Category Archives: Podcast Reviews

He Has His Father’s Eyes

Podcast 083: Rosemary’s BabyEven with our current sloppy podcast schedule, we can’t not celebrate Halloween here at 101 Towers. So Lewis and Ian have donned their most terrifying and zeitgeist-y costumes (Lewis is a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat, and Ian is a Brexit) and settled down to watch Rosemary’s Baby.

Considered by many as the greatest horror film ever made, Rosemary’s Baby follows Mia Farrow as Rosemary who, after moving into a strange old apartment complex with her husband, falls pregnant. Slowly, she begins to suspect that the weird, elderly next door neighbours are in a witches coven have designs on her unborn child…

Our podcast contains the usual nonsense, fluff, poor recall and misunderstandings that are so important to the 101 Films magic. Listen to the very end for a classic bit of Ian not being able to remember the most basic of facts about a film he has just watched.

If our review has piqued your interest in the film, you can buy the Rosemary’s Baby DVD from Amazon by clicking here (and we get a little bit of cash if you do – thanks in advance).

Anyway, without further ado, let us present our feature presentation:

Click here to download and listen on your MP3 player of choice:

101 Films Podcast 083 – Rosemary’s Baby

Click below to subscribe on iTunes, join our RSS feed or follow us on Facebook and Twitter:

We’d love to hear your own film recommendations – please get in touch at 101filmsyoushouldhaveseen@gmail.com or leave a comment on the blog. Feel free to say nice things about us on iTunes!

Director:  Roman Polanski Year of release: 1968 Studio/Distributor: Paramount Pictures Country: USA

GIVE ME MY BLUE BLANKET

the-producers-posterHello, we’re back again.

We’ve been on hiatus since January owing to Ian’s new addition. And by new addition, I mean baby – he hasn’t grown a new limb, or anything. God, that would be horrific. Although it could be a good excuse to do a David Cronenberg movie marathon…

Anyway, things have calmed down enough for us to contemplate squeezing out another podcast for your pleasure and delight. Although as both of us are in the Dad Club now, it’s unlikely that these podcasts will be as regular as they were before. And considering how irregular they were to start with, that means we’ll probably be churning them out roughly as frequently as Harper Lee writes books.

We were both very saddened to hear of the death of Gene Wilder a few weeks back, and at the same time we realised that neither of us had seen The Producers, Wilder’s first big film break after a cameo in Bonnie and Clyde. Just as he stole the show during his brief screen time in the latter film, so he totally dominates The Producers – even against Zero Mostel’s wild performance. Even at this early stage, it was clear Wilder was destined for greatness…

If our review has piqued your interest in the film, you can buy the The Producers DVD from Amazon by clicking here (and we get a little bit of cash if you do – thanks in advance).

Anyway, without further ado, let us present our feature presentation:

Click here to download and listen on your MP3 player of choice:

101 Films Podcast 082 – The Producers

Click below to subscribe on iTunes, join our RSS feed or follow us on Facebook and Twitter:

We’d love to hear your own film recommendations – please get in touch at 101filmsyoushouldhaveseen@gmail.com or leave a comment on the blog. Feel free to say nice things about us on iTunes!

 

Director:  Mel Brooks Year of release: 1967 Studio/Distributor: Crossbow Productions/Springtime Productions/U-M Productions Country: USA

Tobe Hooper: A Retrospective

TheTexasChainSawMassacre-posterAfter reading Stuart Barr’s review of the bonkers 1985 film Lifeforce, a movie with the twin appeals of space vampires and a Patrick Stewart cameo, I decided I had to sample its lunacy for myself. And seeing as Lifeforce is directed by Tobe Hooper, it seemed like a good opportunity to do a movie marathon dedicated to the horror impresario’s back catalogue.

We don’t often cover horror films at 101 Films. Neither Ian nor I are particular fans of the genre, although we both went through a phase of watching horror flicks while at university. Ian maintains that as teenagers we were immune to the horror of watching endless murders owing to belief in our own immortality, but now as rapidly decaying thirtysomethings, the sight of needless killing uncomfortably reminds us of our own fleeting time on Earth. Don’t be fooled by Ian’s braying laughter, the rivers run deep in that one.

