Bad Grandpa. The cast of Jackass decided to take their comedy to a new level with this creation, which sees Knoxville in full prosthetics. His aim in this movie is to be as gross and offensive as possible, so he heads to the bingo hall to complete this goal.

The fellow players in this hall have never played with someone quite like him and he’s going all out to gross them out. If you have a delicate temperament or stomach then this may be a movie you want to miss! Of course, playing on bingo sites means that most players avoid meeting kooky characters like this.

Those that love comedy films might know about Wog Boy, the Australian movie that says something about the welfare system in the country. The religious main character, played by Nick Giannopoulos, helps out at his local Greek Orthodox church by calling the numbers for the elderly in the halls. This hilarious scene really sets viewers up for the rest of the movie with plenty of jokes and hilarity to get you in the comedic mood.

We see bingo in movies more often than you’d think, these are just a few examples of our fave movies with the hobby thrown in for good measure. Each of these says something different about the group playing it or the average player, for better or for worse!

Row Three Favorite Films of 2016

Here are all of RowThree’s contributors top lists for 2016. You are welcome.

Each contributor is listed below – just start scrolling – or you can jump directly to any individual member of the group with a click of their name provided below.

Thanks to everyone who has stopped by the site, listened to any of the great podcasts hosted here and/or took the time to leave some comments in a post somewhere and some time throughout the year. We really appreciate each and every one of you. See you all in 2017!


Andrew James
Kurt Halfyard
Marina Antunes
Corey Pierce
Matthew Brown
Bob Turnbull
David Brook
Matt Gamble
Bryan Dressel
Matt Price

Consensus

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Trailer: Martin Scorsese’s Silence

For this Thanksgiving, we are thankful that Martin Scorsese can still make these kind of pictures. The director has been working at getting Shūsaku Endō’s novel, Silence turned into a film for decades, and now it is here. Set in the seventeenth century, the story involves two young Portuguese Jesuit priests who face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and spread Christianity. Things do not go well, as Japan was in an era of deep isolation, and Christianity was illegal to practice in this time period. The Japanese had however been working on ‘Water Crucifixion’ (Mizuharitsuke) for a while, and certainly strung up a few worshipers – images that appearance in this trailer.

Adam Driver, Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, Tadanobu Asano, Shinya Tsuakmoto(!), and Ciarán Hinds star in the film which is getting released on December 23, 2016.

Rowthree Staff Summary of TIFF 2016

Our traditional round-up of impressions and reactions to the massive slate of Toronto International Film Festival has arrived in its ninth edition here in the third row. A always been the case, Row Three staff and contributors along with a few a regular reader or two provide a tiny capsule, a postcard if you will, of all the films that they saw at the festival, accompanied by an identifier-tag: [BEST], [LOVED], [LIKED], [DISLIKED], [DISAPPOINTED], [FELL ASLEEP], [WALKED OUT], [HATED] and [WORST].

Collectively we – Kurt Halfyard, Matt Brown, Bob Turnbull, Mike Rot, Ariel Fisher and Sean Kelly – saw a sizable chunk of the 300+ films shown at the festival. Hopefully this post can act as a ‘rough guide’ for films that will be finding distribution on some platform, whether on the big screen, or small internet enabled screen, in the next 18 months.
 
 

THE SHORT VERSION:

Personal BEST: MOONLIGHT [Mike Rot], [Ariel] & [Matt B.], MANCHESTER BY THE SEA [Bob], NOCTURNAL ANIMALS [Kurt], and LA LA LAND [Sean].

Personal WORST: Several folks were not willing to truly hate anything they saw this year (and that’s cool) but the low-lights were: THE DUELIST [Kurt], ONCE AGAIN [Bob], and DOG EAT DOG [Sean].
 
 
Other Consensus Picks: PATERSON, PERSONAL SHOPPER, CERTAIN WOMEN, AFTER THE STORM, RAW, LOVING and GRADUATION.
 
 
The ‘MASSIVE’ version is below. All our thoughts and impressions from offerings of the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival.

Would you like to know more…?

