Thursday, December 31, 2009
Today we wrap up the year in movies with our ‘Best of ‘09′ Show, Once again I find myself not having seen as much as I would like, but I still would not count 2009 as a particularly strong year for film. Of the best movies I’ve seen, I can really only think of one or two that I would classify as best of the year material. Anyway if you have any suggestions for us, please let us know at email@example.com, or leave a comment below. Also, if you have the time please leave us positive feedback at iTunes like Jerf and Cody have done. If the player below doesn't work you can go here to find it as well. Thanks, and we’ll see you next year.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Yes, I know Christmas is over but here at ‘’The Doomsday Machine” we like to take our time and get things right. So in the spirit of the holidays, and in keeping our subject matter a little more timely, we present you with some of our favorite Christmas movies. We recorded this 5 days ago when Cody was in town. Joining him are myself, Matt, Tim and AJ. Tell us what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave feedback here. If you can't get the player below to work you can find it on iTunes as well as http://joker5k.podbean.com. Thanks for listening.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
I really enjoyed this film but it was nothing groundbreaking or too original. Of course George Clooney can make anything watchable, but his character is nothing he hasn’t done in the past. The story is a good one and really does strike a cord with anyone who has been affected with the present state of the economy. All of the acting is good, but the relationship between Clooney and Vera Farmiga was what I enjoyed the most. They play off each other very well and I was geniuinly interested in them ending up together in the end. The weakness of the film was the Backpack motivation speech Clooney’s character was pushing, I thought it was a weak idea and it never convinced me in any way that it was a real idea that would sale. I thought Clooney’s character was solid and the viewer doesn’t need the backpack theory to support his ideals. I liked Anna Kendrick, but her idea of termination via the internet instead of in person is not very revolutionary, and thought it was a idea that would have been toyed with 8 years earlier. Luckily these two plot points don’t drive the entire film, but there was enough to bother me. Up In The Air did follow a few clichés, especially at the end that made it a little predictable, but I did like how the movie ended. I enjoyed how Clooney’s character had some strong belief’s and goals and happy with his life and set in his ways. As soon as he begins to question his lifestyle he gets everything he ever wanted, and it's not enough. He now must continue with the way things were and it ends up tragic. I thought it took some guts to end the film the way it did and do recommend it. It’s a good movie, but think it getting too much attention as a great film, which it isn’t. Clooney floats this boat with a strong supporting cast and Jason Reitman is proving he is a good director with a bright future. If a great script drops in his lap he has the potential to make a great film. 3.5 out of 5 stars
Sunday, December 13, 2009
In the tradition of Kickboxing Academy, Superfuzz, and Dreaming Of Society comes another great horrible movie. The Room is so bad that it's good. The characters are inconsistent, the acting is bush league, and the creator of this mess, Tommy Wiseau, is a untalented genius. This type of film only works if the writer/star/director is sincere, because if done on purpose it becomes one of those douche bag spoof films. This film has it all, huge plot holes, story lines that go nowhere, and every character has a bipolar disorder. Every scene with Wiseau is comedy gold. His creepy look,dubbed accent, and acting will have you laughing out loud. Wiseau is so inept as a filmmaker that this piece of crap somehow cost 6 million dollars, and believe me it doesn't show in any way. This film has had a huge cult following with Rocky Horror results. If The Room shows at a midnight showing near you, then do yourself a favor and see it. The DVD has a lot of funny extras and be sure to see it with a friend.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
There are only a handful of good Thanksgiving films, because Christmas has a monopoly on the holidays. The Ice Storm, The House Of Yes, and Avalon are some of the top tier films about the food filled celebration. Those films are about dysfunctional families, generational differences, and changing traditions. Only one film really represents that Thanksgiving feeling and that is Planes,Trains, and Automobiles. John Hughes 1987 classic is the one film that if you ask what is a Thanksgiving Movie, 90% of people think of this film. Instead of the barrage of Christmas features on Thanksgiving weekend, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles should be showing somewhere on a constant loop. Happy Thanksgiving!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
