In this special "swapcast" between TMR and Film Gold we are joined by our good friends Antony Rotunno (host of the new Film Gold podcast) and Jenifer Thyssen (classical singer) for the 8th in our Movie Roundtable series. This time our subject is the wonderful 1993 "fantasy romcom" (or is it "fantasy comrom"?) Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell, directed by Harold Ramis.
While on location filming the annual celebration of Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, cynical and jaded TV weather presenter Phil Connors (Bill Murray) finds himself inexplicably caught up in a mysterious time loop that forces him to re-live the same day—Grounhog Day (which he loaths)—over and over again for a seeming eternity. The inexorable repetition (which he alone experiences) thrusts him into a succession of psychological states—confusion, denial, nihilistic anger, extreme selfishishness, and finally acceptance—as he is forced to interact with the events and people of that seemingly endless February 2nd. Yet only at the point when he himself has changed inside, such that he gains the true affection of TV producer Rita Hanson (Andie MacDowell), does the time loop cease and his life begin again in a new way.
Join us as we discuss the production, and reflect theologically/psychologically on the film's messages and implications.
For the 7th of our TMR Movie Roundtable podcasts we welcome back our good friends Frank Johnson (Ancient Aliens Debunkedblog) and Mark Campbell (Bowler or Fez Film Reviews) for a three-way discussion on the 1978 "horror film" (or is it?) The Shout, starring Alan Bates, Susannah York and John Hurt.
Based upon a short story of the same name by the Twentieth-Century British poet and novelist Robert Graves, the The Shout tells an intriguing and many-layered tale about a strange and sinister traveller, Charles Crossley (Alan Bates), who claims to have used his magical powers to invade the lives of a married couple, Anthony and Rachel Fielding (John Hurt and Susannah York), in their isolated house in the Devon countryside. Elaborating on his story, Crossley describes how he seduced Rachel using sympathetic magic and almost killed Anthony by exposing him to The Shout, a terrifying skill that Crossley claims to have mastered while living with Aboriginal Australian shamans for eighteen years.
Listening patiently to Crossley's extravagant story is Robert Graves himself (played by Tim Curry), who wonders at this strange man's tale. Could it possibly be true? Or is it more likely just the fanciful product of an—admittedly intelligent and educated, but—unbalanced creative imagination? How is he to decide?
And how, asks the film, are we?
Join us as we consider the film's production, discuss its storyline, and reflect theologically upon the possible meanings of this most unusual film.
For the 6th of our Movie Review podcasts here at TMR we welcome back our good friends Antony Rotunno (Freethinker75 blog), Frank Johnson (Ancient Aliens Debunkedblog) and Mark Campbell (Bowler or Fez Film Reviews) for a roundtable discussion on the 1999 based-on-truth thriller The Insider directed by Michael Mann and starring Russell Crowe, Al Pacino and Christopher Plummer.
Unceremoniously ejected from the third largest tobacco company in the US, research scientist and high-up executive Jeffrey Wigand (Crowe) has a story to tell that 60 Minutes producer Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino) is desperate to get his hands on. But personal threats against Wigand and his family, and legal threats against CBS if they venture to air Wigand's story, almost succeed in silencing the whistleblower. In the end his words do become public, and his testimony has huge implications for the tobacco industry, but in the process we witness the wheels of power attempting to crush the Lone Voice and a media landscape compromised by the pressures of legal and financial challenges.
Join us as we discuss the film's production and consider some of the messages implied by the movie's storyline.
For the 5th of our Movie Review podcasts here at TMR we welcome back our good friends Frank Johnson (of the Ancient Aliens Debunkedblog) and Mark Campbell (of Bowler or Fez Film Reviews) for a roundtable discussion on the 1972 classic sci-fi movie Silent Running, starring Bruce Dern and directed by Douglas Trumbull.
Having been tasked for years with preserving Earth's last remaining forests—now housed in large geodesic domes on the spaceship Valley Forge orbiting Saturn—botanist Freeman Lowell (played by Bruce Dern) at length receives orders to abandon the project, destroy the forests and return the spaceship to commercial service. Horrified by the callousness and insanity of the orders, Freeman takes matters into his own hands, kills his insouciant work colleagues and hijacks the Valley Forge in an attempt to rescue Earth's last ecological treasures. But from that moment on he has only the forests and the robots—"Huey", "Dewey" and "Louie"—for company in the lonely silence of space.
Join us as we discuss many aspects of the film's production and ponder some of the ethical and worldview questions thrown up by its storyline.
