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Junk Food Dinner is a weekly podcast devoted to cult films, sci-fi, horror movies and everything weird and wild about the cinematic art form. Your three hilarious and good-looking hosts each pick a movie and then argue about why we did or did not like them.

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    Hey, dudes. I've got a couple things for you to check out.

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    Some of you might remember a while back when we fired up the old Randomizer 2000, well for this round we upgraded the machine - to the 5000 model - but the movie quality remains the same!

    Up first, a cast of A-list superstars (Aaron Eckhart, Hillary Swank, Richard Jenkins, Delroy Lindo, Stanley Tucci...uhhh, DJ Qualls, I guess...) pile into a ship 20 years in the making for a doomsday scenario so crazy, we have to put it in all caps here: THE CORE OF THE EARTH HAS STOPPED SPINNING AND NEEDS TO BE RESTARTED BY BOMBS! Also, whales are there to lend a helping hand. Forget everything you know about science (which we assume is a lot if you listen to this show) and feel free to throw up, we know we did - as we examine THE CORE from 2003

    Next - Sam Peckinpah's whiskey soaked corpse spins in his grave as we discuss the 2011 remake of his classic 1971 film - STRAW DOGS. When a writer (James Marsden) from tinsel town posts up in the dirty south to get some writing done, he ends up alienating the locals (among them Alexander Skarsgard and James Woods) who harass him and his barefoot wife (Kate Bosworth) to no end. How much can one man bear before he takes matters into his own hands?

    Speaking of bears we finally get to the pick of the litter, have a look at GRIZZLY II: THE PREDATOR: THE CONCERT from, ohhhhh around 1983. A wild bear is loose at a concert and some people want to kill it. Now while that may not sound like groundbreaking material let us stress that this is no ordinary "when animals attack" film. Available as only a work print, this unfinished feature contains almost no grizzly but makes up for it with unlicensed Michael Jackson songs, early appearances by Laura Dern, Charlie Sheen, and George Clooney and a whole lot of charm. 

    All this plus witty banter between friends, soundboard antics, Star Wars hating, Junk Mail, DVD & Blu-ray releases, some of the worst puns Parker has ever come up with, Nerd News and so much more!

    Got a movie suggestion for the show, want to give your opinion on a movie we talked about or just want to tell us we suck? Drop us a line at Or leave us a voicemail: 347-746-JUNK (5865).

    Also, if you like the show, please take a minute and subscribe and/or comment on us on iTunes, Stitcher, Blubrry or We gain unobtainium from your love and support.

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    Hey, dudes. JFD listener Adam Gismondi asked us to pass this on. It's the announcement for a wrestling show to help raise money for Hurricane Sandy victims. It takes place on my birthday, so I'll also consider it a birthday present to me if you wanna go and help out. It also happens in Voorhees, NJ so I'll consider it a sweet "Friday the 13th" reference, too, somehow. Anyway, here's the details...

    Hurricane Sandy devastated the shore community of Union Beach, NJ. My father, Raymond Smith, lost everything he owned and in an effort to help him rebuild his life we are running a fundraiser show. EVOLVE Wrestling is running the Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, NJ on December 8th at 4:00pm. We ask that you attend this show to not only support a good man, but also to support EVOLVE Wrestling – a local independent company that has offered to partner with me to help raise money for my Dad.

    We ask that you buy your tickets to the event directly through me. The easiest way is to send $20 via paypal to and your tickets will be mailed or you can pay cash and pick up tickets in advance. We will have physical tickets in a few days. We ask that you spread the word and get as many people to come out as you can. RT this, share on Facebook, bring friends and family. We’ll have our own section of the arena reserved.

    We also have a great raffle prize at the event. The grand prize will be 4 tickets to the WWE Tables, Ladders, Chairs PPV at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, NY on December 16th 2012!!! We are also including a copy of WWE ’13 The Video Game autographed by Paul Heyman and CM Punk, an autographed copy of the new CM Punk – Best in the World DVD, and various other surprises! These raffle tickets can also be purchased in advance or at the Evolve Wrestling show. The winner will be announced during the event!

    Thank you EVOLVE wrestling for making this happen! Please also feel free to make a day out of it as EVOLVE is running a doubleheader with CZW’s annual Cage of Death the same night!

    - Kelly Smith

    EVOLVE 18Flyers Skate Zone 601 Laurel Oak Rd. Voorhees, NJ 08043 Belltime: 4pm Doors: 3:30pm For more info please visit www.DGUSA.TV This is a double header with Combat Zone Wrestling Cage Of Death. Both events are a separate ticket. Go to for COD tix & info.

    Talent scheduled to appear: DGUSA Champion Johnny Gargano, Sami Callihan, El Generico, Super Smash Brothers, Masada, AR Fox. Matches will be announced in the upcoming weeks!!! Card subject to change -No digital or video cameras -Anyone filming this event on any video device will be ejected without refund and have footage confiscated -Patrons must refrain from conduct that is inconsistent with the fun, family and respectful atmosphere that makes the Dragon Gate USA experience. This is including, but not limited to: Being disruptive; interfering with other patrons' ability to enjoy the show; using foul or offensive language; failure to produce a ticket on request or sitting in a seat for which a ticket is not held. Violators are subject to ejection without refund and possible arrest.

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    Hold on to your guts, people, because this week Junk Food Dinner explores three films by one of the masters of violence and perversion, David Cronenberg.

     Up first, all Hell breaks loose when a parasite, which is a combination of aphrodisiac and venereal disease, spreads through a secluded apartment complex, causing an outbreak of sexual chaos in one of Cronenberg's first films, Shivers (AKA They Came From Within) from 1975, starring Paul Hampton, Barbara Steeleand Lynn Lowry.

    Then, James Woods is Max Ren, a purveyor of sleazy cable programing, who stumbles upon a broadcast signal transmitting extreme torture, but as he explores the transmission further he soon discovers the true nature of the programing and the effect it's having on his mind in 1983's Videodrome, co-starring Deborah Harry and Sonja Smits.

    And finally, Viggo Mortensen is a small town family man, who becomes a local celebrity when he kills two thugs in self defense at his diner. But when news spreads of heroic actions, it brings out people and secrets from his past in the 2005 crime thriller A History of Violence, co-starring Maria Bello, Ed Harris and William Hurt.

    All this plus witty banter between friends, soundboard antics, news of molesting puppets that aren't Black Devil Doll from Hell, Junk (voice)Mails, DVD & Blu-ray releases, Nerd News and so much more!


    MP3 Direct Download

    Got a movie suggestion for the show, want to give your opinion on a movie we talked about or just want to tell us we suck? Drop us a line at Or leave us a voicemail: 347-746-JUNK (5865).

    Also, if you like the show, please take a minute and subscribe and/or comment on us on iTunes, Stitcher, Blubrry or We gain giant holes in our stomach from your love and support.    

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    This week we give thanks to bullets, punches and explosions as we look at three testosterone-filled action flicks.