I did not share the same excitement for Fantastic Mr. Fox that I did for Where The Wild Things Are. I loved the idea of Spike Jones doing a live action children's story, and passive about Wes Anderson doing a stop motion animation film. I am a fan of Wes Anderson and I thought he was wasting his time with a medium that he does not have much control over as a director. I was wrong, Fantastic Mr. Fox has Anderson's fingerprints all over it and is one of the years most enjoyable films. It joins Pixar's Up as a one of those rare films that is enjoyable to children and adults alike. There are stories that Anderson was absent during production and running the show from his flat in Paris,well that didn't seem to matter. Anderson and Noah Baumbach's script is clever and funny, and it seems he stayed out of the art departments way and let them make this beautiful film. This film's animation isn't as smooth as Henry Selick's (Coriline/ A Nightmare Before Christmas) stop motion animation, but Mark Gustafson's work has throwback quality that seems more artistic and real.(Thanks Scott) It has what was missing from Where The Wild Things Are, great likable characters and fun. For some reason the celebrity voices didn't bother me like they do in other animation films. I was so caught up in the story and enjoyed the characters so much that I just didn't care,but also the casting fit the characters. Clooney's voice screams of class and leadership, Streep's of elegance, and Schwartzman is perfect as the highly imaginative son who doesn't have his father's charisma. Great score by Alexandre Desplat's that mixes beautifully with songs by Burl Ives, Jarvis Cocker, and The Beach Boys. Fantastic Mr. Fox isn't groundbreaking, it's just a delight to watch and makes you feel like a kid again. 4 out of 5 stars.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Where The Wild Things Are has been one of my most anticipated films since I heard Spike Jonze was attached way back in 2005. Jonze is a director of many talents and I have been a fan of his since his early music video days. I also loved Maurice Sendak's book since I was a little kid, and this book and this director were a perfect fit. I was very disturbed when Universal Studios was unhappy with Jonze version in 2007 and it looked like they were going to shelve it. Luckily Warner Brothers saved it, but after some "disturbing to children" previews it was held for another year until they could "fix" it. When the first trailer was released all of my dreams came true, and this film promised to be everything I wanted. Maybe I built this film up too much, but I was disappointed in the finished product. I am not saying I didn't like it, I just didn't love it like I thought I would. Technically this film is perfect in every way. Lance Acord's cinematography is beautiful and along with the Art Department, this is one of the best looking and imaginative films I have seen in a long time. Karen O and Carter Burwell's music is haunting and fit's perfectly with the subject matter. The most impressive part of the film is the amazing talents of the Jim Henson Creature Shop. In this day and age where ILM and other CGI companies (with the exception of Pixar) have gotten lazy and unimaginative with their special effects it is nice to see that the name Jim Henson is still producing quality work. Henson's Creature Shop have outdone themselves, and along with The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy(2005) they are responsible for two of the best looking SFX films of the decade. They add realism and character to their puppets and you never get the feeling you are watching a cartoon. It's amazing this film cost 100 million dollars less than the last Indiana Jones crapfest, because the quality doesn't even compare. The marriage of old and new technology is the direction Hollywood should go,but unfortunately we seem to be stuck with high cost and low quality gems like Wolverine.For the first time in a long time I had that Jim Henson feeling I felt growing up and, finally twenty year old hipsters have a taste too. The problem I had with WTWTA was mainly the characters and the story. I didn't find anything desirable about the Wild Things land or it's inhabitants. When I was a kid most fantasy films showed a place I wanted to escape to and people/creatures I wanted to be friends with. The Wild Things are negative, surly, and depressing creatures that would cause anyone to want off the island after a hour. Max himself is a daring and selfish person, but he is a kid and that was understandable and exactly like his character from the book. When it was time for Max to leave I felt no sadness that he was leaving friends or a magical world behind. I was relieved when he was leaving, because I feared for his life the moment he set foot on the island. The other problem I had was the voices chosen for the Wild Things. James Gandolfini has a great voice that sadly will always be linked to Tony Soprano, a iconic character that I personally couldn't see past. Lauren Ambrose's voice just didn't seem to fit the character KW and Catherine O'Hara's Judith was also out of place. Chris Cooper,Paul Dano, and Forrest Whitaker at least tried to disguise their voices a little, and attempted to do a character voice. The story was simple and a nice extension of the book. I wouldn't mind a story about Max and the Wild Things hanging out and building forts if I had a invested interest in the characters, but I didn't. Worth seeing, but not the classic it could have been. 3 out of 5 stars
