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.