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Thursday, 12 March 2020

Episode 137: Summer Predictions 2020 - 00PS: No Time To Release

The title of the show takes a cheap shot at the non-appearance of Bond this April. He's self-isolating from audiences for seven months with a case of Crowdplease Failure Virus (COFAIL-007). The reason for this extensive barrage of text punnage is that when we recorded the show on Feb 15th we thought Bond was a lot of things, tired, over-the-hill, on his last legs but a coward? No, sir, not one of them. Oh, how times have changed.

Bond requesting a covert extraction aside the prophecy mill is in full swing as our jaunty adventurers pilot a course from damp aliens, via Jungle Rocks, through the blancmange swamp littered with recently Disney-fied Fox back-catalogue items. Now with added budgetary estimates, will their speculation on how much things cost (or knowledge of where applicable) help or hinder their quest to pick 2020's box office winners and notable losers?

It's a tricky year, Marvel are taking a year off, Disney are trying to wrong-foot the oppostion by littering the battlefield with items they found in a lock-up garage formerly owned by Fox. Only one thing's for certain, Fast & Furious 9 is bound to cash in... after that, well, you'd need to be able to predict the future...

This episode uses an excerpt of the Anchor Hill's unreasonably groovy "Funk Cabbage". The full track can be downloaded here.

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Thursday, 28 November 2019

Episode 136: Why in the Spiderverse is genre so HARD?

In the beginning was Superman, and shortly thereafter Tim Burton's Batman. Marvel characters had no movies and the fanboys went without. And Fox brought forth X-Men. And Hugh Jackman probably didn't know how many times he would be called upon to play Wolverine, but the audience loved it, and so the studios saw that it was good. Shortly thereafter Sony brought forth the first Spider-man, Raimi's Spider-man, and, despite being a little bit creepy, generally, he too was deemed to be a good.

Sony returned to the Spider-man well twice more, but on the third occasion the well of lucre was poisoned with unnecessary Venom, and the audience did feel that Spider-man 3 was bloated and now Spidey himself was just creepy, and even the Sandman and Hobgoblin could not save the movie from being underwhelming in the extreme. And Raimi did wander in the desert until making Drag Me To Hell, which was more his cup of tea.

A very short time following Spider-man 3 Sony attempted to refresh the well. "Lo!" they said unto the audience. "Look thou upon new Spider-man, for he is Amazing!" And the audience did look upon the tall and handsome face of new Spider-man and did say: "Well, maybe not Amazing, but Adequate, definitely." And Sony spake thus: "We cannot call a movie franchise 'The Adequate Spider-man', so we will stick with Amazing."

And Sony returned again to the well of lucre, but they did see in the next land that Marvel's well of lucre brought forth the wonders of yon "Cinematic Universe" and they were sore with envy. So when the Adequate... sorry, Amazing Spider-man 2 came forth from Sony's well of lucre it was tainted with envy and mutated by the worn stubs of a failed "Cinematic Universe".

Thus did Sony come to Marvel and propose a deal. They offered to return Spider-man (who was just on indefinite loan from Marvel) on a limited basis if they would bless the Spider-man with the water of the "Cinematic Universe". And Marvel did work out the deal with Sony, and they plunged a newly minted Spider-man into a Civil War between the mid-ranking officer of the Americas and the man forged of Iron. The audience did see it and were now Amazed. And Sony and Marvel did turn to the audience and spake thus: "No, this Spider-man is NOT Amazing, he is just Spider-man" and the audience did say: "Well, if you're sure." At home later the audience did in secret speak thusly: "I am confident this Spider-man is more Amazing than the last one."

And Spider-man did have his own movie in Marvel's "Cinematic Universe" which they did call "Homecoming" and Sony gritted their teeth, for the well of lucre did flow. And Spider-man partook in the Infinity War and survived the Endgame of those who Avenge, finally he found himself "Far From Home" and the well of lucre was bountiful for both Marvel and Sony.

But Sony, once more overconfident and partaking of the iffy Venom, did snatch back the Spider-man. Marvel offered unto Sony a couple of possible deals but Sony declared them to be not good enough. The fandom saw this sundering of the "Cinematic Universe" and there was wailing, and gnashing of teeth.

