Aisle of the Damned: 4/28/17- In Space, No One Can Hear You Say “Family”

family family family family

In our latest episode, Kent deals with all sorts of ne’er do wells with the cannibal import Raw, the very Lovecrafty chiller The Void, the Scottish pricks of T2 Trainspotting and the deviants behind Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Then Bryan joins in for a discussion about the 8th(!) film in a series that started with a decent Point Break remake: The Fate of the Furious.

We also discuss some Marvel and Transformers news and take a look at some new trailer drops like Atomic Blonde and Thor: Ragnarok. Oh, and a little movie called Star Wars: The Last Jedi. 

All this and less on Aisle of the Damned!

Music:
The Aquabats– Stuck in a Movie
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes– I am a Rock

Aisle of the Damned: 03/22/17- Logan’s Heroes

This is the worst photoshop you will ever see.

We’re back after a medical hiatus to discuss the latest that Hollywood has dumped on us! Just kidding; March apparently doesn’t suck anymore as we have some pretty damn good movies to geek out about, including X-Men outlier Logan, giant monster movie Kong: Skull Island, indie horror wunderkind Get Out and the latest in the Matt Damon series, Matt Damon Goes to China.

We also discuss some new trailers, like Wonder Woman and Baby Driver, finally crap on the Oscars, talk about Joe Carnahan’s good decisions and Sony’s stupid-ass decisions and talk about Disney’s battle with their own history.

All this and less on Aisle of the Damned!

Music:
The Aquabats- Stuck in a Movie
Big T. Tyler– King Kong

Aisle of the Damned: 10/31/16- Patrick Stewart Eating from the Trash

Better than the Magnanimous Six

Bryan Lip-crypts and Kent Holle-ween are having you set your podcast dial to spooky as we shamelessly jump on the bandwagon and give our Top 10 favorite horror films of the 21st century. Before that though, we talk about Ash vs Evil Dead, the new Magnificent Seven, Storks and Shin Godzilla. We also discuss the Logan trailer, a couple of major hits losing their directors for the sequels and the possibility of a third Cloverfield coming soon. Oh, and JACK FROST IS COMING TO BLU RAY.

All this and less on Aisle of the Damned!

Music:
The Aquabats- 
Stuck in a Movie
John Zacherle- Coolest Little Monster

Aisle of the Damned- 7/22/15: The Merry Marvel Marching Society

75% of the time, it works every time.

We’re still working on getting the audio better, but a ragged labor of love is just right for talking about Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man and where the MCU stands at the official end of Phase Two. STEPHANIE BROWN* ALERT: We remain fanboys of Feige’s Moviehouse of Ideas. We also start griping about DC Comics since the New 52 relaunch. As you do.

*She still remains Spoiler in our hearts.

Music:
The Aquabats: Stuck in a Movie
Phantogram: When I’m Small

Aisle of the Damned: Episode XXIII- It’s your kids, Professor X! Something’s gotta be done about your kids!

Time for a new episode, humans and mutants! YES. ALREADY. This time, Kent talks about Godzilla, Bryan waxes X-Men: Days of Future Past and we both like Neighbors. Then we wonder bewilderingly about Edgar Wright leaving Ant-Man and David Goyer being a total dick. Join up, will not you?

Music:
The Aquabats– Stuck in a Movie
Huey Lewis and the News– The Power of Love

Go-Kart Godzilla! Woo-ooo-oooo-ooo!

Kent’s Movie Diary- What’s with all the foreign films?

To a wonderful mum.8/25/13- Had a couple of great nights this week and watched a lot of movies. Almost too many. First off, for the second time in the last couple of weeks I watched the first two-thirds of Edgar Wright’s Cornetto trilogy. I’ve written and spoken a lot about these films in the past, so I don’t particularly feel the need to expound upon them even further at the moment, aside from saying that despite their differences, they really are phenomenal as a body of work and a uniquely accessible look at American popular culture through the eyes of Britain (much like Spaced often was.) One could probably blame Shaun for the resurrection (pun intended) of zombie films over the last decade, but only the same way people like to blame Star Wars and Jaws for those attempting to ape their success instead of putting a new twist on an old formula like all three of those films did.