Monday, October 12, 2009
One of the contributers to this blog, Keith Munley, turns 30 today October 12th. Keith shares his birthday with some interesting people and events that are movie related. Born on this day singer Luciano Pavarotti who was in the terrible Yes Giorgio. 80's icon Deborah Forman of Valley Girl, My Chauffeur, and Real Genius fame. Bull Rider Lane Frost, who 8 Seconds was based on. The all-singing and all mutant Hugh Jackman. And I'm not a bad kid I just play one on TV Jesus freak Kirk Cameron. Dying on this day is silent films first major cowboy star Tom Mix. Oh God actor and singer John Denver. Events on this day are the 1953 opening on Broadway, and later great Bogie film, of The Caine Mutiny. In 1979 the release of Douglas Adams The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy is published. And finally today Sid Vicious stabbed and killed his crazy girlfriend Nancy Spungen in the Chelsea Hotel in NYC, and now you know the ending to Sid and Nancy. Congrats Keith you lived 6 years longer than James Dean and have 15 more to catch up with Monty.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
It has always taken me a few viewings to appreciate Coen Brother films and A Serious Man will be no exception. Films like Barton Fink and Millers Crossing I enjoy at first then after watching it a few times I begin to love them and they become some of my favorite films. Other times I watch The Ladykillers and O Brother, Where Art Thou? and multiple viewings do not help me appreciate them more. A Serious Man may fall into the latter category. I am being a little hard on it because I expect the world from the Coen brothers and I know what they are capable of. Technically the film is flawless, it looks great and the acting is right on. Roger Deakins photography is excellent and you feel you are in 1967. The main problem I had was the story, it's simple and nothing really happens. Michael Stuhlbarg is great as a man who's life is suddenly falling apart and his religion is doing nothing to help him, that is pretty much the entire story. I am sure it has a few hidden agenda's like women are the root of all evil, corruption leads to death, and don't sweat the small stuff because more serious problems are on the horizon,but I'm not sure and thats what multiple viewings are for. The only problem I had with Stuhlbarg's character is he is such a victim that after awhile you lose sympathy for him simply because he never stands up for himself. Some of his problems are so simple to get out of that all he has to do is say "no" or just talk to someone and his problems are over. There are too many dream sequences and too many characters that are their just to be quirky. I wanted a standout performance or a deeply enriched character, and instead we get good acting with nothing too memorable.The story can be confusing at times if you know nothing of the Jewish religion, but they repeat themselves a few times and the uneducated viewer,like myself, gets the jist of it. I was lucky enough to go to the New York Premiere where the cast and crew were present, and I really wanted a Q&A afterwards to possibly get some deeper meanings, if any, on the film as a whole. I think the audience felt forced to laugh at the quirkiness and maybe a little inferior because of a feeling that their should be something more to the film. If you are a Coen Brothers fan then I recommend this film, you will get something from it, but not their top work. Don't let the greatness of the ending fool you into thinking this is a great movie. 3 out of 5 stars.
Monday, September 14, 2009
It has been a tough summer for those of us who grew up watching films in the 80's. First we lose John Hughes back in August(Podcast on that subject is coming soon,that is why no tribute on the blog), now we have lost one of my childhood heroes with Patrick Swayze. Like Hughes,Swayze has been around, but his best work died when the 90's began. Patrick Swayze was very good in Donnie Darko(2001), but that is the only memorable performance since Point Break(1991). The first thing I saw him in was in The Outsiders(1983), and I must have watched that film a hundred times. Over the next 8 years(which seems like a lifetime when you are a kid) I watched everything he was in including Tiger Warsaw(1988). Swayze had a great commanding voice and a terrific screen presence. There was a reason he was in charge in every movie he was in, he chewed up screen time and always gave that older brother vibe. I loved every film he did from 1983-1991, but these are my favorites.
