Thursday, December 17, 2009

On Hiatus

In case anyone was wondering why the blog wasn't updated this week, it is because I am currently on holiday in Singapore. I will return to the states during the second week of January. I will update the blog as soon as I get back with a "Paranormal Activity" podcast.

Please stay tuned!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Scrooged Podcast


This week, Zack and Nick take a look at the 1988 Christmas-themed comedy (and retelling of "A Christmas Carol") "Scrooged," directed by Richard Donner and starring Bill Murray and Karen Allen. Will they cult or can this not-so-loved Christmas remake? Listen and find out!



You can also download the podcast here.

Feel free to leave us some comments and recommend movies for future editions of "Cult it or Can it?"

And click here to follow us on iTunes!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

2009 Film in Review

“Cult it or Can it?” presents main host Zack S. Lowe’s thoughts on the best and worst in 2009 cinema. Read on!

Caveat: I am not a professional film reviewer, nor a professional writer of any sort. Therefore, I have not viewed each and every film released in theaters in 2009 (though I have viewed 34 2009 releases thus far).

Top Five:

5. Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire
A heartfelt film that is both incredibly sad and somehow winning, “Precious” is an engaging story well-told, well-acted, and well-directed.

4. District 9
Perhaps the biggest blockbuster surprise of the summer, “District 9” proved to be a fascinating exercise in minimalist science fiction. Presenting a complex allegory through faux docu-drama style, this challenging film shocks, awes, and most importantly, entertains.

3. Inglourious Basterds
Hands down, this is Quentin Tarantino’s finest film since “Pulp Fiction.” “Inglourious Basterds” presents WWII, a tired film subject, in a brand new manner, offering superbly acted, directed, and scripted scenes that will leave moviegoers on the edge of their seats. Christoph Waltz gives the finest film performance of the year.

2. Adventureland

A unique coming-of-age drama, “Adventureland” is director Greg Mottola’s follow-up to “Superbad” and manages to be subtle, mature, and engaging. The story of several post-college young adults spending their summer working at a third-rate theme park makes for one of the best films of the year.

1. Up
Pixar’s most challenging film, “Up” will leave audiences in tears before the main story even starts. But the heartbreaking opening is just the beginning. The adventure which comprises the rest of the film is superbly directed, which top notch voice talents. Pixar’s animation remains an industry bench-mark.

Honorable Mention:


Watchmen
Zack Snyder’s follow up to “300” is muddled yet mesmerizing, brilliant yet flawed. Performances by Billy Crudup and Jackie Earle Haley anchor the film’s best scenes. Snyder’s film falls just short of being “visionary.” The best Alan Moore adaptation to date (and the best adaptation of the original comic we will ever receive).

Coraline

Henry Selick’s work in animation is top tier, and it shows in his adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s “Coraline.” Dakota Fanning brings life to the titular character with her terrific voice acting, but it’s Selick’s keen sense of story and excellent direction which make “Coraline” one of the finest films of the year.

The Hangover
2009’s funniest film, mostly due to the chemistry between Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis, is also one of the best films of the year. Director Todd Phillips continues to improve from one comedy to the next.

Star Trek
2009’s best blockbuster summer feature, director J.J. Abrams adapts the beloved Star Trek franchise’s film “reboot” near flawlessly. Working from a somewhat meticulous script and story, Abrams manages to create a solid first film in a hopefully long series of future sequels. There was no more satisfying summer event movie. This film is everything that “Wolverine,” “Transformers 2,” and “GI Joe: Rise of Cobra” should have been.

Drag Me to Hell
Sam Raimi’s spiritual successor to his “Evil Dead” franchise, “Drag Me to Hell” is one of the most crowd-pleasing, fun-to-experience-with-a-group films of the decade. Though unfairly derided by some for not being scary or intense enough, and critiqued by others for having a predictable plot, Raimi manages to take on a story grabbed from recent headlines (the housing collapse) and build a solid horror comedy around it, as only he could.

Worst of the Year:

Dragonball: Evolution
How bad is this film? It failed to gross even ten million dollars in the United States, where the Dragonball franchise is literally a license to print money. Truly atrocious in every way, from the casting of a Caucasian actor as the main character to the awful story, special effects, direction, and action, “Dragonball: Evolution” should be avoided.

Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li
When your lead looks nothing like Chun Li and contains very few action set-pieces for a martial arts film (as well as a shockingly low amount of “legend”), you’ve got a recipe for yet another poorly adapted video game movie. No one walks away from this without embarrassment.

Miss March
Let’s just say this: two recurring jokes revolve around a man constantly crapping his pants and a woman having epilepsy. Not only the worst comedy of the year, but one of the worst films of the year.

