Fan Response
Sep26

Fan Response

This episode, originally published in September 2013 I invited on Bob Chipman, AKA MovieBob along with Daniel Floyd and Leelee Scalaferri of Extra Credits to talk about the age old scenario of fans flipping their lids when something they love is perceived as being meddled with. With the ascent of Twitter and Facebook, forums, comments sections and YouTube we have more opportunities than ever before to voice our discontent, and voice it we have in ways often so hostile and illegible that some sections of the internet appear to be transcripts of the death-screeching of broken killer robots with electronic Tourette’s syndrome. Among other specific instances we cover Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist frequency, The Xbox One, Batfleck, Phil Fish, Grand Theft Auto V, Devil May Cry, Mass Effect 3, Green Lantern, The Star Wars Special Editions and Fifty Shades of Grey. The aim was not to be wholly objective and detached and there is a lot of opinion being flung back and forth during this crackling debate with four vibrant personalities all vying for the mic, but we do try our best to be fair. To illustrate the many facets of this immense debate I have employed audio segments from some of the best and brightest. With Great Power [Bob Chipman: The Big Picture] Crass Effect [Bob Chimpan: Game Overthinker] Rebecca Black [Charlie Brooker: 10 O’ Clock Live] Anita Sarkeesian: The Monster Gamers Created [Jim Sterling: Jimquisition] Harassment [Daniel Floyd & James Portnow: Extra Credits] GTA V Review Revulsion [Johnny Chiodini: GameSpot – Feedbackula] Guide to Comments [Vi Hart] A Day at the Park [Kiriakakis: Mused] Bob, Dan and Leelee have made hundreds of video presentations between them and their recommendations if you’re newcomers are the following. Extra Credits [Of Penny Arcade TV] Call of Juarez: The Cartel A Little Bit of Yesterday Art is not the Opposite of Fun Moviebob The Big Picture – Skin Game Game Overthinker – Never Grow Old Music on the show played by Lindsey Stirling Crystallize  Elements Electric Daisy Violin Of course there wasn’t time to discuss a bunch of well known examples, including the Derpy Hooves debacle but we do want this show to spark debate on ways for the more considerate side of the internet to gain more of a vocal share of the general discussion, which often seems to be dominated by the enraged and abusive. http://schoolofmovies.podbean.com/mf/web/x8tngi/149FanResponse.mp3Podcast: Play in new window |...

