Watch This With Rick Ramos

"A Patriot Must Always Be Ready To Defend His Country Against His Government" - Jim Garrison

Oliver Stone's JFK (1991)

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Mr. Chavez & I sit down to discuss a masterpiece of cinema, and Oliver Stone's greatest achievement, JFK (1991). Fifty-Seven years later, the controversy surrounding that fateful day in November continues to haunt our country. Oliver Stone's dramatization and exploration of the Kennedy Assination, the controversy surrounding the Warren Report, Louisiana District Attorney, Jim Garrison's prosecution of Louisiana Businessman, Clay Shaw (the only case ever brought to court regarding the Kennedy Assasination) and our nation's continued fascination with the paranoia and perceived conspiracy of the assassination shaped and drove one of the greatest films ever made. With an all-star cast including Kevin Costner as Garrison, Ed Asner, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, John Candy, Michael Rooker, Jay Sanders, Laurie Metcalf, Sissy Spacek, Joe Pesci, Tommy Lee Jones, and Gary Oldman. A truly great film that we are thrilled to discuss. Take a listen and let us know what you think. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Our Thanks for Your Continued Love & Support.

 

Direct download: JFKANnniversary.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 4:17am EST

The Fat Man Won't Sing: Showtime's The Comey Rule 

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Mr. Chavez & I sit down to discuss the Showtime original film, The Comey Rule. This is a hit-and-miss film that falls short of doing it's subject matter justice. Featuring Jeff Daniels as former F.B.I. Chief James Comey and Brendan Gleeson as President Donald J. Trump, as well as a host of character actors filling in various supporting roles, this is a film that had a great deal of potential, but is one that we take great issue with. I'll leave it at that, so that you can take a listen and determine for yourself if our criticism is fair and balanced. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Our Most Sincere Thanks for Your Continued Love & Support. 

Direct download: TheComeyRule.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:49pm EST

Inventing the Past; Creating the Future; Controlling the Present - George Orwell's 1984 & V for Vendetta

On this week's cinematic adventure, Mr. Chavez & I sit down and continue our stroll through Politics, exploring cinema as a way of better understanding this strange and dangerous world. This week we take a look at one of the great works of literature, George Orwell's 1948 masterpiece 1984. This Michael Radford film has great beauty, power, and importance. It is a thrill to sit down and watch two greats, Sir John Hurt and  - in his last screen appearance - Richard Burton. We discuss the film and the source material for a continuing worried and paranoid look at "Groupthink" and "Big Brother" as it exists in our world. We couple this screening with the James McTiegue directed (Wachowski produced) V for Vendetta. Take a listen and feel free to contribute at gondoramos@yahoo.com if you agree, disagree, or have anything to add. Thanks for the continued love and support.

Direct download: 1984.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 1:28pm EST

"There's Nothing As Trustworthy . . . As The Ordinary Mind-Of The Ordinary Man" - Lonesome Rhodes

November Goddammit! We're starting our dive into politics with one of the greatest looks into the media end of the political system - The Elia Kazan directed, Bud Schulberg scripted 1957 Classic    A Face in the Crowd. This is an incredibly important film that feels essential to our understanding of the current political system. Featuring a star-making debut from Andy Griffith, and supporting roles for Patricia Neal, Lee Remick, and Walter Matthau, there's not a great deal that I can put down on this one. All I want to say is that I found it an incredibly moving film that we should have paid attention to in 2015. The episode isn't fully focused on Kazan's film, as I veer off into a political rant on this, my 46th birthday. Take a listen and celebrate with me as I treat myself and you to one of the great warnings in cinematic history.

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

 

Direct download: FaceInTheCrowd.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 4:49am EST

"Made me from dead. I love dead . . . hate living."

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/Rickramos, Ibrahim & I sit down to discuss one of the great stories of cinema, the James Whale directed Fankenstein (1931) & The Bride of Frankenstein (1935). The legend of Baron Victor (Henry in the original film) Frankenstein has enraptured audiences since it's first publication as Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus in 1818 by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. The novel was a sensation when first published, however it would become iconic after the iconic, star-making performance of English actor Boris Karloff. Karloff would become immortalized in his three portrayals of the creature - Frankenstein (1931), The Bride of Frankenstein (1935), and Son of Frankenstein (1939). 

