Text Reviews Theatrical Review

Theatrical Review: Next

Chris Johnson is a mentalist who performs in Las Vegas under the name of Frank Cadillac… the thing is, his power is for real: Johnson can see into the future for up to a 2-minute period, but even by doing that, he virtually changes the future every time he does it. He’s haunted by a vision not in his two-minute frame though of a young woman that he’s destined to meet in a diner, who’s key to his own life. Now a terrorist group has a bomb that they’re threatening to detonate, and the FBI, with absolutely no clue as to how to find the bomb, decides that their best bet is to recruit Johnson and have him help in finding the bomb and determining what the terrorists will do next…

… and so goes the premise of Next, the newest film from director Lee Tamahori and star Nicolas Cage and in my opinion, right now the leading contender for worst film of 2007.

Oh, just where to begin with this mess… Well, first off, the premise in itself is not bad and it’s roots are in a story from Philip K. Dick called “The Golden Man.” Now I’ve never read the story, but I certainly recognize some of the Dick elements in the film. Where this goes immediately haywire is just in the limits that they put on Chris Johnson’s ability- a man with his ability, it seems to me anyway, would almost constantly be living 2 minutes ahead of the rest of us, in effect, at least to me, seeming that he should be quite a bit crazy from his ability. But instead they have this under control and in a way where Chris can see all the permutations at once of how an event can play out, which is basically there for script convenience and nothing else. What this does, as this plays out, is give Chris an ability not unlike super-speed, but yet that doesn’t make sense considering how his ability is explained to us in voice-over narration by Cage. They add a further wrinkle with this with the girl that Chris has a vision of (played by Jessica Biel) and Chris tells us this complicates his ability and lets him see further in the future which in turn ties into the film’s end twist, which ultimately ends up being a cheat on the audience.

On top of this, there’s the FBI, with a very small force going into finding this terrorist group (led by Julianne Moore), from a practical aspect, it seems that this force is highly misdirected, losing more time looking for Chris Johnson than looking for the terrorists and the bomb. I couldn’t help but think of the TV show 24, during this and knowing to myself that in the time they spend looking for Chris Johnson, Jack Bauer would’ve found the bomb and had chunks of the terrorists floating in his stool. On top of that, once the FBI do find Johnson, their plan is to set him in front of a TV monitor, with his eyes propped open like Malcolm McDowell’s in A Clockwork Orange and then hoping that Chris will see something in the news that will set him off– What the hell? This FBI group is so inept that they’re nowhere near the group… and yet I know that if I was an agent with their resources, I’d be virtually on top of them, and using Johnson in their vicinity, and yet there’s another catch with Chris’ power: with the exception of the girl, he can only see the future in how it effects him!?!? What a mess…

Nicolas Cage plays the whole thing like your only sympathy with him should be that he’s a haunted man by this love that he’s trying to find and that he’s just using his power to keep himself going and I just didn’t give a damn the whole way through… his only point of sympathy is just with the girl, and really there’s nothing there to hook into. This is the third movie that I’ve seen Cage in this year thus far, and I think it says something that I think his best performance of the year is in the brief cameo that he has in Grindhouse. Julianne Moore does as good as she can do considering the limitations of the script, she’s plenty driven, and she seems resourceful, it’s just that the script itself puts her whole team as not having a clue. Jessica Biel plays the part of “the girl” of the film, and personally, I think she’s pretty well miscast here, she’s probably a good 20 years younger than Cage at this point, just seeming wrong for the guy there, and her point of audience sympathy is just in the fact that she’s a teacher for poor, underprivileged American Indian kids… big whoop, again, I could care less…