The Outsiders(1983) The first time I saw Swayze was as leader of the Greasers and Ponyboy's older brother Darrel Curtis. He was a real prick at the beginning, but then Ponyboy and Johnny killed Leif Garrett and he stopped being a hard ass. With the crew of talented actors in this film Sawyze takes control and leads them to victory over the well dressed Socs.
Dirty Dancing(1987) Yes it's a girlie film, but if all girlie films were this good then I would be a happy man. Johnny Castle is perhaps the role that will always be associated with Swayze. Good story and good cast,but I always felt that Johnny and Baby didn't have great chemistry. That is mainly because Baby had nothing to offer to the older and cooler Johnny but youth and sex, and he didn't need any help in that department. Swayze reeks of coolness, confidence and really carries this film. Only Swayze is allowed to put Baby in the corner.
Youngblood(1986) This is Rob Lowe's film,but Swayze's Derek Sutton makes this ship float. This isn't a great film,but I watched it so much as a kid it still holds a place in my heart. Swayze is the veteran player that must teach young Lowe how to stop being a pussy and fight the hated and hairy Racki. Again Swayze plays the older brother/mentor role that he shined at. I watched it again recently and it still holds up for me.
Red Dawn(1984) Out of all of his films this one had the most impact. As a child I had a great fear of Nuclear War and Red Dawn fed that fear more than any film. It was a mixture of fear of a Russian attack and the fun of playing guns in the woods that made this film so appealing. Again Swayze is the leader(Jed) of a bunch of kids hiding from a bunch of evil Reds. He takes charge and decides to fight back, and he does it his way on his turf. Swayze is so in charge that a older Powers Boothe and crazy C.Thomas Howell don't even try to take control. Jed doesn't take prisoners, allow crying, or put up with snitches. Red Dawn is a film of it's time and it is a shame they are remaking it. The producers have big shoes to fill and they won't come close to filling Swayze's.
Point Break(1991) The last great performance. A action film is only as good as it's villain, and Swayze's surfer Bodhi plays it to the tee. He is so good in this that you care more about him than Special Agent Utah. I watched this the other night and even when you find out Swazye is the bad guy you don't stop liking him, in fact you root for him. It's a shame Swayze didn't go out riding the treacherous waves from the 100 year storm.
Road House(1989) The name is Dalton! Was their any doubt that this would be on my list? This movie is like a fine wine and improves with age. I think Swayze's role as Dalton has become his second most beloved character behind Johnny Castle, but it is easily my favorite. Anyone who whips comebacks like "Pain don't Hurt.", "Your too stupid to have a good time!", and "Opinions Vary." is all right in my book. I noticed none of the online obituaries mention this film because Road House is all balls and adrenaline and it caps my most beloved decade in film. I was lucky enough to see this film at the theater and had the same reaction as a 9th grader as I do now...Fun Filled Greatness! In fact The Outsiders and Youngblood were cable movies for me , the rest I saw at the theater. Other films that almost made the list were Ghost(1990),Next Of Kin(1989), and Grandview,U.S.A(1984) all good films,but I like these a bit better. Lets not forget the funny side of Swayze, his S.N.L. performance with Chris Farley as competing Chip and Dale dancers is gold. He will be missed and sadly another part of my childhood is gone.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
1. THE PLOTHOLES: Almost as many as District 9: 1) Landa falling into that trap at the end—letting himself get cuffed then carved up—when in every other scene he’s the smartest character in the movie 2) Landa killing the German actress for plotting to blow up the theater, even though he’s doing the exact same thing 3) Shosanna’s story being included in the first place—if she hadn’t plotted to blow up the theater, then Landa and the Basterds would’ve done it for her.
2. THE TITLE: It’s like calling Pee Wee’s Big Adventure instead Amazing Larry. The Basterds are secondary characters, a subplot to Shosanna’s story when it should be the other way around. (Not to mention, they’re introduced first as a band of lawless killers, but the potential of that concept isn’t explored at all. It’s completely dropped when they’re brought back to be recruits for a special mission. It makes their introduction as lawless killers a waste of time).
3. THE STYLE: You can’t take Leone’s framing, pacing, and music wholesale and then put your name all over it like you reinvented cinema.
