Friday, December 29, 2017

262 Clash of the Titans (1982)

Matt and Mark get around to cranking out another podcast with our review of Ray Harryhausen's classic stop-motion masterstroke Clash of the Titans. An end of an era, Clash attempts the high concept marketing of Star Wars but using the public domain creatures of Greek Myth. Despite the clunkiness of the composite special effects, Harryhausen brings real menace to the likes of Calibos and Medusa. With the venerable chops of Laurence Olivier and Burgess Meredith, Clash delivers its epic suite of Saturday matinee melodrama. Perhaps not timeless, it is a classic.

Download: 262 Clash of the Titans (1981)

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

261 Holy Motors

Matt and Mark review the 2012 French film "Holy Motors" this go around. A very Jodorosky-esque film, its filled with cut-up non-sequiturs loosely tied together by a vaguely metaphoric limousine and it's enigmatic passenger. Perhaps too reference heavy for average American Joe, Holy Motors nods to all that is cinema, providing a meta-landscape where its denizens are in fact incarnations of film themselves. Beyond it's context-free acting indulgences, Holy Motors is a striking film to look at and absorb. But if you're looking for anything resembling a plot, move along.

Download: 261 Holy Motors 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

260 Phantasm

A flying metal baseball with razor blades, shrunken human undead slaves, a portal to another planet.... all typical horror move tropes, right? While in essence a typical horror flick, complete with your menacing preternatural bad guy, Phantasm throws in some "special sauce" that breaks the mold of your typical archetypes. What Phantasm doesn't show you is almost as brilliant as what it portrays. From it's subtle hints of weirdness, the viewer is left to build out a conspiratorial world of interplanetary servitude. While a little discombobulated, we as the viewer don't seem to mind.

Download:  260 Phantasm

Thursday, November 9, 2017

259 Blown Away (1993)

Matt and Mark review a lesser known offering from the 80's child actor duo The Coreys Haim and Feldman. Set to get on our Samurai Cop/The Room bad movie mojo, we find ourselves oddly enjoying 1992's Blown Away. Yes! Nicoel Eggert is naked a lot in the movie, but the plot does keep you kind of guessing and there is a bit of attention getting intrigue. It fails in its ending, but that's a common sin among stronger fair. Mark and Matt admittedly didn't mind this film. It's not bad and watchable. So as sad and tragic as the true life stories of both Fledman and Haim, you have to give them an 'A' for effort here.

Download: 259 Blown Away (1993)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

258 The Wolf Man (1941)

Mark is stunned and amazed this week to learn there's an old timey film that Matt actually appreciates and has chosen for the ultimate end to our mini werewolf marathon leading up to Halloween. The best offering of the werewolf films so far, The Wolf Man pipes in the smoke to enhance the gothic atmosphere of this classic tale. Pioneering the silver bullet and full moon tropes of the werewolf, The film deftly handles the the ying-yang schizophrenic themes of the beast man unlike lesser later offerings. Unfortunately, the theme of male stalkers fails to transcend the film's era and the Lon Cheney Jr character, making him more of a menace as a man than perhaps a wolf.

Download: 258 The Wolf Man (1941)

Friday, October 27, 2017

257 The Beast Must Die

The third werewolf film in our three film Halloween run-up. A quirky Hammer-style exploitation schlock-fest, The Beast Must Die starts out with a great "whodunnit" set-up but in Matt's opinion, squanders it with overly long action/chase scenes and hokey non-menacing werewolves. While the acting is solid, and the characters have promise, there is no M.Night twist/suprise after the werewolf-break reveal. Mark liked this movie more than Matt, but all-in-all a German Shepard shot with a night-lens fails to bring out the visceral horror of later special affects offerings.

Download: 257 The Beast Must Die

Monday, October 9, 2017

256 The Howling

Are werewolves just lesser vampires? Is that why there's such a dearth of werewolf fair when compared to the vast catalog of vampire films? Perhaps. While they share many of the same traits, werewolves lack the sexy urbane sophistication of a vampires, because they're basically just ... well... dogs. The Howling from 1981 is a notable film, at least in its modern depiction of the werewolf/wolfman transformation. While out-competed by American Werewolf in London at the time, its blend of camp and horror, combined with eerie tones make it enjoyable. However, due to the previous comments, Matt and Mark are only review three (or so) werewolf movies in our run up to Halloween.

