Cinecast Episode 415 – Get on with the Task

We’ve got a lot to get to this week! Almost too much. First up is Danny Boyle’s version of Steve Jobs. Despite not seeing any other iterations of his story, I think it’s safe to say we’d call this the best one. It’s been/will be a banner year for westerns in 2015 and though there are some minor quibbles with Bone Tomahawk, Andrew and Kurt mostly had fun hanging out with it – one of us more than the other. For October scares, we take a trip into the snowy Haunted House of Ted Geoghegan’s We Are Still Here. Then it is off to Africa (or is it Netflix?) with Cary Fukunaga, where Idris Alba stars in the gorgeous but brutal Beasts of No Nation. For the Watchlist, Andrew does Flyway and Kurt talks David Mamet and Oliver Stone. Whew!

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:

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Friday One Sheet: Lady Macbeth

Justin Kurzel (The Snowtown Murders, and currently directing Assassin’s Creed) offers up a visceral adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and has two very power stars in the lead roles: Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. When you have stars this good looking, you damn will put them on the poster. And indeed, the above poster eschews text and credit blocks to keep the focus on Ms. Cotillard. (Fassbender in his warpaint is tucked under the seat.) I often refer this kind of no nonsense design ‘South Korean’ style, because that country often likes a simple enhanced photograph to sell their blockbusters.

The only drawback to this, is that it doesn’t tell you the supporting cast contains David Thewlis, Sean Harris, Paddy Considine and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. villainess Elizabeth Debicki in supporting roles.

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Blu-Ray Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past – The Rogue Cut

Director: Bryan Singer
Screenplay: Simon Kinberg
Based on a Graphic Novel by: Chris Claremont, John Byrne
Starring: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Peter Dinklage
Country: USA/UK/Canda
Running Time: 142 min (Rogue Cut) 126 (Theatrical Cut)
Year: 2014
BBFC Certificate: 12 (although the commentary is rated 15)

I like to moan about super hero movies. There seems to be an endless stream of them nowadays with these extended universes and such, so I’ve grown very tired of hearing about them. 90% of online chatter seems to surround the latest super hero movie trailer or casting news. Personally I couldn’t give a s**t about most of it and become a snob hiding in the corner with my indie movies and classic re-releases. However, despite my grumbling, I’ve actually enjoyed most of the super hero films I’ve seen during this decade-and-a-half boom.

One of last year’s super hero movies that I liked quite a lot was X-Men: Days of Future Past. So when I was offered a chance to review the new Rogue Cut of the film, I decided to break away from my usual snooty high-brow/classic/cult posts to join the mainstream.

I won’t go into too much detail about the plot for X-Men: Days of Future Past as most of you will already have seen it. Basically, in the future, the world is a bleak and desolate place, particularly for mutants who are being hunted and killed by the all powerful Sentinels (big evil robots that can take on mutant powers). The X-Men have a plan though. They send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back into the subconscious of his 1970’s self to change events surrounding Mystique/Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), Charles Xavier (a.k.a. Professor X, played by James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (a.k.a. Magneto, played by Michael Fassbender) which led to the development of the Sentinel programme, spearheaded by Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage).

What The Rogue Cut adds in its 16 extra minutes, alongside a couple of minor changes here and there, is, as you might have guessed, a role for Rogue (Anna Paquin). She was a major character in the first couple of films, but was left on the cutting room floor when Days of Future Past hit cinemas. In these re-instated scenes she is saved from experimentation by Professor X (Patrick Stewart), Magneto (Ian McKellen) and Bobby/Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) so that she can help the wounded Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) keep Wolverine in his former subconscious.

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Cinecast Episode 398 – Crying in the Darkness and Licking the Floor

Outside of the lengthy “Game of Thrones” discussion this week (which covers the last two episodes), we manage to stay pretty spoiler free, despite a main review for part of the 2015 western resurgence in Slow West. Also, Andrew hits the theater for the latest Cameron Crowe joint from Hawaii and the Brian Wilson / Beach Boys biopic, Love & Mercy. On the “television” front, Netflix and Kurt hangout for about 12 hours in the compelling mess that is “Sense8” and Andrew finds enough commuting time to follow-up with Adnan and friends in the “Undisclosed” podcast. It’s a jam packed show full of fire and Australia; yes all of it (copyright Mark Kermode).

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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Cinecast Episode 392 – Man Candy

Both of the guys were at film festivals last week. Andrew at Minneapolis Int’l Film Festival and Kurt at HotDocs. We each pick four films from the screenings and give short capsule reviews. Coincidentally enough, two picks from each of us are of the western genre. Who knew you could have a western documentary, but apparently you can have more than one. Bill S. Preston Esquire directed a doc and apparently the story of Kurt Cobain has not completely been told as Montage of Heck goes deeper and is quite excellent. Michael Fassbender (who opens the audio of the show) teams up with Kodi Smit-McPhee and Ben Mendelsohn in Slow West and Brit Marling defends her manor and her life in a post Civil War wasteland in The Keeping Room. All this and more inside. Grab a cup of bottomless java and have a listen!

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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MSPIFF 2015 Review: Slow West

Sadly, American audiences refuse to embrace the western genre as they once did. But don’t tell that to the people of Minneapolis flocking to a packed full screening of John Maclean’s directorial debut, starring the great Michael Fassbender as well as Noah Taylor, Kodi Smit-McPhee and… The Hound; who is likely the harriest man I’ve ever seen. But I digress.

Slow West will offer very little to change the minds of modern day audiences; even if it does attempt, on some levels, to gain their trust and admiration. Clocking in at a cool 85 minutes certainly doesn’t hurt and hiring fairly big names or up-and-comers for the main characters further bodes well. Moments of levity and a simple tale all equal perfect escapist fodder for the modern movie goer. And yet they will resist.

But for fans of the contemporary western, there is a lot to love. The film’s title is apropos of the languid pacing the film has to offer. Despite coming in under an hour and a half, it certainly is in no hurry to get anywhere – and I suppose even if they were in a hurry, horseback through rough terrain and scoundrels would be a tricky thing to maneuver quickly. The plot is ever so simple, yet ever so clever that it’s difficult not to be sucked into the slow build of mayhem sure to come as layers of plot reveal.

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