Friday One Sheet: The Post

It is no secret, I love negative space in poster design. Here is the key art for Steven Spielberg’s Nixon Era ‘document leak’ movie, The Post, starring Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and a slew of others. The poster offers out of the ‘boxes of all the actors’ hack style poster, and goes for the ‘large steps of an institution’ image, with a tiny Hanks & Streep (facing away from the viewer) dwarfed by those steps. In light of the crisp Helvetica typeface, I do like the included handwritten signature of a release date, particularly because it seems that the story of the film is to obtain that signature to publish the secret government documents.

I have tucked the trailer below the fold to give you an idea of the kind of Oscar-bait America-Feel-Good exercise that the film might be. Cynicism aside, it feels clearly motivated by something like previous Oscar-winner Spotlight (And in the rich history of movies about newspapers, Zodiac and All The President’s Men) and that is pretty fine. It also feels a bit like a spiritual sequel to Bridge of Spies, one of Spielberg’s more underrated recent films.

Would you like to know more…?

Trailer #2: The Birth of a Nation

birthofanation

Nate Parker’s ‘taking back the title’ historical drama, The Birth of A Nation is an important corrective measure in American cinema, coming to cinemas 100 years after all the damage that D.W. Griffith’s epic blockbuster of the same name enabled back in 1915 — not the least of which is resurrecting a near-extinguished KKK. Griffith’s film also is considered the first mega-sized film produced, and kicked off the ‘bigger is better’ mentality that has been the rhythm of Hollywood almost ever since.

If 2016’s The Birth of A Nation looks like Oscar-bait, that is because it is. But not the cynical, play the game Hollywood boutique kind, that of an earnest, passionate voice looking to come to the table on his own terms. This is what Oscar-bait should look like if we are to take the derogatory connotation away from the phrase. The challenge of this picture is to come out from the long shadow of Steve McQueen’s extraordinarily shot and acted, 12 Years A Slave.

The Birth of a Nation won the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival before being picked up by Fox Searchlight. The film hits theaters stateside on October 7, 2016. And the second trailer is below.

List: ‘Best Picture’ Oscar versus ‘Significant Cultural Value’

After skipping this years Academy Awards last weekend, but nonetheless reading a lot about them online the next day, I started thinking about how much I enjoyed Spotlight (it’s fantastic), but also how much we will be talking about the film in 5 years or so. The Oscars have the reputation amongst, well, everyone, that in the past decade (or three) of getting the Best Picture so utterly wrong. Now this argument may be extended all the way to the inception of Best Picture in the 1920s, and the primary question about the futility of ranking of art is: By what criteria makes any one movie the best one of the year? Not so easy, but films that resonate, have been lifted into significance over time, and otherwise tickle the popular culture in interesting ways.

Will all due respect to The Dew Over podcast, which had guests (including myself) on a panel re-assess each year (one per episode) of the past several deacades, typically -but not always- in the context of the 5 or so Academy nominations for Best Picture, I took some time to consider the innovation value, cultural imprint, the overall ‘force of contribution’ to the medium of film for any film released in that year, from any country. (This is, obviously, as I see it, of course, not by any ‘scientific or consensus metric.)

I took a look at 1980 up until 2011. These dates were chosen because they constitute my main personal time consuming movies, as well as me living during their release. I was 6 in 1980, and my parents started taking me to movies often (weekly) at about that time, especially to films that were inappropriate for my age, but I digress. I have omitted the last few years due to the need for a little time and space for things to percolate in the culture. Feel free to discuss in the comments section (Obvious Disclaimer: Clearly this is more a fun exercise than a definitive one — because that ultimately is a futile effort, there is so MUCH content in this art-form we call film to really pin anything down, but us humans like our reach to exceed our grasp.)

The format is simple. I list the film awarded by the Academy for Best Picture, then I list what I believe is the ‘best representative’ of that year (yes it is slanted towards American cinema, sue me) and I list a ‘dark horse’ choice to keep things interesting.

