Trailer: The Great Wall

Zhang Yimou, China’s, subversive provocateur turned favourite son, brings his opulent colour-centric visual sensibility to the big old monster movie. This time with mist and fog and Matt Damon (and Willem DaFoe, absent for this trailer) along for the ride. I have kind of been missing this director since about the time he took a break from making movies to do the Opening Ceremony Spectacular for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Since that time, he has made movies both big (The Flowers of War), small (Coming Home) and downright baffling (A Girl, A Gun and A Noodle Shop). But he has always stayed kept full Chinese sensibility with whateverhe does, and re-writing the history of The Great Wall of China seems like something well suited for the man. The trailer is kind of weird and generic and a wee bit over-done with CGI. But hey, it is good to see the man is going for it. Gweilo or no.

Cinecast Episode 413 – Playing the Black Keys

While many in the media and social media are spinning it otherwise, Matt Damon is Science Jesus. Who else better than to charm the pants off of Andrew and Kurt but Science Jesus, really? Ridley Scott’s The Martian is a straightforward crowd-pleaser to be sure, but there is a wisp of metaphor still to be had in the Wadi Rum valley.

October is here and the boys have decided to hit up a different first-run (ish) horror movie each week in the Cinecast for the month. This week is an Iranian black and white, vampire film shot in California mimicking Jim Jarmusch: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.

The Watch List offers balcksploitation, blood and guts in the Star Wars franchise, trailers as deconstructionist/reconstructions art, journeys to the centre of the earth, and the case for Jason Bateman getting an Oscar nomination this year.

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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Get Your Cast to Mars – Bonus Episode: Ridley Scott’s The Martian (And Prometheus)

Get Your Cast To Mars is a three part micro-podcast focusing on the planet Mars. In anticipation of Ridley Scott’s blockbuster spectacle The Martian, join Matthew Brown and Kurt Halfyard as they consider the red planet as an image, an idea, and a somewhat rare place visited in the cinema of the past 100 years.

BONUS EPISODE! We look at a stranded Matt Damon as he sciences the shit out of Mars, represented here as a logic-problem to be solved by a capable optimist. Because this is a bonus episode, we also compare and contrast The Martian to Ridley Scott’s previous, far more misunderstood, science fiction film, Prometheus. In both cases, the spacefaring crews land on new worlds but are not ready to meet their maker.

Viewing Syllabus: The Martian (2015) and Prometheus (2012).

All three episodes + the bonus episode are available for streaming (see table of contents below) directly from the site, or are a part of the RowThree podcast feed, ready for you to send them to whatever electronic device you prefer.


The complete adventures of Matt and Kurt go to Mars:


The Second Season:

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Terry Gilliam’s “The Zero Theorem” Trailer


I’m never sure quite what to make of Terry Gilliam; what’s going on in his head and quite often what he chooses to display on screen. In the world of art, this is a good thing. With The Zero Theorem already having played a number of festival and screenings, there seems to be no light at the end of this surrealistic tunnel for the hopes of a theatrical release States-side.

And just to tease that notion a little bit more, a foreign trailer has dropped and I have to say it looks quite imaginative in only the way Gilliam can dream. It’s got all of his signature, Brazil-like set designs and canted angles. It also boasts quite the impressive cast; including a shorn Christoph Waltz, Mélanie Thierry, Matt Damon, Ben Whishaw, Tilda Swinton and thank the heavens someone has cast David Thewlis!

With the French subtitles, I feel a little bit like I am watching a trailer for a Jean-Pierre Jeunet picture (which again is a good thing), but check it out and see what you think. If we can ever get any kind of release over here, I will be one of the first in line.

Trailer: Elysium

It has been a couple years since the rousing success of Neil Blomkamp’s District 9, and the man has been busy playing with more money and a significant larger scale, but by the looks of the trailer, not abandoning his social-commentary one little bit. Here a shiny-domed Matt Damon straps on his own sleek exoskeletion Robocop suit in the slums of Earth and looks to bring a little hell in the paradise of Elysium, a satellite in orbit that has a very nice “Ringworld” (If you’re a fan of Larry Niven) aesthetic. I can’t wait for this, and it is coming at the tail end of Summer.

In the year 2159, two classes of people exist: the very wealthy, who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. The people of Earth are desperate to escape the planet’s crime and poverty, and they critically need the state-of-the-art medical care available on Elysium – but some in Elysium will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve their citizens’ luxurious lifestyle. The only man with the chance bring equality to these worlds is Max, an ordinary guy in desperate need to get to Elysium. With his life hanging in the balance, he reluctantly takes on a dangerous mission – one that pits him against Elysium’s Secretary Delacourt and her hard-line forces – but if he succeeds, he could save not only his own life, but millions of people on Earth as well.

New Trailer for Soderbergh’s “Behind the Candelabra”

This is Soderbergh so I’m already sold on seeing this last picture of his (as I’m sure many among us are). As such, I haven’t actually bothered to watch the trailer embedded below but for those that are maybe on the fence, take a gander at Michael Douglas (Liberace) and Matt Damon (Scott Thorson) doing their “way too gay for Hollywood” thing under the direction of master film maker Steven Soderbergh. I’m sure it’s very sparkly!

If you’re not already subscribed to HBO, you might want to get on that soon as Behind the Candelabra airs Sunday, May 26th at 9pm.

Top 10 Corrupt Movie Cops

Apparently our friends over in the criminal justice department are also big movie dorks as well. And what kind of movie would they like the best? The kind with corrupt officials of course! So I stumbled upon this list the other day about movie cops gone bad. Seems like an easy topic to list off, but there were several on here I almost forgot about. There are probably hundreds more, but here are ten good ones. Beware that there may be some *SPOILERS* in the text that follows. And I need to rewatch L.A. Confidential someday soon.


