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)
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)
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.
Saying this upfront: NO SPOILERS. Paul and I have also discussed the film on the show.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A bunch of kids pack into an RV for a weekend of fun, sex, and sexy fun. That they encounter the extremely creepy owner of an ancient gas station on the way does nothing to deter them from their destination: a remote cabin in the woods, owned by one of the kids’ cousins. The place immediately seems a little off, there’s some disturbing stuff in the cellar, someone maybe reads Latin, and eventually bloody mayhem ensues. Though they should know better, each one succumbs to some very stupid behavior for which they will be punished.
This is the set-up for dozens, maybe hundreds, of horror movies. The Cabin in the Woods is something different. When we first meet these kids, they seem like lively, intelligent college students. They don’t seem like they would do some of the dumb things they end up doing. Which seems par for the course for this kind of movie, except The Cabin in the Woods dares to offer a justification as to why the victims would seemingly offer themselves up as fodder. There’s more here than meets the eye. Characters played by Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford are part of a shadowy organization which makes everything much more complicated. This I guarantee: If you’ve only seen the ads, which paint the movie as your generic Halloween Saw Massacre deal, it is not that. At all.
Gobbledygeek episode 92, “Am I on Speakerphone?,” is available for listening or download right here.
Calling all jocks, nerds, sluts, virgins, and stoners: there’s a certain cabin you might want to take a trip to. Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard’s long-delayed The Cabin in the Woods is finally in theaters this weekend, so Paul and AJ offer up their thoughts. We know the movie isn’t just about kids going to a cabin and getting sliced and diced, but how much can we say here without pissing off the Internet? As far as that goes, in lieu of a witty banter portion, we discuss our NON-SPOILERY thoughts on the film up top before getting into a SPOILERY discussion. So, yeah. It’s a barrel o’ laughs, there’s some arguing, and lots of affection for certain cast members. Why don’t you go ahead and walk down into that dark cellar?
Next: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace and Titanic were both recently released in 3D. Both of our hosts enjoy one of these movies, and both of them also hate the other one of those movies. Expect fistfights and the death of a friendship.
(Show notes for “Am I on Speakerphone?”)
Gobbledygeek episode 82, “The Secret Wanderlust of John Carter, Who Lives at Home,” is available for listening or download right here.
Spring is about to get sprung (thanks for ruining that, Sir Mix-a-Lot), so Paul and AJ list 20 movies that might be worth your attention in February, March, and April. The films range from charming Japanese anime The Secret World of Arrietty to the very serious Albanian-language The Forgiveness of Blood; to the wacky high seas adventures of The Pirates! Band of Misfits to the Willem Dafoe/Sam Neill Tasmanian tiger (or is it wolf?) movie The Hunter. In between, you’ll find films sappy, thrilling, terrifying, and hilarious. Hopefully. Also, the seeds for a future episode are nefariously planted, and: The Cabin in the Woods is finally coming out!
Next: Just in time for the chocolates and flowers and obnoxious greeting cards of Valentine’s Day, marriage in pop culture.
(Show notes for “The Secret Wanderlust of John Carter, Who Lives at Home.”)
Last night, Paul and I discussed a plethora of upcoming movies we found interesting in some way. Listen to the show to hear what we had to say, but as promised, here are the IMDb links and trailers for each film we mentioned: