Steve Stebbing

Breaking down all things pop culture

Lars Von Trier’s latest film “The House That Jack Built” has caused many walkouts, including a screening at Cannes. We chat with Steve Stebbing about this film, and to our listeners, about the movies they have walked out of.

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This week Steve is fresh out of his screening of Deadpool 2 for his first thoughts for guest host Alex Carr. The rest of the week’s new releases are the audience targeted films, Book Club and Show Dogs, two biographical documentaries, Pope Francis: A Man Of His Word and, a Steve favorite of the week, RBG and the powerfully acted Disobedience. On Blu-ray this week, Steve also goes over the two worlds of Black Panther and the television series The Shannara Chronicles.

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Horror fans are a very particular bunch with particular taste. Not to say we’re picky – you need to watch everything to reserve the right to bitch, but, man, will we have opinions about it. The more consistent debates come with horror franchises like Halloween, Nightmare On Elm Street and Friday The 13th, aside from the former. We all know that the original film stands tall in that series but we’re always raising the question “which one is your favorite?” Well, this week one of these films is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary and provided me with the perfect opportunity to gush over it.

When the question is posed about Friday The 13th, the answers are varying. Some will say the first one, which sets the tone without the main monster of Jason Voorhees appearing until the end. Others may opt for The Final Chapter for the first appearance of Tommy Jarvis or Jason Takes Manhattan which takes the scope of this franchise to a new level. A word to the wise and a general rule, if anyone says A New Beginning you should remove them from your life. You don’t need that kind of person In your life. My favorite film in the series is none of these. Instead, I opt for Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood, a film that tried so much to set itself apart from everything that came before it and, unfortunately, got kind of buried.

Why do I adore this film? Well, the first reason is simply the fact that Kane Hodder made his first outing as Jason Voorhees in this film and added a whole new dimension to the character. His walk was far more menacing, an unstoppable beast with a palpable yet silent determination and that head tilt he would add to his mannerisms is nothing short of iconic now. The man, as much as he could, lived the gimmick. Heck, he’s known to get all “hulked up” on set and chasing actors even after the cut had been called, a dedication to the gimmick and a love for the monster that flows through every fibre of Kane Hodder.

Secondly, John Carl Buechler made this film and if you’re unfamiliar with his work, you need to pick up copies of From Beyond, A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, and Ghoulies because he’s the mastermind behind the effects on that. In his directorial and special effects capacity behind New Blood, he added unique and original kills, great atmosphere and a fantastic look at a water decayed Jason that we hadn’t seen up to this point. Buechler fought for many things in his vision of a Jason Voorhees film, which included pushing for Hodder to replace C.J. Graham in the role and the multiple cuts he begrudgingly made to save the movie from an MPAA enforced X rated cut. Thinking about all that we didn’t see really makes me long for a director’s cut, which, thirty years later, feels like a dream that will go unfulfilled.

Lastly, this entire story really took a chance on being different. Jason finally goes to battle with an opponent who is formidable, even if she doesn’t think so at the start of the film. Tina Shepherd, played by Lar Park-Lincoln, is a psychokinetic teenage girl who inadvertently awakens a chained and water buried Jason from an over ten-year slumber with a psychic nudge. As she slowly gets a grasp on her abilities, the potential battle goes from being very one-sided to an even playing field as this “Carrie versus the monster” type story progresses and that final battle between Jason and Tina on the lake is pretty awesome, even now. Paramount was pushing for a high concept version of Friday The 13th and I think it was delivered on, even if the mainstream doesn’t agree. If only more franchise sequels took a chance like many of these did between 1985 to 1990 and we’d have a different horror landscape today. That’s right, I just called Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood a landmark film. Fight me.

Categories: #TBT

This week Steve chats with guest host Niki Reitmeyer about the cancelation and resurrection of Brooklyn Nine-Nine which took place over the course of two days and the controversy known as Lars Von Trier rearing its head at Cannes again. Talking new releases, Steve praises the arrival of Vancouver’s own Ryan Reynolds reprising his anti-hero role in Deadpool 2 and the hot-button issue of teen suicide being at the center of the second season of 13 Reasons Why for better or worse.

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Life Of The Party – Let’s just start this one off by saying that I do not dislike Melissa McCarthy. It’s quite the contrary because I think she is very gifted and I usually enjoy the work she puts out. I adored her quick scene in Go before I even knew who she was, she is my favorite thing about my wife rewatching Gilmore Girls and she has surprised me multiple times with the quality of films like Spy, St. Vincent and her performance in Bridesmaids. What I don’t find funny is her work with her husband Ben Falcone, all of which come off as her trying to bring Chris Farley into the current generation, like the previous one has forgotten about him. Pratt falls, awkward jokes, weight gags, all which feel beneath a comedienne of her stature but maybe this is her style of comedy and it just doesn’t hit me in the right way. Even so, anytime I hear their names mentioned together I smell the burning of a trash fire but, to be fair, it is said that this is the best of the three films they made together. The other two, Tammy and The Boss, are to be avoided at all costs.

Breaking In – Being that it was Mother’s Day weekend, we got a double dose of mother heavy themes including the aforementioned Life Of The Party about a mom going back to college. This film, on the other hand, is a showing of how kick ass moms can be. Bad Boys and Bad Boys II star Gabrielle Union plays the mother of two who must break into her late father’s impenetrable fortress of a mansion to rescue her kids from the clutches of four criminals. While, on the outside, this film may sound a bit like a flip version of David Fincher’s Panic Room it is decidedly not at all and the first glaring difference is the director. Instead of having arguably one of the best in the game, you have James McTeigue, a guy that has only V For Vendetta under his belt to impress you and otherwise can’t get a first act going to keep your interest or has everything fall to pieces in the third act after a promising set up. This is the guy who was brought in to “save” Oliver Hirschbeigel’s Invasion Of The Body Snatchers by reshooting the last act and RUINED IT! Secondly, this film was written by the guy behind Liam Neeson movies like Non-Stop and The Commuter while Panic Room was from David Koepp, you know, the guy behind Spider-Man and Jurassic Park. Yeah, these comparisons aren’t even fair.

