The Vlog - S3.7: Story Time #3 - Rachel's Version.

Here's episode S3.7.

OK, I know this is an episode a handful of people have been looking forward to (for multiple reasons). This particular Story Time also gives character background information that has been alluded to since Season 2. Well... at least one person's version of the events. It also connects into the previous Story Time (Kai) a bit. I consider this episode Part 1 of my "Soap Opera"/"The Room" Story Times (Part 2 comes in 2 weeks), since they very much have that feel in melodrama, music, and dialogue. Otherwise, that's about all I have for you... so just enjoy!


The Demented Podcast #20 - Battle Royale 2.

Here it is, ladies and gentlemen. It's episode 20, so you know what that means! It's time for the second Battle Royale of The Tower. The Top 5 scorers from the previous 9 episodes are going head-to-head. And here they are:

1. Kai (142)
2. Jason (126)
3. Dylan (125)
4. Jess (123)
5. Rachel (114)
(And The Rest)
6. Nick (104)
7. Simon (92)
8. Sebastian (84)
9. Nolahn (INCOMPLETE)
10. Keith (INCOMPLETE)

Does Jess make it past the first round this time? Does Jason flub at 20 Questions as he fears? Do Dylan and Kai face off, man to man? Is Rachel's middle name really "Default"? And how much does karma actually affect how this game works? Find answers to these and more (...maybe...) by listening in!

You can listen to this episode on the player below or by subscribing through iTunes.

That being said, enjoy! Thanks goes out to Kevin MacLeod's Incompetech website for great, royalty-free music. And thanks to Google for helping me find a website that will give me free video game audio samples.



I've read reviews all over the map for this film. Some people thought it was the best Pre-Avengers film. Some thought the worst. Most are, like the inside of a tauntaun, relatively Luke-warm (thanks, Kai!). But where do I fall in? We meet Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), a scrawny lad from Brooklyn who simply wants to join the Army and do his duty for his country, like his best friend Bucky (Sebastian Shaw). But when Dr. Erskine (Stanley Tucci) chooses him for a top secret project, he meets Colonel Philips (Tommy Lee Jones), Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), and Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper). He becomes a super soldier, but also learns he's not the only one. There was a Nazi named Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving), whose procedure didn't go as planned, and now he's looking to walk the Earth as a god, forming his own faction, and working with another scientist named Dr. Zola (Toby Jones) to build the weapons necessary for his takeover. He runs Hydra now under the moniker Red Skull.

This has been compared to Thor quite a bit seeing they are the last two Pre-Avengers films and they came out pretty close to each other. This is what I'll say about the two: There's a pretty strong connection between them, as the McGuffin of this film is taken straight from the mythology of Thor. However, if I were to compare the entertainment value of both... I'd say Thor wins.

Captain America's worst problem can be summed up in one word: boring. The character himself isn't all that interesting. He's kinda like if Superman were human... except Superman seems more human. Steve Rogers is almost too perfect, and despite Red Skull's claims that he does have weaknesses, you don't see them. He's super fast, super strong, has a great body and personality, can heal at super speeds. He can't even worry about drinking and driving as he can't get drunk (though some may see this as a fault--that's really the only one played up in the film). He even takes (SPOILERS) waking up 70 years in the future relatively well.

And then there's the film itself. If you're to formulate the superhero origin story films, I'd say they're typically 20 minutes 'beginnings', 20 minutes 'origin', and about an hour in full costume and what have you. This movie is about an hour and 45 minutes, and it's not until about the last 30 that he even gets his official costume and shield. And they spend way too long in the "joke" costume, which was funny at first but did get old after a while. They even go into the first major action set piece in this costume. Imagine if Spider-Man had first faced off against the Green Goblin in his wrestling uniform. So yeah, there's definitely a pacing and/or story issue. I think I looked at my watch at least 3-4 times throughout the film.

Otherwise... it's actually not as bad as I've made it sound. The acting is good. Chris Evans does quite well with what he's given. If I were to say any actor stole the show, it would be Hugo Weaving, but honestly not until you see him entirely as Red Skull, which isn't until the second half of the movie. The makeup and whatnot looks good, and he actually seems more menacing like this than with his actual face.

The action was probably the best thing about the movie. While none of it was particularly OMG WOW, it kept my attention. The train sequence was, I think, the best full action scene in the film, though the short zero-gravity fight near the end was really cool (despite its Inception-esque feel). They also did a good job making the shield come back to him more naturally as if it bounced rather than acted like a full-on boomerang (returning weapons--another Thor connection!). Though I'm not hugely knowledgable on Captain America lore... isn't his shield supposed to be made of adamantium, not "vibranium" or whatever. Or did I get that wrong?

Anyway, I just wish the movie didn't take itself so seriously. There are maybe less than 5 jokes in the whole movie (or at least good jokes), but the rest is so serious in an uber-patriotic way that part of you is waiting for Spider-Man to land in front of Captain America posing in the wind. And the actual cheesy section (with the joke costume) goes on too long for it to stay humorous. I don't think it's the worst of the Pre-Avengers films, but it's not the best, either. I'd say it's somewhere in the middle. I guess you could fit me in with the other tauntaun's.

Stop Saying OK! OK.

(P.S. I also wanted to add that this film looks very nice, as well. The cinematography is pretty dang good, so that's another plus.)

(P.P.S. I almost forgot! I think they destroyed a bit of continuity with the other Pre-Avengers flicks. Isn't there a hidden shot of Captain America's shield under the ice in one of the movies (I think Incredible Hulk)? That takes away from what actually happens according to this film.)


60/60 Review #38: North By Northwest.

And I didn't think it could get better than Rear Window. Eagle Eye--I mean, North by Northwest tells us the story of Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant), an advertising executive who gets mistaken for an undercover CIA agent by Philip Vandamm (James Mason), a foreign spy. Roger is thrust into a series of events that eventually makes him a very wanted individual by the authorities, so he has to stay on the run. He eventually meets up with Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint), a young woman who seems to want to help. But nothing is as it seems, and Roger faces twists and turns trying to figure out just what is going on and how he can get out of it.

Whereas almost every other Hitchcock film I've seen this month has had a long build-up to the suspense, this one hits you about 6 minutes into the movie. It really takes only the required time to set up the lead character before shoving him into this mess. And from that point on, it never slows down or holds back. While the movie is over 2 hours long, I didn't think there were any major pacing problems. I did wonder a couple times where the film was going to go now that it seemed it was almost over ("There's still an hour left? It feels like we're almost to the climax!" "There's still 30 minutes left? Aren't we at the climax?"). I guess in a sense this could be seen as a good thing, considering the entire last half of the movie felt like one long climax/suspense scene that just kept throwing more twists at you just when you thought you were almost there.

I thought the writing in Rope was top notch, but this one takes the cake. While the story at times feels almost too complex (I actually got lost a couple times), the characters are just so great that it keeps you involved. Cary Grant plays such a smart-ass, which is a refreshing change of pace. He wasn't over-dramatic or anything like that. It's like he took everything going on with a grain of salt and reacted. Then we have Eva Marie Saint, who plays such a fine Femme Fatale that I could never keep a handle on whether she was a good guy or not.

