Friday One Sheet: Minimalism and Text

Here is one way to stand out in a crowd. Take the imagery right out of the poster and go almost entirely with text. Looking like a paperback novel from the 1960s, the key art for Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, Lady Bird only graphic elements are a small crow on a white cross and a series of warm colour bars along the sides. It’s bold in its own way for avoiding the usual faces of the stars of the film (Saoirse Ronan has a particular striking visage). I doubt you will ever see this as a trend – note the missing credit block, which makes this more of a teaser poster than the ‘real thing.’ Nevertheless, I applaud the restraint and taste here. It works.

Cinecast Episode 464 – These Violent Delights

Through snow, cold, rain, holidays or malware, The Cinecast finds a way. Yes, despite RowThree being down for cleaning over the past few days, the boys managed to do some catch-up on 2016 movie releases get it all down on virtual tape. This week, Kurt and Andrew get into Todd Solondz’ “awkward comedy” Wiener-Dog and Kurt hits the theater for Jessica Chastain in Miss Sloane… maybe wishes he hadn’t. HBO finished up its first season of “Westworld” and the boys dig through that mess of wires and mazes. As always beware of SPOILERS! For The Watch List, Andrew works on catching up on some other 2016 movies that slipped through the cracks including Tom Hanks, Michael Shannon, Seth Rogen and more. Kurt spent his time hitting the big screen versions of some older gems including Meet me in St. Louis and Tampopo. Also Michael Keaton continues to own the twilight years of his career; this time by owning a McDonald’s franchsie. Join us on this joy ride.

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: Francis Ha

Noah Baumbach appears to have made a Hal Hartley movie, judging by the below trailer for Francis Ha; in black and white, no less. Our own Mike Rot absolutely adored the film, and one Ms. Gerwig’s performance, at last years edition of TIFF where it was one of those films that carried a buzzy vibe amongst those who caught it there. Judge, dance, playfight for yourselves.

Frances lives in New York, but she doesn’t really have an apartment. Frances is an apprentice for a dance company, but she’s not really a dancer. Frances has a best friend named Sophie, but they aren’t really speaking anymore. Frances throws herself headlong into her dreams, even as their possible reality dwindles. Frances wants so much more than she has, but lives her life with unaccountable joy and lightness. FRANCES HA is a modern comic fable in which Noah Baumbach explores New York, friendship, class, ambition, failure, and redemption.

Noah Baumbach’s “Frances Ha” [clips and poster]

So really not much here but if you’re a Noah Baumbach (Kicking and Screaming, Squid and the Whale, Margot at the Wedding, Greenberg) fan, here’s a quick glimpse into his latest picture that became one of the most loved films of The Toronto Int’l Film Festival – at least around these parts.

First up, you can see to the right a somewhat uninspiring new poster for the film (click the image for a larger version).

If that isn’t doing it for you, here are a couple of newly released clips from the film that while don’t give us much insight into plot or character, we do get a general sense for the film’s tone and style – being in black and white probably the most obvious.

I have to be honest, none of this is really doing it for me, but despite really not caring much for his last two features, Baumbach is amazingly still in my good graces after K&S and my beloved Squid and the Whale. So I’m willing to give this film and Rot’s genuine review of it, the benefit of the doubt for now.

Take a look at the clips below and tell us what you think. If you’ve already seen the film in festival mode, how did it go over for you and those around you?



Trailer: To Rome With Love

Is that title a play on words? Formerly called Nero Fiddled (and before that, the more esoteric Bop Decameron) Woody Allen continues his roaming tour throughout large European cities – and putting Penelope Cruz in tight fitting clothing and speaking fiery Español. This time, the Woodman steps back in front of the camera for one of the four vignette segments. And playing off the great Judy Davis (no stranger to Woody Allen’s films and always magnificent in them) no less. Greta Gerwig, Alex Baldwin, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig, Alison Pill, Ellen Page and (sadly) Roberto Benigni round out the ensemble. Shot by Darius Khondji (Midnight in Paris, My Blueberry Nights, Seven) the film of course, looks stunning.

“If you are going to screw your best friends boyfriend, does it really matter what the venue is?”

Whit Stillman Puts His Damsels in Distress


With almost fourteen years lapsed since Whit Stillman’s previous film Last Days of Disco closed out the trio of films that established him as mid-’90s indie auteur, his new film Damsels in Distress understandably attracts a great deal of anticipation, expectation, and perhaps hesitation. Can he live up to his own reputation? The festival reviews have been mixed (here’s Kurt’s rather apathetic TIFF review), but now that the trailer for the film has dropped, those of us who didn’t get a chance to see it during its festival run can get our first real glimpse of some footage. It looks to be lightly comedic and more than passably entertaining, and even Kurt does praise Greta Gerwig’s performance in the film. Plus, I spotted the always-entertaining Aubrey Plaza in a few shots. I’m willing to give it a go when it releases in theatres sometime this year (looks like Sony Pictures Classics hasn’t settled on a release date just yet).

