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Posts tagged ‘Doctor Who’

Episode 20 – End of the Year!

Well, it is now 2012, but we recorded our latest podcast last year, when we were all relaxed and unwound after the holidays and some time off (for those of us working…).  Maybe it was just me, but I could pretty much only find stories that were basically lists, so this episode is relatively laid back and free from any real heated debate.  In fact, one might say that we… bantered.  Ha, ha.  Don’t worry, that bit of lame humor is 2011 leftovers.  This year, the three of us are going to up our game, move to our own site, get some cooler theme music, get back to blogging as well as podcasting, and change some other stuff that our team isn’t ready to unveil yet.

So.  Here is what we talk about in Episode 20 – End of the Year!

Also, I gave reviews of:

Justin mentioned a book he’s reading, Doctor Who and Philosophy: Bigger on the Inside.

And Matt got a puppy, so be jealous!

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Episode 5 – The “What Episode Are We On?” Episode

The exciting saga of the Idle Banter Podcast continues this week. This week Zoe talks about the movie One Day, Matt talks about something to do with Apple (surprise, surprise) and I geek out over Doctor Who starting up this coming Saturday (also another surprise). We also talk about some other bits and pieces. The new site is still in production, but coming along nicely. We hope to be moving over there soon. Anyway, enjoy this week’s podcast, comment, ask questions, and most importantly have fun. See you next week.

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Episode 5 – The “Which Episode Are We On?” Episode

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A Jew, A Geek, and an Indie Film Walk Into a Blog Post

Justin: Woo hoo!

Zoe: What are you so excited about? Wait, let me guess. The “Doctor Who” season premier was this weekend.

Justin: Yep!

Zoe: Was it any good?

Justin: It was freaking amazing. It was a great way to start off the season. I think they may have even topped “The Weeping Angels” in terms of creepiness with this new monster they introduced.

Zoe: Yeah, I have no clue what you are talking about and probably neither do half our readers. So I am going to have to cut you off there. But it is a good transition enough into the indie films we watched this week.

Justin: This is true. Just to remind our readers: Zoe and I have taken on a new task for this site. For our weekly dialogues, we are watching a common movie “together” and then two movies on our own in the same genre.

Zoe: That’s right. This week’s genre was supposed to be foreign indie comedies.

Justin: Correct. Although I think most of our movies took place in the United Kingdom. I had one that was in Paris. Hey, we just go by what Netflix tells us. Their genre system is a little odd at times.

Zoe: Yeah, mine may not have been as foreign as we would have liked. They had foreign actors in them; does that count?

Justin: Hmmm, I guess I will let you off the hook this week. Not exactly sure if you could consider mine foreign as well.

Zoe: Well, maybe our readership will judge us and then let us know what they decide.  Anyway, this week the film we watched together was a British movie called The Infidel. It is about a Muslim man who finds out that he was adopted after his mother’s death… Not only that, but his birth parents were Jewish. The lead character finds himself coming to terms with both his Jewish side as well as his Muslim side, all while trying to successfully get his son married to his fiancée, whose new father-in-law is very, shall we say, “traditional.”  (Death to the unbeliever!)

Justin: There were some pretty funny parts to the movie and Richard Schiff playing the Jewish cab driver, who the main character turns to for advice on being Jewish, did an excellent job.

Zoe: How could he not? He is Toby from “The West Wing” and an amazing actor all around.

Justin: I know. Although I was a little disappointed to find out there was going to be a Johnny English 2 when I went to see if there were any upcoming shows/movies he was going to be in. Now, I am a Rowan Atkinson fan. I love his stand-up and I enjoyed Mr. Bean. However, in my opinion the first Johnny English movie wasn’t all that great and there is no need for a second. But that is a completely different topic for another time. So, what did you think of The Infidel?

Zoe:  I enjoyed the kind of goofy combination of hilarity and awkward cultural interactions.  Not just Muslim and Jewish interaction, there was also British and American, too, and a little bit about marriage and secrets.  I think I would’ve even enjoyed it more if I were British for some reason.  Also it basically avoided the deeper problems that usually stand between Muslims and Jews, making gentle fun of the comedic gold that comes from having different religions, senses of humor and clothing (arguably–don’t get tetchy). What was your opinion of it?