Download: 256 The Howling

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

255 Star Trek The Motion Picture

Going where no man has gone before, Matt and Mark review the 2001'esque Roddenberry big screen debut of Star Trek. A film intended to bring the spaced-out psychedelia of  Kubrik's pioneering film to the popcorn audience, it ended up being a mixed offering to the hardcore Trekkies. While Kahn II would set the trend of current Star Trek actioners, STTMP basked in the awe of the cerebral questions of creation and existence. Despite the spa-staff uniforms of the crew and the uneven effects, the initial Star Trek brings the goods to those willing to shun unrealistic expectations.

Download: 255 Star Trek The Motion Picture

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

254 Soylent Green

We review the 1973 Heston classic Soylent Green. What do you do when the ocean taps out and there's hungry mouths to feed? For the animal kingdom, a logically solution; But for humanity on the Malthusian brink? A little more taboo. Despite the ominous reveal of the end, Soylent Green's true insight is into human nature in the midst of a desperate overcrowded and overheated future. And what's more shocking perhaps than the fact that foodstuff's being manufactured from human beings is the fact that "furniture" is also a manufactured product from human flesh. 2022 is four years away, time to stock up on some protein bars.

Download: 254 Soylent Green

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

253 Silent Running

Continuing our ad-hoc 70's Sci-Fi theme, we review the Bruce Dern film "Silent Running." A theme-heavy sci-fi film, we take a peak into the mind of an eco-terrorist of sorts. Back in the early days of the EPA and environmental themes, Silent Running assumes a bereft Earth devoid of natural beauty and encrusted by a mall-like super structure of artificial living with Dern's Freemen the champion of  Earth's last natural vestiges. Matt and Mark discuss the nature of ideological zealotry as it concerns environmental heroes and come to the conclusion, that while necessary to a certain extant, one could argue if such people as Dern's character aren't insufferable assholes.

Download: 253 Silent Running    

Saturday, August 19, 2017

252 A Boy and His Dog

In the year 2024... 'bout 6 years from now... we'll all be living off the carcass of a buried civilized world. At least that's the setting for the Ellison adaptation, A Boy and His Dog. A great piece of science fiction, what ABaHD gets right is that the character of Vic is truly a creation of his world and not a mere avatar from ours. He does not need to justify his serial raping and pillaging. His morality is a construct of a post nuclear Phoenix Az. Which, of course, puts him at odds with the weird down-under cult inhabiting an underground vault of 20th Century Americana. A unique film, ABaHD delivers a world without expostiion, and in doing so, bids a healthy f**k you to Disney's Shaggy Dog franchise.

Download: 252 A Boy and His Dog

Monday, August 7, 2017

251 Westworld

Summertime and the living is... slow... slow-rolling. But we're back! This week (this time?) we review the Crichton classic Westworld, the movie that started it all (at least the critically acclaimed HBO series). Inspired by Disneyland's Pirates ride, Chrichton builds an "anything goes" theme park filled with human emulating robots. When programming goes wrong, the machines rise up! With little spin on the original 1920's robot themes, Westworld does create a sense of wonder with regard to artificial worlds and our forever pining to escape into them.

Download: 251 Westworld

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

250 The Last Starfighter

This week we head back to the early 80's for some primitive cinematic CGI with The Last Starfighter. With a somewhat gimmicky but weak main storyline, the film benefits from a humor filmed subplot involving the Alex Beta unit. Filled with Spielbergian kid culture 80's tropes, the films fits the time period but is perhaps a lesser offering. While its attempt at CGI special effects are noble, they don't allow the film to ascend to Tron-like stature.

Download: 250 The Last Starfighter 

Sunday, July 9, 2017

249 The Day the Earth Stood Still

Stop fighting, you silly humans! This week Matt and Mark review the 1951 classic The Day the Earth Stood Still. Matt takes issue with the message of this film, which seems muddled in his alien-godlike appearance of Klaatu and his pimp hand Gort. Did Klaatu just impose of slavery onto humanity? A forced utopia? To what degree would Gort allow for some on-planet nuclear rough housing? So many questions to a thoroughly unsatisfying movie. Despite the bigger questions, The Day the Earth Stood Still also lacks perhaps the usage of more inventive sci-fi tropes offered in the literature of the day, but instead opts for the cinematic 50's standard of metal robots and flying saucers.

