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TRAILER TRASH

TRAILER TRASH

In which we review the films opening this weekend, just based on the trailer, to 100 percent accuracy.

AS ABOVE, SO BELOW


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AKA: The Descent: Paris

REVIEW:Horror is a hard genre to get right, and seemingly more difficult every year. The movies that actually work are the ones that remember they’re movies first, and focus on the horror second. This means focusing on characterization, motivation, and following the logic of the world the film has built. AASB gets that right for the first two-thirds of the film, letting the characters explore the caverns and get to know each other slowly as the audience does too. That’s coupled with a slow ratcheting up of scares, beginning with the very real terror of claustrophobia (and being surrounded by fucking bones) before turning into to the whole gates of hell thing. The problem is with the shift. Like the Last Exorcism a few years ago, you can’t be a subtle movie and than throw in a giant fire demon at the end. It retroactively makes the whole thing pretty dumb. What I’m saying is this ends with a giant fire demon, and it’s pretty fucking dumb. It could’ve been three stars and they pissed that away for a bigger budget.

SPOILER: Based on a true story. A guy twisted his ankle once in the Catacombs.

RATING: **1/2(out of ****)

THE NOVEMBER MAN


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AKA: The Bloody Bourne Flogging

REVIEW: Pierce Brosnan is back, and he’s lost his horse-half and singing, finally deciding to play the suave British badass he truly is. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a non-cheesy Brosnan, and a hard-hitting spy thriller isn’t that rare these days. But he brings a gravitas and amoral ambiguity to the November Man that is lacking in most gritty films of the genre these days. Instead of shaky-cam action scenes, it’s a slowly unwinding paranoid take on the spy game as the characters try to figure out who stole the month of November… and what they’re going to do with it.

SPOILER: Pierce Brosnan is in fact half horse.

RATING: ***(out of ****)

PopFilter Podcast Special Emmy Coverage!

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That’s right! Be there as the friends discuss what they loved, hated and were generally indifferent towards as they come to you from a post-Emmy party. Which party, you ask? None of your business! Hurray!!

Email us to get your opinion on the show: contact@yourpopfilter.com

Or call and leave a voicemail: 1-562 DRDJ POP

 

Review us on iTunes!

 

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THE POPFILTER FALL TEEVEE PREEVEE


The PopFilter Fall TeeVee PreVee

the-cw-logo__140313224549

THE CW

 

 

THE FLASH

PREMIERES TUESDAY OCTOBER 7TH

 

WHAT IT BE:

The CW’s follows up the success of Arrow with another DC character that isn’t part of their Big 3 (Batman, Superman, and Batman). The Flash follows the adventures of a young Barry Allen as he attempts to deal with the pressures of being a super hero and being a teenager, all while moving at the speed of life. Or some shit.

WHY IT MIGHT BE DECENT:

Honestly? Because – to everyone’s shock – Arrow was decent. And the costume in the show doesn’t look as stupid as it could have.

WHY IT MIGHT SUCK BUTT:

There are so many reasons. Despite Arrow, this is still the CW. And Green Arrow isn’t a character that doesn’t require special effects every time he uses his power. Early word on this show is that it’s pretty sweet, but anything can go wrong at any point, particularly when they start trying to integrate some of the Flash’s villains.

HOW MANY EPISODES BEFORE I QUIT IT?

If you’ve been reading this feature since it started, you know that there’s a new PopFilter podcast coming out that focuses on superhero TV. So…a lot.

 

 

JANE THE VIRGIN

PREMIERES MONDAY OCTOBER 13TH

 

WHAT IT BE:

Jane is a virgin who gets knocked up by being accidentally artificially inseminated. Because shows need to go on for six seasons, and not just half an episode, she decides to keep the baby. Hopefully a lot of allusions to the bible are to follow.

WHY IT MIGHT BE DECENT:

It has actually been getting decent reviews. The CW is really selling titular actor Gina Rodriguez as a future superstar. It doesn’t seem like that will be the case based on the trailer, but hey…trailers suck. You never know.

WHY IT MIGHT SUCK BUTT:

See: The Flash, minus the special effects superhero stuff. (hint: it’s on The CW)

HOW MANY EPISODES BEFORE I QUIT IT?

The pilot should show whether people think this actually good, or just good for the CW. From there, who knows? (Hint: I do)

 

 

The List

Best Songs of the 1990’s

1999 Edition

 

10. “Guerilla Radio” Rage Against the Machine

This song is so completely 90’s, it’s almost become difficult to listen to. Of-its-timenes aside, however, this is an incredibly powerful track. Zack de la Rocha’s lyrical power is so enthralling that it almost competes with Tom Morello’s guitar track. It doesn’t, but it comes goddamned close.

9. “Still Dre” Dr. Dre feat Snoop Dogg

This is not a perfect song by any means, but holy shit. Dr. Dre does all of his absolutely amazing production trips that take his less-than-amazing rap skills and give them such an incredible beat and hook that you don’t give a shit about what he’s saying. Also, Snoop is way the fuck too cool, and this song proves that in a million different ways.

8. “The City” The Dismemberment Plan

Sure, not a lot of energy is present on this track, but what is here is so incredibly creative and cool that the low energy is a blessing. If we had someone doing their best B-52’s impression, this song would be sensory overload. Let the track and the melody be your bed as the lyrical blanket get tucked around you as you drift off into an awesome, creative sleep.

7. “Time Trap” Built to Spill

By the time the lyrics come in on this song, you have already gone through so much that you wonder exactly how this song is going to go on for another three minutes. The loveliest thing happens, though: the song doesn’t just go on it actually gets better. This is an absolute gem from a band that a lot of people know by name, if not by their musical talent.

6. “I’m Shady” Eminem

This may not be the most popular track off of this record, but this is Eminem inadvertently tipping his hand. Almost all of his tricks are on display here and they work almost too well. His wit, his sarcasm, his incredible honest delivery of painfully honest lyrics all let the world know that this dude is going to be something special. The only reason this is not higher on the list is for his reliance on what I call “Beastie Boys rhyme scheme”. That aside, this is an absolutely brilliant track form an artist that had not even scratched the surface of his potential.

5. “What’s My Age Again” Blink 182

While they had a break out his with “Dammit”, “What’s My Age Again” is widely considered the moment that the world fell in love with Mark, Tom and Travis. Also, this is the first album with Travis Barker, one that had even more energy and punk rock attitude than their previous works. This song, with its mix of subversive lyrics, sarcasm and sincerity, reshaped what a lot of people thought the pop-puink genre could and would be. And though the song was played to fucking death, it still stands as a giant moment for a genre that was forging itself.

4. “South Side” Moby feat Gwen Stefani

This is an interesting tune because of how well known the chorus is and how completely forgotten the verses are. The chorus to this tune is awe-inspiring. It’s one of those melodies that you are pretty sure you have heard one hundred times before, but you come to find out it is just too perfectly written and completely original. The verses, however, could have used a little work. If it was just the verse, this song wouldn’t stand a chance of making the list, but come on man…that chorus. It’s just…just…fucking amazing.

3. “Blister” Jimmy Eat World

This song is bonkers. It starts with this enormous burst of energy and refuses to relent. The chorus opens into this huge, beautiful explosion of lyrics and music that come together in such a perfect way that you can’t do anything but be in awe. The beauty of this, however, is amplified by how much passion and self-restraint are heard in the vocals. This is a song without much metaphor and there aren’t a bunch of layers, but sometimes the best songs just allow you to enjoy them and wash them off when you’re done.

2. “Paper Bag” Fiona Apple

Holy fucking shit, this chick is talented. Whether it’s the dissonance in the piano, the rhythm to her lyrics, the sparse drum track, the dissociative lyrics or the timbre of and effected confidence in her voice, this song seems like it has too many great things going for it to be released by a single human being. It may not be perfect and may not have been a big hit, but so far as purely amazing music from the year 1999 is concerned, this is it.