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Episode 500
Sep16

Episode 500

Alex’s 500th Podcast. I’ve been at this game for almost a decade and produced and hosted  four media discussion shows, Digital Cowboys, Digital Gonzo, Digital Drift andSchool of Movies.  What we have here is a collection of highlights from the first few years. This celebratory episode ended up as two, simply because there was so much to choose from. So Episode 501 will be released next week. Consider them like Kill Bill Volumes 1 & 2. This is significant interviews, first meetings, moments of particular insight and of course the absolute funniest bits, many of which were suggested by you guys while I was putting this together. Volume 1. Digital Cowboys Another Day at the Office [Joinee Radio, Early 2007 – 0.01.22] Curse of the Golden Flower [Digital Cowboys Episode 01 – 0.06.36] An Important Announcement [DC48, 2008 – 0.08.58] First Meeting With Daniel Floyd [DC10, 2009 – 0.12.13] Red vs Blue Interview [DC126 – 0.15.24] Giant Bomb Snackbox [DC104 – 0.19.40] Jonathan Coulton Interview [DC121 – 0.22.23] Dominik Diamond Interview [DC133 – 0.27.07] The Wii – First Meeting With James Batchelor [DC130 – 0.32.51] First Meeting With Neil Taylor [DC167, 2010 – 0.34.37] Duke Nukem Kicked Out [DC180 – 0.35.18] Legends of Zelda – Opening Montage [DC164 – 0.38.41] Paul & Storm Interview [DC163 – 0.42.53] Digital Cowboys – The Last One [DC109, 2011 – 0.49.10] Volume 2: Digital Gonzo New Solo Show [Digital Gonzo Episode 42, 2011 – 0.55.23] Thor – Alex Doing Mr Plinkett Doing Thor [DG70, 2012 – 0059.44] Never Mind the BuzzGeeks: Cosmocats [DG33 – 1.02.20] Back to the Future – Time Travel [DG19 – 1.05.00] Fire [The Internet News – 1.09.42] Never Mind the BuzzGeeks: Coffee Commercials [DG39 – 1.13.06] Movie Clichés – The Wilhelm Scream [DG34 – 1.15.43] Schools [The Internet News – 1.17.44] Blue Sun Audio Drama [DG35 – 1.22.25] James Bond – The Henchman Agent #1 [DG43 – 1.29.30] James Bond – Henchman Agent #2/Herr Stamper [DG45 – 1.33.51] Firefly – The Henchman Agent #4 [DG106 – 1.33.52] Batman Returns – The Henchman Agent #3/The Finale [DG77 – 1.36.51] Alien – Shotgun Penis [DG74 – 1.41.36] Alien Resurrection – Alien DNA/Executives [DG82 – 1.45.29] Superman IV – Physics! [DG133, 2013 – 1.51.56] Sound of Gonzo – Snowboarding Spy [DG102 – 1.57.00] The Last Airbender – Exposition Scrolls [DG95 – 1.59.26] Sound of Gonzo – Vice City/Dance Hall Deadlock [DG142 – 2.00.47] Iron Man 3 Avengers in Advertising [DG154 – 2.02.51] Return of the King – Lyra on LOTR [DG112 – 2.06.40] The Two Towers – Gollum [DG111 – 2.07.36] An Unexpected Journey – Gollum-Off [DG113 – 2.11.29] Fan Response –...

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Kill Bill
Jan30

Kill Bill

[SOM #79] Welcome to the introductory episode of Digital Drift. With the first two volumes of my podcast, Digital Cowboys and Digital Gonzo now complete that makes this the 370th podcast episode I’ve put out. For the third volume I have recruited a new co-host to share the creative load; my wife, Sharon Shaw. She’ll be offering the show a second voice and a ton of perspective. And we’ve decided to go right back to the beginning on this one with a prototype for the Gonzo movie reviews, released on the Digital Cowboys feed in May 2010 many months before I began the Star Wars Gonzo reviews. This was originally two hour-long episodes covering both volumes of Kill Bill. We’ve taken them, trimmed away the bits that didn’t work, added more clips and music and some additional segments with our views on the films four years on. You can hear how we were back then, what’s changed and what’s stayed the same. We’ll be releasing regular episodes throughout 2014, interspersed with classic episodes of Digital Cowboys to give me room to write the book. Focus will be on more conceptual topics (much like the Fan Response show of Digital Gonzo) and while movie reviews will still remain, we’ll be doing a lot more interviews and shorter, discussion podcasts, bringing on the experts so that we don’t have to devote all our time studying absolutely everything. Kill Bill is in both of our top three movies lists and by the time you get to the end of this one you’ll know why. Next Episode: RoboCop We’re going to push social networking this time round so be sure to find us, follow us, like us and email us. And of course be sure to jump onto one of the smartest, friendliest forums around and declare your membership in the Digital Drift community. Facebook: www.facebook.com/digitaldriftuk Twitter: @DigitalDriftUK Email: digitaldriftuk@gmail.com Website: www.digitaldrift.co.uk Forum: www.digitaldrift.co.uk/forum http://schoolofmovies.podbean.com/mf/web/br6ux3/01_Kill_Bill.mp3Podcast: Play in new window |...

