Monday, December 29, 2014

145 The Princess Bride

This Barbara Streisand vehicle is even better than seeing Babs live!! ... wait... no? This isn't The Prince of Tides? That was a close one. This week we review the 1987 classic The Princess Bride. A bit of a split review this go 'round, Mark finds the deft care Rob Riener takes with the characters memorable and endearing while Matt lacks the proper nostalgia to truly embrace this quirky and nuanced film. One thing we both can agree on is that it takes a rare individual to seek out a Billy Crystal performance.

Download:  145 The Princess Bride

Sunday, December 21, 2014

144 In Bruges

Finishing out our Christmas movie theme, we review the nearly perfect In Bruges directed by Martin McDonagh. Matt and Mark both agree, that the film achieves what the likes of Quentin Tarantino set out to do with conversation-based character driven crime stories in the 90's. However, unlike QT's recent bombastic over-the-top cinematic daring, In Bruges relies on expansively 3D dimensional characters with tactful nuance. All actors are firing on all cylinders including the memorable supporting cast. So, kick back, enjoy the fairy-tale shit, and take in the medieval marvel of Bruges!

Download: 144 In Bruges

Monday, December 15, 2014

143 Lethal Weapon

Matt and Mark apologize in advance for the quality of this week's podcast. Mark's single malt exhaustion coupled with Matt's daycare sponsored cold has made the coherence and vocal quality of this review possibly annoying. Anyway, excuses aside, we indulge a watershed moment in 80's action film with this Richard Donner 48 hour power punch of mania. Gibson is always a treat, especially when he's playing a half-crazed (possibly "Mad") cop acting out from the recent loss of his wife, while Glover, who finally comes into his own in a leading role, anchors this adept cop buddy classic. So put in the mousse and tease that mullet out for Lethal Weapon! Oh yeah... and Merry X-mas!

Download: 143 Lethal Weapon

Sunday, December 7, 2014

142 The Machinist

Can one's conscience inflict a more tortured justice than that of society's? Christian Bale in The Machinist delivers a portrait of masochism in the form of madness. A Hitchcockian film, it is a nod to the psychological thriller of old (right down to the use of the theremin in the soundtrack). Bale, one of the greater actors of our generation, puts his health at risk to depict a man transformed not just mentally, but physically by his guilt. So drop a few NoDoz, stay up for a week or so, and enjoy the world of The Machinist.

Download:  142 The Machinist

Monday, December 1, 2014

141 Bubba Ho-Tep

Matt and Mark are in the house (literally) when we both manage to co-occupy the same room for this week's review of Bubba Ho-Tep, a rare collector's edition podcast, if you will. We delve into the high concept wackiness which manages to meld myth with legend and conspiracy theory. Tossing aside the Elvis cliches, director Coscarelli and cult film actor Bruce Campbell paint a respectful portrait of Elvis as a regretful nursing home patient facing the reality all of us will at one point face. That reality, of course being one where you're forced to fend off a 5000 year old mummy from a soul sucking onslaught.

Download:  141 Bubba Ho-Tep

Sunday, November 23, 2014

140 Starship Troopers

Can there be a fascist utopia? Such a question is usually never entertained in polite company (knowing what we know today), but Paul Verhoeven serves up such an idealist future in 1997's Starship Troopers, while wrapping it in a nice Leni Riefenstahl bow (with tongue firmly in cheek). True to form, Verhoeven manages to insinuate nuanced philosophical musings into a bombastic sci-fi action film. A satire that baits the educated liberal class, Starship Troopers is a film that continues to gain appreciation as it ages.

Download: 140 Starship Troopers    

Sunday, November 9, 2014

139 Robocop

"Domo arigato Mr. Roboto!" Matt and Mark review the Verhoeven classic, Robocop, a move that spawned a franchise that continues to this day. As usual, Verhoeven transcends the sci-fi high-concept and makes a prescient film packed with big ideas served it up with a beautiful does of satirical humor. Robocop's future is our present, a cornerstone of the cyberpunk zeitgeist, not only with its predictions of man/machine technologies, but also with its notions of politics and our exploitative media culture.

