Cinecast Episode 455 – The Reitman Side of the Line

Right from the outset we have to apologize for the sometimes dodgy sound problems. The actual quality of the sound is pretty good… when it’s there. Due to the unco___s of the north woods, some of our discussion ____ and go. Much like this week’s DePalma _____ film, you’ll _____ fill in some of the blanks on _____ own. Speaking of that, for our (nearly) final DePalma retrospective review, we hit up his most recent film from 2012 starring Noomi Rapace and Naomi Watts entitled simply, Passion. It encapsulates much of what DePalma does so well in a tight, 90-minute “not-so-erotic” thriller. Next up, we found that we have our very own film maker here in the third row. David Brook is editor on a UK based film that he’s been warning us for months would eventually come across our desks. And now that it’s finally here, we’re so happy that it did! Powerhouse performances alongside competent direction and story telling revitalize the faux-documentary sub genre. Have a listen. Lastly, as if there wasn’t enough talk of pedophilia in this show, Andrew tackles a couple films that deal with the issue in very different ways… and in extreme variances of success. Kurt has a couple of TIFF pre-screens that the embargo hammer keeps us from discussion too much, but it rounds out a pretty nice Watch List for this week. We’ll see you all again post-TIFF!

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 400 – A Waterfall of Love

 
After 400 episodes, you might think there would be some animosity, down in the dark recesses of our subconscious. With a special mailbag segment of the show, we get to the bottom of things and it is a wellspring of love and support. Or maybe not, as some listeners think it is a good idea to draw new lines of warring factions with other podcasts (really McNeil?… really!?). Otherwise it is business as usual in the Third Row.

We debate the high water marks of Pixar, past and present, and talk about the margins and the minutiae of their latest endeavor, Inside Out.

We ponder the opening and unconventional first episode of the second season of True Detective. Will it evolve into greatness, or even be worth discussing (or even watching) for an entire season?

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening! After all these years and episodes we are grateful for any and all audience that hangs with us, week in and week out. Onwards.

 

 
 

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Review: Aloha

Director: Cameron Crowe (Say Anything, Jerry Maguire, Vanilla Sky)
Writer: Cameron Crowe
Producers: Scott Rudin, Cameron Crowe
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Bill Murray, John Krasinski, Danny McBride, Alec Baldwin
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 105 min.

 

 

My original posting of this review can be found on LetterBoxd

 


If the “write what you know” credo is true for Cameron Crowe, he must be living a pretty solid life. Films like Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous have deservedly lasted as cultural touchstones, but even then their conflicts seemed pretty inane in the grand scheme of things. It’d be something of an understatement to say that he’s been on a decline over the past decade, since at least the release of the dreadfully vanilla Elizabethtown demonstrated a complete lack of bite that had always been present in his work but only then had reached its apex to a resounding chorus of “who cares?” It took him six years to follow that up and while We Bought a Zoo wasn’t quite the piteous experience, it remained clear that Crowe had reached a point where his nascent charm had been too buried by sentimental earnestness that aroused as much rolling of the eyes as it did guilty smiles under a veil of confection.

It’s hard to argue that Aloha, his latest picture after another lengthy break, doesn’t continue the trend. Starring Bradley Cooper as a hotshot military contractor who returns to Hawaii after a disastrous setback in order to regain his mojo and respect, Crowe populates the luscious setting with as many pretty white faces as he can find. Emma Stone is the Air Force liaison sent to babysit Cooper’s Brian Gilcrest, Rachel McAdams is his former flame who is now shacked up with John Krasinski and their two adorable children, and even Bill Murray and Alec Baldwin pop in to steal a couple of scenes. While Aloha is (over) cluttered with a dense tapestry of plots ranging from nuclear arms in outer space to mythical Hawaiian legends, there’s always the pervading feeling that none of it really matters because everything will turn out okay in the end. Personal crises may be wreaking havoc on poor Gilcrest, but all you have to do is put on a Hall & Oates song and you can watch Emma Stone and Bill Murray deliver a deliriously entertaining dance sequence to make you forget all of your troubles.

