Cinecast Episode 350 – Nanobot Jesus

 
Do you want to have a long, loving conversation about the state of the art in comic strips? A lengthy tangent in this weeks show does that at more: Schulz, Watterson, and even Keane come into the mix along with Penny Arcade, The Oatmeal and XKCD as two recent documentaries on the subject are available VOD. But before that, Kurt and Andrew find very little to say about Dom Hemmingway that Jude Law hasn’t already shouted at you for 100 minutes. Matt Gamble joins midway through a lengthy recount of the recent episode of Game of Thrones (S04E03) in which Kurt continues to marvel at both the density of information in any given episode, as well as the lengths for which HBO is willing to go for gratuitous nudity (the former is astounding, the latter is getting tedious).

We go back to 1984 with the story of racism, the military and the awesome voice of Adolph Caeser in the Roshomon-esque A Soldier’s Story. In the Watchlist, Andrew gives us the lowdown on TV’s Fargo before continuing to working his way through the Minneapolis/St. Paul Film Festival. His favourite film of the year thus far, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood should be put on your radar. Andrew also pours some sugary-love on the rare Thomas Hayden Church starring film, Whitewash. Kurt does his own gushing with William Friedkin’s restored and glorious remake of Wages of Fear, the 1977 hidden gem, Sorcerer as well as his bafflement with 2013 Best/Worst type cinematic oddity, Fateful Findings. Matt digs deep into the first few episodes of Mike Judge’s Silicone Valley and then sweet, sweet comic strip love.

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 HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG

Watching The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, I had a full moment of clarity about why the people who don’t get these movies just don’t get these movies. An elf was talking to a dwarf in a dungeon under a palace carved out of a tree. It all seemed perfectly sensible to me, even the somewhat taboo elf/dwarf romance that was budding, but taken from the outside it’s outright madness in a lot of respects. It was madness made perhaps more digestible by the wartime pomp and circumstance of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, but this new, lesser trilogy is, in its own, around-the-corner way, more like mainlining both Tolkien and Jackson in equal measure. There’s no on-ramp for the uninitiated here.

Which is a long way of saying that those who didn’t like The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (or, heaven forfend, The Lord of the Rings) won’t find anything in The Desolation of Smaug to curb their distaste. It’s long as fuck. It’s a wholesale embellishment upon a relatively slender tale. It lacks the clear(er) narrative thrust of, well, a trilogy made out of an existing trilogy. And to an even greater extent than the first Hobbit film, Desolation has trouble locating Bilbo – the titular Hobbit going on an unexpected journey across the desolation of Smaug – as its main character. He disappears for what seems like days at a time.

Desolation has, roughly, twenty principal characters. It can’t successfully juggle them all, or even most of them. (For love or points, name a single scene in which Ori or Bifur are featured. In fact, name a single time Bifur even speaks.) The action centers for the most part on Gandalf and Bilbo and to a greater extent Thorin, and at least in the latter case, this is an improvement; Richard Armitage’s sullen dwarf hero is a dab more compelling this time than last.

Much of the film seems like a reaction to the reaction to An Unexpected Journey. The day-glo cartoonishness of the first film’s troll encounters and Temple of Doom runs through Goblin Town have been replaced by a muted (nearly to the point of black and white) visual palette and grisly goings-on. There are no songs. The story carries us from the Beorn episode through the gang’s first encounter with Smaug in the Lonely Mountain, and it does so rapidly. I was strongly reminded of the theatrical cut of The Two Towers, which also seemed to skip over niceties like character beats and breathing space in favour of hitting its running time. I expect the Extended Edition blu-ray of The Desolation of Smaug to be a belter.

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Cinecast Episode 320 – Robin Wright 2.0

Keeping it rather short and sweet this week; but the kids are alright. Outside of our quick review of 2 Guns, we kind of just tease through some reviews for upcoming wide releases or show discussion topics. Mostly we just can’t wait for next week’s Blomkamp/Allen reviews. Still, we do manage to get through some talk about space Abyss, adult swim and another gander at Joe Wright’s Hanna.

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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Trailer #2 for The World’s End

The World's End

Faring far fairer than the editing and tone of previous international teaser, comes the US trailer for Edgar Wright’s The World’s End. Where Shaun of the Dead went poked friendly towards George Romero’s Zombie cinema, and Hot Fuzz wickedly skewered Michael Bay’s big city cops by mashing it with awe-shucks rural Britain-isms (and a few classic horror pictures, naturally) it appears that the Philip Kaufman 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers is the genre film of choice for this, the trilogy capping film starring Nick Frost and Simon Pegg. Some of the jokes still fall flat, but the presentation and premise are better articulated here..

Trailer for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit

Want to dive back into the Lord of the Rings universe? This new trailer for Peter Jackson’s return to Middle Earth for another trilogy certainly convinces of its consistency across the franchise. Martin Freeman may be replacing Ian Holm as a younger Bilbo Baggins, but Hugo Weaving, Ian McKellan, Andy Serkis and Cate Blanchett all return to reprise their familiar, timeless, supporting roles.

Part One’s debut is only a couple months away.

Trailer: The Hobbit

On almost the exactly the 10th year anniversary of the theatrical bow of Peter Jackson’s Lord of The Rings, Fellowship of the Ring, comes the trailer for his return to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth. One might argue this type of thing is redundant. After all, so much as said and done in that super-sized 12 hour trilogy. Stung by legal issues, the demise of New Line Cinema, the arrival of Guillermo del Toro as a creative addition and director but after much creative consulting, his eventual departure prior a single frame being shot.

Delays, delays, delays have been the name of the game as nobody wants to leave the gigantic bag of money on the table for more Hobbit movies. But, one cannot discount the magic of the CGI/model effects, and a lot of good actors giving warm and generous performances. Martin Freeman (BBCs The Office) replaces Ian Holm as a younger Bilbo Baggins, and the dwarves are very well realized. They will be the key in changing the tone from the previous three films, lest this just be a prequel, and not a new adventure, and it looks pretty solid.

Anyone keen to go there and back again?

The trailer is tucked under the seat.

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