Ep 9 : The Hateful Eight

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After a long hiatus after just being too busy to run two podcasts.. one had to give. However the opportunity presented itself to record off the cuff in a pub in Manchester aptly called Pub.

So after watching the new Quinten Tarantino film The Hateful Eight, Sarah Boulton, Curt Milner, Sean Luby and myself all took shelter from the rain to record a few spoiler filled podcast with indie rock music playing in the background.

You can follow all these fine folks on twitter on the links above.

I am on iTunes and Stitcher or you can just follow the feed. http://cinematronix.co.uk/category/do-you-expect-us-to-talk/feed/

Listen and enjoy

 

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The Battle of Lincoln by Curt Milner

By 

This is a story of the afternoon I went to see Steven Spielberg’s 2013 film Lincoln, nominated for ten

Oscars ® and winner of two, for Daniel Day Lewis’s central performance, and for Rick Carter and Jim

Erickson’s production design. The film’s imdb page lists a total of 114 wins and 169 nominations

across the awards spectrum, which by anyone’s standards is not too shabby. I walked out of this film.

If you haven’t stopped reading and abolished me from social networking sites, hear me out. I know

this film is good. I’m pretty sure it’s great. I love Steven Spielberg’s work. So what was my problem

with this film? Did the critical praise set my expectations so high that I ended up bitterly disappointed?

Am I an expert on the 16th president of the United States and ended up deeply upset with the historical

inaccuracies of the movie in the name of dramatic license? No. I had to walk out because I was

defeated by a few rude cinemagoers. Whereas Mr. Lincoln was resolute in his will to see his nation

through the Civil War, and put an end to slavery, I left this matinee screening defeated and broken.Lincoln_2012_Teaser_Poster

What would Abe think of me?

I finally found time to catch Lincoln in the spring of 2013, just as it was starting to die off cinema

screens. I had managed to get tickets to a Thursday afternoon showing, the day before it would end its

theatrical run, after which it would be too late to catch it at a cinema again. I was excited to finally see

a film that had been garnering five-star reviews across the board. I settled into my seat for a five

o’clock-ish matinee, with only a handful of other people in the screening; a nice, quiet afternoon where

I could hunker down and concentrate on this intricate three-hour drama.

About five minutes into the film, a middle-aged couple, some rows in front of me, began burbling to

each other. I was a little annoyed, but told myself that they would surely settle down eventually. I mean

they had to, surely? This film is two and-a-half hours long. But they didn’t. This couple, who were old

enough to know better, continued to chatter. The cadence of their conversation was akin to them being

at home and watching a film on the T.V. The husband (assuming they were married) would burble

something to the wife, and the wife would burble back in agreement. In a large screen, the pair were

some rows in front of me; too far away for me to make out what they were saying, but not so far that I

couldn’t hear that they were saying. And with few people in the screening to absorb the sound, their

chuntering was very noticeable. Now, I like to think I’m a pretty tolerant cinemagoer. And if I’m in a

loud, dumb, explosive action movie and people are reacting to the film and eating popcorn, slurping

drinks, to a point I don’t care. I even like it, it adds to the fun, especially if the film isn’t that great,

consuming sugary confections is a welcome distraction. But in a 150-minute political drama?

It seemed to me the people I was dealing with in this Lincoln performance rarely went to the cinema,

but the positive press and Oscar ® nominations had brought these creatures out of the woodwork.

Certain films are more vulnerable than others to this (horror films, James Bond) the types of people

who still think they are in their homes and have no basic consideration for cinema etiquette or for other

human beings. It’s rude and it’s wrong. I mean, Lincoln starts with some brief loud-ish scenes of battle

and war, but mainly its talky. Because it’s a POLITICAL FUCKING DRAMA.

The murmuring continued. I imagined that their dialogue (obviously so much more important than

Abraham Lincoln and his piddling, petty, slavery-abolishing on screen bullshit) went something like

this:

Husband: ‘That’s Sally Field don’t you know?!’

Wife: ‘Ooh yes, she was in that Steel Magnolias!’

Husband: ‘Mmmm!’

