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Fantastic Four

May 10, 2017

The Best of Armond White: (A Retrospective) Part Two

So apparently we need to “educate ourselves.” That was what Armond White told us to do after releasing Part One of our Four Part look at some of his reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. First of all, this is all supposed to be tongue-in-cheek. If you’ve listen to The Simplistic Reviews Podcast, you know how good we are at putting our tongues firmly in cheeks, any cheeks if you know what we mean…

And Second, if you think we are doing this to get a rise out of someone, we’re not. You might call bulls*it on that comment, but we are just taking the piss and having a little fun. If people get their feelings hurt, well, that’s all part of the game isn’t it.
Part Two is going to cover some of the films that were universally savaged all over Rotten Tomatoes, yet low and behold, Mr. White found some little rays of sunshine in them.
Dirty Grandpa (2016) 11% RT Score
Armond Say: The fun of sex is the entire point of the raunchy, goofy Dirty Grandpa. You have to be humorless (and sex-averse) to be offended by its deliberate naughtiness as so many critics have demonstrated.
Matt Says: White brings up a good point; sometimes a sex comedy is just a sex comedy. Why should people be upset about Zach Efron topless either?
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) 28% RT Score 
Armond Says: In this age of petty Marvels, most comic-book movies merely perpetrate fantasies of power, but Snyder, enacting his personal aesthetic, braves a film that examines those fantasies. He boldly challenges popular culture’s current decay.

Matt Says: I do agree that the polished and shiny look of Marvel films is wearing thin, even on myself, and the grittier and darker tone of the DCU can be alluring, but Batman v Superman still isn’t all the great.

Your Highness (2011) 27% RT Score 
Armond Says: By trashing fairytale propriety, Green and McBride personalize the genre enthusiasm of the Star Wars generation.

Matt Says:Taking a piss out of films like “The Princess Bride” and other adult-oriented fairy tales films, “Your Highness” isn’t as bad as many people say and you might say it’s unappreciated in our time and will become a cult classic in the next 10 years or so.

The Green Hornet (2011) 43% RT Score 

Armond Says: Rogen’s image and his attitude as co-screenwriter of The Green Hornet updates the bland superhero template using comic irreverence.

Matt Says: White is very forgiving of anything Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen, and anyone from that film family tree. “Green Hornet” isn’t bad, it just so happened to be a film that no one cared about and no one asked for. An ego stroke for Rogen is anything.

Jonah Hex (2010) 12% RT Score 

Armond Says: It reexamines assumptions of good and evil-morality tale vs, trite entertainment-by confronting the hideous compromises people make with social conventions and their own desperation.

Matt Says: I guess there is something to be said about “Jonah Hex;” It’s a film…that was made by a studio and released nationwide based on a comic book character that is about as fringe as it gets.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) 19% RT Score 

Armond Says: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is more proof [Bay] has a great eye for scale and a gift for visceral amazement.

Matt Says: There’s never been any doubt about Michael Bay as a filmmaker. However, people will always blame him for creating robots that couldn’t read and reinforcing stereotypes that are more than meets the eye. Oh, and ruining people’s childhoods as well from what I’ve been told.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007) 37% RT Score 

Armond Says: Of all the summer’s big-budget action sequels, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is the least painful.

Matt Says: A backhanded compliment to say the least. Other big budget flicks from 2007 included: Spider-Man 3, Transformers, Ghost Rider….yeah, good point.

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou 56% RT Score 

Armond Says: It’s part of that American eccentricity to obsess over growing up. Anderson’s obsession has genuine, daffy substance.

Matt Says: A 56% for “The Life Aquatic” is criminal, and I honestly don’t understand the subtle dislike for one of Wes Anderson’s more off-the-wall films.

Stay tuned soon for Part Three where we examine films where Mr. White and RT are on the same page when it comes to the bottom of the cinema barrel.
April 24, 2015

The Simplistic Reviews Podcast (Ep. 46): Late April 2015


You might be asking yourself, “What?! Another Simplistic Reviews Podcast?  You mean these guys are actually getting off of their ass and putting out content for the public to consume?”  Yes, it might sound crazy, but…..uh….yeah….another podcast….from us…..Simplistic Reviews.

As we get closer and closer to our grandest episode so far; Number 50, we look back at our lives and search for meaning, apparently that means we bring up Bill Cosby again, the fact that Iceman is now gay, Donatello is dead, and fantasize about Moira Quirk in that sexy referee outfit…mmmmmm…..

All this, and our newest segment, Simply Say Anything, where we hold a radio over our head and praise the likes of Lena Dunham, Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2, and explain why Quentin Tarantino is actually the worst director in modern cinema.  Have we lost our minds…..maybe….but we’re not telling, and you’ll just have to listen to this month’s SIMPLISTIC REVIEWS PODCAST!!!!  WHY AM I YELLING…IN PRINT?!?!?!