Entertainment We’re Looking Forward to in 2016

With the award season in full swing, it’s a good reminder of how great a year 2015 was for entertainment. The long anticipated sequel to Star Wars was finally released, Jurassic World had people terrified of dinosaurs once again and films like Selma got everybody taking about the important issues facing our world. Luckily for us, it looks like 2016 is going to be an even better year for entertainment.

One of the most anticipated films this year will be the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice. The Batman films of recent years have all been very well received, but it’s unclear how audiences will react to the surprising casting of Ben Affleck as the new Batman. The live action remake of the Jungle Book has also got everyone excited due to its breathtaking graphics and star studded cast.  Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray will all voice animated animal characters alongside the sole human actor, the unknown 10 year old Neel Sethi.

The rest of the year is dominated by sequels to a number of much loved films. Zoolander, Finding Nemo and Independence Day will all get the sequels that fans have been eager to see for years.

Once we’ve watched a great film we can often find ourselves wanting more from the characters, so luckily 2016 looks like a great film for games based on movies as well. These games allow you to become the character you’ve enjoyed watching on the big screen and offer a new and exciting way to relive the story you’ve enjoyed so much. One big franchise that always makes exciting games based on movies is Lego, who have recently released a series of console games. Last year they took one of the biggest films of the year Jurassic World and transformed the story into an exciting game with all the tension of the film within the colourful world of Lego bricks. This year they’re planning to do the same with another huge movie, Marvel’s Avengers.

But if you still want more of the adventures of Jurassic World then luckily the movie franchise has even inspired a casino game. The Jurassic Park Slot game is just one of a number of exciting casino games on the Royal Vegas Casino website based on the storyline of a Hollywood blockbuster. The game features all the character from the original film series and even some of the scary dinosaurs that made the film the global hit it is today.

Fans are now so eager to play games based on their favorite films that it’s persuaded the makers of Deadpool to re-release their 2013 game based on the original comic book in time for the film hitting the big screen.

But if you’re struggling to choose exactly what to go see, then a good way to decide is to hear what someone else thinks about it. Review sites like IMDB give you a great idea of whether a film is worth watching or not, and even combines the votes of hundreds of thousands of people who have seen the film to create a 5 star rating for each film. Just like all good films, there are even reviews of the online slot games based on your favorite film on the Royal Vegas Casino blog, so you can read for yourself which one has impressed the most.
 
So whether it’s a comedy or a thriller, sci-fi or a romance, there looks like there will be movies to entertain all audiences young and old this year.
 

Rowthree Staff Summary of TIFF 2015

Welcome to our eighth annual Toronto International Film Festival wrap-up post. As has always been the case, regular Row Three contributors along with a few readers provide a tiny capsule, a postcard if you will, of all the films that they saw at the festival, accompanied by an identifier-tag: [BEST], [LOVED], [LIKED], [DISLIKED], [DISAPPOINTED], [FELL ASLEEP], [WALKED OUT], [HATED] and [WORST].

Collectively we – Kurt Halfyard, Matt Brown, Matthew Price, Ryan McNeil, Bob Turnbull, Mike Rot, Ariel Fisher and Sean Kelly – saw almost half of the 350 films shown at the festival and hopefully this post can act as a ‘rough guide’ for films that will be finding distribution on some platform, whether on the big screen, or small internet enabled screen, in the next 18 months.

THE SHORT VERSION:

Personal BEST: ARABIAN NIGHTS [Kurt] & [Matt B.], ANOMALISA [Mike Rot] & [Ryan], OUR LITTLE SISTER [Bob], SHERPA [Ariel], and THE SLEEPING GIANT [Sean].

Personal WORST: OFFICE [Kurt], HIGH-RISE [Mike], THE MISSING GIRL [Matt B.], THE WAVE [Bob], LACE CRATER [Ariel], LONDON ROAD [Sean], and THE LOBSTER* [Ryan].

Other Consensus Picks: LOUDER THAN BOMBS, THE MARTIAN, SICARIO, AN, DEMOLITION, VICTORIA, DHEEPAN, BEASTS OF NO NATION, GREEN ROOM, and EQUALS.

The ‘MASSIVE’ version is below. All our thoughts and impressions from the 2015 Edition of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Would you like to know more…?