Trailer: Miles Ahead

It is trailer day here at Rowthree, and here we have Don Cheadle’s biopic of Jazz (er, social music) legend Miles Davis, which is seems to be retold as a heightened story of cool, crime and a wee bit of heist excitement. Not your run of the mill biopic, for sure, and Cheadle is on double duty as both the star and the director (his debut film after his adaption of Elmore Leonard’s Tishomingo Blues fell through a decade ago).

Miles Ahead apparently did not set the New York Film festival on fire when it debuted there last October, but it certainly looks like a fun time at the movies. Any movie where Ewan MacGregor is sucker-punched in the face can’t be all that bad. It gets a release via Sony Pictures in a couple months on April Fool’s Day.

Finite Focus: The Pool Party in Boogie Nights



Whether you want to call it homage or straight up borrowing, P.T. Anderson’s great Boogie Nights certainly shows off its influences. Altman and Scorsese figure prominently, but another inspiration is Mikhail Kalatozov and his film I Am Cuba (which also happens to be a big Scorsese favourite too). Aside from being drop-dead gorgeous and a remarkably poetic piece of propaganda, I Am Cuba is known for several incredible long takes that, as it celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, will still take your breath away. One of them starts 2 minutes into the film as a camera roams through a decadent hotel party and bathing beauty contest, moves down several stories, through a crowd of people and into the water of a pool to capture the swimmers under the surface. Anderson states in his commentary on Boogie Nights that they not only wanted to try the same thing, but have the camera come out of the water too.

It’s a showy scene for sure, but it also ties together numerous threads and characters from the story and emphasizes how these lost souls are all together in this porn “family” – whether as complete avoidance of the real world or as a temporary waystation. We see Buck Swope’s (Don Cheadle) search for an identity continue as well as Maurice TT Rodriguez’s (Luis Guzman) pleading to Amber Waves (Julianne Moore) to be included in one of their films. Midway through the scene, Buck and Maurice go inside the house together as the camera picks up another character, but we reconvene with them a few minutes later in another scene that closes on Amber’s newly discovered fascination with Eddie Adams.

My favourite part of the party scene, though, is the last part of the clip above and comes right after the first cut that follows the long take into the pool. Eddie (who hasn’t yet become full blown pornstar Dirk Diggler) is asking his new buddy Reed Rothchild if his just completed pike dive into the pool looked awesome. Reed is looking to play a mentor role for the young lad and decides to reign in his confidence a bit. “I’ll show you what you did wrong.” Reed lines up a full flip, but only manages about 75% of it and lands flat on his back. As Eric Burdon and his sexy sounding female vocalist continue to pulse on the soundtrack, there’s a great edit underwater to Reed’s pained expression as he slowly floats to the surface with his back arched. It’s one of the funnier moments in a film teeming with them (as much as it’s also terribly dark at times), but it serves a purpose too – once Reed pops above the surface and Eddie says “You gotta brings your legs all the way around!”, that mentoring relationship has ended. Reed’s final “I know…I know..” comment is a realization and acceptance that he’ll be playing the supporting role to the star that Eddie will become.

Once we see Amber hoover a line of coke and then gaze intently at Eddie landing a full flip properly (in slow motion of course), we are fully prepped to dive headlong into the downward spirals that lie ahead.


Cinecast Episode 247 – That’s Just The Kind of Pretentious Twaddle I like!

Here we are a week before Oscars and there is so little to talk about on that front other than that there is so little to talk about. Gamble gives a run-down on the Best Animated Shorts which are always worth a look. Kurt gives a sparkling review of the latest Studio Ghibli animated feature; a Japanese spin on the classic British children’s novel The Borrowers. Re-titled The Secret World of Arrietty, the film is surprisingly adult in tone and theme and worth looking at on the big screen. We spend a tangent-driven span of time grading the homework assignments (criminal clowns) before diving into The Watch List: Wil Wheaton, Elliot Gould, Alain Delon, Brian DePalma, Michelangelo Antonioni, Billy Bob Thorton and Anna Faris! Andrew goes to town on smashing Tiny Furniture. Matt goes to town on pummeling the seven-year-delayed Margaret (and in the pejorative sense thinks Kurt and Rot will love it).

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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Movie Club Podcast #23: Crash and Crash

The FilmJunk crew has bowed out this week; but do not fret. Other exciting guests have entered the fray to help make the Movie Club Podcast go back to what it was originally intended to be: an always rotating panel of movie buffs and bloggers. This go-round sees the likes of RowThree favorites Ryan McNeil of The Matinee and Jim Laczkowski from The Director’s Club Podcast. Which Crash is your crash? Are you a lover of both, dismissive of both or somewhere in between. The sexual nuances of David Cronenberg’s 1996 Cannes award winner are teased out, while the subtleties of Paul Haggis’ Oscar winner are actively searched for. It’s a Thanksgiving Crashtacular, your mileage may vary!