I think what I enjoyed most about this film is that while there is a lot of suspense, it has a ton of humor. And I don't mean just dark humor like Hitchcock has given in previous films I've watched--but sarcasm and witty dialogue. And boy was I surprised at the amount of sex talk allusions in this film, particularly the scenes on the train. For 1959, this was probably pretty dang close to scandalous the lengths Hitchcock went with it. There's a whole discussion full of innuendo about them going back to have sex all night, despite the fact they just met.

The music was also pretty good. It had a much more modern feel. Older films tend to have a grander sound to their soundtracks, sometimes overwhelming the scenes. I'm not a music or soundtrack aficionado, so I can't tell you what it was... it just feels like this particular soundtrack was at a turning point in film.

And I kind of had that feeling about the film as a whole. Of all the Hitchcock films I've watched this month, this one felt the most 'modern', I suppose. The only thing about it that felt old school was the kissing scenes. Besides that, it didn't really feel dated at all. Now, almost every month, there's generally at least 1 movie I watch that I'm tempted to go out and buy after viewing it (but I never do). There have been 3 this month (this, Rear Window, and Rope), but for the first time I'm considering going and actually buying this film. I could definitely see myself getting in the mood for this one and just popping it in for the fun of it.

That being said, this nudges out Rear Window as my favorite Hitchcock, despite its sometimes confusing plot (I'll need to rewatch it to catch a few things). And this actually means a lot considering this is the one I was most looking forward to watching, so my expectations were already pretty high (and that typically doesn't end well when that happens during this project). Instead of just rambling on, I guess I'll leave it at that, since I honestly don't have anything profound to say--oh, except that I started picking up on the number 13 in this film. I don't know if it was on purpose, but all the numbers (room numbers and whatnot) given in this film seem to add up to 13. And I caught the Hitchcock cameo for the second time this month. Anyway... that's it.

Rating System.
Royale With Cheese

(P.S. That's it for Hitchcock Month! I'll be honest, I was a little disappointed overall. I had such high expectations for this month, and about half the films kinda fell short for me. But the good ones were really good. And it was a good month overall. Anyway, next week we're moving on to the longest month on this entire project (the only month to have 10 films including extras), Crime Month Part 1--since there are 2 back-to-back months full of crime films. This first month deals more with heists and cops/robbers... so it should be a fun one! See you then.)


60/60 Extra: Strangers On A Train.

I think I've reached that time of the month where I'm just kinda bored with the theme and am ready for something new and different. Though I'm not saying this was bad, either. Let's just get into it. Bruno (Robert Walker) seems like a nice enough guy at first, but you slowly realize he's quite the psychotic socialite when he begins chatting up pro tennis player Guy (Farley Granger). He has the crazy idea to commit the perfect murder: In order to avoid getting caught with motive, swap murders with a complete stranger. Guy blows this off at first until Bruno kills Guy's wife, Miriam (Kasey Rogers), so that he can be with his true love, Anne (Ruth Roman). Now Bruno waits, expecting Guy to knock off his father, and when that doesn't come... he starts getting a bit too obsessive.

It's funny that the next Hitchcock film I have planned to watch after seeing Horrible Bosses is Strangers on a Train. (If you haven't seen the former yet, it takes some inspiration from and even references the latter on multiple occasions.) Anyway, thankfully that didn't detract too much from seeing the film, since the overall story is much different. Still, though... I found it hard to stay focused at times.

I think a lot of that had to do with the pacing. The whole movie seems to go from interesting moment to completely dull moment way too often. It's more prevalent in the first hour, I feel. But after the damn near perfect pacing of Rear Window, this one seemed more of a let down. The build up is strange as it almost takes too long but then ends abruptly on the first kill. I totally wasn't expecting it right then (despite the fact he literally stalks her out in the open like an idiot for 10+ minutes of the film). I will say, though, that Miriam's death scene is hands down one of the best shot murder scenes I've ever seen on film. The reflection through her glasses is totally surreal and fantastic, and it's easily the best part of the entire movie.

Besides that, the best part comes from Robert Walker in the last 30-40 minutes of the movie. You know he's a bit crazy before this point, but it's here when you really start feeling uncomfortable suspense, like he can do anything whenever he wants to. There are some fantastic moments of suspense, including a part where Guy is leaving Bruno's house very slowly, since there's a bit of danger involved. I knew there was still 20 minutes left, but I honestly had no idea whether or not Guy would die--that wouldn't have surprised me with Hitchcock at all.

Overall, it was a good film with some problems here and there. I think it could have been a bit tighter, personally (but what do I know?). The symbolism of the tennis match juxtaposed against the lighter bit didn't hit me right away, but even after I got it, I felt maybe the editing could have been slightly different. By the time we reached the relatively cool climax on the merry-go-round, I had nearly lost interest in the film. Again, that's not to say it's a bad film... I just think it was a mix of things in the timing of my viewing (and I don't mean due to Horrible Bosses). I'll probably like it more in the future, but I'll just leave it as is for now.

I Am McLovin!

(P.S. For the first time this month, I actually saw Hitchcock's cameo--though to be fair, it's probably been the most blatant of the bunch.)


Musical Monday: Chicago - Mr. Cellophane (#23).

[Every Monday, I'm going to be counting down my 52 favorite musical numbers from musical movies and TV shows. I might not like the full movie/show, but the number makes the list for various reasons: 1) I have to like the song, 2) the visual of how the number is performed is most likely unique or fun, 3) both song and visual mixes well to create an exciting or powerful number. So let's get to the next on the list.]

Probably one of the more depressing songs on this list, but it always jumped out at me as a very strong song, even when I first saw this film in theater. But John C. Reilly (really, what happened to this guy's career?) nails this number. It's nothing fancy to look at, but it does have one amazing silhouette shot near the end--I believe it's used in the trailer, as well. But anyway, here's Chicago's Mr. Cellophane.


The Vlog - S3.6: The Next Level.

Here's episode S3.6.

I'll be honest--I've put so much of this season on the Story Time episodes that I've worried that the regular episodes would suffer because of that. Thankfully, I think this week I've made a pretty solid non-Story Time episode for y'all. There's no real setup that you need for this one outside of knowing who Wrinkles is and that he's working with Rachel on some dastardly plan. Oh, and it assumes you've seen the previous episode in which Dylan impersonates Kai (and if you haven't, why the heck not? It's brilliant! Go see it. Now!).

So enjoy! This marks the halfway point in the season, as well. Only 6 more episodes left! Otherwise, let me know what y'all think of this one in the comments.



I never do this, but it's been almost a week since I've seen both (and I tend to write reviews the day I see a film) and I couldn't write a full review on either if I tried--and I'm really not in the mood to try, so there's that. On top of that, both films are thematically linked: both involve unlikable characters in a profession they really shouldn't be in... and then have the movie titled about said issue. That being said, here are a couple short reviews on these films.


