Leaping out of a moving aircraft with a Union Jack adorning their parachutes, before safely landing in the driver’s seat of their sub-aquatic Aston Martin, it’s your podcast hosts Steve Norman and Owen Hughes. Spinning around on his high-backed leather chair with a pussy in his lap, it’s our special guest Paul Field, joining Owen and Steve for a special spy triple bill episode!
Earlier today we discovered that Ben Affleck has been cast as Batman in Zack Snyder’s upcoming Man of Steel sequel, where the rumour is the long-awaited onscreen battle between Superman and Batman will finally be realised. There was a storm of protest over the decision, followed by a backlash to the backlash, followed by the rest of civilisation laughing at two groups of people arguing over a casting decision. The Failed Critics have happily jumped on the Batwagon of debate, and here are their reactions to the news:
James Diamond: Site editor who stands by his assertion that The Incredible Burt Wonderstone was better than Man of Steel
Don’t like Ben Affleck being cast as Batman? In the words of Alan Arkin’s character in Affleck’s Oscar/Bafta/Golden Globe-winning film, Argo fuck yourself.
I was genuinely surprised by the level of the backlash to Warner Brothers/DC’s announcement this morning. My wife happened to mention to me that Affleck had been cast as Batman, and I replied “yeah, I can see that” (I’ll be honest, it’s a sadly very rare incident of my wife and I discussing comic book adaptations and their casting before breakfast). When I stumbled onto Twitter I was taken aback by the level of abuse being aimed at Affleck, with everyone throwing Daredevil and Gigli back in his face as if the last 10 years haven’t happened.
I’m grown-up enough to admit when I am wrong about an actor, with my increasingly uncomfortable man-crush over Matthew McConaughey being just the most recent example. The fact is, Affleck has grown and matured into a very fine actor, but even more importantly for me, an excellent director. This level of experience on the set of the next Superman film will be vital in my opinion, especially with Christopher Nolan apparently taking a back-seat in the day-to-day side of the production. As someone said a little cruelly, at least it means there will be one director on set.
I believe Affleck will be a great Bruce Wayne, and I am excited about seeing if he can pull off Batman. There were similar scenes of fan annoyance when Michael Keaton was cast as the Caped Crusader, and again when Heath Ledger landed the role of The Joker. They didn’t turn out too badly.
Armageddon really annoyed with the Domga-tic opinions of everyone with no Good Will (Hunting) towards this upstanding resident of Hollywoodland. [That’s enough terrible puns – Ed. Wait, that’s me]
Owen Hughes: Podcaster, film addict, and resident neeeeerrrrd
It was going to be the film that fans have wanted for the longest time. To finally see the caped crusader, the dark knight, the world’s greatest detective, coming up against the big blue boy scout, the man of tomorrow, the last son of Krypton. Batman vs Superman. The nerdgasm to end all nerdgasms.
Not only that, but director Zack Snyder hinted that the clash of these comic book titans would resemble their encounter from dark, edgy, 80’s game changing graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns. We were going to see a grizzled and older Bruce Wayne donning the cape and cowl before coming to blows with the Man of Steel. It opened up a world of possibilities over who would be cast as Bats.
Would they go all out to bring Christian Bale back? Maybe try to shoehorn some semblance of continuity into the series following the Nolan trilogy and bring in Joseph Gordon-Levitt? Or would Warner Brothers start looking at actors like Bruce Greenwood (who has played Batman in an animated film already), Josh Brolin, Max Martini or even Karl Urban? I’ve even seen Russell Crowe linked with the role, which would’ve been brilliant if not for the awkward plot twist that would’ve endured when Kal-El finds his father running around Gotham City in spandex.
Well the answer has finally arrived, and it seems to be a rather uninspiring ‘Ben Affleck’.
I don’t have a problem with Affleck as an actor, he was excellent in Argo. But with all the exciting avenues that could’ve been explored, of all the names linked with the role, it’s… OK. I’m sure he’ll be a competent Batman, probably a better Bruce Wayne, and with Snyder at the helm I’ll probably enjoy the film on some level. It’s just something of a safe choice which is disappointing.
Steve Norman: Podcast host, and real-life crime-fighting vigilante
So Ben Affleck has been cast as Batman for the 2015 crossover movie Batman vs Superman and sweaty nerds worldwide seem to be up in arms about the decision.
Bloody hell nerds, calm down.
