Monthly Archives: December 2011

Genre Spotlight: Secret Santa Selections Revealed

Earlier this month we mentioned that for the Genre Spotlight we decided to do a Secret Santa amongst us Advocates. Each Advocate secretly picked a movie for another to review.  Each week we released a review that was given to us. Below is a paragraph from each Advocate on what movie they picked and why.

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Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Five years after the last Mission: Impossible mission Ethan Hunt returns for another assignment and yes he chose to accept it.  Of course once again Tom Cruise is back as Hunt and shows us once again no mission is impossible.

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Episode 99: Golden Globe Nominations

This week the Advocates react to the Golden Globe nominations.

Give us a listen because we have no clue what Carnage is either.

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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Remakes are tricky business. The rules have been thrown out the window, but back in the day the rule of thumb was that you waited long enough a) for people to have forgotten about the original, b) for people to have properly digested, processed, and internalized the original enough to dream up an interesting reinterpretation, or c) at least until the next generation (i.e., the next graduating class of film school) comes along with fresh eyes and a new perspective on the story. David Fincher’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, a 2011 remake of a 2009 TV miniseries based on a 2005 novel, of course, satisfies none of these rules, but that’s okay because it’s David Fincher, right?

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Devil’s DVD Disappointment: Apollo 18

Based on overheard pre-show conversation, Hollywood has apparently left many younger-ish moviegoers with the impression that the ill-fated Apollo 13 was our last attempted mission to the moon. The Apollo program actually continued on for three more years and four more successful moon landings, missions which saw the first deployment of Lunar Rovers and the famous miles-long driving of at least two golf balls (Alan Shepard, Apollo 14). By 1973, however, with budget cuts, waning public interest in the space program, and increased attention being paid to the Skylab project, the planned Apollo missions 18 thru 20 were unceremoniously cancelled.

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Event Horizon DVD (Just For The Hell Of It)

Event Horizon is a favorite film of mine for many reasons. Chief amongst those reasons is the attention to detail within the film. Rather like Alien and Aliens, great efforts have been put in to the costuming and equipment shown on-screen. Each member of the crew on the Lewis and Clark has their name and medical information on their shirt, to aid in the event of an emergency situation. Their space suits actually look like they should work, with their simplistic design and the little lights on the side of the boots that signal magnetic lock. Everything is, well, practical, when it comes to the rescue craft and its crew. They feel like a unit, with their little jokes and jibes, and Fishburne as the no-nonsense Captain Miller feels perfect as their leader. Even when he is bouncing around in the coolest command chair this side of the Enterprise’s he gives of an air of cool calm. That is, until they arrive at their destination.

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Genre Spotlight (Secret Santa): Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

My Secret Santa this holiday season is none other than Jonathan MacFarlane, our resident Batman expert.  And being a Batman expert he decided it would be best for me to review Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.  Receiving this film for Christmas, from Jonathan, actually stems from a debate that took place on an episode of our wildly popular podcast of the same name.  Our debate was whether Walk Hard was a strong enough selection to qualify as his favorite comedy or if he should submit to me and choose a time tested comedy such as Airplane, Ghostbusters, or Country Strong. Read the rest of this entry

Genre Spotlight (Secret Santa): Super High Me

Most discussion of documentaries, like that of a historical/period biopic, seems centered more around the subject matter than the movies themselves. A lot of documentary filmmakers have gotten away with building entire careers on this fact – one in particular (whose name I won’t mention) has managed to create and popularize his own subgenre of shrill, “ambush”-style comedy-documentary, which has dominated the industry for over two decades now, based on the fact that people only discuss him in terms of the ideas he sets forth, not on the quality of movie he actually makes (and don’t even get me started on what I think of him as a human being). Me, I enjoy a good documentary as much as the next guy, but much prefer the interview-only or fly on the wall types to the ones with lots of voiceovers, Powerpoints, and “wacky” infographics, all of which I find a bit obvious, reductive and…well, cheesy.

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Arthur Christmas

I don’t always get to go the theaters for animated movies since I don’t have any kids myself currently so when I do go it sometimes is a treat and makes me feel like a kid again.  Plus with me being so busy lately and lacking time for Christmas movie watching, I was excited to be able to see Arthur Christmas.  It came done to that or Puss in Boots but thankfully the kids I was with selected this.  Nothing against Puss in Boots but I wanted to get into the holiday spirit.

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Ask the Advocates Episode 18: Best Decade for Films

This week listener Callum Reavey asks the Advocates, “What is the best decade for films?”

Submit your questions today.

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Episode 98: The Descendants

This week Mike, Rene, and Mike discuss Alexander Payne’s latest film The Descendants.

Give us a listen because we are a podcast within a podcast.

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Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Two years have passed since Guy Ritchie brought us a new version of Sherlock Holmes to the big screen.  Bringing back the dynamic detective duo of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson, Ritchie gives us the latest in his storytelling in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.

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Devil’s DVD Advocacy: Warrior

Warrior seems to be an attempt to create a modern-day Rocky; a less kind reviewer might say it’s trying to ride the coat tails of last year’s The Fighter. It is not successful. That being said, it is not a terrible movie, just one lacking in (maybe too) many areas.
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Devil’s DVD Advocacy: 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

Genre Spotlight (Secret Santa): MirrorMask

I’m torn on MirrorMask, my DAMRB Secret Santa gift this year. I can see how people can like it, even adore it (including, I’m assuming, my fellow reviewer who bestowed it upon me), but I can also see it as a clumsy, second-rate children’s tale.

