Well that came out of nowhere! Mamo looks at American Sniper‘s perfectly-fired magic bullet, which hit the Academy, the audience, and about a billion think-piece writers in a single shot. Afterwards, we delve into Supergirl, #XFiles2015, and the equally magic, equally bullet-shaped Joaquin Phoenix.
This is way more comically broad that I expected it to be, but the trailer for P.T. Anderson’s 1960s set ‘beach-noir’ is zany and across the board hilarious. I’m going to call it here, this is Anderson’s The Big Lebowski, if this is any indication.
Owen Wilson, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Reese Witherspoon and Eric Roberts are delivering the goods with no apparent safety net.
Have at it.
Bad design causes stress and discomfort; whether it is typography in a document, or unfettered suburban sprawl or too many buttons on a mobile phone. Life and relationships, which invariably happen in a haphazard fashion by their nature are bad design, and even the happiest of marriages, or most well adjusted of families and such are nevertheless full of tensions and misunderstandings, but virtue of design being non-controlled, that we learn to live with and accept, or we move on. Storytelling, autobiography, blogging and other personal narratives are an attempt to put some good design on something as chaotic as ‘a life.’ Technology, from ink and paper, to the printing press and eventually the internet have enabled our capacity to do this on an individual level. The landscape of modern social media platforms and the specialized subset of dating websites, while far (very far) from perfect, are a significant step to projecting some ‘design’ onto how we present ourselves to the world. Ultimately, though we have to find a way to be comfortable in our own skin and headspace, while alone in a room, and this includes whether or not another person or persons are present. Comfort and confidence can be driven by good design, but finding some truth and understanding in the messiness is essential.
Spike Jonze has been surveying and navigating these strange lagoons and very often uninviting rocky places with his music videos, short films and of course, his accomplished trio of feature films, Being John Malkovich, Adaptation., and Where the Wild Things Are. In collaboration with an eclectic gathering of intuitive but articulate ‘philosophers,’ Charlie Kaufman, David Eggars and Maurice Sendak, Jonze sets out on his own to great effect writing and directing his fourth feature.
Her, serves up a beautifully designed world. It is perhaps the best film on design outside of the more literal-minded “Design Trilogy” documentaries by Gary Hustwit. Here a near-future Los Angeles (or erstwhile Shanghai) is rendered skyward with clean glass towers, minimal advertising, and plenty of wide vistas and inviting space. In terms of cinematic depictions of America’s richest and most forward-thinking domain (California in itself the world’s 12th largest economy), we have come a long way from Ridley Scott’s septic, tactile and dizzying dystopic Blade Runner full of belching flames, corporate ziggurats and effluent pedestrian clutter. Architecture and aesthetics aside, there is more than a little common ground as a science fiction conceit; the questions being considered are somewhat in alignment: Can we love something ‘artificial’ if that thing can and will evolve to be more human than human? How do we interact with pervasive and ubiquitous ‘technology?’ Despite this concept being explored in may ways even in the infancy of this new millennium (From Soderbergh’s Solaris to Niccol’s S1mOne), this is the first true cinematic Pygmalion of the information age.
“You’re dating an OS! What’s that like?”
While I feel it has been a drip-drip-drip flow of quality releases this fall/Oscar season, easily one of the most anticipated films (along with the new Coen Brothers and new David O. Russell) is Spike Jonze’s near-science fiction romance, Her. The images here are extraordinary, along with the emotion, earnestness and above all, very timely ideas. This trailer showcases also what appears to be a very committed cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson, Rooney Mara all look great here. In particular though, it is Pheonix who is playing very much against type, and yet he is so naturally engaging here that you’d never, ever know that he did any other type of role. In a word, this whole thing looks marvelous.
The silky, inflected tones of Scarlett Johansson as a Siri-ish Operating System allow her owner, nebbish Joaquin Phoenix in a moustache, to fall in love and proceed from there. This is the premise, one brilliantly executed in the trailer (below) for the film which is simply titled Her and directed by Spike Jonze. The director has always done these offbeat films on the ‘human condition,’ (Adaptation, Being John Malkovich) and has made a few short films about robots recently, it looks to culminate in his first feature since the deeply empathetic Where The Wild Things Are. Amy Adams (her second recent pairing with Phoenix, here playing his sister), Rooney Mara and Olivia Wilde round out the cast.
Expect this film to make some waves when it gets released in November. For now, watch this trailer a half a dozen times and fall in love.
We stopped doing news items, casting items and the like around Rowthree as just ‘extra content’ some time ago; instead favouring the more solid information and material regarding upcoming and in-release films – such as trailers, festival screenings and you know, actual reviews. All that being said, this is bit of news is too good to pass up, especially considering there are a number of us around here that consider The Master to be easily the best film to be made, acted, and discussed by film lovers last year. According to Cinemablend, P.T. Anderson’s adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice is set to start shooting, with Joaquin Phoenix in the lead and There Will Be Blood cinematographer Robert Elswit shooting on 35mm film with a Warner Brothers studio backing. God bless that someone out there is still enabling Anderson to be able to do thing things his way, that is to say: The Classic Cinema Way. Shooting is expected to start this month.