I had planned on attending the trilogy screening at the Alamo Drafthouse in KC, only to find that the only reason it said it wasn’t sold out was that there were a couple of handicapped-designated seats left. After briefly considering renting a wheelchair and claiming to have “entitlitus” like Ronnie Dobbs, I instead broke out my blu rays again. It was still a great time because I had some great company, Jade, a girl I’ve known for a while and have wanted to spend more time with. We got some Glory Days pizza, had some ice cream on the way to the theater and hit The World’s End to finish out a charming night. Definitely one of the best Thursday evenings I’ve had in a while.

The next night I hit up another edition of Cinema A-Go-Go (“Brought to you by KPR and The Retro Cocktail Hour.”) This edition brought a couple of greasy with cheese Italian superhero flicks from the so-called swinging ’60s. I’ve seen some of these types of films before. CAGG has shown films like Diabolik, Seven Golden Men and Super Argo before, while Mystery Science Theater also threw some stuff at us like Danger! Deathray, which I think may have been edited by a four year old. And they all have the same jazzy music, like Henry Mancini on anabolic steroids. Thanks to the aforementioned Deathray, I now find myself automatically inserting the words “Watermelon Man” into a good many of their scores. First up was Argoman: The Fantastic Superman. And he’s a total wanker, for the record. Argoman is a distinctly wonky bit of fluff in which the characters all seem to be wearing cheaper versions of outfits off the set of Batman. (The Adam West version, notch.) The henchmen were attired in a way that made me remark, “She’s got an army of Die Fledermauses!” It’s also obvious that the filmmakers had seen Thunderball and said, “We can make this look WAY more stupid.” Most interestingly (and the thing that got the most laughs) is that Argoman is a telekinetic that loses his superpowers for six hours after having sex. No, I’m not making that up. He also loves to throw away guns after using them for no particular reason, despite assuredly having more ammo in them. While he’s set up as a hero, he’s also a master criminal that loves the thrill of stealing the world’s greatest treasures. As you do.

Kriminal is not set up as a hero, however. While the filmmakers obviously expect the You've been hit by, you've been struck by...audience to root for him, he has little redeeming value beyond being super quick on his feet to avoid the law. While his signature is wearing a reverse-skeleton costume, he spends a surprising amount of time walking around in stylish bachelor wear. And of course he seduces every woman he comes across because apparently women simply had sex with anything that moved. Talk about your free love. While his costume and some other oddities like the inappropriate use of a kettle drum in the soundtrack helped supply the kind of goofy energy the crowd was looking for, it was actually the better of the two movies by far in terms of quality and plot. In the end, it is fun watching this creepy dude using his brain to fool both the law and the criminal element for his own gain. It’s essentially a heist movie boiled down into it’s essentials. Instead of a team of guys trying to pull off a big score, it’s one man against the world and it works. Of course the super-villian subgenre has never caught on in America the way it did over in Europe where these characters have their own comics and films. Americans are OK with anti-heroes, but we tire quickly of outright bad guys in most cases. Every time The Joker has gotten his own title from DC, you’ll notice it hasn’t lasted very long. But that might be changing. Breaking Bad has been a pretty beloved TV show and it’s about a character becoming a remorseless drug kingpin. So while the show may not have gained the love it has if it had started out with him being evil, shows like that and The Sopranos do indicate that America is becoming more and more tolerant of morally complex or bankrupt leads in entertainment, so long as they’re compelling. I’ll leave it to the pundits to decide if this is due to the moral degradation of America or the improvement in pop culture storytelling that has mostly taken place in the field of television. I just find it interesting. And it’s a fun button to push and see what people say.

8/30/13- Moving on, I finally finished the Lone Wolf and Cub series with White Heaven in Hell. Unlike the other films, this one took a bit of a weird turn into what is almost “supernatural,” if you want to call it that. First off, it really focuses on him and his one-man war against that darned Yagyu clan that framed him so they could take over as the Shogunate’s executioner for the first time since early on in the series. But it also brings on a legendary “spider tribe” that can dig through the earth like moles in a completely unrealistic manner. But it does help make them creepy so when Itto turns the tables on them, it is actually pretty great. Though when he finally comes up against a hundred guys at the end of the film in what looks like it is supposed to be the final showdown, it looked like they were finally going to put some closure on the story, but I guess I was asking too much. I mean, they had SIX MOVIES to do it. And instead his arch enemy goes dashing through the snow declaring that Itto will meet his end at his hand. Really? WHEN. Aaaaaaargh. Talk about a limp ending to an awesome series. I hope someone gets hold of this series that knows what to do with them because, dang it, it needs to get a proper release. One that doesn’t make it look like it was filmed with Vaseline on the lens.