Download: 139 Robocop

Sunday, October 26, 2014

138 Halloween

Matt and Mark's Halloween movie marathon "The horror... the horror... " concludes this week with the the titular 1978 classic by John Carpenter. A definitive slasher film if there ever was one, John Carpenter uses minimalism to his advantage with "now you see him/now you don't" camera shots that highlight paranoia and dread. The masked Michael Meyers is what Dr. Loomis dubbed the embodiment of evil, however a more fearful notion still is that Michael Meyers has decoupled from a human soul so completely, "good and evil" no longer hold meaning. Happy Halloween everybody!!

Download: 138 Halloween

Sunday, October 19, 2014

137 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Our penultimate pick for our October "The horror... The horror.." marathon is the cult classic 1974 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. A film that adds family life to the derangement of your standard slasher-killer horror film standby, TTCM is the inspiration for arguably better fair such as Rob Zombie's House of a 1000 Corpses. Sadly, most of the film is consumed in tedious chase scenes and waits until its last 20 minutes to truly reveal is genius. Worth a watch none-the-less.

Download: 137 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Monday, October 13, 2014

136 Killer Klowns from Outer Space

The Horror... The Horror... continues this week when we review the highly regarded B-movie Killer Klowns from Outer Space, a movie that sets your expectations low by its premise. Matt retells his childhood clown trauma while Mark patiently listens, trying to provide healing.  Why are these clowns so creepy? Partly, its the monster movie in reverse. You see them in all their gratuity at the outset, and as its silliness wears off, the disturbia settles in.

Download: 136 Killer Klowns from Outer Space

Sunday, October 5, 2014

135 Ringu (Ring)

The Horror... The Horror... continues this week with your marathon run-up to Halloween. We review the original Japanese Ringu (Ring) from which inspired the highly successful American remake. A minimalist fright-fest, gone are the typical gory tropes of traditional film horror, instead replaced by a meta-foreboding that will make you jump at the site of grainy old school television sets and the shrill ring of land line phones. Matt and Mark ponder Sadako's curse in the age of Youtube and wonder if its possible to curse an entire  planet.

Download: 135 Ringu (Ring)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

134 The Exorcist

Time to have a chat with Captain Howdy this week when Matt and Mark review the horror classic The Exorcist. Continuing on with our pre-Halloween "The Horror..." marathon, we discuss the disturbing Friedkin masterpiece that has few, if any, parallels. The Exorcist is strangely a movie for skeptics by skeptics, taunting one to ask terrifying questions about humanity's existence. While many think the opposite of love is hate, the opposite of love is indifference, and the demon occupier Pazuzu/Captain Howdy epitomizes this anti-human element by brutally perverting an innocent twelve year girl, while taking you a long for the ride.

Download: 134 The Exorcist

Sunday, September 21, 2014

133 Pieces

And we're back! The Horror... The Horror... this week we start off The Cult of Matt and Mark's horror movie marathon on the run up to Hell'oween with the grindhousey Pieces from 1982. A movie that defines the slasher genre in all of its cliche'd silliness. Mark is able to appreciate the films nuances, while Matt laments his inability to partake in Washington State's new-found freedom to herbally enhance for such cinematic exploitation. Nowadays, it has been out done by the horror auters it inspired (e.g. Eli Roth), it gives the gory gross out the old college try.

Download:  133 Pieces

Monday, August 18, 2014

132 The Passion of the Christ

Matt and Mark are going on a summer hiatus, but will be back mid-to-late September for our Halloween run-up horror-a-thon. To tide you over, we review the Mel Gibson film The Passion of the Christ. Beloved by the devout, it's time for the atheists perspective. And it cannot be denied, TPOTC is a flat-out good film, regardless of its two-millennium of baggage. Matt takes a psychological perspective while Mark provides the Christian context. A film that is guilty by association, it deserves an honest viewing, even by the most cynical and critical among us. And the South Park guys can go hang. Anybody that wants their money back for TPOTC are nothing but assholes.

