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A Tragic Comedy, by Bob Connally

21 Jan

Like a great many of you I remember the saga of Tonya and Nancy well. From a young age I got very into the Olympics and as an 11-year old in early 1994 I looked forward to watching the U.S. hockey team, bobsledding, skiing, and most of all seeing if Dan Jansen could win the speed skating Gold which had long eluded him amidst personal tragedy. But in the weeks leading up to the Lillehammer Games there was only one story anyone was talking about. America’s figure skating sweetheart, Nancy Kerrigan, had been viciously attacked, clubbed in the knee after a practice. I’d wager virtually every American who was above the age of 8 in 1994 has that raw video footage of her sitting on the floor crying, “Why, why, why?” indelibly burned into his or her memory. Memory, though, is a funny thing. Beyond that I would say few of us remember many of the details of what happened next, other than learning of rival skater Tonya Harding’s connection to Kerrigan’s attacker, Kerrigan going on to a medal (Silver as it turned out) and yes, Tonya Harding crying over her shoelaces on the world’s biggest stage. It seems I don’t remember it that well after all. The people involved do though. Well, their own versions of it anyway.

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The Fear of God: mother!

16 Jan

In this episode, Reed and Nathan discuss Darren Aronofsky’s controversial psychological horror film mother!.

A Year with Hitchcock: The Pleasure Garden, by Reed Lackey

11 Jan

Hitchcock began his career in films designing title cards for the London branch of Paramount Pictures. He eventually worked his way up to assistant director and ultimately, of course, to director. The very first directorial effort by Hitchcock was a film called Number 13, but a production cancellation midway through due to financial difficulties caused the film to remain incomplete and what little there was of it has been lost to time.

I half expected The Pleasure Garden, the earliest surviving directorial effort from Hitchcock, to be flat and uninteresting. On the contrary, I rather enjoyed it.

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A Year with Hitchcock, by Reed Lackey

5 Jan

The phrase is this “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” What I think we mean when we use it (or its reverse that the whole is “lesser”) is a certain intangible quality that can’t quite be dissected or calculated. It reflects a sensibility that language is still struggling to define about why something “works” or doesn’t.

We consider this issue when discussing film constantly. Franchise installments are constantly being ranked in comparison with their sibling entries, which deepens and furthers the conversation on that particular franchise as a whole.

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The War Room, by Bob Connally

29 Dec

I have long had a fascination with and a deep admiration for Winston Churchill, the man who did more than any other one person to save the world from Hitler and the Axis powers. That fascination and admiration have been shared by a great many filmmakers. In recent years alone he has been portrayed by Bob Hoskins, Albert Finney, Brendan Gleeson, Timothy Spall, Michael Gambon, Brian Cox, and John Lithgow just to name a few. So when there is so much film and audio available of the man and so many portrayals by some of the most accomplished actors of our time how does a filmmaker separate himself with something exciting? Well, Joe Wright accomplished this by casting a living acting legend and arguably the most chameleonic actor alive today, Gary Oldman.

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Christmas Evil, by Reed Lackey

24 Dec

If you’re of the ever-growing variety of holiday movie-watcher who prefers sardonic wit and dark humor to sentiment and sap, or who prefers a bit of menace and violence to caroling or cookies, then top off the eggnog, because there’s a holiday treat in store.

Better Watch Out, a new film from director Chris Peckover (only his second feature), begins simply enough: responsible babysitter Ashley (Olivia DeJonge) is set to watch over 12-year-old Luke (Levi Miller) on Christmas Eve while his parents attend a party. This will be one of, if not THE last time, that Ashley will watch over Luke before she goes away to college and Luke wants things to be special. Unfortunately, the night is not long underway before it appears that someone may be trying to get into their home… if they aren’t already in.

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Two-Geek Soup: Thor

15 Dec

In this episode, John and Jeff discuss Kenneth Branaugh’s Thor!

Listen to “Ep. 4 “I would sit in church thinking about Ocarina of Time”” on Spreaker.

Oh, Hi! by Bob Connally

12 Dec

“Greetings, my friend. You are interested in the unknown. The mysterious. The unexplainable. That is why you are here. And now for the first time, we are bringing you the full story of what happened. We are giving you all the evidence, based only on the secret testimony of the miserable souls who survived this terrifying ordeal. The incidents, places… My friend, we cannot keep this a secret any longer. Can your heart stand the shocking facts of the true story of…” the making of The Room?

Leading up to the release of The Disaster Artist, James Franco’s comedic account of the making of the 21st century’s truest bona fide cult movie The Room, many have understandably drawn comparisons to Tim Burton’s masterpiece Ed Wood. Like Ed Wood, The Disaster Artist seems to say to us out of the gate, “Look, we know that you know it didn’t really happen like this, but this is how it should have happened, so let’s just have some fun” (though in many ways it would appear that the true story was even stranger than what we see here). Also just like Ed Wood, The Disaster Artist benefits greatly from this approach.

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Two-Geek Soup: The Incredible Hulk

1 Dec

In this episode, John and Chris discuss Louis Leterrier’s The Incredible Hulk.

Listen to “Ep. 2 “I want a William Shatner Bobblehead”” on Spreaker.

Classics Through the Cracks: Real Life, by Bob Connally

27 Nov

Citizen Kane. Casablanca. Lawrence of Arabia. Dr. Strangelove. Films considered by virtually all movie buffs to be amongst the greatest ever made. Classics. But there are so many wonderful movies that for one reason or another have fallen through the cracks and don’t get the recognition they truly deserve. In this new series I will be writing about and hopefully encouraging people to discover the classics that they’ve been missing. Movies like Bad Day at Black Rock, Hud, and L.A. Story just to name a few. I’ll be looking at the film, the era in which it was released, and other popular movies released in that era. For the first entry I’m writing about one of my favorite movies ever made and one that makes me laugh no matter how many times I see it, Albert Brooks’ Real Life.

The 1999-2000 TV season introduced American audiences to two shows that would change television forever. While so called “reality television” was nothing new, shows like Fox’s Cops and MTV’s The Real World were outliers. Major networks would air re-runs of scripted dramas and sitcoms all summer long, with very little original programming running between the end of May and the beginning of September. But as one millennium gave way to another, ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (a game show but one that emphasized human drama more than something like Jeopardy!) and CBS’s Survivor broke through to become primetime smashes. This would prove to be anything but a fad with reality shows quickly becoming ubiquitous and remaining that way 18 years on. It would have only made sense for a comedian turned filmmaker to satirize the format around say, 2002. But why bother? Albert Brooks had already done it to perfection. In 1979.

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