The Matrix Reloaded – Do you feel that in the air, that aura of disappointment? Well, that’s because fifteen years ago this week the Wachowski’s released the hotly anticipated follow up to their landmark and genre-defining film The Matrix with The Matrix: Reloaded. Remember the feeling of wide-eyed wonder at what would be the continuing story for Neo? The crushing defeat of this film will always live in a bit of infamy with me, especially since I had gone through the letdown of the Star Wars prequels and still had the precocious innocence that it couldn’t happen again. Living in the age of sequels coming over ten years after the originals and crapping the bed, I long for the sequel my beloved stories quicker but this one still stings a decade and a half later. That said, the highway fight sequence is still absolutely awesome and to see it on the big screen was a total treat. That’s all you get, Lily and Lana!

Star Trek: Into Darkness – Before J.J. Abrams was overseeing things in another galaxy long ago and far, far away, he was (and still is) the main integral producer of the Star Trek films and the director of the first reboot film as well as this one, released five years ago this week. Look, I’m not a dedicated Trekkie so I really had fun with the first film, one that messed with the timeline and tries to forge a new path while also serving up some fan service. Heading into production. We were getting hints and rumors that Abrams desperately strived to keep hidden but the potential casting of Benicio del Toro as the villain had the same effect on all of us. We were getting Khan. You know, that awesome villain from the best Star Trek film ever made, The Wrath of Khan. Then del Toro departed and we got Benedict Cumberbatch and the promise from J.J. that “no, Khan was not the villain.” Well, spoiler alert, but that was bullshit. Cumberbatch was a pasty-faced and British Khan Noonan Singh and everything felt like the flip and reverse of Wrath of Khan but in a wholly underwhelming way. It took a slightly better Star Trek Beyond to wipe that taste out of our mouth but the damage has been done and Simon Pegg can only save us so much. What does the future hold with two movies coming at us, including a Quentin Tarantino written one and the debut of a female director in the series? I’m trying to remain optimistic but I keep referring to stupid things in this film like Carol Marcus stripping down to her underwear for NO DISCERNIBLE REASON! It shouldn’t bother me but it does.

Revenge – Coming from first-time feature writer and director Coralie Fargeat, this is a film you will not forget and one I may have sitting in my top ten at the end of this year. A film in the vein of I Spit On Your Grave but with a “never say die” feminist edge, this movie kicked my ass with its unrelenting blood and violence coupled with its beauty, both in the savage sense and the awesome vibrancy it gives off. The story follows a rich man’s mistress who, while at his beautiful remote mansion in the wilderness, is sexually assaulted by his friends and, when she threatens to tell his wife of their activities in an ultimatum to get airlifted back home, things get ugly. He ends up tossing her off the cliff where she is impaled on a tree and, believing that she is dead and their problems are over, the trio goes on their planned hunting trip. Our main, played by Rings’ Matilda Lutz, is definitely not dead and hunts our three hunters down and to say they get their due might be an understatement. Textured in a way that is both gorgeous at times and horrific at other times, Revenge is a film that felt absolutely satisfying in the art film sense, has the gore to abate those craving it and one of the most bad ass women on screen since Imperator Furiousa.

The Little Prince – Talk about a beautiful film for all ages that was completely lost in a petty studio shuffle. This movie was an adaptation of a beloved French children’s book, one that many in the know were looking forward to, and then, just one week before release, the distributor Paramount Pictures drops the film entirely. This is totally tragic as the film is gorgeous, inspiring and contains a beautiful message for the whole family to pick up on. Loosely, the film follows a little girl whose mother constantly pushes her to be the best in all of her academics leaving her no time for imagination. Her neighbor, an old aviator, tries to open her mind to the possibilities locked within by introducing her to the stories of the Little Prince and his world. The good news is now, thanks to great minds at Netflix, this movie will be available as of Thursday the 17th of May on the streaming service. I do believe that with a good theatrical push this movie would have found a sizeable audience but now it has a new opportunity to find this and more through the discussion I hope it will bring.

Black Panther – Wakanda piece would this be if I didn’t mention that the highest rated solo superhero film was now on Blu-Ray? Definitely, one that reused that overused pun, which I apologize for, but the opportunity to own this fantastic actioner from the Marvel Cinematic Universe should be a no-brainer. Director Ryan Coogler makes the third film in his stellar career, following Fruitvale Station and Creed, but this one is his biggest yet and kind of the new standard to hold him by. This is the first to solely focus on a black hero in this long list of Marvel films and does it with such original flair that it really sets itself apart from what came before. It does suffer a bit from origin film tropes but Chadwick Boseman continues his great command of T’Challa, the King of Wakanda, and main Coogler staple Michael B. Jordan creates a villain that is not only completely devoid of the one dimensional MCU bad guy problem but makes one that in another light could be the hero. Other than the actual movie being the main seller of why to pick this up, it features extensive behind the scenes features, a gag reel, a look at the upcoming Ant-Man & The Wasp, as well as, my personal favorite, feature commentary by Ryan Coogler himself. If nothing, this will definitely tide you over until Infinity War hits the shelves.

This week on the show, Steve chats with Drex about the two big Mother’s Day appropriate releases of Life Of The Party and Breaking In as well as the more limited release of The Seagull and the astounding new French film Revenge. New on Blu-Ray, there’s some serious mocking of Fifty Shades Freed and one of the best war films ever gets a 20th anniversary 4K edition.

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