Thursday, June 30, 2011

Further On Up the Road (Looking Towards Episode 5)

Hope y'all enjoyed The Coen Brothers conversation this week, and judging by the late-but-large amount of feedback we received, it seems as though you have.

I, for one, will be interested in hearing the reaction to our next director as he too is quite a polarizing entity in the world of cinema. Here's a clue as to who's on tap...

Well, you know...when something happens, you can leave a trace of itself behind. Say like, if someone burns toast. Well, maybe things that happen leave other kinds of traces behind. Not things that anyone can notice, but things that ( certain people ) can see. Just like they can see things that haven't happened yet. Well, sometimes they can see things that happened a long time ago. I think a lot of things happened right here in this particular hotel over the years. And not all of 'em was good...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"Oh You Betcha Yah..." (Simon Reviews FARGO)

What is the best Coen Brothers film? One could make a case for NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN...certainly MILLER'S CROSSING is up for discussion...some might even suggest THE BIG LEBOWSKI (though I wouldn't).

For my money, I think it's hard to top FARGO - even though, as I mentioned in the show, I didn't like it at first go. Simon reviewed it for Screen Insight a while back, here's a taste of what he thought...

Frances McDormand's 'Marge' is such a force that as soon as we see her and 'Norm' wake up to the call of a homicide, it is she who is the centre of the story. Everything else turns to dust. Her idiosyncrasies and mannerisms, "yah" simply make every sequence amazing to watch. She notes on the documentary that she can only do 'Madge' when in the wig - which doesn't surprise me. Something so fluid can't be turned on and off - you have to physically become the character...

The full post can be found here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"I Do Not Know This Man" (Hatter Reviews TRUE GRIT)

Talking about The Coen Brothers proved to be a tricky task. They have so many truly great films that one could easily dedicate an entire twelve part series to them alone! But in the effort to keep things succint, Simon and I were forced to skim past some of their titles.

Such as TRUE GRIT.

But thankfully, both he and I have done a lot of writing on the Coens over the years, so we have them covered with the written word.

Here's a taste of what I thought of their western remake last year...

TRUE GRIT feels like a sermon about cowardice and consequences. The movie begins with a quote, pointing out that the lowest form of cowards are the ones that run when nobody is there to chase them. What sort of fate should befall such a person? Do they deserve the mercy and luxury of the law? It wouldn't seem so if even a fourteen-year-old can grasp the gutlessness of the action. No. In the society TRUE GRIT inhabits, such lack of spine merits bounty hunters, vigilante justice, and retribution...

The full post can be found here.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Episode 3 Scoreboard

Sorry for the late reply on Cronenberg Trivia, but if Reel Insight can tack on their scoring update - so can we!

And as of posting time (11am EST on Monday 6/27) nobody has sent in submissions for Coens trivia! A potential 24 points are still up for grabs - who wants it?

Here are the results after three rounds, with everyone's point pickup for this episode listed in parenthesis...

Rachel Thuro 37 (+5)
Rhys Bendeix-Lewis 35 (+10)
Courtney Small 25 (+15)
Andrew Buckle 24 (+24)
Shane McNeil 18 (+6)
Duke 12 (0)
Andrew Robinson 3 (0)

Just a quick reminder about the scoring structure - The first person to email their answers is awarded 4 points per correct answer. The second emailed response gets 3 points per correct answer. The third gets 2 points per correct answer. Everyone after that who emails in before 5pm EST the following Friday gets 1 point per.

So, as evidenced by Mr. Buckle this week, just because you are late getting into the game, doesn't mean you can't do some immediate damage on the scoreboard!

Hatter's Questions

What film does Cronenberg play a gas clerk worker calling customers? LAST NIGHT

Which is based on a graphic novel? A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE

Name the bad Whose lead singer is featured in VIDEODROME? Blondie

Simon's Questions:

How Many Fly Films? 5 - THE FLY (1958), RETURN OF THE FLY (1959), CURSE OF THE FLY (1965), THE FLY (1986), THE FLY II (1989)

Which Actor has Cronenberg worked with the most? Viggo Mortensen

Who has composed the music to the vast majority of David Cronenberg films? Howard Shore

Entries for Trivia close at noon EST on the Friday after the show; please email all answers to The prize dvd/blu-ray can be worth a maximum $30 USD on

FROM START TO FINISH: (Simon covers The Coen's Back Catalogue)

The Coen's, for me, marked a success in how I chose to watch their entire back-catalogue and succeeded - whilst my ongoing attempts at watching the back-catalogue's of Woody Allen (so-o-o many films!) and Steven Spielberg (damn you Always!) continue.

