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Which 10 Films Would You Showcase on Your Bookshelf?

January 15, 2017

I own a lot of movies.  It all started with Columbia House and their VHS tape subscription and it grew into a massive DVD and Blu-ray collection. I take great pride in my movie collection and I’ve started whittling it down so I can have an uber collection that I can proudly show off. Recently, I started wondering which films I would showcase if I only had room for 10 on my living room bookshelf. I could still keep all my movies but I could only showoff 10. The following films are all eclectic and don’t even follow my own personal favorites. Here are my top five in case you were wondering.

  1. Jaws
  2. Dr. Strangelove
  3. The Royal Tenenbaums
  4. Hot Fuzz
  5. Once

The followings aren’t my favorite all time films. Basically, I looked at my collection and these films spoke to me. There is no rhyme or reason to my selections but this list just feels right. It could all change next week, but for now here are the 10 films I would showcase on my bookshelf.

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Sidenote: I realize Band of Brothers is a televised miniseries. However, it is awesome. Watch it now.

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1. The New World – Criterion Blu-ray

What I love about the Criterion edition of The New World is that is features three versions of the film (Awesome!). I was the only person in the theater when I watched it and it might be the most immersive experience I’ve ever had watching a film. I was 100% immersed in the experience and it opened up my world to the glory of Terrence Malick. The New World is in my top five of this century (Bloody Sunday, The Royal Tenenbaums, Take Shelter, The Act of Killing) and I don’t think there is a more engrossing and beautiful journey you could watch.

 

2. Deep Blue Sea – DVD (first one I ever bought!)

I was working in a movie theater when Deep Blue Sea was released and I used to go into the theater to listen to the crowds go insane. People lost their mind during the final battle with the shark and I’m pretty sure LL COOL J engages in the greatest kitchen fight ever. Deep Blue Sea is a beautiful mess that never fails to surprise, excite and prove that monologues are dangerous.  Deep Blue Sea is dumb perfected and I love every second of it. Also, it is the first DVD I ever bought and cost like $29 in 2000.

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3. Unbreakable – DVD 

Unbreakable is my favorite superhero film and it just keeps getting better and better with age. We are in a golden age of superhero films and I still don’t think any of them are as good as Unbreakable.  What I love about Unbreakable is how it is an original piece of work that creates a wonderful new world. Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis are perfection and I love how they were totally committed to creating memorable characters. M. Night Shyamalan created a world with actual stakes and I’m still terrified by the orange man who broke into the house and attacked the family.

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4. The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou- Criterion Blu-ray

The Royal Tenenbaums is my favorite Wes Anderson film but I’ve watched The Life Aquatic the most. I was a senior in college when I got the DVD (now Criterion) and I watched it several times a week and showed everyone I knew. . I own the soundtrack, I have pretentious Life Aquatic art on my wall, and I own a Bill Murray coloring book so I could color in Steve Zissou.  Also, Seu Jorge’s covers of David Bowie are epic.

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5. Kingdom of Heaven: Director’s Cut – DVD

Kingdom of Heaven came and went out of the theater with a little bit of fanfare. However, since the director’s cut was released it has been an underground favorite (weird for a mainstream movie) that has been steadily building a cult audience. I think the director’s cut is Oscar worthy and it should’ve been released in theaters. What I love most about it is how HUGE everything is. The battle scenes are truly epic and the scale of everything is still mind boggling. Ridley Scott directed a masterpiece that got hacked apart and was eventually put back together. Watch the Director’s Cut now!

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6. Big Trouble in Little China – Blu-ray

Jack Burton is my favorite action hero on the planet and Big Trouble in Little China is one of my favorite films. I love how unselfish Kurt Russell was and his work with John Carpenter has given us some bona fide classics like They Live, Escape From New York and Big Trouble in Little China. The reason Big Trouble in Little China works so well because it is a pure experience that is genuinely weird and features a hero who is actually a bumbling blowhard who gets lucky. Watch this elevator scene, it is glorious.

