Cinecast Episode 437 – It’ll Play Well in Europe

From nothing to see to too much to see. Such is the first world life in the third row. Luckily there is VOD and Kurt and Andrew can at least confer on the latest hype amongst the internet’s genre-film fanboys, The Invitation. From there, Andrew is suckered into the critical acclaim of the latest Jon Favreau joint, The Jungle Book and it really wouldn’t be a classic Cinecast without some tongue-bathing of Kevin Costner – yeah, he’s in a movie this weekend; you probably haven’t heard. Matt Gamble has all but vanished but we still managed to get into some movie experiences both theatrically and on the home screen worth mentioning. More Richard Gere is in store, Kurt heads back to the Y2K scare with Ralph Fiennes in sexy wardrobe and Angela Bassett in tight braids. Plus rep cinema VVitchy goodness in Toronto with 1983 occult gem Eyes of Fire.

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 #308: Mamo of Steel

The Men of Mamo bring their steel to the party and tackle the Zack Snyder / Christopher Nolan / DC Comics / Warner Brothers megalith, Man of Steel, upon which all hopes for the future of everything have, perhaps capriciously, been pinned. You will believe two men can gab.

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Cinecast Episode 244 – Of Muscles and Men

We’re going to spoil the shit out of Liam Neeson in The Grey this week. So I hope you’ve seen the film or don’t care about that sort of thing before listening. Right along with our “punch nature in the face” review, we’ve got a brand new top 5 list to go over that deals with manliness in cinema. Not entirely sure what that means to everyone out there, but Kurt and Andrew each give their take on the matter. A smaller watch list this week since we’re recording so close to last week’s episode, but there a bit in here to chew on for sure – including Kurt finally hitting up Joe Wright and his heavy melodrama, Atonement. That should be worth your price of admission right there. We’ve also brought back the homework assignment segment to the show and there may be rewards for those who complete their coursework, so be sure to listen for that. So sit back and enjoy the spirited festivities.

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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Review: The Company Men

Director: John Wells (“E.R.”)
Writer: John Wells
Producers: Claire Rudnick Polstein, Paula Weinstein, John Wells
Starring: Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Craig T. Nelson, Chris Cooper, Maria Bello, Kevin Costner, Rosemarie DeWitt
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 104 min.

There really isn’t any way of describing how terrible this film is without getting into specific spoiler territory so I’ll try to brush over some of the overall problems with the movie without getting too detailed. Suffice it to say that this film is trying so darn hard to be relevant and informative that it instantly becomes irrelevant, a product of its own past and something that has already aged terribly. Up in the Air, this is not. It’s full of corny, overwrought clichés that are so heavy handed that I couldn’t help but bust into laughter as I verbally recalled the story to my girlfriend two hours after leaving the theater.

The story is essentially about a bunch of corporate execs that lose their job due to downsizing and are having a hard time coping with their 12 weeks of full pay and benefits at a $120,000+ a year. They have a hard time finding employment in this downtrodden economy (yeah, the $60,000/year job just isn’t good enough) and several of them end up either sitting around all day feeling sorry for themselves, learning the value of an “honest” day’s work or just giving up entirely. Or in Chris Cooper’s case, getting drunk and throwing rocks at the office building while screaming obscenities in the middle of the night. It’s pretty dramatic stuff – it’s just like Jenny in Forrest Gump.
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Cinecast Episode 187 – Stop Putting Wings on Paul Bettany!

Are we silly enough to talk about the use of 3D in Jackass 3D whilst watching it in 2D? Yes we are. Indulge us, as we do not spend that much time on it, but hey, this franchise gets crapped on more than it deserves and the boys are creative and energetically subversive enough in their stunt-ery to be worthy of some consideration. And despite what the haters think, it is still funny. We rehash some of the finer details of Knoxville and company over the past decade before switching gears to a second opinion on the seniors-on-a-mission mayhem from Helen Mirren, Bruce Willis and John Malkovich in Red. This leads to a bit of a tangent on all the ‘on-a-mission’ movies released this summer. Meanwhile, Andrew has been managing to keep up with his one-a-day DVD viewings and this week plugs another hole in the Polanski oeuvre with a quite violent take on a Shakespearean classic. Furthermore, the question of why are there not more caveman movies is uttered aloud after we look back at 1981’s Quest for Fire and also the pretty darn swell filmography of Frenchman Jean-Jacques Annaud. Another round of Nolan’s Batman pictures vs. Ang Lee’s Hulk, and the joy of surround sound screenings are all tossed into the conversational mixer. It is a good week for classic and contemporary DVDs and Blurays too. They are considered. If the title (or the truncated runtime of this episode makes little sense to you, that is because some seasonal gremlins ate a discussion on some of the remaining films to be released. Suffice it to say that the segment was out-of-this-world awesome now that it has been sacrificed to the binary demons and no one can hear it, but we are both surprisingly anticipating the Angelina Jolie / Johnny Depp ‘Charade-esque‘ thriller The Tourist amongst other things. Enjoy this exceedingly rare ‘short version’ of the RowThree cinecast!

