Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Void Zone Episode 126, or "The Gang's Back Together... and Mellow."

Nick is back, and Steven and Brit welcome him by being mellow. Well, Steven anyway. Brit is as loud as ever, so there's that.

Also, they reviewed Paradise Alley, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.

Get it here or stream the podcast below!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Void Zone Episode 125, or "Can I say wet dreams on the radio?"

In this episode, Nick sits out and Melanie takes his place. There, she laments the destruction of her childhood, while Steven and Brit somehow find themselves talking about politics.

They also reviewed some movies, and those movies were The Way Way Back, The Expendables 3, and The Giver.

Get this episode right here or stream it below! Your choice, because we love choices here.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Void Zone Episode 124, or "Be Safe, Have Fun, Watch flaburgenshtin. What?"

Brit and Nick are on their own as Steven travels to the mighty land of Boston (we think.) The guys talk about very little, given the lack of movie news, and instead whine about Michael Bay. Again. Because they hadn't done it enough.

Also, they watched Stir Crazy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), and Guardians of the Galaxy.

Get the episode here or stream it below!

PSA: In light of recent and tragic news, we hear at the Void Zone encourage anyone who have contemplated taking their own life or who knows someone with those thoughts, to please seek help. There's nothing worse in this world than to lose loved ones. For the well-being of not only your self but also those you might leave behind, don't be afraid to seek someone's aid.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Void Zone Episode 123, or "The Apes Go On Vacation!"

In this exciting episode, the guys discuss CGI, on the nose political messages, and actors that really annoy them.

They also review Reservoir Dogs, Punch Drunk Love, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Get it here! Or stream the episode below!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy

4 stars out of 5

By: Steven Johnston

Guardians of the Galaxy is the tenth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it is unique among them because it is entirely of its own making. It features no characters previously depicted in any of the Marvel films unless you count Benicio del Toro’s bizarre “the Collector” or an even more bizarre character not seen on film since the 1980s who makes two brief appearances alongside the Collector.

Guardians tells the story of a rag tag band of not very super people brought together to prevent Ronan (Lee Pace), a villainous Kree fanatic, from destroying the planet Xandar using an infinity stone which is sought by the aforementioned Collector, Yondu the Ravager (Michael Rooker), Thanos (Josh Brolin), and finally the Nova Corp., personified by Academy Award Nominees Glen Close and John C. Rielly. P.S. That’s only the supporting cast.

The complex plot is chock full of characters, twists, turns, betrayals, surrenders, false surrenders and scams. It’s a wonder, and a testament to writer-director James Gunn, that the Guardians never leave their audience behind. Along the way, Guardians does a great job of building a crazy space-opera neon pop fantasy populated with unlikely locations, hideous beasts, beautiful alien temptresses, and arcane weapons – all of which Peter Quill aka Starlord (Chris Pratt) seems to be enjoying as much as the rest of us.

Quill, the only human, finds himself the de facto leader of the Guardians. He’s assisted by Gamora (Zoe Saldana), the efficient warrior woman/adopted daughter of Thanos, Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), a raccoon that has been genetically and cybernetically altered, Groot (Vin Diesel), Rocket’s best friend and talking tree, and Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), a super strong, highly literal brute with a score to settle against Ronan and Thanos. They’re brought together when Quill steals the infinity stone which quickly gets them all thrown in jail where they squabble until they learn the value of teamwork and bust out in hopes of saving the galaxy.

Of course, the fact that the fate of the galaxy rests in the hands of these – well, Gamora herself describes them as, “The biggest idiots in the galaxy” - is to everyone in that galaxy’s great misfortune. Their loss is our gain, because we get to see a fast talking, quick paced, action-adventure space opera full of fine actors going with gusto into material that could have easily creaked to a halt under the weight of its own exposition. They joke, fight, drink, curse, dance, and groove on the best soundtrack any Marvel film has ever bestowed on us.

I especially appreciated Guardians for its tone. Any movie that features its heroes yawning and scratching their special areas on the slow motion walk to destiny, breaking out of prison to the strains of the Pina Colada song, and a character declaring, without irony, that their heroics make them all just like Kevin Bacon is a can’t miss in my book. We’re supposed to have fun at the movies – a lesson too often forgotten lately - and director James Gunn and his star Chris Pratt understand this.

