Sordid Cinema Podcast
Sordid Cinema Podcast #554: ‘Dressed to Kill’ is Draped in Stylish De Palma

Sordid Cinema Podcast #554: ‘Dressed to Kill’ is Draped in Stylish De Palma

July 29, 2020

Dressed to Kill Podcast Review

Though many may not rank it among his best (including our own Ricky D), Brian De Palma’s Dressed to Kill is nevertheless a perfect example of how a particular director can greatly enhance the material through individual craftsmanship and sensibilities. Sure, what should be a fairly simple story of a high-class call girl both investigating and fleeing from the mysterious woman she witnessed commit a bloody murder might get a bit needlessly convoluted and confusing thanks to De Palma’s screenplay, but there is never any doubt in the clarity of the visuals. The director brings his Hitchcockian best here, with several standout scenes worthy of discussion, including a virtuoso flirtation sequence in a museum, as well as a grisly slashing in an elevator.

 

In addition to the fantastic camerawork, Rick and Patrick also save some praise for the performances, many of which rise above the sometimes-hokey dialogue to create memorable characters (and yes, that praise includes Nancy Allen as call girl Liz). They also discuss De Palma’s influences, and though Dressed to Kill might seem like an overt homage to Hitchcock’s Psycho, it also owes something to giallo horror films of the day. These elements all come together to result in a stylish, adult thriller the likes of which modern audiences could use more of. But can Dressed to Kill still enjoy a wide appeal?

 

For all this and more, have a listen!

 

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Sordid Cinema Podcast #552: Revisiting’Gremlins 2: The New Batch’

Sordid Cinema Podcast #552: Revisiting’Gremlins 2: The New Batch’

July 2, 2020

One of the Best Horror Sequels Turns 30!

Gremlins 2: The New Batch Podcast Review

This week the Sordid Cinema Podcast takes a look at 1990’s Gremlins 2: The New Batch, one of the strangest sequels ever made by a Hollywood studio. Famous for director Joe Dante’s reluctance to return to his world of the mischievous little monsters without the total creative control eventually granted him, Gremlins 2 plays almost like a satire of the original, as well as of sequels in general and numerous cultural trends at the time. Chaotic, comedic, yet tightly structured, this renegade, Looney Tunes-inspired film mocks everything from the convoluted Mogwai Rules to the sad backstories that Kate seems to have for specific holidays. And thanks to Rick Baker (also a co-producer), there are plenty of amazing creatures perpetrating the hijinks this time around. Bat gremlins, spider gremlins, lighting gremlins – this movie has it all!

Rick and Patrick are joined by writer/film critic Mariko McDonald to parse out the plethora of in-jokes, references to classic horror, odd Easter eggs, fourth wall-breaking, and overall zaniness, while also discussing a bit of the film’s history and how it compares to Gremlins. One could talk for hours about this masterful example of studio-funded anarchy, so for all this and more, have a listen!

Sordid Cinema Podcast #551: Why ‘La Haine’ is as Explosive 25 Years On

Sordid Cinema Podcast #551: Why ‘La Haine’ is as Explosive 25 Years On

June 16, 2020

La Haine Podcast Review

Twenty-five years ago, Mathieu Kassovitz’s French black-and-white drama crime drama La Haine sent shockwaves through the 1995 Cannes Film Festival, where it received a standing ovation and the Best Director prize.

A story of social unrest, La Haine was inspired by three isolated incidents involving the killing of unarmed young people by police officers (including the famous case of the 17-year-old Congolese Makomé M’Bowolé) that led to three weeks of riots in Paris and surrounding areas.

Starring Hubert Koundé, Saïd Taghmaoui, and Vincent Cassel (in his breakout performance), La Haine is set over 19 consecutive hours in the lives of three young men living in the impoverished, multi-ethnic public housing complexes known as Chanteloup-les-Vignes. We follow the three of them in the aftermath of a riot in a banlieue that left their teenage friend Abdel comatose in a hospital after being brutally beaten by the police. When Vinz recovers a gun lost by a cop during the riot, he feels empowered and decides to take revenge.

Twenty years on, La Haine feels more relevant than ever. It’s arguably the best film made about systemic racism and police brutality— easily the best film released in 2015— and one of the most powerful pieces of urban cinema ever made. Today on the Sordid Cinema Podcast we reflect on the film’s lasting significance and why it holds a special place in our hearts.

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Sordid Cinema Podcast #547: ‘The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover’

Sordid Cinema Podcast #547: ‘The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover’

May 1, 2020

This week on the Sordid Cinema podcast, we discuss The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, Peter Greenaway’s most successful film and some would argue his true masterpiece— although not to the taste of the average cinema goer.

 

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Sordid Cinema Podcast #545: ‘The Fog’ Deserves to be Seen

Sordid Cinema Podcast #545: ‘The Fog’ Deserves to be Seen

April 14, 2020

This week Rick and Patrick are joined by Goomba Stomp writer Marty Allen to discuss one of John Carpenter’s lesser-cited horror classics, 1908’s The Fog. Though it may not have had the impact of such genre masterpieces as Halloween or The Thing, this low-budget story of a group of ghostly lepers who assail a small coastal town contains many of the director's stylistic hallmarks, as well as his usual efficiency. Sure, the third act may suffer a bit from a lack of inspiration, but what comes before is rock-solid filmmaking that should appeal to anyone that loves well-crafted suspense and horror.

