Text Reviews Theatrical Review

Theatrical Review: Bug

Agnes White is a woman who lives a solitary existence, having her home in a cheap motel, she works as a waitress in a lesbian bar. She’s got her troubles and she’s being plagued by a series of phone calls with no one else on the other end, but she believes it’s her ex-husband Goss, who’s due to be released from prison. One night, Aggie’s friend R.C. comes to her home for a little bit of partying and brings along this strange, but nice, young man that she’s met named Peter Evans, specifically to meet Aggie. Peter’s an odd guy, not looking for anything sexual from Aggie, but seeing something kindred in her to be his friend. Their friendship does become sexual though, and then that’s when the real weirdness begins. Peter confides in Aggie that he’s AWOL from an army experiment that he’s been participating in. He starts to see minute bugs everywhere that he says is some sort of aphid that’s infesting him, and Aggie almost immediately believes him, getting drawn into Peter’s psychosis… and this movie, that’s pretty much been on edge from the start just gets thrust into crazy overdrive after that…

Bug is the latest film from one of the great directors out there, William Friedkin (The Exorcist, The French Connection). It’s an adaptation from a stage play by author Tracy Letts and it’s truly one of the most original films that I’ll probably see all year and for me anyway, one hell of an entertaining experience, but a strange one at that. The thing this movie suffers from though is that it’s from Lionsgate, and I like Lionsgate, but they’ve marketed this film as a horror film for the late teens and twentysomethings out there. Now I knew in advance what I was getting into with this, but I could see someone wanting to see this thinking that they’re getting some sort of Saw-like horror film coming away in the end just thinking they’ve been robbed, and sure enough, there were a few people in our audience that felt that way (but there are horrific things in the film). We probably had 10-15 people in the theatre seeing this when we did, and I sort’ve figured it’d be that way, because of the little Pirate film that was also opening this weekend (I actually thought that we’d be the only people in to see this- but I was surprised when more showed up).

The thing is, Friedkin got my attention all the way through this film, and I truly had no idea what was going to happen from one scene to the next, as this movie went from just being a little creepy to being balls-out over-the-top crazy by it’s very end. What this ends up being is what you might describe as a love story between two very disturbed people, or it might be described as a psycho-drama character study, or even down to being this really extreme black comedy… I don’t know, it almost defies being pigeonholed in one category. About 95% of the film takes place in Aggie’s motel home, and considering that it’s limited to such a confined space, Friedkin keeps it interesting and watchable at all times.

He’s certainly well aided by a terrific cast. Ashley Judd is Aggie, and man, she’s really sunk her teeth into this one, giving what I think is a pretty brave performance that at times can go right into pure parody, but she’s committed all the way through. Michael Shannon, an actor that I’m not at all familiar with, makes one hell of an impression as Peter Evans, in which you’re sort’ve rooting for him to be all right by the films end, but once he’s reached a point where that just can’t happen, then it’s just time to sit back and watch him and try and figure out what he’ll do next. Harry Connick Jr. plays Goss, and he’s just rock-solid, sort’ve reminding me a bit as a white-trash-like Jeff Goldblum here, who’s beefed himself up a bit for the part, making himself pretty imposing to anyone else in the film.

But will you like this? That is the question, isn’t it… well, like I said above, I was thoroughly entertained by this going from being in suspense to what will happen from one moment to the next, to laughing at some of the craziness that the character’s utter on screen (Ashley Judd has a line that will probably be a quotable from this one in the future), to just being horrified at what these characters will do to protect themselves from their perceived threats. I know my tastes in film these days tend to run to being way more entertained by the way off-beat stuff than from the conventional Hollywood fare (in most cases- I still have a good time with Hollywood films too) and for me anyway, so far, Bug has been the most entertaining film that I’ve seen for the summer, but just keep in mind, this ain’t a conventional horror film by any means, and it’s not a “safe” film either, you just don’t know what will happen from one moment to the next… if you like some adventurous stuff, I’d certainly recommend Bug in a heartbeat, at least just to experience it… but after that, well you pays your money, you takes your chances…

Back Seat Producers Fanboy Smackdown Season 01 Shows

FBSD Episode 037: STAR WARS and Shaft

You read that title right.

Lazy show notes for now. (Will get this updated later this morning (or afternoon) (or weekend).

Be sure to listen for Stealth Contest information.

And this will make sense if you listen all the way to the end, we decided on Apocalypto.

Preview Text Reviews

Preview: Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed

Thirty years ago today, a film opened to forty theaters. That film went on to pave the way for Science Fiction and Fantasy, and break new ground in the technology of film making. At it’s basis was the story of a farm boy who discovers within himself the power to bring down an oppressive evil empire. That film was Star Wars.

