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New Release Wall #36: Sorry To Bother You

Russ and Zach make a trip to the cinema for Sorry To Bother You, the first feature film from Boots Riley, who pretty clearly stands out as a Talent You Should Be Watching.

We talk a lot about film theory, about the importance of indepdendent cinema, and other theoretical and quasi-academic stuff that we don't get into with most of the big blockbusters and schlock horror movies we watch.

But fear not: we find a way to tie it back to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

For those of you relatively new to the show, the New Release Wall episodes differ from other episodes in one important way: we are talking about a new-in-theaters or BRAND-new-to-video movie, which typically means we do no (or at least minimal) spoilers and there is no second film discussed in the episode. This time around, though, there are a few particular films (O Lucky Man and Idiocracy, for instance) that come up again and again.

You can find us (and a number of other awesome podcasts) on the ACPN family of shows.

If you like what we're doing here, you can become a patron of the Emerald City Video Podcast, which comes with fun perks. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook. We also have Instagram and Vero accounts where we share images, photos, memes, and nonsense.

Be back for more by noon on the fifth day, and please -- always remember to rewind your videocassettes.


Episode #22: Jack Ryan and the Hunt for Red October

This week’s episode is the first recorded on new hardware, the first recorded while part of the ACPN group (as opposed to recording an episode and then being invited while in production), and the first in a while to have the “classic” format of an old release and a new release.

For anybody who might be new to Emerald City Video and is currently reading these notes (likely at ACPN), here’s what our deal is:

Russ Burlingame (that’s me!) is a senior writer for ComicBook.com, but in another life, I managed Emerald City Video, a family-owned video store in Syracuse, NY. During that time, I worked with Visu.News's Zach Roberts briefly as well as a number of other people who have been featured on this show less regularly, including Logan Bretschneider, Dan Fecteau, Erica Ladd, Eva Furmanska, and Dave Nielsen.

The idea of this show is to have the kind of conversations people used to have at the video store: a little more casual, a little more in-depth, and a lot more organic than you get from the crappy algorithms of Netflix, Amazon, and the like.

For example: today, YouTube Movies suggested six movies I should buy, and — as acknowledged under each one with the caption “you purchased this,” each of their purchase suggestions was a movie I already owned. Additionally, they were all six Marvel movies. That seems like a huge missed opportunity to pitch me on…I don’t know, literally any other big blockbuster?

At any rate, Emerald City Video.

In the beginning, over two years ago, our format was that we would talk about one new or new-to-video movie that everyone was buzzing about, and another, older movie that was somehow thematically linked.

For instance, our first-ever episode was Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the underrated girl-power masterpiece Josie and the Pussycats.

Yes, masterpiece. Fight me.

The reason we chose this format goes back to our video store: at ECV, when it was in business, you could rent any movie at full-price and get an older/catalog movie for free. The most frequent combination, of course, was that somebody would get one of the hot new releases, come to the counter, and be reminded “you can grab an older movie for free if you want.” This was one of the most frequent ways that conversations would start, with the cutstomer saying “well, what might go with the thing I have in my hands?”

In today’s case, Zach and Russ are talking about Jack Ryan, the new Amazon series, and the very first live-action Jack Ryan adaptation from 1990, The Hunt for Red October, directed by Die Hard and Predator filmmaker John McTiernan.

There are four more Jack Ryan movies, and we will get to those (and a little more talk about the rest of Jack Ryan season one) over the next few episodes.

You can find us on Facebook at facebook.com/emeraldcityvideo or Twitter at twitter.com/ecv_podcast. If you want to support our show, we have ways you can do that, either at PayPal.me/emeraldcityvideo or at https://patron.podbean.com/emeraldcityvideo.

And for more from Russ, Zach, and the rest of the ECV crew, make sure to be back here by noon on the fifth day, and always remember to rewind your cassettes.


New Release Wall #35: The Last Blockbuster

Hey, gang. Russ here.

This is a very special episode for…well, for a few reasons.

