Midnight Showing: Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe we go with the latest and greatest installment, Captain America: Civil War. The guys talk about how the film succeeds in ways that DC’s foil from this year Batman v Superman failed, how it takes just a little (and a lot of mega-stars) to make a great superhero flick, and perhaps the film’s greatest asset: its characters. Civil War introduces many new faces to the fray, but they feel utterly at home by film’s end, and it goes to show how devoting a little time to characterization can go a very, very long way.

Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Directors
The Russo Brothers
Stars
Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Daniel Brühl

Curated by: The Bit Players

4.8

What Movies Are About

Aired Friday, May 13, 2016

Back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe we go with the latest and greatest installment, Captain America: Civil War. The guys talk about how the film succeeds in ways that DC's foil from this year Batman v Superman failed, how it takes just a little (and a lot of mega-stars) to make a great superhero flick, and perhaps the film's greatest asset: its characters. Civil War introduces many new faces to the fray, but they feel utterly at home by film's end, and it goes to show how devoting a little time to characterization can go a very, very long way.

First Watch: Bone Tomahawk

Bone Tomahawk is a cannibal-western movie that derives it’s name from the weapon of choice used by the cannibalistic “troglodytes” or cave people that brutally murder or kidnap (with the intent of keeping the ‘meat’ fresh for later brutal dissection and feasting) almost every single named character in the movie at one point or another. The name of the movie is what drew me in, though looking back I have no idea why. Sometimes I just get lucky.

Bone Tomahawk is a cannibal-western movie that derives it's name from the weapon of choice used by the cannibalistic "troglodytes" or cave people that brutally murder or kidnap (with the intent of keeping the 'meat' fresh for later brutal dissection and feasting) almost every single named character in the movie at one point or another. The name of the movie is what drew me in, though looking back I have no idea why. Sometimes I just get lucky.

It stars, in almost equal parts, Kurt Russell, Matthew Fox, Richard Jenkins, and Patrick Wilson. They play four hardy western settlers who venture out on an acknowledged suicide mission to rescue loved ones who have been taken from their town by the sadistic native villains.

For the most part, Bone Tomahawk is a character study of these four men. The first two-thirds reveals very little of the cannibals they are seeking and instead reveals the inner demons that plague these men's past and present. Richard Jenkins was easily the standout for me. His bumbling Chicory slowly reveals himself to be the most balanced and stable of the group. I didn't even recognize him as Richard Jenkins until almost half way through the movie. All of the performances were terrific, really. Kurt Russell was born to play an old curmudgeonly sheriff fighting against cannibal cave dwellers, and Matthew Fox is always fluttering near total campiness but somehow stuck this role.

Bone Tomahawk is the most character-driven cannibal-western you will ever see. I believe, because of that, it has something for everybody (or at least all adults) instead of not enough for anyone, which I could easily see being the criticism of this movie. The final act is a serious bloodbath and while it may not be surprising, it is still satisfying.

Overall, Bone Tomahawk was a very enjoyable movie. Mainly because of the back and forth between well developed characters but also because it features some shocking violence and brutal imagery. It is an unflinching account of a feeble rescue party's attempt to do the right thing by facing their own demons as well as the demons in the hills of the Wild West.

Midnight Showing: Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)

The guys bust out the popcorn and soda again for another Midnight Showing episode, this time for Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. The fifth installment of the Tom Cruise-helmed series is one of the strongest yet, and they break down what about the film they liked, didn’t like, and what made it such a unique experience. Writer and director Christopher McQuarrie uses the team ensemble of regulars Cruise, Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, and Ving Rhames to great effect, highlighting friendship as a major theme throughout, but perhaps the character who steals the show the most is the British spy Ilsa, played by Rebecca Ferguson, whose fighting skills would make even Jack Reacher blush. As Midnight Showing is as much about the experience of moviegoing as the movie itself, the guys discuss the trailers that played before their screening, the ways they got hyped for the fifth installment, and the atmosphere surrounding the cinema.

Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation (2015)
Director
Christopher McQuarrie
Stars
Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris

Curated by: The Bit Players

3.6

Aired Wednesday, August 5, 2015
The guys bust out the popcorn and soda again for another Midnight Showing episode, this time for Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation. The fifth installment of the Tom Cruise-helmed series is one of the strongest yet, and they break down what about the film they liked, didn't like, and what made it such a unique experience. Writer and director Christopher McQuarrie uses the team ensemble of regulars Cruise, Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, and Ving Rhames to great effect, highlighting friendship as a major theme throughout, but perhaps the character who steals the show the most is the British spy Ilsa, played by Rebecca Ferguson, whose fighting skills would make even Jack Reacher blush. As Midnight Showing is as much about the experience of moviegoing as the movie itself, the guys discuss the trailers that played before their screening, the ways they got hyped for the fifth installment, and the atmosphere surrounding the cinema.

