Monday, September 29, 2014

Shot/Reverse Shot - The Alternate 100: Part 7


Part 7 of the Alternate 100 is here and after a few weeks in which Joe and I discussed some pretty dark, bleak films, things remain pretty bleak, if I'm honest. But there's also discussion about Steve Martin, the absurdist tendencies of the Coen Brothers, and the criteria by which Michael Caine chooses his projects.

We're taking a break from the Alternate 100 for a few weeks in order to discuss some other subjects, and also to give us time to revisit some of the films that will be discussed in the last three installments. In the meantime, feel free to revisit the episodes we've recorded so far, or check out what we're done on Letterboxd.

As always, you can stream the podcast using the link below, or preferably (from our point of view) you can subscribe using iTunes. If you choose the later, please rate it and leave a review because it helps us to get more listeners, and also gives us something to obsess over. Speaking of which, you can also Like us on Facebook, assuming that you do.



Monday, September 22, 2014

Doctor Who - Time Heist (S08E05)


Before we get down to the business of discussing this very, very good episode of Doctor Who, I just want to step back and examine an issue that has bothered me about the show in the past, and explain why the last few episodes have managed to sidestep it. A little over a year ago, when reviewing the Season 7 episode "Hide", I wrote about what I have come to think of as The Problem of Perspective, an issue which has plagued the show for years, but came to really dominate the Matt Smith seasons:
The Problem of Perspective is that if every episode is about a life-or-death struggle to save the Earth or the galaxy or the Universe then it gets harder and harder to care with each passing crisis. This is especially problematic where end of season finales are concerned; how can something be a climax when everything leading up to it is just a succession of climaxes? 
The show became too big. It too often revolved around stories in which The Doctor has to save the entire world on a weekly basis, and in so doing it squeezed out the smaller-scale adventures that the original series did so well. I mean, the small stories still involved intergalactic travel, life-and-death decisions and moments of terror, but they were often about trying to save a handful of people or thwart a relatively small scheme. You cared about whether The Doctor succeeded because even the lives of seemingly insignificant beings mattered to him, not because failure meant the end of the Universe.

Shot/Reverse Shot - The Alternate 100: Part 6


With 50 films catalogued and discussed, it's now time for Joe and I to talk about another 50, because that's how this ridiculous project works. We start with an episode that is surprisingly horror-heavy, as the ten films discussed cover J-horror, body horror, Cold War paranoia, the implacable brutality of nature, and the implacable brutality of Anton Newcombe.

This episode also includes the phrase, "You can imagine Frank Miller masturbating", for which I cannot apologise enough.

As always, you can stream the podcast using the link below, or preferably (from our point of view) you can subscribe using iTunes. If you choose the later, please rate it and leave a review because it helps us to get more listeners, and also gives us something to obsess over. Speaking of which, you can also Like us on Facebook, assuming that you do.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Doctor Who - Listen (S08E04)

"Did we come to the end of the Universe because of a nursery rhyme?" - Clara
That line may be the perfect summation of the appeal and driving force behind Doctor Who in general, and the Steven Moffat era in particular. The Doctor is a protector and something of a superhero, but he's also an explorer. He's someone who has access to a time machine and has the entirety of existence at his disposal, and he has to make the most of it. In "Listen", the first out-and-out great Capaldi episode (and an episode that already seems destined to be canonised alongside "Blink" and "The Girl in the Fireplace" as a modern classic), Doctor Who explores that adventurous spirit, and how far The Doctor's inquisitiveness will take him, even if all that's driving him is a nursery rhyme and a general feeling of unease.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Shot/Reverse Shot - The Alternate 100: Part 5


Boom! We've reached the halfway point of the Alternate 100, and we celebrate by talking about ten more films that we feel don't get enough respect from the sort of people who compile more prestigious and/or popular lists. This is an especially good selection, particularly if you're a fan of film noir, '70s horror or Viggo Mortensen killing motherfuckers. Also, we talk about a film about a robot that will make your eyes piss tears. No, not that one.