It was due to this success that I chronicled the Coen's collection on my blog, analysing each and every film I watched and commenting on them. It was broken into four parts - and preceded True Grit and delves a little deeper into what reoccurs in their films - and what is unique about each one.

As a taste:

"Blood Simple brings together a simple story set in Texas about infidelity and murder. Influenced by genre cinema - namely Film Noir and, to some extent, Horror. Cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld even worked on the film - to go on to direct features such as Get Shorty and Men in Black. Even the awkward murder-gone-wrong, a huge centre-point to the story, is something that became a recurring theme - though clearly inspired by Hitchcock, whereby it was always a nightmare to dispose of bodies and even commit the murder itself in classics such as Rope and Frenzy."

And here are the links to each post -

The Complete Collection: The Coen Brothers (Part 1) - Blood Simple and Raising Arizona

The Complete Collection: The Coen Brothers (Part 2) - Miller's Crossing through to The Big Lebowski

The Complete Collection: The Coen Brothers (Part 3) - O Brother Where Art Thou through to The Ladykiller's

The Complete Collection: The Coen Brothers (Part 4) - No Country for Old Men to True Grit

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Film Locker #4: Joel and Ethan Coen and 'No Country for Old Men'

Having spent two weeks covering film directors who may be a little off the beaten track, we regain the road by moving to younger and hipper folk in Joel and Ethan Coen. Having both watched both back-catalogues, Hatter and I argue it out with our favourites and not-so-favourite films with an in-depth analysis of NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.

We go through our top-of-the-shelf choices and choose two films that reflect the diversity of the Coen's style with a nice little musical treat tp finish the episode!

On a sidenote, results for Episode 3 will be released soon so - don't let this stop you from entering this weeks competition!

And, as usual, it is already up on itunes and can be found easily on podomatic - so, please do try and write reviews and support us if you can! We have the ol' RSS feed and 2.0 RSS and, if you link in different ways, we also have it on Google and Yahoo

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Friday, June 24, 2011

Further On Up The Road (Looking Towards Episode 4)

It appears that the reading material to support Cronenberg is limited between Hatter and I - with only a review of Eastern Promises each to support. I can guarantee that after Saturday's episode, we should be posting one-a-day for coverage on our directorial choice this week...

C: You don't have to do this.
A: [smiles] People always say the same thing. 

C: What do they say?
A: They say, "You don't have to do this." 

C: You don't. 
A: Okay.
[A flips a coin and covers it with his hand]
A: This is the best I can do. Call it. 

C: I knowed you was crazy when I saw you sitting there. I knowed exactly what was in store for me. 
A: Call it.
C: No. I ain't gonna call it.
A: Call it.
C: The coin don't have no say. It's just you.

A: Well, I got here the same way the coin did.

Monday, June 20, 2011

"Sometimes, if things are closed, you just, open them up." (Simon reviews EASTERN PROMISES)

As my Top Shelf pick, Eastern Promises still resides high on my list of favourite Cronenberg films. I mentioned, multiple times, the artistic references within the film and, way back, when I initially reviewed the film I managed to support my theory with images of the Mannerist Art Movement.

Strangely enough, the review even recalls my first discussion with Hatter on his Matineecast! Its strange how time flies ...

Here is a little more depth on the issue:

The stronger link is the sequence in the sauna as Nikolai is mistaken for Kirill and is nearly murdered - he is forced to fight for himself. Mannerism was a period in art history that followed the Rennaissance and preceded the Baroque period. Michelangelo was one of - if not, the first of the - Mannerist artists.

Read the full review by clicking here.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Film Locker #3: David Cronenberg and 'The Fly'

So, much love to our new listeners who have entered the competition and the writer-inners (email us!) and with two in the bag - a Woody Allen and a Martin Scorsese episode, we now move onto more obscene and obscure directors with David Cronenberg.