Terminator: Salvation
Hiring McG to direct was a mistake. Making this a PG-13 wimp-fest was an even bigger mistake. Just what else went wrong? Quite possibly a hundred other things. The story is weak. The special effects are bad (that CGI Arnold is especially atrocious). Christian Bale growls his way through yet another movie, only this time it’s not a Batman film and Chris Nolan is nowhere to be found. Truly the worst of the franchise as well as one of the summer’s worst event films.

Bonus! 2009 Features Covered by “Cult it or Can it?”:
Push – Canned by both Zack and Bill
Funny People – Canned by both Zack and Bill
Inglourious Basterds – Culted by both Zack and Joe
Adventureland – Culted by both Zack and Emma
Watchmen – Culted by both Zack and Jon
District 9 – Culted by both Zack and Bill

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Adventureland Podcast


This week, Zack and Emma take a look at the 2009 coming-of-age comedy romance "Adventureland" directed by Greg Mottola and starring Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, and Ryan Reynolds. Will they cult or can this charming, heartfelt film? Listen and find out!



You can also download the podcast here.

Feel free to leave us some comments and recommend movies for future editions of "Cult it or Can it?"

And click here to follow us on iTunes!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Ghostbusters 2 Podcast


This week, Zack and James take a look at the 1989 science fiction comedy sequel "Ghostbusters II" directed by Ivan Reitman and starring Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson. Yes, the original team is back... but does the sequel stand up to the cultural landmark that is the original "Ghostbusters"? Take us for a listen and find out!



You can also download the podcast here.

Feel free to leave us some comments and recommend movies for future editions of "Cult it or Can it?"

And click here to follow us on iTunes!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The 2010: The Year We Make Contact Podcast


This week, Zack and Nick take a look at the 1984 science fiction sequel "2010: The Year We Make Contact" directed by Peter Hyams and starring Roy Scheider, Helen Mirren, and John Lithgow. Will they cult it or can it? Listen and find out!



You can also download the podcast here.

Feel free to leave us some comments and recommend movies for future editions of "Cult it or Can it?"

And click here to follow us on iTunes!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Lost Boys Podcast


This week, Zack and Lauri take a look at the 1987 Joel Schumacher film "The Lost Boys" starring Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patric, and both the Coreys, Haim and Feldman. Will they cult or can this 80's vampire flick? Take the 'cast for a listen and find out!!



You can also download the podcast here.

Feel free to leave us some comments and recommend movies for future editions of "Cult it or Can it?"

And click here to follow us on iTunes!

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Highlander 2: The Quickening Podcast


This week, Zack and Nick take a look at the 1991 infamously bad feature film "Highlander 2: The Quickening" directed by Russell Mulcahy and starring Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery. Will they cult it, or can it? Does it matter? Take a listen and find out!



You can also download the podcast here.

Feel free to leave us some comments and recommend movies for future editions of "Cult it or Can it?"

And click here to follow us on iTunes!

Monday, October 26, 2009

The V for Vendetta Podcast


This week, Zack and Bill take a look at the 2006 feature film "V for Vendetta" starring Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman. Will they cult or can this controversial film? Tune in and find out!



You can also download the podcast here.

Feel free to leave us some comments and recommend movies for future editions of "Cult it or Can it?"

And click here to follow us on iTunes!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Orgazmo Podcast


This week, Zack and Nick take a look at the controversial 1996 (or is it 1997... or 1998?) feature-film release "Orgazmo" written and directed by Trey Parker and starring Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Will Zack and Nick cult it, or will they can it? Take a listen and find out!



You can also download the podcast here.

Feel free to leave us some comments and recommend movies for future editions of "Cult it or Can it?"

And click here to follow us on iTunes!

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Donnie Darko Podcast


This week, Zack and Heather take a look at the 2001 psychological thriller "Donnie Darko" directed by Richard Kelly and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Drew Barrymore, and Patrick Swayze. Will Heather and Zack cult it, or can it? Listen and find out!



You can also download the podcast here.

Feel free to leave us some comments and recommend movies for future editions of "Cult it or Can it?"

And click here to follow us on iTunes!

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Boondock Saints Podcast


This week, Zack and Bill take a look at the 1999 action-thriller "Boondock Saints" directed by Troy Duffy and starring Norman Reedus, Sean Patrick Flanery, and Willem Dafoe. Will Zack and Bill cult it, or can it? Take a listen and find out!



You can also download it here.

Feel free to leave us some comments and recommend movies for future editions of "Cult it or Can it?"

And click here to follow us on iTunes!

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Justice League: The New Frontier Podcast



This week, Zack and Nick take a look at the 2008 animated direct-to-dvd DC Universe feature "Justice League: The New Frontier" written by Darwyn Cook and featuring the voice talents of David Boreanaz, Lucy Lawless, and Neil Patrick Harris. Guest Nick steps into the Cult Crew for the first time. Will he and Zack cult it, or can it? Listen and find out!



You can also download it here.

