Monday, January 22, 2018

The Breakdown of '12 Strong', 'Paddington 2', 'The Commuter', 'The Open House', and 'Step Sisters'

The Movie Breakdown has reviews for five 2018 releases, The big theatrical release this week is the war action-drama set in 2001 Afghanistan in 12 Strong. If that doesn't solve your explosion fix, we also discuss the latest Jaume Collet-Serra and Liam Neeson collaboration in the thriller on a train, The Commuter. All that gun firing and face punching may make you want something more uplifting, so we talk about the first big family movie of the year in Paddington 2. Then it is on to Netflix Originals where we look at the horror picture, The Open House, as well as the comedy about step dancing, Step Sisters. As always we really appreciate you listening to the show, and if you enjoy it then please tell other movie fans.

Reminder that you can now subscribe either to The Movie Breakdown feed (a subscription link is at the top right hand of this site) or on iTunes.

The Movie Breakdown Outline:

 1:39 12 Strong review
20:02 The Open House review
27:18 Paddington 2 review
44:10 Step Sisters review
57:31 The Commuter review
1:10:54 Movies we are excited about in upcoming months
1:19:51 Review Rundown

Movie Ratings:

12 Strong *** (CS)
The Open House ½* (CS & SM)
Paddington 2 ***½ (CS)
Step Sisters **½ (CS) & *½ (SM)
The Commuter **½ (CS)

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Breakdown of 'Insidious: The Last Key', 'Molly's Game', 'The Polka King', 'The Climb', and 'Happy Hunting'

It is the first regular movie review episode of 2018. If it is a new year, then that means it must be kicked off with a horror movie. We have our review of the fourth instalment of a popular horror franchise in Insidious: The Last Key. We also have another fairly new release in Aaron Sorkin's directorial debut, Molly's Game. Then we have two Netflix originals including a comedic biopic starring Jack Black in The Polka King and a French romantic comedy in The Climb. Then we discuss an independent thriller in Happy Hunting. We have five big reviews to kick off the new year, and even some solid recommendations. As always if you enjoy the show then please spread the word, and thank you so much for being a listener.

Reminder that you can now subscribe either to The Movie Breakdown feed (a subscription link is at the top right hand of this site) or on iTunes.

The Move Breakdown Outline:

1:34 The Polka King review
16:08 Insidious: The Last Key review
32:15 The Climb review
49:28 Molly's Game review
1:05:40 Happy Hunting review
1:23:28 Review Rundown

Movie Ratings:

The Polka King ** (CS) & **½ (SM)
Insidious: The Last Key **½ (CS)
The Climb *** (CS & SM) (Breakdown Stamp of Approval)
Molly's Game *** (CS)
Happy Hunting ** (CS) & **½ (SM)

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Breakdown of the Fifth Anniversary

It was five years ago that a little podcast called The Movie Breakdown was posted on this blog. The movie review show has been going strong ever since (as long as you ignore all the hiatuses), and a lot of great movies have been released over those five years. To celebrate our anniversary, both Scott and I have revealed our top ten movies that have been released over the past five years. Our lists turned out very different, which means there are a lot of great movies for you to track down. We also want to thank you for listening to us over these past five years and look forward to many, many, many more.

Reminder that you can now subscribe either to The Movie Breakdown feed (a subscription link is at the top right hand of this site) or on iTunes.

Top Ten Movies Released Over the Past Five Years:


10. Before Midnight
9. Django Unchained
8. Inside Llewyn Davis
7. The Grand Budapest Hotel
6. Blade Runner 2049
5. Arrival
4. Her
3. Inside Out
2. La La Land
1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens


10. The Way Way Back
9. Edge of Tomorrow
8. Get Out
7. The Lego Movie
6. Inside Llewyn Davis
5. The Babadook
4. The Revenant
3. The Nice Guys
2. Ex Machina
1. Mad Max: Fury Road

Monday, January 08, 2018

The Breakdown of the Best Movies of 2017

Last week, we revelled in the worst movies of 2017. But 2017 was actually a great year for movies, and it was one of the hardest years to just pick the ten best. That is exactly what must be done in The Breakdown of the Best of 2017, where both Scott and I reveal our individual top ten best movies of the year. We've both seen close to 200 movies released over the past year, so we can definitely pick out the must-see movies. It was a great year and these are some amazing movies. If you enjoy the show then please spread the word to other movie lovers.

Reminder that you can now subscribe either to The Movie Breakdown feed (a subscription link is at the top right hand of this site) or on iTunes.

