Archive for the ‘General Ramblings’ Category

  • Heckerling And Lau Get the Shaft


    Bauer Martinez Entertainment LogoOne would think that with a director who has a track record like Amy Heckerling‘s (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Look Who’s Talking and Clueless) and a cast which includes Michelle Pfeiffer, Paul Rudd and Oscar nominated Saoirse Ronan, a film would get some sort of release but unfortunately for Heckerling, that was not meant to be.

    The film is I Could Never Be Your Woman and though it doesn’t appear to be a sure fire winner, it’s certain to be better than Because I Said So or any other lame-ass romantic comedy and yet one gets a release and the other doesn’t. Actually, Heckerling’s film was so badly treated that she had a difficult time editing it from bits and pieces to actually make it work.

    How is this possible you ask? Simple. Blame it on a production company, namely Bauer Martinez Entertainment. According to a recent article at EW, the company has pretty much been in hot water since it got off the ground a few years back and its problems have gotten progressively worse resulting in a few films getting unceremoniously shafted. Though Heckerling’s film did eventually find a direct to DVD release (it’s available now) even that release didn’t come easy and reading about the problems with the production I’m surprised this ever managed to see the light of day. Meanwhile, another Bauer Martinez production is still waiting to be seen this side of the water.

    Though I will be the first to admit that Andrew Lau’s The Flock (our review) is not exactly a fantastic film, it is deserving of a release, especially when one takes into consideration the recent (if short lived) resurgence of Richard Gere’s career and the co-starring credit of the always memorable Claire Danes but Bauer Martinez has failed that production as well and as of right now, that film is not scheduled for a Region 1 DVD release, never mind a theatrical release.

    Looking at the studio’s website is actually rather depressing. Harsh Times should have had more than a one week release and I’ve never even heard of Land of the Blind which stars Donald Sutherland and Ralph Fiennes. My hope is that Philippe Martinez gives up his hopes of making it in Hollywood and simply walks away. I’d hate to see him wreak havoc on any more productions.

  • Okay, I Suck and Bought DVDs


    Sunshine DVDSo I headed out on Friday to rent a couple of movies that I wanted to see before I record the next Middle of the Row podcast with Dave. I should say first sorry for the delay in getting that out. I was sick and then Dave was. I believe our plan is to record weekly and now that we are both feeling well again hopefully we’ll get back on track. So anyways back to my post. I was out looking to rent these two movies and I headed into Blockbuster. I took a quick look around but couldn’t find the movies I wanted so I was going to head over to another rental store. On the way out though I noticed a copy of Treasure of Sierra Madre in the 4 for $24 dollars section so I picked up four dvds.

    I then headed over to the other shop and I found one of the movies. Instead of renting it I decided to just skip it for the time being. On the way out I noticed that the previously viewed movies were all on for $10 each. So I picked up 6 more movies. I still intend to not buy any more movies; but man, I just don’t have any willpower. I’ve really got to get the new HD/Blu-Ray player soon.

  • Get Your Groove On: Movies to Get Your Mojo Flowing


    ValentinesI don’t know when it happened but somewhere along the line, Valentine’s Day has become some sort of “event” date, at least it appears to be that way when one looks at the release schedule for this week and notes that a number of films open today, likely in an attempt to rake in the cash from kids on dates.

    If you’re at all like me, you may prefer to stay home, order in dinner and curl up on the couch with that special someone, a big cozy blanket, some chocolate and a film that will get the blood pumping in all the right ways. That picture sure beats bearing the crowds of 15 year olds sucking face and being loud.

    I asked the fellow contributors to share their choices of romantic films that give them the warm and fuzzies and, as is likely to happen in a case like this, a few common titles appeared.

    Amélie, Sabrina, Chungking Express, Before Sunrise, The Princess Bride, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Once all showed up on various lists. Kurt also had Out of Sight with that hot sex scene on his list while Dave picked a few classics including Casablanca and Colleen, well…she had to include her zombie pick Shaun of the Dead.

    As for me, I’m a traditional romance kind of girl and nothing makes me happier than a little Pride & Prejudice or Doctor Zhivago but the husband likes something “a little less stuffy” and there are a few titles that have made his cut (and mine) and they include Wimbledon, A Knight’s Tale and The Last Samurai.

    With so many films out there, the list of great romances is long, and in a few short minutes I had a few emails with ten or more recommendations. There’s something on this list for everyone and I’m sure at least one of them will be in at the local rental store. So on the way home tonight don’t forget to stop somewhere to pick one up and while you’re out, don’t forget the chocolate and maybe a little champagne. Most importantly, have a great time.

    Happy Valentine’s Day from everyone at Row Three!

