Last week, we discussed our favorite TV series of the last year. This week, we turn to the big screen.
PAUL: 10. DJANGO UNCHAINED (dir. Quentin Tarantino)
With Django Unchained, director Quentin Tarantino takes us once more back to a terrible moment in our history, and once again asks us to indulge him his little anachronisms and revisionist revenge fantasies. This time, instead of Nazis and baseball-bat-wielding Jews, we get slavers and bounty-hunting dentists. Set in the pre-Civil War Deep South, Unchained is Tarantino’s homage to the Spaghetti Westerns of Leone and Corbucci, which he prefers to call his Spaghetti Southern. I’ll say that the absence of editor Sally Menke is sharply felt here, though. If I, of all people, notice the nearly three-hour runtime, then there could’ve been some tightening. The cast is great across the board, including a list of hidden cameos longer than my arm (among others, original Django Franco Nero makes an appearance). Jamie Foxx is great in the title role, though I imagine what Will Smith could’ve done with the part, as was the original intent. Leo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, and Walton Goggins all shine in their respective roles. Kerry Washington was reduced to little more than the damsel in distress, however, which is unusual for a Tarantino picture. But the standout here is Christoph Waltz. He is every bit as charmingly heroic and admirable this time as he was charmingly repulsive and hateful in Basterds.
AJ: 10. MOONRISE KINGDOM (dir. Wes Anderson)
Wes Anderson’s films often have a childlike quality about them, whether it be his colorful storybook compositions or the petulance of many of his characters. So it’s fitting that he’s finally made a film about children, one in which the kids are on the run from what’s expected of them and their adult guardians are forced to accept the roles they’ve played in their children’s abandonment of them. Newcomers Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, both in their first screen acting roles, give perfectly awkward performances. Anderson regulars Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman are in their element here, while Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton join the auteur’s troupe with ease. Perhaps most encouragingly, Moonrise Kingdom is the first sign of life in years from Bruce Willis–who, with a movie soon to appear on our lists, proved later in the year that he’s most definitely still kicking–and Edward Norton, two actors who really needed a movie like this.
Gobbledygeek episode 117, “I Been Bit, Y’all,” is available for listening or download right here.
For the penultimate episode of Gobbledyween 2012, Paul and AJ take a break from being all reflective and whatnot for the zombie antics of Community‘s “Epidemiology.” There’s a whole lotta zombies, a whole lotta ABBA, and a whole lotta hilarity. Highlights include Troy’s Sexy Dracula costume, Chang being the “racist prover,” and Chiquita M.D. It’s a good time. Plus, Paul talks about loyal listener Valerie’s trip to Alabama and AJ gives brief thoughts on Seven Psychopaths and Argo. There’s also a VERY SPECIAL guest on this week’s episode, even if you have to listen to these two blathering idiots to get to the specialness.
Next: Gobbledyween 2012 comes to a close with Psych‘s “This Episode Sucks.”
(Show notes for “I Been Bit, Y’all.”)
Welcome to Last Month’s Comics, in which I discuss, uh, last month’s comics. I get my comics in bi-monthly shipments from Discount Comic Book Service, and as such, I can be a little behind. So here we are.
This column is later than usual, as I was a little preoccupied earlier this month, but for all those still madly wondering about what October 2011′s comics had to offer, here we go…
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Art: Eduardo Risso
I’ve read only a fraction of Azzarello and Risso’s acclaimed 100 Bullets, which ran for ten years from 1999 to 2009, but one needs no familiarity with their past work to be immediately sucked in by the opening chapter of Spaceman, their new nine-issue mini-series from Vertigo. It takes place in a weird, sad future, just a few monsters and flying cars away from the one in Joss Whedon’s Fray. Our protagonist is Orson, a monkey-ish man genetically engineered to travel to Mars, a trip the human race never got to make. Orson and his low-class friends speak in bizarre, disjointed slang; “okee” is how they say okay, and they actually say “LOL LOL LOL” instead of laughing. In this first issue, Orson has ominous spaceman dreams and becomes involved in the kidnapping of the adopted child of reality TV stars. Eduardo Risso’s art is terrific, Brian Azzarello’s storytelling immediately compelling. Choice line, as Orson’s alarm chirps “New day, new day, new day” while he opens the door on a bleak, cloudless future: “Why, you lyin machine…it’s the same fuck old day it always is.” (Plus: $1!)
Gobbledygeek episode 72, “No More Room in Hell,” is available for listening or download right here. (GOBBLEDYUPDATE: Technical issues appear to have been resolved. We now return you to our regularly scheduled gobbling.)
When there is no more room in hell, the Gobbledygeeks will walk the earth. And while we’re here, we shall discuss George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead! That’s right, zombiefolk, it’s Gobbledyween week three, so we’re turning our rotting, shambling corpses upon one of the original undead classics. Part consumerism satire and part gory munchfest, the film set a high bar for zombie films that not many have been able to shuffle up to. After we discuss the film and go off on some bizarre tangents, we talk about the Walking Dead season 2 premiere and answer some off-the-wall Formspring questions.
