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New Release Wall #22 - Avengers: Infinity War [NON-SPOILERS]

After ten years, it all comes to this: Avengers: Infinity War pits the various heroes of Marvel's shared cinematic universe against Thanos, the greatest threat they have ever faced, as he endeavors to bring "balance" to the universe by slaughtering half of everybody.

This is our NON-SPOILER review. For a discussion of the ending and some other spoilery topics, come back on Monday.

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New Release Wall #21: Cartel 2045

In the latest installment of our New Release Wall, Zach and Russ take a look at the strange and wonderful Cartel 2045.

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New Release Wall #20: Rampage!

Russ and Zach break down RAMPAGE!, which Zach calls "The movie America needs right now."

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New Release Wall #19: Ready Player One

It's time to simultaneously head 30 years into the past and 30 years into the future, as Russ Burlingame and Zach Roberts talk Ready Player One, the latest Steven Spielberg blockbuster based on the best-selling novel by Ernest Cline.

Is it great? No. Is it good? Well...!

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New Release Wall #18: ‘Tomb Raider’

Russ Burlingame and Zach Roberts saw Tomb Raider together, and came out of it with different takeaways.

One of us thought it was a fine, fun, popcorn affair.

The other thought it was no fun at all, and a bit too self-serious in tone for the script.

Which of us felt each way might surprise you...!

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New Release Wall #17: Black Panther

We have often said that while Marvel makes the big bucks, it’s DC who has the boundless ambition to shoot for Great Films instead of just Good Movies. With Black Panther, Marvel makes its bid for a Great Film and succeeds spectacularly.

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#SnyderCut Month: WATCHMEN

Here are Russ's copious notes on this one...

The black & yellow title cards are a kind of acknowledgement of the Watchmen trade dress.

Legendary! DC “swish” logo! More Comedian!

The use of the media/screens in the Comedian opening feels very Zack Snyder (and of course allows the film to adapt the Veldt ad to live action in a way that the print ads from the coms wouldn’t necessarily have done).

300 (his suite number)

Veldt at no point in the film feels like a guy who has the physical presence to do what he does to the Comedian, which I guess is part of building a mystery but it feels like a weakness in the film since Snyder was the one who created the whole fight sequence, which was only barely hinted at in the comics.

Unforgettable feels like a rift on what they did with the Richard Cheese version of “Down With the Sickness.” The movie uses music in conspicuous ways, but that one is especially on the nose.

The lesbian super heroine in the opening credits was murdered, presumably by the Comedian and possibly for being a lesbian.

Moth Man, seen in the opening credits being dragged off to a mental institution, later died when that institution exploded unexpectedly in 1992. This was documented in the first issue of DOOMSDAY CLOCK

“Russ Have Atom Bomb” in opening credits.

The implication that The Comedian may have been involved int he Kennedy assassination was very understated in the comics, as opposed to seen onscreen here. It sets the murder victim up early as unsympathetic. (Ditto Woodward & Bernstein)

DP Larry Fong corrected me on Twitter for misidentifying him as the still photographer in a post recently.

Why would it have taken until 1969 to get to the moon if we had Doctor Manhattan?

All the things appearing onscreen together — Nixon’s election, the term limit repeal, and the Keene Act — at the same time is crazy.

The idea of masks leading to the creation of superheroes is actually a clever inversion, and something that answers Nolan’s “did Batman ‘cause’ The Joker?’ nonsense.

The “those were great times/you quit” bit is way less effective in the film than in the comic, and it almost feels like it was kept jut because of the gut punch of the comic but Snyder realized he couldn’t swing it. There are some lines like that throughout, including “What do you expect? The Comedian’s dead”

Malin Akerman is so great and seems like such a nice person, I’m a little bummed by how not-great she is in this. She is a weak link in a lot of her scenes.

“your mind goes to dark places, and you wonder why I keep the worst from you”

This whole movie, more maybe even than the comics, is a tragic arc for Dan, who goes from being the wide-eyed idealist who did what he did because he believed it was right, to someone willing to go along with Veidt’s plot.

“I’m 67 years old” was the most unconvincing moment in any Snyder movie.

I like how jarring Jon was in a lot of the shots; it gave him an otherworldly feel that usually they try to avoid with VFX characters but was thematically appropriate for this movie.

“What happened to the American dream? It came true: you’re looking at it.” - fascist state

Moloch is Matt Frewer, of Dawn of the Dead fame. I believe he is the only repeated cast member.

