Three blog film critics talking about film & tv with talented international guests
Author: Damien Riley
I'm a #blogger, #filmcritic, & podcaster with an MA in English from California State University, Fullerton. I'm a 4th grade #teacher as my primary occupation. My views on films and life are usually headstrong and often 'left of center', but I have respect for the other side. I married my high-desert princess (now my queen). We have 3 children.
For James Wan, director, in the beginning was Saw. This first grisly, mind-bending thriller/horror film didn’t gross all that much but it spawned many many sequels making the franchise one of the most successful in the horror genre. In this podcast, we discuss the entire Saw franchise in detail, brain crunching traps included. Don’t miss this episode. Below are the stats on the film that started it all.
One of the features of Saw that truly sets it apart is the challenges and traps that are part of the game. It’s no fun, make no mistake, to somehow avoid a bear trap crushing your skull and that’s just one of the grisly inventions in the film. But there is a battle of intellect going on here. Saw says those who do not appreciate life don’t deserve life. Interesting. I wonder how we would fare?
You don’t have to be a fan of war movies to get the humor here, but it helps! You’ve need seen one quite like this. It features a star studded cast including Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr. It’s actors pretending to be in a movie pretending to be about Vietnam. The jokes are funny because they’re taboo. Don’t miss this one. It’s streaming now on Netflix.
Please leave me a comment with your impressions or just to let me know if you want to see it! I’d love to start a dialog in this film with you.
“Through a series of freak occurrences, a group of actors shooting a big-budget war movie are forced to become the soldiers they are portraying.” -IMDB
Hi all. I’m pleased to bring you this encore podcast of 2 movies with distinct weirdness and gore. Well, one has gore. I hope you enjoy this throwback! -Damien
*This episode contains spoilers.
In this, our 10th episode of the podcast, we, Darren and Damien, review two films: Suicide Squad is the mega high budget action film of the Summer and The Lesson is a low budget, independent horror film from last year. Listen to the podcast and see how they measure up.
Starring: Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Will Smith, Joel Kinnaman, Cara Delevingne, Jai Courtney, Jesse Eisenberg, Viola Davis, Jay Hernandez Genres: Action Directed By: David Ayer Studio: Warner Bros.
The Lesson (2015) Cast: Robert Hands as Mr. Gale
Evan Bendall as Fin
Michaela Prchalová as Mia Directed by: Ruth Platt Written by: Ruth Platt
Unrated Contains scenes of extreme violence.
We’re curious what you think of these films and our podcast. Do leave us a comment if you have the time. As always, if you would like to be on the show or you have a film, actor, or genre you’d like to see us cover, leave us a comment and we’ll get back to you promptly.
Hey there! Damien from Talking Stars here once again with another post from my Tune in Netflix Tuesday series! This film is now streaming on Netflix.
“Take the knife, and don’t be afraid to murder with it.” -Joseph
The “found footage” genre strikes again. This time we have a psychotic in our face most the movie. The movie scares because it is plausible. While we may not be able to divine his intentions, the “creep” does everything in a way that is believable, possible. When blood is shed, we don’t question the possibility.
Patrick Brice, Mark Duplass
This movie could really happen. The plot is a twenty something dude answers an ad for a job filming another dude. The work is one day and it pays $1,000 cash. I imagine a lot of people could use the money and would therefore show up for an interview. Aaron, played by Patrick Brice, does just that. When he gets to the address, he finds a vacation cabin of sorts, not fully secluded. He soon finds out the motives of the employer and much more than just to film him.
Creep becomes a character study in boundaries in a similar way to “The Cable Guy” where Jim Carrey was the Creep. The difference is, this film is horror. Aaron, played by the actual director of the film, misses several opportunities to escape. It’s almost as if he doesn’t want to hurt the Creep’s feeling. Would you rather hurt someone’s feelings or be killed? I think the answer is pretty obvious. At the same time, we humans hate confrontation and so Aaron, as a human, avoids confrontation and plays along.
I’ve seen Mark Duplass in several movies, my favorite being “The One I Love.” He’s a great actor and his ability to shoot lines like a firehose is shown in this film. He is clearly disturbed but the main character Aaron wants to find out just how much. Ultimately, as Aaron tries to get away, the plot becomes a hunt. I enjoyed the thriller aspect of this film but I wondered a lot why it was tagged horror. There were no dismemberments or zombies. It was just Aaron and Joseph talking through mountains of dialog (most Joseph’s)
I’m really not to keen on the found footage genre. Still, this movie used it well. Everything made sense, that it could have happened and been edited together. It lost a point for not being innovative. How many times have we seen the stalker befriend and kidnap someone? It lost another point for calling itself horror. There is a scene or two you could describe as such, but I think it’s better archived as a draa. Fr those reasons I gave it a 3/5. I recommend it if you can’t find anything else to watch. Trust me, there are plenty of movies I wouldn’t recommend as such, this is a good movie.
This is the first in a series I am experimenting with here at Talking Stars where I review a horror film I have seen each Monday. I call it Bloody Mondays. I hope you’ll read these posts, RT them and leave a comment. Thanks in advance. Be sure to check out Darren and I’s horror podcast episode at the footer of this post. Enjoy.
Holidays is an anthology of horror stories NOW STREAMING on Netflix. The short films share the theme of holidays including a twisted Easter and fu**ed up St. Patrick’s Day. They range from creepy and unsettling to gory and outright macabre. Anthologies can be great because they get to the conflict and solution much faster than other genre films. There are some truly scary anthology horror films out there, but can this one compete? Let me tell you what I think.
“HOLIDAYS is an anthology feature film that puts a uniquely dark and original spin on some of the most iconic and beloved holidays of all time by challenging our folklore, traditions and assumptions.” -IMDB
Fri 29 Apr 2016 UTC
IMDB Rating: 5.1
Among the directors is Kevin Smith of Tusk fame. Since that is one of my favorite horror films from 2014, I had high hopes for what he did her. I’ll go ahead and say there isn’t anything as horror-comical as Tusk but there is some stuff just about as twisted. In one, religious folk may be offended. If you decide to give it a go, keep your mind open with the jaws of life. I think I’ll be a recovering religious person my whole life and I loved it. Traditionalists should steer clear. The first three are generally vanilla.
The 5th, Halloween, stars Kevin Smith’s daughter Harley Quinn Smith and gets into sex webcams. The girls say fuck quite a bit, which is not necessarily bad depending on how much you enjoy hearing that from cute girls. Basically the 5th takes you into the twisted, vengeful mind of Kevin Smith. I’ll hold back on details but I can safely tell you we see an asshole get his without spoiling anything.
I’m a big horror fan. I love watching what can be done in this genre. Kevin Smith pushes the limits and gets great results in my opinion. Smith’s contribution may be seen by some as unimaginable but when you’re dealing in vengeance art, you never know what will appeal to people. I’m reminded of the rape scene in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
The 6th, Christmas, stars Seth Green. It’s fun to watch but not unique to me. See Brainstorm 1983 for more info on that (what’s a little remake posing as plagiarism between friends?). Oh, there’s a little sleight of hand from Dexter playing in there as well. For the genre of anthology horror, I’d say this one is worth my time. How open minded do you have to be? Well, enough see a climax per sequence which, if you think about it, better than the single big one we’re usually limited to. The final sequence takes place on New Year’s Eve and I will call it the most predictable. The anthology could be better in places but it also could be a lot worse overall. My verdict: Worth watching.
Wondering what you’ll see? Let me know in the comments. Then, get on Netflix where it’s currently streaming and see for yourself
Darren and I have reviewed many horror films on the podcast. Here’s our popular episode where we discuss the best horror films of 2016:
Spoiler Show. In what is my (Darren) second choice for the Film Club, I picked one of my guilty pleasures, Repo! The Genetic Opera.
This film centers around the idea that in the near future you can get body part transplants for a price but when you stop paying you will have them taken from you, all while having an opera background to the whole story. it would be fair to say we have mixed opinions on this film so come and see who did or didn’t enjoy this film.
