It's been an alright day, I watched some videos, played a bunch of guitar and chilled out a bunch.
I read more of Salt Fat Acid Heat and learned more. I applied that knowledge at dinner time by ordering some Onion Rings. I ordered them because what I learned was that if they're cooked too cold they'll be soggy, but if they are cooked too hot, they'll be crispy, but the batter won't have adhered to the onions. Luckily, they were cooked just right, and I had some delicious onion rings.
I did try out my Guitar like I said the other day with the Chorus pedal in the effects loop and it seems to have solved the bad tone problem I was having. It’s been sounding really good with one of the guitars, but the other has been a little lacking when recording. That seems to be fixed now, so that’s exciting and I can use all the guitars for everything!
I was talking to Rachael about, or more so, it was suggested to me that we go down to Grant’s Lounge for the jam night on Wednesday one week and see what’s going on, then when I can and feel confident, I should try and join in and just have a good time. So that’ll hopefully happen some time soon.
MADHERO: Well, we're officially at the tail end of summer. Its gonna be all over soon. Considering Disney just had its 5th billion dollar grosser, I feel I can say the other studios put up a good fight, but alas. But hey, maybe there's still something good they release before we all start prepping to go back to clown college in September. We have 2 reviews even. Surely something good comes from that, guys?
STICKMAN: Uhhhhh. Hm. HEEYYY.
LARRY: Psh, I ain't no clown
MADHERO: That's what they all say, but we can safe all our clown jokes for when IT: Chapter 2 comes out next episode. The slate here is too scattershot to properly point at something, so I guess we just go and start with the news.
Continuing to prove that their very expensive buyout of 20th Century Fox was a bad move for everyone and everything, Disney seem to be having some worrying hangups about their new studio, with numerous reports that have come out in the past week or so. Firstly, on a less...axe swinging note, Disney have suggested a desire to invest in reboots for some of Fox's more family friendly properties, seemingly for their Disney+ service. Home Alone, Cheaper by the Dozen, Night at the Museum and Diary of a Wimpy Kid have all been said to be receiving reboots for the streaming service, whilst CEO Bob Iger once again spoke of the intention to continue with the Planet of the Apes franchise, although it wasn't said if it'd be yet another reboot, or a continuation of the recent, grittier trilogy.
In less hopeful news, it sounds like the future of FOX films both big and small are now being put into question, with over 200 projects in various stages of early development apparently having been scrapped completely. These include Flash Gordon, a Ben Affleck directed biopic about a McDonalds Monopoly heist, the long gestating Die Hard prequel, a sequel to the cult movie Killer Klowns from Outer Space, adaptations of Magic: The Gathering, Megaman and The Sims, and also the sequel to Assassin's Creed...which, frankly I was surprised even still existed. This is just the tip of the some 250 project iceberg that has now melted away into nothing, with only a small handful of projects already in production safe. There's also renewed doubts that The New Mutants will see a release, as Disney are supposedly unimpressed with what they've seen. For the icing on the cake, Disney are also questioning if Taika Waititi's upcoming 'Jojo Rabbit' film at Fox Searchlight might alienate "Disney fans". But don't worry, all your Avatar sequels are still safe. Phew. Fuck me.
MADHERO: Hey, it turns out there being less competition and therefore less variety in the type of products we get is bad. Who'd have thunk?
STICKMAN: But Wolverine gets to fuck Captain America so it's fine I guess.
LARRY: God I hope this Hitler parody doesn't aLiEnAtE fAnS Who the fuck careeeesssssss
MADHERO: I honestly wouldn't take that line too seriously. There's plenty of dumb execs and shareholders who make dumb comments which the studio does nothing with. Jojo Rabbit will be fine with or without Donald Duck shouting HEIL HITLER.
STICKMAN: FOX Searchlight being untainted so far is the only relieving thing about this mess, so I get ANTSY whenever they show hesitance.
MADHERO: I know its cause its a popular property, but how would a Home Alone reboot even work in the year of our lord 2019?
LARRY: It wouldn't. Nobody is that stupid.
STICKMAN: Better than the Stoned Alone idea FOX had at one point.
MADHERO: Honestly, not all of the products they axed sounded very good, but there's also plenty of projects I'd have really liked to have seen, and Fox essentially being used just for edgier franchises that Disney can't do feels like such a massive waste.
STICKMAN: Still wounded from The Mouse Guard being axed. Fuck Disney.
LARRY: Yeah for every sequel/prequel that got axed, there were plenty of original, unique projects from awesome directors that got fucked over. Poor Shawn Levy, the guy had like 10 projects in development.
MADHERO: Fuck all these things, but fuck this guy in particular.
The United States is still processing the horrific tragedies that took place in El Paso, Dayton, and Gilroy. The mass shootings have sparked much debate, particularly on how much violent media may lead people to commit these atrocities. As one would expect, there really isn't much correlation between violent films/video games to mass shootings, but that doesn't stop angry people from putting pressure on those who create it.
