Sunday, November 3, 2013
Malc & Benjy discuss the first two film in Marvel Studio's "Phase Two" - Iron Man Three and Thor: The Dark World.
This marks the first time Malc & Benjy have podcast about a film still currently on release (or, in the case of the US, not yet on release) so please be aware there is a huge SPOILER WARNING.
Monday, August 12, 2013
We begin in 1933 (the year of LR's creation) at the circus where an aged Tonto relates the tale of the Lone Ranger's origin to a young boy, a little like The Princess Bride meets A Man Named Horse.
Flashing back to the Wild West (Texas, looking suspiciously like western movie-Mecca Monument Valley, Utah), we meet train barons, outlaws, injuns, townsfolk and a young lawyer named John Reid. After the villain is busted from jail by his posse, John's square-jawed, two-fisted older brother, Texas ranger Dan Reid deputises little bro to help him find the outlaw, and the lawmen (7 of them) are unceremoniously gunned down. Little John survives, with the help of Johnny Depp's Tonto, who mentors the city-softened bookworm into the justice-meting, white horse-riding, silver bullet-shooting hero.
Suffice to say, this isn't a 90 minute adventure, whipping from one set piece to the next... and that is where the roblem lies.
We get John's backstory - love of life marries brother, brother dies, quandary.
We even get more than enough characterisation on the villains!
Armie Hammer is a good actor, a handsome leading man, and he gives good Clark and good Kal-El as both sides of the heroic personae. While he doesn't 'zing' like - say - Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man or Fassbender as Magneto, he is better than solid and I'm looking forward to following his career.
William Fitchner is odd - he's a super actor and very convincing as the Black Hat, but I was constantly distracted by... something. Maybe it's the memory of his lovely blind scientist in Contact, in which case it's my fault, or maybe he just has no business having all that dirt on his face, but something was out.
Which brings us to the headline stealing Mr. Depp's turn as sidekick/actual main character Tonto of the Commanche (a change because Tonto's original tribe wasn't from Texas). Imagine if Keith Richards was born a Native American and instead of drugs and booze had gotten into paganism and spiritualism. This is the Jack Sparrow we would have gotten.
He is wise (though the script isn't), sarcastic, always in control and utterly overshadows John Reid as the hero. It reads a revisionistic history where Tonto is the brains and Reid is the face of the Lone Ranger, because the evil white man wouldn't accept an Indian hero (to be fair, yeah - that happened, BUT... to be continued)
Which brings me back to my first question. The stereotypical Tonto speaks in broken English, and supports LR. In the t.v. series, they started to redress the balance by having Tonto speak properly, contributing to the heroism and while he is still the sidekick, his Indian-ness neither relegates him to 'noble savage' nor does white guilt promote him to Spiritual Übermensch.
In this film, that's what they do - positive discrimination turns Tonto into a semi-Jedi warrior priest who has no flaws, and knows everything. Despite a really interesting section where it is implied guilt over his youthful mistake has driven him insane, he ends up being a blend of Han Solo and Obi-Wan, and this detracts from LR (Luke Skywalker in this analogy) which does damage the film.
Still on my first original question - produced by a white man, written by white men (the guys who wrote Pirates of the Caribbean and EVERYTHING ELSE EVER), directed by an American of (recent) European descent, the star is a white man playing a Commanche (though he claims he 'may have Indian ancestry')... If its so keen to promote the indigenous peoples, why are there none involved in the production? Why doesn't he play LR and have a Native American play Tonto? It's awfully hypocritical and distracts from the plot.
No. It doesn't. It's a lot of fun - not all the time, but enough to justify the ticket price. The setpieces tend to get too big, too complex, too CGI, but they're exciting and they're spectacular. Gore Verbinski KNOWS action, in a way that many modern film makers don't (Michael Bay? George Lucas? Even modern Spielberg!) and the final train bit is great. Of course, that could be because THAT music kicks in...
