South Park

THE BATTERY discs

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. The Battery The zombie apocalypse has left America a wasteland of the undead with pockets of mankind struggling to survive. Two former baseball players forced by the situation to become fast friends travel the country looking for supplies and safety, but their different personalities and views on the situation lead to dramas far removed from the flesh-eating varieties. Zombies have been ubiquitous in the horror genre for years now with three out of every five horror films focusing on them as their monster of choice. (I totally made that up, but it feels right.) The vast majority of them are pretty damn terrible, but once in a while a real gem comes along, and one of the best is this American indie that dares find the humanity in a story about the inhuman. It feels like a drama, but a lack of flesh-chewing scenes doesn’t mean it’s devoid of horror as the reality these men find themselves in is a terrifying one. Writer/director Jeremy Gardner (who also plays one of the two leads) is a refreshingly smart new voice in genre film-making. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary, making of, outtakes, featurette, trailer]

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Parker and Stone

Seeing as Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s South Park is still ridiculously popular in its 16th season, they managed to make a puppet movie that was a financial success with Team America: World Police, and their Broadway musical, The Book of Mormon, has sold out an unheard of number of shows in New York, on tour, and now in a production being staged in Chicago, these guys have managed to acquire a pretty big pile of money through serving the public funny filth. One gets visions of them swimming through piles of gold coins, Scrooge McDuck style. After your creative endeavors have netted you as much as $300m, where on Earth do you put all of your money? Well, a rap mogul like Jay-Z would tell you that it’s time to start founding your own companies, taking control of your own product, and cultivating your own personal brand. And, seeing as rap moguls like Jay-Z are the closest things we have to heroes these days, Parker and Stone are about to take this exact path by taking their $300m and using it to form their own content creation studio, Important Studios. The news of this new venture comes from The New York Times, who says that the new company will work on funding projects in television and film, as well as in theater. As might be expected given The Book of Mormon’s Tony wins, the fact that it continues to generate close to $5m a week, and the fact that […]

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How to Catch Santa Claus

In schoolyards around the world, the debate continues to rage: Is Santa Claus real? Or is he just some concept concocted by parents to keep kids in line year-round? Even us adults can remember having knock-down, drag-out arguments over this. Our parents told us that if we waited up for Santa on Christmas Eve, we’d be quickly relegated to the dreaded “Naughty List,” and we’d get nothing but coal in our stockings. As a public service, this installment of the Holiday Survival Guide will help you win those arguments. Keeping up with the tradition of every child’s desire to capture jolly old St. Nicholas, here are some tricks we can dish out, courtesy of the big entertainment machine called Hollywood. Use them wisely, and be sure to only target the real Santa Claus. Failure to do so may result in injury or even death.

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We weren’t really sure if last week’s Commentary Commentary was gross enough for the lot of you. So a poll was taken – it pretty much consisted of Brian Salisbury and myself – and it was decided the ante needed to be upped this week. Especially in honor of Fantastic Fest, we felt it was time to really turn on the gore and mindlessly fun commentary tracks. So we’re heading back with the South Park boys to Cannibal! The Musical, Trey Parker‘s first feature film which was subsequently picked up by Lloyd Kaufman and the fine (?) people at Troma Entertainment. What we got shocked and amazed even our gore-filled hearts and minds. A grotesque but absolutely hilarious look at the real-life trial of Alferd Packer, a 19th Century prospector who was accused of cannibalism in Colorado. The film isn’t the most accurate depiction of the events, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t entertaining. Equally entertaining is this commentary track featuring cast, crew, and ample amounts of consumed alcohol, something most commentary tracks are lacking in. Here’s what we found out. Note: it isn’t much.

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Yup, it’s that time of the year again. That time of the year where we TV folk bitch and moan about what shows won’t be getting some golden Emmy love because the Academy is full of old people who think basic cable is what holds up the Brooklyn Bridge, which they also saw get built… I think… That said, this year’s Emmy Nominations are no more surprising than they were last year. Mad Men leads in the scripted drama series dept with nineteen nominations, but more interestingly, the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce leads the overall with twenty one nominations. Before we get and further into this, let’s check out some of the shows that didn’t get nominated for anything in either overall, acting or technical categories (not that any of this matters, like usual).

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Last week many questioned what the end of the South Park mid-season finale “You’re Getting Old” meant for the future of the series. Many (including myself) suspected that the ending was Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s way of saying that this was indeed the final season of South Park and the show would come to a close after the fall run at the end of the year. Last night the duo appeared on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart to discuss their win at the Tony Awards for Best Musical with their critically adored musical The Book of Mormon. During the interview with Stewart they said many of their peers approached them after the episode aired, asking “are you okay? Is the show coming back?” To which their response was “yeah, South Park‘s our thing… We had fun doing the episode.”

