Infinite Respawncast – Dirty Grandpa

Chris didn’t see Dirty Grandpa, but Dylan sat through Robert De Niro’s latest comedy flop, and gives the lowdown on just how bad it is. They also discuss Oscar diversity. Dylan talks about Son of Saul and a Quay brothers retrospective, while Chris talks about the pilot episode of Billions and The Last Witch Hunter. Next week, we were going to review Jane Got a Gun, but it seems like we will be tackling Michael Bay’s latest, 13 Hours.

You can also find more content on the site, as well as get updates on our Facebook page, as well as by following the site on Twitter. You can also follow me on Twitter, or Dylan as well if you want more than just content updates. The podcast will go up on Tuesdays every week, so you can also just come here every Tuesday for a new episode. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, subscribe to us on iTunes. If you feel inclined, leave us a review and rate us. There is a Sticher version of the podcast here, as well. We’ll love you forever. We’re also on YouTube!

Don’t forget, you can react to this podcast in email format, like all the awesome people do. Just send us a response over at respawncast@infiniterespawns.com.

Infinite Respawncast – Macbeth

Chris and Dylan reconvene for the first normal podcast of 2016 and talk about Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth, starring Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, and Sean Harris. They then talk Golden Globe winners, Oscar nominees and what’s coming out on Blu-ray this week. Dylan discusses how his first viewing of Brokeback Mountain went, and Chris talks about Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups. Next week, we will be taking a look at Dirty Grandpa.

You can also find more content on the site, as well as get updates on our Facebook page, as well as by following the site on Twitter. You can also follow me on Twitter, or Dylan as well if you want more than just content updates. The podcast will go up on Tuesdays every week, so you can also just come here every Tuesday for a new episode. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, subscribe to us on iTunes. If you feel inclined, leave us a review and rate us. There is a Sticher version of the podcast here, as well. We’ll love you forever. We’re also on YouTube!

Don’t forget, you can react to this podcast in email format, like all the awesome people do. Just send us a response over at respawncast@infiniterespawns.com.

Whiplash Review

With Whiplash earning a surprising five nominations, including a nomination for Best Picture, I thought it would be a good idea to look into a movie maybe a few of us haven’t seen and, I think, should see. While a film about jazz drumming might not sound incredibly appealing, especially with the look of this years Academy Award nominations looking particularly bland; Whiplash dashes across the screen with such intensity and fury that I couldn’t help but be dazzled by not just the filmmaking, but the velocity at which the film flies by.

Miles Teller plays first year jazz drummer, Andrew Neiman, a new student looking to show what he’s capable of at a Julliard-esque school where if you aren’t first, you’re last. He then comes in contact with infamous teacher Terence Fletcher, played with ferocious intensity by J.K. Simmons. Based on this synopsis, I can see how it may look fairly generic and without the direction of Damien Chazelle, and wonderful performances from the actors listed above, it definitely would be. While Teller may not seem revolutionary, it’s once again the (sorry to use the word again but it perfectly describes nearly everything about this movie) intensity that he gives off in his performance that really shows. J.K. Simmons ends up stealing every single scene he is in. As Fletcher, Simmons disarms the viewer with his charisma and charm before crashing out of his characters false niceties. While I’m sure Full Metal Jacket has been used as a reference point for the way his character handles himself, it would be hard to find a closer resemblance for his mannerisms and attitude in the role. Continue reading

Dear Academy, You Don’t Have to be the Bad Guy

LegoMovie

Yesterday, the Oscar nominations were finally announced. There were a lot of snubs, and maybe one or two surprises. But the snub which most surprised me, was the exclusion of The Lego Movie from the Best Animated Feature category. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s highly acclaimed work has gone unnoticed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, almost a week after it lost to How to Train Your Dragon 2 at the Golden Globes. This article is purely meant to explain why it was snubbed, why it would have made sense to be a nominee, and why it would have been a perfect winner of the coveted award. Naturally, there will be some spoilers.

Continue reading

Zero Dark Thirty Paints a Gritty, Disheartening and Important Portrait of the Truth

Zero Dark Thirty Theatrical Poster

Zero Dark Thirty Theatrical Poster

Title: Zero Dark Thirty
Genre(s): Drama, History, Thriller
Director(s): Kathryn Bigelow
Release Year2012

Few events in recent memory have caused as much public and media uproar as the day a raid was conducted on Osama Bin Laden’s secret compound, resulting in the death of the most prominent target in over a decade; if anything, it effectively showcased the sheer power a singular person could have over an entire population. While a film adaptation of the hunt was already underway, courtesy of Oscar-winning team Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal, this new change in facts led to inevitable changes as well as an entirely new conclusion, effectively rewriting the film. As politically driven as its subject matter is however, it’s relieving then that Zero Dark Thirty rarely feels like anything other than a thoroughly tense thriller; as familiar as the events depicted in the film may feel, Bigelow and Boal have managed to plot out a gripping and thought-provoking drama around these dates, successfully dramatizing a decade long manhunt. It’s unfortunate then that politics had to interfere with the film’s release, leading to an unwarranted and baseless case of public shunning, nullifying its chances of taking home any top awards, if any. Anything but a piece of propaganda, Zero Dark Thirty stands tall as one of 2012’s most important film.

