Welcome back to another episode of The Action Junkies Podcast, hosted by Chris (@CinemaTronix) and Jade (@CelluloidAK ) and here we chat about action films and our love for the genre.
This episode we take a look at two of the most recent comic book sequels in Captain America : The Winter Soldier and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. We also take a detour mid way through that discuss DC’s recent efforts and in turn figure out the hype machine and what makes a good movie.
Listeners bewarned, Fans of The Dark Knight should take caution when listening to this podcast…… But we highly suggest that you do and…… why so serious?
Next week we take on The Best of the Best where Jade will swoon some more over Eric (Silver Fox) Roberts.
Knowing full well the Fault in our Stars was going to tug on the heart strings, and possibly have me sniffling, head in arms, I thought I’d be a brave soul and venture with my Kleenex in hand, to the local cinema for a emotional thrashing regardless.
Shailene Woodley stars as Hazel Grace Lancaster, whom was diagnosed with type-4 thyroid cancer at a young age and is battling on like a trooper. Supported by her parents (Dern and Trammell), Hazel, who finds comfort in her solace, choosing to read a particular book over and over, that just happens to be about cancer, rather than anything much else.
Good old mum and doctor decide it would be good if she went to a support group where she can meet others of similar circumstances. Alas, she goes along complete with oxygen tank on wheels in tow. There she meets and begins a fluid, if slightly jovial friendship with Gus, a cancer patient who is in remission. Gus is full of dexterousness and benevolence, a trait that, whilst often worthy of eye rolling moments, really serves the character well.
As obvious as it is to say it, Hazel and Gus fall in love *insert ahs and coos here* and embark on a journey to Amsterdam (Holland, not New York) as Gus, the lovable fella that he is, has set up a meeting with Peter Van Houghton (Willem Dafoe), the author of Hazel’s favourite book. So, with the doctor’s disapproval, off they go to a city full of tulips and debauchery for fun and frolics.
I’ll leave the synopsis there. If that’s intrigued you, I suggest you stop reading now and go and see the film, as my thoughts below is about to upset the apple cart.
My one (big) problem with the film lies within its force-fed approach to the story. Yes, it was always going to be a difficult narrative to tackle, though the idea has merit, it’s in the execution the problems are evident. The film’s soundtrack is as saccharine as they come. Chock-full of those exaggeratingly sentimental moments, helping those lodged tears embark on a journey down your face. Then there’s the way that Hazel speaks. As a teenager, I knew a few choice words, but not things like “…there’s nothing that can’t be fixed by a Peter Gabriel song”, and whilst I have quoted that out of context, the important thing is that this teenage girl is saying things like this and knows who Peter Gabriel is. Maybe she does, who am I to question what goes on in a teenagers world, it’s not like I was ever one once.
Ultimately by the films tear-jerking finale, (it’s not a spoiler, honest) the cinema was flooded with teenage tears, and tissues were strewn across the isles, and I was utterly done in by the hammer to the head, emotiveness of ‘The Fault in our Stars’. It really does wear its welcome out. A few good scenes aside and charming chemistry from the leads cannot save it from being anything more than an overly sentimental piece that doesn’t leave much of a lasting impression.
When asked who my favourite Hollywood star is, I always find that a difficult question to answer. I’m a big fan of Brad Pitt. He’s had some fantastic iconic roles in Hollywood, the ripped Tyler Durden in Fight Club, the brooding Jesse James in the undervalued Assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford, the portrayal of Baseball GM Billy Bean in Moneyball….the list goes on and on. The ever young Leonardo DiCaprio maybe? He’s excellent In Revolutionary Road, Departed, Gatsby and even in the turgid slog Wolf of Wall Street his performance was top notch. But taking all things into account George is my man, the grey haired silver fox ticks all the boxes for me. He made his big break in E.R (1994-1999) and never looked back. Not many have successfully turned from a soap star into a Hollywood Legend, Demi Moore and Tommy Lee Jones notable exceptions.
1 STYLE The American
This slow burn Thriller is terribly underrated in my opinion. Clooney plays Jack/Edward, a specialist gun maker who works and lives alone. The film plays out in a sedate way, this is no James Bond or Bourne. It’s a sombre but weighty drama that keeps you gripped. Its absolute gorgeous to look at Martin Ruhe’s cinematography is impeccable here and Director Anton Corbijn continues his sterling work after Control, and I can’t wait for his upcoming film A Most Wanted Man. Clooney is controlled classy and understated.