We had a group of five with us last night to see this, and even though I doubt most of that group will read this, I have to apologize to them for openly talking during this movie as I was making fun of it as it was playing out… and yet, I just could not help myself… fortunately, at the end of the film, we were all pretty much in agreement as to just how bad it was, and our fun just might’ve been in the smart-ass comments we were making… The thing is, on some movies that are meant to be a bit of dumb-ass action romps, I’m willing to forgive on a lot of things as long as they keep some of their pacing brisk and their action entertaining, here they just give you too much time to think about things– and as such, it will fall apart right before your very eyes… A far better film is out there that’s somewhat similar to this called Deja Vu that just came out on DVD this past week, that never had me questioning what was going on there…

The movie itself just seems like another “miss” for director Lee Tamahori– but how much is he to blame here, I don’t know… with the involvement of a star like Cage, it’s really hard to say, and because it is a big budget film, it’s harder to say just how much this film was cut by (it weighs in at only about 90 minutes). Tamahori has also directed such movies as Once Were Warriors, The Edge, Mullholland Falls, and the James Bond movie, Die Another Day.

If you’re a big Nicolas Cage fan, I doubt that there’s much that I can do to dissuade you from seeing this, because he’s at his quirky best (or worst, at least for me) throughout this… and maybe for some, that might be OK, but for me, I put this film a bit lower compared to another Nicolas Cage mess called National Treasure, and so far the leading candidate for the worst movie that I’ve seen for the year 2007, even worse than The Hills Have Eyes 2 more because this has a bigger budget and bigger stars who frankly should know better…

Back Seat Producers Fanboy Smackdown Season 01 Shows

FBSD Episode 34: Serenity

Hi Sara, Elizabeth, Shane, Jon, and Ryu!We go through the weekend past, both time spent at ShowMeCon/Anime St. Louis and the weekend’s box office numbers. (

There is one bit of audio buzz at about the 27 minute mark… The Gods of THX hath smacked down my microphone. You’ll see why…

We review and then dig into Serenity. Why? Because mere hours before we recorded this show was the first time Tony #2 had seen it!

Promo: Donate to Ziggurat Con for the troops check out for the details.

Next week: Happy Anniversary!

Homework: North by Northwest and Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid

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DVD Review Text Reviews

DVD Review: Children of Men

It struck me suddenly, that in movies today, themes can be somewhat obscure. You can look for angles, bias, and all that, but it seems less frequently that you find a film with an untarnished theme.

That is what drew me into this movie.

From the beginning to the end, themes of hope, despair, misery, and grief are evident, but in the end, there’s that little shining glimmer that brings your through the darkness.

Based on a 1992 novel by P. D. James, Children of Men follows the thematic journey of a young pregnant girl through a world where all men have been rendered sterile. Though it is never clearly explained, some biological quirk has caused a sudden decrease in the sperm count of all males, leaving the world without a hope for a future.

Largely dystopian, countries are ravished one by one, leaving only Great Britain remaining in the end. Much of the plot revolves around rebels and refugees of some sort, in a world where it seems the only rule is survival.

Our protagonist, Theo (played by actor Clive Owen) begins as a rather apathetic hero. Drawn into a terrorist organization by his ex-wife (Julianne Moore), he is forced to face his past, as well as his future. He ends up protecting the last remaining pregnant women on earth, as different organizations rival for her and her baby.

Though slow at first, the action picks up the pace and pulls you through the movie right alongside the characters. Notable credit should be given to the direction of this movie, and the filmmakers whose work and cuts should be admirable to even the most veteran directors in Hollywood.

Action sequences follow the characters with a moving camera that does not cut for at least several minutes, flowing perfectly through explosions and car chases. At times, you almost feel like you should duck as the characters do, for fear the gunshots will fly across your living room.

Though thought provoking and thematically driven, the movie does seem a little bit barren in the ways of innovation. The science-fiction elements appear generalized and devoid of any particular importance, short of telling the viewer that this film takes place in the future (The year 2027 to be exact).

Some viewers may be left wanting more in the ways of clarification, as the cause of the mass sterility is brushed over quickly and rarely revisited throughout the story. However, it does carry on well enough without it.

