Cinecast Episode 416 – List List

Last week we talked about all of the films coming in the next week that we’d have a tough time reviewing them all. As a consequence, we review none of them. Instead, we just glide from this to that, as Moses Znaimer would say, it is flow, not show. We look at our Top 5 Danny Boyle films, and as we are wont to do, talk at length about Sunshine. A medley of Mamet, Soderbergh, Bullock, Sorkin, Halloween horror and various other bon bons are extracted from the candy box. We call these: “shoot the shit” shows and we hope you find something worthwhile in the grab-bag. Note that the show is almost 100% spoiler free this week!

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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Cinecast Episode 405 – SPECTRE-tacular

 
Kurt is back from Montreal’s Fantasia Film Festival, and he might have a thing or two to say about the movies, the town and the folks at that festival. At nearly two hours we can only say brace yourself for genre-overload. But first, Matt Gamble joins Kurt & Andrew midway through the conversation on Christopher McQuarrie’s installment of the Mission Impossible franchise. Kurt loved it. Andrew liked it. Matt, well, Matt watched it. Practical stunts, exceptional set-pieces and the ass-kicking talents of Rebecca Ferguson and a cleaned up and ready for prime time Sean Harris are all on the conversational docket. While there is no full “True Detective” segment this episode (we’ll cap the remaining three off, next time) there is a full Watch List for your listening pleasure, and Matt does briefly chime in on this season of “True Detective,” along with the doc on Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau remake disaster, and Adam Sandler’s Pixels. Andrew covers off the cult classic Wet Hot American Summer and its direct-to-Nexflix sequel. Finally we settle the Mara Rooney / Kate Mara confusion (sort of).

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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Cinecast Episode 382 – Warm and Foreign

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The one in which Kurt doesn’t realize he’s the winner of a (much controversial) bet. In exchange, buys Andrew a present for his sunken heart after The Oscar results. We dive headlong into The Academy Awards with all its ins and outs and what-have-yous with Neil Patrick Harris and the face touching and the boring music and the severe lack of montages and the… hey hey hey don’t hurt me. We do recognize Julianne Moore as a favorite however, and we praise her Oscar win with a heartfelt review of the quite good, Still Alice. The Watch List rattles on with pro wrestling, Cronenberg, submarine movies are always awesome and… Aeon Flux? Yeah.

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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Trailer: Blue Jasmine

It looks like all the right ingredients for another great Woody Allen film, with this trailer for Blue Jasmine. The Woodman is back in America for this outing, and has Cate Blanchett (channeling Judy Davis as much as all lead characters in his films channel Allen himself) looking to out-drunken-rage Kate Winslet (from Carnage) playing a woman on the downward slide of wealth and happiness and forced to leave her extravagant Manhattan lifestyle behind and move in with her sister (the always excellent Sally Hawkins) in Brooklyn. Many man orbit the pair of women, played by Bobby Cannavale, Louis CK, Andrew Dice Clay and Alec Baldwin. Somewhere in there is Peter Sarsgaard and Michael Stuhlbarg, but clearly the show belongs to Blanchett who is playing a narcissistic monster with major issues.

Check out the trailer below.

Oscar Hosts 2011: Hathaway and Franco. Yay!

Though I get less and less excited for the Oscars with each passing year I still find myself discussing the awards show incessantly and always look forward to nominees and announcements surrounding the show. At the very least it’s fun to bash this or that about the actual production of the Awards Ceremony the next day. Almost universally the main topic is how well did the host(s) do with keeping everything fun, fresh and moving along.

This year we’ll be treated to two young hosts dazzling us with their stage presence: James Franco and the quite fetching Anne Hathaway. Both seem to be reaching quite a high point in their careers and both are uber charismatic, charming and easy on the eyes. Both have appeared on the telecast before (not as hosts) and I remember quite fondly Hathaway’s singing and dancing with host Hugh Jackman a couple of years back – to quite positive reviews if I remember correctly.

So I think this is quite an excellent choice the more I think about it. They’re both funny, quirky, goofy, at times quite odd and extremely talented people, they should get the young crowd interested in watching and having two hosts rather than one (as it was last year with Martin and Baldwin) should give opportunity for some light banter and go between. To the best of my knowledge, the two haven’t worked together in a feature film before, but they strike me as a couple that will instantly hit it off with chemistry and pizzaz.

But I think an interesting question is how will this play in to their potential as being nominees (especially Franco) in the same year they are hosting? Will it hurt their chances? Does it matter? Will it be awkward on stage or will they use that angle to their comedic advantage? Should be fun!

So is this is a good fit for the always evolving Oscars or should they just have gone back and gotten Billy Crystal to host again?

 
Thanks for the heads up Kurt, [via]

Steve Martin is Back to Hosting the Oscars… with Tag Team Partner Alec Baldwin!

News out of Variety a few moments ago is that Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin have accepted the honor of hosting the 82nd Annual Academy Awards. Martin has hosted a couple of times before and this will be a first time role for Baldwin. I think the choice to revert to someone tried, true and trusted and stick him with the new guys who is on fire as of late in terms of comedy is a great choice. Hugh Jackman was fine last year – quite great actually – but I think these two together are going to be make for an infinitely more entertaining show than anything from the past several years.