    First, hitman Chev Chelios (Jason Statham) has been poisoned by some Chinese shit and has to get revenge before his heart stops in 2006's "Crank," directed by the team of Neveldine & Taylor. The cast also features Dwight Yoakum, Amy Smart and Efrem Ramirez (Pedro from "Napoleon Dynamite").

    Next, everyone is looking for the mico film and everyone gets punched in "American Hunter" from 1990. Directed by Arizal and starring Chris Mitchum, this Indonesian movie perfectly combines unintentionally wacky hijinx with bad ass action.

    Finally, it's your worst nightmare, Butthorn. Mexican Muslim Communists steal an American tank and only Gary Busey can save the day in "1988's "Bulletproof." Also, Danny Trejo is there for a minute and Fred Olen Ray co-wrote it!

    Direct Download Here

    Got a movie suggestion for the show, want to give your opinion on a movie we talked about or just want to tell us we suck? Drop us a line at Or leave us a voicemail: 347-746-JUNK (5865). Also, leave some iTunes reviews and follow us on twitter @JunkFoodDinner!

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    You dudes have spoken! And it turns out you're super into cartoon robots and alienating fans of Bill Cosby!

    Next week, we'll be recording the review of our 400th movie, which will come in the form of a full audio commentary for "Transformers: The Movie!"

    Here are the results, so you can fully acknowledge how little you care about Kathy Ireland.

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  • 11/28/12--00:05: December Episode Schedule
  • Hey, dudes. Here's our December schedule. We're taking a week off for Christmas because we plan on playing with all our new toys. No worries, though. You can use that week to catch up on old episodes or to listen to Pool Party or Kevin's band or Awful Flix or go to the Spectacle Theater or something.

    Anyway, enjoy this last month of the year and hopefully we don't all die cuz we have some great things planned for January and February!


    • Dr. Detroit (1983)
    • Hologram Man (1995)
    • ThanksKilling 3 (2012)
    JFD139: (Post)Apocalypse Theme Show
    • A Boy and His Dog (1975)
    • 1990: The Bronx Warriors (1982)
    • Miracle Mile (1988)
    JFD140: Christmas Theme Show
    • Blast of Silence (1961)
    • Babes in Toyland (1986)
    • Sint (aka Saint) (2010)
    JFD141: Don Coscarelli Theme Show
    • Phantasm (1979)
    • Bubba Ho-tep (2002)
    • John Dies at the End (2012)

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     This week, to celebrate our 400th movie watched for the show, we sit down to do a full-length feature commentary for a movie of you guys voted on, the 1986 animated epic Transformers: The Movie.

    In this intergalactic war movie based on the popular animated TV series and toy line of the same name, The Autobots (the good guys) must battle The Decepticons (the bad guys) plus a giant robotic planet thing called Unicron. Confused yet? Don't worry, so are we. This surprisingly grim kids' flick (hundreds of robots meet their demise) features the voice talents of Eric Idle, Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy, Casey Kasem, Robert Stack, Orson Welles and Scatman Crothers, plus more cheesy 80's rock tunes than you can shake a stick at!

    This is a full-length commentary meant to be listened to WHILE watching along with the film.

    We will return next week with our standard format.


    Got a movie suggestion for the show, want to give your opinion on a movie we talked about or just want to tell us we suck? Drop us a line at Or leave us a voicemail: 347-746-JUNK (5865).

    Also, if you like the show, please take a minute and subscribe and/or comment on us on iTunes, Stitcher, Blubrry or We gain robot fuel from your love and support.    

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    This week, Junkies, we've got three humdingers!

    Up first, nerdy college professor Dan Aykroyd is dragged (but hardly forced) into the world of organized crime and prostitution in the Windy City when he takes on the role of DOCTOR DETROIT!

    Next, in the dystopian future of LA, a new a terrifying villain is stalking the streets. For one cop, though, this is a familiar face and it's up to him to put a stop to the rampage in 1995's HOLOGRAM MAN!

    Finally, we're stuffed but that doesn't keep us from coming back for...thirds? That's right. Turkie is back and he's somehow even angrier. The stakes are high as he searches the world over for a lost DVD of the only copy of his lost film as we talk THANKSKILLING 3 from 2012.

    All this plus witty banter between friends, fights in the graveyard at midnight, soundboard antics, Devo, Junk Mail, DVD & Blu-ray releases, Harry Belefonte jokes, Nerd News and so much more!

    Direct Download Here. 
    Got a movie suggestion for the show, want to give your opinion on a movie we talked about or just want to tell us we suck? Drop us a line Or leave us a voicemail: 347-746-JUNK (5865).

    Also, if you like the show, please take a minute and subscribe and/or comment on us on iTunes, Stitcher, Blubrry or We gain holographic beams of pure energy from your love and support.

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    It's been a weird week around the JFD offices. Kevin is out on the open road and, sadly (kind of), Mark was cut down in the prime of his life. But brave Parker carried on and enlisted the help of longtime friend of the show Sean Byron to fill in for Kevin and in a Hail Mary play, got the one and only Jason Frisbie (of Pool Party Radio) to fill in for dear, departed Mark. Just think of this as an episode of Junk Pool Food Party Dinner or something. No matter how you look at it, though, it's a whale of a show.

    Up first, it's 1990 and the authorities have all but given up on the Bronx, letting chaos run the streets. Gangs are everywhere, some of them on roller skates. When young girl and heir to the Manhattan Corp. wanders into the wrong side of town, she must figure out how to navigate the wasteland of the big apple and get out alive. Think of it as The Warriors meets Escape from New York filtered in a way that only the Italians could do it as we take a look at 1990: THE BRONX WARRIORS from 1982.

    Next up a telepathic dog and his human companion must beat feet across a desolate wasteland in search of all the necessities - food, shelter, and (of course) some of that sweet sweet loving that you can only get after the world ends. It's LQ Jones' (who we recently talked about in our review of Bulletproof) post-apocalyptic epic - A BOY AND HIS DOG.

    And lastly, a boy-meets-girl story goes awry after a phone call foretelling doomsday interrupts a pretty normal (but really really long) first date. Was the call real? Are these truly humanities final moments? Was this killer Tangerine Dream soundtrack released on vinyl? All these questions and more while we wax poetic on the bleak MIRACLE MILE.

    All this plus witty banter between friends, comma jokes, soundboard antics, boogie down jams, Junk Mail, DVD & Blu-ray releases, little to no Skype issues, Face To Face chat, Nerd News and so much more!

    Direct Download Here? Yes.

    Got a movie suggestion for the show, want to give your opinion on a movie we talked about or just want to tell us we suck? Drop us a line Or leave us a voicemail: 347-746-JUNK (5865).

    Also, if you like the show, please take a minute and subscribe and/or comment on us on iTunes, Stitcher, Blubrry or We gain holographic beams of pure energy from your love and support.

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    Whether you like it or not, it's time to get into the holiday spirit, as this week the JFD boys reunite for a 2-hour holiday spectacular!