2 VOICE Fantastic Mr Fox
I’m a massive fan of this film. Right up there for me in Wes Andersons locker. The set design is incredible. The book is one of my favourites and to see it transformed and enhanced is a delight, I wonder what Mr Dahl would of thought? Its Clooney’s silky drawl that carries this film along with some excellent support from Streep and Andersons usual pool of actors.(Murray Schwartzmann,Wilson,Dafoe) The score is wonderful from Desplat and it ties the room together perfectly.
Ocean’s Eleven, the 2001 Crime Thriller remake is fun, stylish and top class Blockbuster fayre. Super cool Danny Ocean leads his crew (including Pitt, Damon, Gould,C Affleck and Bernie Mac). Soderbergh wields his magic here to make it superior to Lewis Milestone’s 1960 original. This Heist movie sees Danny and his crew to try to pull off a 150 Million Dollar robbery from Casinos run by ruthless Terry Benedict ( slimy Andy Garcia) during a boxing match. Clooney is on excellent form here having a blast with his friend Pitt, Its paint by numbers stuff but done in an impeccable way.
This 2000 humdinger of adventure comedy by the Coen’s is one of my favourites in this Genre. Loosely based on Homer’s Odyssey epic poem, Clooney plays Everett McGill, an escaped convict who leads a gang of 3 in search of a hidden treasure stash which will changed their miserable lives forever. This film is riddled with quotable lines and excellent performances. Clooney leads the way in an offbeat role, and once again he’s up to task with some brilliant ‘face acting’ and comic timing. The motley crew find themselves in difficult spots time and again and this leads us to some scenes that are right out of the top draw. The KKK, the baptism and the frog scenes spring to find as well as the Soggy bottom Boys. The Soundtrack is marvellous, Alison Krauss became a firm favourite of mine after seeing this.
5 AUTHORITIVE Syriana
Syriana is a captivating film about, oil and money and politics set in Iran. Clooney plays aging CIA agent Bob Barnes in this corruption thriller. The plot isn’t a easy one, interwoven stories, no solutions, double crossing it’s all here, but I found it totally enthralling to be in this hyper realistic film. Clooney put on 30lbs for the role apparently with bowls and bowls of pasta and also supports a huge beard. This dedication obviously paid off with a Oscar win for best supporting Actor. If you’re after a intelligent head scratcher then I suggest you look here.
Some other George Clooney films I hold in high regard are, MICHAEL CLAYTON, OUT OF SIGHT, UP IN THE AIR and THE DESCENDANTS
Grossing over $90 million dollars on its opening weekend in North America. ‘X-Men: Days Of Future Past’, the 7th entry in the Fox Studios’ X-Men franchise, based on the Marvel comic book characters/ books of the same name – Has received global acclaim. And in my humble opinion – richly deserved. Here are 5 reasons that Days Of Future Past absolutely killed it for me….. Killed is good in this context, by the way.
1. THAT Quicksilver Scene.
Fuck, I really hate saying it that way. ‘THAT’ Quicksilver scene… Ugh. It’s a great moment for not only the movie itself, but for the cast too who had really supported and pushed out just how good Evan Peters’ performance as the mutant speedster was. Though we can all say how shite his character design was (Singer….), it truly was a great demonstration of his abilities, his personality and the use of pop culture – As Maximoff’s walkman plays out the delightfully apt ‘Time In A Bottle’ by Jim Croce. Evan Peters’ performance throughout his time in the movie was no less greater. Leaving a lot for Joss Whedon and Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s depiction of the character to live up to in ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’.
2. Wolverine’s Role
Hugh Jackman – The cornerstone of the X-Men franchise. Appearing as a lead character in 6 of the 7 movies to date. With a cameo in First Class, simply because – because… Yeah.
I’ve always found issue with Logan in these movies. Not only are the movies marred by the sheer amount of focus that is lavished on the character, alienating others. But also because it almost becomes detrimental to the overall story. In DOFP, the movie progresses and develops through the narrative and each character is a driving force for that. Though we closely and prominently follow events and actions of certain characters – namely Charles (James McAvoy), Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) – Wolverine is without question the lead. However he is part of the story, rather than the story being a part of him. His scenes with Charles and Hank (Nick Hoult) after his initial regression to 1973 are some of my favourite moments in the entire film. There’s great chemistry between the 3, and this is much more apparent after Logan manages to convince Charles to get his shit together. I also found the much maligned ‘swap’ between himself and Kitty (Ellen Page) had proven to be a great move on the part of Singer and Kinberg.