1980
The Best Picture Oscar – Ordinary People
More Significant Film of Lasting Cultural Value – THE SHINING
Dark Horse Pick – The Empire Strikes Back (Also: Raging Bull)

1981
The Best Picture Oscar – Chariots of Fire
More Significant Film of Lasting Cultural Value – RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK
Dark Horse Pick – Excalibur

1982
The Best Picture Oscar – Gandhi
More Significant Film of Lasting Cultural Value – BLADE RUNNER
Dark Horse Pick – Fitzcarraldo

1983
The Best Picture Oscar – Terms of Endearment
More Significant Film of Lasting Cultural Value – RETURN OF THE JEDI (Star Wars)
Dark Horse Pick – Tender Mercies (Also: The Right Stuff)

1984
The Best Picture Oscar – Amadeus
More Significant Film of Lasting Cultural Value – AMADEUS
Dark Horse Pick – Paris, Texas

1985
The Best Picture Oscar – Out of Africa
More Significant Film of Lasting Cultural Value – BRAZIL
Dark Horse Pick – Back To The Future

1986
The Best Picture Oscar – Platoon
More Significant Film of Lasting Cultural Value – BLUE VELVET
Dark Horse Pick – The Mosquito Coast

1987
The Best Picture Oscar – The Last Emperor
More Significant Film of Lasting Cultural Value – FULL METAL JACKET
Dark Horse Pick – Broadcast News

1988
The Best Picture Oscar – Rain Man
More Significant Film of Lasting Cultural Value – THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST
Dark Horse Pick – Grave of The Fireflies

1989
The Best Picture Oscar – Driving Miss Daisy
More Significant Film of Lasting Cultural Value – DO THE RIGHT THING
Dark Horse Pick – The Killer

1990
The Best Picture Oscar – Dances With Wolves
More Significant Film of Lasting Cultural Value – GOODFELLAS
Dark Horse Pick – The Sheltering Sky

1991
The Best Picture Oscar – The Silence of the Lambs
More Significant Film of Lasting Cultural Value – THELMA AND LOUISE
Dark Horse Pick – Barton Fink

1992
The Best Picture Oscar – Unforgiven
More Significant Film of Lasting Cultural Value – UNFORGIVEN
Dark Horse Pick – Raise The Red Lantern

1993
The Best Picture Oscar – Schindler’s List
More Significant Film of Lasting Cultural Value – NAKED
Dark Horse Pick – The Piano

1994
The Best Picture Oscar – Forrest Gump
More Significant Film of Lasting Cultural Value – PULP FICTION
Dark Horse Pick – Chungking Express

1995
The Best Picture Oscar – Brave Heart
More Significant Film of Lasting Cultural Value – SAFE
Dark Horse Pick – 12 Monkeys

1996
The Best Picture Oscar – The English Patient
More Significant Film of Lasting Cultural Value – FARGO
Dark Horse Pick – Trainspotting (Also: Crash)

1997
The Best Picture Oscar – Titanic
More Significant Film of Lasting Cultural Value – THE ICE STORM
Dark Horse Pick – Princess Mononoke

1998
The Best Picture Oscar – Shakespeare In Love
More Significant Film of Lasting Cultural Value – OUT OF SIGHT
Dark Horse Pick – The Big Lebowski

1999
The Best Picture Oscar – American Beauty
More Significant Film of Lasting Cultural Value – FIGHT CLUB
Dark Horse Pick – Eyes Wide Shut

2000
The Best Picture Oscar – Gladiator
More Significant Film of Lasting Cultural Value – IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE
Dark Horse Pick – Memento

2001
The Best Picture Oscar – A Beautiful Mind
More Significant Film of Lasting Cultural Value – FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (LORD OF THE RINGS)
Dark Horse Pick – Mulholland Drive

2002
The Best Picture Oscar – Chicago
More Significant Film of Lasting Cultural Value – CATCH ME IF YOU CAN
Dark Horse Pick – City of God

2003
The Best Picture Oscar – Return of the King (Lord of the Rings)
More Significant Film of Lasting Cultural Value – MASTER & COMMANDER
Dark Horse Pick – Lost In Translation

2004
The Best Picture Oscar – Million Dollar Baby
More Significant Film of Lasting Cultural Value – ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND
Dark Horse Pick – Birth