Download: 249 The Day the Earth Stood Still

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

248 Tron

This week Matt and Mark review the surprisingly ahead of its time Tron, by none other than Walt Disney Productions. A film that is unapologeticaly set within the confines of a computerized world, it would set the precedent for such later VR films as The Matrix and Inception that would give the filmmaker free reign to design plausible and spectacular fantasy worlds manufactured inside printed circuit boards. A beautifully rendered movie, Tron holds its own 35 years later and is as fresh and fun now as it was back then: a summer movie if there ever was one. It's a movie that fights for the users.

Download: 248 Tron  

Thursday, June 29, 2017

247 Scanners

Matt and Mark review the Chronenberg cult classic Scanners this week. A nicely stylized B-movie with decent production and a well crafted premise, scanners falls a bit short. With too much plot, the machinations and motivations of the characters are archetypal at best, implausible at worst. There are hints here of what Chronenberg would become and its refreshing to go back in time and see a classic director in the rough. Unlike Advanced Dungeons and Dragons psionicists rules for combat however, the Scanner "mind fights" are not only cathartic but at times spectacularly visceral.

Download: 247 Scanners

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

246 Over the Edge

This week Matt and Mark review the 70's teen rebellion film "Over the Edge". Despite its teen crime hyperbole, the film brings insight into the corportizing of the American family and it's dehumanizing affect on community and landscape. While such a movie could have fallen flat, Over the Edge is deftly executed with a cast of competent teenage actors and careful direction. Introducing a young Matt Dillon and packed with an iconic set of 70's rock n' roll (Cheap Trick, The Ramones, and Van Halen), Over the Edge has stuck in the collective memory.

Download: 246 Over the Edge  

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

245 Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

After a three week hiatus, Matt and Mark are back with an epic review of Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me. A discussion which comprises the entirety of the Twin Peaks mythos (including TP: The Return), we set the stage and dig deep into the cinematic debut of the ultimate cult television drama. Matt confesses that FWWM was his introduction to Laura Palmer's world, which despite the obvious spoilers, had little effect on its appreciation. Filmed on location and Matt and Mark's actual high school (Go SHS Panthers!) and adjacent neighborhoods, the film is particularly evocative and fun. A definitive cult film, head into the Black Lodge and enjoy.

Download: 245 Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me

Sunday, May 21, 2017

244 Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie

Shot Mark and Ivy Matt finish out our docu-athon this week with the dispassionate Trinity and Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie, narrated by William Shatner. Its lack of emotion coupled with a minimalist straight forward narrative is argued to be its drawback, while Matt argues the opposite. As an engineering project, Trinity and Beyond takes the viewer through the lab bench proving grounds of the Pacific and Nevada as the United States hones the weaponry which re-defined geopolitics. As a hardware nerd, the film offers quite a bit (or at least as much as it can in 90 minutes), however as a passionate member of the human race, there's little to glom onto .

Download: 244 Trinity and Beyond

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

243 Crumb

Continuing with the docs this week, Matt and Mark review the cult documentary Crumb from 1994. Less a film about the man and his art, its fulcrum is Robert Crumb's dysfunctional upbringing and its creative aftermath. What Robert Crumb channels is the artistic byproduct of his autobiographical torture, accented by interviews with his neurotic/psychotic brothers. While funny and witty, Crumb in the end fits the asshole artist stereotype, going to prove that turmoil and resentment often offers the best muse.

Download: 243 Crumb

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

242 Exit Through The Gift Shop

The week(s) Matt and Mark are still in full doc mode and review the Banksy film Exit Through The Gift Shop. A meta-documentary of sorts, Bansky deconstructs the art hype machine with the human graffiti equivalent Thierry Guetta, an OCD film maker turned street artist. A film so deftly wrought, the ability of the viewer to discover the edge of the hoax and the beginning of reality is seamless. Banksy sets fire to the trash heap of post-modern philosophical mental masturbation and lights his cigarette with it.

