Epic story time! Ryan recounts his brush with fame (and Tina Fey) on a recent trip to New York City. Corey tells us about the worst subway ride of his life. And Greg and Cindy eat cupcakes. Strap yourself in: it’s a week full of hot topics on The View !
“Because of popular demand, we’ve put together a fun little Oscar Pool for you this year. We’re doing things a little bit differently this year. We’ve put together a point system based on various Oscar prediction sites, Vegas odds and a little of my own inklings of arbitrary.
Here’s how it works. Based on “difficulty”, each answer is worth anywhere from one to five points. Best picture is worth a whopping ten points because… well, it’s best picture and that’s the way I did it. No answer is required but there’s no penalty for getting it wrong (other than you don’t get the points), so you might as well guess. Person with the most points wins! You may re-submit your responses at any time (last set of responses will count as your official entry). Pool closes sometime Sunday afternoon; so get your picks in ASAP!
Prizes will be dished out to the first and second place winner. Thanks to Corey Pierce and CriticalMassCast for sponsoring this contest and providing the DVD prizes. All RowThree contributors are encouraged to participate for fun but are not eligible for the prize pack. For official rules, please call 1-800-figureitoutyourself.
Not every single official category is here but to make up for it I added some of my own categories. I hope you’ll approve. Let the games begin…”
Click here to link to the website and vote now!!!!
CMC resident host Greg is joined by a special gaggle of guests hosts to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Star Trek: Deep Space which debuted with the pilot, “Emissary” on January 3rd, 1993!! We talk up the highs and lows of what continues to be the most experimental and daring chapter in Trek.
Special thanks go out to Rick and Karen from Simply Syndicated’s long-running speculative and international Science Fiction podcast, Starbase 66 as well as Mark Perez, formerly of The Devil and Miss Mindy podcast and frequent guest host on CriticalMassCast. A fun time was had by all! Enjoy
As always your feedback is valued- What are your favorite DS9 memories and do you have anything to add to our conversation?? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow us on Twitter and subscribe on iTunes
Intro music: Deep Space Nine theme- by Dennis McCarthy
Closing Clip: Closing monologue from “In the Pale Moonlight”
#1- “No”- directed by Pablo Larrain (2011, Chile/USA production)
Starring indie fave Gael Garcia Bernal (The Science of Sleep, Y Tu Mama Tambien), director Pablo Larrain comes to TIFF this year with No in the Special Presentations programme to complete his trilogy of sorts on the Pinochet regime.
The film takes the viewer into the politics of the era in 1988 when the ruling Chilean regime under General Augusto Pinochet, succumbed to international pressure by introducing a national referendum to decide whether Pinochet could continue another eight (eight!) years of his presidency. The concept of the film is simple: The ballot presents two choices- “Yes” (extend Pinochet’s rule) or “No” (pack your bags, Pinochet). The execution in how it all went down… well, that is what comprises the complex story of this film. Bernal plays the savvy and cynical adman Rene Saavedra who was called in to make the case for the No side, a formidable task when taking into account they were only granted fifteen minutes of airtime per day and had to draft a campaign that would be innovative enough to convince the disparate, isolated segments of the population to show up to the polls in the first place. Having to walk a fine line against a totalitarian government, Saaveda instinctively realizes of course that he can’t play up the suffering the general population has endured under Pinochet’s fifteen year rule- and instead opts to drive a rainbow emblazoned campaign full of optimistic joy that promises a “New Chile”- a killing your enemy with kindness approach.
Now the events of history obviously betray what happens in the end, but buzz from Cannes on the film is that is does a great job at building momentum towards its final outcome. A lot of that might have to do with the fact that Larrain chose to go with a 4:3 aspect ratio and a grainy video technique that more cohesively syncs with archival footage from the era. All in all, the narative elements of the backstory, the style and the ace in the hole- Gael Garcia Bernal make this a must-see.
#2 “Rust and Bone” – directed by Jacques Audiard (2011- France/Belgian production)
My only experience with Audiard’s work was his Cannes Grand Prix winner from 2009 called Un Prophete- a prison drama that was also a meticulous study of the collusion between youth and corruption that shook me to the very core. I was intrigued that Audiard would be working on another character study, this time framed around a romance. The addition of Marion Cotillard as the female lead doesn’t hurt either.