First up we have a film about 3 guys: Nick (Jason Bateman), Dale (Charlie Day), and Kurt (Jason Sudeikis). Nick has been working his butt off for a promotion, but his boss (Kevin Spacey) gives it to himself instead, then treats Nick like crap about it. Dale is recently engaged and wants nothing more than to be a good husband and family man; unfortunately, his boss (Jennifer Aniston) is a little nympho and tries at every turn to seduce Dale and ruin his life. Then there's Kurt, who actually likes his boss (Donald Sutherland)--until the coke-snorting son (Colin Farrell) takes it over and threatens to run the business into the ground. Together, the three men run with the idea to kill each other's bosses, getting advice on how to do so from an ex-con named Motherfucker Jones (Jamie Foxx).

Not only is this movie pretty dang funny, but it has some heart to it. The relationship between the three friends is very solid, and you believe their connection to each other. While everyone is very good at what they're given, the movie truly belongs to Charlie Day, Jamie Foxx, and Kevin Spacey. Strangely, Day's boss (Aniston) seems the most out of place in the grand scheme of things, as if merely put in as an afterthought--but she's still damn funny. And Day is very easy to relate to as your everyman who just wants to have a nice, normal life. Kevin Spacey is menacing and diabolical, and he's totally a guy you love to hate. Then there's Jamie Foxx, who seems to be having a blast with his small but memorable role.

Overall, it was a really fun film that was maybe hyped up ever so slightly by the time I had seen it, but still really good and entertaining. My biggest qualm was that, to me, it moved from its second act into its third act almost undetectably. The conflict and everything bounced back and forth so much, I didn't realize we had reached the climax of the film until it was already over. I was left feeling like there should have been more to it, like the film had barely just gotten started by the time it was ending. Otherwise, I'd definitely recommend it.

A Keanu 'Whoa'


Then we have this film. Elizabeth Halsey (Cameron Diaz) works the bare minimum as a middle school teacher just long enough to make it to her wedding with a very rich man. Unfortunately, he breaks it off with her, forcing her back into another year. She figures that in order to get a man with some money, she needs a boob job. Lucky for her, a rich heir, Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake), begins subbing at the school. Despite her attempts to woo him, he falls for the chipper do-gooder teacher, Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch). She also keeps fending off advances by the gym teacher, Russell (Jason Segel). But when she hears about a way to make some quick cash--getting the best scores on the state test--Elizabeth will do anything to get it.

It was definitely interesting and somewhat entertaining to see Cameron Diaz play such a despicable character. However, I personally found her to be the most unfunny part of the movie. I felt everyone around her--particularly Jason Segel--to be much better and much more entertaining and fun. Segel steals the show with a character that has both wit and heart, and part of me would have preferred to follow a movie based on the life of this middle school gym teacher instead. Unlisted in my opening paragraph was Lynn Davies, who plays a fellow teacher and is always riding along with Diaz and whatever she's doing. Davies was the next best part, playing a character with no self-esteem, but clearly wanting to burst out of her shell. But then there's Justin Timberlake, who is somewhat wasted with this role. He plays the ultimate naive dork to the point he nearly loses his innate charm. Lucy Punch has her moments, but her character is a bit over-the-top (in her first 5 minutes, she actually reminded me of a teacher I know... but then goes overboard the rest of the film).

I definitely don't think it's nearly as bad as a lot of people are making it out to be. But that could also be because I went in with such supremely low expectations. I didn't really laugh all that much. Maybe a chuckle here or there. If you're a fan of Jason Segel, he doesn't disappoint and would probably be the primary reason to see the film. Like I said, the movie isn't God awful, but it does miss its mark. Comedies, by definition, should be funny... and this one plays to the lowest common denominator of jokes. It has some decent ones, but overall doesn't work.

Feed Me, Seymour!


60/60 Review #37: Rear Window.

Let's get this out of the way at the start: Yes, I knew the film Disturbia was a remake of this film... I just didn't know how much. I thought it just took the basic concept, but no. There is a ton of stuff that film takes from this. But did basically knowing the movie beforehand through its remake affect the viewing of this film?

For those that don't know, the film tells the story of L.B. Jeffries (James Stewart), a photographer stuck in a wheelchair due to a broken leg. He has one week left in the cast and contends with a spunky nurse named Stella (Thelma Ritter) and his nearly perfect model girlfriend, Lisa (Grace Kelly). To pass the time, he spies on all his neighbors. One day, however, he starts believing that one of the men, a man named Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr) might have murdered his own wife and is trying to get rid of the evidence. Even bringing in an old detective friend, Thomas Doyle (Wendell Corey), he has a hard time convincing anyone that his suspicions are true.

This is probably one of the most perfectly paced films I've ever seen. The first 30 minutes or so set up all the characters, including the ones he spies on. It sets up the relationships and how everything will inevitably evolve throughout the rest of the film. After this, once the murder aspect is tossed in, it slowly builds its suspense. It takes us on a "is he or isn't he?" trail... though I figured I knew the ending based on Disturbia. Still, it didn't really deter me from enjoying the film or feeling the suspense.

So far in each Hitchcock film I've watched, it seems there's at least one character that bugs me. Here, that's not the case. Every character has a purpose, and almost every relationship goes somewhere. (The gorgeous) Grace Kelly begins as this perfectly little model who is kind of in her own world of fashion and glam. Because of this, Jeffries is conflicted on their relationship as she's not really adventurous or even close to the type of person he is. Of course, this changes as the film goes on. And then James Stewart (yet again) is here, again in a type of detective role. It's no real shock that I enjoyed him--but I will also add that this is definitely my favorite role/movie of his that I've seen thus far. My favorite character, though, had to be the nurse, Stella. She was really funny, and her acting felt much more modern than of those around her. And I haven't even mentioned all the neighbors who might not even speak, but still get their own story arcs.

The writing is very tight and clever. There's a lot of good dialogue, the cleverest usually coming between Jeffries and Doyle or Stella. But the characters never say more than they need to. This does leave a handful of things up to the imagination, though, due to some unanswered questions (a handful of "why"s, at least for Thorwald).

The directing and camera work was top notch. As we know, I love a good film in a tight space. The whole film takes place in that apartment--or at least through the perspective of the apartment--with a couple minor exceptions. And there were also a handful of great single takes panning around the apartment buildings (which was really, at that time, the biggest indoor set for the studio). Hitchcock really was great at manipulation. Even the music (with the exception of the very beginning) was done completely within the realm of the film--no external movie music added--adding a deeper sense that you're trapped in this apartment complex.

Overall thoughts? If you've seen and like Disturbia (as I will admit, I do), and would like to see the less modernized original (and not to mention where the accused is much less obviously evil), definitely check it out. Actually, I'd say check it out, anyway. It's quite excellent. Anyway, there are only a couple more Hitchcock films left for me to review this month, but as of now, this one just slipped into first place as my favorite.

Rating System.
Royale With Cheese



This is it, folks. The final film for my favorite series' (books and films). It would have been so sad if it turned out to be terrible, especially since a lot of people were waiting on Part 2 to form their opinion on the film as a whole (with Part 1). So how did it do? The film picks up right where Part 1 left off. Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) has gotten the Elder Wand--the most powerful wand in existence--while Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) are still trying to figure out how to find and destroy Voldemort's remaining Horcruxes (items that include bits of Volde's soul that they have to destroy before they can kill him). The search takes them from Gringotts bank to Hogwarts where they will face off for the final battle... but not without other final confrontations, like with Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) and Severus Snape (Alan Rickman). At this point, it's a question of who is good, who is evil, who will live, and who will die, (and who ends up together)... all of which, of course, you know if you've read the books.