Download: 242 Exit Through the Gift Shop

Sunday, April 23, 2017

241 Grizzly Man

This week Matt and Mark discuss the indifference of survival and nature's cruelty when we discuss both United Airlines contract of carriage and the definitive Herzong documentary Grizzly Man. Tim Treadwell created an anthropamorphized fantasy world in the Alaskan Tundra where he spent 13 summers with Earth's most fearsome carnivores, the North American Grizzly. Passions exceeded pragmatism and in the end, Tim paid the price inhabiting his self-created world. An interesting character sketch the likes of which we rarely see on film.

Download: 241 Grizzly Man

Monday, April 17, 2017

240 Waltz with Bashir

Matt and Mark continue to review documentaries this week with the 2008 Lebanon War animated film Waltz with Bashir. Not so much a reconstruction of events leading up to the infamous Sabra and Shatila Massacre, as it is the personal exploration of an Israeli soldier who 20 years on finally comes to terms with his complicity in the atrocity. Such horror is endemic to human history it seems, and in away, no human being is truly innocent of crimes done in their name, despite the paper thin facade of nationalism. An amazing movie and one of kind, Waltz with Bashir is an important film.

Download: 240 Waltz with Bashir

Sunday, April 9, 2017

239 Pumping Iron

Time to Ahneld it up once again with the movie that made Schwarzenegger Schwarzenegger, the semi-scripted documentary Pumping Iron. Despite its contrived situations and its cursory treatment of the body building's "Je Ne sais quoi", it does give us insight into Mr. Schwarzenegger's persona and his charisma. Besides the subject matter, the film unknowingly gave birth to the the ripped bodies of the modern action stars. Prior to Arnold, a trim Sean Connery circa Dr. No used to be cinematic gold, but now we require comic book hero caliber physiques. A boon to Hollywood dietitians and trainers, no doubt.

Download: 239 Pumping Iron

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

238 The Running Man

"I'll be back (again)..." This week we review the classic Schwarzenegger mid-80's camp action film The Running Man. A movie that works on many levels, its shining stars are a supporting cast who manage to play themselves spectacularly, including game show host Killian played by a venerable Dawson and the retired stalker/wrestler Captain Freedom played by the one and only Jesse Ventura. While attempting to predict 2017, this 1987 film gets many things right, including the nefarious ubiquity of staged reality television and the conmen/entertainers who profit from their fake narratives.

Download: 238 The Running Man

Sunday, March 26, 2017

237 Edge of Tomorrow

Despite Matt's cold-rattled voice, we review the recent sci-fi hit Edge of Tomorrow. A Groundhog's Day for the Warhammer 40k fanboys, we get to see space marines crash the beaches of Normandy. Despite its working gimmick, EoT's mimicry (pun-intended) of the Sisyphian exercise of video game save points/respawns lacks a true human element. Cage (Cruise) is nothing more than an avatar for the "player"/viewer, but, hey.... were we really asking for anything more?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

236 Memento

This week Matt and Mark review the Christopher Nolan timeline reversal Memento. While gimmicky, the regressive timeline synthesized the amnesiac Leneord's sense of disorientation, all the while keeping the reveal until the end/beginning. Skirting the ragged line of plausibility, Memento attempts to question the mnemonic landscape which helps us stitch our lives together. Have you ever walked into a room of your house and not know why? What's the bare essentials of your brain's memory operating system? Maybe there's a little Leonard in all of us.

Download: 236 Memento  

Sunday, March 12, 2017

235 Face/Off

This week we review the stateside John Woo effort Face/Off. Mark appreciates the "switcheroo" action take of typical comedy tropes while Matt laments the overwrought over-length action sequences and melodrama. Besides the plausibility elements, Cage and Travolta's effort to impersonate their stylings was notable, but without a true immersion, the illusion isn't fully complete. At 2 hours and 20 minutes, Face/Off is possibly a harbinger of Michael Bay's to come. Too much action with too little substance.