Still, it was one of the more enjoyable dystopian movies I have seen lately, and the themes hold their own well enough to make even the most quizzical viewer come away with something to think about.

Final Score – *** (Good)

Final Word – Though I find it enjoyable and wonderfully filmed, the movie failed to live up to all of my expectations. Where it fell short, however, it picked up the pace with action, drama, and theme, leading me to feel this is one you’ll want to own and watch again.

Text Reviews Theatrical Review

Theatrical Review: Hot Fuzz

Nicholas Angel is the top of the line on the London police force (excuse me, it should now be referred to as service- force implies to much of a physical threat), he’s so good at his job that he’s making the rest of the service look bad and as such he gets a promotion to sergeant but with that promotion comes a transfer to the sleepy, rustic little village of Sandford, where hardly a crime happens…

… that is until Nick Angel shows up and mysterious deaths start to occur.

Hot Fuzz is the latest film from the team of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg, who brought us the Zombie take-off, Shaun of the Dead. This time, their target is big-ass Hollywood cop/action movies, particularly those as produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and Joel Silver and they deliver the goods pretty nicely here, not only giving you a spoof of said films, but also giving you a story that stands well on it’s own terms too (which is just what Shaun did too). It’s longer than what it should be, but really that’s just keeping in tone with the movies it’s taking off on, always seeming to go a little longer than they should.

Simon Pegg plays Nick Angel, and Pegg is really good here and he should be, he’s in damn near every scene of the film- you’ve got to believe in him or else this could really fall on his face, and you do believe in Nick Angel. He’s really earnest in the part, and at times reminds me of a younger Edward Woodward (who’s also in the film) particularly when Woodward made The Wicker Man. Pegg is backed up by his partner from Shaun, Nick Frost as one of Sandford’s police officers who wants to live the life of a Bruckheimer action movie hero. The ret of the cat are solid British actors, the type you expect to see in a movie about a small village like this, with Timothy Dalton leading the way with his devilish smile as the owner of a grocery store in the town who has more going on than just selling groceries. There’s also a nice bit at the beginning with top British talent like Martin Freeman, Steve Coogan and Bill Nighy that’s really fun to watch.

Now I wasn’t laughing uproariously during this (the kind of movies that do that for me are things like Borat, Jackass Number Two and Clerks IInot anything by Will Ferrell though, never funny, never will be), but I still had a real good time watching it. Some of the film is really quite funny, particularly near the end when it full-out turns into a Bruckheimer film and the rest for me was more quiet humor, but your mileage may vary. Just the same, Hot Fuzz gets a big recommendation here, go see it if you get the chance.

Text Reviews Theatrical Review

Theatrical Review: Vacancy

David and Amy Fox are a married couple suffering some problems as the result of the death of their son. They’re on a road trip to one last family event before they make their divorce final and due to a back-up on the interstate, they decide to take some side roads to get to their destination. They end up lost and even worse, they end up with car problems. Their car problems force them to stay at a mysterious motel where they soon discover something really sinister is happening.

And then it just gets freakier and creepier…

Vacancy is a very well-made suspense thriller from director Nimrod Antel that really manages to get under the skin in some very creepy ways, tapping into some fears that I think we’d all have taking those little out of the way road trips that you don’t really want to take. It’s very nicely paced, and it’s well set-up so that you actually give a damn about what happens to David and Amy along the way and you’re rooting or them to get through, which is so unlike other movies of this type when you can’t help yourself but hope for the deaths of some extremely obnoxious characters. David and Amy, while having their problems aren’t like that, and you actually do want them to get out of their situation intact.

It helps that you have actors like Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale cast as David and Amy, both really give good performances, and I’m impressed with Wilson in particular, who almost always end up as the everyman of some sort, but here he’s one that you can relate to. The always good-as-gold Frank Whaley is also in the film as the creepy manager of the hotel. Whaley’s always fun to watch and he delivers the goods in this film quite well.

