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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Merry New Year!


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 doomsdaypodcast@gmail.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

a late Christmas gift for our listeners


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 doomsdaypodcast@gmail.com 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

Cody's Film Review: Up In The Air


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 clich├ęs, 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

See It! The Room


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

Happy Thanksgiving!


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

Cody's Film Review: Fantastic Mr.Fox


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

Cody's Film Review: Where The Wild Things Are



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

Happy Birthday Keith!


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

Cody's Film Review: A Serious Man


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

R.I.P. Patrick Swayze


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

Top Ten reasons Inglourious Basterds isn't the masterpiece Tarantino thinks it is



(spoilers)

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

Cody's Film Review: District 9


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

Funny People



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

and the nominations go to....everyone


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 doomsdaypodcast@gmail.com.



If you have trouble streaming it from the player below you can also find the episode for downoad here as well as iTunes.







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Monday, July 27, 2009

Cody's Film Review: The Hurt Locker

I did not go into this film with high hopes,because I have no interest in films about the war in Iraq. The subject of the Middle East is about as interesting to me as Hurricane Katrina. It's a tired subject and I get enough about it on television. The modern day War Film is in a recession now because there hasn't been a war of interest since Vietnam. Bad asses like Rambo, Riggs, and Kurtz can't exist in a war that consist of suicide bombers and playing watchdog in a occupied territory. Three Kings(1999),Standard Operating Procedure(2008), and Generation Kill(2008) are the films about Iraq that I've enjoyed the most. Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker isn't as good as these films,but it does come close. The story of bomb defusing during a war is a subject I have never seen on screen, and Bigelow makes it interesting and tense. The acting is top notch all around, and Jeremy Renner is outstanding as the lead. Renner and Anthony Mackie have a great repoir and play off each other beautifully. The Hurt Locker has some of the best cameo's that I have seen in a long time. Guy Pierce is so great at the beginning that I wanted more of him, and it just adds to Renner's performance that you don't miss him after awhile. David Morse is extremely intense as Colonel Reed. He straight out frightens you and his scene with Renner is one of the most uncomfortable moments I have seen in a long time.It was great to see the re-pairing of Bigelow and Lenny Nero AKA Ralph Fiennes. Fiennes plays a bounty hunter and is so good I think Bigelow could make a prequel on his character alone,and probably make a better film. The main problem I had with The Hurt Locker was the length.The movie runs about 15-20 minutes too long.I am not sure where to cut,because all the scenes were necessary or too enjoyable to cut. Towards the end you just start to get fatigued and start looking at your watch. All the acting was superb except for the third person of their team Brian Geraghty. I thought he was the weakest link and he had too much screen time without much to contribute. I also (again) had a problem with using hand held camera with the action. Shaky cam is a TV trick for shows that have no budget, and I'm sick of everything trying to look like the Bourne films. It's a fad I wish they would start ending now. I want to see the action and along with crappy CGI films of the last few years is going to look like rear projection of the 40's and 50's. It's just a sign of laziness and I hoped Bigelow would stick with her old school action ways. Overall it's a good film with great acting, but I am not sure how much re-watching value it has. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Cody's Film Review:(500) Days Of Summer

500 Days Of Summer is at times really original and at other times formulaic. It's a great debut for Marc Webb and the writers of Pink Panther 2. What really makes this film work is the impressive performances of Joseph Gorden-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. They have great chemistry and the relationship seems real. Levitt's character acts like a normal person and doesn't follow the usual romantic comedy conventions. He is very likable, has realistic reactions and doesn't fall every five minutes or act like a buffoon. Zooey is great because her character is not a bitch and you never fault her for her decisions. She is cute as a button and has a great personality,so you understand why he falls for her. This movie falters when Zooey and Levitt are not on screen. The entire supporting cast brings nothing to the table. They don't provide comic relief, forward the story, or even apply descent acting.Here is a run down of the supporting cast and why they don't work.Geoffrey Arend plays a drunk and lonely friend who is not funny,and his only contribution is he tells Zooey that Levitt likes her. Arend is the best of the supporting cast, but fails to turn in what could have been the best character.Think of Alec Baldwin in She's Having A Baby or Jim Belushi in The Man With One Red Shoe,and you will know what I'm talking about. Matt Gubler is a married friend who provides no advice of any kind,and seems to struggle with the art of acting.Clark Gregg is Levitt's boss who tries to provide comic relief,but every joke he delivers you see a mile away. The worse is 12 year old actress Chloe Moretz who is the most annoying cliche in film. She is the typical younger sister giving relationship advice, and is the poor child surrounded by moronic adults. Kids ten times smarter than adults does nothing but make me mad.It has been done a million times and is insulting. If you want to find out a Jonas Brothers hit or what Hannah Montana thinks the best soda is, ask a 12 year old. I was shocked how at times the story and acting was flawless followed by conventional and tired cliches. I recommend this film for the two leads who get absolutely no help from the supporting cast, but you do walk away with some nice moments. 3 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Underrated Work of Mel Gibson


I have a soft heart for action films. 
There, I said it, but can you blame me? I grew up on the works of Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme. The first movie I honestly remember seeing was Lethal Weapon 2

And one can only surmise that's when it started. But upon talking with my brother this past weekend, it dawned on me once more—Mel Gibson isn't that bad. And three of his late-career films have proved that he is, in fact, pretty damn amazing. 

Especially at the whole crazy bit. 