1. “Staralfur” Sigar Ros

If you don’t feel things when you listen to this song, you are dead. It’s not that you “might” be dead, or you “should” be dead but that you are actually a dead person. If you think you’re not then you must be some kind of ghost. This song is so hauntingly beautiful and heartfelt that nothing else this year, no matter how amazing, could hold a fucking candle to it. The gibberish lyrics only add an oddly pleasant melody without any sort of intrusion against the soundscape the band has set up. There are a lot of people that associate the word “pretentious” with Sigur Ros, and for good reason. Sometimes, though, you just have to sit back, relax, and wallow in the beauty of what this pretentious group of artsy fartsies can do.

 

There you have it, Filterinos. Let me know how great I am at jasonnoble@yourpopfilter.com. Tell me how wrong I am at contact@yourpopfilter.com. Tell me all your darkest secrets at ryanhaley@yourpopfilter.com. And, as always, send me all your dick pics at mike@yourpopfilter.com.

 

With Love,

Jason R. Noble

Kerri Battles the AFI’s Top 100 — #85: A Night at the Opera

Each week, I check the AFI list to see what’s on deck. Each week, I’d see A Night at the Opera and cringe. I wasn’t familiar with the title, and, judging by that alone, I figured it had to be some crusty, black and white “classic” romance where some poor Cinderella type gets her one fairy tale night out on the town. This week, as it moved into the on deck circle, I realized it was actually a Marx Brothers film. I don’t know if I’ve ever been so relieved to be wrong. Until now, I’d only ever seen one Marx Brothers film in my life (Duck Soup, up for battle in about 6 months), but that one film was enough proof for me that their legendary status is deserved. Their comedic genius lives on for good reason. A Night at the Opera is just another example of why.

Sorry, guys, no Zeppo in this flick.

Trying to succinctly explain the plot of a Marx Brothers movie is nearly impossible and practically pointless. Still, I’ll try. Ostensibly, the movie centers around Rosa, the leading lady of an Italian opera company, her boyfriend Ricardo, a lowly chorus man with big dreams, and the diva star tenor intent on having Rosa for his own, Lassparri. Chico plays Ricardo’s best friend and manager, Fiorello, while Harpo portrays Tomasso, the much-abused wardrobe assistant to Lassparri. Groucho ties it all together as Otis B. Driftwood, a scheming swindler intent on having his way with wealthy widow Mrs. Claypool’s vast fortune. When Mrs. C begs Otis to introduce her to polite society, he suggest that she donate to the New York Opera Company and introduces her to its owner, Mr. Gottlieb. Gottlieb woos Lassparri away from his current company with a deal to earn $1000 a night with the New York Opera Company. Lassparri, in turn, selects Rosa to join him as his leading lady in the Big Apple. Mrs. Claypool, now financially invested in the company, and Otis, deeply invested in Mrs. Claypool’s finances, join the party on their cruise back to New York. As Otis is finally shown to his laughably small state room and begins to unpack his obscenely large steamer trunk, he finds Fiorello, Tomasso, and Ricardo have stowed away inside. This is where the fun really begins.

Marx Brothers (A Night at the Opera)_02

Just have a guess at what might be going on here. Go ahead. Try.

The above description is wildly misleading and doesn’t even begin to create an accurate idea of what really occupies the roughly 90 minutes of A Night at the Opera. That’s partly because I know spending thousands of words explaining Marx Brothers bits is insulting to the trio’s brilliance. Mostly, though, it’s because the plot itself is completely irrelevant. There is no high concept story here. The plot exists solely to provide some semblance of reason and context to the Marx Brothers’ antics. It’s there to explain why the brothers and their fourth are in the world’s smallest state room as the ship’s staff cram in on top of them one by one.  It’s there as an excuse to have Harpo sit in the orchestra pit and play a trombone with a bow or dress as a gypsy and mess with the dancers on stage as they try to perform. It’s the backstory for why Groucho and Chico are negotiating a contract to begin with, but it has nothing to do with why it’s so priceless to watch them tear off each and every clause along the way. Without the plot, we’d be watching one-off sketches that were just as hilarious. The Marx Brothers only gave us a plot so they could tie all these fantastic bits together with a single cohesive theme and release it as one feature-length film.

An artist’s representation of my brain being melted by their brilliance.

 

The supporting cast is just as superfluous. That’s not to say that these people are bad actors or gave poor performances, but rather that their sole purpose within the film is to be mere playthings for the Marx Brothers to use. Honestly, these people could have been giving the comedic performances of their lives and I never would have noticed.  They’re there to facilitate — or just be — a classic Marx Brothers punchline. The brothers are labeled as slapstick, but I don’t think that’s quite right. It feels wrong to lump them into the same category as shitty Chevy Chase pratfalls or anything involving Chris Kattan because these aren’t cheap gags for cheap laughs. The comedy is definitely physical, but there’s a subtlety to their boisterousness. Their timing and pacing are impeccable, creating a perfect balance that makes it seem perfectly logical that Harpo should clock Lassparri over the head with a mallet (twice) in one scene, then play a beautiful harp piece in another. A Night at the Opera is a clever and well-plotted ode to the ludicrous that, based on my weak knowledge and strong opinions of the subject, audiences wouldn’t see from Hollywood again until someone finally gave Mel Brooks a camera.

Better hasn’t been made in my lifetime, anyway.

I can’t argue against A Night at the Opera appearing on the list. Hell, I can’t even argue against the Marx Brothers earning 2 spots from the AFI. There’s a reason why people still know their names more than a century after they began their lengthy careers in Vaudeville. Truly good comedy is hard to come by and the pop culture hive mind makes sure it sticks around when we do. It’s why people still laugh at Ghostbusters or Blazing Saddles or Some Like It Hot. Human nature doesn’t change enough in eight or nine measly decades for society as a whole to suddenly find this utterly devoid of funny:


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– Kerri Smith

TOP TEN – TV CHARACTERS WHO WENT MIA

TV Characters Who Went MIA

Judy Winslow – Family Matters

Judy Winslow

Before Urkel’s influence made it all about experiments with cloning and nerd hormone, this TGIF staple focused on the Winslow family and their three kids…and Grandma…and Aunt and adorable baby Cousin. Youngest daughter Judy wasn’t old enough for romantic or rebellious subplots like Laura and Eddy, and Cousin Richie had the cute little kid antics on lockdown. That’s 8 family members vying for screen time it’s actually not too surprising that unremarkable Judy just sort of faded away into the background. It’s just sad though that a show all about family morality just iced out the kid’s entire existence. It’s kids from that kind of unsupportive family dynamic that end up on Celebrity Rehab and making porn under the name Crave…Miller-Boyet you brought this on yourself.

Kate Lockley – Angel

Angel and Kate

Appearing as early as the second episode, Angel meets LAPD detective Kate Lockley when they’re both investigating a string of mysterious murders at a nightclub. Which turned out to be a body snatching demon, obviously. So Kate becomes Angel’s cop friend, his connection on “the force” to help out with confidential information and backup firepower if need be. That is when she’s not freaking out on him, all distrustful of his undead nature and accusing him of committing the crimes himself. That happened a lot.  But after two seasons of playing supernatural detective, the show evolved from freak-of-the-week procedural to an apocalyptic urban fantasy and Detective Kate was never heard from again….even though you can still totally see her in the credits.  Presumably she’s still kicking ass in the world of human-crime, we just don’t care about that anymore.

Chuck Cunningham- Happy Days

 

He's that guy in the top right who you don't recognize

He’s that guy in the top right who you don’t recognize

Not that anyone really cares, but the Cunninghams did have an older son in a handful of episodes of Happy Days’ first two seasons. He was away at college and wasn’t really around a lot unless there was a holiday celebration or Richie needed some heartfelt brotherly advice. Then Richie started going to Fonzie with his problems, and once the Fonz becomes your moral compass you’re pretty much set.  Whatever, Chuck was boring and unremarkable. But he was the very first television character to go ghost on the audience and thus will always be remembered as the first victim of Chuck Cunningham Syndrome.