The funny thing, I was watching Ebert & Roeper this weekend, and this week filling in for Roger Ebert was John Cougar Mellencamp, an odd choice to be sure, but with credentials, with him being a movie director himself. Now I could’ve told you already how Richard Roeper was going to react to this, it would be a particularly smarmy review going on about how he’s seen this again and again and it just didn’t do anything for him. Mellencamp was immediately refreshing compared to Roeper and virtually any other reviewer, because he was more of a man on the street review than what Roeper would give and as such was diametrically opposite of what Roeper’s review was (and he totally countered every argument that Roeper had). The same thing happened with NBC’s movie review show Reel Talk with Jeffrey Lyons and Allison Bailes, although both are professional reviewers, they went opposite ways with Bailes really enjoying the film and Lyons not liking it all, but Lyons mostly didn’t like it for it’s subject matter and at once even stating when a certain something happened in the film, he just didn’t like that at all (although that something is absolutely something that would probably happen in that situation). There was a lot of reference from both Lyons and Roeper about stupid things that the characters do… and I gotta say, I just didn’t see that. There are things that the characters do that might seem stupid, but with the situation as desperate as this was, these options to me were the only things that they could do.

I always like little thrillers like this, and while this one is set-up with situations that you just don’t want the characters to get into, they have to get into them just in order to survive. This is very tight and at times very brutal, but if you’re a fan of a good thriller, well I could think of worse ways to spend your money. Vacancy gets a total recommendation from these parts.

Back Seat Producers Fanboy Smackdown Season 01 Shows

FBSD Episode 33: The Good Shepherd

This one is late, but… I’ve got two very good reasons.

Reason #1: This is a LONG episode. We clock in at over 82 minutes. We didn’t plan on it going long, but we were on a good trip and we followed it through. Amazingly enough, we didn’t even get tangential… much.

Reason #2: I think I’ve finally figured out the damned encoding issues. One of the things we did when we started with FarPoint Media is to standardize our ID3 tags. This also meant that we’d include info in the comment tag about being part of the FarPoint Media family. What I didn’t realize is that ID3 tags and return keys don’t play nice. It would work fine on my local system, but as soon as it got uploaded to libsyn and pulled back down the tags would be slightly different and this would cause problems. I’ve fixed that issue, and this one, at least to my ears, seems to be working. If you have any issues, please let me know ASAP. I’ll be at the con most of the weekend, and may or may not have a few minutes to try some more things to get it working again.

Listen – Enjoy

Don’t forget, next week’s show is going to be our take on Serenity. Tony #2 is going to see it sometime this weekend, so he doesn’t even know about the spoilers. So don’t ruin it for him!!!

A couple of quick links to fill in the gaps and then I’m going to get his puppy posted.
Non-promo promo:
Con info:
Other appearances this week:

One final note: Congrats to Scott Sigler. Scott is being picked up for a three book deal by Crown Publishing! This is amazing! We couldn’t be happier for him. (Yes, we are sucking up… wouldn’t you love to hear Scott on the show?)

We haven’t heard too much from you guys: – send an email – post a comment
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Text Reviews Theatrical Review

Theatrical Review: TMNT

Here is a movie that needs little introduction. Based on the 1984 graphic novel and subsequent movie sequels and cartoon shows, this movie hit an already eager viewing audience.

It’s been fourteen years since the release of the last film, and this one doesn’t waste much time getting right back into it. After a somewhat inconsequential prologue, we are quickly reintroduced to the four brothers and their recent ventures. Unlike other continuity reboots, such as Superman Returns, TMNT does not dwell long on the past, though the references make you remember quite often.

The story runs the typical ex-superhero team gamut. We have a world where the turtles have pretty much stopped all their major enemies, leaving them to the tedium of a normal albeit teen-aged mutant life. A new threat arises, however, forcing the brothers to reunite and stand together as one.

The film does a good job bringing the turtles back to their roots. It comes close to the original comic’s grim and gritty feel, a definite departure from the previous three. Few animated features manage to break out of the mold, offering something for children and adults alike, but this is one of them.