To grasp the full annoyance of this, one must add an upper inflection in the middle of the

‘mmMMmm’. Because that’s what it sounded like to me. Twenty minutes pass and there is no end to

the chitchat. Okay, I think to myself with a sigh, this is really annoying now, and there is no way I am

going to endure two-plus hours of this. So it looks like I will need to ask them to be quiet myself, or get

an usher, assuming I can find one, to ask them to politely (fucking) shut it. Galling, but it looks like

that was the only course of action available. Fine. Perfect. Problem solved. Or so I thought. Because it

was at this moment that a man with a tray of nachos enters the screen and sits right in front of me.

I could not believe this. You couldn’t make this up. And yes, he starts eating those nachos. Of course

he does. Loudly. In a screening of LINCOLN. So while Daniel Day Lewis is acting away, people are

dying and Constitutions being argued over, the enslavement of a people hanging in the balance, A

MAN IS EATING NACHOS IN FRONT OF ME. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. I could not believe what I

was hearing. Between Mr. and Mrs. Gabble-On and, the man WHO WAS EATING NACHOS IN A

SCREENING OF A TWO AND-A-HALF HOUR POLITICAL DRAMA CALLED LINCOLN, I felt

defeated. The talky couple I could ask to be quiet. But Nacho Libre? It was one too many children to

tell to behave. It slowly dawned on me that I would not be able to endure a film of this running time

with this kind of behavior going on. A pair of talkers I could ask to be quiet. But to tell a guy to stop

eating something he has bought, however misguidedly, from a venue that sells this stuff legitimately? I

don’t think that would work. What would I tell him to do? Suck on his nachos quietly? At this moment

in time I was hoping he’d choke on them.

09lincoln-span-articleLargeAnd so I walked out of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. I went to the poor young lady at the box office

and explained the situation. Great. In addition to annoying me, these inconsiderate scumbags had

turned me into a person who complains to minimum-wage staff. So now I hate myself. She gave me the

refund with the look of someone who had had this one too many times. I wanted to tell her that she was

a good person in her heart and that this wasn’t her fault. Instead I said my thanks and apologized once

more for being a complainer. But I did get my refund.

As I walked out of the cinema this spring afternoon, a strange feeling came over me. The profound

annoyance I felt at having to walk out of Lincoln was replaced by a feeling of great liberation. Of

course, nothing like the sense of liberation the slaves felt after President Abraham Lincoln’s battles for

reform did, but free nonetheless. I had made some kind of a stand. I had argued that it was my

constitutional right to live in a nation where I can see an Oscar ® winning political drama and not have

to endure talking and loud-eating. And I won. I felt some sense of sadness for those few innocents who

were left in the screen to tolerate the running time of this film with all the oppression that surrounded

them, and threated to render the money they had spent on their tickets void. They will forever be

remembered in my heart. But I escaped. I was free of tyranny.

I still haven’t seen Lincoln. The half-an-hour or so I did manage that day at the cinema does not even

count, so taken out of it was I by three rude people. So at least I still have it to look forward to. And so

that is how The Battle of Lincoln ended for me. In a defeat, a retreat, but also a refund, and ultimately

liberation.

To those people who did ruin my cinema-going experience that fateful day I say to you this: I hope

you get a phone call from Liam Neeson, and not Oskar Schindler Liam Neeson, Bryan Mills out of

Taken Liam Neeson, and that he does find you and kill you. Not very charitable of me I know. But then

neither is talking incessantly and EATING FUCKING NACHOS LOUDLY DURING LINCOLN.

Have a nice day.

Curt Milner

God Help the Girl : Review by Curt Milner

Review by 

 

Belle and Sebastian frontman Stuart Murdoch’s directorial debut is a pleasant surprise that has come out of left field in more ways than one. Funded in part by Kickstarter and turned down by all major funding bodies until Barry Mendel, producer of the likes of Bridesmaids and Serenity, came on board to make Murdoch’s vision a reality. God Help the Girl has a wonderfully lo-fi, messy look that stays the right side of charming and is like nothing else you will see this year. Perhaps the film’s closest spiritual cousin is Begin Again (2014), that other ramshackle tale of down at heel people finding purpose again through music.

