Cinecast Episode 383 – Dogpocalypse

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Ever walk into a typical coffee shop, order a basic cup of joe and think to yourself, “well this is a much nicer brew of java than I would have expected!”? This is how we bookend this weeks review on the show. While we rarely dive into “the news” on The Cinecast, the passing of Leonard Nimoy, the magnificent Mr. Spock himself, is an important issue that both Andrew and Kurt feel needs addressing; as does Harrison Ford in another Blade Runner movie. Meanwhile, canines take over the city in White Dog God, which the boys discuss despite Andrew’s screener conking out at the halfway mark (Kurt managed to get it all in however).

In The Watch List, Andrew tackles two more films on the IMDb 250 Project after defending the choice of using such a list for viewing fodder, while Kurt caught up with a Wong Kar-Wai influenced piece of joy in Millenium Mambo as well. Kurt also gives a brief sneak review of Jay Cheel’s (FilmJunk.com) How to Build a Time Machine based on the current work-print (fair warning). Lastly, Liam Neeson goes smokes on airplanes and Anne Hathaway is cute then sexy. All in an evening’s work here in the third row.

Please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below, and again, thanks for listening!

 

 

 

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Blindspotting #1 – City Lights and Safety Last

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My first thought when I was tasked to join the Blind Spot challenge (to watch and write about classic films you hadn’t yet seen on a monthly basis – organized by bloggers James McNally and Ryan McNeil) was “Can I really say anything worthwhile or of interest at this point about these classic films?”. My second thought was “I highly doubt it…”. Granted, it really comes down to how I express my personal opinion about film, so since I’m coming at these classics for the first time decades after they were made, totally out of their context and with my own personal baggage, I should at least be able to get across my own perspective – but I’m not sure I can add a lot to the conversation.

To quell my concerns a bit, I decided to approach things a bit differently and expand my task to watch two Blind Spot films per post and to try to make them at least somewhat related. Perhaps those comparisons might allow for some additional discussion, since I really did want to join the list of bloggers participating. Like most film buffs, I have a rather daunting list of “must see” movies ahead of me including numerous “obvious” titles. Since my typical method for choosing the next title that goes into the DVD player or streams through NetFlix is somewhat random, I don’t have a methodical way of trimming that “must see” list down. I’ll typically lean towards a genre pick or maybe some Noir or perhaps a lesser known impulse choice. So now I’ve got something to – at least occasionally – focus my attention on the films that have been left by the wayside…Most of the Blind Spot posts that will be popping up here over the next few weeks have come from earlier this year (from my own personal blog) where I’ve been publishing them on the last Tuesday of each month.

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My first choice was a somewhat obvious one and probably one of the biggest gaps I had remaining. Though I’ve seen a bunch of Chaplin’s work – The Gold Rush, Modern Times, The Circus, The Kid, Monsieur Verdoux, The Great Dictator – I’ve let City Lights slip by me all these years. Yes, I had not seen the film that has long been regarded by many to be one of the all-time greatest motion pictures and was famously submitted by Robert Bresson as both his first and second choices to Sight & Sound’s poll of the greatest films (with The Gold Rush his third and the rest of his list blank). It was simply another one of those cases where I felt I had seen the movie already due to its place in the cultural fabric and the number of times I’ve seen different clips and sections of the film – particularly the end of it. Fortunately, now that I’ve seen it, I no longer have to fake my way through conversations with other film bloggers…

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Cinecast Episode 214 – I Hate that I Know That

 
 
We start things off simple. No Kurt. Just some Pirates and Priests. With unpleasantness out of the way, Kurt jumps in with both feet for a indie post-apocalyptic film out of Toronto, a re-evaluation of Inglorious Basterds and Tarantino’s career. Trains and Toni Collette keep the conversation chugging along and with Gamble here, “Game of Thrones” is sort of unavoidable. We all revel in the love for Rip Torn and South Korea before rounding everything out with a talk about sequels that are crazier than a rat in a tin shithouse (ala Caddyshack II and Gremilns II). Nobody dies.