Mandy Hampton – The West Wing

Mandy and Josh

The first season of any show is always rife with changes as the show runners figure out what kind of show they’re actually making, so you expect some hiccups from episode to episode. You DO NOT expect someone whom you have supposed to be a main character to just suddenly not be part of the story anymore. Mandy Hampton was arguably THE main character of the first few episodes and central figure in several major dramas. Then it was all, hey remember that chick? The White House Media Consultant who dated Senator Russell AND  Josh AND totally embarrassed the President with that whole Memo scandal? Nah we’re only halfway through the first season nobody will even notice.

Violet/Max/Tori – Saved by the Bell

Screech and Violet

Apparently the writers assumed we’d be so wowed by Zak’s fancy giant cell phone and ability to break the fourth wall that we wouldn’t notice three series regulars simply vanishing into what is apparently Bayside’s black hole. Max was the wacky proprietor of, wouldn’t you know it, The Max. In the beginning he was in every episode for just about 30 seconds to pop in, make a stupid joke or do a magic trick then vamanos back to the kitchen. One day he never just never re-appeared, we can only hope he found a better job than glorified lunch lady for spoiled teenagers. Played by a pre-anally defiled Tori Spelling, Violet was Screech’s nerdy and smitten girlfriend…except when she wasn’t. They could have been the Sheldon and Amy of their time but for some reason Violet wasn’t around very much, only appearing in a few sporadic episodes over season 2 and 3. Probably because he was pretty vocal about his megacrush on one Miss Lisa Turtle and Violet is far too fabulous to play second fiddle, but it would’ve been nice to see a breakup scene of some kind. And poor Harley-riding Tori was only a replacement for a distinct lack of Kelly and Jessi in the last season. When 2/3 of Hot Sundae neglected to renew their contracts the show went on without them focusing on the sexual tension between Zak and new tough girl Tori.  Who was completely forgotten when the time came for the previously filmed graduation episode featuring the original gang.  Because fuck new girls when Kelly Kapowski bats her eyes that’s why.

Professor Michelle Slater – Community

Sure she wasn’t one of the Magnificent Seven, or beloved or even very interesting next to the rest of Greendale’s zany characters. Professor Slater was actually half totally forgettable and half raging bitch so it’s really no loss she didn’t stick around. The problem is in the sloppy ass writing that ends a season finale on a love triangle cliffhanger…never to be mentioned again. Who’s he gonna choose, the sophisticated, hot and sarcastic teacher or the edgy, hot and sarcastic college activist? The answer is neither and please just forget about the question entirely.  Leaving the cliffhanger unresolved is a goddamn breach in the unwritten contract between television show and audience.  Not cool Harmon.

Monica Dawson – Heroes

monica-dawson-heroes

In a show about good and evil with actual fatal consequences it’s really jarring when a beloved character just doesn’t return for the next season with absolutely zero explanation or mention ever again. I mean how can I give a shit if anyone dies after that? And what about poor Niki who died saving Monica? If Monica’s newly saved life is just forgotten that was all for nothing. Which is kinda bullshit since given the option, I’d choose Niki every time.

Wanda and Joey – Big Love

 

I was super sad about Kathy's death but these matchy sister-wife outfits are so creepy I'm now OK with it

I was super sad about Kathy’s death but these matchy sister-wife outfits are so creepy I’m now OK with it

This one pisses me off so bad. What the Hell happened to Joey and Wanda? Remember Bill’s only brother and his absolutely bonkers wife?  He was lovably dumb and loyal and she was adorably bat-shit insane. They were major characters who had central storylines with significant consequences. Wacky Wanda like to poison those she feels are a threat to her family, including Bill’s gross and violent big papa Frank who definitely had it coming. And though many attempted, only Joey succeeded in straight up murdering the Prophet Roman – leader of their whole twisted cult.  So yea, pretty important shit got done by these two. But they went into hiding after their respective crimes never to be heard from again. I like to imagine they’re really happy somewhere with a few kids and super normal lives…except sometimes maybe a bitchy teacher or two gets poisoned here and there. Basically I just want Wanda to turn into Serial Mom.

Stuart Minkus – Boy Meets World

 


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Every school show needs a stereotypical nerd, and Minkus was the smartest kid in Feeny’s class. And when I say smartest it’s not hyperbole, the boy accidentally invented time travel one afternoon. He was an every-episode staple of season one as the nerdy kid Cory and Shawn beat up to make themselves feel better about not being cool or smart. But he was cool because rather than shrink from his tormentors Minkus wasn’t afraid to stand up to them with threats and multi-syllabic insults. He was also super crushing on Topanga, and this is season one when she’s still super crazy and talks to dead people and is into psychic shit. It was actually her psychic experiment that led to Cory and Shawn basically wishing Minkus away, he literally disappeared and was never on the show again. Until years later when he shows up having apparently just been hiding in another wing of the school, all indignant about being ignored by the duo. It was one of the funniest moment of my childhood and introduced a whole generation to the concept of Meta.

- Amelia Steinmetz

PopFilter Podcast Episode 160

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On the 160th installment of the PopFilter Podcast, the friends all draft their own perfect pop-culture dance team, based solely on movies that came out in their lifetime. Take that, Fred Astaire!! Also, get ready to meet the friends’ fourth best friend.

Spoiler alert: He’s drunk.

Email us to get your opinion on the show: contact@yourpopfilter.com

Or call and leave a voicemail: 1-562 DRDJ POP

 

Review us on iTunes!

 

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Want to record your own podcast? Check out Phantom48 for all of your electronic and recording needs!

CountDown- Ghostbusters 2020

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In this very special CountDown, the friends take an extra show to fulfill the greatest Rushmore ever been discussed. Keeping in line with the celebration of the 25th Anniversary of Ghostbusters, possibly the greatest movie ever made, they look into the future and predict who the Ghostbusters of 2020 will be. This Is Our Future.

 

Email us to get your opinion on the show: contact@yourpopfilter.com

Or call and leave a voicemail: 1-562 DRDJ POP

 

Review us on iTunes!

 

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Want to record your own podcast? Check out Phantom48 for all of your electronic and recording needs!

TRAILER TRASH

TRAILER TRASH

In which we review the films opening this weekend, just based on the trailer, to 100 percent accuracy.

SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR


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AKA: Sin City: The Spirit Lives On

REVIEW:There’s only one reason this sequel would come out almost ten years after the first, and the burning drive to tell a story it ain’t. Comic movies are even bigger now, which would shock the nation of the 2005 who were certain we were seeing the beginning of the death throes. But no, the world has embraced comic book adaptations which means so many good things, but also we get this. An undercooked, under-cared-for grasp to wring a few bucks from fans from two guys who have their best work behind them. If the original had any nuance at all, that’s been ripped away in favor of bigger, bolder, cartoonier. The problem is none of it is big or bold enough anymore. Again, this is a decade too late for people to be wowed by the visuals or how far the movie goes. It plays off like a YouTube com mentor’s fanfic, and it’s sad to see actors (returning and new) slum it this bad. I want Powers Boothe to be around more often, but not like this… not like this old friend.

SPOILER: Elijah Wood doesn’t eat anybody, it’s like he isn’t even there.

RATING: *(out of ****)

LOVE IS STRANGE


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REJECTED TAGLINE: Your grandparents won’t know whether to love it or hate it!

REVIEW: Quiet, small and subdued– Love is Strange focuses on the minute moments of its characters lives. They’ve been together for decades, there isn’t a lot of flash or fancy but there is a whole lot of touching humanity. Watching John Lithgow and Alfred Molina on screen together is a goddamn delight, and they make a movie as grounded as this one entertaining to watch in a way that few can. There’s time for all of the actors to shine, and it’s rarely in a ForYourConsideration manner. It’s a charming love story about unexpected issues that can still come up late in life and believe me when I say I never expected to write that sentence.

SPOILER: There’s only one scene where you remember these two can also be huge over-actors. It’s like a dramatic version of that scene from the Trip. Their mouths get so big!