Justin: Overall I enjoyed the film. However, I was kind of disappointed in it. The film had a hilarious concept: a Muslim man finding out that he was Jewish. Like you said, the cultural interactions were classic and I loved the Bar Mitzvah scene where he was trying to act Jewish. Here is where I felt it started to go downhill. You had all this wonderful interaction and cultural misunderstandings and then it comes back to a typical story arch. Tragedy strikes, people learn about his secret, friends and family abandon him and then the rest of the movie is spent trying to win everyone back. It started to feel like a typical movie and it didn’t start off that way. The concept was great and they could have done so much more than the “I need to win my family back” story line. Finally, as with you would have enjoyed it more if you were British, I think I might have enjoyed it more if I were Jewish or Muslim. I know some of the traditions and stereotypes of both religions but I was still an outsider looking in. Being from a Jewish background what was your take?

Zoe: Oh, for sure it was disappointing in that respect.  But how could one tiny film possibly explain what it means to Be Jewish or Be Muslim?  If someone could do that, it’d end up being like an educational video shown all over the world…  Let’s face it, the writer here had to chicken out and go typical in the middle, because to actually seriously contemplate what it would mean for a fairly religious Muslim man to find out he’s “biologically Jewish” or whatever (even without extra complications like a jihadist’s stepdaughter about to marry his son)… not funny.  Consider Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? Screw it, I can’t even explain what being Jewish is, and I’ve been one all my life.  To hit that point in the movie and then just keep making Jew jokes / Muslim jokes would have been kind of tasteless, also.

Justin: That makes perfect sense. Although I think I was looking more along the lines of were parts funnier because you understood the Jewish jokes or traditions better than I might have not being Jewish.

Zoe: Oh… possibly.

Justin: Anyway, let’s get into our solo films. For my first film, I watch Stone of Destiny. It was a really good film and when I started it, I had no clue what it was about, let alone that it was a true story. It starred Charlie Cox (Stardust), Kate Mara (Brokeback Mountain, 127 Hours) and Billy Boyd (Lord of the Rings Trilogy) The film revolves around four college students from Scotland who decide to break into Westminster Abbey and steal the Stone of Destiny. Now if you don’t know anything about the Stone of Destiny, you can find information about it here on Wikipedia. The short version of the story is that an English King stole the Stone of Destiny from the Scottish back in 1296 and since then it has been part of the coronation throne for the English royalty. Anyway, in 1950 these four students decide to try to take it back. I won’t spoil anything for you, although if you know the history of the stone you already know how it turns out in the end. It was a great movie. Not sure I would have classified it as an “Indie Comedy” but there were some humorous parts. I would highly recommend it and there are some beautiful shots of the Scottish landscape.

Zoe: I’m frankly not sure how Netflix decides to categorize things; you can find a lot of the same movies in the different subcategories (comedies, dramas, romance, gay & lesbian, etc.).  You’ll have to forgive me if it makes sense to you.  But okay, The Infidel was man-centric, so I decided to watch Broken English starring Parker Posey and Melvil Poupaud, directed by Zoe (great name!) Cassavetes.  Posey plays Nora, a thirtysomething neurotic New Yorker, dangerously close the “oh my Jesus, are there really people like that out there?” line.  One night, she meets this young, romantic, completely ohhh I don’t even know the right word… Frenchman, maybe?  Ha.  He’s alive, is what he is, and enchanting and Nora finds his alive-ness alluring but also sees it as dangerous and impossible.  So the story is about his pull, and the question of what really counts as a risk.  I found it an almost drowsy film to watch, not lazy or boring, just drowsy in the best way; it didn’t rush and nothing was super heightened emotionally, it felt pretty close to reality in fact…  I’d really recommend it.

Justin: Might have to check it out for myself.  With my second movie, I moved out of the United Kingdom all the way across the English Channel to Paris, France. 2 Days in Paris, stars Adam Goldberg (Saving Private Ryan) and Julie Delpy (Broken Flowers) and is about a couple coming home from a trip to Venice, Italy, and stopping in Paris so he can meet her parents for the first time. It all goes downhill from there, as it usually does in a relationship.

Zoe: JUSTIN!

Justin: Sorry, sorry. Anyway, the film is really about him discovering who she is and about her past relationships. I think it ties in very well with The Infidel because it is about discovering a culture you just don’t understand. Goldberg’s character is an American who speaks no French and is often left out of loop in the conversations. He is also not as free to talk about sex as many of the other characters in the movie, who seem to talk about it a lot. You can see him become more and more uncomfortable as the movie progresses. This is another movie that I would recommend. Both stars do a wonderful job and this one was one I would classify as a comedy, but I wouldn’t really say a romantic comedy which you might think at first glance. Check it out and decide for yourself.

