Watership Down

June 30, 2017

Truly a work of classic British animation, less know outside this island, but a tale of rabbit society in Rural England, just waiting to be discovered.

OR

A horribly misjudged, mercilessly brutal, relentless, casually sadistic massacre of rabbit-kind, made by aloof Brits who don't understand story structure from a source novel thrown together by a man who hates the idea of anyone finding allegory in his work. And a film responsible for irresponsibly traumatising a generation.

You decide... with our help.

A commissioned show sponsored by Jamas Enright.

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L.A. Confidential

June 23, 2017

A commissioned show, but for a film we adore. The only reason it's taken us this long is that L.A. Confidential is as rich and complex and powerful as a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle's Buffalo Trace Bourbon, and frankly... it was intimidating. 

It's a beautifully crafted film noir from 1997 which pretty much sets the bar for the genre from this point on, blending the best elements of the classics with contemporary filmmaking sensibilities, focusing on defying character expectations and showcasing physically expressive acting. 

Featuring career high performances from Russel Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kevin Spacey, Kim Basinger, Danny DeVito, James Cromwell and David Strathairn, a darkly crooning score by Jerry Goldsmith, and an endlessly quotable script from Brian Helgeland, adapted from the novel by James Elroy.

It's the finest film Curtis Hanson ever made and the fact that Titanic gobbled up all the Oscars for that year is nothing short of a travesty (and I REALLY like Titanic!). 

Enjoy, and especially enjoy the toe-tapping jazz soundtrack. 

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Swiss Army Man

June 16, 2017

This one was an unexpected commission and pushed us well out of our comfort zone. It's an obscure little indie film about being isolated from civilisation, and it has a couple of particularly... provocative ways of illustrating that point.

Many thanks to Dan Mayer for getting this episode made, because I can ASSURE you that without his backing it absolutely would never have happened.

So for better or worse, here's what Sharon and I think of Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe in the movie Swiss Army Man.

Next week, make sure you get hold of a copy of L.A. Confidential in the highest resolution possible. It's an amazing film and you don't want it spoiled before watching. 

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The Grand Budapest Hotel

May 19, 2017

This is our first Wes Anderson film and we explore what makes his worlds and characters distinctive. It was commissioned by Tylor Long and Harrison Brockwell. 

You should definitely see the film first. Funny, quirky, rude, unpredictable, sweet, sad, clever and uplifting. It's magnificent. Do not miss this one. It's one of our most personal shows.

Next week: Guardians of the Galaxy 2. 

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Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

April 28, 2017

This is another commissioned show, and you have Jason Ronson to thank, because we wouldn't have done this movie for a long time, and when we did we would have spent half the time we did, delving beneath the surface. We felt, since we always like to give you guys value for money, that we would go all-out.

And it's not a movie we love, in fact there are elements of it that drive one or both of us up the wall, and we make no bones about its issues. But we also look for what they were attempting, and the reasons why this failed to wrangle a suitable audience upon theatrical release.

Book fans, we have you covered, and Alex Maskill joins us to fact-check the details of the six volumes.

This is also the podcast where I finally explain the "No Anime" rule. If anyone asks for anime in future, this will be the show I point them to.

The Cornetto trilogy will eventually happen. One of them is a little bit patchy for us, but gets better with repeat viewings, kind of like Scott Pilgrim, the other two are among the most perfectly crafted comedies ever made.

And the book to track down and read for the episode we're doing in two weeks is called Transmetropoiltan, Vol. 2: Lust for Life, by Warren Ellis.

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Hero

April 21, 2017

In another commissioned show this week we cover the 2002 Chinese blockbuster from the director of The Great Wall.

Loosely (and as we find out that means REALLY loosely) based on a real life assassination attempt on the first emperor of China, this is one of Jet Li's most prestigious appearances. Featuring a trio of assassins played by Tony Leung, Maggie Cheung, and the amazing Donnie Yen, this blends serious, historical drama with stunningly photographed, excellently choreographed martial arts.

It's immense in scale, breathtaking in beauty and thought-provoking in story. It's also one of the Zhang Ziyi trilogy of period-set martial arts spectaculars, the other two being House of Flying Daggers by the same director as Hero, Zhang Yimou, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon directed by Ang Li. All three are absolutely worth your viewing time, especially on blu ray.

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Brazil

April 7, 2017

This episode would never have happened without a commission from Jamas Enright who effectively made me go back to a movie I had previously dismissed as an impenetrable mess. 

Terry Gilliam's 1985 dystopia, intended as a satirical black mirror held up against the bureaucracy that had driven him crazy was a box office flop, and if you've seen it you'll understand why. If you haven't you will get a lot more out of it from listening to our show first. 

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Doctor Who: The Movie

March 31, 2017

We've had several requests over the course of our show to cover THE ENTIRETY of Doctor Who, or even just "Everything since 2005". Eventually one commissioning Whovian named Andy Nattan came around with a suggestion that would neatly incorporate our knowledge of the Doctor into a discussion about one fairly hilariously bad TV movie made in 1996. It also constitutes (almost) the entire onscreen appearance of the Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann, who was rather good (when he stopped SCREAMING).

So whether you love Who, like it or think it's a load of old toss you'll almost certainly enjoy listening to us talk with long-time Seventh Doctor fan Neil Taylor about this failed pilot, starring Eric Roberts as The Terminator, featuring a really REALLY accurate clock, a wibbly window and a jizz-snake.

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Stephen King’s IT

December 9, 2016

The bestselling novel of 1986, this is a story set across two time frames 28 years apart. In the small town of Derry, Maine the locals enjoy relative success, their harmony only broken every three decades when children go missing. Something is lurking down in the sewers, and it is hungry.

Seven childhood friends, calling themselves The Losers pledge to find out what this being is and if they can, stop it for good. They are not entirely successful. 28 years later, they regroup in their forties to journey back to Derry and finish the job.

The novel is huge, but I read through the whole thing, partly because this was a commissioned show, but mainly because it is one of Sharon's lifelong favourites and I hoped this would give me a little more insight into her inner workings. It did. When I had finished I felt like I'd been on a really significant journey.

We cover the two-part TV miniseries and speculate on ways that this might be adapted into the feature film duet beginning late 2017.

Next week, we lighten the mood with our return to the Disney specials with The Great Mouse Detective and Oliver & Company.

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Sneakers

December 2, 2016

Another commissioned show, this one is a heist movie with a stellar cast that we had literally never seen before. It's also rare as unicorn horn in that it's a movie about hacking and tech that DOESN'T make you say "That's not how computers work!"

Requiring some veteran perspective we recruited Alasdair Stuart and Marguerite Kenner of EscapePod, Pseudopod and Cast of Wonders. The two of them took us through the myriad details of this now-forgotten treasure.

Next week with the horrors of the election ever so slightly behind us (though the world is still a hate-filled place, we brave the darkened sewers and take on take on Stephen King's IT.

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