2005
The Best Picture Oscar – Crash
More Significant Film of Lasting Cultural Value – BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
Dark Horse Pick – Cache

2006
The Best Picture Oscar – The Departed
More Significant Film of Lasting Cultural Value – THE PRESTIGE
Dark Horse Pick – Children of Men

2007
The Best Picture Oscar – No Country For Old Men
More Significant Film of Lasting Cultural Value – ZODIAC
Dark Horse Pick – There Will Be Blood

2008
The Best Picture Oscar – Slumdog Millionaire
More Significant Film of Lasting Cultural Value – MAN ON WIRE
Dark Horse Pick – Synecdoche, New York

2009
The Best Picture Oscar – The Hurt Locker
More Significant Film of Lasting Cultural Value – INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS
Dark Horse Pick – Enter The Void (Also: A Serious Man)

2010
The Best Picture Oscar – The King’s Speech
More Significant Film of Lasting Cultural Value – THE SOCIAL NETWORK
Dark Horse Pick – Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (Also: Melancholia)

2011
The Best Picture Oscar – The Artist
More Significant Film of Lasting Cultural Value – TREE OF LIFE
Dark Horse Pick – We Need To Talk About Kevin

Please chime in with something obvious wrong, or a key title(s) I missed for each year.

Blu-Ray Review: Song of the Sea

Director: Tomm Moore
Screenplay: William Collins
Based on a Story by: Tomm Moore
Starring: David Rawle, Brendan Gleeson, Lisa Hannigan, Fionnula Flanagan, Lucy O’Connell
Country: Ireland, Denmark, Belgium, Luxembourg, France
Running Time: 93 min
Year: 2014
BBFC Certificate: PG


Even though Song of the Sea, Tomm Moore’s follow up to The Secret of Kells, got nominated for ‘Best Animated Feature’ at the last Academy Awards ceremony (Kells also got a nomination back in 2010), it wasn’t released in the UK until July of this year. Being a big fan of animated films and having liked Kells quite a bit, I’ve been desperate to catch Song of the Sea after its surprise Oscar nod. It didn’t play for long in my local cinema though, so I missed it, which meant I was incredibly grateful to be offered a chance to review the UK Blu-Ray release recently.

Like a number of classic animated films, Song of the Seaopens with tragedy. Ben (voiced by David Rawle) is left heartbroken by the death of his mother, who dies giving birth to his sister Saoirse (Lucy O’Connell). Because of this, Ben is quite hostile to his little sister, who still hasn’t spoken by her 6th birthday. Their father Conor (Brendan Gleeson) is a shell of a man after the tragedy and the three live a quiet, over-protective existence in a lighthouse on a lonely island. The children’s stubborn old grandma (Fionnula Flanagan) arrives one day, who believes the island is no place for youngsters to grow up and, after a close call when Saoirse is found washed up on the beach, she takes the kids to live with her in the local town.

Ben will have none of this though and runs away to make his way back home. Saoirse secretly escapes too, so he’s forced to have her tag along. There’s more to Saoirse than meets the eye though. In her nighttime escapade in the sea she discovered that she’s actually half selkie, a magical creature that can turn into a seal. By unlocking her powers, she awakens numerous spirits around the area and the two children become embroiled in a mystical quest to free a number of fairy creatures who have been turned to stone by the witch Macha (also voiced by Fionnula Flanagan).

Would you like to know more…?

Six Annual Row Three Oscar Live Blog and Prize POOL – Oh Yeah!

It’s hard to believe we’ve been at it this long but alas, it’s true. Once again, Row Three will be Live Blogging the Oscars. For the 6th year in a row.

Kurt is going to play master of ceremonies (and uber-priss), guiding us through the night with quips and observations but other R3 staff will be dropping in to share in the festivities and if you’ve participated in previous years, you’ll know that things get very interesting as the night (and drinking) progresses. Oh yes, ’tis a barrel of laughs that will never see the light of day again once the event is over so be sure to mark your calendar and drop on by and join us for the action. I cannot guarantee anything but I have a feeling there will likely be more than one “FU” spat at a TV/computer/phone screen. I am saddened that Seth MacFarlane will not be back (Hey, I liked the boobs song, so sue me) but heck, Ellen should manage quite well. She has those magical shoes and all.

