Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Weekly Stuff Podcast #92 - Destiny Beta Chat and Miscellaneous Movie & Gaming News



It’s time for another episode of the increasingly mis-named The Weekly Stuff Podcast with Jonathan Lack & Sean Chapman, a weekly audio show that explores the worlds of film, video gaming, and television. Remember to subscribe for free in iTunes by following this link!

This week’s show is a fairly relaxed, casual affair, as we spend some time discussing recent video games we’ve been playing, break down some interesting movie and gaming news (including some speculation over Marvel’s recently revealed release date calendar through 2019), and, finally, talk about Bungie’s Destiny beta, which we’ve been greatly enjoying for the past week. It’s not a very busy episode, but it is a fun one, and with Doctor Who returning in August, we have some big plans for upcoming episodes – listen in so you know what to expect.

Enjoy!





If you have questions, comments, or concerns about The Weekly Stuff, or would like to write in to the podcast to have your questions read on the show, please e-mail dinochow@jonathanlack.com.

The Weekly Stuff with Jonathan Lack & Sean Chapman is a weekly audio podcast, and if you subscribe in iTunes, episodes will be delivered automatically and for free as soon as they are released. If you visit www.jonathanlack.com, we also have streaming and downloadable versions of new and archival episodes for your listening pleasure.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Essay Day - "From Book to Cinema: Adaptation and the Construction of Film Noir in The Postman Always Rings Twice"



It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time for ‘Essay Day’ here at Fade to Lack. As explained here, I have a written a large number of essays during my time at the University of Colorado as a student in film studies, and I thought it time to share the best of those with my readers, so throughout the summer, I’ll be posting a new essay every Wednesday, all focused on film in one form or another, but often incorporating other research and fields of study.

This week’s selection emerges from an interesting, challenging assignment. When I applied to the BA/MA program in Film Studies at the University of Colorado last October (a program in which one earns one’s Graduate degree at the same time as one’s Undergraduate), the biggest part of the application was the ‘October Surprise,’ in which applicants were given a film and a topic on Friday afternoon, and tasked with returning a 10-20 page research paper on the movie Monday morning. It’s quite sadistic in theory, but as I tend to write my major essays in concentrated bursts over a few days, this was actually quite enjoyable, as the film – Tay Garnett’s The Postman Always Rings Twice – encompassed plenty of possible paths for study, and made for a really fascinating research experience. This paper should be fully accessible whether one has seen the film or not, and offers an interesting look at Hollywood cinema during the height of the Production Code era. Enjoy...

Read “From Book to Cinema: Adaptation and the Construction of Film Noir in The Postman Always Rings Twice” after the jump...

Monday, July 14, 2014

TV Review: "24: Live Another Day" caps a very good season with a genuinely great finale



24: Live Another Day - the resurrection of the classic TV action series, which happens to be one of my favorite shows of the 2000s - has just concluded its 12-episode season, and I have many spoiler-filled thoughts on the season as a whole, and the finale in particular, coming up after the jump...

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Review: "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" is devastating and awe-inspiring


If Rupert Wyatt’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes felt like a remarkable breath of cinematic fresh air, a stirringly thoughtful and inspiringly executed resurrection of a film franchise many decades past its prime, then Matt Reeves’ follow-up, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, feels like a full-blown revelation. Wyatt, with help from Andy Serkis’ instantly legendary motion-capture performance as Caesar, crafted a film in which a computer-generate Ape could plausibly serve as the emotional center for a smart and engaging dramatic narrative, and Reeves takes that ball and runs with it, crafting a much larger and more complex emotional tapestry that is both intensely immersive and, at times, positively devastating. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the rare summer blockbuster that exists not for thrills or escapism, but to dive deep into some of the biggest and most challenging questions human beings can ask – about how we live in and among communities, how we survive in the face of adversity, how we lead when called upon to do so, what it means to trust and follow another, and how all of these dilemmas can serve as steps on the inevitable road to violent conflict. In exploring these issues, Dawn ultimately comes up a tad short of greatness, unable to fully deliver the emotional punch it seems primed to carry, but the film’s ambition is so commendably vast, its execution so staggering and soulful, that to declare it anything less than a major achievement would be a disservice.

