Friday, May 29, 2020


Jared Gilman joins us for a fourth time to discuss everything from the quarantine & the overall idea of communication to the various things we've been watching while staying inside.


Friday, May 22, 2020


This week we delve in to the new Eric Andre/Lil Rell road movie (we both loved it) and much more. 


Monday, May 18, 2020


If you genuinely liked Josh Trank’s Capone then cool. I really mean that. Anyone familiar with this blog knows I champion movies that most folks hate (from To The Wonder & Fear X to Problem Child & Clifford). So more power to you if you honestly enjoyed this. I just feel like some of the praise for Capone (which isn't much) is coming from folks who like to go against the grain and praise the universally hated movie because it’s the cool contrarian thing to do. I’m not saying that everyone who likes Capone is playing it up or lying to get attention/clicks/debates/etc, but SOME folks certainly are. I’m not the first person to bring attention to or shed light on reviews/pieces of writing that are designed strictly to provoke engagement or get attention, but it doesn’t seem to be dying down any time soon so it’s going to get mentioned from time to time.
And I’m not just talking about the practice of liking something ironically. That’s a whole other group of people that need to go away. It’s gotten to the point where certain people/critics/personalities/etc play in to the liking something so bad that it’s good “thing” that you can’t tell what they actually like or dislike. Some folks do the ironic bullshit until it becomes so esoteric that they’re goal/point/purpose makes absolutely no sense. It’s like “what do you actually like?” Some “bad” movies do provide entertainment/enjoyment of some form but when liking things ironically becomes part of who you are it’s disingenuous & quite frankly confusing.

That’s not the case here (although I’m sure there’s a few goofy smirking bloggers or podcasters out there making their hyperbolic case for Capone being a masterpiece or whatever). Some folks that like Capone seem to be latching on to the few good aspects (maybe there’s one or two things), ignoring the negative/failed aspects (as far as I’m concerned - there’s a lot), and are allowing those one or two (possibly) good things to define it overall. That’s cherry-picking. Just say you like one or two things about the movie but overall it’s bad (because it is). There’s nothing wrong with that.

I think there's an issue when a climactic moment draws comparisons to Happy Gilmore (I certainly enjoy Happy Gilmore but I don''t think Trank wanted to match it's tone with Capone)...

Happy Gilmore /

I was also reminded of Todd Solondz's Happiness at one point which does actually feel a little closer to the tone that Trank may have been going for...

Happiness /

Due to social media, a lot of critics are out in the open and some of them (on larger/noteable platforms) don't want to say anything overly negative about a movie out of fear of being "called out" by a filmmaker or actor (Josh Trank certainly has some experience in that field with the problems surround his previous film). There's nothing wrong with giving a negative review of something as long as you’re being constructive and not mean. Unfortunately a lot of critics have ruined the idea of a constructive negative review and have reduced it to 1,000+ words about how something “sucks”. Some negative reviews can bring about great dialogue. Just be respectful as opposed to clickbait nonsense like “this movie sucks, dude. Here’s a list of 21 reasons why...”
But at the same time who am I to tell (or even suggest) how someone writes? Be mean and "dunk" on folks all you want (there are definitely a handful of movies out there that do deserve to be trashed). Just know there's nothing truly clever about that approach.

The idea (and intent) behind Capone is great. A film about Al Capone (Tom Hardy) living in exile as his mind slowly deteriorates from neurosyphilis. Instead of following Al Capone from birth to death (still a typical biopic approach), Trank focuses on an isolated specific period from Capone’s life. In my opinion some of the best recent-ish biopics/true stories are films that deal with a short period of time rather than an entire life span (Camille Claudel 1915, A Hidden Life, Last Days, Ali, etc). So when I heard the news that there would be an Al Capone film about his final days I was excited. The part of Al Capone’s life that the movie focuses on is very anti-climactic and I love that. The only problem is Trank still manages to throw in the tommy guns, cigars, and cartoonish accents that sound like their stuck somewhere between Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago & New Jersey.
I think that’s the biggest issue I have with this movie. It really felt like a parody of a mob movie at times. Like a big-budget SNL sketch rather than a biopic. I don’t want this to sound mean but I honestly laughed at parts in this movie where I know I was absolutely not supposed to laugh (see my Happy Gilmore comparison from earlier). There’s just too much unintentional silliness from Tom Hardy’s Al Capone grunting his way through the movie as if he was imitating Vito Corleone to the generic mob movie dialogue about “family” or “the importance of family”.