Take a listen as Mr. Chavez & I discuss these great films and the Frankenstein mythology that rings true even in modern-day society.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks For Your Continued Love & Support.

Direct download: FrankensteinFinal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:39am EST

There Are Things to Fear - Ten Horror Films to Go Back to

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Mr. Chavez is absent so Mr. Ramos is forced to fly solo and talk "Ten Films That Continue to Scare the Hell Out of Him". Horror, Serial Killers, Thrillers, Chillers, Chainsaws, Sideshows, Monsters & Mad Scientists . . . the Horror Genre has never been one to shy away from doing what is necessary to get the scare. Sit back and take a listen as Mr. Ramos talks ten films that continue to scare the shit out of him. Hope you agree and hope you take that leap into films that you had only heard about, but were too afraid to watch. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com.

Many Thanks for Your Continued Love & Support.

Direct download: TenHorrorFilms.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:22pm EST

Stanley Kubrick's The Shining - Is a Scare Ever Really Just a Scare? 

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to talk one of the great films of Modern Horror Cinema - Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Stephen King's The Shining (1980). It's important to recognize Stephen King's role in this film. So often Kubrick is given sole credit for all that is on screen. Even if King's dissatisfaction with the film has been incredibly vocal through the years, we have to discuss what his original creation means to the final product. Without a doubt it's an incredible film and a great deal of this is due to Kubrick's vision, but also the violent, intense, and captivating performance of Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance, the innocence of Danny Lloyd, a beautifully nuanced Scatman Crothers, and a pained and painful performance by Shelley Duvall that can only be called soul-draining. Take a listen as Mr. Chavez and I look back on this classic of paranoia and terror. We also spend time discussing Rodney Ascher's strange, warped, and confused Room 237 (2012). The less said, the better. Take a listen . . . it makes for an interesting conversation.

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

 

 

 

 

Direct download: TheShining.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EST

A Modern-Day Ghost Story - John Carpenter's: The Fog

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I return to one of the great filmmakers of the 70's & 80's and a Master of the Horror Genre . . . John Carpenter's The Fog. This is a film that neither of your reviewers had seen before this episode. With the power of Carpenter's surrounding filmography, there are certainly expectations to be met. Some of these are achieved and some of them are not. Take a listen as Ibrahim & I sit down to discuss what works, what doesn't work, and what this film means to the Horror Genre.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Our Thanks For Your Continued Love & Support.

Direct download: TheFog.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

The Nostalgia of Scares - George A. Romero & Stephen King Come Together For Creepshow

On this first episode of October, Mr. Chavez & I celebrate the Halloween season by looking back at a classic of our mutual childhoods . . . 1982's Horror Anthology, Creephshow. A Dream Team collaboration between two of the biggest names in Horror - From the Page: Stephen King; From the Screen: George A. Romero. Creepshow - Five Distinctive Vignettes, with some popular faces in exciting, stomach-churning, and laugh-out-loud stories of greed, family strife, egomania, revenge, and death. Happy October All. We're looking forward to a great time. 

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Our thanks For Your Continued Love & Support.

Direct download: Creepshow.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Lies & Paranoia/Fact & Conspiracy: 9/11 and the Mysteries of Truth

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Mr. Chavez and I sit down to continue discussing the wave of documentaries that flooded social media after the September 11th Attacks. On this episode we look at documentaries that examine the attacks from multiple societal angles and discuss their virtues and faults. We profile Daniel Avery's Loose Change (2005), Anthony J. Hilder's The Greatest Lie Ever Sold (possibly 2004), and Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004). Take a listen and hear the two of us debate the merits and problems with each of these films as well as the far-reaching (and still controversial) events of September 11, 2001.

