Mamo #251: On Ebertfest, Part Two

Live from the Aroma Cafe in Champaign, IL, we continue to recap Ebertfest as it happens. Today we discuss the beautiful film Terri, a terrific program of shorts accompanied by the Alloy orchestra, and our thoughts on a panel about VOD vs. the future of theatrical moviegoing.

To download this episode, use this URL: http://rowthree.com/audio/mamo/mamo251.mp3

Nic Cage and Nic Kidman go VOD: Trespass Trailer

 

Proving that Port of Call New Orleans (Kurt’s Review) was the exception more than the rule for glossy exploiters, Millennium Films, aka the modern day Golan-Globus/Cannon, along comes a movie that stars both Nicholas Cage and Nicole Kidman, has a wildly commercial concept, and yet it is straight to DVD. And this after the company managed to foist crap such as 88 Minutes and Righteous Kill into the multiplex (Maybe Al Pacino is the key…)

Trespass is a hostage/heist film directed by Joel Schumacher (Batman & Robin, The Lost Boys) with a lot of chrome and expensive wood, but apparently very little brains. How do I make this assessment after only viewing a trailer, well, the trailer gives the whole plot away. Typical Millennium, typical.

In a private, wealthy community, priority is placed on security and no exception is made for the Miller family’s estate. Behind their pristine walls and manicured gardens, Kyle, a fast-talking businessman, has entrusted the mansion’s renovation to his stunning wife, Sarah. But between making those big decisions and keeping tabs on their defiant teenage daughter, Sarah often finds herself distracted by a young, handsome worker at their home. Nothing is what it seems, and it will take a group of cold-blooded criminals led by Elias, who have been planning a vicious home invasion for months, to bring the Miller family together. When they storm the manor, everyone is tangled up in betrayal, deception, temptation and scheming. Kyle, Sarah and Avery will take the ultimate risk to make it out with their lives – and their family – intact.

The trailer is tucked under the seat.
Would you like to know more…?

Sunday Bookmarks (April 18-23)

 

  • “Film Critic Elvis Mitchell axed from Movieline
    Nikki Finke, who works for Jay Penske, who publishes Deadline and Movieline and hired Mitchell, posted one explanation for why he was fired. For cause, apparently, for an error in his Source Code review. She infers that Mitchell may not have seen the movie, and slipped a reference to something from its screenplay into the review. Several people report seeing Mitchell at a Source Code screening. Sloppy is more Mitchell’s style. More than one of his editors complain about what a pain it was to edit him, especially at The New York Times. He was a much better fit at the LA Weekly.”
  • Ayn Rand’s New Religion for the Righteous
    “John Kenneth Galbraith famously said that “the modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” That exercise may have reached its limits with the novel Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, which has become the bible of conservative economic “wisdom” in our time. How did the work of a pro-abortion atheist become so popular with the culture warriors of the right? How do you get people who want to strip Darwin from the classroom to enforce Darwin on the unemployed? How does a book that inspired Anton LaVey’s Satanic Bible wind up on the lips of evangelical Christians waiting in line at the box office?”
  • Blade Runner and Following The Rules
    Rule-following is an extremely powerful technique for manipulating things. Psychology is a form of science that identifies the rules in obedience to which human beings act. Those rules are identified by watching human beings and noting the constancy with which some effect follows some other cause. A human being who experiences something unpleasant will try to avoid it. That is a simple rule. These rules can be applied in reverse. An example is found in movies. An unpleasant or frightening situation can be created by forcing a human being to avoid something. This is why the image of a closed door is frightening in a horror movie. The door obstructs the human being’s view of what is beyond it, and this forced avoidance creates an unpleasant experience of anxiety. By exploiting a simple rule, the person making a film can create an experience in the human being who watches it.” (Thanks Matt Brown for the heads up on this one)
  • Is the video-on-demand business bad for Hollywood?
    “Make no mistake: History has shown that price points cannot be maintained in the home video window. What sells for $30-a-viewing today could be blown out for $9.99 within a few years. If wiser heads do not prevail, the cannibalization of theatrical revenue in favor of a faulty, premature home video window could lead to the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue. Some theaters will close. The competition for those screens that remain will become that much more intense, foreclosing all but the most commercial movies from theatrical release. Specialty films whose success depends on platform releases that slowly build in awareness would be severely threatened under this new model. Careers that are built on the risks that can be taken with lower budget films may never have the chance to blossom under this cut-throat new model. Further, releasing a pristine, digital copy of new movies early to the home will only increase the piracy problem—not solve it.”
  • Filmmaker Jim Mickle Offers a New Take on Vampires
    “Perhaps it is this unusual collection of sources that gives the film its unique flavor, but it’s no accident that “Stake Land” approaches traditional components of vampire and post-apocalyptic films in a new way. Mickle and Damici made a point to focus on humanity over the unhuman.”

