Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Void Zone Episode 145, or "The Rocka-huh? and other surprising revelations."

*Before you get mad, yes, that is purposefully misquoted.

In this episode, after technical difficulties kept our heroes away, we discover that a new found pairing will disagree on everything: Dakota and Brit. Still, Brit finds things adorable, Dakota proves she really is a girl, and Nick is trying to figure out how he became the good guy.

In addition, they reviewed Dagon, The Rocketeer, and The Longest Ride.

Get the episode at this link or stream it below!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Aliens Review


4 Stars

Greetings Zoners!  I’m pleased to report that I caught a recent showing of Aliens at the Kimo Theatre in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The difference between Ridley Scott’s 1979 film, Alien, and James Cameron’s 1986 follow up, Aliens, has been stated and restated a thousand times.  In case there’s anyone out there who doesn’t know: Alien is a horror movie; Aliens is a war movie.

I have always detected a slight critique of Cameron in the many reviewers who have made this observation.  I have also always felt like that was a bit unfair.

There’s no denying that Cameron dialed up the action, but I don’t think he does it at the expense of other aspects of the film.  I particularly liked the way that he uses revelations about the aliens to highlight growth and changes in Ripley.  When Ripley is awakened, the world around her is calm, but her soul is in turmoil. She awakens each night with terrible nightmares about an alien bursting from her chest. All the men in her life assure her that everything is fine, which only makes her more emotionally reactive – understandably.  Then, they lose contact with the terraforming colony on LV-426. The men around her become concerned, but Ripley is changed by her experience on board the Nostromo. The introduction of a threat galvanizes her. She coolly sips her tea, receives the reinstatement of her commission as a flight officer, and demands assurances that they are going with orders to destroy the aliens – not bring them back for study. Only then does she sign on.

Cameron, inspired by the Viet Nam war, has keyed into something psychologically intriguing. Ripley only seems at home when she’s under threat.  The cycle repeats for the rest of the film. Ripley finds it difficult to relate to the marines, but bonds instantly with Newt – another survivor of the same war. Ripley asserts more authority as the aliens wipe away the space marines resolve and chain of command. The only time we see Ripley get a good night’s sleep is when she is sleeping next door to a couple of face huggers.

Cameron confounds our expectations at every turn. You could write a dissertation on the differences between Ash and Bishop and our relationship with technology in the years between ’79 and ’86. Heck, isn’t it great that the guy who gave us the Terminator’s next robot was Bishop?

There is a difference in quality between Alien and Aliens. Alien is better, more focused, a better psychological text and a stronger meditation on femininity and gender politics.  However, Aliens has stronger action scenes, a more compelling climax, and pays more attention to all its characters, providing us with insights into the likes of Hudson, Hicks, Newt, Bishop, and Ripley.

Aliens is a great movie. It was an excellent experience on the big screen, and it comes highly recommended.

Coming to you for the first time from Out in the Void.


Patty Jenkins, or "Tone Setting for Tone Deaf Studios."

Patty Jenkins helming Wonder Woman after the probably uneventful departure of Michelle MacLaren is welcome news. I say "probably uneventful" because "creative differences" means a lot of things, and usually they are not nefarious. There is nothing wrong with leaving a project because your vision for something doesn't match that of the studio. And neither side is evil because of it. Referring to her departure is, in my mind, knee jerk at best.

Still, the world of the internet and begging for ad-clicks aside, I'm happy to hear this.  However, this makes me hopeful for something else.

Obviously, we all know Snyder will be directing the first Justice League movie and it will be big and in your face and have a ton of the most well known superheroes of all time and explosions will happen.

Maybe, just maybe, since we know Warner Bros. will not reconsider Snyder helming the project (and let's be fair here, Snyder has had some great moments as a filmmaker. He doesn't have the overwhelmingly obnoxious arrogance of someone like Michael Bay) we should ask who should follow him up when directing another Justice League movie.

Well, Patty Jenkins obviously. Patty Jenkins is a good director. And she's someone who knows how to shoot characters well. Monster was a damn good film. And Jenkins give us a wonderful and terrifying portrait of a real life individual.

