Row Three http://www.rowthree.com Fri, 21 Jul 2017 12:41:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 http://www.rowthree.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/cropped-r3-icon-32x32.jpg Row Three http://www.rowthree.com 32 32 Where armchair directors find comfort. RowThree.com yes RowThree.com feedback@rowthree.com feedback@rowthree.com (RowThree.com) 2006-2017 The many and varied movie podcasts from RowThree.com Row Three http://rowthree.com/wp-content/themes/dw-minion-fresh/assets/img/2016-logo-itunes.jpg http://www.rowthree.com andrew.james@rowthree.com The many and varied movie podcasts from RowThree.com Yes TV-14 Friday One Sheet: In Praise Of The Hand Painted Poster http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/21/friday-one-sheet-mohawk/ http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/21/friday-one-sheet-mohawk/#respond Fri, 21 Jul 2017 12:41:32 +0000 http://www.rowthree.com/?p=91883

After last weeks tirade against the lazy photoshopping of guns into movie posters, let us show some love for the rare hand-painted poster, be it digital or analog. Consider this gorgeous poster for Ted Geoghegan’s Mohawk which recently premiered at the Fantasia International Film Festival. First off, using the reflection of the Mohawk warrior in the water to give the the poster an ‘upside-down’ feel, is supremely inviting to take a closer look. Second, the notes of red and white stand out against the dark shades of black that comprise much of the design. Third, the closer-to-the-middle credit block placement leaves space to have the forest and the moon in the frame, the lighting elements for the entire tableau. But also and indicator that this will be a film ‘lost in the wilderness’ both figuratively and literally. You simply do not see posters like this one very often, and it is a delight to seem them this well done when they come along.

(See also recent posters for The Shape of Water, and Let The Corpses Tan)

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After the Credits Episode 213: Littlest Hobo Media Spew – June http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/19/after-the-credits-episode-213-littlest-hobo-media-spew-june/ http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/19/after-the-credits-episode-213-littlest-hobo-media-spew-june/#respond Wed, 19 Jul 2017 23:17:04 +0000 http://www.rowthree.com/?p=91879

Oh yeah! We’re loving this 80’s throwback.

The last few weeks have been a little slow in the TV department, almost as if Peak TV also takes a summer break, but thanks to Netlix for a healthy new obsession.

Join us as Colleen, Dale (Letterboxd) and I (Letterboxd) catch up with what we’ve been watching, listening to and reading over the last few weeks and our current obsession with all things GLOW.

Subscribe:
show content

We can also be contacted via email – marina@rowthree.com!

Show Notes:

Opening Music: The Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black

Colleen’s Stuff:

TV:
– “GLOW

Books:
– “Assassin’s Fate: Book III of the Fitz and the Fool trilogy” – Robin Hobb
– “Bryant & May: Strange Tide: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery” – Christopher Fowler

Podcasts:
What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law

Marina’s Stuff:

Movies:
Paint It Black
Detour
It Comes at Night
The Mummy
Hello Destroyer
My Cousin Rachel
The Beguiled

TV:
– “Silicon Valley
– “iZombie
– “Fear the Walking Dead
– “GLOW
– “Younger
– “Riviera

Dale’s Stuff:

Movies:
Don’t Go Near the Water
Batman: The Mystery of the Batwoman
Table 19
Wonder Woman
Comic Book: The Movie

TV:
– “American Gods
– “Fargo
– “The Handmaid’s Tale
– “The Americans
– “Wynonna Earp
– “Stitchers
– “Casual

Books:
– “The Cinder Spires:The Aeronaut’s Windlass” – Jim Butcher
– “The Gray Prince” – Jack Vance

Podcasts:
EscapePod
PodCastle

Closing Music: Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It

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http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/19/after-the-credits-episode-213-littlest-hobo-media-spew-june/feed/ 0 The last few weeks have been a little slow in the TV department, almost as if Peak TV also takes a summer break, but thanks to Netlix for a healthy new obsession. Join us as Colleen, Dale (Letterboxd) and I (Letterboxd) catch up with what we’ve been wa... The last few weeks have been a little slow in the TV department, almost as if Peak TV also takes a summer break, but thanks to Netlix for a healthy new obsession. Join us as Colleen, Dale (Letterboxd) and I (Letterboxd) catch up with what we’ve been watching, listening to and reading over the last […] RowThree.com
Trailer: The Shape Of Water http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/19/trailer-the-shape-of-water/ http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/19/trailer-the-shape-of-water/#respond Wed, 19 Jul 2017 18:28:45 +0000 http://www.rowthree.com/?p=91871

 

Beautiful and emotional and quiet. The latest film/fairy-tale from Guillermo del Toro, features a deaf Sally Hawkins tentatively courting a merman (Doug Jones) a Cold War 1960’s government laboratory where she works as a janitor. Michael Shannon and Michael Stuhlbarg are the G-Men, and Octavia Spencer Richard Jenkins, in full beard, are the nice folks. But really, the star as always is the visuals and the tone that the director is aiming for. Remember all those parts where Hellboy hangs out with Abe? This appears to be the feature length, even more romanticized version, and it looks wonderful.

The Lure, Disney’s live action remake of The Little Mermaid, Stephen Chow’s The Mermaid, Jason Mamoa’s Aquaman in Justice League, and now The Shape of Water. Mer-people are clearly in vogue at the moment. And while on that subject, so is sign language. The War For The Planet Of The Apes, and Baby Driver also made good use of sign as quiet character building.

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Trailer: The Snowman http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/19/trailer-the-snowman/ http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/19/trailer-the-snowman/#respond Wed, 19 Jul 2017 18:14:39 +0000 http://www.rowthree.com/?p=91867

 

At one point the big film adaptation of Jo Nesbo’s serial killer novel, The Snowman, was to be directed by Martin Scorsese. Eventually the job went to Thomas Alfredson, a Swedish director who is no stranger to murder set stories in the ice and snow, as he stormed onto the global stage in 2008 with coming-of-age vampire drama Let The Right One In. This trailer mixes almost repetitive exposition with some really intense images, and a cool soundtrack. It’s hard to get a read on whether the story (one of many featuring the authors lead detective, Harry Hole) will be more Zodiac or Seven, but all things point to the latter. Rebecca Ferguson, Michael Fassbender, Val Kilmer, Chloë Sevigny, J.K. Simmons, and Charlotte Gainsbourg ensure the film will have no shortage of acting talent, combine that with a Hossein Amini (Drive, The Wings of the Dove and Alfredson’s exceptional directorial chops, and this has prestige written all over the gruesome subject matter.

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Trailer: The Disaster Artist http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/19/trailer-the-disaster-artist/ http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/19/trailer-the-disaster-artist/#comments Wed, 19 Jul 2017 13:00:56 +0000 http://www.rowthree.com/?p=91858

 

Based on Greg Sestero’s best-selling tell-all about the making of Tommy Wiseau’s cult-classic, The Room, which has taken the title of the “Best Worst Movie Ever Made” from other inept stalwarts like Plan 9 From Outer Space, Troll 2, Fateful Findings and Manos: Hands of Fate, The Disaster Artist looks, from this trailer, to strike a good balance between the personalities of its stars, James Franco and Seth Rogan, and actually having a script (written down and everything) this time.

It has been impressive to see the cult of The Room grow over the past decade, but cinephiles are kidding themselves if they think the vast majority of moviegoers are even aware of Tommy Wiseau’s odd romantic tragedy. This new comedy tell-all stands a good chance of kicking things (or rather, casually tossing the football) into the widest popular culture frame. I like this trailer in particular, in that it is essentially just one scene from the movie, both The Room and The Disaster Artist, and a scene that fans of will know pretty well. It encapsulates everything that one might imagine behind the scenes, but everyone gets the humour of the situation instantly, it appears that this could indeed stand confidently beside American Movie, Ed Wood, and not just be another throwaway Rogan-Franco spliff.

The film debuted to excellent reviews at the SXSW Festival and will be released by A24, wide, on December 1st, 2017.