  • Dream Cast: 80′s TV Shows


    New feature here at RowThree (I always say that and then never come through with follow up volumes) is the dream cast of a particular film or genre. For the innaugural volume, I’ve decided to cast three popular 80′s TV shows should they ever become a big screen reality (I know a couple of them are actually in the works). If I were in charge and had an endless budget, here’s how I would cast the movies. Main choice in bold with some alternates in parantheses should my first choice not be available or were to turn the role down. As an FYI, I would be trying to make these seriously cool action movies; not a lame comedy adaptation like the Stiller/Wilson vehicle, “Starsky and Hutch”…

    The A-Team:
    I love it when a plan comes together
    Director: Tony Scott
    John Hannibal Smith: William Shatner (Gary Sinise, Chris Cooper)
    Bosco Baracus (aka B.A.): Mr. T (worked then, will work now)
    Templeton Peck (aka Faceman, aka Face): Nathan Fillion (George Clooney, Christian Bale)
    Howlin’ Mad Murdock: David Arquette (Adam Sandler, Jake Busey)
    Col. Roderick Decker: Dennis Farina (Ed Harris)
    Random hot side-kick lady: Angelina Jolie (Ali Larter, Salma Hayek)

    Knight Rider:
    Turbo Boost!
    Director: John Woo
    Michael Knight: Val Kilmer (Hugh Jackman, Ethan Hawke, Eric Bana)
    Devon Miles: Max Von Sydow (Geoffrey Rush, Alan Arkin)
    K.I.T.T.: Laurence Fishburne (William H. Macy, Aaron Eckhart)
    Bonnie Barstow: Amy Adams (Vera Farmiga, Paz Vega)
    Random villain: Guy Pearce

    Magnum P.I.:
    cool name
    Director: Michael Mann
    Thomas Magnum: Matthew McConaughey (Jason Patric, Clive Owen)
    Johnathan Higgins III: Terence Stamp (Ben Kingsley, Stanley Tucci)
    Theodore Calvin (aka T.C.): Chiwetel Ejiofor (Wesley Snipes, Djimon Hounsou, Cuba Gooding Jr)
    Orville Wright (aka Rick): Phillip Seymour Hoffman (Oliver Platt)
    Random villain: Gary Oldman

    Just for fun, the original show intros are below the fold:
    » Read the rest of the entry..

  • Could Terminator 4 Be Good?


    TerminatorTruth must be told: Terminator 3 sucked the big one. Sure, it introduced me to Nick Stahl and I love Claire Danes but that movie was a pointless mess that tried way too hard to be cool and put some sort of closure on the franchise.

    I had thought that was it. There was no way that a film with that high of a suckage factor could ever allow for any more entries into the franchise but once again, Hollywood proved me wrong and some time back the franchise rights were sold off to The Halcyon Company and word on the net was that they were planning to fast track 3 more films. First though: are they insane? Who the hell wants to see more crappy installments in a dead franchise?

    Then came the mediocre TV series which sort of got people thinking that maybe something good could come out of this but truth be told, no one was really sold on it. Then the casting rumors started to fly. First there was talk that the great Christian Bale could be up for the role of John Connor. Then just last week Josh Brolin, who had a great “comeback” year in 2007, was rumored to involved in the project as the new Terminator and today a final development that could change the tides on the project for good.

    According to this Variety article, found via Cinema Spy, Aussie Sam Worthington (who led the cast of the atrociously bad but visually appealing Macbeth) has come on board; apparently the first truly cast and not just rumored addition. What’s most interesting about this story isn’t the casting itself but this little tidbit of information:

    The fact the Australian actor just played the lead in the James Cameron-directed “Avatar” is no coincidence. Cameron recommended Worthington to “Terminator Salvation” director McG, indicating that the director of the first two “Terminator” installments might be warming to the new pic.

    Cameron could be warming up to the new project? Seriously? OK, so it doesn’t say that he’ll produce or have any involvement what-so-ever but I have to admit that the fact that the great James Cameron isn’t running the other way pretending not to know that this movie is even in the works warms my heart a little.

    So let us recap. Worthington is in for sure. McG (who has a nasty, nasty track record) is on board to direct. Bale and Brolin are possibly involved as well and almost as important as anything else, Cameron isn’t seeing red – yet.

    I must admit, I’m curious to see what comes of this. Not excited yet (I’m waiting for the casting confirmations before the excitement kicks in) and to be honest, McG directing scares me to no end (though there’s always the off-chance that he’ll surprise us) but I’m definitely interested to see how this unfolds over the next few months and I’m assuming that with the writer’s strike now over, movement on the project will likely be swift.

    Now for the million dollar question: Does anyone else care, at all, about Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins or is this project dead before it even gets off the ground?

