Author articles

Commentary: Mission: Impossible

Join me as I explore the first of Tom Cruise’s action movie tours de force, adapted from the nearly actionless TV series of the same name. Impossible, you say? Oh quite possible indeed if you throw out everything the TV show did.

I examine the differences between the movie’s treatment of IFM and the 1960s TV show. I consider Tom Cruise as a thinking-man’s action movie star, Brian De Palma as a director, Jon Voight as an IMF lead, and the locations as locations. I compare it to Rafifi, Topkapi, Die Hard and Knight and Day. I consider the idea of taking the TV show’s premise and complicating it until it becomes ridiculous. I pull apart story elements like the insider-gone-bad and the nonsensical parts of the plot like the use of bible verses.

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Commentary: Good, Bad, & Ugly (w/ Rob Caravaggio!)

Join me and Rob Caravaggio of Rob Caravaggio Commentaries as we tackle one of the great films of the western genre and indeed of all time. We compare the stories of each of the three characters and the careers of the men who play them. We admit that the film is a bit long and try to decide what to cut. We contemplate westerns, Eli Wallach, circles, stray dogs, cripples, the film industry in the mid-1960s, war films, and actual wars. And we try to figure out what “good” really means in this context.

We compare the film to the previous two films in the trilogy, Tarantino’s work, Kurosawa’s work, and film noir. We recast the film with other 1960s actors. We praise the music and titles, the cinematography, the set design–pretty much everything. I call the film nearly perfect. Rob gives away the magic of podcasting (we sometimes have discussions off-mike). Bonus: I get the obsessive-compulsive gun stuff out of the way early.

Commentary: Nazis at the Center of the Earth

Join me for a sight-unseen examination of The Asylum’s heartwarming tale of research scientists in Antarctica falling in and out of love and encountering (I don’t want to spoil it for you) certain challenges. I complain about the dialog and lack of active protagonists, and I root for Hitler OR DO I?

I compare the film to Futurama and, uh, films and examine the artistic choice of slow-motion. I question the science a time or two, and the choice of lenses used on Dominique Swain. I do not question the lenses used on Jake Busey. Use any lens you want; the man can’t be photographed badly.

Commentary: Dr Strangelove (w/ Speakeasy!)

Join me and Hardy Lynch of The Speakeasy for my FIRST Stanley Kubrick commentary! It’s the heartwarming story of a nation whose rogue member starts World War 3 and the brave men (and only men) who make a vague and ineffectual effort to stop it. We compare it to Fail-Safe, which came out the same year, as well as Kubrick’s other films and Mars Attacks.

We discuss the careers of Kubrick, Sellers, and Keenan Wynn. We analyze the brilliant screenplay, the analogy to Cold War tensions, and the films possible affect on the audience, including America’s leaders. And we try to recast it with Mike Meyers, Sam Rockwell, Josh Brolin, and James Earl Jones (in the Ripper role this time).

Commentary: Tango & Cash (w/ Jimmy B!)

Join me as I’m joined for the first time by Jimmy B from the Friends in Your Head forum and Extended Edition podcast for a look at Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell’s big team-up. We compare it to Lethal Weapon, Police Story, Die Hard, other buddy-cop comedies of the time, and James Bond movies.

We also marvel at their hair and suits, and at a still-humble Teri Hatcher. We stand in awe that the film ever saw the light of day because, at some point, everybody but Stallone got replaced at least once.

Commentary: Flash Gordon (w/ Film Bin!)

Join me as I join the entire Film Bin crew to have a look at the wonderfully campy and adventurous Flash Gordon. It’s the heartwarming tale of boy meets girl, boy and girl are kidnapped by a scientist and forced to travel to space, where they are kidnapped by a dictator, girl loses boy, boy is kidnapped by another girl, then imprisoned by her boyfriend… Long story short, boy gets girl and only has 14 hours to save the earth.

We compare it to Star Wars, Superman, Indiana Jones movies, Highlander, the original film serial, Barbarella, Doctor Who, The Wizard of Oz, and Buckaroo Banzai. We analyze the physics of Mongo, the force of nature that is Brian Blessed, and the possibility that Klytus designs all the costumes on Mongo. We fix Hollywood action movies and align the DC universe and Star Wars universe with this one.

Commentary: Batman Begins (w/ Speakeasy!)

Join me as I join the Doctor and Lynch for a second go at the first of Christopher Nolan’s Batmen. We compare the film to the comic books, other Nolan Batmen, Burton/Schumaker Batmen, and The Shadow. We examine the logic of the villains’ plans and Batman’s response. And we recast Morgan Freeman as a bad guy.

Commentary: Dark City (w/ Sofa Dogs and Dorkman!)

Join me and my special guest John Pavlich of Sofa Dogs and Michael “Dorkman” Scott of What Are You Doing, Movie? as we take Alex Proyas’ heartwarming tale of space vampires and terrible detectives to pieces retune it. All three of us basically love the film and gush all over the cinematography, writing, structure, and set design and try to figure out which parts are sub-awesome and how things could be slightly better.

We lament the reception the film got initially, disagree over the degree of familiarity of the characters and tropes, and come to blows over Jennifer Connelly’s eyebrows. (NON-PERIOD!)

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.