Listen to ‘Gobbledygeek’ Episode 317, “Baby Driver: Who Doesn’t Like Hats?”

Gobbledygeek episode 317, “Baby Driver: Who Doesn’t Like Hats?”, is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.

This week, Paul and Arlo put the pedal to the metal and drop the needle on Baby Driver, the latest nerd fantasia from writer-director Edgar Wright. Filled with rock and soul classics, Wright’s first American film is a high-concept car chase musical that nevertheless plays things a little straighter than his British/Canadian ventures. The boys discuss their favorite music cues, whether or not the internet is right to hate Ansel Elgort, what the film says about music as the soundtrack to our lives, and of course the goddamn Hamm. Plus, Paul and Arlo puzzle over the latest season of Orange Is the New Black and take a bite out of Bong Joon-ho’s Okja.

Next: first-time guest Heather Wiley swings by to talk Spider-Man: Homecoming.

(Show notes for “Baby Driver: Who Doesn’t Like Hats?”)

Listen to ‘Gobbledygeek’ Episode 239, “A Bug’s Life”

antman

Gobbledygeek episode 239, “A Bug’s Life,” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

For the twelfth entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the House of Ideas goes microscopic with Ant-Man, bringing Paul Rudd into the fold and attempting to shrink from their recent overstuffed epics. Is there still room for a small-scale, one-and-done movie in the MCU? On their way to finding out, Paul and AJ discuss the film’s inventive use of perspective, what it thinks of women, how Rudd stacks up as a superhero, and yes, Peyton Reed taking over the director’s chair from an unhappy Edgar Wright.

Next: Greg Sahadachny is back for another Four-Color Flashback installment exploring Jeff Smith’s Bone. This time, we’re taking a look at Vol. V: Rock Jaw – Master of the Eastern Border.

Paul & AJ’s Top 10 Films of 2014

The new year is less than two days old, so once again, it’s time to look back to our favorites of last year. As always, lists are imperfect, incomplete, and totally subject to change upon reflection and the passage of time.

We’ll start with Paul; he remains skeptical of this whole top 10 business, so this year, his contributions to our lists (including comics, albums, and TV shows) will be presented without comment.

(Mine, of course, will probably say too much.)

~ AJ

PAUL’S FAVORITE (NOT BEST) FILMS OF 2014
10. Boyhood (dir. Richard Linklater)
9. Interstellar (dir. Christopher Nolan)
8. Maleficent (dir. Robert Stromberg)
7. Only Lovers Left Alive (dir. Jim Jarmusch)
6. The LEGO Movie (dirs. Phil Lord & Christopher Miller)
5. Guardians of the Galaxy (dir. James Gunn)
4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (dirs. Joe & Anthony Russo)
3. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (dir. Matt Reeves)
2. Big Hero 6 (dirs. Don Hall & Chris Williams)
1. How to Train Your Dragon 2 (dir. Dean DeBlois)

HONORABLE MENTIONS
Snowpiercer (dir. Bong Joon-ho)
Edge of Tomorrow (dir. Doug Liman)
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (dir. Francis Lawrence)
X-Men: Days of Future Past (dir. Bryan Singer)
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (dir. Marc Webb)

DIDN’T SEE
Birdman (dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu)
Force Majeure (dir. Ruben Ostlund)
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (dir. Peter Jackson)

AJ’S TOP 10 FILMS OF 2014

10. BIRDMAN (dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu)

Film Review Birdman

“A thing is a thing, not what is said of that thing,” reads the quote (sometimes attributed to Susan Sontag) stuck to Riggan Thomson’s mirror. One imagines the former superhero actor, played by a back-and-swinging-for-the-fences Michael Keaton, clings to that mantra as he negotiates a shot at artistic integrity with his paranoid need to be loved. It also serves as a warning to anyone trying to dissect the film or Iñárritu’s intentions. After making a career out of overwhelmingly somber dramas, Iñárritu has made a frenzied comedy propelled by a furious drum score from Antonio Sanchez. He also peppers the film with flights of insanity, in which Riggan has telekinetic powers or takes to the skies just like his old alter ego. How much of this is real? What does the film’s beautiful final shot mean? There’s a lot to be said, but you can also take Birdman for the absurd, chaotic, hilarious thing it is.