I always remember thinking that the cancer stuff was part of Ozymandias’s plot, a hoax to manipulate Manhattan. That is explicit in the movie. Did I forget chunks of the comic that made it so?

That cafeteria where Manhattan appears for the first time is actually at the same disused insane asylum that appeared in Psych and Riverdale, among many, many others.

The scientist who finds Manhattan on Mars — the guy with the glasses — is actually Emil Hamilton from SMALLVILLE, who also had a minor role on MAN OF STEEL.

Rorschach fantasizing that Laurie manipulated Jon into exile is a perfect metaphor for the way right-wingers like him talk about women in real life.

There’s a shot of Rorschach stepping into a puddle, his foot pointed to 5 minutes to midnight as the puddle ripples out like a clock face.

Superhero movies were not as common or nuanced as they are now when Watchmen came out, so deconstructing the genre was hard. The fact that Snyder clearly LOVES superheroes made the translation harder still. The superheroics return, prior to the “Hallelujah” sequence, was depicted as pretty unquestionably a positive thing. This ties into “flabby failure” Dreiberg still looking like a Hollywood leading man. It seems that the way Snyder decided to undercut the “epic-ness-“ of these sequences was to have them fighting regular people who go down easily, meet gruesome fates, and don’t make them seem particularly heroic in the doing of it.

…Also, why did Laurie — the one who hated her superhero identity the most — bring the costume when she moved out of the military base?

Shooting fire into the sky at the moment of climax is exactly as subtle as a Zack Snyder movie.

Jesus, what is Snyder’s thing with people being dismembered by saws?

The Tales of the Black Freighter thing is interesting here because while it was nice to see, the fact that the art in it looks like screen grabs from the animated series makes it kind of anachronistic. They did not have that computer coloring in the ‘80s.

There is something kind of depressing — and it wasn’t explicit in the theatrical cut — about the fact that the knot-tops killed Hollis because of Dan’s actions.

I kind of forgot that Bubastis wasn’t in 90% of this movie.

HAAAAAAATE the change to Ozy’s speech.

There was also no planting to the payoff of the kid and the news vendor dying together.

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New Release Wall #16: I, Tonya

Russ Burlingame and Zach Roberts talk about I, Tonya -- a good movie that could have been great, featuring a number of stellar performances and a filmmaker who either did not KNOW what kind of movie he was making, or at least could not commit to it.

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#SnyderCut Month: Dawn of the Dead

This is #SnyderCut month.

If you don’t know what “#SnyderCut” is, you probably are not living and breathing geek media like I do.

Zack Snyder directed the recently-released Justice Leagueyou can find our episode covering that movie here -- and left the film during post-production due to a family tragedy. 

When the movie turned out to be critically and commercially disappointing, a number of hardcore Snyder fans have spent a ton of time attempting to get Warner Bros. to release the "Snyder Cut" of the film -- an assembly cut WB reportedly didn't like, but which was the starting point for what we eventually got.

Between now and the end of the month -- and in recognition of Justice League coming to home video this month -- Zach and Russ are going to be looking at the theatrical and Snyder cuts of various films -- starting with today's episode, Dawn of the Dead.

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Staff Picks #4: Zero Effect at 20

Twenty years ago today, Zero Effect was released in theaters. Ben Stiller & Bill Pullman gave wonderful performances and I spent all of my college years in love with Kim Dickens (something another reporter once told her at a roundtable to embarrass me).

Back when I managed a family-owned video store, I used to recommend Zero Effect (directed by Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle's Jake Kasdan, btw) to customers so often that it made our 100 most-rented movies of the year -- IN 2006. We had to buy a bunch of extra copies.

It was during that time that Zero Effect became my favorite movie of all time. Maybe not the BEST movie I have ever seen, but it's a great, fun, incredibly likable movie with some great, incredibly likable performances. In all those dozens/hundreds of recommendations to customers.

I never once had anybody come back and say they didn't enjoy the movie.

Five years ago, Chronological Snobbery did a really great job of looking back at Zero Effect's production.

You can get a gorgeous (and fan-made) Zero Effect movie poster here.

Zero Effect is available on DVD through the Warner Archive print-on-demand service. You can purchase it through third-party retailers like Amazon who will use the Warner Archive service to fulfill your order. You can also rent or buy it digitally.

The film almost became a TV series. You can see the never-aired pilot, which starred Alan Cumming, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBBaEijZwnY

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