Their main issue appears to be that Affleck once made a film called Daredevil and it was a bit rubbish. In fact it was very rubbish. It is that bad that I cannot remember much about it after seeing it many years ago.
However this film was made ten years ago. We all make mistakes, I make them almost daily, and in ten years a lot can change. You can grow as a person, you can improve and develop your craft.
Since Daredevil, Affleck has starred in some good films while starring in and directing The Town and the Oscar winning Argo.
I would go as far to say that Affleck should have been allowed to direct the film as well seeing as Zac Snyder’s attempt at Superman was pretty average while Affleck’s directing has been impressive and his career has had somewhat of a resurgence.
Gerry McAuley: Podcaster, Batman fanatic, and phoning it in from sunnier climes
This is total bullshit. Affleck directing = win. Affleck as Batman = epic fail.
I’m very disappointed by that news. I think he would’ve made a more than competent director (and indeed we talked about him as a potential director for Batman, Star Wars and others on the podcast last year) but I just don’t think he has the charisma or the right attributes to be a good Batman. Daredevil was garbage, we all agree on that. Bale is going to be a very hard act to follow but Affleck will have a lot to do to convince me – and hordes of others – that he is a suitable replacement for the cowl. I really, really hope he does though. I bloody love Batman. I want him to be good!
What do you think? Let us know below, or tweet us at @FailedCritics
On a chilly night at the end of December, the team from the Failed Critics Podcast recorded a virtual ceremony, complete with tuxedos, alcohol, and debauched behaviour. In other words, James treated it like every other podcast recording.
So for anyone who was too hungover to turn on their computer, still too drunk to operate it, or simply too sensible to listen to our inane ramblings; here are the results.
Thanks to everyone who voted!
Top 10 Films of the Year
1. AVENGERS ASSEMBLE
3. The Dark Knight Rises
5. The Raid
7. The Intouchables
9=. Rust & Bone
9=. Safety Not Guaranteed
9=. 21 Jump Street
Omar Sy (The Intouchables)
Emmanuelle Riva (Amour)
Best Foreign Language Film
The Dark Knight Rises – Hans Zimmer
Dreams of a Life
The votes have been cast, and the polls are now closed for the first ever Failed Critics Awards. While you’re going to have to wait until New Year’s Eve for the results, James Diamond (Founder, Editor, and all-round Svengali of the site) presents his personal picks of 2012.
Best Films of 2012
From the opening bars of Soft Cell’s Tainted Love, to the epic climax featuring The Power of Love by Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Ben Wheatley’s third feature is gloriously British and reminiscent of a time that many of us have long-forgotten. It’s also very, very funny – like Mike Leigh directing the League of Gentlemen.
9. Holy Motors
The few of you who caught Holy Motors will not have seen anything else like it this year, or possibly ever. Leos Carax’s surreal odyssey stars Denis Lavant as a performer travelling Paris by limousine and performing ‘assignments’ along the way – including kidnapping Eva Mendes and licking her armpits, singing with Kylie Minogue, and leading the finest marching accordion band committed to film.
The kind of film you imagine Hollywood screwing up royally (and we’ll know for sure when the inevitable remake appears), Untouchable tells the true story of a millionaire paraplegic and his assistant from the clichéd ‘wrong side of the tracks’. What lifted this film above my low expectations of a saccharine-saturated heart-warmer is its cutting and cynical humour and brilliant central performances (particularly Omar Sy as Driss).
This wonderful exploration of the use of sound in cinema reminded me of David Lynch at his creepy best. Toby Jones is sublime as the sound engineer summoned to Italy to work on the sound for the intriguing giallo film-within-a-film The Equestrian Vortex. Funny, and spine-chilling in equal measure.
Who would have guessed back when he was starring in Gigli that Ben Affleck would become one of the most reliable directors in the business. After serving his apprenticeship on low-key films like Gone Baby Gone and The Town, Affleck nailed the classic Hollywood thriller with Argo – the ‘true story’ of the showbiz-facilitated extraction of US Embassy staff during the Iranian uprising. I’ve backed this as my outside bet for Best Picture at the 2013 Oscars, which guarantees it won’t win, sadly.
In my humble opinion the best blockbuster of a year that saw the conclusion of the Nolan Batman series, the reboot of Spider-Man, and the return to the Alien franchise of Ridley Scott. Joss Whedon’s supergroup of a comic book adaptation improved on every single Marvel lead-up movie, and more. Featuring a typical Whedon script that managed to be funnier than most ‘comedies’ (I’m looking at you two in particular, The Dictator and Ted), as well as introducing a number of children to the year’s best insult (“you mewling quim”), Avengers Assemble has it all. Except a decent name in the UK. With Whedon already planning a sequel, and Shane Black (Lethal Weapon and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang screenwriter) in charge of Iron Man 3, Marvel looks to have stolen a march on DC Comics who are frantically trying to pull together a Justice League film to retaliate.