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7. Calvary – Blu-ray

Calvary is an original and moving piece of art. It is a quadruple threat of directing, writing, acting and cinematography. You won’t find many films that are this mature or darkly funny. It tackles religion in a mature manner and in no way makes it all simple. It goes deep into the grey and comes out warranting serious discussion. Director John Michael-McDonagh (The Guard – watch it now!) is awesome and I love how he manages to walk a tightrope of intelligent insanity. Also, Brendan Gleeson’s beard is glorious.

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8. 13 Assassins – Blu-ray

13 Assassins is the best action film of this decade and the final battle is a glorious melee of blood, guts and more blood. I love that the bad guy is truly despicable and you can’t wait for him to meet a terrible end. Tikashi Miike is madman director and 13 Assassins might be his most accessible work. If you are looking for a beautiful action film that brings the goods look no further. More people need to watch 13 Assassins because the heroes are brilliant.

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9. Band of Brothers – DVD

Band of Brothers might be the greatest thing ever put on screen (hyperbole….maybe not). I’ve watched it at least 10 times all the way through and I keep finding out more awesome things about it (Michael Fassbender has a bigger role than I remembered). I would watch it all again tomorrow and  enjoy every second of it. I also have a hard time getting rid of it because the old HBO box sets used to cost a fortune.

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10. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Extended Cut – DVD (The one that looks like a book)

Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema have made a lot of money off of me. I bought the initial DVD releases,  extended editions and the Blu-rays. I hate that I’ve fallen prey to multiple editions but I would do it all again. I love my extended edition DVDs of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the movies never get old. I picked The Fellowship of the Ring because it is the best of the series and features the greatest action scenes of the trilogy (viva la Boromir!). Also, it proves that there is no simple way to walk into Mordor.

The MFF Podcast #87: Defending Maligned Movie Scenes

January 15, 2017

Hello all. Mark here.

MFF

You can download the pod on Itunes or LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

The MFF podcast is back and we are defending movie moments that have become punchlines. To be fair, they mostly had it coming, but I find all the dogpiling criticism to be too easy. Thus, we here at MFF have taken it upon ourselves to make a case for maligned movie moments. In this episode we try to make a case for the rave in The Matrix: Reloaded and attempt to defend Mark Wahlberg’s interaction with the old lady in The Happening. It is a tough task but somebody has to make case for Tobey Maguire’s dancing in Spider-Man 3.

Spiderman 3 Toby dancing gif

Peter Parker + evil space goo = A jerky dork who has some sweet dance moves.

As always we answer random listener questions and talk about Val Kilmer  playing Batman and looking into mirrors. It is a random 90-minutes that will change your perception of maligned movie moments and make you realize that the walk into Mordor was anything but simple.

You can download the pod on Itunes or LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

 

MFF Favorites: February 2nd Should Be 2 Fast 2 Furious Day

January 14, 2017

 

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I am a massive fan of the Fast & Furious franchise. It started off as a Point Break ripoff that was better than it had any right to be and  has evolved into a globetrotting billion dollar franchise that has no regard for gravity, continuity or actual runway length. I’ve written ad nauseum (and recorded a podcast)about the series because since 2001 it has found a way to evolve and become an international juggernaut despite its uneven critical reception and lack of superheroes. It has survived hurdles, untimely deaths, chaos amongst the cast and has created its own form of blockbuster.  .

After watching the trailer for The Fate of The Furious I began to miss the simple pleasures of the earlier installments. Don’t get me wrong, I’m stoked that Charlize Theron will be looking at a lot of computer monitors and everybody forgets that Jason Statham killed Sung Kang (We miss you Han Seoul-Oh) However, gone are the days of deadly truckers, simple missions and Tyrese stealing cigar cutters from swarthy drug dealers. Now we have tanks, submarines, Oscar winners and a whole lot of bloat. The expanded scope doesn’t mean I won’t be there on opening night.  It means that the characters have taken a backseat to action set pieces and tacky subplots (that are still awesome).