    In the meantime, drop your Oscar picks for the main categories

— Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Documentary, Animated, Foreign Language, Original Screenplay, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Best Song, Editing, Visual Effects, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, Makeup, Production Design and Score —

    in the space below and we’ll send you some Blu Rays if you score the most correct guesses.

The show kicks off at 4PT/7ET though if last year is any indication, the “official” red carpet will eat into the first 30 minutes of air time with the show kicking off at 4:30/7:30.

‘Till Sunday…

Cinecast Episode 295 – I Wouldn’t Wear That. Even in the Future!

This week sees a return to form with all sorts of negativity and disagreement. But [in best DeForest Kelley voice] for God sake man, it’s Anne Hathaway. She’s worth fighting for! Outside of that little tussle, Sean Kelly from SKonMovies.com joins in on the discussion with a bit more of a unique Oscar experience having seen the whole thing in a packed theater. For the majority of this Cinecast it is a look back at Sunday nights Hollywood back-patting at the Academy Awards. We talk about it all: from winners to losers to hosting to gowns (OK, not really) to stage direction to orchestration. Look no further; it’s all in here. From there we venture into the Watch List with Kurt proving Matt Gamble’s prognostication mostly correct with a viewing of Margaret. We grind the axe a bit more (though less enthusiastically) about modern biblical epics while Sean looks at a couple of Oscar-nominated documentaries and Andrew continues his Star Treking.

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!


show content


 

 

To download the show directly, paste the following URL into your favorite downloader:
http://rowthree.com/audio/cinecast_13/episode_295.mp3

 
 
Full show notes are under the seats…
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Cinecast Episode 294 – Gennero-ic

Matt Gamble makes a brief appearance in this episode where he extols upon the virtues of teen witches (and Emma Thompson.) He is also rather confident he knows something about Oscar. Kurt believes only a fool bets against Abe-Frakkin-Lincoln and Matt can Argo-fuck-himself. Andrew discusses the Teal n’ Orange edition of Officer John McClane and his adventures in Mother Russia as Daddy Car-crusher. Another Take this Waltz debate ensues. Kurt also caught an early screening of Park Chan-Wook’s Stoker and despite being under a gag-order, encourages people to flock to the cinema for this unusually stylish blend of Hollywood and Korean aesthetics. A fun and eclectic Watch List including old school mega-epics (Frankly, my dears, we don’t give a damn), Ricky Jay on Henry David Thoreau and dramatic Steve Martin, early Cameron Crowe flirtations ghetto blasters and the IRS troubles, and ends with Andrew trouble with tribulations in his Blindspotting adventures that lead to just a re-watch of Star Trek II.

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!


show content

 


 

 

To download the show directly, paste the following URL into your favorite downloader:
http://rowthree.com/audio/cinecast_13/episode_294.mp3

 

#DieHard #Spon

 
 
Full show notes are under the seats…
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Cinecast Episode 213 – Broadening Your Horizons by Telling You Something You Already Know

 
 
We still have not figured out that it is the ‘summer blockbuster’ season, so instead Kurt and Andrew decide to dig into one of the big Canadian films, (nominated for best foreign language Oscar) Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies (which we keep very light on *Spoilers*). An epic ‘what we watched’ section follows. Along the way, tangents on Lars von Trier and Cannes, the two fantasy epic mini-series on cable, Tree of Life, and Jodie Foster’s Beaver. There are lots of good DVD and Netflix picks to round out the show.

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!