    Up first, we learn the true meaning of Christmas (and Cincinnati) when we follow a young Drew Barrymore, Keanu Reeves, Jill Schoelen and Googy Gress(?!) into a magical fairytale world filled with teddy bears and cookies where they must battle the evil Richard Mulligan with the help of the sage-like toymaker Pat Morita, in the goofy 1986 made-for-TV movie Babes in Toyland.

    Then, we walk the streets of New York City during Christmas with lonely hired killer Frank Bono (Allen Baron, who also wrote and directed the film) in Blast of Silence from 1961. This black & white crime drama is a throw back to the film noir films of the 40's and features a "killer" jazz score.

    And finally, we travel to Amsterdam, where, according to legend, every 30 years, when the moon is full on December 5th, the evil Saint Nicholas visits naughty children to reek bloody carnage, in the 2010 Dutch horror flick Sint (AKA Saint) directed by Dick Maas.

    All this plus witty banter between friends, soundboard antics, lots of Cincinnati references, Junk (voice)Mails, DVD & Blu-ray releases, Nerd News and so much more!


    MP3 Direct Download

    Got a movie suggestion for the show, want to give your opinion on a movie we talked about or just want to tell us we suck? Drop us a line at Or leave us a voicemail: 347-746-JUNK (5865).

    Also, if you like the show, please take a minute and subscribe and/or comment on us on iTunes, Stitcher, Blubrry or We gain giant holes in our stomach from your love and support.     

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  • 12/28/12--04:33: JFD: Memories vol. 1
  • The bad news is we've taken the week off from watching any new movies. But the good news is, we're gonna take a walk down Junk Food Memory Lane.

    We'll revisit a few movie discussions from old episodes that we thought were either really fun times or the absolute worst of times. We talk Last American Virgin from JFD94, Total Recall from JFD101 and Gutterballs from all the way back to JFD66.

    Enjoy this shameless clip show and we'll be back next week with an all-new Don Coscarelli theme show!

    Direct Donloyd Here!

    Please take a moment to rate and review us on iTunes and/or like us on Facebook and/or send us an email at jfdpodcast @ Your feedback is the fuel that keeps this JFD train a-rollin'.

    Oh! And during our Last American Virgin discussion, we mention how weird that movie would be with the "Serbian Film" soundtrack. And we edited that together a while back. Here it is:

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  • 12/31/12--00:05: The January JFD Schedule
  • Hey, Junkies. We're looking to kick off 2013 with a couple of bangs and some whimpers and a then some more bangs. So, here's our schedule. This may go without saying cuz we're wild and crazy guys, but we may switch these shows around in the month a little. We may or may not be having some guests on the show this month, so don't freak out if we shuffle the shows around a bit.

    JFD142: Year in Review Show
    (We'll do our Top Movies of 2012)

    • Madhouse (1974)
    • Miami Connection (1987)
    • Shrunken Heads (1994)
    JFD143: John Waters Theme Show
    • Pink Flamingos (1972)
    • Cry Baby (1990)
    • Cecil B. Demented (2000)
    • No Retreat, No Surrender (1986)
    • Vampire's Kiss (1989)
    • Society (1989)
    JFD145: "Found Footage" Theme Show
    • Mr. T's Be Somebody or Be Somebody's Fool (1984)
    • For Safety's Sake with Gary Coleman (1986)
    • The Day My Kid Went Punk (1987)

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    This week, we celebrate Don Coscarelli by gushing about (mostly) three of his flicks.

    First, a boy discovers that weird things are afoot when a Tall Man moves into town in Phantasm from 1979. This massively influential indie flick took in big box office receipts during its initial run and has spawned three sequels and a rabid fandom.

    Next, two elderly men must protect their hospice from an ancient, soul-sucking mummy in 2002's Bubba Ho-Tep. Starring Bruce Campbell. Oh, and the two men in question may or may not be Elvis and JFK.

    Finally, two slacker pals must save the world in the highly anticipated movie based on David Wong's cult book "John Dies at the End." The movie co-stars Clancy Brown and Paul Giamatti.

    All this plus witty banter between friends, soundboard antics, lots of Mark's clicky pen, Junk (voice)Mails, DVD & Blu-ray releases, Nerd News and so much more!

    Direct Donloyd, Boy!

    Got a movie suggestion for the show, want to give your opinion on a movie we talked about or just want to tell us we suck? Drop us a line at Or leave us a voicemail: 347-746-JUNK (5865).

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    1. Seven Psychopaths
    More than a meta-concept, this film became a brilliant treatise on where we've come in film development and film culture. Without giving too much away, truly more than I expected and a must see for any film geek.

    2. Moonrise Kingdom
    The film starts in Wes Anderson's typical dollhouse, but then explores the great outdoors in a move away from even the cute diorama of the sub in Life Aquatic. Influences on his sleeve, Anderson provides a perfect vision for any romantic who wanted to find love and a life better than those of tire adults.

    3. Killer Joe
    Taken from the stage and thrust onto the screen, the story of murder and double-crosses should remain clear but is consistently distressing in how unnerving and confrontational the performances are. McConaughey gives what is maybe his most brilliant performance of the year, if he hadn't already done so in Magic Mike, Bernie, Paperboy, etc., etc.

    4. Bernie
    Linklater goes back to Texas for some folksy dark comedy. By having actors local to the scene of a bizarre murder, he let's the town speak for itself, more or less. Thankfully, this dark movie about murder in "flyover country" doesn't encroach on Coen Bros and remains wholly unique. Jack Black is amazing as the titular character - a murderer who a town finds too sweet and loves too much to convict.

    5. Compliance
    There are cringe-worthy films, and then there is Compliance. Probably the most depressing movie since Dogville, what prevented me from slicing my wrists was the very real resolution to examine human nature, and the realization that the actors, including Dreama Walker from Beware the B----- and Ann Dowd, from mostly stage and various TV, act their asses off. Note: if you are from the midwest, you will feel ashamed of that fact after watching the film and learning that this film is based on very real events.

    6. Cabin in the Woods
    A visually entertaining commentary on horror films today. Many dismissed the film as a nod-and-wink to horror fans, which is unfortunate as it has volumes to say about the corner into which mainstream horror films and production companies have painted themselves. Yes, there are references to classic horror films, but they exist *to set the debate,* and the debate is worth multiple viewings.

    7. Klown
    Absurd, Curb-Your-Enthusiasm-styled humor from Denmark. The movie goes beyond any cringe-worthy film scenarios, proving that there are highly uncomfortable and hilarious places yet to uncover. Examples: What to do when your friend is having sex next to you in the same bed, How to take your relationship to the next level with a pearl necklace, and what will you do while on weed and booze at music festival in your underwear?

    8. Goon
    Shamefully overlooked hockey-comedy with a great comedic performance from Sean William Scott and another great but small performance from Liev Schreiber. Scott's character is kind of dense, but extremely likable and even engaging. The film isn't doing much more than an underdog story, but it's probably the most likable underdog story since Rocky (I), except with loads more humor thanks to the cast and dialogue.