Capone had the opportunity to do something somewhat unique. That's my other major issue with it. I know it’s easy to sit behind my laptop and talk about what could have been after the fact, but Josh Trank could have expanded on what Scorsese did in the final 45 minutes of The Irishman or what Coppola did in the final moments of The Godfather part 2 with Don Ciccio. I’ve seen a few reviews/opinions that try to attach the idea/atmosphere of Capone to The Irishman but the final products honestly don’t go together. Like I said before, Trank could have left the typical mob tropes out of it but he didn’t. At this point most folks can make an educated guess on the criminal life of Al Capone. It’s been done before. On film & television. Leave that all behind and do something daring (sorry, I’ll get off my soap box now).

I do believe I see what Josh Trank was trying to do. In the film Al Capone is suffering from memory loss so the film is trying to convey the intense disorientation that comes with his condition. But if you’re going to go bat-shit crazy then go all the way. Don’t dip your toe in & out. Go all in. Capone doesn’t go all the way in. I think I’d be praising Capone if the movie was truly off the wall (fail or not). But in my opinion it’s an odd mixture of playing it safe and occasionally attempting “crazy”.

The Godfather Part 2 /
The Godfather /

Unfortunately movies like Capone (and even Gotti) are the kinds of movies that clueless people with large platforms use as an example to (incorrectly) criticize mob movies and mafia stories as one note and/or stereotypical. I don’t like to drudge this up but it is my opinion that during the Scorsese/Marvel/Irishman nonsense from last year (that oozed in to this year) - a lot of people have a limited knowledge of film and just assume a movie with Italian-American names attached to it = mob movie. I also feel like some people don’t know the difference between Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola but that’s another discussion...

A non mafia Scorsese-esque moment from Capone...
Raging Bull /

With all that being said - I still think this movie should be seen (at least to understand where I’m coming from). I think between the issues with Trank’s last film (Fantastic Four) combined with the early negative reviews of Capone, it’s only going to fuel people’s interest. I think that’s fine. I’m all about (positive) dialogue even when the movie is bad. And perhaps there’s something I completely missed with Capone. If you’re reading this and saw the movie and you think I’m off base let me know.

Saturday, May 16, 2020


I recently made an appearance on Cross Talk (an off-shoot of The After Movie Diner podcast) to chat about movie comparisons, influences, coincidences, etc.


Friday, May 15, 2020


Hey remember a couple episodes ago when we had Saskia Kahn (@ohsaskia) on to discuss Eliza Hittman’s excellent Never Rarely Sometimes Always? If you didn’t, it was a good one. Saskia brought some great insight.

Eliza heard the episode.

Eliza Hittman is an award winning director and writer. Her short films and features are huge favorites among the Zebras, and have won awards and have been shown in many prestigious festivals, one of them being the Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival for Never Rarely Sometimes Always.

Eliza was gracious enough to talk with us (and Saskia of course) about her films, her Brooklyn experience, influences, challenges, and we even got cameos from her family.

We have been talking about Hittman’s films since Episode 5 or so, so this is a huge accomplishment.

Eliza’s new film is streamable on several platforms-

Previous Eliza Hittman focused episodes-

Episode 121 NRSA-

Beach Rats- episode 24

It Felt Like Love- episode 5

Check Saskia out at and @ohsaskia on Instagram and Twitter

We are in quarantine and decided to try out virtual recording, the audio is still getting there. Bear with us.

reach out if you are bored/struggling both or neither
We are virtually around



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Friday, May 8, 2020


While Quentin Dupieux’s films are somewhat strange & surreal, they’re also quite personal. One of the characters in his masterpiece Wrong Cops (2013) makes bottom heavy analog-based electronic music just like Dupieux’s musical alter-ego in real life Mr. Oizo (actually, electronic music - that Dupieux makes for his movies - is the backbone to his own little cinematic universe). Part of his 2014 film Reality focuses on a filmmaker in the midst of a midlife crisis trying to get a film made. This character could very well be inspired by Dupieux’s own experience in the movie industry (directors love making themselves in to characters in their own films). Deerskin centers around another filmmaker in the midst of a midlife crisis trying to get a film made. In fact, Jean Dujardin’s “Georges” could very well be the same director character from Reality. They’re both struggling grizzled filmmakers who both kind of resemble Dupieux.

Deerskin plays out like a darkly comical mixture of Harvey Keitel’s character from Youth and the mockumentary Man Bites Dog under the direction of Eric Wareheim (this kind of makes sense as Wareheim & Dupieux not only have similar directing styles and comedic timing, but they've also collaborated on multiple occasions).
Jean Dujuardin’s “Georges” is a an insecure unethical filmmaker (both in front of and behind the camera) making an illegal film snuff film all while exploiting a young impressionable "intern" by the name of “Denise” (Adele Haenel). Georges not only takes money from Denise in order to make his film, but he also gets her to edit his movie for no pay or reimbursement for the money she’s giving him (perhaps this is some kind of commentary on how young people are used & exploited in the film industry by struggling aging directors?)