Rust and Bone is a French adaptation of Craig Davidson’s acclaimed novel of the same title tells the story of the unlikely and tender romance that develops between an aimless, father and drifter (played by Bullhead’s Matthias Schoenaerts) and a killer whale trainer played by Cotillard who suffers a terrible accident. Word is that Audiard has blended a Dardennes-style of naturalism to his character study and visuals- but what also hooked me was the fact that the film employs the talents of composer Alexandre Desplat (who most recently brought a tremendous flare for whimsy with Moonrise Kingdom this past year), whose work will be interspersed with pop music selections like Katy Perry’s “Fireworks” during key moments in the film. Whatever ends up happening, this film promises to bring something unconventional and visceral to the plate.
#3 “Cloud Atlas”- directed by Tom Tykwer, and Lana and Andy Wachowski (2011, Germany)
Halle Berry and Tom Hanks play multiple roles in “Cloud Atlas”- a film that seeks to explore the connected nature of the past, present and future.
I’m not quite sure what to think of Cloud Atlas. I knew almost nothing about it being a literary phenomena by novelist David Mitchell (the novel had been in serious Booker Prize contention and apparently perched upon the “favorite books of all time” shelf by many of my friends who had never bothered to mention the book before… till now) and I had only heard snippets about a possible Wachowski collaboration on the project over the years but never anything concrete in terms of production detail or a release date. I had basically wrote it off as a doomed projected locked in the dungeons of development hell. Then the trailer dropped… the almost six minute trailer dropped. The lush ocean bound visuals, the wizened Susan Sarandon voice overs, the sumptuous Sci-Fi imagery of almost magical futuristic technologies had me falling to my knees- but I was still like… what the hell is all this?? Luckily, the day the trailer arrived, there was an accompanying you tube video with all three (three!!) directors describing the vision of the film, a bit about the production details and the obvious storytelling difficulties and challenges in bringing such a sweeping and puzzle-like narrative to the big screen in terms of marketing and financial backing. So that helped a bit… the acknowledgement that this was a crazy story to tackle on the big screen. A big pull for me as well atre the actors who are starring in this film to help fill out the narrative- Tom Hanks and Halle Berry are two actors I greatly respect but have not enjoyed in anything they have released for years. I am hoping this film may reverse the trend as they have the opportunity to occupy different roles as the situations and indeed centuries roll on in the film. Along for the ride will be actors like Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent, Susan Sarandon, Ben Winshaw, Hugo Weaving… the list goes on and on. As far as trailers and story concepts go this year, this film has the “epic” label written over it and I am definitely interested in what a kinetic director like Tywker (Run Lola Run) and the directors of The Matrix Trilogy and Speed Racer can bring to such a sweeping canvas of history- past, present and future. Below is the above mentioned trailer and Director’s Commentary.
#4- “Thale”- directed by Aleksander L. Nordaas (2012, Norway)
Thale is director Aleksander Nordaas’ first feature film and entry into the Vanguard programme this year at TIFF. According to TIFF programmer Colin Geddes- the films within Vanguard promise something provocative, something sexy… possibly dangerous- it’s what’s next… and after seeing the above promotional shot from the film I was like, “YES!”. The Vanguard programme this year feels especially strong with films that vary greatly in terms of genre and style (Spanish horror with Here Comes The Devil and Painless, experimental documentary in Peaches Does Herself and Room 237 , quirky urban dramas in The We and I and Beijing Flickers and just the plain weird in the Edgar Wright produced Sightseers,) and Thale feels like a worthy entry, probably because it focuses on a topic that may be near and dear to the heart of the director, that of Norwegian folklore. Thale tells the tale of a couple of forensic clean-up technicians and childhood friends played by Erlend Nervold and Jon Sigve Skard who discover a deadly mythological siren hidden in the basement of a remote cabin in the Norwegian woods. Thale promises to be a leanly efficient, hauntingly atmospheric drama, grounded in reality, utilizing CGI for accents rather than spectacle. After getting a taste of The Cabin in the Woods earlier this year, it will be interesting to see a further permutation and meditation on the horror genre from this part of the world at TIFF- who knows, maybe Nordaas may be starting a trend…
Shot on a dozen HD cameras, “Leviathan” promises to offer a visual and sonic punch and will be one of the most talked about art films in 2012.