 
 

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:

 

Blu-ray Giveaway: Courtesy of Some “MONSTERS”

Magnolia Pictures, a favorite label of many of us here in the third row has put out a load of excellent titles over the past six years. As I sat in the theater this weekend and caught a second helping of the trailer for their newest film Monsters (our review), I couldn’t help but get excited once again. The movie looks like a whole lot of gorgeous and gigantorific fun.

Imagine my surprise when I got home to find the film already available at several online locations, including my Playstation! More fortuitously, Magnolia contacted us a day or two later and wants to hook up one lucky reader with a pretty awesome prize pack in celebration of Monsters being available to movie goers before it even hits theaters.

Available right now on iTunes, VOD, XBOX 360, Playstation 3 and Amazon.com, Monsters was a breakout hit of this year’s SXSW.

Gareth Edwards’ groundbreaking new film (also a selection at the 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival) is as much a poignant contemporary romance as it is an epic science fiction adventure. Shot with just a five person crew and a cast of two, Gareth Edwards’ team traveled through Guatemala, Belize and Mexico, finding and utilizing their locations and supporting actors as they went. The result is a film as cutting edge as it is classically composed, as emotionally satisfying as it is visually stunning, and the bold announcement of a major new talent.

Six years ago NASA discovered the possibility of alien life within our solar system. A probe was launched to collect samples, but crashed upon re-entry over Central America. Soon after, new life forms began to appear and grow. In an effort to stem the destruction that resulted, half of Mexico was quarantined as an INFECTED ZONE. Today, the American and Mexican military still struggle to contain the massive creatures… Our story begins when a jaded US journalist (McNairy) begrudgingly agrees to find his bosses daughter, a shaken American tourist (Able) and escort her through the infected zone to the safety of the US border.

So here’s the deal with the prize pack. All you have to do to enter to win is leave your name and email address (not divulged to public) in the comment section of this post. That’s it. We’ll randomly pick a winner and get you the following items:


A Monsters t-shirt (pictured above) as well as three BLU-RAY discs from Magnolia’s back catalog: Let the Right One In, The Signal and The Host. That’s three Blu-ray discs and a t-shirt all for basically just saying hello – though we certainly encourage a little banter in the comments as well (but not required to win). The contest will run for another week (while the film is still available on on-demand networks). So next Monday, October 4th, we’ll announce the winner right here. Unfortunately we can only offer the package to readers in the United States and Canada due to shipping restrictions from the label. Also, if you’re a RowThree contirbutor, sorry, you’re not eligible.

But at the very least be sure to check out Monsters on VOD right now or in wide release in theaters on October 29th. I’m sure there will be lots of talk on the subject by that time.

For additional information please visit: http://www.monstersfilm.com/
Become a fan: http://www.facebook.com/monstersfilm

 

Conor McPherson’s The Eclipse hits VOD

TheEclipseMovieStill

In the months since seeing it, Conor McPherson’s The Eclipse (review) is one that I’ve thought about on more than one occasion. I didn’t completely love the film the first time I saw it, though I did like it enough that I keep having a nagging feeling that on second viewing, I might like it a little bit more.

Part ghost story and part romance, the film stars Ciarán Hinds, Aidan Quinn and Iben Hjejle in a two way battle for a woman’s heart. It’s a very mature story, one that isn’t frivolous with anything from the dialogue to the scares.

McPherson’s film has been making its way through various festivals and is due to hit screens on March 26th but it’s also arriving in North America a little early by way of VOD. The film is now available for viewing via both XBox Live and Amazon.

Trailer, in case you missed it, tucked under the seats.

Would you like to know more…?