The Day of the Jackal

Day of the JackalNetflix IMDb
Michael Lonsdale is back! And this time he’s the good guy, tracking down an international killer known only by the code name “Hello Sailor!” or whatever the French equivalent is. Join me as, despite my cold, I put on a perfect French accent (London, France, to be exact) and cue up this tense Cold-War-era thriller about how terrible the French army is at killing people.

Despite the flabby meticulous plotting and the long luxurious running time, the pacing is excellent. I explore what could have been cut without hurting the film and what could have been tightened up to help it. And I mock the hilarious French cars. Oh, and bonus if you watch along with me: French ta-tas. Ooh la la!
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Moonraker

MoonrakerNetflix IMDb
Jaws is back, and Bond fights him! (again and again…) It’s the eleventh Bond, and I admire the sights, the women, the stunts, the women’s revealing wardrobe, the model shots, the model-actresses, and the incredible Ken Adam sets.

I don’t do much car spotting or gun spotting because Bond drives boats and fights hand-to-hand pretty much the whole movie. *sigh* The comedy is slapsticky (vaudevillian, to be exact), and the story is a loose collection of great set pieces connected by cardboard arrows. (Venetian glass? Go to Venice! Crates that say “Rio”? Go to Rio! Toxin from the Amazon? Go to the Amazon! Space shuttles? Go to space!) Plus, the villain’s plan is basically the same as in the last movie (kill everyone, clean up the corpses with bulldozers, repopulate). Still, I don’t think it’s the worst Bond of them all. (Your mileage may vary.)

The love music cue at the end is not from Dr. Zhivago (“Lara’s Theme/Somewhere My Love“) but rather the love theme from Tchaikovsky’s Romeo & Juliet.

Start the commentary with the gun barrel sequence, on the countdown.

Star Wars 6: Return of the Jedi

Return of the JediNetflix IMDb
Join me for the last of the Star Wars films ever made! (Later films notwithstanding. Offer void where prohibited.) I analyze the romance, the bromance, and the dromance. I try to figure out the timeline again. I compare the Empire’s work-life-balance policies with the Alliance’s. And I deconstruct the episodic nature of this film and the previous one.

I analyze the lack of proper planning evident thruout the film, including the method of constructing Death Star II. I once again declare my love for ewoks, perhaps a little too strongly…. I forgive C-3P0 somewhat. And I do lots of incredibly precises impressions of various characters. (Your mileage may vary. This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.)

Start the commentary just as the “Long ago and far away” line comes up, on the countdown.

Zombieland

ZombielandNetflix IMDb
Rule #8: Get a kick-ass partner. It’s John Pavlich from the Sofa Dogs podcast hosting me for a commentary on the zom-com-non-bomb Zombieland. It’s the heartwarming tale of a nerdy college student’s search for someone to “pass the gravy” to. It’s also the moving tale of a childless father’s search for vengeance and Twinkies. And it’s also the shocking tale of two con-artist sisters’ search for a shower and an amusement park where there are no lines. And it’s ALSO the heartbreaking tale of Bill Murray getting shot for pretending to be a zombie, like an idiot.

Join John and me for a fast run to Pacific Playland, where you will learn why Down in Front dropped the ball on their commentary for this film, the rules for survival in a Zombie apocalypse, and who you’re gonna call (Ghostbusters).

Apparently, Down in Front lost their recording of their Zombieland commentary. John and I attended the live recording via Justin.tv. It’s quite possible they’ll do it again with a different mix, especially since Trey hates Zombieland even more than the others and was sorry he couldn’t have been there. So, think of this as a record of a lost artifact, like some of the works of Aristotle, only much crankier.

Start the film right after the Columbia logo has faded on the countdown.

Run, Lola, Run

Run Lola RunNetflix IMDb
Join me as I rush thru the 1998 German film Run, Lola, Run, the pulse-pounding story of a girl running around Berlin over and over until she gambles her way to happiness. I compare the film to video games and religious allegory—which it is not—and to fairy tales, humanist philosophy, and roulette—which it is.

I wax poetical about free will vs determinism and chance vs causation. I discuss the film’s somewhat arch use of numerous techniques to represent the different stories and time frames. But I’m so deep into philosophy I forget to identify any guns or cars other than Manni’s Walther PPK.

I explain the color motifs (Manni = blue and yellow; Lola = green, red, and blue) and the other visual motifs (spirals, grids, breaking glass). I compare the different runs (green/running, red/thinking, blue/feeling). And I chide reviewers for wishing the film was deeper when THE WHOLE POINT OF THE FILM is that asking deep questions is a trap, and you’ve just got to run and love and trust and hope for the best.

Start the film right before the Prokino title card fades up (after the title card for the various companies) at the same time you start the commentary.

Almighty Thor (not Marvel)

Almighty ThorNetflix IMDb
It’s a genuine mockbuster from The Asylum, so join me and my special guest Wegel Pinsky—if you dare—as we slog thru the adventures of a totally-not-mighty Thor being schooled by a Mexican chick to fight a superpowerful Darth Loki in the forests of Scandinavia and, for some reason, alleys of Los Angeles and repeatedly losing his weapons. It probably doesn’t help that we’ve just come from seeing the Marvel Thor movie in the theater and more-or-less enjoyed it.

We try to figure out just what the characters are trying to do and why the chick with the weird name and weirder accent knows everything and Thor knows nothing. We try to figure out why Richard Grieco is just wandering around. And we try to figure out if this is the worst movie we’ve ever seen or just one of the worst movies we’ve ever seen. We enjoy the terror dogs from Ghostbusters and the lindworms from—I don’t know—Lind? Do not operate heavy machinery after watching this film.

Start the movie after the “The Asylum” title has faded out and the “SyFy Presents / Almighty Thor” titles are about to fade in.

Aliens (special edition)

AliensNetflix IMDb
James Cameron blasts you out of a cannon (after loading you and packing you with powder for, like, 40 minutes) at a whole host of aliens (which you don’t actually hit for another 35 minutes) in this sequel to the timeless monster movie Alien. Join me as I examine the special edition and its themes of motherhood and self-actualization and blowin’ sh*t up and corporations are bad.

I compare the film to the original and to various other films by Cameron and others. I go Wierzbowski hunting. I imagine Jerry Seinfeld in place of Paul Reiser. I call it “nearly perfect”, altho I lament the concept of the alien hive with a queen. And I call out all the little Cameron-romance moments (“We’re gonna die! I kind of like you!”).

NOTE: There’s an unfortunate little bit of popping in the first 30 minutes, perhaps caused by the new version of Audacity. Sorry.

Start the film after the 20th Century Fox logo at the same time you start the commentary.

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