Following a long absence (let’s call it an extended break), the Sordid Cinema Podcast made its return, with a new format that sees hosts Ricky D and Patrick Murphy taking a look at some of their favorite films over the years that may have flown under the radar for some audiences. This new version of the show focuses more on discussion and less, on reviews, and examines the selections from a multitude of angles and breaks down what makes these films so special.
Sordid Cinema Podcast Rewind: Richard Kelly Special
Donnie Darko, Southland Tales, and The Box Review
In episode 167 of the Sordid Cinema Podcast (then called Sound On Sight), we discussed not one, not two, but three Richard Kelly films.
At the time, writer-director Richard Kelly wasn’t around too long, but his three features had all been the subject of intense debate: Is Donnie Darko the great sci-fi fable of the 2000s or a teen angst pretension pit? Is Southland Tales, as the Village Voice’s J. Hoberman contends, a “visionary” film, or creative control gone horribly wrong? And is The Box an incomprehensible sci-fi mishmash or a return to form? Al Kratina, Mariko McDonald, and Simon Howell attempt to answer all these questions without falling into any aquatic time portals.
Sordid Cinema Podcast #571: The Empty Man— the Most Overlooked Horror Film in Years
The Empty Man Review
Have you heard the call of The Empty Man? Writer-director David Prior’s weird and wild movie has snuck its way into the hearts and minds of a select few in the months since it was (barely) released. Now, Ricky, Simon, and Patrick face a dilemma: how the hell do you describe a movie seemingly designed to simulate losing your mind? Note: We strongly recommend renting The Empty Man before listening! This movie is best served cold.
Sordid Cinema Podcast #571: Brawl in Cell Block 99 Pulls No Punches With in Its Violent Mission
Brawl in Cell Block 99 Review
After his gritty/dreamy horror western Bone Tomahawk, writer-director S. Craig Zahler established himself as a genre talent to watch. His sophomore effort, a prison flick about a bruiser of a man slugging his way into the bowels of a maximum security facility in order to kill an inmate and save his wife, only bolstered that assessment. Brawl in Cell Block 99 is an immersive, raw, visceral experience with a knockout performance from Vince Vaughn that (depending on who you ask) might just be the quickest 132 minutes you’ve spent watching a movie. Or it might be bone-crunching hell.
This week sees Patrick Murphy and Simon Howell tackling Zahler’s off-beat world, guessing at his socio-political leanings, marveling at the hands-on destruction of a car that surely did nothing to deserve it, and making as many references to Dragged Across Concrete as we possibly can. Along the way we cover Vaughn’s terrifically physical performance, go into some of the themes common to Zahler’s work, and chuckle over some great practical effects that may not look ‘real,’ but certainly get the job done. What are our favorite scenes? What would we change if we could? And just what sort of movie watcher will Brawl in Cell Block 99 appeal to? For all this and more, have a listen!
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Sordid Cinema Podcast #570: Ready or Not Seeks Horror/Comedy Fun
Ready or Not Review
After catching the world premiere of Ready or Not at the 2019 Fantasia Film Festival, co-host Ricky D wondered if the film’s thrills would hold up away from the adoring crowd. Thus, this week the Sordid Cinema Podcast counts down from 100 and fans out in all directions down the labyrinthine hallways to find both the overt and hidden fun in the wonderful premise of a bride participating in a deadly wedding-day tradition. Sure, there could have been a more clever script, and maybe the lore could have used a bit more (or less) fleshing out, but there’s no denying Samara Weaving’s great performance, or some biting scenes involving a nail and the mystery of a possible curse.
Patrick Murphy and Simon Howell join Rick to talk about the entertainment one can get from questioning screenplay choices, debate over which characters could have been expanded or further hidden, and revel in the blood-soaked finale. Along the way they make numerous comparisons to similar films (The Hunt may come up once or twice), enjoy the ambiguity of the supernatural, and wonder just why this incredibly wealthy family owns goats. For all that and more, have a listen!
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Sordid Cinema Podcast #569: Joe Begos’ Psychotropic Nightmare 'Bliss'
Are you losing your mind in quarantine? Need to freak out, break shit, maybe attack a stranger? Now you don’t have to, because Joe Begos’ hallucinatory, wild, and loud Bliss is here to do the job for you. (To be clear: this is the 2019 horror movie Bliss, not the new sci-fi film starring Owen Wilson, which we’re sure is fine.) This week, the lads take a deep dive into Begos’ film, discuss the merits of practical effects, the enduring appeal of DIY genre filmmaking, and how one key prop can make all the difference.
Sordid Cinema Podcast #568: The Outlaw Josey Wales Remains a Defining Film in Eastwood’s Filmography
The Outlaw Josey Wales Review
After firing Philip Kaufman and taking over the production reins himself, Clint Eastwood managed to turn The Outlaw Josey Wales into an iconic western that laid the ground for classics yet to come. This week the Sordid Cinema Podcast takes a deep look at not only what makes this story of a southern farmer hell-bent on revenge a flawed but important step in the actor-director’s career but also contextualizes the film’s place in revisionist 70s westerns. Don’t piss down our backs and tell us it’s raining; Josey Wales might not be Eastwood’s best film, but it contains a treasure trove of wonderful characters and subversions of a revered-but-fallen genre. Joining Rick and Patrick this week is former screenwriter, author, and professor Bill Mesce, who helps us parse out both what makes this film so unique, as well as what could have been improved.
Which supporting character stood out the most? Were all those bullets really as exciting as they were intended to be? And how would things work out if Sandra Locke had never been cast? Sure, we might not be so keen on this particular western romance, the episodic nature of the story gets different mileage from different hosts, and maybe we don’t spit tobacco as much as we could have, but there’s no doubt that we recognize The Outlaw Josey Wales as one of the great westerns that’s as much fun to watch and talk about now as perhaps it ever was. For all this and more, have a listen!
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