If there’s a complaint to be made about the film, it’s that Guardians closes on a climax that seems a repeat of the climaxes of both Captain America films, Thor: The Dark World, and The Avengers. But, much like the exposition that gets succinctly disposed with, this complaint hardly matters. What does matter is the interesting CGI world, cheeky dialogue, funny little character moments, and the soundtrack (Awesome Mix Vol. 1). If there’s evidence that Marvel has perfected its house style and taught the audience how to watch their movies, it’s the fact that they’ve made a movie featuring characters you’ve never heard of protecting a planet you don’t live on, and it’s every bit as compelling as the previously seen Earthbound adventures featuring Marvel’s A-List properties.

Go see it. This is the movie we’ve all been waiting for, a mashup of the Avengers and the Bad News Bears which, if we’re lucky, is only a hint of the shape of things to come.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Snowpiercer Review

Snowpiercer 3.5

By: Steven Johnston

Bong Joon-Ho’s first English Language film, Snowpiercer, wasn’t reviewed by The Void Zone this year, but it wasn’t too long ago that we reviewed his 2006 Korean film, The Host, and recommended it. That, combined with the fact that Snowpiercer has made so many critics’ best lists already, I felt compelled to seek it out.

Snowpiercer depicts a post-apocalyptic world where a last ditch attempt to reverse the effects of global warming has led to a new Ice Age, and all surviving life on Earth has boarded a train which travels all the known railroads of Earth at great speed. This train was invented by the enigmatic, Social Darwinism spouting, billionaire industrialist known as Wilford (Ed Harris). He lives at the head of the train, and tends the engine. The rich passengers live lavishly at the front of the train, and the very poor live at the back of the train in poverty and squalor, and where many of the oldest passengers are amputees. No matter what your station, the powers that be, personified by Tilda Swinton’s Mason, use the cult of personality surrounding Wilford and the religious belief in the power of his engine to make sure that everyone stays in their place. After all, a shoe will never be fit to be a hat.

Enter Chris Evans’ Curtis who, along with his young assistant Edgar (Jaimie Bell), and his aged amputee mentor (John Hurt), embarks on a revolution to spring a security expert (Song Kang-ho) from the jail car, and fight their way to the front of the train to instill a new order.

Curtis has been described in other sources as a reluctant revolutionary. I disagree. Evans plays Curtis as a man of action, easily sliding into the role of the leader, but afraid of how far he might go. As he and his companions fight their way through the different cars of the train, and the level of violence and sacrifice increases, he reveals levels of regret, fear, and guilt which only become clear in the movie’s final act. It’s a 180 degree turn (within the action genre) from Evans’ Captain America role, where he plays a melancholy and sure-footed relic of a bygone era. It’s a great performance. In fact, the performances, staging, set and art direction, and cinematography are impeccable, but they are all in service of a by the numbers dystopian action thriller that lacks punch.

The characters are constantly moving from left to right along the length of the train. The plot of the movie doesn’t require the characters to actually solve any mysteries, uncover any truths, or even do anything more interesting than race to the front of the train, hacking and slashing their way forward until whatever of their number is left confronts Ed Harris who congratulates them on their grit and spunk, and spouts dialogue that wasn’t original when the Emperor was spouting it at the end of Return of the Jedi thirty years ago (again, this is not a problem with Harris, but the lines he’s given).

It’s a good movie, far better than average, but for me, it lacked the emotional resonance of other actioners this year like Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, or X-Men: Days of Future Past. It should also be noted that those movies all turn on the protagonists’ decisions to eschew violence or vengeance, whereas Snowpiercer’s characters can only solve their problems by punching, hacking, shooting, or exploding their enemies. In a summer that has seen so many heroes question whether simply pummeling one more person will solve their problems, it’s ironic that so many critics have embraced as one of the best movies of the year, a film that argues for beating down your enemies – even if the ultimate product is worthy of a recommendation.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Void Zone Episode 122, or "Nick suggested a title. I just did this instead."

Apparently, a week was not enough to get over how bad Transformers 4 was. So, they still bitch about it. They also reviewed other (and better) movies.

Those movies were Errors of the Human Body, Romancing the Stone, and Earth to Echo.

Get it here or stream the show below!