Category Archives: Podcast Reviews

The World’s End: 101 Films Extra #02

The-Worlds-EndOur second 101 Films Extra, this time with added Lewis! Being big fans of Spaced, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, Lewis and I were very much looking forward to The World’s End. Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg back together writing and Nick Frost and Simon Pegg back together on screen. This is going to be great!

To be honest though we were also a little bit worried; what if it turns out to be rubbish? It’s the third of a (Cornetto) trilogy, and we all know how disappointing third films can be (*ahem* Alien 3). There’s nothing worse than something you love going off the boil.

So listen, listener, to our podcast to find out what we think (hint: we love it).

If our review has piqued your interest in the film, you can pre-order The World’s End from Amazon on DVD or Blu-ray by clicking 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 #02 – The World’s End

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: Edgar Wright  Year of release: 2013  Studio/Distributor: Relativity Media, Working Title Films, Big Talk Productions, Universal Pictures  Country: UK

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I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t do drugs… I play video games

King_of_kong_posterIt’s glorious summer outside, so being the geeks we are we decided to stay inside and watch a documentary about video games: The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. In actual fact we recorded this podcast several weeks ago, but as we’re hopelessly busy and behind schedule at the moment (see last podcast), I’ve only just got round to editing it (believe it or not, we actually spend quite a while editing these things, mostly in an attempt to quieten Ian’s ear-deafening laugh). Anyway, seeing as we’re so both busy at the moment, we’re planning to post every other Thursday rather than every week for the time being – normal service will be resumed when things quieten down a bit.

So, King of Kong. This is the second feature-length documentary we’ve covered for 101 Films after Dogtown and Z-Boys, but unlike the slightly smug Dogtown, we both rather quite liked King of Kong‘s  oddball tale of two uber-nerds competing for the all-time Donkey Kong high score. It sounds like rather a thin idea for a documentary on paper, but it actually provides rich entertainment, mostly thanks to the bizarre character of Billy Mitchell. Billy seems to have an almost pathological desire to ‘be the best’, and as Ian points out in the podcast, it seems almost incidental that he chose classic video games as the mountain to conquer. As the doc starts he’s the undisputed king of the video game hill, but a small-town rival enters in the form of family man Steve Wiebe… Cue bitter recriminations, suspicious dealings and edge-of-the-seat tension as the two go head to head. Plus a lot of comedy alpha geeks throwing their weight around.

It really is fantastic viewing, even if you don’t know your Jumpman from your Mario. Highly recommended.

Last but not least, our Secret Sponsor for this week is Films Worth Rating (@WorthRating).

If our review has piqued your interest in the film, you can buy the King of Kong 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 062 – The King of Kong

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: Seth Gordon Year of release: 2007 Studio/Distributor: LargeLab Country: USA

You realize of course that we could never be friends

WhenHarryMetSallyPosterOh dear. We’ve been a bit rubbish recently haven’t we? Between the summer, busy jobs, ladies and holidays we haven’t had much time at all for the podcast. Don’t worry listeners, Lewis and I are suitably chastised (we pay someone to do it).

This week (although as this write-up has taken so long it was actually several weeks ago) Lewis and I watched When Harry Met Sally. Somehow I’ve managed to avoid seeing it up till now but, as we discuss in the podcast, I’ve certainly seen lots of things influenced by it.

I was mostly taken by its charm and the chemistry between Meg Ryan (at her most beautiful) and Billy Crystal (looking like he always does, like a middle-aged supermarket manager). Lewis was less convinced, finding the film on his second watch rather melancholy. He’s a sensitive boy in many ways.

Anyway, hope you enjoy!

A first for the podcast this week. Monstrum, a micro-budget horror comedy currently in the middle of filming, gets the much-sought-after Secret Sponsor status. They are the first ever film we’ve made a Secret Sponsor. We’re hoping this means we’ll get invited to the premiere.

If our review has piqued your interest in the film, you can buy the When Harry Met Sally 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 061 – When Harry Met Sally

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: Rob Reiner  Year of release: 1989  Studio/Distributor: Castle Rock Entertainment, Columbia Pictures  Country: USA

I don’t think you have this under control anymore

Diewelle_posterAh, school. Best days of your life. What’s strange is how you find the same sort of people and stories in every school: the ‘cool’ teacher, the misfit kid, the bullies, the couple who acted like they were practically married, the neo-fascistic school project that everyone in your class gets way too involved in, eventually leading to a violent showdown in a hall…

Yes, this week Lewis and I take a look at 2008’s The Wave (or Die Welle in Germany). Recommended by listener Jason Morgan, The Wave is a German film based on a social experiment from 1967. Ron Jones, a teacher in California, created a quasi-fascist group in a school to show how totalitarian beliefs can take root in Western society. The experiment had to be shut down as it proved too successful, with students taking the system much more seriously than Ron predicted.