It's really hard to talk about the film without doing a book-to-film comparison. So to avoid falling into a trap of writing a review that won't satisfy book readers only or movie watchers only, I'm going to split this review (much like the last book) into 2 parts. The first part will get the book comparisons out of that way, and then we'll move on to the straight movie stuff (the more technical aspects, I suppose). So if you don't care to read my thoughts on how it was as an adaptation, you can skip this first part. Otherwise, keep reading!


Part 1 took the majority of the book in its time frame, leaving Part 2 with maybe the last third of the story. The only major sequences left include Shell Cottage, Gringotts, Hogsmeade, Return to Hogwarts, The Diadem Hunt/Room of Requirement, The First Battle, The Prince's Tale, The Forbidden Forest, King's Cross, The Final Battle, The Short Ending, and The Epilogue. I know that actually sounds like a lot, but a bunch of those aren't incredibly long even in the book. And like any other adaptation, there are changes, but I personally don't feel any of them are for the worse (except maybe one). So let's look at the scenes (I'll lump some of the lesser ones together when I talk about them).

1) Shell Cottage/Gringotts. The whole sequence is done very closely to the book. Shell Cottage is a short build to the upcoming action sequence, giving us background on Wand Lore and a bit on Bellatrix's vault. Of course, this builds up to the heist scene which is only really different in that the Death Eater (Travers, I believe) isn't there, but is replaced by another goblin that works at the bank. The other main difference is that the duplicating treasure in the vault doesn't burn them, but it does still duplicate. It's a thrilling sequence that ends in an epic dragon ride.

2) Hogsmeade/Return to Hogwarts. The Hogsmeade bit in the book isn't all that huge--it's just the Trio setting off alarms upon return and getting taken in to safety by Aberforth. They get some more background on Dumbledore before Neville shows up and takes them back to the castle. This essentially stays the same. There were a few minor things cut, but nothing major. Most of Dumbledore's background had been removed from both films anyway. I did like, though, that they at least attempted to give some explanation for Harry's mirror shard that he had in Part 1, just still not how he ended up getting the shard in the first place. Still, at least they gave some sort of explanation and didn't just leave it completely open.

The Return to Hogwarts was mainly getting the Trio back and re-introducing practically every student and teacher that has ever been in the series (and was still alive). They didn't bring everyone back here, and obviously there wasn't the big "Percy redemption" scene since all the Percy stuff has been cut from the films. There was a scene added that was interesting with Harry confronting Snape in front of students (the scene is kinda in the book, just a bit different. It's clever, though.

3) The Diadem Hunt/Room of Requirement. This is pretty much exactly how I remember it in the book, with the exception of I believe Blaise Zabini in the place of Crabbe (since the actor was pulled out of the film after being caught with drugs). We really haven't seen school ghosts in these films for a while (I believe since the fourth film with Moaning Myrtle), so seeing one here (and the effects slightly different) was a fun sight. Not to mention the Room of Requirement scene was just as suspenseful as when I read it for the first time. Also during the Diadem Hunt is a scene with Ron and Hermione going into the Chamber of Secrets to get a Basilisk fang, something that was only mentioned in the book (since we just followed Harry). Purists might have issues with it, but I thought it was fantastic seeing that set again when the kids are all grown up (and of course the great kiss that follows).

4) The First Battle/The Prince's Tale. There's not much to discuss on the First Battle, since it's mainly just running around the school fighting Death Eaters, but it is done very nicely and quite epically. You still don't get to see a lot of the funnier moments from the books, though (like Mandrakes and throwing crystal balls). However, what everybody wants to hear about is The Prince's Tale. It's one of the best moments in the entire series in the books, and I do think it translates very well to the screen. There are, of course, a couple moments that were left out (the complete "Snape's Worst Memory" scene)--but you still fully understand what's happening. I think this scene did just like in the book: It makes you flip emotions on two characters you've been following the whole series. So yes, I believe it continues to be one of the best sequences of the films, as well.

5) The Forbidden Forest/King's Cross. The Walk to the forest was a devastating read the first time I read it. Yes, I cried. There's a good moment between Harry and Ron/Hermione, but the rest of it is slightly rushed, losing a bit of the emotion of that final walk. Though you still get the same emotions from the Resurrection Stone scene, which was done very well... all leading up to the "confrontation" with Voldemort, also done well. For King's Cross, the only real difference was that Harry wasn't totally naked when it starts out. Otherwise, it's almost totally the same as the book (including the final line by Dumbledore).

6) The Final Battle. This is where things change up from the book quite a bit. After Harry reveals himself in the book, he hops under the Invisibility Cloak with Neville, they're caught on fire, and Neville jumps out and kills Nagini. The fight moves into the Great Hall, where Harry and Voldemort chat (mostly Harry taunting Voldemort and Harry explaining why Voldemort can no longer hurt them--the power of love and sacrifice, just like Harry's mother did with him). And Mrs. Weasley fights Bellatrix. Only a couple of these are in the actual film. The battle rages on, Mrs. Weasley does do her epic line and battle, and Harry and Voldemort continue on, even flying and merging throughout the sky at one point. Ron, Hermione, and Neville all attempt to attack Nagini. All of this culminates in yet another Priori Incantatem-esque sequence ending with Neville killing Nagini and Voldemort being destroyed almost simultaneously.

These changes are both good and bad. I do love how they juxtaposed attempting to kill Nagini with Harry and Voldemort's fight. That was a brilliant concept that was pulled off very well. However, what was lacking was the explanation of how Voldemort couldn't harm them, as well as Harry's taunting and calling him Tom, showing he was no longer afraid. Granted, the book's version of how Voldemort dies always felt a bit anticlimactic to me, and the film at least attempts to remedy that, which I applaud.

7) The Short Ending/The Epilogue. After this, the book just kind of... ends. And then we get the much-discussed (in both book and film) epilogue. The film is similar to the book, where they just kind of go off, say a few lines, and it ends. The epilogue is just as cheesy as in the book, and almost word-for-word (but without the sidenote that Neville is a professor at Hogwarts). And the epic swell of the original Hedwig's Theme to end it all is very emotional and fantastically done. But speaking of Neville, there's a bit of a fan-service bit that's hugely different from the book. Most fans really wanted Neville and Luna to end up together in the books, but JK Rowling admitted that Luna was a bit too weird for him. Instead, we get a great moment where Neville declares his love for Luna, followed by an awkwardly cute after-battle moment where they sit next to each other. It's so cute and fun and damn what purists say--I liked it!


First and foremost, this is definitely a Part 2. The first film is 2/3s of the book, and this film is the last third. Because of this, many might feel--like with Part 1--that it's incomplete (the first film has no ending, this film has no beginning). But I think the main issue is that people are looking at this as 2 separate movies (or possibly comparing it to something like Kill Bill). However, these films should be seen as one long film, possibly with an intermission. If you do it like that, then--to me--you lose those problems. There's a definitely beginning, middle, and end. And depending on how you like the Deathly Hallows story to begin with, this can still make or break it for you.

