Lord of the Rings

December 4, 2017

(Ep. 94) SR Podcast – December 2017

FOR MATURE AUDIENCES

 On this early holiday addition of the Simplistic Reviews Podcast, the boys discuss all the Hollywood news they missed while on Thanksgiving break during an edition of Can You Dig It. They also review everything from The Punisher to Vice Principals during TV Roundup. They even get to try out some new impressions during the game Simply Quotable…and all this is bookended by Justin’s attempt to cancel a gift basket he bought from Costco…yes really. All that, a new trailer spoof, and some underhanded shots at Matt Lauer on this Season’s Greetings episode of the Simplistic Reviews Podcast.

NOTES
Vince McMahon Buys WCW

June 23, 2015

The Simplistic Reviews 50th Podcast Extravaganza!

FOR (MOSTLY) IMMATURE AUDIENCES

Normal podcasts usually hit their 50th podcast roughly before their first year of existence.  Good podcasts that pump out constant content on a normal basis won’t even make a big deal about their 50th podcast.  Superior podcasts will look at what we’re doing and probably scoff at our sheer ineptitude to barely put out a single podcast every month.  Well, it’s a good thing that we are neither normal, good, and…well…the only time we’ve been called superior is when we show up to our parole hearings on time.  Come to think of it, I better call Justin, I haven’t heard from him in a while.
With that being said, get ready for some “high”-jinks as DJ, Justin, and Matt celebrate in style with the 50th edition of The Simplistic Reviews Podcast.  There will be laughs galore as the guys invite, or some might say “force”, guests from other more well-received podcasts to share in their debauchery.  Guests like JD Duran from the Insession Film Podcast. Barry and Jairo from the homo”neurotic” True Bromance Podcast.  Let’s not forget, damn I forgot his name…oh yeah…The Vern, from the As You Watch Podcast.  Throw in a touch of Tim Costa from The First Time Watchers Podcast, Elwood from The Depths of DVD Hell, and a guest so special and so…well…scary, that even I can’t tell you who it is.
Oh, so you’re not impressed with that guest list?  Well, how about the thrilling conclusion to our months long saga of Julie and her quest to kill the Simplistic Reviews guys?  Yeah, you forgot about that didn’t you?  Well…yeah…now you’re gonna get some closure.
Finally, we talk a trip back in time to the segment that put us on the map; Word Association with Justin, where we ask Justin about things in the news and he gives a monosyllabic answer.
All that, and so much more on this petty way to celebrate mediocrity with The Simplistic Review Podcast’s 50th episode.  Oh, by the way, the show is like 3 hours long, but what else are you going to do, watch the extended cut of “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King?”  Hmmmm, wait, that actually does sound like a good idea.

Show Notes
Insession Film Podcast
As You Watch Podcast
From The Depths of DVD Hell & MBDS Showcase
True Bromance Podcast
First Time Watchers Podcast
Life Vs. Film

Music Notes
Back to the Future Theme By Alan Silvestri
Inside the Actors Studio Theme By Angelo Badalamenti
It’s A Shame By The Spinners
I Dream Of Jeanie Remix
Time By Jungle
Liar Liar By The Castaways
Action In Memphis By Johnny Pearson
Soy Bomb By Honest Bob and the Factory-to-Dealer Incentives 
Cast Your Fate To The Wind By Allen Toussaint
Vince McMahon Theme By Jim Johnston and  Peter Bursuker
Dynasty Theme By Bill Conti
Frankenstein’s Monster By Henry Jackman

 
January 12, 2015

Open Windows

CLOSED

Open Windows – Closed

It’s strange how a trailer can make you want to see a film, but upon seeing said film, you really have to question your judgement. This is exactly how I felt about “Open Windows.” There is an interesting premise, smart camerawork, and a few other things that standout, but I feel like this could have been a made for TV Lifetime or CW movie.

“Windows” is the tale of Jill Goddard, played by Sasha Grey, who is doing a press junket for her latest film “Dark Sky.” In the wings is Nick Chambers, Jill’s biggest fan, played by Elijah Wood. Nick, having won a contest to meet Jill, receives the bad news from her “manager,” Chord, that Jill is going blow him off for a night with her boyfriend. While Nick is heartbroken, Chord convinces him “don’t get mad, get even.” Add in a group of hackers, a case of mistaken identity, a kidnapping, a car chase, and some explosions, and that’s “Windows” in a nutshell.

Where do I start with this movie. I’ll say this, it’s not a bad film per say, but the fact that it’s so frenetic and there are so many things happening at the same time it’s a little confusing and it really distracts from the movie. It almost seems like the director really wanted to show you everything he ever learned about the Internet, hacking, and spying, roll it into a webpage view, add shaky cam, and boom, you have this film.

While the production is messy, I actually liked the acting. Wood is effective as playing the same character he’s been playing since he finished up the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy; the creepy looking man who still happens to look like a 16 year old kid. The other revelation is Sasha Grey, and I’m just not saying that because she is incredibly easy on the eyes, but she can actually act relatively effectively. Her portrayal as pretty much herself, is fun and just campy enough to be entertaining. Did I mention how good looking she is in this film…..

Overall, the premise of “Windows” has potential, but it trips all over itself with its technological thriller premise and editing style. If there is anything to watch it’s Wood’s desire to keep making small independent films that have promise, and of course, Sasha Grey.

