On Row Three: Contagion, Wilder, Maddin, and Music

The past couple of weeks have seen some nicely varied activity on Row Three. The series posts seem to be going well, and generating the hoped-for interaction, so we’ll try to keep that up. As far as regular reviews, I got one up for Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion, and only a week or so after it was released! That’s a major triumph for me…I need time to mull things over. I’ll never make it as a weekly trade reviewer. Good thing I don’t really want to be that. In any case, I liked the movie a good bit, and I’ve already talked about it in my September Scorecard, so I’ll just leave you to read that and/or the full review at Row Three.

I’ve been idly figuring out which directors I’ve seen the most films by, and Billy Wilder came out fairly close to the top, with fourteen. Not surprising; he’s a fantastic writer/director and I went through a period as a teenager just gobbling up everything of his I could find. In fact, I’d say he’s probably one of the first directors I actively knew by name and sought out their films. So I decided to do a Rank ‘Em entry and see how his filmography stacks up. I threw in films he wrote but didn’t direct, too, for good measure, bringing the total up to eighteen. It was challenging near the top simply because his top four or five films are all top-notch and difficult to choose between, but I’m fairly content with my placement. Meanwhile, Marina ranked Guy Maddin films, Domenic ranked Steven Soderbegh films, and Ross ranked Brad Pitt films. We like lists, yes we do.

Along with our ongoing post series, we’re also going to try to participate a little more in blogathons and other events across the blogging community, and what better way to get our feet wet than with a few posts about Canadian maverick Guy Maddin, a favorite among many Row Three contributors, for a blogathon hosted at the Keyframe blog over at Fandor (a streaming video site you should really check out if you like non-mainstream film). Kurt talked about his favorite Maddin film Careful, Colleen posted a 3×5 review of Tales of Gimli Hospital, Marina ranked her top five Maddin films, and I wrote a bit about my early experiences with Maddin, since I’ve only just started looking at his filmography this year.

For my latest MorePop entry, I threw together a list of some music I’ve been checking out in September – there have been a LOT of indie releases this month, including some I haven’t even had a chance to get to yet! So this is just a sampling of what’s been filling up my Spotify, along with videos and streams of songs for each one. Including the new Mates of State album Mountaintops, which is earworming me right now. This week, Marina says goodbye to R.E.M. and gives us her top ten R.E.M. songs.