Having only a passing familiarity with ethnography on film (Sweetgrass, Nanook of the North, Black Orpheus), Leviathan seems like perfect opportunity with which to get a better grasp on the connections linking academia with the arthouse and where the genre may be heading into the 21st century.
From all the buzz coming in on this film, most it from its recent unveiling at the Locarno Film Festival, critics have been hailing Leviathan as not only a major work, but a visceral and important contribution to the history of ethnographic film itself. The New York Times wrote up a great piece on the intentions and craft of the directors behind the camera, both artist-filmmakers, Paravel herself being an anthropologist and the goals of the Harvard Sensory Ethnographic Lab in creating a more immersive and emotional experience out of footage shot in the field.
Utlilizing a dozen different cameras with HD equipment strapped to workers, decks, boat hulls and netting cranes, Castaing-Taylor (who co-directed 2010′s Sweetgrass) and Paravel have assembled the footage into a narrative of sorts following a single night’s fishing off the New Bedford coat, where Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick took place. In a nutshell, the film offers an all-hands-on-deck view of commercial fishing in the North Atlantic that promises to be visually and sonically explosive while providing an artful statement on the collaborative clash between man, nature and machine. SOLD!! Check out the trailer for Leviathan below:
#6 “Amour” – directed by Michael Haneke (2011, French/Austrian/German production)
Michael Haneke brings French cinema legends Jean-Lous Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva back to the big screen in his mortality tale, “Amour”
Modern master Michael Haneke returns to TIFF this year with his latest film, Amour. Haneke is one of my favorite working directors- his output just keeps getting better and better. The White Ribbon from 2009 was my favorite film of that year, which also screened at TIFF after winning the Palme D’Or at Cannes and Amour received the same honour this year at the prestigious film festival. Haneke’s work represents a calculation and precision that I just don’t see in a lot of other work on the big screen and his films never fail to resonate with me long after I have left a screening of one of his films. Amour promises to be no different. Bringing French Cinema screen legends Jean-Lous Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva on board, Haneke has crafted a stunning portrait on mortality that promises to be kaleidoscopic and trenchant all in the same go. Trintignant and Riva play Anne and Georges Laurent, a married couple in their eighties, who face the horrible dilemma of aging as one of them gradually succumbs to illness and the other is left to pick up the pieces and move forward. Check out the trailer for this film below:
Mads Mikkelsen returns to TIFF with “The Hunt”, directed by Thomas Vinterberg who directed the acclaimed “The Celebration” from 1998.
#7- “The Hunt”- directed by Thomas Vinterberg (2012- Denmark)
Thomas Vinterberg’s The Celebration was one of the first arthouse films I can remember voraciously seeking out because of the buzz I had heard about it- it was 1998, and the film had gained a tremendous amount of traction as an intelligent and subversive dissection of the hypocrisies present in Danish society. Fortunately enough, the film held up to the hype and stands as one of the most disturbing and uncomfortable watches I have ever sat through. Vinterberg returns to similar territory with The Huntwith actor Mads Mikkelsen in tow, who recently won the Best Actor prize at Cannes this year for his portrayal of an innocent man accused of child molestation and how the lie spreads like a virus in his small Danish town. Check out the riveting trailer below:
#8 Penance – directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa (2012, Japan)
Kyoko Koiumi (left) plays a mother out for revenge in Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s “Penance”
What does the hunger for vengeance look like when it has been allowed to simmer for year upon year? How many ways can guilt fracture the human soul when left to languish in a similar fashion? These existential quandaries are the subject of Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s (Pulse, Tokyo Sonata) new film, Penance which will screen at TIFF in the Contemporary World Cinema Programme. Adapted from Minato Kanae’s novel Shokuzai, Penance was filmed as a multi-part television series but comes to this Year’s festival packaged in all it’s five chapters at a whopping five (five!!) hours.
