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 415 – Get on with the Task

We’ve got a lot to get to this week! Almost too much. First up is Danny Boyle’s version of Steve Jobs. Despite not seeing any other iterations of his story, I think it’s safe to say we’d call this the best one. It’s been/will be a banner year for westerns in 2015 and though there are some minor quibbles with Bone Tomahawk, Andrew and Kurt mostly had fun hanging out with it – one of us more than the other. For October scares, we take a trip into the snowy Haunted House of Ted Geoghegan’s We Are Still Here. Then it is off to Africa (or is it Netflix?) with Cary Fukunaga, where Idris Alba stars in the gorgeous but brutal Beasts of No Nation. For the Watchlist, Andrew does Flyway and Kurt talks David Mamet and Oliver Stone. Whew!

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 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.

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Cinecast Episode 306 – Shameless Ridiculousness

Are we an effective team? We are arguably more effective than the mediocrity of the Kosinski/Cruise assembly squad insofar as we seem to be in agreement on Oblivion. (SPOILERS!) The popcorn science fiction takes a lot of leaps, but it never really lands on particularly solid (or fertile) ground due to similarities to so many other things. We recap yet another compelling episode of “Game of Thrones” (SPOILERS!) where we praise just about every element of the show, even the Dragon Lady. The Watch List segment hits the highs and lows of our respective local film festivals: HotDocs and Mpls Int’l Festival. After recording an entire commentary track on Twilight, Matt enlightens us with his true feelings on Catherine Hardwicke’s first kick at the can in the the sparkly vampire saga. Early David Mamet comes under question with the last 20 minutes of House of Games. And we have a look at a web reality-series that bucks the trend of meanness and goes for generosity. Nice.

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 for Ricky Jay Documentary (YAY!)

“Was I ever tempted to become a con-man or a card shark. [pause] Yes.

Why oh why isn’t this playing HotDocs this year? Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries & Mentors of Ricky Jay played the NYFF last year, and has a handsome and compelling trailer. This is of course no surprise as the subject is on magic and sleight of hand, but even moreso, on Ricky Jay. One of my heroes, Jay is a master practitioner of the art of ‘up close magic’ something with no gimmicks or stunts favoured by the glitz and hubris of Las Vegas and TV showmen. As he says in the trailer, “it’s about honesty, you tell you audience our about to deceive them before you do so.” The man is one of those rare examples of ‘the perfect artist.’

Jay is also a renowned scholar and author of several history books in his field, and consultant for films needing his particular skill set. He was the lead ‘magic consultant’ on both The Prestige and The Illusionist, those two films that came out back-to-back in 2005, and even appears as a magician in the former. He works on more subtle jobs such as designing the leg-hiding wheelchair for Gary Sinise in Forrest Gump (I bet you thought that was all CGI, didn’t you?) He has a seductively compelling voice (important in a performer), that both P.T. Anderson and Rian Johnson used to great effect in the prologues for both Magnolia and The Brothers Bloom, respectively. The man has done is best on-screen film work with David Mamet, stealing every bit of the best Mametian patter in House of Games, The Spanish Prisoner and Heist, as well as a straight up taping done by Mamet of his 1996 one-man show, Ricky Jay and his 52 Assistants. He’s also played a Bond Villain and a Deadwood Croupier, and has a face that is probably recognizable to many folks even though they do not necessarily know his name (or real are of expertise!)

But all this awesomeness aside, just watch this trailer for a feel of a man you want to know more about.

Cinecast Episode 290 – Great Tatts

And we’re back! Almost like we never left. Almost. With the new season of the Cinecast starting up we’re going to be trying some new things. We get privy on all the new shit while we get our bearings on this cold weather to open up the show. Then we dig into the second film of a trend in Hollywood for 2013 of “old action stars attempting a come-back” in Bullet in the Head. We enjoyed the Schwarzenegger version, can Stallone compare? Also Kevin Spacey is back to work within the U.S. government in David Fincher’s, Netflix original series “House of Cards.” Check out all the news ideas and we’ll be back later in the week to assess.

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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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.

Here

2011 US. Director: Braden King. Starring: Ben Foster, Lubna Azabal, Peter Coyote.

A longer review is forthcoming, but I felt it prudent to scribble down a few thoughts as I will likely re-watch Here prior to providing more fleshed-out thoughts. At this juncture, however, I am uncertain that I saw a superior film from the 2011 calendar year. Foster and Azabal were jointly and severally fantastic, displaying beautifully believable chemistry whilst maintaining their independent characters and characteristics (and without stumbling into the cliché). The cinematography and editing were reminiscent of a Malick or Herzog film, both in terms of fluidity and beauty, with King and cinematographer Lol Crawley conveying landscapes and scenery through both elemental and humanized means. The lack of discussion to-date (as well as the lack of a proper release) is equal parts maddening and saddening, and I’m very hopeful that Here begins to generate some buzz.
-DOMENIC