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Paul & AJ’s Top 10 Films of 2013

Let the top 10-a-palooza commence! Over the next couple weeks, Paul and I will be looking back at our favorite things of 2013. First up, films; next week, TV series; and finally, comics. As always, these lists are imperfect and incomplete, reflecting only on what we’ve seen and love at the moment. Or as Paul writes:

I intentionally refer to the films on this list as favorites, not best. I rank films based on how much I enjoyed them, for whatever ephemeral or esoteric reasons unique to me, not on some system of objective filmmaking truths. These are the ten films I liked the most. YMMV.

Regarding omissions, neither of us have been able to see Inside Llewyn Davis, which makes me want to die, but oh well. I also haven’t seen The Great Beauty, Cutie and the Boxer, or The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, among others. Meanwhile, Paul hasn’t gotten around to Her, The Act of Killing, Stories We Tell, Short Term 12, or Blue Jasmine, to name a few.

Here we go!

– AJ

PAUL: 10. WARM BODIES (dir. Jonathan Levine)

warmbodies

The zombie genre is by this point a bloated undead thing feasting on its own rotting flesh. But director Jonathan Levine (50/50) makes this adaptation of Isaac Marion’s novel fresh, fun, and full of life. Yes it’s a (very) thinly veiled Romeo and Juliet pastiche, but the two leads, neo-nerdhunk Nicholas Hoult and Australian beauty Teresa Palmer, are both engaging and committed. Hoult in particular gets praise for being monstrous and vulnerable, and for selling the cheesy-but-hilarious voiceover with nothing more than his eyes. Also, Rob Corddry as a zombie lamenting, “Bitches, man,” is the best comedic line delivery of the year.

AJ: 10. GIMME THE LOOT (dir. Adam Leon)

gimmetheloot

You walk out of Gimme the Loot immediately wanting to know what first-time writer-director Adam Leon is going to do next. His voice is sharp and fresh, chronicling a day in the life of two teenaged petty criminals in a way that feels authentic but never gritty. His Bronx streets are unvarnished, rife with economic and class divisions, but there’s so much damn heart. Newcomers Tashiana Washington and Ty Hickson give performances devoid of pomp or flash; they simply find the souls of these two aimless kids. They’re one of the most affecting screen duos in recent memory, in one of the biggest surprises of the year.

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Four-Color Flashback: ‘Preacher: Vol. 1 – Gone to Texas’

Last summer, I started a column entitled Four-Color Flashback, wherein I went through and discussed/analyzed a legendary run of comic books I’d never read. In that case, it was Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s Uncanny X-Men (read the first part here). It was a fun experience, and toward the end of the column, I stated the desire to return to the concept “some time in the next century.” That time is now!

Unlike last year, which was just me rambling on endlessly by myself, this summer, I’m joined by Paul to discuss Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s notorious Preacher. Paul is a huge fan, and I’ve never read a single issue, so we’re both bringing different perspectives to the table. The series lasted for 66 issues from 1995 to 2000, and has subsequently been collected in nine trade paperbacks. We’ll be going through them one at a time, starting this week with Preacher: Vol. 1 – Gone to Texas, collecting the series’ first seven issues.

So pull up a chair, do your best John Wayne impression, and enjoy.

(That was me commanding you with the Word.)

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On DVD & Blu-Ray, 6/28/11: ‘Sucker Punch,’ ‘Barney’s Version,’ More

SUCKER PUNCH: Extended Cut (DVD/Blu-ray/Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Combo)

Yep, here it is. This is the film that either destroyed any remnants of geek cred I may ever have had, or proved what a brilliant film viewer I really am. Why, you ask? Because, damn it, I liked this Zack Snyder joint. Ostensibly the story of Baby Doll (Emily Browning), an abused young woman put into an institution by her father and scheduled for a lobotomy, who travels to deeper and deeper levels of consciousness on an anime/video game/comic book-inspired quest to free herself and her fellow inmates. Pretty young things in barely-there clothing battling giant robot samurai, fire-breathing dragons, and steam-powered zombie Nazis. Given only that premise, and taking into account Snyder’s penchant for phantasmagoric, speed-ramped action sequences, this could have been a beautiful but vapid piece of hormone and adrenaline-fueled cinematic trash. But, as I infamously explained here, I believe there is much more to it than that. The Extended Cut features an additional 18 minutes of footage, a picture-in-picture commentary with director Snyder, and has been rated R, up from the theatrical PG-13.  – Paul Smith

(Originally reviewed by Paul, and much less favorably by myself, in “Ladylike.”)

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Gobbledygeek #31 Tonight!

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.)