Occultober – Day 8 – The Blair Witch Project

The Blair Witch Project
Having hit the 15 year milestone in the last few days, The Blair Witch Project remains a curious bit of pioneering cinema responsible for kicking off the modern found footage craze.

“In October 1994, three students disappeared in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland while shooting a documentary… A year later, their footage was found.” A couple of 16mm cameras and some willing young actors, and you’ve got yourself a flash in the pan cultural phenomenon.

The film also was pioneering for its use of the world wide web as a marketing force the further create backstory and mythology in advance of its commercial release. The hype and conjecture swirling around the film in the spring and summer of 1999 was directly responsible for priming massive public awareness which went on to make it a huge hit.

Does it have rewatch value? The last few minutes of the film are absolutely riveting stuff, but it takes a long, often uneven, stretch of film to get there. The found footage genre is so ubiquitous, that it mainly induces yawns and eye-rolls at this point, but there are some genuine chills and thrills smattered about The Blair Witch Project to make the film not only of its time and place, but also kind of timeless. If nothing else, it speaks, on the edge of the 21st century of hubris, when the three students find themselves surprisingly lost in the woods with the assumption: Because this is America! We’ve exhausted all of our natural resources! Occult or no occult goings on, nature herself is scary and unforgiving enough.

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Mamo #325: Breaking Docs

In this two-pronged episode, Kaitlyn Regehr, producer of Tempest Storm: Burlesque Queen, returns to the show to discuss her experiences pitching the project at WestDoc 2013. After that, we get into the online frenzy that followed the conclusion of Breaking Bad – in particular, the heartfelt confessions of one Mr. Damon Lindelof.

Tempest Storm: Burlesque Queen’s Kickstarter program runs till October 9! Help them get across the finish line right here, or visit tempeststormfilm.com for more information.

To download this episode, use this URL: http://rowthree.com/audio/mamo/mamo325.mp3

Mamo #254: Anything is Probable

The Avengers keep on avenging, obliterating expectations and creating a perfect storm of box office success. Meanwhile, Dark Shadows, What To Expect, and Battleship have all come and gone, filling May with bombs and clearing the way for bigger fights in June and July. Whither Spider-Man? Whither the Dark Knight? Plus, Dan Harmon’s TV clustercuss, all on tonight’s brand new Mamo!

To download this episode, use this URL: http://rowthree.com/audio/mamo/mamo254.mp3

Cinecast Episode 236 – Ocular Coitus

While our friend Matt Gamble is still on the mend (not from a boating accident), Kurt and Andrew grew a bit tired of executing these shows together all alone and reached towards the heavens above for this episodes guest host: Aaron Hartung (aka the dude who lives upstairs). Aaron also happens to work for the best cinema chain in town, Landmark Theaters; not only does he seem to know his movie stuff, he’s got a voice for radio to boot.

We missed last week’s episode due to other obligations and illness, there is a LOT to get to this week. From Lars von Trier’s visually rich disaster/depression epic to the long awaited new Alexander Payne film (it has indeed been six years) we cover your auteur cinema-making-guys. But wait, there’s more: Fifties sex icons, furry-little-singing-nostalgia-engines(tm) and a whole lot of early cinema history enshrined in a Martin Scorsese ‘kids film.’ Enjoy this double-digest episode of the show: It’s time to start the music, it’s time to light the lights, it’s time to talk death, depression and the urgent need for knowing our history on the Cinecast tonight.

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:
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Full show notes are under the seats…
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5 Questions Regarding AMCs THE WALKING DEAD

I know I am late to the Walking Dead party, this is always the case with TV stuff. But with the DVD coming out today and having a chance last night to watch the entire first season in one sitting (Thanks Anchor Bay!), I can now see why all the writers of the show were summarily fired, or moved onto other projects (depending on which side of that story you accept.) I like the look of the zombies (CGI Blood is surprisingly not annoying!) and the abandoned Atlanta setpiece (not a single car on the road going into the city though? Seriously? I guess it makes the above screenshot work.) Don’t get me wrong, the production in handsome, and the acting is certainly serviceable, but here are some questions to level at the creators (or fans) of the show, that need to be addressed if the show is going to shake its Season 1 growing pains and aspire to something.