    9. The Avengers
    So what if Hulk goes nuts on the hover-ship? That's your beef? THAT'S why you "can't" like the movie?? You're really going to nitpick the most visually coherent and stunning superhero film to ever exist THAT ALSO pays attention to comic book canon? After decades of movies not giving a single thought to the comic book community outside of marketing, they finally manage five carefully crafted movies to set up a single spectacular and magnificent superhero crossover, and it's just not good enough for you, is it?! Well, great news, Jack: there's an atrocious Captain America/Spiderman/El Santo crossover from 1970s turkey called "3 Dev Adam" that's way more suited for your demanding comic book devotion or your belly-aching for "logic" and "realism" in COMIC BOOK-inspired movies. How's that sound, junior? You want to watch a foreign rip off, or maybe that '71 Captain America movie? Or the 1990 Captain America movie? No, no- Captain America: THE FIRST AVENGER, is off limits, sir, because it's not good enough!! IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT, BIG GUY, WHEN THE AVENGERS AND JOSS WHEDON AREN'T GOOD ENOUGH?? CAN WE JUST BRING YOU THE WORST SUPERHERO MOVIES ON A SILVER PLATTER, SIRRRRRRR???? So, yeah, in short: try not to slap anyone who claims The Avengers is not the most successful superhero film we've ever been blessed to see.

    10. Thankskilling 3
    More than a meta-concept, this film became a brilliant treatise on where we've come in film development and film culture. Without giving too much away, this one is truly more than I expected and a must see for any film geek.

    Jason "Razorblades" Frisbie is the co-host of Pool Party Radio. He has guested on JFD quite a many times, he lived in Japan once and he totally likes David Bowie. In the future, he will change American culture by implementing A Frisbie's Right to Choose.

    We'll be posting more Top Movies of 2012 lists in the next week from some friends of the show and we'll be posting our own lists after our year-in-review episode goes up Wednesday.

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    I have to admit that I didn't see nearly as many newly released films in 2012 compared to previous years. For some reason or another, I was much more content to spend most evenings this year huddled around my VCR or AppleTV, alternating between classic films and cult movies. When I did venture outside of my apartment to watch movies, it was usually towards a repertory cinema like the New Beverly, American Cinematheque, or Cinefamily, which rarely show first-run pictures. This hermit-like existence was likely spawned by my dwindling patience with the average moviegoer at the big cineplexes these days, with all the texting and talking and general idiocy, as much as it was by the declining quality of the average Hollywood film, as the ailing studio systems works to eliminate all risk-taking from its films and attempts to develop the perfectly non-offensive, broadly appealing international blockbuster, even if the result is as bland as a bucket of lard. All of that said, I did see some (mostly mainstream) new movies this year and here are the ten I enjoyed most.

    Moonrise Kingdom
    Wes Anderson films are almost not worth discussing as a large part of the enjoyment of them derives from an appreciation of his filmmaking style, which seems to be among the most divisive of any directors now working. For a fan like myself, who enjoyed all of Anderson's work to date (perhaps with an asterisk next to DARJEELING LIMITED), this film was another significant triumph. Even for those who can't stand his quirky-to-a-fault characters, unrealistically over-designed settings, and precise geometric framing, Moonrise Kingdom surely proves that Anderson is one of the most consistent directors working today, continually making films exactly as he sees fit with very little if any compromise or conformity to current trends in filmmaking.

    Rian Johnson's previous two films, BRICK and THE BROTHERS BLOOM, were enjoyable, smaller films that showcased an extremely promising young writer/director with a strong visual sense and a knack for crafting detailed characters. With LOOPER, Johnson's third film, the promise has been delivered on (and then some). With a frenetic blend of action and science fiction, a particularly twisted chronology, and one of the most memorable villains in recent memory, this was a thrill to watch. Time travel films are often up my alley, with Shane Carruth's PRIMER topping my personal list - although that may not last for long. When watching this film, particularly towards the end, I kept thinking to myself that this is probably one of those films that gets even better on subsequent passes. I don't plan on waiting very long before validating that theory.

    The Raid: Redemption
    I often lament the fact that kung fu cinema is virtually dead. Yeah, this year saw the release of THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS (a real mess), and you have some of the older stars like Jackie Chan, Jet Li, and Donnie Yen continuing to release films - but these are mostly just Chinese historical epics with some wuxia and kung fu thrown in to appease younger male audiences. What little kung fu can be found these days is often increasingly reliant on wire work, computer graphics, or is just not particularly well-executed or believable. Outside of Tony Jaa, there have been very few legitimately skilled martial artists making good films in the past few decades. As such, the buzz around THE RAID: REDEMPTION caused me a fair bit of excitement, but also some trepidation. Knowing how low the bar has been set for martial arts films, I was concerned that the hype would be unjustified. All fears were completely unfounded - this is one of the most ass-kicking experiences you can have watching a film. The phase "non-stop action" has never been more appropriately applied to a film. Director Gareth Evans's makes extremely good use of star Iko Uwais's clear mastery of his martial arts disciple. The combination of hand-to-hand fighting and gunplay, set against a John Carpenter-esque siege film plot, make for a sweat-inducing good time. And while the style of combat in this film (Indonesia's pencak silat) is not particularly showy, it more than makes up for it in lethal brutality.

    Django Unchained
    For me, this was another example of Tarantino doing what he does and doing it as well as he ever has. Who would have expected that the funniest movie of the year would be a spaghetti western about slavery? Likely nobody, and certainly not myself. Besides the unexpected comedy, this film boasts another remarkable performance by Christolph Waltz, an endearingly off-beat characterization from Leonardo di Caprio, and some expertly crafted action sequences. Although not as epic or layered as INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, there are more than enough laughs here to make up for it. It's not flawless, and Tarantino's appearance in a minor role is both indulgent and distracting, but the same point could be made for nearly all of his films.

    Jiro Dreams of Sushi
    As someone who doesn't even eat seafood (and who has a particular dislike and distrust for raw fish), I didn't expect a documentary about sushi to become one of my favorite films of the year. But then, JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI is really only concerned with sushi on the surface - at its core, this is an exploration of the concepts of family and profession captured via one of the most extreme examples of a hard-working individual you are likely to witness. At times funny, at times sad, and revealing from start to finish, this is a documentary that should appeal to nearly anyone.

    Ron Fricke's first film in 20 years is a follow-up to his most recent, 1992's non-verbal, non-narrative documentary BARAKA, at the time considered both a major technical triumph for its use of time-lapse photography and large-format (65mm) cinematography and also a major artistic triumph for its explorations of mystical themes without the use of dialogue. After traveling the world for five years with a tiny production team of only five people, Fricke has reproduced the magic of his previous efforts. Similar to BARAKA, the music of Michael Stearns guides the viewer through an artfully crafted montage of the highest-quality cinematography possible, chronicling locations around the world both natural and man-made, including the mystical traditions of ancient peoples, allowing the viewer to meditate on themes of life and death. If this sounds like new-age bullshit, well - I understand. However, even if the thematic explorations here are not of interest, the superb cinematography combined with the fact that Fricke and his small team captured so many places and traditions that have never been filmed before should compel you to watch it.

