CRAZY Teaser for Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman

Using a remix of Charles Barkeley’s Crazy, the first teaser of the new film from Alejandro González Iñárritu (Biutiful, Babel, Amores Perros) is exactly that. Kind of a fantasia, kind of a super hero flick, kind of a slapstick farce. The whole thing is shot with a very confident sense of style. Consider me teased.

Michael Keaton is back in full movie star mode here as the titular character, a washed-up actor who once played an iconic superhero who must overcome his ego and family trouble as he mounts a Broadway play. And, as both Wes Anderson and David Fincher have both shown in the past, movies are simply better when Edward Norton gets sucker-punched in the face. Emma Stone, Zack Galifianakis, Amy Ryan, Naomi Watts and Andrea Riseborough co-star.

If you check out only one thing today, it should be the below teaser trailer for Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).

Cinecast Episode 262 – Sturdier!

Aaron Hartung, friend and (literal) neighbor of Rowthree, joins the cinecast as we discuss Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom. After basking in the warm gloss of Anderson’s 1965 New England island adventure, Aaron cannot help himself (like Donnie in The Big Lebowski) and asks a few more plot questions regarding Prometheus before Gamble gives a middling summary of Timur Bekmambetov’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. The Watchlist varies from pleasant if forgettable Dreamworks Animation, political backroom strategy, Ben Kingsley’s libido, The Rock’s ukulele skillz and from Technicolor meta-westerns to Danny Boyle’s resume for the London Olympic Ceremonies. Important questions such as who has a sexier voice (Aaron vs. Andrew) are addressed, as well as when is a fish hook simply a fish hook, or a shoe just a shoe. Riveting stuff folks and it is all here.

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: Moonrise Kingdom

Perhaps the chief delight of Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom is that it is the most quintessential Wes Anderson movie to date. That is not to say it is his best film, or his most insightful film, or even his most imaginative film but it feels as if the quirky auteur (both in style and grace) has come as close to the Platonic ideal of what his cinema is. It makes the film a pretty good entry point for the uninitiated, while simultaneously pandering to the faithful and likely further alienating those who do not like his brand of moviemaking. My overall experience added up to the most fun and pure aesthetic pleasure upon first experiencing any one of his films; and I like them all plenty good. Upon a weeks worth of post viewing reflection, there is some apprehension on the possibility of this being the most shallow, character-wise and story-wise, of all of his films, but time and further viewings will tell that tale.

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The Bourne Legacy: Our First Glimpse

I still don’t completely get why a book was written titled “The Bourne Legacy” and it has nothing to do with Jason Bourne. In fact, we talked about it almost a year ago on RotCast episode 118. But from a marketing standpoint (especially with the film franchise) I guess I understand. “There was never just one.”

But also, after the way in which Greengrass and Damon wrapped up The Bourne Ultimatum, the idea of more from the franchise seemed like milking the cow and completely unnecessary. After today, I don’t completely feel that way anymore.

It might be just another typical actioner, but so what? Quite frankly, despite very little of a plot structure given away, this new trailer is rather promising. With the cast and crew that is involved, I can’t help but be intrigued. Renner is on his way to A-List status and Edward Norton looks to be making some kind of much-needed and well-deserved comeback in 2012. Also Mike Hammer = win. The film also stars Albert Finney, Oscar Isaac, Joan Allen, David Strathairn, and Scott Glenn.

But let’s be honest, after Gilroy’s last two directing successes (Michael Clayton, Duplicity), I’m pretty much on board with anything he’s got up his sleeve for the time being.

Looks like the make-up department already is deserving of an Oscar nod for making Renner almost completely unrecognizable. The film opens in theaters everywhere on August 3rd. Check this shit out…


Cinecast Episode 192 – Rub the Fuzzy Wall

It is a two man operation today, a very casual (and lengthy) conversation of a wide variety of movies. First up is a mixed, but leaning towards positive, review of Edward Zwick’s Love and Other Drugs, which features good chemistry between Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway, but a very mixed bag of tonal shifts. Then we talk a little TV with The Walking Dead. We revisit a number of (relatively) recent films from what is predictable about Predators to what is excellent about Duplicity to what is slightly baffling about Walker, Don’t Look Back and Get Him to The Greek. The video-game as a childrens film in French CGI oddity The Dragon Hunters, and how this similar themed movie differs from Dreamworks’ How To Train Your Dragon is discussed for a while. Then it is back into documentary land for an extensive revisit of King of Kong, as well as credit card debt and the state of the nation (circa 2005-06) documentary, Maxed Out. Andrew makes a case for The Illusionist, and talks about the use of music in Black Snake Moan. We close on all things Kubrick and Steadicam with The Shining and Birth. And some DVD love for Disney and Vikings and Mixed Martial Arts Melodrama. Pull a seat up to the digital fireplace, grab and Brandy and a cigar and lets talk some turkey.

As always, feel free to join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and as always, thanks for listening!





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ALTERNATIVE (no music track):

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Surprise! De Niro in Another Shitty Movie

If I were twelve years old, this is a movie I would love. Partly because I would have felt sort of rebellious as I snuck downstairs at 11:30 at night to flip on HBO to maybe see some boobies or to hear Edward Norton use the word “cock.” I think Roy Scheider’s 52 Pick-Up would fall into the same category; just to give you an example of the type of movie I believe Stone will be.