From start to finish there is little to pull you out of the action. There is a definite pace that draws you in quickly and carries you through until the end, which, unfortunately comes all too soon.

The animation is done masterfully, flowing more fluent than many of its predecessors. Movies like Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, and The Polar Express seem like ancient technology by comparison. With realistic physics and wonderfully rendered backgrounds to balance out the slightly cartoonish character design, TMNT should be recognized as cutting edge, at least for the next few years.

Final Score – **** (Excellent)

Final Word – All and all, the movie is beautifully animated, maintaining a careful bridge between the cartoon shows and the live-action films. I personally felt that it was too short, lasting only 87 minutes, but that is to be expected. As Imagi Animation’s first feature length film, it definitely feels like they were testing the water. Hopefully we’ll see further sequels as well made as this one.

DVD Review Text Reviews

DVD Review: Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls

One of the things that I’m hoping to do with these reviews for The Fanboy Smackdown, is basically talk about some movies that don’t generally get a lot of conversation about them, some of the more cult-y type of stuff, some foreign way out there things (like movies from Takashi Miike or Peter Greenaway), some horror talk, and films that could be considered of the sort that would’ve been seen in Grindhouse… and not to worry, I’ll be doing reviews of some new movies as well… but for my first DVD review, I decided to go both Cult-y and sort of Grindhouse with the Russ Meyer classic, Beyond The Valley of The Dolls.

“This is my happening and it’s freaking me out!” – Ronnie “Z-Man” Barzell

This 2-Disk DVD collection came out last year and let me say right off the bat that this is, so far, one of my very favorite DVD sets released last year… it’s obvious from watching this set that someone at Fox put a whole lot of love into making this set a standout from everything with the presentation of the film to the terrific set of extras that go with it, there’s been a lot of care thrown into this special edition package.

I first saw BVD about 15 years ago and it was my first Russ Meyer film, and at the time, I was a lot dumber about movies than I am now- I remember from my first viewing that movie turned me off especially by the time it got to it’s shock ending, but I just didn’t think it made sense. At the time, I see that I definitely wasn’t as open to as many different types of movie experiences as I am now.

A few years later, I got my next exposure to Russ Meyer with a trio of films in one night: Vixen, Super-Vixens and Beneath The Valley of The Ultra-Vixens and after that- I was a fan of Russ Meyer’s forever more. Those movies, I really got, and sure they’re all loaded with Meyer’s penchant for making movies about dominant huge-breasted women, but there’s so much more there too…I mean as I’m watching these, I can’t help but notice just how good a filmmaker Russ Meyer was, and how much more was put into these stories than just the obvious, and one thought that went through my head was that I couldn’t help but think someone like David Lynch had had to seen a Russ Meyer movie or two in his day (and sure enough I found out later that Lynch was indeed a Meyer fan)..

Throughout that time, I’d only seen little bits and pieces of BVD, never sitting through the whole thing again, so when I sat down with this DVD (for the first viewing- I watched it two more times immediately the next day), I watched it with new eyes and I gotta say, this just entertained me tremendously, and I knew it would…

“Up yours, Ratso!!”– Kelly MacNamara

BVD has nothing to do with the movie adaptation of Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls other than just in some surface parts of the story and the title. BVD is the story of three young girls, Kelly, Pet and Casey who’ve formed a rock band called The Kelly Affair. The three girls and their manager, Harris, find themselves traveling to Hollywood for Kelly to meet her Aunt Susan and collect a huge sum of money from her from an inheritance. While there, Aunt Susan invites the girls to a party thrown by uber-agent/producer Ronnie “Z-Man” Barzell, and the girls are sort of “discovered” on the spot- the Z-Man takes them under his wing and renames the band The Carrie Nations and from there, the girls live the fast life, each encountering something different that attempts to take them all down until the film’s final, almost horror film-like shock ending…

…there is even way more that I’m not telling, but really, I don’t want to blow anything if you’ve not seen BVD before.