Warning *Potential Spoiler Elements to Follow*

1. What is the show about?
 
 
Survival, disease outbreak, decay of social order? Sure those are a given in any modern zombie treatment, at this point, you very likely cannot do ‘zombie’ without them. I am not asking for the levels of blunt social commentary that (ahem) plague the last three Romero-Zombie movies (and are handled pretty damn elegantly in the first three), or even implying that the series should be a concise or coherent allegory – but after 250+ minutes of show, that I cannot actually figure what the show is about is a little crazy. Family ties vs. surrogate community (the greater good)? The country vs. the city as a nurturing force? Energy Crisis? (the show begins and ends on a discussion of conserving energy.) I think solid dramatic shows like Breaking Bad, The Wire or Deadwood (even genre-shows like Battlestar Galactica) work because they ask interesting questions of our times and morals. I’ve yet to see The Walking Dead do anything interesting with its story other than fulfill the usual tropes (to again cite Romero – Night’s holing up in a house, Dawn’s entrapment in a storefront, Day’s medical science in a government/military institution. Is Season 2 going to be “The Road?”

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Cinecast Episode 174 – Spinning the Wheel(s)

 
In a marathon shoot-the-bull show, it may only be Kurt and Andrew, but they nearly bust the 4 hour podcast barrier. The Lost Chronicles wraps up with *SPOILER* talk on the final season and the overall effect of the show that compares watching it over a 6 year period (Andrew) or a 4 week period (Kurt). Andrew has things to say about a pair of new releases: The second film in the Swedish Millennium Trilogy, The Girl Who Played With Fire as well as Michael Winterbottom’s controversial The Killer Inside Me. Talk goes further astray with some pontificating on Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs before comparing and contrasting Herzog’s Rescue Dawn with McTiernan’s Predator. A smidgen of Polanski, a dash of Clooney, and sprinkling of Big Trouble in Little China add some extra seasoning to the conversation. Then it is the annual Fantasia round-up of what Kurt caught in Montreal – an effervescent blast of interesting genre films including Serbian madness, homosexual Korean riffs on Shakespeare, Chilean James Bond, Hong Kong slapstick, French meditations of cinema by way of a psychokinetic sentient Rubber Tire, a Danish re-envisioning of Romancing The Stone, rape as multiplex entertainment in the I Spit on Your Grave remake, and offbeat British Gangsters and their familial anxieties and loquacious monologue-ing.

Prepare to strap yourself in because it is going to be a chatty sewing circle of filmishness!

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:
http://rowthree.com/audio/cinecast_10/episode_174.mp3

ALTERNATIVE (no music track):
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Full show notes are under the seats…
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Cinecast Episode 173 – Killing Squirrels for Entertainment

 
From La-La-Land and subbing in for Gamble this week, is RowThree contributor and all around special lady Jandy Stone. Kurt & Jandy immediately get down to business talking Christians and heavenly bodies in Spanish toga epic, Agora (note *SPOILERS*). They move into the Ozarks for another (spoiler-free) look at Debra Granik’s Sundance winner, Winter’s Bone. Jandy then highlights some of her favourite indies and foreign fare taken in at last weeks Los Angeles Film Festival. The LOST Chronicles continue with Kurt eating crow, swallowing most of his past-gripes and actually enjoying Season 4 (“The Freighter“) and particularly enjoy the hell out of Season 5 (“Back to the Future“) of the show. Note: Minutiae (and *SPOILERS*) ensue. DVD Picks and more round out a darn near 3 hour gangly-sized episode.