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

Direct download: 911_Documentaries.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:36pm EST

A Master is Gone - Remembering Michael Chapman (November 21, 1935 - September 20, 2020)

The great cinematographer Michael Chapman has passed away at the age of 84. Join me on this solo episode where I pay tribute to the man who lensed Hal Ashby's The Last Detail (1973), Philip Kaufman's Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), Carl Reiner's Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982) & The Man with Two Brains (1983), and Bill Murray & Howard Franklin's Quick Change (1990), and his last film Gábor Csupó's Bridge to Terabithia (2007). Nominated for The Academy Award twice -his second nomination in 1993 for Andrew Davis' The Fugitive (1993), but the two films he is best known for are the Martin Scorsese directed masterpieces Taxi Driver (1976) and Raging Bull (1980) - for which he received his first nomination. He also directed a half a dozen films including the Tom Cruise starring All the Right Moves (1983) and Clan of the Cave Bear (1986). He was truly an exceptional artist and although he had retired in 2007 his passing is a loss to the artistry of cinema.

Thank you for your continued patience, love, and support. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com.

Direct download: MichaelChapman.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 1:42pm EST

When It All Changed - Remembering September 11th - WatchThis W/RickRamos

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to discuss the 19 year anniversary of the September 11th attacks which took the lives of nearly 3,000 people. We give our own recollections of that day as well as discuss the movies that depict these events and were inspired by that day. We discuss Oliver Stone's World Trade Center, Stephen Daldry's Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Spike Lee's 25th Hour, and Paul Greengrass' United 93. Take a listen as we remember this horrible day.

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

Direct download: WorldTradeCenter.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:09pm EST

Evil Hides in Plain Sight - Tim Roth's The War Zone

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, I welcome Mr. Chavez back to the podcast to discuss one of the most unjustly overlooked films of the 1990's - TimRoth's look at a family slowly disintegrating. Featuring a cast led by Ray Winston as Dad, Tilda Swinton as Mum, and Lara Belmont and Freddie Cunlieffe as their teenage kids. We can't say more about this film without giving away too much. So, take a chance on one of the best films that too few audiences have seen.

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

Direct download: TheWarZone.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:13am EST

Painting with Light - The Art of John Alton

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos I go solo to talk one of the greatest cinematographers the industry has ever known - John Alton. Looking at three of his classic Noir films- T-Men (1947), and Raw Deal & He Walked By Night (Both 1948), I break down what is truly great about Film Noir. The magic of smoke, fog, shadows, and - especially - Black & White photography to create a world of tension, fear, and surprise.

I had a great time talking about this. Take a listen and let me know what you think - gondoramos@yahoo.com

As always, my thanks & appreciation for your continued support.

Direct download: JohnAlton.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 6:54pm EST

"It's like weighing air . . ." - Wayne Wang & Paul Auster's Smoke & Blue in the Face

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to discuss a forgotten classic of 90's Independent Cinema, Director Wayne Wang and Writer and Co-Director, Paul Auster's Smoke - a beautifully nuanced look at the inhabitants of a Brooklyn neighborhood and the cigar shop that so many of them congregate. With a great lead performance from Harvey Keitel and a supporting cast including William Hurt, Harold Perrineau Jr., Giancarlo Esposito, Stockard Channing, Ashley Judd, and Forrest Whitaker, Smoke is a great showcase for this group of eclectic actors. While Smoke was finishing production, Wang and Auster realized that they had gold with outtakes and additional scenes the actors had improvised. Under budget and schedule, the directors went to Miramax and were given the funds for an additional five days to shoot Blue in the Face, a fun and lively film that continues the previous story and expands the world of the characters. Both films are wonderful gems of 90's cinema. Take a listen to this fun and interesting conversation.

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

Direct download: SmokeBlueInTheFace.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 4:41am EST

The Power of Soul - Alan Parker's The Commitments

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos I go solo to remember the late English filmmaker Alan Parker who passed away this July 31st at the age of 76. With a filmmaking career that begin in the early 1970's, Parker would be a force in cinema for nearly a quarter of a century. He created such exemplary films as Bugsy Malone (1976), Midnight Express (1978), Angel Heart (1987), Mississippi Burning (1988), among others. This week WatchThis focuses on his 1991 Muscial look at the Dublin working class, The Commitments based on the short novel by Roddy Doyle. This is a fantastic film. Although the episode starts as a remembrance and celebration of the late filmmaker, it quickly becomes an argument for the power and drive that film can inspire. If you haven't seen this film you owe it to yourself to do so. Hopefully, my endorsement will help lead you in that direction.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed at gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks.

