Monday, September 30, 2013

The Cinema File #256: "Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2" Review

I love puns. I love puns so much that I named my podcast The Dirty Sons Of Pitches, because, you know, we're dirty, and we pitch stuff. Anyway, no matter how much I might love the art of punning, usually just for the pun of it, even I am amazed at how well the makers of the new film Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 have been able to sustain not one, but two movies solely on the strength of them. Glutton for punishment that I am, I made a pledge at the beginning of this year to see every wide release animated movie, and with the exception of my white whale of terribleness Planes, I've seen every one so far. Cloudy 2 is easily one of the better ones if not the best, though in 2013 that must always come with the caveat of just how lousy this year has been all around for film, and that at least one of the animated movies on the low end had Smurfs in it. Still, low standards notwithstanding, this is one animated adventure that's great to look at, just heartwarming enough without being cloying, and just plain pun as phuck. Yeah, that's why I did that. Sorry, I'll stop now.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Cinema File #255: "The Family" Review

You'd probably be hard pressed to find a list of the greatest American films of all time that doesn't have The Godfather somewhere in the top ten (if not the top five). It was one of those extremely rare cases of a movie that was so original and proved to be so culturally indelible that it essentially created its own genre, providing the blueprint for and standard by which we judge any ensuing movie that dares to tackle the same subject matter. Its a style that's been ripped off, parodied, honored, dishonored, and run through pretty much every possible permutation of cross-genre meddling short of Mafia Space Epic (at least until Star Wars gets there). If any director was capable of finding a fresh spin on this well-worn material, one would think it might be someone as prolific and eclectic as Luc Besson, but while his approach in The Family does result in a mostly charming and entertaining experience, it ultimately feels a little too beholden to the canon it should be trying to transcend.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Unnecessary Retrospective: The Chucky Franchise (Part One - Child's Play)

[Editorial Note]: Hi everybody. Welcome to another installment of Unnecessary Retrospectives. If you don't know what this is, the basic idea is that I take an indepth second look at a movie franchise from my childhood with an eye towards the greater mythology and how each film is integrated into the larger series. You can check out the first two HERE and HERE. On second thought, don't. I posted them back before I used pictures, and before I learned that people didn't want to read 20+ paragraphs about the Critters movies in one sitting. I'll probably re-post them at some point in easily digestible chunks with pics, but in the mean time, here's part one of Unnecessary Retrospective #3, in a format that's short and visually engaging enough that you might actually be able to read it without wanting to kill yourself. Enjoy.

So have you all seen Curse of Chucky yet? Can't see why not, I mean, I recommended it like yesterday, giving you more than enough time to buy it and watch it. Well, your loss I suppose. In any case, being able to indulge in the nostalgic glee of everyone's favorite killer toy possessed by Brad Dourif inspired me to take a look back at the series that started it all, to see if Chucky 1 through 5 were really as good as I remember them. Now, for the one guy nerdy enough to read that last sentence and be mad at it, I should stress that while I'm aware the first three movies don't have Chucky in the title, I will be using Chucky and Child's Play interchangeably when I refer to them, because its common parlance, and I don't care enough to be that precise. So first up, Child's Play, or Chucky 1, whichever you prefer.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Cinema File #254: "Curse Of Chucky" Review

Who doesn't love a Killer Toy movie? Well, most people actually. The most recent one I can think of not counting Ooga Booga or anything made by Charles Band was Dead Silence way back in 2007, and there's a reason we don't see as many of them nowadays as we did back when the Child's Play series was in its prime. Don't get me wrong, I love them, but I also understand how most people might find it hard to suspend their disbelief with the idea that a flimsy piece of plastic come to life could be a credible threat. Sure, back in the 80's and 90's when everything came to life as a killer, maybe, but in the post Saw/Hostel age of horror, a monster like Chucky the Killer Doll just doesn't cut it. While I don't think it will, if there's any movie that could bring some new life and new found respect to this faded franchise, its the latest installment, Curse of Chucky, a sequel/reboot hybrid that does pretty much everything right.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Idiot Box: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - 1x01 - "Pilot" Review

Okay, far be it from me to once again assume the role of wet blanket to a legion of Marvel fan boys who've attached their self-esteem to the erroneous notion that The Avengers is a good movie, but come on, even the most dedicated sycophant to the Marvel Cinematic Universe has to acknowledge that something was lacking in this pilot. Whatever my feelings were towards the shitty, shitty movie upon which this series was based, even I still had high hopes for this one, as it represented Joss Whedon back in his element on the small screen, where I would have thought he would have more freedom to be the Joss Whedon we all know and love. Admittedly, being an original story about mostly all new characters, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. does avoid many of the specific problems I had with the film that inspired it, but in trying to recapture the tone of that film on such a smaller scale, it just creates a host of new problems that I almost think might be worse.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Idiot Box: The Blacklist - 1x01 - "Pilot" Review

Did you ever watch that show The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo? Not the original series, but the later one with Scrappy Doo and Vincent Price. Call it sacrilege, but I always liked it better, because they were actually going after real monsters instead of just Old Man Wilkins in a mask or something. The thing is, the show only had thirteen episodes, one for each ghosts, and it always seemed strange to me that they would limit themselves like that right off the bat. Of course, sometimes this works in the reverse, like in The 100 Lives of Captain Black Jack Savage or The 100 Deeds Of Eddie McDowd, two shows cancelled long before they reached their goal, their centennial promise now seeming a bit lofty in retrospect. It took a while, but it looks like we've finally learned that when building a show around a finite definable goal, its best to keep the exact number vague. We never find out how many criminals are on the blacklist in the pilot to The Blacklist, and I hope we never do, because this is a show that should get to go on long past the point where this plot device would otherwise be plausible.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Dirty Sons Of Pitches - Episode Sixty! Now Available!

Hey guys, check out the latest episode of my podcast The Dirty Sons Of Pitches! In this episode we deconstruct the summer movie season and re-pitch some of the worst summer movies as if they were good. Also, masturbating to severed feet. Yeah...

Download HERE

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Cinema File #253: "Blue Jasmine" Review

Genius isn't a qualifier that can just be taken away from an artist once it is authentically applied, no matter the relative quality of their work throughout their lifetime. Dario Argento is a genius, for example, and I know this because I've seen many films he's directed where his brilliance is clearly on display. He also made Dracula 3D, a schlocky Stoker update that but for a few additional scenes of skin might have made for a decent soft core porno at best. The great Woody Allen has proven himself far too many times to count, enough to qualify as one of the few directors, or perhaps the only living director, worthy of the title comedic auteur. His remarkably prolific output has become much more hit and miss in the last few, well, decades, but when he's good, he's still really good, and Blue Jasmine easily counts as one of the best movies he's made in years.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Cinema File #252: "Insidious: Chapter 2" Review

Okay, I have to warn you right off the bat, this review is going to contain at least a few major spoilers for the film Insidious: Chapter 2. If you haven't seen it and care enough about the twists and turns involved, you probably want to skip this one. I'll still try to be as oblique as possible, but there's really no way that I can adequately relate to you all the things I liked and didn't like about this film without giving away key plot details, mostly by referencing the many other, much better films this movie shamelessly rips off. In my defense, its not exactly the kind of movie that really hinges on surprise outside of the placement of the jump scares which I have no need to reveal, and really, if you've seen the trailers or the first movie, I can't think of much I can spoil that you couldn't have guessed already. Still, you've been warned.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Stop Or My Mom Will Podcast! - Movie Review Special, Part Two!! - Now Available!!!

Check out part two of our massive movie review special, where my mother and I discuss even more films we've seen, loved, hated, and forgotten the details of. Yes, she gets even drunker.

Click HERE to download directly

Or Stream Below:

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Cinema File #251: "Blackfish" Review

One of my favorite documentaries of all time was a movie that came out a few years ago called Grizzly Man. Call me callous, but I just love it when humans stupidly put themselves in the path of nature in all its violent glory and get killed for their hubris. I don’t know what it is, but every time I hear about a swimmer in shark invested waters getting eaten, or a hunter getting mauled by a bear, I get a little spring in my step. As smart as we think we are, and as much as we pride ourselves on ascending to the status of the dominant species on the planet, some of us still haven’t figured out that big things with sharp teeth shouldn’t be fucked with. You don’t swim in their ocean or hunt in their forest, and most of all, you don’t take them from their habitat and force them to do tricks for you, unless you want to get bit. That’s the moral of Blackfish, the new documentary about SeaWorld’s systemic mistreatment of its Killer Whales, and it is as heartbreaking as it is cathartically awesome.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Idiot Box: Sleepy Hollow - 1x01 - "Pilot" Review

Usually in every new television season, it seems like I find at least one show that is so obviously and completely aligned with my own personal tastes that it is almost surely doomed for an early cancellation. I joined many in lamenting the loss of Firefly after fourteen episodes, and joined basically no one in being the only person actually interested in how Alcatraz was going to turn out. Sometimes the trend is bucked by circumstance, as in Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal, given a last minute reprieve thanks to NBC’s otherwise lackluster slate of hour long dramas, and the vastly underrated Fringe, which found itself on the bubble for pretty much every year of its five season run. This season, we have Sleepy Hollow, a show from the makers of Fringe that I have no doubt will be cancelled as soon as the executives who greenlit it sober up and realize what they let on TV. But until they do, I’m gonna love the crap out of every minute of it!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Cinema File #250: "Getaway" Review

Ever since the recent box office resurgence of the Fast and the Furious franchise, I've been forced to question the continued viability of the endless car chase movie. Even understanding the appeal, haven't we seen enough of cars driving really fast and bashing into each other? Are these movies really so different from one another that we need to keep doing them? Is there anything left to say that hasn't already been said, assuming there was ever anything to say at all? Apparently the producers of Getaway seem to think there's more ground to cover, and at least in raw mileage they certainly speed through a great deal of it, through I defy you to find any of it all that interesting or groundbreaking. Directed by Courtney Solomon of Dungeons and Dragons the Movie fame, Getaway is even more so than its competition in the genre a car commercial in search of a movie, and after 90 minutes of insufferable noise and nonsense, I'm not buying.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Cinema File #249: "Riddick" Review

Has there ever been a more unlikely trilogy than the Riddick movies? Whether you love them or hate them, I don’t think anyone who sat down to watch Pitch Black way back in the year 2000 ever thought of it as the kind of movie that would ever lead to a franchise, and after the dismal reception of its sequel The Chronicles of Riddick, the idea that we’d be sitting here in 2013 with a third film just seems insane to me. I’m not sure if Vin Diesel has way more star power than I’ve ever given him credit for, or if we’re just so starved for a tent pole action series not based on a comic book that two sleeper home video hits in a row is enough to justify a third one, but whatever the reason, now we have Riddick, again, in a movie just called Riddick, because apparently he’s so popular, the name alone should be enough. Am I missing something here?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Stop Or My Mom Will Podcast - Movie Review Spectacular Part One! Now Available!

Hey ya'll
Enjoy Part One of a Three Part episode where mom and I talk about a huge backlog of movies we watched together and get progressively drunker and angrier at each other. Enjoy.

Download Directly HERE

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Cinema File #248: "Hell Baby" Review

When I first saw that Hell Baby, the new horror comedy by the writers of Reno 9-1-1 had  come up in my queue of new movies on VOD, I was really excited. Apparently I was mistaking it for a completely different movie I'd been waiting to see called Bad Milo, another horror comedy about supernatural birth pains starring fellow State alum Ken Marino. After getting over the initial disappointment, I was curious to see how Thomas Lennon and Richard Ben Garant would fair going back to the more adult subject matter that made them famous, after so many years mired in successful mainstream pablum. After Herbie: Fully Loaded, The Pacifier, and two Night At The Museum Movies, Hell Baby feels like a lot of pent up subversive energy being released, the kind of movie where a priest punching a baby in the face feels like the most natural thing in the world, and while I wanted more, I can't say my sick mind wasn't thoroughly entertained.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Dirty Sons Of Pitches - Episode #59 (Ten Away From Sexy) is Now Available.

Hey gang, check out the latest episode of my podcast The Dirty Sons Of Pitches to at the very least understand why the incredibly obscure image above is at all relevant.

This week we tackle musicals and pitch our own in honor of our short film winning "Best Song" at this year's Columbus 48 Hour Film Festival. Also, woodland racism, pedophilia, and AIDs. Enjoy everybody, 

Download that motherfucker HERE!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Cinema File #247: "Paranoia" Review

Do you remember that shitty movie with Ryan Phillipe called Anti-Trust? No? It was sort of a techno-thriller that came out in 2001 and had Tim Robbins in it as a Bill Gates-esque evil billionaire? Well, I don't know if I just have 80's era computer pioneers on the brain after sitting through Jobs and iSteve recently, but this was the first movie I thought of while watching the latest tech industry espionage thriller Paranoia. If like much of America you didn't bother seeing either of these films upon release, the comparison will be lost on you, but if I had to describe Paranoia, I'd say it was like Anti-Trust, but with a much better cast, and yet somehow even more boring.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

From The Idea Hole: Star Trek - Strange Frontier (Part Two Of Three: Characters and Proposed Casting)

If you're coming into this out of context, check out PART ONE HERE. That link will take you to the introduction to this, my extended pitch for the next Star Trek series, which is continued here with my idea for the season one starting cast of characters and who I'd realistically pick to play them. A quick note, as you may have noticed in the lead up to this, I always leave names to the last thing, so I will be designating characters by rank, job, role, etc, whichever is most significant to them.

1: The Captain – The lynch pin of any Star Trek series, our Captain would be an old soldier who never ascribed to the typical ideal of the noble explorer, joining Starfleet to protect his home world and earning his stripes in battle against the Dominion and the Borg. Now without an enemy to fight, he decides to retire, only to find himself the leader of a makeshift colony of Starfleet officers and civilians on a dangerous alien world. As the mysteries of the planet begin to be revealed, The Captain would be the first to make connections suggesting more to the world than meets the eye and become strangely obsessed, leading those around him to begin to question his capacity to protect the group, and ultimately to question his sanity. (Proposed Casting: Michael Ironside)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Cinema File #246: "You're Next" Review

Every once in a while, a horror movie comes along that completely redefines the genre, breathing new life into an arena of film making almost defined by its propensity to become stale and repetitive. From the shocking twist on formula in Psycho to the twisted amorality of The Exorcist, the raw authenticity of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and the self referential camp of Scream, what these movies all have in common is that they don't just do what they do well or better than what has come before, but they always bring something new and different to the table. For better or for worse, even The Paranormal Activity movies, cementing the found footage format first seen in films like The Last Broadcast and The Blair Witch Project, were in their own way revolutionary, even if the revolution they spawned became old hat by the second movie. Since premiering on the festival circuit back in 2011, the home invasion thriller You're Next has been hyped as the next big thing in horror, and while one cannot fault a film for its marketing, this presumptuous promise infuses the film itself as if demanding that you acknowledge its novelty, which only makes it more disappointing when the whole thing turns out to be more of the same.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

From The Idea Hole: Star Trek - Strange Frontier (Part One Of Three: Introduction And Premise)

(Note: Because this post is very long and intricate even at three separate parts, I will be linking extensively to a wiki appropriate for background information on this topic.)

A few months ago in the somewhat arbitrary context of discussing my Top Ten Favorite Super Monkeys, I briefly touched upon my love of the Star Trek franchise, which led me to produce among other works of sad unread fan fiction a pilot treatment and show bible for a new Trek series called Star Trek: Strange Frontier. Though I talked about a few elements of the idea, I never actually went into great detail about it, and I thought that with the recent Star Trek Into Darkness, as well as a new review series I have planned, I might as well throw it out there, in case anyone was interested.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Stop Or My Mom Will Podcast! - Episode 8!! - Now Available!!!

Check out the latest episode of my other podcast - Stop Or My Mom Will Podcast, Episode 8! Another Man Of Steel-centric outing where my mom and I discuss our immediate reactions to Snyder's film as well as, probably other stuff. Enjoy!

CLICK HERE to download directly.

Or Stream Below:

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Dirty Sons Of Pitches Podcast - Episode Fifty Eight! Now Available!!

Check out the latest episode of my longest running podcast, The Dirty Sons Of Pitches: Episode 58!

CLICK HERE for the link!

Originally stopped posting these because I thought it was a waste of a daily spot, but fuck it, its an hour of entertainment for anyone who cares, which is more than you would have gotten had a I just posted another text movie review about Jobs or some other shitty movie I watched recently. This week we talked about Batfleck, the Twerk heard round the world, pitched a series of movies in either the home invasion or alien invasion genres in honor of You're Next and The World's End, and made our picks for the casting of the proposed DC Cinematic Universe. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Mockbusted #19: "iSteve" Review

I don't know if this even technically counts as a mockbuster, but fuck it, I haven't had the chance to do one of these in a while, so here goes. I typically make the distinction with mockbusters that a movie can't just be a rip-off, but one explicitly designed to take advantage of another film by fraudulently riding the wave of its predicted box office. iSteve, the first feature length film by the writers behind isn't so much a mockbuster in the Asylum vein as it is a straight up parody that just happened to have been released months before the movie it was parodying. Said movie was a marginal disappointment, while its satirical twin is nothing short of a full blown disaster. Had this not also been the year I saw the Shamwow Guy's movie, I would have easily declared this to be the worst comedy film of 2013, and that's a year that included Identity Thief and The Hangover 3! If websites were truly held accountable to the promise of their names, than every one involved in making this piece of shit would be dead right now.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Cinema File #245: "Jobs" Review

There is a term that is sometimes used in reference to the intersection of technology and business called Betamaxing, inspired by the now obsolete video player that was forced out of the market by its largest competitor, the VHS player. When a piece of technology is said to be Betamaxed, it refers to the point where a technically superior product is surpassed by an inferior one due solely to marketing. In essence, it is when "cooler" matters more to the consumer than "better," or when the two are erroneously conflated. Before his recent death, no one was better at encouraging this false equivalency, and no one more synonymous with the style over substance approach required, than Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. An innovator not so much in the technology he sold but in its commercial viability and potential as a status symbol, Jobs was nonetheless as brilliant as he was complex. Unfortunately, the new biopic bearing his name only scratches the surface.

Monday, September 2, 2013

New Podcast!: Intercourse The Penguin - Episode Three, Now Available!

Check out the latest episode of Intercourse The Penguin, a podcast I do with my mom where we talk about TV shows she claims to hate, but can't stop watching. This week, its a trio of Battlestar Galactica episodes that challenge her conception of what authentic drama is (Hint: Its not the shit Shonda Rhimes pettles every week!). Enjoy

Download HERE

Or Stream Below

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Cinema File #244: "Twixt" Review

Francis Ford Coppola, the legendary director of The Godfather Trilogy, Apocalypse Now, and, lest we ever forget, Jack AND Captain EO, produced the film Twixt based on a nightmare he had all the way back in 2011. Appearing only at a few film festivals here and there, it wasn't released widely until fairly recently, and only then punted unceremoniously direct to DVD. Going only by the director's reputation, one might have cause to wonder how any film he makes could be given this kind of treatment, but should you bother to sit through this weird tale of post-cognitive dreams and prepubescent vampire ghost things, you might have more cause to wonder why anyone thought it was a good idea to release it at all, or even make it in the first place.

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