Download:  The Passion

Monday, August 11, 2014

131 Stranger Than Paradise

Matt and Mark review the Jim Jarmusch indie darling Stranger Than Paradise. A film ahead of its time, it manages to capture the Kurouac feel despite its early 80's setting. Speaking to the aimless twenty somethings, there's a lot to relate to. Unfortunately in Jarmusch's endeavor, this atmosphere seems to come at the expense of plot and theme. What is this movie about? Not sure. Although, I'm sure Jim Jarmusch would retort in an ironic hipster quip that would leave you defenseless.

Download: 113 Stranger Than Paradise

Sunday, July 27, 2014

130 Escape from New York

The third and final review of the John Carpenter/Kurt Russell trilogy, this week we discuss Escape from New York. Mark's virgin viewing coupled with Matt's nostalgia result in contrary opinions. Does Escape from New York really not work? Does its unique premise and the quintessential movie anti-hero Snake Plissken override some of its more 2D performances? It's hard to say. But one could argue if it really matters in the end. One thing we do learn watching Escape, is that the rumors of Snake Plissken's premature demise may have been greatly exaggerated.

Download: 130 Escape from New York

Sunday, July 20, 2014

129 This is Spinal Tap

Let's turn this up to 11! Matt and Mark have come to the realization that it's a challenge to review comedies properly, and Spinal Tap is no different. But we give it a go, and as such, end up rambling quite a bit. Perhaps more tangential than usually, on this podcast we try to probe the cliched and spoof-worthy realm of heavy metal pop music, a comedy rich landscape. Spinal Tap holds a mirror up to the self-indulgent adolescent rocker, and no matter how close it hits to home, bands to this day continue to indulge the silliness. Just as rock will never die, neither will Spinal Tap.

Download: 129 This is Spinal Tap

Sunday, July 13, 2014

128 Full Metal Jacket

 Does Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket romanticize war? Is it possible to make a war movie that doesn't? An interesting two-part film, Kubrick builds a loose narrative from vignette's that don't necessarily speak to one overriding theme. But one doesn't watch FMJ to hammer home the "war is bad" narrative, you watch it for its dark humor, you watch it for its quips, character sketches, and dialogue, and you watch it because its evocative. "Get some!"

Download:  128 Full Metal Jacket

Sunday, July 6, 2014

127 Videodrome

This week we review David Cronenberg's 1983 classic Videodrome. If brain tumors were doled out to those who've casually watched tasteless sex and violence, we'd all be dead in the internet age. But back in 1983, when VHS acted as a sole source for content delivery of our collective perversions, Videodrome was perhaps more prescient and horrifying. Thirty years later, calloused to reality television and on-line video "obscenity" where everyone lives "online", Videodrome's blurred reality is more the norm than the exception. Enjoy a little Crononberg body-horror and long live the new flesh!

Download:  127 Videodrome

Monday, June 30, 2014

126 Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Could this movie get made today? If you're the strangely prudish Russ Meyer devotee, Roger Ebert, the answer would be "let this movie never get made!" As time travelers from the hyper-sensitive P.C. present, Matt and Mark disagree. Stacy's coming of age experiences with underage sex, reproductive mistakes, and poor judgement isn't necessarily the exception, but perhaps more the norm than uptight middle-aged white guy America likes to think. In the past, Jennifer Jason Liegh's Stacy probably would have been burned at the stake, but in early 80's American, she's just slut shamed by Ebert.

Download: 126 Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Saturday, June 21, 2014

125 Sexy Beast

Just when you think you're out, they pull you back in! This week Matt and Mark review Sexy Beast starring a surprisingly menacing Ben Kingsley as the titular character. While Sexy Beast could easily be a straight up British heist film, it chooses to be something more. Which is strange considering its 85 minute run time. Kingsley's Don Logan is a sociopath with a single-mindedness that may be perfect for crime, but is cancerous when it comes to matters of the heart. Sexy Beast is well filmed and visually amazing, and one can only wonder if Donnie Darko's Frank the bunny was inspired by Sexy Beast's Uzi toting counterpart.