Our choice of film is The Fly. Hatter mentioned how, prior to our Woody Allen show, he had not seen Hannah and her Sisters, and the same is true of The Fly for me. In fact, in preparation I watched three Cronenberg films: The Fly, eXistenZ and Dead Ringers for the first time!

And, as usual, it is already up on itunes and can be found easily on podomatic - so, please do try and write reviews and support us if you can! We have the ol' RSS feed and 2.0 RSS and, if you link in different ways, we also have it on Google and Yahoo

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Friday, June 17, 2011

Episode 2 Scoreboard

Round two of the trivia game has closed, and I'm happy to see that it brought us a few new players.

One little slip-up though: In my haste to come up with questions, I'd forgotten that Tobey Maguire was in DECONSTRUCTING HARRY. Thus my superhero question is a dead end. As such, I have decided to give everyone who entered the point for that question.

Here are the results after two rounds, with everyone's point pickup for this episode listed in parenthesis...

Rachel Thuro 32 (+12)
Rhys Bendeix-Lewis 25 (+20)
Duke 12 (0)
Shane McNeil 12 (+12)
Courtney Small 10 (+2)
Andrew Robinson 3 (0)

Rhys makes an impressive climb by being first to answer, but rachel maintains her early lead. Lots of time left on the game clock gang, email us your answers for episode three when it drops tomorrow and see if you can give Rhys and rachel a run for their money.

Hatter's Questions
Orson Welles was the only person to be nominated for acting/writing/directing the same film before Woody (two have done it since).
I was going for Spider-Man, believing that neither Andrew Garfield nor Tobey Maguire had been in an Allen film. As previously stated - I was misled.
"Rhapsody in Blue" plays over the opening sequence of MANHATTAN.

Simon's Questions:
Woody has acted in 30 of the films he has directed.
"The defendant did commit an adulterous act..." is from EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SEX * BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK
Seven Woody Allen films include the name of a place in the title.

Entries for Trivia close at noon EST on the Friday after the show; please email all answers to The prize dvd/blu-ray can be worth a maximum $30 USD on

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Further On Up the Road (Looking Towards Episode 3)

Had enough conversation about New York City and neuroses for one week? Ready to look ahead to episode three? Good - so are we.

S: I think you're making a mistake. I think you really want to talk to me.
R: Sorry, I have three other interviews to do before this party's over.
S: Yeah, but they're not working on something that'll change the world as we know it.
R: They say they are.
S: Yeah, but they're lying. I'm not

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"I'm a World Renowned Claustrophobic" (Simon reviews MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY)

I know I said it before, but with 41 films, it's going to take me a while to get through all (or even most) of Woody Allen's body of work. Something I've also said before, is that I'm happy I can defer to Simon when trying to settle on where to start.


With a title like that, one might think it's complete farce, but according to my Brit friend, it's quite celever (if flawed). Here's a snippet of his take on the film...

Apparently, originally this Murder Mystery was squeezed into Annie Hall but, thank God, the Marshall Brickman/Woody Allen script for Annie Hall has no murder element whatsoever. But, Allen does team up with Marshall Brickman to complete this script so it does remain as chirpy as Annie Hall but without the heart. I think it was Madonna who said that "there are all the songs about people breaking-up and getting together - but none about staying together". This film has a great strong central theme in how couples can stay together...

The full post can be found here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"You Inspire Me" (Hatter Reviews YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER)

As much as we effused about Woody Allen during the podcast, there's one side-effect that comes with being such a prolific director: The films aren't all winners.

Take last year's offering, YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER. Oddly enough the film wasn't bad per se, it just wasn't up to the level that one might expect from a Woody Allen film. Here's part of what I had to say about it after taking it in at TIFF 2010

Just about every character in YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER seems to have the same mindset. Almost to a man, they seem to believe that their lovelife is in a rut and that they need to make a change. They need someone else - anyone else. If they shake off the person that has held them back, then suddenly their every wish will come true and their life will be filled with meaning and love. Problem is, it seldom works that way...

The full post can be found here.