4. THE THEME: Tell me what this movie is about. His other movies bothered to have a theme, even if it was as simple as exploring middle age or the paradoxes of vengeance. I swear Babel had more of a defined theme than this movie.
5. THE SUBTEXT: Using nitrate film as a weapon is kind of an awesome idea, and since the movie suggests that "film" itself is in a very legitimate way owned by the Jews (by bringing up the Jewish producers & studio heads in the British officer’s orientation scene) then Tarantino's choice to slaughter the Nazis with film is maybe the most clever thing in the movie, it’s like having them be slaughtered by bagels or I don’t know, diamonds. It’s kind of amazing that it works, but he does nothing else with it and it’s not developed any further (like say how propagandaistic film can do more to end a war than actual firepower, a variation on the pen is mightier than the sword, etc). It just seems like this whole movie’s construction was some scribbled notes about what would make “The Ultimate WWII movie , OKAAY?”, without any sort of sense of how it would logically come together.
6. THE TENSION: What makes the opening of Once Upon a Time in The West so great is that Leone doesn’t spend the next 2 1/2 hours repeating himself. Some scenes are shorter, some are funny, some aren’t fraught with tension. So when a scene comes along that is overwhelmingly intense, then it’s that much more powerful because there's a variety of tone. But almost every scene in Basterds builds the same exact way with the same prolonged tension, and pretty much makes the movie monotonous by definition.
7. THE BEAR JEW: Kevin Costner in 13 Days does a better Boston accent than Eli Roth’s faux-Affleck squawk. Not to mention the character doesn’t make any sense—why all the ominous buildup spent on him? Getting taken out by a baseball bat blow to the head is kind of mercy killing, at least compared to getting scalped.
8. THE EDITING: The scene with Landa and Shosanna in the restaurant is a tension build for nothing, it’s a cheat. That and the first half of the basement bar scene could be completely lost and it would be the same movie.
9. THE FONT: When did he get so font happy. It's distracting and just underscores how inconsistent this movie is.
10. THE LAST LINE: Tarantino’s lack of humility would be tolerable if he were still making something purely his own like Pulp Fiction, but I can’t think of an instance where a director was so megalomaniacal so to have his character practically be a stand-in for him, and address the audience, so to tell us that we just watched what he “thinks is a masterpiece,” only to be followed by the “written & directed by” signature. What this guy needs is a movie with a story credit by Roger Avery again. Actually, anyone even. Tarantino is probably surrounded by more Yes Men than George Lucas at this point.
Then again, Christoph Waltz is amazing in this, and the 1st scene is a perfect example of what Tarantino can do best, and I admit that I wasn’t clawing at the seats like I was during that Jungle Julia bullshit. I just wish he had figured out how to make the movie about badass Nazi killers that I bought my ticket to see.
Monday, August 31, 2009
District 9 is Alien Nation(1988) meets The Fly(1986), except not as good as those films. An interesting story with very good SFX,but has too many holes. The movie has a lot of gore and as a viewer I felt very dirty,which I applaud the filmmakers for my uncomfortableness. The problem I had was the lead actor,although he did a good job I never cared about him. I found myself more invested in the aliens and wanted more of them.The entire film is shot in two styles, documentary and a CNN type broadcast.I would have preferred the documentary style through the whole film. I wanted the story to be told through facts instead of through helicopter cameras.The first half was thoughtful and had my attention, by the second half the cliches set in and so did the plot holes.**SPOILERS** It never explains why alien fuel turns humans into aliens. The viewer was also left in the dark at why some aliens were smart and some were animalistic,or were they,I don't know it never says.I was perplexed at why the aliens didn't use their weaponry to stop the humans from pushing them around. They are a militaristic race,why do they allow people to enslave them and push them around. They still have their weapons,and two aliens alone take out a building and a whole platoon of humans.The main human character (Copley) is a spineless company man and his character is unlikable and all over the place. One minute he double crosses the one thing in the world trying to help him and the next he sacrifices everything to save him and his son. The villains are one dimensional and cartoonish and by the end I really didn't care and was just waiting for them to get theirs. By the end I was just thinking how Alien Nation was a better film and that the term "Slag" was replaced by "Prawns" and rotten milk was replaced by cat food. It's not a bad film it just falls apart at the end and could have been something special. 3 out 5 stars
Friday, August 7, 2009
Fuckin A. Not sure what the haters are all about with this. This could be Apatow’s Reds. Ambitious, confessional, messy as fuck, sincere and direct in a way that no $60 million Adam Sandler flick has any right to be--not to mention paced with the digressive, unhurried rhythm of a motherfucking Eric Rohmer movie--and with a ballsy 2nd gear shift that rivals both Roller Boogie & L’Avventura, this is the kind of movie James L. Brooks has been trying to nail his whole career.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
I know I teased a Martin Scorcese show, but we felt it best to put the top 5 lists on hold and talk about something else.
