*SPOILER ALERT*: A Manifesto


If you don’t want any spoilers whatsoever, maybe you should stop reading for good. Gawker offers this bon mot and others in their manifesto piece on the scourge of web (and not in-print) writing, the dreaded *SPOILER* Note in the intro to this piece, they actually spoil with out warning, a major event in HBO’s Treme, which is kinda weird, gauche and annoying, but we are talking Gawker.com here, so fair game.

We’ve had previous discussions here on Rowthree on the sensitivity of what is a spoiler, and how often to issue warnings. Too many and you are in the crazy land of John Malkovich’s head, but too few and you tend to piss off people reading. We issue a blanket all bets are off spoiler alert when we review films on the cinecast, other podcasts dance around the issue without being able to really talk about a movie. The point has been made in several places that something like Tree of Life is almost independent of spoilers due to the nature of the film, but the ending of Chinatown or Empire Strikes Back is one that I certainly wouldn’t want being told to me before I see it. Too late if you watch a lot of pop culture mash-ups I’m afraid. It’s a balance.

Here are some of the highlights of the the manifesto article which postulates no spoiler-warning be necessary while writing about the Movie/Show/etc. on the web. I’ve cropped out the highlights because in the article they illustrate each point with a major spoiler:

Time limit for a theatrical movie release until spoilers are fair game: The DVD release. (Movies that are overly formulaic are exempt from this clause.)
Time limit for a TV show Cable/Network from initial broadcast: One week.
Time limit for a Reality TV fodder/crap from initial broadcast: One day.
None of these time limits apply to anything that appears in a movie trailer or season preview.

Anything that happened in previous films in a franchise or previous seasons/episodes is fair game.

Basic information about the characters, setting, and plot details are permissible.

Nothing in a movie or TV show that is based on the life of a famous person, or history can be a spoiler.

What consists of a spoiler to you? How careful/sensitive are you when reading movie news or review online? Do you like spoilers during podcast discussions of films? Who Shot JR (hint, see above)? Discuss.

Angry Birds: The Movie


It was only a matter of time, I suppose, that Hollywood moved from board game and video game movie adaptations (announcements mind you, few of these seem ever see the light of day) to mobile phone App-games in its ongoing quest for franchise potential and brand recognition. Angry Birds is perhaps the biggest behemoth in the $1 App-game market appearing on all phones and even embedded in Google Chrome browser. Angry Birds was already tied into that animated Rio movie with a themed version of the physics-game, but it looks like they will be getting their own feature, with out any connection to Alfred Hitchcock’s original angry birds movie, or its long-delayed remake.

Rovio, the Finland-based digital production house that launched the game in 2009, is celebrating its success in poaching David Maisel, who has already converted Marvel Comics characters such as Iron Man and Thor into hit movies.

The Independent has more, but the article is just one more depression-inducing decision for people who love movies without all the synergy-hoopla.

Mamo #208: Dark of the Mamo

Everyone loves a circus, but has Michael Bay finally gone too far? The boys who went on the record proclaiming their enjoyment of Transformers 2 return to contemplate the whims and quantifiable lack of whimsy of the Dark of the Moon.

To download this episode, use this URL: http://rowthree.com/audio/mamo/mamo208.mp3

Review: Transformers 3


It begins on a silent lunar morning, when an Autobot spaceship crashes down on the dark of the moon. This, we are told, generates the space race – sends rubber-faced CGI JFK scrambling to his war room to tell mankind to look to the stars – sets in motion the greatest achievement in human history, for the sole purpose of goin’ and lookin’ at the robots. It’s a retcon corroborated by no less an authority than Buzz Fucking Aldrin himself minutes later, who has been afforded a new flashback of what really went down on that day in ’69. The second man to ever walk on a celestial body not our own wanders onto the set of Transformers: Dark of the Moon and tells the children of America that Yes, We Went There Because Of The Transformers.

It continues as the Autobots are sent scurrying from the Earth, in a spaceship that is half Cybertronian, half good ol’ fashioned NASA Space Shuttle, which promptly explodes – because Space Shuttles do that, remember? You will remember, given how studiously the ILM wizards have aped the death of the Challenger to get that consuming ball of burning gas juuuuuuust right for the moment when the fleeing Autobots meet their apparent demise in the sky. You will think of Columbia, as those jewel-bright pieces of the spaceframe streak back to our planet, auguring the final death of the space age. These images are not there by accident.

And further along, we find ourselves with our human protagonists on an upper storey of an office tower, the lower levels of which have been destroyed by the enemy and are impassable, and which is shortly going to fall from the sky. We are afforded a few jarring, painfully precise moments of fear, as we realize that – shit, we’re trapped here – trapped in the decade-long nightmare – trapped, as the skyline of a major American metropolis beyond the floor-to-ceiling windows tilts and shifts as curtains of black smoke rise from below. We are seeing something that only a few, very unlucky humans have ever witnessed. It is the summer of 2011, and September is two months away.