The Wave transports the premise to modern-day Germany, and follows a group of typical teenagers during the course of the week-long experiment, showing how it changes them and the way they relate to each other and others outside the group.

Lewis and I found the idea of the film fascinating, but found the film as a whole a bit ‘TV movie’. Still, the performances are great and the idea has such power that there’s much to enjoy and find interesting.

Our Secret Sponsor for this week is yet ANOTHER Film Blog/Podcast. We’re fools to ourselves. Still, we recommend you check out Love Your Movies. You can follow them on @thedvdgen or read their blog at loveyourmovies.com.

If our review has piqued your interest in the film, you can buy The Wave 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 060 – The Wave

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: Dennis Gansel  Year of release: 2008  Studio/Distributor: Rat Pack Filmproduktion  Country: Germany

Get three coffins ready…

A_Fistful_of_Dollars_posterI’ve never really been into Westerns. My opinion of them mostly derives from watching Bonanza on a Sunday morning as a kid and wishing fervently that there was something better on TV, like Dungeons and Dragons or Spider-Man. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a full-length Western (Blazing Saddles doesn’t count, despite Ian’s protestations). Therefore, when Ian recommended A Fistful Of Dollars, my expectations were set suitably low.

But goddammit it’s brilliant.

For a start, Clint Eastwood is possibly the coolest man alive. As the trailer enthusiastically says: “Danger fits him like a tight black glove. He is perhaps the most dangerous man who ever lived.” Did you hear that? Like a tight black glove. He doesn’t even wear gloves, but if he did they’d be tight and black and full of danger. And he’d probably kill you for just looking at them.

One of the things that surprised me about the film is just how violent it is. I lost count of how many people died by gunshot or immolation – it really emphasises that life is cheap in the Old West. The other thing that surprised me is the character of the Man With No Name himself. I assumed he’d be a good guy, the kind who rides into town to clean up the bad guys, but in fact, he’s a lot more morally ambiguous than that. He’s really only in it for the money, and he’s happy to play the bad guys off each other in order to make a buck, regardless of the body count. As Ian said, he’s not the good guy, he’s just slightly less bad than the bad guys. Nothing is black and white in this film, which is what makes it interesting – you’re not sure where it will go next.

All in all, it’s a fantastic film, and it comes highly recommended from the both of us. Now I’m off to watch For A Few Dollars More.

Last but not least, our Secret Sponsor for this week is Bobby Joe Warren (@bobbyjwarren). Check out his movie blog at http://bobbyjoesmovieblog.blogspot.co.uk/, particularly his article about ‘The Tingler‘.

If our review has piqued your interest in the film, you can buy the A Fistful of Dollars 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 059 – A Fistful of Dollars

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: Sergio Leone Year of release: 1964 Studio/Distributor: Constantin Film Produktion/Jolly Film/Ocean Films Country: Italy/Spain/Germany

Star Trek Into Darkness: 101 Films Extra #01

StarTrekIntoDarknessWhat’s this? 101 Films ‘Extra’? Something new from 101 Films? Yes, our empire just keeps on growing with another flavour of podcast added to our roster. Our latest innovation? A podcast about a film. Ah.

But it is different, as the 101 Films Extra podcasts will take a look at films or anything else that catches our eye that doesn’t quite belong on one of our Specials or on our holy list of 101 films. The Extras will be stripped down; shorter, no Trivia Quiz and no Secret Sponsor.

For our first Extra we have two exciting differences to our regular run of podcasts. Firstly we’re covering Star Trek Into Darkness, a film still showing at the cinema! Although there’s no official rule against us covering currently showing films in the sacred 101 Films Rule Book, we have until now avoided doing so. Just felt… wrong.

Secondly, with Lewis still away searching for the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland, I’ve drafted in my flatmate Paul as temporary co-host. Flatmate Paul (as he shall be known) is a confirmed Trekker, and I was keen to chat with him about Star Trek Into Darkness to try to get to the bottom of why I was a bit ‘meh’ about it. Flatmate Paul quickly got into the 101 Films spirit, and he was soon rambling and umming and ahhing just like Lew and I always do. Enjoy!

