Category Archives: Entertainment

Commentary: Rise … Apes (w/ Drew!)

Rise of the Planet of the ApesNetflix IMDb
Join me and Drew of Trek.fm as we experiment on our own brains with the help of James Franco and a ton of CGI until we see apes everywhere. We analyze the structure of the film and compare it to the old Apes movies, the sequel, and “Flowers for Algernon”, Deep Blue Sea, and Dragonball Z. And we wonder who the hell “Rupert Wyatt” is.

We puzzle over some minor plot holes, try to “fix” the film, and create our own sequels and crossovers. I question James Franco’s salary and taste in vehicles; Drew compares James Franco to C-3P0; and we both try to figure out who the villain is.

Note: we get the dates of the King Kong movies wrong. The original is 1933 and the remake was 1976.

We are watching the Blu-ray version. Start the film after the logos but before the 20th Century Fox title card on the countdown.

Commentary: The Dark Knight (w/ Speakeasy!)

Dark KnightNetflix IMDb
Join me as I join the Doctor and Lynch of The Speakeasy as we have a good time with Christopher Nolan’s dour superhero and superior villain. We like the film a lot but feel that the sheen has somewhat worn off and the story is revealed as threadbare now. We give praise where praise is due, and joke our way thru the slow sections and weird choices.

They’re watching a PAL copy, and I have to repeatedly sync with them, so there are several times that we announce where we are. Start the film on the countdown between the production company logos and the blue fire Batman logo.

Commentary: The Great Race (w/ Film Bin!)

Great RaceNetflix IMDb
Join me and the crew of Film Bin for a look at Blake Edwards’ 1965 ensemble comedy about a motor race from New York to Paris. It’s the heartwarming and rib-tickling romantic adventure starring Tony Curtis, Natalie Wood, and Jack Lemmon. It’s big, it’s kind of corny, and it’s so long it has another movie inside it.

We analyze the ensemble comedy phenomenon, try to figure out Tony Curtis, try to determine the nature of the relationship between Max and Professor Fate, and try to keep up the pace during a 30-minute saloon brawl. I try to rewrite the film to include more of the prince, we compare the food fight to other cinematic food fights, and we try to figure out what that thing is that Natalie Wood is wearing.

We’re watching a R1 DVD version and stay in perfect sync. Start the film after the overture on the countdown.

Commentary: Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (w/ Sofa Dogs!)

Abe-Lincoln-Vampire-HunterNetflix IMDb
Join John Pavlich of Sofa Dogs and me as we delve into the historical drama of the youth, life, and presidency of Abraham Lincoln. We examine the issues of the day and the difficult moral decisions that Lincoln faced, such as the “peculiar institution” of slavery and when to try to kill the vampire who murdered his mother. We compare the film to superhero movies, the mockbuster Abraham Lincoln vs Zombies, and more. John likes the film but my initial enthusiasm has gradually waned, altho I still like the acting and most of the action.

We’re watching the Blu-ray. Start the film on the countdown after the Dune Films logo.

Commentary: Mission: Impossible 2 (w/ CTS!)

MI2Netflix IMDb
Join me and Mike of Commentary Track Stars as we delve into the mysteries that are John Woo, Robert Towne, Notorious, and Tom Cruise’s psyche in this, the second of the Mission: Impossible series. We discuss the structure of the film, its suspicious similarity to the Hitchcock classic, and its differences from the other Mission: Impossible movies.

We compare it to the Bond films, other John Woo films, and other action movies of its time. We speculate on Dougray Scott as Wolverine, what the series would have been like with more Anthony Hopkins, and Tom Cruise’s personal knowledge of how heavy $63 million dollars is.

We are watching the Blu-ray version. Start the film after the Paramount logo but before the Sydney Opera House opening on the countdown.

Commentary: Mission: Impossible 200th commentary extravaganza

Mission: ImpossibleNetflix IMDb
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.

NOTE: I’m shocked to find that in fact Gideons distribute full bibles to hotel rooms. The New Testament only version is typically handed out. So it’s not the huge mistake I thought it was at all. Sorry for the error.

I’m watching a DVR version. I think there’s only one version of the film. Start the film after the MGM logo on the countdown.

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

Good-Bad-UglyNetflix IMDb
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. I say no Steve McQueen movie is on my top shelf but also that I love The Magnificent Seven, which is impossible obviously; TM7 is terrific. 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.

NOTE: Rob notes that he mentioned a “Winchester ’76″ where he meant to say “Winchester ’73″, same as the movie. However, there was in fact a rifle known as the Winchester ’76, so since I’m the one who made the connection to the movie, I’m really at fault.
Also, technically this is explicit, but just barely. (And that really is Rob’s fault.)
Also, also: it’s been pointed out to me that Colt did offer cartridge conversion kits by the time the movie is set, so Blondie’s gun isn’t really an anachronism, altho it does switch from percussion cap to cartridge depending on if he needs to fire it in the scene.

We’re watching the American release of the extended cut. Start the film after the MGM logo on the countdown.

Commentary: Nazis at the Center of the Earth

nazisNetflix IMDb
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.

I’m watching a streaming version. Start when and where I tell you to and don’t make any false moves, if you know what’s good for you.

Commentary: Dr Strangelove (w/ Speakeasy!)

strangeloveNetflix IMDb
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, Mars Attacks, and Norbit.

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).

NOTE: I forgot to say it, but I regard this as a NEARLY PERFECT FILM.

I’m watching an HD copy off DVR. Hardy is watching the PAL DVD and has to repeatedly sync with me, so there are several times that we announce where we are. Start the film on the countdown before anything because I get the disclaimer crawl first and he gets it after the Columbia logo.

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

tango-cashNetflix IMDb
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.

Jimmy’s microphone betrays us, and he’s a bit difficult to understand at times. (I mean aside from the Scottish accent.)

Technically, this is explicit, but not really.

We’re watching the Blu-ray. Start with the Warner Brothers logo, on the countdown.