On May 28th, The History Channel is premiering a documentary that serves to examine just why Star Wars has become the cultural icon that it has. Through interviews with numerous historians, scholars of mythology and literature, film makers, and pop culture icons, this film examines the broad themes, characters and stories that make up the Star Wars saga. Footage of the films sits along side works of mythology, earlier works of film, historical footage, and commentary to postulate on just where George Lucas may have gotten his ideas and creative sparks when producing the films.

I have had the opportunity to review this documentary. We also discuss the documentary in more depth in the upcoming Episode #37 (to be posted May 25th or May 26th as time for editing allows.)

I think that anyone with even a passing interest in the Star Wars saga will enjoy how the content of the films are framed against literature, mythology, the history, politics, and personal experience. It’s not often that you have people like Tom Brokaw, Newt Gingrich, Kevin Smith, Stephen Colbert, Nancy Pelosi, Joss Whedon and Peter Jackson all come together with historians and scholars to discuss a couple of Sci-Fi films.

This documentary is highly recommended by both Tonys.



Thirty years ago, an unheralded film known as Star Wars opened in theaters and took audiences on a groundbreaking journey to a galaxy far, far away. It instantly seized the public’s imagination, and three decades later still claims that grasp. Now, a new special from The History Channel seeks to understand why the emotional impact of the Star Wars Saga remains as relevant as ever. The two-hour special, STAR WARS: THE LEGACY REVEALED, is a World Premiere on The History Channel on Monday, May 28 at 9pm ET/PT.

All right kids,

Something really, REALLY cool for you lovely folks.

We are sponsoring a contest. The prize is a STAR WARS: THE LEGACY REVEALED prize pack. All you have to do is send an email. It’s as simple as that.

There are a few rules:

  1. Send an email to
  2. Make sure that the word “CONTEST” is in the subject line.
  3. Include your mailing address.
  4. (optional) Tell us how you found out about the contest and let us know if you are a regular listener to the podcast.

That’s it. Simple. The contest will run until June 19th. We’ll announce the winner that week. Make sure you get your entries in. Also, make sure you listen closely to episode #37. There might be something special there too.

Lucasfilm Ltd. is in no way a sponsor of this Sweepstakes and is not responsible or liable for any obligations herein. SEE OFFICIAL RULES FOR DETAILS.

Lucasfilm, the Lucasfilm logo, and Star Wars are registered trademarks of Lucasfilm Ltd. © 2007 Lucasfilm Ltd. and ® or TM as indicated. All rights reserved. Courtesy of Lucasfilm.

Text Reviews Theatrical Review

Theatrical Review: Shrek The Third

In the land of Far, Far Away, Charming’s revenge over defeat from Shrek is brewing and he plans to take over the land with the help of the greatest villains of fairy tales. For Shrek though, life is getting more difficult, he and Princess Fiona have more responsibilites to the kingdom, and after Fiona’s father meets his end, Shrek is left with the decision to either become the new king of the land or go on a quest to seek out another heir, a young boy named Arthur Pendragon… and to complicate matters further, Fiona is pregnant. Shrek makes his choice, yearning for the simpler life that he had, he, Donkey and Puss-In-Boots begin their quest to find the boy… but will they make it before Charming overruns the kingdom?

Well, more than likely, you automatically know the answer to that one…

Shrek The Third is the latest in the series from DreamWorks and PDI, and while everything in this film is technically up to a whole new level- it feels to me like they’ve gone back to this mine maybe one time too many. Now the thing is, I really enjoyed watching this, but it’s not so much for the movie itself, that reason I’ll get to before too much longer. I think that there might be only so far that this concept can go, that is at least with holding everyone’s attention- I think small children will totally love this, but the older you get, the less charm that it might have, simply because the jokes for the most part are all of the same note.

Now it does have it’s moments (for me the best being the moment that the Gingerbread Man’s life flashes before his eyes before he’s about to meet his fate- that’s truly the funniest thing in the film), but most of the film seems like they’re trying to go a little too dark in it’s attempt to stay fresh with an older audience and it’s something that just doesn’t work that well on the whole.

There’s no fault with any of the voice work- and everyone’s back in tow- Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas and Cameron Diaz (as well as an assortment of other famous names) all do fine work with what they have- it’s just that what they have maybe should’ve never been committed, at least with the attempt of trying to appeal to all.