    The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
    Everyone in the world is likely to see this film at some point or another, and this probably would have likely been true regardless of its own merits, just based on the enormous success that Peter Jackson's LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy enjoyed. Despite the surefire success of this film commercially, it had quite a few marks against it creatively before it even opened: original director Guillermo del Toro dropping out, several scheduling delays before production could start, a number of incidents during production including a massive studio fire, bad word of mouth on the new 48fps digital technology, combined with the questionable decision to stretch the 300-page children's book into three films (the same number of films used to tell the epic tale of the 1,571-page LOTR trilogy - not to mention the fact that historically all film prequels have been crummy. With all of these factors stacked against it, I was preparing to be massively disappointed, particularly as a fan of the first trilogy. It may have been somewhat due to these low expectations (it's difficult to discern without multiple viewings), but I found the first of Jackson's new trilogy surprisingly enjoyable. Although it did drag slightly in a few places, and it lacked the overall diversity of settings and characters shown in the original trilogy, it did deliver a vision of Middle-Earth that was consistent with the universe Jackson had created in the those originals; compare that with the vastly different feel of the universe in the original Star Wars trilogy and what Lucas created for the prequels. And more than anything, it just felt nice to spend some more time in that world. Based on his success here, I wouldn't mind seeing Jackson attempt to recreate the magic of MEET THE FEEBLES, BAD TASTE, or DEAD ALIVE. He might even be more successful than Sam Raimi's recent attempts to do the same.

    Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai
    I've yet to see Masaki Kobayashi's 1962 original, though I've heard from multiple sources it's an overall better film. That said, Takashi Miike's remake is a solid if ultimately depressing examination of masculinity, family, and Japanese values. While not an entertaining film in the way something like 13 ASSASSINS or ICHI THE KILLER were, I responded to the strong performances here and Miike's willingness to be unrelenting in his portrayal of despair.

    Wreck-It Ralph
    Disney has been on something of a turn-around lately, somehow producing fun, original films (this film, TANGLED, BOLT) while Pixar has been producing either slight misfires (BRAVE) or just jumping on the sequel bandwagon and cranking out ultimately inferior (CARS 2, and the upcoming sequels for MONSTERS INC. and FINDING NEMO) films - something that would have been inconceivable to most animation fans just a few years ago. In my mind, Wreck-It Ralph was somewhat of a risk for Disney; handing the checkbook to Simpsons/Futurama director Rich Moore for his first feature film, and basing it largely on the 8-bit videogame nostalgia that has gripped the now 30-ish Children of the 80s (myself included). But this isn't typically the target market for a Disney release, and Sarah Silverman isn't typically Disney's first choice for a young female lead. Somehow the risk paid off, and Disney produced something that's a bit more than just a retro cash-in. Fun cameos from the casts of Q-Bert, Street Fighter II, and the Mario series keep things interesting and the animation is top-notch as to be expected.

    Tim Burton is the classic example of a filmmaker drifting away from everything that once made him interesting. Instead of the quirky, handmade quality that made films like Beetlejuice, Pee-wee's Big Adventure, and Edward Scissorhands so much fun, he drifted towards overblown, over-serious, CGI-laden dreck. Thankfully, he has shown at least a momentary lapse in his modern style for Frankenweenie - which is appropriate, as this is based on one of his earliest short films (ironically, Disney fired the 26-years-young Burton after he completed the original short film, saying it was unreleasable and that he had wasted company resources). This stop-motion film is an easy, enjoyable throwback to 1950s monster movies and the handmade art style is endearing. There is nothing mind-blowing or groundbreaking, but it's likable enough for any fan of the Universal Monsters to check out.

    Sean Byron is stand-up guy and friend of the show. He recently guest-hosted on JFD139.

    We'll be posting our own Top 10 lists later this week.

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    This week, we throw the Nerd News out the window and dive right into our Top 5 Movies of 2012! There's sushi, time travel, super heroes, scary monsters and so much more. We also confess to the worst movie we saw last year.

    As for the movies, they're weird!

    First up, is The Miami Connection, a little-known 1987 action film, written, directed by and starring martial artist Y.K. Kim. The film is the cult gem du jour, as it has recently been uncovered and re-released by Drafthouse Films. The  movie itself concerns a rock band that must protect themselves against mobsters and motorcycle ninjas - all while looking for their friend's long-lost dad!

    Next is Full Moon's first theatrical release: Shrunken Heads from 1994. Directed by Richard Elfman (The Forbidden Zone) and starring Meg Foster (They Live), a group of kids are murdered and brought back to life via a Haitian vigilante to seek revenge.

    Finally, the legendary Vincent Price plays a horror movie actor who is being stalked by his own murderous character: "Dr. Death" in 1974's Madhouse. The movie co-stars Peter Cushing and has nothing to do with John Larroquette.

    All this plus witty banter between friends, soundboard antics, Face to Face Chat, Junk (voice)Mails, DVD & Blu-ray releases, Nerd News and so much more!

    NOTE: Parker's internet crapped out (thanks, Comcast, you... you dicks!), so he had to do most of the show from his phone, so it sounds kinda crummy in parts. Sorry, guys. You can send mean tweets to Parker about this @FinalParker.

    Direct Donloyd

    Got a movie suggestion for the show, want to give your opinion on a movie we talked about or just want to tell us we suck? Drop us a line at Or leave us a voicemail: 347-746-JUNK (5865).

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  • 01/11/13--16:52: Kevin's Top 10 Flix of 2012

