Cinecast Episode 456 – So Far So Good…

The summer of 2016 officially winds down to a stop (thank the maker) as The Toronto International Film Festival comes to a close. Kurt spends a good chunk of this episode going through the best of the fest (from his perspective) and one or two things that didn’t work out quite as well as one would hope. Before we get there, we join Antoine Fuqua and his Magnificent Seven as they attempt to defeat the evil, mining industrialist, Peter Sarsgaard. It’s as close to an A-list cast as one can hope for these days, so does that pay off on the IMAX screen as it once did for the Western Blockbuster (if there ever was such a thing)? Lastly, Andrew has clearly had some time away from recording and producing to see quite a fair number of films. And breezes through a half-dozen of those before the boys call it a done deal. Regrets for not tying off the DePalma retrospective with a Scarface ribbon this week as promised; though that is in the works for next episode.

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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Cinecast Episode 369 – Sometimes You Gotta Lie to Tell the Truth

We should retitle the show from Cinecast to “room full of loudmouths.” Matt Gamble is back on the show this week to add that extra dimension of bitching, praising, complaining, droning and bloviation that this episode needed to give the series a good crane kick in the ass. First up it’s the festival favorite TIME LAPSE, which despite its high concept and heady nature, the boys find surprisingly little to say about except that it’s pretty great. Andrew and Matt report on the Jeremy Renner vehicle, KILL THE MESSENGER – which peaked far too early in the run time. Pat Morita is the sensei for THE KARATE KID in this week’s volume of The 1984 Project. With The Watch List this week, it’s more Fincher, more Duplass, more sci-fi and high concept, cannibalism, Amazon Prime, Mike Meyers’ directorial debut and Harry Potter with horns. Lastly we argue about nothing regarding HBO’s newly announced method of content delivery.

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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Toronto After Dark 2013: We Are What We Are Review

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Horror’s breadth of vision is part of what makes it such a remarkable genre. Straight horror is steadily becoming an increasingly difficult label to affix to a genre film, as they tend to vary drastically in their thematic elements and tonal range. Horrific elements can range from blood, guts, and entrails to demonic possession, or the depths of depravity of the human race. We Are What We Are, Jim Mickle and Nick Damici’s reimagining of Jorge Michel Grau’s Somos Lo Que Hay (2010), embraces the versatility of the genre with a shocking story of an unconventional family.

Set in the Catskills, this neo-American Gothic film focuses on the Parker family. After the accidental death of their mother, Iris (Ambyr Childers) and Rose (Julia Garner) are placed as the sole providers of the household. Their father, the formidable and domineering Frank (Bill Sage), enforces their sinister family tradition much against the girls’ wills. The hope of a normal life slowly slips away from the young girls as they are left in charge of the duties that once belonged to their mother: to slaughter, harvest, and consume another human being.

As a terrible storm strikes their tiny town, the resulting flood washes up what seem to be sparse human remains. Discovered by the local physician, Doctor Barrow (Michael Parks), a makeshift investigation ensues, and the extent of the Parker legacy is revealed. Would you like to know more…?

Trailer: We Are What We Are


We are big fans in these parts of director Jim Mickle (who was even kind enough to guest spot on the cinecast), the director previously made dramatically driven genre pictures, Mulberry St. and Stakeland, films that paid very close attention to keeping ‘the family unit’ close together. So Mickle was perhaps an obvious choice when it came time to do an English remake of the Jorge Michel Grau’s We Are What We Are, a film about a family of cannibals dealing with the future after the death of their patriarch and possible discovery in the aftermath. Featuring a superb cast led by Mickle regular (and regular co-writer) Nick Damici, as well as Michael Parks and Kelly McGillis, the remake played Cannes and Sundance and is showing up on VOD at the end of September. Until then, the original is on Netflix Instant.

Check out the trailer below.

Cinecast Episode 223 – Just the Alien from Cloverfield and Super 8?

