Trailer: Logan Lucky

Steven Soderbergh is back! The producer-director is ever threatening retirement, but never quite getting there. After a stint on TV, including directing two seasons of period medical drama The Knick and made for TV teleplay, Mosaic, and producing Red Oaks, Godless and The Girlfriend Experience, the itch to make another A-lister heist film must have proved too great a draw. And now we have this goofy, southern-fried hold up of a motor speedway with Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Katherine Waterson, Riley Keough, and a thickly accented, cast-way against type, Daniel Craig. Also, Soderbergh has dusted off Hillary Swank (remember her?) and Katie Holmes (ditto) and offered them fresh opportunities, also against type.

Trying to reverse a family curse, brothers Jimmy and Clyde Logan set out to execute an elaborate robbery during the legendary Coca-Cola 600 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Given the poster, the typesetting and the overall tone here, I expected this to be a period piece, something in the vein of Smokey and the Bandit. Nope! Logan Lucky is nothing if not contemporary, right up to when the aw-shucks computer expert brags about ‘knowing all the Twitters.”

As usual, Soderbergh bucks the trend of modern franchise building special-effects pieces, and goes right to the point of letting the acting, character-building rhythms, and snazzy filmmaking do the heavy lifting. I do not expect Logan Lucky to be high art, but I do expect it to be a highly entertaining throwback in the way that The Nice Guys was last year.

Written by Rebecca Blunt and directed by Steven Soderbergh, Logan Lucky hits theatres August 18th, 2017.

Trailer: Hail, Caesar!

The Coen Brothers’ latest film looks to be capitalizing on what they do so effortlessly: Wacky and convoluted kidnapping comedy. Set in the 1950s, in Hollywood movie studio, Capitol Pictures, where a super expensive sword and sandals picture is underway. Their main contracted star, Baird Whitlock, played by George Clooney, is flubbing his lines and wasting a lot of pricey resources (and apparently, there also a sailor musical with Channing Tatum called “Merrily, We Dance” shooting next door.) The would-be blockbuster is in trouble, and that is before Whitlock is kidnapped by a mysterious group known as “The Future.” Even if there is nothing more to that name than simply a set up for a phone-message gag, shown here in the trailer, that’d be fine, because it’s that good.

Taking place a fair bit on Studio backlots with all the hustle and bustle and politics, it will come as no surprise that the cast, is ridiculously stacked. Scarlett Johansson is back in a Coen Brother’s film (after only the tiniest of roles in The Man Who Wasn’t There), as is Tilda Swinton (Burn After Reading) and Fred Melamed (who was a scene stealer in A Serious Man.) Frances McDormand is a given, but here they’ve made her the editor, in the picture. New faces for the directors include Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill and Josh Brolin, the latter playing the studio boss. But if you keep going down the cast, you’ll see Clancy Brown, Christopher Lambert, Robert Picardo, Fisher Stevens, John Carpenter regular Peter Jason has a small role, and then there is Dolph Lundgren. (Hopefully he gets in a bar fight with Tatum.) With Roger Deakins behind the camera and Carter Burwell doing the music, well now, you’ve got yourselves a picture, don’t you. Cut and Print.

Not At Odds #5 – Jupiter Ascending, Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb!

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Guys! Jandy and I just got back from JUPITER ASCENDING and really enjoyed it. So much so, in fact, that we devoted 40-some minutes to talking about it in this week’s episode of NOT AT ODDS. Here’s the deal: we won’t go to mat for the flick, but we will tell you what worked for us and why we found this mess more enjoyable than some of the more polished fare we’ve seen lately. I also issue a dare that’s somewhat related to last week’s episode.

Let’s get to it!

 

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Cinecast Episode 380 – More Hovering

 
Party crasher on the set of the RowThree Cinecast arrives in studio in the form of one Sean Dwyer from Film Junk. More well-equipped to take the punches from Matt Gamble than anyone, it turns out to be a much more agreeable show than we anticipated – even with the latest Wachowski output being compared to Citizen Kane. That’s right, from the Ascension of the Jovian Gas Giant to the depths of Jude Law’s Russian sea we are a literal high and low podcast. Later in the Watch List, Sean and Andrew look deep into the “Black Mirror” while Matt and Kurt praise another successful editing venture of the great Louis C.K. – of course it doesn’t stop there. We have Steve McQueen, Spike Lee and “that one about the Nazis” on Amazon TV; among many other tid-bits of discussion. We’re happy and honored that Sean could finally make an appearance and happy to hear of the many upcoming moments of greatness still to come from the Film Junk crew.

