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:

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).


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