 

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Emily Browning plays Eve, a teenager with an eating disorder who has hit rock bottom self-esteem wise until a chance meeting with James (Olly Alexander) leads to an unlikely alliance in which they decide to form a band, along with singer Cassie (Hannah Murray). What follows are a series of escapades as the three newfound friends find purpose through their music, working towards that all important first gig. God Help the Girl is a musical in the loosest sense; the cast regularly breaks out into Belle and Sebastian’s whimsical ditties, which may charm or irritate depending on your take on that kind of music. Sometimes, the songs feel shoehorned into the film without making much sense in the overall narrative, however this disconnect only adds to the rough edges that add to the film’s charm. If you thought Begin Again had a low-budget feel, this looks like it was made for about a tenner.

 

The leads are all perfect in their roles, Olly Alexander and Hannah Murray capturing the naiveté and pomposity of youth, and Emily Browning is wonderful in a difficult role as Eve, her character suffering from the outset with an eating disorder and slowly finding healing and purpose once more. It is a credit to Browning’s performance and Murdoch’s sensitive, yet unsentimental writing of such an issue that it does not overwhelm the film’s tone, acting more as a dramatic counterweight to the whimsy.

God Help the Girl is sweet, charming, funny, sometimes clunky and irritating, but ultimately winning. It’s a film, which has heart and soul, and wears it proudly on its tweed-jacketed sleeve.

 

Curt Milner

 

You Wait All Year For a Film….. By Curt Milner

by Curt Milner  

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The other week, I was waiting for a bus on a muggy summer day when another double-decker passed me travelling in the opposite direction. On the side of the bus was an advert for Seth McFarlane’s latest comedy A Million Ways to Die in the West. It’s a film I was keen to see being a fan of McFarlane’s work. I like Family Guy a lot and am always up for a laugh. That’s the transaction promised with a comedy, right? Every time I would see a poster, trailer, or billboard for A Million Ways in the run up to its release date here in the UK, I was up for it, feeling that sense of intrigue and excitement for this as yet unseen film.

But as I watched the poster on the side of this eastbound bus slowly draw away from view some two weeks after A Million Ways was released, something had changed. I no longer felt the pang of excitement for an unseen film I did before. Somehow this attraction had lost its sheen. So what had changed? Namely this: The critical consensus was not good, and my own enthusiasm to see this film was fading fast. Shame. This life-cycle of a film’s theatrical release is a fascinating thing. A film is born on its release date. Before that it is innocent, an unknown quantity, and once it is released, is might sink or swim. I often look at often out-of-date bus posters for films and get a strange sense of nostalgia for this magical time before a film was out; when it had lots of potential, to entertain, scare, engross, enlighten. And so a part of me feels a little sad when I see a film long since released fade from view. By this tie, a film’s noble struggle will have already generated it’s own narrative, the kind that keeps sites like Box Office Mojo in business. Perhaps it was a smash and is still going strong. Perhaps it disappeared without trace. Maybe it just did okay and had a good run in cinemas until the end, as it looks like A Million Ways will.

And yet, despite the critical drubbing A Million Ways to Die in the West has since received, I admire and respect Seth McFarlane’s work ethic, and willingness to push the boundaries of comedy. Perhaps more than anything, I admire McFarlane’s willingness to try and fail. I hope he continues to make many more films in future as I think he has a few comedy classics in him, if only all the elements can come together into the mix. Making a film is hard. Making a successful film is even harder. And that is why I love this medium. I love getting excited by a film in its unreleased, unknown phase of life. Hell I even remember getting excited by the trailer for Paul Blart: Mall Cop. That film was a disappointment for me, but for a few glorious, naïve weeks, I was excited about it, and you don’t want to know how many times I watched and laughed at the trailer. I hope that as time wears on, I never lose that feeling of getting excited about a film before it is unleashed to the cinema-going public to fend for itself in the big wide world. And so to Hollywood I say this to you: Keep sending those bus posters my way, because (*insert title here) that looks like it might be quite good. Also, if my bus is attached to that poster, that would be cool too, I have places to be…