I think what the DC movies need is something character driven. Marvel rightly leaves the character stuff to their actors and they use the very basic, but very effective tools of simple and formulaic character development to drive their movies toward the action. It works. It's fun.

But DC's brand and their characters are older. And they feel older. While we had a good and fresh take on Batman with the Nolan films, we have had some misfires, as well.

Green Lantern, whatever you might feel about it, felt like it was trying to be a Marvel movie. And I think it's a mistake. We all, as an audience, know these characters. Even where we don't know all of the minutia of their story, we have familiarity with them.

I think it would behoove DC to get away from trying to make a simple blockbuster action movies. Give them a tone that is distinctive from the Marvel movies. Do this by making their characters more complex and allowing the actors AND the directors the chance to explore that character.

A perfect example would be, oddly enough, Daredevil. The balance between the titular Daredevil and Vincent D'Onofrio's Kingpin is amazing and fun to watch and, for cinephiles like myself, a pleasure because you get something rich and rewarding.

Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, et al, have a rich history and they should be handled in a way that allows them to become more than just superheroes from a comic book page. Make them rich, interesting, and give their personalities a chance to get the focus, in addition to the punches they throw.

And having Patty Jenkins helm one of the Justice League movies would do that. It would be refreshing to see a director who cares about character give us a strong film about the characters many of us grew up loving.

No disrespect intended toward Zack Snyder. But visual flair isn't everything.

Brit W.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Void Zone Episode 144, or "Irregardless, That's Hyperbolic Literally-ness."

Dakota does not tolerate stepping outside of the boundaries of the English language, and she will slap you if you do it. Unfortunately, Brit's there and he does what he wants, until he's told no.

Nick witnessed everything and then left, so if you've seen him, please call. His friends miss him.

Somehow, they also managed to review movies. (Also, Nick's not actually lost, please don't call.)

Those movies were Speed Racer, Stand By Me, and Chappie.

Download the episode at this link or stream it below!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Void Zone Episode 143, or "Of Beeped Out Names and Femi-Fascism."

As we welcome our brand new host, Dakota, Nick and Brit are forced to discover new things about themselves, because they didn't do that very thing the first time around.

In addition to the usual banter and complete nonsense are hosts ramble on about, they also got to watch some movies, which were The Brothers Bloom, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, and Focus.

Get the episode here or stream it below!

250 Words A Day Challenge! Day Eleven

Charlotte walked through the living room, into the kitchen of her childhood home, and out the back door. The old back porch creaked under her feet, matched by the screech of the old door hinges, and she rushed off the porch, onto the dirt backyard to her Civic.

She hopped inside the car, trying to push every last memory out, and focused on what she needed to do for the rest of the day. While it was just as scary as the haunting memories of her life, at least the task at hand didn’t petrify her to the point where she couldn’t move.

Charlotte started her Civic, and slowly pulled out of the back driveway, dust kicking into the air, the sounds of rocks beneath her wheels, and she drove through the dirt path that led out of her backyard and behind several other properties that lined her childhood street.

The sloped roofs of the neocolonial houses still indicated the slight rain from earlier in the day. The rain had only lasted about half an hour, but its remains still betrayed its occurrence nevertheless. Charlotte thought back to when she once got a frisbee stuck on a neighbor’s roof, and there it stayed for weeks, because she had been too shy to tell the neighbor what had happened.

The smell of the aforementioned rain was strong and it served as enough of a refreshing diversion from the weighted emotions in her mind that she cracked the driver side window so that the scent could fill the car.

At first, her grip on the wheel was very tight and she was worried that should anything jump out in front of her as she drove, that her inevitable overreaction would cause her to lose control of the vehicle and get herself and likely others killed.

But the smell of the departed rain and the relaxing freedom of being on the move in her car eased her tension a little, and so her grip on the steering wheel loosened.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Void Zone Episode 142, or "All Good Things..."

Join us as we say farewell to our Void Zone compatriot, Steven Johnston, as he moves on to newer things! Sad times, but he'll always be one of us.

We still had to watch movies, however, so we did. With Steven picking the DVD watches, we went ahead and watched Indian Jones and the Last Crusade, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and The DUFF.

Download the show at this link or stream it below!