But yet I still enjoyed this and you ask why? Well, here in St. Louis, one of the theatre chains has started to go digital and Shrek was the movie shown in digital projection here and it was the first time that I got to experience that. If you see movies as often as I do, then you know that most theatres really feature underlit projection, and more than often you really don’t get to see the movie how it should be intended until you get to see it at home. For the first time, I saw a movie that looks terrific in a theatre and probably as good as if not better than it will in home. This was like watching HDTV on a really huge level and the level of detail, the color, just the sheer solidity of the blacks was truly amazing. So this is a mixed bag, as a story it’s underwhelming unless you’re a really young child, but on a technical level it was a total blast because the animation seen in superior projection was just about as good as it gets.

For your kids, if you have kids, it’s probably totally worth seeing, but for all others, I’d only suggest it if it’s your first experience with digital projection…

Back Seat Producers Fanboy Smackdown Season 01 Shows Special Episode

FBSD Episode SE3: Tony's Losing It Episode 000

Hey everyone,

It’s been a busy week for both of us, so we are running just a bit behind. To make up for that, I wanted to present you with what I’ve been working on that is keeping me so busy this week.

For more information check out

We will be back next week with something to make up for our absence.

Text Reviews Theatrical Review

Theatrical Review: 28 Weeks Later

In the movie, 28 Days Later, Britain saw the release of the Rage virus, turning humans into mindless maniacal killers from the results of experiments on animals. 28 days later from the initial release of one of the animals, and almost the entire population of the country was infected with the exception being small pockets of humanity here and there who’d managed to avoid them. 28 Weeks Later extrapolates on this further, going precisely that amount of time further from the initial infestation and to a point where a part of London has been opened up again for human habitation, thanks to a United States-led NATO force. We see a lot of this play out through the eyes of the Harris family: Donald Harris had abandoned his wife and a few other survivors to a sudden contact with the infected and he’s ready to welcome his children, who’d been refugees in Spain, back into his life. Telling his children what happened to their mother, they get curious on their own and manage to escape from the protected perimeter and find their way back to their home… only to begin a process that releases the Rage virus yet again…

And that’s the basic gist of 28 Weeks Later a sequel to the above-mentioned 28 Days Later which was from director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Shallow Grave) and was a very stylish new take on a zombie-type of film. 28 Weeks Later from director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and much of the same crew of 28DL (including Boyle shooting second unit) continues what Boyle started for the most part in fine form. It’s an overall fun ride and one in which you’re never quite sure how it will all turn out in the end.

There are just a couple of nagging issues though that I have with precisely how the Rage virus gets set upon the land again, and they didn’t need to be there, there were other ways that they could’ve gotten to the same place, but for it’s own convenience it took a route that moved it’s story along faster as opposed to doing it in a more logical manner.

Plus there’s an issue involving Donald Harris (very well played by Robert Carlyle) about keeping him around as a “villain” of sorts through the piece so that his kids can have an arc that ties everything together of sorts in the end… this is more of a Hollywood thing than anything else, and for this movie especially with the threat that it deals with, entirely unnecessary– but to say any more would involve some major spoilers and I want to avoid that.

But still, with these problems that I have with it, I still thought that it ws an overall good time and still very much keeping with the precedent that Danny Boyle started with the first film. It’s incredibly well-made, with a huge scope and some very subtle and not-so-subtle effects work. And the music is terrific, especially the repeated rock-guitar riff that gets used in some very intense moments. And both the opening and closing of the film are absolute killers, real nice stuff.

Carlyle is the biggest “name” in the picture, and as I said above, he does real well with his part, as does everyone else in the movie, all solid actors from Jeremy Renner to Harold Perrineau to Catherine McCormack to Idris Elba… delivering the goods solidly. Note also goes to Imogen Poots and Mackintosh Muggleton who play the Harris kids, Tammy and Andy.

I’d heard through the grapevine that this was in it’s own way supposed to feature it’s own brand of commentary on the U.S. and the war in Iraq, but honestly, I just didn’t see that.. to me, any of the steps that were taken by the military in the film to shut down this virus seemed like the logical steps to take, and certainly the steps that I’d want them to take if the situation was “for real.” I think some of this talk about that might be folks looking into this a little too much for their own agendas, but that’s just me.

Still, for the most part, 28 Weeks Later is a pretty good horror film and the issues that I’d had with a couple of it’s points may in fact not be issues at all for others. If you enjoyed the first film, I’d definitely recommend this… and I hope that the speculation is true and Danny Boyle returns to direct the eventual 28 Months Later

DVD Review Text Reviews

DVD Review: Eraserhead

Continuing talking about some movies that might not necessarily get talked about…

Y’know, I honestly can’t claim to understand in detail every little move David Lynch has ever made in a movie- hell some of the movies are still most mysterious to me, but… I sure do get a lot of pleasure watching his films… say what you will about the content, one thing cannot be denied and that’s that David Lynch is a true American original…

Eraserhead is Lynch’s very first movie- it’s been available for awhile now through Lynch’s website, but I’ve never had the gumption to order it from there. Within the last year though, Lynch opened this up from being available exclusively on his site, and finally I bought the movie.

