Trailer: Hail, Caesar!

The Coen Brothers’ latest film looks to be capitalizing on what they do so effortlessly: Wacky and convoluted kidnapping comedy. Set in the 1950s, in Hollywood movie studio, Capitol Pictures, where a super expensive sword and sandals picture is underway. Their main contracted star, Baird Whitlock, played by George Clooney, is flubbing his lines and wasting a lot of pricey resources (and apparently, there also a sailor musical with Channing Tatum called “Merrily, We Dance” shooting next door.) The would-be blockbuster is in trouble, and that is before Whitlock is kidnapped by a mysterious group known as “The Future.” Even if there is nothing more to that name than simply a set up for a phone-message gag, shown here in the trailer, that’d be fine, because it’s that good.

Taking place a fair bit on Studio backlots with all the hustle and bustle and politics, it will come as no surprise that the cast, is ridiculously stacked. Scarlett Johansson is back in a Coen Brother’s film (after only the tiniest of roles in The Man Who Wasn’t There), as is Tilda Swinton (Burn After Reading) and Fred Melamed (who was a scene stealer in A Serious Man.) Frances McDormand is a given, but here they’ve made her the editor, in the picture. New faces for the directors include Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill and Josh Brolin, the latter playing the studio boss. But if you keep going down the cast, you’ll see Clancy Brown, Christopher Lambert, Robert Picardo, Fisher Stevens, John Carpenter regular Peter Jason has a small role, and then there is Dolph Lundgren. (Hopefully he gets in a bar fight with Tatum.) With Roger Deakins behind the camera and Carter Burwell doing the music, well now, you’ve got yourselves a picture, don’t you. Cut and Print.

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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Michael Bay loves Coen Brothers Supporting Players


At an entertaining and boisterous drink-up in a Toronto pub with an eclectic mix of film fans, filmmakers and writers last night, Mamo! Matt Price lamented that while there are Lebowski Fests all over the world, there are no Miller’s Crossing fests, and that started not only the germ of an idea. After all, it is a toss up behind Lebowski which is the more all-out quotable Coen Brothers movie – O Brother Where Art Thou?, Fargo or Miller’s Crossing – but I tend to side with the latter (and don’t you dare give me the high hat!) Nevertheless, there was a lament also that Jon Polito has not shown up in a Coen Brothers joint in some time, and that, kind moviegoers, is a damn shame.

Maybe Michael Bay will hire him to wear a G-String and be peed on or something for his next movie.

Huh? That’s a hell of a non sequitur there, isn’t it? Maybe not.

It is no secret, albeit I have heard no compelling explanation why, that Michael Bay tends to pilfer top notch character actors and then make them ham it up with bad dialogue (big air quotes around the d-word which is uttered with the utmost caution on a M-Bay set) and drops them into embarrassing situations to strip them of any dignity, joy or shame. Many folks have probably noticed that he is particularly fond of taking Coen Brothers regulars and dropping them into his film. For instance, Transformers 3 has no less than three actors: Frances McDormand, John Turturro and John Malkovich which ties Armageddon (Billy Bob Thorton, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare (the latter two who have a very good, but very distinctly Non-Fargo or Big Lebowski, scene together, but these two actors prolific as they may be – this might all be coincidence – but they also appear in several other Michael Bay features (Buscemi in The Island, Storemare in Bad Boys II). Also, William Forsythe (John Goodman’s highly amusing prison-pal from Raising Arizona) also shows up in The Rock.

All this to say that I’m not the first to notice this, and getting back to Jon Polito for a moment, this MovieLine article suggests that yea, if The Coen’s can’t find work for the man, then at least he should draw a big paycheck to stand in front of some Bayhem.

In the meantime, who wants to help get a Millers-Con off the ground? Hey, what’s the rumpus?

Review: “Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon” (2D)

Transformers 3 really doesn’t warrant an extensively thorough delve into the minutiae of every bit of texture, nook and seam found within; because quite frankly, there really doesn’t exist. But you know what? Despite Mark Kermode’s head bashing of the film, I quite enjoyed it. That is not to say there are no problems. Surprise! It’s chock full of them. All of the typical Bay-isms that people are constantly bashing the guy for are here. And it is certainly possible that I had the wool pulled over my eyes like I did with the first film. It was 2:30 in the morning when the film ended so my delirium may have clouded my judgement a bit. Either way, for the most part, I had fun. A LOT more fun than the dreadful Transformers 2. So again, not really worth diving into exactly, but one can make a checklist of the goods, the bads and the uglies. So here they are in a Wednesday morning (much like the movie) stream of consciousness…

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Cinecast Episode 95 – Fcuking Amazing!

cinecast_promo.jpg Matt Gamble

Episode 95:
In which Mr. Matt Gamble of joins the fray to help discuss Tropic Thunder, some more Woody Allen, a new top ten list and other goodies and tangents.