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Trailer: Southpaw

This trailer had me until Antoine Fuqua. Jake Gyllenhal as a boxer who took one too many punches, Rachel McAdams as his beautiful wife, hyper tracking shot along the ropes. But then Fuqua, wife beautifully dying, child in peril, overly glossed up nonsense with only a veneer of grit that panders to lowest common denominator. Am I wrong? After a wonderful 2014 for Gyllenhaal where he gave perhaps the three best performances (both his Enemy doppelgangers and Nightcrawler, both the half-hearted Nailed release and now this, hmmm. I hope it gets better.

Second Trailer for Brian DePalma’s Passion

For this remake of Alain Corneau’s icy thriller Love Crime, the rivalry between the manipulative boss (Rachel McAdams) of an advertising agency and her talented protégée (Noomi Rapace) escalates from stealing credit to public humiliation to murder. If I recall correctly, the movie was a major divider of cinephiles and casual movie-goes alike when it screened at last years edition of TIFF. Great dollops of DePalma-licious cheese are promised in the second trailer as the director favours, well, uh, passion and heat over the cold french dagger of the original. Easily nudging into self-parody (see also Femme Fatale, and many other examples of the directors work over the past 25 years) this might be the most DePalma-ish DePalma movie ever DePalma’d up on screen. DePalma.

Review: To The Wonder

“Pourqoi pas Toujours?” Is the question on the mind of Terrence Malick in his latest emotive cinematic meditation. The french phrase which translates to “Why not always?” could have easily been an alternate title for the film. Here the elusive auteur is less overtly concerned with the connections between the personal and the infinite (as he was in Tree of Life.) Yet one could consider To The Wonder a companion film, if only because it is shot and constructed in nearly the same manner – there may even be a shot or two from the previous film used here. Gone, however, is the consideration of fathers & sons and the complex divide between them, or notions of boys coming of age. Here the film suggest that each *age* in a persons life, each chapter, however, where ever, you wish to draw the dividing lines is worthy of no regrets (as Ms. Piaf might sing.) Remaining is the invitation to cherish those discrete packages of time that inevitably, come to an end. Now like all Malick films, you can either find that a trite subject to make a film, but equally like all of the directors work, he is unabashedly earnest about it.

He is perhaps telling us to simply enjoy the miracle that is life, even when it treats you badly. This is examined in relationships both past and present, family, faith and even the current environmental state of the planet. At one point, I even felt that there was some Antonioni geography-is-a-reflection-of-state-of-mind being channeled in the divide between urban Paris and the midwest american suburbs. What the director has kept is the earthy and ethereal treatment of redheads, here former 007 beauty Olga Kurylenko, who like Jessica Chastain before her, gets the chance to both soar and suffer (the shadowy yin to the free-spirited yang) over the course of the films run-time. Many have noted the directors particular fascination with women twirling in summer dresses. Like much of the director’s post-Days of Heaven work, what you will get out of the film depends on whatever you bring into it. To The Wonder will either evoke certain feelings or tweak them in one direction or another.

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Terrence Malick’s “To The Wonder” gets an R rating

Formerly the “Untitled Terrence Malick Project” starring Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Rachel Weisz, Javier Bardem, Olga Kurylenko, Barry Pepper, Michael Sheen and Amanda Peet, the film got both its title, To The Wonder, and its MPAA rating, “R” today. Strange title, it feels like directions to Malick’s awesome yet often obtuse filmmaking style (“This way to the wonder folks! Wonder? Wonder!”) It’s certainly not at Cannes, and who knows if it will come out in 2012, 2013 or whenever. Just passing this along, because, well … Terrence Malick.

Oh, in cause you were curious, the R was doled out for nudity.

“To The Wonder is a romantic drama centered on a man who reconnects with a woman from his hometown after his marriage to a European woman falls apart.”