Everybody must get stonedAs I finished that series, I started another from the land of the rising sun. Daimajin is a trilogy that came out in the mid-60s that managed to somehow combine kaiju films with historical dramas. I’ve only watched the first one, but it was surprisingly good. It boils down to this; in fuedal Japan, a no-account ronin something or other pulls a coup and takes over a village. He then proceeds to be a complete butthole. Meanwhile, one of the guards manages to escape with the “royals'” two young children and, with the help of his aunt, hides with them for ten years on a ‘haunted’ mountain where a stone statue guards the evil “majin” that lives in the mountain and causes earthquakes. And at a certain point after the crap hits the proverbial fan, the statue comes to life and effs the evil leader’s ess up. And at one point I found out that the Japanese were into crucifixion. Didn’t know that one. And there’s a point in the rampage of what is referred to confusingly as both the Mountain God that they pray to and the majin they fear (the hell?), that the statue does something that had me saying, “Are they going to… no way… yep, they totally are.” Considering the blu ray set comes from bargain house Mill Creek, the same company that released the (surprisingly badass) 90s Gamera films, it actually looks pretty darn good. Certainly the best that we’ll likely ever see them. I’m looking forward to seeing the next two, but I get the feeling they’re gonna follow a pretty rigid formula. I’ll keep you apprised, true believers.

It's all been downhill from here.

It’s all been downhill from here.

To completely change gears, can I just say how sick I am of theater advertising? I mean, I used to look forward to trailers. And every once in awhile we get an awesome one. But before seeing You’re Next earlier this week I counted seven of them. SEVEN. Not counting all the “pre-show entertainment” and the multiple plugs for the theater itself. The Regal Cinema that I usually end up going to because it’s the only game in Lawrence (for non-arthouse stuff, anyway) has continued the downward slide of the Hollywood chain they were bought from. See, there had been an uptick in the number of trailers over the years, sometimes to ridiculous lengths. (I remember how the midnight showing of Return of the King, already an incredibly long movie, began about 30 minutes late because of all the advertising and trailers the Manhattan, Kansas theater had attached to it.) Since the theater went digital, it’s been completely whacked in terms of advertising and trailer overload. The most you ever need to show before a movie is three. Maybe four. And theaters like Liberty Hall, The Alamo Drafthouse and the Warren chain (at least last time I was there) are theaters I applaud for not making me sit through at least fifteen minutes of ads before I see a movie I paid for a ticket to, even if I don’t get there early. If I wanted to pay to watch advertising, I’d get cable.

Kent’s Damned Movie Reviews: The World’s End

I'll drink to that. Or there.

There are a couple of things I know about The World’s End after seeing it last night immediately following watching Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz with a friend of mine: Number one, it’s my least favorite of the Cornetto Trilogy at this moment. But that’s like being my least favorite kind of bacon. (This simile of course does not include so-called “turkey bacon” since that is most definitely NOT bacon any more than a “Beggin’ Strip” is.)

Secondly, I have no doubt that with future viewings I will enjoy it more and more. I can predict this thanks to the fact that it has happened with every other piece in Edgar Wright’s resume so far. I was foolishly only “in like” with Shaun of the Dead the first time I saw it, but over time I grew to love it, especially once I was finally able to see it on the big screen. And while I loved Hot Fuzz and Scott Pilgrim right off the bat, their esteem has only grown in my eyes to the point that they are cultural touchstones for me; juggernauts of filmdom that wormed their way into my top movies list and firmly dumped their rumps there, refusing to move as though they’re staging a sit-in at a southern lunch counter.

I’d also like to say how glad I am, given there are two apocalypse-themed comedies out this summer, that they are both excellent. World’s End and This is the End would make a great double feature for some theater willing to do it.