Thursday, August 8, 2013
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Sunday, November 4, 2012
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Monday, May 7, 2012
Friday, December 30, 2011
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Saturday, September 3, 2011
In summary: We're geeks = we like them.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
|William Wallace wasn't going to let laryngitis get in the way of his motivational speech...|
And, because we promised, here is the most Inspirational 2 minutes you'll ever see;
<iframe width="640" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/d6wRkzCW5qI?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
And some more Braveheart related madcap humour;
<iframe width="480" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/tcoVxbutl8g?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Friday, February 11, 2011
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Two films involving the legendary Clint Eastwood - one from the height of his acting career, one from the beginning of his heyday as a Director. Similarities and differences abound in equal measure - lets see what we can say about each.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
This time, our Dynamic Duo tackle The Star Wars Trilogy (Proper, not prequel).
Retraction - Ian McDiarmid was the artistic director at the Almeida Theatre, not the one Benjy said.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
To pilfer the tagline from another terrible franchise, "Whoever Wins, the Audience Loses"
|"This is all your fault!"|
Sunday, November 28, 2010
However, there are times - rare times, admittedly - when the humble automobile stretches out beyond the confines of the celluloid and grips your mind with the tenacity of a Great White Shark at Amity Island. Either through use, through design, through the way the damned thing is lit and shot, these vehicles imprint themselves on our mind and we... don't deny it... we drift off into our own fantasy world where we are driving that car.
Before we get to our favourites, we would like to explain the criteria that we set ourself;
To be included on the list, the vehicle must have four wheels and an engine.
It must not be alive or a regular car which has been possessed (Horror Cars may come later).
We are judging the car, not the film.
We're trying not to repeat ourselves in the list. (Though there are 3 police cars!)
I'm sure there are more rules, but we can't remember them.
So, without further ado - Malc & Benjy's Top Ten Movie Cars!
1) The DeLorean (Back to the Future Trilogy) - Because if you're going to travel through time, you might as well do it with some class.
2) The Batmobile (Batman, 1989) - This is the Batmobile that made the Batmobile cool - every one since this owes it a debt of gratitude.
3) The Interceptor (Mad Max) - Sleek, black, stylish - the best way to prowl the post-apocalyptic outback.
4) Bullitt's Car (Bullitt) - Because how could you possibly do a feature on cars and not include this?
5) Ecto-1 (Ghostbusters) - The look, the gadgets, the sound, the awesome stuff in the boot! This is the car that the child in all of us would have.
6) B.A.'s Van (The A-Team) - Rubbed out all to quickly in the movie, this iconic vehicle is both a workshop-on-wheels and a mobile gun platform. And who doesn't want a red swish on their vehicle?
7) The A.P.C. (Aliens) - Wouldn't you love this car in a traffic jam? Big, blocky in a way that only 80's military sci-fi can seem to manage and beweaponed. Also, consistantly shot from low angles just makes it look cooler.
8) The Detroit P.D. Cruiser (Robocop) - Bog standard, endlessly replaceable, and yet a beautiful car!
9) "The Classic" Oldsmobile (Any Sam Raimi film) - It's as much a milestone of cinema as it is a cool car. Destroyed and rebuilt more times than
10) Charlie Crokers Mini (The Italian Job, 1969) - Forget the new film, forget the new mini. This film put small cars on the map as objects of utter cool.
- The Tumbler (Batman Begins) - A superb "Bat-tank" but not groundbreaking enough in style to warrant inclusion above Burton's Batmobile.
- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) - A timeless classic, but would you take one out for a spin around town?
- Optimus Prime (Transformers) - Disqualified for not really being a vehicle, this guy would definitely be number one in a "Top Ten... ALIEN ROBOTS" list.
- The Spinner (Blade Runner) - Doesn't count as a car, because it has no wheels, but Syd Mead's design and Jordan Cronenwerth's cinematography, every frame containing this car emblazons it on the history of cinema.
