Friday One Sheet: Neo-Neo-Fascism?

This porcelain-doll, almost avant garde, collection of symbols and a beautiful white face, for me evokes the science fiction fascism and post-nationalism that is at play in the Hunger Games franchise: The rising phoenix/eagle/jay, the line of storm troopers, the rose simultaneously shedding tears of blood and down below branded in the mocking-jay logo. At least that is my impression as one who has not read the novels nor seen any of the films up until this point. Sorry, I cannot muster the interest. But the poster does indicate ‘classy sci-fi’ which at this point, the final entry in the series, I guess they are going for?

The Future is Female – 2012 is the Year of the Empowered Girl

In 2006 Joss Whedon (certainly the mainstream man of the hour in light of Avengers‘ rip-roaring success) expressed his exasperation with the question “Why do you write all these strong female characters?” His pithy, Whedonesque answer of course was “Because you’re still asking me that question.”

Five years later in 2011, his words and frustration still rang true. The list of top ten box office hits includes only one film with a female lead – The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, and Bella’s status as a “strong female character” is questionable (more on Twilight in a minute…) and the audience for the film adaptations of Stephanie Meyer’s novels is female-dominant. Last year’s box office champ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows does have a strong female character in Hermione Granger, but the lead of that film is obviously the Potter himself, everyone else more or less orbits his journey. Meanwhile, Transformers 3, The Hangover Part II, Fast Five, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and on down the list are male-centric to say the least.

But 2012 may be the year of the empowered girl.

The ongoing box office (and to a degree, critical) success of The Hunger Games seems to support that idea. But it is not just Katniss leading the charge: smart and strong women are leading many films this year. Films that seem utterly poised to be blockbuster hits and critical darlings feature women in the lead.

In the past 30 years of western pop culture (we’ll get to Studio Ghibli in a moment too…) we have Wonder Woman, Lt. Ellen Ripley, Buffy Summers and Foxy Brown.

Perhaps in 2012 we will have new names to add to that list. Mallory Kane. Katniss Everdeen. Lisbeth Salander (admittedly Fincher’s polished update of The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo was at 2011’s in extremis, but we’re counting her in the vanguard). Snow White. Princess Merida. The fact is, this shouldn’t be notable. But it is, because we are still asking writers, the majority of which are men, why they write strong women characters. But there are now many more writers to ask (admittedly still predominantly male!). Allow the Row Three staff to offer a survey of this years fem-powered offerings, starting with the resurrection of the Alien franchise.

Would you like to know more…?

Cinecast Episode 251 – Formaldehyde Rain

With not much going on, there sure is a lot going on. We go gaga over the new Prometheus trailer. We have (row)three theatrical reviews to cover today and we touch down in Iran before cruising over to Jump Street and then we get our ass to Mars. We take our time, so bear with us and feel free to skip around the show but beware the full spoiler-discussion of A Separation – see the well deserved Oscar winning film before listening to that segment.

Kurt waxes ecstatically about the packaging and presentation of the new Special Edition BATTLE ROYALE DVD/BLU set. Hunger Games looms on the horizon.

Technically there was no show last week and the side effect of doing an Anniversary Clip-Show is that this week we have a lengthy Watch List to dive into. Watch out for the quick sand, subway squatters, slimey lawyers, Nick Cage as an Atlantic City Cop and Dennis Hopper’s chainsaw wielding antics! With this much off-beat violence, the show could be hazardous to your health. But feel free to indulge in your (Miami)vices and jump in feet first. You. Are. Invited.

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:

Full show notes are under the seats…
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Trailer: The Hunger Games

I am quite amazed that after seeing Kinji Fukasaku’s wonderfully violent satire Battle Royale more or less banned/undistributed in Canada and the US, we are getting a huge glossy franchise that involves teens killing teens for sport. With Lynne Ramsay’s We Need to Talk About Kevin and the host of other interesting school shooting films, I guess the good ship Columbine has sailed and these stories are OK to do however one pleases.

Either way, Lion’s Gate has posted the trailer for the first of three (possibly more) films, The Hunger Games, which stars Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson and up-and-comer Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone, X-Men: First Class). Expect the Twi-hards to get a boner for these films (as I imagine the books are appealing to the same demographic) and along those lines, I imagine that Gary Ross and company are going to do this subject in as vanilla a fashion as possible.

Oh, and full disclosure, I have not read these books, so I have no idea about fan-minutiae on how close the film adaptation is going to be. But feel free to educate me in the comment sections.

And while we are at it, if they can make this type of film, wither a big screen adaptation of Stephen King’s The Long Walk?

The trailer is tucked under the seat.

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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!



To download the show directly, paste the following URL into your favorite downloader:

Full show notes are under the seats…
Would you like to know more…?

Teaser Trailer for “Hunger Games”

So I just finished reading Suzanne Collins tween novel, “Hunger Games”, not but four days ago. I knew there was a movie coming but I had no idea it was this close to release (March 2012). Well, close enough for there to already be a teaser trailer anyway.

If you’re not in the know, “Hunger Games” is essentially a mish-mash of Battle Royale, Stephen King’s “The Long Walk” and Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game.” But of course not quite written at the same intelligence level. Katniss Everdeen is thrust into a deadly government sponsored game to the death in a large arena with 23 other contestants. The rules are simple: be the last alive. There’s obviously a lot more to it than that in this fascist, dystopian future, but you get the gist.

We don’t get much from this trailer, just a good glimpse of Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) as the 16 year-old star and her character’s bow-wielding experience. But there’s enough in here to get a general feel of the picture. Personally, I was generally disappointed in the final few chapters of the novel, but with Pleasantville director, Gary Ross, at the helm and helped out by none other than the great Steven Soderbergh as second unit director, I can’t help but sort of be excited for his release of the theatrical version of “Hunger Games.” Not to mention a great supporting cast including Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Toby Jones, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz and Wes Bentley. But time will tell if Lawrence can live up to the starring role.

Take a look at the trailer under the seats. How does it compare to your expectations?

Would you like to know more…?