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School of Everything Else #57: Lou Reads the Internet
Nov14

School of Everything Else #57: Lou Reads the Internet

Couple of weeks ago after becoming fascinated by the broader concepts of the Fan Response show and looking for a more anthropological approach to studying online human behaviour I came across a podcast called Lou Reads the Internet. On this podcast which has run for over 120 episodes since March 2009, host Lou Fernandez simply reads aloud, almost always from forums, almost always the words of people who have… special interests. Now these could be racists, misogynists, fetishists, and fantasists from all walks of life.  He proceeds for fifteen to thirty minutes and tries his level best to remain impartial. Some of his most interesting episodes are ones he is obviously ruffled by the content and breaks down repeatedly. I devoured show after show, hearing from Tea Partyers, adult babies, furrys, men with big penises, men with tiny penises, meth addicts, beleaguered hotel workers, those who are poised for The Rapture and white supremacists looking to make their hate-filled rhetoric more appealing to children. It is not, repeat not, I repeat once again NOT for the faint hearted or those with weak constitutions and since I have Lou with me tonight to talk about his show, I am issuing a warning to all my listeners… This is going to get disgusting! You may end up nauseous, furious, terrified. This is effectively extreme podcasting. I will try my level best to keep the conversation under control, but I’d strongly suggest that if it gets too much you switch off and come back for next week’s episode on Thor: The Dark World. It also goes without saying that if you are a child listening to this, turn off now. There are things you need to spend more of your life not knowing about.  Be sure to tweet me with the timestamp for where we broke you. I’ll compile a list and this will probably end up more of an endurance contest. It is, however, possible that you may be fascinated by some of this. Below is the approximate, but not exact running order of topics. And if you start listening to Lou’s show because of me then be sure to let him know. This made me question both my tolerance levels and how judgmental I am. The Misogynists  The Anti-Liberals The Torture Porn Fanatics  The Religious Zealots  The Adult Babies The Pokevores  The Drug Addicts The Zoophiles The Incest Lovers The Bodily Fluid Fetishists The Beleaguered Hotel Workers The Pandora Dreamers The Super-Racists One last thing. this show has nothing to do with the now departed singer Lou Reed. We recorded it on October 10th and he died in the meantime....

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Podcasts

School of Movies Podcast 001. The Phantom Menace 002. Attack of the Clones 003. Revenge of the Sith 004. Star Wars 005. The Empire Strike Back 006. Return of the Jedi 007. Back to the Future 008. Back to the Future Part II 009. Back to the Future Part III 010. Die Hard 011. Die Hard 2: Die Harder 012. Die Hard With a Vengeance 013. Die Hard 4.0 014. Toy Story 015. Toy Story 2 016. Toy Story 3 017. James Bond 007 [Part 1: Connery/Lazenby] 018. James Bond 007 [Part 2: Moore/Dalton] 019. James Bond 007 [Part 3: Brosnan/Craig] 020. Predator 021. Predator 2 022. Predators 023. A Christmas Carol/Muppets Christmas Carol 024. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone 025. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 026. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 027. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 028. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix 029. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince 030. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows [Part 1] 031. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows [Part 2] 032. Iron Man 033. The Incredible Hulk 034. Iron Man 2 035. Thor 036. Captain America: The First Avenger 037. Avengers Assemble 038. Alien 039. Aliens 040. Alien 3 041. Alien Resurrection 042. Alien vs. Predator 043. Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem 044. Prometheus 045. Batman: the Movie 046. Batman 047. Batman Returns 048. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm 049. Batman Forever/Batman & Robin 050. Batman: Year One/Under the Red Hood/Revenge of the Joker 051. Batman Begins 052. The Dark Knight 053. The Dark Knight Rises 054. Monster House 055. The Last Airbender 056. Serenity 057. The Fellowship of the Ring 058. The Two Towers 059. Return of the King 060. An Unexpected Journey 061. The Desolation of Smaug 062. The Battle of the Five Armies 063. The Muppets 064. Star Trek 065. Superman I, II, III & IV 066. Superman Returns 067. Hancock 068. Watchmen 069. Man of Steel 070. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns 071. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 072. TMNT 073. Green Lantern 074. Ghostbusters 075. Ghostbusters II 076. Iron Man 3 077. Thor: The Dark World 078. Pacific Rim 079. Kill Bill/Kill Bill Vol. 2 080. RoboCop 081. Captain America: the Winter Soldier 082. Spider-Man 083. Spider-Man 2 084. Spider-Man 3 085. The Amazing Spider-Man 086. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 087. X-Men 088. X-Men 2: Mutants United 089. X-Men 3: The Last Stand 090. X-Men Origins: Wolverine 091. X-Men: First Class 092. The Wolverine 093. X-Men: Days of Future Past 094. Planet of the Apes/Beneath the Planet of the Apes 095. Escape from the Planet of...

