Tag Archives: Shane Black

Failed Critics Podcast: Fifth Birthday Bash

Look at me, listeners! I love you! It’s all for you, Damian— I mean, whatever your name might be! Happy birthday to us.

Yes, backs are slapped and circled are jerks as we celebrate reaching the fifth year of the Failed Critics Podcast. Hip, hip…

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Front Row with Owen and Paul: Nice Guys?

Front Row Logo

It was a podcast that began just like any other podcast. Two guys, Owen Hughes and Paul Rutland, sat around a microphone, speaking into it. They opened the show with an intro. It recapped what was in the upcoming penultimate episode. Everything was there, as normal; a sports round-up, roll the dice, the latest film reviews. You name it. If you wanted it, they had it.

It was then that I began to get suspicious. Where was the music? What happened to last week’s roll-the-dice section? Why was I talking as if in the opening segment of a noir movie?

And then it hit me.

This was the week that Owen finally got to review the eagerly awaited Shane Black crime-noir comedy, The Nice Guys. And boy, did he love it!

Paul, on the other hand, had no idea who Shane Black was or why Owen was so excited about it, so instead led the sports round-up, including: A short tribute to the late, great Muhammad Ali; Andy Murray’s French Open failure; as well as a brief introduction to Friday’s European Championship kick-off in France.

In other news, with Bucks101 Radio over for the term and still experiencing technical issues, this week’s podcast (and next week’s final episode in the series) was not originally broadcast on the radio. Therefore, there’s no playlist for this episode. Sorry.

However, Owen and Paul now have a new email address that you can contact them on at OwenAndPaulProductions@gmail.com – and in more exciting news, you can check out the latest trailer for their documentary on the YouTube clip below. You can look forward to seeing the full documentary when it’s released on Friday.

After you’ve listened to Front Row, of course…

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Failed Critics Podcast: Take-a-Break Hour

the nice guys

Welcome to this week’s Failed Critics Podcast where hosts Steve Norman and Owen Hughes were joined by both Callum Petch and Andrew Brooker to review three new releases!

Book-ending Callum’s film-reviewing life in education with trips to Wonderland, he reveals that Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland is the worst blockbuster of the 2010’s – and why Alice Through The Looking Glass is no better. We also review Warcraft: The Beginning, confusing Steve no end as he can’t tell the difference between it and Warhammer (direct your outrage to @FailedSteve). Finally, we collectively agree that Shane Black’s noir-comedy The Nice Guys is nice, guys.

Before all of that in What We’ve Been Watching:  Owen puts on his shades and sees They Live for the first time (in years);  Brooker peels himself away from the PCC in London after a big-screen showing of True Romance;  Callum completes his own Tarantino collection with Inglorious Basterds;  and Steve stops watching football documentaries for two minutes to take in Will Smith’s portrayal of Muhammed Ali in the biopic of the legendary sportsman’s life.

The quiz this week was a little different to normal, as Steve, Callum and Brooker had the full length of the episode to work out the following 10 anagrams, all of which relate in some way to The Nice Guys:

1 – Teardrop
2 – Anal Hole Wept
3 – Usable Cyst Tooth
4 – Screw Sue Roll
5 – Inches Ye Tug
6 – Gas Ring Only
7 – Gamin Be Irks
8 – A Sank Belch
9 – Ah, Kiddie TV
10 – Iron

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The Nice Guys

the nice guys

“Hey man, that girl in your trunk? She was in that car.”

Almost three decades ago, Shane Black all but invented the buddy comedy when he wrote Lethal Weapon and unleashed Riggs and Murtaugh on the world. One of the most famous – and most infamous – action-comedy duos would propel Black into a string of writing jobs where he would hone his craft.

When it finally came time to make the jump to directing, his debut would of course be one of his own scripts – and it was going to be a buddy comedy. In 2005, Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang was almost universally adored and with Marvel tapping the man to helm Post-Avengers set Iron Man 3, he is as close to a household name as a cult film screenwriter has ever been.

Not one to rest on his laurels and take it easy, Shane Black is using his new-found status to get some of his own writing on the big screen to be noticed. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, The Nice Guys.

Los Angeles, 1977. Days after the death of a well known porn star, hapless private eye Holland March (Ryan Gosling) is hired by the actress’ aunt, convinced that she’s seen her alive, to track her down. When he finds himself on the trail of young activist Amelia (The Leftovers‘ Margaret Qualley) he also finds himself on the wrong end of paid enforcer Jackson Healy’s (Russell Crowe) uncanny skill for violently persuading people off of whatever course they happen to be on.