Download: 125 Sexy Beast

Sunday, June 15, 2014

124 Big Trouble in Little China

John Carpenter's campy cult classic Big Trouble in Little China, chock full of classic special effects, still holds up to this day and as a result is a beloved favorite by many (more some, than others!... you know who you are). An original film concept if there ever was one, Big Trouble slips between Western tropes and Hong Kong Kung-fu awesomeness while mashing it up with Dungeons and Dragons, creating an adventure no nerdy teenage boy of the 80's could resist. Anyway, pour some green tea into your favorite bottle of Scotch, sit back, and enjoy!

Download: 124 Big Trouble in Little China

Monday, June 9, 2014

123 Borat

Very Nice! High Five! At the height of America's redneck propaganda in 2006, immersed in one of the most ridiculous overseas misadventures of the country's history, Sacha Cohen decided to hold up a cultural mirror to the ole' USA, resulting in Borat. Gag driven and loosely scripted, stereotypes both of the old world and the new are juxtaposed for laughs, sometimes mixed, sometimes spot on. However, the fact that Borat doesn't really resemble anyone from Kazakhstan may be the movie's most deft criticism of our cultural myopia and stupidity.

Download: 123 Borat

Sunday, June 1, 2014

122 The Matrix

An epic podcast this week (and maybe our longest?), we enter the Matrix, a film that stylistically matches our appetite for thought provoking sci-fi. Like most sci-fi, the Matrix is derivative, but in all the right ways, especially when it comes to the questions Agent Smith poses to not only Neo and Morpheus, but ourselves. If your existence is defined as a prison, regardless of the cage, is it your duty as a human to escape it? Must human beings never serve a master? Red or blue, the choice doesn't seem to be that simple.

Download: 122 The Matrix

Monday, May 26, 2014

121 Bad Boys 2

What? You haven't seen the first Bad Boys? Sorry bro, you're totally not going to get Bad Boys 2. But if you dare, let Matt and Mark give you the neophyte's perspective. A quintessential Michael Bay action movie (although quintessential is a little too high bro) BB2 is a film lesson in why our current decade and a half has been a wretched low point in action film, devoid of suspense, care, or craftsmanship. BB2 is what happens when films are made purely based on marketing decisions, solely focused on profit margins. Michael Bay's talent lies in his ability to get asses in seats, $12.50 in hand, and for that, he and his ilk will unfortunately be with us for quite some time.

Download: 121 Bad Boys 2

Sunday, May 18, 2014

120 The Terminator

Matt and Mark take an objective look into whole the Harlan Ellison-James Cameron kerfuffle over the origins of the film The Terminator. After much deliberation, we determine that not only is Harlan Ellison kind of a dick, but that Cameron should be given credit for taking the nascent Outer Limits episode Soldier and fleshing it out into a more exciting action packed narrative. Regardless, its always nice to entertain the notion of traveling back to Reagan's big hair 80's and getting the chance to blow that miserable decade back to hell.

Download:  120 The Terminator

Monday, May 12, 2014

119 Secrets and Lies

It's a storm of swords and a clash of kings this week as Matt and Mark enter the bloody battle space of drama film reviewing. Secrets and Lies is not a popcorn movie, unless you like to salt your popcorn with the tears of bleak desperation and catharsis. But one thing Mark and Matt did conclude during this contentious and disagreement fraught podcast is that the dramas one likes are deeply personal, and perhaps for unexplained reasons lacking resolution. Even if you haven't seen S&L, tune in and see what reviewer becomes a feast for crows.

Download: 119 Secrets and Lies

Sunday, May 4, 2014

118 Deliverance

This week we head down river into the "squeal like a pig" back woods of Southern hill billy-dom when we review the unforgettable John Boorman film Deliverance. Not necessarily an essay on the nature of violence, Deliverance offers up questions of morality vs. civilization's legal framework. Because it's one thing to be a victim of violence, it's another to be at the mercy of unknown justice. An adventure story perhaps, Matt argues that it is something more, while Mark wrestles with contrived plot mechanisms and ham-fisted allegory.