Finally getting a UK release on Boxing Day, this smart and funny film from first-time director Colin Trevorrow is full of charm, humour, and no little romance. I saw it at Sundance London in May, and wouldn’t shut up about it for the following seven months. I challenge you not to fall in love with Aubrey Plaza as Darius, the magazine intern who is investigating a small ad that simply reads:
Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.
The man who placed the advert is seemingly dangerous loner Kenneth (Mark Duplass), and the resulting film is part-adventure/part-romance in true 1980s Amblin style.
3. The Imposter
This is one of those documentaries that hammers home the cliché that truth really is stranger than fiction. It tells us the story of a young French man who impersonated a missing 13-year-old boy from Texas, ensconcing himself within the family home and their community with tall tales of being trafficked by the military. What makes this film more than a weird Channel 5 documentary is its innovative use of recreated flashbacks and, most importantly, interviews with the people at the centre of this strange situation – including the con-man himself. A true story that plays out like a Coen Brothers thriller, this film really has everything.
Michael Haneke’s second Palm d’Or-winning film is a brutal study of the inevitability of death, ever-so-slightly tempered by a wonderful portrayal of octogenarian love. With his trademark long-takes allowing space for the incredible performances of Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant to breathe, Heneke has created a near-perfect film that immerses the viewer into a world more than the technical wizardy of 3D and 48fps could ever hope to. As patrons left the screening I attended no-one wanted to speak to each other. The silence was a sign of the sheer power of this film.
Beaten by Amour at Cannes, and unlikely to renew battle at the Oscars after France nominated Untouchable for the Foreign Language award, at least Rust and Bone director Jacques Audiard can take consolation in grabbing the number one spot on this list. I fell in love with this film back in November, and I have struggled to communicate exactly why since. I mean, it’s the story of a killer-whale trainer who loses her legs in a tragic accident, and her heart to a drifter and single parent who finds his niche in bare-knuckle boxing. It sounds ridiculous, but it is an incredible study of romance, and the importance of finding ‘the one’. Marion Cotillard is incredible, but Matthias Schoenaerts holds his own as her extremely flawed lover. Yet another brilliant Alexandre Desplat score (surely the best composer working in cinema right now) is backed by an eclectic soundtrack, with an unbelievably moving use of Katy Perry’s Firework. Honestly.
I’ve seen 75 films so far this year, so some great films were always going to miss out, and the following were very close to making my top ten.
The Muppets – A wonderful mix of the anarchic Muppet humour, the charm of Jason Segal and Amy Adams, and the brilliant songs of Brett ‘Flight of the Conchords’ McKenzie. The most fun I’ve had in a cinema for years.
Shame – The second Steve McQueen/Michael Fassbender collaboration, I enjoyed this even more than Hunger. A fascinating study of addiction, with plenty of The Fass and Carey Mulligan on show for those who are interested in that kind of thing.
The Raid – Quite literally the best pure-action film I’ve seen since Hard Boiled. The action world has a new star in Iko Uwais.
Skyfall – After the mess that was Quantum of Solace, this was a welcome return to form for 007. Equally influenced by the TV series Spooks and Home Alone, it featured the best Bond villain in years.
I can’t choose between three very different soundtracks. Rust and Bone for its fantastic score and eclectic track selection; The Muppets for the best original songs in the cinema this year; and Searching for Sugar Man for introducing me to the wonderful story and music of Sixto Rodriguez.
I have spoken about Matthew McConaughey’s rebirth as a credible actor at length, so I’ll have to give this jointly to 21 Jump Street and Goon for being far funnier (and more sweet and charming) than Ted or The Dictator.
This Means War was an abomination with even Tom Hardy looking confused. Dark Shadows though, was the film that made me loudly and involuntarily exclaim “oh, for fuck’s sake!” in a reasonably busy cinema.
The Failed Critics Awards will be presented during the Failed Critics End-of-Year Podcast Special.
___________Argo______________Failed Critics Podcast_______________Based on a classified story_________________________________________________________________________________
______Gerry___________________Next week we’ll be discussing our favourite zombie films in Triple