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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VIFF 2014 Review: Foxcatcher

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The thing about director Bennett Miller is that he makes films that appear on the surface to be one thing and then turn out to be about something else completely. Moneyball is a perfect example and Miller’s much anticipated Foxcatcher falls into a very similar category.

Ostensibly, the movie is about wrestling and more specifically, about millionaire John du Pont and his relationship with Mark and David Schultz, two wrestlers who in the 90s, were considered to be not only among the top wrestlers in the US but the world. The subtext of Foxcatcher spans far beyond the sport to make fascinating observations on “the business” of amateur sports, sports psychology, the drive to win at any cost and issues of mental health.

It’s appropriate that control is a central theme of Foxcatcher because Miller’s direction parallels that theme, in my opinion, to a fault. The movie is an exercise in control: the scenes are exactingly staged, the camera moves with strategic purpose, the music is sparingly used and all of the actors seem to be brooding volcanoes of emotion ready to explode at any moment. Technically it all works and is awe inspiring but on an emitonal level, it feels vacant.

On a technical level Foxcatcher is a perfectly executed achievement and I loved the performances from the leads (If anyone had doubts of Steve Carell and Channing Tatum ability to pull off strictly dramatic roles, they need only watch the pair in action here not to mention Mark Ruffalo’s small turn which, as per usual, is excellent) but overall, I found the movie a bit too clinical and emotionally removed not too mention a tad on the long side particularly in the final act. Recommended one time viewing but not the kind of thing I feel any need to see again.

Foxcatcher opens November 14 and plays VIFF again on October 2nd and 10th. Check out the VIFF program for tickets and additional screening information.

Trailer: Jupiter Ascending

Glossy, pulpy, expensive, and looking very much like the sci-fi portion of Cloud Atlas, here is the first look at the Wachowski Siblings’ follow up film, Jupiter Ascending. While it seems far more conventional in its aim (it is essentially Snow White again?) than their previous film, the cast, including Channing Tatum, Sean Bean, Doona Bae and Eddie Redmayne seems very much at home in the John Carter-esque surroundings. And it’s nice to see ‘the chosen one’ be female for once, even if it is Mila Kunis. Cheap editorial jabs aside, have a look at the trailer below.

Jupiter Jones (Kunis) is an unlucky Russian immigrant who cleans toilets for a living. She encounters Caine (Tatum), an interplanetary warrior whom the Queen of the Universe sent to kill Jupiter. Caine tells Jupiter that the stars were pointing to an extraordinary event on the night she was born, and that her DNA could mark her as the universe’s next leader.

Quick Thoughts: SIDE EFFECTS

 

 

Soderbergh just keeps the magic coming. Side Effects is a wonderful little thriller with little red herrings and complicated character inter-workings that all mesh together to keep the audience engaged and on their toes. Sure there are some minor believability strains and a couple of plot devices that one must just accept for the sake of a fun movie, but for the most part Soderbergh has put together a smart little thriller that reminds a little bit of Allen’s Match Point.

There’s a good deal of setup and routine before the axe is brought down and brought down hard. The audience is toyed with again and again. Particularly if you’re a Soderbergh aficionado, your head might be spinning even more so; trying to figure where exactly he’s going with all this. Character motivation, depth and intrigue is layered onto the plot weavings for an even more complex tale of deception.

While there are not really any real standout lead performances (although Jude Law does sparkle per usual), look for Ann Dowd as unquestionably the best performance in the film in a very supporting role. A nice follow-up to her Oscar nominated performance in Compliance.

While probably not going to win any awards next year and very likely isn’t going to land on a lot of top ten lists, Side Effects is a solid, “Hitchcockian” thriller that might seem a little conventional and even transparent at the outset, I think you’ll find a lot to love if you just go with the flow. Allow the dreamlike quality of the atmosphere and the score to lull you into a false sense of knowing security. If you do that, you (and the movie) will be wrapped up in no time and you’ll realize you just spent 110 minutes having a really good time.

  

Second Trailer for Soderbergh’s “Side Effects”

The last trailer released for the latest Soderbergh deal made very little sense but was pretty intriguing. I have to say, this second trailer gives only a hint more about the plot of this thing; but I’m still fairly in the dark. Which is a good thing as I like to go into my movies clean. Though I have to say I’m less excited this time around for some reason.

Anyway, here’s the vid. Take a look and tell us what you think…

 

Mamo #273: Everything Else Was a Total Clusterfuck

TIFF is over and the summer is over, which means it’s time to conclude the Mamo Summer Box Office Contest for 2012! We announce the winner, and then analyze the returns from the loopy-doopiest summer in box office history. Avenge us!

To download this episode, use this URL: http://rowthree.com/audio/mamo/mamo273.mp3