Zoe: I started that and while I don’t find frankness uncomfortable, he was so good at projecting his awkwardness that it made me squeamish too!  My third movie is now one of my favorite movies, though I don’t think most people would agree.  I’m not being snobby; let me explain.  It’s called Conversations with Other Women and almost literally the only people in it are Aaron Eckhart and Helen Bonham Carter, Man and Woman.  The entire film is split screen, most of the time Man in one frame and Woman in the other, though sometimes one of them is in both or they’re both in one and the other’s momentarily empty.  It’s a little tricky to get used to, but it’s nothing like Time Code (four squares of simultaneous stories).  What it’s about, though, is Man and Woman meeting at a wedding, each talking about an ex, about getting older, and a little bit about their lives at that moment.  There’s more to it–not aliens or explosions or something awful like that–but I don’t want to spoil it.  I found it honest and really interesting, and you know those two actors carried the whole thing with intensity and ease and a wonderful fluctuating chemistry.  Honest, too.  It made me think of a theme for next week, actually.  Want to know what it is?

Justin: I would love to know what it is!

Zoe: Well, this is a pretty unknown, but still really good, movie starring two really quality actors.  This movie is like a deep cut.  Do people still know that term?  Or do you have to be a dork or over forty to know it?

Justin: I am going to guess dorky and over forty. Then again I am a huge dork and still don’t know what that means.

Zoe: A deep cut is typically on the “B” side of an album and is a song that wasn’t a single, but a song which many connoisseurs consider one of the best tracks on the album.  I wish I had a snappy example…  Anyway, I thought of it cause I was making some joke about it like yesterday.  What I mean is, I’ll pick Actor A and Justin will pick Actor B and the movie we both watch will be a movie in which A and B co-starred.  Then I’ll watch two other movies by A and Justin another two by B.  But why it would be like a deep cut is because we can watch the actors’ movies that are good, but not what they’re most famous for.  Is that clear?

Justin: Okay, I am down with that. Sort of like the 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

Zoe: Yeah no, nothing like that, but you’ll get it.

Justin: Fair enough. So join us next week for the Deep Cut of Idle Banter.

Zoe: And if there’s a pair of actors that you desperately want us to look at, better leave your comments quick so that we don’t pick some douchey actor you don’t like!

Justin: Eh, we still may just for the reactions. Night Everyone.

Coming Soon!

Justin: Hello everyone

Zoe: Hola!

Justin: So, there really is no topic for today and this will most likely be a short post. However, we wanted to let everyone know of some changes going on at Idle Banter.

Zoe: That’s right. The first change is we are moving our dialogues to Monday. This shouldn’t be too difficult to get used to since we can’t seem to hit Sundays and usually post on Mondays anyway. Like right now, for instance. We figure that we are usually busy over the weekend that finding the time Sunday evening to put something together is difficult. So from now on the dialogues will happen on Monday.

Justin: Exactly. We are also looking at ways to come up with new ideas for the posts. Our current thought is to pick a genre a week. Watch a few movies throughout the week of that genre and then bring it back to a discussion the following Monday. So if you have a genre you would like us to watch, let us know.

Zoe: It doesn’t have to be something like “Drama.” You could really like zombie movies from Japan and want us to watch a few. We are always open to suggestions. The only stipulation is we have to be able to get them from Netflix, Netflix Instant, or our local libraries.  (Or one of us has to own them.)

Justin: Also, as always we are throwing around the idea of a biweekly podcast. If this were to occur we would do a written dialogue one week and then the next week put up a podcast and so on and so on. The podcast would be a little different than our dialogue. We would talk more about upcoming movies, new releases on DVD, possibly a tech corner, general movie news and so on.

Zoe: So what you are saying is there might actually be a structure to it.

Justin: Compared to what we do now, it will defiantly be structured.

Zoe: Fair enough.

Justin: Now I just have to get my friend on board with the idea of being our tech manager. We shall see how that goes. (Matt E. if you are reading this, get ready for the discussion.) So those are some of the changes coming hopefully starting next week. This week will probably be an off week for Zoe and me as we work out the plan. So there will probably not be a solo post either.