A bit of a break in the usual routine as summer comes closer to a close – In this episode of the Cinecast director Jim Mickle (Stake Land and Mulberry St.) joins Kurt and Andrew for a chat on Jon Favreau’s Cowboys and Aliens and Errol Morris’s Tabloid. We mix up the typical show order and do DVD picks first (as Stake Land hits DVD shelves this week!), then our main reviews, with liberal sprinkling of Netflix instant watch suggestions throughout the show before finally ending on The Watch List. This allows for a lot of delightful tangents and director/screenwriter insights. Hope you enjoy this one, it’s a keeper.

As always, thanks for listening and please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below.



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Cinecast Episode 212 – Jeremy Davies 2.0

Thor. Is not mentioned once in this show. (To get your Marvel Norse Demigod fix, head on over to the experts at Mamo!) Instead we delve into two road-films of a very different nature. First up, the Oregon Trail meets Gerry in Kelly Reichardt’s wonderfully realized Meek’s Cutoff. We discuss the versatility of young Paul Dano, while praising Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, and the miracle of ambiguous endings. Next up is the vampire-western-post-apocalypse realized in Stakeland. Much love is bestowed on this type of very smart, very sharp genre fare. And Kelly McGillis is in the film, which Andrew is still working his head around. After some batty technical issues, we move along to a few more HotDocs titles, and Kurt’s overall impression of the festival this year. A wee bit more Beauty Day talk, our DVD picks (it is a good week for a change) and finally some Netflix Instant picks in Canada and the US. Old-fashioned tangents (guns, guns, guns!) and other oddball asides litter the good old fashioned style Cinecast you have sitting before you.

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 (April 18-23)


  • “Film Critic Elvis Mitchell axed from Movieline
    Nikki Finke, who works for Jay Penske, who publishes Deadline and Movieline and hired Mitchell, posted one explanation for why he was fired. For cause, apparently, for an error in his Source Code review. She infers that Mitchell may not have seen the movie, and slipped a reference to something from its screenplay into the review. Several people report seeing Mitchell at a Source Code screening. Sloppy is more Mitchell’s style. More than one of his editors complain about what a pain it was to edit him, especially at The New York Times. He was a much better fit at the LA Weekly.”
  • Ayn Rand’s New Religion for the Righteous
    “John Kenneth Galbraith famously said that “the modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” That exercise may have reached its limits with the novel Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, which has become the bible of conservative economic “wisdom” in our time. How did the work of a pro-abortion atheist become so popular with the culture warriors of the right? How do you get people who want to strip Darwin from the classroom to enforce Darwin on the unemployed? How does a book that inspired Anton LaVey’s Satanic Bible wind up on the lips of evangelical Christians waiting in line at the box office?”
  • Blade Runner and Following The Rules
    Rule-following is an extremely powerful technique for manipulating things. Psychology is a form of science that identifies the rules in obedience to which human beings act. Those rules are identified by watching human beings and noting the constancy with which some effect follows some other cause. A human being who experiences something unpleasant will try to avoid it. That is a simple rule. These rules can be applied in reverse. An example is found in movies. An unpleasant or frightening situation can be created by forcing a human being to avoid something. This is why the image of a closed door is frightening in a horror movie. The door obstructs the human being’s view of what is beyond it, and this forced avoidance creates an unpleasant experience of anxiety. By exploiting a simple rule, the person making a film can create an experience in the human being who watches it.” (Thanks Matt Brown for the heads up on this one)
  • Is the video-on-demand business bad for Hollywood?
    “Make no mistake: History has shown that price points cannot be maintained in the home video window. What sells for $30-a-viewing today could be blown out for $9.99 within a few years. If wiser heads do not prevail, the cannibalization of theatrical revenue in favor of a faulty, premature home video window could lead to the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue. Some theaters will close. The competition for those screens that remain will become that much more intense, foreclosing all but the most commercial movies from theatrical release. Specialty films whose success depends on platform releases that slowly build in awareness would be severely threatened under this new model. Careers that are built on the risks that can be taken with lower budget films may never have the chance to blossom under this cut-throat new model. Further, releasing a pristine, digital copy of new movies early to the home will only increase the piracy problem—not solve it.”
  • Filmmaker Jim Mickle Offers a New Take on Vampires
    “Perhaps it is this unusual collection of sources that gives the film its unique flavor, but it’s no accident that “Stake Land” approaches traditional components of vampire and post-apocalyptic films in a new way. Mickle and Damici made a point to focus on humanity over the unhuman.”