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There are submarines now……

My favorite film of the franchise is 2 Fast 2 Furious. I know  I am in the minority of people who believe this movie could even place in the top three. It isn’t the hipster (Tokyo Drift), obvious (Fast Five) or off the wall pick (Fast & Furious). I’m not saying it is the best film of the franchise because Fast Five obviously deserves the acclaim. It is my favorite because it is the underdog second film that gave the world the Brian O’Conner/Roman Pearce friendship and introduced Ludacris’ Tej character. 2 Fast 2 Furious focuses on car culture and the type of “family” that Dominic Toretto could only dream of. I love how everything feels lived in and instead of talking about “family” it shows us fantastic examples of brotherhood and friendship. For instance, I love how Roman is introduced to the world. He is on house arrest and uses his driving skills to win demolition derbies in some backwoods area. When Brian approaches him in an effort to recruit him for an undercover mission they engage in a pretty great fight where they exchange some seemingly dumb dialogue (You still fight like shit!) that actually does a solid job establishing a history between them.

2-fast-2-furious-fight

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After the fight Roman and Brian team up and go undercover to battle a low rent villain and outrun like 3,000 cop cars. They don’t drive through skyscrapers or surf free falling cars. They defeat two meatheads in a drag race, watch a rat try to eat through a dude’s belly and the most exciting thing they do is crash their car into a boat. 2 Fast 2 Furious doesn’t need showstopping stunts or careening bank vaults to be entertaining. Why? It takes the idea of “car culture” and creates a really neat world in which street racers have each others back and aren’t angry when they have to jump bridges unexpectedly.

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I love the opening race.

There is a common misconception that 2 Fast 2 Furious was a lazy cash grab that looked to expand upon its predecessor success. There is nothing lazy about 2 Fast 2 Furious because it does exactly what a sequel should do. It expands upon a world, introduces new characters and adds new wrinkles to the game. On the surface, I totally understand why people scoff at it because it is very “bro” centered and nobody talks about living their life a quarter mile at a time. However, without 2 Fast 2 Furious carrying the torch the world might not have the current incarnation of the Fast world.

 

I think it is too easy to ignore 2 Fast 2 Furious because it didn’t feature Vin Diesel chewing scenery and engaging in Godzilla-esque fights with The Rock. It annoys me that after the success of the first film, Vin Diesel walked away and chose to star in a movie called A Man Apart (avoiding his fast family). I am a fan of Diesel and support all of his dorky forays in witch hunting and mumbling in space. However, he left the series (which to his credit he regrets), made some films that didn’t hit big and retreated back to the fast world. I can’t take any of Vin’s talk about family in the new films seriously because he is the one who walked away and came back. His ego has taken over and people forgot that 2 Fast 2 Furious and Tokyo Drift kept the series going and introduced fan favorite characters who are still getting big laughs.

If you are still rolling your eyes at my wild 2F2F appreciation I have the greatest movie critic ever backing me up. Roger Ebert had this to say about the movie:

2 Fast 2 Furious” is a video game crossed with a buddy movie, a bad cop-good cop movie, a Miami druglord movie, a chase movie and a comedy. It doesn’t have a brain in its head, but it’s made with skill and style and, boy, is it fast and furious.

What sets 2 Fast 2 Furious apart is how scales down the stakes and focuses on friendship and car culture. I still think Tyrese’s Roman character is the best of the series. In The Fast & The Furious we are introduced to a bunch of familiar characters who followed similar roles from every film ever. Roman is a breath of fresh air because he is a badass bruiser who is also insecure, kinda goofy and always hungry. Tyrsese worked with director John Singleton on Baby Boy and their chemistry carried over to 2F2F. He is a dude who has Brian’s back 100% and unwillingly gets himself involved in some crazy events. He fails his way to the top, gets caught stealing trivial items and doesn’t get the girl. There is no ego to the role and it feels fresh and relaxed alongside Paul Walker’s equally relaxed persona. You can tell they were great friends and hit it off on set because the two are a lot of fun together. Watch the film again and you will see that Walker and Tyrese have solid chemistry.

brian and rome

2 Fast 2 Furious It is pure popcorn fun that kept the series relevant and brought in future crew members who do nothing but steal the show. Also, the ending dialogue might be the greatest lines ever spoken on film.

