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Synthesized Terror, by Bob Connally

7 Jul

If you’ve been watching movies and TV for the past decade and a half, then you’ve certainly noticed ’80s nostalgia being a big part (sometimes too big a part) of our pop culture landscape. The most unabashed and probably the most famous example of this has been Stranger Things, the ’80s set kids adventure, sci-fi, horror series that is packed with references to the films and shows of that era. There are numerous ’80s pop hits on the soundtrack and the show’s original score is pure synthwave. 

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Episode 229: The Vast of Night

21 Jun

In this episode, Tyler discusses Andrew Patterson’s The Vast of Night and John Carpenter’s The Thing.

Faith-based Optimism, by Bob Connally

10 May

Why are Christian movies so terrible? That’s a question many of us have been asking now for decades. The answer is simple really. Low production values, inexperienced actors, inexperienced directors, but most of all, cringe-inducing screenplays that lead with their message. They become films designed to be sermons more than movies. In his new documentary, Reel Redemption: The Rise of Christian Cinema, Tyler Smith of course examines those aspects of Christian filmmaking but he also goes much deeper into the relationship between Christianity and Hollywood over the past century.

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Episode 228: Bad Times at the El Royale

9 May

In this episode, Tyler discusses Drew Goddard’s Bad Times at the El Royale and Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction.

Daddy Issues, by Bob Connally

24 Apr

David Zucker (one of the comedy geniuses behind Airplane! and The Naked Gun) stated in his “15 Rules of Comedy” that, “Two jokes at the same time cancel each other out. When an actor delivers a punchline, it should be done seriously. It dilutes the comedy to try to be funny on top of it. Likewise, if there is something silly going on in the background, the foreground action must be free of jokes and vice-versa.” There’s a scene about halfway through Man Camp where some of our characters find themselves in a bar fight that violates this very rule. The fight in the background is played for laughs as a couple other characters have a conversation that is also meant to be funny. It’s not that these are strict laws that must be adhered to, and if something works, then it works. But when you’re making your directorial debut with a broad comedy, you would do well to heed the advice of David Zucker. Unfortunately, first time director Nate Bakke did not.

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Into the Wilderness, by Tober Corrigan

9 Apr

“Then Jesus was led up by the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil, and when he had fasted forty days and forty night, afterward he was hungry.” – Matthew 4:1-2

Using the above as its narrative basis, Douglas James Vail’s 40: The Temptation of Christ takes on the task of explaining what exactly happened during those 40 days and nights. Aside from the three temptations of the devil, everything else that could have happened in the wilderness has been left to the imagination. Screenwriter Reed Lackey takes it from there, dancing a fine line between respect for the source material (all of Jesus’ dialogue comes from scripture) and using speculation to guide the film’s deeper emotional truths. 

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Episode 225: The Invisible Man

27 Mar

In this episode, Tyler discusses Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man and Dallas Hallam & Patrick Horvath’s Entrance.

Man Camp (co-written by Josh Long)

6 Mar

A Breath of New Life, by Reed Lackey

6 Mar

Filmmakers in the faith-based genre have rarely even attempted a thriller, let alone an overt horror film. However, making a noteworthy attempt to marry religious concepts with metaphorical monsters is the recent film from writer/director Matt Long called The Red Resurrection. The film cleverly layers its Christian metaphors into its plot while remaining remarkably even-handed, although it can’t quite overcome the obvious stylistic restraints of a limited budget and a first time filmmaker.

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Misfire, by Bob Connally

5 Mar

In the years since his final appearance as Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe has made interesting and admirable career choices. Steering away from other big franchises, he’s taken chances with live theater as well as smaller films and television shows. In one of the more unique films of the past several years, Swiss Army Man, Radcliffe played a talking corpse who becomes a suicidal castaway’s new best friend. Radcliffe’s performance is truly wonderful and one of the better and more memorable film performances of the past decade. Now he stars in Guns Akimbo, a new film with a premise almost as bizarre as Swiss Army Man’s, though it sadly lacks that movie’s imagination.

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