Feel free to leave us some comments and recommend movies for future editions of "Cult it or Can it?"

And click here to follow us on iTunes!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Inglourious Basterds Podcast

This week, Zack and Joe take a look at the 2009 WWII fantasy/revenge thriller "Inglourious Basterds" directed by Quentin Tarantino and starring Brad Pitt and Christoph Waltz. Will they cult it or can it? Listen and find out!



You can also download it here.

Feel free to leave us some comments and recommend movies for future editions of "Cult it or Can it?"

And click here to follow us on iTunes!

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Push Podcast

This week, Zack and Bill take a look at the 2009 sci-fi thriller "Push" directed by Paul McGuigan and starring Chris Evans and Dakota Fanning. Will they cult it or can it? Listen and find out.



You can also download it here.

And click here to follow us on iTunes!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

BBQ delays Podcast! News at 11! (but not really)

Due to the epic BBQ Mayhem of this weekend (pictures here ), this week's podcast will be up and available on Monday night.

The Cult Crew loves you all!

-Peace-

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Hackers Podcast

This week, Zack and Heather take a look at the 1995 sort-of thriller "Hackers," directed by Iain Softley and starring Angelina Jolie, Johnny Lee Miller, and Fisher Stevens. Will they cult it, or will they can it? Listen and find out!

As always, spoilers abound...



You can also download it here.

Oh, and click here to follow us on iTunes!

Friday, September 4, 2009

The American Psycho Podcast

This week, Zack and Joe take a look at the 2000 thriller "American Psycho" starring Christian Bale. Check it out and let us know what you think.



You can also download it here.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Watchmen Podcast

This week, Zack and Jon take a look at the 2009 graphic novel adaptation "Watchmen" directed by Zack Snyder and starring Jackie Earl Haley and Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

As always, spoilers abound. So listen cautiously!



Or you can listen here as well.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The District 9 Podcast

This week, Zack and Bill take a look at the 2009 science-fiction film "District 9" from director Neil Blomkamp and director Peter Jackson. It promises to be a thrilling listen, so give it a whirl!

Be warned... there are potential spoilers!



Or you can check it out here too.

Oh, and check out the short film Alive in Joburg available on YouTube.

Meet the cast! (Thus far)

Here at "Cult it or Can it?" we have a rotating list of guest hosts to help out the main host. Let's take a look at some of the major players as well as the man behind the curtain.

Zack
Your gracious host.

My favorite movies:
Children of Men, Capturing the Friedmans, Sunshine, Fargo, Gladiator, Casino Royale, Better off Dead, Million Dollar Baby, Blade Runner, Adventureland, Heathers
Some of my random hobbies:
Reading comics, listening to podcasts, watching Mad Men (*swoon* Don Draper), texting, wasting time on the internet
Contact me here:
zackslowe@gmail.com


Heather, aka Urban Faerie (if you must)
Everyone's favorite co-host, Heather!

Heather's favorite movies:
"Breakfast at Tiffany's", "Roman Holiday", "Sabrina", "Babe", "Paulie", "Saved!", "Romeo and Juliet", "Boondock Saints", and many others I dare not list and there are many many more!
Random Heather-type interests:
Anime, flute mechanics, parakeet genetics, shelter dogs, furniture refinishing... life, the universe and everything.
Random other info:
jordantoreador@yahoo.com Feel free to contact me. I need more stimulation in all vectors. Send all gripes to Zack to me... I'll have a field day. ;)

Joe, aka The Lone Wolf
All around GGTK (Good guy to know!)

Joe's list of favorite movies:
Falling Down, The Warriors, Rocky 1-4, Ferris Buller's Day Off, Princess Bride, Labyrinth, Die Hard, Die Hard With a Vengence, Live Free or Die Hard, Crank, Crank High Voltage, The Transporter, Clerks, Dogma, The Punisher (2004), Chaos, The Bank Job, Army of Darkness, Bubba Ho-tep, Crash, High Tension.
Random Joe interests:
Comics, Cooking, and retro video games.
Joe's email:
TheLoneWolf82@gmail.com

William Mosher, aka Bill
East coast pal!

Bill's list of favorite movies: Legally Blonde, Kill Bill, Star Trek (New and old), Star Wars, Harry Potter, Singin' In the Rain, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Random Bill interests: Anything nerdy, i.e. DnD - WoW, Choral & Pop Music, Religion and Political discussions
Email bill here: drdarwin42@comcast.net



Coming soon... bios on Bill, Jon, and the rest of the Cult Crew!

The Heathers Podcast

This week, Zack and appropriately enough, Heather, take an extended look at the 1989 feature film "Heathers" starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater.



The Heathers Podcast

Also coming sometime this week, Cult Crew bios!! Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Funny People Podcast

This week, Zack and Bill take a look at the 2009 comedy misfire "Funny People" directed by Judd Apatow and starring Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen.