"Each person who tries to see beyond his own time must face questions to which there cannot yet be proven answers."—from The Illustrated Man
For the fourth of our Movie Review podcasts here at TMR we welcome back our good friends Frank Johnson (of the Ancient Aliens Debunkedblog) and Mark Campbell (of Bowler or Fez Film Reviews) for a roundtable discussion on the 1969 classic movie The Illustrated Man, starring Rod Steiger and Claire Bloom, based on Ray Bradbury's sci-fi short story collection of the same name.
Taking just three of Bradbury's stories—"The Veldt", "The Long Rain" and "The Last Night of the World"—the film ties them together, as does the book, with the framing device of "The Illustrated Man", a vagrant ex-circus-freak-show-performer with a heavily tattooed body, whose "body illustrations"—created by an allegedly time-travelling woman—seem to possess a supernatural power to transfix anyone who stares at the images and transport them into "the future".
But is this really about "the future", or is it something more like "possible worlds"? Are we looking at science fiction here, or is it closer to fanstasy? Indeed, does the film even know what it's doing?
Join us as we ponder these questions and more, and compare the film with the original short stories—thanks to our resident Ray Bradbury enthusiast, Mark Campbell—in an entertaining and thought-provoking three-way discussion.
"5 billion people will die from a deadly virus in 1997... the survivors will abandon the surface of the planet... once again the animals will rule the world..."—12 Monkeys
For the third of our Movie Review podcasts here at TMR we welcome back GK (of Like Flint Radio) and Frank Johnson (of the Ancient Aliens Debunked blog) for a roundtable discussion on Terry Gilliam's 1995 film Twelve Monkeys starring Bruce Willis and Madeleine Stowe.
In addition to commenting on the film itself, we use the movie as a springboard to discuss the current coronavirus pandemic, and note some of the trends we see developing as various vested interests jump on the fear bandwagon to try to reshape the world according to their various technocractic agendas.
"The horse-shoe is the mystic symbol of the Wizard's Foot..."—Hargrave Jennings (1870)
As a welcome distraction from the media's wall-to-wall coverage of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we present the second of TMR's new Movie Roundtable podcasts, in which we welcome back Frank Johnson and Mark Campbell for a lively, entertaining and revelatory discussion on the classic 1966 film Batman, starring Adam West and Burt Ward.
Well-known and well-loved, Batman : The Movie (as it's also known), continues to delight audiences around the world as, arguably, one of the finest comic movies of the 1960s. But what if—unknown to the vast majority of people—it turns out that this familiar movie also contains profound hermetic messages, buried deep within the thinly-veiled symbolism of its colourful screen play? The least likely candidate for such hidden doctrines, one might suppose; and yet maybe therein lies the secret of its power: to telegraph to The Powers That Should Not Be a Grand Plan—a blueprint for world domination ("Today Gotham City, Tomorrow The World" [?])—while the watching masses look on in ignorant bliss.
Applying some of the very principles of deduction depicted in the movie itself, and with careful reference to works by arch theosopher H. P. Blavatski, Rosicrucianism scholar Hargrave Jennings and classic anthropologist Sir James Frazer, we pick through the scenes of the movie and reveal much that has remained hidden (to the uninitiated) since its release in 1966.
For TMR's very first Movie Roundtable I am joined by Mark Campbell (of Bowler or Fez Film Reviews) and Frank Johnson (researcher for Chris White's Ancient Aliens Debuked) for a lively and entertaining conversation on the compelling 1970 made-for-TV movie The Brotherhood of the Bell, starring Glenn Ford and Rosemary Forsyth.
The Brotherhood of the Bell tells the story of college professor Dr. Andrew Patterson (Glenn Ford), who as a young student became involved with a mysterious secret society at college called “Beta, Epsilon, Lambda” (acronym “Bel”). Although this turned out well for him for years—his career benefited from his being a member in all kinds of ways, even beyond his knowledge—reality dawns when 22 years later he is called upon to initiate a new member into the Brotherhood and to receive an assignment that he must carry out as an act of loyalty to the Society. Patterson must try to persuade an academic colleague to turn down an important job offer—because the Brotherhood wants someone else in that position—and, in case that colleague should refuse, Patterson is provided with a dossier of information to blackmail that colleague into submission. Reluctantly Patterson carries out the assignment, but the colleague freaks out and commits suicide. Thus, filled with remorse, Patterson decides to break the story to world about the wickedness of the Society and its assignments, but the influence of the Society is much bigger than he realises. Every technique is used against him to undermine his credibility: he loses his job, his wife, his standing in society. Vainly he hopes that the media will help him to blow the whistle, yet the media ends up being manipulated against him. Eventually his boss believes his story, and there's a chink of light at the end of the film as they hit on the idea of persuading other members of the Society to come forward. But does it succeed?