Deerskin should also be praised just for the 70-something minute runtime alone. I don't have anything against long movies but some stories can get their point across in the half the time. Deerskin breezes by and conveys everything it set out to do with no leftover fat like a perfectly executed episode of Twin Peaks.
I know it’s lazy and cliche to compare any movie that’s even remotely surreal or “weird” to David Lynch but in the case of Deerskin it’s actually understandable. It would make for an interesting double feature with Twin Peaks.
Both Twin Peaks & Deerskin have similar color palettes (note the continuity of brown that runs all throughout the images below), similar settings (nature, mountains, etc) and, as I already eluded to, they’re both from the same school of surrealism. They aren’t exactly siblings but they’re definitely first cousins...

Twin Peaks /

Twin Peaks / Deerskin

Twin Peaks / Deerskin

Twin Peaks / Deerskin

Twin Peaks / Deerskin

Going back to Dupieux/Mr Oizo’s music for a moment - I find it interesting that in Deerskin he abandons his usual fast-paced electronic style and instead relies heavily on a slower, sample-based musical score that could kind of be described as hip-hop influenced (Dupieux/Oizo has been very open about his lightweight disdain for hip-hop music because of a bad experience he had with one rapper years ago). This kind of stuff is why I think Dupieux’s films are so personal and open. It’s a very corny & insecure thing to express disdain for a musical style (based on something that's not that serious to begin with) then turn around and borrow from it. It’s literally something Georges would do in Deerskin. Georges is very insecure and transparent. In the film he has the nerve to “borrow” money from Denise (without any intentions of paying it back), yet he’ll be rude to her at the same time. Normally when a person borrows money from someone you think they’d be courteous and cordial, but not Georges. He’s self-centered and strangely caught up in style and looking cool. Throughout the film he uses the phrase “killer style” to describe himself (what grown person over the age of 20-something would use that term to describe themselves?).

If you’re a fan of Tim & Eric’s more narrative based work like Bedtime stories, Joe Pera Talks With You, or the aforementioned works like Man Bites Dog and/or Reality, then you’re bound to enjoy this.


We're pleased to have Outlaw Vern back on the pod to talk about everything from Scott Adkins to Extraction.


Friday, May 1, 2020


You can pick a part all the flaws in Extraction if you want to (it has been described as a “mindless action movie” by some) but you’d have to go back and do the same for every Bourne & Wick movie, all the Atomic Blondes, Ong Bak’s, Raids and Lundgren/Van Damme films of the late 80's/early 90’s. It should be mentioned that Extraction is certainly from the school of all of those aforementioned films so if you enjoy them, there’s a strong chance you’ll enjoy this new action film from Marvel/Russo brothers stunt choreographer Sam Hargrave.

Right out of the gate Extraction was criticized for falling in to the action movie trope of portraying the evil war-torn brown country as excessively yellow-tinted. While it certainly has an obvious tint of yellow to the overall aesthetic, again - I’m not going blame Extraction for something that’s been going on for decades. It’s definitely weird & unnecessary but we have to start with calling out decades of movies before we even get to Extraction.
Excessive criticism towards a movie like this sounds exhausting to me. You could waste your time with the same criticisms that you'd put on a Paul Thomas Anderson movie (something I am absolutely convinced a lot of film critics do), can find the enjoyment in Extraction because there is plenty.
And to be clear - just because Extraction isn't Phantom Thread or Inherent Vice doesn't mean it shouldn't be taken seriously or talked about at length. I only brought this up because I think some critics and fans judge movies like Extraction weirdly & unfairly. If you're going to judge it or base it on something - do it against a movie like the Bourne Identity. I also feel like everyone wants every movie to be a masterpiece and when a film isn't a masterpiece it's considered pointless or a waste (this is just a feeling I have based on the current climate of certain lanes of film criticism I'm seeing). There's a place for fun-intense-mid level action movies.

The Bourne Ultimatum /

The plot to Extraction is simple. A grizzled semi-retired for-hire mercenary; “Tyler Rake” (Chris Hemsworth) is hired to retrieve the kidnapped son of a drug lord and, like always, things don't go as planned. Friends becomes enemies, enemies become friends and no one is to be trusted. Rake is eventually forced to go rogue in order to save the young boy.
But the basic plot, which is clear & concise as far as I’m concerned, is secondary to the fight & action choreography which was EXCELLENT in my opinion.

