Monthly Archives: December 2009

Episode 5: Sherlock Holmes

This week your regular host Mike has an irregular co-host (I kid, I kid) in Joe Wilhelm.   Listen as they try to make elementary out of Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes.

And we’d like to apologize in advance for the sound quality.  It wasn’t until after we concluded our recording, and listened to the audio, that we realized there was a poor connection with the microphones.  Sorry.  We promise to work it out for next time. 

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Devil’s DVD Advocacy: Paranormal Activity

SHUT THAT DOOR!!!  Everyone knows ghosts cant open doors!!!

SHUT THAT DOOR!!! Everyone knows ghosts can't open doors!!!

SO there’s a film on TV presenting itself as the scariest horror movie out there. Meh. I saw it. Due to its limited release I went kind of far to see it, but I went. So????? Was it scary?? Yeah I jumped a few times. Scariest??? Not by a long shot. The movie follows really believable couple Katie and Micah. Katie seems to have a pesky ghost problem that follows her around. Micah determined to figure it out sets up a camera to try and catch a glimpse of whatever it is. It wasn’t like any of those ridiculous shows Ghost Hunters, Paranormal State etc. Not a bunch of idiots standing there going “what was that?” or “did you see that? The camera missed it but I saw a light over there. Stupid shows. Read the rest of this entry

Devil’s DVD Advocacy: 9

Animated films these days basically fall into one of two categories: Disney or Pixar films of high quality, and features made by other studios that are usually of much lower quality. The success of Pixar also helped propel CGI into wide production, which now has a slew of films to its credit that are despised by critics but still rake in plenty of dough to make a profit (including Bee Movie, TMNT, and Aliens in the Attic). Occasionally, an animated feature comes along by an outside studio that is both critically and commercially successful; among them are Shrek, Howl’s Moving Castle and Kung Fu Panda.

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Avatar and The Future: Why Special Effects Aren’t Enough (A Mad As Hell Op-Ed Piece)

This past couple of weeks has sparked an interesting debate. With the release of two holiday blockbusters (Avatar and Sherlock Holmes) the debate is all about substance vs. flash. This past Christmas eve I went to the midnight show of Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes with two friends. Now these guys aren’t what you would call movie aficionados. In fact to give you an idea one of my friend’s favorite movies is Fast and the Furious. I’m sure I just misunderstand the genius of a Paul Walker. Read the rest of this entry

Up in the Air (Lil Devil)

This is a tough time in America’s history. Recession means bankruptcy, and unemployment runs rampant as factories close and their roles are filled overseas. Unlike anyone else in the country, for Ryan Bingham, these are the glory days. His job is traveling to and fro between just about every city or town on the map, and giving loyal workers the professional boot. Many stories concern those who walk “the road less traveled”; Bingham takes that road, along with several thousand more. He doesn’t relish this task; he’s like the garbageman, only the garbage asks him how he sleeps at night. What he does relish is the act of flying itself, as he feels more at home in the airport terminal than the address on his driver’s license (which I suspect he doesn’t have or need). This is a one-of-a-kind character, in a one-of-a-kind movie. The movie is Up in the Air, directed by Jason Reitman and starring George Clooney, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick, and it’s one trip well worth undertaking. Read the rest of this entry

Director Spotlight: The Brothers Grimm

In 2005, following a seven-year hiatus since Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Terry Gilliam released two very different movies: Tideland and The Brothers Grimm.  After such a (relatively) long break, it is odd that these two films were released the same year; odder still how diametrically opposed their storylines are. Read the rest of this entry

Episode 4: Avatar

We made the pilgrimage to Pandora and made it back with enough time to do an audio journal.  This week Veer and myself discuss James Cameron’s much anticipated opus, Avatar.  So, don’t be a scoon, download the episode and give it a listen.   

I dare say it’s our best episode yet.  You be the judge.

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Avatar

Avatar has been in the works since 1994, back when James Cameron decided that his 114-page script required, “technology to catch up” with the demands of his fantasy-world. Now, nearing the end of a decade past our 2nd millennium, we have his newest masterpiece. Read the rest of this entry

Devil’s DVD Advocacy: District 9

Science fiction has a long history of dealing with real world issues. Some of the best sci-fi (Star Trek, Babylon 5, Fahrenheit 451) tell stories that have real meaning behind them. District 9 is definitely one of those stories. Read the rest of this entry

Devil’s DVD Advocacy: (500) Days of Summer

500 Days of Summer is a cautionary tale. The moral of the story? Don’t date cool, interesting people. They always wind up way too cool and interesting to stay with you. Actually, if anything, the film warns against building your life around a relationship, versus simply building your life. And it turns out that this is a powerful and effective message. Read the rest of this entry