That being said, though, I will review this as the one part it is, as if it were a standalone--even though it goes against how I feel. The biggest issue I've read is that many feel it to be a rushed film. I can understand that at times (and it definitely feels the swiftest of all the movies), but as a whole, I think the pacing works just fine. There's not a whole lot of deep story or introspection in this part of the book as there was in the first half (that's what all that slow build-up was for in the Part 1, where people complained it didn't move fast enough... now people are saying it's going too fast! But I digress).

Anyway, because of the fast-paced nature of this film, the long, beautiful shots of scenery are gone from the cinematography, but it's still a very nice looking film. The best shots come in during the final battle sequences, which is at least half the film. It has a very epic feel to everything, with something different going on everywhere you look on screen (and all of it looks amazing). And the music score fits in just as well, giving it its grand scale.

Acting-wise, everybody is pretty top notch, but there are two standouts that definitely need to be mentioned and/or focused on. First is Maggie Smith as McGonagall. The woman finally gets her due after all these films of being slighted. The woman is a total badass in this film, with a mix of seriousness, dramatics, and humor. And Maggie Smith looks like she's having a blast doing it. The second, and most important, is Alan Rickman as Severus Snape. He hasn't been given much to do since the first film, though he's played the character to absolute perfection. And he's been harboring a secret told to him by JK Rowling herself about the character allowing him to do such. Now he's finally able to relish this tidbit of information and act it out brilliantly. The pain and emotion he shows is palpable and heartbreaking. And The Prince's Tale sequence (and/or the flashback sequence that reveals the truth, to all you non-readers) is--as I stated earlier--one of the best moments in not only this film, but in the entire series.


Overall, the film has some changes, but it's still a pretty damn good adaptation of the last third of the book. Some people will say both films should have been shortened and merged together, but then there would have been complaints anyway from fans for cutting too much out. Then there would have been complaints from non-readers for things feeling rushed in order to keep in all the important things. In cutting it into 2 parts and keeping very close to the source material, some thought Part 1 was too slow and Part 2 was too fast. It's an incredibly difficult book to adapt as a film, but I personally feel they made the right choice. I loved both films separately, and I know as soon as Part 2 hits Blu-Ray, I'll be watching both back-to-back... which is how I think the film(s) need to be seen.

Rating System.
Royale With Cheese

(P.S. Was that rating really that much of a surprise?)

(P.P.S. Because I know people are interested, this movie made me almost cry at about 4-5 different points throughout the film. Yeah... it was close.)


Musical Monday: Reefer Madness - Little Mary Sunshine (#24).

[Every Monday, I'm going to be counting down my 52 favorite musical numbers from musical movies and TV shows. I might not like the full movie/show, but the number makes the list for various reasons: 1) I have to like the song, 2) the visual of how the number is performed is most likely unique or fun, 3) both song and visual mixes well to create an exciting or powerful number. So let's get to the next on the list.]

A while back, I put up a song from Reefer Madness and mentioned that I'd have another one coming later. Well, here it is. This is probably my favorite from the movie (though it honestly is really hard to choose). In this scene, you have stoner Ralph (played by John Kassir, the voice of the Crypt Keeper) trying to seduce the naive Mary Lane (Kristen Bell) while she's looking for her boyfriend, Jimmy. He ends up tricking her into smoking a joint, and of course everything goes bananas after that. And if you've ever wanted to see Kristen Bell get a little scandalous, this is what you need to see!

Unfortunately, it won't let me embed, so you can go see the clip by clicking here.


The Vlog - S3.5: Story Time #2 - Kai.

Here's episode S3.5.

I'll be honest, this is one of my favorite episodes... ever. It might not be the knee-slappiest episode ever, but to me, everything just came together perfectly--writing, directing, acting, lighting, camera, music. And it's the first Story Time that has some decent tie-in to the overall plot (there's also somewhat of an explanation/hint at for something that happened last season. See if you can spot it!). This episode does also have an "extended scene" which y'all will see the end of the season, but I cut it out for both time purposes and because I felt it set up something for later a little too obviously.

No recap for this episode. Anything I could say here would feel redundant, as well as possibly give things away that I don't want to come straight out and give away just yet. So just enjoy the episode and let me know what you think in the comments!


The Demented Podcast #19 - Freddy Vs. Baby Doll.

For our last regular episode of the second "season" before Battle Royale 2, I'm joined yet again by Kai Parker of Man, I Love Films (who, coincidentally, was the final guest before the previous Battle Royale). This time we're talking two films: Sucker Punch and A Nightmare on Elm Street (both the original and the remake, as it turned out). Our Versus turned out well as this final match-up became a hot contender.

Finally, Kai tackles The Tower once more, desperately wanting vengeance for his fall last time... but still scared out of his mind. Listen and find out how he did!

Current Tower Leaderboard
1) Jason - 126 Points
2) Dylan - 125 Points
3) Jess - 123 Points
4) Rachel - 114 Points
5) Nick - 104 Points
6) Simon - 92 Points
7) Sebastian - 84 Points
Nolahn - Incomplete
Keith - Incomplete

Current Battle Royale Champion
Rachel Thuro - 171 Points

You can listen to this episode on the player below or by subscribing through iTunes.

That being said, enjoy! Thanks goes out to Kevin MacLeod's Incompetech website for great, royalty-free music. And thanks to Google for helping me find a website that will give me free video game audio samples.


60/60 Extra: The Birds.

I've always known of this film, even as a little boy. There's a certain time of the year, every year, here where I live where hundreds and hundreds of blackbirds pack the power lines, bridges, etc., and are always cloaking the sky. My mother would always make the joke "The Birds!" in reference to this film. But now I've finally seen it. I wasn't sure how I was going to feel going into it. There are very few older horror films that are scary to people of this modern age. And after two let-downs in a row, I was starting to get nervous.

The Birds focuses on the daughter of a San Francisco newspaper mogul, Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren). She makes acquaintance with a young lawyer named Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor), who plays a prank on her to get her back for something she had done in a courtroom a while back. This perks her interest, so she decides to return the favor by following him to his hometown for the weekend to deliver a pair of lovebirds for his little sister's (Veronica Cartwright) birthday, since his joke on her involved this information. While she's there, however, all the birds start acting funny and attacking the townsfolk, and they must barricade themselves inside to stay alive. The film also stars Jessica Tandy as Mitch's mother.

I liken the film to Jaws for a few reasons, outside the obvious "animal attack" genre. Both movies are roughly 2 hours long, and the first hour of each is more focused on character building and giving us the setting than anything else. Sure, both have minor attacks here and there, but it's mainly a slow build to the good stuff. Then, of course, the second hour has all Hell break loose. Both even have a relatively older person who is an expert on the animal in question.

