Part Two of our Best of 2014 list, AKA the part where we’re a bit more inebriated, a bit more incoherent, and a bit more loud. Also Drew and Ryan rant about Guardians of the Galaxy being overrated, and everybody thinks Ryan is crazy because he tries to parallel best picture nominee The Grand Budapest Hotel to Deuce Bigelow.
I was going to put a Deuce Bigelow poster on here, but could not bring myself to do it because it’s one of the worst films ever. So, also, Nightcrawler is discussed.
After a long layoff…….about a year and a half, give or take…..we decided to overdo it a bit. Collecting two enthusiastic friends (Sean McClain and Roy King), we each meticulously created a top 10 list. With an honorable mention. And some films we didn’t like too much. And some disappointments. Then we added booze to the mix. This all led to about a three hour recording, which we’ve decided to parse in to two separate podcasts. That way after you finish the first part and your ears hurt from all of our tomfoolery, you can claim you didn’t know about the second part.
We are all over the map this time. Action movie with A-List actors and big explosions…check. Successful horror movie that is bound to be a franchise…check. Low budget British mystery/thriller with accents so thick subtitles are required…got it. Differing opinions on one or more of today’s movies…you betcha’! Picture of Burt Reynolds laying naked on a bearskin rug…er…sure thing. Anything for our 2 fans.
Drew and I pride ourselves on tying the two films in our podcasts together even with the most tenuous parallels.
Mud is an “Indie” film about two young boys living on a river (presumably the Mississippi) in Arkansas who stumble upon a fugitive named Mud living in a deserted boat in the woods. Mud claims his crime was one of passion, to defend the woman he loves, and implores the boys to help him escape his predicament.
This is the End, meanwhile, is a rollicking, often vulgar comedy about the end of the world starring a bunch of fairly well-know to not-so-well-known actors playing themselves.
Are they both side-splittingly funny? Are they both about the power of love? Do they both have great performances from Jonah Hill? Guess you’ll just have to listen.
Tired of how we are always talking about movies that people have heard of? Well this episode is just for you. How unknown are these movies? Ryan and I saw Aftershock on opening weekend, and during that weekend it made $40,000 total. Just how little is that for a movie to make? Well that same weekend, Silver Linings Playbook, having been released six months before, and and having already been released on blu ray and dvd two weeks before, still managed to make three times as much as Aftershock that weekend. We work tirelessly to find you the real hidden gems. You’re welcome.
John Dies at the End…well…what can I say about a movie like this? It really just needs to be experienced. I just don’t have the words right now, and yet somehow we thought it would make a perfect movie to talk about while we drink and record it for all of you. I’m sorry.
Directed by: Zal Batmanglij
I remember the first time I saw the trailer for Melancholia, I thought, “Looks like an interesting concept for a low-key sci-fi film. And then, I remember seeing a trailer for Another Earth and thinking, “Damn, seems a lot like the concept for Melancholia.” I was so wrong on so many levels.
But that’s another conversation for another time. What’s important is that my initial curiosity for Melancholia piqued my curiosity for Another Earth. I ended up seeing Another Earth way before Melancholia and loved it. A scant year after Another Earth was released, Sound of My Voice came out. And while the film certainly didn’t share the same plot threads as the other two films, it still gave off an eerily similar vibe; science fiction-y, low-key, ambient, atmospheric, and, once again, starring Brit Marling.
The story revolves around journalist Peter Aitken (Christopher Denham), a fledgling journalist trying to get a big break by infiltrating an underground cult with the help of his girlfriend Lorna Michaelson (Nicole Vicius).
Getting to the cult meetings involves thorough showering, dressing in white gowns, strange meeting places, blindfolded van rides, and some of the most intricate secret handshakes known to man. The cult leader, Maggie (Brit Marling) claims she woke up one day in a tub in an abandoned apartment where she had been magically transported from the future. The year 2054, to be exact.
She promises that she will take them back with her if they all jump through the many hoops she puts in front of them, including blind faith in her extraordinary claims, eating and regurgitating fruit, days of starvation, and eating worms. Just to name a few.
As the time to make the journey to 2054 comes nearer and nearer Peter and Lorna start to wonder about each other, adding an interesting layer to the film. Each of them, at one point or another, believes the other may actually be falling under Maggie’s spell. And all of this, of course, is shrouded in mystery. IS she telling the truth? IS she making it all up for some more sinister reason?
I enjoyed this film on a number of levels. First off, I like Brit Marling, although I could see how some might not. She is an interesting actress. In both films she plays a similar character; a somewhat lethargic, doe-eyed lead who, despite her languor, still manages to be enigmatically charismatic. In that way, in particular, she is the perfect lead for the film.
In addition to excellent casting, the film works well on a number of other levels. The way Peter sometimes seems to lead Lorna parallels the way Maggie leads the cult. Peter, who starts out the most incredulous of the group, is often times seen wearing a gown that is a slightly different shade than the rest of the group. A nice color scheme to reflect his skepticism.
The dialogue. While some of it does seem ridiculous, one must suspend their disbelief to some degree. For example, the idea behind eating and then regurgitating the fruit — that they were purging themselves of previous wrongs done by them and to them in order to purify themselves – seems a little silly, especially since it just HAPPENS to coincide with the day that Peter ingests a tiny microphone so he can get audio of the cult. Mmmmm….contrived.
But, then again, it is a cult, and I would rather the filmmakers take a stab at creating a personality rather than what I saw in the woefully overrated Martha Marcy May Marlene where the main reason we seemed to be given as to why the members were wooed to joining was because the leader (John Hawkes) knew how to play guitar.
By and large, though, the script is well written, dialogue and all. There are a lot of loose ends at the end of the film, A LOT, but the film is short, under 90 minutes, and I enjoyed it enough I would consider watching it again to see if I could piece the puzzle together.
Written by Ryan Venson
It’s getting near Christmas, so we though not only would we finally record a new podcast, our gift to you, but that we would also fill it with seasonal films. Which is exactly why we reviewed Looper — a futuristic, time-travelling sci-fi film about hitmen hired to kill their future selves — and Killing Them Softly — a gritty, violent, hard-hitting picture centered around a New Orleans mob.
So pull up a chair, warm your chestnuts, and spike your egg-nog! Christmas season is here!