Thursday, June 28, 2012

Episode 29: Brave


0:00 - Audioslave - The Curse
0:30 - Intro
0:49 - What Kat watched (Workaholics, Trinity Blood)
3:36 - What Chris watched (A Fistful of Dollars)
4:40 - What Matt watched (The Raid: Redemption, Archer, Louis CK: Hilarious)
6:54 - SPOILER FREE "Brave" discussion
15:40 - The Cult - The Witch
16:10 - FULL SPOILER "Brave" discussion
24:57 - Iron Maiden - The Clansman

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To download this single episode directly, click here.


Review: Moonrise Kingdom (2012), dir. Wes Anderson

The following review is spoiler free and is meant to be read BEFORE seeing the movie.

Wes Anderson has fully recovered from the debacle that was The Darjeeling Limited and produced a movie that is flawless from start to finish. Every little moment of this movie is delightful and fun. It is filled with whimsy, even when discussing or alluding to the less-than-pleasant aspects of being children, such as bullying or overbearing parents (or parents who are no longer in the picture).

Sam Shakuski escapes from his Khaki Scout camp, leaving Scout Master Ward puzzled. Soon the scouts and the local police captain set out to find him. Soon they discover that he planned his escape in order to rendezvous with Suzy Bishop, a troubled young girl.

Moonrise Kingdom is a preteen love story about two troubled souls who find a common bond. Their love story is told so uniquely and interestingly, when one would think that there were no more ways left to tell a love story. I was enraptured by the tale of how these two fell in love and how far they would go to stay together.

There is not a bad moment in Moonrise Kingdom. I’m not saying that this movie is great simply because there is nothing bad in it; there is naught but whimsical entertainment in Moonrise Kingdom, a movie filled with magic, sunshine, and happiness. It even has a Goddamn kitten in a wicker box!


Review: Safety Not Guaranteed (2012), dir. Colin Trevorrow

The following review is spoiler free and is meant to be read BEFORE seeing the movie.

It’s times like these where I’m reminded I’m not a film critic, but just a lowly blogger who also has a podcast, something everybody and their mother already does. I have really nothing to add to the discussion about Safety Not Guaranteed. I have nothing to say that hasn’t already been said in reviews by people who are ACTUALLY film critics/journalists/historians.

I will say simply this: I enjoyed this character piece so much that I wanted to watch it again the second it was over. This movie was light to be sure, and it doesn’t pack a heavy emotional wallop, but it has two lead characters who make me wish I could talk to them and spend time with them. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed watching this.

Aubrey Plaza plays Darius, an unpaid intern at a Seattle Magazine (her boss is the sadly underused Mary Lynn Rajskub). She is sent on an assignment to investigate an ad asking for a partner to travel back in time for unspecified reasons. From here she meets the man who placed the ad, an eccentric named Ken.

The rest of this film is an excuse to study regret and how different people deal with it. Some people dwell on it; some people fear to think about it; some people try to make sure nobody will ever make the mistakes they did. For the people who want to dismiss it because of the premise of time travel, it isn’t as high concept as it sounds. It’s so much better than it sounds.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Brave episode coming in one week

Hello Celluloid Freaks fans!

Just wanted to update you on the status of our next episode. I will be posting it sometime this coming weekend. We had a fun time recording it, but alas, we talked over each other SO MUCH that editing it has become a nightmare. So I've set aside time where I'm able to make this episode listenable, and I will post it when I get it to a point where I've added and eliminated pauses and awkward silences, respectively. This way it will sound like we're talking over each other fewer times, and there will be fewer instances of "oh, I'm sorry, what did you say?"

In the meantime, I will be seeing Moonrise Kingdom and Safety Not Guaranteed, so those written reviews will be up this week as well. I'm in the mood for some indie films this week as you can see!

See you soon!

Review: Brave (2012), dir. Mark Andrews & Brenda Chapman

The following review is spoiler free and is meant to be read BEFORE seeing the movie.

Brave is a good movie because it made me care. And despite whatever reservations and quibbles I have, Brave still made me care what would happen to whom throughout its runtime, and I am grateful. Merida is a daughter of nobility whose passion is archery. Yet she is told that she must put away such boyish endeavors and live life like a proper princess and marry somebody from another noble house and blah blah blah. This story has been done to death. I won’t say that Brave breathes new life into this story, but I will say that Merida’s characterization is what kept me going. She isn’t sidetracked by an unnecessary love story, and she learns lessons unrelated to love and courtship. Now that is refreshing!

One of my major concerns is that once again PIXAR takes a first half full of promise and then lets it descend into something generic. Even though the premise of Brave is certainly uninspired, the setup is at least handled deftly and told from an interesting point of view. And yet, with the half-way plot twist, Brave shifts focus from a strict character drama into a generic kid’s movie. I won’t say that the second half wasn’t handled well, but I will say that for once I wish a PIXAR movie had the guts to stick with where it was going in its first half and tell a strictly character-based drama.