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Genre Spotlight (Secret Santa): The Fifth Element

The Fifth Element is a weird movie. Almost every aspect of it is bizarre, and, for the most part, I can’t tell if it’s intentional or not. With a few caveats, it’s awesome. Read the rest of this entry

Young Adult

The “young adult” market, in case you don’t know, refers to that segment of the reading audience that is perhaps too old for Dr. Seuss and Winnie the Pooh, but not quite ready for Faulkner or Fitzgerald. Late grade school thru junior high, roughly – the “tween” years. Though these books are written for 11 and 12 year olds, the subject of the books themselves is, more often than not, high school – a time just far enough away to seem glamorous and even magical, while not so far away as to be inconceivable. Funnily enough, that’s basically how nostalgia works as well –  the “young adult(s)” of Jason Reitman’s Young Adult refers to people well into their 30s, arrested in and obsessively replaying their glory days, generally trying their best to look, act, and feel like they did back in high school. We’ve all been there. Haven’t we?

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Episode 97: Martha Marcy May Marlene

This week Rene and Mike discuss Sundance’s sweetheart Martha Marcy May Marlene.

Give us a listen, because we can deprogram brainwash victims.

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The Sitter

The Sitter – this generation’s answer to Adventures in Babysitting – may be our last glimpse of the spherical Jonah Hill. And based on the trailer for 21 Jump Street, perhaps those worried about the correlation between weight loss and funny loss may be right.

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Devil’s DVD Advocacy: Fright Night

Tom Holland’s original Fright Night from 1985 is a movie that I’ve always loved and, as confirmed by a recent DVD viewing, still very much do. It manages to be both fun (and more than a little campy) at the same time it presents itself as a credible, even frightening horror film. It has, even to this day, some of the best vampire (and vampire-death) affects I’ve seen in movies (achieved, not for nothing, using “simple” makeup, costumes, prosthetics, puppets, and lots of stage blood – take that, billion-dollar CGI houses!). Of course, I had the knee-jerk negative reaction to news of a remake, but the casting announcements (David Tennant! Colin Farrell! Toni Collette!) were very interesting and not only gave me hope that it could be good, but as the release date neared actually got me quite excited to see it. And after last weekend’s viewing, I can finally and wholeheartedly confirm that it wasn’t completely awful.

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Devil’s DVD Advocacy: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

During one of our mini-episodes of the Devil’s Advocates podcast, I was complaining about how filmmakers now have such great technology at their disposal and make horrible movies with all of that technology. In the last five years, we have been inundated with movies like Avatar, The Last Airbender, Clash of the Titans and a whole lot of other horrible movies that were just excuses to show off special-effects. I used the example of Raiders of the Lost Ark to show how a movie could be made thirty years ago with some of the simplest movie making techniques (matte paintings, puppets and miniature sets) and still be better than most of what Hollywood keeps putting into the movie theaters now.

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Genre Spotlight (Secret Santa): Birdemic: Shock and Terror

I have seen a lot of movies. I like “bad” movies. One of my favorite movies of all time is Half-Baked. I can appreciate a B movie. Then, I watch something like Birdemic and my faith in humanity is tested to its limits. Birdemic has to be the worst movie I have ever seen on purpose. Coming from me, that speaks volumes. This makes Avatar look like Hamlet.

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Genre Spotlight (Secret Santa): Almighty Thor

Before I start this review, I gotta say, I didn’t think I’d been THIS naughty this year. Cause the DAMR Secret Santa took a big ol’ poop in my stocking, let me tell ya!

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Dagon DVD (Just For The Hell Of It)

I am a huge H.P Lovecraft fan. I discovered his world of indescribable and unspeakable terrors at a tender age, and was instantly fascinated by the ancient gods and eldritch creatures that inhabited the mind of this undeniable brilliant man. His blend of horror, sci-fi, suspense and terror was just the thing the mind of a young wulf such as myself needed, and in no time I was hooked.

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Episode 96: The Muppets

This week the Mikes discuss The Muppets, starring…a bunch of Muppets.

Give us a listen because…MANAH MANAH!

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Ask the Advocates Episode 17: Favorite Christopher Nolan Film

This week the Advocates discuss their favorite Christopher Nolan films.

Thanks go out to listener Callum Reavey for the question.

Submit your questions today.

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Clue DVD (Just For The Hell Of It)

This for me is the best film of Tim Curry’s career. His performance as Wadsworth, the butler of Hill House herding the guests of a dinner party turned murder scene is one of the most frenetic examples of scene stealing I’ve ever seen. Even ammongst all the screaming, intentional over the top acting and insanity, Curry stands out as the star performer. That doesn’t mean that the other performers are slouches. Each one of the actors portraying the guests at the mysterious dinner party play their part with comic skill not often seen in today’s comedy films.

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Devil’s DVD Disappointment: Cowboys & Aliens

Take one part James Bond, one part Indiana Jones and mix in some cowboys and throw in some aliens with a side of Olivia Wilde sex appeal and you get the latest Jon Favreau directed movie.

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Devil’s DVD Disappointment: 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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Genre Spotlight (Secret Santa): Go

Just so we’re clear, you stole a car, shot a bouncer, and had sex with two women?

When I found out that 1999’s Go was bestowed on me for this month’s spotlight my first thoughts were of excitement. Partly due to the fact that I haven’t viewed this film since that year and I do recall liking it and partly because I received what I deemed was a decent film in our Secret Santa genre month.  Truth be told, before reviewing it I wouldn’t be able to tell you nothing about the plot other than Katie Holmes and Sarah Polley being grocery store employees and Timothy Olyphant being a drug dealer, everything else was a complete blur.

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