  • Catch the Crazy tonight: Free Screenings of The Signal


    The SignalIt’s a bit short notice, I know, but when you’ve been excited about a movie for a while and all of a sudden you find out about free screenings…you can’t help but share.

    Vic over at Screenrant has posted some information on free screenings which are taking place tonight and tomorrow in various cities throughout the US including Boston, Chicago, Dallas, New York and Hollywood. Looks like there are still spots available for all the screenings so head on over to Campus Circle and get yourself on the list! And yes, I realize that these are being sponsored by some sort of college student entertainment site but it doesn’t look like you have to be in College to sign yourself up!

  • Vancouver: Meet Oscar Nominated Jason Reitman


    Jason ReitmanIf you’re not yet dissuaded by the Juno (our review) backlash, this may be an event to check out!

    Oscar nominated director Jason Reitman will be in Vancouver on Thursday, February 14th (yes, Valentines day) and will be conducting a Q & A after the 7PM screening of Juno at the Fifth Avenue Cinemas.

    This should make for an entertaining evening and I’m thoroughly disappointed that it’s taking place on the one night when I can’t get out of classes. Hopefully someone who attends will be kind enough to provide a rundown of the evening.

    For advanced ticket purchase (I suggest you get on buy your tickets early) check out the Festival Cinemas website.

    UPDATE: Too good to be true? Apparently. Festival Cinemas has announced that Jason has fallen ill and will not be able to attend. What they’re not telling you is that he canceled because I couldn’t be there. :)

  • Roy Scheider Gets Celestial Bigger Boat at 75.


    Roy ScheiderRoy Scheider, who appeared in so many iconic American films from the 1970s has passed on. Whether or not you remember him from Jaws, The French Connection, All That Jazz, The Naked Lunch or 52 Pick-up, the man had some seriously diverse taste for roles and projects. He was 75, but will remain immortal in a rich and varied body of work.

    For me, the most fitting film to remember him is the Bob Fosse written, directed and choreographed All That Jazz, which like Robert Altman‘s A Prairie Home Companion, is like a living self-obituary. The fact that Roy Scheider fits so effortlessly into the role in that film, makes it easy to suspend disbelief and draw associations between the two.

    A much longer (and better) obit can be found at the NY Times.

  • The King of Kong: The Saga Continues


    Billy MitchellOne of my favorite films from last year, and one that I’ve been getting everyone I know to watch, is the documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (our review).

    One of my first thoughts coming out of the screening was concern for how accurately the film makers, producer Ed Cunningham and directed by Seth Gordon, portrayed Billy Mitchell. Was he really that much of a nasty guy or was the film edited to make it look that way?

    The extras on the DVD suggest that he’s not a really bad guy but his actions, namely not showing up for the live competition when he lives 15 minutes away while Steve Wiebe packed up his family and traveled god knows how many thousands of miles to be there in person, aren’t exactly the actions of a totally stand-up guy.

    One of the worst moments for Mitchell’s character comes near the end of the film with a short clip that really seals the deal and now it seems like there may be more to the story than we’re getting, even with the DVD extras.

    Mitchell isn’t standing for anyone taking potshots at his character and recently, he agreed to being interviewed on the record regarding the film and how he comes across and it’s all been put together, along with comments from the filmmakers, care of the good folks at the The Onion A.V. Club.

    It’s a great interview and I have to say that even with Mitchell’s information on that particularly damning scene, he still doesn’t comes across as the nicest of guys. Go on over and take a read, it’s mighty interesting.

    I have a feeling this is only the beginning of a continuously developing saga.

  • I Have a New Most Anticipated Film of 2008


    Mmmmmmmmm.  Tasty.Stumbling around the net this morning I came upon a story that almost forced me to take a “bathroom break” here at the office. From Real Player (a trustworthy source right?), Scarlet Johansson and Penélope Cruz will have a pretty raunchy sequence together in the new Woody Allen picture, Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

    According to the source, “with their steamy love scene… it is extremely erotic. People will be blown away and even shocked. Penélope and Scarlett go at it in a red-tinted photography dark room, and the whole scene will leave the audience gasping. Later in the film, both women indulge in a threesome with Penélope’s real-life boyfriend Javier Bardem.”

    So maybe this is a trashy, tabloid sort of story for this site, but hey, it caught my attention and assuming it’s true, I’d be surprised if it isn’t the talk of the town as the film looms nearer. My guess is that this is Woody Allen playing out his “dirty old man” desires; but after decades in the business making critically acclaimed film, one after another, I’d say he’s earned it. And I’d also say more power to him! We need more hot women going at it in film.

  • Become a Film Producer – For $10


    Robert EvansI‘ve heard of creative ways to raise money for a film but this one pretty much takes the cake.

