Listen to ‘Gobbledygeek’ Episode 334, “Black Panther: Hail to the King, Baby! (feat. Phaicia McBride)”

Gobbledygeek episode 334, “Black Panther: Hail to the King, Baby! (feat. Phaicia McBride),” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.

First-time guest Phaicia “Fe” McBride joins Paul and Arlo as they take a direct flight to the African utopia of Wakanda, courtesy of Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther. King T’Challa’s first feature film marks the 18th entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; it also marks a long overdue watershed moment for mainstream black culture. The gang discusses why Black Panther is so important and exciting; how the film takes the MCU in exciting new directions, particularly with its nuanced villain; how rare and wonderful it is to see so many female characters with agency, skill, and personality; why Ludwig Goransson’s score (and Kendrick Lamar’s soundtrack, at least according to Arlo) is a true sonic statement; and how some of the fight sequences bring to mind Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man. Plus, Arlo’s obsessed with a bizarre lo-fi mobile game called InstLife; and Paul goes full steampunk ahead with Batman: Gotham by Gaslight.

Next: despite what they say at the end of the episode, Paul and Arlo are actually getting ready for Annihilation.

(Show notes for “Hail to the King, Baby!”)

Listen to ‘Gobbledygeek’ Episode 242, “The Ordinary Four”

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Gobbledygeek episode 242, “The Ordinary Four,” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a near-autistic supergenius, a Portishead-loving invisible girl, a man on fire, and a big ol’ pile of rocks walk into another dimension… Oh wait, you have heard this one before? You didn’t like it then, either? Huh. Hollywood has now ruined Fantastic Four three times, and Paul and AJ are on hand to detail all the ways this iteration goes wrong. What makes it worse is that it starts with Josh Trank’s good intentions to give Marvel’s first family a fresh update with a strong cast featuring Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, and Jamie Bell. Re-edits, reshoots, and one incomprehensible finale later, those good intentions have been nullified. What happened? DOOM.

Next: who knows? It’s a mystery episode.

(Show notes for “The Ordinary Four.”)

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)

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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)

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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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Review: Chronicle

Superhero origin stories are de rigueur, as are attempts to translate those stories to the “real world.” Chronicle, from newcomers Josh Trank (director) and Max “son of John” Landis (screenplay) pulls it off surprisingly well, featuring three teenage protagonists that behave in completely believable ways when gifted with burgeoning telekinetic powers. The first half of the film is a fun, wild ride as the kids play around with levitating Legos and blowing up cheerleaders skirts. The second half gets more serious as one of them succumbs to the urge to strike back at a world that has admittedly been smacking him in the face for some time. By the time the kids master flight, forcefields, and bus-tossing, we’ve arrived at the predictable but very well played showdown of “good vs. evil.” It’s been said that heroes are defined by their villains, and trite but true it’s never more apparent than the schism between abused and angry Andrew and idle and indolent Matt. Without the need to protect innocent bystanders threatened by Andrew going all Tetsuo on downtown Seattle, it’s entirely possible Matt would have never moved past the pranking phase of superherodom. In fact I could imagine a world where he grew bored by it and actually never even used it again. But “Tetsuo” did happen, and Matt stepped up to the “Kaneda” plate…

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