PoltergeistposterFor our rare foray into horror, I assembled three of Tobe Hooper’s most famous movies: his impressive 1974 debut, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre; the mega-hit of 1982, Poltergeist; and the mega-flop Lifeforce, which was bankrolled by Cannon Films (remember them?) to the tune of $25 million, but made barely half that at the box office.

It proved surprisingly hard to track down the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre: I easily found the recent remakes, the sequel, the prequel and various documentaries and spin offs, but the 1974 film was hard to come by. A shame really, as it’s a great film, and probably Tobe Hooper’s best movie. Having said that, we were reluctant to watch it again after both seeing it in our uni days – the meat hook scene in particular lingers long in the memory. Having sufficiently girded our loins to put on the DVD, we found the film as brilliant as on first viewing, and as shocking too – time certainly hasn’t dulled its power. Something that can’t be said of Poltergeist.

LifeforceposterIan hadn’t seen Poltergeist before, and he left the film more puzzled than scared. After expecting horror on a par with Texas Chainsaw, he was confused to find a film that was torn between shocks and saccharine suburbia – a legacy of Steven Spielberg’s hand in the movie. The film really is odd, and I’m still not entirely sure what audience it’s aimed at – it seems too tame for horror but too horrific for the mainstream. And it’s ludicrously overblown too, with non-stop cheesy special effects from the beginning – Texas Chainsaw appears subtle by comparison.

I actually found I preferred Lifeforce to Poltergeist. Stuart called the film “a deliriously entertaining bad movie”, which prompted a conversation about whether a film can be so bad it’s good. Well, yes, I reckon, if this movie is anything to go by. It’s nonsensical, and the acting is appalling in places, but its leering insanity and improbability is downright entertaining. We declared it a new Zardoz, which, as you’ll know if you’ve been following our podcast odyssey from the beginning, is high praise indeed.

If our movie marathon has piqued your interest in these films, you can buy The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Poltergeist and Lifeforce on Blu-ray from Amazon by clicking on the links (and we get a little bit of cash if you do – thanks in advance).

Anyway, without further ado, let us present our feature presentation:

Click here to download and listen on your MP3 player of choice:

101 Films Movie Marathon 02 – Tobe Hooper

Click below to subscribe on iTunes, join our RSS feed or follow us on Facebook and Twitter:

We’d love to hear your own film recommendations – please get in touch at 101filmsyoushouldhaveseen@gmail.com or leave a comment on the blog. Feel free to say nice things about us on iTunes!

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre – Director: Tobe Hooper Year of release: 1974 Studio/Distributor: Vortex Country: USA

Poltergeist – Director: Tobe Hooper Year of release: 1982 Studio/Distributor: MGM Country: USA

Lifeforce – Director: Tobe Hooper Year of release: 1985 Studio/Distributor: Cannon Films Country: UK/USA

Gentlemen, I Give You The Future… BEEF!

phantom-of-the-paradiseOne of the best things about doing the podcast is being encouraged to watch films that we (well I) would otherwise never bother with. Case in point; our film this week is Phantom of the Paradise. If listener Zvonimir hadn’t recommended it would Lewis and I really have sat down to watch a 1970s rock opera? Well, we did watch Zardoz, so you never know.

A bizarre mixture of The Phantom of the Opera, Faust and A Picture of Dorian Grey, Phantom tells the story of unlucky Winslow Leach who becomes the titular Phantom after having his music stolen by the all powerful music producer and Ronnie Corbett look-alike Swan.

For the first quarter of the film Lewis and I really didn’t know what to make of Phantom. Was it serious? Was it supposed to be a comedy? What on Earth was going on? It was the introduction of the character Beef, played by Gerrit Graham, where the film started to work for us. He’s ridiculous, over the top, amusing but very watchable, just like Phantom itself.