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Cinecast Episode 491 – No Acronyms http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/18/cinecast-episode-491-no-acronyms/ http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/18/cinecast-episode-491-no-acronyms/#respond Tue, 18 Jul 2017 17:13:57 +0000 http://www.rowthree.com/?p=91824 “Game of Thrones” is back on the air! Feels like it’s been eons since we last left westeros; and if the lines on the faces of many of the actors’ faces is any indication, it has! At any rate, Matt Gamble joins Kurt and Andrew as they dissect the season premiere (s07e01). Before that though, Andrew and Kurt have little to complain about with the final(?) entry in the Planet of the Apes trilogy. We also have a decent Watch List towards the end in which Andrew visits 80s movie star icons, Gamble has taken advantage of his position to see some other current theatrical fare and Kurt has a preview screening for Lady Macbeth. So yeah, it’s a pretty packed show and we manage it as well as three apes possibly could.

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

We’re now available on Google Play!

 

 
 


TIME TRACKS:

Opening: 0-11:40
War for the Planet of the Apes (SPOILERS!): 11:41 – 43:33
Game of Thrones recap (SPOILERS!): 43:34 – 1:08:43
Watch List: 1:08:45 – 2:08:19
Outro/Next Week: 2:07:59 – 2:13:32
Closing Music: 2:12:26 – 2:15:10

 

MAIN REVIEWS:

War for the Planet of the Apes (SPOILERS!)

 

THE WATCH LIST:

MATT
The Big Sick
The Little Hours

KURT
Lady Macbeth
The Emerald Forest

ANDREW
Tour de Force
American Gigolo
Legal Eagles

 

RSS AND CONTACT INFO:

show content

 

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http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/18/cinecast-episode-491-no-acronyms/feed/ 0 Andrew and Kurt review WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES (SPOILERS!) and then Matt Gamble joins for a Game of Thrones recap and a good Watch List. Thanks for listening! “Game of Thrones” is back on the air! Feels like it’s been eons since we last left westeros; and if the lines on the faces of many of the actors’ faces is any indication, it has! At any rate, Matt Gamble joins Kurt and Andrew as they dissect the season premiere (s07e01). Before that though, Andrew and Kurt have little to complain about with the final(?) entry in the Planet of the Apes trilogy. We also have a decent Watch List towards the end in which Andrew visits 80s movie star icons, Gamble has taken advantage of his position to see some other current theatrical fare and Kurt has a preview screening for Lady Macbeth. So yeah, it’s a pretty packed show and we manage it as well as three apes possibly could.<br /> As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening! RowThree.com 2:15:10
Trailer: Robodoc http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/17/trailer-robodoc/ http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/17/trailer-robodoc/#respond Mon, 17 Jul 2017 20:50:48 +0000 http://www.rowthree.com/?p=91843

 

The epic sized documentary and oral history of Paul Verhoeven’s ‘Porno-Violent’ American Jesus picture, 1987’s Robocop gets an equally epic sized 5 minute trailer. This project was a kick-starter from a couple years ago and has continually grown, but it appears that the creative team behind it have wrestled all the interviews and multimedia to the ground enough to cut the first trailer. Shoot-from-hell anecdotes, political satire, and other topics abound, and I am sure the documentary feature will be touring the festival circuit shortly.

This retrospective covers the making of RoboCop and its sequels as well as the cultural impact over the last 30 years and has been supported with over 90 of the original cast and crew.

Since I personally chipped in a few shekels to the campaign, I can confidently say, “I’d buy that for a dollar!”

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Second Trailer: Blade Runner 2 http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/17/trailer-blade-runner-2-2/ http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/17/trailer-blade-runner-2-2/#respond Mon, 17 Jul 2017 20:00:25 +0000 http://www.rowthree.com/?p=91837
 

If you want action and chases and a lot more Jared Leto, well then, this recent trailer for the Blade Runner sequel is probably tailored to your liking. Sure it sells it like a more conventional action-blockbuster, which I am confident it will not be, but there is your marketing department for you.

Also getting a healthy amount of trailer time are Robin Wright and David Bautista, but the real star here is the production design by Dennis Gassner and the cinematography by Roger Deakins.

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Trailer: A Wrinkle In Time http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/16/trailer-a-wrinkle-in-time/ http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/16/trailer-a-wrinkle-in-time/#respond Mon, 17 Jul 2017 04:05:56 +0000 http://www.rowthree.com/?p=91846

 

Disney and Ava DuVernay are giving the world another film version of Madeleine L’Engle’s classic science fiction story, A Wrinkle In Time. Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, André Holland, Zach Galifianakis and Chris Pine star, along with a very hefty amount of production value that reminds me a little be of Gore Verbinski’s brand of sunny off-kilter weirdness. I like the look of this movie, a lot, like Tomorrowland but with more teeth. I’ve never read the novel, but have heard many praises sung for its mix of hard sci fi with pulp fantasy. The book has certainly stood the test of time, as it has been in print for more than 50 years, and this is the second feature film adaptation (the first was made in Canada in 2003 with Alfre Woodard.)

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Martin Landau: 1928 – 2017 http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/16/martin-landau-1928-2017/ http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/16/martin-landau-1928-2017/#respond Mon, 17 Jul 2017 00:53:49 +0000 http://www.rowthree.com/?p=91830

Not a good day for losing icons. Legendary actor Martin Landau passed away at age 89. Landau made his film debut as a henchmen in Alfred Hitchcock’s North By Northwest, and was a regular presence on both the big screen and the small screen thereafter massing a huge body of work from wide-screen epics Cleopatra and the Greatest Story Ever Told, to Mission:Impossible, Columbo and Space 1999 on the boobtube.

He h
He was especially beloved for his portrayal of Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton’s masterpiece, Ed Wood, and went on to work with Burton a few more times (doing voice work in Frankenweenie) and uncredited in Sleepy Hollow. His wicked smile, could shift on a dime to a long intimidating face, which allowed the actor equal comfort as the villain or the hero, and later on (see his Judge character in poker drama, Rounders) a father figure. In real life, he also offered his services as an acting coach and played some part in training Jack Nicholson, Harry Dean Stanton (who is a couple years older than Landau) and Angelica Huston among others.

As a young man, he hung out with James Dean and Marilyn Monroe, and as an older gentlemen, he remained working right up until his recent passing. His career had ups and downs, but he never faded away, and was one of those A-list character actors that are rare these days.

VanityFair has more.

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George A. Romero: 1940 – 2017 http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/16/george-a-romero-1940-2017/ http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/16/george-a-romero-1940-2017/#comments Sun, 16 Jul 2017 22:36:59 +0000 http://www.rowthree.com/?p=91827

It is with a heavy heart that we heard today that George A. Romero, god-father of the modern zombie, has passed due to Cancer in Toronto today. Romero of course gave us the Dead series of films starting in 1968 where he envisioned zombies not in the traditional Haitian, plantation sense, but as the end of the world, and as a (possibly accidental) metaphor for racism and the 1960s. It was also a rip-roaring good horror flick that has stood the test of time for nearly 50 years for being ahead of its time (in part due to the lead character Ben (played by Duane Jones) being black, but also in terms of narrative and filmmaking style).

The director started making industrial/commercial films for various companies after graduating from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, but after Night of the Living Dead he was a pretty major indie filmmaker and followed Night with a sequel, the more ambitious, both in gore and metaphor, Dawn of the Dead, which is considered by many to be one of the greatest films the genre has ever made. And while 1985’s Day of the Dead is kind of ignored by the mainstream lovers of the genre or considered ‘lesser’ than the first two entries, I personally love it dearly.

While Romero was often type-cast as ‘that zombie director’ he also re-invented the witchcraft film with Season of the Witch, government conspiracy and chemical weapons, The Crazies, the venerable vampire film as an addiction metaphor, Martin, as well as the creature feature anthology with Creepshow. There are so many nutty little corners of his career, from directing an episode to Mr. Rogers Neighbourhood, to (effective!) primate freak-out horror Monkey Shines, and gonzo medieval motorcycle cult favourite, Knight Riders.