Each PIXAR movie starts off like an indie film, but ends like a blockbuster. And while that trick works out for movies like The Incredibles or Wall•E, it doesn’t work here. In those movies, the shift feels organic at the least. Here, I was certainly surprised at the plot twist and thought to myself, “I didn’t see that coming!” But then I realized, “now I know where this is going.

Still, it is an enjoyable movie and worth a viewing.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Episode 28: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (still great after 30 years)


0:00 - Rush - Alien Shore
0:30 - Intro
0:50 - What Chris watched (The Color of Money)
3:34 - What Matt watched (The Shawshank Redemption, Remember the Titans, Adventure Time)
8:11 - Spoiler Warning (and thoughts on spoiler warnings)
9:28 - Velvet Revolver - Loving the Alien
9:58 - FULL SPOILER "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" discussion
20:21 - Next on Celluloid Freaks & Outro
21:59 - Milla - The Alien Song (For Those Who Listen)

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To download this single episode directly, click here.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Episode 27: Prometheus (guest Robert Angelo Masciantonio)


0:00 - Pearl Jam - Light Years
0:30 - Intro
1:24 - What Chris watched (Cool Hand Luke, Alien³, Aliens, VEEP)
7:55 - What Kat watched (Community, Battlestar Galactica, South Park)
12:23 - What Matt watched (Moonrise Kingdom, Melancholia, Duck Soup, Manhattan, TRON)
21:24 - SPOILER FREE "Prometheus" discussion
32:13 - The Rolling Stones - 2000 Light Years From Home
32:43 - FULL SPOILER "Prometheus" discussion
52:03 - Outro
53:07 - Elton John - Rocket Man

To subscribe to Celluloid Freaks via iTunes, click here.
To download this single episode directly, click here.

Prometheus (preorder)
Cool Hand Luke
Battlestar Galactica
South Park
Duck Soup
Pearl Jam - Binaural
The Rolling Stones - Their Satanic Majesties Request
Elton John - Honky Château
Tesla - Mechanical Resonance

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Episode 26: Men in Black III

0:00 - Spoiler Warning, Blue Öyster Cult - E.T.I. (Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence)
0:30 - Intro, "Men In Black III" discussion
19:50 - What Chris Watched (Rushmore, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Bottle Rocket, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Back to School, The Mist)
26:37 - What Matt Watched (Snow White and the Huntsman, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Royal Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Annie Hall, Sleeper, The Avengers)
37:04 - What Kat Watched (Battlestar Galactica, Parks & Recreation, Modern Family, Frisky Dingo, Community, Dark Shadows)
46:48 - Next on Celluloid Freaks & Outro
48:10 - Blue Öyster Cult - Take Me Away

Listen to the Episode here, but subscribe via iTunes to make sure you get them ALL!

The Avengers (preorder)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Review: Men in Black III (2012), dir. Barry Sonnenfeld

The following review is spoiler free and is meant to be read BEFORE seeing the movie.

Men in Black III is the kind of movie that I didn’t expect to be great, but still disappointed me when I wasn’t proven wrong. I wanted it to be better than it was even though I had no reasonable expectation that it would be more than just some disposable popcorn entertainment. It was entertaining overall, but that was despite its best efforts to be lackluster.

The first twenty minutes of Men in Black III are nigh unwatchable. It starts with a daring but poorly staged (from a filmmaking perspective) prison break, where the rules of physics are broken to a ridiculous extent, even when you take into account that the Men in Black franchise has never really cared about the rules of physics. The guy who isn’t Bret McKenzie from Flight of the Conchords gives a performance which can best be described as “trying too hard,” and since he is the first main character we are introduced to, it sets a bad tone for the rest of the movie.

This tone is further complicated by the poor chemistry between Will Smith as Agent Jay, and Tommy Lee Jones as Agent Kay. They have allegedly been working together for 14 years as of the beginning of this film but their interplay surely doesn’t give that away. I would think that people who had already made two movies together would have better chemistry, but I’d be wrong. What is confusing to me is that they had better chemistry in 1997 than they do now. But I digress; I won’t compare this film to the first film because I don’t believe it’s fair in most cases to do that. Films should stand on their own.

The lack of chemistry is problematic, but thankfully it doesn’t last very long as Men in Black III makes a sudden shift in focus to Will Smith and a mission he must take on to save the world. Once this mission gets started, the movie becomes entertaining. Supporting roles from Josh Brolin and Michael Stuhlbarg, both of whom are adept scene-stealers, really make this movie entertaining and worth watching in the end. Brolin’s dryness is captivating, and Stuhlbarg’s (who you may remember from the Coen Brothers’ A Serious Man and Martin Scorsese’s Hugo) sense of childlike wonder and amusement at the universe is extremely heartwarming, at least to me.

There are still times when the movie falters after these characters are introduced (such as gaping plot holes, sloppy writing, forced emotional moments that don’t really work, etc.), but for the most part, once Men in Black III finds its footing, it becomes an entertaining diversion.