- The Knight Bus (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) - Better than any real bus, even with the risk to life and limb.
- The Harley (Terminator 2) - It all boils down to that slow-mo shot with Not-Arnie chasing down an articulated lorry. Amazing!
- Herbie (Various) - Too twee. Probably an Autobot deserter.
|I don't know why they called it Hoth. They should have called it Coldth!|
Sunday, November 21, 2010
The two definitive Gothic Horror Stories receive the 90's treatment, and then - almost twenty years later - the Malc & Benjy treatment.
|This is a GENUINE poster from a 70's b-movie - not out twisted invention.|
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Welcome to the first of Malc & Benjy’s Top Ten – our blog feature where we take the ten most personal entries in a specific category and analyse the crap out of them.
For our inaugural blog posting, we’ve chosen to look at Trilogies – partly because Trilogies are awesome, partly because our next Podcast involves Trilogies and partly because Empire Magazine just published a feature and we don’t necessarily agree.
So, without too much preamble, here are the OFFICIAL Top Ten Trilogies.
1) The Original Star Wars Trilogy
· This is without doubt the Greatest Film Trilogy. It’s the reason we love trilogies (as long as they not be Prequels). Before Star Wars, there were people who loved films and people who loved the number 3, but since The Return of the Jedi, these people are one. Even though the high point is Empire, anyone who denounces Jedi is clearly a Bear Racist as there is nothing wrong with the Ewoks. Seriously. Nothing! Gary Kurtz recently revealed how the trilogy was to end, and it was a much more mature, sombre tone with death and spiritual release, and Luke walking off into the sunset, but being truly honest if that had been the end, and we’d waited six years for it, we’d have been livid. The only way to end such a grandiose fantasy was with the happy Kodak moment we got.
2) The Indiana Jones Trilogy (Raiders to Crusade)
· To be A Man is to wish you were Indiana Jones. Even more so than Star Wars, Indiana Jones is the most pure fun you can have in the cinema, and this includes every single moving image recorded since – Toys, Pirates, Transforming Robots, and Dinosaurs be damned! The reason for this is probably because Lucas – an ideas man who can’t really write or direct – is in charge of Ideas whilst Spielberg – a man who can’t really come up with decent ideas (A.I.?) but can direct the socks off any other individual you care to name – is directing. Also, John Williams.
3) The Bourne Trilogy
· This is that rarest of things, a trilogy which only improves with each successive chapter, the Law of Diminishing returns being roundly met by Jason Bourne’s middle finger. This guy could probably whup Chuck Norris. While Star Wars and Indiana Jones are the definition of “Cinema”, Bourne actually has so few flaws as to be a near perfect series of action films.
4) The Lord of the Rings
· While of a consistently high quality, what really pushes LOTR into the upper echelons is its ambition. Let’s face it, nothing in this film was new – Gollum was the child of Jar-Jar, most of the design was from Ralph Bakshi or hippie calendars and the violence was a polished version of Meet the Feebles. What really stands out is the care, the beauty, the scale and the scope of this wondrous series of films. These films are second only to Star Wars for creating a living, breathing, fully realised world that you would actually want to live in.
5) Back to the Future
· Okay, let’s get one thing straight. If you altered the timeline so your parents never had kids you would cease to have even been. You would not slowly fade, body part by body part. However, the brilliance of Back to the Future can be seen no more clearly than when we ignore all paradoxes and actually start wishing George and Lorraine would kiss. If we could choose one historical period to go to, we may not have chosen the fifties – but we’re really glad that Robert Zemeckis did! Marty, Doc Brown and Biff would top their respective character lists (Top Bratty Teens, Top Mad Scientists and Top Jock Thugs) and there aren’t many trilogies that can say that.*
6) The Dollars Trilogy
· While The Bourne Trilogy are the best examples of films that get better as the series progresses, they are by no means the only ones. These Westerns, absolutely radical at the time for their depiction of violence and cynical tone, stand the test of time better than most other period films, let alone westerns, with characters, plot devices and camera work which even today influences countless film makers. There are two kinds of men in this world, my friend; those that like the Dollars trilogy and those that haven’t yet seen it.