Now here we are with Nortonin (sporting cornrows; nice), Jovavich and De Niro recreating that vibe. It just feels like the most typical, cliche, boring thriller any 15 year-old could come up with. But should we be surprised? De Niro hasn’t been in any good films or even a decent performance in what, ten years? The out of place bit in Stardust was kind of funny and you can make a case for Meet the Parents but honestly, the guy has basically been a shit machine since Ronin. So what happened? Well, maybe we should ask Harrison Ford the same question. But I digress…

Stone (which I’ve never even heard of until today and not to be confused with , which looks way more awesomer) is essentially the story of a convict playing mind games with his corrections officer in order to obtain early release. Using his girlfriend as a tool, she seduces the officer and I guess blackmail and explosions or something ensues. Sounds like a winner.

I hope to be proved wrong. It’s directed by John Curran, the guy partly responsible for The Painted Veil and The Killer Inside Me (which is getting pretty big buzz). Plus I’m a huge fan of Norton, but I fear his path may be leading down the same stray road De Niro and Ford took. Take a look at the trailer (NSFW) under the seats and tell me I’m wrong; I’ll feel better about it.

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TIFF 09 Review: Leaves of Grass

Director: Tim Blake Nelson (O, The Grey Zone)
Writer: Tim Blake Nelson
Producers: Bill Migliore, Tim Blake Nelson, Edward Norton, John Langley, Kristina Dubin, Elie Cohn
Starring: Edward Norton, Edward Norton, Tim Blake Nelson, Keri Russel, Susan Sarandon, Melanie Lynskey, Richard Dreyfuss
MPAA Rating: 14-A (UK)
Running time: 105 min.

Like Adaptation, Leaves of Grass clear gimmick is the use of a high caliber actor for two very different characters within the same film and indeed force them to work together as the story calls for it. While I enjoyed Leaves of Grass for what it was, it didn’t do a whole lot in terms of bringing anything to the proverbial table. If anything, it took an interesting concept and really dumbed it down. Not that there aren’t a lot of things to like, but Edward Norton is better than this film gives him credit for and Tim Blake Nelson seems to continue to wallow in his mire of mediocrity.

Norton plays both of the two Kincaid Brothers. Bill is a clean-cut, intelligent professor of philosophy with an offer to teach at Harvard; Brady is an Oklahoma hillbilly who’s chosen career path is that of a highly skilled pot farmer/dealer. When Brady gets into some rough criminal/financial trouble (the potentially deadly kind), he fakes his own death in order to get Bill to finally agree to come back to Oklahoma – a world Bill left years ago and promised himself he’d never return. Once back in town, Bill realizes he’s been duped but reluctantly agrees to stay (partly due to a new found love interest) and even more reluctantly goes along with a scheme that sets himself up to pretend to be his brother so that when his brother commits an out of town crime against a rival drug lord, he can claim he was in town the entire time. Of course a series of minor mishaps ensue which spiral more and more out of control and possibly dooming the unlikely duo.
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Norton Plays with De Niro in Stone Trailer

Director John Curran is all over the map. Of his previous films, I’ve only seen The Painted Veil but that period drama is night and day from his new film Stone, a drama starring Edward Norton, Robert De Niro and Milla Jovovich.

Adapted by Angus MacLachlan (of Junebug fame) from his own play, it’s the story of a convict (Norton) who tries to manipulate his parole officer (De Niro) by using his wife (Jovovich). Admitedly, had I read this synopsis with no names attached, I would have passed it over but with Norton on board and Curran behind the camera, this is a must see.

I liked Curran and Norton’s previous colaboration and am willing to give this the benefit of the doubt. I only hope the film is better than this trailer suggests otherwise, it’s going to be a long and painful watch.

Stone is scheduled for release sometime next year.

Remembering a Decade…2002

(prologue) As we can begin to hear the death rattle of the oughts, we in the third row decided to start on this continuing series throughout 2009 that will look back at our favorite films of each of the past ten years (2000-2009). This will ultimately culminate in a “ten best/favorites of the oughts” piece sometime in early 2010.

The year 2002 was quite the year for cinema and quite the discussion in the “back room” about which five films to go with. A couple of ties spurred on quite the fight; especially for that number five position. At any rate we whittled down the impressive list of quality titles to come up with our five favorite films of 2002. Enjoy.

City of God

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Edward Norton’s Next Project: Leaves of Grass

Here is something interesting that slid across my desk this morning. While most of us are still reeling from seeing Edward Norton waste his incredible talent on something as soulless as last summer’s The Incredible Hulk and very few of us even bothered with the cop vs cop drama of Pride and Glory, writer/director Tim Blake Nelson has put Norton back where he belongs: in the acting chair (as opposed to the pay-check movies).

While I know very little about the movie at this point (and the poster is incredibly uninspiring), the general premise sounds interesting and I do like the one screen shot I was able to find.

From IMDb:

The lives of two identical twins, one an Ivy League philosophy professor, the other a small-time and brilliant marijuana grower, intertwine when the professor is lured back to his Oklahoma hometown for a doomed scheme against a local drug lord.

Norton and Norton

The interesting thing here of course, is that Norton is playing both roles of the identical twins. Sure this isn’t anything new (Parent Trap, Adaptation, Multiplicity, etc.), but something about this technology of having the same actor doubled up in frame interests me; especially when they don’t look identical. Plus, it’s Edward Norton. Nuff said.

Leaves of Grass poster

On top of this, I’m curious about Nelson’s writing/directing talent. I’ve seen some trailers for a couple of his films and nothing has ever really jumped out at me until now. If you’ve got some subjective info on Nelson’s behind the camera work, please enlighten me.

Besides Edward Norton, the cast is well rounded. Including: Keri Russell, Melanie Lynskey, Susan Sarandon, Richard Dreyfuss, Maggie Siff, Tim Blake Nelson and Rhea Perlman. So yeah, by all accounts this should be something good in early ’09 to whet our cinematic appetites. I’ll be watching this closely as I’ve been longing for a good Norton picture – one of my all time favorite actors (before Hulk, his previous three pictures were great).