Chronicling the decade-long manhunt through a series of important dates, Zero Dark Thirty drops us into the muck of things; we hear the distressed voices of those within the World Trade Center while being plummeted into darkness, without a visual to accompany any of it. What follows is a series of uncomfortable interrogation sequences, punctuated by torturous methods and agonized screams. Here, we’re introduced to Maya (Jessica Chastain), a woman who initially appears to show reluctance and yet thrives on her persistence to find the man responsible. Even when faced with dead ends and loosely plotted leads, this persistence drives her to waking hours, attempting to find the slightest connections within this minefield of clues. Though numerous tragedies begin to pile up and hope to find their target, along with morale, begin to sharply dwindle, Maya never lets it impede her work, never committing to anything other than the mission. When she’s finally presented with the chance to take out her supposed target by her superiors nearly 10 years later, Maya, without flinching (and visibly sleep deprived), accepts her mission; it quite literally becomes the chance of a lifetime. While The Hurt Locker focused on a bomb defuser’s addiction to his job, being thrust into life-threatening situations and the conflicting thoughts that ran through his mind in the midst of it all, Zero Dark Thirty takes a more detached angle while utilizing a similar character thematic. Maya, and many of the other characters for that matter, aren’t exceptionally well-developed, or even very likable characters but then again, they never have to be; by skewing this protagonistic angle so familiar in Hollywood cinema, Boal’s script ends up placing the audience in a jury, letting them see the evidence themselves without the presence of a lawyer tricking or manipulating them.

Read the Rest of the Review After the Jump.

Django Unchained Showcases Tarantino’s Newfound Fascination with Christoph Waltz, if Little Else

Django Unchained Theatrical Poster

Django Unchained Theatrical Poster

TitleDjango Unchained
Genre(s) Action, Drama, Western
Director(s)Quentin Tarantino
Release Year2012
IMDB8.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%

Quentin Tarantino’s career has thus far been one punctuated by numerous highs and very few noticeable lows; a man who has seemingly never struggled to get what he wants in the industry he so enthusiastically inhabits. Some will call him a genius in the way he essentially makes new tapestries out of old, cherished rugs, while others will categorize him as a spoiled brat whose prestige and success have clouded his ability to conjure up anything fresh. Whatever the stance, it’s safe to say that Tarantino films have a certain style to them, running through nearly every technical facet and often resulting in characteristically old-school and exploitative ingredients coming together as a more polished and professional piece; 2009’s Inglourious Basterds, a tale of personal and cultural retribution or vendetta, showcased a concise balance of excess and weight and illustrated a slightly more mature auteur behind the camera. Why is it then that Django Unchained, the latest taboo-laden vehicle from this self-professed exploitation film enthusiast, feel like such an ultimately minor and undistinguished work, despite its unquestionably entertaining moments and sequences?

Taking place in 1858 in the sunny plains and winter-struck mountains of the deep American South, Django Unchained is, all in all, a fairly straightforward tale of retribution and bloody vengeance. Through an effective and appropriately old-fashioned opening montage, we are introduced to Django (Jamie Foxx), a slave held by conjoined shackles, roaming the frigid Texan countryside with his fellow men and their traders. Upon reaching the woods, the caravan runs into a lone man, dentist and bounty hunter King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), who inquires about Django against his owners’ wishes. Not content with backing down, he humorously disposes of the men and takes Django with him on a quest to hunt down multiple slavers and collect their bounty; in return for his help and sacrifices, Schultz promises to help him track down his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), from the clutches of the extravagant Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). While its revisionist nature and headstrong dive into the taboo reeks of Tarantino’s signature pastiche, the resulting story is a surprisingly uninvolving and detached affair, in part due to a selection of poor characters. Take Broomhilda for example; while we’re briefly made aware of her long-term relationship with our titular hero, her development as a character essentially starts and stops there, instead being substituted with copious scenes of torture that are meant to make us feel empathy. They undoubtedly do, yet we never get a better glimpse at who she is, being essentially reduced to a damsel in distress and nothing more. It’s a considerable disappointment given Tarantino’s usual array of strong and empowered female characters and, as a result, many of their scenes of suffering and pain, while unmistakably brutal and unflinching, are only measured in winces. 

Check out the rest of the review after the jump.