Next: for the final week of Gobbledyween 2011, we will discuss Event Horizon, a movie that Paul has not seen since it was in theaters and one AJ has never seen. Good times!
(Show notes for “No More Room in Hell.”)
Due to issues with our local FOX broadcast, I actually didn’t get to see the first few minutes of this episode. Sadly this means I missed what sounds to have been a pretty great group number by the Top 7 guys; something about the seven stages of grief, choreographed by Justin Giles and set to the song “Prague” by Damien Rice. And video of the performance is frustratingly missing from YouTube, so I just have to take everyone’s word for how great it was.
Cat Deeley, adorable as ever in a baby blue China doll dress, introduces us to our four, yes FOUR judges this week. Joining the usual suspects of Executive Producer Mr. Nigel Lythgoe and Hot Tamale Train conductor Mary Murphy is, for some strange reason, Carmen Electra. In light of how successful the guest judges have been up to this point I TRY to be open minded. But she happens to be seated right next to the ever-lovin’ Travis Wall in the fourth judges chair, which makes Ms. Electra seem even more pointless. Travis becomes, as far as I know, the first contestant-cum-choreographer-cum-judge in the history of the series. And (spoiler) he’s just as great at this as he is at everything else. Bastard.
This article contains major spoilers. Duh.
Okay, let’s get this out of the way right up front: Sucker Punch is not a perfect film. God knows there are enough righteous film critics and internet ass hats falling all over themselves to be the one to find the snarkiest, most condescending way to tell you as much. To listen to the vocal majority you’d think this film is the final herald of the Apocalypse. Yes, there are flaws, I’m not gonna lie. But despite the uneven script and occasionally insipid dialogue, I pretty much LOVE this movie. And I’m gonna tell you why.
The Walking Dead: great pilot, good show, could be better. And if you want your horror series to get better, who do you sign on to write an episode? Stephen King, of course. We here at Gobbledygeek (at least the half that’s me) are huge fans of King, and think this news couldn’t be much better. King isn’t officially confirmed to be writing an episode, but he’s currently in talks, and says that executive producer Frank Darabont is enthusiastic to get him onboard either next season or the season after. King and Darabont go way back–all the way back to Darabont’s 1983 short film The Woman in the Room, but also The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and The Mist. King would be making his contribution a family affair as well, co-writing an episode with his son, the popular horror novelist Joe Hill.
As an aside, I was going to review King’s latest book, the novella collection Full Dark, No Stars, on our most recent episode, but that episode was already way too long for me to start babbling about literature, because what the hell do I know about literature. Anyways: check it out, it’s pretty good! Especially brutal opener “1922,” about a farmer who kills his wife; and fascinating closer “A Good Marriage,” in which a woman finds out her husband has been hiding a pretty dark secret.
In summary, two Kings + Darabont + The Walking Dead = our utmost anticipation.
In theory, you can listen to the most recent episode of Gobbledygeek, “Braaaaains!!!,” right here, but, er…only 66 minutes of it. What? Yeah, we don’t know either. I’m checking in with BlogTalkRadio as to why this is. If you listened live, you’ll remember that Skype did drop mine and Kevin’s calls twice, but whenever that has happened in the past, it has never stopped our recording. So, yeah. Little frustrating. But what you can hear of the show is devoted to The Walking Dead, the Romero zombie movies, and other pieces of zombie fiction.
Bucketness: Off the charts.
The thirty-first episode of Gobbledygeek airs live tonight at 10:00 PM EST right here. To close out our month-long celebration of monsters in pop culture, we’ll hone in on the shambling, shuffling, slack-jawed zombie. Your typical zombie enjoys sunsets, long walks on the beach, and BRAAAAIIIINNNSSSS!!!! We’ll have an early review of AMC’s pilot for The Walking Dead, and of course Romero, Fulci, Wright, and other cult favorites will get their turn in the dim, gray, post-apocalyptic sun. In the bonus hour, we’ll have upcoming DVD releases, Rock Band 3, and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.
Reminder: Calling into the show is potentially a toll call, but if you’ve got a free Skype account and a free BlogTalkRadio account, you can use the free “Click to Talk” button to call in…for free!
(And hey, did anyone else notice that last week’s blog post didn’t include a link to the show, and that there was never a “Listen to Last Night’s Blahblahblah” post? Yeah, didn’t think so. All the same, I apologize.)
Above is our first non-zombie production photo from the set of AMC’s The Walking Dead, a forthcoming series based on Robert Kirkman’s acclaimed comic book. It’s of Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, the police officer who serves as the main protagonist in Kirkman’s tale of a post-apocalyptic, zombie-ravaged planet. This photo arrives at a pretty good time for me, as I just finished reading all 72 current issues of the comic this afternoon, and I watched Frank Darabont’s The Mist last night.