The film tells the story of Asako (Kyoko Koizumi), whose daughter Emili was brutally murdered while in elementary school. Each of Emili’s four best friends saw the face of the killer but refuse to identify the perpetrator, insisting the emotional shock of the incident wiped their memories clean. Well it’s 15 years later , the murder remains frustratingly unsolved by the police and Asako is on the hunt for Emili’s old friends to exact a penance, as punishment for their reticence. The film reveals how the incident itself has transformed the four young girls into four very disturbed young women. As Asako methodically tracks down each of the women, Kurosawa minutely observes how the feeling of guilt have warped their lives, binding their existence irrevocably to the violent act that sets the story in motion. Penance promises to be a quiet masterpiece of mounting intensity. Check out the trailer below:
This past week CMC co-host Corey Pierce guested on a mammoth 4 hr + episode of Row Three’s Cinecast to discuss Tarsem Singh’s “Mirror, Mirror” and the new action thriller “The Raid: Redemption”, as well as a variety of other pop culture topics.
The show description:
“Many of you know him as “Goon”, but illustrator/web designer/movie nerd, Corey Pierce of the Critical Mass Cast has parachuted into the Cinecast floating ever so gently down on the buoyancy of his love for Mirror Mirror and making the show one of epic length, even by Cinecast standards; we do not quite break the Cinecast record but we do come dangerously close. After a signature tangent on whether or not it is appropriate to applaud or boo after (or during) a film and comparing The Raid to both porn and “The Family Guy,” we tackle the glossy and relentless Indonesian action film in the context of how a movie can set its own terms, and either fail, succeed on those terms, or transcend them. Where does The Raid fall? You’ll have to listen.
We then move on to listener submitted home work and the glory (or lack thereof) of trash cinema. Going through the various assigned work reveals both enlightening and pandering to the ‘teachers,’ which underscores that our listeners do indeed take these homework assignments seriously. Bravo to you folks. The Watchlist rounds out the show and features a lengthy discussion of the Bully documentary, Eddie Murphy and racial/sexual epithets, JFK Conspiracy Books, American Presidents – right back to the founding fathers – fosters a wacky and over-simplified discussion of politics (Is there any other kind??!!) on both sides of the Canada/USA divide, studio Ghibli, giant gorillas and one-armed drummers. Yeah, the thing is over four hours. Enjoy…or endure! (Bend like a sapling in the wind, lest one break!)
As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!”
Well, it is just after the opening weekend of “The Hunger Games”, the film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ mega selling young adult dystopian trilogy and the world was DEFINITELY watching. With a worldwide gross of over 200 million in just a little over three days, the film has not only managed to reel in both casual movie goers and hard core fans but has also garnered a reasonable amount of positive critical acclaim. But how does the film stand up to our critical eye??
Join us for a mega-sized episode where we welcome back Ricky D of Sound on Sight to talk about the world of The Hunger Games and how the craft of director Gary Ross’ vision holds up on screen. Again, we would love to get your feedback, please feel free to leave us your comments on the blog, or e-mail us at email@example.com and take a second to rate and review our podcast on iTunes. Thanks for listening all!
We were a little late to the party on this… but here it is… our crew’s Top Ten Films of 2011: Stay tuned for our next podcast where we dish on all of our picks.
