Watch This With Rick Ramos

An Unforgiving Rain - The Return of the Living Dead

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I re-visit the Zombie genre with a look at Dan O'Bannon's 1985 cult classic, The Return of the Living Dead. The World is in distress, what better way to fill your days than examining how so many others have struggled to survive. We talk zombies, 80's Schlock, the early days of cable television, and the passing of Max Von Sydow. Take a listen and let us know what you think. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions should be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Thanks for your continued love & support.

Direct download: ReturnLivingDead.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 5:26pm EDT

10 Films to Get You Through These Hard Times - 

These are difficult times, no doubt. With so much doom and gloom it may be time to think about pulling ourselves away from so much of the world. This new episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos is designed to give you a li'l bit of help with that. This week I fly solo to give you 10 picks for films that I have seen any number of times, but which - simply - get better and better. Some may be to your liking. Some you may hate. But hopefully through the episode you will rediscover something that you don't remember too well or are unfamiliar with and will find a new classic for your collection.

We do what we can. Take a listen. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Thanks for the continued love and support. 

Direct download: 10Films.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 4:32am EDT

Zombie Class War: Yeon Sang-ho's Train to Busan

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim double down on our Pandemic Theme, combining pandemics with a Zombie Apocalypse showcased in South Korean director Yeon Sang-ho's Train to Busan. This is a film that has received widespread critical and box office success since its release in 2016. Incredibly well-made, with beautiful cinematography, and great acting, Train to Busan deserves the acclaim it has received. Take a listen and let us know if you agree with our assessments. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Thanks for the continued love and support. 

Direct download: TraintoBusan.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 4:11am EDT

The Troubling Nature of Memory - Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys & Chris Marker's La Jetée

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I are determined to continue with this labor of love. This week we continue our examination of Pandemics through an examination of Terry Gilliam's 1996 Classic 12 Monkeys and it's inspiration Chris Marker's La Jétte. Both of these films have stood the test of time and are more relevant today than ever before. With great performances by Bruce Willis as the time-traveling, James Cole, Madeline Stowe as his doctor, and Academy Award nominated Brad Pitt, this was a welcome hit for the ever-production troubled Terry Gilliam.

Chris Marker's film is world renowned, however too few people have seen it. We hope that with this episode you are inspired to seek it out. It truly is an amazing work. 

If you have any Questions, Comments, Complaints, or Suggestions please direct them to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks. 

Direct download: 12Monkeys.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:38am EDT

The Emperor Paints - Akira Kurosawa's Dreams

With the world staring into an unforeseeable future, I'm going solo with this episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos. This week I change the format a bit so that we can look at individual films until we can figure out a way to bring Mr. Chavez back into The Fortress of Ultimate Darkness. This week I take a look at Akira Kurosawa's Dreams (1990), a film that - over time - has grown in it's relevance and beauty. After the triumph of KagemushaRan, the great director once again found himself unable to obtain funding. Seeking help from foreign investors (including Steven Spielberg), Kurosawa was finally able to realize this film that would capture the breadth and power of his nearly 80 years. Sit back and listen as I go into detail and what this film has meant to me as well as audiences across the world.

Thank you for your continued love and support. As always, Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks! 

 

Direct download: KurosawaDreams.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 1:51am EDT

Contagion & Outbreak: The Pandemic Films of Steven Soderbergh & Wolfgang Petersen

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to discuss the ongoing CoronaVirus Pandemic and the films that have preceded it including Wolfgang Petersen's Outbreak (1995) and Steven Soderbergh's Contagion (2011). Two films with radically different approaches - one is an embarrassment of the big-budget action genre, the other a brutal and frightening look at the fragile nature of humanity - both our societal structure and our physical frailty. Take a listen as we discuss these two films and how they are mirroring the world we are living in.

Thanks for the continued love and support. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Thanks!

Direct download: Pandemic.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:45am EDT

Repetition & Wind -

Béla Tarr & Ágnes Hranitzky's

The Turin Horse

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to discuss a widely-praised and critically-heralded film. From directors Béla Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky, The Turin Horse focuses - not on morality - but rather the trials and repetition of daily life. Although beautiful to look at, this has been the most divisive film in the WatchThis canon. Ibrahim & I are at violent opposition to one anothers' view. However this opposition brings with it a deeper questioning of art and what constitutes great, average, mediocre, and - even - bad cinema. Take a listen and let us know what you think. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Thank You for your continued love and support. 

Direct download: TurinHorse.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:56am EDT

"Tell the Truth" -

Dax, Van Gogh, Shields, Tatum, & Spartacus: The Many & Varied Truths of Kirk Douglas (12/09/16 - 02/05/20)

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to discuss the career of the last great Hollywood star, Kirk Douglas. Through early supporting roles in such classics as Out of the Past (1947) and graduation to starring roles in The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) and Paths of Glory (1957), Douglas quickly rose to the top of the most popular and respected actors in Hollywood. Probably best known for 1960's Stanley Kubrick directed Spartacus, these reviewers find ourselves drawn to Billy Wilder's 1951 classic Ace in the Hole - a film that would foresee the rise of sensationalistic media and news reporting, and would showcase Douglas' greatest performance. Today we say goodbye to (damn near) the last of Hollywood's Golden Era Stars. 

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Thanks for your continued support. 