Romero struggled in the 1990s and 2000s as he churned out a few more Dead films (including a modest sized studio entry, Land of the Dead) to diminishing returns. He moved to Toronto and acted as part-time mentor to several members of the local filmmaking community, and was popular at conventions and in repertory screening Q&As. I recall seeing him enthusiastically offer his unvarnished opinions on the large resurgence of the Zombie Genre he helped popularize in the early 2000s, a renaissance that has continued to this day. It is notable, that like John Carpenter, many of his classic films have been officially and unofficially remade, and homaged in every conceivable way.

Mr. Romero will be missed, but his contributions to the wilder side of cinema will likely never be forgotten.

The L.A. Times has more.

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Mamo 472: We’re Almost Up To The Breasts http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/15/mamo-472-were-almost-up-to-the-breasts/ http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/15/mamo-472-were-almost-up-to-the-breasts/#comments Sat, 15 Jul 2017 15:49:42 +0000 http://www.rowthree.com/?p=91818

Is intellectual curiosity a privilege, or a basic human value? Springing off Matt Zoller Seitz’s twitter conversation this week about easy-access movies, we parse out how harshly one can judge anyone in this day and age for being behind the curve.

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http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/15/mamo-472-were-almost-up-to-the-breasts/feed/ 6 The "separate the art from the artist" debate rears its head once again, as allegations arise against Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. Star Trek says we'll evolve: can we? The "separate the art from the artist" debate rears its head once again, as allegations arise against Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. Star Trek says we'll evolve: can we? RowThree.com 33:21
Trailer: Lucky http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/14/trailer-lucky/ http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/14/trailer-lucky/#respond Fri, 14 Jul 2017 19:41:27 +0000 http://www.rowthree.com/?p=91811

Happy 91st birthday Harry Dean Stanton! And the man keeps working, from his cameo in the Marvel Comic Universe, to reprising his part in the Twin-Peaks-verse (Fire Walk With Me) in Season 3. All those fine performances he gave to David Lynch over the years, here in this indie film Lucky, he gets to act along side Lync and get the rare starring role! Turtles, Ed Begly Jr., Tom Skerrit, Beth Grant, Ron Livingston and Barry Shabaka Henley also appear. This sun baked, crusty existential crisis (comedy) look marvelous, now can we talk about the bonus situation?

(Riiiiight!)

‘Lucky’ follows the spiritual journey of a 90-year-old atheist and the quirky characters that inhabit his off the map desert town. Having out lived and out smoked all of his contemporaries, the fiercely independent Lucky finds himself at the precipice of life, thrust into a journey of self exploration, leading towards that which is so often unattainable: enlightenment.

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Friday One Sheet: Why Guns? http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/14/friday-one-sheet-why-guns/ http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/14/friday-one-sheet-why-guns/#respond Fri, 14 Jul 2017 13:59:05 +0000 http://www.rowthree.com/?p=91803

I am not meaning to pick on Atomic Blonde, a film I am very much looking forward to for both the amazing Charlize Theron and the impeccable camera work and fight choreography on display in the trailers. But take a moment at this poster as ask yourself does it really need a gun on display in it? Look closer. Now ask if it really needs an obviously photoshopped gun at an awkward angle. Wouldn’t the poster be better to showcase the movie star, the neon, the films title in a more minimalist way? I know marketing works best at a glance, not a deep closer look, but seriously, you almost get the lazy addition at a glance.

Putting guns on movie posters (and DVD/BLU-Ray box art) has been one of those time honoured traditions that is taken for a given that more people will buy or see your movie if violence and action are promised. But is this really the case? I am not aware of any exact research correlating the appearance of a fire-arm on the poster and box-office. I suspect just as many films bomb with the star holding a gun as not, but marketing puts them in the hands of the lead on the poster as a ‘just in case.’ It is often done really carelessly. Business Insider did a piece in 2016 on guns on posters and came to the conclusion in American wide release, 20% of all films have guns on the poster. That is not 20% of action films, or even 20% of ‘genre’ films, but everthing including period pieces, comedies, kids animated films, dramas, et cetera.

1 in 5!

If I may hazard a guess, it is likely that in action blockbusters it is more like 8 (or even 9) in 10. For a film like John Wick or The Expendables it makes sense to have a gun in the poster as the film is about assassins and soldiers on the warpath. It even makes sense in Atomic Blonde, which has been labelled sight-unseen as the ‘female John Wick.’ But does it HAVE to be there? Are there no smarter, better ways to make a movie desirable than without a gun? Particularly when you have to get a designer to retroactively smoosch one into the deign. See also: Robert Rodriguez’s vampire/heist comedy From Dusk Till Dawn. Or Timur Bekmambetov’s Wanted which has Angelina Jolie branding a pistol in the most awkward way. Or the poster for Andrew Niccol’s In Time, where Amanda Seyfried looking longingly into Justin Timberlake’s eyes isn’t enough, she must be strangely holding a gun while doing so.

The Thailand poster might have used the original image to make their poster for In Time, although the rest of the photoshop colours are ugly, Seyfried is just lovingly resting her arm on Timberlake’s chest. Or maybe Thailand just don’t like guns. Take the poster for the American remake of Bangkok Dangerous, it looks like it is the exception (that proves the rule?) insofar as Nicolas Cage’s enormous hand is so awkward WITHOUT a gun.

In conclusion, maybe the world needs less lazy-photoshop, but part of good poster design involves demonstrating the idea or feeling of your movie without resorting to cliches (unless you are imploding them.)

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Operation Net Neutrality http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/12/operation-net-neutrality/ http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/12/operation-net-neutrality/#respond Thu, 13 Jul 2017 04:29:50 +0000 http://www.rowthree.com/?p=91792

If you stopped by RowThree yesterday (and a lot of other sites around the free web) you might have gotten an alert saying you need to pay more to access the site; or maybe it was blocked all together. This was a world wide attempt to bring awareness to the very real threat of us losing our precious internet to the greedy ISPs and corporations. On July 12th, the web came together in a way it never has before to defend the free and open Internet.

Congress has already received more than 3 million emails and 100,000 calls. More than 1.7 million comments are on their way to the FCC (a new record for a single day). At Fight for the Future, the battle raged all day and it unfolded all over the net in real time. And more is coming…

As a small startup site ourselves, that potentially uses up quite a bit of bandwidth daily, with streaming videos and thousands of hours of podcast content, the fear of losing traffic because we can’t afford to compete with the big guys is of real concern to us and many other sites around the web – even some of the aforementioned big guys concur. We thank anyone and everyone who is doing their part to help retain net neutrality and keeping ISPs classified as common carriers under Title II. Thanks for your help, but the fight isn’t over. If you haven’t already and you live in the United States, be sure to pester your congressional representatives and let them know this is an important freedom/right of the citizen population.

This is not a democrats vs republicans thing. This is a fight that everyone who uses and cares about the internet should be involved with. For more information about Net Neutrality and why it is of utmost importance to everyone who uses the world wide web – either for personal or business purposes – here are a few places to visit:

Wikipedia
Save the Internet
What you can do.

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Cinecast Episode 490 – The Other Leg http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/11/cinecast-episode-490-the-other-leg/ http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/11/cinecast-episode-490-the-other-leg/#comments Tue, 11 Jul 2017 18:01:27 +0000 http://www.rowthree.com/?p=91758 An honored guest has arrived at our table. Despite being the enemy, let’s show him some of our southern hospitality shall we? Yes girls, Ryan McNeil from The Matinee has graced our table with his presence. With their interruptery nature, Kurt and Andrew will try not to cut him off at the legs while we look back at Don Siegel’s 1971 feature, The Beguiled. Simultaneously, and in true R3 multi-task fashion, we review Sofia Coppola’s 2017 feature, The Beguiled. It’s always fun to compare and contrast. From there, we hit The Watch List. Andrew is out as he’s been exploring the galaxy on his Xbox, but Ryan goes about as mainstream as you can get with the new Spider-Man, then does a 180 and digs right into early Olivier Assayas. Kurt drops by the Bong Joon-Ho marathon for some more Okja and Memories of Murder.

