Super Ticket Episode 8 – Rowgue Three

Mamo and Cinecast unite to form the Super Ticket! We are one with the force, the force is with us. We are one with the force, the force is with us. We are one with the force, the force is with us. We are one with the force, the force is with us. We are one with the force, the force is with us. We are one with the force, the force is with us. We are one with the force, the force is with us. We are one with the force, the force is with us. We are one with the force, the force is with us. We are one with the force, the force is with us. We are one with the force, the force is with us. We are one with the force, the force is with us. We are one with the force, the force is with us. We are one with the force, the force is with us. We are one with the force, the force is with us. We are one with the force, the force is with us.

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and may the force be with you!

 

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*NSFW* Teaser: Love

What space would be possible for avant-garde French director, Gaspar Noe to go after Enter The Void? Well, clearly, a 3D sex film that could play Cannes was the direction he took, and indeed, it played (somewhat muted in response however) at the festival in May. Love in 3D now has a teaser trailer that gives new definition to ‘fade to white.’ Need I say that this one is not for watching in casual mixed company?

The trailer is tucked under the seat.

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Review: Gravity

TIFF13Gravity

The biggest complaint I’ve heard about Gravity is that it doesn’t feel like a film. In other words, it’s more like a video game or an amusement park ride than something you would normally see in your local movie theatre. You certainly can’t get away from the fact that there are gobs of CGI in it and that there are obvious reality-stretching thrill ride aspects. There are sequences specifically designed to ratchet up the tension to new levels of intensity – so much so that you might still be unclenching your toes hours later. So what’s wrong with that you ask? Well, nothing…

Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity (in its non-IMAX 3-D version at least) is a wholly immersive experience. It’s sole purpose is to put its two high-priced charming stars into impossible-to-escape scenario after impossible-to-escape scenario upping the ante each time to see if you can hold your breath a few seconds longer and grip that arm rest a little tighter. From that point of view – especially if you enjoy that kind of thing – it’s an astonishing success. That aforementioned tension steadily increases from the use of exceedingly long “takes” – a Cuaron trademark, but certainly much more stitched together than ever before here – and a raging score and sound field. It has the effect of dropping you into their desperation and panic without promise of getting out the other side.

When I say “their”, I really should qualify that to only Sandra Bullock’s character Ryan Stone. She is accompanying a space shuttle crew to perform some of her experiments, but only has about 6 months of training under her belt. George Clooney plays Matt Kowalsky, one of the astronauts who coolly jet packs around the shuttle during the opening spacewalk of the film and stays equally as cool throughout the pandemonium that follows. So Stone’s reflexes, ability to calm her breathing and ease with the jet pack are somewhat less than Kowalsky’s – which plonks us right there into her space boots (especially when the camera goes in and then back out of her space helmet). Though it took me a few minutes to settle into that opening spacewalk (getting attuned to the 3D surroundings, adjusting to what I felt were a few wonky CGI bits, etc.), I was fully engrossed by the time the first Houston warning of some potential danger came. And then, with still yet a single cut in the film, we’re thrown into crisis mode. Though that first 10-15 minute single “shot” is actually composed of hundreds of different pieces, the planning and orchestration of it is a phenomenal achievement.

Of course, that shouldn’t mean anything when it comes to your enjoyment of the experience. Did you get sucked in? Did you feel nervous? Were you there with Bullock? That’s what Cuaron is trying to do and it worked in spades for me. There are several moments that don’t work as well – Bullock’s howling with the dogs moment doesn’t work and Clooney is just too damn charming sometimes – but for me it was all easily forgiven. The ebbs and flows of tension are timed to give you just enough of a rest – but not too much – before the next wave of crisis arrives. The score is perhaps overpowering at times, but it served its purpose exceedingly well. Like a great amusement park ride you’ve just been on with your friends, I (and many other people) wanted to get right back in line and do it all over again. I just needed a few extra minutes for my muscles to relax and my toes to get back to normal.

TIFF Review: Gravity

TIFF13Gravity

The biggest complaint I’ve heard about Gravity is that it doesn’t feel like a film. In other words, it’s more like a video game or an amusement park ride than something you would normally see in your local movie theatre. You certainly can’t get away from the fact that there are gobs of CGI in it and that there are obvious reality-stretching thrill ride aspects. There are sequences specifically designed to ratchet up the tension to new levels of intensity – so much so that you might still be unclenching your toes hours later. So what’s wrong with that you ask? Well, nothing…

Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity (in its non-IMAX 3-D version at least) is a wholly immersive experience. It’s sole purpose is to put its two high-priced charming stars into impossible-to-escape scenario after impossible-to-escape scenario upping the ante each time to see if you can hold your breath a few seconds longer and grip that arm rest a little tighter. From that point of view – especially if you enjoy that kind of thing – it’s an astonishing success. That aforementioned tension steadily increases from the use of exceedingly long “takes” – a Cuaron trademark, but certainly much more stitched together than ever before here – and a raging score and sound field. It has the effect of dropping you into their desperation and panic without promise of getting out the other side.

