And We Have a Winner!

Congratulations to reader Jonathan Hardesty for winning the Magnet prize pack in celebration of Monsters (our review) being released on iTunes, VOD, XBOX 360, Playstation 3 and Jonathan wins a Blu-ray copy for each of the following: The Host, The Signal and Let the Right One In. As well as a pretty cool looking t-shirt sporting the Monsters logo.

Jonathan, send us your shipping info and we’ll get these Blu-ray out to you asap; just in time for Halloween!

Thanks for everyone who entered the contest; we hope you stick with RowThree in the future more more film discussery and contests. But for now, be sure to check out Monsters on VOD right now or in wide release in theaters on October 29th. I’m sure there will be lots of talk on the subject by that time.

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Trailer: Barney’s Version

This schizophrenic trailer for Paul Giamatti’s latest film Barney’s Version might be a little too revealing and even more confusing in its selling of the movie’s tone, but there is plenty to suggest that this movie is going to contain a magnificent performance by Andrew’s main man.

Based on Canadian author Mordecai Richler’s novel of the same name, the movie “is the warm, wise, and witty story of Barney Panofsky, a seemingly ordinary man who lives an extraordinary life. A candid confessional, told from Barney’s point of view, the film spans four decades and two continents, taking us through the different “acts” of his unusual history. … With his father, Izzy (Dustin Hoffman) as his sidekick, Barney takes us through the many highs, and a few too many lows, of his long and colorful life.”

Despite the sloppy trailer, with everyone involved and the material, this should be a very good movie. We’ll find out early next year when it comes out.

Ryan Gosling in a film is a good thing.

We have an unabashed crush on Ryan Gosling here in the third row, so when a movie of his makes its way to the theater, we generally squirm with delight at the potential for seeing another special performance. Gosling’s latest is titled All Good Things and it looks like it is going to be another unique performance by the man. Co-starring Kirsten Dunst, and Frank Langella, IMDb describes the film as “a love story and murder mystery based on the most notorious unsolved murder case in New York history … [which] uses newly discovered facts, court records and speculation as the foundation for an imaginative spellbinding story of family, obsession, love and loss.”

It’s a strange trailer and didn’t necessarily have me on the edge of my seat in anticipation, but just knowing that Mr. Gosling is in it will be enough to get me at least in the theater seat.

What are your thoughts?

VIFF 2010 Review: The White Meadows

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The White Meadows

Every once in a while, for me it happens every four or five years, you see something that is so beautiful that it’s nearly impossible to believe it was shot on the planet we live on. Forget the green screens and CGI and let’s talk Tarsem and his talent for shooting locations and making them look like creations of the mind. Out of this real world comes a fantastic tale, one full of tragedy, music, magic and immense, breathtaking beauty. Out of this world comes The White Meadows.

A tale that could easily come from “The Arabian Nights,” Mohammad Rasoulof’s film is the story of a man named Rahmat who travels by boat from island to island alleviating individuals of their secrets and suffering and at the same time, collecting their tears. On his first stop, he picks up the body of a woman who died eight days before, a woman of so much beauty the town elders feared to bury her because the young men in the village would dig her up to look upon her. Curious and now far from shore on his little boat, Rahmat sneaks a peek and discovers, rather than a very dead, very beautiful woman, a very young and alive boy who staged his escape for a chance to search for his father.

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VIFF 2010 Review: The Tree

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The Tree

Charlotte Gainsbourg has made another movie in which a tree plays a large role. Now don’t go running off yet, this new film is thankfully devoid of terror and mutilation though it does still feature Gainsbourg suffering, this time from the death of her husband.

Julie Bertucelli’s The Tree stars Gainsbourg as Dawn, a mother of four whose husband has recently died. She’s depressed and the kids are all dealing with their loss in their own way: Charlie, the youngest, who doesn’t speak, Lou who is mostly keeping busy with his friends and Tim who is looking after the kids and working while preparing to go off to University. And then there’s 8 year old Simone who thinks her father is living in the tree in the backyard. Though at first Dawn thinks Simone is only imagining her father in the tree, she too comes to take comfort in the idea that her husband’s spirit is nearby but as she adjusts to life without him and starts to move on, the tree seems to have a mind all its own and a series of events threatens to break Dawn’s family apart.