Anyway, one of the most impressive things about the three films that comprise the Cornetto trilogy (or the “Blood and Ice Cream trilogy as I’ve heard it called in the states since we have Drumsticks instead) is how completely different the characters played by the ever-present Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are in all of them, as well as the other players who’ve managed to appear in multiple chapters. Pegg’s Gary “The Once and Future” King is a man-baby in perpetual arrested development, his life put on pause since the events of a pub-crawl on the night of his high school graduation. So much so that he still wears the same black trenchcoat and boots and still has the same mix-tape in his car that he was listening to the summer he turned 18. When he suddenly decides to put a plan in action that will utilize this nostalgia to return to their tiny (and apparently booze-soaked) hamlet of their youth, he finds out that not only can you not go home again, but it could kill you.

The sheer number of pubs per capita in Newtown Haven makes the “Golden Mile” that he wants to recreate so daunting: 12 pints, one night. It’s unclear if Gary thinks he’ll be able to move on after finally completing his quest, but it becomes all-consuming for him. Along with Pegg is a quartet of the UK’s finest. Most have appeared in Wright’s films before. Nick Frost of course has remained joined at Pegg’s hip for quite some time. Paddy Considine was one of the Andys in Hot Fuzz (he’s sadly lost the mustache here). Martin Freeman of Sherlock has had bit parts in the first two films. Joining them is Eddie Marsan who has been in a lot of things on the other side of the pond, but would probably be most recognized here for his appearances as Lestrad in the Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes films.  Together they are brought together by the sheer force of Gary’s personality despite the fact that they’ve all grown apart and changed over the years, especially Frost’s Andy, now an angry, bitter man, with good reason.

Of course it wouldn’t be a part of the trilogy if things didn’t go completely off the rails, changing it from a low-key dramedy about five former friends reconnecting (along with some wry satire, especially about cultural homogenization) to a sci-fi romp that is tough to explain without spoiling some of the film’s surprises. Though if you’ve seen the trailers for the film, you have a pretty good idea what to expect. In many ways it echoes the type of body snatcher films that made the 50s so interesting.

Once the switch is flipped, once can see that Wright’s kept some of the bag of tricks he employed for Pilgrim. World’s End is not as flashy or stylized as that film, nor should it be. But the editing has improved over the previous chapters and he continues to visually impress. The great thing is that he doesn’t just make do with visuals though. In many ways, World’s End is the most emotionally complex film he’s made with some character beats that, in less deft hands, could be very jarring and possibly ruin the comedic aspects. It gets very dark, very quickly and not everything ends up OK. But it does stay funny throughout. All the way to the World’s End.

(Four damns given out of five)

Kent’s Movie Diary: 7/31/13

7/31/13- One cool thing so far about Spence being homeless, we’ve been watching movies and we’re getting into a bit of a groove with it. Last night we started with a Netflix documentary, American Grindhouse, which I’d seen but it had been awhile, as I wanted something quick and he seemed to be in a  documentary-type mood. It’s pretty paper-thin as documentaries about movies can often be, but as before it makes me want to actually see a lot of these films, be they culturally relevant or just crazy. I also noticed just how many old exploitation films have had bands named after them. Or at the very least, songs. The real reason to watch it is John Landis, who is both incredibly funny, and also striking of an odd balance between not being a dick, but without giving way to bullshit when describing some of the films and how truly awful they are. Somehow he can degrade a film but not go out of his way to be just plain mean.

After that, I put in 21 Jump Street as he’d never seen it and he seemed to feel exactly like I did about the film before I had actually seen it. The movie is the biggest example of cinematic alchemy I can think of, taking a terrible actor (Channing Tatum), an unlikable comedian (Jonah Hill) and a tired premise (a remake of a TV show that was pretty lame, even if I like Stephen J. Cannell) all on at the same time. And yet, because of a fantastically funny screenplay by Michael Bacall of Scott Pilgrim fame and the fact that Tatum turns out to be far, far, FAR more talented at comedy than he is at drama or action (plus some great and rather out-there work from the comedians in supporting roles) it is actually really, really freakin’ funny. Almost shockingly so. I’m surprised I haven’t’ heard more about this film since it came out because I thought its legend would grow like Anchorman and it would be continually quoted online. Maybe it is and I know the wrong people. I don’t know what the hell they’re thinking making a sequel because I don’t think lightning will strike twice, but hey. Good luck to ’em. If they do something half as funny as the drug freak-out it will be worth being made. Spence thought it was hilarious, so I managed to gain some street cred with him.