The Movie Club is as much for the listeners as it is the contributors. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section over at the Movie Club Page. (Comments are turned off on this post.) The Next Episode will be recorded probably sometime in January (maybe, but do not hold us to that; regularity is not our strong suit!) and the films on discussion will be Paris, Texas and Southland Tales.

Cinecast Episode 225 – We Saw the Future

Thanks so much to Jandy Stone for dropping by to help talk movies this week. It would not have been much of a conversation without her. Hope you kicked arse for the lord with your trivia contest! At any rate, there’s surprisingly lots to dig into this week despite it being that odd time of year when not much is going on in the multi-plexes and people are spending their time tooling up for school and enjoying the beautiful weather. That of course, does not deter us from sitting indoors, ignoring the children and watching film. In limited release, we talk about Miranda July’s sophmore feature, The Future. Also on the platter is some British, sci-fi, humor action in Attack the Block and lastly Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle in The Guard. Grab some Pepsi for our discussion on the ins and outs and what have you’s of Kubrick’s Spartacus, Disney showing signs of life and film noir is still alive and kicking in the Netflix Instant realm. We remain relatively spoiler free throughout, so enjoy!

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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Review: The Guard

[The Guard opens in limited release in the US today, so we’re bumping our LA Film Festival Review. It’s definitely one of the best comedies I’ve seen so far this year.]

If you’ve seen the dark-comedy-with-a-streak-of-philosophy In Bruges, the name “McDonagh” may not be wholly unfamiliar to you, as that film brought Irish playwright and director Martin McDonagh to international attention. The Guard is directed by his brother and frequent collaborator John Michael McDonagh, and besides the obvious use of wonderful actor Brendan Gleeson in both films, they also share some of the same sense of humor mixed with morbidity, though The Guard ratchets up the comedy a bunch, becoming one of the laugh-out-loud funniest movies I’ve seen all year.

Gleeson plays a Galway policeman who really doesn’t give a crap about his job, and spends most of his time on the first case we see ridiculing his young new partner, both for his earnestness and because he’s from Dublin. No color or national origin is safe from non-politically-correct jokes in this film, not even the Galway cops themselves. When an FBI agent (Don Cheadle) shows up investigating a drug trafficking case, it becomes clear that Gleeson’s murder case is connected, and the two start working together, despite their initially strained relations. It would be easy to expect the film to be about race, given the setup in the trailer and the premise of a bigoted Irish cop working with an African-American, but this film cannot be so easily pigeon-holed, and ends up being far more of a character study (albeit an uproariously funny one) of Gleeson’s character.

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“The Guard” Trailer Plays Up the West…of Ireland

When I first saw The Guard on the LA Film Fest lineup, I was intrigued by the cast – Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle – but not totally convinced by the premise of an Irish cop teaming with a black FBI agent on an international drug trafficking case, which seemed to me could get In the Heat of the Night-style heavy-handed in a real hurry. But then I saw this trailer for it, and immediately rushed to make room for it on my schedule, because this trailer looks fantastic. And according to Twitch’s Todd Brown, it’s actually even better than the trailer suggests.

Writer/director John Michael McDonagh (making his feature debut as director) is brother to Martin McDonagh, who teamed with Gleeson and Colin Farrell on the underrated dark comedy In Bruges, and The Guard definitely looks like it has some of the same genes, maybe with even a touch of a less over-the-top Hot Fuzz in there. Add in the admittedly precious conceit of overlaying the trailer with a spaghetti western feel, and I’m charmed and totally on board.

The Guard plays the LA Film Festival on the 22nd and 24th (it already played Sundance in January), and will be released by Sony Pictures Classics in the US at a yet-to-be-determined date. It opens July 8th in the UK.

Take a look under the seats to see the trailer.

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From our Netflix Queue

With the growing popularity of Netflix instant streaming in the U.S. and its most recent arrival into Canada, we at Row Three would like to highlight some of the great choices available at the press of a button.



Annie (John Huston)

One of the very first films I remember my parents taking me too. And wow does it still hold up! Great song and dance numbers, anti-communism subtexts, the political divide, the great depression, cute kids, a stellar Broadway cast and the 7-UP guy using the force. If Burnett and Finney weren’t nominated for an Oscar that year, they damn well should’ve! Sheer brilliance. Family films just aren’t made this way anymore perhaps most certified by an extended sequence with the joy of going to the movies. It’s exciting, funny and if nothing else the thirties had style. Relive this near masterpiece now while it’s available at the click of a button.

it! (USA)



Community – Season 1 (Dan Harmon)