AFI Fest 2011: The Dish & the Spoon

Greta Gerwig both should and shouldn’t become a major star. She should because she’s amazing and her talent ought to be recognized outside of the indie film world where she’s already a well-known and respected name. And she shouldn’t because if she did, she might not have time to make charming little one-off films like this one. She’s already starting to break into the higher levels of indies, with Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg and Whit Stillman’s Damsels in Distress under her belt (and a supporting role in the non-indie No Strings Attached, which I didn’t realize until looking her up right now), but she’s honestly at her best in things like The Dish and the Spoon. A group effort between writer/director Alison Bagnall (who has acted, like Gerwig, in a few Joe Swanberg films), writer Andrew Lewis, and actors Gerwig and Olly Alexander, the film is slight but somehow enchanting despite the standoffishness of the main character and a few odd plot turns.

The film opens with Gerwig driving down the freeway in pajamas and an overcoat, sobbing loudly. She stops at a convenience store for donuts and beer (yeah…) and has to scrounge change from the car to pay for, even then only managing because the clerk takes pity on her obviously pitiable state. She’s running away from the husband she’s just found out cheated on her. I mention so much detail in this opening scene because it’s the little moments, the scenes like this that are the most charming in the film, and provide the bulk of it. Not much actually happens, but the way each moment is treated makes it special. She stops at a lighthouse and comes across a young British guy sleeping there, having traveled to the US under somewhat false pretenses and found himself without a place to stay. The unlikely pair team up, her because he has money and she craves company, him because he finds her fascinating. They balance each other well, and their random interactions with each other are the highlight of the film – in fact, they’re the basis of the film, which was made after Gerwig and Alexander met, hit it off, and wanted to make a quick film together in between other projects.

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TIFF Review: Damsels in Distress


For those pining for the return Whit Stillman, the 1990s indie sensation whose trilogy of films, Metropolitan, Barcelona and Last Days of Disco carved out a lasting auteur niche in a decade full of American indie-breakouts, his first film in 13 years technically meets that basic criteria – he has made a film – but it is not exactly what the faithful might expect. The director has always leaned towards dense dialogue over visual flourishes making him sort of a socialite, yuppie-focused Kevin Smith (I probably just lost the ‘criterion collector crowd’ with that comparison and in all fairness, Stillman was there first.) Yet his characters always displayed some level of humanity between the witty dialogue and a signature high-minded, entitled brand of narcissism acting as mask to hide confusion with the world. In short, his films had something to say beyond their own entertaining peak at the ‘useless elite.’ A friend of mine maintains that the directors work is always unappreciated until it ages a little, but I think this may be an exception (time will, of course, tell…) Damsels In Distress finds Stillman making a bitter mockery of his previous work cloaked in effervescent frivolity. It is a if Stillman came out of retirement as an act self-immolation. The familiar syntax is present, the characters are in a similar social stratum, here a fictional university that caters to parents who buy their dunce-lings into an education bound not to stick, but the whole affair comes across as a vapid version of Clueless (i.e. life is a ‘shopping experience’ distillation of Emma). Either that, or the writer/director has no finger on the pulse of this generation and no interest in understanding them either.

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Cinecast Episode 227 – Come for the Violence, Stay for the Orgy

Despite being a man down this week and the multi-plexes pretty much in dumping-grounds mode in the doldrums of August and back-to-school season, Kurt and Andrew manage to talk it up for a few hours of chit-chat and whoop-de-do! On the menu today: Steven Soderbergh, Greta Gerwig, Paul Greengrass, Jessica Chastain, Steve McQueen, Gus Van Sant, John Milius, Kirk Douglas, Serial Killers and Netflix bandwidth issues (plus a whole lot more)! Clear out the ashes of fall fireplace, strike up a cheery evening blaze, grab a mug of hot cider and relax for a couple hours of pleasant chat with only half a dozen F-Bombs. Cheers.

