Gobbledygeek episode 332, “The Greatest Showman: The Noblest Art (feat. Nate Curtiss),” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
Come one, come all to The Greatest Showman, Michael Gracey’s musical retelling (or is that reshaping?) of the life of circus impresario P.T. Barnum. Paul and Arlo are joined by first-time guest Nate Curtiss, whose obsession with the film rivals Paul’s well-documented mania. The gang discusses the film’s message of tolerance and inclusion, why it’s a better musical than La La Land, and if it’s a problem that the filmmakers have refashioned Barnum as a beacon of progressivism. Plus, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back (did they ever leave?), which is making some fans unhappy (aren’t they always?); and The Cloverfield Paradox was a surprise post-Super Bowl release on Netflix.
Next: last year’s Four-Color Flashback finally comes to a close, as Kenn Edwards joins us to discuss Y: The Last Man – Vol. 10: Whys and Wherefores.
(Show notes for “The Noblest Art.”)
Gobbledygeek episode 329, “Black Mirror: Shattered Reflections (feat. Sarah Kosheff),” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are through the tweeting glass. First-time guest Sarah Kosheff joins Paul and Arlo to discuss Charlie Brooker’s sci-fi anthology series Black Mirror in general, and the new fourth season in particular. The gang discusses how the series explores the intersection of technology and society, if the “what if phones but too much” line of criticism is reductive, if the idea of a Black Mirror “shared universe” is in any way appealing, and more. Plus, Paul meets The Greatest Showman, Arlo and Sarah marvel at The Shape of Water, and Arlo finally puts Paul in his mouth.
Next: famed Briton Wesley “Wezzo” Mead stops by once again to discuss Chris Carter’s seminal sci-fi series The X-Files. This time, the gang will discuss season 7.
(Show notes for “Shattered Reflections.”)
I am not the half of Gobbledygeek who loathes the Oscars; in fact, they’re an annual tradition in my house. This year, we even ponied up for chocolate Oscar statuettes powdered with gold. We don’t mess around. Amazingly, I even liked seven of this year’s nine Best Picture nominees (the odd ones out being War Horse and, ugh, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close). At the same time, I realize that the Academy often fails to recognize some truly brilliant films, and in the interest of counter-programming, I thought I’d point out some of the ones it missed this year.
These films didn’t garner a single Oscar nod this year (if it wasn’t for Sound Editing, Drive would be all up in here), and were actually eligible by Academy rules (otherwise, I would have spotlighted The Sunset Limited yet again, alongside the hilarious concert film Louis C.K.: Live at the Beacon Theater).
We’ve got 11 great movies here, divided up into three categories. To get us started…
THOR (DVD/Two-Disc Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Combo/Three-Disc Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Combo)
The penultimate pre-Avengers Marvel franchise hit like a thunderbolt! Well, a severe summer shower at least. Chris Hemsworth (Papa Kirk from Abrams’ Star Trek) plays the titular Thunder God, an impetuous and brash young warrior eager to earn the respect of his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins). Instead, he reignites a war with his people’s ancient enemies the Frost Giants, and finds himself exiled, penitent and powerless, to Earth. There’s a rushed romance with a sexy scientist (Natalie Portman); a fun but sadly bloodless battle to reclaim his birthright Mjolnir, the literal hammer of the gods; and a final showdown with his half-brother, the once and future God of Mischief. But the real highlights of the film aren’t the action set pieces: Hemsworth is a joy, with the muscles and the cocky but charming smirk; Hopkins chews the scenery appropriately, adding to the Shakespearean vibe director Kenneth Branagh was aiming for; and Tom Hiddleston as Loki steals the show with his wounded-little-boy-in-the-body-of-a-god routine. My earlier review was perhaps a bit glowing for what is probably just a good-not-great summer popcorn film…but then perhaps not. I look forward to watching it again and seeing if the ol’ Asgardian magic can still enchant me like it did before. – Paul Smith
(Originally reviewed by Paul and myself in “The Hammer Is His Penis.” Like Paul, I also wrote a review for the blog.)
BLUE VALENTINE (DVD/Blu-ray)
The most devastating, most gut-punching-est movie released in 2010 was Blue Valentine, an uncomfortably intimate drama from first-time feature director Derek Cianfrance. Ryan Gosling rivals his work in Half Nelson, and Michelle Williams gives the performance of her career (so far). Maybe you won’t feel “good” after you watch their marriage implode before your eyes, but you will feel like you’ve watched a real, painfully observant slice of human drama. The DVD and Blu-ray releases include deleted scenes, audio commentary, and more.
(Originally reviewed by me in “Springtime for Puffy Val Kilmer.”)