Moira Quirk
Spider-man Shortlist
Tarantino in Sleep With Me
Donny is Dead
Iceman Gay?
Mark Summers’ non-Double Dare accident

My Flows Is Tight By Lord Digga
We Gotta Get Out Of This Place By The Animals
Birds And Brass By Sort Of Soul
In Your Eyes By Peter Gabriel
Nickelodeon GUTS theme
Human Beings By Van Halen

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February 1, 2015

The Simplistic Reviews Podcast (Ep. 37) February 2015


In this Super Bowl Edition of The Simplistic Reviews Podcast, we…um…don’t talk about the Super Bowl.  We do talk to Dan Clark from The Talking In Circles Podcast.  Dan gives us his take on Pratt possibly being cast as Indiana Jones. In exchange for his well thought out analysis the boys force him to share deep dark secrets about himself on a segment we like to call Simply Ashamed.  DJ reveals how he lost his one true love, Matt reveals a hidden musical talent, and all three of them take great pleasure in the absurdity of the film Lean On Me.  All this and more on this Super Bowl/Non Super Bowl Edition of The Simplistic Reviews Podcast

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January 12, 2015

The Simplistic Reviews Podcast (Ep. 36) January 2015


It’s a brand new year and a brand new episode of The Simplistic Reviews Podcast.  This month the boys are not just joined by a Vern…they are joined by The Vern from The As You Watch Podcast and The Vern’s Video Video Vortex.  They pop his Simplistic cherry with a good ol’ game of Kill, F&%k, Marry.  And like all guests, the boys decide to go Inside The Podcaster…yes…it’s as gross as it sounds.  Also…Julie and Vern admit their feeling for each other.  All this and more on this January 2015 edition of The Simplistic Reviews Podcast

Show Notes
Bill Cosby
Deadpool Dead
No Bourne Crossover
Wolverine Dead
Quicksilver & Scarlet Witch No Longer Mutants
Fantastic Four Josh Trank Set Report
Batman v Superman Split

Music Notes
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Theme
G.I. Joe Theme
Thundercats Theme
Birds & Brass By Sort Of Soul
Action In Memphis By Johnny Pearson
My Flows Is Tight By Lord Digga
Inside The Actors Studio Theme Angelo Badalamenti

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December 16, 2014

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – Fantastic Four (1994)

Half Hearted

Our journey thru Marvel’s superhero flops of yester-year is nearly over. I’ve saved the best for last. Or, the worst for last. The most notorious comic based movie to ever be made — the Roger Corman produced “Fantastic Four” film from 1994. All aboard the “Action Movie Time Machine” as we will be crossing thru the Van Allen Belt with our final destination being the Marvel Universe.

The year is 1994. A wonderful thing came in the form of a bra. Jackie O., Kurt Cobain, Nicole Brown and Mufasa all passed away. And Sony released the Playstation.

The film begins with Reed Richards and Victor Von Doom. College students who are working together to build a device…that does, something. With it they are going to be able to…do something… Anyhow, this is only important because “Colossus”, an interstellar anomaly, is passing through the Earth’s Van Allen Belt. As the two men get ready to use their device in time with the arrival of the Colossus, the machine receives a surge of space energy that directly blasts Von Doom, killing him. Or so we think.

By the way, the Van Allen Belt is a layer of charged particles that is held in place around a planet by it’s magnetic field. Ya know that force you feel when you put two repelling magnets together? Well imagine teeny-tiny, nearly invisible particles trapped in that force. If I’m not mistaken, the Aurora Borealis is when some of these particles make their way through the belt and into the Earth’s atmosphere, generating a light show. But how would I know?

