• Jarmusch’s Rules for Filmmakers

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    Jim JarmuschWhen I posted the trailer for Jim Jarmusch’s upcoming The Limits of Control, it was instantly clear that there’s a whole lot of love in Row Three land for the director. He’s not afraid to work outside the “system”, consistently making great films that twist and bend expectations.

    Movie Maker recently gave Jarmusch free reign and asked him to share some information on his method of directing and result is five “rules” which read like a handbook for guerrilla filmmaking as well as a sort of simplified bible for filmmakers. Above all, it also sheds a bit of light into the director’s process and how he makes films.

    In short form, here are Jarmusch’s rules for directors:

    1) There are no rules.
    2) Don’t let the fuckers get ya.
    3) The production is there to serve the film.
    4) Filmmaking is a collaborative process.
    5) Nothing is original.

    Jarmusch expands on the rules over at Movie Maker; it’s a short article well worth a read.

    Big thanks to Peter Marshall for the heads up.

  • Still Early But “It” Adaptation Sounds Promising

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    Pennywise from King's ITSometime in the early part of the 90’s, I stumbled on a miniseries that gave me nightmares for months to come. It was the adaptation of Stephen King’s “It” and the movie that single-handedly fuelled my fear of clowns for the next few years. I only saw it the single time but clearly remember being spooked by the story and some of the images and events that unfolded even if the ending left me wondering what the heck had just happened since the film devolved from good thriller (to a tweenaged me at least) into sci-fi weirdness with a spider-like monster thing that made very little sense.

    Over the years, I have occasionally felt the pull to re-visit the story but never bothered and now it looks like I may write it off completely. A few weeks ago it was announced that It would be coming to the big screen care of WB and writer Dave Kajganich (the man behind the recent updating of Invasion of the Body Snatchers: The Invasion). I was curious about the new film but with such little information to go on, it was simply a passing amusement rather than any real interest in the project but after reading some recent comments from Kajganich, I’m a little more curious.

    In a discussion with Dread Central, Kajganich added a few details to the barebones production information including the fact that the film will be set in the mid 80s and the present, with the same 20 year gap King had in the original story, as well as news that this will definitely be an R rated film. The one thing that really impressed me about Kajganich’s comments was the fact that he seems to understand and care for the story enough to know that some of it will have to be cut out;

    “WB wants to do this as a single film, so I will have to kill a few darlings to make that happen. You have my promise, though, that I will do this with the utmost humility and respect for King’s work.”

    It’s not exactly a promissory note for a spectacular movie but I’m thrilled to see that Kajganich is comfortable enough with the material to make the difficult decisions and now I’m much more interested to see an updating of a film that traumatized my childhood. Who knows, maybe the updating will be creepy enough to traumatize the adult as well. Sometimes, a little trauma is appreciated.

  • Screen Shot Quiz #159

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    No one figured out that yesterday’s quiz was from the opening of Moonraker. Bond is pushed out of a plane without a parachute by Jaws. After an impressive fight in the air where Bond steals a parachute off a pilot Jaw tries to open up his parachute only to break the pull cord. The opening sequence finishes with Jaw crashing into a circus tent which collapses. Don’t worry, Jaw doesn’t die from falling out of a plane. Moonraker is Bond at his campiest.

    This week’s theme is Westerns. Here is today’s screen shot. Good luck!

    screen shot 159

    I’ll post the the answer on Monday along with the next quiz, which will start a new theme.

  • Row Three Narcissism Movies We Watched

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    Movies We have WatchedWelcome to another edition of “Movies We Watched,” the fortnightly sampling of capsules of cinematic odds and ends that may not have made it to a full post on the ever continuing ticker-tape of Row Three. The full list of these micro-reviews (which are longer than a ‘tweet,’ however) can be accessed via the icon on the sidebar for those so inclined to browse. It has been a busy week for the Row Three regulars and a wide variety of stuff to sample. Onwards.

    Darkon (2006) 3/5
    After years of waiting, I finally had the chance to catch up with the LARPing doc which looked oh so good when the trailers were released in 2006. It tries to be interesting and occasionally the subjects do help in accomplishing that and to the filmmakers benefit, they have great respect for their subjects while also providing some real answers to why folks partake in these types of games but something about the film’s editing feels off kilter and though it looks nice enough, it also feels overly long and sometimes amateurish. Though I did enjoy it, this is not the be all end all of movies about LARPing. -MARINA

    Anvil! The Story of Anvil (2008) 4/5
    A documentary on the 1980s heavy metal band that plays part American Movie, part Spinal Tap, part The Wrestler. The film has a great big beating heart, and isn’t afraid to allow the wannabe metal-gods several moments of tears on their 30+ year quest to the rock-stardom achieved by their peers. Some of the visuals of Lips’ story echoes that of Aronofsky’s The Wrestler, yet Lips and company were only on ‘top’ for a short portion of their 15 minutes of fame. Thus the story charts their quest as men in their 50s to capture those remaining minutes before time fully snatches the dream away. It works because the story is pretty darn universal. -KURT