10. Dudley Smith, L.A. Confidential
You may want to think of James Cromwell as the sweet farmer who gave a pig a chance in Babe, but he shows another side of himself in L.A. Confidential. He basically controls the organized crime in L.A., blackmails city officials to get his way, and murders (or has someone else murder) everyone that gets in the way of his quest for drugs and power. It’s hard to even keep track of all the people he kills during the movie and before it even starts. This may have just been the unedited Babe sequel, Babe: Pig in the City.



9. Norman Stansfield, Leon the Professional
If you haven’t seen this film, you should if only to see a bad-ass 12-year-old Natalie Portman. She plays Mathilda, a girl whose whole family has been murdered by corrupt DEA agents headed up by Norman “Stan” Stansfield. Mathilda’s father had been keeping cocaine for the agents, but they found out he’d been keeping some for himself, and Stansfield, who’s addicted to drugs himself, decided to take out the whole family. Mathilda was out shopping when the murders happened, so now Stansfield wants to find her and kill her. She’s not totally helpless since she finds a father figure in the hitman down the hall, but it’s still not very nice of this officer to be trying to gun down a little girl.

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Review: Contagion

With no prologue, no set-up, we’re thrust into Day Two. Gwyneth Paltrow is visibly fighting a bug; she’s shaky, she’s sniffly, she’s sweating and shivering at the same time. Not how you want to feel while traveling through a busy airport, but this is more than just a personal discomfort. The next few moments track, via a frenetically-scored montage, the movements of every person she’s come into contact with in the past few hours, and all the things they touch. A martini glass left on a bar, a tiny bathroom shared by dozens of airline passengers, a touch of a hand using a railing to swing out of a bus – these innocuous commonplaces all become harbingers of death, each touch hitting us viscerally.

From there, the film spreads out like the virus, pulling in the CDC and the World Health Organization to investigate this Minnesota woman’s quick demise and the already world-wide spread of the disease through Hong Kong, London, China, Chicago, and more. Every angle gets its moment (and sometimes it seems like little more than a moment), from Matt Damon’s grieving husband and frightened father to Laurence Fishburne’s seasoned CDC coordinator to Kate Winslet’s professional but deeply sympathetic field agent to Marion Cotillard’s WHO investigator to Jude Law’s conspiracy theorist blogger to Gwyneth Paltrow’s unsuspecting viral carrier to Jennifer Ehle’s brilliant scientist, and more. If these sound like types, that’s because they are. The film has so many stories it wants to tell that each one is perhaps understandably underdeveloped, relying on familiar types and star power to give them power.

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Trailer for much delayed Margaret reveals all

There are films that sit on the shelf before being rescued, and then there are films that are simply dumped to DVD after a certain point. But rare is the story of Margaret, a film that never even made it to the shelf because the director couldn’t find the film in the editing room. Want to know why a film starring Matt Damon, Mark Ruffalo and Anna Paquin was delayed for more than five years before being released? Director Kenneth Lonergan (You Can Count on Me) spent a ridiculously lengthy stint in the edit bay (who does he think he is, Terrence Malick?) before the financiers and production companies started filing law suits. This of course, only delayed the film even longer.

One has only to look at the trailer to know that this film is going to be a train wreck along the lines of Nothing Is Private (Kurt’s Review).

A 17-year-old New York City high-school student feels certain that she inadvertently played a role in a traffic accident that has claimed a woman’s life. In her attempts to set things right she meets with opposition at every step. Torn apart with frustration, she begins emotionally brutalizing her family, her friends, her teachers, and most of all, herself. She has been confronted quite unexpectedly with a basic truth: that her youthful ideals are on a collision course against the realities and compromises of the adult world.

The shockingly over-blown trailer is tucked under the seat.

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Trailer Round Up (Contagion, Thing, Sherlock Holmes, Hugo)

Lots we missed this week, so let’s get to it. This is all star-studded, big budget material in today’s round-up. And you know what? It all ranges from pretty good to damn near amazing; starting with Mr. Soderbergh (and Matt Damon and Gwynneth Paltrow and Marion Cotillard and Kate Winslet and John Hawkes and Larry Fishburne and Bryan Cranston and Jude Law and awesomeness). Ladies and gentlemen,

Contagion – – :

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Review: The Adjustment Bureau

Director: George Nolfi
Story: Philip K. Dick
Screenplay: George Nolfi
Producers: Bill Carraro, Michael Hackett, Chris Moore, George Nolfi
Starring: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Terence Stamp, John Slattery, Anthony Mackie, Michael Kelly
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time:

If you’re looking for a repeat of your Inception experience, don’t get too excited. The Adjustment Bureau is a solid thinker, but far too light and breezy with a lot of hand holding to be anywhere in the vicinity of the same ballpark as Nolan’s hit of last summer. The film suffers from just a little bit too much Adam Brooks inspiration and not quite enough from The Wachowskis or the Nolans of the world.*

Matt Damon stars as an inspirational, up-and-coming politician vying for the love of his life (Emily Blunt). But a group of specialists are hell bent on making sure the two of them never meet up again as that is not a part of their “plan”. This special team, known as the adjustment bureau are able to make small changes in the world around us; shaping everyone’s lives ever so slightly and keeping destiny on the right path while causing the slightest amount of “ripple effect” as possible. Who these guys are, why they do what they do and who they answer to remains to be seen.

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