Brian O’Connor: Pockets ain’t empty, cuz.

Roman Pearce: And we ain’t hungry no more either, brah.

 

 

The MFF Podcast #86: Rogue One, Two Capes and Three Death Stars

January 13, 2017

Hello all. Mark here.

MFF

You can download the pod on Itunes or LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

The MFF Podcast is back and we are talking about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story! Join us as we dive headlong into the film and ponder why lie detectors in the Star Wars world are so damn terrifying. In this spoiler-filled episode we tackle several important issues:

  1. Are lava castles hard to build?
  2. Can you fall 50-feet and be perfectly fine?
  3. Is Ben Medelsohn the best sleazeball in the industry?
  4. Can you lease a Hammer Head spaceship?
  5. Where can I buy a cool  intergalactic cape?

ben-mendelsohn-cape-rogue-one

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As always we answer random listener questions and talk about the amazing cheekbones of the Erso family. It is a random 90-minutes that will excite, thrill and make you want to go on an ill-fated mission to defeat bad guys who build space stations the size of a moon.

You can download the pod on Itunes or LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

The MFF Podcast #85: The 2016 Cinematic Random Awards!

January 11, 2017

Hello all. Mark here.

MFF

You can download the pod on Itunes or LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

The MFF podcast is back and we are handing out 2016 random awards! We here at MFF believe in keeping it random, and our totally earnest commitment to awarding cinematic sweaters and seagulls has allowed us to create the greatest awards podcast ever (hello hyperbole). As always (like our past installments), the awards focus on random categories like “best sock” and “best breathing in a movie about not breathing.” We’ve managed to avoid the trappings of popular awards and the results will excite, confuse and make you go out and buy a flannel sweater. I guarantee you will love every second of this podcast that celebrates things that will never be celebrated.

MIDNIGHT SPECIAL

The best jean jacket of 2016!

As always we answer random listener questions and talk about the whiteboard in Arrival. It is a random 90-minutes that will open your eyes to the glory of non-important awards and make you reconsider what awards can be.

You can download the pod on Itunes or LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

The MFF Podcast #84: Sci-Fi Past & Present, The Arrival (1996) and Arrival (2016)

December 30, 2016

MFF

Download the pod on iTunes,  PodBean, or LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO.
If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

arrival the_arrival_movie_poster

Summary: In our first installment of Sci-Fi Past & Present (Episode 81), we discussed two positively bonkers epic-scale sci-fi films: The Fifth Element (1997) and Jupiter Ascending (2015).  This week we reflect on the occasionally wacky yet straight-faced The Arrival (1996), and the serenely intellectual and humanized experience of Arrival (2016). It is a rollicking 90-minutes that focuses on Charlie Sheen’s flat top, some great scissor lift cameos and a very useful whiteboard!

arrival-whiteboard

 

As always we answer the tough questions in this podcast!  For example…

“Was weaponized global warming really as subtle as those aliens thought?”

“How was that astronomer’s hair always so perfectly manicured?”

“Why do I love seeing Latin Charlie Sheen and Latin Ron Silver so much?”

 

We really hope you enjoy the pod and embrace a lot of arrivals! If you like the random answers to the random questions make sure to send in your own random questions that we can randomly answer.

 

LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO,
or head over PodBean or  iTunes, and if you get a chance please SUBSCRIBE, REVIEW, RATE and SHARE the pod!

The 10 Best 2016 Films That You Can Stream on Netflix or Amazon Prime

December 29, 2016

Hello all. Mark here.

The universe is currently being flooded by “best of” lists that feature a plethora of great movies. You’ve decided to watch the majority of them, but you have no idea how you can watch Moonlight, The Handmaiden and Everybody Wants Some!! on the same day. If you hunted down all these films and scoured the local cinemas you’d end up spending a lot of money and covering many miles to watch them. So, I’ve decided to search through the streaming sites and put together a list of fantastic 2016 films that can watch and potentially add to your “best of” list.

sing-street-band

Watch Sing Street like you stole it….Check out the movie and you will understand.

Here are the 10 best 2016 films that you can currently stream (In no particular order).

Sing Street – Netflix

Sing Street is pure bliss. Director John Carney (Once, Begin Again) has created another fantastic musical yarn that will put a smile on your face. If you are into good music, likable characters and more good music it doesn’t get any better than Sing Street.

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Love & Friendship – Amazon Prime 

Love & Friendship is a breath of fresh costume drama/comedy air. Jane Austen’s unpublished novella is in perfect hands with director Whit Stillman and the two seem beautifully suited for each other. Kate Beckinsale is a delight, and I hope she is remembered come awards time. She is perfection in the film and it bums me out that she had been stuck in the Underworld world so long.

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The Lobster – Amazon Prime

The Lobster is weird, violent and hilarious. It might be one the best comedies released in years and I really hope that Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz are remembered come awards time. If you are into movies that use toasters as evil punishment devices you will love every second of The Lobster.

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Green Room – Amazon Prime

Green Room is the best thriller of 2016  and it proves that director Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin) is an amazing director. I’ve watched Green Room three times now and it just keeps getting better and better.  It is a layered and brutal thriller that is heavy on character and ugly violence.

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The Wailing – Netflix

The Wailing is horror perfected. It is an immersive experience that hurts the soul and proves horror movies can be great films. Director Na Hong-jin has made an absolute classic that will be a staple of the genre for years to come. You need to watch The Wailing because it is the best horror film of 2016 and you probably already have Netflix so it will be free. Also, watching it at home gives you the luxury of being able to pause it when things get too intense.

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Captain America: Civil War – Netflix

Captain America: Civil War is a perfect popcorn film that features fun fights, giant Ants and the best villainous moment of 2016 (no spoilers). If you are looking for a massive blockbuster that delivers the goods you need to watch it. Also, if you are into powerful beings who wear fitted sweaters you will love Civil War. 

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Zootopia – Netflix

Zootopia took over the world with massive box office numbers and near universal praise. I love how it successfully built a new world, introduced a lot of new characters (Flash the Sloth!) and features an intriguing mystery. Zootopia is an absolute delight that proves we are in an animated renaissance.

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The Witch – Amazon Prime

The Witch is the rare horror film that has been discussed come awards time. It is genuinely good (think the 1970s horror heyday) and features an authenticity rarely seen in horror.  It is crazy tense and filled with imagery you will never forget (think baby goo). I loved how memorable and original The Witch is, and I think the fresh setting and insane moments will eventually become iconic. It is a tough watch but if you like layered horror you should check out The Witch.

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Into the Inferno – Netflix

Werner Herzog + Volcanoes = Awesome. If you are into documentaries and lava you will love Into the Inferno. I’ve always said that Herzog is my spirit animal and I love every second of his sage narration and bonkers worldviews. Watch Into the Inferno, then check out all of his other documentaries because they are awesome. Watch the trailer!

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Hush – Netflix

You need to watch Hush. It is a fantastic cat-and-mouse thriller that features great performances from John Gallagher Jr. and Kate Siegel. What I love about Hush is how it creates a terrifying new killer that isn’t explained away via expository dialogue. It you are into mirco-budgeted horror films that hit above their weight you will really enjoy Hush and all its awesomeness.

 

Honorable mentions!

  1. Morris From America – Amazon Prime
  2. Elvis & Nixon – Amazon Prime
  3. Jungle Book – Netflix
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