Criterion Year week 60: The Devil’s Backbone

• January 15th, 2017

The Criterion Collection, the last vestige of truly collectible DVD and Blu-Ray movies in existence. These are well produced, fancy pants editions of important and interesting films for the discerning film lover.

We continue our journey through Jim's collection of movies with...

The Devil's Backbone

Spine Number: 666

Director: Guillermo Del Toro

Genre: Horror

"“If there isn’t a monster on the call sheet, I don’t show up for work.”

-Guillermo Del Toro

There are few directors who have a love of film and filmmaking that is evident in every frame of their work. I'm not talking about care or dedication to the art, I'm talking about the kind of love that most of us lose when we grow up. That unadultered, childlike joy and wonder that adults normally don't hold on to, for whatever reason.

Guillermo Del Toro is one of those directors. His absolute love of what he does permeates every image. His stories, no matter how grounded in real life, all have a fantastical element that you cannot create without giving your heart over to the process.

Even a movie as dead serious, and... let's be honest, as much of a downer as "The Devil's Backbone," could only be made by someone who loves what they do.

TheDevilsBackbone.jpg

The subject matter is a bit... well, it's about a boy coming to an orphanage during the final days of the Spanish Civil War and uncovering disturbing secrets. Oh, and there is a ghost.

This movie isn't so much scary as it is creepy, and creepy is way worse. The way movies use scary these days is just cheap, quick jump scares that have no build up and no follow through that leave you just as quickly as they arrived.

But creepy... creepy builds and gnaws at you. It in the room the entire time. Creepy... that's the way to do it. 

Creepy also takes time. The kind of time you can only dedicate if you love doing it. And, Del Toro LOVES doing it.

This is an absolute stand out of a movie. It's a simple, effective story, that utilizes everything from performance to lighting to setting flawlessly to create an amazing experience.

Check it out with us, won't you?

TheDevilsBackBone2.jpg

Next week,  

 Spine number 691: Thief

 Also, check this out.

The Life Masters is now it's own show with its own site and own dedicated feed. That's right, we have two completely different shows! 

Right now check it out at www.thelifemasters.podbean.com.

You can also drink in our brilliance on Youtube for both The Film Thugs and The Life Masters.

http://fantasymovieleague.com/

Looks like Summer Movie League has officially become Fantasy Movie League.

It looks quite fun. Here's how it works.

You have an 8 screen theater.

Every week you pick movies and have a budget/salary cap you have to stay under.

Then you compete against other theaters in your league.

It's fantasy football for movie people.

Our league is Film Thugs 2015 and the password is Porterhouse.

And remember, you can be a part of the show any time you wild like. How's that? All you have to do is call or e-mail us. If you live in the US, or any place that makes calling the US easy, just dial 512-666-RANT and leave us a voicemail. We will read the Google Voice transcript and play your message. It's both funny AND informative.

If you live outside the US you can call us on Skype at The_Film_Thugs. You can leave a message, or someone might actually answer.

E-mail us at thefilmthugs@gmail.com and we will read/play whatever you send us, or you can e-mail thugquestions@gmail.com to be part of  an upcoming "Ask the Film Thugs" show, where we answer questions on any subject without having heard them first.

Also, we are on twitter @thefilmthugs and on Facebook and Vine.

Also, be sure to check back often for our new endeavor The Life Masters, where we answer questions to other advice columnists.

Thanks for listening, and until next week...

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Criterion Year Week 59: Safety Last

• January 8th, 2017

The Criterion Collection, the last vestige of truly collectible DVD and Blu-Ray movies in existence. These are well produced, fancy pants editions of important and interesting films for the discerning film lover.

We continue our journey through Jim's collection of movies with...

Safety Last

Spine Number: 662

Director: Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor

Genre: Comedy

 

The history of film is littered with iconic images, as one would imagine. I mean, it's an industry of visual artists, so you are bound to get some pictures that stand out. Rocky on the top of the steps, E.T. flying across the moon, Simba being held up to introduce him to the pride, Gene Kelly spinning on a lamppost during a downpour all bring to mind these amazing movies and incredible scenes.

But are there any images that are iconic and recognizable, but that people, by and large, don't know the film that spawned them?

Yes, there are.

This week, we address one such case.

 

SafetyLast.jpg

Harold Lloyd, often referred to as silent comedy's "third genuis," alongside Keaton and Chaplin, made "Safety Last," in 1923 and, even if you don't know the movie, you know the image. Lloyd was unrealistically successful in his day. His movies were immensely popular, and he was insanely rich. How rich? His home, Greenacers, cost two million dollars. In the 20's. Adjusted for inflation, that's over $200,000,000. When he died, the 16 acers it was located on were broken down into 14 large lots for other mansions. That's right, his home had enough land for 16 other massive homes.

