“Wings of Desire” (1987)

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Dreams do come true.  Eventually.  We welcome ourselves back from an impromptu holiday vacation, which we don’t even refer to in the show, because this episode was recorded before Christmas 2017 (as is the next episode as well).

Ahem.  Where do we begin with this week’s exploration into 1987’s Wings of Desire?  Well, for one, it’s an awesome film.  Arty, stylish, slow, but cool.  So cool that it was eventually remade into a Meg Ryan / Nicolas Cage tearjerker.  Typical.

“Brick” (2005)

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Hey, unless you’re living under a rock, you might have heard it’s Star Wars week.  To celebrate the coming-of-age of The Last Jedi‘s director, Rian Johnson, Mark and Chad are here to celebrate the earliest work of the man, 2005’s acclaimed indie Brick.

Performers of note: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Nora Zehetner, Lukas Haas, Noah Fleiss, Matt O’Leary,

“Top Secret!” (1984)

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Falling in line with the Zucker Brothers’ history of slapstick comedy, “Top Secret!” is no exception to the rule.  It’s a movie that eluded Chad for the duration of its existence… Yet, somehow, it’s one of Mark’s treasured favorites (he gives it a 9 out of 10 star rating).  The boys sit back, relax and try to figure out if there’s an actual story to this thing, or if it’s only a ploy for sight gags.  Oh, and it’s the first movie Val Kilmer ever did (according to imdb).

Performers of note: Val Kilmer, Lucy Gutteridge, Peter Cushing, Christopher Williers, Michael Gough, Harry Ditson, Jim Carter, Omar Sharif, Eddie Tagoe, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker

“Three Colors: Red” (1994)

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The guys deep dive back into the world of European art-house cinema, again looking back to the works of director Krzysztof Kieslowski (we first tackled his “The Double Life of Veronique” in the 4th episode of this podcast!)).  “Three Colors: Red” falls within Chad’s top-10 favorite films OF ALL TIME, for reasons mostly unknown to even him, but it remains largely unknown from the populist world at large.  

Performers of note: Irène Jacob, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Jean-Pierre Lorit, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Juliette Binoche, Julie Delpy, Benoît Régent, Zbigniew Zamachowski.

“The Punisher” (2004)

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This is as good a week as any to talk about 2004’s rendition of “The Punisher”, considering Netflix just released their own version of “The Punisher” TV series last week.  This week, Mark presents the movie to Chad, whom has never seen ANY of the Punisher installments over the years.  The two of them dive deep into the state of comic book movies, and make an effort to introduce everyone to our slight format change. 

Performers of note: Thomas Jane, John Travolta, Will Patton, Ben Foster, Rebecca Romijn, Roy Scheider (RIP), Samantha Mathis, Kevin Nash, Laura Harring, Eddie Jemison, John Pinette (RIP).

“Legend” (1985)

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Mark and guest Ashley Long (sans Chad, was out of town) take a look at Ridley Scott’s much maligned fantasy epic, “Legend” (The Director’s Cut, specifically).  Ashley stews of fond memories of the film, while Mark doesn’t quite feel it was “directed by a human being”.

Performers of note: Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennent, Alice Playten, Billy Barty, Robert Picardo

“One Dark Night” (1982)

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Mark finally gets his Halloween wish – he and Chad tackle a movie that at least falls into the horror film genre this time.  “One Dark Night” seems to have disappeared from public view since it’s release in 1982.  How we stumbled across it, only Chad knows (he totally judged the blu-ray by its awesome cover, and bought it without having seen it).

Performers of note: Meg Tilly, Melissa Newman, Robin Evans, Leslie Speights, Elizabeth Daily, Adam West, Tom McLoughlin.

“Blade Runner 2049” (2017)

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Happy Halloween!  Mark wanted to do a movie that actually fit the mold of Halloween for the holiday, but Chad was a grump and they stuck with the original plan.  This time we’re trying something a little new (for us) – we’re doing a podcast for a movie that’s still in theaters!  Yes, we (mostly) loved it that much.  If you hated the new Blade Runner installment… well… go straight to hell and don’t pass ‘GO’.

Performers of note: Ryan Gosling, Jared Leto, Sylvia Hoeks, Ana de Armas, Carla Juri, Dave Bautista, Edward James Olmos, Harrison Ford, Hiam Abbass, Mackenzie Davis, Robin Wright.

“The Trust” (2016)

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Today we dip our feet in the world of “modern” independent film.  Mark brings us to a film that recently caught his attention: “The Trust” – made in 2016, starring Elijah Wood and Nicolas Cage (with a hint of Jerry Lewis in a thankless role).

Performers of note: Nicolas Cage, Elijah Wood, Ethan Suplee, Jerry Lewis, Sky Ferreira.