Check it out here: Funny People Podcast

Friday, August 14, 2009

District 9 Review

There's a lot to like, but there's almost an equal amount to dislike in some instances as well. Is this a detriment to the film or is it still interesting enough to check out? I'll attempt to answer that question. (Warning, spoilers abound!)

Twenty years prior, an alien ship appeared on earth, hovering above Johannesburg, South Africa. Since then, aliens have lived on earth, confined to the slum known as District 9. In the first half of the film, Wikus Van der Merwe, the main human character, is tasked with clearing District 9 of all of its alien inhabitants. The corporation he works for, Multi-National United (MNU) has declared the alien race, nick-named "prawns" for their bottom feeding ways, too dangerous for Johannesburg. The prawns, therefore, must be moved to a distance further from the city. The citizens of Johannesburg have had enough of the aliens as well, as the prawns have inadvertently (mostly) caused social unrest and civil strife on a monolithic level for residents of the city.

The first half of the film is presented docu-drama style. Wikus is followed by a camera crew as well as MNU soldiers/mercenaries as he attempts to evict the residents of District 9. The second half takes place after a momentous turn of events, as Wikus is made an outcast and must ally himself with an alien, given the name Christopher.

This is where the film loses me. Things devolve into chaos and cliche, as Wikus and Christopher storm the MNU facility, and take back an alien Macguffin. Scenes begin to fall back on too many action cliches and the film loses sight of the brilliant first half, as well as most of the excellent social commentary.

One of the things about "District 9" that I appreciate is that the film doesn't talk down to its audience (for once a mainstream movie does this), but I am still left with a few vital unanswered questions. Why is only one prawn actively seeking a way to get home? If the prawns are so intelligent and able to build spacecrafts and advanced weapons, why do a majority of them seem so base and stupid? Why did they just not tell the humans in the first place, 20 years ago when they landed, that they would need an amount of time on earth to fix their mothership? Where are the other intelligent prawns besides the Christopher and his son?

I find it difficult to get behind the prawns as characters, because every time one of them does something smart, I see two others fighting each other or murdering something or digging through the trash for a snack or a decoration to put on the wall. But I guess the same could be said of humans. I totally get there's a satiric layer to the film wherein the prawns are compared to and perhaps share some of the experiences of the victims of apartheid. I see that. But I still have difficulty getting behind them, as well as Wikus at various moments, as protagonists. Don’t get me wrong, Wikus is a somewhat likable guy and his being forced into an extraordinary circumstance can be heart-wrenching. He's given a job he can't possibly do, and there's a definite feeling that he's been set up to fail. In this way, he's sort of the classic Peter Jackson (who produced) protagonist. But he’s just so goofy, na├»ve, and sometimes stupid that it’s difficult to root for him.

Still though, it's one of the few summer movies this year to actually take a chance on something, and for this, I can wholly appreciate the good more than the bad. It really is something different, especially compared with the usual summer dreck. I immediately compared the film to Cloverfield, but even that's unfair. Cloverfield, love it or hate it (and I generally fall into the hate it category), isn't as fleshed out of an idea as this obviously is. Some compare the film to Starship Troopers as well. I didn't draw this comparison until after I'd seen the movie, and it makes sense in retrospect. But it's still a very different film from either of these.

I will say that I enjoyed the film on the whole. There's a very hand-made feel to it that's difficult to replicate in other summer movies that have $150 million dollar budgets and A-list actors. I definitely recommend seeing it, because films like this need our support. It's a hard-R sci-fi film with many original elements and it's obviously been lovingly crafted by the director and crew. I say give it a shot and check out "District 9." Chances are you will be glad you did.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Coming soon...

The "Cult it or Can It?" guys (consisting of myself and former college pal Jon Powley) will start our first podcast. Don't miss this semi-momentous event.

So... what exactly is "Cult it or Can it?"

"Cult it or Can it?" is a new podcast featuring our discussion on movies that are on the edge of mainstream cinema. We plan to cover new and old releases alike. We'll also do movies currently in theaters on occasion. Basically, if we've both seen something recently and want to talk about, we will.

In our podcasts, we will cover a variety of topics, ultimately leading to the question of "Cult it or Can it?" We'll cover a brief history of each movie, exploring how it was made. We'll talk about budgets and numbers. We'll talk about principal actors, the director, producers, etc. We'll talk about the structure of the movie and what works and doesn't work. Ultimately, we'll put it in either a "Cult it," as in "It's worth seeing and should find a bigger following" or "Can it," as in, it's not worth seeing (though it may still have some sort of merit). We are not looking to revolutionize film discussions, just add our opinions on varying matters.

Please remember that here at "Cult it or Can it?" nothing is set and stone. Our rules are not hard and fast, and we'll probably contradict each other a lot. It's all in good fun.