Zoe: Has there actually been one in the last couple of weeks?

Justin: Yeah we are slackers aren’t we? Anything you want to bring up before we take this break?

Zoe: Yeah I actually wanted to talk about the movie Hanna which I saw with my husband.  It was a very interesting premise and I thought it was different visually than a lot of action movies.  That makes sense, since the director, Joe Wright, has previously done Pride & Prejudice and Atonement.  It was a good empowerment piece, but more about being a young kid growing up.  I really liked Olivia Williams as the mother that Hanna encounters on her journey, smart and open-minded and gentle–much different than the cold or calculating characters she plays sometimes.

Justin: I thought it was excellent as well and enjoyed it a lot.  Also, before we go I wanted to share this with our audience. I found this while stumbling around the Internet one day.

The rest of the collection can be found HERE. Finally, to all the other Doctor Who fans out there, just a friendly reminder that the new season starts this Saturday. So excited.

Zoe: Wow, you are such a nerd. Anyway on that note we shall see you next week and remember if you have a genre you like. Give us a shout out in the comments section.

Justin: Adios!

Doctor Who or “My Other Car Is A TARDIS”

Wow, it feels like it has been awhile since I’ve done a solo post. This is probably due to a combination of working more and “Justin just being lazy and not turning on his computer when he isn’t working”. Probably more the later but that’s not the point. So let’s get this post on the road.

As most of you have figure out by now I am a huge nerd/geek/dork/ whatever you want to call it. I’ve written about anime, video games, the paranormal, and I am sure some geeky movie/books. However, I am kind of mad at myself because I have not yet written about one of my all time favorite television shows ever. Just to make sure that it is clear I am a huge nerd, today’s post is going to be about Doctor Who.

For those of you who have watched Doctor Who, Bravo! For those of you who haven’t, well it’s time for a little introduction. The show Doctor Who is a British science fiction series that has been around since 1963 (the longest running science fiction series out there I believe). It is about a Time Lord called “The Doctor” who travels through time and space in his TARDIS which stands for “Time And Relative Dimension(s) In Space” (AKA his time machine). The Doctor usually has a companion or two who travels with him and according to Wikipedia there have been around 35 companions throughout the entire series. The Doctor and his companions travel from place to place saving planets and people as well as exploring the universe. There are some famous reoccurring villains and monsters. “The Master” (Another Time Lord), the Daleks, and the Cybermen are probably the most well known of the Doctors adversaries. I believe at one point the Daleks were on a postage stamp in the UK. That is how popular the series is over there.

Also to note, when the Doctor “dies” he regenerates into a new form. There have been 11 Actors since 1963 who have stared in the role of the Doctor. The series ran from 1963 to 1989. During this time period there were seven versions of the Doctor. In 1996 a movie was made to try to restart the series portraying the eighth Doctor. This movie unfortunately flopped and it wouldn’t be until 2005 that the series would be rebooted. Since 2005 there have been three Doctors which include Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, and the current Doctor Matt Smith.

Do you have all that? Time traveling duo/trio fight evil forces throughout space and time. That is pretty much the general plot. To me Doctor Who has it all, action, adventure, romance, drama, it is truly a wonderful TV show to watch. However, there is one thing that you should know. Don’t try to follow the canon of the story because you can’t. If you should ever watch the show, they are going to talk about some of the most obscure details of the Doctor’s history. I find myself constantly on the BBC website or Wikipedia trying to figure out little details here and there that I have missed. Things like when the “Time War” took place. With 769 some episodes total, several writers, producers and cast, the canon gets lost in time. Haha get it “lost in time?” Yeah ok I’ll stop with the puns.  That shouldn’t stop you from watching though. The show is great and as I’ve said if you have questions about anything there is tons of literature on the topic. (I will post the links again at the end of this post.)

Now, let’s talk about my two favorite Doctors. As with most of the populace I am a huge fan of Tom Baker’s portrayal of the Doctor as well as David Tennant’s. Although, this past season I have started to like Matt Smith as well and his companion Amy Pond is great. (She is no Billie Piper but that is a topic for another geek out.) Tom Baker holds the record for number of years as the Doctor. He was the Doctor from 1974-1981, which is the longest anyone has played the Doctor. His portrayal of the doctor is very bohemian. This makes sense, considering he was the Doctor of the 70s. However, be warned if you do go back and watch the Tom Baker years or any of the first eight doctors for that matter, the “special effects” reflect the time. You will see shots of little replicas driving over sand and it is fairly obvious. But I am sure for the time it was pretty high tech. This low tech actually lends a sort of charm to the series. It was amazing what they could do without the special effects of today.