RATING: ***1/2(out of ****)

Popfilter’s Foriegn Flick of the Week

In  which Stephanie Reviews a Film from Notmerica

Denmark’s

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The Celebration

or

“How to Clean Skeletons out of the Family Closet”

    A few years ago, there emerged a movement in Denmark, called dogme 95, that tried to deconstruct films in order to tell stories that were raw and free from all the expensive bells and whistles that has encumbered modern film making. They wanted to make movies that were pure by using natural lighting, no special effects, no tripods or cameras on tracks to capture moving shots (as the camera has to be hand held,) no filters, and no artificial sounds added in editing. Predictably, the vast majority of these films were terrible. It turns out you really need those things. The problem is that no camera ever invented can even come close to what the human eye can do. Your eyes and optic nerves have evolved over millions of years to allow enough light to enter, to stabilize an image while moving and to make critical decisions about what should be in the foreground and what should be in the background.

Eyeballs are a mystery. A mystery that is perfectly understood.

Eyeballs are a mystery. A mystery that is perfectly understood.

Similarly, film has evolved over the last 100 years to compensate for the discrepancy with lighting, sound and editing techniques that enhance the experience of a film. Many directors who tried their hand at dogme 95 had a very tough time telling a story using only a camera and could have really used all the resources available to filmmakers. Their films were stagnant, had a rocky flow or, at worst, were unwatchable. However one film does stand tall from this dreadful genre, a movie called The Celebration (originally called Festen) directed by one of the founders of the dogme 95 movement, Thomas Vinterberg. Vinterberg is able to use natural lighting and sound (and even does some very impressive tracking shots by cameramen who must have a surgeon’s level of precision) in a way that is natural to the story telling.

Now, there won’t be any spoilers here, and just a bare minimum of the plot mentioned because this film presents itself much like a Russian doll; each part comes progressively from the last and it would be impossible to deconstruct out of order.

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The toy that gets old almost immediately.

This film stands apart from the rest of the genre because of how effectively it uses the dogme 95 methodology to tell its story. It’s about a family that is gathering for their father Helge’s 60th birthday. There are other guests, but they are largely relegated to the background. They do very little, in fact they barely react to the most profoundly shocking events of the film. They are mostly just there to witnesses the action,  making it real for the characters the audience is suppose to care about. The scene in which Christian, the eldest son, sees his father for the first time is an example of how this director is able to use the natural lighting to his advantage: the scene starts with the guests arriving in front of the hotel that Helge owns and is shot with the brilliant light of the noon sun. Christian is then called in to an interior room of the hotel to speak with his father alone, and the film naturally shifts to the more dark and gritty lighting of the inside of a room. This gives the scene a foreboding ominous feel that is subtle, yet unmistakable. This shift from exterior to interior lighting is a clever way to incorporate natural lighting into the story, and not become tripped up by it.

One of the things that becomes obvious when watching a bad dogme 95 film is how much directors are over reliant on a musical score, whether it is to build tension, convey the way the actors are feeling, or to make a scene impactful. This film has one scene in particular that makes a big splash, and acts as the gunshot that lets the phonies at the races know to start running. It is the sequence where Helene finds the suicide letter of the late sister; the youngest brother, Michael, slips and falls in the shower after a violent episode of screaming and sex with his wife; Christian drops a glass of water he has been playing with and Pia goes from being submerged in the tub of Christian’s room to breaking through the surface tension of the bathwater. This scene builds tension without the use of cinematographic or musical manipulation. It has a chemistry, a flow that moves with a steady verve throughout the remainder of the film. This is yet another example of the way Vinterberg uses the rules set up in dogme 95 to enhance and not detract from what is happening on the screen.

Danish weirdo, Thomas Vinterberg

Danish weirdo Thomas Vinterberg

If you were so inclined to watch a movie of this movement, this is definitely the best one. Vinterberg proves himself a remarkably creative storyteller as he navigates this very strict set of rules. Rules that were meant to do for film want James Joyce and Virginia Woolf did for literature, but in the end just reminded the world that extraordinary films are not made by techniques, but by people who can use the resources available to tell their stories in extraordinary ways.

-Stephanie Rose

THE POPFILTER TEEVEE PREVEE


The PopFilter Fall TeeVee PreVee

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GOTHAM

WHAT IT BE:

The most famous fake city of all time gets to become the main character of its own show. Starting from the death of the Wayne family, Gotham follows the rise of Detective Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie), as he watches Gotham go from bad to worse, hoping some little fucked up kid at some point will dress like a bat and give a brother some help.

WHY IT MIGHT BE DECENT:

The trailer looks pretty pro, balancing a quick dose of grit and fun in its short runtime. Show runner Bruno Heller was the man behind Rome, a show that took some of the stuff we knew, and threw in a shit ton of awesome soapiness. This seems like as surefire a hit as Fox could hope for this season, and early reviews of the show say it has the quality to live up to the buzz.

WHY IT MIGHT SUCK BUTT:

Impatience. A show like Gotham seems like as HBO as a channel like FOX can go, and I mean that in a good way. But if they can keep away from internet complaints, and not put anyone in a costume before the story or world of the show dictates, then this show could have legs. There are so many ways it could jump the shark, however.

HOW MANY EPISODES BEFORE I QUIT IT?

I’ll never quit it. I’ll be watching every god damn one.

 

GRACEPOINT

WHAT IT BE:

If you dodged the critical hit Broadchurch, because it seemed a little too British, well here’s your chance to catch up. If you dodged it because you’ve watched too many dead children on TV recently, well…Mulaney might be funny.

WHY IT MIGHT BE DECENT:

Another entry into the official trend of 2014 television, this 10 episode mini-event had the knowhow to have Broadchurch writer Chris Chibnall write this one as well. A fairly strong cast (including Breaking Bad‘s Anna Gunn) and one director for all ten episodes make this FOX’s attempt at having a True Detective this season.

WHY IT MIGHT SUCK BUTT:

I can’t think of a single American show that was better than its British counterpart. Oh wait…I just remembered Coupling. My bad.

WHAT CHANNEL SHOULD THIS HAVE BEEN ON?

Until we have some proof that networks can do the event miniseries (and I’m on record that this season will produce one good one), then we’re always going to wish that this was on HBO or FX. But maybe this is the one!

MULANEY

WHAT IT BE:

John Mulaney stars as John Mulaney, a stand-up comedian who hangs out with his three wacky friends. Before you jump to compare this to a different show, Mulaney has already made it known that he recognizes the similarities, and doesn’t care.

WHY IT MIGHT BE DECENT:

Because John Mulaney is both funny and likable, two traits that rarely meet in the same person. Likable people try to be funny, funny people try to be likable, and this is how the world is awkwardly supposed to be. But everyone loves John Mulaney…

WHY IT MIGHT SUCK BUTT:

…except for NBC. NBC passed on the show last fall, and it has since been re-tooled and re-networked. No one thinks that NBC has the best taste in comedy, but it’s still not the best sign. Throw in the fact that this show has a laugh track, which is extremely disappointing, and you have a potential mess on your hands.

WHAT CHANNEL SHOULD THIS HAVE BEEN ON?

It should have been at FOX the whole time, sans laugh track. How do shows still have laugh tracks?!?

RED BAND SOCIETY

WHAT IT BE:

Red Band Society follows a group of sick kids stuck in a hospital together, and the doctors who care for them.

WHY IT MIGHT BE DECENT:

Reviews so far have been mostly positive, which is a sign that the show can avoid the schmaltziness that the trailer displays. Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer, attempting to avoid the curse of the Supporting Oscar, doesn’t hurt.

WHY IT MIGHT SUCK BUTT:

“Your body isn’t you. Your soul is you, and they can never cut away your soul.” In all honesty, my prediction is that this is going to be one of those shows that has a terrible pilot with much too much to do, but then settle down right after that. I’m going to avoid this until it I can see three or four episodes.

HOW MANY EPISODES BEFORE I QUIT IT?

Let’s try and get past those first four.