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MAD: The Fall
Jun18

MAD: The Fall

(2006 Roadside Attractions/Watched on DVD) This is from Tarsem Singh, director of The Cell, for which we have recorded a SCORCHING review podcast. I did not know the first thing about it (which is that it was directed by Tarsem Singh) before going in. He also directed Immortals, a bizarre combination of 300 and Clash of the Titans. I know him for his striking visual style and his inhuman coldness, not unlike Refn or Villeneuve, which means that before we even started I was certain that he would be short on the tools required to reach me as a filmmaker, leaning too heavily on skills that leave me less impressed without that key humanity. In a hospital in Los Angeles in the 1920s a bedridden man tells a young girl with a broken arm swashbuckling stories complete with vividly realised, visually striking imagery. Soon these stories veer wildly into scenarios that directly contradict history, throwing Charles Darwin in with Alexander the Great, rendered in Singh’s customary blend of Japanese, Greek, Indian and Chinese cultural influences. Honestly this guy should direct a Soul Calibur movie. Far too much of the film is mumbled. A lot of it in thick accents discussing things that we, a contemporary cinema audience rather than Macedonian scribes are unfamiliar with. One of the benefits of a good facial close up with ample volume is that you can both read the lips of the subject and hear what’s being said as it it is written in the script. I didn’t think I’d have to explain that one this year, but here we are. The words get lost in proceedings so frequently and everything goes by in such a dreamlike manner, defying cause and effect that sometimes it sounds like they’re speaking SIMlish. The play within the play is unintelligible, but damn if Tarsem doesn’t take us all on an extraordinary vacation while it’s being told. He picks out amazingly vibrant architecture and shoots it and the array of absurdly dressed, colourful and distinctive characters from obtuse angles. It ends up feeling superficially similar in tone and screen composition to a Wes Anderson picture, just without his amazing gifts for screenplay and screen play. The saviours are twofold; Lee Pace, a man we’ve mostly seen as humourless and untouchable with Ronan the Accuser and King Thranduil in Guardians of the Galaxy and the Hobbit. Here he is charming and vulnerable as a man afraid he will never regain feeling in his legs, fear which develops greatly over the run time. The second is Cantica Untaru as the little girl, Alexandria, who is endlessly inquisitive, compassionate, stubborn, fiercely...

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MAD: Beauty and the Beast
Mar23