By the time Sentinel Prime, bearing the gravel-grated voice of Leonard Fucking Nimoy, turned to the sky and rumbled the words “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” to justify a planetary genocide, I realized that I hated Transformers: Dark of the Moon more than just about anything I’ve seen in my whole life. Certainly, in the context of Everything Else, a jet-black repurposing of an old Spock line for so cruel a purpose is trivial. But it is part of the same thing. Transformers: Dark of the Moon is a wholesale repatriation of a national heritage of image systems, from the most significant to the most blithely pop-cultural, for purposes so horrific that the film is scarcely discernible from a hate crime.
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Trailer: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

It doesn’t always work out so well for acclaimed European directors when they take on English-language films – remember Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck with The Tourist or Tom Tykwer with The International or Timur Bekmambetov with Wanted? Maybe only going as far west as the UK is a good idea, because early signs suggest that Let the Right One In director Tomas Alfredson might have a better time. The first trailer just dropped for his English-language debut Tinker, Tailer, Soldier, Spy, based on John le Carré’s best-selling novel. Le Carré is well-known for writing excellent and realistic Cold War-era spy thrillers, and it looks like the film follow through on that, with a serious but urgent tone thanks to the driving string score. There’s a Russian mole at MI6, and just check out the cast list we’ve got working on ferreting the weasel out: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Ciaran Hinds. Wow. I’m down for that cast, that director, OR that source material, so all three together should be pretty awesome.

Looks like the film releases September 16th in the UK and November 18th in the US. Check below the seats for the trailer.

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Screen Shot Quiz #268

The goal of the screen shot quiz it not to just guess what the movie is that the screen shot is from but to encourage discussion on the film. Feel free to shout out in the comments what the movie is and then provide an opinion or some thoughts on the movie. Oh and the first person who gets the movie right wins our respect.

Cinecast Episode 219 – Menstrual Genius

What should have started as a tight little kick-off-the-summer-BBQ season podcast turned into something a bit more epic. Andrew chimes in on the double-bill of automobile fetish that is going to dominate the box office this weekend; whether they transform whilst grabbing Shia LaBeouf and Victoria’s Secret models out of mid air or simply have eyes on their windshields, we’ve got your axles grounded. Gamble pops by with a measured review of Bad Teacher, in which a bit of a love fest for Lucy Punch commences. He also talks a little bit of Friends with Benefits which comes out later on in July. We finish things right with the Showdown in Little Halifax where Rutger Hauer takes on an army of thugs and grotesques with grit, heart and a 12 gauge. But five full theatrical reviews is merely a warm-up. There are mammoth tangents on foot-lamberts (not Christopher Lamberts — you apparently need far more than ‘only one’) and throw distances, theatre refunds and customer service, horror marathons, how to do a ‘world-building franchise’ sequel, Italian zombie cinema, perception of reality and persistence of existence, and vindictive bureaucracies vs. gay pride in Texas. DVD picks and the usual Netflix-ins follow in a show so long, Andrew forgets who he is actually doing the show with.

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



To download the show directly, paste the following URL into your favorite downloader:

Full show notes are under the seats…
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Michael Bay loves Coen Brothers Supporting Players


At an entertaining and boisterous drink-up in a Toronto pub with an eclectic mix of film fans, filmmakers and writers last night, Mamo! Matt Price lamented that while there are Lebowski Fests all over the world, there are no Miller’s Crossing fests, and that started not only the germ of an idea. After all, it is a toss up behind Lebowski which is the more all-out quotable Coen Brothers movie – O Brother Where Art Thou?, Fargo or Miller’s Crossing – but I tend to side with the latter (and don’t you dare give me the high hat!) Nevertheless, there was a lament also that Jon Polito has not shown up in a Coen Brothers joint in some time, and that, kind moviegoers, is a damn shame.

Maybe Michael Bay will hire him to wear a G-String and be peed on or something for his next movie.

Huh? That’s a hell of a non sequitur there, isn’t it? Maybe not.

It is no secret, albeit I have heard no compelling explanation why, that Michael Bay tends to pilfer top notch character actors and then make them ham it up with bad dialogue (big air quotes around the d-word which is uttered with the utmost caution on a M-Bay set) and drops them into embarrassing situations to strip them of any dignity, joy or shame. Many folks have probably noticed that he is particularly fond of taking Coen Brothers regulars and dropping them into his film. For instance, Transformers 3 has no less than three actors: Frances McDormand, John Turturro and John Malkovich which ties Armageddon (Billy Bob Thorton, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare (the latter two who have a very good, but very distinctly Non-Fargo or Big Lebowski, scene together, but these two actors prolific as they may be – this might all be coincidence – but they also appear in several other Michael Bay features (Buscemi in The Island, Storemare in Bad Boys II). Also, William Forsythe (John Goodman’s highly amusing prison-pal from Raising Arizona) also shows up in The Rock.

All this to say that I’m not the first to notice this, and getting back to Jon Polito for a moment, this MovieLine article suggests that yea, if The Coen’s can’t find work for the man, then at least he should draw a big paycheck to stand in front of some Bayhem.

In the meantime, who wants to help get a Millers-Con off the ground? Hey, what’s the rumpus?