Case in point: Blumhouse's upcoming September 27th release of their film "The Hunt" has officially been cancelled. After putting a hold on the marketing for the film immediately following the mass shootings, Universal officially made a statement just four days later that they would cancel plans to release the film. There is no word as to when the film will be theatrically released in the future, if at all. So, what changed? Well, a tweet from President Donald Trump aimed criticism at the film, in which he claimed “Liberal Hollywood is racist, the falsely self-claimed elite create their own violence, and then try to blame others." This would make sense except it really doesn't make any fucking sense at all. The film isn't about race and the film looked to be making a point against, or at least be critical of, liberals in the first place. The president's idiocy aside, many believe that pulling the film was in response to this tweet, though others believe that this isn't the case and Universal is simply delaying the film out of respect for the victims. And, yes, I want to believe that. But it's hard not to be skeptical and disappointed that a studio wasn't willing to stick to its guns (literally). Hopefully we'll see "The Hunt" get its day soon enough.
STICKMAN: God damnit I hate this shit. Cowardice. At least with The Interview there was the threat of nuclear war.
MADHERO: Cause hey, the evil and liberal pop culture media is the one thing causing it all. Not, y'know, the guns.
STICKMAN: People being gunned down by copies of Call of Duty.
LARRY: Yeah this really sucks. Like, I get that they wanted to be respectful of the victims, but this for suuuuuuure feels like NBCUniversal isn't willing to give Blumhouse the support it would need to release a politically timely film right in the midst of when it could be most poignant. Afraid to be "controversial" and all that...
STICKMAN: Frankly Blumhouse should take their business elsewhere if Universal aren't going to back their play.
MADHERO: I can understand pulling marketing for a bit until the heat died down, but then of course the president had to get involved cause of course he fucking does.
LARRY: Yes that is what's really bothering me. His tweets literally make zero fucking sense if they're being targeted toward The Hunt.
STICKMAN: I'm not sure anyone's said this before on the internet, but fuck Donald Trump.
MADHERO: The funniest thing remains that The Hunt clearly portrays the liberal elite as the villains and the "deplorables" being hunted as the one we're supposed to root for, but since media literacy is hard, that all got lost fairly quickly in the sea of bile.
LARRY: This is a movie literally criticizing the "elite," the "liberal." But Trump just saw the “hunting deplorables” bit and was like "BLARG RACISM HOLLYWOOD BLARG"
STICKMAN: I could rant about this for the entire episode, frankly. This and the Disney story make me reaaaaal depressed.
MADHERO: Financially it probably ain't gonna make much of a dent to Universal. Its a Blumhouse film so it costs like 5 bucks at most, but culturally this is a really sad precedent.
LARRY: Let's also hope it gets a friggen release. Theatrically, preferably.
MADHERO: That got a tad political there. We better move on
STICKMAN: F-f-f-fuck Donald Trump, get some gun controlllLLl.
Remember The Rise of COBRA? Its ok if you didn't, cause no one really does. The 2009 adaptation of the toy line/80s animated series didn't really set the world on fire, and not even a sequel that killed Channing Tatum and added The Rock could save it. That said, Paramount still wants to go forward, though they're now starting over from scratch. Instead of starting with a whole cast, GI Joe is now going the Marvel route by introducing their characters in solo movies, starting with everyone's favorite(?) Ninja Snake Eyes.
Originally played by Darth Maul himself, Ray Park, this new Snake Eyes will be played by Crazy Rich Asians' Henry Golding, who's star has been on the rise since the release of that film. The movie is on the fast track with Robert Schwentke directing, who's recent films (RIPD, Insurgent/Allegiant) doesn't exactly inspire confidence. They're also on another film on Chuckles, who I know nothing about other than he's supposed to be in spycraft and wears Hawaiian shirts. We'll see if anything comes from this if Snake Eyes bombs, but we'll be getting a whole lotta Cuppa Joe soon.
STICKMAN: At least he won't have the sex doll lips this time.
MADHERO: I can't tell if this is a dig towards Snake Eyes, Henry Golding or Ray Park so I'm just very confused
STICKMAN: The first GI Joe movie Snake Eyes had DSLs on his mask
LARRY: Yeah so I didn't really like either of the GI Joe movies so why is this happening? GI Joe isn't even like...that viable?
MADHERO: I can't believe you're not excited for the Agent Chuckles movie that I've been waiting for all my life.
STICKMAN: I thought clowns were NEXT episode.
MADHERO: He ain't no clown. He's a cool undercover man who refuses to take off his Hawaiian shirts.
LARRY: To be fair, I like Henry Golding. He seems like a cool dude...but like, I wouldn't go to a shitty action movie just for him.
MADHERO: Well you're not going for Henry Golding. You're going for Cool Silent Ninja Dude.
STICKMAN: I think he looks cool...when he ain't got sculpted lips on his mask. But that's it. Like...he's The Stig, basically. With a sword.
MADHERO: His personality is ninja and his main rival is another ninja. As a character that doesn't bring much, but as long as there's cool ninja shit that should be fine.
STICKMAN: The second film had a stupid dumb scene where they flew around on wires on the side of a mountain that was kinda cool, in a stupid way.
MADHERO: Kinda cool in a stupid way is the GI Joe mantra. If that's gonna lead to an Avengers style success remains to be seen.
