Movies

Chronicle

Popspotting #206: “Chronicle” (Feb. 6, 2012)

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Chronicle Review

We go back to the multiplex to check out a recent release for Movie Monday. Jen wanted to see the new Daniel Radcliffe film, but Ryan’s a big chicken, so we went to see “Chronicle” instead. We didn’t know anything going in, but coming out, we were thoroughly entertained.

“Chronicle” comes from the relatively new team of director Josh Trank and writer Max Landis (son of director John Landis) and stars Dane DeHaan, Michael B. Jordan, and Alex Russell as a group of Seattle teens who suddenly find themselves with special powers, and the problems that come with them.

Attack the Block

Popspotting #201: “Attack the Block” (Jan. 30, 2012)

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Attack The Block

This British sci-fi flick charmed nearly everyone who saw it. Alas, too few people saw it. “Attack the Block” came out last May, but apart from making a small splash at SXSW in Austin and getting a very limited North American release, it has relied on word of mouth and DVD/Blu-Ray rentals and sales to find an audience. Thanks to Matt and other Popspotting listeners, you can count us among its fans as well. Written and directed by Joe Cornish, “Attack the Block” stars John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker, Alex Esmail, Franz Drameh, Leeon Jones, Simon Howard and Nick Frost.

Midnight in Paris

Popspotting #196: “Midnight In Paris” (Jan. 16, 2012)

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Midnight In Paris

It’s not a new film, but it’s one we missed and really wanted to see. “Midnight In Paris” is Woody Allen’s 41st film, and by some accounts, one of his best. Even Quentin Tarantino picked it as his favorite film of 2011. It stars Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams, along with Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, Carla Bruni, and Michael Sheen.

We also got to see the re-release of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” in 3-D, which includes a new animated short, “Tangled Ever After.” More than 20 years later, does the animated classic hold up? And does 3-D add anything to the experience?

Mission Impossible 4

Popspotting #191: “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” (Jan. 9, 2012)

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Mission Impossible 4

We weren’t quite sure what to tackle for Movie Monday this week, but we picked up a strong signal from our listeners that the latest “Mission: Impossible” film was worth a look (including thumbs up from Matt on Facebook and Jeffrey on Twitter). So even though Tom Cruise and friends have been dominating the box office for more than four weeks, we headed out to the nearest multiplex to check out “Ghost Protocol.”

This fourth installment in the series finds IMF Agent Ethan Hunt in a dark place, as he’s joined by Benji (Simon Pegg), Jane (Paula Patton), and William (Jeremy Renner). The team must face off against Russian baddie Kurt Hendricks (Michael Nyqvist), without the considerable resources of the Impossible Missions Force.

“Ghost Protocol” was directed by Brad Bird, and is his first live-action film. It was produced by J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk, both “LOST” alums. Does this impressive pedigree deliver a worthwhile action spy caper?

Drive

Popspotting #188: “Best of 2011” (Jan. 4, 2012)

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Game of Thrones

Before charging into the new year, we take a look back at the year that was. A “year in review” show is, perhaps, cliche, but 2011 was a good year for pop culture, and most certainly a special year for Popspotting. We saw more movies, watched more TV, tried more new music than ever before, as a result of having the pleasure of putting out this podcast, and the benefit of many wonderful and thoughtful listeners.

Today we recount the best movies and new television shows of 2011 (and touch on the upcoming Golden Globes), as well as share our favorite music, book, and app picks. And we’d really like to hear what you would crown as the “Best of 2011”!

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Popspotting #186: “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (Jan. 2, 2012)

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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Our first podcast of the New Year takes us back to Stieg Larsson’s tale of murder and intrigue with American director David Fincher’s remake of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” The story was already capably depicted by Larsson’s fellow Swedes, so can Fincher’s distinct style bring something new and compelling to the big screen? This time, Daniel Craig (Casino Royale) and Rooney Mara (The Social Network) portray the embattled journalist and mysterious hacker. The film also features Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgard, and Robin Wright.

Sherlock Holmes Logo

Popspotting #181: “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” (Dec. 19, 2011)

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Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law reprise their big-screen turns as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in this second Guy Ritchie-helmed outing, “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.” Once again, this classic, brainy crime-fighting pair are dropped into a noisy world of fistfights, explosions, and slo-mo bullet-time shots. There’s no intellectual pretense in this winter blockbuster, but this sequel at least delivers a smarter story and a better bad guy: Dr. Moriarty, played by Jarred Harris.

Flickchart Faceoff

Popspotting #178: “Flickchart Face-Off” (Dec. 14, 2011)

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Flickchart Faceoff

About a month ago, we counted down our favorite ways to waste time online. One of Jen’s picks was Flickchart, a virtual battleground for movie lovers. The concept is simple: pit two movies against each other, and choose the one you like best (or dislike the least). So today, we decided to the Flickchart challenge together.

Not an original idea, perhaps, but a fun idea for sure. Disagree with any of our picks? Horrified that we haven’t seen a must-see movie? We want to hear from you!

TGWTDT

Popspotting #176: “The 2009 Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (Dec. 12, 2011)

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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)

As excited as we are to see David Fincher’s adaptation of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” we know the Swedes did it first. Before seeing what Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara do with Stieg Larsson’s international bestseller, we decided to take in Niels Arden Oplev’s interpretation, starring Mikael Blomkvist and Noomi Rapace. Although we’ve not read the books (we plan to!), we were curious whether the well-received Swedish version leaves any room for an American remake.

Duncan Jones & David Bowie

Popspotting #171: “Bowie Family Duo” (Nov. 28, 2011)

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Duncan Jones & David Bowie

Today for Movie Monday, we explore an unusual family tie. We start with “Moon,” the feature directorial debut of Duncan Jones. Then, we revisit “The Prestige,” a magical film that features the acting talents of Jones’ dad, David Bowie. Both movies may have you questioning reality as you revel in some outstanding performances. Sam Rockwell shines in a part created just for him, while Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman face off in a battle to rule the stage.

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