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Let’s be honest: this current run of South Park has been okay. Nowhere near the level of quality that the show was at before the 200/201 fiasco of last year, but certainly above the sub-par stories we were getting in the last fall run right after the 200/201 fiasco. But the slump might be over, because this past episode was one of the best pieces of story telling Matt & Trey have ever delivered to the show.

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Culture Warrior

There will inevitably be a movie about the mission to kill Osama bin Laden – this much is certain. Recent news has established that Kathryn Bigelow might be the first to try to put into play one of several projects related to last week’s assassination amongst several that are being shopped around. The reasoning is clear, as the material lends itself inherently to cinematic expression. The mission itself, in short, feels like a movie. Whether or not this movie (or movies) will have anything to say beyond what we already know and think and feel is unknown and, in Cole Abaius’s terms, it will be difficult for such projects to escape an inherent potential to come across as a shameless “cash-in.” My personal prediction is that the first movie that arises from bin Laden’s death will, at best, be an exciting procedural that visualizes an incident we are currently so invested in and preoccupied with. But I doubt that anything released so soon will remotely approach a full understanding of bin Laden’s death as catharsis for American citizens, as a harbinger for change in the West’s relationship to the Middle East and the Muslim world, as a precedent for the possible fall of al Qaeda, etc. In short, we won’t be able to express cinematically (or in any other medium, for that matter) what the death of bin Laden means until the benefits of time and hindsight actually provide that meaning. This is why I think any movies about Osama […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s like watching CNN or the New York Times, but funnier and without all of the big words. It covers movie news every night in a way that no other movie news column set to run at 11p CST can. It was also far more punctual than President Obama’s speech tonight. So it’s got that going for it. Earlier this evening it was announced that Osama Bin Laden was killed by American forces. Great job to our fighting men and women. That guy was a real douche. Perhaps just as interesting, as Badass Digest points out, was the fact that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was aware of the news before anyone else. This is what happens when you kick ass in Fast Five and open with an $83 million dollar weekend.

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What is Movie News After Dark? Tonight it’s a movie news column stunned by its author’s ability to find all that is cool and interesting in the world of film. Seriously, this might be the best one of these lot that he’s put together in over 150 tries. It’s almost as if he’s ready to graduate to a “mediocre” rating as a news aggregator. Then he can begin acquiring spells and executing more advanced quests before he can join a proper guild and go on raids. Gore Verbinski may finally have found his Lone Ranger in the form of The Social Network star Armie Hammer. He is currently in talks to take the lead alongside Johnny Depp, who’s already been cast as Tonto. He’s got the look (and damn, the voice as well), but the challenge for Hammer will be the fact that there’s only one character to play in the film. Unless Verbinski carries over the “multiple Jack Sparrow” sequences from his Pirates of the Caribbean work.

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This Week in Blu-ray

This Week in Blu-ray we take a look at some new educational material from the BBC in the form of Human Planet, but it’s not without some high drama. We also take a walk with Terry Gilliam through the mind of Hunter S. Thompson. Again, not without some high drama. And there’s a quick sidestep into the world of South Park. High drama ensues. And finally there’s no high drama in the crime thriller Blood Out, not to be confused with the far better Brian De Palma film Blow Out, which also streets this week. It’s a lot of drama and a few laughs this week as we comb through the best and worst of this week’s Blu-ray releases. Human Planet There will be a much more in-depth review of this title coming soon, as I have so much to say about what the BBC has done with Human Planet. For now lets work with the short version. Narrated by John Hurt, Human Planet takes the idea of filming our big blue planet in all the glory of high definition and combines it with the study of man. How do we, the only animal to inhabit every terrain on terra firma, interact with the abundance of nature that surrounds us at every turn? From the wild rivers to the deep oceans to the sky-reaching concrete and steel cities we’ve erected from her upper crust, humanity has a unique relationship with our home planet. And this documentary series captures it brilliantly. […]

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It’s just another day in the town of South Park, well except for the fact that the Marsh household has been overrun by the not so great cooking of the now Food Channel-obsessed Randy. Things take a turn for the worse when Randy’s obsession causes him to leave his old job and take a position and the one place that will ruin Stan’s life forever. In an attempt to save her marriage, Sharon decides to start bettering her appearance with the purchase of a Shake Weight. But the voice assistance model has much more sinister plans for Mrs. Marsh. And in an attempt to destroy Randy’s obsession, the boys accidentally set into motion the biggest cook-off of all time. By episodes end, the truth shall reveal itself in all its Crème Fraiche goodness.