Awards and Award Season: Golden Globes 2009

Most people usually see the Golden Globes as the pre-cursors and foreshadowers of the Academy Awards, but there’s one big difference: Best Picture is divided into Drama and Musical/Comedy. This allows for a lot of variety, plus two winners in each of the biggest categories: Picture, Actor, and Actress. The Director, Screenplay, and Supporting Actor/Actress awards are lumped together, so it becomes a bit more prophetic of the Oscar race than the others (for example, the winners of Best Actor were Sean Penn (the eventual winner) and..ahem…Colin Farrell). This year’s three front-runners for Best Picture-Drama (and the coveted Best Picture Oscar) are Up in the Air (likely for Screenplay), The Hurt Locker (likely for Director, unless the “King of the World” has any say about it) and Precious (which is more actor-driven than production), with blockbusters Avatar and Inglourious Basterds weak competition. The Best Picture-Musical or Comedy section has the same variety: indie darling (see my piece on the Spirit Awards) vs. big-budget musical (the most viable candidate) vs. silly comedies (The Hangover? way to defy expectations, you snooty critics). Here’s the full list: http://www.goldenglobes.org/nominations/ Read the rest of this entry

Director Spotlight: 12 Monkeys

This week I get the task of writing a review for Terry Gilliam’s 1995 film 12 Monkeys.  As I am writing this, I honestly don’t know where to begin.  This movie is so good on many levels that I don’t know if I should start with Gilliam’s directing, David Webb People’s (and his wife Janet) screenplay, or the superb acting highlighted with Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt at their very best. Read the rest of this entry

Slammin’ Salmon (Lil Devil)

Slammin’ Salmon is the latest comedy by the Broken Lizard crew. They’re the guys behind Super Troopers and Beerfest. Not as raunchy or out there as their earlier movies, Salmon is still a fun movie. Read the rest of this entry

Devil’s DVD Advocacy: New Feature

I would never call anyone here at The Devil’s Advocates Movie Review site lazy.  In fact, we’ve all found ways to work smarter instead of harder, in order to help our readers fulfill their movie and movie related needs.  That’s why we are introducing our new feature Devils’ DVD Advocacy.  Each week we will reprint reviews for films that are about to hit DVD, that we think are worth picking up.  On weeks where there is nothing worth recommending, you might just see a Devil’s DVD Disappointment pop up.   Unfortunately, we won’t be able to comment on the DVD itself, but you will get a good sense of the film and its merits (or lack of merits).  

Devil’s DVD Advocacy: The Hangover

The Hangover stars Bradley Cooper (Phil, a married teacher who hates his students), Ed Helms (Stu a dentist who has a harpy of a girlfriend that controls his every move), Justin Bartha (Doug the groom), and the always hysterical Zack Galifianakis (Alan the extremely weird and creepy brother of the bride).  Four actors, who up until now lived their careers as supporting actors; I found them all to be an excellent ensemble.  Ok down to it.  I enjoyed the hell out of this movie.  It took all the necessary components of a bachelor party movie (i.e. cool car, strippers, trashed hotel room, and we can’t find the groom and he’s getting married in ten minutes) and then made it an original.  It was pumped up by the fact that nobody can remember what happened the night before.  In my opinion the best film of this type since the classic Very Bad Things. Read the rest of this entry

Devil’s DVD Advocacy: Inglourious Basterds

Written by Mike Pampinella 

Right away, I’ll put this out there, into the ether…this was a brilliant film.  I absolutely dug it in a big way.  Tarantino is in top form, with what has been billed a war film, but we all know better.  It’s another revenge film.  Revenge wrought upon the Nazis by the people they have tormented.  It is revenge and it is justified.  Just like Kill Bill or even Pulp Fiction (Bruce Willis’ thread in the film was very revenge driven).  Read the rest of this entry

Episode 3: The Best of ’09

As fair and objective podcasters we try to look at both sides of the coin.  Last week we told what we didn’t like, now you get to hear what we did like.  What we did not do is talk about what we think should be nominated for an Oscar, Golden Globe, or even a Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award.  We gave out top picks for the year.  Give us a listen and let us know what you think here, at iTunes (prefered), or at out discussion forum. 

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Awards and Award Season: Independent Spirit Awards 2009

Well, awards season is upon us again. Moviefone has been doing a non-stop onslaught of “The Race So Far” and “Oscar Buzz Goes To…”, and now the nominees for the Oscars of independent film have been announced: the Independent Spirit Awards. I greatly enjoy these awards, and this year is no exception. There are a ton of surprise choices on the ballot (Adventureland for Best Screenplay? Jemaine from “Flight of the Conchords” for Best Supporting Male? Paranormal Activity for Best First Feature???), but few of them stand to the juggernauts of this year’s festivals. (For the full list of nominees, check here: http://spiritawards.com/nominees) Read the rest of this entry

Brothers (Lil Devil Review)

Director Spotlight: Time Bandits

Terry Gilliam is a great director. He’s made some of the best filmed fantasies. He’s shown us Hunter Thompson’s stoned genius. Filmed a satire on religion based on the Jesus story. Explored time travel as a state of consciousness. He hasn’t really made a bad movie. He’s made some different movies. But, not bad movies. Time Bandits is one his most fun. A hilarious and dark fantasy, Time Bandits is a child’s dream world come to life. A trip in every since of the word. Read the rest of this entry

Episode 2: The Worst of ’09

We’ve already run out of ideas.  Second episode and we’re already resorting to old material.  So sorry.  So very, very sorry.