One last thing, the podcast is extremely spoiler heavy, so if you haven’t seen Star Trek Into Darkness yet I would wait until you have before listening to the podcast.

If our review has piqued your interest in the film, you can pre-order the Star Trek Into Darkness Blu-Ray from Amazon by clicking here or pre-order the DVD 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 Extra #01 – Star Trek Into Darkness

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:  J.J. Abrams  Year of release: 2013  Studio/Distributor: Bad Robot Productions; K/O Paper Products; Skydance Productions; Paramount Pictures Country: USA

Naci!

Once_Upon_a_Time_in_AnatoliaI’m not happy with young Master Lewis this week. Apparently he’s ‘too sexy’ (on holiday) to write the review of this week’s podcast, so he’s left the job to muggins here.

Now you know me dear listener/reader, I don’t mind pulling my weight when it comes to the podcast, but unfortunately I found this week’s film, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, a bit… dull. Not fantastic, not terrible, not funny, not scary, not weird, not anything really. Just boring. And that makes it very difficult to write anything interesting about it, hence my blatant padding here! Lewis though loved it, making his absence this week even more galling!

The film follows over the course of one night the investigation of a murder; a man has apparently been killed and buried in the wilderness by his two brothers. A slightly ragtag group of the investigating police officers, the prosecutor, a doctor, some grave diggers and the suspects spend the night driving around the Turkish countryside looking for the victim’s body.

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia though isn’t concerned with the murder, instead its a character piece, taking its time to focus on each of the main characters and their particular point of view.

With some genuinely interesting character moments, some gorgeous shots and an interesting look at present day Turkey the film definitely will appeal to many; as I said Lewis really liked it. For me though the film is strictly 3 stars. [Don’t you mean 5 stars? – Lewis]  It’s just far too slow, clocking in at 2 and a half hours. That’s a long time to invest in a 3 star film. Still, the fact that I disagree with Lewis at least makes a good podcast!

Our Secret Sponsor for this week is Bride of Crapula, yet another blog about films. There’s hundreds of them! At least these guys have got a funny name. You can check out their amusing (though wrong) review of Zardoz at brideofcrapula.com. Follow them on Twitter @brideofcrapula.

If our review has piqued your interest in the film, you can buy the Once Upon a Time in Anatolia 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 58 – Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

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: Nuri Bilge Ceylan  Year of release: 2011  Studio/Distributor: Zeyno Film, Cinema Guild  Country: Turkey

The Cinema Experience: A 101 Films Special

cinemaWe love going to the cinema here at 101 Films, but we don’t love everything about the cinema. Overpriced food, tiny screens, stupid ticket prices, surcharges for watching films in 3D when there’s no 2D version available, people talking during the film, people checking their mobile phones… all of these things were sent to try us.

It’s not like everything was rosy in the old days either. At least now in the era of pre-booked seats there’s no chance of queuing outside the cinema in the rain, only to reach the doors and be told the screen’s full. And Ian has a tale about a certain vermin-infested old movie house that will make your toes curl.

So join us in a one-off 101 Films Special in which we moan about the awfulness of going to the cinema, as well as celebrate its special magic. Although we mostly moan, to be honest.

Speaking of which, I realised I actually got my facts slightly wrong in the podcast – the cinema in Watford is no longer a Warner Village, it’s a Vue, and the 3D film tickets aren’t £14, they’re £12.30 (still expensive though). Interestingly, when I checked on their website I noticed they do “over 18s screenings” of certain movies for a surcharge of £1.05. The site announces: “For films without distraction, this is your choice. No ringtones, chatting or flying popcorn.”

Surely there shouldn’t be “ringtones, chatting or flying popcorn” in ANY screenings – aren’t ushers supposed to stop that kind of thing? But of course they’ve done away with ushers now, essentially giving up on trying to regulate the behaviour of people in the cinema entirely. Instead you now have to pay extra to watch a film without being pelted with popcorn. Tch.

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 09 – The Cinema Experience

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!

Somebody who’s bored is asleep, and somebody who’s asleep will not say no

My Dinner With Andre posterI’d never heard of My Dinner With Andre until a few weeks ago but, in the manner of these things, once I’d heard about it I saw references to it everywhere. Ian first mentioned it to me after seeing an episode of the US comedy Community that parodies the film, and in the same week my co-blogger Sir Gaulian at A Most Agreeable Pastime wrote a post about it. Then I found out the film has been referenced in The Simpsons and Frasier (“My Coffee With Niles“), and Wallace Shawn even reprised his performance (sort of) in the Woody Allen film Melinda and Melinda.