  • 10. ParaNorman
    I saw ParaNorman at the drive-in at the tail-end of Summer 2012. I had seen Laika Entertainment's other stop-motion marvel Coraline a few years back and enjoyed it. But I was surprised at how much I liked ParaNorman. A very fun, nostalgic romp to get you into the Halloween spirit. Good voice work, cool soundtrack, and most of all, very impressive stop-motion animation and sets. Between this and Frankenweenie, it was a great year for spooky stop-motion in the theater.
    9. Moonrise Kingdom
    Wes Anderson returns with maybe his most Wes Anderson-y movie yet. If you dug the dry, quirky, 60's-inpired vibe of Anderson's previous work (especially Royal Tennenbaums), you'll get into this tale of young love and adventure. Hardened cult or horror fans may gag at the preciousness of Anderson's style, but with a great cast and cool soundtrack, I found this to be very enjoyable.
    8. Killer Joe
    Legendary director William Friedkin serves up some sleazy Texas noir with the help of a cool story (based on the play by Tracy Letts) and good performances by Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Gina Gershon, and Thomas Haden Church. Lots of uncomfortable moments in this well-paced and unique crime thriller. Certainly not for everyone, but those willing to get lost in the gritty hillbilly reality of this movie will leave feeling dirty and satisfied.   
    7. Dear God No! / Father's Day
    This wouldn't be a Junk Food film list without some low-budget trash cinema in the mix. Two excellent examples of sleaze-ball films with small budgets but no shortage of bad taste are Dear God No! and Father's Day which both showed theatrically last year. Dear God No! is a throw back to biker exploitation films of the 60's, with a bit of 70's rape/revenge and bigfoot movies thrown in for good measure. The Troma-produced Father's Dayis the brainchild of the film-making collective Astron 6 and is about a father-raping serial killer and the group of weirdos out to stop him. Both are fun, grimy retro slime that are worth checking out.
    6. Searching for Sugar Man
    The documentary Searching for Sugar Manchronicles the brief career and legacy of cult Detroit rock/folk musician Sixto Rodriguez (better know simply as Rodriguez). After recording two masterful, yet low-selling LPs, Rodriguez vanished into obscurity. Unbeknownst to himself, he had become hugely popular in South Africa. I have been a big fan of Rodriguez's for a long time and am psyched his music will now get some of the attention it deserves and think this touching flick is a must watch for rock doc fans.
    5. Jiro Dreams of Sushi
    Another documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi tells the tale of Jiro Ono, the 85-year-old sushi master who operates his world class restaurant inside the Japanese subway. Besides some hunger-inducing footage of the man at work, the movie also explores Jiro's relationship with his two sons, who are also sushi chefs, and the pressure they feel to live up to their father's greatness. Even if you don't dig on sushi, this may be the best documentary of 2012 and is well worth your time.
    4. The Cabin in the Woods
    Joss Whedon's much-delayed The Cabin in the Woods was far and away the best horror movie to come out in 2012 (that I saw, anyway). Originally shot in 2009 with a budget of $30 million, this clever send up of classic horror tropes and mythology was tons of fun, mostly due in part to Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford who kick SO much ass as the "architects" as they direct the carnage that ensues. Much like last year's Tucker & Dale, I think this smart horror-comedy will only continue to gain loyal cult fans as people eventually get exposed to it on cable and DVD. If you missed this in the theater, shame on you, but definitely seek it out.
    3. Django Unchained
    The eagerly anticipated new film by Quentin Tarantino hit theaters late in 2012 on Christmas day. I was able to break away from family functions long enough to catch it on its opening day and thought it was a fucking blast. I'll admit, Iunabashedly enjoy pretty much everything QT puts out, but I still was impressed by how gripped by the story I was and how good the cinematography looked. Sure, it's longer than it needs to be and the briefappearances of Jonah Hill and Tarantino himself suck big time, but the bulk of the movie is very well done and a hell of a lot of fun. Outstanding performances by Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz,Samuel L. Jackson and 38-year-old child actorLeonardo DiCaprio. Oh, and if you're one of these people who are opposed to this movie because you think it makes light of slavery;lighten the fuck up, will ya.
    2. Headhunters (AKA: Hodejegerne
    The Norwegian crime thriller Hodejegerne was released in 2011 in its native land but hit US screens in Spring 2012. I caught this in the theater without reading or seeing much about about it and was blown away by how tense and engaging it was. Beautiful direction by Morten Tyldum and outstanding performances by Aksel Hennie, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Eivind Sander give this the feeling of a super-intense Scandinavian Cohen Brother's movie. Highly entertaining from beginning to end thanks to a compelling story based on Jo Nesbø's novel of the same name. If you liked original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo movies, definitely see this before the impending American re-make.
    1. The Raid: Redemption
    The Indonesian action flick The Raid: Redemption (AKA: Serbuan Maut) came to US shores in March of 2012 without much hype or publicity and went in and out of theaters fairly quickly. It's made back its measly 1.1 million dollar budget, but I'm still disappointment that more people didn't get a chance to see The Raid on the big screen, as it is one of the best action movies to come along in a long effing time. I was fortunate enough to catch this in it's brief run in my local cinema and, like most people who have seen it, I was amazed by its over-the-top violence, outstanding fight choreography and insane stunt work. The fairly simple plot of a team of cops raiding ruthless gangster run apartment block isn't totally unique (in fact the surprisingly fun Dredd used basically the same idea this year as well), but it is so masterfully executed and fun there's no need for complex story lines or character arcs, just action... and action done RIGHT. All three key action elements are delivered in spades; gun play, martial arts and explosions. Absolutely bananas from start to finish, The Raid is pure fun. Watch it on the biggest screen and the loudest speakers you can find.

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    10. Chronicle
    This is the story of three high school friends who suddenly find themselves with bitchin' telekinetic powers. I think a lot of people either had no knowledge of this flick's existence when it hit theaters in February or were turned off by the played out premise (super-hero origins plus found footage!). But, it turns out this movie is great because it avoids the triteness of its genre(s), as it doesn't dwell on the hows and whys of super powers and instead focuses (almost solely) on the emotional and psychological impact of having these powers. There's also in-story reasons for there being a camera in every scene to document these events, which is increasingly rare for that genre. I also love how the found footage aspect puts the viewer in the shoes of the bystanders of a super-hero encounter near the climax. It really conveys the epic confusion and excitement that would fuck your day up if Dr. Doom and Iron Man started fighting in your neighborhood.

    Oh, and the director is apparently gonna be doing the new Fantastic Four movie next, which has me pretty stoked.

    9. The Loved Ones
    This is an Aussie movie that came out in 2009, but it just came out in America this year. And that's where I live (because I love Freedom and political hyperbole), so it counts as a 2012 movie. This movie is equal parts "Ghost World," "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," "House of 1000 Corpses" (though, that's kind of redundant) and a Taylor Swift song.

    About halfway through the movie, I realized I need to go to therapy because I was falling in love with the Lola character.

    8. ThanksKilling 3
    We covered this movie on JFD138 and (spoiler alert) I was the only one who really liked it, but I think it's super fun, inventive, original, irreverent and, most of all, watchable. I've seen this movie five times so far (more or less, as I just have it on my tv at all times, so I catch scenes here and there) and I think I'll be re-watching it for so long that by the time I get tired of it, everyone else will come around and acknowledge its inevitable cult-classic status. Or at least cult-semi-classic, anyway. ThanksKilling 3 is probably a lock for being the prettiest movie we've ever done on JFD, aside from maybe "Total Recall" or "Gothic" or something.

    I realize, though, I'm probably biased towards this, as I'll champion any movie where a space worm tells an anecdote about a friend of his having "worminal cancer."

    7. Django Unchained
    I've talked about it on the show, but I almost loved this movie. I went in skeptical, because I didn't like "Inglourious Basterds," or as I call it "Inglourous Basterds a Little Bit, but Mostly Some French Broad who owns a Theater." In fact, I wasn't even planning to see Django at all, but my wife really wanted to see "Les Miserables," so I had to quickly escape by saying "Oh, you go see that and I'll see Django and it'll be like we went to a movie together sorta, right? Eh?" I was turned off by the surprise Frenchmen in "Basterds" so I imagine I'd absolutely hate the omnipresent Frenchmen in Les Miz.