Download: 118 Deliverance

Monday, April 28, 2014

117 The Seventh Seal

Would you like to play a game... with Death? Only really a stalling tactic, Max Von Sydow's Antonius Block endeavors to play Death a game of chess, not necessarily to put off the inevitable, but offer God a chance to make himself known. A literal movie, Ingmar Bergman's The 7th Seal dispenses with metaphor and allegory, instead relying on stunning visuals to deliver its point. Endlessly parodied and borrowed, The 7th Seal is a cornerstone of our collective cinematic language.

Download:  117 The Seventh Seal

Monday, April 21, 2014

116 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Heading off for a savage journey to Heart of the American Dream, Matt and Mark discuss the pros (Matt) and cons (Mark) of the Hunter S. Thompson adaptation Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Terry Gilliam. Matt attempts to slice and dice the absurdity, comparing such existential musings with the likes of Sartres and Camus, while Mark shrugs his shoulders at the irredeemable assholes which are Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo. It's hard to argue either way.

Download: 116 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Monday, April 14, 2014

115 Threads

Are you ready for the feel good movie of 1985! ... No? Perfect. Let's watch Threads! The unrelentingly bleak UK film about the realities of nuclear war. Humanity may survive such an apocalypse, but what does it really mean to survive in world without progress, a civilization in regression... ugh... so hopeless... Anyway, Threads will make want you want to fire up the XBox and play a little Fallout 3 to dissolve the gloom. Armageddon was supposed to fun, wasn't it?

Download: 115 Threads

Sunday, March 30, 2014

114 They Live

A strangely influential John Carpenter B-movie, They Live's premise of an Alex Jones alien conspiracy to take over our planet Republican-style could only be effectively pulled off with a healthy serving of camp. Matt indulges his loathing for all things moneyed and corrupt while Mark puts it all in perspective. So OBEY and enjoy! Remember to like us on Facebook and tune in to Matt's mini Sci-Fi animated film short festival.

Download:  114 They Live

Monday, March 24, 2014

113 Screamers

We conclude our Dan O'Bannnon'othon this week with the 1995 Screamers. Not a great movie by any stretch of the imagination, Matt finds himself in the odd position of defending cheesy B-grade sci-fi to Mark. Despite being ridden with plot holes and degraded by lack of production value, Screamers achieves in theme what many more blockbuster offerings only hint at. Holding true to its Philip K Dick short story source material, Screamers surpasses the likes of Paycheck and Minority Report without the Hollywood head-start.

Download: 113 Screamers

Saturday, March 15, 2014

112 Altered States

Mark gives Matt enough rope to hang himself when Matt goes on a hippie-hating tangent in the guise of scientific credibility this week when we review the cult classic Altered States. What is consciousness? Does it matter when you're talking about insight into our own inner human experience? Maintaining its high for the first part of the film, AS descends into silly farcical horror the latter half, which is to not necessarily diminish its effect.

Download: 112 Altered States

Monday, March 10, 2014

111 Total Recall

Matt and Mark review the Verhoeven 1990 classic Total Recall starring Arnold Swarzenegger. Matt struggles to evoke the sense of sci-fi wonder in Mark when he becomes fixated on the notion of a Hilton hotel room on the planet Mars, complete with cheesy wall art. But despite this, Matt and Mark do thoroughly plumb the Phillip K Dickian notion of "what is real" and Total Recall's deft delivery thereof. Total Recall's true magic is its ability to literally spoil the plot for you 1/4 of the way in, yet keep you riveted until the very end.

Download: 111 Total Recall

Sunday, March 2, 2014

110 Closer

Matt and Mark try to get closer to Closer this week when we review the 2004 adaptation of the titular play. Like Mike Nichols other film The Graduate, this film examines the lives a self-involved privileged and generally unlikable people, daring its audience to take a stake in their relationships' outcomes. Is there a 'theme' here? Hard to say, but memorable well written scenes, this movie has many. So why do you like this movie? Perhaps you're a f*&%ing caveman!!!

Download: 110 Closer

Sunday, February 23, 2014

109 Lifeforce

Vampires in space! Oh the high concept! Matt and Mark find the thin blue/green/red/gray line of our mutual tastes with this week's review. While Matt picks at the film's contrived ideas and its poorly thought out feasibility, Mark gives Lifeforce a pass, enjoying the dry wit of the British characters and B-movie silliness. A movie that really should never have been made, Lifeforce, like many megaplex flops, is a film artifact, and for that reason, I/we suppose it is worth a watch.

