Cinecast Episode 428 – The Undependables


Twer the day of the big game. Which makes theaters and restaurants nearly empty. Ergo, Kurt and Andrew are very happy and indulge in the old fashioned style Cinecast complete with an hour long review of Hail, Caesar!, long discussions in each of The Watch List titles and many an unrelated tangent. The popularity of James Cameron’s Avatar continues to baffle the boys while the unpopularity of “lesser” Coen Brothers fare is equally stupefying. We ask for listeners help with casting the next Third Row Productions screenplay that’s in the works. Also Jerry Seinfeld is back with a new season of “talking shop” with comedians in (usually) cool cars. Doesn’t seem like much, but all of the fun adds up in this 3+ hour, old-school Cinecast. Listen up, we’ve got all your secret shit right here!

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

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Oscar Nominees Class of 2016 Luncheon Group Photo

Thought this would be just something fun to post; and it is. But then I really starting looking at this photo. First of all, it’s weird how many people in here I have no idea who they are. It’s literally a row of unrecognizable faces and then… Steven Spielberg! Then fifteen more unknowns and then, Leonardo DiCaprio! The movie industry is weird put into this context.

Secondly, besides the giant gold guy, how many people in this photo are not white? Maybe three or four? Hollywood has no diversity problem though right?

(click for larger version)oscar-luncheon_sm

Third, here’s a fun game: let’s play “Where’s Waldo: Hollywood Oscar Edition”

Can you spot?:
  A) Bryan Cranston
  B) Rachel McAdams
  C) Ridley Scott
  D) Rooney Mara
  E) Steven Spielberg
  F) Cate Blanchett
  G) The guy with the crazy hair
  H) Charlotte Rampling
  I) Charlie Kauffman
  J) The couple holding hands
  K) Matt Damon (still swollen from shooting Bourne 5)
  L) The guy with his eyes closed
  M) Roger Deakins (he’s the guy who doesn’t have an Oscar yet)

That should keep you busy for a while.

Trailer: The Lobster

After a long lap around the festival circuit, from Cannes to TIFF and beyond and commercial releases in most of Europe at this point, The Lobster, the latest bit of satiric weirdness from Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth) nears its domestic release on this side of the pond. And thus, a new trailer, which should be quite familiar to those who remember the previous trailers, only this one has more Olivia Colman which is always a good thing.

For the uninitiated, The Lobster is Lanthimos’ internationally star-studded English language crossover, and features Colin Farrell as a lonely man who goes to a specialized singles resort to find love, at the risk of being transformed into an animal, if coupling is unsuccessful. There he meets several men and women in the same predicament, including John C. Reilly, Ben Whishaw, Angeliki Papoulia and Léa Seydoux. Things come to a head with the boutique hotel after he runs away with Rachel Weisz.

Blu-Ray Review: Nikkatsu Diamond Guys

Arrow Video are planning to release a new series of budget Japanese genre movie box sets, beginning with Nikkatsu Diamond Guys Vol. 1. I’m feeling lazy this morning, so rather than explain the set’s title in my own words, I’ll just borrow the blurb from Arrow’s press release:

‘Nikkatsu, the oldest film studio in Japan, inaugurated a star system in the late 1950s, finding talent and contracting to their Diamond Line for a series of wild genre pictures. This collection celebrates these Diamond Guys with three classic films from directors Seijun Suzuki (Branded to Kill), Toshio Masuda (Rusty Knife) and Buichi Saito (Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril).’

The films included in the set are Voice Without a Shadow, Red Pier & The Rambling Guitarist. Below are my thoughts on the individual films.

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Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Director: Burr Steers (17 Again, Charlie St. Cloud)
Novel: Jane Austen (kinda), Seth Grahame-Smith (kinda)
Producers: Marc Butan, Sean McKittrick, Brian Oliver, Natalie Portman, Annette Savitch, Allison Shearmur, Tyler Thompson
Starring: Lily James, Sam Riley, Bella Heathcote, Ellie Bamber, Millie Brady, Suki Waterhouse, Charles Dance, Lena Headey, Matt Smith
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 108 min.


I don’t understand the appeal of Seth Grahame-Smith’s “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.” As a fan of Austen, I could never quite figure out why anyone would feel the need to mix the literary classic with the zombie apocalypse. If the goal was simply to turn Lizzie Bennet into a more independent woman, then Grahame-Smith missed the point of Austen’s novel. But alas, I digress.

I had no interest in the book and just as little in the upcoming adaptation. And then the trailer happened. For a moment, I allowed myself a modicum of excitement: this might actually work!

It doesn’t.

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Review: Hail, Caesar!

“Squint! Squint against the grandeur!” so the film director can be heard offscreen during a series of dailies, which unspool in a Hollywood Studio screening room midway through Hail, Caesar! If the Coen Brothers did not definitively poke their finger in the eye of the crass factory of dreams that is tinsel town in Barton Fink, they take another look, albeit a more broader and effervescent one, at the foibles of making pictures in the late 1940s. Considering they use the same fictional studio, Capitol Pictures (“Where the writer is king!”) one might think of their latest as the loosest of sequels to that 1991 Cannes winning film. More interestingly, Hail, Caesar! is a playfully spiteful grab-bag of in-jokes in old Hollywood and the own eclectic filmography.

Josh Brolin is Eddie Mannix, Capitol Pictures’ executive producer, problem solver, and media fixer, a character loosely based on the real man of the same name, who served the same function for MGM (and was thought to be complicit in the death of the original on-screen Superman, George Reeves.) The Coen’s give us an exceptionally busy 27 hours in the life of Mannix, the span of time between two Catholic confessions, where the devoutly converted catholic obsesses over the minutiae of his marriage and personal life, while compartmentalizing, and fully omitting, the myriad of sins of his profession.

A job that entails supervising four movies being shot on the studio lot, all plagued by problems in their own unique ways. The sword-and-sandals, ‘Jesus Picture’ star, Baird Whitlock (George Clooney, sillier than ever – an injoke reminiscent of Steve Buscemi’s ever decreasing mortal remains in the Coenography) is missing, and the gossip columnists (both played by Tilda Swinton, both underused), the sailor tap-dancing musical has an alarming case of closeted gayness (and a wonderful cameo from the Highlander frenchman, Christopher Lambert), the Busby Berkeley mermaid picture has a star (Scarlett Johannson, in a glorious Noo Yawk accent) and whose fish tail is getting more ill-fitting by the hour due to a pregnancy scandal about to break, and a Euro-flavoured drawing-room melodrama has been saddled with an aw-shucks singing cowboy leading man (Alden Ehrenreich in a breakout performance) who is far, far out of his depth.

Mannix navigates this shifting sea of apocalyptic problems (at one point, a mushroom cloud is presented on screen in the manner of The Hudsucker Proxies‘ Hula-Hoop), strung together by the Coens with their penchant for noir-ish plots, with an almost savant-like talent that is the antithesis of both the Dude, Jeff Bridges’ boozy and drugged flailing in The Big Lebowski, or Billy Bob Throton’s Ed Crane, the quietly ambitious Barber in The Man Who Wasn’t There. Whitlock’s kidnapping is abetted by both by a spiked drink and a dry cleaning truck, so they are clearly nodding to both, while demonstrating there are so many orthogonal directions to take neo-noir that the surface has only been scratched in the past 75 years.

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