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Movies We Love

The year was 1999 and South Park was the thing to watch that would really piss your parents off. The show was in the heyday of its controversial content, and displayed no signs of slowing down. A group of four nine year olds had changed the face of television forever. The only question was, where would they go from there? Show creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker answered the question that summer with the movie version, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. The movie was expected to preform OK, and meet critical pan across the board. But instead the film became a major financial success and was met with impossible to predict praise that even the Academy recognized. Unlike most TV to movie adaptations, this film didn’t just deliver a ninety minute episode with saltier language. No, what Matt & Trey did was something so amazingly out of left field, that all anyone could to was sit back and enjoy.

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The final installment in the Coon & Friends trilogy has begun with the destruction of earth. Cartman and Cthulhu have begun their mission to rid the world of… well, anything that pisses Cartman off. And it’s up to the original Coon & Friends to stop him. But before they can, Cartman gets a leg up on them that no one could have foreseen. Ken… Mysterion will also try and learn the truth behind his power, and when all is said and done, the meaning behind his “gift” will be revealed. Oh, and Justin Bieber may or may not be taken out for good…

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I remember long ago when South Park first hit the air waves because everyone in my elementary school was talking about it. There were parents letting their kids watch this vulgar, downright offensive show, and I was jealous because I wasn’t allowed to. I didn’t think about the show again until I stumbled upon it during my middle school days. I watched an episode and was immediately hooked forever. I still remember the episode that got me. It was one titled “Osama bin Laden Has Farty Pants” from back in 2001. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. My 12 year old mind was still trying to comprehend what had happened to the nation, then one Saturday night I saw the boys load onto a cargo plane for Afghanistan, and I just couldn’t stop laughing. Since then I’ve been a hardcore fan of the show. I’ve watched every episode, bought a majority of the seasons on DVD, re-watched the movie dozens of times and to top it all off, I bought South Park-related clothing. That might give you some insight as to why I’ve become angry with my fellow South Park audience members as of late.

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Picking up right where we left off, The Coon is headed to New Orleans to fight the evil Cthulhu, but when he gets their it turns out his intentions weren’t as pure as one would believe. Back in the quiet town of South Park, Coon & Friends are selling lemon bars to help the fight against Cthulhu and hopefully save the world. But things take an unexpected turn when Mysterion’s true identity is revealed, and the deep dark secret he has kept inside for so long is brought to the surface.

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The Coon has returned and this time he’s not alone. This time The Coon has begun a superhero union known as The Coon & Friends. But all is not well when a new superhero appears, impinging on the gangs territory. Now it’s up to The Coon to either get this new superhero to join the union, or stop him dead in his tracks. But while all that’s going on, a much bigger problem has begun threatening earth. And with the worlds greatest hero out of commission, it’s up to The Coon & Friends to bring balance to earth before it’s too late.

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Stan has a problem. A very messy problem. Stan Marsh is… I, I can’t even say it because it’s too painful. But it turns out Stan isn’t the only one in South Park Elementary suffering from the problem. So in a last ditch effort to cure them, a professional brings them in for psycho-dream therapy. But things go awry when the other subject’s dream sucks Stan into his own. Now it’s up to Stan to solve the problem of the subjects sub-conscience before the dream collapses. But not before some more dream experts are brought in. Oh, and some fire fighters too. Also, the ultimate dream warrior is called in to save the day when it all goes to hell.

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A plague has begun spreading across the United States. No, the  SARS virus hasn’t returned. The Jersyites have begun a take over of the entire eastern United States and South Park is the next target on the list. Now it’s up to Randy, Jimbo, Mackey and the rest of the adults to stop the take over before it’s too late. Kyle will also be forced to face a demon that has been living inside of him since the day he was born. And this demon will not only affect him, but it will also change the state of his family forever. And Cartman will finally put a stop to the three J devil known as Kyle Broflovski.

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It’s another week in the town of South Park and Mr. Garrison has assigned the class an essay on what they want to be when they grow up. This however sends Cartman on an emotion tail spin because the thing he wants to be when he grows up is unachievable, a Nascar driver. Now why is it unachievable you ask? Well isn’t it obvious, it’s because Cartman isn’t poor and stupid enough to be a Nascar driver. But that isn’t going to stop this determined nine year old from achieving his dream, and maybe pick up some corporate sponsorships along the way.

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published: 10.30.2014
B-
published: 10.29.2014
D+
published: 10.27.2014
C-
published: 10.24.2014
C-


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