First I'd like to talk about the first hour. It's strange, because I simultaneously really liked it but had issues with most of it. The character of Melanie is not a good person. In fact (much like James Stewart in the second half of Vertigo), she's a total creeper. She goes out of her way to stalk this man she doesn't even know, being vague about her reasoning, and admitting she doesn't know the guy or his family, but wants to know where they live--all the while with a smile on her face. Not to mention she tracks down his 11-year-old sister's school teacher to find out her name, then further admits she doesn't know her, but wants to give her a present. Tell me how that doesn't come off like a pedophile. And nobody in the town does anything about it. They might give her a strange look at first, but they just go along with it! Then there's the relationship between Mitch and his mother that comes off more incestuous than how they explain it in the film.

But after a while, the setup starts to become a bit much. Sure, I suppose almost everything was necessary to set up characters and whatnot, but there could have been plenty to cut down on. It didn't need to last as long as it did. Fortunately, it's not too dull. The relationship between Melanie and Mitch is fun and entertaining. Hitchcock also throws in some quirky humor here and there (I particularly laughed at one bit where she's driving like a crazy person, and the lovebirds in the cage are leaning left and right to match the turns). If there hadn't been the chemistry between the characters, I would have had a bigger problem with the first hour, but overall it seems to work.

Then the second hour starts and the real horror begins. Talk about freaky stuff. There were some truly terrifying moments in this film. I'll tell you what--I dozed off a couple times near the end (due to the time of night, not the movie itself), and I was still feeling the suspense and freaky-ness just hearing flapping of wings and other sound effects, which would startle me back awake and focused. That's how intense the movie gets (and all without a soundtrack!). And although the effects and/or how they filmed some of the bird scenes seems old or dated now, it's sure mind-blowing how he pulled it off for the early 60s.

If I found fault in any of the attack scenes, it would actually be in one of the most famous scenes in the film. Melanie and Mitch are in a restaurant as the birds start attacking, then she ends up trapped in a phone booth and watches the entire town being attacked. First, why the heck would over half the people in the restaurant run out onto the street when the killer birds start attacking people? Why leave safety for no reason? And then once Melanie is trapped in the phone booth, she knows the birds eventually stop attacking in their pattern, but she tries to open the door at least 3 times with birds flying right at her (and this is before they start breaking the glass). None of that made any sense to me. Stay inside!

Otherwise, the movie is pretty damn good. It's quite scary (in the same way Jaws is scary), the chemistry between the leads is good, and the effects are fascinating for the time period (I do know that he used real birds, though sometimes they were there and sometimes they were superimposed or something). If you like this kind of movie, and haven't seen this already, definitely check it out.

A Keanu 'Whoa'


60/60 Review #36: Vertigo.

At the time of its release in 1958, Vertigo was a public and critical failure--only later to be considered, along with Psycho, one of Hitchcock's best films... possibly even his masterpiece (and on top of that, considered one of the greatest films ever made). Like with Rope 10 years prior, one of its biggest complaints was that some (including Hitchcock) felt James Stewart was miscast. In fact, despite Stewart being one of his biggest collaborators, Hitchcock never worked with him again after this film.

The film focuses on a San Francisco detective, John "Scottie" Ferguson (James Stewart). After a bad case that ended in another cop's death and that left Scottie hanging from the rafters, Scottie gained a bad fear of heights and vertigo. He quits his job because of it, but is soon hired by an old college buddy, Gavin Elster (Tom Helmore), to follow his wife Madeleine (Kim Novak) because she keeps wandering off, and he thinks she's been possessed by the spirit of her great grandmother. But in the process, he becomes too obsessed with her, and his sanity starts slipping the further into the case he gets.

Most people's biggest complaint seems to be the complicated plot, but that didn't really bother me (at least not directly). In fact, there were parts that reminded me somewhat of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (very loosely, mind you)--complicated, but with a damn good twist. Speaking of comparisons, very early on in the film I was reminded of Les Diabolique, which you might remember I reviewed back in May. Coincidentally, I discovered that this is based on a book that the authors wrote specifically for Hitchcock after he failed to get his hands on the adaptation of their other book... which, you guessed it, was adapted into Les Diabolique.

No, my biggest issue stemmed from the fact this movie never seems to end. At about the 50-minute mark, I felt I was about to reach the climax of the film as it seemed it had been going on so long. This movie is 128 minutes. It's a very long, drawn-out, slow film... and there actually is a huge twist about the 90 minute mark that would normally go at the end of the film. But there's still another 40 minutes after that. Long story short, it definitely could have been trimmed down.

There also seems to be a strange issue with time. By that I mean that it's very hard to discern just how much time has gone by at any given point. I figure for most of the first hour, only 1-3 days tops has gone by (and in that time, he falls madly and dangerously in love with a woman he barely knows... which I'll get to shortly). Then there's a part I really can't get in to without spoiling anything, but there's apparently this large time jump. I had to look it up to find out it was a whole year, as it's not really clear at all within the film how much time had passed.

I've said it in my other two reviews with the man during this project, but I really like James Stewart. His acting was superb in this film. That being said, his character bugged the heck out of me at times. He starts out likable enough, but he just goes nuts, falls for this woman he doesn't even know (a woman who is supposed to be married, at that), and--later--gets obsessive to the point of crazy creepy freak, who I would have called the cops on more than once during this movie. That aside, everyone else's acting is decent, though it does eventually delve into that cheesy, over-the-top, "old-timey" acting that I don't care for (except, of course, in Gone With The Wind).

All of that being said, this is definitely one I need to see again. I mean, seriously, even the IMDb FAQ on the film says first-time watchers tend not to care for the film, as they focus too much on the intricacies of the plot, some implausible things, and the fact that the movie never seems to end (partially thanks to the twist). I can agree with all of that, frankly, but it is one I'd be willing to give a second chance now that I know the story and wouldn't be nearly as focused one what the heck is going on.

Unfortunately, however, this review is for my initial viewing. And upon said viewing, I thought the film was too long, I didn't care for the main character (despite his generally great acting), and I felt the story and pacing didn't match up well enough (a different issue to me than it being too long, but somewhat related... if that makes sense). The movie is saved by innovative filmmaking and a fantastic twist, though. There's just too much other stuff that, at least at first glance, makes the film appear rather flawed.

Stop Saying OK! OK.

(P.S. I was originally going with a higher scoring. But as I let my thoughts settle and the film sink in, most of the initial positive emotions evened out and I felt this was more appropriate. And I prepare to be flogged for it.)


Musical Monday: Beauty and the Beast - Belle (Little Town) (#25).

[Every Monday, I'm going to be counting down my 52 favorite musical numbers from musical movies and TV shows. I might not like the full movie/show, but the number makes the list for various reasons: 1) I have to like the song, 2) the visual of how the number is performed is most likely unique or fun, 3) both song and visual mixes well to create an exciting or powerful number. So let's get to the next on the list.]

I recently talked about this song on a previous episode of The Demented Podcast, so I don't have much more to add here. It's a great opening number to the movie, and it sets up practically every single human character you need to know within its 5-6 minutes. And it's a catchy little tune, at that!


The Vlog - S3.4: A Minor Setback.

Here's episode S3.4.

I know I'm over an hour later than usual on this one (I usually post at midnight... so sorry for those who like to stay up 'til midnight to catch it but didn't get it at the usual time), but unlike the last couple episodes, this one harks back close to the original format of mostly randomness. I've been putting filming off due to a lack of inspiration, but I got a bit tonight (thankfully... as it was really my last shot). And then I ran into some technical difficulties when YouTube wouldn't accept the file format, despite the fact it's a file format they clearly state they accept (all of which is kind of ironic considering the title of the episode). Anyway...

