Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Capsule Reviews of October Wide Releases Including 'Gone Girl', 'Fury' and 'John Wick'

It started becoming very clear that 2012 and 2013 were going to be known as incredible movie years after the slate of great releases in October. In both years, the eventual Best Picture Oscar winner came out of those months (Argo and 12 Years a Slave). 2014 already has several fantastic movies in The Grand Budapest Hotel, Boyhood, and A Most Wanted Man. But a year is often remembered based on how strong their "awards season" turns out, and October has become the big kick-off. In my latest Collective Publishing article, I judge the quality of this month by providing several capsule reviews of major wide releases like Gone Girl, Fury, and John Wick.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Wonders of Horror: The Most Critically Battered Genre is Better Than it is Treated

 I know in the last few years I've given many negative reviews to modern horror movies. I was one of the few film reviewers that didn't enjoy The Conjuring. This is because I have a high standard for horror fiction. One of my all-time favourite novelists is Stephen King and as a kid I gobbled up the works of Edgar Allan Poe and Shirley Jackson. Some of my favourite movies are pictures like Halloween, The Exorcist, and Jaws. Many of the greatest stories ever told have been about dabbling into our darkest fears. I think there is great value in having visceral stories that delve into the disturbing recesses of our mind. In my latest Collective Publishing article, I defend horror against those that deem it a lesser genre.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Breakdown of 'Fury' Podcast: Plus We Give Out Four Stars Like It's Candy on Halloween

Scott and I trudged out to the cinemas again this week and witnessed Brad Pitt's return to the battlegrounds of World War 2 Germany in David Ayer's latest actioner, Fury. We also review four other pictures that include a Wes Anderson production and Robert Downey Jr's latest picture. It is definitely a must-watch show as two pictures earn a perfect score of four stars from both of us. As always if you love the show then please pass it on to other film fans.

Breakdown Outline:

00:56  Fury review
20:06  Gloria review
30:53  Moonrise Kingdom review
47:23  The Judge review
55:14  Forks Over Knives review
1:08: 40 Review Rundown

EDIT: The times were all off on the Outline, because apparently the player at Internet Archive lives in a different realm of time than my Windows Media Player.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Are We Approaching the Death of Reality TV?

It was a bit of a shocking announcement from AMC last week when they declared they were abandoning almost all of their unscripted shows (including Kiss's latest attempt to get their name on everything, 4th and Loud). It wasn't that long ago they seemed to be amassing a small army of reality TV, but now the goal is to completely focus on finding scripted series. This is only one cable channel, but this fall also saw networks bring in far less unscripted new shows. It has been awhile since there has been a major reality show hit, with Duck Dynasty being the last and its ratings are now plummeting. What does this all say about the future of reality TV? In my latest Collective Publishing entertainment column, I analyze the future of reality TV and why things have changed so drastically in the last year.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Breakdown of the State of Women in Movies Podcast: It Isn't Just a Man's World

Scott and I tackle an issue that has come up in many past podcasts, which is the depiction of women on the big screen and the opportunities given women in the film industry. It has been an interesting year with stars like Scarlett Johansson joining the ranks with women like Jennifer Lawrence as both independent darlings (Under the Skin) and big box office attractions (Johansson has two hits this year with Captain American: The Winter Soldier and Lucy). We take an in-depth look at the typical roles for woman along with what genres have best represented women while also discussing if the best talent is getting a chance to really shine. It is both a criticism and a praise. We look at some major flaws but also things that give us much hope.

In the future, I hope to have another podcast where we can spotlight some of the rising and incredibly talented female filmmakers that were mentioned on this show as well as those we neglected. Hopefully, this is an episode that makes you think, and we both really look forward to your feedback and thoughts.

As always if you enjoy this show then please spread to the word to other film fans.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

The Return of Twin Peaks and the Jettisoning of 'Say Anything'

It was a crazy week in the world of reboots and resurrections as several past works have been announced as returning. It seemed like everybody was celebrating about the hyped return of Twin Peaks, while the announcements of Say Anything and a giant Robin Hood relaunch had much less anticipation. Actually, looks like Lloyd Dobbler's return may have been blocked for now. If anyone wanted to argue the original idea was dead, then this may be the week. I think there is reason to be excited, while in some other cases an audible groan is justified too. In my latest Collective Publishing article, I look the major announcements of Twin Peaks returning along with things like Netflix joining in with Adam Sandler. I offer my analysis of why I think some of these things happened along with what is worth getting excited about.

Monday, October 06, 2014

The Breakdown of 'Gone Girl' Podcast: Plus Proof Some of the Best Stories Come from Documentaries

Scott and I finally return to reviewing movies, and we've got a loaded show with five pictures. The big one is David Fincher's highly anticipated adaptation of the Gillian Flynn bestseller, Gone Girl. We also look at two documentaries from the master of the form, Steve James (including one of my most anticipated 2014 releases, Life Itself). On top of that, we've got your animated and Young Adult fix covered with two September releases. It was a lot of fun reviewing and debating movies again and we aimed to entertain with our battles against each other to prove one's film criticism superiority while also incorporating some history and reflections upon the bigger impact some of these pictures have in pop culture. As always, if you love the show then please spread the word.

Breakdown Outline:

00:49  Gone Girl review
22:54  Life Itself review
34:56  Hoop Dreams review
45:52  The Boxtrolls review
58:00  The Maze Runner review
01:10:27  Review Rundown

Note: Despite going really long on Gone Girl, I still failed to bring up a crucial aspect of the picture. Most thrillers, even ones that delve into the ludicrous plots and twists (which admittedly this flick does as well) tend to take themselves painfully serious and are devoid of humour. Fincher always tends to have a great deal of wit, snappy dialogue, and black humour sprinkled throughout his pictures,  but this one is jammed with it and is a sick and twisted yet very funny movie. It is aware it is absurd, but also remembers to tone down the macabre and morbid moments with truly gutbusting laughs. The presentation of how the media jumps on the missing person case and the interplay between many of the characters delivers some really clever and biting humour. Okay, I think I covered the movie enough.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Capsule Reviews of September Releases: Did a Bad-Ass Denzel Washington and Boxtrolls Rock the Month?

I've been awful on here. I don't know how many times I can say that. To really condense the struggle, almost a year ago a huge career breakthrough evaporated from my hands and it has left more lingering self-doubt than I had ordered so the leftovers keep haunting me. I really want to start rocking the words on a regular basis on here. One of the things I really want to do is provide more full-length reviews. Since I've once again become backlogged, I decided to provide capsule reviews of the September releases I've seen. So over at Collective Publishing, see how the state of cinema is looking as we head into what many consider the prestige months.

Oh, I actually first provide some thoughts on the current state of 2014. To be honest, it was supposed to be a short introduction paragraph, but I turned out to have more to say than I planned. After the really long lead-in piece, I provide reviews for pictures like The Boxtrolls, The Equalizer, This is Where I Leave You, and more (really check out that more).