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

We’re now available on Google Play!

 

 
 


TIME TRACKS:

Opening: 0:00 – 9:14
The Beguiled (SPOILERS!): 9:16 – 1:06:14
Watch List: 1:06:18 – 2:02:27
Outro/Next Week: 2:02:29 – 2:13:44
Closing Music: 2:11:30 – 2:14:32

 

MAIN REVIEWS:

The Beguiled (1971)
The Beguiled (2017)

 

THE WATCH LIST:

RYAN
Spider-Man: Homecoming
Demonlover

KURT
Memories of Murder

 

OTHER THINGS:

10+ Years Later: MIAMI VICE, Exotic, Experimental and Entertaining As Ever

 

RSS AND CONTACT INFO:

show content

 

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http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/11/cinecast-episode-490-the-other-leg/feed/ 3 Ryan McNeil from TheMatinee.ca joins Andrew and Kurt to discuss both the 1971 and 2017 versions of THE BEGUILED. Thanks for listening! An honored guest has arrived at our table. Despite being the enemy, let’s show him some of our southern hospitality shall we? Yes girls, Ryan McNeil from The Matinee has graced our table with his presence. With their interruptery nature, Kurt and Andrew will try not to cut him off at the legs while we look back at Don Siegel’s 1971 feature, The Beguiled. Simultaneously, and in true R3 multi-task fashion, we review Sofia Coppola’s 2017 feature, The Beguiled. It’s always fun to compare and contrast. From there, we hit The Watch List. Andrew is out as he’s been exploring the galaxy on his Xbox, but Ryan goes about as mainstream as you can get with the new Spider-Man, then does a 180 and digs right into early Olivier Assayas. Kurt drops by the Bong Joon-Ho marathon for some more Okja and Memories of Murder.<br /> As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening! RowThree.com 2:14:34
Film Review: Elite Force: Operation Mekong http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/11/film-review-elite-force-operation-mekong/ http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/11/film-review-elite-force-operation-mekong/#respond Tue, 11 Jul 2017 08:28:55 +0000 http://www.rowthree.com/?p=91781 Director: Dante Lam
Screenplay: Kang Kei Chu, Dante Lam, Siu Kwan Lau, Eric Lin, Wai Ching Tam
Starring: Eddie Peng, Hanyu Zhang, Carl Ng, Ken Lo, Jonathan Wu, Pawarith Monkolpisit
Country: China, Hong Kong
Running Time: 123 min
Year: 2016
BBFC Certificate: 15

***½~ (3.5/5)


Only yesterday, in my review of Westfront 1918 and Kameradschaft, I wrote about my love it or hate it relationship with war or true life stories on film, and what do you know, another one that touches on both comes along a day later.

Elite Force: Operation Mekong (a.k.a. Operation Mekong or to use its original Chinese title, Mei Gong he xing dong), is not a war story as such, but it sees an elite task force battle against a drug baron with so much force it feels like one. It’s based on the actual ‘Mekong River massacre’, which happened in 2011, and the ensuing anti-drug operation that followed. In the tragic event, two merchant ships were attacked on the Mekong River on the borders of Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand, in the Golden Triangle area (a place synonymous with the drugs trade), and the 13 Chinese crew members were murdered. In the film, the crew members are initially suspected of being involved in drug smuggling after 900,000 meth pills are found on the scene. However, an informer tells them otherwise and when the merchants’ bodies are found and they look to have been executed, a special Chinese task force is deployed to investigate and arrest the drug baron suspected of ordering the massacre, Naw Khar (Pawarith Monkolpisit).

This is one of those cases I discussed yesterday when it very much feels like the grim reality of the actual events have been amped up and glossed over to make an exciting piece of entertainment, rather than a sensitive or intelligent examination of them. However, I was fully prepared for this after reading a few reviews and knowing the film was being marketed as a balls to the wall action film. As such, I tried to ignore any issues of authenticity or sensitivity and sat down to enjoy some explosive violence, the likes of which Hollywood rarely delivers anymore but Asia has been dishing out for decades.

And as an action movie, the film is pretty damn good. Dante Lam has found great success in the genre over the years (at least in Hong Kong and China) and his experience shows as he delivers a slick and solid slice of big budget entertainment. There’s a decent spread of action throughout the film, with three epic set-pieces setting the foundations. The first of these comes about half an hour in, when the team break an informant out of the clutches of the enemy, ending with an exhilarating car chase. This features an astonishing camera shot which uses some digital enhancement to gracefully swoop around the action, ending inside the barrel of a rocket launcher as it’s fired.

There’s a lot of showy camerawork like this, with the huge amount of movement getting a little much after a while. It gives the film style and energy, but occasionally I wanted a rest from it. Similarly, some of the fight scenes suffer from shaky-cam syndrome and over-zealous editing, but I’ve seen worse and it gets away with it. You can usually tell what’s going on and you can still feel the impact of the hits.

Speaking of which, the action choreography is very good. It feels brutal and believable, yet still exciting. In general, the action is fantastic. It’s gloriously over the top, which threatens the realism of it all, but if you can get past this fact, there’s a lot of fun to be had. I found the big and brash style, on top of the straight forward men-on-a-mission plot, to be refreshingly old-fashioned. There are some modern effects and gadgets of course, but it had the feel of a late 80s or early 90s action movie, particularly in the finale where we’re treated to some old-school jungle combat, complete with exploding huts and a thrilling speedboat chase.

There is a darker, more thought-provoking aspect to the film though. Naw Khar uses child soldiers to do some of his evil deeds, including a shocking embassy bombing. The moral implications of this crop up a couple of times when the task force has to face up against these gun-totting youngsters. Do they take them out as they would an adult because their life is in danger, or do they try to spare them and risk getting killed themselves? It makes for food for thought in an otherwise mindless piece of entertainment.

Elsewhere, the film has its fair share of cliches though and the overblown nature can get a bit much at times, particularly given the subject matter. Even the child soldier theme is overdone in certain scenes, such as when they’re laughing and taking hard drugs whilst playing Russian roulette. Overall though, it’s an exhilarating experience that’s bound to win favour amongst those who like their action big and bold.

Elite Force: Operation Mekong is out now on VOD and on 17th July on DVD in the UK, released by Cine Asia. I watched a private digital screener so can’t comment on the final picture quality of the DVD, but I imagine the VOD version will be the same and it looked and sounded great.

The DVD contains the following special features: making of featurettes, trailer, poster gallery. I didn’t get these to watch, but I’m glad to see some extras added to the package.

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Blu-Ray Review: The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/10/blu-ray-review-the-5000-fingers-of-dr-t/ http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/10/blu-ray-review-the-5000-fingers-of-dr-t/#respond Mon, 10 Jul 2017 13:01:00 +0000 http://www.rowthree.com/?p=91775 Director: Roy Rowland
Screenplay: Dr. Seuss, Allan Scott
Starring: Tommy Rettig, Peter Lind Hayes, Hans Conried, Mary Healy
Country: USA
Running Time: 89 min
Year: 1953
BBFC Certificate: U

***½~ (3.5/5)


I read a couple of bedtime stories to my kids every night and there’s nothing worse than a dull or insipid children’s book (particularly when you’re begged to read the same ones repeatedly), so I do my best to try and find books we can all enjoy. My go to author is Dr. Seuss (or, to use his real name, Theodor Seuss Geisel). His rhyming prose, complete with wacky made up words is a joy to read out loud and his illustrations are wonderfully unusual and imaginative. His work has had a troubled history on the big screen though. There are some classic animated adaptations (largely shorts), but very few live action ones. In fact only one was made before his death in 1991, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T., released back in 1953 when he wasn’t yet a household name. There might only be one because the special effects weren’t advanced enough before the turn of the millennium to capture Seuss’ wild imagination, but it might be largely down to the fact that Dr. T. was a huge commercial failure. It didn’t get much critical love at the time either and Seuss called the film a “debaculous fiasco”, omitting any mention of it in his official biography. So you get the feeling he didn’t let anyone make any live action features after it was released.