Review: Midnight In Paris

 

*Mild Spoilers*

At the beginning of Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Sheltering Sky, John Malkovich, Debra Winger and Campbell Scott have a fascinating conversation about the nuance between being a tourist and being a traveler. The working definition given to us is that a tourist is thinking about going home the minute they arrive, where as the traveler might never return home. Owen Wilson in Midnight In Paris, is the traveler of the film, albeit he wants not only to stay in Paris, but in the 1920s era of the European city (the film is set in 2011), when American writers careened from cocktail party to wine-bar as fuel for their own creative (and lusty) output. His fiance is most definitely the tourist, berating her husband-to-be’s notion of romanticizing the city, and wanting to go back to their consumerist lifestyle back in Malibu. The director, Woody Allen is caught somewhere in the middle. He has the eye of a tourist, in terms of the opening montage that goes perhaps a scene or two too long offering glimpses of cafes and fountains and the Eiffel Tower, but then shifts into a rumination on the nature and dangers of nostalgia that offers an interesting take on his own lengthy career. When you have made 45 or so films spanning 5 decades, I am certainly inclined to listen to what you have to say. But by the halfway mark, I believe Allen has said what he will, and is most inclined to stay in safe, crowd-pleasing kitsch territory that panders to the filmmakers base as much as it exhausts his argument and artistry. I pine for honest surprise of Allen’s breaking of the fourth wall by (literally) dragging Marshall McLuhan into the frame, rather than his facile two dimensional artist cameos on display here. But I am getting ahead of myself.

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Cinecast Episode 216 – Be Excellent to Each Other

 
 
There is fair bit of meat on the bones of the multiplex this week and Kurt, Andrew along with a sneezy and congested Matt Gamble tackle Terrence Malick, Woody Allen and the current state of the X-Men franchise. Everyone seems to have a different stance on these films, and the discussion is pretty lively. Beware of spoilers but stick around for some important tidbits and caveats regarding Midnight in Paris. The segment re-naming contest continues another week, free DVDs for everyone, Yummy! In the meantime, we do go through 3 or so What We watched each (Drew does Zack Snyder, Kurt does Terrence Malick, Gamble does a couple of upcoming feature films (and warns us off of both of ’em) as well as more HBO. Gamble takes off but Kurt and Drew soldier onward past the three hour mark along to DVD picks, Netflix Instant arrivals and departures. Plus, all the free trimmings you are accustomed to from the this third row podcast: Do you want to find out answer to life, the universe and everything? Is it true that if Bill and Ted had a Ménage à trois with Audrey Tautou, you could get a perfect film? These pressing issues and more in this weeks show. Cheers.

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_216.mp3

 
 
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Woody Allen’s Newest, “Midnight in Paris” Trailerized

Not sure what it is. Old age? Maturity? Experience? Whatever it is, I seem to have really come to enjoy Woody Allen’s films as the years go on. Ten years ago and I couldn’t have given a hoot. Then along comes Match Point and I was hooked. OK, so Scoop was pretty God awful, but other than that I’ve really come to appreciate later Allen scribe.

Here we are 6 years removed from Match Point and Allen is giving it another go with his 6th film in as many years. Even assuming that the films are slightly better than mediocre (which is untrue as they are quite good actually), that’s impressive for any film maker; let alone one who will be turning 76 years young this year. And while this sort of looks like a slightly goofier version of Vicky Christina Barcelona, you gotta admit this thing’s full of charm and grins. And if the whimsy of Allen and Wilson teaming up isn’t enough for you, maybe the rest of the cast will do it: Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates, Michael Sheen, Marion Cotillard and the Predator hunter himself, class act Adrien Brody.

So yeah, it’s safe to say that audiences seeing this at the opening night of Cannes in a couple of weeks should at least be in for a fun treat of an evening. Allen seems to be able to highlight Europe in a romanticized way that few film makers are ever able to capture. I’m looking forward to it. What say you?

 

More Malick Already on the Way

The most anticipated film of the year, Terry Malick’s Tree of Life hasn’t even seen the dark of theaters yet and already we’re getting some bits from his next film; an as of yet untitled romance starring Rachel McAdams and Ben Affleck. Apparently shooting concluded last week and we’re looking forward to a 2012 release (yeah, I’ll believe that when I see it).

If Affleck / McAdams doesn’t really turn your crank, here’s the rest of the cast which may excite you: Rachel Weisz, Olga Kurylenko, Javier Bardem and Barry Pepper Nothing else really to report as details, per usual on a Malick film, are pretty much under wraps. Still, excitement ensues. Check out the first released (Days of Heaven-esque) image of the film below.