Oh, and when he wasn't making movies, he was one of the founders of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. You know, the people who give out the Oscars.

So, while Keaton and Chaplin might be more immediately recognizable, Lloyd holds the title as the most successful. Unless on of those guys started an organization that gives out an award that redefines a person's career, and we just don't know about it.

So, why was he not as well known? Well, because unlike Keaton and Chaplin he was able to maintain ownership of his films. So, while the other two saw their work reproduced over and over again, some lapsing into public domain, the rest just being treated as another property owned by companies that just churn stuff out, Lloyd had complete control over his releases. Ever single one was an official release. So, while the other guys saw their films treated as properties, Lloyd's work was carefully preserved and curated.

Why is that important? Firstly because it allowed for these films to be immacuately maintained. The prints are STUNNING. Second, it made his work more of an insider thing. If you weren't a film fan to begin with, you were probably completely unaware of his work.

This brings us to Safety Last. Honestly, this is one of the funniest and most thrilling movies ever made. It's a simple story about a boy trying to impress a girl, but man... the gags and stunts are so outstanding that it elevates the entire thing to a different level.

So, check out this classic piece of American cinema, then sit back and listen to us. Honestly, it's a great way to spend your day.

 

SafetyLast2.jpg

Next week,  

 Spine number 666: The Devil's Backbone

 Also, check this out.

The Life Masters is now it's own show with its own site and own dedicated feed. That's right, we have two completely different shows! 

Right now check it out at www.thelifemasters.podbean.com.

You can also drink in our brilliance on Youtube for both The Film Thugs and The Life Masters.

http://fantasymovieleague.com/

Looks like Summer Movie League has officially become Fantasy Movie League.

It looks quite fun. Here's how it works.

You have an 8 screen theater.

Every week you pick movies and have a budget/salary cap you have to stay under.

Then you compete against other theaters in your league.

It's fantasy football for movie people.

Our league is Film Thugs 2015 and the password is Porterhouse.

And remember, you can be a part of the show any time you wild like. How's that? All you have to do is call or e-mail us. If you live in the US, or any place that makes calling the US easy, just dial 512-666-RANT and leave us a voicemail. We will read the Google Voice transcript and play your message. It's both funny AND informative.

If you live outside the US you can call us on Skype at The_Film_Thugs. You can leave a message, or someone might actually answer.

E-mail us at thefilmthugs@gmail.com and we will read/play whatever you send us, or you can e-mail thugquestions@gmail.com to be part of  an upcoming "Ask the Film Thugs" show, where we answer questions on any subject without having heard them first.

Also, we are on twitter @thefilmthugs and on Facebook and Vine.

Also, be sure to check back often for our new endeavor The Life Masters, where we answer questions to other advice columnists.

Thanks for listening, and until next week...

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Criterion Year Week 58: Anatomy Of A Murder

• January 1st, 2017

The Criterion Collection, the last vestige of truly collectible DVD and Blu-Ray movies in existence. These are well produced, fancy pants editions of important and interesting films for the discerning film lover.

We continue our journey through Jim's collection of movies with...

Anatomy Of A Murder

Spine Number: 600

Director: Otto Preminger

Genre: Drama

Courtrooms are inherently dramatic. There are stakes, someone will win, someone will lose... you don't have to add anything to the environment to make it dramatic. Sometimes movies will dress thigns up and try to force some sort of spectacle onto the story, but you really don't need it.

This point is driven home masterfully in Otto Preminger's "Anatomy of A Murder." A young Army officer admits to killing a man. There are witnesses. Open and shut, right? Well... 

Not really.

Anatomy1.jpg

Brilliantly acted, expertly directed, and beautifuly written, Anatomy of A Murder is one of the finest examples of courtroom drama ever filmed.

 

But there is more. We also talk about how this type of film is becoming scarcer and how the current business model of the flm industry is killing the film industry.

 

Anatomy2.jpg

 

Next week,  

 Spine number 662: Safety Last

 Also, check this out.

The Life Masters is now it's own show with its own site and own dedicated feed. That's right, we have two completely different shows! 

Right now check it out at www.thelifemasters.podbean.com.

You can also drink in our brilliance on Youtube for both The Film Thugs and The Life Masters.

http://fantasymovieleague.com/

Looks like Summer Movie League has officially become Fantasy Movie League.

It looks quite fun. Here's how it works.

You have an 8 screen theater.

Every week you pick movies and have a budget/salary cap you have to stay under.

Then you compete against other theaters in your league.

It's fantasy football for movie people.

Our league is Film Thugs 2015 and the password is Porterhouse.