Last year, 'Slumdog Millionaire' won best picture, but people will remember it more for winning eight oscars. It isn't enough for the academy to award a film for its merits in their respectful categories, but more than ever it seems that quantity defines the films relevance. Earlier this summer, the academy announced they would be expanding the number of best picture nominees from 5 to 10. To me, this move speaks in the same concieted voice as was racking up the awards for the academy's obvious favorite a year ago.
Phillip Renke joins us from Austin. Cody and Scott are in NYC as we have the first all-Skype episode. Yeah, Cody and Scott are in the same room but you get the point.
As always, you can email the show at email@example.com.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I have a soft heart for action films.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Bullet time, Shaky-Cam, the double-reverse twist ending…what other movie trends are you sick of? How about the creepy little kid that has appeared in every horror movie since ‘The Shining?’ Or the whacky/funny/off-the-wall best friend that is fabricated into every romantic comedy? What techniques need to be retired? Well, Scott Griffin has come all the way from NYC to discuss this very issue. After seeing ‘Watchmen,’ I think he’s had enough action scenes with intermittent slow motion speed ramping. The technique made popular ten years ago by ‘The Matrix’ is now a staple in action films and it has overstayed its welcome. Join us on this mind blowing adventure as we Skype in Cody from New York. Enjoy.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
ALSO R.I.P. Harve Presnell
He started off as a song and dance man in the early 60's and had some big roles in The Unsinkable Molly Brown(64) and Paint Your Wagon(69). He released a few albums with his singing and has done many TV and film supporting roles throughout the years. The reason I mentioned him here was because of his flawless performance in the movie Fargo(96). Presnell's portrayal of the cheap, angry, and basic hard ass Wade Gustafson is one of many highlights in a great film. Every time he was on screen their was a smile on my face. He was 75.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
THE LIMITS OF CONTROL - One of the only movies I’ve ever seen where I wanted to reevaluate the director’s entire career afterwards as potentially total fucking shit. As they say in the standup world, he really ate his balls on this one. Pretty much everything that was kind of appealing about his stuff – notably the deadpan tone hinting at something enigmatic and profound – is stretched so thin here that you realize there was actually never anything underneath, except stupid high school poetry platitudes and hip as fuck casting.
The 2nd half of THE HANGOVER– The Pineapple Express of 2009. On paper this thing looked so fucking unbeatable. Basically Old School + a mystery plot to deepen things beyond just a rehash of frat dudes in mid-life crisis + Galifinakis. And it’s good, like hysterical for about about 40 minutes. And then you realize the mystery plot is kind of lazy and halfassed. And it just runs out of steam and keeps hitting the same beats, just less funny or at least less funny in unexpected ways as it goes along. And then just to underscore how lazy they got with it, Bradley Cooper makes nice with his wife for no reason and they throw in the wedding singer from Old School.
WHATEVER WORKS – Or Whatever ho Woody was banging that gave him the inspiration to make Vicky Cristina—his only full fledged beginning-to-end great movie since he hooked up with Soon Yi—he aint be bangin no more.
TERMINATOR SALVATION/WOLVERINE – just a sad, pitiful end to franchises that should have stopped short at part 2. The fact that the overedited incoherent clusterfuck that shat out of McG can be called ‘action’ while playing across the street is The Hurt Locker—the best American suspense/action film maybe since Cameron dumped Bigelow for Sarah Conner in the first place—is fucking retarded. If there was any justice in this world McG and Gavin Hood would be subjected to the Hitler Rape Machine while watching Bigelow in the editing room.