Bertucelli’s film which is adapted from a novel by Judy Pascoe is a very sweet and gentle story of family, death and mourning. Though the story could easily fall into the Hallmark movie of the week, the film features a wonderfully nuanced performance from Gainsbourg (always fantastic), a great turn from Marton Csokas (who I always think of as the bad guy) as Dawn’s love interest and a star making performance from Morgana Davies as Simone.

Captured by cinematographer Nigel Bluck are the gorgeous, dream-like landscapes of rural Australia that, combined with the quiet story and strong performances, culminate into a beautiful and touching film.

See VIFF screening schedule for show times.

Trailer tucked under the seats.
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Stunning Set of International Black Swan Posters

Darren Aronofsky’s dark ballerina tale Black Swan has been getting rave reviews on its initial festival screenings (review), which should put it in good stead for its December 1st theatrical release, not to mention prime buzz position in this year’s Oscar season. And today we find new international posters for the film that are among the most stunning artwork I’ve seen in recent years – all sharp edges and bright reds, blacks and whites, giving a good idea of the jagged and intense experience that the film promises. They look straight out of Russian propaganda or European art deco design, and as if I wasn’t already stoked enough to see the film, now I’m exactly 4x more excited.

The other three posters are tucked under the seats.

Hat tip Screenrant.

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VIFF 2010 Review: Wagner & Me

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Wagner & Me

Wagner has never been my cup of tea but any opportunity to spend time with the fabulous Stephen Fry is one I must at least consider. Add in the fact that Patrick McGrady’s new documentary follows Fry as he comes to terms with the cloud that surrounds Wagner, both his own personal anti-Semitism and the abuse of Wagner’s music by the Nazis, this was one I couldn’t miss.

A very personal film, Wagner & Me beings as a study of the music at the mercy of a very enthusiastic Fry whose energy and passion is catching. He speaks of the music and the history as a knowledgeable teacher and his travels through Europe to the various spots once inhabited and made famous by Wagner almost feel like a pilgrimage we’re privy to follow him on.

Though there are occasional passing mentions of Wagner’s association with the Nazi’s, this isn’t an issue that is really addressed until later in the film with Fry’s visit to Nuremberg and the site of the massive Nazi rallies. It’s here that we learn of Hitler’s passion for the music and it’s here that Fry must come to terms with the fact that the features of Wagner’s music that attracted him also attracted Hitler. So how does a man of Jewish heritage come to terms with the fact that his first musical love also hated his culture and people? One simply loves the music.

Using portions of some of Wagner’s most recognizable pieces and gorgeously capturing the locations that define the composer’s work (like Bayreuth). Fry is granted access behind the scenes and to the most notable pieces of history including Wagner’s piano and original copies of his operas.

What’s best about Wagner & Me is that the film is enjoyable and awe inspiring even for outsiders and though it doesn’t go as deeply into the discussion of the Wagner/Nazi connection as I expected, it’s still a handsomely produced, immensely enjoyable documentary.

The film has been selected as a returning festival favourite and an additional screening has been scheduled. See VIFF’s official website for screening schedule for show times.

Trailer tucked under the seats.
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Review: Black Christmas (1974)

Director: Bob Clark
Screenplay: Roy Moore
Producer: Bob Clark
Starring: Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, John Saxon, Marian Waldman, Andrea Martin
Year: 1974
Country: Canada
BBFC Certification: 18
Duration: 98 min

Black Christmas is often classed as the first true slasher movie. Some argue that the title belongs to Bava’s Bay of Blood or even Psycho but this shares much more of the hallmarks of films traditionally settled in the sub-genre and it pre-dates classics such as Halloween and Friday the 13th by several years. You’ve got a crazed killer stalking sexually active teens in a sorority house, prank phone calls, bumbling police detectives, the works. So I guess the question is, how does a film that has been copied so many times hold up today?

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