BVD was co-written by Meyer and future Chicago Sun-Times uber-critic Roger Ebert, and it was Meyer’s first foray in working with one of the major studios, and as such, it also became the first film from a major studio to receive an X rating, and while Meyer was shooting for a hard R, there was no way at the time that the MPAA was going to give him anything short of an X (although watching it now- it would definitely be an R rated film or at worse, NC-17). Ebert and Meyer were friends in the day and when Meyer was given his shot from Fox, Meyer didn’t want to work with any of the screenwriters from there because they just wouldn’t “get” him, but Ebert did “get” him, so Meyer brought Ebert with him when he started making the movie- and it’s certainly been an experience that to this day he still glows about– and well he should, there had never been anything made like BVD back at the time… this movie truly does deserve a spot in film history…

Meyer and Ebert’s film is pure satire all the way, and now, it’s really easy to see. It’s a commentary on the 60s from two guys who were definitely outside of the Hollywood system and it culminated to a punctuation marked by the Manson family murders… yes, there are things that happen here purely to service what the film needs to have happen and as such, some characters (like Kelly) might seem to turn their attitudes around on a dime, but because this is satire, it really doesn’t matter and in truth there are things in the characters that you could just as easily turn around and say that some of these switches were true to form.

Meyer’s cast is, in my opinion, truly fantastic in this film- The Carrie Nations are played by former Playmates Dolly Read Martin (Kelly) and Cynthia Myers (Casey- good lord was this woman gorgeous) and model Marcia McBroom (Pet). Their manager Harris, was played by an earnest young actor named David Gurian (who I almost thought might’ve actually been the model for the lead puppet in Team America World Police). John LaZar though has the best part in the film as Ronnie “Z-Man” Barzell and he truly chews scenery in a grand fashion here, he’s to this movie as Tim Curry is to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The cast is filled out by Michael Blodgett (as Lance Rock- the gigolo who has his own plans for Kelly’s money), Harrison Page (Emerson Thorne- the well-meaning law student who becomes the object of Pet’s desires), the incredible Edy Williams (as porn star Ashley St. Ives- and she’d go on to become Mrs. Russ Meyer after this film), and Erica Gavin (as Roxanne, the designer who leads Casey down a different path- Gavin is best known as the fantastic star of Meyer’s legendary film Vixen). I remember when I first saw this being really struck by Edy Williams at the time- she’s an unusual beauty for the time, but oh man she struck a chord with me. And honestly, Erica Gavin and Cynthia Myers deliver one of the hottest scenes in the film near it’s end (something that gave Hollywood something to shoot for in a classy portrayal of a lesbian love scene- the only times this has been equalled in my eyes has been by the Wachowski Brothers with what they did with Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly in Bound and David Lynch with what he did with Naomi Watts and Laura Harring in Mulholland Dr.)– and there’s even more too, the casting on the film is terrific and everyone gives Russ Meyer their best here.

BVD is beautiful to look at, and no doubt there’s been a lot of care given to cleaning this movie up for it’s DVD presentation. The colors are vibrant and the detail in every scene is just incredibly sharp. The film is presented in a 1:2.35 aspect ratio and it really deserves to be seen as a widescreen movie.

The sound is presented in both Mono and Stereo, with no Dolby enhancement, and yet in stereo, it still sounds great, and the movie does have an excellent soundtrack whether it’s in it’s orchestrated score from Stu Phillips or the songs of The Strawberry Alarm Clock or the music of The Carrie Nations (all the actress lip-syncing of course).