When Amelia suddenly disappears, the unlikely pair find themselves forced to work together and wade through the seedy underbelly of LA to find her; unravel the truth behind the growing collection of bodies that seem to be following them around and try desperately not to end up at the top of that pile of corpses themselves.

Now, some films like to think they’re funny and fail miserably. Some films want to tell a story and never quite seem to keep me interested enough to have me care about it. The beauty of a film like The Nice Guys is that it hits a perfect sweet-spot of really cool story, told brilliantly; and a perfectly paired up couple of polar opposites that get a steady stream of laughs as one hapless detective becomes two.

Headlining our fun little noir crime caper, in unlikely comedic turns for both, are all-but-typecast hard-man Russell Crowe as investigator/leg-breaker Healy – the stereotypical tough guy loner who may (or may not) have a heart of gold – along with his unwitting partner, Ryan Gosling’s equally unlikely funny-turn as the stumbling, bumbling, private eye who moonlights as a single dad to a mouthy, attitude filled teenage girl.

Supported by a pretty stellar cast including Matt Bomer as the hired clean-up guy; Keith David just being Keith David as a long-in-the-tooth heavy sent to beat on Healey; and Kim Basinger popping in for a few scenes and getting to play a high up police official for a bit. All of them come together to give an outstanding overall performance, but are almost completely outshined by relative unknown Angourie Rice as March’s teenage daughter, Holly; a girl whose smarts equal that of any of those she shares the screen with, but has more balls than any of them. She’s just outstanding and a ton of fun to watch.

70’s Los Angeles has been created beautifully, with plenty of subtle – and not so subtle – things to say about the way the world is today. The nuts political landscape in the States, climate change, and I’m sure if I actually understood how the entire city of Detroit went bankrupt a couple of years back, I’d get the point that was being made about the American auto industry. But as it is, I know our writer is poking at someone or some thing. I just don’t get what or who. What makes it great though, is that it doesn’t matter. I don’t need to get all the little nuances to thoroughly enjoy the film.

To say that Shane Black has found a nice soft chair right in the middle of his comfort zone would, without context, seem a little damning. But the fact is, he has long been the master of the buddy comedy, so he’s throwing the big punches that brought him to this fight and he’s throwing them perfectly. All those years hanging around the pros has given Mr. Black all the experience he needs and in only his third outing as a director has more than proven his ability to stand with the big boys. He delivers The Nice Guys with a precision of pace usually reserved for much more seasoned veterans, without compromising the story or the dialogue that once made him the highest paid screenwriter in Hollywood.

The film doesn’t break any new ground, certainly not for its director. When you see Kiss Kiss Bang Bang‘s noir crime setting, The Last Boy Scout‘s ballsy teenage daughter and, frankly, every great buddy cop movie since 1987 – to name just a couple of the more obvious nods – The Nice Guys feels like you’re watching Shane Black’s greatest hits in one two-hour film.

But man, if you’re going to watch the best bits of someone’s Hollywood career, there aren’t many better to watch than his. I went in expecting a great film, well made, with a clever script and plenty of laughs – and that’s exactly what I got. A thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyable film that I’ll gladly pay to go watch again.

Failed Critics Podcast: The UK’s 17th Best

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Your official (not “official” official) 17th best podcast, Failed Critics, as designated by New Media Europe’s ‘Best UK Podcast of 2016’ award. Voting closed on Monday 30th May, with The Failed Critics Podcast ranked 17th out of 100 based on the number of Facebook votes we received. Thank you so much to anybody who helped us achieve this high a position by taking a few seconds to vote.

On this week’s episode, we draft in Underground Nights‘ very own Paul Field to help us run through a triple-bill of movie stars, where he and hosts Steve Norman and Owen Hughes each pick three actors whom they consider to be the very definition of the very subjective term ‘film star’.

Before all of that, Owen barely has chance to make himself comfortable before reviewing the new Michael Bay produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows after seeing it earlier that afternoon. Meanwhile, Paul introduces us to Victoria, a German film shot entirely in one take, and Steve catches up on some Shane Black with The Long Kiss Goodnight.

The news this week has the trio mulling over Tom Hiddleston’s imminent appointment as James Bond, as well as John Carpenter’s fabled return to the Halloween franchise. This, following a shambolic quiz that hopefully won’t sound as shambolic post-edit as it did pre-edit.

