Listen to ‘The Avatar Returns’ Episode 10

avatar10

The Avatar Returns episode 10 is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.

The Avatar Returns returns! We’re back, having survived our various chemically altered holiday adventures. And due to some odd digital episode numbering, we end up with a bonus chapter this week which we hadn’t anticipated watching yet. But perhaps it all works out for the best, since it turns out chapters 210, “The Library,” and 213, “The Drill” bookend this discussion with more action-oriented, event-based stories, whereas the two middle chapters, 211, “The Desert,” and 212, “The Serpent’s Pass” are transitional, getting-from-place-to-place stories. We talk about giant owl-faced dick spirits, Aang almost going all Anakin Skywalker on some dudes, AJ asks Paul to dance (it gets awkward), and we forgo the usual Buffy the Vampire Slayer comparisons in favor of our first Doctor Who, Tarantino, Princess Bride, and Lost references.

Also there’s a pop quiz!

Next: a short week to make up for this week’s surprise fourth chapter, we’ll be discussion 214, “City of Walls and Secrets,” and 215, “The Tales of Ba Sing Se.”

(Show notes for The Avatar Returns episode 10.)

Advertisements

Listen to the ‘Gobbledygeek’ Season 7 Premiere, “The Somewhat Disgruntled Four (feat. Ensley F. Guffey & Joseph Lewis)”

hatefuleight

Gobbledygeek episode 262, “The Somewhat Disgruntled Four (feat. Ensley F. Guffey & Joseph Lewis),” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.

Don your dead general’s coat and strap on those snowshoes; for the Gobbledygeek season 7 premiere, we’re taking the last stage to Red Rock for a discussion of Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight. Bringing Paul and AJ up to a Somewhat Disgruntled Four are Wanna Cook? author Ensley F. Guffey and A/V writer-director Joseph Lewis. Ensley, a bonafide historian, teaches us how Tarantino plays with historical symbolism; while Joe, a die-hard Tarantino fan, tells us of the religiosity of his Hateful Eight 70mm experience. The gang also discusses the film’s handling of race and misogyny, how Tarantino borrows from The Thing, whether or not the film is a convincing mystery, and more. Plus, the boys pay tribute to the icons 2016 has already stolen from us.

Next: break out your scones, guv’nor. It’s time once more for the delightfully British Wesley “Wezzo” Mead to make his journey across the pond.

(Show notes for “The Somewhat Disgruntled 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)

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.

Continue reading

Listen to Our ‘Django Unchained’ Bonus Episode, “The D Is Silent, Hillbilly”

Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx in 'Django Unchained'

Our Django Unchained bonus episode, “The D Is Silent, Hillbilly,” is available for listening or download right here.

Bat-Turkey is still in hibernation/terribly hungover, but Paul and AJ managed to tiptoe around him to bring this very special Django Unchained bonus episode to you. The boys geek out over Tarantino’s latest opus, a Spaghetti Southern that tackles the lunacy and brutality of racism head-on. There is much pontification in regards to the more straightforward narrative, the great performances, how Tarantino is able to explore race in ways that more “high-minded” filmmakers are incapable of, and the use of a certain word.

(Show notes for “The D Is Silent, Hillbilly.”)

Paul & AJ’s Top 10 Films of 2012

Last week, we discussed our favorite TV series of the last year. This week, we turn to the big screen.

PAUL: 10. DJANGO UNCHAINED (dir. Quentin Tarantino)

Jamie Foxx in 'Django Unchained'

With Django Unchained, director Quentin Tarantino takes us once more back to a terrible moment in our history, and once again asks us to indulge him his little anachronisms and revisionist revenge fantasies. This time, instead of Nazis and baseball-bat-wielding Jews, we get slavers and bounty-hunting dentists. Set in the pre-Civil War Deep South, Unchained is Tarantino’s homage to the Spaghetti Westerns of Leone and Corbucci, which he prefers to call his Spaghetti Southern. I’ll say that the absence of editor Sally Menke is sharply felt here, though. If I, of all people, notice the nearly three-hour runtime, then there could’ve been some tightening. The cast is great across the board, including a list of hidden cameos longer than my arm (among others, original Django Franco Nero makes an appearance). Jamie Foxx is great in the title role, though I imagine what Will Smith could’ve done with the part, as was the original intent. Leo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, and Walton Goggins all shine in their respective roles. Kerry Washington was reduced to little more than the damsel in distress, however, which is unusual for a Tarantino picture. But the standout here is Christoph Waltz. He is every bit as charmingly heroic and admirable this time as he was charmingly repulsive and hateful in Basterds.

AJ: 10. MOONRISE KINGDOM (dir. Wes Anderson)

Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman in 'Moonrise Kingdom'

Wes Anderson’s films often have a childlike quality about them, whether it be his colorful storybook compositions or the petulance of many of his characters. So it’s fitting that he’s finally made a film about children, one in which the kids are on the run from what’s expected of them and their adult guardians are forced to accept the roles they’ve played in their children’s abandonment of them. Newcomers Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, both in their first screen acting roles, give perfectly awkward performances. Anderson regulars Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman are in their element here, while Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton join the auteur’s troupe with ease. Perhaps most encouragingly, Moonrise Kingdom is the first sign of life in years from Bruce Willis–who, with a movie soon to appear on our lists, proved later in the year that he’s most definitely still kicking–and Edward Norton, two actors who really needed a movie like this.

Continue reading

Listen to Episode 109, “How to Survive Killing Seven Unchained Masters”

Gobbledygeek episode 109, “How to Survive Killing Seven Unchained Masters,” is available for listening or download right here.

The leaves will soon start falling from the trees and awards bait will soon start arriving in theaters. That’s right, it’s almost time for the fall/winter movie season, so Paul and AJ give you a little preview of 15 films they’re looking forward to. There’s showy Oscar stuff like Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln and Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables alongside the animated video-game-a-palooza Wreck-It Ralph and Quentin Tarantino’s Southern Django Unchained, among many others. Plus, Paul talks about a local movie theater that’s going the way of the Alamo Drafthouse and AJ discusses the news that this season of The Office will be its last.

Next: it’s been a year, folks. Time to look back on what went right and what went very wrong with DC’s New 52.

(Show notes for “How to Survive Killing Seven Unchained Masters.”)

Four-Color Flashback: ‘Preacher: Vol. 9 – Alamo’

Welcome to the final week in our discussion of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher. For more, read weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8.

Paul: It ends here.

Nine volumes. 66 issues. Five one-shot specials. A four-issue tie-in miniseries. And a tanker truck full of blood and guts. Our pissed-off preacher, gun-toting girl Friday, and blood-drinking BFF all converge, where else? Texas. The Alamo, to be precise. And things get both big and small, epic and very, very personal.

Oh, and one poorly written report gets taken out behind the woodshed and shot the fuck up.

So AJ, mi compadre, what did you think of the grand finale?

AJ: Where to begin? Perhaps it’s best to start with my one sizable complaint before moving on to everything that worked so, so well here. Last week, we talked about the watering-down of Herr Starr, of how even though he’s the series’ ostensible antagonist, his misadventures have often been treated as comic relief. Maybe I just wasn’t paying enough attention, but I completely failed to realize that taking revenge on Jesse had supplanted bringing about Armageddon as his goal in life. So when he announced his plans to the Elite Council, I was just as confused as they were (luckily, I didn’t get murdered right after). I feel like a discussion of Starr as the series’ Big Bad could take up its own post, so I’ll just say that though I loved the vast majority of what we ended up getting, I can’t imagine what an epic ending Armageddon could have provided.

Continue reading