Kerri Battles the AFI’s Top 100 — #86: Platoon

I’ve been dreading this one since last week, when I first realized it was on deck. Platoon came out in 1986 and had earned a place in our home VHS library when I was a kid, so I’ve already seen it more times than a person really needs to. There’s no doubt that it’s a well made film that deserves a place on the AFI’s list. It’s impressive, but also imposing and incredibly hard to watch. At the very least, there are some scenes that I was just really not looking forward to revisiting. There are some movies everyone should see at least once and some movies everyone should see, but only once. Platoon, in my opinion, falls into the latter category.

Guys, I can’t crack jokes about Platoon. I just can’t. Have some kitten gifs to lighten the mood instead.

The story begins with Charlie Sheen’s Chris arriving for duty in Vietnam, for which he dropped out of college and volunteered. Through voiceover, Chris explains in a letter to his grandmother that, rather than being his parents’ special little boy, he joined up in the hopes of finally becoming anonymous and learning something real. His teachers are the NCOs of the platoon. Sgt. Elias, played by Willem Dafoe, has learned to survive, but no longer believes in the mission itself. Sgt. Barnes, played by Tom Berenger, believes so much in the mission that he’s gone bat-shit-Heart-of-Darkness-crazy and seems to be leading the men down the same path. When Barnes executes a village woman in front of everyone in an effort to force her husband to spill NVA secrets he claims he doesn’t have, Elias is the only US soldier to stand against him and reports his actions to the Captain. The platoon begins to fracture along Elias/Barnes lines and ultimately, with the threat of a Court Martial looming over his head, Barnes does the only thing he knows. He takes out his enemy. Only Chris knows the truth. Then there’s another hour of bloodshed, explosions, brutality, and death. Finally, in the quiet and torturous aftermath of battle, Chris seizes his moment and, with a smirk, puts Barnes out of his misery.

This is basically the only appropriate response once the credits roll. THAT SHIT IS DARK.

Probably the most famous scene in Platoon is Elias’ death scene. I’m completely guessing on this one based solely on the fact that they made it the poster. At this point in the film, Barnes has told Chris that Elias is dead with multiple gunshot wounds and there’s nothing they can do. They return to the chopper for extraction and, from the air, see Elias, riddled with (Barnes’) bullets, running from an entire battalion of Viet Cong. The choppers provide cover fire and attempt to save him, but Elias is felled by multiple shots from the enemy. He dies, crumpling to his knees with his hands held to the sky as though he’s seeking some kind of salvation. It’s a powerful scene and Willem Dafoe’s performance is impeccable. However, for me, there’s another scene that defines the entire film.

… aaand you’re probably going to need to watch this muffin-makin’-munchkin for a minute or two before you read the next paragraph…

Well before Elias’ untimely end, the platoon is sent to a village with suspected ties to the NVA. Chris discovers an old woman and a seemingly simple-minded cripple hiding in a hole dug under a bed. Chris begins to lose himself and screams at the cripple, who probably wouldn’t have the sense to answer even if he could speak English. Kevin Dillon’s character, Bunny, a violent redneck who wears a Viet Cong scalp on his helmet like a trophy, eggs Chris to “do him.” Chris begins shooting at the cripple’s single leg, screaming at him to dance while the old woman wails in Vietnamese behind him, presumably for mercy. After a few moments, panting and crying, Chris realizes what he’s allowing himself to become and starts to walk away. Bunny, however, sees a missed opportunity and bludgeons the simple-minded, one-legged villager with the butt of his rifle out of pure impotent rage. With viscera and gray matter splattered on his face, Bunny comments with glee, “Holy shit! You see that fucking head come apart, man? I never seen brains like that before, man.” This single scene has haunted me for years and, to this day, I am completely incapable of watching it without at least a screen of fingers in front of my eyes. It doesn’t matter that I’m fully aware that it’s a fake head and special effects. The idea that a person could do that to another person is too much for me to handle, even just on film.

Yes, kitty, I think we all need a hug after that.

 

Oliver Stone wrote the original script for Platoon shortly after his own return from Vietnam and reportedly based it on his own experiences. The only response I can seem to muster to that fact is, “…Sweet gentle baby jesus….” The film, “Dedicated to the men who fought and died in the Vietnam War,”  is so full of gore and savagery that you almost need reminding that it’s hailed as one of the most accurate portrayals of the Vietnam War in film. These aren’t details Oliver Stone invented just to make a more visceral, attention-grabbing film. These atrocities are dramatizations of moments Stone and other veterans experienced first hand. I can’t pretend to understand … well, any of it, really. It’s too big and too dark for my soft, suburban-raised brain to fully grasp. And by the sheer grace of the universe, I’m lucky enough to not bear the weight of first-hand understanding. But if those who aren’t so lucky say Platoon is almost too real, then the AFI is right to give it recognition. If you haven’t seen it, do. At least just the once. It’s probably all you’ll need. — KS

 

PopFilter Podcast Episode 159

Play

This week, the friends gotcha!! Every week, they cut a segment. And every week, they tell you that it will never be heard from again. And every 8 weeks, you are fooled by the fact that they actually saved them and now you will be listening to them in a sausage show!! Haahahahahaha!!!

On a serious note, did you really think the friends could just get rid of their babies? What kind of fucking monsters do you think they are? Stay tuned for the final Ghostbusters 25th anniversary Mount Rushmore, La Roux’s Trouble in Paradise, Hot Wives of Orlando, Under the Skin, Girl Meets World, and Noah. Also, spend some time thinking about how you might judge people too harshly without getting their full story.

Enjoy the show!!

Email us to get your opinion on the show: contact@yourpopfilter.com

Or call and leave a voicemail: 1-562 DRDJ POP

Review us on iTunes!

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Want to record your own podcast? Check out Phantom48 for all of your electronic and recording needs!

CountDown-Phantom of the Paradise

Play

When a movie is so filled with bonkers energy, imagery, plot and music, what can the friends do but blow a 10 minute segment into an entire show of its own? Brian dePalma’s Phantom of the Paradise recently came out on Blue Ray, and is discussed here in all of its Faust meets Dorian Grey meets Phantom of the Opera meets 70′s kitsch meets drugs meets musical glory. Well, I guess you can decide on the glory part.

 

Email us to get your opinion on the show: contact@yourpopfilter.com

Or call and leave a voicemail: 1-562 DRDJ POP

Review us on iTunes!

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Want to record your own podcast? Check out Phantom48 for all of your electronic and recording needs!

TRAILER TRASH

TRAILER TRASH

In which we review the films opening this weekend, just based on the trailer, to 100 percent accuracy.

THE EXPENDABLES 3


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REJECTED TAGLINE: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks…unless it’s a pack of old dogs. An action-pack of dogs.

REVIEW: Get ready for the nineties again, again! Expendables 3 is packed with the cartoonish action, quick uninspired quips and bullet-boners that the late 80s and 90s action movies had in the buttloads. Almost like a companions series to the Fast and the Furious franchise, The Expendables know exactly what they are and how to deliver (just like their characters!). Unlike FF, they don’t do it as sharply because they’re old farts. It’s like Last Vegas is to the Hangover. What the third installment has done to avoid this comparison is add a bunch of young kids, and not-action movie stars. Except no one cares about the kids, and seeing Kelsey Grammer don a fishing cap is only great the first 3 scenes he’s in. There’s no substance, no pizazz, even if it’s just flash pretending to be substance–it aint here. Except Mel Gibson as the villain, that’s a stroke of fucking genius and he owns it, fully realizing his new place in the cinematic world.

SPOILER: While the Expendables claims to be over, we’re gonna see the reboot in a couple of years starring Mark Wahlberg and Kevin Hart.

RATING: **1/2(out of ****)

THE GIVER


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AKA: Hunger Games: The Origins

REVIEW: The Giver has been igniting the imaginations of middle school kids for decades. With its quiet introspection and philosophical take on a drab, dystopian future, it’s often the first injection that all is not right when following authority. Since the original publication, the readership expanded greatly and inspired countless other novels and movies for the young adult bracket. Divergent, Hunger Games, the Maze Runner, all would likely not exist without it. So a movie makes perfect sense… The problem is creating a film based on philosophical contemplation is difficult, and kids are used to authoritarian governments being dealt with violently, so the filmmakers said “fuck it, let’s make up a bunch of stuff not from the book and gut what made it so unique.” It’s not shocking Big Hollywood went that route, but it’s unsettlingly conformative to adapt a book about the dangers of conforming and turn it into generic garbage.It’s almost like they didn’t read the source material, or really, just didn’t care. But hey, switching from black and white to color is neat, and waterfall jumps are always awesome.

