Monthly Archives: June 2011

Director Spotlight Revisited: Midnight in Paris

The very first Director Spotlight we did on this website was Woody Allen, starting with Annie Hall and ending with Vicky Cristina Barcelona.  Annie Hall got me on a path of reverence for the neurotic comic genius that is Allen.  Since Annie Hall, my first real introduction to his work, I have watched a number of his films, each with a different lens, each with a different outcome.  Now, today, I have the pleasure of discussing his latest comic opus, Midnight in Paris. Read the rest of this entry


Episode 76: Green Lantern

This week Jonathan, Mike, and Mike come together for the latest DC comics film, Green Lantern. Listen as they discuss which Green Lantern deserved a big screen debut, superheroes and transportation disasters, and Inuit Pie.

Give us a listen because…In Brightest Day and Blackest Night, No Bad Films Shall Escape Our Sight.

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Bad Teacher

My seventh grade math teacher, to whom I shall refer as “Miss K.” It’s not that Miss K was a bad teacher, she just wasn’t very good at her job. She was a neat-freak to the point of psychosis, her particular pet peeve those little paper chads that fell to the floor whenever you ripped a page out of a spiral notebook. She HATED those things, to the point where spiral notebooks were banned from her classroom. Period. She didn’t ban ripping pages out of one, she didn’t ban using them, SHE BANNED THE NOTEBOOKS THEMSELVES – we weren’t even allowed to have one in our backpack in her classroom.

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Devil’s DVD Advocacy: Sucker Punch

“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”

Sucker Punch is an adrenaline charged action-adventure movie that makes no sense at all. It’s a modern-day fantasy that takes technology and imagination to dizzying extremes only pausing for some of the worst plot and character development ever put on film. Still, even with its flaws, I think Sucker Punch is a fun and good movie.

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Genre Spotlight: Constantine

Constantine, the final film in our Comic Book film spotlight, is adapted from the comic book “Hellblazer”.  The protagonist, John Constantine spun out of the pages of “Swamp Thing” due to his popularity and has been going strong ever since.  The series, while on the fringe of the DC comic book universe, grew in popularity under the Vertigo label.  Once the movie was a reality, the studio needed to differentiate “Hellblazer” from the horror film franchise Hellraiser, and thus Constantine was born. Read the rest of this entry

Green Lantern (Devil’s Advocate Review)

No film is perfect and even the really good ones are missing something. Green Lantern is missing quite a few things, which in the end are really the factors that keep it from being an interstellar hit. The one truly unforgivable thing is there was no rendition of (and there are quite a few to choose from) “You Light Up My Life”. Read the rest of this entry

Episode 75: X-Men: First Class

This week the mutants reign supreme as Mike Cho, Rene Alvarado, Jonathan MacFarlane, and Mike Pampinella discuss the latest X-Men film.  Listen as they ponder the Cuban Missile Crisis, time displacement, and diamond hair strands.

Give us a listen because we have the recipe for the Legacy Virus, which may come in handy someday.

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Green Lantern

Beware my power, Green Lantern’s light!

Warner Brothers’ latest attempt to transform a DC Comics’ property into a franchise scores, but Green Lanterns‘ light doesn’t burn as brightly as it could.

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Devil’s DVD Advocacy: The Adjustment Bureau

Let’s face it: the world loves to see Matt Damon run. Why else would he be hoofing it so much? There has to be better ways of escaping danger; the public must be demanding to see his galloping stride. Graciously, for all of Damon’s running, jumping, and space-dimensional warping in The Adjustment Bureau the camera remains steady and the edits are regularly placed so one knows what the hell is going on (*cough* Paul Greengrass *cough*).

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Devil’s DVD Disappointment: Unknown

From viewing of the trailer for Liam Neeson’s new movie Unknown one can’t help but be reminded of his 2008 action flick Taken. Other than a few short scenes and Neeson himself, comparisons stop there. After viewing the movie and thinking back to the trailers, I have to say this was very misleading and the makers of Unknown tried to ride the success of Taken.

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Genre Spotlight: The Rocketeer

It’s a rocket.
A rocket?
Yeah. Like in the comic books

Based on a comic book series that first appeared in 1983 by Dave Stevens, and directed by Joe Johnston (who is helming the up coming Captain America movie), The Rocketeer recreates 1930’s Hollywood, complete with gangsters, Nazi spies, and the innovation and danger of the golden Age of Aviation. With a chisel-jawed hero that could have walked straight from the pages of a pulp comic from that same era, and featuring mid-air chicainary and amazing stunt flying that stuck in my mind at the impressionable age of thirteen, the film has always been one of my favourite fantasy adventure films. Read the rest of this entry

Super 8 (Devil’s Advocates Review)

Super 8 is so good it literally made me forget all of its predecessors. I barely remember any details surrounding Supers 1-7, that’s how good it was. All joking aside, Super 8 easily lives up to its name in terms of Summer Blockbuster speak. It is truly super and it cranks the action and suspense up to an 8. Why not a 10 if it’s so super? Read the rest of this entry

Episode 74: The Hangover Part II

Get your passport ready as we jet to Thailand to spend some time with the crew from The Hangover Part II. This week Jonathan and Mike discuss…so many things.