Top 10 Movies of 2017:


10. The Survivalist
9, It
8. The Big Sick
7. Logan
6. Baby Driver
5. Mudbound
4. My Life as a Zucchini
3. Get Out
2. Wind River
1. Dunkirk


10. Wind River
9. Coco
8. War for the Planet of the Apes
7. Logan
6. mother!
5. Get Out
4. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
3. It
2. The Big Sick
1. Blade Runner 2049

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Consulting Roger Ebert on Star Ratings Being Different Based on Genre Film

I mentioned yesterday that when it comes to reviewing that I do not judge all movies against each other. I have criteria and expectations depending the genre and style of movie, and to be honest, my expectations from particular filmmakers. When I gave two and a half stars to Blue Caprice then I wasn't saying that it was not as good as Sex Tapewhich I gave three stars. What I was saying is that in the low bar of raunchy R-Rated comedies that Sex Tape made a recommendation, but that Blue Caprice in the world of much more competitive dark dramas exploring killers it just did not measure up to similar movies. This philosophy is something that I borrow from Roger Ebert, and he explains it well during a rant on this Siskel & Ebert episodes where he tries defending why he gave thumbs up to Benji the Hunted and not Full Metal Jacket.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Follow-up to My Star Rating Post

A few days ago, I wrote a piece on what each of my star ratings for a movies means. While I think it was accurate to how I feel about a movie when I award a particular rating, I missed out a huge part of how I rate movies. My star rating are not judged in a way where four stars means the perfect movie. I don't think any movie can be really perfect. Nor do I think all four star movies are equal. The crucial part of understanding my star rating is to recognize that I am analyzing it based off its genre and how effective the movie was at achieving its goals with connecting to the audience (does a comedy make me laugh and does a horror movie scare me). I gave four stars to both Big Trouble in Little China and Taxi Driver. Does this mean that I think the campy Kurt Russell actioner is just as good as one of Martin Scorsese's masterpieces?

No, because I'm not comparing them against each other. They are totally different movies trying to elicit completely different responses and emotions. One is an over the top homage to late night b-movies and 1970s kung-u pictures that is heavily leaning on humour and does not take itself seriously. The other is a gritty, dark drama about a very disturbed individual with heavy political examinations of the 1970s while also being almost a redemptive story mixed with tragedy. One is a very goofy popcorn muncher and the other is a prestige picture.

It isn't fair to compare those two movies. Same reason it isn't fair to compare 12 Years a Slave to The Big Sick or Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets to Dunkirk. So, I don't. I go into those movies with different expectations and they all hit me in different ways.

If it connects to me in that special way, no matter if it is a horror or a romantic comedy or a family movie or a prestige drama, then it receives a higher star rating. I never have tried making a case that all four star movies are equal. I think that is an important thing to recognize when looking at my star ratings for a particular movie. It is all about being successful at achieving its goals and what is desired from that genre. Of course, the really great movies break the mold of the genre and achieve greatness by entertaining but doing something revolutionary and fresh.

Friday, January 05, 2018

Questions to Make 'The Movie Breakdown' Podcast Better

The Movie Breakdown is old enough now to be registered for Kindergarten in the fall. It seems like a good enough time to see if the movie review podcast has been delivering what the listeners want.

I sort of asked this a few weeks ago, but I got no response so I'll try it again. What is the ideal length for the podcast? Do you like an hour long show? Do you prefer when we run closer to 90 minutes? Or would you want us to beef it up to two hours plus?

Our mid-year and year end shows run over two hours, and that probably will never change. For sake of my own time, I think I prefer recording an hour to 90 minutes show depending the importance of movies we are discussing. But as a listener, do you feel our shows could be tighter, or go even more in-depth or is the length and pace perfect now?

As for content, do you like having five movie reviews a show? Or do you feel that four is a better amount? Do you want there to be a news segment where we discuss the big events of the week? Would you like us to bring back the box office segment? Or the trailer reviews? If we add any content, we will likely cut out a movie review.

Would you be willing to support us if I set up a Patreon? If I did this, we would add a second show if we hit our goal. The money would also help us potentially cover things like festivals or have more special edition shows on top of the regular show. Do those things interest you? Do they interest you enough to pay a little bit of money each month to improve our shows?

As we enter our fifth year of The Movie Breakdown, how can we improve the show? I really hope to expand and grow listenership this year, but the best way to do that is make sure that we are offering what our current listeners want.

I would really appreciate feedback. I would also really like to thank you for listening to us over these last five years.