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!


 
 

 

To download the show directly, paste the following URL into your favorite downloader:
http://rowthree.com/audio/cinecast_11/episode_214.mp3

 
 
Full show notes are under the seats…
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Shorts Program: Modern Times

For any believer that the pleasures of cinema will be timeless for our species – and the possibilities of science are wonderful – this is a real treat. Have a gander at this video that was produced by a handful of talented film technicians using borrowed equipment on borrowed time.

It has been floating around the web for a few days, but I spotted it over at Twitch late last night and my heart was quite full after watching it.

Shorts Program: Charlie Chaplin in One A.M.

One A.M. is one of my all-time favorite Charlie Chaplin films, a 1916 short that doesn’t feature his well-known Little Tramp persona, but instead a well-dressed man-about-town who comes home after a night of heavy drinking and spends the whole short trying his hardest just to get upstairs to bed. It played before Modern Times at the Cinefamily last night, reminding me again how awesome it is. Obviously Modern Times is a top-tier film, too, but I couldn’t very well embed that whole thing. However, Criterion is releasing it on Blu-ray in just a few weeks, so there’s an incentive to catch up with it if you haven’t seen it.

So enjoy One A.M.. It’s in two parts because of YouTube’s length limitations, and I’ve put the second half under the seats.

Modern Times (1936)

[Chris Edwards, who writes extensively about silent films on his blog, Silent Volume, has written the following review of Modern Times. Anyone else wishing to have their marathon reviews published on Row Three may kindly send them my way for consideration. To see the full programme click on the Dirty Thirties header image above.]

Charlie Chaplin was the Tramp in almost all his films, so all his films, in some way, dealt with want. His first Depression-era movie, City Lights (1931), was a melodrama; a love story that depended on the poverty of its two leads to set up the gags. It could have been set in 1900 as easily as 1931. But his second, Modern Times (1936) does not present a poor man so much as a poor society, and the gags rely not on the Tramp’s poverty, but on the root cause of everyone else’s.

Chaplin blamed mechanization. He wasn’t a Luddite; he just felt that efficiency, if made an end unto itself, would place the machine above the worker. So it is in Modern Times. The Tramp is now A Factory Worker—the ‘nut tightener’ on a far-too-rapid assembly line, wielding a pair of wrenches on an ever-continuing row of metal plates. The plates pass him, then two other workers, then disappear into a tunnel. When his break begins, he walks away, still jerking with the same motions as before, trying to tighten anything nut-like around him, including the buttons on a woman’s blouse.

Audiences must have felt uneasy seeing the Tramp—then the most famous character in the world—so close to collapse. He would have reminded them of simpler and happier times. In fact, the whole film would have. It’s a (mostly) silent movie produced well into the sound era, and it’s loaded with references to silent comedy and action pictures. But modernity perverts it all.

The Tramp, who once found the most inventive ways to steal a snack, is now strapped into a chair before a revolving set of dinner plates and metal arms that stuff processed food down his throat. He dangles from a huge hook, like Douglas Fairbanks brandishing his sword, only now it’s an oilcan. He runs from a cop, but stops to punch his timecard. He ends up in a mental hospital.

He gets out. Only steps from the hospital, the Tramp sees a red flag fall off the back of a pickup truck. He picks up the flag and inadvertently triggers a Communist march, then a police crackdown, followed by his incarceration.

Back on the street, the Tramp collides with a young woman (Paulette Goddard), escaping a bakery with her stolen dinner. Goddard is ‘The Gamin’ (gamine, or street urchin); in this case, the eldest sister of a family of girls, without a mother when the movie begins and without a father after a food riot leaves him shot. The Gamin is swift, smart and wickedly sexy, but she’s too desperate to avoid getting caught. Would you like to know more…?