Haywire

2012 USA. Director: Steven Soderbergh. Starring: Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum, Bill Paxton.

For me, this is exactly what a popcorn action movie should be. It’s not cerebral, it’s not complicated, it’s not flashy, and it doesn’t rewrite any rules of the action thriller genre. But it is solid, well-shot, well-acted, well-directed, as clever as it needs to be, and has some of the best fight scenes I’ve seen ever. The story is pretty much what’s laid out in the trailer – Gina Carano is a private security operative, she’s betrayed by her employers, and then she beats the crap out of them. Carano’s MMA background shows; every hit looks (and sounds) sickeningly real, and the way she moves, the way she fights, even the way she runs are all totally believable. Soderbergh knows just how to support her, too, holding long shots instead of cutting away, as if to say, yeah, she can really do this. But it’s not just a showcase for a fighter – the story is simple, but it works, and Carano is nearly as convincing an actress as she is a fighter (her rawness actually works to her advantage), and the supporting cast is all superb, fitting in perfectly with the ’70s aesthetic Soderbergh pulls out here. I’d trade most any big-budget blockbuster if we could get two mid-budget action films like this in their place.
-JANDY

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Cinecast Episode 245 – White People Cure Racism Through Football

Welcome back to our little show. Lots of in-house business items on the table this week, including the first grading of this semester’s homework assignments. Kurt and Matt discuss found footage superpower movie Chronicle. We delve into the state of the reborn Hammer studios with spooky ghost tale, The Woman in Black. Then we talk Clint Eastwood, Chrysler and the state of the Nation through Advertising and Politics. The Watchlist covers a fair bit of talk on David Mamet, but also the woefully received Clint Eastwood rugby movie, Invictus. Also, terrorism, Carlos and the films of Olivier Assayas. And Miranda July revisited. It’s a pleasantly meandering show in an otherwise quiet movie-going month. Join Us.

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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It’s Halftime in America: Don’t Change Horses Mid-Stream

I do not watch The Super Bowl. Generally, I am more interested in the movie trailers and whatnot that more or less tell me what films to avoid this summer, which are aired to great expense during the big game. Curiously, this year most of them made it to the internet a few days early; thus, I am a little bit late on this bit of tempestuousness hiding as a lengthy advertisement. My assumption that I had seen all of the biggies before Super Bowl Sunday was flat out false! Colour me surprised (and playing catch-up) when I came across this Chrysler Ad that plays like a bit of good old fashion propaganda. I’ll take this ‘entertainment’ any day over those gawd-awful Act of Valour ads that demonstrate Micheal Bay has been setting down the film-grammar for military recruiting for the past few decades, only to give birth to the perfect synergy of popcorn-entertainment and propaganda.

But I digress.

I am a fairly big fan of David Mamet penned Wag The Dog, and this commercial fits nicely into the “Don’t Change Horses Mid-Stream” Ads (themselves an echo of the Ronald Reagan Campaign “Morning in America spots in 1984.) that gets Dustin Hoffman hired, rewarded and then killed, in that film. Even more amusing is that it was directed by David Gordon Green, striding the line between original Americana, George Washington, and bad 1980s remake, The Sitter.

Apparently this has ruffled a lot of feathers. Clint’s made a statement, as has Karl Rove, and a lot of that is covered here.

Cinecast Episode 243 – Jump on that Curve and Ride it to Infinity

 

Soderbegh claims he’s retiring. Yeah right. Every time I turn around my IMDb smart phone app is alerting me to something new he’s working on. Haywire was something we heard about what seems like ages ago now and it’s finally here. Does it live up to the wait and the expectations? Matt Gamble takes another one in the nuts for the team with Red Tails and the latest Underworld picture; in 3D this time. Kurt’s children chime in for a couple of minutes on their thoughts on the 80’s animated series “Dungeons and Dragons.” After that technical snafu, we’ve got a helluva watch list this week rounds out the show with 80s, underrated goofery, catching up with some underseen gems from 2011, a love fest for Ti West’s latest, some Man for Earth discrepancies and a whole lot more.

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:
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HotDocs 2011: Resurrect Dead – The Toynbee Tiles Mystery Review


 

 

Here is why the current trend in documentary filmmaking, the re-purposing of a ‘standard talking heads doc’ with a more structured genre-framework (eg. Man on Wire, The Cove, King of Kong), has yet to find its quality ceiling or go stale. Who would have thought a quirky street art mystery (following on the heels of the wildly successful Exit Through The Gift Shop) would ultimately be about respect, community, passion and human dignity? Prepare to have your mind expanded.

What do Stanley Kubrick, Street Art, a renown meta-history professor, short-wave radio, David Mamet, the construction of a mammoth telescope in Chile, bringing the dead back to life and pigeon husbandry have in common? In Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles, Jon Foy and Justin Duerr tackle the vexing mystery of message-laden linoleum tiles that have been fused into the asphalt of various North American city streets since the early 1980s. All feature the cryptic near-haiku:

Toynbee Idea
In Movie 2001
Resurrect Dead
On Planet Jupiter

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