Listen to ‘The Avatar Returns’ Episode 19

avatar19

The Avatar Returns episode 19 is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.

Apparently prison break stories lead to weird tangents. This week the boys talk about the verisimilitude of Hogan’s Heroes, the connections between Avatar: The Last Airbender and Voltron: Legendary Defender, and that one time Paul and Arlo compared Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Linklater’s Boyhood. There’s also important stuff, like if bringing Zuko into the main cast and rendering the series essentially a single-plot narrative this close to the finale has affected the tension, and if chapters 314, “The Boiling Rock, Part 1” and 315, “The Boiling Rock, Part 2” really needed to be split into separate chapters.

And lastly, there’s debate over whether to tackle the Dark Horse Comics spinoff series all at once in a single bonus episode, or if we could spread them out over the course of our fast-approaching Legend of Korra episodes. Write in and let us know at tarpodcast (at) gmail (dot) com.

Next: the penultimate episode of the Avatar: The Last Airbender portion of The Avatar Returns as we reach chapters 316, “The Southern Raiders,” and 317, “The Ember Island Players.”

(Show notes for The Avatar Returns episode 19.)

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 195, “Turtlez n the ‘Hood (feat. Joseph Lewis)”

tmntboyhood

Gobbledygeek episode 195, “Turtlez n the ‘Hood (feat. Joseph Lewis),” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

Not a boy but not yet a man; it’s something both humanoid mutant turtles and Texans experience. To cover that wide range of experience, Paul and AJ are discussing both the new Michael Bay-produced version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as well as Richard Linklater’s down-to-earth epic Boyhood. Joining them is Nowheresville director/Smoke Gets in Your Ears: A Mad Men Podcast co-host Joseph Lewis, who manages to summarize TMNT in the most beautiful way possible. That might be the only beautiful thing in relation to the movie; spoiler alert, but one of these films is a hell of a lot better than the other, and it’s probably the one about growing up without a stable father figure that was filmed over 12 years. Wait, which–which one was that? Plus, things start on a serious note with Ferguson and the passing of Robin Williams.

Next: we continue our year-long Four-Color Flashback exploration of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman with a discussion of Vol. VI: Fables and Reflections.

(Show notes for “Turtlez n the ‘Hood.”)

Listen to Episode 145, “Gobbledyeezus”

yeezus

Gobbledygeek episode 145, “Gobbledyeezus,” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

“I met Bat-Turkey/He said, ‘What up, Tofurkey?'”

Pretend that never happened. Anyways, what are the boys talking about this week? EVERYTHING, THAT’S WHAT! More concisely: they’re at each other’s throats over the new Kanye album, they laugh their asses off at This Is the End, Paul shares his thoughts on Before Midnight and World War Z, and AJ’s wedding quest as Man of Honor finally comes to a close. It’s all very exciting and rambly, par for the course for these excitable ramblers. There is no rapping.

Next week: Much Ado About Nothing talk, if the world is a kind and just place.

(Show notes for “Gobbledyeezus.”)

‘Bernie’ Review: But He’s So Nice!

“What you’re fixin’ to see is a true story.” So says the title card at the very start of Richard Linklater’s Bernie, and it tells you everything you need to know about the movie. A lot of unbelievable things happen, but they closely follow events that actually took place in Carthage, Texas, in 1996, and Linklater tells the tale with genial down-home charm. Making a black comedy out of a real-life murder is tricky business, but Linklater pulls it off.

16 years ago, Bernie Tiede (Jack Black) shot Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine) in the back four times, killing her. Bernie was known around town as an eccentric but lovable guy; a funeral director who also directed and starred in musicals at the local theater, who wore Hawaiian shirts on his days off and gave generously to various charities. Marjorie, on the other hand, was regarded as the meanest, nastiest, and wealthiest piece of work in all Carthage. We see her whack a gardener with a broom and fire a black employee for stealing her car because he took it in for repairs. Nobody in town wanted to be in the same room with Marjorie, which is why it’s so interesting that Bernie essentially became her live-in servant.

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On DVD & Blu-Ray, 5/31/11: ‘Biutiful,’ ‘Passion Play,’ More

BIUTIFUL (DVD/Blu-ray)

Biutiful is the most recent offering from Alejandro González Iñárritu, he of Amores Perros21 Grams, and Babel, all of which rank among my favorite films. Javier Bardem scored an Oscar nod as Uxbal, who, uh…actually, the synopses of this movie make it really hard to figure out what his deal is, though he’s described as a “tragic hero” and “a single father who struggles to reconcile fatherhood, love, spirituality, crime, guilt and mortality amid the dangerous underworld of modern Barcelona.” So there’s that. I meant to catch this in theaters, but in any case, I’m really looking forward to this one. Extras include a making-of doc and a theatrical trailer.

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