Special thanks to multi-multi-multi-commissioner Sean Ray for dialing up the number to Blade Runner: The Final Cut (2007). This edition is intended by director Ridley Scott to be the definitive version. The interesting thing is, Jim and I have always been a bit “meh” on the classic Blade Runner experience. Sure, we see how influential it is, and can understand why it was highly regarded “for it’s day”. We both felt like we saw the film with fresh eyes on this cut. Their are problems with world building and pacing here and there, but everything tracks so much cleaner, and the third act which was always a standout is now a pure joy. Thanks again, Sean! It’s not every day that a commission completely has us do a 180 on a project, this is one of those rare times!
Mandy is a film by Panos Cosmatos starring Nick Cage. It is both a slow burn, 70’s style horror film dipped in acid, and a gonzo Nick Cage action film. It continually suffers from being torn in these two very different directions. A.Ron dug it, Jim wants nothing to do with it. This film boasts near universal acclaim on Rotten Tomatoes and yet is a tough one to wholeheartedly recommend. Please enjoy our spoiler free review and discussion of new trailers and upcoming films, but if you want to hear Jim and I argue about Mandy’s merits, you’ll have to be a Club Member!
Special thanks to commissioner Jaimie T. for having us check out the classic 1946 British film classic, “A Matter of Life and Death”. Featuring a story that pits love against the cosmic law of death, it explores post World War 2 tensions between the England and the Unites States. Both of us see the film’s obvious charm; lavish and colorful visuals, inventive special effects and set design, and appealing lead actors. We also have a few third act quibbles and thematic issues, but not enough to sink the film that’s been called the “British It’s a Wonderful Life”.
Jim and A.Ron put on their brown pants tonight to go out and see The Nun, the latest installment in The Conjuring universe, but only one of us needed to. The film’s getting mixed reviews; and Jim worries that co-writer James Wan’s bag of tricks are getting played out and the movie suffers from inconsistent internal logic. Perhaps I’m the biggest wuss alive, but the movie got my hair standing up on the back of my neck fairly consistently. Your mileage may vary!
Jim and I had high hopes for the Gothic horror film, The Little Stranger, thinking it would be an ultra atmospheric mash up of The Witch with Downton Abbey. Instead, we got a commentary on upper class angst during the 1940’s as their fortunes crumbled alongside their estates masquerading as a dull, drab little ghost story. At no point does the film ever manage to generate anything but mild disquiet and malaise. Which is a shame, because all the pieces were there for genuine horror. An interesting core idea, excellent cast, excellent location, and fantastic atmosphere that were all unfortunately squandered with disinterested filmmaking.
Special thanks to our commissioner for today’s podcast, Sean Ray. You may recognize him as the man behind such classics as It Follows, and Black Rain, which if nothing else is unique. Today he selects the great A Few Good Men, where a gruff Colonel in the US Marine Corps takes issue with the USMC’s kinder, more gentler ways of discipline and organization, leading to the death of one of the men under his command. Tom Cruise and Demi Moore are effective as the counsel for the defense, and are given a lot of juicy material to work with. Written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Rob Reiner, the script is packed with Sorkinisms and shot with a steady, confident eye. The performances are phenomenal, especially Jack Nicholson’s elemental performance of Col. Jessup.
Spike Lee has thrown a very well made, very funny, and very devastating bomb into American movie theaters with his latest joint, BlacKkKlansman. To mark the occasion, we’re not keeping our full review and discussion as a Club Member. Anyone who wants to hear this can. Will White America listen to the message we so desperately need to hear, or hit “snooze” and go back to sleep. What are we going to do about the resurfacing of explicit racism in our country, that has until recent years been hiding beneath the still waters of institutional racism? What will you do with friends and family who bemoan Black Lives Matter, or offer the limp rebuttal that “both sides are bad?” As the movie asks, if not now, when, and if not you, who?
Jim and A.Ron have seen the latest “how old is Tom Cruise again?!” installment of the Mission: Impossible franchise, “Fallout”, and it’s crazy. The plot around the absolutely bonkers stunt work is a bit thin, but the stunts themselves fully justify the movie. You can see ever dollar spent and bone broken literally up there on the screen, but it also must be said that these stunts are clinging desperately to the line from believable to unbelievable. And half the time they are careening over that line and land into Fast & Furious territory. Unless they can find an emotional core to build future episodes, this might be as good as a retro-futuristic spy thriller can get.
Cecily and A.Ron have seen the sequel to one of their favorite movies, Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again, and we think if you’re a fan of the original, there is a lot for you to like here. It’s too damn bad the trailers spoiled a reveal that would have otherwise brought the house down, and the first half of the movie might have you worried a little bit. But by the time you hit the half way mark you’re going to laugh and cry so much who even cares what happened in the first act! There are tons of surprises and twists and crowd pleasing moment, the cast is having way too much fun, the big musical numbers are bright and colorful and kinetic… I could go on and on, but the bottom line is we left the movie with a big smile on our faces and red rims around our eyes content. Can’t wait for the Blu-Ray to come out so I can watch it a dozen more times.
Thanks to Paul Kilgore, who commissioned this podcast for his wife Alexandra in honor of her favorite movie, the 2005 adaptation of Jane Austin’s Pride & Prejudice. I’ve never seen this particular version but am familiar with the source and other adaptations and like historical fiction in general, while Jim had no idea what to expect. What will we make of some early 19th century high romance? Is it physically possible for Keira Knightley to play a plain Jane, err, Elizabeth? What does culturally enforced manogamy look like in practice? How did English noblemen acquire such impressive art from the antiquities? Were 30 foot high water fountains even possible in the 1800s? All this and more is pondered!