Monday, August 25, 2014

Under the Foreskin

Richard Attenborough died age 90. Minority Report TV show. Managed to see Richard Linklater's Boyhood and Jonathan Glazer Under the Skin; the former's use of real-time lapse as storytelling overshadowed it's ability to actually create a narrative. The latter however, relied completely on narrative but not story and profited immensely. Interesting contrast.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off, 1986 - Various

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Sorceress of My Heart

Hmm, what exactly is there to talk about this time around? Wiener-cleavage? George Takei? Yes indeed. I won't give you context, you'll have to listen in.

I keep meaning to see Boyhood, which is playing at our local Cinemark. Low-fi artsy-fartsy using real-time aging experimentation for film? I'll check that out. But what I really want to see is this recently unearthed gem:



Music:

Bloodsport, 1988 - Paul Hertzog
No Retreat, No Surrender, 1986 - Paul Gilreath

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Robin Williams, RIP

Robin Williams passed away today, losing a decades-long struggle with depression informed by bipolar disorder and alcoholism. I prefer the expression, "Death by depression" to suicide, since it decenters the individual as the cause and focuses on the illness, much as if he died from a stroke or congenital heart failure. I don't accept the simplistic rational that an individual is solely responsible for their mental illness - we understand that there are biochemical issues in the brain that can be treated with medication and cognitive therapy. It's hard for someone to fight these demons forever, though, and whether it was a momentary mistake or a deliberate decision from a perceived rational state, Robin Williams decided it was time to stop fighting. It's irrelevant to think this entails weakness or failure; if the success Robin Williams achieved and the millions of people he made happy couldn't beat this, maybe nothing could. He was wrong, however, because he believed he was not loved. If only he could see now how much we all wanted him to stay with us.

It's a shame to muddy that somber note with what we talked about on the rest of the show: the goddamn new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. Hideously ugly green baby monsters slide down hills for hours while sexually harassing women and fighting Transformers. Awful. Irredeemable. Getting a sequel.


Music from:

What Dreams May Come, 1998 - Michael Kamen
Aladdin, 1992 - Alan Menken
Mrs. Doubtfire, 1993 - Howard Shore

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Monday, August 04, 2014

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

Where to begin with Guardians of the Galaxy? We all thought it was doomed at first - a bizarre and maybe arrogant ploy from the Marvel/Disney conglomerate amidst the dizzying success of its other franchises, "Let's pull something out of the vault that will almost certainly not work and really test the limits of comic book adaptations and the audience's tolerance of the odd and zany." And then there was that first trailer - woof! I will admit that the one thing I didn't put enough credit towards was James Gunn, director of the amusing Slither, a film admirable for its ability to stand astride two different tones.

Then better trailers came, and a hype that was nothing short of alarming started to mount. I couldn't understand it - first we were laughing at the talking tree and talking raccoon, and then it was fast-becoming the most anticipated movie of late Summer. Geeks wouldn't shut up about it. Then it came out, and cashed in on all that geek-lust: critics hailed it a triumph, geeks waxed lyrical in ways I haven't seen since...I don't know. They said it was Star Wars again, that a "piece of their soul was back" (for fuck's sake!). This is positively euphoric, but why?

Guardians is a success because of balance. James Gunn balanced the movie with light humor, light pathos, light action, light everything - for maximum appeal, but above all, the marketing, casting, and branding are all slyly mainstream, and the camerawork, title-fonts, and music deploy the postmodern pastiche to great effect - the film's real premise actually revolves around a mixtape, which is good metonymy for this whole enterprise. The film is affable; it takes no risks that might alienate anyone.

But what is the film outside of this hyperreal cultural agitation - this hype and posturing (even the amount of money this film made is being hyped)? It's a movie. An ordinary movie. A few funny lines, a few cringing overplays at humor, but mostly affability and action sequences, some of whom can drag a bit. A mixtape that blends Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, and the extant Marvel canon....how could it not sucker everyone in? Unfortunately this hype is, as always, subjective, and can hurt as much as it could help, although the financial battle is already won. But if those are really your stakes, Guardians still lost to fucking Transformers, and how cynical is that?

Monday, July 28, 2014

"I *am* the Appellate Courts!"

Comic-Con pieces needed digesting: 50 Shades of Gray, Mad Max, and at least two other films had their trailer debuts at that symposium of sadness.

We reviewed Expendables III and Lucy. The former was to be expected of the franchise, the latter wrapping up too nicely to be any real sort of heady sci fi, but still decent to see Scar-Jo jumping around flashing her awesome lady parts at the screen.

Music from the following:

Mad Max, 1979 - Brian May
Cobra, 1986 - Sylvester Levay
Desperado, 1995 - Various

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