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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Doomsday Marathon: The Postman (1997)

Doomsday Movie Marathon

Director: Kevin Costner (Dances with Wolves, Waterworld, Open Range)
Year: 1997
Novel: David Brin
Screenplay: Eric Roth, Brian Helgeland
Starring: Kevin Costner, Will Patton, Olivia Williams, Larenz Tate, Giovanni Ribisi
MPAA Rating: R
Duration: 177 min

When I signed on to help out with the “Doomsday Marathon” about a million different titles immediately spilled through my mind. The Postman was not one of them. However, once Waterworld and Thirteen Days were called upon and spoken for, I realized that it would be unacceptable to not include the trifecta of Doomsday scenarios starring Kevin Costner. It simply would not be complete without the Restored States of America Postal Service and Tom Petty. So I dusted off an old DVD of the movie (still in shrink wrap) that must’ve been one of the first I ever owned but never got around to watching. I did catch it in the theater way back in 1997, but those memories have long since faded. It’s got more than it’s fair share of weaknesses and was completely shit upon by critics and as I remember it, movie goers as well. But in general I remembered this as a solid little film of which I was genuinely baffled by the seething hate this thing got from almost everyone I knew. So was it the enjoyable little piece of apocalyptic fiction I remember it being? Well… yeah.

Synopsis: show content

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Review: Thirteen Days

Doomsday Movie Marathon
Thirteen Days

No Doomsday marathon would be complete without a clenched-jaw nuclear showdown with the entire world hanging in the balance. And no nuclear showdown is quite as nerve-wracking as the Cuban Missile Crisis, if only because it actually happened. While too young to have lived through it, I still find a fascination with the deeply paranoid Cold War mindset if only because I recognize a glimmer of myself in it. Whether history repeats itself quite the way it happened in sixties America, the curse about living in interesting times feels shared between our two epochs.

Adapted from Robert Kennedy’s memoir of the same name, Roger Donaldson’s Thirteen Days places us in the inner sanctum of the Kennedy Administration as a potential nuclear conflict builds between the Soviets and the U.S. The tagline for the film is ‘you’ll never believe how close we came’, and this is its chief draw, for while the audience already knows how the story ends, potentially robbing the storytellers of any suspense, it is what many do not know about the daily occurrences leading up to the standoff that makes for the resulting tension. One miscommunication or rash decision after another set the dominoes in motion, and it ends up being more luck and happenstance than strategy that ultimately helps ward off catastrophe.
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TIFF 09 Review: Last Ride

Director: Glendyn Ivin
Screenplay: Mac Gudgeon
Producers: Antonia Barnard, Nicholas Cole, Nick Cole
Starring: Hugo Weaving, Tom Russell, Anita Hegh, John Brumpton
MPAA Rating: NYR
Running time: 90 min.

Looking for the perfect companion piece to Cormac MacCarthy’s The Road (our review)? Then look no further as Glendyn Ivin’s Last Ride is just the ticket you’re looking for. Not set in a post-apocalyptic world, but rather in a desolate and sparsely populated Australian Outback, a rugged, middle-aged man (Kev) and young son (Chook) struggle to survive while quite obviously on the run from a troubled recent past.

The film is maybe more comparable to Clint Eastwood’s A Perfect World starring Kevin Costner with the only major detail change being that the boy in Last Ride is our anti-hero’s son. But the comparison still sticks as the two outlaws cross the gorgeous Aussie Outback sleeping wherever and stealing whatever they can; causing a substantial amount of intentional and unintentional amount of understated mayhem in their wake. What differentiates this film from Eastwood’s is the difference in expectations that our main characters have and wish for. While young Chook wants nothing more than a good family structure and a warm bed in his very own home, Kev wants nothing of it and would rather his son learn the ways of the world in the harshness of said world.
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The Untouchables

This first film of the marathon sets us amidst the gang warfare of prohibition-era Chicago in what is perhaps one of the most widely seen movies on our list: Brian DePalma’s The Untouchables. If you are in your thirties or older you more than likely saw The Untouchables when it came out in 1987, it was to the 80’s what Pulp Fiction was to the 90’s, a phenomenon that a wide segment of the film-going public flocked to see. An update of the classic television serial starring Robert Stack, DePalma’s sentimental depiction of hard-boiled crime fighters pits Inspector Elliot Ness (Kevin Costner) and his Prohibition Bureau team against the iconic gangster, Al Capone (Robert DeNiro). With the help of a wizened mentor played by Sean Connery, Ness and his team of underdogs seek to take down Capone ‘the Chicago way’, invoking an all out war between factions. My first impressions of the film in 1987 were admittedly superficial and unburdened by an awareness of craft. To me it was not a DePalma film operating in emulation of previous conventions, but an exciting action caper playing out childhood hero fantasies between cops and robbers.