So just how well does The Fog hold up for modern audiences? Who (or what) is the film’s MVP? Where does it stand in Carpenter’s filmography? We dive into the production, gush over the camerawork, break down why this screenplay works, and even pick a few nits. For all this and more, have a listen!

Sordid Cinema Podcast #544: ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’

Sordid Cinema Podcast #544: ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’

April 1, 2020

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance Podcast Review

This week’s show sees Patrick picking another western, but this one is a little more talkie and a little less shooty. John Ford’s 1962 adaptation of The Man Who Shot Liverty Valance centers on a classic genre theme of civilization vs. frontier law. While Ford may be an acquired taste for some, the hosts discuss the fascinating philosophical conflicts at play while praising many (though not all) of the performances, as well as note the uniqueness of the (mostly) action-free film. With Monument Valley never making an appearance, is there enough to look at? Does this slower western still hold up today? Why, oh why, did Ford leave in that classroom scene?

For all this and more, have a listen!

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Sordid Cinema Podcast #542: ‘The Quick and the Dead’ is the Sam Raimi show

Sordid Cinema Podcast #542: ‘The Quick and the Dead’ is the Sam Raimi show

March 14, 2020

Sam Raimi’s The Quick and the Dead Podcast Review

1995’s The Quick and the Dead showed that director of The Evil DeadDarkman, and Army of Darkness wouldn’t hold back his off-kilter, kinetic style for a western, and the result is thrilling for Sam Raimi fans. While certain aspects (i.e., the script) may not shine in this tale of Sharon Stone’s mysterious gunfighter entering a quickdraw competition in order to enact revenge on the despotic mayor of the small town of Redemption, Raimi ensures that there is always something crazy and meaningful to look at. This week on the Sordid Cinema Podcast, Rick and Patrick celebrate the film’s 25th anniversary by discussing how the director shapes and enhances the boilerplate story with his unique visuals and panache.

Along the way, the hosts also marvel at the distinct performances by an incredible cast that features a stoic Stone, a deliciously evil Gene Hackman, a badass Russell Crowe, and a young Leonardo DiCaprio, among many others. They also decide which gunfight is the best, pick their favorite and least favorite scenes, and wonder if this version of Raimi still holds up with modern audiences. For all this and more, have a listen!

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Sordid Cinema Podcast #540: ‘Witness’ is Masterful, Plain, Old-Fashioned Filmmaking

Sordid Cinema Podcast #540: ‘Witness’ is Masterful, Plain, Old-Fashioned Filmmaking

February 23, 2020

Witness 1985 Podcast Review

This week on the Sordid Cinema Podcast, Rick and Patrick get their city hands dirty with 1985’s Witness, directed by Peter Weir. The story of a little Amish boy who watches a grisly murder take place in a train station bathroom manages to combine a subdued-but-tense police thriller with an exceptionally grounded love story between detective John Book (Harrison Fords, in his only Oscar-nominated role) and the boy’s mother, Rachel (played by Kelly McGillis), along with a theme contrasting pacifism and the use of deadly force. The guys discuss how Weir expertly maintains restraint, often opting for subtle facial expressions over dialogue, and plenty of quiet moments abound. The director also once again makes the presence of the land deeply felt, creating an absorbing environment complemented by an otherworldly score by Maurice Jarre.

With so many great scenes, how can we choose the best? What might Rick and Patrick change about this nearly flawless film? Along the way in answering these questions and more, the guys dive into the production history, as well as talk about how this film fits in with Peter Weir’s filmography. Have a listen!

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Sordid Cinema Podcast #538: ‘His Girl Friday’ Still Easily Passes the Howard Hawks Test

Sordid Cinema Podcast #538: ‘His Girl Friday’ Still Easily Passes the Howard Hawks Test

February 3, 2020

This week the Sordid Cinema Podcast takes a short break from all the blood and guts to look back at Howard Hawks’ 1940 screwball comedy masterpiece, His Girl Friday. This adapted story of a newspaper writer (Rosalind Russell) trying to break free from the journalist lifestyle only to be lured back in by an incredibly big story — as well as her boss/ex-husband(!), played by Cary Grant — features cascades of whip-smart wit, an abundance of double crosses and double entendres, and fantastic direction from one of old Hollywood’s finest filmmakers.

Rick and Patrick are joined by writer/film critic Mariko McDonald to discuss the impact of Hawks swapping out the original male lead for a female lead, reveal tidbits about the production and how they managed to fit a 191-page screenplay into 92 minutes, pick our favorite scenes as well as elements we might change, and much more! For an in-depth dive into this wonderful classic, have a listen!

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Sordid Cinema Podcast #512: ‘Trainspotting’ 20 Years Later Special

Sordid Cinema Podcast #512: ‘Trainspotting’ 20 Years Later Special

March 27, 2017

Danny Boyle’s bravura and celebratory adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s seminal novel blew the socks off the British film industry back in 1996. A zeitgeist phenomenon, the stand-out film of that year’s Cannes film festival became an international box office success and since then, it’s routinely featured in best British film lists, while the public voted it the best Scottish film of all time.  The thing about Trainspotting is that we simply haven’t seen a film quite like it since. It’s exciting, energetic, thought-provoking, and never lets up. But what about Trainspotting 2? It’s impossible to catch lightning in a bottle twice, yet that’s what director Danny Boyle is trying to do with his belated sequel to Trainspotting. This week it’s our Trainspotting special!

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