    I’d like to start off by thanking Kurt for the link to this news story about Canadian filmmaker Casey Walker who is selling off frames of his yet to be completed film in an effort to raise a million dollars to actually make the movie.

    The movie is going to be a romantic sex comedy and thought it’s not my kind of genre, I can’t say no to the opportunity to help out a filmmaker who has obvious passion while, at the same time, supporting Canadian film. That’s just a double whammy I can’t walk away from lightly. So yes, I’m now an Associate Producer on Walker’s film and if you look hard enough at the project’s front page, you’ll see a recognizable logo. Maybe John or Andrew can help me out with a bigger one.

    Loads of details on the script and the money raising project at the official website.

    Marina $30

  • Welcome Year of the Rat

    Year of the Rat

    Happy Chinese New Year! While some pretty crazy weather conditions have made things a bit tense on the Mainland, a fresh cycle of the Lunar Calender (and one of the most celebrated holidays on the planet) is only a few short hours away. This calls for a celebration of some of the more interesting Chinese films over the past year. (Exit: The Pig)

    TriangleTriangle – I foolishly did not pick this up when I spotted it in a Chinatown DVD shop in San Francisco. Much like the Atlanta horror flick, The Signal, the central concept behind this collaboration of three of Hong Kong’s biggest names in action films (Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam, Johnnie To) is that the film is like a relay race. Each director picks up the reigns of the story after 30 minutes. The omnibus film contains the same cast and the same general story momentum, but stylistically it changes for each segment due to each directors particular rhythms. Also, there is a certain oneupmanship in that each director tries to make things more difficult for the last. Johnnie To gets the super-striker closer segment, and not surprisingly his is supposedly the best one. Gimmicky? Hell yea. But these things are alway fun.

    Exodus – The fascinating thing about Exodus is how easily it boils down to a high concept idea (there is a conspiracy of women plotting to make men extinct) which writer/director Ho-Cheung Pang refuses to fulfill. The result ends up being what can only be called absurdist-noir, a combination strange enough to keep me thinking about the film for days, even during a busy 5-film-a-day festival. Like the easier to digest Mad Detective, it has a knock-out of an opening scene which almost singlehandedly is worthy of recommending the film. Exodus is a slow-burn pleasure that may not even be apparent until after the film is over…when the director lives back up to the wacky concept in the closing minutes. Kaiju Shakedown‘s Grady Hendrix says it more elegantly, “A black comedy so dry that it sucks all the moisture out of your body and leaves you rustling like a dessicated mummy when you leave the theater, it manages to nail the routine of police work (Simon Yam plays a cop whose job consists of filling out forms), and to conceal its poisoned candy payoff till the end.” It is certainly one of the stranger and more exotic entries out of China in 2007. Seek this one out.

    The Warlords The Warlords- What would a list of Chinese films be without a ‘cast of thousands’ historical epic with lots of horses and swordplay? Peter Chan, who helmed the wildly popular Moulin Rouge-esque 2005 film Perhaps Love, enters into the fray with an all star cast including Takeshi Kaneshiro, Andy Lau (The two previously going head to head in Zhang Yimou‘s House of Flying Daggers) and Jet Li. It seems every major director in China will one day get to this type of film (Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige, Ang Lee, Feng Xiogang, Tsui Hark), 2007 was Chan‘s year. As I understand it (I’ve yet to import the DVD which is available from HK, and a North American Theatrical release is unlikely) what makes The Warlords worth a look is more the moral complexity of decisions to be made by the three principle characters. Although if muddy and gritty battle mayhem is your thing, this film has plenty of that too.

    CJ7CJ7 – It’s been four long years since the Chow magic has been up on screen. Kung Fu Hustle was pure, effortless joy-for-boys which ended up being one of the best mixes of eastern and western blockbuster culture. CJ7, which is comfortably in E.T. territory, involving a little boy and his cute alien looks to keep up Stephen Chow‘s fine C.V. of parody, slapstick and original execution.

    Lust, CautionLust, Caution – While I was not a gigantic fan of Ang Lee’s film, in fact it is probably my least favorite film by him on his extensive and varied resume, it is nevertheless an Ang Lee film, and much like The Coen Brothers, Terrence Mallick or Robert Altman, that makes it mandatory viewing. The film is handsome, Tang Wei is sexy and vulnerable and it is always a pleasure to see Tony Leung do his thing. Handsome production design and pretty faces (even after being ‘broken’ by the secret police, some of the drama students remain fresh-faced with a tiny bloody streak and a grimace) are the chief assets here, this is pageantry of the Hollywood kind if you go for that sort of thing. Tone is favoured over the genre elements, and a rather dry history lesson favoured overall. Despite some of my negativity towards the film, I can easily say that Lust, Caution is worthy a look or three.

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