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A Martin Scorsese Marathon

Basically, you make another movie, and another, and hopefully you feel good about every picture you make. And you say, ‘My name is on that. I did that. It’s OK’. But don’t get me wrong, I still get excited by it all. That, I hope, will never disappear.” – Martin Scorsese

For the better part of the last three decades, I have been a fan of Martin Scorsese. My admiration first took bloom in the summer of 1985, and happened to coincide with what I consider to be the discovery of my young adult life; set off the main drag of the town I grew up in, I found a small video store. Now, this in itself was no great revelation; in the years before Blockbuster came barreling into my area, forcing all the smaller video chains out of business, there were at least half a dozen such stores within a 3-mile radius. But the moment I walked into this particular video palace, I knew it was special. Where most were lining their shelves with numerous copies of the ‘hot new releases’, this one had titles like Midnight Cowboy, 2001: A Space Odyssey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Straw Dogs, A Clockwork Orange, films that the others simply didn’t offer. For me, this store was a treasure trove, and I returned there often, sometimes 3-4 times a week, uncovering classic after classic, films that, to this day, I consider some of the finest ever made.

And it was here that I first found Mean Streets.

Tough and unflinching, Mean Streets was like a punch to the head for a 15-year-old from the suburbs; a marriage of images and rock music, violence and pain the likes of which I had never seen before, offering a glimpse into a lifestyle that I found all too real, and a little bit frightening. I must have rented it at least six times that summer, and as a result, Mean Streets fast became my favorite movie. More than this, it was my jumping-off point into the career of Martin Scorsese. After Mean Streets, I moved on to Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, two more shots to the head. Through these three films, I realized just how deep, just how down-and-dirty, and just how moving the cinema could be. They marked a turning point in my development as a film fan. Movies were no longer limited to the land of make believe; they would also be a window overlooking the real world.

Now, almost 24 years after I first walked into that video store, I’ve decided to take my admiration to the next, perhaps the ultimate, level. Over the course of the last several weeks, I sat down with everything that home video has to offer of Martin Scorsese’s work behind the camera, 26 films in all, and what I uncovered on this love-fest of mine proved to be just as enlightening as that first viewing of Mean Streets all those years ago.

As I sat watching one Scorsese movie after the other, I found myself asking, “What exactly is it that constitutes a Martin Scorsese film”? It was a question I had to pose, because I quickly realized that most of my initial beliefs, the pre-conceptions I had built up about the man and his career, only told part of the story.

For one, there was my presumption that the recurring trait in every Scorsese film was a down-to-earth quality, where the genuine, the realistic, would be favored above all else. Well, this is certainly true in some of Scorsese’s finest films, especially those where actual events served as a foundation (Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Casino, The Aviator). However, it was wrong of me to discount the role that fantasy played in Scorsese’s work. The opening scene of Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore looks as if it was lifted right out of Gone With the Wind, and the musical numbers of New York, New York were obvious nods to the Hollywood big-budget spectaculars of the 40’s and 50’s. There is the dreamy romance of The Age of Innocence, and the hilarious bad luck of Paul Hackett in After Hours; in short, films that have little or no basis in reality whatsoever, proving that the fantastic plays just as important a role in the great director’s work as reality does.
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Finite Focus: Trouble (Miami Blues)


 
 
 
This is why we love Alec Baldwin.
 
 
 
 
 
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the actor was considered a major discovery after several successful supporting roles (Beetlejuice, Working Girl, Married to the Mob) and the immediate follow up of The Hunt for Red October seemed to cement him as dashing leading man. Bur really, Baldwin has always been a world-class character actor. And while he is certainly the lead in George Armitage‘s criminally underrated Miami Blues, the goofy black-comedy nature of the piece is more a celebration of character actors (note Fred Ward, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Charles Napier round out the cast) than a star vehicle. Baldwin plays a career petty criminal that lives moment to moment being a general bad ass and roguish lowlife. While arriving in Miami, we get this great character introduction:
 
 


 
 
He goes on to get tangled up in the lives of a dimwitted ex-hooker Susie (Leigh) and a police officer, Hoke Mosely (Ward), from whom Junior lifts his badge and identity. Much of the film involves the strange domestic relationship he has at home with his new girlfriend or his ‘day-job’ of impersonating Mosely, which leads to the films most memorable scenes: Junior stopping various crimes in the city before becoming the perpetrator scumbag himself. This scene of actually stopping a crime (in quite unlawful fashion) is probably the signature one which gives the flavour of offbeat fun:
 
 

 
 
Baldwin went on to several high-profile flops before settling into roles that had shades of what he did here in Miami Blues: Making the audience smile while being a general pain in the ass (Glengary Glen Ross, The Departed, The Cooler). And George Armitage found a more widely palatable way of projecting his not-quite-mainstream tonal style with a little film called Grosse Point Blank. Miami Blues is strangely paced and thoroughly unpredictable because really, it’s one of a kind. More people should discover this one. I dare say that it was Alec Baldwin‘s watershed moment for his true calling. Highly Recommended.

Movie Speeches: Always Be Closing

A new feature I’ve decided to start. Mostly because I love starting features here and then never following up. At any rate, I started thinking of great movie speeches/soliloquies and came up with several. Several good ones actually. So a great idea for a regular post.

Here’s one I know we’re pretty big fans of around here. Alec Baldwin kicks a lot of ass in The Departed, but not as much face melting, ass-kickery as he performs in Glengarry Glen Ross. No more commentary, no more thoughts. Behold, for the first installment of “Row Three’s Movie Speech Series,” the greatness that is Alec “Fuck you!” Baldwin: