Listen to ‘Gobbledygeek’ Episode 247, “Just Sort of Rotting”

deadcomet

Gobbledygeek episode 247, “Just Sort of Rotting,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.

Gobbledyween comes early with the one-two zombie punch (right through some poor lady’s skull) of Peter Jackson’s 1992 gorefest Dead Alive AKA Braindead, one of several gonzo films which made the New Zealander perhaps the least likely contender to ever helm The Lord of the Rings; and 1984’s cult classic Night of the Comet, wherein the world ends and the burden of society is placed upon two teen sisters and their new pal Hector. In true Geek Challenge fashion, Paul and AJ find themselves baffled by these selections. Paul swims through Dead Alive‘s rivers of fake blood, while AJ finds himself stranded in Night of the Comet‘s nearly zombie-free desert. Will our heroes find common ground and come to understand one another? Never.

Next: death is but a door. Time is but a window. We’ll be back.

(Show notes for “Just Sort of Rotting.”)

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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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Listen to Episode 158, “My Body Is a Road Map of Pain (feat. Eric Sipple)”

frighteners

Gobbledygeek episode 158, “My Body Is a Road Map of Pain (feat. Eric Sipple),” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

After our adventures with clown dolls, Reagan-era values, and disgusting eating habits with Poltergeist, Gobbledyween continues on with ghosts of a different sort in Peter Jackson’s The Frighteners. Paul and AJ are joined by frequent guest/utter masochist Eric Sipple to discuss the underrated 1996 horror-comedy, yet another cult classic which Universal botched, moving it from a perfect Halloween release date to a summer during which it had to contend with Independence Day. The boys are happy to discover that it holds up, that its elaborate special effects are still impressive, and that it’s actually pretty damn disturbing. How well Jackson balances the darker stuff with some very broad laughs is another matter, and here’s another: does that opening scene need to exist? We have the answer. Plus, Paul almost died! For real! Not an imaginary story!

Next: rev your chainsaws and put on your prettiest skin-mask, boys and girls, because Gobbledyween is taking a look back at the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

(Show notes for “My Body Is a Road Map of Pain.”)

On DVD & Blu-ray, 9/13/11: ‘Thor,’ ‘Meek’s Cutoff,’ More

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.)

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AJ’s ‘Thor’ Review: Almost Thunderous

I’ve long thought that Marvel’s overarching plan for its homegrown superhero movies was absolutely insane–and pretty ingenious, too. Spider-Man, the X-Men, and some other notable players are tied up at other film companies, but Marvel wisely held onto the rights to each member of the Avengers and ever since Iron Man in 2008, they’ve been working on getting the band together. Iron Man had some subtle Easter eggs and a nifty post-credits scene, and it’s a miracle that Iron Man 2 didn’t entirely collapse under the weight of its Avengers teases; The Incredible Hulk, besides a brief scene between Tony Stark and General Ross, was too busy restoring its hero’s rep to get involved. Thor is the next Avenger to get the spotlight and, well, he’s an interesting case.

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Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture: #50-41

On last night’s show, Paul and I continued our countdown of the Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture with #s 50-41. Be sure to listen to the show for our full run-downs, but here are some choice excerpts:

#50

PAUL: Toothless (How to Train Your Dragon)

In my opinion, the character’s progression throughout the film is pretty spot-on with what feels like natural behavior, from the frightened, wounded animal in the cove to the trusting “pet” that accepts help from his human to ultimately the loyal friend and protector.

AJ: Rick Blaine (Casablanca)

Humphrey Bogart is one of the greatest actors of all time, and no role better defines his appeal than that of expatriate café owner Rick Blaine.

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