RYAN (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER)
“The Tree of Life” (USA, d. Terrence Malick)
“Melancholia” (Den/Fr. d. Lars Von Trier)
“Weekend” (UK, d. Andrew Haigh)
“Bridesmaids” (USA, d. Paul Feig)
“Carnage” (Fr/Ger/Pol, d. Roman Polanski)
“50/50″ (USA, d. Jonathan Levine)
“Another Earth” (USA, d. Mike Cahill)
“Take Shelter (USA, d. Jeff Nichols)
“Cafe de Flore” (Canada, d. Jean Marc Valee)
“Shame” (UK, d. Steve McQueen)
Honorable Mentions: The Muppets, Crazy Stupid Love, Super 8, The Descendants, My Week With Marilyn, Midnight in Paris
1. “The Artist” (France, d. Michel Hazanavicius)
2. “Anonymous” (Uk/Ger, d. Roland Emmerich)
3. “The Help” (USA, d. Tate Taylor)
4. “My Week With Marilyn” (UK, d. Simon Curtis)
5. “Midnight in Paris” (Sp/USA, d. Woody Allen)
6. “J. Edgar” (USA, d. Clint Eastwood)
7.”Jane Eyre” (UK/USA, d. Cary Fukunaga)
8. “Hanna” (Ger/UK/USA, d. Joe Wright)
9.” Bridesmaids” (USA, d. Paul Feig)
10.” The Muppets” (USA, d. James Bobin)
COREY 1. “The Artist” (France, d. Michel Hazanavicius)
2. “The Interrupters” (USA, d. Steve James)
3. “Melancholia” (Den/Fr. d. Lars Von Trier)
4.”The Descendants” (USA, d. Alexander Payne)
5. “The Guard” (Ireland, d. John Michael McDonagh)
6. “Beginners” (USA, d. Mike Mills)
7. “Moneyball” (USA, d. Bennett Miller)
8. “Contagion” (USA, d. Steven Soderbergh)
9. “Hanna” (Ger/UK/USA, d. Joe Wright)
10.”Beauty Day” (Canada, d. Jay Cheel)
Honorable Mentions: The Muppets, 50/50, Attack the Block, Hobo With A Shotgun, Captain America:The First Avenger, Tabloid, Bridesmaids, Project Nim, Rise of the Planet of the Apes
1. “Melancholia” (Den/Fr. d. Lars Von Trier)
2. “Cafe de Flore” (Canada, d. Jean Marc Valee)
3. “The Artist” (France, d. Michel Hazanavicius)
4. “Monsieur Lazhar” (Canada, d. Phillipe Falardeau)
5. “I Saw The Devil” (S.Korea, d. Kim Jee Woon)
6. “Bridesmaids” (USA, d. Paul Feig)
7. “Incendies” (Canada, d. Denis Villeneuve)
8. “Attack the Block” (UK, d. Joe Cornish)
9. “Hanna” (Ger/UK/USA, d. Joe Wright)
10. “Young Adult” (USA, d. Jason Reitman)
Honorable Mentions: Super 8, Meek’s Cutoff, Beginners, Take Shelter, The Muppets, Rango, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, The Devil’s Double, The Descendants, Tyrannosaur, Contagion, Margin Call, X-Men:First Class, Submarine
Top Documentaries (Greg): 1. “Senna” (UK, d. Asif Kapadia)
2. “The Interrupters” (USA, Steve James)
3. “Urbanized” (USA, d. Gary Hustwit)
4. “Beauty Day” (Canada, d. Jay Cheel)
5. “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” (Can/USA/Fr/Ger/UK, d. Werner Herzog)
6. “Project Nim” (USA, d. James Marsh)
7. “Conan O’ Brien Can’t Stop” (USA, d. Rodman Flender)
8. “Into the Abyss” (USA, d. Werner Herzog)
9. “I’m Caroline Parker: The Good, the Mad, and the Beautiful” (USA, d. Jonathan Demme)
10.”Cameraman: The Life and Work of Jack Cardiff” (UK, d. Craig McCall)
CriticalMassCast turns 50 this week! In honour of the special occasion, CMC hosts Corey Pierce and Gregory Ashman are pleased to be joined by guest host, Ryan McNeil of The Matinee podcast and web blog to discuss festival culture and their most anticipated films for the upcoming 36th Annual presentation of the Toronto International Film Festival running from September 8- September 18th in Toronto, Canada.
Welcome to the FIRST CriticalMassCast and Zero Pretension Simulcast. In this episode Shawn Keown (of Zero Pretension) and Greg Ashman (of CMC and ZP), join CriticalMassCast cohosts Cindy Alexander and Corey Pierce for a discussion about the end of an era. The Harry Potter franchise has now seen its FINAL installment Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, and we will look at the Deathly Hallows film as a whole. Not only do we review the Deathly Hallows we discuss how these films have been major parts of our lives for the last 10 years, and how the entire Harry Potter franchise has grown along with a whole new generation of movie lovers.
Be sure to leave us any questions/comments at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow us on Twitter @cmasscast as well as on iTunes.
The whole CriticalMassCast crew is counting down our all-time favourite films this week! We’re talking high-brow, low-brow, and everything in between. Take a listen to this week’s super-sized episode to hear our Top 10, and read the rest of our Top 20 lists… after the jump!