Over the years though, Dr. T. has been embraced as a bit of a cult classic and has since been seen in higher regard. As such, our friends at Powerhouse Films have seen fit to re-release the film on dual format Blu-Ray and DVD through their Indicator label. Being a big Dr. Seuss fan, I couldn’t resist requesting a copy to see whether or not it deserved this second life after being so cruelly rejected on its initial release.

The film begins with young Bartholomew Collins (Tommy Rettig – famous later for starring in the TV series of Lassie, then infamous for his drug fuelled downfall) daydreaming about being chased by some strange creatures when he should be practising his piano. His teacher, Dr. Terwilliker (Hans Conried), scolds him and tells him he needs to practise harder to be good enough for a concert taking place in 1 month’s time. Dr. T. is a harsh taskmaster who Bart hates, but his mother (Mary Healy) believes his methods are effective, so she backs them. The only person siding with Bart is a friendly handyman, August Zabladowski (Peter Lind Hayes), who the boy sees as a father figure (his real dad is dead). As he starts practising his piano again, he quickly falls asleep and most of the rest of the film plays out in his imagination. Here, his frustration with Dr. T, his mother’s support of the teacher’s ways, and his desire to pair Zabladowski with his mother all come to warped life in a bizarre fantasy world where Dr. T. is a hypnotist villain who plans to have an army of 500 children play his enormous piano 24 hours a day for the rest of their lives!

The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. is a strange little film and not just due to Seuss’ input. I can see why it wasn’t popular when it was first released as the balance between childlike fantasy and more complex, adult themes of parenthood and discipline, matched with a strangely minimal expressionistic style is quite unusual. I found myself curiously drawn to it though, even if it doesn’t always gel perfectly.

Going back to the style I mentioned earlier, what I found strange was how minimal and small scale it was in some aspects. The first two-thirds of the film largely only feature the four primary cast members, but by setting much of the action on huge sound stages, they’re often surrounded by empty space, making scenes feel uneasy rather than intimate. The scale grows in the final third though, with a big musical number bringing a huge cast out of nowhere and the finale delivering the aforementioned 500 children in dozens of yellow school buses.

The film looks great though. There’s plenty of boldly colourful and surreal imagery to match Dr. Seuss’ illustration style. You may not get the strange creatures from his books due to the limited special effects of the time, but the sets quite successfully match Seuss’ signature style. I loved the enormous bendy ladder to nowhere in particular. The minimalism of the set design made sense when thinking back to Seuss’ work too. His books were filled with weird and wonderful characters, but his backgrounds, although unusual, weren’t all that detailed or ‘busy’.

Looking elsewhere at how the film embodied Seuss’ work, I was disappointed that the dialogue didn’t match his famous rhyming prose style. The author wrote the song lyrics in the film’s musical numbers to match this though and one of these in particular, the Dressing Song (a.k.a. Do-Mi-Do Duds), perfectly captures the feel of his more famous work.

The musical numbers in general are pretty good. I wouldn’t say I went away humming any of them after my first watch, but there’s a nice range of well constructed tunes, written by the renowned composer Frederick Hollander. In fact, despite the film’s box office failure, it won on Oscar for “Best Scoring of a Musical Picture”. In terms of choreography, I found the dance sequences a bit of a mixed bag though. Some of the small scale scenes are fairly unremarkable, but the Dressing Song is a lot of fun and most impressive of all is the epic Dungeon Ballet where the unwanted instruments (anything other than a piano) play an elaborate suite. It’s a showstopping scene with wonderfully imaginative choreography. As the commentary pointed out, the scene is entirely unnecessary to the plot, so it could have been cut out without affecting the story (as was the fate of much of the originally shot material), but it’s so enjoyable it’s the best scene in the film.

So it’s kind of a mixed bag overall, but certainly a unique experience. I found it a fun and strangely charming little romp with some striking production design and a decent soundtrack. It feels slightly lacking at times and the wonderful prose of Dr. Seuss is sadly absent other than moments in the song lyrics, but otherwise it captures the look and spirit of the author quite successfully. It’s as camp as they come and might frighten or just baffle many kids these days, but I do think it deserves more recognition than it got back in the 50s.

The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. is being re-released on 24th July by Powerhouse Films on Dual Format Blu-Ray & DVD as part of their Indicator label in the UK. I saw the Blu-Ray version and the picture and sound quality are both very good. I noticed a little digital noise here and there when blown up on a projector screen, but otherwise it’s a sharp and boldly colourful picture.

Powerhouse have also included plenty of special features with the set. These include:

– Audio commentary with film historians Glenn Kenny and Nick Pinkerton 
– Crazy Music (2017, 17 mins): a new interview with musician, singer and archivist Michael Feinstein on his obsession with The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T 
– Father Figure (2017, 19 mins): a new interview with Steve Rowland, son of director Roy Rowland 
– Karen Kramer introduction (2007, 2 mins) 
– Dr. T. on Screen (2007, 15 mins): Cathy Lind Hayes, George Chakiris and others talk about the film 
– A Little Nightmare Music (2007, 12 mins): an examination of the film’s ground-breaking music score 
– Original theatrical trailer 
– Joe Dante trailer commentary (2013, 3 mins): a short critical appreciation 
– Image gallery: on-set and promotional photography 
– Limited edition exclusive 40-page booklet with a new essay by Peter Conheim, and extracts from the original press kit, advertising and promotion guide 

It’s a real wealth of material for a previously neglected film, so kudos to Indicator for bringing it all together. There’s pretty much everything you’d ever want to know about the film included and some pieces are refreshingly honest about the film’s shortcomings.

The booklet is as strong as ever too and shouldn’t be ignored in favour of the video extras.

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Blu-Ray Review: Westfront 1918 & Kameradschaft http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/10/blu-ray-review-westfront-1918-kameradschaft/ http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/10/blu-ray-review-westfront-1918-kameradschaft/#respond Mon, 10 Jul 2017 10:10:21 +0000 http://www.rowthree.com/?p=91768 War films are a genre I’m always a little wary of. On one hand, some of the best examples rank among my favourite films of all time (I’d put Apocalypse Now in my top 5 for instance). On the other hand, they’re a type of film that can really bother me if they’re flawed. I tend to think I’m a generally positive critic. I rarely give very low scores or write venomous reviews, but when I do, it’s often for a war film that’s rubbed me up the wrong way. I think this is because they’re usually based on actual events, so when a hackneyed genre cliché, insensitive patriotism, or some hammy acting crops up, it stands out as feeling ‘fake’, glossing over some complex, important and/or often horrific events. I feel the same about biopics and any other ‘based on a true story’ films too. When I’m reminded I’m watching a film merely ‘based’ on reality, it takes me out of the experience and can feel disrespectful to those involved in what’s being portrayed. In films I know are pure fiction I can turn a blind eye to cinematic cliches more easily.

So I’ve always got my guard up when watching war films or anything based on reality, but I decided to take a chance with this double set of GW Pabst films, the war movie Westfront 1918 and the film he made a year later, based around a mining disaster, Kameradschaft. Pabst is a director whose work I hadn’t delved into yet and Eureka’s Master of Cinema label never releases anything not worth watching, so I left my reservations at the door and took two journeys into the past.

Westfront 1918

Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Screenplay: Ladislaus Vajda
Based on a Novel by: Ernst Johannsen
Starring: Fritz Kampers, Gustav Diessl, Hans-Joachim Möbis, Claus Clausen, Jackie Monnier
Country: Germany
Running Time: 96 min
Year: 1930
BBFC Certificate: PG

****½ (4.5/5)


Released in the same year as the American film All Quiet on the Western Front, the German Westfront 1918 is another early example of an anti-war film tackling the horrifying events of World War I. It takes a straightforward route of simply presenting life in and out the trenches at the time, following a small handful of German infantrymen as they struggle to stay alive and sane. The sections away from the front lines show the hardships faced by those back home as well as some brief moments of relief the soldiers enjoy. It of course doesn’t end well for the group, as you’d expect from a pacifistic film.

