Listen to ‘Gobbledygeek’ Episode 320, “Dunkirk: Beach Battle Bingo”

Gobbledygeek episode 320, “Dunkirk: Beach Battle Bingo,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.

Sun, spray, bullets, and blood: Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk recounts the worst beach trip in history, as 400,000 Allied troops were trapped by the Nazis in Dunkirk, France. The word Paul and Arlo keep coming back to as a descriptor is “relentless.” 107 minutes of third-act intensity, Dunkirk may be the purest expression of Nolan’s watchmaker-precise skill. The boys discuss the film’s three interweaving time strands, the lack of overt character development (except for that moment), Hans Zimmer’s ticking time bomb of a score, and why the movie never names or shows its Nazi enemies. Plus, Arlo is convinced the rest of the world is experiencing a mass delusion regarding Arrested Development season 4; and the boys take a look at the SDCC trailers for Ready Player One, Justice League, Thor: Ragnarok, Stranger Things, and The Defenders.

Next: it’s another Four-Color Flashback, as Ensley F. Guffey, co-author of Wanna Cook? The Complete Unauthorized Guide to Breaking Bad, joins Paul and Arlo to discuss Y: The Last Man – Vol. 7: Paper Dolls.

(Show notes for “Dunkirk: Beach Battle Bingo.”)

Four-Color Flashback: ‘Preacher: Vol. 7 – Salvation’

Welcome to week 7 of 9 in our discussion of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher. For more, read weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

Paul: So this volume, Salvation, is kind of an intermission in the main story. We get to see what kind of man Jesse is removed from the quest and his group of friends. And as it turns out he’s just as much the Big Damn Hero in this smaller setting as when he’s hunting down God and facing off with saints and lunatics.

How did you feel about this step back from the bigger picture?

AJ: I loved it. It’s impressive how much I enjoyed Jesse’s exploits away from Cassidy, Tulip, Herr Starr, etc. It took me a second to realize that we weren’t going to see most of our old friends (excepting Jesse’s vision quest near the end), but once I adjusted to that, I found Salvation to be one of the most satisfying volumes yet.

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Listen to Episode 90, “Once Upon a Time…in Nazi-Occupied France”

Gobbledygeek episode 90, “Once Upon a Time…in Nazi-Occupied France,” is available for listening or download right here.

Atten-SHUN! It’s the last week of Tarantino Month, so that means one thing, and one thing only: we’re here to discuss Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino’s charmingly misspelled WWII epic. Points of interest for the boys include Brad Pitt’s ridiculous accent, the puzzling nature of Christoph Waltz as Hans Landa, the film’s Spaghetti Western stylings, the greatness of Mélanie Laurent, and what Tarantino has to say about the power of cinema. Plus, AJ recounts his Lez Zeppelin experience and Paul has a few extra thoughts about The Hunger Games.

Next: The Geek Challenge returns when AJ challenges Paul to Donnie Darko, and Paul retorts with Real Genius.

(Show notes for “Once Upon a Time…in Nazi-Occupied France.”)

Paul & AJ’s Top 10 Films of 2011

Paul and I rambled on and on about our favorites of 2011 in our second season finale, but that isn’t gonna stop us from rambling some more. This is the first in a series of top 10s that will be spread out over the next couple weeks; the rest will concern television, albums, and comic books.

But first, a word about lists. Paul has described my obsession with list-making as a “sickness,” and that’s probably close to the truth. However, even one such as I, beholden to rating and ranking everything known to man, know that these kinds of things are imperfect, to put it lightly. For one, no matter how all-inclusive you try to be, there’s always going to be a movie (or show, or comic, etc.) that you somehow missed; for example, as of this writing, neither Paul nor I have seen The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Shame, or Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, just to name a few. And more importantly, lists are always subject to how their makers feel at the moment they’re making them. Each of our top 10s represent the movies we love right now, and with the exception of our #1 choices, their order could be fluid, changing from day to day, mood to mood.

Right now, though? These are the films we adore, and which we feel exemplify 2011.

~ AJ

PAUL: 10. RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (dir. Rupert Wyatt)

The summer blockbuster that was better than any of us had any right to expect. Not only a remarkably capable relaunch/reboot of a beloved but dated franchise, but also just a damned good popcorn flick in its own right. Andy Serkis brings heart and humanity (pun intended) to the “inhuman” protagonist. It’s Pinocchio and Moses and Che Guevara.

AJ: 10. GEORGE HARRISON: LIVING IN THE MATERIAL WORLD (dir. Martin Scorsese)

It has been lazy shorthand for decades to refer to George Harrison as the “quiet Beatle,” and though that might have a kernel of truth to it, the man himself was far more complex. Publicly, he was quiet because he desperately hated fame; professionally, he was quiet during the Beatle years because John and Paul vetoed his material, and later, because he was content with tending to his family and to his garden. Martin Scorsese’s Bob Dylan documentary No Direction Home definitively captured that 60s icon’s brilliance and enigma, and while Living in the Material World doesn’t quite do the same for this 60s icon, it comes close enough. In the first part of this two-part doc, the entire life cycle of The Beatles is rehashed yet again, though considering it’s Scorsese at the helm, it remains of interest. It’s in the second part, however, when things truly come alive. By telling of his unsung career as a film producer, enticing candid stories from a number of those closest to him, and showing private home movies, Scorsese paints a portrait of Harrison as a man perpetually struggling to reconcile his spirituality with his materialism, caught between divinity and mortality.

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Happy Birthday, Quentin Tarantino: Six Shocking Moments

Quentin Tarantino was born March 27, 1963, meaning he turns 48 today. In the almost two decades he’s been making films, he’s revolutionized independent film, inspired never-ending waves of talentless knock-offs, and made seven utterly fantastic films. Though the violence in Tarantino’s movies has generated a lot of press over the years, that is far from the only worthwhile thing about them; each one is a well-structured, stylish, and suspenseful work of art. No other filmmaker cuts straight to my pleasure center as immediately as Tarantino. Though they are different in many respects, Tarantino and Hitchcock share the knack for creating captivating, instantly iconic cinematic images.

Having said all that, certainly I wouldn’t want to bring it back to the violence…but yeah, I’m going to. Violence is a big part of Tarantino’s work, and just like characters in a musical break out into song when they get passionate, Tarantino’s characters often use violence to express themselves. So it being Tarantino’s birthday and whatnot, right after you watch the most recent episode of Community (granted, it’s more of a My Dinner with Andre spoof than a Pulp Fiction spoof, but still), check out my choices for the most shockingly violent moment in each of his films. And moreover, my thoughts on why they’re as shocking as they are.

Reservoir Dogs – “It’s amusing, to me, to torture a cop.”

If someone asked me to name those movie characters who most embody evil, the first three that would come to mind are Hannibal Lecter, Regan from The Exorcist, and…Mr. Blonde, the gangster psychopath from Reservoir Dogs, played with demented flair by Michael Madsen, a B-grade actor giving one hell of an A-performance. The scene where Mr. Blonde, alone except for a dying Mr. Orange, tortures a cop is one of the most iconic and infamous in Tarantino’s oeuvre. Around the 30-second mark in the video embedded above, “Stuck in the Middle with You” by Stealer’s Wheel starts playing on the radio, and it’s like some sort of clarion call for Mr. Blonde to murder. Kneeling over Mr. Orange’s frail figure, he turns to the cop, smiles, then rises and starts dancing to the song. It’s one of the most casually terrifying bits of acting I’ve ever seen. But in focusing on the scene’s sheer horror, what a lot of people fail to realize is that it’s also fucking hilarious. It’s possible that I’m just a highly disturbed individual, but Mr. Blonde dancing, singing, and smiling his way through ear-slicing and gasoline-pouring is the kind of funny that also just so happens to be pretty damned scary. I remember the first time I saw it, when I was 12 or 13, I couldn’t help but start laughing. Then I immediately began wondering if I was going to go to hell. That’s what Quentin Tarantino movies will do to you.

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Chris Evans Is Scrawny and Nazis Are Bad in ‘Captain America’ Trailer

There was a 30-second Captain America spot during the Superbowl last month, but that wasn’t much to go on besides a snippet of Stanley Tucci’s funny accent and a legitimately badass glimpse of the Red Skull. Now we’ve got a full, two-and-a-half-minute theatrical trailer on our hands, and it’s much juicier. Here, take a look:

Hit the jump for my thoughts.

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Comics 201: More Recommendations

In our latest episode, Paul and I mentioned a number of comics recommendations for beginners in a variety of genres. However, we also mentioned that we had to pare down our lists significantly so that the topic would even approach being manageable. Here, as promised, are our other selections.

SUPERHEROES

FANTASTIC FOUR #232-293 (John Byrne)

After his legendary Uncanny X-Men run, John Byrne took over Marvel’s first family, the Fantastic Four. Cinematic storytelling, emotional character shake-ups, shocking betrayals. And he grew up Sue Storm, taking her from the Invisible Girl to the Invisible Woman.