You'd be forgiven for assuming last year's misguided solo antihero spin-off 'Venom' was a total failure. It looked terrible in the run up to release, a seeming commitment to an R rating was dropped at the last minute, and reviewed poorly. BUT Venom was a huge success, scoring over $850 million globally, but the audiences largely dug it as well. Naturally, Sony greenlit a sequel pretty quickly, and following a summer releasing Morbius movie set in the same universe prior, Venom 2 is arriving late into 2020...and now we know who'll be directing it.
Andy Serkis may be known more for his motion capture performances than his directing chops, but he's had a reasonable amount of experience behind the camera in addition to being in front of it. To date he's released two movies through his Imaginarium studio (The CGI heavy Mowgli, and the rather less CGI heavy 'Breathe') , both of which receiving a mixed critical reception, as did The Hobbit trilogy of films, of which he was the second unit director on. Serkis is now at the helm for Venom 2, bringing presumably both his directing experience and well established history with CGI/motion capture performances to the film, he's also once again partnering with 'Breathe' cinematographer Robert Richardson, who most recently worked with Tarantino on 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'. So, things are going to be quite different production wise for the sequel...will they be better? Who knows. Will they be gayer? Let's hope so.
MADHERO: The goopy boy returns.....eventually.
LARRY: I mean, this is a fairly inspired choice.
MADHERO: Did the original use much in the way of motion capture. I imagine it did but I'm not sure.
LARRY: Whether or not they did, they should. Give the goopster a little more life.
STICKMAN: Nah they actually just infected Tom Hardy with a horny ooze.
MADHERO: Honestly the one thing I want from the sequel is Woody Harrellson and his terrible wig. I don't need more. I don't even need him to become Carnage.
STICKMAN: Carnage is all but confirmed, surely.
MADHERO: You'd think so, but I can imagine Tom Hardy wanting to get into more lobster tanks instead and have Venom be all self concious and stuff. Venom was a really weird movie.
LARRY: Surely Lady Venom must return. If not, we riot.
STICKMAN: No Lady Venom, only Gay Venom. Or I RIOT.
LARRY: My hope is that Serkis can just add some quality to the shitstorm that was the original. Give in to all the meme-y gay shit but also like...be a good movie. Give Venom more character, his own physical presence. After all, Venom looked pretty solid in motion. It was just...not in motion that stank.
MADHERO: I can only handle so much weird sexual tension. While we're on the symbiote train, I'd like to point out that Marvel's new event series Absolute Carnage is pretty good so far.
STICKMAN: I should ready some of these goopy stories sometime. Comics are expensive though. And there's too many.
MADHERO: Some wild shit going on over in Symbioteland, but we'll see if that's gonna affect anything in Gollum's movie.
SONY RELEASES FIRST TRAILER FOR GRETA GERWIG’S ADAPTATION OF LITTLE WOMEN
Greta Gerwig has once again made a splash in the Film Discourse™ with the first trailer dropping for her next film, an adaptation of the Louisa May Alcott novel "Little Women." Starring Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, and Timothee Chalamet, the story follows four sisters exploring their artistic passions, the societal restrictions set on them, and what their futures hold in the aftermath of the Civil War. This adaptation (one of EIGHT times its been adapted to film) looks to put a particular focus on the sister Jo, portrayed by Ronan, and her relationship with Theodore "Laurie" Laurence, portrayed by Chalamet. The trailer features the sort of witty, strong female characters one would expect with a script by Greta Gerwig and acclaimed Canadian writer Sarah Polley, and features a noticeably grainy, period aesthetic. Add some fun supporting roles from Laura Dern, Meryl Streep, and Tracy Letts, and you have another potential Oscar hopeful for Gerwig and Ronan. Will it make a splash? Will it fizzle? Other adaptations of Alcott's story certainly have. We'll have to wait until December to find out.
STICKMAN: Moe Sylslack's favourite book finally hits the big screen. And now it's finally here, for me to ignore.
MADHERO: Rachel from Friends as well. Little Women has been referenced a lot over the years
LARRY: It looks like a quality film, as I expected.
MADHERO: It doesn't really look like my thing, but neither did Lady Bird and I really liked that movie
STICKMAN: Lady Bird had a bit more relatability to it. This is dangerously close to Pride and Prejudice in content...and not with the zombies. Looks real nice, sure the performances are good. Buuuuut. Nah.
LARRY: I mean, with something like Little Women, that's what you want. It's a story largely hinged on the performances.
STICKMAN: Sure, it's...Oscar bait, if you will.
MADHERO: I just know its this American classic that I've only heard of through pop culture mentioning it and never read any of it or watched the other adaptations
LARRY: I've never read it either tbh. I've seen some adaptations, such as the 1994 film and the musical. So I'm familiar with the story, hence my interest in seeing Gerwig take it on in a 2019 context.
MADHERO: Again, doesn't look like my thing, but I'm very curious about what Greta Gerwig does next after Lady Bird. Will Film Twitter go just as crazy for it? Will Moe shed a tear? Time shall tell.
STICKMAN: Greta Gertwig sheds a tear over Moe.