Check it out.

Give us a listen because it beats being lost in Bangkok for a day.

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Super 8

J.J. Abrams’ and Steven Spielberg’s (and yes, they do warrant a co-credit) Super 8 is a movie with so much potential to be fun, exciting, and vastly entertaining, but is unfortunately so self-conscious in its attempt to be E.T. 2 that the makers end up distracting, and detracting, from the story, leaving the audience holding the sad and rather flaccid bag.

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Devil’s DVD Advocacy: Battle: Los Angeles

You wouldn’t think it’d be such a big deal to make an alien invasion story that makes a bit of sense. In Battle: Los Angeles, the aliens need water, so they invade a planet that is 70% water. It makes sense. They begin their invasion by crashing into Earth’s oceans before rising up to take over the land, coastal cities first. It makes sense. Having crashed here inside meteorites, naturally their tech looks a bit rough, a bit battered and thrown together, and more importantly, they’re shown to us in a way that makes us feel that the human race actually has a chance. It makes sense. These aliens, when shot or cut open, have blood and organs that appear to be even more water-based than humans (who are at about 60%). It makes sense. I couldn’t help but think of, for example, the invading aliens in M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs who, Wicked Witch of the West-like, have water as their one and only weakness – THEN WHY WOULD YOU INVADE A PLANET THAT IS 70% WATER?? I digress…

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Genre Spotlight: 30 Days of Night

Barrow, Alaska is the northernmost city in the United States, one of the northernmost cities on Earth in fact, and as a dyed-in-the-wool city (and warm-weather) person, the mere act of typing the words “Barrow, Alaska” into Google Maps was enough to put me off my morning tea (you’ll notice that the airport is actually about as big as the entire town, which makes me wonder if the number one activity in Barrow, Alaska is getting the hell away from Barrow, Alaska). Just 1300 miles south of the North Pole, Barrow is well within the Arctic Circle, which affords it, every winter (at least in the world of the book and movie – you can look online for yourself to see how it really works), the titular 30 Days of Night.

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X-Men: First Class

Set to tell the tale of the early days of how the X-Men came to be is the prequel of sorts to the previous X films is X-Men: First Class.  Matthew Vaughn directs this film to show the origins of the two main leaders of the warring factions in the mutant community Charles Xavier aka Professor X and Erik Lehnsherr aka Magneto.

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Episode 73: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

For the latest Pirates of The Caribbean film we decided to go strange for the Stranger Tides, so who better than Toor and Mike.  This week we discuss the Disney/Marvel connection, Penelope Cruz’s assets, and a bewildering Twilight/Pirate hybrid.

Give us a listen or yer scurvy ridden bones will walk the plank.

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Watching Richard Ayoade’s Submarine is a lot like finding and reading one of your old journals from high school – embarrassed snickering at all the overwrought stories of heartache, longing and melancholy alternating with the dread of already knowing all the sadness and regret that is to come, not just in life but even in just the next few pages. You identify so closely with everybody in the story at the same time you just want to slap everyone to wake them up. Equal parts bitter at sweet (making it far more bitter than your typical megaplex fare), Submarine will almost definitely be on my list of favorite movies of the year.

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Devil’s DVD Advocacy: True Grit

Constantly reinventing themselves, the Coen Brothers throw their ten gallon hats in the ring with their adaptation of the 1968 Charles Portis novel, True Grit. The story centers in on young Mattie Ross, played by newcomer Haillee Steinfeld whose main goal is avenging her father’s murder by capturing the man responsible. Knowing her limitations she seeks out the help of U.S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn, played by the dude himself, Jeff Bridges. Backing up Cogburn on the treacherous manhunt is Matt Damon’s Texas Ranger, who simply goes by LaBoeuf. The Coens, who both adapted and directed the film, manage to create a western that holds true to the genre, while also finding appeal within the mass market. Read the rest of this entry

Genre Spotlight: Sin City

Hey, everybody, remember when Robert Rodriguez made movies that weren’t supposed to be bad? Before he pretty single-handedly started this “ironic movie” thing that’s currently happening? Yeah, me neither. But at some point before these dark days, he made Sin City, based on the comic series of the same name. And it was fantastic.

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The Hangover Part II (Devil’s Advocate Review)

The “Wolf Pack” rides again, as Stu (Ed Helms), Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Alan (Zach Galifinakis) get wasted and then find out that once Bangkok has you, she just won’t let go.

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The Hangover Part II

In Hollywood the adage “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” rings truer than ever. If audiences shelled out hundreds of millions of dollars for a product once, they’re very likely to do it again. And again. And, if not, there’s always the reboot. Why create when it is so much easier (and more lucrative) to re-create? Because you may end up with The Hangover Part II.

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Episode 72: Bridesmaids

Wedding goers beware, the Devil’s Advocates have befouled the bridemaids, but that shouldn’t impair your enjoyment.

This week, Mike, Rene, and Mike discuss the new gal pal comedy Bridesmaids.  The conversation covers babes on a bender, true friendship, and Montezuma’s Revenge.

Give us a listen, especially the ladies, because we promise to return the favor.

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