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:
http://rowthree.com/audio/cinecast_10/episode_173.mp3

ALTERNATIVE (no music track):
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Full show notes are under the seats…
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Cinecast Episode 172 – pixaR

 
So sedate you could get a lullaby out its dulcet tones, this episode of the Cinecast has the podcasting players considering death and slavery and obsolescence (and Easter Eggs) in the wake of Toy Story 3. (*SPOILERS*) Gamble comes up with his best idea yet: A hard “R” Pixar animated film. The debate ensues whether it should be an adaptation (Watership Down or Animal Farm?) or a straight up original War film a la CatShit1. I hope Emeryville is listening. Jonah Hex is thrown to the wolves – particularly for wasting such an interesting supporting cast. James Mangold’s star vehicle Knight and Day is previewed as being a fun popcorn flick with a saggy final act. Also Day & Night, the Pixar short, (but not Day For Night the Truffaut film or the Curitz film Day and Night or terrorist bombing flick Day Night Day Night) is talked about, confused yet? Andrew takes back his love for Public Enemies and lavishes it instead on Soderbergh & Damon’s pontificating corporate shlub in The Informant. He is diggin naked running men and gory kills from the natives in the Criterion release of Naked Prey. Kurt finally finds a fairly consistent stretch of Lost (Season 3.5 *SPOILERS*) and is in danger of flirting with satisfaction in the show which is eating up ridiculous amounts of his time. Finally, we attempt reader mail to mixed results.

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:
http://rowthree.com/audio/cinecast_10/episode_172.mp3

ALTERNATIVE (no music track):
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Full show notes are under the seats…
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Cinecast Episode 171 – Spiffed Up Stuffy Stuff

 
Waxing (on, and off) nostagic this week with glossy summer product. Two remakes from the heady cheese days of the 1980s dominated the multiplex last weekend: Will Smith Jr. in The Karate Kid and flying tanks in The A-Team. Contrary to what we say in the show it does not get very “spoilerific” at all; if you are over 30, these two films are more or less beyond that (your mileage may vary). Gamble has a quick take on the upcoming weekends behemoth Toy Story 3, from the perspective of someone (perhaps the only one) who didn’t like Toy Story 2. Kurt talks at length on The Duplass’ brother’s Cyrus which also opens this weekend in a few cities. Furthermore, in an ongoing behind-the-curve look at pop-cultural phenomenon LOST, Kurt continues to moan about the bad drama and stalling nature of the narrative, but does praise the heck out of the Season 2 closer and the Season 3 opener (there are *spoilers* ahoy in that conversation, be warned). Rounding out the show are DVD picks, a few other tangents – anyone up for Chinese cultural imperialism, or Communism vs. Fascism in 80s trash? How to parse TV awards shows? Ron Mann’s choice of having comic book authors read lengthy portions of their books on screen? Fashion Fan Boys? Oh, and another round of the piracy, file sharing, copyright debate ensues.

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:
http://rowthree.com/audio/cinecast_10/episode_171.mp3

ALTERNATIVE (no music track):
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Full show notes are under the seats…
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Cinecast Episode 170 – There is Smelting

 
A lengthy show this week, mainly due to Kurt finally fulfilling his promise to Andrew to start watching TVs LOST. If you are bored to tears by Lost talk, skip the first half hour of the show. If you are a fan or aficionado, there is a newbies (Spoilerific) take on the first (and a bit of the second) Season. The main review, and a wonderful three-way discussion is had, is Vincenzo Natali’s Splice. There is lots of love for the Cronenbergian slash Frankenstein’s Monster type tale, but also some criticisms. Matt managed to catch up with Get Him To The Greek and offers his thoughts, wherein a Rose Byrne love-in ensues (who knew she was Aussie?) Kurt caught an advance screening of Sundance winner Winter’s Bone and agrees that it completely lives up to the hype (John Hawkes and Jennifer Lawrence are both revelations). Finally, Matt teases Andrew and Kurt with some thoughts on Mr. T and welding montages in the new A-Team movie. Andrew espouses on his theory why Pixar’s Up is a lot like Death Proof and there is some tangenting on Jackie Brown. DVD picks and much, much more.

As always, feel free to leave 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:
http://rowthree.com/audio/cinecast_10/episode_170.mp3

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