Lewis and I were taken by the Phantom’s odd charm. It has great performances from William Finley as Leach and Paul Williams as the diabolical Swan and a very catchy soundtrack also from Paul Williams.  Like us, you might find it a little off putting to begin with, but stick with it and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. Beef has to be seen to be believed…

Our Secret Sponsor for this week is Authentic London Tours, a tour company run by friend of the show Jason. If you’re looking for a tour of London that’s a bit different check out Authentic London Tours!

If our review has piqued your interest in the film, you can buy the Blu-ray from Amazon by clicking here. We get a little bit of cash if you do – thanks in advance!

Anyway, without further ado, let us present our feature presentation:

Click here to download and listen on your MP3 player of choice:

101 Films Podcast 072 – Phantom of the Paradise

Click below to subscribe on iTunes, join our RSS feed or follow us on Facebook and Twitter:

We’d love to hear your own film recommendations – please get in touch at 101filmsyoushouldhaveseen@gmail.com or leave a comment on the blog. Feel free to say nice things about us on iTunes!

Director: Brian De Palma  Year of release: 1974  Studio/Distributor: 20th Century Fox  Country: USA

Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn

Gone With The Wind posterIn celebration of Mother’s Day, this week we review Gone With The Wind, which is Ian’s mum’s favourite film. Unfortunately, I didn’t get my act together in time to write this post before Mother’s Day, even though we recorded this several days ago… but on the other hand, in the United States Mother’s Day isn’t until May, so you could argue that we’re actually very very early.

Either way, Happy Mother’s Day, Ian’s mum. And Happy Mother’s Day to my mum too – maybe we’ll do your favourite film next year. Is it still Alien?

So Ian and I actually saw Gone With The Wind for the first time a few months back at the BFI. We both had a hankering to see what the fuss was about when it comes to this most epic of epics, but both of us knew the chance of us actually sitting down to watch a four-hour DVD was next to nil. The only way we’d sit through the whole thing was to book a ticket for the big screen – and even then, we had a pact that we would walk out at half time if we just couldn’t take it any more.

Thankfully, it turned out to be an enjoyable watch – although frankly the first 20 minutes were very ropey indeed. It begins with lots of uncomfortable propaganda about the ‘glory days’ of the Old South, all the time showing images of slaves toiling in cotton fields – clearly the ‘glory days’ label only applied if you were a white plantation owner. Then we’re introduced to a selection of spoilt slave owners who it’s hard to feel anything about except irritation, until finally, FINALLY, Clark Gable arrives on screen and suddenly it gets a whole lot better. The chemistry between Leigh and Gable is fantastic, and it’s more than strong enough to propel the film through its lengthy running time – Vivien Leigh in particular puts in an amazing performance, and really brings out the complex and often conflicting emotions of the character.

So a good film then, but one that is ultimately sullied by its uncomfortable depiction of slavery. The film’s sympathies clearly lie with the slave owners, and the black characters are depicted as stupid, stereotypical or bizarrely content at being slaves. You could argue that it’s ‘of its time’, but it still doesn’t make it easy to watch. Oh, and did I mention the marital rape scene? Yeah… that’s… weird.

Last but not least, our Secret Sponsor for this week is Fopp Byres Road (@FoppByresRoad), the original Fopp store in Glasgow. We’ve a feeling that they might have followed us by accident, thinking that we’re the 101 Films horror movie distributor, but we’ll take all the followers we can get, frankly.

If our review has piqued your interest in the film, you can buy Gone With The Wind from Amazon on DVD or Blu-ray by clicking on the links (and we get a little bit of cash if you do – thanks in advance).

Anyway, without further ado, let us present our feature presentation:

Click here to download and listen on your MP3 player of choice:

101 Films Podcast 071 – Gone With The Wind

Click below to subscribe on iTunes, join our RSS feed or follow us on Facebook and Twitter:

We’d love to hear your own film recommendations – please get in touch at 101filmsyoushouldhaveseen@gmail.com or leave a comment on the blog. Feel free to say nice things about us on iTunes!