    Cypher (2002) 2.5/5
    An interesting sci-fi, mind fuck of a film that likes to try to play the twisty, double agent card to keep the audience guessing. For what I suspect is a fairly low budget film, it hashes out this idea fairly well with some interesting concepts about corporate domination in the near future and the use of mind control. The amount of double-crossing and typical, Hollywood sci-fi cliches are enough to keep the movie faily dumbed-down. It’s easy to see the twist on a twist idea before there even is a twist. So in terms of plot or story, you might as well stop here as it’s pretty easy to see where things will end up; or at the very least it’s easy to see that some sort of implausible ending scenario will likely take shape. The goodness in the film comes from the specifics and the details however. Certain sequences and subtle (and not so subtle) visions about the future are interesting to witness. Jeremy Northam is surprisingly adequate here as well. Just don’t expect a mind-blowing revelation. The movie is an interesting idea that’s only hashed out as well as your is able to turn itself off. -ANDREW

    Ultraviolet (2006) 2/5
    Oh, the things I do for actresses I girlcrush on. Milla Jovovich is my strangest girlcrush, I think, and yet possibly the most deserving of the term, because she pretty much never makes good movies (maybe The Fifth Element), and yet I always watch and usually enjoy them because she’s in them. And Ultraviolet continues the trend. It’s a terrible movie. TERRIBLE. In a futuristic world, blood disease has infected a portion of the population, creating an all-out war between humans and diseased hemophages (i.e., vampires). A mysterious weapon emerges, and hemophage Violet is sent to retrieve it, but it turns out to be a child whose blood may be death or cure to hemophages. There are pretty visuals to all of this (though director Kurt Wimmer’s choice to use so much soft focus seems odd; the manic editing isn’t odd, but also isn’t welcome – to me, at least), but no heart or soul. It’s got a similar feel to Wimmer’s earlier Equilibrium, which I had some of the same issues with – no reason to care about the people, and no reason to worry about them (in both films, the protagonist goes through impossible fights without getting a scratch). At least Equilibrium had a reason for the lack of emotional connection – the central conceit was a world in which emotion had been removed. In Ultraviolet, the only reason to care is if you, like me, somehow end up caring about Jovovich no matter how crappy a movie she’s in. And I plead guilty to that. -JANDY

    What Just Happened (2008) 3.5/5
    A spiritual sequel to Wag the Dog, its one of those “in” movies – either you get the Hollywood in-jokes or you don’t. It is both funny and good, but not quite great – besides Sean Penn’s in-movie movie, that is. -JONATHAN

    Fuck (2005) 2.5/5
    A history of the word “fuck”? This had potential awesomeness written all over it but it’s a bland and conventional documentary which, aside from featuring a whole mess of usages for the word, it fails to really say anything about anything. There’s no real history of the word, no meaningful discussion on why it’s so popular. That said, it does feature a whole lot of people that one wouldn’t expect uttering the word and a few of these are pretty wicked but overall unnecessary and not enough of a reason to see the film. -MARINA

  • R3view: Fast and Furious

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    Fast and Furious poster

    Director: Justin Lin (Better Luck Tomorrow, Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Annapolis)
    Writer: Chris Morgan (Cellular, Wanted, Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift)
    Producers:Vin Diesel, Michael Fottrell, Neal H. Moritz
    Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, John Ortiz, Gal Gadot, Michelle Rodriguez
    MPAA Rating: PG-13
    Running time: 107 min


    Not a true R3view as only two of us were actually brave enough to head out to the multi-plex to see the fourth installment in the F&F franchise. While most consider this series to be one step up from cow dung, we (Andrew and Marina) admit to the first film being quite a fun guilty pleasure. Bringing back the original cast for this most recent segment of the thread was enough for us to get out, buckle up and prepare for one helluva ride… maybe.

    Synopsis:
    Dom (Diesel) and crew are still up their old tricks; hijacking rigs for their valuable contents. Now on the run from the law however, they’re forced to work their racket in smaller countries such as the Dominican Republic. When an unexpected plot twist forces Dom to return to The States (Los Angeles), he knows the law will be breathing down his neck the second he crosses the border. Luckily for him he’s got a friend on the inside (Paul Walker). Together they work on the inside of a major crime syndicate; one of them out for justice, the other out for revenge. Fast cars and general mayhem ensue.

    read all of our reviews below…
    Would you like to know more…?

  • Night of the Creeps DVD – This October.

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    notc_omar_onesheetFred Dekker superfan and all around nice guy from Iceland, Omar Swarez (who designed that swanky one-sheet on the left, just for fun), suggested last year the 1980s genre mash-up Night of the Creeps, for an episode of the Movie Club Podcast (which you can find here). Combining the college nerd-movie with zombies, aliens, noir-ish cops and even 1950s nostalgia, the film is a beloved cult item which has been only around on aging laser discs, battered VHS tapes and various traded torrents and bootlegs. With the concept of alien slugs infecting and turning folks into zombies, this movie is surely inspiration behind the bigger budget cult comedy Slither (Tom Atkins vs. Nathan Fillion, go). The powers that be (that would be Sony Pictures, who produced Night of the Creeps as a studio picture originally under TriStar) are finally putting out a directors cut, with the original ending restored. The cut is being personally supervised by Dekker (who has been touring with a theatrical release print of the film for years, from Austin to Toronto), and it may even be out this October for Halloween. Fans of wacky 80s projects, rejoice!