So what is this great film that everyone’s referencing? Well it’s pretty much exactly as the title suggests: Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn have dinner together and talk. And that’s it. The film is bookended by shots of Wallace making his way to and from the restaurant, but otherwise the film is composed of two men talking and masticating. It may not sound terribly exciting – and to be honest it isn’t – but it IS endlessly fascinating.

Andre in particularly has an almost hypnotic way of talking that draws you in and makes you hang on every word. This is helped by the fact that he keeps coming out with some bizarre anecdotes that almost seem to have no form or meaning and head off in completely unexpected directions. “And then” is probably the most used phrase in the film, immediately followed by something deliciously obtuse:

…and then I threw the teddy bear to him, and he gave it suck at his breast, and then the teddy bear was thrown up into the air again, at which there was another explosion of form into…something, something like a kaleidoscope, like a human kaleidoscope…

…and then naked, again blindfolded, I was run through these forests, and we came to a kind of tent made of sheets, with sheets on the ground, and there were all these naked bodies huddling together for warmth against the cold…

…and then, the stretcher was lowered into the grave, and then this wood was put on me, and then my valuables were put on me in my hands…

Fascinatingly, all of these stories are mostly autobiographical, being drawn from Andre’s own travels after ‘dropping out’ of theatre and spending five years cultivating various life experiences. The seventies eh? Crazy times.

Later on these anecdotes evolve into a discussion about the nature of modern life, which is just as fascinating as the weird stories that proceed it. There’s a great bit where Andre rails against electric blankets because they insulate you against all feeling and hence a connection with the world, whereas Wallace, ever the pragmatist, defends his electric blanket by helplessly pointing out that it gets very cold at night in New York.

All in all it’s a great film, and it surprised me just how well a simple conversation can work on screen – all you need is something interesting to say.

Last but not least, our Secret Sponsor for this week is Tim and Pat’s Podcast (@timandpatspod).

If our review has piqued your interest in the film, you can buy the My Dinner With Andre DVD from Amazon by clicking here (and we get a little bit of cash if you do – thanks in advance). Although seeing as the film is now freely available on YouTube thanks to Troma, you may as well just click on the video at the bottom of this post and watch it now!

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 057 – My Dinner With Andre

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: Louis Malle Year of release: 1981 Studio/Distributor: Saga Productions/The Andre Company/Troma Entertainment Country: USA

Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead!

The Wizard of Oz posterAfter Ian’s revelation last week that he’d somehow never seen GoodFellas, this week it’s my turn to admit to an astonishing gap in my film knowledge – I’ve never seen The Wizard of Oz. Well, until very recently, that is.

I’ve seen Return to Oz (starring Peter Duncan of Blue Peter fame as the chubby robot Tick-Tock), I’ve seen the musical Wicked (which is terrible) and I’ve seen countless spoofs and homages along the way (I’m fairly sure there was a Muppet Babies episode about The Wizard of Oz at some point), but somehow I’ve never managed to sit down and watch the classic MGM movie.

One interesting thing I found out when researching this film is that it’s not even the first film version of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It’s not even the second. In fact, despite being released back in 1939, the Judy Garland version of The Wizard is actually the fourth version of the book to be translated to celluloid (OK, nitrate if you’re going to get technical), with versions appearing in 1933, 1925 and way back in 1910. What’s remarkable about all of the film versions is just how different they are from each other: in particular, the 1925 version veers off fantastically into a story about princesses, the Tin Man’s betrayal (played by Oliver Hardy, interestingly enough) and a despotic leader of Oz named Kruel, bearing little resemblance at all to the book.

The 1939 version also played fast and loose with the original story, and a particularly notable addition is the insinuation that Dorothy’s adventures in Oz are just a dream, which is perhaps what the film is now most famous for. Was this the first film to depict its events as a dream? Think of all the terrible TV plot lines this film has ‘inspired’. “And you were there, and you were there…”

Still, I really enjoyed the film, and I still can’t believe it’s taken me until the age of 33 to see it. I reckon I would have enjoyed it much more if I’d been a kid though – although god knows what the 7-year-old me would have made of those creepy Munchkins. Brr.

Last but not least, our Secret Sponsor for this week is @OldGaulian: check out his writing at amostagreeablepastime.wordpress.com.

If our review has piqued your interest in the film, you can buy the Wizard of Oz 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 056 – The Wizard of Oz

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 Year of release: 1939 Studio/Distributor: MGM Country: USA