As for the "what you need to know," there isn't much besides what you should already know by now (Story Time and the actors and all that). Though there is a bit that pulls in last season's finale into the mix, jutting the plot forward just a bit. Oh, and did I mention this episode reintroduces another character? Time to watch and find out who!


60/60 Extra: Psycho.

Warning: If, for whatever reason, you don't already know really anything about Psycho and are curious to see it, there are spoilers ahead. But I'm sure there can't be many of you out there.


Psycho is considered by quite a few (apparently) as Hitchcock's best, or at least as a fan favorite. Regardless, it's the one everybody knows. But that also means it had the highest possibility of disappointment going in... but was I? The story at first focuses on Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), a young woman who ends up stealing $40,000 and running away. On the road for hours, she ends up at Bates Motel, run by shy nice guy Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins). Norman, however, starts to show all is not what it seems when he begins having mommy issues... and peeks through a hole in the wall to spy on Marion in her room. And then Marion is killed in the shower (spoiler?), and the rest of the movie has a private detective named Arbogast (Martin Balsam), as well as Marion's boyfriend Sam (John Gavin) and sister Lila (Vera Miles), trying to find her.

So I'll start off with the admission: Unfortunately, to me, Psycho suffered from a mix of "classic film overhype downfall" and "I knew everything about it already anyway." And that's a hard mix to get over on your first viewing. For the first hour, I was pretty dang bored. The first 30 minutes is just Marion's personal life, stealing the money, and making a run for it. There's some suspense here and there with cops and whatnot, but she's such an unlikable character that I didn't care. The next 30 minutes is the most famous part of the movie. She shows up at the Bates Motel, Norman gives some classic lines ("We all go a little mad sometimes"), and we see the classic shower scene. But that whole part of the movie, while good, was so inundated in my movie knowledge--as it is with most movie fans--that I felt like I'd seen it a hundred times already.

However, we move into the last 45 minutes or so, which is the part of the movie I didn't know much about at all. The film becomes more of a detective mystery (despite knowing the mystery upfront), and it picked up quite a bit for me here. The film garnered some suspense because, even though you know Norman isn't the good guy, you somehow don't want him to get caught. But then, during the last 10 minutes of the movie, we're dragged to a halt. We get nothing but exposition here. It's a guy telling us the psychosis behind Norman and why he acted the way he did. Some of it was interesting, but a lot of it did drag.

The acting was decent, primarily from Anthony Perkins, who was the highlight of the movie. I felt the movie suffered when he wasn't on screen, as his moments were the best. And it was interesting to see Martin Balsam in something outside of 12 Angry Men. Everyone else, though... they were good, but it suffered from "classic acting" syndrome, which I think is a bit strange for a movie in the 60s, but maybe not. Not to mention it's strange that this movie feels more dated than Rope, a film made 12 years prior.

Overall, it was good, but I think I was too hyped on it (again, mixed with knowing almost everything major about it). Because of knowing most of it, I felt the suspense was very little. If you're going to watch classic mystery/thriller or Hitchcock, however, it's an essential. Definitely watch it for Anthony Perkins' performance. Otherwise, and especially if you know most of the twists and whatnot, try not to go into it with the mindset that you're about to watch one of the greatest director's greatest movies... or, like me, you'll leave disappointed.

I Am McLovin!


60/60 Review #35: Rope.

Let us begin now with my very first Hitchcock film. Doing a bit of research, I found the behind-the-scenes stuff was almost as interesting as the film itself. But let's start with the film first. Rope tells the story of two young men, Brandon (John Dall) and Philip (Farley Granger), who have just finished murdering David (Dick Hogan) by strangling him with a bit of rope... just because they wanted to see if they could get away with it. Brandon is exhilarated by the whole event, while Philip has become a bottle of nerves which could fall apart at any minute. To add to the game, Brandon has decided to throw a dinner party that includes their maid Mrs. Wilson (Edith Evanson), David's father (Sir Cedric Hardwicke), David's aunt (Constance Collier), David's girlfriend Janet (Joan Chandler), and their friend Kenneth (Douglas Dick), whom Janet left for David. To top it off, they're keeping David's body in a chest in the middle of the living room, and Brandon decides to use it as a table, having their food served off of it. But things start going downhill for them when another guest, their old professor and mentor, Rupert Cadell (James Stewart), starts picking up clues and begins to realize what's really going on.

The first thing I noticed about this film was how much John Dall looks like Ben Affleck. But I guess the first thing most people will pick up on is the fact that the entire movie is made from a set of 10 long takes lasting anywhere from 4 and a half to 10 minutes long each. I didn't actually pick up on it until halfway into the movie when I realized the film kept zooming in to somebody's back to black out and hide the cut. Apparently, this made things very hard during filming. This was Hitchcock's first color film, and the cameras were huge. On top of that, the actors had to keep stepping over the big wires on the floor and try not to trip. There was even one moment where the camera dolly ran over the cameraman's foot, breaking it, but in order not to ruin the take, they gagged him and pulled him off set--and that take is used in the movie! It's a very clever technique, giving the illusion of real time (even though another technique is used to make events seem 20 minutes longer than it actually is). One of my favorite takes was just the camera sitting still with most of the cast off screen, and you can hear them talking. But all you see is Mrs. Wilson clearing the food and things off the chest and into the kitchen. It's not until she's about halfway done that you realize what's going on and that she's probably going to attempt to open the chest very soon, and that's when suspense skyrockets. It's a great moment.

The writing in the film is superb. The dialogue is engrossing, and it's full of double entendres. Literally over half of what is said once the party starts could be taken at face value or in a much darker way. The whole thing was very clever and very tight. That being said, there was one thing I might have liked to see done differently. Near the end of the film, I thought it would have been even better had they not shown the actual murder at the beginning. That way, you were left guessing the entire film whether there was a body in that chest or not, helping the suspense even more. Well, apparently, this was actually the original intent. Hitchcock even assured the writer he was going to do this. But apparently at the last minute or something, Hitchcock changed his mind and filmed the opening murder sequence and put it in the film, surprising the person he had promised otherwise--and some feel this was a detriment to the film as a whole.

But the writing itself can't do much without good actors. And here, we have some fantastic acting from all involved. Of course, I was fascinated with James Stewart, especially since the only other movie I've seen him in at this point is Harvey--a completely different type of film and role. However, one of the controversies with the film was the decision to cast James Stewart (and Stewart himself said this was the only film between he and Hitchcock he didn't like). I can definitely understand why people felt he was greatly miscast, though I still feel Stewart played the detective role quite well. However, the personal connection with the two former students was missing... and that was an important aspect, mostly for the next big controversy about the film.

Really early on, I noticed something about the film and the actors, but I told myself that wouldn't be the case--not in 1940's cinema. It would be way too controversial for the time period. Sure enough, though, after doing some after-the-fact research, I found out that the two lead characters--and even James Stewart's character--were meant to be homosexual. It's never stated in the film, but the body language between the two leads and how they react and speak to each other strongly suggests it ("It" apparently being the only thing Hitchcock and the producers, etc., would call the homosexuality theme when talking about the film). This was the one strike against Stewart that I and others saw. There wasn't that personal connection between Stewart and the two leads that was supposed to be there, despite having the core investigator part of the role own solid.

