Staff July 18, 2014
This week, it’s APES APES APES APES, as Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes prompts our resident Planet Of The Apes superfans to look back on the long-running series, from its grim, heady 1970s longueurs to all the tie-in products that kept kids absorbed between films that likely went over their heads. Sex Tape has us talking about America’s awful record with sex comedies for or about adults, and wondering why it’s so hard for sex comedies to talk about sex in a remotely mature way. (Hee hee, “so hard.”) Our game this week, In A World, asks contestants to identify films by listening to trailer snippets—which in one case, happened in literally two seconds. And we close, as always, with our competitive-recommendation segment, 30 Seconds To Sell.
Staff July 03, 2014
With the flourish of Scary Movie sequels and Friedberg/Seltzer productions like Meet The Spartans and Date Movie, the spoof hit rock bottom a few years ago, but our Movie Of The Week discussion of Airplane! and David Wain’s new rom-com riff They Came Together inspire a fresh look at the art of film comedy’s least respected subgenre. Another near-future MOTW (and Greatest Blockbuster poll winner), Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, has earned praise for keeping the shark off screen until the final third, but we question whether the decision to withhold information from an audience is always the right one. The game this week is “Oh, Roger,” which digs into the reviews, positive and negative, where Roger Ebert broke radically from consensus. And finally, Tasha Robinson and Nathan Rabin square off in the recommendation octagon that is 30 Seconds To Sell.
Staff June 20, 2014
On this week’s podcast, the release of Clint Eastwood’s version of Broadway’s mega-hit Jersey Boys gets us talking about how fidelity, staginess, and Gerard Butler affect our appreciation, or lack thereof, for stage-to-screen musical adaptations. Crash writer-director Paul Haggis returns to the hyperlink-cinema well for Third Person, which gets us talking about what we call everything-is-connected movies: From Nashville to Short Cuts to Babel, the films that sprawl across a scene or a theme, linking disparate characters in sometimes-hokey ways. Our game this week, Name That Tune Without That Tune, proved unexpectedly rough; we hope you’ll do better, or at least leave the podcast humming along. And we wrap this time out with a record-breaking 30 Seconds To Sell.
Staff June 06, 2014
The podcast is turning 21 this week and the poor dear is crying into its beer. Why? Because The Fault In Our Stars, an adaptation of John Green’s YA romance about teenagers with cancer, is poised to become a box-office hit this weekend. This week, we wonder if that movie gets around our cultural resistance to feel-bad cinema, and guess at the source of that resistance. And with the threat of a future where patrons will have to pay a little extra to weep in the middle seats, we discuss the range of amenities (and hassles) that theater chains are devising to increase revenue and keep people coming to the movies. The game this week is “The Crying Game,” in which Dissolvers have their knowledge of tearjerkers—and 1980s TV theme songs—tested. And we sober up as always with our quick-fire recommendation segment, 30 Seconds To Sell.
Staff May 23, 2014
We got our blood angried up a little when Disney Chairman Alan Horn started referring to his studio's new wave of nostalgia-mining films, like Saving Mr. Banks and Maleficent, as "brand deposits." But what does that phrase really mean for Disney? How long can it go on converting quaint, beloved animated films into big live-action spectacles without watering down the brand it's trying to deposit? Our special guest, Mousterpiece Cinema podcaster, Sound On Sight film editor, and newly appointed Movie Mezzanine critic Josh Spiegel, helps us sort out Disney's past, present, and future. Then, in honor of Memorial Day, we ask, "War movies: What are they good for?" Or at least, what's good about them? This week's game, Ex-X-Men, asks participants to sort out all the people who were almost-but-not-quite involved with the X-Men franchise throughout the years, and we close out with a blatantly pandering edition of our competitive-recommendation segment, 30 Seconds To Sell.