Trailer: P.T. Anderson’s Phantom Thread

“Whatever you do, do it … carefully.” There, ladies and gents is the mission statement of P.T. Anderson in a nutshell. His latest film, Phantom Thread, which has quietly been winding its way through post production reunites the director with his star Daniel Day-Lewis, here strangely channeling late-period Ralph Fiennes (just close your eyes, and you can see Fiennes in the role just through the audio association). Of course, it is clear from the trailer that Day-Lewis shall deliver as mesmerizing a performance as his Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood. Here he plays a mysterious tailor that likes to sew mysteries into his garments. The film follows his relationship with a waitress (Vicky Krieps) he courts, and eventually makes a model for his clothes.

Set in the glamour of 1950’s post-war London, renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock and his sister Cyril are at the center of British fashion, dressing royalty, movie stars, heiresses, socialites, debutantes and dames with the distinct style of The House of Woodcock. Women come and go through Woodcock’s life, providing the confirmed bachelor with inspiration and companionship, until he comes across a young, strong-willed woman, Alma , who soon becomes a fixture in his life as his muse and lover. Once controlled and planned, he finds his carefully tailored life disrupted by love.

Visually impressive, yet somehow cold and austere as well, in a fashion that brings Anderson closer to Kubrick and further from Altman. I expect the dual meaning title Phantom Thread will be a stand out in a year that has been a spectacular year of ambitiously visual projects, including Dunkirk, Blade Runner 2049, mother!, Okja, War For The Planet Of The Apes, Lady MacBeth, Hagazussa, Valley of Shadows, The Killing of A Sacred Deer, A Cure For Wellness, and The Florida Project.

Cinecast Episode 427 – Stretching the Bubblegum

Was it the weather or is it the shitty inconvenient way films are released in theaters these days? Or does it depend on your geography or disposition? Or a little bit of everything? In short, we didn’t get to the “main releases” (of boats in storms or feminist westerns) this week and instead opted for some VOD experimentation with Vincent Cassell in Partisan. A solid film with problems is the verdict. The Watch List is fairly eclectic this week but a whole lotta witchin’ going on. From Winona Ryder to Vin Diesel, we cover the gamut. Andrew and Kurt also spend some time in the kitchen cooking up some spaghetti westerns before heading to Southeast Asia for a thriller and some kung-fu. Like a snake in the eagle’s shadow, there is no escape for the good the bad or the ugly; there most certainly will be blood inside Llewyn Davis.


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Cinecast Episode 295 – I Wouldn’t Wear That. Even in the Future!

This week sees a return to form with all sorts of negativity and disagreement. But [in best DeForest Kelley voice] for God sake man, it’s Anne Hathaway. She’s worth fighting for! Outside of that little tussle, Sean Kelly from joins in on the discussion with a bit more of a unique Oscar experience having seen the whole thing in a packed theater. For the majority of this Cinecast it is a look back at Sunday nights Hollywood back-patting at the Academy Awards. We talk about it all: from winners to losers to hosting to gowns (OK, not really) to stage direction to orchestration. Look no further; it’s all in here. From there we venture into the Watch List with Kurt proving Matt Gamble’s prognostication mostly correct with a viewing of Margaret. We grind the axe a bit more (though less enthusiastically) about modern biblical epics while Sean looks at a couple of Oscar-nominated documentaries and Andrew continues his Star Treking.

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 281 – Bromancing the Stone

Welcome to the next evolution of the Row Three Cinecast; and it is good. We call this little something, “video”. That’s right, this week Andrew and Kurt decided to try a little experiment and go face to face, using the higher bandwidth and Google technology that the 21st century has afforded us and actually video chat live for listeners viewers to see in all of its potential folly. You can see the embedded video of the entire show below or head over to the Tubes of You and watch a much larger (and potentially scarier) version of the show. Unfortunately, Spielberg did not succeed in figured out what exactly he wanted to do with his latest picture, Lincoln. We discuss what is good (even great) and how the high points are completely undermined, at length – beware of SPOILERS! After this it is on to a most difficult grading task with this weeks homework and a very short (and very positive) segment on The Watch List which includes the “in theaters now” mention of the very divisive HOLY MOTORS, a time traveling romance, the excellence that is always Frankenheimer/Mamet and a revisit of an older Coen Brothers movie that gives away a big joke in the one-sheet. So the experiment turned out most triumphantly and you can look forward to more of the video versions of the show from now on.

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Friday One Sheet: Daniel Day Lincoln

Perhaps one of the greatest chameleon make-up jobs I’ve ever seen for a film. Daniel Day Lewis, from this stark, high resolution bit of Key Art, IS Abraham Lincoln. That is what this poster says in the simplest possible terms. We have one of the greatest actors playing one of the greatest United States Presidents, and if you look close enough to the credits block, it’s directed by Steven Spielberg, one of the few household names in terms of film directors. End of Story. Clean and effective, but hardly simple.

