July 15, 2016


"One for them, one for me" - it's the mantra of many an A-lister who also yearns to be respected as an artist, appearing in a commercially appealing flick in order to get a passion project off the ground. For Tim Burton, that rule also applied to sequels for massive franchise tentpoles, as Batman Returns tries to preserve the muscular appeal of its predecessor while injecting more of the macabre, playful melancholy central to the director's gothic sensibility.

We welcome back the boy wonder, Gensho Tasaka, to marvel at Burton doubling down on his signature style and his unique treatment of two iconic Batman villains. It's the second part of our series on the Caped Crusader's blockbuster-era adventures!

Batman Returns (1992)
Directed by Tim Burton
Produced by Denise Di Novi and Tim Burton
Written by Daniel Waters
Based on characters created by Bob Kane
Starring Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Michael Gough, and Michael Murphy

Check out all current episodes in our Batman series:
Batman Returns
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Batman Forever
Batman & Robin

July 1, 2016


Best remembered for boot-strapping highlights like Bill Pullman's rousing speech or Will Smith's aggressive greeting of an alien visitor, Independence Day teaches us that only good old-fashioned American courage and ingenuity can take down an intergalactic threat.

Sure, the film also tries to be a gallery of character moments tied together by vague, warm feelings of human resilience and unity in times of great crisis. But what other country's head of state is going to strap into a fighter jet and feed those E.T.s a steady diet of air-to-air missiles?

For this special Fourth of July episode, we welcome two real patriots--Brian Rudloff and Daren Sprawls--to debate the merits of ID4, from the appearance of its extraterrestrials and the dimensionality of its cast, to its tempered version of blockbuster machismo and its entertainment value relative to Mars Attacks!

Independence Day (1996)
Directed by Roland Emmerich
Produced by Dean Devlin
Written by Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin
Starring Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Judd Hirsch, Vivica A. Fox, Randy Quaid, Margaret Colin, Mary McDonnell, Robert Loggia, James Rebhorn, and Brent Spiner