I only saw All Quiet on the Western Front for the first time a couple of years ago and I was astonished by how powerful it was, given its age. I had the same reaction to Westfront 1918, although it has a slightly different feel which gives it even more impact in some areas. All Quiet was fairly unflinching in its depiction of war, but had hints of sentimentality, such as the butterfly scene at the end, whereas Westfront 1918 has a tougher, less poetic approach. Don’t get me wrong, the final scene in All Quiet is hugely effective and will stay with me for a long time, but Westfront 1918 uses a colder unsentimental style that gets its message across in a slightly different fashion.

Like most great war movies, the set-pieces here are what really stick in your memory. The attacks over no-man’s land are particularly well done. Pabst includes a lot of movement, which was rare at this time when sound cinema was in its infancy and cameras were usually kept in booths to mask the noise. However, some of the most powerful shots in the battle scenes are static wide shots. These are held for a long time, accentuating the vast waves of soldiers sweeping across the screen and mostly getting mown down or blown up.

Some smaller scale scenes stand out too. In an attack early on in the film (by their fellow troops misjudging mortar fire) the soldiers’ dugout caves in and a couple of them are trapped inside, holding the roof up with their own bodies. They struggle to stay standing and breathing whilst their comrades try to dig them out, in an incredibly tense and disturbing scene. The home front segments are well done too. We see how hungry and desperate people were getting. One soldier comes home on leave only to catch his wife in bed with another man. We learn that she was only doing this to get some extra meat from the local butcher (no pun intended).

The film’s finale is deeply unsettling too. Rather than ending on the battlefields, we see one soldier taken to hospital after he loses his mind. There we see the horrific toll the war has taken on many of those who survived or at least hadn’t quite died yet. This also provides an example of the wonderful sound work done on the film. The screams and deranged singing of patients in the hospital are deeply disturbing and the battlefront effects elsewhere are effectively ominous too. The first ‘talky’ had only been released 3 years prior, so it’s astounding to see the medium being harnessed so brilliantly already.

All in all, it’s a strikingly frank, no-holds-barred war film that still has a visceral power nearly 90 years later. There are no patriotic heroics or forced morals. It simply shows the horrors of war from various angles to deliver a potent anti-war message.

Kameradschaft

Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Screenplay: Peter Martin Lampel, Karl Otten, Gerbert Rappaport, Ladislaus Vajda, Léon Werth (French dialogue), Anna Gmeyner (uncredited)
Starring: Alexander Granach, Fritz Kampers, Ernst Busch, Elisabeth Wendt, Gustav Püttjer, Oskar Höcker
Country: Germany
Running Time: 90 min
Year: 1931
BBFC Certificate: PG

****½ (4.5/5)


Although not a war film as such, the shadow of WWI plays an important part in the other film included in this package, Kameradschaft. It tells the tale of a mining disaster on the border between France and Germany, where both German and French rescue teams came to the assistance of French miners trapped after an explosion. The actual incident, which claimed the lives of 1,099 people, happened in 1906, but Pabst and his team of writers moved it forward to just after the WWI, so it would work as a call for peace and brotherhood between nations caught up in the conflict.

This message may be a little blunt, particularly in a rousing speech at the end, but it’s a welcome and admirable one, so didn’t bother me. It’s effectively tackled with humour occasionally too, such as in an early scene where three Germans go for a night out in a French town and struggle with the language barrier. The film around the message is so well made though, I simply didn’t care about how bluntly it was put across, because I loved this is as much as I did Westfront 1918.

The most striking aspect of the film is its look. Not only is the cinematography impressive, with atmospheric low key lighting and plenty of movement in the camera as it moves along the narrow mineshafts, but the production design is incredible. The mines themselves seem totally real, which is quite a feat for a film of its age. They look as grim, oppressive and claustrophobic as you’d imagine them to be. There are some other impressive sets (or possibly locations – it’s hard to tell!) outside the mines too, particularly a huge washing hall with hundreds of chains dangling from the ceiling for the miners to hang their outfits (see image below). The pyrotechnics on display when the explosion occurs are impressive and make for some powerful visuals too.

The film is also tremendously exciting, even if it’s a little slow by today’s standards. The explosion and resulting collapse of much of the mine is intense and genuinely frightening, particularly when you realise this happened for real, and not just in the disaster depicted here. Tension is well drawn too, not only in some tight situations in the mines, but above ground. The best example of this is when the explosion is first noticed and you see a crowd gradually build and move ever faster in a great wave towards the gates of the mine. It’s a quietly effective sequence that builds panic and fear better than any overwrought histrionics.

Once again, sound is well utilized in the film. During the collapse we hear the cracking of beams spreading down the mine, which makes for a terrifying soundtrack. Some eerie scenes that follow a lone elderly miner on a hunt for his grandson through the corpse-strewn wreckage puts silence to great use too. On a more hopeful note, the noise of miners tapping on pipes to let others know they’re alive is a nice touch, particularly near the end when rescuers tap back and the taps build and seamlessly turn to the sound of shovels and pick axes digging through. Tapping is blended with machine gun fire at one point too, when a trapped miner has a flashback to the war after he’s greeted by a German rescuer.

Overall it’s a gripping disaster movie with a rousing message. Yes it has a political agenda, but the belief that people should live and work together in harmony is hardly a dangerous one. It’s only aged a fraction in terms of pacing – otherwise it holds up remarkably well with some striking visuals and great use of sound and practical special effects. It’s an impressive work that deserves greater recognition.

Westfront 1918/Kameradschaft is out on 24th July on Dual Format DVD & Blu-Ray in the UK, released by Eureka as part of their Masters of Cinema series. The picture and audio quality is very good considering the original negatives were lost. Westfront 1918 comes out better than Kameradschaft though which is generally softer and the sound suffers from slight noise problems occasionally.

You don’t get a lot of special features, just introductions to both films by Jan-Christopher Horak. These are excellent though and provide some valuable insight and background to the films. You get the usual booklet on top of this too. I haven’t been sent it, but Eureka usually do a first rate job of compiling these so I imagine it’ll be as worthwhile as any video featurette. ]]> http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/10/blu-ray-review-westfront-1918-kameradschaft/feed/ 0 Friday One Sheet: 2017 Year of Pink http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/07/friday-one-sheet-pink/ http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/07/friday-one-sheet-pink/#respond Fri, 07 Jul 2017 14:22:33 +0000 http://www.rowthree.com/?p=91755

We are only halfway through the year, and there sure have been a lot of posters shaded pink. I noted this a few weeks ago when The Beguiled and Baby Driver, and I bring it up again because a LetterBoxd user, Matthew Buchanan, handily assembled a host of 2017 posters to underscore the point. Now I am sure with certain shades (Blue or Grey for instance) you can easily just grab a pile of posters in any year and infer that it was a banner year (pun intended) for a certain shade, but pink is an less than typical colour to do a poster with across the history of cinema, and the trend seems real. Even war films, like the latest Planet of the Apes feature got in on the action with bright pink trees providing the backdrop. Horror films, like Raw and the above Dead Shack, science fiction parables like Okja and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, gross out comedies like Rough Night and The Wedding Invitation, all genres seem represented in this trendy phase.

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Blu-Ray Review: Terror in a Texas Town http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/04/blu-ray-review-terror-in-a-texas-town/ http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/04/blu-ray-review-terror-in-a-texas-town/#respond Tue, 04 Jul 2017 08:20:57 +0000 http://www.rowthree.com/?p=91749 Director: Joseph H. Lewis
Screenplay: Dalton Trumbo (credited as Ben Perry)
Starring: Sterling Hayden, Nedrick Young, Sebastian Cabot, Carol Kelly, Victor Millan
Country: USA
Running Time: 81 min
Year: 1958
BBFC Certificate: PG

***~~ (3/5)


Terror in a Texas Town is a film I hadn’t heard of before to be honest, but whenever a western or film noir crops up on Blu-Ray or DVD I feel obliged to review it as I’m a fan of both genres. Well the press release for this described it as a cross between both genres, so I was even more interested than usual.

