Monthly Archives: July 2011

Director Spotlight: The Great Yokai War

It’s strange to think that Takashi Miike, the same Takashi Miike who directed Ichi the Killer, made The Great Yokai War,  this semi-family friendly film.  It’s the equivalent of Robert Rodriguez doing Planet Terror and then Shorts.  Or even Machete and the next Spy Kids movie. While I always encourage directors to explore the many facets of film making (or at least would if they ever listened to me), it always astounds me to see directors working on opposite sides of the spectrum, successfully. Read the rest of this entry


Captain America: The First Avenger

Marvel Comics has been on quite a roll with their movies this year (Thor, X-Men: First Class) and Captain America: The First Avenger keeps that streak going. Directed by Joe Johnston (The Rocketeer, Jumanji) and starring Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America and the great Hugo Weaving as his arch-villain the Red Skull, Captain America is a great thrill ride of a movie. It’s a comic book movie with the patented silliness that comes with the genre, but the movie is done with such style that you just go along for the ride regardless of how silly everything is.

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Episode 80: Friends with Benefits

This week two good friends head to the movies for some beneficial one on one movie viewing time.  Joe and Mike spend this week discussing the Mila Kunis/Justin Timberlake comedy.

Does it succeed where other “friends having relations” films fail?

See what they say in this rivetingly short edition of Devil’s Advocates Movie Reviews.

Give us a listen because we’ll make you JUMP, JUMP!!!  The Daddy Pamp will make you JUMP, JUMP!!!

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Eight films into the series, what else can be said about these films? I…uh…like the cool magic effects?  Honestly, it is difficult talking about the eighth film in a series without getting too repetitive, but I shall try my best. Read the rest of this entry

Devil’s DVD Advocacy: Source Code

Source Code is the latest film from Duncan Jones, the up-and-coming director who you may remember from 2009’s wonderful sci-fi thriller Moon. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Colter Stevens, a US Air force pilot who finds himself part of a military experiment that allows for transferring the mind of a living person into the mind of a deceased person. The process is limited though, it only allows the living person to experience the last eight minutes of the deceased’s life before death. Colter is tasked with experiencing the repeated last eight minutes of the life of a schoolteacher who died aboard a train headed to Chicago. I won’t attempt to explain the quantum physics aspect of the story but he essentially is allowed to freely act as this person in an alternate timeline but returns to the real world upon death. Along for the ride is co-worker Christina Warren, played by Michelle Monaghan. Colter’s mission is to find a bomber who was aboard the train in the past and is believed to be planning to detonate a large bomb in downtown Chicago in the real world close future. Confused? Well imagine if Bill Murray’s character in Groundhog Day was aware that he would be reliving Groundhog Day and was actually a soldier looking for a suspected terrorist bomber. Got it?

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Director Spotlight: Sukiyaki Western Django

The proud do not endure, like a passing dream on a night in spring; the mighty fall at last, to be no more than dust before the wind.

Sukiyaki Western Django is the tale of a mysterious gunman (Hideoki Ito) who rides into a nearly deserted town which has found itself controlled by two rival gangs. After a flashy display of skill, and some attempts from the two clans to persuade him to join them, the Gunman is persuaded by Ruriko, one of the few residents who remain, to help the townspeople fight back against the rival groups.

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Episode 79: Ichi the Killer

This week Mike and Jonathan, backed up by Mike Cho,  make good on their Oscar bet with Rene and review Takashi Miike’s Ichi the Killer.  They discuss subverting the comic book genre, over the top violence, and simpleton vigilantes.

Give us a listen, because someone ought to be.

Sorry for the sound quality this week.  Like Jonathan, Skype did not behave.

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Friends with Benefits

When it comes to relationships, there’s always that age-old question of “Can there be a physical relationship without the emotional?” Well, Hollywood decided this year to give us two tales of it. Earlier in the year, Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman starred in No Strings Attached and now Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis give us another take on the subject in Friends with Benefits.

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Devil’s DVD Disappointment: Limitless

Even a film like Limitless has its limitations. It tries to deny them, overlook them, and even, at times incorporate them, but they are there. Read the rest of this entry

Director Spotlight: Audition

“Kiri kiri kiri kiri kiri…!”

Before I begin, let me just say that much of the enjoyment (if “enjoyment” is the right word when talking about this movie) of watching Audition comes from surprise, from the movie’s many shifts and turns and turnaround-agains. If you’ve never seen the movie but plan to, I say just go ahead and watch it. You were going to anyway. I claim no responsibility. If, however, you’re reading this because you simply want to know if the movie is worth your time, I will say yes, it is, but with the very strong proviso that this movie is…shall we say…not for everyone.