But Sony did not immediately back down. They spoke to the people and said: "Did we not deliver an averagely good Venom movie? And did we not also deliver unto thee 'Into The Spiderverse' which was much better than anyone expected?" And the people did accept this, but they did not wholly believe Sony could pull this off and they were sore afraid that the next Spider-man movie would be a big pile of poo.

Lo! Marvel did offer another bag of money unto Sony, and they also passed secrets amongst themselves. And suddenly Spider-man was back in the "Cinematic Universe" and some people were even a bit disappointed because they had wanted to see what Sony would do.

The stout ones, those Kids from the 80s watched upon all of this and shook their ancient heads. "Spider-man should literally be a license to print money," spake Ian. "I know." spake Leo. "People trivialise genre, but it is a lot harder and more complicated than it looks."

And Martin Scorsese said nothing further.

This episode uses an excerpt of Bongo Avenger by Eric & Ryan Kilkenny

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Thursday, 21 November 2019

Episode 135: Batman Is Screwed

When this episode was just a glint in the eye of the 80s kids we were aware that the "Joker" movie existed and that there was some "buzz" associated with the property. When we recorded the episode Joker was still a couple of months from general release. So, that will explain why we miss the opportunity of discussing how irrelevant Batman has become to Batman related properties.

After the Dark Knight rose we, of course, got Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Irrelevance, a guest spot in Suicide Squad, and then, inexorably we went towards "Justice League". Ben Affleck got the filthy end of that particular stick and no mistake whatsoever. Suicide Squad, in fact, represents the last time to date that a movie has actively tried to pull eyeballs by mentioning the presence of one caped crusader.

Of course, there's the Lego Batman movie... but does that really help? Add into the mix the presence of a non-verbal Bats in Teen Titans Go To The Movies and the proud absence of bat iconography emblazoned upon the face of popular TV epic Gotham and a pattern begins to emerge.

You thought, no doubt, that Batman was waiting in the shadows, ready to strike at any time. Now you're beginning to suspect that those shadows are bat free and you're locked up all alone with the cowled one's gallery of sociopathic opposition. Who will save you? The 80s Kids? Nah, mate, we're just here to discuss matters and confirm that you, like Batman, are probably screwed.

This episode uses an excerpt of Chant Of Night Blades by Kai Engel

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Thursday, 14 November 2019

Episode 134: 2012 - The Cabin of Looping Dredd

The idea of the "Part 2" year shows, in what is still referred to as the "new format" even though we've been rocking it for two years and three seasons, is to look at key movies in that year and say: "Hey, there was some definite 80s influence there". And in 2012 we have a couple of proud examples of how that 80s mood was embraced and reflected upon 22 years after the 80s closed its doors and slung us all into the neon-lit, over-excited street carnival of the 90s.

And once we've mopped the rose-tinted tears of joy from our eyes over fascist future cops and ironic cabin zombies we can begin to cry a different way, because we then get to talk about Looper. Don't misunderstand, we know that many people really love Looper and think it's clever and amazing. Leo and Ian are not two of those people.

Indeed the glee with which Ian embraces the idea of working over a Rian Johnson movie is, maybe, a little unseemly. As his steel-toe capped commentary heaps in on the mishy-mashy time travel drivel you can hear him repeatedly whispering: "This is for Luke, you barstool." Or something like that.

Leo has less skin in that game but still, has to agree, a master storyteller Mr. Johnson ain't, and having now sat through the Levitt-Willis funtime shotgun hour (and a half) twice in order to confirm exactly how much he disliked it he's not letting it go this time. Anyway, the question may occur, why watch Looper and talk about it if you don't like it. Well, it where's it's wannabe Philip K Dick creds like some kind of badge of honour, when really it just reminds you how good Blade Runner etc. really were in comparison. Loops? Where we're going we don't like loops. Let us count the ways.

This episode uses an excerpt of Electrodomestico by The Coconut Monkeyrocket

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Thursday, 7 November 2019

Episode 133: 2012 Top Ten - Avengers Bane That Fell From The Sky

There are two ways to look at the Top 10 movies of 2012 for franchise fans there was a total buffet of above-par iterations of their absolute faves. The first big-screen MCU crossover event dominated, of course, but then the Anniversary Bond was snapping at its heels with the Dark Knight rising to put in a creditable third helping before the DCCU well... you know.

