Steve Jobs: The Man, The Myth, The Pirate

In this episode Michelle introduces Wayne, Darkest-Timeline Justin and High-Fibre Justin to the life and times of Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, John Scully, Bill Gates and the rest of the guys that defined our marketing and technology inspired culture with IBM, Macintosh and The Pepsi Challenge through a discussion of three movies about Steve Jobs. These three films are the recent Ashton Kutcher starring theatrical feature, Jobs (2013), the first feature length Funny or Die movie iSteve (2013) starring Justin Long as Steve Jobs and Jorge Garcia as Steve Wozniak and lastly, the surprisingly good tv movie Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999) starring Noah Wyle as Steve Jobs and Anthony Michael Hall as Bill Gates. 

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Justin Long and Jorge Garcia

Justin Long iSteve

 

 

 

Ashton Kutcher in JobsAshton Kutcher

Noah Wyle and Anthony Michael Hall in Pirates of Silicon Valley

Jobs & Gates

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Anime: Akira & Ghost in the Shell

 

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In this episode of The Soylent GreenScreen Podcast Darkest-Timeline Justin introduces Wayne, Michelle and Justin to two anime films of cultural significance that helped define a genre. The first half is dedicated to Akira (1988) with Darkest-Timeline Justin helping Wayne and Michelle begin to uncover how complex and culturally significant Akira really is. In the second half Justin joins the gang to discuss Ghost in the Shell (1995) where we go even further into the rabbit hole through the philosophical conundrum that the film presents. This includes AI, the search for the soul and Ulysses.  

 

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GITS 

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Review of Chef by Wayne & Michelle

In this mini episode Wayne and Michelle discuss the new film Chef, written, directed and starring John Favreau. This is one of those films that may slip below the radar during the Blockbuster film season. However, we felt that this was one of the more honest and rereshing American films in some time. Through this twenty minute episode we discuss John Favreau’s career, food porn and how bizarre a conversation with Robert Downey Jnr. may be. 

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X-Men: Days of Future Past – Reviewed by Justin, Wayne and Darkest-Timeline Justin

In this episode Wayne, Justin and Darkest-Timeline Justin review the new X-men film. Throughout the discussion we look at the X-men film franchise and how this film surprisingly feels like a real film with actual characters. We also look at the time travel dynamics in comparison to other time travel stories, an explanation of why the Star Trek films needed a reboot and X-men didn’t, why Professor X still can’t walk after coming back from the dead and how Bryan Singer may have pulled off the greatest retcon in film history.

Also available through iTunes and Stitcher

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Vigilantes: Hobo with a Shotgun / Bad-Ass

All he wanted was a lawnmower

In our latest episode of The Soylent Greenscreen Podcast Justin, Michelle, Darkest-Timeline Justin and Wayne discuss the 2011, Grindhouse inspired Canadian film Hobo With A Shotgun starring Rutger Hauer. Throughout this discussion we look at extreme violence and revenge stories. We discuss the themes of the film as well as the peculiar absence of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino having no association to a film that was sold based on the mock preview the filmmakers produced from a Robert Rodriguez Grindhouse competition. This is followed up with a comparative look at the Danny Trejo 2012 film, Bad-Ass. This film was inspired by a real altercation that became a YouTube hit.

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Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927) – Reviewed by Wayne and Cam (Guest Podcaster)

In this episode Wayne discusses the 1927 Fritz Lang classic, Metropolis with guest podcaster Cam. Through this episode we discuss the transitions from silent to talking films, how it was acceptable to speak during silent films, how Metropolis impacted film as we know it today and the changes in acting styles from early to latter silent films.

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Symbolism

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Inside Superman Returns & Man of Steel – With Wayne and guest podcaster Mark Heyfron

 

In this episode Wayne discussed the subtextual themes of the two most recent Superman films with guest podcaster Mark Heyfron. The original intention was to do a mini episode where we would compare and contrast the two films but once we got chatting an hour and a half flew by. So we hope you enjoy this special episode. As always you can find us on iTunes or Stitcher and you can follow us @SGSPod

Throughout this podcast we tap into the mature themes present in Superman returns and the despair and isolation in Brandon Routh’s performance that Wayne believes is a work of subtle brilliance while Mark maintains a feeling of indifference to Routh and plays Devils Advocate for the Superman fans.

We follow this up with a deep focus on Man of Steel to assess the three main issues with the film and whether or not it truly is superior to Superman Returns. The discussion comes full circle by analysing each film side by side to figure out what these films got right and if given the choice, which film would we choose.