Download: 109 Lifeforce

Sunday, February 16, 2014

108 Predator

A simple twist on the "Most Dangerous Game", Predator extrapolates big game hunting into the interstellar. When compared with the chicken-shit style of hunting ala Dick Cheney's "fish in a barrel" Texas ranch shoot-your-friend-in-the-face or the deservedly maligned Melissa Bachman lets-blow-away-an-endangered-cat-because-I-can nonsense, the Predator plays fair, allowing its prey to shoot back. So when Ahneld asks the question "What da' hell ahr you?" and the Predator mimes back the question, the exchange is more poignant than it may seem.. 

Download: 108 Predator

Sunday, February 9, 2014

107 Alien

The Dan O'bannon-othon continues this week with the 1979 classic Star Beast (original title) aka Alien. Matt and Mark discuss at length Mr. O'banon's hand in making this film and his purity of vision compromised for better-or-worse by the deft hand of Ridley Scott (probably for the better). While the alien xenomorph is a beautiful monster designed by H.R. Giger, its ingenious biology was not as much a consequence of stylistic creativity than it was plot necessity, which may have worked even better.

Download: 107 Alien

Sunday, February 2, 2014

106 Blue Velvet

David Lynch's proto-Twin Peaks film Blue Velvet lays the groundwork for many of the quirks that define the film maker. A tale of curiosity, sex, trauma, and torture, Blue Velvet deals in darkness, but not in an exploratory way which many have criticized as giving the heavy subject matter short shrift. However, to take anything else out would be to leave the film bereft of its powerful imagery and atmosphere. Crack a Pabst Blue Ribbon you fucking fucks, and enjoy, because this... is... it!

Download:  106 Blue Velvet

Sunday, January 26, 2014

105 Heavy Metal 1981

Don Felder, the unsung hero of the most loved/hated band ever The Eagles, bestows some righteous licks upon the adult animated universe in this week's cult classic Heavy Metal (1981). Another notch in the belt of Mark's Dan O'bannon'othon, Matt takes a nostalgic trip into his 80's adolescence and remember his first exposure to the T&A laden comic book magazine. Not exactly up to the snuff of today's slick CGI bombast, Heavy Metal does lay the groundwork for future tropes however.

Download: 105 Heavy Metal 1981

Sunday, January 19, 2014

104 A Clockwork Orange

This week Matt and Mark review Kubrik's A Clockwork Orange. Viddying the horror-show ultra-violence and some of the ole in-out in out, we seek the film's thematic elements through its stylistic fog. While Alex is a miserable, violent, and possibly irredeemable bastard, he provides us a window into an alien personality that we experience but with whom we aren't necessarily asked to sympathize. And that may've been  the films worst sin in many critics' eyes, thus dismissing a beautifully wrought film of near artistic perfection.

Download:  104 A Clockwork Orange

Monday, January 13, 2014

103 Return of the Living Dead

Once again Matt and Mark return to the sub-genre of horror comedy. A highly rated film by Alien screenplay writer Don O'Bannon, RotLD sets the mood for all slapstick zombie horror to follow ("brains... more... brains"). While Mark indulges the silliness and touts its original ideas, Matt is less engaged. Not necessarily an indictment of the film per-se as much as a 'been there, done that' attitude calloused by henceforth imitators. None-the-less a worthy outing.

Download:  103 Return of the Living Dead

Sunday, January 5, 2014

102 The Thing 1982

And finally.... John Carpenter's The Thing is reviewed this week on The Cult of Matt and Mark. While much is to be said about the making of this strange dread-filled movie adaptation of the original Campbell novella, Matt and Mark delve into the viability of The Thing as an organism, attempting to rationalize its motives, desires, and biology. Dismissing Ebert's dismissal of this seminal Sci-Fi horror classic, we are drawn to the film 30 years on, engaging it again and again with homage prequels and video games as we try to capture a little of Carpenter's original paranoid beauty.

Download: 102 The Thing