Then there's the rest of the list... The Hobbit, lumpy and grumpy and overstuffed. Ice Age and Madagascar for the kids, isn't that tantamount to neglect? The Twilight franchise delighted millions around the world, by ending. Spider-man was maybe just a touch too Amazing. There were 3 Men In Black, although two of them were the same and there was some timey-wimey stuff and well, then everyone fell asleep, by themselves, not because of some weird flashlight. Although, I have to say I still wonder if MiB3 was just a hallucination brought on by a gas leak.

Nestled in amongst this volley of re-boots, crossovers, sequels, warmed-over-bull-doody and completely unnecessary and unwanted disappointments was the upstart Hunger Games franchise opener. It was a time when many people could legitimately say they wanted to rock up to a movie about kids given weapons and told to jolly well murder one another and still say "What the hell's that" when you offer to put on Battle Royale.

2012, with a few notable exceptions, was a bit of a hot mess at the top end, but, at the same time, it was a glorious year for cinema. No wonder people were too confused to make Dredd the box office success it should have been. More on which next week...

This episode uses an excerpt of Raindrops by Predator Technique

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Thursday, 31 October 2019

Episode 132: There's Something Whiffy About Skiffy

We're unsure which of the multiple dismal Netflix Original SF movies pushed this button, but their roster of misfires definitely made the penny drop. The outburst goes something along the lines of: "Oh come on! What are they even doing, this isn't proper Science Fiction like The Matrix, or 2001, what are they trying to achieve?". Then, of course, you think: "Mind you, 2001 is a bit... slow. But The Matrix? Ah, there's the stuff. Good old Matrix. Sequels drifted a bit of course, but, still, The Matrix. And Predestination. That's a good one, although time travel... isn't that technically more a sort of philosophical fantasy?"

That's where it starts to unravel, Pi? Mathematical fantasy. Cube? Kafka-esque social commentary. Primer? More time-travel whimsy. What movie is *really* pure science fiction. Of course, in both The Matrix and 2001 we have AI and we don't really know how that would work, but we have more of an idea than time-travel. How does paradox work? No one knows, and no-one in our lifetime is ever likely to know.

Eventually, you have to entertain the possibility that SF and film will never have the same happy relationship as, say, spy thrillers and film, or romance and film, or high fantasy and film, or, of course, superheroes and film. The fact is Science Fiction is like an ingredient to a story in some other genre rather than a happy genre by itself. Core SF texts don't really care about character as much as they do ideas, and film needs characters in order to live and breathe.

If you can have a spoiler for a discussion then watch out, because we come up with precisely zero answers for this proposition but we do give it a bit of a kicking. Whether we come back to the topic is down to whether anyone cares to opine whether we're "Wrong on the Internet" about this one. Time will tell, but SF is never going to be happy at the movies. Change our minds.

This episode uses excerpts of User Friendly by Lee Rosevere

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Thursday, 24 October 2019

Episode 131: Tales of the Fandom Chin - A Bruce Campbell Retrospective

You found the battered VHS tape in a trunk stored in the cabin's basement. There was a lock on the clasp but the lid had rotted allowing you access to the variety of mouldy junk within.

With shaking fingers you reach out to push the tape's spine into the old VCR, you feel the smooth raised surface of the word "GROOVY" written in office white-out along the space where a label should be. The tape begins...

"Hi, I'm Leo and this is Ian and we have been researching urban legends, specifically this one about the so-called 'Hero From The Sky'. The legend relates that if you say the words 'Chuck Finley' into a mirror three times a man in leather pants with a dubious beard will come to your house and crash on your sofa for a week..."

You have heard the legend yourself, but you've never been brave enough to so much as whisper the name of the unspeakable god of B-Movie schlock. What would happen should you succeed? What if he arrives in his other guise as OAP Elvis? What if he likes your place so much he parks a trailer on your front lawn and fills your attic with dead-ites?

Sure, you're a fan, but are you really THAT much of a fan?

This episode uses excerpts of Town Braggart by John Bartmann

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