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Horrible Bosses

Following in the footsteps of successful R-rated comedies of late, Horrible Bosses pieces together the slimmest of stories, hoping to ride the coattails of its actors and improvisation to a profitable box office. Gathered for your amusement are Jason Bateman (the everywhere-these-days straight man), Jason Sudeikis (continuing his role from Hall Pass), and Charlie Day (the manic, hamster-ish fellow from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), a group of long-term buddies intent on ending their occupational miseries by ending their bosses.

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Episode 78: Transformers: Dark of the Moon

This week Toor, Joe and Mike explore the dark side of the moon and have their mettle tested when they talk about the third installment in the Transformers series. They discuss space travel, worm holes, and hotties in distress.

Give us a listen because we are more than meets the eye.

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The Ward

The Ward is the latest from director John Carpenter, who hasn’t had a movie in theaters since 2001’s Ghosts Of Mars. That movie was awful. It had Ice Cube in it. Ice Cube the rapper. And, still The Ward is worse. Much, much worse. Which I thought was impossible. If 2011 has shown me anything, it’s that when it comes to movies being bad anything is possible.

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Devil’s DVD Advocacy: [Rec] 2

Ah, remakes and sequels. Sequels to remakes. Remakes of a sequel. Sometimes it’s really difficult to keep track of all the rehashed nonsense that Hollywood pumps out these days. And, because of that some movies get lost in the shuffle.

The [Rec] movies ([Rec] because everything is being recorded on a video camera and that’s what the viewer sees) are great examples of what I mean. Read the rest of this entry

Devil’s DVD Advocacy: Rango

In a million years, I never once thought I could admire such a gangly, discolored looking fellow, but I really do like Johnny Depp…I mean Rango. But really, they are one in the same, no? Read the rest of this entry

Director Spotlight: 13 Assassins

13 Assassins is director Takashi Miike’s latest movie from Japan. It’s quite a refreshing movie from him. Miike (Audition, Ichi The Killer) is known for bizarre Japanese movies filled with buckets of gore and blood-spraying stumps. Not this time. I was pleasantly surprised by what has to be, for me at least, the best movie I’ve seen in 2011.

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Transformers: Dark of the Moon

When the first Transformers hit I found myself having difficulty being objective.  Giant freaking robots were on the movie screen, fighting, flying, and falling all over.  Then the second film rolled into theaters, but for some reason I was able to resist its “charms” this time around. Now the third film, Transformers: Dark of the Moon is out and I find myself somewhere between the first and second film, or, in other words, between a moon rock and a hard place. Read the rest of this entry

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Devil’s Advocate Review)

To say the hype and expectations for the third movie in the Transformers movie series were greater than the previous installment would be an understatement. After disappointing reactions from Revenge of the Fallen, even Michael Bay himself acknowledged that he was going to do what he can to make Dark of the Moon superior to its predecessor.

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Episode 77: Bad Teacher

This week, Mike Pampinella the original bad teacher, leads his stalwart group (Mike C, Jonathan, and Joe) in a riveting discussion on the new Cameron Diaz film, Bad Teacher. They discuss Chicago schools, Lucy Punch’s future, and tennis balls.

Give us a listen because we’re bringing sexy back.

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Tree of Life

Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life, this is why I love film. It is the gem in rough that you come across every few years which makes the hours of watching tripe worth it all. Moving, beautiful, and thought-provoking this film will stick with me for the rest of my life.

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Devil’s DVD Advocacy: Hobo with a Shotgun

It shouldn’t matter where ideas come from; they are free-floating, shimmering, skittering by like the iridescent eye-worms you see when you close your eyelids too tightly. And they are just as hard to hold onto. So who cares that Hobo With a Shotgun is another in a line of trailer-spoof fodder made whole? Its genesis should not be an immediate indictment against it; let the film speak for itself. (And, for those conspiracy theorists out there, who’s to say that all movies aren’t initially made based on previews and trailers and adjusted and molded based on audience/internet reaction?)

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Director Spotlight: Crows Zero

Welcome to Suzuran High School, the “School Of Crows”. It’s the toughest school in Japan. It’s a high school where junior gangsters beat each other up for bragging rights every day. The different classes and grades all have their factions, personalities and leaders. All hate each other and are constantly at each other’s throats. Today is the first day of school. The new kid in town has a lot to prove. His name is Genji. He’s a first year freshman. Genji is fresh meat for the gangs already at Suzuran. His father was a Yakuza gangster who never made it to the top of Suzuran. Genji’s not his father, though. Genji makes it his mission to take over the school and make it at Suzuran as “the king of the hill”.

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