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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Cinecast Episode 366 – Mermaid Mode


In this episode, Kurt and Andrew struggle to grasp hold of Ari Folman’s hybrid animated/live-action film The Congress. Then it is back to 1984 to visit Madison the Mermaid and high energy Tom Hanks. The Watchlist looks at the healing power of music, obscure Tae Kwon Do weirdness, VHS culture, Swedish deadpan masterpieces, a musician hiding behind paper mâché head, and Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan touring restaurants in Italy. Have at it.

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: X-Men: Days of Future Past

DaysOfFuturePastStill1

Director: Bryan Singer (Valkyrie, Superman Returns, X-Men, X-Men 2: X-Men United)
Screenplay: Simon Kinberg
Producers: Simon Kinberg, Hutch Parker, Lauren Shuler Donner, Bryan Singer
Starring: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Ellen Page, Nicholas Hoult, Peter Dinklage, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 131 min.


One would think that after successfully re-launching the X-Men with a new A-list cast a couple of years ago, the studio would stick to that cast but as is common with comic books, it seems that creators are always jumping around timelines, characters and stories, it’s only appropriate that a sequel that brings director Bryan Singer back into the fold would not only involve time travel but also include nearly every member, past and present, of the X-Men movie franchise. Looking on the surface, you’d think this is the movie to end the entire franchise rather than a next step.

X-Men: Days of Future Past opens somewhere in the 2020’s in a future that is dark, ugly, foreboding and just generally unpleasant. Kitty Pryde and her team of mutants are fighting apparently unstoppable robots who are able to adapt to the mutants they are fighting. Most of the mutants die. Except they don’t because jump forward a while and Pryde is now meeting up with Professor X, Magneto, Wolverine and Storm to explain her time-travel tactic. Everyone on screen seems to follow the explanation (though I still don’t really get it) and a plan is hatched to send Wolverine back to the 70s to change the past which will also change the future – they hope – for the better.

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Friday One Sheet: Fassbeth

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The down in the trenches, grime-covered visage of handsome devil Michael Fassbender promises a visceral version of the Bard’s most easily digestible play: MacBeth. Sure I would love this to be Hamlet, but I’ll take a good old-fashioned fall-from-grace with Ms. Cotillard co-starring as his scheming wife. Either way, it is hard not to be compelled by the simple ‘sell the actor’ premise of the poster. Yes, the world wants this, and yes the world shall have it eventually. Currently, it’s in the Cannes marketplace looking for buyers.

Marion Cotillard’s Lady MacBeth is tucked under the seat.

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Prometheus 2: King David

Prometheus

When all was done and said (and said, and said, and said) about Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel, my final conclusion was that the film was ultimately far more about Michael Fassbender’s David character, an inquisitive android who perhaps oversteps his bounds against his human creators, than Noomi Rapace’s Elizabeth Shaw (an altruistic human who perhaps oversteps her bounds against her own cosmic creators). Either way, both characters have an open-ending upon the films final shot leaving them slightly battered, but free to cruise the stars and have further adventures in some capacity.

It turns out, according to The Wrap (and the internet echo chamber) that there will be a follow up, likely focusing on David. Ridley Scott is eyeing the Prometheus sequel for the director’s job; which of course assumes his health at nearly 80 permits such a huge effort as another Alien film. Twentieth Century Fox has hired the writers of Transcendence (Wally Pfister’s directorial debut about a man/machine hybrid forcefully commandeering the planet’s collective technology) and Green Lantern (yea, that one that lost Warner Brothers a few shekels) to cobble a screenplay together.

We generally don’t focus on news items at this site, we wait for a trailer or at least a proper production still. But I cannot help myself here, as a rather enthusiastic fan of the messy but beautiful 2012 film, I hope this gets made and that they hit their targeted 2016 release date.

Cinecast Episode 327 – Building Gazebos


You might be interested in Kurt’s rather epic, “Kermode-ian,” Ender’s Game rant which tackles one of the key issues with modern blockbuster storytelling. He uses Gavin Hood’s slipshod execution and shading as a kind of Case Study in lazy storytelling and not realizing how rich the material one has at hand. But before that, there is a more civilized and in depth conversation on Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave which looks at what the likely future Best Picture winner does well, and where it perhaps mis-steps. Andrew grades the homework assignments, and hands out a new one, regarding World War I films. And a lengthy watchlist segment sees a couple of underrated Wes Anderson titles under discussion (well, full out praise is more like it), the laundry list of V/H/S 2 failures, a little love of body horror-comedy in James Gunn’s Slither, some talk on Kubrick’s The Shining and A Clockwork Orange, Tarantino’s Kill Bill as it quickly approaches being a decade old, and the ‘it’s not for us’ aspects of Steven Spielberg’s Warhorse.

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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[mp3player width=560 height=76 config=cinecast.xml file=http://rowthree.com/audio/cinecast_13/episode_327.mp3]
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Full show notes are under the seats…
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Cinecast Episode 326 – Functionally Retarded, Yet Infectious

As it turns out, we discover as a very welcome surprise that this is Kurt and Andrew’s 300th episode together. So there’s reason enough to celebrate here. Kinda. But if you’re more into movies rather than nostalgia and landmarks, there’s plenty to get into with this episode. We have five, count ’em five, theatrical reviews to get to as well as our respective festival titles and experiences to mention. All of this spirals into a very important homework assignment for the week. Matt Gamble comes aboard to talk about Ridley Scott’s meandering. We get into all manner of awesome, including Robert Redford’s double takes, Polanski spelling it out, Elijah Wood is perpetually twelve years old and Judd Apatow’s version of a Richard Linklater film. All of this and a helluva lot more in another mega-episode that spans nearly four hours.

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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[mp3player width=560 height=76 config=cinecast.xml file=http://rowthree.com/audio/cinecast_13/episode_326.mp3]
DOWNLOAD mp3 | 158 MB
if player is not working, try alternate player at bottom of this post

 

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