Your first time watching this, yeah it might underwhelm, I could see that happening, but this is truly a movie that delivers more on repeated viewings (much like all of Meyer’s movies) and as such, even after you see it once, I’d almost implore you to give it another shot later on. If you have seen it before, then definitely seek out the DVD, because this package is superior to any other way it’s been presented, and the package has some winning extras…

“You’re a groovy boy- I’d like to strap you on!”– Ashley St. Ives

I said at the start of this that I’ve seen this three times now since Sunday night, well my other two viewings have been with the DVD’s two commentary tracks- one from Roger Ebert and the other from cast members John LaZar, Dolly Read Martin, Cynthia Myers, Erica Gavin, and Harrison Page. Ebert’s commentary is absolutely terrific and frankly I think if he had a second commentary on the disk, he’d probably tell you even more cool stuff. His commentary is definitely a love letter to his pal, Russ Meyer and it’s an education on film as well- hell, this package was worth it just for this commentary alone, but like I said, someone at Fox put a lot of love into this one. The cast commentary is fun- very casual stuff, with lots of laughs from all involved with a bit of a turn of the bitchy side by John LaZar, but still that’s sort of entertaining in itself- and near the film’s ending, the commentary really starts to have fun, in particular with Harrison page lamenting the fact that he wasn’t on the set during Gavin and Myer’s big love scene.

Disk Two has all the other extras on this set and all totaled, there’s about 90 minutes worth of stuff here- starting with a trippy introduction from John LaZar in true Z-Man manner (and man, earlier I mentioned Tim Curry in comparison to LaZar and when you see LaZar today, that comparison I think is right on the money)- the main featurette is a documentary piece on the making of the film, and everybody here has something to say- you’ve got Ebert, you’ve got the girls, you’ve got other long-time Russ Meyer associates, you’ve got critics, you’ve got LaZar, Page and Blodgett… the only thing that you don’t get, and I am very curious why is Edy Williams. Now please if someone knows different please correct me, but I do believe she’s still alive, and being a former Mrs. Russ Meyer, she could’ve had a ton of stuff to contribute to this package and yet her absence is to me anyway, notable. The other featurettes are all shorter, but all very cool including one about five minutes long with both Erica Gavin and Cynthia Myers together talking about their famous love scene 36 years after the fact and while both women have definitely aged, you can certainly tell this was really special to both of them.

You’ve also got trailers here, including one of the original trailers that featured a lot of behind the scenes stuff in prepping for publicity for the film and that’s very cool to see, and there’s also screen tests scenes as well (I haven’t watched those yet though).

In the end, this, even with Edy Williams’ absence is still one hell of a package, and honestly, I’d recommend this movie to everyone to see at least once in their lives anyway- let’s put it this way, if you’ve ever watched any of Mike Myers Austin Powers movies and you’ve liked what you’ve seen, then you owe it to yourself to see the movies that inspired that, and at the top of that list is Russ Meyer’s Beyond The Valley of The Dolls.

Highly, highly recommended- easily one of the best DVD packages I saw last year…

Back Seat Producers Fanboy Smackdown Season 01 Shows

FBSD Episode 32: TMNT

File’s fixed! There are a few clicks that are artifacts from recording, those are on the source files, but this a much cleaner file than that last one!

We start this show with our new format.

First we discuss the box office surprises this week, at least some people seemed surprised by Grindhouse opening at #4.

We then give our review of TMNT, don’t worry, no spoilers here.

Promo for TD0013’s MS Walk

An interview with someone who’s seen the flick.

Then we dig deep into the movie, Warning: Spoilers could be ahead.

Don’t forget that next week we are discussing The Good Shepherd. If you’ve seen it and want to include your comments in our discussion, call or email before 8 PM Sunday, April 15th. Otherwise we’ll just include them later in our feedback.

Enjoy the show.

Text Reviews Theatrical Review

Theatrical Review: Grindhouse

Grindhouse literally refers to a certain type of movie, primarily from the late 50s, 60s, 70s and very early 80s that was usually some sort of low budget exploitation film of some sort like Horror, Car Action, Hot Women (sometimes in prison), Sci-Fi, Spaghetti Western or Martial Arts that was literally “ground” out by production houses usually to fill drive-ins and cheap movie houses for a fast buck. And they never skimped on the excessive violence or nudity. These were the grade B-Z movies that later on you’d catch usually late at night on pay cable or local broadcast stations that most people would call bad movies.

Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino call these things buried treasures, and I do too…

Grindhouse is hopefully the first of a franchise for Rodriguez, Tarantino and friends to sort of bring back those films and put them in the spotlight, and I hope make guilty pleasure movies something that’s not quite as guilty any more.

What you get here are two full length films, Planet Terror from Rodriguez about strippers trying to find their true calling, covert military action, flesh eating zombies, and some damn fine barbecue all reminescent to me of some classic Fred Olen Ray action, and Death Proof from Tarantino about a sadistic killer who stalks women with his special stunt car to get his own fair play dished out in the end, reminescent of movies like Vanishing Point, Dirty Mary and Crazy Larry and any number of Russ Meyer movies and 4 incredibly well made trailers for fake movies from Rodriguez, Rob Zombie, Edgar Wright and Eli Roth- and all together it equals three hours of big-ass fun for film geeks.

The whole package itself both plays out as parody and homage at once, and yet I like to see it as legit as well- really, there’s still a need for these type of movies as far as I’m concerned…

Both movies are really a lot of fun and are both quite different from each other- Rodriguez’s film doesn’t let up for a moment literally being an assault on the senses from the word go. It’s incredibly well cast, starring Rose McGowan, Freddie Rodriguez, Josh Brolin, Jeff Fahey, Michael Biehn, Naveen Andrews, and Bruce Willis all having some real obvious fun. Rodriguez loads it up with all the physical trappings including film discolorations, scratches and warping as well as all the sound ticks that you’d expect listening to this through a bad drive-in speaker. Tarantino plays his a little straighter, not quite using all the same physical tricks, but being more of the sensibility of the guys who he’s saluting. Again extremely well cast featuring Kurt Russell, Rosario Dawson, Rose McGowan, and stuntwoman extraordinaire Zoe Bell amongst others. His movie is slower paced, but delivers one hell of a payoff in the end. Rose McGowan, Michael Parks and Quentin Tarantino appear in both films. McGowan is built for these kind of movies, and she really shines as Cherry Darling in Planet Terror looking hotter than I’ve ever seen her in any movie. Michael Parks is a huge surprise, playing the exact same character in both films (and for you true geeks out there, there’s an extra surprise with this character as well). Tarantino is different characters in both movies, mostly for background atmosphere in his own film, but getting a true comeuppance in Planet Terror.

But the fun doesn’t just stop with these two movies, all four of the trailers are excellent as well- you have Machete from Rodriguez featuring Danny Trejo and Cheech Marin in a bloody violent action film. Edgar Wright delivers the goods with a little salute to Hammer Horror films with Don’t. Eli Roth gives us a salute to slasher films with the excessively violent Thanksgiving. And Rob Zombie… oh my God, I nearly wet myself with glee over Zombie’s trailer, Werewolf Women of the S.S. featuring Udo Kier, Sherrie Moon Zombie, Bill Mosely, one of the many queens of the Grindhouse, Sybil Danning (oh yes!!!), and Nicholas Cage. You really don’t know how much I’d love to see this one made out in full… I had no idea that I desired this movie so much, until Rob Zombie laid it out there in front of me… I would pledge eternal fealty to Rob Zombie if he’d make this one for real…

Needless to say, Grindhouse will definitely figure in as one of my Best for 2007, maybe even right there at the very top. I truly love these kind of movies, and just hope this is something that Tarantino and Rodriguez (and friends… please, please, please… have Rob Zombie make Werewolf Women of the S. S. in full…) continue for many years to come. If you’re a fan of these guys or if you love these kinds of movies, don’t hesitate for a moment… run, don’t walk, to your nearest theatre and see Grindhouse right away… without a doubt, highly, highly recommended…