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