There are a handful of people who consider this one of Hitchcock's best, but not necessarily at the top. That notion makes me incredibly excited for what's to come considering I loved this movie. Nearly everything about it was fantastic--the writing, the acting, the pacing (which only had one slight drop in the 5 or so minutes before Stewart was introduced), the technical aspect. It doesn't really feel too dated, either. If you're a fan of thrillers or Hitchcock and haven't already seen this one, I'd definitely suggest checking it out.

Rating System.
Royale With Cheese


Musical Monday: The Sound Of Music - Do Re Mi (#26).

[Every Monday, I'm going to be counting down my 52 favorite musical numbers from musical movies and TV shows. I might not like the full movie/show, but the number makes the list for various reasons: 1) I have to like the song, 2) the visual of how the number is performed is most likely unique or fun, 3) both song and visual mixes well to create an exciting or powerful number. So let's get to the next on the list.]

Growing up with musicals in the household, it was of course impossible that The Sound of Music would be left out. There are many memorable songs from this film, but of course, the most memorable for me is the one that actually teaches you to sing! And it's no wonder I have a love of puns--this song is built around them!

Also, I strongly recommend checking out the following video if you haven't already. It's really the video that started the whole FlashMob movement. It's at a train station in Antwerp, and it uses a version of Do Re Mi as its song... and if you don't smile at least once while watching it, it's quite possible you have no soul.


The Vlog - S3.3: Story Time #1 - Nick And The Vlog Origin.

Here's episode S3.3.

After the highly lauded second episode, I'm worried that this won't live up to expectations. But here's to hoping you'll love this one, too! This is the first "Story Time" episode. All of the Story Times have a bit of a different feel than the others (except for a couple), mostly due to different actors and scenarios each time (again, except for a couple). And if you're worried about the lack of "me" lately, don't worry too much! Episode 4 returns to a more familiar format (with Story Times coming every other episode).

And if you have no idea what I'm talking about... you should really go watch the first two episodes of this season! Wrinkles the Dog has moved in with Nick and has given him the idea of the Story Time segment for The Vlog. Nick got some actors for them, and this is the first one you'll see. That being said... enjoy!

AFTER YOU WATCH: Also, way back in season 1, episode 2, Nick did an homage to Jason episode that included dancing based on something Jason had once done. This was the biggest reason Jason has come after Nick on the show. Well... for all of you who have never seen that original video (how is that possible?), you're in luck. Today, I have our first bit of bonus footage this season. Below, you'll find Jason's original dance video, but about a minute in you'll see a video box pop up in the top right corner. This is Jason's full reaction video as partially seen in the episode you hopefully just finished watching (which had to be cut down for time purposes). So... enjoy, as well!


The Demented Podcast #18 - Random Lazy.

I'm happy to announce that in this episode, I'm introducing somebody to the world of podcasting. My guest this week is Keith "Kano" Kane of Kano's Lay-Z-Boy Theater. After some slight feedback and a fun new The Challenge, we get into our main discussion: Disney animated musicals along with our Top 5 favorite songs from these movies. I hope it's a topic that interests you, because we talk about it for quite a while!

Then we move on to The Tower. Keith makes a shot for the quickest playing time... but in a good way or bad way? Listen and find out!

NOTE: I seriously did some miracle work in editing this thing. We had some of the worst connection issues that I've ever experienced while recording. You can hardly tell in the end product. But if you notice any kinds of shifts in sound quality, it was just a really rough connection.

Current Tower Leaderboard
1) Jason - 126 Points
2) Dylan - 125 Points
3) Jess - 123 Points
4) Rachel - 114 Points
5) Nick - 104 Points
6) Simon - 92 Points
7) Sebastian - 84 Points
Nolahn - Incomplete

Current Battle Royale Champion
Rachel Thuro - 171 Points

You can listen to this episode on the player below or by subscribing through iTunes.

That being said, enjoy! Thanks goes out to Kevin MacLeod's Incompetech website for great, royalty-free music. And thanks to Google for helping me find a website that will give me free video game audio samples.


Deep Thoughts From Jason Soto #1: "Cars"... And A Caste System?

Talking to Jason the other day, he brought up an interesting point that inspired me to do something new on the blog. Every now and then, Jason comes up with some deep thoughts, but his blog doesn't really allow for a place for him to share them. So when this happens, he'll write up a guest post for my blog and share these with us. I call these... Deep Thoughts From Jason Soto. And here's the first one.

In this article, Jason brings up some points that either makes Cars a whole lot deeper than we once believed... or a whole lot stupider. You decide.


At my job presently, we are getting ready for back-to-school season. So we got a fuck-load of notebooks with different covers. One of the covers features the characters from "Cars," and as I was looking at this cover, it made me think all sorts of things about "Cars." Before I present them to you, let me tell you now that I have never seen either "Cars" films, so maybe some of these things might've been answered. If so, please leave a comment telling me so and what the answer is.

First off, how the fuck does this "Cars" world work? I mean, are there no sidewalks? No humans? Just cars that can think, talk, and drive around? That's just weird, man!

Secondly, it appears to me whatever make of car you're born as is what your profession is going to be for the rest of your life? Like the main car who's a racecar. What if he didn't like racing cars? What if he wanted to cut hair? Or be a boxer? Or go into porn? And what about Mater? He's stuck being a lowly tow truck for the rest of his life. He never got a chance in this life, man! Poor Mater.

Speaking of, how does sex even work in this world? Now, I only seen a 30-second clip from "Southland Tales" that featured two trucks fucking. I GUESS it's possible, but do the female cars have vaginas? What does car sperm look like anyway? Do they have the whole 9 months thing or is it like...2 weeks?

Are there retarded cars? Twin cars? How do cars die? EVERYTHING about this world makes no fucking sense to me! I see why this franchise is the worst of the Pixar lot cause every other Pixar film is at least based off of some human reality. But "Cars"? It's like "Maxiumum Overdrive" meets "The Twilight Zone": it's fucking terrifying.

Oh and... if humans did exist, could they get into the cars? Would the inside be filled with guts and organs and stuff? I could go on forever and ever, so I'll stop here. Again, if there is some answer to any of these questions (besides "it's a dumb kids movie, shut the fuck up Jason"), please let me know.

Short Review: The Warrior's Way.

Premise: A ninja warrior finds a home in a desert western circus town to hide from his clan after they start hunting him down when he refuses to complete his mission.

Starring: Dong-gun Jang, Kate Bosworth, Danny Huston, Tony Cox, and Geoffrey Rush.

My Reaction: I was super excited for this movie to hit theaters, but never got a chance to see it. Now I have and... well... it's basically taking a poor-man's Ninja Assassin, setting it in the wild west, and filming it with the cartoonish idiocy of The Spirit. There's maybe 2 well-done scenes in the whole film. And WTF is Geoffrey Rush doing in this?

The Zed Word