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:


Trailer: Stake Land


Jim Mickle, you put Zombies in my Vampire movie, wait, you put Vampires in my Zombie movie. Stake Land (Kurt’s Review) was well deserving of the TIFF Midnight Madness Audience Choice Award in 2010. The film is a thoughtful and intense post-apocalyptic road-movie, which begs the question on who should really be getting the gig writing and directing The Walking Dead if they wish things to improve in that series in subsequent seasons. The film has a great John Carpenter vibe leavened with a hint of the higher production values afforded the likes of John Hillcoat and Terrence Malick. It is nice to see that this trailer makes a bold announcement of Stake Land’s visceral tone and sense of humour within the genre. Like the director and his co-writer (and lead actor) Nick Damici’s low-budget debut film, Mulberry Street, there is no bones about being an unabashed genre effort, but they know how to inject a lot of wit, style, brains and heart in the proceedings.

Trailer (and initial teaser) are tucked under the seat.
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Sitges Review: Stake Land


At one point in fabulously envisioned Stake Land, the loner-hero takes a brief snatch of down time from kicking up road dust and vampire killing to relax on an outdoor recliner chaise. It is the moment that you realize that the film has far more in common with a classic American Western than the current craze of Vampire movies. But this is only one of the revelatory delights that the film is stacked with chock-a-block to the point where you sit back and smile that genre films can be made so well. In a year where John Carpenter has a new film that is as unsatisfying and generic as oatmeal, it is nice to see that others have taken up the mantle to resurrect the no-nonsense, bad-ass, Snake Plissken type (here named simply “Mister”) and drop him into an interesting and wide open space – a post-Apocalyptic america that has returned to its frontier roots in the wake of a Vampire epidemic. But these are not your Bram Stoker, Anne Rice or Stephenie Meyer Vampires. A stake through the heart will finish them off, assuredly, but there isn’t much going on upstairs beyond the extreme feeding instinct. They are sort of a hybrid of rage-zombies and rabid (foaming) nocturnal pack-animals, not far off the were-rat creatures featured in the director-writer-star combo’s (Jim Mickle and Nick Damici) first film Mulberry Street. Certainly, this peculiar (and quite gross) brand of vampire is something something you do not want to be caught surrounded with on a moon-less prairie night after being robbed and dumped by religious fanatics with a vindictive sense of road-justice. This is, more or less, taken in stride by Mister – one more speed-bump on the road out of a sadly compromised and brutally over-stretched America that has seen the final monster sized Katrina-disaster which has pushed it back to the 19th century.

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Midnight Madness Line-up at TIFF



There are genre festivals, and then there is the Midnight Madness sidebar at TIFF. Curated with a good eye for upscale genre fare and often paying tribute to the masters, building its own set of alumni by inviting previous filmmakers back with new fims and lots of love for kinetic Asian cinema, the line-up for 2010 features John Carpenter’s The Ward, Dante Lam’s Fire of Conscience, Brad Anderson’s The Vanishing on 7th Street, Laurent Courtiaud’s Red Nights, James Gunn’s Super, Jim Mickle’s Stake Land, James Wan’s Insidious, Guy Moshe’s Bunraku, Wu Ershan’s The Butcher, The Chef and The Swordsman and of course Michael Dowse’s Fubar 2 is the opening film for Midnight Madness 2010.

All in all, this is an exciting line-up full of comforts and discoveries. More information and trailers to follow, but for now, click the above IMDB links as your information portal.

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