 
 

 

To download the show directly, paste the following URL into your favorite downloader:
http://rowthree.com/audio/cinecast_11/episode_213.mp3

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

Sunday Bookmarks (Double Digest: Feb. 21-Mar. 6)

 

  • The Sitges Festival And Director Angel Sala Charged with EXHIBITION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY for Screening A SERBIAN FILM
    “A Serbian Film is shocking and extreme cinema and designed to be so. But child porn? That is absolutely ridiculous – the scene that tends to get people worked up occurring entirely offscreen with the violence implied and not actually depicted – and I can only hope that the courts recognize it as such and throw the case out.”
  • Process of Blockbuster Sale objected to by Disney, Universal, landlords, U.S. trustee and others
    Other studios that have said in court documents they are owed millions of dollars for products shipped since September include Universal, 20th Century Fox and Summit Entertainment. Several of the objecting parties, including the U.S. trustee, argued in court papers that instead of seeking a buyer, Blockbuster should be forced into Chapter 7, a liquidation of all its assets. That would mark a dramatic end to a company that less than a decade ago dominated the U.S. DVD and VHS rental market.
  • 52 Most Iconic Use of Pop Songs in Movies
    Who hasn’t heard a familiar pop song on the radio only to be transported back to the film that featured it? You probably never even paid a second thought, let alone liked that particular song before it became associated with that cinematic sequence. Yet, it was such a perfect complement to that one moment in the movie that you now know the lyrics by heart. In honor to that fleeting but powerful connection between music and film, we count down 52 of the most iconic pop songs in movies.
  • If There Were an Oscar for Film Titles
    Saul Bass on Film Titles: “My initial thoughts about what a title can do was to set mood and the prime underlying core of the film’s story, to express the story in some metaphorical way. I saw the title as a way of conditioning the audience, so that when the film actually began, viewers would have an emotional resonance with it.”
  • A History of Choose Your Own Adventure
    From the start, the books were full of innovative page hacks. Readers would be trapped in the occasional time loop, forced to flip back and forth between two pages. Most memorable was Inside UFO 54-40, a book in which the most desired outcome, discovering the Planet Ultima, could only be achieved by readers who cheated and flipped through the book until they reached the page on their own. At that point, the book congratulated the reader for breaking the rules.
  • Playing With the Truth: Film in 2010
    AIf I were to ask you to imagine the sinking of the Titanic, what images come to your mind? What about Roman gladiator fighting in the Colosseum? What do you picture when you think of John Smith and Pocahontas, or the Zodiac killer who terrorized San Francisco, or the fate of United Flight 93, or the storming of Omaha Beach on D-Day? You see where I’m going with this: for many people, films based on true events serve as the primary influence on the subconscious in remembering or imagining those events.
  • The Best Picture Nominees And Their Video Games Counterparts
    Welcome to our very own version of the Academy Awards, where we’ve paired a recent game with the same dramatic aspirations, themes, or capital D drama as each of the ten best picture nominees. We’ve also picked an Oscar-worthy scene from each, proving once and for all that games belong on the red carpet as much as the next sighing starlet.

 
 

You can now take a look at RowThree’s bookmarks at any time of your choosing simply by clicking the “delicious” button in the upper right of the page. It looks remarkably similar to this:

 

Cinecast Episode 202 – Obviously You’re Not a Golfer

 

It is a cornucopia, a smörgåsbord, a veritable potpourri of cinema, as the Cinecast regulars get together with nothing on the agenda other than to talk about what they have watched, in the cinema, on the DVD and streamed from the internet or (in an exciting technology development, from the Computer Hard Drive.) Andrew continues to dig into the Foreign Language Nominees with Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Biutiful. Kurt comes at Oscar a different way with the new documentary on the man with the midas touch when it comes to little gold men, Harvey Weinstein. And Gamble talks best animated film of 2011 with a preview of the flat out awesome Gore Verbinski/Nickelodeon/Industrial-Light-And-Magic Johnny Depp western, Rango. From there, we go from the occult, to Penelope Cruz DTV failures, to two vastly different takes time travel from the 1980s to Chinese shopping malls. Then it is onto Romans wandering about Scotland, Aussie crime dynasties and suburban teenage prostitution rings! It is all a part of your complete breakfast.

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!


 
 

 

To download the show directly, paste the following URL into your favorite downloader:
http://rowthree.com/audio/cinecast_11/episode_202.mp3

ALTERNATIVE (no music track):
http://rowthree.com/audio/cinecast_11/episode_202-alt.mp3

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