SPOILER: Instead of adapting the companion Gathering Blue and turning it into Lucy meets the Island, they’re just going with a completely “original” story called the Gvier 2: Time to Give Back about fighting the corrupt government led by the slumming Streep.

RATING:*1/2(out of ****)

THE POPFILTER FALL TEEVEE PREVEE




The PopFilter Fall TeeVee PreVee

abc

ABC

 

 

AMERICAN CRIME

WHAT IT BE:

A crime takes place in a small town. Unfortunately for the town, but fortunately for ABC and its viewers, it’s one of those crimes that has a ripple effect, and many angles it can be looked at.

WHY IT MIGHT BE DECENT:

There are some moments in the trailer, particularly with the acting, that makes this seem like it isn’t your run-of-the-mill network drama. ABC might be able to branch out from the “daytime at night” plan if this clicks.

WHY IT MIGHT SUCK BUTT:

There’s no reason to think that can happen. The trailer really does have some compelling moments, but you just can’t shake the fact that this is on ABC.

WHAT CHANNEL SHOULD THIS HAVE BEEN ON?

The creator is novelist John Ridley, whose television resume is one of the most eclectic I’ve ever seen, including shows like Martin, Barbershop: The Series, and the animated Justice League. If he’s ready to be The Man on a show, than this should have been on FX. If he needs a show under his belt before he can get that responsibility, I would have liked to see this on Showtime.

 

 

THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB

astronaut wives club

 

WHAT IT BE:

Based on what is allegedly a very popular novel, The Astronaut Wives Club is the story of the women behind the men behind NASA.

WHY IT MIGHT BE DECENT:

Showrunner Stephanie Savage had a big hand in making The O.C. one of the greatest shows of all time, not to mention the auteur behind Gossip Girl. 

WHY IT MIGHT SUCK BUTT:

I’ve never read the book but, based on the premise, I wonder if it has the ability to make an interesting ensemble of strong female characters, despite the title explaining that they are the wives and nothing more. It’s a fine line to walk. At least the dialogue will probably be good.

HOW MANY EPISODES BEFORE I QUIT IT:

Stephanie Savage has earned a lot of cred in my TV lair, so probably at least a couple.

 

 

BLACK-ISH

PREMIERES SEPTEMBER 24TH

WHAT IT BE:

Anthony Anderson stars as a successful family man who has a mid-life culture crisis, realizing that his wealth and lifestyle may have forced his family to forget their African-American roots.

WHY IT MIGHT BE DECENT:

Black sitcoms typically get one of two critiques: “this makes black people look bad” or “this makes black people look white.” Anderson may have found a way to combine/comment on both of them. The trailer feels like the show may successfully trade-in low brow laughs for thinking and pacing, which is the opposite feeling that most trailers are designed to give.

WHY IT MIGHT SUCK BUTT:

It’s in the dreaded post-Modern Family spot. The Wednesday 9:30 slot should have given us five or six commercial and critical successes by now. Instead, its given us nothing but disappointment.

WHAT CHANNEL SHOULD THIS HAVE BEEN ON:

I’m going to go against my gut and say ABC. Not since the first season of Modern Family has ABC given us a funny, forward-thinking half hour. Black-ish might be the one to break the streak, and take over for Modern Family whenever it is mercifully put down.

 

CRISTELA

PREMIERES OCTOBER 10TH

WHAT IT BE:

Stand-up comedian Cristela Alonzo stars as a law school graduate who has to deal with being a poor, becoming a lawyer, and her wacky Latino family.

WHY IT MIGHT BE DECENT:

I’m sure it won’t be, based on most standards of good TV. But it’s a family sitcom on a family channel airing on a family night (Friday). Keeping that in perspective, it might still make you laugh six years from now, when you’re high and watching Nickelodeon at midnight.

WHY IT MIGHT SUCK BUTT:

I don’t know Alonzo as a comedian, but the only real danger this sitcom faces is taking the Mexican jokes too far. I don’t mean in an offensive way (it is ABC, after all), but in an over-reliant way.

WHAT CHANNEL SHOULD THIS HAVE BEEN ON?

Obviously ABC. ABC has the best track record as far as giving minorities starring roles, and they are clearly positioning themselves for a return to TGIF, if not in name, then in tone. This is ABC’s jam.

 

FOREVER

PREMIERES SEPTEMBER 23RD

WHAT IT BE:

Ioan Gruffudd (I never noticed how stupid that name was until I had to type it) stars as a doctor/lawyer/cop with a gift/curse/secret power. Specifically: a medical examiner who can’t be killed.

WHY IT MIGHT BE DECENT:

Ioan Gruffudd did play Mr. Fantastic, so he has some experience in playing lame superheroes nobody cares about.

WHY IT MIGHT SUCK BUTT:

“You might not be able to die, but you haven’t lived for a very long time.” I swear to God, every trailer for a network drama ends with a line like this, and it destroys my will to live every time. Every fucking time.

HOW MANY EPISODES BEFORE I QUIT IT:

This is one of those shows that I will try to put off watching until it gets canceled in its second week, thereby making watching it unnecessary. The perfect crime.

 

FRESH OFF THE BOAT

WHAT IT BE:

This ABC sitcom is about an ASIAN FAMILY?!? What are you, ABC, the United Colors of Benetton, which is a reference I don’t really understand?

WHY IT MIGHT BE DECENT:

It will actually start when it’s supposed to, as opposed to Black-ish, and won’t be drunk all of the time, as opposed to Cristela. Unfortunately, it will have no idea how to drive people to the network. I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry.

WHY IT MIGHT SUCK BUTT:

Not only does it follow a long line of unsuccessful shows starring Asians, it also follows a long line of unsuccessful shows based on the lives of celebrity chefs. Can Eddie Wong do what Emeril Legasse can’t? Only time will tell.

WHAT CHANNEL SHOULD THIS HAVE BEEN ON?

Obviously ABC, which is apparently the television version of the United Colors of Benetton. I don’t know if there was a push at ABC to feature more minorities this season, or the best pilots they watched just happened to feature minorities, but I’m a little proud of them. If any of these shows can catch on with an audience, it will be a big deal for the network.

 

GALAVANT

WHAT IT BE:

So…apparently ABC does have some balls. Some big, expensive, dancing, musical balls. Much like Agent Carter will replace SHIELD when it goes on hiatus, saving us from reruns or TV-less nights of talking with the family, Galavant will do that same thing for Once Upon a Time. And although they aren’t both set in the same Cinematic Universe, both Once and Galavant both offer new takes on old(e) fairy tales. Unlike Once Upon a Time, however, Galavant is an all-singing, all-dancing crap of the television world. The trailer’s broad jokes, sexual references, and incessant singing make this look like a show for me and no one else.

WHY IT MIGHT BE DECENT:

The more interesting question is what it would take for this to be a hit. Once is a modest hit, but its spinoff was a flop. That live Sound of Music was a hit, but that might have been more for the chance of seeing someone fuck up than for anyone’s love of musicals. People used to hate Glee, but now hate it like Hitler would hate Glee. Although it’s clearly a comedy and a musical and resembles a fairy tale, it is wholly uncategorizable, which I find interesting but usually makes viewers flee.

WHY IT MIGHT SUCK BUTT:

See above. I mean, come on…what the hell is this.

HOW MANY EPISODES BEFORE I QUIT IT:

That’s a complicated question that I don’t want to answer right now. Instead, I’m gonna look at this Farrah Fawcett poster. Yeah, what’s up girl?

 

HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER

PREMIERES SEPTEMBER 25TH

WHAT IT BE:

Viola Davis (score) stars as a law professor who gets wrapped up in a murder plot, along with her students. We can presume her students are taking a class called Murder 101, or Introduction to Murdering.

WHY IT MIGHT BE DECENT:

Because ABC has this noise on lockdown. Although the show’s creator is a Peter Nowalk, the show is from Shondaland, which is Shonda Rhimes’ production company. Nowalk has worked on Shondaland shows Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, all of which air on Thursday night. Shondaland indeed.

WHY IT MIGHT SUCK BUTT:

There are some people who claim Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal are great shows, but I don’t know of a contingent that screams about how much they suck. I’m sure it will be fine.

WHAT CHANNEL SHOULD THIS HAVE BEEN ON?

Come on, now. ABC is Shondaland.

 

MANHATTAN LOVE STORY

PREMIERES SEPTEMBER 30TH

WHAT IT BE:

Girl meets boy. It takes place in Manhattan. BUT! Just in case that premise has been done before…they…can…I don’t know…how about we can hear everything they’re thinking? PERFECT!

WHY IT MIGHT BE DECENT:

Because there was a similar scene in Better Off Dead that was pretty funny. Of course, that was just a scene, and not 22 minutes a week, every week, for probably three or four weeks.

WHY IT MIGHT SUCK BUTT:

There are so many misfires in the trailer, it’s hard to imagine what a full episode will be like. My favorite: after knowing each other for a couple of days, they go to the Statue of Liberty. When the Statue of Liberty comes into view, Boy starts to cry. Girl notices this, and THINKS (Because that’s this show’s thing) “oh great, he’s gay.” Ka-ching.

HOW MANY EPISODES BEFORE I QUIT IT:

1 long-ass, gimmick establishing episode.

 

 

MARVEL’S AGENT CARTER

agent carter

PREMIERES JANUARY 2015

 

WHAT IT BE:

Based on a DVD extra packaged with Iron Man 3, and a character introduced in Captain AmericaAgent Carter stars Hayley Atwell as one of the first agents of the enterprise that will be one day known as S.H.I.E.L.D.

WHY IT MIGHT BE DECENT:

BECAUSE IT IS MARVEL AND ALL THINGS MARVEL ARE GREAT. PLEASE ACCEPT MY UNDYING PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE ON YOUR WAY TO CONQUERING EARTH. MCU! MCU! MCU! MCU!

WHY IT MIGHT SUCK BUTT:

Marvel hasn’t been able to take over the television world like it had planned. But maybe SHIELD was just the (very expensive) training wheels, and the world collectively ignored it, but are still ready for the MCU on TV(cross your fingers, Netflix). There has got to be something Marvel has learned from SHIELD season one, and it better be incorporated here.

HOW MANY EPISODES BEFORE I QUIT IT:

The newest PopFilter podcast, The Superhero TV Hour Hour, is barreling right for us, most likely forcing me to watch all of this no matter how good or bad it is.

 

SECRETS AND LIES

WHAT IT BE:

Ryan Phillippe is old enough to a father of teenagers?!? Also, he finds a dead boy and everyone thinks that he did it, including his wife for no reason.

WHY IT MIGHT BE DECENT:

Because, for no reason, I think that ABC is going to get one of these mid-season replacement mini-series to stick. My money is on The Whispers, but it might be this one.

WHY IT MIGHT SUCK BUTT:

You ever notice how Ryan Phillippe doesn’t have a grown man’s voice so much as the voice of a little kid trying to an impression of a grown man? This just feeds into my theory that Ryan Phillippe is actually a vessel piloted by a tiny alien, like in that one movie. Men in Black, maybe? I can’t remember.

HOW MANY EPISODES BEFORE I QUIT IT:

Quit what? The Men in Black series? Well, considering I haven’t seen the third one, two I guess. But I still intend to see it, so…NEVER!

 

SELFIE

PREMIERES SEPTEMBER 30TH

WHAT IT BE:

My Fair Lady remake about a social-media obsessed girl and the guy tasked with turning her into a real person. Karen Gillan plays Eliza Dooley, an incredibly modern take on the name Eliza Doolittle, while John Cho plays Henry Higginbottam, a hilarious take on the name Henry Higgins. I would have gone with Hanky Higz, but if you really think that throwing a ‘Bottam’ on there is the way to go, godspeed.

WHY IT MIGHT BE DECENT:

Everyone more educated than me loves either Karen Gillan or Suburgatory, which was created by Selfie creator Emily Kapnek. And if you’re into both, you’ve got a lot at stake here, nerd.

WHY IT MIGHT SUCK BUTT:

Karen Gillan is wearing a wig, just so you know. She shaved her head to play Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy, and now she has to wear a wig. And that wig could fall off at any point.

HOW MANY EPISODES BEFORE I QUIT IT:

I missed the boat with Suburgatory. It’ll probably happen again here. TWO AND HALF STARS! Wait…that’s for later. TWO AND A HALF EPISODES!!!

 

THE WHISPERS

WHAT IT BE:

Aliens attempt to invade Earth by getting kids to do horrible shit, like killing their mom. A much slower play than…say, blowing up the White House on your way to blowing up the rest of the world.

WHY IT MIGHT BE DECENT:

The trailer was actually kind of cool. This is another one of those mid-season replacement mini-series things, so if they go full boar, telling their story in 8-10 episodes and then worry about second seasons later, it could actually be cool.

WHY IT MIGHT SUCK BUTT:

Executive producers Soo Hugh’s main claim to fame is Under the Dome. Oh well.

WHAT CHANNEL SHOULD THIS HAVE BEEN ON?

This is the show that should be on FX. I don’t think The Strain totally works, but the premise of The Whispers and the panache of The Strain could have combined for a pretty sweet combo.

A Word on Robin Williams

On August 11, 2014, the world lost one of the warmest, funniest, and furriest actors that it has ever known.  I have heard it said that if you were born between 1980 and 1990, a group that includes all of the PopFilter writers, and I’m guessing most of our readership, Robin Williams meant a great deal to your childhood. With films like Jumanji, Mrs. Doubtfire, Hook, Aladdin, Dead Poet’s Society, Jack, and Good Will Hunting, I can safely say that William’s roles brought a certain kind of energy and excitement to my life. Williams was at his best with the kids movies, perhaps because he became a father in that 1980-1990 time frame, or perhaps it was because he is just a big kid himself. He seemed to understand what makes children so special, without talking down to them or being condescending. His performances were a bridge for children to cross into a world that was a little more enchanting. His shocking passing reminds us that we never really know the struggles these actors who inspire us, who make us laugh and cry, of whom we feel so close to, go through in their personal lives. Williams lives on in his work, and though he is at peace, he is still there for us in the way that he has always been there for us. His legendary kindness and warmth live on in film.

 

The List

Best Songs of the 1990′s

1998 Edition

 

10. “You Get What You Give” New Radicals

If you were alive in 1998, you heard this song more times than you would ever care to admit. But don’t let that fool you; this is a spectacularly well-written pop tune. From the rhythm to the range of the vocals, to the rigid but somehow-not-tired pop structure, this song has everything you want and everything you need all wrapped up into a neat little package.

9. “Intergalactic” Beastie Boys

After a while, it’s gotta be tough being the Beastie Boys. Every time you drop an album with sky high expectations, the pressure you feel must be crushing. Somehow, they never seem to let it bother them. While Hello Nasty isn’t the Boys’ best work, it sure isn’t their worst, and this song is a shining example of finding new and interesting ways to make a shtick work.

8. “Iris” Goo Goo Dolls

There are a lot of women from age 27-34 that would consider this the most touching song ever written. Luckily, I am not a woman in that age group so I can see past it. Unfortunately, my heart is not made of stone. Add to this the fact that the song is put together in such a way that you almost don’t realize why you’re so upset by the end of it and you have yourself a recipe for musical gold.

7. “Every Ghetto, Every City” Lauren Hill

The first time I heard Lauren Hill was a few years after The Miseducation of Lauren Hill had dropped. It was, however, still my first time and at that age I was ready for someone to tell me the way the world works. With this tune, every line is dripping with a sweet and sour mixture of nostalgia and disdain for the past that is rarely seen and even more rarely pulled off. Oh, and the beat is fucking rad.