Terror in a Texas Town is a black and white B-movie western from the late 50s which sees a greedy hotel owner, McNeil (Sebastian Cabot), use brute force to drive local farmers off his land after pay-offs don’t work. Using the cruel gunman Johnny Crale (Nedrick Young) to do the legwork, McNeil’s latest target is the Swedish immigrant Sven Hansen (Ted Stanhope). Crale kills Sven, as he won’t budge, and it looks like McNeil has got what he wants, as he’s paid off the sheriff so the death won’t be investigated and Sven’s Mexican friend Mirada (Victor Millan), who witnessed the murder, is too scared to talk anyway. However, soon after, Sven’s son George (Sterling Hayden) arrives in town and claims the farm is now rightfully his, causing problems for McNeil. On top of this, he’s determined to find out who killed his father and bring him to justice. McNeil of course asks Crale to sort it out – initially without force, but after a while it looks like there’s no other way. Hansen struggles on, but he can’t get justice without the help of Mirada and the rest of the town, who are too frightened to stand up to the two tyrants, McNeil and Crale.

As that last sentence suggests, Terror in a Texas Town bears more than a passing resemblance to High Noon, which was released a few years prior to this. Like that film, Terror in a Texas Town plays out as an allegory of the anti-Communist witch hunts in America during the 50s, which is unsurprising given the writer was the famously blacklisted Dalton Trumbo (writing here under the pseudonym Ben Perry). The film’s hero and the man who has the information to bring down the villains are outsiders (George is Swedish and Mirada is Mexican), but they have to lose their fear to face them and need the support of the general public, who are also afraid to put a stop to it. This message becomes particularly clear in the final act and adds some weight to proceedings, after most of the rest of the film plays out like a typical revenge western. I’m not quite sure I see the noir aspects, although the film has a tough edge many 50s westerns don’t share.

The turning of George into a clear outsider brings up a major problem I had with the film though. Hayden is a great actor who’s portrayed largely tough guys in dozens of classic films, but here he’s a little embarrassing playing a Swedish whaler. His accent is laughable and he gives his character an awkward quality in the way he walks and acts, which I felt was a bit forced. It’s a shame because it really lets the film down as I couldn’t take him seriously.

I also found the film a little slow. It’s far too short to be considered boring and the film doesn’t waste much time so to speak, but there’s not a lot of action or clear tension until the last half an hour or so, meaning it’s more of a dialogue-driven drama than I expected from a B-movie revenge western like this. The final act is very good though, as the tension and violence mounts and it all ends with a powerful, no-nonsense final scene.

There are better Hollywood B-movies that tackle the McCarthy witch-hunts then. Hayden’s dodgy Swedish accent, some pacing issues and a little too much ‘borrowing’ from High Noon prevent the film from reaching the heights of say Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but it’s still a pretty solid, entertaining oater with more substance than many.

Terror in a Texas Town is out on 10th July on Blu-Ray in the UK, released by Arrow Academy. The picture and sound quality was excellent, with a damage-free print that’s detailed with an attractive natural grain.

There are a handful of special features included too. Here’s the list:

– Introduction by Peter Stanfield, author of Hollywood, Westerns and the 1930s: The Lost Trail and Horse Opera: The Strange History of the Singing Cowboy
– Scene-select commentaries by Stanfield
– Theatrical trailer

It’s not a lot of material, only running to about half an hour in total, but Stanfield’s pieces are both excellent. He’s put a lot of leg work into it, so knows what he’s talking about and his insights are genuinely interesting and surprisingly honest. He’s not afraid to talk about the film’s problems and limitations.

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Cinecast Episode 489 – The Han Solo Moment http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/04/cinecast-episode-489-the-han-solo-moment/ http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/04/cinecast-episode-489-the-han-solo-moment/#comments Tue, 04 Jul 2017 07:00:40 +0000 http://www.rowthree.com/?p=91716 Being that it’s the holiday weekend in ‘merica as well as Maple Syrup-ville, the boys keep it focused on just two movies this week. The event picture that is Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver hit theaters this past week and we dive begrudgingly headlong into that mess. And land on somewhat of a more even keel with the straight-to-Netflix original film, Okja starring Tilda Swinton and Tilda Swinton – and yes, Paul Dano gets a beat down. Watch out for SPOILERS throughout this episode, but it’s a fun mid-morning around the coffee table.

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

We’re now available on Google Play!

 

 
 


TIME TRACKS:

Opening: 0:00
Baby Driver (SPOILERS!): 4:45
Okja (SPOILERS!): 47:46
Back to Baby Driver (SPOILERS!) and other stuff: 1:21:44
Outro/Next Week: 1:26:01
Closing Music: 1:42:30 – 1:47:12

 

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Baby Driver
Okja

 

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http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/04/cinecast-episode-489-the-han-solo-moment/feed/ 21 Reviews for BABY DRIVER and OKJA. Beware of spoilers and thanks for listening! Being that it’s the holiday weekend in ‘merica as well as Maple Syrup-ville, the boys keep it focused on just two movies this week. The event picture that is Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver hit theaters this past week and we dive begrudgingly headlong into that mess. And land on somewhat of a more even keel with the straight-to-Netflix original film, Okja starring Tilda Swinton and Tilda Swinton – and yes, Paul Dano gets a beat down. Watch out for SPOILERS throughout this episode, but it’s a fun mid-morning around the coffee table.<br /> As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening! RowThree.com 1:47:12
Review: Baby Driver http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/03/review-baby-driver/ http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/03/review-baby-driver/#respond Tue, 04 Jul 2017 03:48:59 +0000 http://www.rowthree.com/?p=91725
 

There are people in the world who put on music simply to fill the silence. There are people in this world who drive simply to get where they need to go. Then there are those whose music expresses the very sounds in their soul…and who drive to feel freedom, adventure, and possibilities.

Edgar Wright’s latest film is dedicated to that second sort of person.

Baby Driver is about a young man named Baby (Ansel Elgort). As a boy, Baby was in a car accident that took both his parents, and ever since then, he has kept an iPod on with at least one earbud in at all times. It helps him block out the tinnitus he still suffers…and also locks him in as one of the best getaway drivers you could imagine.

His skills behind the wheel are at the beck and call of a man named Doc (Kevin Spacey). As a boy, Baby boosted Doc’s car and made off with a lot of money. Doc didn’t hurt or kill the kid; he simply started making him work off his debt. Doc could see just how talented the kid was, and wasn’t going to let such talent go to waste.

As the film begins, we watch Baby take the wheel for two separate heists.

One has him working with a bunch of pros named Buddy, Darling, and Griff (Jon Hamm, Eiza González, and Jon Bernthal respectively). The second job has him surrounded by a more thuggish team headed up by Bats (Jamie Foxx). That heist goes sideways, but is ultimately successful – leading Baby to think he’s square with Doc and “out”.

No such luck.

Doc tasks Baby with driving yet again – this time working with Buddy and Darling again, with Bats sitting in as the third. To say that these kids have trouble playing nice with each-other would be putting things mildly, but Baby still tries valiantly to do his part.

Probably because in the background there’s Deborah (Lily James). Baby first comes across her at the diner he frequents and is instantly smitten. She takes an equal shining to him in that girl-meets-boy sorta way, and before you know it, they’re sharing earbuds.

When one considers a story featuring a character with one earbud in at all times, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that music is key to the tale. What’s more, when one remembers that the film is being told by director Edgar Wright, it should come as absolutely no surprise. Wright has a knack of timing both the massive and the mundane to the tempo of his track list – and Baby Driver does that on steroids.

It’s charming, in its way. Letting us not only experience the world through the eyes (or ears) of Baby, but of anyone who loves music and measure time by songs. At times, it makes some truly horrible people seem a little bit cooler. Other times, it makes a simple coffee run into something joyful.

Have you ever been walking down the street, listening to a song you love and noticed that the paces start matching the song? Baby Driver does that over and over…and every time, it fills the audience with that same joyful feeling.