MAD: Beauty and the Beast

(2017 Disney/Watched in the Cinema) This one is going to be difficult to review. We won’t be doing a podcast on it for a while for three reasons 1. We already covered the 1991 animated classic in three exceptionally thorough hours. 2. This adaptation follows the lines of that version so closely that the only things to remark upon are the additions and deviations. 3. I love all of these additions and deviations… …but saying this immediately draws in the attention of people fairly desperate to tell me how much they hate the film, how they’ve heard it’s just SO bad, how they will never, ever watch this film, none of which in any way correlates with what I’ve been saying. It’s just a bunch of foghorns trained to go off when a title triggers their blast of response. It can work the other way too, where saying how much of a bad experience you had with something draws a foaming sea of adulation for the thing you don’t like (which is especially disheartening if you’ve clearly explained yourself in either direction and your words haven’t been read). I don’t know what people think yelling out hate for something that the person has just declared they love is going to achieve. I can sort of see the other stance, fuelled by a frantic desperation that something you love will be diminished in the eyes of the world if this critic is not informed of its hidden charms in a convincing enough way to totally reverse their standpoint, but I cannot fathom a need to destroy something beloved. Last year I noticed that The Legend of Korra was on sale at a crazy price on Amazon. I pitched that on Twitter as a must-have bargain and a good friend of mine immediately jumped on my case to tell me how much she hated The Legend of Korra. I’ve dedicated hundreds of hours of my life to watching Avatar and talking about both shows extensively on the podcast. it is in fact one of our most popular series’ and I am in a melancholy position regarding a possible future for The Four Nations. These are things I hoped were clearly known about me to this friend. It behoves me to encourage the few Twitter followers I have who are unaware of this show, or haven’t ever been in the position to pick up the whole lot for a song to do so, and spread that experience. Notice this is not me jumping on somebody personally and touting Avatar as the way forward for them at the slightest provocation, the very thing that prevents...

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MAD: Ghostbusters Answer the Call
Feb25

MAD: Ghostbusters Answer the Call

(2016 Sony/Watched on Blu Ray) We put out a lengthy podcast on this movie at the time of release, wherein we discussed with Bob Chipman what a weirdly patchy edit we watched in theatres. It was a conversation filled with speculation on what might have been cut that could potentially have lent it a better narrative shape. This blu ray extended edition goes some ways to fixing quite a few of the issues. There were several brave choices, several odd ones and a few foolhardy. Some are all three simultaneously. The fact that they delivered a villain that was a cruel, clumsy caricature of the very denizens of 4chan and Reddit that were uniting to take down the film before it even emerged is one of the most on-the-nose. Rowan is all smug, nihilistic snarling and disgust for mankind, but we never got a scrap of what might have made him this way. He and the ghouls behind their screens of glass are all simply intent on mayhem. Had GB16 made more than twice its 144 million budget back, that barrage of negative response would have been worth it. Had the film itself been of the quality of Guardians of the Galaxy it would already be a classic, rather than straddling the line between underperforming blockbuster and cult favourite. All that said, here’s why this earned itself an extra star over the cinema experience, making it a high four from now on. First and foremost there are alternate takes woven into this new edit, a lot of them considerably funnier than the ones chosen for the general public. Holtzman is a little creepier, and that’s definitely for the best, Kate McKinnon remains the highlight personality on show, and I cannot wait for Marvel to swoop in and offer her The Sensational She-Hulk (in full on Howard the Duck guest star mode). Beyond humour though, a little more attention is paid to Erin’s anger over being scoffed at and marginalised in her childhood, following on to her present day humiliation. This was key character development and still isn’t fully explored, but it does culminate in a moment when she punches a snide blogger full in the face (and I mean for real, Kristen Wiig slugged the actor hard by mistake). This at least lends more weight to her separation from the group midway through. The disco scene with Kevin has been restored. It’s so short and fun and so OBVIOUSLY and clearly absent in the original cut, that it wasn’t even worth trimming out in the first place. All the setup and payoff, minus the event, serves only to confuse...

