Sunday, 4 October 2009

The Simon and Jo Show Podcast: 04/10/2009

So, round two - another overview on the weeks films with Jo and myself!

"The latest films discussed by your London-based film reviewers. Specifically focussing on Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson's 'The Invention of Lying' and Lars von Trier's 'Antichrist'."

That's the description ... enjoy!


  1. Nice work. but slightly confused by your discussion of Gran Torino - I can recall you being very positive about it when we watched it!!

    you turn coat.

    Jo doesn't like it because we left him waiting while we watched it!

  2. Rhys Bendix-lewis08 October, 2009 19:22

    Hi guys,

    I commend you on an excellent podcast. A big improvement in terms of detail and structure from the first week. I have two comments though. Firstly, what's up with your prejudice of Surrogates? I watched it, and while not the best sci-fi film I've ever seen, it had many fine qualities. Yes it is similar in some ways to I, Robot, in that it's set in a clean looking future and follows a detective story structure, but in terms of ideas and themes the films deal with totally different topics. I, Robot investigates what it means to be a sentient being, and whether that's possible for machines.
    Surrogates is a cautionary tale about the dangers of the virtual realm. It's commenting on the internet, video games, TV, modern society. How technology insulates us from ourselves and each other. And crucially the exploration of A.I. doesn't feature in Surrogates at all. How can you say it's an I, Robot rip off?
    Another reason why Surrogates should be praised is its runtime: 88 minutes. It's an hour shorter than Transformers 2! Maybe runtime could be a future discussion - looking into the excessive length of many modern American movies, especially blockbusters, compared with the films of old.

    I look forward to next week.


  3. Damn you Rhys with your cineworld club card. This is what that card does - it forces you to become mainstreamed. Like we said, we hadn't seen the film, merely stating why we didn't watch it. IN the long run ... have we missed out. Only time will tell and, by the time the next Sci-Fi, action fear-the-technology film comes about, I am sure we will all be recalling Surrogate and I,Robot.

    Woah woah woah Richard on the Gran Torino discourse. Lets be honest - we both said that it done what it does well, but it hardly broke new ground or challenged us. Simply a good movie. If Eastwood was replaced by a different OAP would it be as good? No. Way. Akin to Surrogates (I imagine...) these are stories that do not change cinema ... they simply add to the bank account of the producers. I am sure that Changeling only got the go-ahead if Eastwood starred in a film akin to Gran Torino - a film that guaranteed a certain return, while Changeling did not neccessarily. Surrogates followed a very similar path with a guaranteed return on investement.

  4. Rhys Bendix-lewis08 October, 2009 20:46

    Simon, I like interesting stories. Whether the film's mainstream or not shouldn't matter. And remember the Godfather is a mainstream film, but like the best films it has its own voice. Does Surrogates have its own voice? Probably not, but it can make you think, if you let it.

    And what do you think? Film length a future topic?

    Also I wouldn't worry the cineworld card is changing my film perception. My two favorite films of the year so far are The Unloved and Adventureland, hardly the most mainstream of releases.


  5. One point i unreservedly agree with Dr Mark Kermode about is the fact that you should not comment on a film that you have not seen. It leads to a lot of stupid comment and has fueled many a censorship rant. I feel that this may have got you into a spot of bother in the Surrogates affair.

    Meanwhile - I doubt Changeling, or Gran Torino for that matter, wouldn't have been made without him as Actor as Eastwood is a highly respected and bankable director.

    But you didn't give me the impression on the podcast that you thought it was good.

  6. Okay. Fine. Surrogates might just be the Citizen Kane of 2009 - or surpass expectations completely. Fact is, I'll never know because I doubt I'll never watch it. I shall not comment on it any more because clearly Surrogates is Rhys' favourite film.

    Our review section may be a little thin if we don't comment on the ones we haven't seen. When we are highly respected (a long way off, im sure) and watch all the films in the week, then maybe our reviews will be more informed.

    Onwards to this weeks podcast methinks.

  7. I dount I'll EVER watch it. Geez, quite the typo.

  8. Probably should should get involved in this Surrogates discussion before a new debate hopefully kicks off on an issue that arises from the Third Episode.

    Firstly I saw the trailer and it looked like a perfectly reasonable film. Complex yet exciting plot with dramatic twists, decent actors and a large amount of money to chuck at aforementioned plot and actors to ensure it looks good. However there seems to be a film like this on the release slate every month, why do we need Surrogates and x, y and z (for example Next, Knowing and Bangkok Dangerous). I've not seen those three films either which may be an issue but maybe also the point. There's too much bloody stuff around and it all might be perfectly reasonable or even quite good but it might not be. Why not take the money for four films and make two? Then use any spare change to make something which isn't going to make back its budget, no questions asked. Maybe I'm pissed off by what home bankers kids films appear to be (the issue in ep. 3?) but it's kinda annoying. And why not put Surrogates in 3-D, might it benefit from that?

  9. Incidentally I got nothing against Nicolas Cage. Quite excited about this Bad Lieutenant remix with Werner Herzog. However Lord of War is one of the worst films ever made. Almost as bad as the first twenty minutes of Gran Torino.


  10. Doubly incidentally I got nothing againt Bruce Willis. He done fine work in Grindhouse/Sin City but I ain't gonna see Perfect Stranger or Lucky Number Slevin. Simple as. I guess I might watch Surrogates at some point.

    Peace Out

  11. Rhys Bendix-lewis14 October, 2009 15:10

    Hi Jo,

    I definately agree that there's too many films like Surrogates made every year. Surrogates, though, is one of the better ones. Also I would take a film like Surrogates over Transformers, Terminator Salvation, Wolverine or whatever franchise the studios milk every year.

    And on the subject of Bruce Willis. Do you agree with Tarrantino that Unbreakable's his best work?

    And on the subject of Nic Cage I heard this while listening to's podcast.

    "Not the bees!" So funny.


  12. Love that Cage clip! And the Wahlberg one!
    Both those guys are so tricksy- just awful in one movie and then amazing in another. Just can't trust them...

    I agree with your point on Surrogates, I guess the problem is we get too many similar films made (and then there are both good and bad examples) or we get none of these films made it (and then there are neither good or bad). I guess you gotta take a risk and sometimes you get lucky. Balance up the guilty pleasures against the 'that was a waste of two hours of my life' and hope in the endgame the former comes out on top. Fortunately I only wasted twenty minutes on Gran Torino.

    Incidentally I was undeservedly proud of myself as this summer I avoided Transformers 2 and GI Joe. Did see Wolverine (bad Jo).

    With regards to Bruce Willis I find that he has a surprisingly good range despite being a member of the Planet Hollywood triumvirate. Great in Die Hard, solidly dramatic in Unbreakable then also very good in unexpectedly reasonable stuff like Hart's War and 16 Blocks. Love him most of all in Sin City and Planet Terror. I may have been the only one who laughed heartily at his appearance in Ocean's Twelve but I'm glad I did. Makes we wanna see What Just Happened.


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