RIP PETER FONDA
Few people can say that they've affected culture as a whole in a way that they probably couldn't have imagined, but that was definitely the case for Peter Fonda, who sadly died this week from lung cancer at the age of 79. Son of Henry Fonda and brother of Jane Fonda, Peter became a counterculture icon through Easy Rider, which he produced, co-wrote and of course starred in Easy Rider, which has become an all time American classic truly defying the era in which it took place. Besides that, he was also nominated for an Oscar for Ulee's Gold, and continued to star in movies like 3:10 to Yuma, The Hired Hand (which he also directed), and Boondock Saints II. His icon status was well before my time, but I can admire the fact that he continued to act for pretty much his whole life. We wish his family nothing but the best in this difficult time
STICKMAN: This is someone I never really connected with due to my age, but as someone reasonably well versed in film and pop culture, can massively appreciate his importance. Easy Rider especially is some landmark cinema.
MADHERO: Absolutely. My first introduction to Peter Fonda was in GTA: San Andreas as The Truth. He always was ready to remind and take the piss out of his role in Easy Rider. He even appeared in Wild Hogs for god's sake.
LARRY: Yeah, hard to really overstate the importance of Easy Rider period. Was a landmark film that changed the way cinema was perceived at a time when big-budget musicals were sorta all the rage. Seeing a low-budget, ideologically progressive movie take over was a huge deal, and it was largely thanks to Fonda's work.
MADHERO: Yeah. I think Easy Rider felt "real" in a time when a lot of movies we're still these grand spectacles that didn't really reflect that was going on. But besides that, he was also a great actor. He's phenomenal in Ulee's Gold.
STICKMAN: Nowdays, films that deal with reality are part of the cinematic furniture.
LARRY: It's funny though because he actually did The Wild Angels before Easy Rider, in 1966. And that film, plus Easy Rider, really cemented his image with the motorcycle. Both films really pushed the 70's countercultural movement, both from Fonda.
MADHERO: The original Captain America, at least the first one on screen.
STICKMAN: A lot to remember him by.
MADHERO: Once again we wish his family nothing but the best. RIP.
LARRY: Say hey to Henry for me. RIP Peter Fonda.
RIP RICHARD WILLIAMS
Unfortunately, it's time for some sad news from the world of animation. Richard Williams, the Oscar winning artist most well known for his groundbreaking work on the live action/animated hybrid 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' has died at the age of 86. Although for many he was predominately known for bringing Roger Rabbit, Jessica Rabbit and other characters to life, he also provided animated work for parts of the Pink Panther movies, Charge of the Light Brigade and the original 60s spoof take on Casino Royale.
For animation/film enthusiasts he was perhaps more infamous for his failed passion project 'The Thief and the Cobbler', a film that entered production in 1964, before finally being released in an unfinished fashion in 1993...the project in its full form never managing to be finished in his lifetime. His final film was the animated short 'Prologue', which was Oscar nominated and rather ambitiously (and ultimately futilely) was touted as just the beginning of a larger project. Sadly that's another film he will never get to see completed. Richard Williams was a man known for his meticulous attention to detail and constant strive for improvement, even up to the end. With his 'Animator's Survival Tool Kit' book continuing to teach and inspire younger animators to this day, and his finished works still remaining a staggering achievement, there's no doubt his legacy will continue on for a long time.
MADHERO: This is something you know is coming but still makes you go "oh no" when it happens. A real pioneer and then some.
STICKMAN: Yeah, even when I saw him at Encounters a few years ago, presenting his last film, he seemed like someone who didn't even think about the idea that his time might be coming up. No idea how far into his latest film he got before the end.
LARRY: Caught some of "Prologue" released on Twitter and god damn was it something. Beautifully hand drawn, frame by frame.
STICKMAN: Seeing that shit on the big screen was pretty mind blowing.
MADHERO: The guy was massive into detail. Even with something as abstract like The Thief and the Cobbler, which took god knows how long to finish.
STICKMAN: Or not finish, as it were. What amazed me when I saw him was how little he seemed to consider himself this titan of animation, he lined up and introduced himself with all the students and budding filmmakers at the start of the screening, as if we needed to be introduced...and he took every film as a learning experience rather than a sign of his mastery of the genre.
MADHERO: The guy was a slave to his own perfectionism, but you can't say it didn't lead to some amazing results. Even if he'd like it to have been Thief and the Cobbler, his animation work on Roger Rabbit is probably what people remember from him the most.
LARRY: Roger Rabbit still holds up today. It's sensational.
MADHERO: Fun fact, he was also the voice of Droopy in Roger Rabbit. His Pink Panther work is also great stuff, but that's what you can say about almost all his work
STICKMAN: And we can add a mean Droopy impression to his roster of talents, apparently. A talented but humble man, he will be missed.
MADHERO: One of the greats in animation. RIP
LARRY: His animation was truly iconic. Always sad to lose a legend. All the best to his family and friends during this time.
MADHERO: Alright, now to bring our respects to Richard Williams in the only way we know how: by reviewing a new animated movie. The original Angry Birds movie sure was.... a thing. i actually never ended up seeing cause I'm way past the point of Angry Birds being something I pay attention to, and also some of the weird anti immigration messages it contained for.... reasons. But hey, it was successful and now here we are with the sequel, which Stickman actually went and saw for us cause.... yeah why actually?
STICKMAN: Oy vey, I'm sorry Mr Williams, I didn't plaaaan this.
LARRY: Oh, Sticky...
STICKMAN: I didn't have to paaaay to watch it, and I mean, those reviews? Pretty surprising, as of now it's the highest rated video game movie of all time on Rotten Tomatoes.