Direct download: IrishSoul.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:49am EST

Coffee & Cigarettes & Conversation: Jim Jarmusch's Coffee & Cigarettes (1986 - 2004)

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to discuss That Poet of Independent Cinema Jim Jarmusch. In 1986 Jarmusch began shooting a series of short films that would ultimately evolve into eleven films all centered around the cultural staple of Coffee & Cigarettes. Featuring Roberto Benigni, Steven Wright, Jack & Meg White, Steve Coogan, Alfred Molina, Reneé French, Cinqué & Joie Lee, Steve Buscemi, The RZA & The Gza, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Iggy Pop, and Tom Waits, among others. A slow, contemplative, often-hilarious series of shorts, Jarmusch stands as one of the most important artists in the history of cinema. Take a listen as we discuss Jarmusch, his films, and the culture of coffee and cigarettes. Thanks for listening. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks!

Direct download: CigarettesCoffee.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Always The Last to Know: Gene Hackman as Harry Moseby in Arthur Penn's Night Moves (1975)

Take a listen as Rick Ramos flies solo to talk Gene Hackman in Arthur Penn's classic Neo-Noir Thriller Night Moves (1975). A bravado showcase for Gene Hackman's subtlety. It is exactly this type of performance that has flown Hackman under the radar of great actors for so many decades. Never given the recognition of his 70's era colleagues such as DeNiro, Pacino, and Hoffman, Hackman gives a nuanced and subtle performance that lets audiences and film lovers know why he was one of the best actors in the latter half of cinema's history. Take a listen as I discuss this underseen 1970's gem from director Arthur Penn.

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

Direct download: NightMovesHackman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:11pm EST

My Dark Places - Nicholas Ray's In a Lonely Place (1950)

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, I go solo to give my opinions on Nicholas Ray's touching and tragic In a Lonely Place (1950) with a character-defining performance by the iconic Humprhey Bogart. With a supporting performance from Academy Award winning actress Gloria Grahame (The Bold & the Beautiful - Brilliant!), Ray's film is a telling look into the world of Hollywood and the darkness and (sometimes) hopelessness of the artist. Take a listen. The episode covers what the critics consider a "noir" but I take issue with that categorizing. I also go over how I'm handling the quarantining - books, series, and movies that I'm watching during these trying times. Take a listen . . . It's a lot of fun! 

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

Direct download: InALonelyPlace.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:43am EST

Nineteen-Eighty-Four & A Half:  Terry Gilliam's Brazil 

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to discuss Terry Gilliam's masterful take on Totalitarian Rule and Orwellian Dystopia in 1985's Brazil. Featuring a great lead role by character actor Jonathan Pryce and a wonderful supporting cast including: Katherine Helmond, Jim Broadbent, Charles McKeown, Kim Greist, Ian Holm, Peter Vaughn, Bob Hoskins, Michael Palin, and Robert DeNiro (in one of his earliest cameo performances). From the struggles in getting it made, the brilliance of what was created, and the subsequent attempts by Universal Studios (specifically President & CEO, Sid Sheinberg) to wrestle the film from Gilliam and shape it into a more palatable and audience-friendly product. 

This was a great discussion between someone who loves the film and has seen it numerous times and someone who is viewing it for the very first time. Take a listen and let us know if you have us much fun listening as we had in discussing it. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Our Continued Love & Thanks. 

Direct download: Brazil.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:22pm EST

Addio Maestro:

Ennio Morricone (November 10, 1928 - July 06, 2020)

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to talk the passing of a giant in the world of cinema - Ennio Morricone. From his genre-defining work with Italian director Sergio Leone in A Fistful of Dollars, A Few Dollars More, The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly, as well as Once Upon a Time in the West and Once Upon a Time in America. Noted for his work with Brian DePalma (Casualties of War and The Untouchables) and his Oscar-winning score for Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight as well, it is with regret that we say goodbye to one of the greats, but it's a hell of a time remembering what he has gifted us over nearly 70 years.

We hope that you enjoy this episode. Thank you for your continued love and support. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com.