As I mentioned at the start of this piece, Extraction borrows from and travels down the same path as other action films like The Raid & John Wick...

John Wick 3 /

The Raid /

...recent James Bond films...

Skyfall /

Emmanuel Lubezki’s cinematography in Children Of Men...

Children Of Men / Extraction

Extraction may not be on the same level as some of the films it borrows from (subconsciously & intentionally), but it does deserve to be mentioned in the same breath. Also one thing this movie has going for it that other films don’t is a sequence of Hemsworth beating the shit out of young pre-teen would-be assassins which I find hilarious although I’m sure someone is bound to find/force a deeper unnecessary meaning behind that scene and the movie all together but I honestly don’t have the energy for that right. I’m not saying there aren’t deeper criticisms of Extraction (see everything from Sicario to Blackhawk Down) but I just want a well-crafted violent action movie.
This movie certainly fell short in a few places. There are some unanswered questions that never get resolved and there is a subplot that builds you up to think one thing is going to happen only to leave you painfully disappointed. But the overall experience is solid.

This movie also has heart. Midway in we get past some of Rake’s tough exterior and we see a bond form between him and the young boy he’s saving. And in my opinion, the real soul/story of Extraction is carried by the supporting character “Saju” (Randeep Hooda) who isn’t the one-note silent assassin that we’re led to believe he is at first. 

I enjoyed Extraction quite a bit. It isn't one of my favorite films of the year but it certainly served it's purpose (entertainment) and got me out of my cinematic contemplative funk brought on by movies that are my favorites of the year...


I don’t like the term “hot take” (everything is a hot take nowadays) but I feel like DC has been making better films than Marvel recently (...RECENTLY). At the end of the day Marvel will always win but there’s some interesting stuff coming out of the DC cinematic universe. Case in point - Birds Of Prey. Long before the movie came out folks had made up their minds that this movie would be terrible. Now...that is somewhat understandable. Birds Of Prey is connected to Suicide Squad, which - no matter how much of a profit it made - was a bad movie. So bad that they’re erasing it from history and starting over. So for folks who were skeptical about Birds Of Prey based on Suicide Squad - I get it. But there is a faction of people who assumed this movie would be bad/dumb because it was starring/featuring women. I don’t like to play up or play in to the stereotype of men being mad at women for stupid reasons but this is certainly one of them. Birds Of Prey is far from a masterpiece but it’s pretty enjoyable. It’s fun. And everyone’s silence kind of confirms that. We’ve all been loud & wrong about something and when the reality hits we shut the fuck up. Often times we don’t even say “my bad”. Some folks owe Birds of Prey a “my bad”. It's unfortunate that this movie was essentially weaponized before it even came out as it was unfairly tagged as a social justice warrior film or a political statement rather than a fun comic book movie with hints of social commentary.

The story is pretty simple - a ragtag group of vigilantes with various skills & abilities are forced to join forces to protect a young girl from the evil crime boss; Black Mask (there’s also an underlying subplot concerning men taking credit for things women do behind the scenes). Simple & fun.

Here’s what I don’t get...
From an action & choreography standpoint, Birds Of Prey is just as fun & action packed as other films that people openly love and praise. It's certainly no Mad Max: Fury Road but the action choreography (in parts) is just as enjoyable...

Mad Max: Fury Road / Birds Of Prey

Now that some time has passed I think we can all agree that the story/plot of Raid 2 is pretty silly & convoluted, but if you like the action & fighting in it (most folks do) then I don't see why you can't like certain specific moments from Birds Of Prey...
The Raid 2 / 
Birds Of Prey

there's also a subconscious connection to other female-driven action films like Yes Madam...

Yes Madam / 
Birds Of Prey

And for the more uppity/serious film fans, there are even some brief similarities to folks like Bresson...

Pickpocket / Birds Of Prey

But as a comic book film it still maintains it's fun side and subconsciously references everything from Goonies to Jackass...

The Goonies /
Birds Of Prey

Jackass 3D / 
Birds Of Prey

That’s actually really important. No matter how removed, DC films will always be under the umbrella/in the shadow of Christopher Nolan’s super-serious Dark Knight cinematic universe. Folks have been asking for fun comic book films for a while now and they’re finally getting it in the form of Birds Of Prey, Shazam & Aquaman.

Outside of people who either don’t like comic book-based films or just have comic book movie fatigue (both fair & understandable) I don’t get how one couldn’t at least find some mild enjoyment from this movie.
I know I’m late to the party (I watched this for the first time two weeks ago) and I’m not breaking any new ground but I just wanted to add my two cents...


Scott & Marcus welcome back friend and regular guest Mtume Gant to talk about The Invisible Man & Sorry We Missed You



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