“Zodiac” (2007)

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This is one of those slow-burn modern-classic films that only David Fincher could have directed.  Mark and Chad discuss, well – is it a “classic”?  Chad seems to think so.  Mark isn’t as certain.  One thing is for sure, however: the film didn’t play well on first viewing, but ultimately gets much, much better on repeat viewings.  Is that because it breaks the modern storytelling tropes?  Does it break traditional structure?  Does the film climax?

Will all these questions be answered here?  Probably not, but we’ll touch on some of it.

Performers of note: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Edwards, Robert Downey Jr., Brian Cox, John Carroll Lynch

“Poltergeist” (1982)

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Mark’s back with previous guest Josh Trotter to discuss the child-traumatizing film, “Poltergeist” – the movie that haunted Josh in his youth (and he’s never seen it – only listened to it from behind a couch).

So there’s that.  And other stuff.  Did Spielberg direct this?

Performers of note: JoBeth Williams, Craig T. Nelson, Heather O’Rourke, Oliver Robins, Dominique Dunne, Zelda Rubinstein, Tobe Hooper, Steven Spielberg.

“The Player” (1992)

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Ah, the sweet, sweet smell of being back.  Mark and Chad are back after an extended break!  Chad went and directed a feature film in Australia (currently untitled), and Mark’s been busy busting his butt on shows like “Preacher” and “My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”.  That said, we’re back weekly from here on out (for the foreseeable future).

Let’s get to it, shall we?

This week, Chad and Mark deep dive back into Robert Altman (that didn’t come out right)… with “The Player”, a 1992 opus that features every fucking actor ever.  The movie breaks the first rule of filmmaking: don’t make a movie about filmmaking.  If you haven’t seen it before, maybe check it out before listening – as always, we WILL spoil the movie (and cameos) for you.

Performers of note: Tim Robbins, Greta Scacchi, Fred Ward, Whoopi Goldberg, Peter Gallagher, Brion James, Cynthia Stevenson, Vincent D’Onofrio, Dean Stockwell, Lyle Lovett, and a million cameos.

“Rumble Fish” (1983)

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Mark, Chad and guest Steve Phelan return after a week off to explore Steve’s pick, “Rumble Fish”, Francis Ford Coppola’s generally forgotten art-house epic(?) from 1983.  Photographed on gorgeously lush black and white film, “Rumble Fish” is a film that most likely couldn’t see the light of day in our era or filmmaking – a large cast of up-and-coming stars, including Matt Dillon, Mickey Rourke, Diane Lane and Nicolas Cage, would frankly be unheard-of in a modern independent shot on black and white film (or video, for that matter).  It’s a relic of its time, for sure.

Performers of note: Matt Dillon, Mickey Rourke, Diane Lane, Dennis Hopper, Nicolas Cage, Chris Penn, Laurence Fishburne, Tom Waits, Sofia Coppola, S.E. Hinton, Francis Ford Coppola.

“The Big Short” (2015)

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2008 came and went with no really big issues, right?  Uhh, wrong.  Guest Brian Finifter and co-host Mark Heiliger take a look (minus Chad) at “The Big Short” (Mark’s first time).  They ponder exactly what went wrong (with the economy – not the movie), and leave us with a sense of overall dread.  Thanks, guys.

Performers of note: Steve Carell, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, Finn Wittrock, John Magaro, Tracy Letts, Marisa Tomei, Rafe Spall, Hamish Linklater, Jeremy Strong, Melissa Leo.

“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” (2009)

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With whispers that Terry Gilliam’s ill-fated Don Quixote project might finally see the light of day, we thought we’d dive into another Gilliam film that almost didn’t make it to screens: “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”. With the passing of Heath Ledger – half way through production – Gilliam and crew had to shut down and regroup. The result is stronger than one might expect, given the circumstances, with some flaws along the way. The real question is – can Terry Gilliam return to form?

Performers of note: Heath Ledger, Andrew Garfield, Lily Cole, Christopher Plummer, Verne Troyer, Tom Waits, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell, and a hint of Gwendoline Christie.

“Prince of Darkness” (1987)

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Mark and Chad dive deep into John Carpenter’s “Prince of Darkness” – a film which Chad is seeing for the first time.  They talk about their collective love of Carpenter’s collected works and the sentimentality they feel for that “lost” brand of filmmaking.  Actually, it’s kind of a depressing episode, so have a beer handy and drink down your sorrows.

Performers of note: Donald Pleasence, Jameson Parker, Victor Wong, Lisa Blount.

“La La Land” (2016)

Pretty sure you’ve heard of this one before.  “The famous Oscar loser”, as Mark puts it, gently.  But Mark’s never seen it, and Chad has (too many times), so here we are.  Why tackle a movie that’s hot off the press?  Well, maybe it’s a half-hearted attempt to have a conversation about hype and how too much of it can be a turn-off – can a great movie surpass the expectations of hype, or is it always doomed to fail?

Performers of note: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, Rosemarie DeWitt, J.K. Simmons.