Continue reading after the jump...

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Weekly Stuff Podcast #91 - 2014 Year-to-date Review



It’s (finally!) time for another episode of The Weekly Stuff Podcast with Jonathan Lack & Sean Chapman, a weekly audio show that explores the worlds of film, video gaming, and television. Remember to subscribe for free in iTunes by following this link!

After an unfortunate two-week break – we didn’t want to be away, but life, namely non-podcasting responsibilities, get in the way sometimes – we have returned with a jam-packed episode, in which we cover a wide array of topics, from sharing thoughts on Doug Liman’s Edge of Tomorrow, to discussing the sorry state of PC gaming platform Steam, to breaking down various bits of movie, gaming, and TV news – Doctor Who returns August 23rd! – and a whole lot more.

But the central topic for the episode is a look back at the year 2014 has been so far in the realms of film, gaming, and television, with Sean and myself offering three recommendations apiece for the best new games of the year so far, and me doing the same for movies and TV shows. It has been a sparse year for film and gaming – not so for TV – and that has made 2014 an interesting beast to reflect upon so far.

Enjoy, and listen through to the end for information on where the show is heading in August, and what you can start brushing up on now in preparation!

  



If you have questions, comments, or concerns about The Weekly Stuff, or would like to write in to the podcast to have your questions read on the show, please e-mail dinochow@jonathanlack.com.

The Weekly Stuff with Jonathan Lack & Sean Chapman is a weekly audio podcast, and if you subscribe in iTunes, episodes will be delivered automatically and for free as soon as they are released. If you visit www.jonathanlack.com, we also have streaming and downloadable versions of new and archival episodes for your listening pleasure.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Essay Day – "Bob Dylan, Dont Look Back, and the Reflexivity of Direction"



It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time for ‘Essay Day’ here at Fade to Lack. As explained here, I have written a large number of essays during my time at the University of Colorado as a student in film studies, and I thought it time to share the best of those with my readers, so throughout the summer, I’ll be posting a new essay every Wednesday, all focused on film in one form or another, but often incorporating other research and fields of study.

This week’s selection is one long-time readers may have seen before, as it was posted on the site a few years ago, and was included in my 2013 book Fade to Lack. But I’m fond of this little piece, so I thought I’d include it here again. This short essay was originally written for a course on Documentary Poetics in the Spring of 2012. We screened D.A. Pennebaker’s infamous Dont Look Back, a documentary about Bob Dylan’s 1965 concert tour in the United Kingdom, and were asked to write a short response describing the story, aesthetics, and techniques. I did none of those things, instead penning this more esoteric response.

Read “Bob Dylan, Dont Look Back, and the Reflexivity of Direction” after the jump...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Essay Day - "Suffering and Transcendence in Federico Fellini’s La Strada and The Dardenne Brothers’ L’Enfant"




It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time for ‘Essay Day’ here at Fade to Lack. As explained here, I have written a large number of essays during my time at the University of Colorado as a student in film studies, and I thought it time to share the best of those with my readers, so throughout the summer, I’ll be posting a new essay every Wednesday, all focused on film in one form or another, but often incorporating other research and fields of study.

This week’s piece was one of the several in this series never written with publication in mind, as it was penned for an in-class exam in just one hour. The course was called ‘Cinema and the Poetics of Transcendence,’ exploring human arcs of transcendence in a variety of foreign feature films, and the essay prompt was to use two films viewed in class – specifically, Federico Fellini’s La Strada and the Dardenne Brothers’ L’Enfant – and discuss how suffering leads to transcendence in the arcs of the two protagonists. It is not my favorite essay in this series, personally – I am not personally invested in either of these films very much, as they both belong to the tradition of French films that ask the viewer to sympathize with ethically repulsive characters for reasons that do not entirely add up – but it was an interesting exercise in writing about films I felt ambivalent towards, and it makes for a potentially intriguing read. Enjoy...

Read “Suffering and Transcendence in Federico Fellini’s La Strada and The Dardenne Brothers’ L’Enfant” after the jump...