Here comes the Fuzz!8/1/13- Since I’ve had the last couple of days off, I’ve watched a couple more movies with Spence. He decided to put in Jurassic Park. I’m starting to develop a theory based on my blu rays. Most 80s titles look like crap. It’s pretty obvious. Especially the comedies and anything with special effects. Everything was shot soft, for one thing. It’s like everyone was trying to make their movie look like softcore porn. And it’s often pretty grainy. My God, the Ghostbusters transfer alone is abysmal enough to prove my point. Today, most movies look pretty amazing out of the gate. But there’s this transition period in the 90s where things don’t look as bad as 80s movies, but they still don’t look pristine, either. Men in Black was that way. Jurassic Park is another. (I just got Independence Day as I haven’t watched it in forever and had a hankering. I bet it’s the same way as well.) I don’t know the reason. I’m not technical and what I know about filmstock would fit on my pinkie. Just something I’ve noticed. Today I threw in one of my all time favorite movies for the next-to-last Yocum Thursday: Hot Fuzz. My personal favorite of the three films of Edgar Wright’s (all of which I love dearly), it was once again nice to show a flick to an appreciative audience. I feel like I should make a notch in my TV stand for every film I get someone to buy after showing it to them. (John, if you’re reading this, I ordered Forbidden Planet today, so you got one over on me, too. It was on sale for $7.50, so how could I resist?) Every time I watch Hot Fuzz, it manages to find a new way to surprise me because of how deeply layered some of the callbacks are. Sure, some of them pay off right away, but some of them are really “blink and miss.” The script is simply fantastic. I have seen some people dismiss it simply because it’s not Shaun of the Dead and I feel sorry for them, because it’s an absolutely brilliant piece of filmmaking, one that I appreciate more every time I watch it. I can’t wait for The World’s End. And as my local Regal Theater is not participating in the “Cornetto Trilogy” screening, much to my chagrin, I will just have to watch them with some friends in the comfort of my own home. Tonight after he gets off work and I’ve had a beer or two, I think I’ll sit him down with Safety Not Guaranteed and see how well it plays for him. I’m expecting good things.

Movie Diary 7/26/13

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I’ve put a couple of these up on my tumblr already as we’ve stopped talking about older films on the podcast in a number of instances but I’d still like to talk about what I’ve been watching. I thought I’d also share them with AotD listeners/readers. You can find other installments as well as some of my other pursuits at http://kentholle.tumblr.com

7/26/13- I haven’t been updating this the way I’d hoped recently, but there’s a few reasons for this. Number one, I’ve had a weird schedule because I managed to pick up a temporary supervisor position at work. Secondly, I just had a crazy weekend that ended with me on a surgeon’s table. So that happened.

The result of this is that I finished a couple of books and spent a couple of days mainlining Mystery Science Theater 3000 (with a little Dick Van Dyke thrown in here and there.) When I’ve been laid up with this illness or that issue in the past, MST3K has always been my comfort food. I love that show so dearly and have seen nearly all of it’s 200 episodes. If you have not seen it before, I recommend pre-ordering the Vol. 28 set that Shout Factory will be doing soon as they will be including a bonus of one of the best episodes ever, Mitchell, starring Joe Don Baker as a doughy, alcoholic cop. The episode has been out of print since the early days of Rhino’s distribution of the show and I’m super excited not to have to pay out the nose for a used copy on bay. Not sure when it will go up, but keep your eyes peeled.

Anyway, I had overdone it a bit on Wednesday in regards to my recovery, so for Thursday I knew I had to take it easy. Fortunately, Thursdays this summer have been my day to get together with Yocum, my teacher friend who is as big a movie obsessive as I am. He’s shown me older films that I’ve managed to miss one way or another and I’m introducing him to some newer films since he doesn’t manage to get out as much. So while I’ve finally managed to see Forbidden Planet, Hey There It’s Yogi Bear and Cats Don’t Dance, I’ve shown him such varied fare as The Adventures of TinTin, Lilo and Stitch and Attack the Block. It’s something I’ve really begun to look forward to and I’ll be sad when it comes to an end in a few weeks. Maybe we’ll have to switch it to Sundays, but I know he’s got a lot to do with his wife (as it should be) so, like all good things, it’s most likely going to slowly grind to an end. (Insert “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina here.) Anyway, another thing I’ve enjoyed is that the last couple of weeks we’ve been joined by my friend Spencer from The Sticky Clutch, the cover band I sing for.