Join us again next week where we’ll be reviewing both Warcraft and The Nice Guys.

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Failed Critics Podcast: Winterval Special 2015

gremlins

Ding dong, merrily on high – Steve’s pants are wet and minging.

Don’t worry. He just got a bit over-excited on last week’s Star Wars podcast. But before Steve worked himself up into that state, you can listen to his usual mildly-subdued-self as he hosted our Christmas special podcast, recorded the week before he exploded in a fit of fan-geekery over The Force Awakens.

Joining him in our festive celebrations during this most unholy Winterval and non-religion-specific season are Owen Hughes, Andrew Brooker and Brian Plank. As is tradition, we start off with a Christmassy quiz – quite possibly the worst quiz we’ve had on the podcast all year. Possibly ever. But moods are soon lifted as the team run through which Christmas movies they’ve been watching over the holiday period.

In lieu of any main releases to talk about, we have a special triple bill where each member of the crew pick their films of Christmas past (favourite first watch of a non-2015 film during this year), Christmas present (favourite 2015 release) and Christmas future (which movie they’re most looking forward to in 2016). It really isn’t as confusing as I’ve made it sound.

There’s still one more podcast to go this year – our Failed Critics Awards end of year wrap up (deadline for votes is 27th Dec) – so you can join us again later this month. Until then, Merry Christmas from all of us here at Failed Critics!

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Avengers Minisodes: Episode 7 – Iron Man 3

In the run up to the latest hotly anticipated Marvel blockbuster Avengers: Age of Ultron, Steve and Owen have been busy putting together a series of short 20-25 minute long minisode podcasts. With clips from the films, trailers, retro reviews taken from our archived podcasts as well as brand new retrospective reviews featuring a varied mix of different guests for each episode, we’ll be running through all of the MCU movies thus far in chronological order.

Ushering in phase two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was the third and final part in the Iron Man trilogy. With a change in director from John Favreau to the one-time highest paid screenwriter in the world, Shane Black, Iron Man 3 was the first film to deal with the fall-out from Avengers Assemble. Particularly on a personal level for the man who thwarted the invaders.

Whilst Robert Downey Jr’s contract talks were still up in the air, he returned for the fifth time in a feature film as the genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist Tony Stark another spurned former colleague (Guy Pearce) and evil terrorist megalomaniac. Incredibly exciting for fans of the source material, the big-bad Hell bent on destruction this time was the Mandarin, Iron Man’s arch nemesis finally brought to the big screen, portrayed by Sir Ben Kingsley.

The film itself was quite controversial for fans of the source material. A twist in the way the Mandarin was presented proved to be a step too far for some viewers; particularly for those listening to our original Iron Man 3 podcast back in 2013 who didn’t switch off before our “spoiler alert” section and hadn’t yet seen the movie. Such as Matt Lambourne – who between the trailers and clips we have in this episode will be featured in our retrospective review to finally let us know his opinion on the seventh Marvel Cinematic Universe film.

You can keep up with all of the episodes released so far and those to come here.

Warning: these Avengers Minisodes may contain spoilers

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Failed Critics Podcast: 300 Rise of a Critic

Grand Budapest HotelThis week’s podcast introduces a young, fresh-faced critic to the mix in Callum Petch. Much like the plot of Wes Anderson’s new film The Grand Budapest Hotel, this episode sees a classy yet older gentleman (James) taking a young and enthusiastic outsider under his tutelage. At least that’s how James sees it.

We also have reviews of 300: Rise of an Empire and Escape from Planet Earth, as well as our plans for how to save the Die Hard franchise, and some bitter accusations of cheating in the quiz.

Join us next week for reviews of Need For Speed and The Zero Theorem.

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Failed Critics Podcast: Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3 Ben Kingsley MandarinA year older, wiser, and fatter (in some cases) and the Failed Critics Podcast is back with a bit of a redbranding and format shake-up. Worry not, it’s still the same four idiots (three this week) talking about film from our respective bedrooms via an unstable network connection.

This week we review the start of Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 2 with Shane Black’s Iron Man 3. We’ve dusted off Spoiler Alert especially for the occasion  and James even finally got around to watching all the Marvel Phase 1 movies. He gives his opinions on those in What We’ve Been Watching, while Steve struggles to make head or tail out of the utterly bonkers and surreal Holy Motors.

We’re back next week, hopefully with Gerry and a discussion on Studio Ghibli.

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