Fun Fact: At one of the festivals the movie was screened at, the director, Nacho Vigalondo, said it was OK for the audience to slap him on their way out if they didn’t like the movie.

December 20, 2012

Crap/Happy Holidays: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Experimental

The hub-bub of the holiday season is “The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey.”  Yes, you get to return to Middle-Earth to see all of your favorite Middle-Earth friends, well, some of them, not the ones that you really care about however.  But this time around Middle-Earth looks a little different, of course that all depends on how much you intend on spending at your local cineplex, but more on that later in the review.  I digress, yes, “The Hobbit” is a movie that is nearly a decade in the making and while it does give fans of the books and the previous trilogy what they want, director Peter Jackson is still two movies away from the big payoff, and with his experimental new vision of The Shire and beyond, we are left to wonder if the experiment will change how we view movies in the future.  I hope this isn’t the case.

Onward and upward, let’s get into “The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey” the first of three planned films to tackle the classic J.R.R. Tolkien novel from 1937.  I’m not much of a reader, but I’ve attempted to read “The Hobbit” or “There and Back Again,” and the three “Lord of the Rings” books, I really tried, but I just couldn’t do it.  I would think it would be the same thing if I tried to read any of the “Game of Thrones” novels.  I much prefer something visual and I’ll stick with the Cliffs Notes versions of the books.

“The Hobbit” follows Bilbo Baggins, the uncle of Frodo, our hero in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.  A younger Bilbo is commissioned by Gandalf the Grey and sets out with a company of 13 dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield, who is out for both revenge and to take back his family’s home in The Lonely Mountain.  The only problem is that a deadly dragon, named Smaug, had taken up residence in the mountain.  If you weren’t into the original “Rings” trilogy I don’t expect any new converts to this new “Hobbit” trilogy.  There is a lot of walking, a lot of fantasy-speak, and long dialogues of exposition.  That’s no indictment to the film, I actually enjoyed it quite a bit, but I can see why people have problems with the “Rings” franchise.  Another thing that seasoned Middle-Earthers might find alarming is the lack of fighting.  There are a few scenes where you get to see that dwarves are formidable warriors, but they are mostly running away for their enemies, which include goblins, trolls, and orcs, especially Azog the Defiler (truly a bad-ass name).  The lack of hand-to-hand combat is a bit troubling, but I hope for more swordplay in the coming sequels.

Ashamed to say this, I was actually falling asleep within the first 45 minutes of the film.  It prodded along, many of the jokes fell flat, if they fell at all, and aside from the exposition in the beginning explaining the dwarves’ plight, there was no action to really speak of.  After I got a wake up call, right when Bilbo had decided to make a decision that would change Middle-Earth forever, I was able to finally get into the film. As I journey further into this review I feel like I’m forgetting the elephant, or troll, in the room; both the 3-D and 48 frame per second element of “The Hobbit.”

*A disclaimer:  If you haven’t seen “The Hobbit” yet, and decided to see it in the theater, deciding which version of the film to see in and of itself is an adventure.  There is a standard 2-D version, a 3-D version, a standard 2-D version in 48 fps, and a 3-D version in 48 fpsKnowing is half the battle.  Go Joe!

I’ll start with 3-D; no need for it in this film, or any film in my opinion.  In any type of fantasy film, you have to suspend disbelief, it’s a must if you are going to enjoy anything from the genre.  However, there are points where the 3-D really takes you out of your zone and you realize that the CG is poorly super-imposed over a real backdrop of clouds, valleys, and mountains.  Think anything at Disney World, EPCOT, or the former-MGM Studios park (ironically enough, MGM was one of the distributing companies for “Hobbit”).  I noticed this more near the end when the CG was obvious.

Now, the bigger controversy; 48 frames per second.  How can I describe this method of filmmaking?  I’ll hand it to Peter Jackson, he has balls of New Zealand granite to try this experimental method of filming.  It’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, unless you own a TrueMotion TV at your house.  Tarantino was right, this is truly TV in public.  Benny Hill fans will appreciate some of the scenes where it looks like someone in the projection booth set the fast-forward button to x1.5 and forgot to turn it off.  It’s painfully obvious during scenes with a lot of action where characters are running or fighting.  You are left to wonder, what is the purpose of this technology?  Why do we need TrueMotion in movie theaters now?  We’re all aware that 3-D is a fad, but hopefully this doesn’t become the newest fad to hit our films in the future.

Aside from my gripes, I did enjoy “The Hobbit” once the paced picked up.  While the sword-fighting lacks, the action set-pieces are well done and keep you on the edge of your seat.  There were times during the movie that I had a hard time picking the CG from practical effects, including Azog the Defiler and his pack of roving orcs.  The return of Gollum is great, and is once again brought to stunning life by Andy Serkis.  The game of riddles segment is probably the best scene in “The Hobbit.”  It will take time to get used to the larger “fellowship” this time around, and the lack of a Legolas or Gimley-type character is hard to swallow, but with the sequels in the pipeline I’m sure I’ll gain an appreciation for my new dwarf friends.  Add in the plot line of a necromancer, Bilbo obtaining the One Ring, and Smaug the Dragon, and we have some wonderful adventures ahead of us the next two years.

Fun Fact:  Talk about a flip!  While both Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Necromancer) appear on a collision course in “The Hobbit,” they are quite the contrary in the BBC’s “Sherlock,” where they play Watson and Sherlock Holmes, respectively.

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