Download: 235 Face/Off

Sunday, February 26, 2017

234 Dr. Strangelove

This week Matt and Mark review the holy grail of black comedies, Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove... A biting satire about the very realistic possibility of a nuclear holocaust. It's impressive not only for its subject matter, but also for its timing: in the middle of paranoid ravaged 60's America. Peter Sellers' performances coupled with G.C.Scott's Turgidson, Slim Picken's Kong, and Hayden's Ripper are some of the greatest comedic and satirical performances put to film. So, as Morrissey says let the bomb bring us together.

Download: 234 Dr. Strangelove

Sunday, February 19, 2017

233 Roadhouse

Matt and Mark review Roadhouse this week, an 80's classic starring Mr. Swayze in his physical and acting prime. Basically a modern day Western, Roadhouse fallows the plot mechanics and tropes to a 'T'. Cinematic westerns were always steeped in a lawless era that never was, and when recast into the Aquanet Monster Truck Reagan era, the fantasy becomes even more implausible. But armed with a proper suspension of disbelief, Roadhouse is a worthy watch.

Download: 233 Roadhouse

Sunday, February 12, 2017

232 Last Tango in Paris

Ending our somewhat informal "May/December" movie half-marathon, we review the classic Bertolucci film "Last Tango in Paris." Matt and Mark agree that LTIP is a difficult watch because the main character is so unlikeable. Watching a wild animal act out its crude sexual id as a coping method for grief is what's on display here, portrayed by an off-the-rails Brando. There's a few questions regarding "who is anybody?" framed in a seemingly improbable collision of strangers, but for the most part it's the Brando Show, complete with ad-lib monologues involving a lot of pig talks.

Download: 232 Last Tango in Paris

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

231 Max Mon Amour

Mark defies the "May/December" movie marathon theme by going bestial with the odd-ball Max Mon Amour, a bizarre film that's less about monkey love and more about normalcy in the face of predicament. As a podcast listener, if the movie doesn't inspire you to give this one a go, Matt and Mark's "Show News" goes radioactive as we take a Facebook argument live with more political nonsense. Get it while it's hot, we may put a moratorium on such Trumpian digressions soon.

Download: 231 Max Mon Amour

Monday, January 23, 2017

230 Lost in Translation

Film three in our loosely sketched out "May/December" movie marathon, we review one of Matt and Mark's favorite films, Lost in Translation. An Oscar nominated performance that Bill Murray should have won, coupled with the nascent stardom of ScarJo, gives life to authentic characters in believable, if not quirky but ordinary situations (namely business travel). Sofia Coppola deftly captures the shimmer of an ephemeral relationship, relationships relieved of the day-to-day routine, allowing us to connect, strangely, in more meaningful ways.

Download: 230 Lost in Translation  

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

229 Leon: The Professional

Continuing our May/December movie review marathon this week, we review the 1994 debut of Natalie Portman in Leon: The Professional. When a precocious hard scrabble 12 year old Matilda meets up with the emotionally stunted hitman Leon, a unique chemistry forms. Matt and Mark discuss the primary argument of why Besson chose a 12 year old for the lead role. Despite Ebert's nebulous and inconclusive derision, the film flat out wouldn't work as well if Matilda were older. Also of note, is Oldman's chthonic maniac portrayal of DEA agent Stan. OIdman at his finest.

Download: 229 Leon: The Professional

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

228 Harold and Maude

This week we kick off a loosely defined "May/December" movie marathon with the seminal cult classic Harold and Maude from 1971. Unlike Ebert, we refrain from drunkenly urinating over this film. With a simple straightforward message, its characters are as a result... simple. While the film does have its plausibility problems, its uniqueness and quirkiness set it apart from both black comedies and romantic comedies.

Download: 228 Harold and Maude    

Monday, January 2, 2017

227 Valhalla Rising

This week we review a contemporary companion film of El Topo with Refn's arthouse adventure drama Valhalla Rising. Matt prattles on about possible meaning while Mark gets to the heart of what makes this evocative film intriguing; dudes, violence, vikings, gladiators, general badassery, and no chicks! (except as the reward of pillage and conquest). The beauty of the Scottish Highlands is on full display in this film and Refn delivers. Believe me, there's nothing quite so satisfying as standing in the highlands, longsword in hand, surveying the great mountainous expanse.

Download: 227 Valhalla Rising