And remember, you can be a part of the show any time you wild like. How's that? All you have to do is call or e-mail us. If you live in the US, or any place that makes calling the US easy, just dial 512-666-RANT and leave us a voicemail. We will read the Google Voice transcript and play your message. It's both funny AND informative.

If you live outside the US you can call us on Skype at The_Film_Thugs. You can leave a message, or someone might actually answer.

E-mail us at thefilmthugs@gmail.com and we will read/play whatever you send us, or you can e-mail thugquestions@gmail.com to be part of  an upcoming "Ask the Film Thugs" show, where we answer questions on any subject without having heard them first.

Also, we are on twitter @thefilmthugs and on Facebook and Vine.

Also, be sure to check back often for our new endeavor The Life Masters, where we answer questions to other advice columnists.

Thanks for listening, and until next week...

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Christmas Special- Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas

• December 22nd, 2016

We are taking a break from our Criterion Year to take a look at an... interesting Christmas film.

SavingChristmas.png

 

Let's not split hairs here... this is one of the worst films ever made. Honestly, this thinkg barely qualifies as a movie. Yes, it is moving image and sound, and there is a story after a fashion. But more than anything, this is an unparallelled display of unchecked ego. Kirk Cameron, one of the biggest figures in the evangelical Christian scene, and one of the smallest figures in the critical thought scene, presents a poorly written, poorly acted, and just all around mess of a "movie."

 

So, in the spirit of the season, we do one of our progressive commentaries. We watch a little, talk a little, then watch a little more. If you haven't seen this, you should do yourself a favor and bask in the illogical condescention and absolute denegration of faith that is "Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas." Take a deep dive into the shallow end.

 

 

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Criterion Year Week 57: The Wages of Fear

• December 4th, 2016

The Criterion Collection, the last vestige of truly collectible DVD and Blu-Ray movies in existence. These are well produced, fancy pants editions of important and interesting films for the discerning film lover.

We continue our journey through Jim's collection of movies with...

The Wages of Fear

Spine Number: 36

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot

Genre: Drama

 

Movies need to set and manipulate a certain mood in order to be effective. It is hard to do. Tension is one of the most difficult to really maintain. There are things that people can do that add tension in obvious ways, but those tend to leave you flat once they're done. Jump scares and "here comes the bad guy" music can only go so far.

With that in mind... damn! "The Wages of Fear," is tense as hell. Clouzot delivers one of the most incredible instances of building and maintaining tension throught. Its a simple story with complex detail. A group of people trapped in a remote part of Venezuela without the means to get home are offerd the opprotunity to make an incredible amount of money. All they have to do is transport two literal truckloads of nitro glycerine across an unpaved, remote and desolate road. 

That set up alone... damn!

WagesOfFear.jpg

This film is incredible. I mean... it takes an hour before they are even in the trucks! It's important that you see what life is in this small outpost. You understand the desperate circumstances that force people to do such... just insane things.

This was remade by William Friedkin in the 70's with the baffling title, "Sorcerer," which is actually a pretty damned good film. I recommend both very highly.

So, relax if you can and enjoy our thought after watching "The Wages of Fear."

WagesOfFear2.jpg

 

Next week,  

 Spine number 600: Anatomy of a Murder

 Also, check this out.

The Life Masters is now it's own show with its own site and own dedicated feed. That's right, we have two completely different shows! 

Right now check it out at www.thelifemasters.podbean.com.

You can also drink in our brilliance on Youtube for both The Film Thugs and The Life Masters.

http://fantasymovieleague.com/

Looks like Summer Movie League has officially become Fantasy Movie League.

It looks quite fun. Here's how it works.

You have an 8 screen theater.

Every week you pick movies and have a budget/salary cap you have to stay under.

Then you compete against other theaters in your league.

It's fantasy football for movie people.

Our league is Film Thugs 2015 and the password is Porterhouse.

And remember, you can be a part of the show any time you wild like. How's that? All you have to do is call or e-mail us. If you live in the US, or any place that makes calling the US easy, just dial 512-666-RANT and leave us a voicemail. We will read the Google Voice transcript and play your message. It's both funny AND informative.

If you live outside the US you can call us on Skype at The_Film_Thugs. You can leave a message, or someone might actually answer.

E-mail us at thefilmthugs@gmail.com and we will read/play whatever you send us, or you can e-mail thugquestions@gmail.com to be part of  an upcoming "Ask the Film Thugs" show, where we answer questions on any subject without having heard them first.

Also, we are on twitter @thefilmthugs and on Facebook and Vine.

Also, be sure to check back often for our new endeavor The Life Masters, where we answer questions to other advice columnists.

Thanks for listening, and until next week...

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