Now, ten years later, Reed Richards has become a top notch physicist who is recruiting a group to accompany him on a space launch. The craft, he designed and built himself, but he needs the help of Ben Grimm to pilot the craft, and Sue & Johnny Storm.
The mission is to observe and record information on the Colossus, which is making a return visit. To protect themselves from the same energy blasts that took the life of Doom, Richards has found a way to use a very rare diamond to absorb and deflect the energy. This is some high-tech stuff huh? The problem with that is that a jewel thief, known as the Jeweler, stole it in the night and replaced it with a fake.
Once in space, the four are bombarded with cosmic energy and are blown back to the Earth’s surface. The four have become fantastic. Reed can stretch like a rubber band, Sue can turn invisible, Johnny can wield flame and Ben has slowly turned into a rock monster.
As the Fantastic Four try to understand what has happened, a metal masked madman known as Dr. Doom begins to scheme. He sends his henchmen out to retrieve Reed and the group, disguised as U.S. military. He then has a crack scientist run tests on the four in an attempt to discover the key to their transformation. Once this secret is known, Doom will have the same done to himself and he will become all powerful. Once the fantastic four realize what is happening, they use their newly found powers to escape Doom’s facility.
Doom now moves on to another part of his plan. He pays the Jeweler a little visit and retrieves the stolen diamond that he will use to power a laser called “Cyclops“. Another reference to X-Men. Once operational, Doom will use the laser to level New York. Then he’ll exact his revenge against Reed and his friends. Revenge? Doom feels they are the ones to blame for his accident at the beginning of the film. Why? Who knows. Who cares. But in doing so, Doom will steal the powers of the Fantastic Four.
As a side note, I just have to share a real gem from Doom. He arrives in the Jeweler’s lair and demands the diamond. The Jeweler points a gun at a young woman’s head, telling Doom that if he touches the diamond, the girl dies. To which Doom replies; “…so.”. LOL The Jeweler doesn’t know who he’s messing with.
In classic movie villain style, Doom finds a way to explain his entire plan to the Fantastic Four, as if they wouldn’t try to stop him. Reed and his team fly to Doom’s castle, where Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman and the Thing kick his ass. New York is saved from the laser attack by the Human Torch, who can apparently, fly faster than light. The movie ends with wedding of Sue and Reed. Just like the comic, and just like the 2005 film.
As I have during that past few “Retro Super Hero Flicks”, allow me to do some explaining before I share my thoughts.
“The Fantastic Four” was never meant to be good. It wasn’t even meant to be released. Of course the cast didn’t know that. Marvel had sold the rights of the “Fantastic Four” name and characters to a production company. When this happens, that ownership is temporary. If the film isn’t made, the contract expires and the production company loses access to those properties.
This is what was going to happen, and to prevent it from happening Roger Corman was contacted, “The Fantastic Four” film was given the green light and a measly one million dollar budget was allocated. Sounds like a lot, but in movie terms it’s chump change.
With a “FF” film in the can the production company would then have more time to develop the property into something profitable. Something good.
The story, while simple and honest to the comic, can be a bit confusing at times. Dr. Doom is the king of his own country with all kinds of power and resources, but yet he is hell-bent on seeking revenge for the accident that almost killed him. Which wasn’t even the fault of anyone in Reed’s group. Why Dr. Doom? Why are you doing this? If anything, I could make the argument that his accident has made his life better.
The acting is par for the course for such a low budget film, as are the special effects. Goofy and cheap, but not embarrassing to watch.
My main problem with this film is that it sticks too closely to the original comic book. Sure there are differences here and there, like the motivations of Victor Von Doom that lead up to his “death”. But rather, the tone and visuals of the original comic book are too strong. Watching this is like reading the comic from the ‘60s. Being made and set in the early ’90s just isn’t believable with such a strong ‘60s identity.
Just imagine if Warner Brothers took the ‘60s “Batman” television show and re-made it for the ‘90s… Oh wait, that happened. It was called “Batman & Robin”. “The Fantastic Four” is just like “Batman & Robin” but with a fraction of the budget and no one making the film tried to have fun while they were doing it.
Again, this film wasn’t made to be good. Or even to be seen for that matter. It was simply made to be made and nothing more. So I honestly can’t crap on it too hard. It could have been made even less well and that would have been enough to satisfy the studio.
It’s an interesting oddity in film history that isn’t for everyone. But I feel that it’s a must see for every comic book fan boy. At least once. It’s tough to find in the wild but has been uploaded several times on Youtube. Check it out. It’s funny to see similarities between this and the 2005 film.
I’m Cory Carr and this concludes another trip on the “Action Movie Time Machine”. Until next time, Semper Fi Punk!
For more from Cory, check out his website, where he and his good friend Forest Taylor record weekly podcasts, reviewing the films that are legendary, even in Hell!
December 11, 2014

The Simplistic Reviews Podcast (Ep. 34): December 2014 Holiday Edition


Ho-Ho-Holy Sh%t!   It’s December again and the boys at Simplistic Reviews has a show full of holiday cheer.  They’ve got partridges…pear trees….dreidels…Santa letters/threats…Olaf the snowman from Frozen…black stormtroopers…Kevin Feige: Stand-Up Comedian…megalomaniac Mickey Mouse…holiday movie spoilers…all that and more on the 2014 Holiday Edition of the Simplistic Reviews Podcast.

Show Notes:
Star Wars Trailer
Suicide Squad Casting
Stand-Up Comedian from the 80s Fashion

Music Notes:
Christmas Is All Around Us By Billy Mack
My Flows is Tight By Lord Digga
Christmas Vacation By Mavis Staples
Christmas Time Is Here By The Vince Guaraldi Trio 

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August 4, 2014

The Simplistic Reviews Podcast (Ep. 28): July 2014


As Summer continues, the guys from Simplistic Reviews get a little hot under the collar. This month DJ and Matt rip into Kate Mara for her contempt of comic book films and their fans, while also paying their debts in a new segment where they FINALLY review the 2004 Ice Cube motorcycle classic “Torque.”

The guys also go over what they took away from this year’s San Diego Comic-Con and get their quote on with another addition of Simply Quotable with the stakes even higher this time around.
All this, and so much more, on this month’s edition of the Simplistic Review Podcast.

Show Notes:
Kate Mara on FF4

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