 

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Chef

Chef

2014, 110 minutes

Written and Directed by John Favreau

Starring John Favreau, John Leguizamo, Sofia Vegara and Dustin Hoffman

This is a very funny film that takes a strong position on our culture of criticism and social networking without ever feeling contrived or distancing the audience. This is also perhaps the subtlest meta-film ever made, and I would not be surprised if Favreau was not entirely aware of how much of his own career parallels what we see in Chef.

Anyone familiar with the work of John Favreau will know that the first major role of his career was as the lead actor in Swingers, which is perhaps better known for Vince Vaughn’s scene stealing turn. However, the creative voice behind Swingers was Favreau and his ability to write well rounded and likeable, if flawed, characters. Over the last decade Favreau has become known for directing studio tent pole films such as Iron-Man and Cowboys & Aliens, while these films are not bad films, the creative voice present in Swingers was absent. In many ways those films did feel heartless, they were entertaining but they were lacking in Favreau’s distinct personality.

This is why Chef feels semi-autobiographical but not obviously so. The story is a simple underdog story of a man cut off from his ability to create and to define himself in the world. This is a common and universal story that we often see in sports films, and stories about struggling musicians and artists. In this film the struggling artist is a chef, Carl Casper (John Favreau) once known as being edgy, and making creative and enticing dishes. In the beginning of the film he is under the thumb of his restaurant manager/owner (Dustin Hoffman) and at the mercy of a food critic, Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt) he deeply wants to impress and yet, loathes. Unfortunately Carl cannot make the food he wants to make, and has to acquiesce to the menu his manager wants. This results in a negative review that goes viral.  Carl does not understand Twitter and attempts to send Ramsey a private tweet that Carl does not realise is public until he has thousands of followers.

Chef, therefore feels as if Favreau has found a way to communicate his thoughts and opinions on film critics, studio bosses and trying to maintain his art into this story. Just as Carl loses his highly sought position and resorts to running a food van that he initially perceived as a source of shame, this allowed Carl control and independence in which he could create what he wanted.

For an audience who may only know Favreau for studio films Chef may seem like a step down. This film will not be a box office smash, nor will it get academy award recognition despite an excellent screenplay. However, this feels like one of the most honest and refreshing films to come out of America from an A-list director in a very long time.

A good example of how genuine this film feels is in the scene where Carl tells Ramsey the review hurt. Those moments feel like an open and honest letter to critics in general, who all too often mistake being snarky for criticism. There was pathos in his speech, yet it was also very funny in a way that the audience laughs with the characters and not at them.

A good deal of the humour emerges out of Carl learning social networking. While some films take a negative position on social networking, and attempt to shame the audience while film marketing is dependent on social networking, Chef is an honest portrayal of how Twitter and Facebook integrate into daily life, and are not necessarily a bad thing to have. It is social networking that reinvigorated Carl and tapped him back into his creativity.

Chef is an insightful comedy that hits all the right notes in its message about social networking, critics, the need to create, and the need for basic human connections. Favreau has managed to do this without being contrived, and with enough confidence to speak to his audience without yelling at them or dumbing his film down.  Highly recommended.

 

 

BIG ASS SPIDER – Reviewed by Michelle & Justin

 

In this episode Michelle and Regular Justin discuss the recent cult classic Big Ass Spider. Directed by Mike Mendez, this film doesn’t fail to deliver! A giant spider causes chaos in the city of Los Angeles and one clever exterminator, played by Greg Grunberg, attempts to put an end to the spider’s rampage. This horror parody delivers a lot of laughs and is a must see for Heroes fans and spider enthusiasts.Our latest review, Big Ass Spider is now available on iTunes and Stitcher

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Godzilla: The First 60 Years

 

In this episode, Justin from the Darkest Timeline, our resident Godzilla afficionado takes us on a sixty year cinematic journey through the highs and lows of Godzilla.

The first film was the clasic Godzilla (1954). This was followed by Godzilla 1985 (1984) that is arguably a remake/reboot/sequel depending which of The Soylent GreenScreen Crew you ask. The Godzilla marathon concluded with the 2004 film Godzilla: Final Wars, which felt like a much longer film than it really was.

Throughout this discussion, The Soylent GreenScreen Crew touch on classic monster and disaster films, how good or bad they can be and whether the passion of those involved translates to what is on screen. The crew also discuss science run amok, Godzilla as a Hiroshima allegory, the the futility of man trying to control what cannot be controlled, what causes franchises to collapse, and why Godzilla is still relevant.

Also available on Stitcher and iTunes

 

Theme music from Godzilla (1954), composed by Akira Ifukube.

 

Sixty Years of Godzilla in under 4 minutes

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