3. The Screenplay
Simple as it seems. And is… Simon Kinberg wrote one damn good movie. Within the X-Men community, I’d argue that First Class is the superior film based on writing – Perhaps due to the more traditional, linear plot. With DOFP, there is so much going on that you could easily be stepping into Last Stand territory. It just felt from watching though, that everything had its place within the story – it was relevant, cohesive, served purpose and ultimately wasn’t wasteful fanboy nonsense thrown in for acknowledgement. I’d wholeheartedly recommend a second viewing if this wasn’t your immediate conclusion.
4. The ‘Reset’
Spoilers ahead. Of course, you’ve all seen the movie by now? Before production had completed, director Bryan Singer went on record to say that the beauty of time travel movies is that there is scope to undo, change or get rid of certain elements from the established timeline. In other words – He brought back Cyclops and Jean! So what does that mean for future appearances for people like James Marsden, Famke Janssen and Kelsey Grammar? Well we know now that younger versions of original trilogy characters will appear in the next movie ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’. Though we’ll never know for certain until that time, it was still great to see those characters back – almost a sigh of relief. Especially after the massive injustice done to Cyclops.
5. Groundwork For The Future
Though I was pretty disappointed in the shelving of half the cast of First Class. Carrying over James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Nick Hoult to DOFP in hindsight is a great sign of potential things to come. With Charles and Hank seemingly becoming more reliant on each other from events prior to the movie, and Erik and Mystique being ‘set loose’ essentially to build ‘The Brotherhood’. We could potentially see some great stories featuring these characters at loggerheads once again. Because of the dynamics and events that have occurred within the relationships of these 4 – I think we should anticipate for much more emotionally driven, tense and personal X-Men sequels. Here’s to 2016, and ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ .
So in this episode I explain the concept of the renaming and the idea of The Geek Soapbox. We catch up with the things we have seen over the last couple of months.
Scott realises he didn’t like the last Muppet movie and explains the continuity of X-Men Days of Future Past and more talk about The Lego Movie and some thoughts about the new Godzilla movie.
All that and much more…. please feel free to follow us on twitter, we’re quite chatty and usually reply back.
You can send your comments and feedback or if you like to join us and take part in one of our podcasts then send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and stay tuned for more banter in the podcast form and some more commentary tracks and Top 5’s.
We’re back yet again after some more time off. We will try and keep these up dates as regular as possible but for now we are back yet again talking about the video game double bill Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter.
There is some disagreement about Street Fighter but then again that’s to be expected when a certain Mr Van Damme’s involved.
Chris @CinemaTronixand Jade @CelluloidAKalso ramble on some more and even Chris goes on a rant about the general attitude towards Stallone.
Please follow us on Twitter @Action_Junkies and don’t forget to email us email@example.com
Next episode we will get all comic book on your ass with Captain America 2 and The Amazing Spiderman 2
Comedy is the hardest genre to get right. There’s definitely no question about it. It has to be self-deprecating whilst also original. Funny but not too full of itself. The sign of a good comedy is in the writing. Contemporary comedy is far different to what it used to be. It’s done what every comedy should do and satirize the current culture of the world. In 2012, 21 Jump Street was released to universal acclaim and went on to become one of the biggest surprises of the year. A remake of the TV series that launched Johnny Depp’s career, 21 Jump Street shocked everyone with its ability to be both genuinely hilarious and charming all at the same time. Jonah Hill played himself which wasn’t a bad thing and it found a new niche for Channing Tatum, who completely embraced his role as wonderfully deadpan and willing to take the piss out himself. Putting the two together was genius in disguise. So here we are. A sequel was inevitable.
Welcome to 22 Jump Street.
Picking up where the original left off, our heroes Jenko and Schmidt are once again assigned to work within the Jump Street program and to undergo a undercover operation almost identical to the last one, except this time they have to go to college. Rarely are comedy sequels good but what sets 22 Jump Street away from the rest is how it consistently makes jokes at its own expense whilst bringing something new to the table. It’s incredibly self-deprecating and the “Do-exactly-the-same-as-the-last-time” approach is brilliant. It’s amazing how you don’t tire of the joke because Hill has found so many ways in his screenplay to mine for humour. And it certainly works. There’s too many moments to name for praise but it’s safe to say I wasn’t disappointed.
22 Jump Street is a rare comedy sequel that surpasses it’s predecessor in so many ways. It’s consistently funny and satirical. Hill and Tatum are a perfect double act and the post-credits sequence will have you in stitches. The best comedy in ages..