Actually, it was a quite lively conversation about some films that just didn’t cut the mustard this year.  Have a listen and leave us a comment at one of our various locations.

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Armored (Devil’s Advocates Review)

A while back I reviewed Stomp The Yard for the Naperville Sun and I was pretty harsh to the film.  I did, however, decide that I enjoyed Columbus Short as an actor and vowed to watch his career and act as a sheperd, guiding him in his career.  Now, Short isn’t taking my calls, so the best way I can think to reach him is through this site.  Read the rest of this entry

Armored

Generally, when I read the tagline “not screened for critics, and we all know what that means” in the newspaper’s brief description under movie guide, I have mixed thoughts about it.  In the past I saw movies with such a tagline and enjoyed them immensely, but other times they are right on the money for what they are hinting at.  Watching Armored was one of those times. Read the rest of this entry

An Education (Lil Devil Review)

Sometimes, the simplest stories are the most effective. There doesn’t need to be any surprising plot twists or flashbacks-within-flashbacks; the key to a great movie (especially in the coming-of-age genre) is to just be as genuine and believable as possible. Thus is the case with An Education, a new British film directed by Danish-born Lone Scherfig and adapted by Nick Hornby (High Fidelity).  It’s a lovely period piece with an excellent newcomer in the lead, and a very strong supporting cast by her side. It’s the kind of movie where you have a strong feeling of knowing where it’s going, and yet you enjoy every mile on the road there. Read the rest of this entry

The Blind Side (Lil Devil)

I’ll admit, I had no clue The Blind Side was based on an actual story till the ending credits rolled and they showed actual photos of the real life people portrayed in the film.  Call me out of the loop, or whatever, but football hasn’t always been a sport that I follow regularly.  However I must say after watching this movie I found myself looking to put a Baltimore Ravens game on and not to mention browse the internet to read more about Michael Oher. Read the rest of this entry

The Devil’s Advocates Podcast Forum

There’s a new forum dedicated to discussing films, debating films, and ultimately disagree about films.  The good people over at Comic Geek Speak, have given us a new hangout spot over at The Comic Forums.  True, we’re not a comic website or podcast, but we will talk comic book films from time to time (see our Worst of and Best of ’09 episodes, which will be coming up in the next two weeks), so it does seem like a good fit.  For those looking for an interactive film discussion experience, the forum is the place.  While comments are encouraged here and at the podcast site, the forum will nurture more free and diverse discussion capabilities. 

So head on over to the forum, start a discussion about your favorite film or join one already in progress. 

The Devil’s Advocates Forum

Director Spotlight: Monty Python and The Holy Grail

Monty Python and The Holy Grail has multiple misconceptions surrounding it. It’s thought to have only geek appeal and is meant for anglophiles solely. When the name Monty Python is uttered people think, “absurdly cerebral comedy, that appeals to a select few.” The film actually has mass appeal, as it addresses multiple styles of comedy. There’s slapstick, erudite, surreal, and even bodily function humor. Holy Grail is more diverse in its offerings than most comedies made today, thus…mass appeal. Read the rest of this entry

December Spotlight: Terry Gilliam

Terry Gilliam has a new film out this month, so we decided to do his spotlight now.  Few directors have the cult following that he has, coupled with the same quantity of critical acclaim and success.  That’s why this is undoubtedly one of the most exciting spotlights to date.  Unfortunately, not every Gilliam favorite made the cut, but we chose wisely (a little Holy Grail humor there) when it came to his filmography.  So, watch along with us and leave us some comments. 

Dec. 2:  Monty Python and The Holy Grail

Dec. 9th: Time Bandits

Dec. 16th: 12 Monkeys

Dec. 23rd: Brothers Grimm

Dec. 30th: The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox is a departure from what the lauded indie director has built a career upon, but through all of the distractions Fox is a film distinctly his own. Read the rest of this entry

Fantastic Mr. Fox (Devil’s Advocate Review)

Mr. Fox (George Clooney) gave up his life of chicken-thievery when his wife (Meryl Streep) told him she was pregnant. Two years later (that’s twelve fox-years), he impulsively moves his family into the base of a tree bordering on the three meanest farmers around: Boggis, Bunce and Bean (Michael Gambon). He also starts stealing again, triggering a slowly mounting feud with the farmers that becomes the major crisis of the film. But equally important are the family dynamics present: Fox has become reckless, endangering those around him as he tries to relive the thrills of his past and causing a schism in his marriage. His son Ash (Jason Schwartzman), who wears a cape and has no athletic ability whatsoever, also has an ongoing rivalry with his visiting cousin Kristofferson, a “golden child” in terms of physical prowess but with a sadness that comes to those with a firm moral compass in an immoral environment. Read the rest of this entry