6. “New Noise” Refused

When The Shape of Punk to Come came out, people scoffed. “What is this, screaming?” they would ask. “If this is the shape to come, I hope it’s not for quite a while”, they would say. Well, they were fucking super wrong. With one album, Refused pointed everyone in the right direction of what was to come from various loud, punk-rooted musical scenes for the next 20 years. This song is certainly the most friendly on a record that can only be described as impressive, with all of the positive and negative connotation that word can bring.

5. “Definition” Black Star

Holy shit, guys. Talib and Mos Def? This shit is manna from heaven when it comes to lyrical flow. If you can get past the faux reggae shit, this is a nearly flawless track brought to you by two absolute bosses at the top of their game. As a bonus, the video helps to give you a clear-cut reason as to why Mos Def went on to become a movie star and Talib Kwali is still largely under represented. (Spoiler alert: Mos Def is handsome)

4. “Holland, 1945” Neutral Milk Hotel

The first time you hear this song, you might think that someone gave Apples in Stereo a lesson in how to use their fuzz guitar tones for the betterment of society. Once Jeff Mangum’s vocals come in, however, it is clear that you are in for a different kind of treat. This song, with all of its’ frenetic energy, is a tragic tale of World War 2. And while the rest of the album is a similarly dystopian look at the past (there’s a good ol’ fashioned southern funeral march!), nothing hits with as much intensity and energy as this one.

3. “Celebrity Skin” Hole

If you think Courtney Love is just some stupid asshole that broke up Nirvana like some kind of modern-day Yoko Ono, all I have to say to you is this: you’re not totally wrong. With Hole, however, Love proved that she can not only play guitar and sing with as much passion and insanity as her husband, but she can also write a shockingly tight pop tune. There is not one second of this song that is wasted and, as a result, keeps the audience wanting more.

2. “Hundreds of Sparrows” Sparklehorse

There are two kinds of people in this world, and none of them seem to have a great love for Sparklehorse. Maybe there are some precious few that find their up-tempo stylings a blessing, but with Hundreds of Sparrows, all we are left with is a stripped down musical arrangement and an open, honest, and heart wrenching lyrical performance. If you listen to only one Sparklehorse song today, make it this one. You will not at all be disappointed.

1. “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” Neutral Milk Hotel

Anyone that has ever listened to this song and not felt a strong connection to the lyrics is either a bad person or a Nazi sympathizer. For the sake of this list, let’s assume that they’re both. Okay, good job. Now, this song talks about Ann Frank, her family, and an ultimate death that will reunite the dearly departed. And while the expectations of the song may have been for some sad, sappy bullshit, what the band delivers is a constantly moving, incessantly catching pop record with some of the heaviest lyrics a pop record has ever heard of. And since this song does it better than all the rest, it very easily claims the number one spot on the list.

 

So there you have it, gang. That’s the list. Jasonnoble@yourpopfilter if you want to tell me how great I am. Contact@yourpopfilter if you want to complain to my bosses about how terrible I am…dicks.

 

With Love,

Jason R. Noble

 

 

Kerri Battles the AFI’s Top 100 — #87: 12 Angry Men

 

In the early days of cable television, AMC used to stand for American Movie Classics and they used to air classic American movies around the clock, broken up only by short Masterpiece-Theater-style commentary by the likes of people like James Lipton. Sometime during those days when networks were overtly named based on their content, when I was somewhere around 12 years old, I happened to catch 12 Angry Men from the beginning — also a huge deal in a world without DVR or on-screen guides — and decided to give it a shot. Even then, I was enthralled with the story and blown away by the performances. It was no different this — maybe the 20th — time around.

No, really, it used to be a thing. I swear.

The film begins with a judge addressing a jury, informing them that they’ve now heard all the testimony regarding the murder case before them. He tells them that, if they should find the defendant guilty, he’ll be sentenced to death by electric chair. He also reminds them that the vote must be unanimous and based on a complete absence of any reasonable doubt. With that, the 12 men file into a sweltering Jury Room with a broken fan. After a short break to relax and use the facilities, the men take a preliminary vote to see where they stand. All but Juror #8, Henry Fonda, vote guilty. The other jurors demand to know how he could possibly vote not guilty in the face of the overwhelming mountain of evidence presented by the prosecution, #8 simply replies, “It’s not easy for me to raise my hand and send a boy to die without talking about it first.” The next 90 or so minutes are spent in this room (or the adjacent bathroom) as #8, one by one, convinces the rest of the jurors that maybe, just maybe, the evidence isn’t quite as iron-clad as it seems.

If this premise sounds familiar, it’s because it’s been done a thousand times before. The story of a single juror heroically saving the life of a falsely accused man by swaying hearts and minds is a modern legend in which we’d all like to believe. It’s one of those “the truth always wins and justice is always fair” sorts of stories that people tell in order to soften the blow of, say, finding out the NSA has been tapping everyone’s phone for a decade and selling their collective personal data to the highest bidder. In times like that, you need something to remind you that, hopefully, people aren’t actually all inherently evil and maybe humanity isn’t doomed after all. You know, one of those stories that gives you … whadya call it … hope? Faith? A sense of morals and the importance of an open mind? All of those things that humanity is supposed to possess, but  conveniently seem to completely slip your mind if you have a habit of watching the “it bleeds, it leads” evening news. Even if it’s fiction, it’s the sort of fiction you could easily swallow as fact because you desperately want it to be true. Unless you’re Hitler or Pol Pot or someone. Then maybe you don’t see this as the heartwarming tale of humanity’s potential for greatness that the rest of us do.

C. Montgomery Burns shortly after viewing.

It’s not just the story itself that makes this film iconic, though. Of the countless versions that have come before and after it, this interpretation stands alone as the image that pops to the forefront of the collective pop culture hive mind when someone says 12 Angry Men. And that is simply because of the performances themselves.  George C. Scott’s Lee J. Cobb’s powerhouse performance as the anger-fueled lone hold out for guilty, Jack Klugman’s quiet kid from the slums made good, and Piglet’s transformative performance as a meek but intelligent human man would all be reason enough on their own to keep your eyes glued to the screen. Lump them together, though, and add 9 other impeccable performances of vastly different and nuanced characters and you’ve got 96 minutes of footage that deserves acknowledgement, at least. The fact that not a single one of these performances was even nominated for any awards by anyone is mind-boggling because, even creeping up on 60 years later, they’re precisely what allows this film to still hold up. You still want to laugh when a baby-faced Jack Warden cracks an off-color joke.  You feel the patriotism when the European immigrant starts politicking about why the concept of a jury of your peers is so damned important.  You get fired up right along with the the little old man when he wishes aloud that he was still young enough to beat up the ignorant racist to his left. And, of course, you get morally indignant right along with Henry Fonda as he (probably) creates the saintly-tempered architect with a heart of gold trope right before your eyes.

You probably thought this guy did it first. You’d be wrong.

To me, there’s no question why the AFI chose to include this title on their list. It should be noted, though, that the vast majority of tools that Henry Fonda’s #8 uses to sway other jurors to his side aren’t exactly within the bounds of what’s considered legal for a juror. Speculating over whether the testimony could truly be considered accurate is one thing — the bailiff produced that diagram of the old man witness’s apartment quickly enough that it had to have been used somehow in the trial. Wandering the streets at night to perform his own investigation into the facts and purchasing an illegal switchblade in the process? Yeah, these are things that would probably cause a judge to declare a mistrial if he or she were to find out. Really, all Lee J. Cobb would have needed to do would be report Fonda’s actions to the judge and they could have all gotten out of that stifling, sweaty room a lot faster. Of course, that would make it a whole different kind of fable of justice that may not have generated the same long-lasting effects. — KS

PopFilter Podcast Episode 158

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This week, the friends all discuss FKA Twigs’ “LP1″, Guillermo Del Toro’s “The Strain”, Tom Hardy’s latest offering in “Locke” and they finally wrap up all the goodness that is “MASH”. And they are forced to scream terrible gibberish at each other for your amusement. Enjoy yourselves!

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