Director:  Victor Fleming/George Cukor/Sam Wood Year of release: 1940 Studio/Distributor: MGM/Selznick International Pictures Country: USA

Dallas Buyers Club: 101 Films Extra #05

Dallas_Buyers_Club_posterThis week we have a surprise guest – Jason Andrews steps into Ian’s shoes as we talk about Dallas Buyers Club. Jason is a writer, film buff and author of the blog Tomorrow Can Pay The Rent, as well as being an old friend of mine and Ian’s, and after Jase and I both saw Dallas Buyers Club recently we thought it would be a great idea to do a podcast about it. Thankfully, Jason interrupts me just as much as Ian does, so regular listeners will be hard pressed to spot the transition – although they may note the lack of Ian’s eardrum-bursting yet infectious laughter.

The film itself was an mixed bag for me – I loved Matthew McConaughey’s performance, but like Jason I question whether he really needed to lose so much weight for the part. (Surely all that crash dieting can’t be good for his health?) Jared Leto was excellent in his role, but his character was given far too little to do – he just sort of pootled along in the background, waiting for a reason to be there. And Jennifer Garner’s character seemed to have even less point, ending up as little more than someone for McConaughey to flirt at.

But although the sub-plots were a trifle directionless, the main thrust of the movie was engaging. Based on a true story, Ron Woodruff (McConaughey) is diagnosed with AIDS in 1985 and given 30 days to live, sending him on a freewheeling quest for any kind of treatment.  Woodruff ends up smuggling drugs from abroad that have yet to be approved in the US by THE MAN (here the FDA and big pharma companies), with the overriding insinuation that THE MAN doesn’t care about AIDS victims. Woodruff sets up a ‘buyers club’ where people can obtain his smuggled drugs; similar clubs popped up all over the USA and were often the only place where people with AIDS could get life-saving treatments in the early years of the epidemic.

It’s a fascinating film, and Ron’s journey from a low-life, homophobic hustler to a crusader for justice is a fascinating one. It also taught me a lot about an era of history that I know very little about, but when I looked up the history of AIDS treatments after watching the film, I was surprised to find out how much it bends the truth. I won’t go into it too much here as we talk about the differences extensively in the podcast, but here’s a link to the Washington Post article I mention – http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/12/10/what-dallas-buyers-club-got-wrong-about-the-aids-crisis/ – as well as a similar article in The Guardian – http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/feb/12/dallas-buyers-club-accurate-matthew-mcconaughey. Have a read and make up your own mind.

If our review has piqued your interest in the film, you can buy the Dallas Buyers Club on Blu-ray or DVD from Amazon by clicking on the links (and we get a little bit of cash if you do – thanks in advance).

Anyway, without further ado, let us present our feature presentation:

Click here to download and listen on your MP3 player of choice:

101 Films Extra #05 – Dallas Buyers Club

Click below to subscribe on iTunes, join our RSS feed or follow us on Facebook and Twitter:

We’d love to hear your own film recommendations – please get in touch at 101filmsyoushouldhaveseen@gmail.com or leave a comment on the blog. Feel free to say nice things about us on iTunes!

Director: Jean-Marc Vallée Year of release: 2014 Studio/Distributor: Truth Entertainment/Voltage Pictures Country: USA

Valentine’s Day Special 2014: Truly Madly Deeply

truly_madly_deeplyFor Valentine’s Day last year we listed our ten favourite break-up films, but this year we’re very much back on the romance train with Truly Madly Deeply. I first saw this film when I was a teenager, and it’s stuck with me ever since, remaining one of my all-time favourite movies.

It also remains bizarrely difficult to get hold of in this internet age of instant everything. Considering it stars Alan Rickman and was directed by Anthony Minghella, who also directed The English Patient and The Talented Mr Ripley, and who sadly passed away in 2008, it seems strange that an excellent, star-driven film from such a well-known director is so hard to track down. I originally taped it from the TV, and I practically wore out my VHS copy, but when it came to buying it again on DVD it was surprisingly difficult. A DVD version was briefly released a few years ago but has since been deleted, and now it’s only available secondhand at around £30 a pop.