I think one of the reasons I enjoy Tom Baker’s Doctor is he was the first Doctor I ever watched. As I think I have mentioned before, growing up my family didn’t have cable. We had probably five stations that came in clear and two of them were PBS stations. So that is what my brother and I watched, PBS. Saturday nights were British comedy nights with Are You Being Served and Keeping Up Appearances. However, late one night after watching the Canadian show, The Red Green Show, we stumbled upon an episode of Doctor Who and from that point on we were hooked. We tuned in every week to see what new adventures the Doctor was going to get into or how he was going to get out of the sticky situation that they left us hanging with the prior week. This loyalty just made my father laugh because we were excited about this “new” show that we had found. He mentioned it he might have seen it as he was growing up in the 70s. So apparently it wasn’t that new.

When the series rebooted in 2005, I was a little skeptical because this wasn’t “my” Doctor Who. I tried watching a couple of episodes here and there, but I just wasn’t a fan of Christopher Eccleston. He would later grow on me as the doctor, but I was glad that his time as the Doctor only lasted one season. It wasn’t until flipping channels one day that I landed on an episode staring David Tennant. The more I watched the more the story and the Doctor reminded me of the series from my childhood. So, just like before I became hooked.

However, David Tennant’s time as the Doctor was still very different from the earlier series. He was the second regeneration of the doctor after the series rebooted in 2005. So technically he is the tenth Doctor. With almost 16 year passing between the first series and this one, the special effects had finally caught up with what they needed to be to make the stories more believable. It is no longer a miniature on a table being wheeled around. It is a nice upgrade. It is funny though, during the early years of the show, the 1963-1989 portions, when the special effects weren’t that great, the Doctor visited other worlds quite frequently. However, now that the technology is around that can take him to “new worlds” he spends a lot more time on earth and a whole lot of time in England trying to save it from the next big disaster. He does go to other planets but not as much as I remember from the old series. Finally another reason I liked Tennant’s Doctor is because he is described as the “Lonely God.” He is supposedly the last of the Time Lord species and usually has this serious look in his eyes. This regeneration of the Doctor probably had some of the hardest choices out of all that I have seen. Choices that make him question his place in the universe and he duty as the last Time Lord. His portrayal made for excellent storylines and gave you a sense that even Time Lords were “human.” Well as human as you can get with two hearts. Out of the new Doctors, Tennant has been my favorite.

Now I believe that most of the new series is up on Netflix instant so you can jump in at any point. I would recommend starting from the beginning. It starts off a little rocky with Eccleston, but I promise you it gets better and by season two David Tennant takes over as the doctor. It is nice that they are there because there is one last annoying factor about the series. The seasons are short, usually only 13 episodes and they only occur during the spring. This means for most of the year you have to wait to see what happens. They usually run a Christmas Special which can tide you over. This year it is exciting because BBC America is running the Christmas Special on Christmas rather than having to wait a week or so after its release in England. I can’t wait. Also, if you are still skeptic of the series I urge you to watch at least one episode called “Blink” which was written by Steven Moffat who is now the head producer of the series. The Doctor isn’t in the episode much but it is a fabulous episode staring the “Weeping Angel” and if that doesn’t spark your curiosity then there might not be hope for you.

I should probably stop geeking out now.  I could easily go into some of the books that are out there chronicling the Eighth Doctors adventures, since there was only one crappy movie describing that regeneration. I could also talk about the spinoff series Tourchwood and how it stared John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness who was the first openly non-heterosexual character in the television world of Doctor Who. However, the Doctor Who universe is so large that it really can’t be fit into a small blog post. It is a show that you must check out on your own.  With so many episodes of the old series and new series on Netflix it is easy to begin your journey in to the life of the Doctor and his companions. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves science fiction and some wonderful stories. For those of you who already watching it, I will be with you on December 25 at 9pm tuning into BBC America for the Christmas Special. Until then keep your eyes toward the stars.

 

Links

The BBC Doctor Who Site (BBC America Site)

The Doctor Who Wikipedia Page

The TARDIS Index File