Enough people had told me to watch Community that I finally caved and took a look. Within the first five minutes of the first episode I laughed so hard I had to pause for fear of missing the next joke. The show follows a motley crew of characters trying to perpetually study for Spanish class in an undignified community college. As ensembles go, this has got to be the best, with the stand-outs for me being Joe McHale as Jeff, the so-called leader of the group (who is as close to Adam Scott in acting style as you can get), Chevy Chase as Pierce, the elderly student trying desperately to seem cool, and of course, Danny Pudi as Abed, the insanely meta oddball who insists they are all in a sitcom. Meshing a lot of the great aspects of Party Down and Freaks and Geeks, Community is relentlessly funny (sometimes veering a bit too far into non-sequitur comedy for my taste but usually tempered with a meta-understanding that apparently builds upon the Abed character in future episodes). As someone who has attended community college I see a lot of truth in this otherwise go-for-broke oneupmanship of half-hour sitcom comedies. I have only seen the first 15 episodes so far, but of these, the consistency of quality remains incredibly high. Try the first episode, this is quality straight out of the gate.

it! (CANADA)

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Cinecast Episode 177 – Veneer of Terrible

Without the Gamble here to grace us with the newest multi-plex fare and zero interest in anything going on theatrically, Kurt and Andrew got together over a couple of virtual beers and looked at Agora once again with new vigor. There were also some recent DVD screenings to discuss including Kurt’s swan dive into season one of another popular TV show, “Breaking Bad”, and Andrew’s slight reassessment of Rian Johnson’s Brick. And finally(!) the store shelves are seeing a nice selection of newly released movies on video this week including a healthy dose of Blu-ray re-releases which provide enough fodder for a longer than normal walkabout through the weekly DVD picks. All these things and a few nuggets more – hopefully you’re into the whole brevity thing as we are able to keep it under an hour and a half.

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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ALTERNATIVE (no music track):

Full show notes are under the seats…
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Cinecast Episode 166 – A Heavy Maritime Layer

Please give a warm welcome to Dr. James Gillham from for providing a counter to our generally favorable views of The Human Centipede (SPOILERS!) – and not always fun being the one guy in the room willing to defend Scarlett Johansson – obviously stemming from a quick review from Matt Gamble on the deep existentialism of Iron Man 2. We get back into the habit of tangenting away from the focus which usually leads to good things but here ultimately ends up going back to the Star Wars saga (yes, again). Retro Hot Docs titles are finally caught up with as well as some (un)decent exploitation films of years past and coming soon. Our DVD picks this week are fairly unanimous, but give way to a nice argument about fat Alec Baldwin vs. skinny Alec Baldwin. Enjoy with a smile.

As always, feel free to leave 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:

Full show notes are under the seats…
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Rewatched and Reconsidered: Ocean’s Twelve

Director: Steven Soderbergh (The Girlfriend Experience, Traffic, Che, Bubble, Full Frontal, Sex Lies and Videotape, The Informant!)
Writer: George Nolfi (Timeline, The Sentinel)
Producer: Jerry Weintraub
Starring: Clooney, Pitt, Cheadle, J. Roberts, Mac, Gould, Garcia, Damon, S. Caan, C. Affleck, Zeta-Jones
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 125 min.

First viewing (2004):

Rewatch (2010):

Steven Soderbergh has been my absolute favorite living director for some time now. It seems that in my eyes, everything he touches shines like the contents of Marsellus Wallace’ briefcase. So it’s always been with some trepidation that I bring up the only title in his filmography that I’ve always regretted watching: the second in his “Ocean’s” franchise: Ocean’s 12. The last time I had seen the picture was when it was released theatrically back in 2004. I remember being quite upset as I left the theater; not really understanding what I’d just seen and being a little miffed at why it wasn’t nearly as good as the previous film. I’ve been bad mouthing the film ever since without ever giving it a second look. Having matured in my cinematic tastes and now better able to understand where and why the visceral reactions come from me the way they do from a film, I decided it was only fair to give the only dark spot in my Soderbergh repertoire of knowledge a second chance and see if my memory serves or if this was just a film I didn’t get at the time.

This sequel starts off just about where the previous left off. Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) has located the Ocean gang and has given them two weeks to return all of the money they stole from him or they will die horrible, slow deaths by his hand. Since much of the money has been spent already and the crew is too hot to work in the States, to save their necks they head off to Europe to start a series of heists designed to make back the money they had already squandered. Upon arriving in Europe, they find that another thief, The Night Fox (Vincent Cassel), is always one step ahead of them; stealing what they want before they do. And to make matters even more intolerable and desperate, an American investigator (Zeta-Jones) is hot on their tale and unknowingly closer to them than she realizes as she is involved in a romance with the Brad Pitt character. The tale twists as The Night Fox proposes a challenge to the Ocean’s: snag an “impossible to steal” jeweled egg before he does and he’ll win their freedom from Benedict. And so the caper begins… sort of.

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