Having said that, I’m sure you’d be able to find it somewhere on the internet if you look hard enough, and it’s well worth tracking down a copy because it’s a charming yet emotionally weighty film that brings a bit of gravitas to the often lightweight romance genre. The premise is that Nina (Juliet Stevenson) is struggling to get over the death of her boyfriend, Jamie (Alan Rickman), and one of the highlights of the film is near the beginning as she breaks down in a counselling session at the sheer injustice and rage she feels at having him taken away from her. But then one evening he simply comes back… and that’s where it starts to get interesting. How do you continue a relationship with a dead person? Is it as simple as picking up where you left off? And are your memories of the person the same as the reality? As critic Roger Ebert stated in his review, it’s ‘Ghost for grown-ups’.

If you’re looking for a romantic movie to watch this Valentine’s Day, you can’t go wrong with a moustachioed Rickman, I reckon.

Last but not least, our Secret Sponsor for this week is UK Horror Scene (@UKHorrorScene), who amusingly got us mixed up with the horror film distributors @101_Films on Twitter, but were exceedingly lovely when we pointed out the mistake. If horror’s your thing, check out their site at www.ukhorrorscene.com.

If our review has piqued your interest in the film, you can buy the Truly Madly Deeply DVD from Amazon by clicking on the link (and we get a little bit of cash if you do – thanks in advance).

Anyway, without further ado, let us present our feature presentation:

Click here to download and listen on your MP3 player of choice:

101 Films Podcast 070 – Truly, Madly, Deeply

Click below to subscribe on iTunes, join our RSS feed or follow us on Facebook and Twitter:

We’d love to hear your own film recommendations – please get in touch at 101filmsyoushouldhaveseen@gmail.com or leave a comment on the blog. Feel free to say nice things about us on iTunes!

Director: Anthony Minghella Year of release: 1991 Studio/Distributor: BBC/Lionheart Country: UK

I’m a writer, you monsters! I create!

Barton FinkRight. I’ve watched this film. I’ve researched this film. I’ve recorded a podcast about it, and I’m now writing this short blog post, yet every time, EVERY SINGLE TIME I see a picture of John Turturro as the titular Barton Fink I think ‘Is that Egon Spengler from Ghostbusters?’ I can’t help myself. Look at the poster. Its Egon! AAAARGH!

Beyond Egon / Barton confusion though, Lewis and I enjoyed watching Barton Fink, the second Coen Brother’s film we’ve watched for the podcast. A recommendation of Lewis’s, I’d never seen it before and was expecting something, well, a bit like Fargo I guess.

Though clearly a Coen Brothers film, there is something very David Lynch like about Barton Fink. It has an atmosphere that feels ‘off’ in someway, and the ending… I’ve not be so confused yet fascinated since Mulholland Dr.

In particular John Goodman is fantastic as Charlie Meadows, pitching his performance just right; friendly yet something odd in a way you just can’t put your finger on. Anyway, hope you enjoy the podcast.

Our Secret Sponsor for this week made us laugh. It’s Fight Club Rules (@FightRules). Ever wanted to know the full list of rules for Fight Club beyond the famous first two? Now you can.

If our review has piqued your interest in the film, you can buy the Barton Fink from Amazon on DVD or Blu-Ray by clicking on the links (and we get a little bit of cash if you do – thanks in advance).

Anyway, without further ado, let us present our feature presentation:

Click here to download and listen on your MP3 player of choice:

101 Films Podcast 069 – Barton Fink

Click below to subscribe on iTunes, join our RSS feed or follow us on Facebook and Twitter:

We’d love to hear your own film recommendations – please get in touch at 101filmsyoushouldhaveseen@gmail.com or leave a comment on the blog. Feel free to say nice things about us on iTunes!

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen (uncredited) Year of release: 1991 Studio/Distributor: Circle Films/Working Title Films Country: USA

It made more money than James Bond!