Monday, June 13, 2011

"Fucking Men!" (Simon Reviews HUSBANDS AND WIVES)

In a lot of ways I need to thank Simon for picking Woody Allen for the podcast as it pushed me to chase down more of his films. This of course led to many wonderful hours with my blu-ray player as I got to experience films like SWEET & LOWDOWN and this week's feature film, HANNAH AND HER SISTERS for the first time.

One such film was HUSBANDS AND WIVES, which Simon has a great review of over at Screen Insight...

Now I know that I have had this coming for a while. A Woody Allen fan who has not been disappointed … it was inevitable really. There are films which are weaker, granted, but more often than not, an awesome cast approaching a high-concept comedy-drama will always have merits. Fact of the matter is, Husbands and Wives simply doesn’t have enough scope in its concept and the characters – notably Mia Farrow and Judy Davis – are simply not likeable or relatable for us, as an audience, to enjoy their company for a hundred minutes...

Guess I liked it more than he did, eh?
The full post can be found here.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Film Locker #2: Woody Allen and 'Hannah and her Sisters'

Only recently, amongst the much-appreciated feedback (email us!) we received for our Martin Scorsese episode, fellow blogger and podcaster Dylan noted that the music could be a tad overbearing ... well, luckily, with Woody Allen we have his brilliant Jazz and Classical music to set under our voices discussing his work.

Our choice of film is Hannah and Her Sisters. Purposefully, not his most well known, but definately representative of Woody Allen's two sides - his comedic film  and his philosophical style.

And, as usual, it is already up on itunes and can be found easily on podomatic - so, please do try and write reviews and support us if you can! We have the ol' RSS feed and 2.0 RSS and, if you link in different ways, we also have it on Google and Yahoo

Again - amazing art work by Hatter!

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Friday, June 10, 2011

Episode 1 Scoreboard

Round one of the trivia game is wrapped, and we have a good little handful of players on the board. Here are the results after one round, and the answers to the questions asked.

Rachel Thuro - 20 points
Duke - 12 points
Courtney Small - 8 points
Rhys Bendix-Lewis - 5 points
Andrew Robinson - 3 points

A good start for Rachel (being the first entry and going 5-for-6 sure helped), but with many episodes still to come, the lead is far from insurmountable. Get in the game people!

Hatter's Questions:
If Scorsese has said that he would have been a priest.
Scorsese's made docs on The Band, Bob Dylan, and The Rolling Stones
Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Francis Ford Coppola did the honours.

Simon's Questions:
There have been 8 Scorsese/DeNiro collaborations
Scorsese has directed 32 films in total (The 14 shorts didn't count)
"Ï don't want to be a product of my environment..." is from THE DEPARTED

Notes: Entries for Trivia will henceforth close at noon EST on the Friday after the show, and the prize dvd/blu-ray can be worth a maximum $30 USD on

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Further On Up the Road (Looking Towards Episode 2)

As we get ready to move on from our Scorsese debut, here are two clues to the director that we'll be talking about this weeked in episode two...

H: Could you have ruined yourself somehow?
M: How could I ruin myself?
H: I don't know. Excessive masturbation?
M: You gonna start knocking my hobbies?

"There's not only beer in that jug. There's beer and blood - blood of men! " (Simon reviews THE PUBLIC ENEMY)

That's not a line from a Martin Scorsese film - but I'll bet he wishes it was! It is a line delivered by Jimmy Cagney way back in 1931 when he managed to snag a role in The Public Enemy. Interestingly, Cagney did not originally get the role he played - instead he was cast as Matt Doyle. Luckily, at the last minute, the two actors switched Edward Woods playing Matt Doyle whilst James Cagney played Tom "I-ain't-so-tough" Powers.

One thing that we can never forget about Scorsese is his influences. One Gangster film which was a huge influence on him was William A. Wellman's The Public Enemy starring James Cagney. It was the film that broke out Cagney whilst additionally showing a true example of the rise and fall of the Gangster.

As a sample of how The Public Enemy influenced him, I wrote:

"THE PUBLIC ENEMY itself had a huge influence on filmmakers - specifically Martin Scorsese, who often says in interviews how he attended double-bills that showed THE PUBLIC ENEMY and SCARFACE when he was a child and it was part of many factors that made him the one of the greatest directors of all time, and in the first few minutes you can see the influence this has had on him."