TAKING OF PELHAM 1 2 3 – I don’t know why I held out hope for this one. Maybe I thought it would be written by the guy who wrote L.A. Confidential and directed by the guy who made Top Gun & True Romance. But, no instead it’s from the writer of The Postman & 976-Evil and the director of Domino. Also maybe I thought the source material would give them an edge, since it’s, I don’t know, one of the best examples of suspense and comedy in the 70’s, not to mention a near perfect snapshot of how fucking dyspeptic and mean New York was at the time. Like everything that made the original great—Shaw’s quiet menace, Matthau’s snarky comebacks, the jazzy score, and how all the hostages transcend their stereotype character names (even ‘The Homosexual’!)—all of that is just totally flipped to make it suck—Travolta screaming every line, Washington way too serious & emo, the soundtrack’s 10 years too late jungle beats, and the hostages who are so forgettable and disposable they’re not even allowed to develop into stereotypes. The fucked up thing is if they did this to Jaws they would never be allowed to work again.
Friday, June 26, 2009
I apologize for the hiatus, but I let this show get away from me for a while. Following the theme of our last episode we stick with the “greatest directors” topic as we discuss some of our favorite Stanley Kubrick films. I'm sure this will be the first of many episodes on Kubrick as many people, including myself, consider him to be the greatest filmmaker that ever lived. Growing up with a heavy movie-watching background once in a while you catch a film that really sticks with you. You may not know why you like it, but maybe you feel compelled to see it over and over again. Well, over the years I came across a few that, to this day, I consider them to be some of the best films in existence. It was early in my high school days after seeing Full Metal Jacket for the first time that I realized most of my favorite movies were directed by the same person. At that point, the planets were aligned and everything made sense. Virtually all of his films had the same, profound effect. I've never been as consumed with every moment on the screen as I am when watching Kubrick. If the man were still alive, he could film a 2 ½ hour movie about two guys in a staring contest and it would be enthralling.
I think one of the reasons this episode is shorter than expected is the fact that there aren't any bad ways to rank our favorite Kubrick films and we end up, for the most part, in agreement with each other.
The Doomsday Machine now has an email address, so any comments, questions or future show ideas should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
JULIA - Best criminally underrated movie no one will ever hear about again. Like Cassavettes’ Gloria w/o all those shapeless actors workshop shouting matches & instead devoted to the story’s trashy pulp. Best Tilda Swinton maybe ever, a kind of balance of the sweaty armpitted neurotic corporate killer and the batshit warrior queen rocking the lion mane.
DRAG ME TO HELL – Best comeback from someone I didn’t realize I had fallen off so hard until now. Some directors do better with modulation (see The Straight Story), but Raimi isn’t one of them. All he has in his grab bag are dutch angles, clamorous sound effects and a joyous devotion to cranked up absurdity, so when you dial it down you have nothing but safe, serviceable Hollywood movies nowhere near as inspiredly kinetic as something like this. Most balls-out PG-13 movie since Rusty saw tits in European Vacation.
UP – Just one scene short of a masterpiece. One beat really. There's nothing wrong with talking dogs. It’s just with all the time spent humanizing the characters in the first 30 minutes, there needs to be maybe one or two more Mr. Frederickson double-takes to bridge the gap between the two worlds of heart-breakingly real and goofball. Like, “Really? Talking dogs? Really? Okay then.” That’s it. Outside of that, flat out top 5 animated all time, right behind Fievel and Bravestarr: The Legend.
HUNGER – Just as OCD in its over-calculated airtight masterly tableaus as Kubrick or Wes Anderson, but oozing with the corporeal in a way those filmmakers were never interested in going near. A tie for best sound design with Drag Me to Hell -- I will never think of ointment being applied to a festering wound the same way again.
TYSON – Best boxing movie since Fat City, better than Diggstown & Teen Wolf Too combined. Way funnier than the entirety of The Hangover, Tyson in all his batshit glory gives Toback the inspiration to make something for the first time since Fingers that isn’t just a cheap stunt.