Author articles

Commentary: Superman Returns (w/ Speakeasy!)

Join me and Hardy Lynch of The Speakeasy as we shoot machines at the impregnable flesh of Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns. We complain about the, ahem, “familiarity” of many of the set pieces and dialog; about the things that are new and different; about the incredible coincidences, and that a lot of the minor characters have nothing to do. I complain about the physics of Superman flying and lifting a continent. Hardy complains about James Marsden being a wet noodle. We both love a few things, including Kevin Spacey and some of the action. And we wonder exactly who knows what about you-know-who when.

We compare the film to Superman, Superman 2, Terminator 2, The Matrix, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and The Five-Year Engagement. We wonder if Superman really left Metropolis to avoid paternity charges or sex offender charges. And we try to rewrite the film and fail.

Commentary: Jaws (w/ Drew from Trek.fm!)

Join Drew of Trek.fm and me as we look into the dead eyes of the master killer of the seas and come out the other end changed men. Together, we try to figure out what genre the movie is (monster movie? horror? Hitchcockian thriller? western?), whether or not Quint is a sorcerer, and how many awesome suit jackets Mayor Vaughn owns.

We compare the film to other other shark/monster movies, Moby Dick, Die Hard, The Ghost & the Darkness, and Hot Fuzz. We contemplate it as a sequel to West Side Story, the characters as Harry Potter analogs, and animatronics as terrifying in themselves. And I learn an important lesson about comparing scars.

Commentary: Prometheus (w Sofa Dogs and Faldor!)

Join me as I join John Pavlich of Sofa Dogs and Faldor of the Extended Edition podcast for a thoro drubbing of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. It’s the heartwarming tale of an old man trying to recapture his youth and getting his head handed to him. But enough about Ridley Scott.

We examine the themes and complications, the plot twists that don’t quite work, and the way the film repeatedly works against itself with their echoes of religion and the other Alien movies, as well as Stargate, Return of the Jedi, and Casablanca.

Commentary: Looper

Join me as I join John Pavlich of Sofa Dogs for a long, hard look at Rian Johnson’s wobbly time travel thriller. We both like it (he more than I) and both have problems with it (I more than he). We look at Confused Matthew’s take on the film, and Rian Johnson’s himself. John had a Twitter conversation with him that I gamely try to retroactively explain Johnson’s side of. Regardless, it’s a fascinating film or two films squooshed together, depending on your point of view and, possibly, your current location in the space-time continuum.

Commentary: Superman 1978 (with Lynch!)

I’m back from the dead after several weeks of a bad chest cold. So join me and Hardy Lynch of The Speakeasy for a tear thru the 1978 blockbuster classic Superman (which we don’t really like very much). Thrill to the Shakespearean blarney at the beginning (which we admire), the slow roll thru 1950s America (which we love), and the screwball romance of the 1970s (which we think is great), right to the big blockbuster finale (which we hate).

We discuss Star Trek, James Bond, Gene Hackman’s career, Clark Kent’s big dope angle, the likelihood of Superman’s mom making pajamas for him, and the implausibility of most of the physics. We swoon over Lex Luthor’s lair, the cinematography, and the acting pretty much across the board.

Bonus: we wonder why the whole third act happens.
Double bonus: I only cough a few times toward the end.

Commentary: Alien vs Predator (w/ CTS!)

Join me and Mike of Commentary Track Stars as we take a look at Paul WS Anderson’s comic-booky mess of a monster-slasher film. We discuss the casting, the setting, what there is of a plot, and the missed opportunity of a romance.

Commentary: Pirates of the Caribbean 2 (with Faldor!)

Join Faldor and me for a rollicking–some would say vomit-inducing–roller coaster ride thru the mind of Gore Verbinski and friends as Jack Sparrow (and some other people) returns! Jack Sparrow (and some other people) fight the fearsome Davy Jones! (And we don’t make a single Monkees joke, somehow.) And Jack Sparrow (and some other people) fight the terrifying Kraken! Also, a hell of a lot of deals are made that are almost all reneged on, and the end makes no sense!

We analyze the meandering plot structure, the overlong set pieces, and the muddy motivations. We posit some changes that might have helped clarify or at least short the mess. And we wax philosophical about which film is better: this one or the third one.

Commentary: A Series of Unfortunate Events

Join me for the heartwarming story of the Beaudelaire orphans, who lose their parents, family friends, and innocence in a series of deeply, deeply unfortunate events, all of which seem to be caused by one Count Olaf. Again and again, they fall into his clutches in one way or another in ways that are both darker and more comical than any competing juvenile fiction series, and all are mysteriously recorded by one Lemony Snicket.

I compare the film to the books, competing juvenile fiction series, the Lord of the Rings, other Jim Carrey movies, and a Smashing Pumpkins video. I look for motifs and theme (which are, to be sure, pretty obvious) and identify the cars. I love the film and lament the lack of a sequel.

Commentary: Community 1×07 “Intro to Stats”

Join me as I again join John Pavlich of Sofa Dogs to watch the seventh episode of Community.

We discuss how this episode feels out of place, girl bonding, Greendale’s weird football field, Jeff and Annie. And say goodbye to Troy’s interest in sports.

Friends in Your Head Harry Potter Marathon, sponsored by Zarban.com!

Hey! Spread this around! It’s for a good cause! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DBYQUAMsBs