Episode 17: Interstellar (2014)

The guys head to the cosmos for this week’s episode on Christopher Nolan’s 2014 film Interstellar. They are particularly awe-struck by the conceptual ambition on display here, like most of other Nolan’s films, but what makes Interstellar so special is the film’s ability to finally bring heady concepts and visual grandiosity together with raw, impactful human emotions. The performances from Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway – not to mention the brilliant supporting cast – truly bring out those emotions in a poignant way that makes Interstellar such a special film. The guys also put themselves in Romily’s shoes and try to fill 23 years worth of down time and talk about their favorite corn-based snacks.

Interstellar (2014)
Director
Christopher Nolan
Stars
Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Matt Damon

Curated by: Brian

4.6

What Movies Are About

Aired Friday, July 31, 2015
The guys head to the cosmos for this week’s episode on Christopher Nolan’s 2014 film Interstellar. They are particularly awe-struck by the conceptual ambition on display here, like most of other Nolan’s films, but what makes Interstellar so special is the film’s ability to finally bring heady concepts and visual grandiosity together with raw, impactful human emotions. The performances from Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway – not to mention the brilliant supporting cast – truly bring out those emotions in a poignant way that makes Interstellar such a special film. The guys also put themselves in Romily’s shoes and try to fill 23 years worth of down time and talk about their favorite corn-based snacks.

Episode 16: A Fistful of Dollars (1964)

The guys form a posse at dawn to wrangle up their first Western film, and what a classic it is. Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars not only launched three massive careers in film (the director himself, his star Clint Eastwood, and the film’s composer, Ennio Morricone, who went on to become one of the world’s greatest, but the gritty film also helped launch an entire genre of film, the Spaghetti Western, that is still being replicated today. They discuss just what it is that makes the film stand up today, especially considering it has largely been bolstered by cult love, as well as the score, Eastwood’s performance, and the terrible physical acting by the slain gunmen strewn about A Fistful of Dollars. They also give themselves their own outlaw names, plan an activity they’d love Morricone to score, and run down what else they’ve been watching.

A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
Director
Sergio Leone
Stars
Clint Eastwood, Gian Maria Volonté, Marianne Koch

Curated by: Anders

3.6

Aired Friday, July 24, 2015
The guys form a posse at dawn to wrangle up their first Western film, and what a classic it is. Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars not only launched three massive careers in film (the director himself, his star Clint Eastwood, and the film's composer, Ennio Morricone, who went on to become one of the world's greatest, but the gritty film also helped launch an entire genre of film, the Spaghetti Western, that is still being replicated today. They discuss just what it is that makes the film stand up today, especially considering it has largely been bolstered by cult love, as well as the score, Eastwood's performance, and the terrible physical acting by the slain gunmen strewn about A Fistful of Dollars. They also give themselves their own outlaw names, plan an activity they'd love Morricone to score, and run down what else they've been watching.

Episode 15: Barry Lyndon (1975)

The guys demand satisfaction on this week’s episode for Barry Lyndon, Stanley Kubrick’s 1975 visual and satirical masterpiece of 18th Century high class society. The humor of the film is the center of their discussion, as it unanimously caught them off guard. Ryan O’Neal delivers a brutally believable performance of the status-obsessed titular character, but the film’s satellite characters are what give Barry Lyndon so much energy and believability in its humor; from Lord Bullingdon (young and old) to Reverend Runt, the cast is masterfully crafted and made up to emulate the ludicrous nature of the satire’s subject, to the point where the painting-like images on the screen feel all too real in their depictions. They also plan their own survivals in a Napoleonic, duel-fevered society.

Barry Lyndon (1975)
Director
Stanley Kubrick
Stars
Ryan O'Neal, Marisa Berenson, Patrick Magee

Curated by: Clark

4.2

Aired Friday, July 17, 2015
The guys demand satisfaction on this week's episode for Barry Lyndon, Stanley Kubrick's 1975 visual and satirical masterpiece of 18th Century high class society. The humor of the film is the center of their discussion, as it unanimously caught them off guard. Ryan O'Neal delivers a brutally believable performance of the status-obsessed titular character, but the film's satellite characters are what give Barry Lyndon so much energy and believability in its humor; from Lord Bullingdon (young and old) to Reverend Runt, the cast is masterfully crafted and made up to emulate the ludicrous nature of the satire's subject, to the point where the painting-like images on the screen feel all too real in their depictions. They also plan their own survivals in a Napoleonic, duel-fevered society.

Episode 14: Talk to Her (2002)

With Talk to Her, the guys have their first true test of reconciling meaning and beauty, as Pedro Almodóvar places hefty concepts of one-way love, longing, and whether our sentience is what makes us truly human into the heart of the film that leave the viewer asking just what they are supposed to take away from it. Whether there is a true takeway or not might not even be the right question, as Talk to Her is a thoroughly beautiful film that sees Almodóvar at his peak as a visual storyteller. He is able to tell the stories of Benigno, Alicia, Marco, and Lydia through the images on the screen, as this world in particular is one where language just doesn’t quite cut it. They also discuss what they might want said to them if they were in a coma, as well as what else they have been watching this week.