None of this would work if we didn’t buy Ansel as Baby. The very concept of a kid who always has to have one earbud in pretty much begs the audience to roll its eyes. Seriously – if such a person worked in your office, you would be talking about them at the water cooler in record time. With Baby, though, we don’t just endure the quirk – we embrace it. Perhaps it’s because we can see that he doesn’t really belong in the world of these hoodlums. Perhaps it’s because we sense his shyness about his dependence on the tunes. Or perhaps it’s because he’s just so darned cute.

Whatever the reason, we fall for him – much the same way Deborah does. We trust him to get us where we’re going, and we want to know what he’s listening to.

While much of Baby Driver is a heist movie, it’s this sweetness at its core that makes it seem so fresh. After all, it’s not the first film to choreograph its scenes so carefully, nor the first film to make the audience hear its musical heartbeat. It is, however, one of the few films that wants us to pay attention to the desires we feel in the presence of someone wonderful, with nothing but possibilities before us.

There are a lot of romantic notions about driving that Baby Driver still holds dear. That wonderful recipe of the open road, a classic car, that special person sitting shotgun, and the perfect song on the radio is a brew this film drinks deeply from. Depending on your point of view though, these desires might seem honey-coated or completely absurd. After all, what sense does escape on the open road make if it is only escaping from…not escaping to?

That’s the funny thing though about getting caught up in the caper and the chorus; sometimes we stop caring whether we are running towards or running away. Sometimes those notes and those rhythms can just make our feet start moving, and force our fingers to tap in time. Baby Driver wants us to be bad and get lost, and if we have to break a few rules to do that – so be it.

[Ryan McNeil is an occasional guest on the Rowthree Cinecast, and runs his own corner of the interwebs over at TheMatinee.ca.]

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After the Credits Episode 212: July Preview http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/03/after-the-credits-episode-212-july-preview/ http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/03/after-the-credits-episode-212-july-preview/#respond Mon, 03 Jul 2017 14:32:53 +0000 http://www.rowthree.com/?p=91735

Luc Besson returns!

We’ve certainly been inching up to summer mmovie season with one major release coming weekly but you know we’re in full summer swing when you have Chritopher Nolan and Luc Besson going head-to-head with big budget releases.

Welcome to July and we are officially in summer release mode. This month we get a bit of everything: from small time family dramas (Menashe), to women kicking serious ass (hello Atomic Blonde!) to Christopher Nolan doing his war thing – admitedly, Dunkirk does look spectacular.

Join Dale (Letterboxd), Colleen and I (Letterboxd) as we July’s short, yet well stocked, releases.

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We can also be contacted via email – marina@rowthree.com!

Show Notes:

Click on movie title for the trailer.

Opening Music: MGMT’s “Time to Pretend

Opening July 7th

Spider-Man: Homecoming
A Ghost Story
City of Ghosts
Patti Cake$
Santoalla

Opening July 14th

War for the Planet of the Apes
Wish Upon
Lady Macbeth
Chasing Coral
The Midwife

Opening July 21st

Dunkirk
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Girls Trip

Opening July 28th

The Emoji Movie
Atomic Blonde
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power
Menashe
From the Land of the Moon

Closing Music: The Beatle’s “Because

Pacific Cinematheque

Vancity Theatre

rio

Hollywood3

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http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/03/after-the-credits-episode-212-july-preview/feed/ 0 We’ve certainly been inching up to summer mmovie season with one major release coming weekly but you know we’re in full summer swing when you have Chritopher Nolan and Luc Besson going head-to-head with big budget releases. We’ve certainly been inching up to summer mmovie season with one major release coming weekly but you know we’re in full summer swing when you have Chritopher Nolan and Luc Besson going head-to-head with big budget releases. Welcome to July and we are officially in summer release mode. This month we get a bit of […] RowThree.com
Blu-Ray Review: Lola http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/03/blu-ray-review-lola/ http://www.rowthree.com/2017/07/03/blu-ray-review-lola/#respond Mon, 03 Jul 2017 08:51:13 +0000 http://www.rowthree.com/?p=91729 Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Screenplay: Pea Fröhlich, Peter Märthesheimer, Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Starring: Barbara Sukowa, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Mario Adorf, Matthias Fuchs
Country: West Germany
Running Time: 113 min
Year: 1981
BBFC Certificate: 15

***½~ (3.5/5)


I watched (and reviewed) my first Rainer Werner Fassbinder film, Fear Eats the Soul just over a year ago and was impressed, so I’ve been keen to check out more titles from his extensive filmography (particularly large considering he died at the early age of 37). I’d passed some of Arrow’s re-releases over to other writers to cover, but luckily Studiocanal are now honouring the director by releasing Lola this month, followed by a box set in October (details still to be confirmed), so I threw my hat into the ring for the former.

Lola is an unofficial remake of the German classic The Blue Angel (a.k.a. Der Blaue Engelreviewed here), modernised to reflect the values of post-WWII Germany. Set in the 50s, ten years after the war, rather than fully updated to reflect 80s Germany, Lola is set in a country whose market economy is booming. In an unnamed city, Herr von Bohm (Armin Mueller-Stahl) is the newly appointed building inspector. He’s hard-working and committed to developing the area, but upright, uptight and traditional in his personal values. Shuckert (Mario Adorf) is a local builder who’s profiting greatly from the boom, aided by a lot of corruption. He’s excited by von Bohm’s desire to pump up the local economy and get building work done efficiently, but also worried that he won’t approve of the backhanded dealings that have so far been running the town and lining his pockets.

Meanwhile, Lola (Barbara Sukowa), a singer at a bordello and the mistress of Schuckert, is intrigued by von Bohm and becomes driven to get such an honourable man to fall for her charms. She does manage to win him over, but only by hiding her occupation and ties with Schuckert. Von Bohm is bound to find out at some point though, so the question is, what will he do when he does and how will it affect Shuckert’s plans for the building inspector?

And one of the major differences between Lola and The Blue Angel is just what does happen. I don’t want to spoil both films, but they are drastically different in this aspect. In the earlier film, the discovery of Lola in the bordello triggers Prof. Immanuel Rath’s (the von Bohm character) downfall as he enters the seedy world himself and is corrupted by it. In this more modern adaptation though, Fassbinder takes a more cynical and less moralistic approach. I won’t give away what happens, but it’s not as clear cut or preachy as before, which I felt was an improvement. It’s all supposed to be a comment on post-war politics in Germany, which was a little lost on me, but I appreciated the fresh, more complex approach.

Comparing the two films in other aspects, the performances in Lola are very good, but don’t quite match the star-making turn of Marlene Dietrich or the impressive range of Emil Jannings in The Blue Angel. I wouldn’t want to downplay the performances in the later film too much, as they’re still exceptional, I just didn’t get the same gut reaction I did watching Dietrich own the screen.

Stylistically, Lola stands out though. Lit with garishly bold colours and carefully framed throughout, it has an intoxicating, lurid beauty. Fassbinder was famous for churning out films at a rapid pace, but his work still looks to be carefully plotted out, with a distinctively bold mis-en-scene.

I didn’t quite fall for Lola as much as I did for Fear Eats the Soul though. Although the former is economical in terms of on-screen action, a lot of time is spent in discussion and this dialogue can be a little too blunt and on the nose for my liking. As such, the film dragged a little, more so than Fear Eats the Soul and I didn’t find myself as emotionally invested in the film either.

That said, I appreciated the spin made on The Blue Angel’s story and it’s so stylish and well-performed that I remained drawn to the film throughout and it’s kept me interested in delving ever further into Fassbinder’s work.

Lola is out now on Blu-Ray & DVD in the UK, released by Studiocanal. I saw the DVD version and the film looks and sounds great. Colours are strong and the picture is crisp and sharp.

Special features are as follows:

– NEW Interview with Barbara Sukowa
– NEW Interview with Juliane Lorenz – Editor and head of the Fassbinder Foundation
– Trailer

It’s not a lot of supplementary material, but both interviews are decent and provide an interesting look at the film’s background and production.

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