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MAD: Hard Eight
Jan08

MAD: Hard Eight

(1996 The Samuel Goldwyn Company/Watched on Netflix) There are various recurring ingredients of edgy 90s independent movies: coffee-shop conversations, Las Vegas, prostitutes, hostage situations gone wrong, arguments in cheap motel rooms, smoking like it’s going out of style, further arguing over medium sized amounts of money and Samuel L. Jackson shouting. If the movie ticks all of these boxes it may qualify for “Most 90s” and it would have Hard Eight to beat. “What about Pulp Fiction?” you ask. Anticipating this valid response I nod and clarify my point, that Pulp Fiction doesn’t feel the painful limitations of a genuinely dated 90s relic, and this does. This was the one that got away from Paul Thomas Anderson. His embittered accounts of the difficult production and how the studio took a movie originally entitled “Sydney” off his hands will be familiar to fans of his. And when Hard Eight is at its most P.T. Anderson, that’s when it’s punching in the heavyweight league. His camera movement, framing, editing transitions, time compression, riveting monologue (even better than his dialogue) delivery, the ebb and flow of momentum all, when strung together in his rhythms feel oddly comforting if you are a lover of Boogie Nights, Magnolia or Punch Drunk Love. It feels assured and steady, the story of a young nincompoop who lost everything gambling to try to pay for his mother’s funeral and the seasoned gambler who helps him game the system is instantly compelling. The great Philip Baker Hall in the role of the elderly benefactor, Sydney, is the backbone of all this, inhabiting the screen with quiet, measured dignity. The problem is that it feels like he’s the only adult in the world, and everyone else is an angry six year old. John C. Reilly as John is a lovable cretin. It’s impossible not to grin broadly at lines like “I know three kinds of karate; OK, jujitsu, aikido and regular karate.” And one tearful phone conversation is worthier of the Oscar nomination than Chicago. It’s equally tough to call Gwyneth Paltrow on her damp, mopey, uncomfortable performance as Clementine, because that’s the character she’s playing, but once she becomes the driving force the film goes downhill. Samuel L. Jackson is taking it sleazy as “Jimmy”, Ordell Robbie’s even shadier brother as things go from one regrettable situation to another. I’m not even joking, the way you get these brothers is to sit on a chair in the dark and just...

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MAD: The Brothers Grimsby
Dec23

MAD: The Brothers Grimsby

(2016 Columbia/Watched on TalkTalk TV) Football fan has a spy for a brother. Hilarity ideally ensues. The concept of the lowest common denominator as it applies to comedy is the broadest, cheapest most obvious jokes. Gross-out, scatological and body humour occupies this region, Grimsby has little else to offer the world. Contrary to what the trailer for Sing assures us, once you hit rock bottom, there IS somewhere you can go other than back up again. 2016 has proved repeatedly that when you’re at rock bottom you can in fact still break through the bedrock to tumble down lower and lower to more wretched places until you’ve fallen so far that if you look straight up, squint and turn your head you can just make out the far-off blurry smear where rock bottom used to be. It is that level of lowest of the low common denominator that this movie is aimed at. It manages to both conjure up a cartoonishly horrific parody of England’s pub-dwelling, lager-swilling, football obsessed working class, and somehow, mystifyingly, as continuously insulting as this depiction is, they also seem to be aiming AT these hypothetical miscreants (or “Scum”, as the hero calls them proudly). It’s Larry the Cable Guy for Brits. In the UK it doesn’t even have the words “The Brothers” in the title, just plain “Grimsby”. Presumably because this wordplay would make it too complex for the audience they hold in nothing but contempt. It’s swearing children, harrowed dogs fireworks up the arse, climbing into an elephant’s vagina to then be subsequently ram-raided by a bull pachyderm. It’s mistaking fellatio for eating shit and it’s sucking the poison out of testicles. I’d say it was relentless, but that doesn’t convey how strained beyond the point of punchline each plodding trip to vomit-town is. Co-writer Peter Baynham was one of the minds behind Alan Partridge, the Day Today and Brass Eye, Louis Leterrier directed The Incredible Hulk, what the hell went wrong here? Mark Strong, a hugely talented actor with infinite dignity is so far above this material that every second he’s onscreen feels like a crime (either sex or war, depending on context), and the same is true with Cohen for that matter. Sacha Baron Cohen is capable of really sharp, observed humour, Borat, while playing off cultural insecurities exposes institutionalised racism in the real people he is surrounded by and Bruno while making fun of shallow celebrity wrenches homophobia into the light. Even Ali G when put up against the right unsuspecting candidate can draw an impassioned, genuine response. This is the era Cohen needs to be exploring his very real dramatic skill....

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