Cinecast Episode 416 – List List

Last week we talked about all of the films coming in the next week that we’d have a tough time reviewing them all. As a consequence, we review none of them. Instead, we just glide from this to that, as Moses Znaimer would say, it is flow, not show. We look at our Top 5 Danny Boyle films, and as we are wont to do, talk at length about Sunshine. A medley of Mamet, Soderbergh, Bullock, Sorkin, Halloween horror and various other bon bons are extracted from the candy box. We call these: “shoot the shit” shows and we hope you find something worthwhile in the grab-bag. Note that the show is almost 100% spoiler free this week!

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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Finite Focus: The Crab Lady (Pulse – Kairo)

PulseKairo

 

Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s “Pulse” (also known as “Kairo”) is one of my favourite doomsday films. It’s dark, depressing, unwavering in its march towards the end of humanity and creepy as hell. By using sound, darkness and shadows in a very subtle manner, Kurosawa shows the gradual disintegration of society as the ghosts of the dead find their way back to the living. It’s really a commentary on humanity’s growing disconnection from itself as more and more people use cell phones and computers to communicate instead of face to face. The film is one of the best representations of “dread” I’ve ever come across which creates a feeling of complete void within the pit of your stomach. There are plenty of fine examples within the film, but the best is probably the one scene that sticks in most people’s memory – the crab lady.

During a period of time when more and more people are getting connected to the Internet (and in the day when Modems were still commonplace – the film was released in 2000), there seems to be a greater disconnect in the population as a whole. The streets are becoming deserted, people are staying inside their personal shelters and the souls of dead people are spilling into the real world among us. In the scene in question, a young man enters an abandoned room (friendly tip: if a room is sealed off with red tape, do NOT go into it) and starts to explore it. As he looks around the light shifts and illuminates a large red splotch on the wall. At the same time a spooky low female moan rises up on the soundtrack. Until this point the only sounds have been the ambient noises of his footsteps in the abandoned room and some low rumbling from outside. He turns back to where he walked in and we cut to his point of view. Recessed at the back against the wall is a dark form – the moaning stops, the rumbling continues and suddenly a high-pitched screechy squeaking sound dominates. It cuts out leaving the rumbling and then begins again just as she starts slowly, and abnormally smoothly, walking towards the man.

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The Doomsday Movie Marathon

Emergency Broadcast

Hemorrhaging Financial Markets
Rapidly Depleting Natural Resources
Threat of Pandemic Disease
Polar Ice Caps Melting
An Apocalyptic Mayan Prophecy

And thats BEFORE we even start our Doomsday Movie Marathon. For the next couple months Row Three will be ground zero for discussion on movies that embrace the paranoid and prophetic anxieties of doomsday scenarios. Such scenarios both fantastical and plausible offer us a glimpse into how, when stripped of our modern conveniences, we might fair, let alone survive, with only our wits to provide. Somewhere between Kevin Costner (a whopping 4 appearances in this batch) and Steve Guttenberg (The Day After), the truth doth lie.

Some effort has been made to arrange this programme from as wide a variety of genres and time periods as possible while still staying true to this basic theme. More often than not, films were chosen not for pedigree so much as for for their potential as conversation-starters, films on the fringe of the familiar, or worthy of a second look. Brought together here is quite a mix of films including 90’s throwbacks to natural disasters, post-apocalyptic epics, some schlock science fiction, a couple art house musings, a few too-close-to-home geopolitical scenarios and an alarming amount of 80’s hair.

From now until the end of the year, contributing writers of Row Three will watch and review films that in one way or another evoke the doomsday ethos. Part of this is a lead up to Roland Emmerich’s deliciously absurd 2012 and John Hillcoat’s masterpiece, The Road, both of which will also be reviewed as part of the marathon.

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