Direct download: EnnioMorricone.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 4:54am EST

"We Gotta Eat Away At Ourselves" - Bad Lieutenant & Uncut Gems

This week on WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I jump back into The Darkness with a look at Excess and Addiction in two great performances, Harvey Keitel playing the titular character in Abel Ferrara's Bad Lieutenant (1992) and Adam Sandler in The Safdie Brothers' Uncut Gems (2019). Two of the most powerful depictions of addiction and self-hatred ever committed to celluloid. Each film approaches the subject from a different angle, but the passion, truth, and brutality is there as warning. It was a pleasure to sit down and revisit these honest, ugly, and awe-inspiring performances in two films that are a rarity of truth in modern cinema. Take a listen and let us know what you think. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com.

Thanks for the continued love and support.

 

Direct download: AddictionExcess.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:14pm EST

"If it bleeds . . . we can kill it." - The Predator Saga

On this episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I have a fun time sitting down to discuss one of the great movie monsters in cinema history. - Predator. After a rocky start (replacing Jean Claude Van Damme in a rubber suit) the great Stan Winston was given the opportunity to create a classic of make-up and animatronics. A character that has spanned nearly three decades (sourced from a legendary short story by Richard Connell - The Most Dangerous Game), John McTiernan's original film (1987), it's Stephen Hopkins sequel  (1990), and the Robert Rodriguez produced/Nimród Antal directed re-boot (2010). We skip the Aliens crossovers films as well as Shane Black's 2018 sequel to focus on the three best films (at least we believe) and focus on the mythology of the story as well as the success and importance in modern monster, sci-fi cinema. Take a listen . . . it's a fun discussion.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Our Continued Love & Thanks.

Direct download: PredatorFinal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EST

"Have Fun Stormin' The Castle." - The Beauty, Humor, & Magic of Rob Reiner's

The Princess Bride

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to talk one of the great fantasy/adventure/comedies in all of cinema (and certainly the best of the 1980's) - Rob Reiner's The Princess Bride (1987). A film that displays romance, comedy, action,  a princess (Robin Wright), an over-confident genius (Wallace Shawn), a drunken Spanish swordsman (Mandy Patinkin), a rhyming giant (André the Giant), an evil prince (Chris Sarandon), his trusted and sadistic right hand (Christopher Guest), a miracle worker and his wife (Billy Crystal & Carol Kane), an impressive clergyman (Peter Cook), a grandfather (Peter Falk), grandson (Fred Savage), and a stable boy turned pirate and hero (Cary Elwes). That's a lot. Take a listen as we remember this great family adventure.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Our thanks for your continued love and support.

Direct download: ThePrincessBride.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EST

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same - John Carpenter's Escape From New York/Escape From LA

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to discuss a favorite - "Snake" Plissken in John Carpenter's Escape From New York (1981) & Escape From LA. A classic action hero, Kurt Russell and Carpenter (with co-writer Nick Castle) created one of the greatest cinema has ever known. This week take a look at the lasting power of "Snake".

This was a fun conversation, 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: Snake.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 2:43am EST

Black Man's Burden: The Vietnam War - A Spike Lee Joint

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I dive into Netflix to look at Spike Lee's newest - Da 5 Bloods. Featuring Clarke Peters, Isiah Whitlock, Norm Lewis, Jean Reno, Jonathan Majors, with Chadwick Boseman, and an Oscar caliber Delroy Lindo. One of only two films that we can think of that looks at the African-American experience during the Vietnam War, we focus on Lee's new film as well as The Hughes Brothers sophomore effort Dead Presidents (1995). Racism, class issues, and the psychological scars of an immoral war . . . a whole lot of good conversation.

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

Direct download: Da5Bloods.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:40am EST

This is America - Los Angeles Burns: 1965/1992/2020

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to discuss the current social and political climate as well as how it's only more of the same. To do this right we take a look at two documentaries L.A. Burning: The Riots 25 Years Later (2017) & LA '92 (2013). From a narrative vantage we discuss Ron Shelton's Dark Blue (2002) starring Kurt Russell, Ving Rhames, Scott Speedman, Michael Michelle, and Brendan Gleeson. Each film approaches the material in a different way and gives powerful insight into the drama of the uprising. We look at these films with the hope of understanding the current political and social climate. Take a listen. We hope that you walk away with another perspective, one which helps with your understanding.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Our Thanks For Your Continued Love & Support.