    The DVD is in the production stages right now, according to ‘special features production house’ Red Shirt Pictures. This will join the fabulously thorough Monster Squad DVD that was put out a few years earlier.

    (Shock till you Drop via Twitch)

  • Screen Shot Quiz #158

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    Swarez quickly figured out that yesterday’s quiz was from License to Kill and the young actor in the shot was Benicio Del Toro. I never even realized that it was him in the movie until I just did the quiz but I’ll admit that I’ve been picking Bond flicks that I don’t watch as often as some. For today’s quiz I’ve picked on from a Bond movie that I’ve seen dozens of times.

    screen shot #158

    I’ll post the the answer on Monday along with the next quiz, which will start a new theme.

  • Bruno. Red Band. See It Now.

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    BrunoBorat the Kazakhstani took over in 2006. Creator Sacha Baron Cohen took his TV show act, turned it up a few notches and provided a sometimes hysterical, sometimes obscene film which also provided a look at the culture we live in.

    It’s been two years and Cohen has been hard at work on yet another film of hysterics and obscenity, this time bringing back Brüno, a Flamboyant Austrian fashionista who, in the aptly titled Brüno, will wreak havoc all over the US.

    Last week, reports emerged that the MPAA had slapped Brüno with an NC-17 rating, not too much of a surprise considering what Cohen provided in Borat and the buzz that Brüno is even more offensive but one never knows with the MPAA, maybe it was the organization simply being foolish (what else is new) however, seeing some of the clips in the redband trailer, the rating doesn’t come as much of a surprise.

    It’s doubtful that the film will stay with that rating as NC-17 is generally considered a death mark for theatrical distribution, but it sure helps in adding fuel to stoke the already massive fire that will be Brüno. Prepare to be offended on July 10th when the film opens across North America.

    Trailer, care of the great folks at Rope of Silicon, is tucked under the seat.

    Would you like to know more…?

  • Keira Knightley in a Shocking Abuse of Power

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    As part of a women’s abuse ad campaign, the lovely Keira Knightley portrays a screen actress who lives with a life of physical abuse from a significant other in a video ad released today.

    It’s a rather effective ad directed by Atonement and Pride and Prejudice director, Joe Wright. Knightley appears to break the fourth wall claiming that she “didn’t agree to this”, only to find that the violence about to commence is real. The video is quite effective and was made to help with the charity for Women’s Aid and raise awareness on domestic abuse.

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  • Screen Shot Quiz #157

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    Aaron and then Swarez were both correct in that yesterday’s quiz was from Thunderball. While I can marvel at the final underwater battle I still find that it really dragged overall and is one of my my least watched Bond flicks. For today’s quiz I would also like to know the actor in the shot as well as the movie. Once again no Googling allowed.

    screen shot #157

    I’ll post the the answer tomorrow along with the next quiz.

  • High-Brow Sci-fi: Inception Will Kick Ass

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    Christopher NolanHow do I know it will kick ass when no one else even knows what the movie is about? By virtue of the talent involved.

    Let’s see if we can’t get you on board. Inception is Christopher Nolan’s new project (you know, the Batman guy? the man that also made Insomnia and Memento), written and directed by Nolan himself. Leonardo DiCaprio had previously signed on to star and news today is that Oscar winner Marion Cotillard, Cillian Murphy and Ellen Page are also in talks to star.

    Really, with a cast this talented, do you really need a synopsis? I didn’t think so and that’s a good thing too because the film’s subject matter is a tightly guarded secret. The most the studio (WB) is willing to leak is that it’s a sci-fi action film “set within the architecture of the mind.” So…like The Matrix? Oh jeez, where do I buy my ticket?

    We’ll be keeping you posted as more details are revealed until then, speculate away!

  • Jack Says: Low Budget Noir Looks Promising

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    Jack Says Quad PosterWhen you promote your film with a poster that is eerily reminiscent of Sin City, you’re bound to get someone’s attention and this morning, that someone happens to be me.

    Winner of the best film award at Newport International Film Festival, Jack Says is Bob Phillips’ directorial debut. It’s the story of Jack, a man who wakes up on a London street suffering from amnesia. He can’t remember his former life but an address scribbled on a piece of paper starts him on a trail that leads to Paris where a chance encounter with a woman brings him to the attention of the underworld. There’s a whole lot more to the story and if you’re looking for details, be sure to check out the film’s very spiffy website.

    Noir isn’t really my thing but Phillips is obviously a fan of the genre and the trailer and synopsis has my attention. Sadly, the film is opening in very limited release on Friday, April 3 and that limited release doesn’t include any Canadian cities.

    It’s a nice looking trailer and a promising looking film, one I’d love to catch on DVD down the road. That said, if you’re curious and living in the US, I encourage you to check out the list of cities where the film is playing; I’ve tucked that list, along with the trailer, under the seat!

    Would you like to know more…?




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