7) The Alien Trilogy (1 – 3)
· This is one of the first examples of a sequel taking the first one, and then doing everything it didn’t to create a truly different kind of experience. Alien was a truly brilliant horror that could never be topped – wisely, James Cameron didn’t even try. Instead, he went and made a sci-fi actioner that is without peer. Sigourney Weaver is the action Heroine, never mind your Angelina Jolie tosh. She is beautiful without being glamorous, tough without being masculine and independent without being a bitch. Of all the trilogies in this list, this one has the weakest single link with Alien 3 – but it’s not all that bad, and the first two are so rippin’ it doesn’t really matter.
8) Toy Story
· It’s possible to view these films as films about toys. It’s possible to view them as metaphors for modern living – part one is about being the new guy in a job, part two is about being promoted beyond the position you loved and part three is about retirement and facing your own mortality. This is the genius of Pixar – a colourful happy film about toys made us depressed that one day we’re going to grow old and die.
9) Mad Max
· We don’t want to live in a Post-apocalyptic world where we’re forced to fight for our lives, scavenge for food and treat every resource as if our existence depended upon it. But if we did, we’d like to do it here. Plus, his car is bitchin’.
10) Nolan’s Batman Trilogy
· Because, come on. Y’know? Come on.
These films missed out on the top ten because of a significant weak link (or two) in the series. Whilst all of these have at least one film that may have been excellent in its own right, we are doing a feature on trilogies. So get over it! (Kidding.)
The Terminator Trilogy (1-3)
Terminator 3 – T2 as remade by the Chuckle Brothers (Inflatable Boobs? Talk to the Hand? Punching a Car? What?!)
The Die Hard Trilogy (1 – Vengeance)
Die Hard 2: Die Harder! (At least 3 and 4 weren’t called Die Harderer and Die Hardest) It’s the opposite of the Alien films, where the sequel does just do the same as the original but not as good. Saved by a surprising part 3 – see the Podcast for details!
The Godfather Trilogy
Sometimes a brace is better than a hat trick.
The Evil Dead Trilogy
Evil Dead, for all its charm and the fact that it gave its key players a career, isn’t really that good which is why they remade it for Evil Dead 2.
F*ck you, John Woo. MI:2 doesn’t suck in its own right, but it sucks as a spy movie. It’s a subtle as Michael Bay taking a fart in a lift... then blowing it up in slo-mo as its hair wafts in the backdraft.
A legendary classic, bookended by two mediocre adaptations.
The Matrix Trilogy
We think we all live in the Matrix. We think that the rebels made The Matrix. We think that the success and popularity of the Matrix scared the Machines, and to send us back to sleep and ignore the world-defining knowledge that was within our grasp, made the Matrix Sequels. This is why they suck.
Pirates of the Caribbean
You’ve made a brilliant action adventure movie which has defied all expectation and is being hailed as the new Indiana Jones. What do you take as your template for the sequels? That’s right. The Matrix sequels. Top notch.
Malcolm was kicking off that there were no Superhero movies in the top ten (Batman doesn't count) so we decided to work out which is the top Superhero trilogies.
Whilst neither X-Men nor Spider-man get into the top ten (owing to dodgy third chapters), Malc and Benjy are utterly unified on the mini-list of “In what order of quality do these six films sit.” The undisputable (maybe) list is;
1) X2: X-Men United
4) Spider-Man 2
5) X-Men – The Last Stand
6) Spider-Man 3
On the basis that it contains the single best film (by a very narrow margin) and the rest are all kind of on a par with each other (i.e. 3 with 4 and 5 with 6) then we deem X-Men the greatest Superhero Movie Trilogy.