    Anyway, despite going in skeptical, I was quickly won over (probably sometime around Christoph Waltz's third line of dialogue or so). By the one-hour mark, I was declaring this Tarantino's best work (as a director) and the best film of 2012, but by the two-hour mark, I was yawning and checking my watch and hoping to be released from my misery. The ending of this film is completely ruined by Q.T.'s ego and lack of solid bros around him to go "Hey, buddy. I know you made 'Pulp Fiction' and everything, but this fucking ending sucks and you have no business playing an Australian slaver. How many fucking Australian slavers were there in Texas, anyway?!" This is why Tarantino's best work is stuff other people directed, because you remove the cataclysmic ego of a man who thinks you can just pause an emotional climax of a film so that he can get his dumb face in the picture. I said this on the show, but imagine watching "Fellowship of the Ring," and the fellowship is waylaid by the Uruk-hai, Boromir dies protecting Merry and Pip and then Frodo and Sam escape and eat lembas bread with Peter Jackson for about a half an hour then return to the battle, see the Uruk-hai steal Merry and Pip AND THEN they decide to go to Mordor by themselves. Sounds fucking stupid right? It sure does.

    Anyway, this is #7 on my list, because I'll be able to fast forward all that bullshit on the Blu-ray, probably.

    6. Compliance
    This movie is a re-enactment of a crime that happened in Kentucky, where a man pretending to be a cop called a McDonald's and told the manager to strip search an employee because she may have drugs or stolen money on her. Surprise: the manager did. Surprise again: It gets so much worse than that.

    This movie is horrific for a few reasons. First, it highlights the absolute darkest aspect of humanity: that people will do whatever the fuck someone with authority tells them to do. This is how humans wound up getting slapped with the Holocaust, thinking "Lost" was a good show, voting on "the lesser of two evils" and the Killing Fields. There are tons of ignorant narcissists on youtube and Getglue that comment on this movie with shit like "Look @ these dummiez! Who wood do dat shiz?!" And, sure, it's easy to think that, but compliance is burned deep in our stupid human DNA. Back when we were still monkey people trying to avoid velociraptors, following the orders of the alpha male monkey man probably helped us survive as a species. Otherwise, there'd be fights and tribes and families would break apart, making them easy pickens for a sabertooth tiger or whatever. So, much like a tailbone, blindly following the leader persists in our silly species today.

    Another reason this movie is so horrific is that it is not a dramatic re enactment of the original crime. I'm used to movies being "based on a true story," only to be let down by finding out later the only similarities are that the movie and the "true story" both involved humans and virtually everything else was different. But, I was fucking shocked to discover that everything in the movie happened as it did in real life. AND THAT IT HAPPENED 80 OTHER TIMES (to varying degrees, of course.) Perhaps most shocking and wretched is that when they caught the guy who was doing all this, he got acquitted and lives a happy life with his five children, consequence-free. The victims successfully sued McDonald's, though! Good work, American justice system, you're about as effective as Hugh Hefner's wobbly old dick.

    5. Roller Town
    This is easily the funniest movie of 2012. I can't even remember the last time I laughed so hard watching a movie. Every single gag in this movie cracks me up. Even aside from the chuckle-wuckles and laughie-poos, this is just a fun movie. It's a parody (or maybe a satire) of the goofy star-crossed-lovers-plus-a-hip-trend movies that we love on Junk Food Dinner, like "Roller Boogie," (obviously), "Breakin," "Thrashin," and "Airborne."

    The movie is on Netflix Instant now, so go watch it. If you don't go around singing "Jeans! Everybody's wearing their jeans! I got mine on!" instantly, then you have no soul and you should only be allowed to watch "Compliance" for the rest of your life.

    Oh, the movie was made by a Canadian sketch troupe (is there any other kind) called Picnicface. You can watch a bunch of their clips here. And they used to have a show in Canada, but it got canceled, probably to get back at me for all all the times I made fun of how clean Toronto is. But, come on! Cities aren't supposed to be that clean! It's creepy.

    4. Safety Not Guaranteed
    This is a movie that didn't look good on paper. Or on trailer, I guess. I've seen Aubrey Plaza play cynical and detached and I've seen comedies where the punchline is a character that is unflinchingly sincere and genuine and lacking irony, like Mark Duplass's character in this movie. In fact, most comic foils these days fit that description, from Napoleon Dynamite to Dwight Schrute to the bearded dude in "The Hangover." I wonder what that says about our irony-drenched senses of humor?

    Anyway- this is a movie about a hoax. Sort of. And it's a movie about time travel. Possibly. But, mostly it's a movie about characters and regret and connections between people and risk and love and the inevitability of getting older and thinking how your life could be different. It's funny and sad and hopeful and entertaining and thought-provoking and beautiful and clever and I love it.

    3. The Amazing Spider-Man
    I was pretty opposed to this movie, but JFD listener and all-around swell dude, Seth Koozer, told me to see it and I was bored enough to listen. I'm glad I did because it's by far the best Spider-Man movie ever made. I liked (most of) Raimi's movies and everything, but in every one, the villain (who can't control himself because he's been taken over by a symbiote or robot arms or a goblin chemical) kidnaps Mary Jane and blah blah. This movie (and the sequels, judging from the bitter-sweet ending) is less about the simple excitement of Peter Parker overcoming his antagonist, and more about the changes the character goes through because of those antagonists.

    The movie has some faults, though. The Lizard looks like a goomba from the Mario Bros movie, and he's boring as crap. But, this movie isn't about him. It's about Peter and Gwen and the great acting and chemistry from those two. Oh, and it's about Denis Leary, cuz he's awesome in this.

    2. The Avengers
    I love this movie, but I'm genetically predisposed to, I guess, as I have a Captain America tattoo. Admittedly, this movie has a few faults: Why do the Chitauri all die when their mothership blows up? They're not robots! And why does Hawkeye have to be a zombie for most of the movie? And why doesn't Capt. America just handle the whole situation by himself BECAUSE HE'S THE BEST HERO OF ALL TIME?!

    Anyway, this is easily the most ambitious super hero movie of all time and perhaps the most ambitious blockbuster movie of all time (aside from Water World or something). Joss Whedon had the task of combining 4 movie franchises into one flick and he pulled it off swimmingly. Joss is best when he's handling ensemble casts and dealing with multiple character arcs and stories. Granted, about 80% of this movie is fighting and stuff, but Joss make a character say more with one line than most writers can in an entire movie.

    Besides all that - if watching Hulk smash doesn't get you fucking hype then you can just get out of my face.

    1. The Cabin in the Woods
    It's probably really, really hard to make a meta critique of horror movies while simultaneously making one of the best horror movies. "Scream" and "Funny Games" come to mind, but the former feels ridiculously dated now and no one seems to enjoy the latter. Either way, we talked the shit out of this movie on JFD106, so I won't spend all day gushing. But, this movie is great. Great performances by everyone in the cast (mostly Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins), a great story full of paranoia and conspiracy and a third act that comes straight out of the wildest dreams of every horror nerd. This movie is amazing and I think it's just gonna pick up steam as the horror benchmark it is as time goes on.