Al Capone

Revisiting the film many decades later, my impressions of the film have unavoidably changed and as much as I can appreciate the potboiler theatrics of it, I see it now through a different lens. This second viewing, I watched the movie on blu-ray and the heavy use of artificial lighting and rich historical detail gleam in that peculiar way that blu-ray allows and that aesthetic works perfectly with The Untouchables as it is a very flashy and at times unnatural amplification of the reality it depicts. This movie is as much about texture and colour as it is about anything else, it would seem there isn’t a decorative cornice or rain-soaked alleyway unexplored in Chicago, its all up there like a sumptuous display of excess. This rendering of the thirties is a strange hybrid that both exists in a real location, filmed onsite in Chicago, but is lit as if fabricated on a Hollywood back lot, with sharp profile lighting and splashes of colour that drain many of the cityscapes of their reality. David Mamet’s screenplay too keeps the beats and dialogue locked into a hard-boiled cadence that echoes the familiar Hollywood Gangster classics that it in part clearly emulates. The film is bloody and at times lingers on the consequences of violence in a way distinct from the play-violence of its predecessors, but it is still very much a pantomime at heart (i.e., the classic long death sequence of Connery’s Malone as he crawls along the floor). Would you like to know more…?

A Plea to Kevin Costner

Kevin CostnerOh Kevin. What happened to you Kevin? You made some great films, then some not so great ones and then you seemed to fall right off the radar. And then there was Mr. Brooks. Not exactly spectacular stuff but it seemed like you were on your way back but alas, it materialized into nothing and sadly your track record doesn’t seem to be getting any better.

Tell me, why. Why you would agree to star in a movie which is such a sadly obvious attempt to say something poignant about the current state of the economy? In The Company Men you’re going to play a drywall installer who gives his recently laid off from Wall Street brother-in-law a job. I’m assuming that somewhere in there you’re also going to teach him a lesson about how money isn’t everything and that it’s the little things that matter. I know working alongside Ben Affleck is exciting but I have a feeling you signed on to work with Tommy Lee Jones whose role is to play the moral catalyst in the entire thing, likely stepping up to his greedy partners. Or maybe you’re just doing for it for the money. I can respect that; I know that producing a follow up to Dances with Wolves is expensive but maybe you should have waited for Mr. Brooks 2: A Daughter’s Revenge to start production.

Will I watch? Maybe not. I thought I’d give you another chance with Swing Vote but I couldn’t even get up the energy to rent the bloody thing never mind take myself to the theatre to see it. At this rate, your HSX stock must be in the $.50 range. I don’t want to lose faith in you but when you keep making films that sound this bad, it can’t be helped. But who knows. Maybe I’ll be surprised. If anyone can surprise me Kevin it’s you.

At least I still have my extended version of Waterworld to keep me going for a little longer but give this girl a break. You’re killing me and at some point, you’re going to have to give me a lifeline.

Character Banners for Appaloosa

Appaloosa one sheetLooks like another western is just around the corner for mainstream audiences. Appaloosa opens on October 3rd in limited release and then wider soon after. I know our own John Allison is seeing this on Saturday as part of his TIFF screenings, so I look forward to a full report.

Appaloosa will be Ed Harris’ second shot at directing and it looks to be simple, but killer; which involves two gunmen making their way into a small town to free it’s residents from a “thuggish” cattle baron. To complicate matters, a widowed woman (Zellwegger – who performs well in 19th century period pieces) arrives in town at the same time. So it sounds like your basic premise of 95% of all western serials from the 40’s and 50’s; i.e. awesome. Kevin Costner’s Open Range had a similar storyline and is magically well done.

New character banners were released today and we’ve got them here thanks to worstpreviews. Click any image for a new window with the hi-res versions. I love the sepia tone which gives them an “old-time” feel and my favorite is the Jeremy Irons one. Really look forward to my contemporary westerns and this one in particular looks great.

Ed Harris Jeremy Irons
Renee Zellwegger Viggo Mortensen