As always, you can stream the podcast using the link below, or preferably (from our point of view) you can subscribe using iTunes. If you choose the later, please rate it and leave a review because it helps us to get more listeners, and also gives us something to obsess over. Speaking of which, you can also Like us on Facebook, assuming that you do.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Doctor Who - Robot of Sherwood (S08E03)


One of the things that has impressed me about this still young season of Doctor Who is the way that it seems more interesting in engaging with Big Themes wrapped up in Silly Ideas than the last few years have been. Last week's episode was a little off-balance in that regard since the execution of its premise was perhaps not as rigourously thought out as it could have been; its attempts to tell a story about prejudice was undercut by having to shrink The Doctor down and physically place him inside a Dalek. This week's episode is built around an even sillier premise - The Doctor and Clara meet Robin Hood and fight robotic knights! - but it worked better for me because it used that silliness as a way to explore the power of myths and storytelling.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Shot/Reverse Shot - The Alternate 100: Part 4


Right, we're done fucking around. After months of indecision over what films to include, then even more months of waiting between installations, Joe and I are committing ourselves to completing out Alternate 100 project before the year is out. In this episode, we discuss a selection of surprisingly bleak films with utterly hopeless endings, then turn out of the emotional tailspin by discussing one of the funniest comedies ever made.

Note: The first 20 minutes are a little fuzzy due to an issue I had with my microphone while recording, but it gets sorted after a while. My sincerest apologies to the audiophiles out there.

As always, you can stream the podcast using the link below, or preferably (from our point of view) you can subscribe using iTunes. If you choose the later, please rate it and leave a review because it helps us to get more listeners, and also gives us something to obsess over. Speaking of which, you can also Like us on Facebook, assuming that you do.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Doctor Who - Into The Dalek (S08E2)


Even though i thought that last week's premiere was merely fine, I imagine that even if i had loved it I would have come away from "Into The Dalek" thinking that it would have served as a better introduction to Peter Capaldi's Doctor. Hell, the opening scene was better than the entirety of "Deep Breath". In a few minutes, you got to see The Doctor being slightly ridiculous - he saves Journey Blue (Zawe Ashton) from Dalek ships while holding a couple of lattes - while also managing to talk Journey out of killing him by, in essence, being a total dick to her. ("You'll probably feel a bit sick. Please don't be." "My brother just died!" "His sister didn't, you're very welcome." "You'd starve to death trying to find the light switch.") Then, when told by Colonel Morgan Blue (Michael Smiley) that, despite being grateful for saving Journey, he still intends to kill him, The Doctor's response is a sardonic "Well, it's a roller coaster with you, isn't it?" All of those lines could have been said by Matt Smith or David Tennant without changing a word, but they'd have probably made the gag a bit more obvious. That dryness, that flipness that Capaldi brings to the character didn't really show up much in "Deep Breath", but it was on full display here and I thought it worked brilliantly.

Shot/Reverse Shot - Autumn/Winter 2014 Preview


This blockbuster season was one of the better in recent years, with very few truly awful films and a handful of genuinely great ones in the mix, but the slate of films due to come out over the last three months of 2014 promise to make them all look like utter garbage. As is our wont, Joe and I sat down with the Autumn/Winter schedule and picked out the projects that most interest us, and which promise to be either the best or worst films of the year. And yet we still manage to get sidetracked buy a discussion of how awful The Sweetest Thing is.

As always, you can stream the podcast using the link below, or preferably (from our point of view) you can subscribe using iTunes. If you choose the later, please rate it and leave a review because it helps us to get more listeners, and also gives us something to obsess over. Speaking of which, you can also Like us on Facebook, assuming that you do.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Doctor Who - Deep Breath (S08E01)


Last year was a pretty immense one for Doctor Who. It marked its fiftieth anniversary with the huge spectacle of "The Day of The Doctor", then had to say goodbye to Matt Smith, who left the series after three seasons. It was bittersweet because he was so great in the role and it was sad to see him go, but also because, as good as he was, it felt like he could have been even better if the show around him had been more audacious. Under head writer Steven Moffat, the show had lost the inconsistency that plagued its earlier years under Russell T. Davies, but it rarely hit the same heights that it reached when it was taking big, crazy risks that didn't always pay off. It didn't become boring, but it did lose its unpredictability, particularly as it tried to become more serialised in its storytelling, often at the expense of making good individual episodes of television.

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