This week we managed to sneak in a double-feature despite Yocum having plenty of guests around the house. We started with Crack in the World, the feel-bad film of 1965. It’s the kind of disaster epic that Roland Emmerich had to have huffed deeply from as a child. Call it “The Day Before Tomorrow.” Essentially, a nuclear weapon is used to access the Earth’s molten core so it can be used as a source of limitless energy. But instead of peace, love and understanding, science once again unleashes death as the explosion results in a “crack in the world” that begins to go along a fault line and threatens to, against the protestations of such things as gravity and common sense, break the world in half. It’s a film that promises lots of fun images of destruction and mayhem and delivers mostly stock footage of volcanoes. And the ending… what the heck is going on with that ending? But it’s still got a cheesy sense of doom throughout that makes it worthwhile and the Olive FIlms’ transfer, especially considering just how much stock footage is involved, is phenomenal for a 60s effects film. It just plain looks gorgeous.

After that, I showed him one of my favorite films of last year, Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom. This one played better than I could have hoped. Even as I explained in my review at the time that Kingdom is the culmination of Anderson’s work to this point, incorporating so many of this common themes and fetishes, there are still a lot of things that make it unique among his filmography, or at least are comparable only with Fantastic Mr. Fox. The beautiful look of the film, despite all the usual Anderson touches that go along with the French New Wave look he adores, is (like Fox) so attuned to a golden/Autumnal color palate that it one of his best looking films, despite being made in super 16mm. And, aside from a reference to the kid getting a boner, I find it difficult to figure out why the movie got a PG-13. In many ways, it feels like it’s a fantastic children’s movie and honestly would have no problem showing this film to them, especially any over 10. It’s got an innocence that most of his other films do not. And there’s the change in soundtrack. Ironically it’s the only period movie he’s actually done, yet it’s the only one that does not feature 60s pop tunes, aside from the great Le Temps de l’Amour by Francoise Hardy. Everything else seems to be either classical or old Hank Williams tunes. (By the way, I love when they mirror the beginning Benjamin Britten piece in the end credits with Jared Gilman doing the same thing with all the instrumentation used by Alexandre Desplat.) Anyway, he ended up loving the film to the point that he went out and bought it today, which makes me giddy the way it always makes me giddy to introduce one of my favorite films to an appreciative audience. This is why Tarantino has his own movie theater. I’m also excited because in an ensuing discussion I found out that the only other Anderson film he’s seen is Bottle Rocket and the only Edgar Wright film he’s seen is Scott Pilgrim (which I also showed him) so practically the entire filmography of two of my favorite filmmakers is now wide open to show him. I don’t know if he’ll like the other films as well as he liked the two I’ve already shown him, but gads am I thrilled to find out. This is what being a movie geek is all about.

Now on the negative side, I’m getting a little sick of having to pay higher prices because I can’t just buy a blu ray by itself. Instead I have to buy it with “bonus discs” that are the exact same content in a poorer-quality format. I don’t need some DVD, OK? I will never, ever, ever watch it. And I don’t have sticky-fingered children digging in my collection, so that excuse isn’t going to fly with me. I shouldn’t be forced to bolster a sagging format. You might as well be saying, “In order to buy this movie you want on blu ray, you also must purchase it on VHS and laserdisc in case there are any other dead formats laying around.” I understand there’s a difference because the jump from blu to DVD is more subtle and you can use both in the same machine. But it’s not like when people were switching from records to CDs that you could buy the record by itself for less, but if you wanted to buy the CD you had to purchase both. I mean, I’m a vinyl lover and I probably wouldn’t even go for that. No wonder their numbers are going screwy.

And is anyone out there actually using Ultraviolet? Yeah, I didn’t think so. DIVX for the streaming age.