Mondays Suck Less in the Third Row

Check out these links:
How THE LAST STARFIGHTER became a cult classic
Type Drummer (you’re welcome)
20 animal myths you were taught that are actually false
Gender swapping The Avengers (Photoshop)
25 most disturbing movies ever (and wrong)
That Awkward moment when you realize that The Joker is the hero.
Spurious Correlations
Essential Korean film chart

Making of Mad Max: Fury Road (2 hrs.)

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TIFF 2014 Review: Hector and the Search for Happiness


The patron saint of smashing entitlement into smithereens, Louis C.K., has a great bit about being caucasian. The gist of it is that he can hop in a time machine and go back in history, and there will be a waiter attentively greeting him, “Your table is right over here, sir.”  With all the think pieces being written about white privilege in the wake of Ferguson, Missouri, the timing is exquisitely poor for Peter Chelsom’s Hector and the Search for Happiness (hereafter Hector) the story of a wealthy white working professional who gets to travel the world, often seated first class, to find out why he should stay with his girlfriend and procreate — if this smarter, more satirical flick, the words Consume and Obey would accompany the latter.

Hector manages to squeeze almost every platitude on happiness onto the screen, directly from his tourist-diary for the audience to absorb as if it were some kind of nouveaux Celestine Prophecy. The filmmaking follows the editing rhythms of a second-rate Edgar Wright, indeed, it’s leading man is Simon Pegg, playing a rather inattentive psychiatrist who has a lot more love for Tin Tin than he does for Freud or Jung. Like Pegg’s wardrobe and sock collection contained herein, this film is too neat and too pat for its own good.  

Blowing off his gorgeous and funny girlfriend (Rosamund Pike) to travel from downtown London to Shanghai where Hector goes happily whoring with a rich businessman (Stellan Skarsgard) he met on a plane.  He falls in love with a pretty Chinese call-girl before discovering what is obvious to anyone who has ever seen a film before. And then he chalks the experience up to “Ignorance is Bliss.” Ah, white privilege. He travels to possibly the same Tibetan monastery from 1984s The Razor’s Edge (a movie now looking a whole lot better by comparison) and installs a satellite dish, a la those IBM commercials made a decade ago so he can Skype back to England.

Then it is off to Africa and I mean Africa as a country, not a continent, where every evening is picturesque Acacia Trees against the savannah sunset with free-range lions and foreign aid workers and violent men with Kalashnikovs. His foolish white ass is saved, of all things, by a golden pen, and of course, drug dealer with a heart of gold, Jean Reno.

Wrapping up in Los Angeles, Hector tracks down his old romantic flame (Toni Colette) for advice. She is now quite domestic and grounded but also professionally involved in the psychiatry-research community. They visit Christopher Plummer’s high tech happiness laboratory as a site to deliver the most hackneyed and obligatory of climaxes; complete with CGI colour coding and Plummer fist-pumping the results. 

Hector is earnest to a fault, espousing the most painfully conservative values under a liberal and saccharine “listening is loving” and cultural tourism attitude. All of this, admittedly covers up solid enough craft, careful setting up plot points and pay-offs, and a loving attention to Hergé kind of detail. It would make a fine double bill with J.A. Bayona’s The Impossible

It is guilty of squandering solid performances and an concept ripe for comedy if only carried off with a little more irreverence and guts; that is to say, not so damn eager to increase the happiness quotient of the universe at the expense of everything else for the sake of pleasing it’s all too obvious middle class white demo. It makes me pine for a classic Preston Sturges’ Sullivan’s Travels, a fine example from the 1940s (a decade of white privilege if there ever was one) that manages to have its cake and eat it too.

Never content to ask a question with a question, Hector and The Search For Happiness is the type of film that spells out, literally on screen in text-overlays, exactly what you want to hear. I would say that it exists somewhere in the recent cinematic landscape between Eat, Pray Love and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, that is if I had gotten past their Hallmark greeting card trailers. We all have our biases. This film will confirm yours and you are, as Louis C.K. says, entitled to it with the requisite consequences down the road.

Cinecast Episode 360 – It’s Like Mustard

Sone famous once said that a person’s character can be defined by what he chooses to complain about. What do you despise? Is it Max Brooks? Is it Steve Guttenberg? The video streaming entity such as Vudu? Or is it someone/something else? By all means sound off! So yes, we explore the depths of our personal hatreds on this week’s Cinecast, but equally so, we also share some fondness, nay love, for Charles Grodin, Jean-Marc Vallée, Brent Spiner, Chris Tucker, Louis C.K. and yes, even Mel Gibson.

Documentaries and Ozploitation occupy the bulk of this week’s conversation. Steve James’ documentary, Life Itself (aka you’re better off just reading the book) and Russell Mulcahy’s creature feature, Razorback. But, and this is important. don’t even bother downloading this show until you’ve purchased your 4-pack of Midnight Run sequels. Yeah, it’s that kind of show.

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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Trailer: Blue Jasmine

It looks like all the right ingredients for another great Woody Allen film, with this trailer for Blue Jasmine. The Woodman is back in America for this outing, and has Cate Blanchett (channeling Judy Davis as much as all lead characters in his films channel Allen himself) looking to out-drunken-rage Kate Winslet (from Carnage) playing a woman on the downward slide of wealth and happiness and forced to leave her extravagant Manhattan lifestyle behind and move in with her sister (the always excellent Sally Hawkins) in Brooklyn. Many man orbit the pair of women, played by Bobby Cannavale, Louis CK, Andrew Dice Clay and Alec Baldwin. Somewhere in there is Peter Sarsgaard and Michael Stuhlbarg, but clearly the show belongs to Blanchett who is playing a narcissistic monster with major issues.

Check out the trailer below.

Cinecast Episode 277 – He’d Pass a Polygraph But He Ain’t Innocent

In which Andrew and Kurt Argo fuck ourselves trying to get at the pleasures and the frustrations of Benna-fleck’s latest film. We grade homework in the middle (lots of good choices in there). Then we encounter the same set of frustrations and pleasures in counting up the Seven Psychopaths in Martin McDonagh’s latest offbeat violent comedy. The Watchlist is mainly Kurt as he digs through a diverse trio of films (Bernie, Watchmen, The Living Daylights) before waxing rather prosaically (sorry folks) on the great George Carlin. We have a fun time chatting Joss Whedon’s “Firefly” to close out the show.

Thanks to Nat Almirall for this week’s poster promo sitting to the right. Yeah! (sorry, we had to censor it. Non-censored version can be found HERE.

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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Full show notes are under the seats…
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