1. Conspiracy Theory (1997) 
This mystery/suspense film was a bridge for Richard Donner and Gibson. They had hooked up, of course, on all of the Lethal Weapon movies. And if one were to judge a movie by it's poster, this one seemed to be a bridge of sorts for all involved. A bridge for Donner waiting for the guys at Warner to finish the script for Lethal Weapon 4 (aka, the one with Jet Li). A bridge for Roberts waiting for the next Garry Marshall production. 
But Gibson chews up the screen as the pop-eyed taxicab driver who "pointlessly" and neurotically thinks of government schemes and buys copies of The Catcher in the Rye
Conspiracy Theory is probably the darkest film Gibson or Donner were a part of back in 1997. The lighting crew on this one used two settings—crimson and black. And Patrick Stewart does his best evil grimace. 
It isn't hard to notice that this film is way out of Donner's league. That guy is best when he's making buddy movies. Hell, even 16 Blocks wasn't bad. But this one, it's pretty damn passable. If only for the fact that Gibson does the OCD bit almost better than Jack Nicholson in As Good As it Gets. 

2. Payback (1999) 
Before Tarantino killed Bill, Gibson and the writer of L.A. Confidential, Brian Helgeland, were fighting each other over which version of this pre-millennium gem audiences would see. 
Payback is a revenge flick. It's title says exactly what Gibson's Porter will do—he will payback all those people that tried to kill him. But Porter does this in the most gruesome ways. 
This is Eli Roth-type stuff, before Eli Roth ever thought of writing it down. 
But this isn't Hostel. No, this is badass. Gibson uses this movie to mutter and mope around like an estranged cousin of Clint Eastwood. And he fights none other than Kris Kristofferson and James Coburn. Gibson doesn't take no damned prisoners. He just wants his slim share of money. 
If anyone were to write a film essay on the thesis "violence begets violence," this movie would hold its rightful place in that novel. But I have a feeling naming the flick, Killing Spree, wouldn't have got many Lethal Weapon fans in the theatre. 

3. Ransom (1996) 
I was roughly nine years old when this movie was released. In this movie, Gibson was on the last leg of his popularity, re-teaming with Rene Russo to create a drama about a kidnapping gone wrong. 
This movie was a solidified hit when the trailer ran. Ron Howard was running off the fumes of the magical Apollo 13. Gary Sinese was earning his title as one of the best supporting actors in the business with turns in Apollo 13 and Forrest Gump
Ransom earned Gibson a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of millionaire Tom Mullen. The film is worth watching just for his stellar TV-spot he does with a pile of money, asking the kidnappers to give him his child back. 

In conclusion 
In no way does this mean Mel Gibson should be categorized as a saint. He's not the best actor in the world. He's pulled some ludicrous stunts as well. 
And these movies, they aren't perfect. Some might call them merely guilty pleasures. To me, they hint at something more. 
Here's to hoping Gibson quits the detective schtick and comes back with something along these lines. 

Monday, July 20, 2009

top ten


Check these top tens, gave me a little more respect for Diablo Cody

http://www.criterion.com/explore/top10

and put yours in the comments (criterion or otherwise)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Doomsday Machine: Episode 6


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

R.I.P. Karl Malden

Karl Malden one of Hollywood's greatest character actors died on July 1st at the age of 97. The way he carried himself and also the way he looked always brought realism to his characters, and the films he was in. Malden was born in Chicago in 1912 and in High School was a big Basketball star. He broke his nose several times playing the great game, and thats how he got his signature nose. He started acting in the late '30's on Broadway, but WWII broke that up for awhile. He returned to acting in the late forties and had small roles in some great Noir films like Boomerang and Kiss of Death. Malden, Marlon Brando, and Elia Kazan became good friends on Broadway and in 1947 they stared and directed in A Streetcar Named Desire. Streetcar was a huge success and Kazan reunited them for a 1951 film version,which Malden won the Oscar for best supporting actor. In 1954 Kazan,Brando, and Malden collaborated for On The Waterfront,which Malden's portrayal of Father Barry was nominated for Best Supporting Actor. Other highlights of Malden's career are Kazan's Baby Doll(56). A abusive father in Fear Strikes Out(57) with Anthony Perkins. The Warden in Birdman Of Alcatraz(62) with Burt Lancaster. A has-been gambler in The Cincinnati Kid(65) with Steve McQueen. And General Omar Bradley in Patton(70) with George C. Scott,which was his last great film role. In the 70's to 2000 he did television movies and series, with The Streets Of San Francisco(72-77) being his most successful.


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

Top 5 ways the summer of 2009 already shit the bed



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

The Doomsday Machine: Episode 5



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 doomsdaypodcast@gmail.com

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cody's Film Review: UP

I thought Wall-E was one of the best films of last year, and The Incredibles was one of my favorites of 2006. With Up Pixar hits one out of the park again. This film shows why they are leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. Not only do all of their films look better, but the writing and music is far superior than the other studios. When I saw the previews for this film I thought the story seemed dull, but it was anything but. I figured most of the film would be about a old man living in a floating house, but that is actually only 15 minutes of a 90 minute movie. The story is very original and the characters are deep with great dialog. Up starts out as a love story and then turns into a great adventure with many memorable characters. I got to see it in 3-D which was a added bonus,but it wasn't gimmicky. Pixar doesn't mix in too much pop culture to date their films and time will be very kind to them. I also like the fact that Pixar doesn't get big named stars to do the voices on their films. When you hear Ed Asner's voice you think of a regular old man. When you hear Travolta doing Bolt you hear the actor, not the character. Up is funny, heartfelt, and one of the best films of the year. 4 out of 5 stars

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Top 5 reasons 2009 is already better than 2008



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.