MADHERO: O yeah, it is. Suck on that, Detective Pikachu. So yeah, how are the wacky adventures of the red bird, the fast one and.... bomb?
THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE 2
DIRECTOR: Thurop van Orman (Camp Lazlo, Marvelous Midadventures of Flapjack)
STARRING: Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Leslie Jones, Bill Hader, Rachel Bloom, Awkafina, Sterling K. Brown, Eugenio Derbez
SYNOPSIS: The Birds (Sudeikis, Gad, McBride) and Bad Piggies (Hader, Brown) have a comical war that seemingly does not end until a mysterious purple bird named Zeta (Jones) threatens them all with her own plans by cryokinetic technology. To avoid a frozen fate, the Birds and Pigs forge an uneasy alliance.
STICKMAN: Short story, it sucks...long story? Wellll...I saw the first Angry Birds when it came out on DVD. It wasn't very good, so I thought that was me done with the Angry Birds films, even when the sequel got greenlit. HOWEVER...those early reviews started coming out, touting it as a massive improvement on the first...they're still in the mid 70%s on Rotten Tomatoes as we speak...so...with my Unlimited Card in hand I gave it a shot, and god damn did it let me down.
It's just...IT'S JUST THE SAME AS THE FIRST BLOODY ONE. EXCEPT STRUCTURALLY WORSE. The first one's premise fit into that of the video game franchises mantra pretty well. This time around? Got some random ass villain nobody cares about, with stupid motivations, they repeat the same "teamwork/friends are what are important" moral of the first film but now without the angry part....but don't use their bird powers all that much this time. The marketing gimmick was that the birds and pigs have teamed up...does that go anywhere? No, it's just an excuse to show off jiggling green ass a bunch. The story is nonsensical, jokes come first, and they are never good jokes. Every 5 seconds a pop song is played, the same pop songs you've heard in every other crap animated kids movie...they do Baby Sharks, they do dabbing...AGHH. It's bad, like...I could go on for a while, but it's bad. Bad in the same ways as the first film, but now without any narrative cohesion to work with it. If this ends up the highest reviewed video game movie of all time? Fuck me.
MADHERO: So what you're saying this is a great followup for Sony Animation after Into the
STICKMAN: Oh yes, a surefire Oscar winner.
LARRY: Yeah I saw the first and it wasn't very good. Can't imagine it being better if you just bring the same mixture for a second helping.
STICKMAN: It's exactly the same, except now there's some eagle on an ice island being evil for no reason.
MADHERO: I'm looking at the voice cast and holy shit that's big. Any character/voice that stands out?
STICKMAN: No, not really. Unless we're talking annoying-wise, in which case Yellow continues to be a repeat offender.
MADHERO: That applies Josh Gad's voice work in general though. Surely there's something to like though, otherwise it wouldn't have those mostly positive reviews.
STICKMAN: As with the first movie, the animation is very nice, lots of colour and expressive detail. They brought the game characters to life in ways that clearly link them to their original forms but work as fully animated characters also. But like I say, the first movie had that. So...no. I think critics were all drunk when they saw this film.
LARRY: Probably. I'd aim to be.
MADHERO: Or....you could just have a different opinion and how we react to art is subjective, but that's probably too deep a thought fora review of Angry Birds 2. Anything else you want to get out of your system in the wrap up?
STICKMAN: I just...it makes me question the snobby stance on video game movies in general. If this is considered the best, why were films like Tomb Raider and Detective Pikachu recieved so differently? Why are bad, but entertaining films like Resident Evil and Silent Hill so poorly received in retrospect? Why, is my main question. Hhhhooo. I'm done now.
MADHERO: Well that didn't really work out, but maybe our second review can pick things up, as we go in a decidedly more artsy route. Richard Linklater makes a movie just about once a year and returns once again with an adaptation of Where'd You Go, Bernadette, which I never read but heard is a best seller and pretty alright. With a cast that includes Cate Blanchett as the titular Bernadette, as well as a cast with the likes of Laurence Fishburne, Judy Greer and Kristen Wiig, surely its a great success that we can all enjoy. Right, Larry?
LARRY: Hm…. Well this turned into quite a downer episode, didn't it...
STICKMAN: Uh oh.
MADHERO: More like Where'd You Go, Good Mood. But anyway, tell us more about this movie then.
WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE
DIRECTOR: Richard Linklater (Everybody Wants Some, Last Flag Flying)
STARRING: Cate Blanchett, Billy Crudup, Emma Nelson, Kristen Wiig, James Urbaniak, Judy Greer, Laurence Fishburne
SYNOPSIS: A loving mom (Blanchett) becomes compelled to reconnect with her creative passions after years of sacrificing herself for her family. Her leap of faith takes her on an epic adventure that jump-starts her life and leads to her triumphant rediscovery.
LARRY: This is probably one of my least favorite Linklater films yet, and that's saying a lot because I'm honestly one of his biggest fans. Finding an odd middle-ground between his slice-of-life mood projects and his quirky oddball comedies, This movie doesn't seem to know what the fuck it is or wants to be. It's filled to the brim with bizarre choices, from absurd side-plots to meaningless voiceover narration and out-of-nowhere celebrity cameos. So many scenes feel meandering, like nobody went to the script and grabbed their red pen. Like, dialogue that feels written for a comedy that’s spoken like a drama.It's just so confusing to see a prominent filmmaker like Linklater struggle to tonally direct a scene, it's just a mess. It's also shot rather lifelessly, looking like a soap opera with some modest stock footage thrown in despite taking place in FUCKING ANTARCTICA.