Direct download: KirkDouglas.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:32am EDT

A Truthful Love - The Power of Cassavetes, Rowland, & Falk - A Woman Under the Influence

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to discuss Cassavetes' Masterpiece, A Woman Under the Influence featuring Gena Rowlands in one of the greatest performances ever committed to film. Cinemas are filled with dramas, comedies, action, and romance - Cassavetes' film is funny, violent, painful, and bleeding love. With incredible performances from Rowlands and Peter Falk as her equally unhinged husband, A Woman Under the Influence is a criminal underseen gem of the 1970s. It is our pleasure to sit down and discuss this painful and beautifully realized motion picture. 

Take a listen and let us know what you think. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks. 

Direct download: A_Woman_Under_the_Influence.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:16am EDT

Another Go 'Round - The 2020 Academy Awards 

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to - once again - discuss our predictions, choices, and problems with the Academy Awards. The nominations are all in and we are ready for the arguments that will come out of this annual pointlessness (we actually do have a good time of it). Take a listen and let us know what you think. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Our Continued Thanks. 

 

Direct download: Oscars2020.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:57pm EDT

You Must Remember This . . .

The Continuing Power of Casablanca 

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to discuss a film, widely considered on of the greatest ever made, Michael Curtiz's 1942 classic of Love, Espionage, & Resistance in a troubled and dangerous world, Casablanca. Focusing on the heartbroken and cynical American ex-patriate, Rick Blaine, Casablanca has remained an American classic for nearly eight decades. A very basic story of love and cynicism set in a Nazi-occupied foreign land, Casablanca has remained the template of Classical Romanticism. Nothing can be written in this blurb that would convey the power of Humphrey Bogart, the beauty and tenderness of Ingrid Bergman, and the wealth of varied and colorful supporting cast (perhaps the best assembled up to that point) including: Claude Rains, Paul Henried, Sydney Greenstreet, Dooley Wilson, Conrad Veidt, and Peter Lorre.  It's an incredible film that we both consider a pleasure to return to. Take a listen and let us know what you think. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Continued Thanks. 

Direct download: Casablanca_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:29am EDT

A Very Naughty Boy - Remembering Terry Jones (1942-2020)

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, I welcome Mike Black back to The Fortress of Ultimate Darkness to discuss the passing of one of the great comic minds of the 20th Century - Monty Python's Terry Jones. From his appropriation of his mother's mannerisms to play one of the great drag women roles in television and cinema, Jones was an incredibly underrated writer, actor, and director. He passed away this past Tuesday at the age of 77. Although it is sad to look back at those great inspirations that we are losing so rapidly it's also wonderful to remember the magic that Jones gifted. It was a pleasure to have Mike Black - a fellow comedian and actor - to reminisce on Monty Pythons' and specifically Terry Jones on our lives and comic sensibilities. Take a listen and let us know what you think. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks. 

Direct download: TerryJones.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:39am EDT

The Long, Dangerous Road into Hell:

Henri-George Clouzot's Wages of Fear and William Friedkin's Sorcerer 

Remakes are more often than not mistakes that embarrass their filmmakers and stars and bring diminished returns to their studios. They are usually critical embarassments that should have never been green-lit, however there are the occasional remakes that defy expectations, realizing a unique and challenging interpretation of previous material. William Friedkin's Sorcerer is the rare example of a new production that brings life and vibrancy to previously realized source material. Henri-George Clouzot's 1953 masterpiece, Wages of Fear, is a critically renowned French-Italian co-production that is widely recognized as one of the greatest films ever made. The story of four men risking their lives to drive hundreds of gallons of nitroglycerine over treacherous roads and reckless uncertainty has captivated audiences worldwide. William Friedkin's 1977 reimagining adds considerably to the story's tension. This is one of the great unheralded films of the 1970s.

Ibrahim & I are thrilled to sit down and discuss these two magnificent productions. We hope you enjoy our discussion. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. As always, thanks for the continued love and support. 

Direct download: WagesSorcerer.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 5:17am EDT

A Temporary End -

Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to review Episode IX, the - presumably - last episode of George Lucas' original story, characters, and world. For over forty years audiences have been captivated by Luke, Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and the rest of the Rebel Alliance in their battle against the Galactic Empire. An artistically controversial film series that many have invested both intellectually and emotionally, Lucas' original trilogy has evolved into a much different thing while attempting to repeat itself over and over again. Is this film a success, a failure, or something as simple as a good or bad film. This week Ibrahim & I sit down to discuss our attitudes and assessments of this 40+ year journey. We hope you enjoy the talk.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, and Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks.  

Direct download: Skywalker.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:34pm EDT

The Falsity of Truth - Orson Welle's Citizen Kane and Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to discuss the paradox of truth focusing on two of the most important films in the history of cinema, Orson Welle's 1941 RKO Classic Citizen Kane and Akira Kurosawa's 1950 Venice Film Festival Golden Bear Winner Rashomon. Each film examines the uncertainty of perception, memory, and truth.

Kane has often been heralded as the greatest film of all time and Rashomon is credited with recognizing the viability of Japanese Cinema (and this critic would argue, World Cinema in general). These are two incredibly important films in the history of filmmaking. Ibrahim & I are excited to sit down for this discussion. We hope you enjoy listening to it as we enjoyed preparing and recording it. Thanks for the continued Love & Support. We're still enjoying the hell out of this show.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. A Million Thanks. 

Direct download: KaneRashomon.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 9:14pm EDT

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