After the Hype #101 – Battle of the Bonds 2: Electric Boogaloo!

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Bryan and Jon are joined by Tony and Graham for the bonkers sequel to their Battle of the Bonds episode. You don’t know the meaning of bonkers until you find out which film wins. Bonkers.

 

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Cinecast Episode 400 – A Waterfall of Love

 
After 400 episodes, you might think there would be some animosity, down in the dark recesses of our subconscious. With a special mailbag segment of the show, we get to the bottom of things and it is a wellspring of love and support. Or maybe not, as some listeners think it is a good idea to draw new lines of warring factions with other podcasts (really McNeil?… really!?). Otherwise it is business as usual in the Third Row.

We debate the high water marks of Pixar, past and present, and talk about the margins and the minutiae of their latest endeavor, Inside Out.

We ponder the opening and unconventional first episode of the second season of True Detective. Will it evolve into greatness, or even be worth discussing (or even watching) for an entire season?

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening! After all these years and episodes we are grateful for any and all audience that hangs with us, week in and week out. Onwards.

 

 
 

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Blu-Ray Review: The Happiness of the Katakuris

Director: Takashi Miike
Screenplay: Kikumi Yamagishi
Based on a Film by: Kim Jee-woon
Starring: Kenji Sawada, Keiko Matsuzaka, Shinji Takeda
Country: Japan
Running Time: 113 min
Year: 2001
BBFC Certificate: 18


There was a wave of fairly successful Asian films which reached the West in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. One of the directors that rose to prominence during this time was Takashi Miike. The title of his that caught the world’s attention, after churning out largely direct to video fare, was Audition. A slow drama that suddenly turns into gut churning horror in the final act, the film was a critical success and it helped boost the popularity of J-horror, which had reached Western shores with Ringu (a.k.a. The Ring). Miike didn’t sit back and rest on his laurels though. One of the most prolific recent directors I’ve ever come across, he continued (and continues) to churn out film after film. He’ll be 55 this year and he has 98 directing credits to his name from his debut in 1991 (that’s an average of around 4 films a year!) according to the IMDB.

2001 was a big year for the director. Eight of his films were released that year and four of them made it to the UK that I’m aware of and received a mixture of acclaim and notoriety. This really cemented his reputation as a fearless master of extreme cinema with the unbelievably violent Ichi the Killer, the seriously f*cked up Visitor Q, Yakuza drama The Agitator and the comedy horror musical The Happiness of the Katakuris.

The latter title is being re-released on Blu-Ray & DVD in the UK by the ever dependable Arrow Video label. Although I was rather smitten by the wave of Asian cinema released in the early 2000’s when I was a student, I never got around to watching The Happiness of the Katakuris, so I was keen to see what the fuss was about.

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James Horner. 1953 – 2015

Composer James Horner passed on yesterday in a plane crash while flying his Embraer EMB 312 Tucano turboprop aircraft. Horner, like many film score composers, has a massive list of film credits, including most of James Cameron’s filmography (From Aliens to Avatar), most of Ron Howard’s filmogarphy (From Willow to A Beautiful Mind), most of Mel Gibson’s directed films (Braveheart to Apocalypto) and so many more. Take a ride with the Fire-mares below from the camp classic Krull.

The Guardian has more.

Review: Chuck Norris vs Communism

Director: Ilinca Calugareanu
Screenplay: Ilinca Calugareanu
Starring: Irina Margareta Nistor, Ana Maria Moldovan, Dan Chiorean
Country: UK, Romania, Germany
Running Time: 78 min
Year: 2015
BBFC Certificate: TBC


Chuck Norris vs Communism is the perfect companion piece to a documentary I reviewed only a few weeks ago, Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films. Whereas the latter revelled in poking fun at the low budget trashy output of Cannon Films in the 80’s, the documentary I’m reviewing here shows how some of those films and other similar titles from the era helped inspire a revolution.

Romania fell under Communist rule after WWII. In 1965 Nicolae Ceaușescu came to power and remained the party’s leader for almost 25 years, developing an autocratic control over the people. As Romania moved into the 1980’s, its foreign debt hit an incredible $10 billion and Ceaușescu pushed forward extreme austerity measures that shattered the economy and impoverished the population (the Conservatives in the UK should take note of that). In a desperate bid to keep the public on his side, he imposed a nationwide cult of personality – using propaganda and mass media to create an idealised, heroic depiction of himself.

Part of this process, alongside Ceaușescu’s general tight grip on the population, involved extreme censorship. The national television network was stripped down to just one channel, showing only two hours of content a day (all strictly positive towards the country and Ceaușescu). Films were practically banned, particularly those from outside Romania (I believe a few select titles which promoted the right values were allowed to be shown if they passed the strict censors). Whilst the rest of the world was enjoying the VHS boom, video players/recorders couldn’t be purchased in the country and the public were forbidden to enjoy the cascade of blockbusters coming out of Hollywood at the time.

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Blu-Ray Review: Forty Guns

Director: Samuel Fuller
Screenplay: Samuel Fuller
Starring: Barbara Stanwyck, Barry Sullivan, Dean Jagger, Gene Barry, Robert Dix, John Ericson
Country: USA
Running Time: 80 min
Year: 1957
BBFC Certificate: PG


As regular readers will know, I’ve been enjoying working my way through the classic westerns over the last couple of years. Eureka added Anthony Mann’s Man of the West (my review can be found here) to their Masters of Cinema lineup not too long ago and I was delighted to hear that they were mining the genre once again by releasing Samuel Fuller’s Forty Guns this month.

Forty Guns stars the great Barbara Stanwyck as Jessica Drummond, a wealthy landowner in Arizona. She’s a powerful woman who has control over the ‘forty guns’ of the title, a band of riders who help her maintain her dominant position over the area alongside her ability to pay off anyone she needs. When ex-hired gun Griff Bonnell (Barry Sullivan) and his two brothers ride into town and put a stop to her brother Brockie’s (John Ericson) drunken bullying, Jessica begins to lose her tight grip. This isn’t helped by the fact that she falls in love with Griff. Brockie isn’t about to let the Bonnells get away with what they did though and Jessica becomes torn between both sides whilst Griff’s life is put in danger.

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Friday One Sheet: Sicario

After yesterdays intense and gritty trailer, we’re all about Denis Villeneuve’s Cannes fêted cross-border procedural, Sicario. This poster stands out with its smoked-butter yellow and graffiti deaths-head. The text is well integrated to the point where you almost do not notice it. I don’t exactly know if it advertises what the movie experience will be, but it certainly would draw eyeballs if it were framed in a theatre lobby.