With my most recent viewing, that had now marked the third time that I’ve seen this, and for me, it was the most enthusiastic that I’ve been yet at the end of seeing this- I mean I can’t wait to sit back and watch this again, very soon (oh if Lost Highway would just make it to DVD- and with the rest of my Lynch films, I’d have the makings for a hell of a Lynch film festival).

When I first saw Eraserhead, I was in my mid-20s and married and my wife and I rented this one night- we knew it was a cult movie with horrific overtones, but that was about it. We watched it, scratched our heads, said “the hell is this?” and returned the tape back to the rental place.

The second time I saw Eraserhead, I was divorced and in my mid-30s, and much more receptive to different forms of cinema, but there was still something that was extremely off-putting to me about this, I just couldn’t get into it, and worse, I was bored by it…

My most recent viewing was my third time seeing this and I gotta say I had a friggin’ blast watching this, now in my early 40s, a lot more receptive than I’ve been before with film, and just even extra excited these days by watching David Lynch movies.

So if you’ve never seen Eraserhead, it’s sorta hard to get you prepped for what you’re gonna see… I mean this is real surrealist filmmaking, totally original to anything anyone else has done (the closest was probably E. Elias Merhige with Begotten) and yet it is an extremely personal film to Lynch…

Anyway, it goes a little something like this- Henry Spencer is a man with a lot of self doubt, he’s living in a rotted out area of some industrial center, and he’s quite the twitchy little man. Henry is involved with Mary X, and one night Henry goes to have dinner with Mary and her parents when Henry’s confronted with Mary being pregnant with his baby. And from there, well you know I can’t say, “it just gets weird” because this starts weird and it never, ever lets up… it’s been called a surrealist way Lynch had seen his life while living in Philadelphia and being a first time husband and father and all of the insecurities that go with that, as well as the little things that give you comfort during such hard times, I certainly see that… but there’s more as well, but that’s for you to discover.

This DVD is absolutely stunning… both the audio and visual quality is just right up there. The sound is in 2.0, but it’s some of the best 2.0 I’ve ever heard- the sound design in a Lynch movie has always been a hallmark, and here’s where it starts as Eraserhead is unsettling right from the first noise made. The look of the film is absolutely pristine and the disk is anamorphic widescreen with a 1:1.85 ratio, it’s probably never looked this good, and that just made me want to watch it even more (keep in mind, this is a black and white movie as well)… all of Lynch’s “tricks” are here, his set-ups, his pacing, this is where they all were birthed, and it’s still just as much fun as any of Lynch’s contemporary films are to sit back and let them soak in…

The DVD includes a few extras, including one called Stories, which has David Lynch telling you stories behind the production (but nothing specific as to what it’s all about- Dave will never do that) and this is actually pretty entertaining, but some will still get frustrated simply because he isn’t talking about the film, but more on the hows, whys and whos behind it…

If you’re up for some adventurous stuff, look no further than David Lynch’s first movie, Eraserhead… for those that don’t mind a little experimentation and a lot of surrealism, you might get a kick out of this…

Back Seat Producers Fanboy Smackdown Season 01 Shows

FBSD Episode 36: Lucky You with a bit of Spiderman 3 – Take 2

Well, I’m not 100% sure what caused it, but it was something in the way I entered the ID3 tag…. like you even care.

Anyway, it’s fixed!

In this week’s episode we talk about the phenomenal numbers that Spiderman 3 had over the weekend and contrast that with the dismal showing for the rest of the films in theaters. (

Tony gives a brief review of Spiderman 3 that doesn’t include spoilers, but refers you to the GeekLabel podcast if you want to hear Spiderman 3 picked apart (then roasted over an open flame) .

We then review Lucky You, spoiler free… at least until we take a break.

Promo: Christiana Ellis’ Nina Kimberly the Merciless

We dig into the deep analysis of Lucky You.

Generally, we aren’t giving this film high marks. We were hoping for something a bit…. more. It’s really hard to describe it beyond that. It wasn’t a bad film, it just floundered.

On the other hand, Tony does suggest and support an idea that this film could quite possibly be one of the most perfect date movies made. – send an email – post a comment
206-339-FBSD(3273) – leave a voicemail – join the forum

Back Seat Producers Fanboy Smackdown Season 01 Shows

FBSD Episode 36: Lucky You (and a bit of Spiderman 3)

Lite notes for now:

Lucky You


Promo: Nina Kimberly the Merciless

Next Episode – Mother’s Day Special

(File removed until I can figure out what the problem is.)