The only saving graces here are the performances; Cate Blanchett is giving all she can with a script that fails to really capture her character in a way the audience can grasp, Billy Crudup is either giving the weirdest or most nuanced performance of his career (it's hard to tell), Kristen Wiig is the only part of this movie that tonally masters comedy and drama, and Emma Nelson is a strong newcomer as Blanchett's teenage daughter. But...yeah, this comedy is unintentionally one of many errors, largely because Linklater doesn't seem to have a firm grasp on anything here. Poor direction, undercooked writing, and cinematography that looks far more lower-budget than it actually is. It's a sad day to see Cate Blanchett wasted in a film, yet here we are.
MADHERO: Getting big Secret Life of Walter Mitty vibes from this description
LARRY: Walter Mitty looked SIGNIFICANTLY better than this film. And I barely remember shit about it.
STICKMAN: Where does this rank with Boyhood on the 'I wussed out of seeing it because it's too long' scale of quality.
LARRY: The film is certainly too long, not Boyhood long per se. I think I still like Boyhood least, but it sure is a competition.
MADHERO: Damn, I still really like Boyhood, but that's a take for another day. At least now we know its not your least favorite Linklater movie. Is there anything positive that stands out for you besides the performances?
LARRY: I mean...it's funny at times? Certain moments land. And a certain destructive scene is quite excellently done. I just can't tell half the time if I should be laughing or not, some plot elements of this film are so fucking bizarre it's hard to know if they proofread this shit.
STICKMAN: If it's the destruction of Antarctica, I think that's just reality playing out in the background, Larry.
LARRY: Nope, much smaller scale.
STICKMAN: Ah, Greenland.
MADHERO: Oof. I thought we were done with the politics. Is there anything else you wanna mention in the wrap-up?
LARRY: Nah, not really. Save your money. Or get this on VOD and take a shot every time something doesn't make sense. You'll be dead within the hour.
STICKMAN: Go see Angry Birds 2 instead. Or..hm.
MADHERO: Well then, this is probably our most negative reviews section in quite some time. But luckily, there are some other movies coming out as well that are supposedly a lot better. Maybe they can give this last days of summer ep a boost
LARRY: Wow, I’m is just gonna be one hell of a negative nancy.
STICKMAN: There's gonna be shaaaaarks, Larry.
DIRECTOR: Gene Stupnitsky (directorial debut)
STARRING: Jacob Tremblay, Brady Noon, Keith L. Williams, Will Forte, Molly Gordon, Lil Rel Howery
SYNOPSIS: Three sixth grade boys (Tremblay, Noon, Williams) ditch school and embark on an epic journey while carrying accidentally stolen drugs, being hunted by teenage girls, and trying to make their way home in time for a long-awaited party.
LARRY: HAHAHAHA THE KID SAID FUCK.
MADHERO: To be fair, its funnier when said in Jacob Tremblay's voice
STICKMAN: What if the child found gimp mask and ho ho ho. But then also hidden emotional depth. Cue distant Seth Rogan laugh.
MADHERO: Supposedly its actually pretty good and a lot of fun and with heart. Kids not understanding adult things is maybe not as original a premise as they think, but as long as its fun, I don't mind.
LARRY: Yeah I'm hearing some good things, but this just isn't really my jam. I'm not really into R-rated vulgar comedies, they always seem lazy.
STICKMAN: I wonder if they smoke the weed. Ahu hu hu hu
MADHERO: Also I find it funny they're still advertising using Superbad when some of the kids probably weren't even born when that movie came out, which.....is a weird thought that makes me feel extremely old.
STICKMAN: I remember when Superbad was cool and I wish I didn't.
47 METERS DOWN: UNCAGED
DIRECTOR: Johannes Roberts (47 Meters Down, The Strangers: Prey at Night)
SYNOPSIS: Four teenage girls (Nelisse, Foxx, Tju, Stallone) scuba diving in a ruined underwater city quickly find themselves in a watery hell as their adventure turns to horror when they learn they are not alone in the submerged caves.
STICKMAN: Great Whites are the true danger in society.
MADHERO: I thought we agreed to stop getting all political. But pretty much yeah
LARRY: The trailer for this movie looks so ridiculous.
STICKMAN: This isn't the Street Sharks movie we wanted.
MADHERO: They aren't in the street smh. They're in some weird temple cause they need to find a reason to stay down near the sharkos
STICKMAN: This, like the original seems to have gone down well better with genre junkies rather than critics...which as we all know spells biiiiiig money...wait...never mind.
MADHERO: More of a pygmy shark than a great white box office wise.
ANGEL HAS FALLEN
DIRECTOR: Ric Roman Waugh (Snitch, Shot Caller)
STARRING: Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Danny Huston, Michael Landes, Tim Blake Nelson, Nick Nolte
SYNOPSIS: Mike Banning (Butler) finds himself framed for an assassination attempt on President Allan Trumbull (Freeman). Pursued by his own agency and the FBI, Banning turns to unlikely allies (Nolte) in a race against time to clear his name and uncover the real terrorist threat.