The first reason, and the one least likely to impact our listeners, is that this will be the final episode recorded and edited on the trusty MacBook that has been with me since the start of the series. It is a work machine, and the corporate overlords at the day job have seen fit to outfit me with a new one that’s about 7 years newer than this. Farewell, old friend.

Secondly, you might notice that I am flying solo on this adventure — and that the sound is kind of all over the place. Today’s episode features an interview between myself and the guys behind THE LAST BLOCKBUSTER — director Taylor Morden and producer Zeke Kamm.

Originally, Zach Roberts and I recorded this — except that apparently, we didn’t, and the audio was lost to history. These good folks have a Kickstarter to promote — you can find that link here, and I encourage you to back it — and so rather than try to find a time where all four of us could be free and risking another technological mishap, we trimmed it down.

And yeah, I kind of glanced over it, but for the first time since I talked to Joshua Hale Fialkov and Tony Fleecs about JEFF STEINBERG, CHAMPION OF EARTH, we have an interview on the show. Exciting times!

Last but not least, this is the first episode where ECV will be featured on ACPN — the Art, Comedy, and Pop-Culture Network. You can check them out at TheACPN.com, and they’re good folks. Before I ever applied to be part of this collaborative circle of shows, I followed them on Facebook for quite some time and enjoyed a lot of the material they put out. If you like what we do here, you will probably like at least a few of their shows, which include Rewind Cinema and the Retro Cinema Podcast.

The Last Blockbuster is a documentary expected to be released in early- to mid-2019. It centers on the final surviving Blockbuster Video store in Bend, Oregon, but that also talks about the video industry as a whole along the way. Taylor and Zeke were kind enough to carve out some time for us twice in a week, so please enjoy this interview — even if the audio quality on this conference call is not exactly the stuff that dreams are made of.


The Meg/Death Race (2008)

It's Jason Statham Week! Join Russ and Zach as we break down The Meg and Death Race.


New Release Wall #33: The Death of Superman

The Death of Superman -- based on a story that culminated in 1992's Superman #75 -- being episode #75 of the podcast is so perfect that we’re going to pretend waiting around for that movie to come out is why we haven’t done a new episode lately.


New Release Wall #32: Skyscraper

Russ Burlingame and Zach D Roberts break down Skyscraper, which was a ton of fun.


Director’s Commentary Track: THE JURASSIC GAMES

Russ Burlingame and Zach Roberts already took a long, hard look at The Jurassic Games in an earlier New Release Wall episode -- but this is a special episode and the first in what we hope to make a regular thing: The film's director, Ryan Bellgardt, joined Russ for a long-form interview/commentary track, sharing recollections, behind-the-scenes secrets, and observations about the film in real time as an audio companion to the movie's video.

So cue up your copy of The Jurassic Games -- you can get it on Vudu, Amazon, iTunes, or other streaming services, or pick up a physical disc on Amazon or at Walmart -- and listen to a feature-length commentary track from the director and one of our intrepid hosts.

You can hear our original The Jurassic Games review here.

You can get a copy of the movie on Amazon here, and if you buy at that link it supports the podcast.


New Release Wall #31 - Ant-Man & The Wasp (NON-SPOILER Review)

In the latest New Release Wall, Russ and Zach talk about Ant-Man and the Wasp.

Be back by noon on the third day to hear their spoilery thoughts!


New Release Wall #30: The First Purge

Russ and Zach give their non-spoiler impressions of The First Purge, Blumhouse's latest horror outing.


New Release Wall #29 - The Jurassic Dead

After the fun of The Jurassic Games, we decided to try out The Jurassic Dead.

This was a poor idea.

Russ's notes:

I love he score in the opening sequence; it feels like Fletch or something, but with more baseline.

What’s with the bright green serum? Is this Cartel 2045?

The acting and camera work her are not at a professional level. like, this isn’t Cartel or Jurassic Games, where it’s at that level with some quirks.

…He didn’t even inject the serum! Just dribbled it on the skin? What’s the point of putting it in a syringe?