British SitcomsNew Year, new exciting 101 Films feature! Lewis and I have come up with yet another 101 Films podcast.

We’re becoming like a crisp/chip company with all our various ‘flavours’. Joining our standard podcast (the Ready Salted, if we’re going to stick with the crisp flavour analogy), our Specials (Salt and Vinegar) and our Extras (Cheese and Onion) is the Movie Marathon (erm… BBQ?).

In the Movie Marathons Lewis and I will watch several films in one go all based around a theme. Our first is on a subject that has popped up surprisingly often on our podcasts – British sitcoms turned into films. After much debate, with so many to pick from (see here for a full list), we decided to work our way through Till Death Do Us Part, On The Buses, Dad’s Army, Are You Being Served? and The Likely Lads.

Now, I’ll be honest dear listener, a couple of these we didn’t make it through as they were so, so poor. But there were also some real gems, as well as a few surprises. Enjoy!

If our Movie Marathon has piqued your interest in these films, you can buy The British Comedy Collection on DVD (all 12 discs of it!) from Amazon by clicking on the link (and we get a little bit of cash if you do – thanks in advance).

Anyway, without further ado, let us present our feature presentation:

Click here to download and listen on your MP3 player of choice:

101 Films Movie Marathon 01 – British Sitcoms

Click below to subscribe on iTunes, join our RSS feed or follow us on Facebook and Twitter:

We’d love to hear your own film recommendations and suggestions for future themes for Movie Marathons. Please get in touch at 101filmsyoushouldhaveseen@gmail.com or leave a comment on the blog. Feel free to say nice things about us on iTunes!

Till Death Do Us Part – Director: Norman Cohen  Year of release: 1969  Studio/Distributor: British Lion Film  Country: UK

On The Buses – Director: Harry Booth  Year of release: 1971  Studio/Distributor: Hammer Film Productions  Country: UK

Dad’s Army Director: Norman Cohen  Year of release: 1971  Studio/Distributor: Norcon Film Productions, Columbia Pictures  Country: UK

Are You Being Served? – Director: Bob Kellet  Year of release: 1977  Studio/Distributor: EMI  Country: UK

The Likely Lads – Director: Michael Tuchner  Year of release: 1976  Studio/Distributor: Anglo-EMI Productions Ltd  Country: UK

Christmas Special 2013: Scrooged Commentary

Scrooged_film_posterFor our third Christmas Special we thought we’d try something a little different. This year, rather than talk about Christmas films past and present, we decided to do a DVD commentary – something we’ve been talking about for ages but haven’t got round to doing until now. And what better film to ‘commentarize’ on than Scrooged?

We’re both huge fans of Bill Murray, and I make a point of watching Scrooged every year – watching old crater-face in action always brings a smile to my face and Christmas cheer to my heart. Actually, speaking of BM’s acne scars, I noticed they were conspicuously absent on the DVD cover – perhaps Paramount thought they might scare the children?

Anyway, I digress. Going back to the podcast, feel free to join in with us by watching the Scrooged DVD along to the podcast (we tell you when to start it),  but you don’t need to be watching the film to listen. To be honest we spend most of the podcast talking about random other stuff anyway. Highlights to look out for include us fawning over Karen Allen, a discussion about whether Bobcat is a popular name in the United States and Ian desperately covering for me as I nip off to the toilet.

Merry Christmas everyone, see you in 2014!

If our review has piqued your interest in the film, you can buy the Scrooged DVD or Blu-ray from Amazon by clicking on the links (and we get a little bit of cash if you do – thanks in advance).

Anyway, without further ado, let us present our feature presentation:

Click here to download and listen on your MP3 player of choice:

101 Films Special 10 – Scrooged Commentary

Click below to subscribe on iTunes, join our RSS feed or follow us on Facebook and Twitter:

We’d love to hear your own film recommendations – please get in touch at 101filmsyoushouldhaveseen@gmail.com or leave a comment on the blog. Feel free to say nice things about us on iTunes!

Director: Richard Donner Year of release: 1988 Studio/Distributor: Paramount Country: USA