STICKMAN: More of this I guess.
MADHERO: Gerard Butler is back on his bullshit once again, though I don't think he never not at it.
STICKMAN: He's one bad movie away from joining the cast of Fast & Furious.
LARRY: It's crazy how under the radar this film has been. I remember when the marketing was insane for the first film.
STICKMAN: It's gone down the Taken 3 route of NOW HE'S THE ONE UNDER ATTACK. DUND UND UNDDUNDUND
MADHERO: At least now it probably comes from within the White House framing him so no Gerard Butler yelling at faceless goons to go back to Fuckheadistan or whatever he said.
LARRY: Ouch, I forgot about that.
STICKMAN: Watch some RACISM in 4DX. THE ULTIMATE CINEMA EXPERIENCE.
READY OR NOT
DIRECTOR: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (V/H/S)
STARRING: Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Mark O’Brien, Henry Czerny, Andie MacDowell, Kristian Bruun
SYNOPSIS: A bride's (Weaving) wedding night takes a sinister turn when her eccentric new in-laws (O’Brien, Czerny, MacDowell) force her to take part in a terrifying game.
MADHERO: Ok, this one actually looks like a lot of fun
STICKMAN: This one's supposed to be really good, which is a shame since it's not out HERE FOR OVER ANOTHER DAMN MONTH.
LARRY: Yeah the trailer for this really surprised me. I'm definitely gonna try to seek it out.
STICKMAN: It looks like the spiritual sequel to You're Next.
MADHERO: It has some real You're Next vibes though it definitely seems to lean even more into being surpremely goofy.
STICKMAN: So did You're Next in a lot of ways. But this one seems more...audacious and gory. Which is finnnne by me.
MADHERO: It played really well at festivals but it seems perfect for that type of atmosphere. That doesn't always translate to when it actually releases, but at least from the trailer it looks like a really fun time.
STICKMAN: I'm already counting down the days until I find out my cinema isn't showing it.
LARRY: Yeah there's a screening in NY on Wednesday. Q&A with the directors and cast and all that. Might give it a last minute whirl.
STICKMAN: Larry. I stab at thee.
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT
DIRECTOR: Gurinder Chadha (It’s a Wonderful Afterlife, Viceroy’s House)
STARRING: Vivek Kaira, Hayley Atwell, Rob Brydon, Kulvinder Ghir, Neil Williams
SYNOPSIS: In 1987, a teenager (Kaira) learns to live life, understand his family and find his own voice through the music of Bruce Springsteen.
LARRY: This one also surprisingly got to me. Looks like it's got a lot of heart, I dunno.
STICKMAN: Another one of these. It seems only like....Yesterday...that...aheh.
MADHERO: Sure, just because they're both British films with leads of Indian/Paki descent and feature plenty of music of iconic artists doesn't mean they're exactly the same, Sticky. I'm only partially joking, since they do very different things with both.
LARRY: To be fair, the iconic artists in question are very different.
STICKMAN: This one has...worse music? But then it at least has the actual music instead of awkward covers.
MADHERO: That's up for debate. I'm always down for some Springsteen. It does remind me a lot of Bend it Like Beckham, which I guess makes sense since its from the same director.
LARRY: I dunno, It just looks like infectiously fun. Could use a little bit of that these days.
MADHERO: Cause no one is allowed happiness in this world….But hey, at least there’s MOVIE OF THE WEEK!
LARRY: ye...yeahhhh yayy
STICKMAN: OH SHIT, THINGS WE ACTUALLY LIKED!?
MADHERO: Yeah, I assume you also saw stuff you liked, right? Can't imagine going with the stuff you've reviewed after all of that, but you never know. You did see stuff you actually liked, right?
STICKMAN: Get set for more furious avians.
MADHERO: O dear. What enraged fowls appear in your Movie of the Week, Sticky?
MOVIE OF THE WEEK
STICKMAN: Well...if by enraged you mean Spanish...and by fowls you mean retrospective life drama...welllllll....I was lucky enough to get the chance to see an early (/likely only near me) screening of Pain & Glory the other day, the latest from well respected Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar who...I'll be honest I've seen nothing else from (My bad). This was billed as a fictionalised exploration of the directors own childhood, youth and ultimately old age, and regardless of how closely it follows his own experiences, it makes for some compelling and engrossing...if not oddly paced viewing.
For starters, the film is bloody beautiful, bursting with colour and light in practically every frame. The performances are all top notch, with Antonio Banderas in prime form as an aging, ailing director looking back on the various defining moments of his life as he looks ahead to his final years of life. It's not a sentimental piece, instead coming from a place of quiet melancholy and often quite a bit of comedy, with his various experiences both in the past and present, be they to do with his sexuality, career, health or anything else all being quite compelling. If I had a major complaint it's that the films pacing is really quite off...jumping around all over the place without much thought for the speed or order in which things should go. It's a pretty major complaint about an otherwise excellent film, but it's still worth checking out.
MADHERO: Good to hear that Almodovar's still got it.
STICKMAN: Or in my case, that he has it ...at all? MUBI are doing a retrospective on his films so maybe it's time to play catch up.
