October 26, 2020
Frailty Podcast Review
The late Bill Paxton’s 2001 directorial debut Frailty may have passed by unnoticed at the box office, but over time this low-budget, atmospheric horror film has maintained a steady appreciation. This week Rick and Patrick are joined by Montreal-based film writer and professor Matthew Hays to break down just what makes this underseen gem so good, as well as dive into its themes of religious piety and family dynamics. The story of a man who believes he has been chosen by God to destroy demons living as humans on earth delves into dark places, as this good-natured mechanic also turns his mission into a family affair – even as one of his sons thinks his father may be going insane.
From strong performances to an interesting script with an unreliable narrator, Frailty consistently engages the audience and is sure to surprise them as well with its many (too many?) twists. Join us as we sort out all the plot details and ponder the mysteries. How well does Frailty handle the supernatural elements? Would the film have worked even better with more ambiguity, or is the clarity of vision one of its strengths? For all this and more, have a listen!
October 19, 2020
William Peter Blatty, author of The Exorcist, wrote and directed this creepy thriller, based on his novel Legion. Thankfully he ignored the events of John Boorman’s disappointing Exorcist II: The Heretic, and abandoned cheap scares altogether, instead allowing the events to unfold like a detective story about one man’s search for faith. The Exorcist 3 isn’t quite as good as the first film, but thanks to some powerful performances by Brad Dourif and George C. Scott, Blatty directs a picture that is just as frightening.
There are several stand-out scenes: The dream sequence with George C. Scott moving through Heaven, delivers a strong punch, and the moment where George C. Scott enters the ward and the camera pans upwards to reveal one of the patients crawling on the ceiling, is spooky as hell. However, the most memorable scene comes when a nurse investigates strange noises during her graveyard shift. Director Blatty shows great patience in holding a far shot for an ample amount of time while making good use of ominous sounds heard in the distance. The sequence culminates with not one, but two of the best jump scares you’ll ever see; both will have you jolt from your seat. On the climactic exorcism scene, Blatty fought with the producers who demanded a frenzy of special effects. In retrospect, this might be one of the rare times in which the studio made the right choice and not the director. After all, what is an Exorcist film without an exorcism?
The picture is also extraordinarily well-acted by the likes of George C. Scott, who provides some of his best work, and Brad Dourif (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), who is equally riveting as The Gemini Killer. Gerry Fisher’s widescreen lensing is put to excellent use within the narrow corridors and caged cells of the asylum and Barry De Vorzon’s eerie score will make the hairs on your arms stand up. Those looking for a truly creepy picture, look no further. On this episode of the Sordid Cinema Podcast, we’ll go over all this and explain why The Exorcist 3 will surely get under your skin.
October 11, 2020
Though perhaps most famous upon its release for being the most expensive movie at the time, Kevin Costner’s aqua-drenched, apocalyptic epic Waterworld has managed to slough that narrative and stay afloat in a sea of sinking blockbusters. The story of a fish-man who befriends a woman and little girl after surviving an atoll raid by smoking pirate goons is a little more comic-booky than its Mad Max facade might initially suggest, but despite odd tonal shifts and a couple of underwhelming performances, there is still a lot to love here.
This week, Rick and Patrick discuss the best parts of this mega movie, including a bizarre setting, lavish production design, and skillful practical filmmaking. They also dive into the trouble-filled shoot, talk a little of Kevin Costner and director Kevin Reynolds’ filmmaking history, and try their best to come up with apt comparisons for this strange film. With action set pieces that are still amazing and gorgeous, colorful ocean imagery that pops off the screen, doesWaterworld has enough ingredients to shedding its soggy reputation? For all this and more, have a listen!
October 9, 2020
It’s been more than three decades since Tony Scott’s aerial action drama first flew into theaters and Tom Cruise took our breath away as Lt. Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell. It was May 16, 1986, to be exact when Top Gun was released and inspired moviegoers around the world to put on aviator shades, bomber jackets and try their best to walk and talk like Maverick! Say what you will about Top Gun —you can’t deny the movie was incredibly influential and helped reshape Hollywood action movies moving forward. It made Cruise a superstar and was the start of a hugely successful partnership between Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer. And despite its initial mixed critical reaction, the film was also a huge commercial hit grossing $356 million stateside against a production budget of only US$15 million. There’s plenty of reasons to love Top Gun and on this episode of the Sordid Cinema podcast, we’ll tell you why.