Would you like to know more…?

Jurassic Park IV Director Confirmed: Colin Trevorrow

Apparently Colin Trevorrow was high in the running for the Star Wars VII gig (as reported by the internet). I saw the new and thought, “who?” Looking him up on the ever faithful IMDb, it seems he’s done very little; the most visible part of the repertoire being the much underseen Safety Not Guaranteed. The short of the long of this is, I still think to myself, “who?”

Here’s what producer Frank Marshall (‏@LeDoctor) had to say via Twitter: “Thrilled to have director on JP4, Colin Trevorrow, an exciting young filmmaker who understands and respects the world that is Jurassic Park.”

Except that it will be in 3D. The original Jurassic Park is hitting theaters again in early April… also in retro-fitted 3D. Can you feel my excitement?

Full press release:

Long-awaited fourth installment of this groundbreaking film franchise from Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment to be shot in 3D

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA, March 14, 2013 — Colin Trevorrow has signed on to direct Jurassic Park 4, the highly-anticipated fourth installment of the blockbuster franchise that has grossed $1.9 billion at worldwide box office since the first film was released in 1993.

The Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment production will be produced by Frank Marshall and Patrick Crowley with Steven Spielberg as Executive Producer. The script was written by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planet of the Apes).

Trevorrow directed Safety Not Guaranteed for FilmDistrict and Big Beach Films starring Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass and Jake Johnson. The critically-acclaimed film debuted at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival where screenwriter Derek Connolly won the prestigious Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. The film also won Best First Screenplay at this year’s Independent Spirit Awards, where Trevorrow was nominated for Best First Feature.

Universal will release Jurassic Park in 3D on April 5. With his remastering of the epic into a state-of-the-art 3D format, Spielberg introduces the three-time Academy Award®-winning blockbuster to a new generation of moviegoers and allows longtime fans to experience the world he envisioned in a way that was unimaginable during the film’s original release.

TCM Film Fest: Retour de Flamme – 3D Rarities

For reasons I can’t entirely explain (but I’ll probably try anyway), the prospect of seeing vintage 3D films fascinates me, even as I do my best to avoid current 3D as much as possible. Part of it is simply a the ability to see something in a form that we usually can’t anymore (because 3D films from the 1950s and before are usually seen only in 2D now), part of it is an interest in the more experimental shorts included in the program, part of it is an illogical preference for old things, part of it is mere curiosity about whether it would be better or worse or different than modern 3D, and part of it is just perversity. In any case, I knew from the moment this program was announced that I would try to go see it, and I’m very glad I did, for all the reasons I just mentioned, and because Serge Bromberg, the French film historian who curated and presented the program, is an absolute delight, as well as being extremely knowledgable and able to accompany the silents himself on the piano. If scheduling had permitted, I would’ve gone to his Trip to the Moon program as well.

The program had everything from Disney cartoons from the 1950s 3D boom to Pierre Lumiere remaking his own turn-of-the-century films in 3D in the 1930s to experiments as old as 1900 to Russian nature films, and even a couple of modern CG cartoons. Pretty much everything was delightful in one way or another, and I’m just going to go through the program short by short, mostly in the same order Bromberg did. One note: we were given two pairs of glasses at the beginning, both red/green anaglyph paper glasses and modern RealD polarized glasses. We only used the anaglyph glasses on one film, which surprised me. Somehow I thought all the 1950s films were done with that technique, but actually, it seems very similar to current 3D, and the RealD glasses worked perfectly for them all. I know very little about the technical side of these things, so I apologize in advance for any errors I make on that front, and please correct me.

Three Dimensional Murder, aka Murder in 3-D (1941)

This was the one film that used the anaglyph glasses, and it was basically a tech demo for 3D, albeit directed by George Sidney. Part of the Pete Smith series of shorts, this one has Smith (first-person camera pspective) heading into a creepy house and being attacked by all sorts of things – a mummy with a spear, a witch’s hand, and Frankenstein’s monster throwing or dropping everything in sight directly toward the camera. All the stereotypes of 3D being about hurling or thrusting things at the camera, yeah…they’re all here. With the glasses on, the red and green tints combined to make a black and white image – to do color, they had to go to a different technique, much closer to what is done today. This short was ridiculous, but fun, until it wore out its welcome about halfway through. The anaglyph process is not that great, either, and was easily the most eye-straining part of the program, with the colors flashing annoyingly on the screen and a lot of ghosting effects.