LARRY: Criterion also has a collection I've been meaning to watch. Women on the Verge is a comedy CLASSIC.
STICKMAN: That's coming up in a couple weeks on MUBI, but...sadly, not The Skin I Live In. The only one I've heard of. ANYHOW, this film.
MADHERO: I'm more of a Volver type of guys. His range of films is quite exlectic to say the least, so I can understand why he now does what's almost a biopic of sorts, or at the very least some self reflection
LARRY: Yeah this is coming to NYFF so I'm hoping to catch it then.
STICKMAN: Got the jump on you and your New York BULLSHIT this time, Larry. TAKE THAT.
MADHERO: O dang. Have anything to counter with that, Larry?
LARRY: I kinda did before. The whole "Ready or Not" thing. OH YOU MEAN A MOVIE
LARRY: So my MOTW is the adaptation of "Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark" from André Øvredal and Guillermo Del Toro, which...to be honest I found to be a fairly average movie at best. But I wanted to talk about it here because what I did like I absolutely LOVED, and that is the excellent creature design from GDT and his previous collaborators Spectral Motion. Good golly gosh what they accomplish here is excellent stuff, bringing Stephen Gammell's original illustrations to life with such accuracy and precision that it breathes new life into them.
Despite how it may appear, each one is practically based in performance and prosthetics, with CGI done in post, but man do they sell each and every character. Even when the direction itself isn't anything to really ride home about, the monsters make it all worth it. Despite the film's overarching narrative leaving a lot to be desired, I'd still recommend this movie if you like monster movies, or have a particular attachment to the book, because it does the stories themselves plenty of justice.
STICKMAN: Oh boy oh boy. Spookems.
MADHERO: I saw the Film Insider video on the creature design and was really impressed. The movie itself....hasn't come out here yet
LARRY: Yeah dude that video rocks. That's what inspired my love for them even more.
STICKMAN: It's not out here yet but I'm hopefully seeing it in the coming days. It's pretty amusing how it's an adult movie here and yet is aimed at younger audiences in Americuh.
MADHERO: It still looks to me like a slightly scarier Goosebumps movie, which is totally fine.
LARRY: It's definitely a lot scarier and more disturbing at times. That fuckin' scarecrow man...
STICKMAN: I'm all about them practical spooky lads. Weird pudgy white lady in a corridor.
LARRY: So, so good. She in particular fucked me up.
MADHERO: All of the creature design looks rock solid. It looks like a fun haunted house ride
STICKMAN: Speaking of fucked up, what's your movie of the week, Mad?
MADHERO: Well damn, when you put it like that. I went with something nostalgic and decided to take a look at the Nickelodeon movies that were dumped on Netflix cause Nick had no real idea what to do with them. Out of these two, I'll go and talk about Rocko's Modern Life: Static Cling, if only cause I actually watched Rocko back as a kid, and something completely missed the boat on Invader Zim, which I'm not sure ever aired here or if it just completely skated me by.
Anyway, Static Cling was a trip and a half, especially as someone who watched but only vaguely remembers the original series. From the pitch, I was kinda worry it was just going to be a lot of "hey look at these modern times, haha gritty reboots and new iphones" jokes, but there's actually a story going on that tackles the topic of change as something that's necessary, ineviatable and something we need to learn to accept. The fact that this comes from a revival movie of an mid 90s tv show is an irony not lost on the creators, as it consistently makes fun of its own existence. And yes, its worth pointing out that it has a major storyline involving a character being trans and its handled surprisingly well. While some of the grossout humor didn't really land for me, I nonetheless had a pretty good time returning to O-Town with Rocko and the gang.
STICKMAN: I also saw Rocko say trans rights. I feel pretty much the same, the gross-out gags didn't land, they never do for me, but the rest was a fun blast from the past with a nice panache of progressive narrative.
LARRY: What a surprise mic drop.
MADHERO: The cynical part of me says that part probably was one of the reasons Nick dropped it to Netflix, but there's of course the fact a revival of an old property has limited appeal.
STICKMAN: I am almost 100% sure Nickelodeon wussed out of having a trans character on their channel. The same channel that dropped Korra to their on demand service the same season it was revealed she was gonna be in a relationship with another woman.
LARRY: I watched a few episodes of Rocko when I was young, not enough to really get into it. So this sorta flew by me.
STICKMAN: I watched it when I was a teen and I enjoyed it, this was a fun revival.
MADHERO: I imagine you were more of a Camp Lazlo guy, Larry, which was from the same creator
LARRY: Um....I did watch some of that too. I was really more of a Foster's guy.
MADHERO: I enjoyed returning to that world and the weird esoteric style really lends itself to HD. Its a really nice looking production.
STICKMAN: I thought it looked a little rough, but not enough to spoil the fun. Once again Netflix scoops up that which other studios are too afraid to release themselves...for...numerous reasons.
MADHERO: Alright, I think that's going to about cover it. The summer movie season will officially end and Clown Season is gonna be into full effect. Get your balloons and practice your dances, cause dat boi Pennywise is about to return
STICKMAN: Pennywise to dab for maximum horror. SEE YOU THEN.
LARRY: The tongue that could stretch for days.
MADHERO: The world is not ready, but we better be.