Movies We Watched

Sometimes we watch stuff that we want to talk just a little bit about, not a full review worth. These are those films. If any of the films reviewed are available on Netflix Instant Watch (US or Canada) or HuluPlus (US only), we’ll note that by putting a direct link below the capsule.

There Will Be Blood

2007 USA. Director: Paul Thomas Anderson. Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Dylan Freasier, Ciaran Hinds.

A beautiful looking but otherwise empty movie experience that has nothing much to say about anything, and this, irrespective of the glowing praise by the likes of Tarantino. Everything goes down just as one would expect, without much of a fight, just aimlessly going through the motions of belittling Church and Commerce, and guess what, money doesn’t buy you happiness. I am a big fan of Paul Thomas Anderson but frankly the two stars I am giving this have more to do with Johnny Greenwood’s killer score and Daniel Day-Lewis’ grizzled performance. Everything else is as plain as the desert landscape this story is set against. Scholarly papers have been written about the choice use of camp in the final scene, to me it still just feels like a movie desperate to do something, anything to seem special.

A Separation

2011 Iran. Director: Asghar Farhadi. Starring: Leila Hatami, Kimia Hosseini, Merila Zarei.

Ego. Shame. Fear. Guilt. All are underscored here insofar as problems can spiral out of control when people push each other to the limit. Even moreso, A Separation shows the true ineffectualness of any bureaucratic legal body to sort out problems that are best suited to dramatization. Thus, we are armed with the God’s Eye view, and A SEPARATION appeals to logic, empathy, and yes, judgement. It’s the Iranian version of THE SWEET HEREAFTER, in its own way, and damn if that isn’t a compliment of the highest order. I had a plethora of reactions to the film and all of them, I believe, were earned. That is to say: the film doesn’t ‘cheat’ (sorry for opening a can of worms) by going all Lars Von Trier with its plot points. And that ending is perfect.

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Cinecast Episode 153 – How to Capture Vomit

Episode 153:
Amazing that after a two week break, neither host has managed to have any sort of cross over in our movie viewings. It ain’t a symptom of laziness in our parts, it’s simply a strange time of year when things are still being released at strange intervals and to find the good stuff you gotta look a little harder than usual. Still, NINE finally manages to enter the equation as well as Mel Gibson’s return to the screen with Edge of Darkness. Of course comedies make it on to the docket once in a while and here we got to dig into Youth in Revolt. And as always we have some tangents into what other past films we’ve watched or revisited recently and it’s a hell of a week for Blu-Ray releases. So sit back and enjoy (or not) an old fashioned, “just kickin’ it around” style show as we ponder the last couple weeks of cinema.
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Oprah Interviews Cast of “NINE”

Still anticipating my screening of NINE this weekend. Snowed into a tiny cabin in the north woods of Minnesota my only outlet for now is YouTube. I stumbled across an entire episode of Oprah (from a while back) in which she interviews several cast members from NINE each individually with the others simply sitting and listening quietly. Not the deepest or most thoughtful of discussions, but if you’re a fan of any of these actors it might be worth a look…



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Review: Nine


Director: Rob Marshall (Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha)
Screenplay: Michael Tolkin & Anthony Minghella
Based on: “Nine,” a Broadway musical by Arthur Kopit and Maury Yeston, based on 8 1/2 by Federico Fellini
Producers: Rob Marshall, Marc Platt, John DeLuca, Harvey Weinstein
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Judi Dench, Kate Hudson, Sophia Loren, Fergie
Year: 2009
Country: United States
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 110min.


When you make a movie inspired by Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2, you’ve already got a lot more to live up to than most filmmakers are willing to take on. When you’re Rob Marshall and only have two other feature films on your directing resume, it takes some guts to embark on a project like Nine, even if you did manage to win a Best Picture Oscar for your directorial debut Chicago (an award that many film critics strongly disagree with, incidentally). On the other hand, Marshall comes from a musical/Broadway/choreography background, which gives him a leg up on Nine, which has a Broadway musical sitting between it and 8 1/2. So this could really have gone either way. But I have to say, with a cast like this one (which includes three of my girlcrushes as well as the always solid Judi Dench and often incredible Daniel Day-Lewis), I was really hoping it would work. And generally, it does, though admittedly with much less subtlety than Fellini’s original.


Film director Guido Contini (Day-Lewis) is known for a string of great successes early in his career, but is just coming off a couple of major flops as he’s supposed to be beginning another film, the one he and his supporters hope will be his comeback. But he’s unable to come with a solid story, much less a script, and shooting starts in ten days. He’s got his producer, his costume designer (Dench), and his leading lady (Nicole Kidman) all after him to get moving, but all he can manage to do is escape to a spa and fantasy versions of all the women in his life – from his mother (Sophia Loren) to the prostitute he remembers paying to dance at age 9 (Fergie) to his wife Luisa (Marion Cotillard), current mistress Carla (Penélope Cruz), and a fashion reporter (Kate Hudson). As Luisa points out to Guido, it’s “no wonder you’ve got no script, you’re too busy inventing your own life.” These fantasies become the musical numbers in Nine, each of them intercut with what’s going on in real life.

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