Part noir, part psychedelic romp, all Thomas Pynchon- private eye Doc Sportello surfaces, occasionally, out of a marijuana haze to watch the end of an era. It’s been a while since Doc Sportello has seen his ex-girlfriend. Suddenly she shows up with a story about a plot to kidnap a billionaire land developer whom she just happens to be in love with. It’s the tail end of the psychedelic sixties in L.A., and Doc knows that “love” is another of those words going around at the moment, like “trip” or “groovy,” except that this one usually leads to trouble.
Gamble is back to do that thing he does, and The Master proves to be one of the more divisive films on the show in some time. We talk at length about some of the themes, the craft and the performances of perhaps the event film of this fall. Andrew lays out the plethora of homework submissions for the first listener assignment of the semester, and we lay out a new one at the end of the show. A very thorough Watch-List sees Gamble enamored with German Cats, Fundamentalist Christians and the Queen of Versailles. Andrew takes another run at The Avengers and parses the pubes of Basic Instinct and has mixed feelings on character actors on motorcycles. Kurt talks at length about Jason Reitman’s Young Adult, jumps into Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men and then brings it back around to ParaNorman and Dredd. Of course there are many more things on the go in this loaded and lengthy episode.
As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!
Full show notes are under the seats…
Would you like to know more…?
They sure know how to cut a teaser trailer over at the Anderson camp. The second look at the upcoming film The Master is a great showcase of the very, very L. Ron Hubbard-ish character – Philip Seymour Hoffman looks to be astounding – as he works his charisma on the hapless (but awesome) Joaquin Phoenix in a tour-de-force bit of overlapping audio. Also, a first look at Amy Adams, but all eyes are on the Hoffman/Phoenix dynamic. This movie cannot hit the cinema soon enough.
Hell yea, folks! P.T. Anderson’s L. Ron Hubbard sort-of-biopic (As Orson Welles Citizen Kane was to William Hearst) has come out of its financial paralysis and is back on track. Philip Seymour Hoffman is still in the lead role, but it appears that Jeremy Renner, is going to be replaced with a returning-to-acting Joaquin Pheonix. If you recall, the project was stalled either for creative issues or financial, it was never clear. But it appears that things are moving forward. Now Anderson doesn’t exactly work fast these days, but the end films seem to be consistently worth the wait. I’ll try to have patience, and enjoy the fact that The Tree of Life is coming out next month.
Thanks to regular RowThree contributor and all around nice guy, Bob Turnbull for showing up once again on this week’s Cinecast to help us all digest the massive movie extravaganza known as this years edition Toronto International Filmfestival (aka TIFF10). Also, a hearty welcome to the longest Row Three Cinecast episode of all time. Bob and Kurt give some preview and insight into much anticipated films from Werner Herzog, Darren Aronofsky, Danny Boyle, Mike Leigh, Sion Sono, Errol Morris, John Carpenter, Sylvain Chomet, and the folks behind Not Quite Hollywood looking at the Drive-In cheapies shot in the Philippines. And then there is the really off-beat stuff like a post-apocalyptic-vampire-western-road movie, Stake Land (which is magnificent), a naughty DIY costumed hero flick from James Gun called Super and starring Ellen Page and Kevin Bacon, an Eva Green starring ethereal cloning drama from Hungary, but in English, called Womb, and a film that will make you completely reassess how you feel about Santa Claus and his elf posse when the jolly fat man is portrayed as a 25 meter tall horned demon encased in a block of ice under a Finnish mountain. But before all that, Andrew managed to catch Ben Affleck’s latest directorial effort, The Town as well as the much talked about I’m Still Here starring Joaquin Phoenix and directed by the other Affleck, Casey. Easy A also available to the multiplex crowd has Bob and Kurt heap a fair bit of love onto the film in an effort to get Andrew to give it a chance. Yes, folks, it is that good. A few other movies we watched, DVD picks (we’re all a bit drunk at this point) and the odd tangent keep this podcast unspooling and unspooling.
We hope you enjoy this latest show and as always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!
ALTERNATIVE (no music track):
Full show notes are under the seats…
Would you like to know more…?
Many of you will recall the shenanigans of Joaquin Phoenix and Casey Affleck (well mostly Phoenix while Affleck captured it on camera) in the public sphere. Most people called it as some sort of Borat-like stunt-project, and most people were right. Now that we are at the point where things are comfortably in post-production, witness the one-sheet above, is there still an interest in this project or merely exhaustion to this sort of filmmaking. Or are you waiting for a trailer or sample of finished film to make a judgment call. It remains unlikely that this film, I’m Still Here, (despite a lot of blog coverage) will see anything beyond a festival followed by DVD release. But Magnolia (Who picked up the film earlier this year) has often been kind to out-of-the-box releasing, so I could be wrong.