Talk to Her (2002)
Director
Pedro Almodóvar
Stars
Rosario Flores, Javier Cámara, Darío Grandinetti, Leonor Watling

Curated by: Jarryd

2.8

Aired Friday, July 10, 2015
With Talk to Her, the guys have their first true test of reconciling meaning and beauty, as Pedro Almodóvar places hefty concepts of one-way love, longing, and whether our sentience is what makes us truly human into the heart of the film that leave the viewer asking just what they are supposed to take away from it. Whether there is a true takeway or not might not even be the right question, as Talk to Her is a thoroughly beautiful film that sees Almodóvar at his peak as a visual storyteller. He is able to tell the stories of Benigno, Alicia, Marco, and Lydia through the images on the screen, as this world in particular is one where language just doesn't quite cut it. They also discuss what they might want said to them if they were in a coma, as well as what else they have been watching this week.

Episode 13: On the Waterfront (1954)

The guys go back to 1954 to look at Elia Kazan’s On the Waterfront, a film that took home an unprecedented eight Academy Awards. They consider just what it is about the film that helped it sweep come award season and continue to hold favor with critics and fans alike; it’s a film that represents a watershed moment in classic Hollywood with the gritty realism of its documentarian cinematography, underclass characters, and straight-off-the-street actors bringing something wholly new and exciting to cinema. Not to mention, Marlon Brando gives a career-defining performance as the film’s protagonist Terry Malloy, which stands at the center of the film and what makes it so exciting, even today. The guys also discuss where they would stash their own Oscars so as not to lose it like Brando allegedly did, as well as this year’s Wimbledon and Roger Federer’s legacy in that tournament.

On the Waterfront (1954)
Director
Elia Kazan
Stars
Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, Eva Marie Saint

Curated by: Jeff

4.4

Aired Friday, July 3, 2015
The guys go back to 1954 to look at Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront, a film that took home an unprecedented eight Academy Awards. They consider just what it is about the film that helped it sweep come award season and continue to hold favor with critics and fans alike; it's a film that represents a watershed moment in classic Hollywood with the gritty realism of its documentarian cinematography, underclass characters, and straight-off-the-street actors bringing something wholly new and exciting to cinema. Not to mention, Marlon Brando gives a career-defining performance as the film's protagonist Terry Malloy, which stands at the center of the film and what makes it so exciting, even today. The guys also discuss where they would stash their own Oscars so as not to lose it like Brando allegedly did, as well as this year's Wimbledon and Roger Federer's legacy in that tournament.

Episode 12: The Matrix (1999)

In the Bit Players’ second group pick episode, the guys take on the Wachowskis’ sci-fi classic The Matrix, discussing not only the impact the film had upon release, but its continued legacy in the film canon. They break down philosophical import in the science fiction genre and the way that the Wachowskis were able to perfectly blend heady questions with flat-out classic action sequences. In addition to the film discussion, the guys play a game of Who Said It with Morpheus and history’s greatest philosophers, plan their own sequel that should have been, and give Anders his time to shine praising the newest installment in the Arkham video game franchise.

The Matrix (1999)
Director
The Wachowskis
Stars
Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving

Curated by: The Bit Players

5.0

What Movies Are About

Aired Monday, June 29, 2015
In the Bit Players' second group pick episode, the guys take on the Wachowskis' sci-fi classic The Matrix, discussing not only the impact the film had upon release, but its continued legacy in the film canon. They break down philosophical import in the science fiction genre and the way that the Wachowskis were able to perfectly blend heady questions with flat-out classic action sequences. In addition to the film discussion, the guys play a game of Who Said It with Morpheus and history's greatest philosophers, plan their own sequel that should have been, and give Anders his time to shine praising the newest installment in the Arkham video game franchise.

Episode 11: Raising Arizona (1987)

The guys discuss the Coen Brothers’ classic 1987 screwball comedy Raising Arizona, a film which helped not only solidify the Coens’ signature comedic style but also put Nic Cage on the map. The young Cage and Holly Hunter play off of one another perfectly while surrounded by a typically incredible cast of satellite characters (including Coen mainstays John Goodman and Frances McDormand) that give the film its life and humor, and the guys talk about just what it is about the juxtaposition of the Coens’ elevated writing and down-in-the-dumps characters that brings the comedy out of the situation. As Cage is one of the Bit Players’ collective favorite actors, the guys discuss their other favorite roles of his as well as what their vehicle of choice would be should they find themselves in a position of the lone rider of the apocalypse.

Raising Arizona (1987)
Director
The Coen Brothers
Stars
Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter, Trey Wilson, John Goodman

Curated by: Brian

4.2

Aired Friday, June 19, 2015
The guys discuss the Coen Brothers' classic 1987 screwball comedy Raising Arizona, a film which helped not only solidify the Coens' signature comedic style but also put Nic Cage on the map. The young Cage and Holly Hunter play off of one another perfectly while surrounded by a typically incredible cast of satellite characters (including Coen mainstays John Goodman and Frances McDormand) that give the film its life and humor, and the guys talk about just what it is about the juxtaposition of the Coens' elevated writing and down-in-the-dumps characters that brings the comedy out of the situation. As Cage is one of the Bit Players' collective favorite actors, the guys discuss their other favorite roles of his as well as what their vehicle of choice would be should they find themselves in a position of the lone rider of the apocalypse.