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The Fear of God: Shadow of a Doubt

27 Feb

In this episode, Reed and Nathan discuss Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt.

A Year with Hitchcock: Murder!, by Reed Lackey

24 Feb

In many ways, Murder! is Hitchcock’s first example of falling just shy of expectations and potential. That’s not to say that this is a bad film. In fact, it’s often quite good. But given the potential in the premise, and the promise of Hitchcock tackling a classic whodunit formula, this could have been much more thrilling, suspenseful, and intriguing.

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A Year with Hitchcock: Juno and the Paycock, by Reed Lackey

21 Feb

Whew. After two very strong entries (Hitchcock’s final silent film and his first talkie), this return to domestic drama is a sharp left turn off a steep cliff. It received overwhelmingly positive reviews in its initial run, but even Hitchcock himself regards it as something of a let-down.

Based on the play by Sean O’Casey (and also sometimes known as “The Shame of Mary Boyle”), this understated drama focuses on the fortunes and misfortunes of an Irish family amidst the turmoil of the Irish Civil War. Unfortunately that sentence I wrote is about as interesting as anything in the film.

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The Fear of God: Black Mirror, part 1

20 Feb

In this episode, Reed and Nathan discuss the recent cult hit Black Mirror.

A Year with Hitchcock: Blackmail, by Reed Lackey

18 Feb

Hitchcock’s first “talkie” (and largely regarded as the first British “talkie” at all) is also his first straight-forward suspense film since The Lodger seven films earlier. It required a bit of intuitive insight on Hitchcock’s part into the contemporary cinematic trends to fully create it and it remains one of the strongest entries in Hitchcock’s first decade of films.

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The Fear of God: The X Files, part 1

13 Feb

In this episode, Reed and Nathan discuss the 90s cult classic The X Files.

Redeeming Shawshank, by Reed Lackey

12 Feb

I can still remember the first time I saw it. I was 16 and had the evening to myself at home. I worked at a local video store from which I could bring home free movies every night so long as I returned them the next day. That night the film was The Shawshank Redemption. And it absolutely blew me away.

Is there anybody left over the age of 25 who hasn’t seen that movie? Probably not. It’s rated number 1 on the favorite movies of all time on IMDB. I’m going to assume you’ve seen it. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it and come back… We’ll wait…

Welcome back. So what’d you think? Greatest movie ever? Cheesy and overrated? Boring and overlong? Powerfully moving and affecting? Most satisfying ending in cinema history? Ridiculous popular claptrap?

What’s been interesting to examine regarding that film’s place in cinema history is how widely the pendulum has swung regarding its favor. In 1994 when it was originally released, it was largely ignored. A 2 ½ hour prison drama with a weird title starring two people who weren’t quite on the A-list just yet, especially in the same year that cinematic behemoths Pulp Fiction and Forrest Gump were also released? Most people took a hard pass on it. It’s worth mentioning that it was nominated for 7 Oscars, but also worth mentioning that it didn’t win any of them.

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A Year with Hitchcock: The Manxman, by Reed Lackey

7 Feb

The last of Alfred Hitchcock’s silent films is also arguably the best (although The Lodger remains the most significant). With strong, well-defined characters, a poignant and emotional narrative, and sturdy, focused direction, The Manxman is a solid entry in the filmmaker’s early catalogue.

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The Fear of God: The Twilight Zone, part 1

6 Feb

In this episode, Reed and Nathan discuss Rod Serling’s classic TV show The Twilight Zone.

A Year with Hitchcock: Champagne, by Reed Lackey

4 Feb

Sometimes films aren’t trying to be anything complex or deep or rich or thought-provoking. But they at least need to not be boring. Champagne isn’t trying to be anything but a silly farce. But when the director of said farce is Alfred Hitchcock (albeit while his legacy was still in its infancy) it’s nearly impossible to divorce the expectations from the end result.

Ultimately, Champagne doesn’t amount to much of anything. It’s silly. At times, it’s even chuckle-worthy. But mostly, from both a narrative and thematic standpoint, it’s little more than a hollow waste of time.

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