Cinecast Episode 427 – Stretching the Bubblegum

Was it the weather or is it the shitty inconvenient way films are released in theaters these days? Or does it depend on your geography or disposition? Or a little bit of everything? In short, we didn’t get to the “main releases” (of boats in storms or feminist westerns) this week and instead opted for some VOD experimentation with Vincent Cassell in Partisan. A solid film with problems is the verdict. The Watch List is fairly eclectic this week but a whole lotta witchin’ going on. From Winona Ryder to Vin Diesel, we cover the gamut. Andrew and Kurt also spend some time in the kitchen cooking up some spaghetti westerns before heading to Southeast Asia for a thriller and some kung-fu. Like a snake in the eagle’s shadow, there is no escape for the good the bad or the ugly; there most certainly will be blood inside Llewyn Davis.

#sorrynotsorry

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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Mamo #336: It’s An Honour Just Being Mamo

It’s Mamo Christmas! The Oscar Nominations for 2013 are announced and as usual, there’s a whole lot of people who could’ve sworn “merit” was going to enter into this somewhere. Mamo discusses.

To download this episode, use this URL: http://rowthree.com/audio/mamo/mamo336.mp3

CASTcast 2013

The Cinematic Appreciation Society of Toronto returns for more drinking and merriment and incidental discussion of the winners of our annual poll of the year’s best films.

Hosted by Matt Price of Mamo!, this panel roundtable features commentary and discussion from the following contributors:

Kurt Halfyard – Row Three, Twitchfilm@triflic
Ryan McNeil – The Matinee@matinee_ca
Matt Brown – Tederick.com, Twitchfilm, Mamo!@tederick
Ariel Fisher – Row Three, Rue Morgue – @Afis8
Bob Turnbull – Eternal Sunshine of the Logical Mind, Row Three@TheLogicalMind
James McNally – CAST organizer, Toronto Screen Shots@toscreenshots

To download this episode, use this URL: http://rowthree.com/audio/mamo/CASTcast_2013.mp3

My Movie Moments of 2013

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Though I didn’t keep very good track throughout the past 12 months, I think I’ve cobbled together some of my favourite moments from 2013’s films as well as some older movies I saw for the first time. So here’s a random walk through them…

 

2013 films:

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  • Best spine-tingling, goose-bump raising moment of the year: Merry Clayton’s rendition of “Southern Man” in Twenty Feet From Stardom. You can almost feel the spittle as she tears into the song while her backup band shreds it.
  • The joy of playing music when you’re young in We Are The Best! and Metalhead.
  • Mark Ruffalo’s music producer imagining the instruments and arrangement backing up a solo acoustic performance in Can A Song Save Your Life?.
  • “Who starts a song like that?” – Christian Bale’s American Hustle hustler talking about “Jeep’s Blues” by Duke Ellington.
  • “Five Hundred Miles” performed in Inside Llewyn Davis.
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  • The red waterfalls in Byzantium and Neighboring Sounds – one a recurring motif reflecting the “birth” of a vampire and the other a shocking sudden foreshadowing.
  • The effective use of colour in Stoker.
  • The bright colours in Only God Forgives and Trance.
  • All those gorgeous sunsets in Spring Breakers.
  • The opening shot of billows of dirty water cascading down like an avalanche in Watermark.

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Hey Man, Nice Shot (2013)

NiceShot

Today, we begin wrapping up 2013 by returning to an annual tradition originally posted over at The Matinee. It occurred to me some time ago that when you think back on a film, sometimes you think about one solitary image. When you bring those images together, it turns into a neat little tapestry of the year on the whole.

The idea started back in 2010, and continued through 2011 and 2012.

Decide amongst yourselves what it means that I have been choosing more and more images as the years have gone on.

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Review: Inside Llewyn Davis

Inside Llewyn Davis

A few years ago, Tom Waits did a spot on The Daily Show with John Stewart. Before the taping began, Tom was using the men’s room at the television studio, and the bathroom roof fell in on him. In some ways, this seems like the sort of thing that could only happen to Tom Waits. In both his demeanour and his artistic output, he comes across as a grizzled, weary, and down-on-his-luck. Why would anyone be drawn to someone so sad-sack and alone?

Inside Llewyn Davis spends one week in the life of its titular hero (Oscar Isaacs), a folk singer in 1961 New York City. As the film begins, we are given a clear picture of what sort of singer he is. While some of his contemporaries are singing plucky tunes bound for AM radio play, he takes to smokey stages in dank clubs singing from the point of view of a criminal about to be hanged.

Llewyn is talented, there’s no denying that. Sadly, he’s also broke. After his first performance in the film, he awakes on the couch of The Gorfeins – music appreciators that open their Upper West Side apartment to Llewyn when he needs a hand up (which is often). As he goes to leave, The Gorfeins’ cat slips out. Unable to get the cat back home, Llewyn scoops it up and begins looking after it until he can return it.

That’s Llewyn in a nutshell: locked out of the last place he called home, holding more baggage than he carried walking in.

Llewyn’s week will find him crossing paths with friends and family. Most reach out their hand to help him, but few help him for long, and few help him to the extent that he needs. With his musical career stuck in neutral, his greatest need is monetary. Besides not having a place of his own, he cannot even afford a winter coat. Slowly, Llewyn is becoming less and less of a folk singer than he is becoming a character in one of his own songs.

As a greater need for money crops up with an old friend (who now mostly hates him), Llewyn hits the bricks with his guitar and cat in hand hoping he and get something going. Of course, if he’d listened to the lyrics in the songs he sings so often, he’d know exactly how his mission will play out.

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Trailer #2: Inside Llewyn Davis

Inside Llewyn Davis

Another soulful and engaging trailer for The Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis which gets it’s wide release around Christmas time this year. There are few doubts that this film will be excellent, and the smattering of critics quotes in the trailer (I don’t look at the text of the quote, I look at the names of the critic used to assess these things) only confirm things. Great cast, great musical vibe, and great setting – the niggling question here is how easy it will be to acclimatize to the glowing-desaturated-instagram-filter cinematography with Roger Deakins sitting this one out while Bruno Delbonnel (Amélie, Dark Shadows) pinch hits.

Third Trailer: Inside Llewyn Davis

The third and probably final trailer for the new Coen Brother’s film has a wonderful song to get you through some (amusingly) depressing stuff, as Oscar Isaac’s struggling folk musician takes the hard edge of life from all sides. While I am not entirely sold on the ‘murky-attic’ cinematography of the new film (the Coen’s first film in over a decade without Roger Deakins on photographing duties), I am entirely sold on tone and content. From Carey Mulligan’s hurting looks to John Goodman’s bombast, to the caramel coloured kitty cat in Isaac’s embrace.

Check it out below.

Friday One Sheet: Type.

Both in their films and in their marketing, the Coen Brothers seem to always have a love and respect for good old fashioned typesetting. From the art deco of The Hudsucker Proxy to the wanted poster stylings of their True Grit remake. For their latest film, this simple, but boldly styled teaser poster continues that tradition with a playbill kind of vibe. The eye in the guitar is the only graphic element, and it evokes the kitty cat that Oscar Isaac is carrying around with him in the trailer. It’s subtle but there. In the day and age of photoshop clutter and generic blue tinted hero collages, I tend to gravitate towards the simple and elegant.