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DVD Review: 3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy

Director: Christopher Sun
Screenplay: Stephen Siu, Mark Wu
Based on the novel: “The Carnal Prayer Mat” by Yu Li
Starring: Hiro Hayama, Leni Lan, Saori Hara
Producer: Stephen Siu
Country: Hong Kong
Running Time: 110 min
Year: 2011
BBFC Certificate: 18

I don’t normally review this kind of film. Softcore porn comedies are not films I have much of an interest in watching let alone reviewing, but this was an exception. After gaining a lot of press attention for its claim to be the ‘first 3D erotic movie’ (which I very much doubt), as well as its phenomenal success in China, I’d been strangely interested in this follow up to the popular Sex and Zen series so jumped at the chance when I was offered a screener to review. From the posters and trailers it looked like a lot of fun too so I actually had fairly high hopes for 3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy. Unfortunately it didn’t really live up to these, but it’s still worth writing about.

Sex and Zen’s “story”, which is based on a novel surprisingly enough, tells of a man who marries the woman of his dreams but finds he can’t satisfy her in the bedroom due to his lack of ‘longevity’. He therefore seeks the assistance of an evil prince who is famous for his rampant sexual activities and huge member. In doing this our hero becomes the prince’s slave though and after ‘practising’ on various ladies from his harem, the young man’s wife leaves him. To top this all off our hero also discovers that his minuscule trouser snake is not sufficient to satisfy any woman. This all leads to much silliness, love-making and waving around of giant fake penises.

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Trailer: Hugo (Cabret)

 

With its very high profile cast, and Martin Scorsese’s first foray into 3D terrain, the film adaptation of The Invention of Hugo Cabret, first shortened to Hugo Cabret, now apparently just Hugo (maybe by release time, this Thanksgiving, it will simply be called “H”) is as much an interest to cinephiles as it may be to family audiences. I’ve not read the novel, but it is loosely based on the life and obsessions of trailblazing magician, inventor and filmmaker Georges Méliès (Le Voyage Dans La Lune) as seen through the eyes of a child. We’ll see if it can break out in a crowded Christmas market – I might even break my 3D embargo to see how Scorcese handles/balances the 3D technology, the storytelling, the history and the fantasy.

There is a high profile cast in supporting roles: Christopher Lee, Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Chloë Grace Moretz, Michael Stuhlbarg, Ray Winstone, Emily Mortimer, Jude Law and Johnny Depp.

Hugo Cabret is an orphan boy living a secret life in the walls of a Paris train station in the early 1900s. When Hugo encounters a broken automaton, an eccentric girl, and the cold, reserved man who runs the toy shop, he is caught up in a fantastic adventure that could put all of his secrets in jeopardy.

The new trailer is tucked under the seat.

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Trailer Round Up (Contagion, Thing, Sherlock Holmes, Hugo)

Lots we missed this week, so let’s get to it. This is all star-studded, big budget material in today’s round-up. And you know what? It all ranges from pretty good to damn near amazing; starting with Mr. Soderbergh (and Matt Damon and Gwynneth Paltrow and Marion Cotillard and Kate Winslet and John Hawkes and Larry Fishburne and Bryan Cranston and Jude Law and awesomeness). Ladies and gentlemen,

Contagion – – :

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Review: Cave of Forgotten Dreams [3D]

Director: Werner Herzog (Rescue Dawn, Grizzly Man, Fitzcarraldo, Aguirre: The Wrath of God, Nosferatu)
Writer: Werner Herzog
Producer: Erik Nelson
MPAA Rating: G
Running time: 90 min.


We all know the masses are (finally!) starting to get worn from the cinematic replication of three dimensions by forcing us to wear glasses and pay more money just to get a headache inducing picture that is dimmer and blurrier than a standard movie. The reasons are varied from shitty up-conversion to gimmicky B-class movies. But leave it to a legend in his own time, someone like Werner Herzog for example, to look at a technological tool and ask, “how can I use this tool in a way that will legitimately be of benefit to the audience? How can I give them something they’d never be able to see otherwise and something that actually needs to be shown with depth and perspective in order to show meaning and heart; as opposed to a flying fish or a sword fight?”