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Hidden Treasures – Week of June 8th

Welcome to the latest installment of Hidden Treasures. By the way, there’s still room for one more movie in this month’s guest Hidden Treasures. For more information on how to submit your favorite film, click here

Gunga Din (1939)
When director George Stevens first read the script for Gunga Din, he was shocked to learn that the majority of the movie, which centered on a famous 19th century battle in British India, was slated to be shot indoors. Relying on his instincts, Stevens went before the bosses at RKO and said “I need a half million dollars to take this story outside”. The studio agreed, and Stevens brought in some additional writers to make the necessary script adjustments. It proved to be a stroke of genius. With action and excitement at every turn, there wasn’t a soundstage in Hollywood that could have possibly contained Gunga Din. Sgts. Cutter (Cary Grant), MacChesney (Victor McLaglen) and Ballantine (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) are loyal British soldiers stationed in India. All three are willing to do whatever it takes to defend Queen and Country…as long as they can have some fun while doing so. When Ballantine announces that he’s leaving the service to marry Ms. Emaline Stebens (Joan Fontaine), his two comrades convince him to sign up for one last adventure before packing it in. So, it’s off to Tantrupar, where a Hindu cult known as the Thuggees are planning an uprising against the colonial British army. Gunga Din’s action scenes, as staged by director Stevens, are spectacular. In one early battle, the three sergeants, heavily outnumbered, take on the opposing forces single-handedly. They start out with some hand-to-hand combat before moving to the rooftops, where they exchange gunfire with the enemy army below. While on this roof, the three discover a cache of dynamite, and before long, they’re tossing it into the enemy ranks, taking out large pockets of the opposing army while blowing up half the town in the process. Once they’ve done all they can do, Cutter, McChesney and Ballantine make their escape by jumping off a huge cliff, landing in the river below. Effective as an action film, a buddy movie, and a humorous look at army life, Gunga Din is still, almost 70 years later, an extremely entertaining film.

Russian Ark (2002)
Every so often, a film comes along that, by way of its startling boldness and courageous technique, demands recognition. Russian Ark is just such a film. There is not a single cut, fade or dissolve in this entire movie, not a single editor’s splice to be found anywhere. Shot on location at the Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, it is, at 90 minutes, one of the longest uninterrupted shots in cinematic history. We follow the film’s narrator (represented by the camera in a continuous point-of-view perspective) as he navigates the halls of the Hermitage, mystically traveling through time as he does so. Functioning as our guide to this wonderful retelling of Russian history, which covers the events of yesteryear ranging from the reign of 18th century ruler, Peter the Great (Maxim Sergeyev) right up to World War II, the narrator eventually crosses paths with a French aristocrat from the 19th Century (Sergei Dontsov), known only as the Marquis de Custine, who also seems to be traveling through time. A scathing critic of Russian art and history, the Marquis joins the narrator on this journey of discovery, stopping every so often to admire the beautiful artwork that adorns the walls of the Hermitage. Russian Ark contains scenes of both sweeping grandeur (such as the ballroom dance, which features no less than three performing orchestras) and quiet simplicity (in one marvelous sequence, we follow Anastasia, the daughter of Nicholas II, as she playfully runs through the hallway with several ethereal friends). I was left completely overwhelmed by the experience of watching Russian Ark. I bathed in its artistic beauty, was enraptured by its grand scope, and basked in the glow of a bright and courageous filmmaker, one who pulled off an amazing feat of creation. The cinematic accomplishments of Russian Ark are enough in and of themselves to assure the movie a place in the annals of film history. The fact that it is a work of art as well makes its existence an absolute miracle.

Short Cuts (1993)
If you gave Robert Altman a huge cast, he could perform miracles. He did so many times throughout his career, with films such as Nashville, The Player, and even Gosford Park. Well, after watching his 1993 film, Short Cuts, I can safely say that the great director had done it again. No synopsis of Short Cuts could possibly be complete, seeing as the film details the lives of 22 Los Angeles residents, all of whose paths cross, one way or another, over the course of a few days. The main thrust of the story begins with a traffic accident, in which Doreen (Lily Tomin), a waitress, accidentally hits young Casey Finnegan (Lane Cassidy) with her car. Shortly afterwards, the boy falls into a coma, and his parents, Ann and Howard (Andie MacDowell and Bruce Davison), who had been busy planning Casey’s birthday party, find themselves wondering if their son will even live to see his eighth birthday. Events are further complicated when Howard’s estranged father, Paul (Jack Lemmon), shows up unexpectedly at the hospital, hoping to explain to his son why he and Howard’s mother divorced many years earlier. But this is only scratching the surface. There’s so much more to this film: more drama, more emotion, and many, many more stars. There’s Dr. Ralph Wyman (Matthew Modine), the physician who treats young Casey shortly after his accident, and whose wife, Marian (Julianne Moore), is an artist. At a neighborhood playhouse, the doctor and his wife meet Stuart Kane (Fred Ward), an unemployed salesman, and his wife, Claire (Anne Archer), who works as a clown for children’s parties. There’s Jerry Kaiser (Chris Penn), who cleans pools for a living, and his wife Lois (Jennifer Jason Leigh), who works as a phone sex operator, getting guys off as she changes the baby’s diaper or sets the dinner table. Arrogant policeman Gene (Tim Robbins) is cheating on his wife Sherri (Madeleine Stowe) with Betty (Frances McDormand) whose ex-husband Stormy (Peter Gallagher) is trying to win her back. Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? Not to worry. This is Robert Altman, the best in the business when it comes to juggling jam-packed stories. In his typical fashion, the director leaves no stone unturned, and no matter how many twists Short Cuts ultimately took, Altman ensured that no character was left behind.

Burn After Reading Red Band Trailer

It sure doesn’t look like the Coens are sitting on their laurels. Last year we got the very dark No Country for Old Men (Our Review) and this year we get the much more light hearted Burn After Reading. I’ve been a fan of the Coens since Miller’s Crossing and I can’t wait for this September on opening night.

The first trailer out is a red band trailer and it is definitely fun looking. I don’t see why its red band really but maybe I’m just used to the much more graphic ones we’ve been seeing lately.

You can also catch the Burn After Reading trailer in High Definition over at Apple

Oh and did you happen to notice David Rasche from Sledge Hammer.