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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Sunday Bookmarks: March 14-20


  • Why see ‘Don’t Look Now’?
    Coming to BluRay and rep screenings in the UK: “In hindsight, ‘Don’t Look Now’ is the perfect mixture of Roeg’s abilities as a teller of mysterious stories and as one of the most accomplished cinematic stylists ever to peep through a viewfinder. The film smashes up chronology and pieces it back together in a deviously strange order, so we get constant hints and suggestions of dark events to come. Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie are utterly convincing as the central couple who flee to Venice to retain a focus on their messed-up lives.”
  • Notes on Charlie Sheen and the End of Empire
    “No, what this moment is about is Charlie Sheen solo. It’s about a well-earned mid-life crisis played out on Sheen’s Korner instead of in a life coach’s office somewhere in Burbank. The mid-life crisis is the moment in a man’s life when you realize you can’t (won’t) maintain the pose that you thought was required of you any longer—you’re older and you have a different view of life and this is when the bitterness and acceptance blooms. Tom Cruise had a similar meltdown at the same age in the summer of 2005, but his was more politely manufactured (and, of course, he was never known as an addict). Cruise had his breakdown while smiling and he couldn’t get loose, he couldn’t be natural about it. He’s always essentially been the good boy who can’t say “Fuck You” the way Sheen can.”
  • An Interview with Greta Gerwig at SxSW
    Greta Gerwig is no stranger to SXSW. Her new film, “The Dish & the Spoon,” marks the sixth time she has had a movie in the festival in an film career that has stretched the same number of years. This new film, directed by Alison Bagnall, about a woman and a young man (Olly Alexander) who bond during a tumultuous time in their lives. Ms. Gerwig’s acting style, which A.O. Scott lauded for its “apparent absence of any method,” is employed in this intimate, primarily two-character study.
  • Bernardo Bertolucci has a 3D Project
    “Cult Italian film director Bernardo Bertolucci said in an interview for his 70th birthday on Wednesday that he will be making his first 3D film this year saying it was like riding on a “flying carpet” […] “I want to use 3D in a different way from what we have seen in films like ‘Avatar’ or other films characterised by special effects,” he said.”
  • Is Netflix Abandoning Its Business Model Again?
    With the production of David Fincher/Kevin Space HBO-styled TV DRAMA, It looks like a new strategy is here. In the great tradition of the network and cable game, make themselves a “must carry.” I wouldn’t be shocked to see them in the bidding for hockey or trying to make a deal to stream Major League Baseball or something like that before long. If they are going this way, no one show “airing” 13 times a year is going to keep customers paying $8 or more a month. If Netflix becomes a thrift shop, with content here and there and everywhere, the churn will get worse […] This choice, combined with the exit of Criterion and the abandonment of Red Envelope, their previously stab at original content, clearly tells us that Netflix sees no future in quality film lovers as a primary audience for the service. Fair enough. But it will be interesting to see when the cineastes get the message.”
  • Zediva – A Clever End Run Around the Movie-Streaming Gremlins
    “It lets you listen to the director’s commentary, turn on subtitles and change languages. It lets you enjoy your movie for two weeks instead of 24 hours, starting and stopping at will. It offers the 100 biggest movies for streaming on the very same day the DVD comes out. It sidesteps any meddling by the movie companies, HBO contracts and studio lawyers. And here’s the best news of all — are you sitting down on your favorite movie couch? The price is only $2 for one movie or $1 if you buy a 10-pack. There’s no signup fee, no monthly fee, no hardware to buy. Zediva’s secret is so outrageous, you may think it’s an early April Fool’s prank. But it’s no joke.”
  • Is Matthew McConaughey Really Shirtless in Every Movie?
    “Conventional wisdom likes to assume that Matthew McConaughey has taken his shirt off in every single one of his movies. True, McConaughey is not shy when it comes to going bare chested on-screen and in public, but is he really sans shirt in every one of his movies?” Yes, Movieline actually checks out each and every one of them to be sure.


You can now take a look at RowThree’s bookmarks at any time of your choosing simply by clicking the “delicious” button in the upper right of the page. It looks remarkably similar to this:


2011 Independent Spirit Award Nominees

Equally meaningless, but arguably a whole lot more fun to watch than the Oscars. Better films/celebs nominated, more relaxed, more accurate and a lot more alcohol. This year’s awards will be given out live on Saturday, February 26th on IFC channel at 10pm ET.

The nominees this year are as follows…

127 Hours
Black Swan
The Kids Are All Right
Winter’s Bone

Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
Danny Boyle, 127 Hours
Lisa Cholodenko, The Kids Are All Right
Debra Granik, Winter’s Bone
John Cameron Mitchell, Rabbit Hole

Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
Greta Gerwig, Greenberg
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

Ronald Bronstein, Daddy Longlegs
Aaron Eckhart, Rabbit Hole
James Franco, 127 Hours
John C. Reilly, Cyrus
Ben Stiller, Greenberg

Ashley Bell, The Last Exorcism
Dale Dickey, Winter’s Bone
Allison Janney, Life During Wartime
Daphne Rubin-Vega, Jack Goes Boating
Naomi Watts, Mother and Child

John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone
Samuel L. Jackson, Mother and Child
Bill Murray, Get Low
John Ortiz, Jack Goes Boating
Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right

more categories/nominations under the seats…
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