Now granted, Herzog may have just gotten lucky with the fact that people (at least anyone for a couple of generations) literally won’t ever be able to see these caves again with their own eyes. The cave of forgotten dreams (Chauvet Cave in Southern France) is to be sealed up and away from any prying eyes of the public for the foreseeable future. So this is it folks. If you’d like to see an astonishing piece of history, this is your last chance; and his name is Werner Herzog.

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Sunday Bookmarks: March 14-20

 

  • Why see ‘Don’t Look Now’?
    Coming to BluRay and rep screenings in the UK: “In hindsight, ‘Don’t Look Now’ is the perfect mixture of Roeg’s abilities as a teller of mysterious stories and as one of the most accomplished cinematic stylists ever to peep through a viewfinder. The film smashes up chronology and pieces it back together in a deviously strange order, so we get constant hints and suggestions of dark events to come. Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie are utterly convincing as the central couple who flee to Venice to retain a focus on their messed-up lives.”
  • Notes on Charlie Sheen and the End of Empire
    “No, what this moment is about is Charlie Sheen solo. It’s about a well-earned mid-life crisis played out on Sheen’s Korner instead of in a life coach’s office somewhere in Burbank. The mid-life crisis is the moment in a man’s life when you realize you can’t (won’t) maintain the pose that you thought was required of you any longer—you’re older and you have a different view of life and this is when the bitterness and acceptance blooms. Tom Cruise had a similar meltdown at the same age in the summer of 2005, but his was more politely manufactured (and, of course, he was never known as an addict). Cruise had his breakdown while smiling and he couldn’t get loose, he couldn’t be natural about it. He’s always essentially been the good boy who can’t say “Fuck You” the way Sheen can.”
  • An Interview with Greta Gerwig at SxSW
    Greta Gerwig is no stranger to SXSW. Her new film, “The Dish & the Spoon,” marks the sixth time she has had a movie in the festival in an film career that has stretched the same number of years. This new film, directed by Alison Bagnall, about a woman and a young man (Olly Alexander) who bond during a tumultuous time in their lives. Ms. Gerwig’s acting style, which A.O. Scott lauded for its “apparent absence of any method,” is employed in this intimate, primarily two-character study.
  • Bernardo Bertolucci has a 3D Project
    “Cult Italian film director Bernardo Bertolucci said in an interview for his 70th birthday on Wednesday that he will be making his first 3D film this year saying it was like riding on a “flying carpet” […] “I want to use 3D in a different way from what we have seen in films like ‘Avatar’ or other films characterised by special effects,” he said.”
  • Is Netflix Abandoning Its Business Model Again?
    With the production of David Fincher/Kevin Space HBO-styled TV DRAMA, It looks like a new strategy is here. In the great tradition of the network and cable game, make themselves a “must carry.” I wouldn’t be shocked to see them in the bidding for hockey or trying to make a deal to stream Major League Baseball or something like that before long. If they are going this way, no one show “airing” 13 times a year is going to keep customers paying $8 or more a month. If Netflix becomes a thrift shop, with content here and there and everywhere, the churn will get worse […] This choice, combined with the exit of Criterion and the abandonment of Red Envelope, their previously stab at original content, clearly tells us that Netflix sees no future in quality film lovers as a primary audience for the service. Fair enough. But it will be interesting to see when the cineastes get the message.”
  • Zediva – A Clever End Run Around the Movie-Streaming Gremlins
    “It lets you listen to the director’s commentary, turn on subtitles and change languages. It lets you enjoy your movie for two weeks instead of 24 hours, starting and stopping at will. It offers the 100 biggest movies for streaming on the very same day the DVD comes out. It sidesteps any meddling by the movie companies, HBO contracts and studio lawyers. And here’s the best news of all — are you sitting down on your favorite movie couch? The price is only $2 for one movie or $1 if you buy a 10-pack. There’s no signup fee, no monthly fee, no hardware to buy. Zediva’s secret is so outrageous, you may think it’s an early April Fool’s prank. But it’s no joke.”
  • Is Matthew McConaughey Really Shirtless in Every Movie?
    “Conventional wisdom likes to assume that Matthew McConaughey has taken his shirt off in every single one of his movies. True, McConaughey is not shy when it comes to going bare chested on-screen and in public, but is he really sans shirt in every one of his movies?” Yes, Movieline actually checks out each and every one of them to be sure.

 
 

You can now take a look at RowThree’s bookmarks at any time of your choosing simply by clicking the “delicious” button in the upper right of the page. It looks remarkably similar to this: