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Don’t Let Them End, by Bob Connally

25 Jun


Whenever I see a top 10 list that has say… The Godfather at number 5 and The Godfather, Part II at 3 my face sort of involuntarily scrunches up. If they’re that close just put them together and free up a spot on your list. I also see this happen with Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back and there was no way I was going to have an entry for the original film immediately followed by one for Empire. For me they’re right on top of each other, so coming in at number 3 on my top 10 favorite movies list I give you a twofer.

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The Mad Prophet of the Airwaves, by Bob Connally

20 Jun

Of all the movies on my top ten favorites of all-time list I knew this would be the most difficult one to write about. Not because I have any less enthusiasm for it or anything less to say about it than the others, but because Network has been written about so thoroughly in the 41 years since it first arrived that it’s hard to find new things to say. We don’t need another article expounding upon how relevant the 1976 masterpiece is today. Seriously, just type “network 1976 relevant today” into Google and see what happens. Then after your computer has exploded go buy a new one and finish reading this article.

Instead of drawing parallels between the events of the film- which at the time were considered sensational and satirical- and the current landscape of television and online news, I’ll try to keep the focus on the movie itself.

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More Updates & Announcements!

15 Jun

Tyler talks about all the latest stuff on the website!

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The Fear of God: Bubba Ho-Tep
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Trilogy Anatomy
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For the Greater Good, by Bob Connally

11 Jun

As a film reviewer, being able to view movies as objectively as possible is important. I feel like I’m pretty good at that. I don’t really care what genre a movie is or who its target audience may be. A good movie is a good movie. But of course, like anyone else there are certain kinds of films that I gravitate towards and that just have a built in advantage for me. For some people it’s horror, for others it’s “hard” sci-fi. For me though, it’s cop movies, particularly buddy cop movies. The more packed with tropes the better.

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Worth Fighting For, by Bob Connally

6 Jun

Ever since Warner Bros. started up the DC Extended Universe with 2013’s Man of Steel, they have been looked upon as lagging far behind Marvel and its own cinematic universe that had begun in 2008. While Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad all made plenty of money, none of them were considered artistic successes. Man of Steel was a joyless, clunky mess and Suicide Squad was an appalling trainwreck. I did not see Batman v Superman but outside of Ben Affleck’s Batman, the consensus was not favorable.

In terms of quality the DCEU was largely considered to be 0 for 3 and it’s seemed that there’s been no one at the wheel with a clue about how to properly run things. It can be easy to forget though that at this same point into the Marvel Cinematic Universe they had made Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, and Iron Man 2. Everybody loved Iron Man (a movie that holds up very well nine years later) but Iron Man 2 was nowhere near as well-received and even by that time, The Incredible Hulk had essentially been forgotten about. For a DC optimist, one could say that they were just an Iron Man away from righting the ship. But could they really do it? Specifically could Wonder Woman finally end the artistic losing streak?

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Making the World a Better Place, by Bob Connally

3 Jun

When it premiered on FX in January of 2013, The Americans entered a TV landscape that already featured an embarrassment of quality riches. After 5 seasons and 65 episodes though, it has emerged as some of the most absorbing storytelling in any medium in a very long time.

As someone with a strong fascination with the Cold War, I had great excitement for the pilot episode which introduced us to Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip (Matthew Rhys) Jennings, two Soviet “illegals” in 1981 who had been living in the suburbs of Washington, DC for the better part of two decades. Having been placed in the United States by the KGB, Elizabeth and Philip have a cover marriage, cover jobs as travel agents with cover histories and even two cover children, Paige (Holly Taylor) and Henry (Keidrich Sellati), neither of whom have any idea of their parents’ true identities. Elizabeth and Philip’s real job involves honey traps and murders in the name of the Soviet cause. After all of these years and missions, the life is wearing on Philip and he has begun to question if America is really as bad as the Soviet government would have their people believe. Elizabeth meanwhile is as committed as ever, firmly believing that every life she takes is justifiable in the effort to “make the world a better place.”

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Meeting Your Heroes, by Bob Connally

29 May

“Never meet your heroes.” It’s a phrase and a sentiment that we are all familiar with because there are some unfortunate souls who have met a celebrity or an inspirational figure and ended up gravely disappointed. Not many of us however have had that disappointment echo through history the way young Robert Ford’s did.

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The Finest, by Bob Connally

21 May

“We want the finest wines available to humanity! We want them here and we want them now!” I had that put on a t-shirt at a specialty store once. It’s a quote that only a relatively small number of people will recognize (certainly in the United States). But I had to get it because it’s the definitive quote from one of the most quotable movies of all-time, Bruce Robinson’s cult comedy classic Withnail & I. It now comes in at number 7 on my list but at that time Robinson’s essentially autobiographical look back at 1969 Britain was my favorite movie. So why would a film about two out of work actors living in squalor and living to get drunk and high in late ‘60s London resonate with me so much? I don’t drink much- and not at all when I first saw it at age 20- I don’t take drugs, I’ve never been an out of work actor, and I’ve never been British in the ‘60s. Or in any other decade now that I think of it. But from the first time I saw it, Withnail & I spoke to me in a way few films ever have. I came for the quotes but I came away with so much more.

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In Space, No One Can Hear You Shrug, by Bob Connally

20 May

In 2012, Ridley Scott returned to the world of Alien 33 years after directing the original film. Prometheus was a fairly entertaining but decidedly incoherent movie most notable for an outstanding supporting performance by Michael Fassbender as an android named David. Wisely, Scott and the rest of the creative team behind Alien: Covenant decided to bring Fassbender back but in terms of storytelling, we’re given a largely derivative mess. What’s maddening is not that the audience won’t be able to figure out what’s happening in the film. It’s that this is a movie that presents things in a needlessly complicated way in an attempt to make it appear deeper and more complex than it really is. After taking a slight step back and piecing it together, it’s very simple. There is nothing wrong with simplicity. But don’t try to trick us into thinking there’s more to it when there isn’t.

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Don’t Call It Stupid, by Bob Connally

1 May

I’ve usually found that, when it comes to the kind of comedies I enjoy, most fall into one of two categories. Some are well-constructed with strong characters and give me some solid chuckles throughout. Others make laughs their biggest priority and are only concerned with things like characters and story to a minimal extent. Just enough to have something to hang those laughs on. A Fish Called Wanda is that rare and wonderful movie that is the best of both worlds. It is brilliantly constructed, filled with richly drawn characters, and it is also laugh out loud funny the whole way through.

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