The T-rex in the first sequence looks convincingly like puppetry. Even if when it’s close to the car it is OBVIOUSLY NOT CLOSE TO THE CAR

“Mrs. Dr. Borge” has so much packed into it. First of all, isn’t she too old and presumably too smart for that? Second, she doesn’t know his first name? SHE’S IN COLLEGE.

I want to know the backstory of his bowtie

“I am not here to debate, Im here to educate,” says the guy who has just been monologuing about the meaning of life since the class started.

…Wait, he’s bringing dead cats back to life in what is clearly a community college classroom?

“It takes quite a bit to work,” except that it didn’t take much to work on the T-rex, especially given its relative size.

The acting in this movie is basically like the fake soap opera in TWIN PEAKS.

There is waaaaay too much green screen in this movie. I get that they can’t afford any sets, but it looks awful.

I don’t know that there has ever been a truly good film that had an expository crawl 12 minutes in. I’m also not crazy about “one lived — this is his story.”

This guy who is yelling at his co-worker about breaking the law and looking like shitheads? He is up on one foot completely out of the driver’s seat and looking nowhere near the road.

Roxy has the worst hair/wig I’ve seen in a while.


I’m glad that we got a zombie dinosaur in the first 5 minutes because it feels like forever until anything resembling a plot happens.

…Wait, she ACTUALLY has a Game Boy?

I like how they code “geek” as “pretty girl with an R2D2 backpack.”

The redneck who has a tantrum and stomps his hat is just a protracted scene that is not at all funny.

“How did you get past HR?” says the guy who then scratches his temple with the barrel of a gun.

I doni’t understand the weird film stock effects used when they have the THE RIGHT STUFF shot. It’s like, after having a text crawl 12 minutes in, they decided they needed an ‘80s TV series opening credits 20 minutes in.

There is a truly awful bit of ADR when the younger sister says “what kind of structure is it?” when they inexplicably stop in the desert.

Gunner looks and acts like Rick Derris from Clerks. But, y’know. There’s a whole movie of him.

“This could be the apocalypse” the dude says with absolutely no reason to believe it at all.

Why is “Oh my God, is that a vulture?” a runner in this movie?

I love the idea that the d-bag football guy scoffs at Metal Gear Solid.

Also: is Metal Gear Solid still something that resonates with college kids?

31 minutes before the end of JURASSIC DEAD, we finally have our main characters interacting with a dinosaur.

Remember in Jurassic Games, when we talked about needing a moment where they had some kind of tongue-in-cheek reference to JP tropes? Here we have the giant metal box.

I don’t think any geek in the world uses “Zuckerberg” instead of “Einstein” to sarcastically refer to genius.

Okay, so why would Gunnar ever shoot for center mass when he knows that the guys are likely military.

My favorite character in the movie is guy who just grabs one of the mains and yells “shut up” in his ear.

…Wait, this dude thinks we need zombie dinosaurs for America to destroy itself? Maybe the timeline issues with the gameboy are just because the movie was legitimately written before Trump.

Okay so there is a serious problem with the dinosaur reveal.

The fact that they did not construct the set into which they introduced the dinosaur means that they ended up using green screen to approximate it. They did not, however, adjust for the apparent size of the beast. This means the message sent when we get the close-up of the foot is significantly different from the one sent when we get a full-body shot of the Rex.

There’s a stretch of this movie where the Duke Nukem douchebag is suddenly our hero. And WTF?

I feel like the zombie thing doesn’t contribute much to the dinosaur story.

Our mad scientist gives off a weird Anakin Skywalker at death vibe.

The shot of them “shooting down the door” is literally some of the worst CG I have seen this side of the Corman Fantastic Four.

I don’t like zombies who talk, and it just contributes to the “the zombie aspect of this doesn’t feel important” thing.

I will say that at least the shitty fake blood spatter when they slice the conspiracy theory guy’s throat is visually engaging and doesn’t look like generic CG crud.

Even the closing credits of this movie are basically just throwing everything at the wall.