If you want to read more, you can find it by clicking here

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

"Gimme Champagne When I'm Thirsty, Give Me a Reefer When I Wanna Get High..." (Hatter reviews SHINE A LIGHT)

Few people can film rock & roll like Martin Scorsese. The man has it down to a science and does it with such subtlety that a viewer never truly realizes just how much craft is in play.

The last great example of this was when Scorsese took his crew to film the world's greatest rock & roll band play a theatre show in New York. Here's a bit about what I thought at the time...

Fair Warning: This review will be difficult for me to write without letting my biases show. I'm a believer in rock & roll. I'm a follower of Martin Scorsese. And I'm deeply devoted to the Gospel according to Charlie, Ronnie, Keith, and Mick. However, I will try to set all of that aside, and give an honest account of SHINE A LIGHT. Light a candle for me...say a prayer...this will be tough...

Slight sidenote, this review was posted in my first few months of if it seems a little rough, I plead inexperience. The full post can be found here.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"Thank God For the Rain To Wash the Trash Off the Sidewalk..." (Simon reviews TAXI DRIVER)

One film we danced around during the episode and only mentioned sparingly is Scorsese's classic TAXI DRIVER: A film Simon called one of the three essential Marty movies.

The Ballad of Travis Bickle is a film that almost demands repeat viewings, something Simon mentions in this post on Screen Insight. Here's a taste...

Because the whole film cuts so close to the bone, it has the edge of fear and horror. The eyes lingering in the car mirror and the sense throughout the film about what Travis will do - when will he crack?

His not-so-subtle racism is also a part of this which is so difficult to watch also. In a world that has become so diverse - whereby, in my opinion, racism has become hidden as opposed to being openly condoned. Travis drives through the streets rarely conversing with people - but we know his thoughts and his attitude to the African-American characters in his head. The real fear and horror is the possible parallels this might have with people in society today - violent, dangerous racist sociopaths who will inevitably crack at some point...

If you want to read more, the full review can be found here.

Monday, June 6, 2011

"Get Yourself Together Teddy..." (Hatter reviews SHUTTER ISLAND)

Thank you to everybody who has listened to our first episode so far, given us great constructive feedback to work with, and participated in the trivia game. I'm sure I speak for Simon when I say that we're happy we were able to start this crazy collaboration off with a bang.

During Episode One, Simon mentioned that for him SHUTTER ISLAND was the best film of 2010, and while I didn't completely agree, I did find the film to be an amazing cinematic experience.

Here's a taste of what I wrote at the time on The Dark of The Matinee...

"Do you really want to know?"

We've all heard those six words at some point, and in all of us it evokes a certain unease. It answers a question with a question, and tells us that we're not going like the truth. That's the feeling that lingers over much of SHUTTER ISLAND...that every single answer we get in this mystery will lead to further - and more unsettling - questions...

If you want to read more, the full review can be found here.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Film Locker #1: Martin Scorsese and 'Goodfellas'

For me, the primary purpose of blogging and podcasting is to learn and to improve on my film interest through writing, reflecting and discussing cinema with a broad range of like-minded people. The 'dream' of joining film journalism in a professional sense is something that I do intend to work towards and, moreso, to even break in Film Academia by writing about cinema.

These 12-episodes are part of one series focussing exclusively on directors - choosing one film to extrapolate (love that word) from. In some cases, these are directors that I know through and through, in other cases they are directors I have had to research - and this podcast is a great outlet to relay the knowledge I have learnt.

It's a big job and takes a while to prepare, record and edit - but so far, it has been worth it. By keeping it as a limited run, we can reflect and improve if we decide to continue...

It is already up on itunes and can be found easily on podomatic - so, please do try and write reviews and support us if you can! We have the ol' RSS feed and 2.0 RSS and, if you link in different ways, we also have it on Google and Yahoo

Here we go:

Series 1: Episode 1 - Martin Scorsese and 'Goodfellas'

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"Go home and get your fu**ing shine box."

A little hint here and there to introduce a new 12-part podcast hosted by LAMMY Award-Winning Podcaster Mad Hatter of the Matineecast and LAMMY Nominee Simon of The Simon and Jo Film Show...

It is coming soon, so you can listen to our tease and set-up your podcast feed ...