    To quote Mark: "Cabin in the Woods is totally a game changer and it has the realest cg bird I've ever seen in my life!"

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  • 01/13/13--22:12: TOP TEN of 2012: MARK
  • I feel like I watch a lot of movies. Like a lot a lot. Sometimes it seems like it's all I do. Never the less, I don't feel like I see enough movies. That being said, my list will be slightly different from Kevin and Parker. I'll be presenting my top 5 that I saw in "the" theater and the top 5 I saw in my (Spectacle) theater. Keep in mind that all of these are probably presented in no particular order. Also, I hate doing this. 


     5.) LOOPER
    To me, this sounded like heaven on paper. As a fan of Rian Johnson and time travel - this seemed like the Recee's Cup of cinema for me in 2012. As the days counted down til it's release I found myself worried that it would be too much of one and not enough of the other. What I got was, I guess more like a Mallow Cup? I don't know I think I lost it with the candy metaphors here. The point is, this isn't a perfect film but it's well acted (especially from JGL) and has some of those signature Rian Johnson flourishes I've come to appreciate so much. I think I said this on the show but this is one that I think I need to revisit - and soon. 

    I didn't really know anything about this film when I went to see it. It was an afternoon burner with Steve and I showed up not knowing what to expect. What I got was 2 hours of action, pure and unadulterated. I'm not sure what the street value is on that much action but it has to be a lot. Fight scenes (which had to be in the dozens) were choreographed in blistering detail. Weapon choices were often exotic. The story, though wafer thin, was enough to hold it together like the tendons of so many broken limbs. In a climate of punch-for-punch edits (a la the Nolan Batman trilogy) where you left feeling like you weren't quite sure who hit who but that someone got it, THE RAID was a breath of fresh air, you know, when you had time to catch your breath. Here's hoping I never get kicked through a door only to have my neck impaled on the jagged, broken edge.

    Look, I know that episode we talked about this on got pretty long and muddied up with a lot of us going round and round about the vicious hype machine of the Internet and fandom. I know. But, at the core, I really like this movie. It's funny and fresh and smart and had some really good looking CGI birds in it. Ok maybe not that part about the birds. I feel like we've probably talked about this movie enough, though. I like it. I like it a lot. I don't think it's gonna change the game for genre cinema or anything, ok?

     Another pick I more or less stumbled into. I had heard rave reviews from friends I trusted. I was in OH and managed to get a rag-tag team of misfits together to see this before I left town. I didn't watch the trailer or anything. I went in with only my Reece's Pieces. Of all the films on this list I found myself talking about this one the most. More or less a love letter to the tropes of genre cinema filled in by a series of amazing performances from the lead actor the film promotes as much head-scratching as it does praise.

    If I had to pick a favorite film of 2012, it would be FRANKENWEENIE. I'll take my licks on this one, I know it's Tim Burton and (even worse) a Tim Burton remake by Tim Burton. This is certainly not an endorsement for remakes in general or the idea that Tim Burton should keep this up, no no no. I don't mind eating crow here. The film looks great, is chock full of references to classic monster movies, and has some expert voice talent behind it. I would be a liar if I failed to mention that my decision was undoubtedly swayed by the fact that I lost my dog/friend that I had for 1/3 of my life this September and FRANKENWEENIE touched my cold, black heart at a time when I really needed it. I didn't cry. Sarah's gonna try and tell you I cried but I just had popcorn in my eye.


    One of the asskickers from our massive SUMMER OF SHRAPNEL series in August, this film took me totally by surprise. Double crosses, triple crosses, pop-art sets, chase scenes, finger traps, secret blueprints, and a snazzy soundtrack make for a fun filled watch. I'd like to think that this would play well on the show. Might be worth the gamble. It's a shame more people haven't seen this one.

    Admittedly this is cheating in every sense of the word. This was my programming, I've seen it a million times, and we covered it on the show with much fanfare. I can't stay away. I absolutely love this film. When I booked it for our NEARLY DISTANT FUTURES series in March, I have to admit, it was mostly for me. I quickly realized that we had a real opportunity though. Over the course of the screenings we were able to have director Douglas McKeown out for 2 screenings and producer Ted A. Bohus out for one. The two men gave vastly different accounts of the making of the film and added a Rashomon element I was not expecting. I feel like I learned a lot about not only the trials and tribulations of making this specific film but films in general. I had seen THE DEADLY SPAWN as a youth and reveled in the gore and now as adult I was able to appreciate it in a whole new way. Experiences like this one are some of my favorite parts of the theater and I hope that Spectacle can do that for everyone in some way. Also, if you were wondering, I totally got the colored wax on that Mondo soundtrack release.

    3.) EDEN & AFTER
    This was the second Alain Robbe Grillet film I had seen at our beloved theater and I was excited. While I loved TRANS-EUROPE EXPRESS, I was assured by Troy that I would be floored by EDEN & AFTER and he wasn't wrong. Being a member of this collective has taught me a lot of things, much like JFD I can pretty much gauge who will like what when I program it and generally, it's easy to tell. This, for example, I know that Parker would just absolutely hate. Just hate and hate and hate. It's a super French labyrinth filled with drugs, suicide, blood, art, weirdness and red herrings. Will we end up doing it on the show? We'll have to roll the dice.

    2.) ANGST
    Goddamn what a nasty little movie this is. Just utterly vicious from start to finish. It's easy to see all the cherry picking that Gaspar Noe and Darren Aronofsky did from this film. It's like they sat down and agreed who would take what almost. Like a fringe slasher film that seems at times like it's trying to get away from itself. This played to packed houses every time we screened it. I remember sitting in the very back on the trash cans and being able to not only see the film but also the reaction of the crowd. Visceral and intense the fear was inescapable. The short runtime and throbbing soundtrack only heightened the experience.

     Again, if forced to pick an all time favorite, I would have to go with this. SPEC2BER was ushered in with a lot of high hopes as last years October programming provided some record breaking nights for us, I had very high hopes. It's easy to work in themes but the last thing any of us want is for Spectacle to become "that place that shows ___________ movies." No Gods, No Masters, No Popcorn. I want everyone to be able to see everything in our little corner of Brooklyn cinema, and I think for the most part we achieve that. This SPEC2BER was great, for sure. This film however, was the stand out for me. Jon Dieringer (friend of the show and EIC at Screen Slate) programmed this and seemed to almost struggle with how to classify it. If you know Jon, you know this is a miracle in and of itself. We paired this with a Yugoslavian New Wave horror comedy and while that film did very well, no one knew quite what to make of this one. I saw it all three times we screened it. I worked the booth for 2 and sat in the seats for one and it's A CRIME HOW FEW PEOPLE SAW THIS. Dripping with loneliness and an almost desperate plea to be seen and understood. The films bleak but often darkly hilarious story is one that stuck in my brain and resonated in a way I didn't think it would.

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