We’re pleased to present you with a discussion of sport films Million Dollar Baby and Hoosiers in a mock sports competition format.
Today we had Josh from Reffing Movies hosting the show. It’s a fiesty one with Kira and Damien battling it out over their respective films. Both films had to be in keeping with the sports theme of Kira and Josh’s current “Play to the Whistle” Blogathon. In one corner, Damien has Hoosiers, a basketball drama starring Gene Hackman and Barbara Hershey.
Damien and Kira talk trash like professional wrestlers in he show, it’s a lot of fun (for us anyway). Hope you’ll have a listen! Tell us what you think. We would really like to get some comments from you listeners so please don’t be shy and if you think you’d like to be on our podcast, let us know that as well! Thank you very much for listening and participating through commenting.
Tarantino has many amazing films. We discuss some of them in terms of his style and technique as a director. This was fun, I think it gave a sense of how his work reaches people in all parts of the globe in powerful ways. Kira hosted this show. We covered the films below. -Damien
The notes for this episode were prepared by Damien. It’s my turn to present and lead the podcast with a favorite film. “Chariots of Fire is a 1981 British historical drama film. It tells the fact-based story of two athletes in the 1924 Olympics: Eric Liddell, a devout Scottish Christian who runs for the glory of God, and Harold Abrahams, an English Jew who runs to overcome prejudice.” -Wikipedia Also joining him as usual are Darren, Kira and a special guest appearance by Sabrina a new friend of the show.
Ironically I have been pushing the team for shorter shows. Since I started doing that, I have led some of the longest episodes. Maybe shorter isn’t necessarily better. We’ll see how our unique style of show continues to evolve. This one had a lot of meaning to me and so I allowed myself to elaborate longer than usual. The running time is just over a hour, so it’s not that long.
As a quick aside here at the get-go I want to recommend our own Kira’s sport movie themed blogathon Play to the Whistle currently taking submissions.
She is partnering with Josh of Reffing Movies, also a friend of Talking Stars, we’ve had him on a couple times and hope to see him here more.
The panel went around and shared their impressions by answering questions.
Here are a few questions we cover in the episode: Abrahams was not accustomed to losing and didn’t take it very well. He referred to his last Olympic race as “. . . ten lonely seconds to justify my whole existence.” What did he mean by this? What was running to him? Was this a healthy attitude?
Was Liddell correct in refusing to run on Sunday in a “respectful but firm resolve to do what was right?” The Prince of Wales asked him to be patriotic and run on Sunday for the benefit of his country. Here, two parts of the same Pillar of Character conflict. Think about what Liddell said about why he ran. What choice would you have made? Why?
Was Abrahams correct in being sensitive to anti-Semitic comments by others?
What was a part you especially liked about this film? disliked?
Then the blog film critics gave their ratings.
Sabrina’s answers to questions about Chariots and specifically the lead actor Ian Charleson. Sabrina is the curator and owner of an Ian Charleson appreciation site. Ian plays Eric Liddell in the film and sadly passed away too soon at the age of 40 of AIDS. He was a remarkable talent. She kindly answered some questions about him and Chariots for our broadcast.
Questions for Sabrina:
1. Please tell us about yourself and your twitter page about Ian Charleson.
2. You mentioned the film is “unforgettable.” I would agree. What makes it special do you think?
3. What are your favorite scenes with Charleson?
4. Clearly there is irony in a gay man playing Liddell. What can a Culture if #equality get from this film by way of message?
5. Tell us about Charleson other work apart from this films. What do you think are his best performances?
“In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X somewhere on the Mexican border. However, Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are upended when a young mutant arrives, pursued by dark forces.” -IMDB
Action, Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Fri 03 Mar 2017 UTC
IMDB Rating: 8.5
This show will contain Spoilers
In this show we discuss the movie Logan, X-Men Universe and just who could take over as Wolverine in the future. Host
Darren – Movie Reviews 101 Guests
Becky – Film Music Central
Jason – Jason’s Movie Blog