Direct download: Uprising.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:14am EST

Nobody Loses All The Time: Pain, Suffering, Purpose, & Mexico - Sam Peckinpah's Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia

Ibrahim & I are thrilled to showcase Sam Peckinpah's most personal film (and the only one he claims was released as intended), Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974). A painfully honest depiction of an American ex-patriot living in Mexico who is given one last chance to get ahead. In the role of his career - and one of the only films in which he was cast as a romantic lead - the great character actor Warren Oates gives his most naked and beautiful performance. Alongside Mexican actress Isela Vega as Elita, Robert Webber and Gig Young as hitmen, Kris Kristofferson, and the great Mexican actor/director Emilio Fernandez, Oates shines as Bennie in a role modeled, almost embarrassingly on director Peckinpah. The less said the better. If you're a fan of Peckinpah than you owe it to yourself to watch his most personal film.

Thanks for listening. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Thanks!

Direct download: AlfredoGarcia.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:08am EST

Weep and You Weep Alone - Park Chan-wook & Spike Lee's Oldboy (2003/2013)

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to discuss a film that did much to establish South Korea as a major force in International Filmmaking, Park Chan-wook's 2003 paranoia-riddled Oldboy. One of the earliest films to establish South Korea cinema, Oldboy has only grown in it's importance. Park's look at a man who is imprisoned for 15 years without any knowledge of his crime or who he has wronged takes elements of Hitchcock and reinvents them into a modern and disturbing story.

With the financial and critical success of Park's film, it was only a matter of time before Hollywood would attempt a re-imagining. For years Spike Lee's 2013 take on the material would be derided, however it is the opinion of these two critics that Lee (although not completely successful) has made an interesting and challenging film that is not entirely deserving of the criticism that has been heaped on it. Take a listen and formulate your own opinion.

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

Direct download: Oldboy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:14pm EST

Can You Dig It? -

The Warriors: Walter Hill's Exhaustive Look at Youth Culture

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Mr. Chavez & I take a look at one of the great "Cult" Films of the 1970s - Walter Hill's imagining of Xenophon's Anabasis (look it up). Hill has been a favorite of mine for some time. It's a pleasure to dive into his filmography - Hard Times, 48 Hours, Southern Comfort, The Long Riders. Hill has been one of the great figures in American Action Cinema. His work has been criminally-neglected in critical circles. It's time for that to change. Ibrahim & I are excited to continue our look into cult, midnight, and underground cinema. 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: TheWarriors.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:43pm EST

More Human Than Human - The Legacy of Robocop

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to discuss Paul Verhoeven's 1987 Action-Satire Classic, Robocop as well as it's 2014 remake (from director José Padilha). It's a fun discussion that breaks down what works beautifully in one film and fails miserably in the other. We also discuss the passing of Rock 'N Roll Architect and Legend Richad Penniman, better known as Little Richard. We've got a lot to say. 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: Robocop.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 5:39pm EST

Closing the Loop: Straw Diagrams, The Headaches of Time Travel, & The Understanding of the Self - Rian Johnson's Looper (2012)

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to talk one of the best films of the 2010's - Rian Johnson's Sci-Fi, Existential Classic Looper. With an incredible cast and standout performances from Joseph Gordon Levitt, Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, Paul Dano, and a never better Bruce Willis, Looper is the rare mainstream popular film with ideas and much grander themes. It was a pleasure to sit down and talk Johnson's film, time travel, writing the future, and understanding the individuals' purpose.

Take a listen, we think you'll enjoy it. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks!

Direct download: Looper.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 1:52pm EST

The Watermelon Factor: The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension and the Making of a Cult Classic

We continue our journey into "cult" films. On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to discuss a film that we - probably - should have seen years ago. W.D. Richter's 1984 Cult Classic The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. Featuring an all star cast of 1980s B-Movie stars including Christopher Lloyd, Ellen Barkin, Vincent Schiavelli, Dan Hedaya, Carl Lumbly, Pepe Serna, and headlined by Buckaroo Banzai himself, Peter Weller this is certainly a strange film that has grown in fan appreciation since being buried by the studios in 1984. There are a hell of a lot of interesting things going on in this film (in particular John Lithgow's wild, over-the-top performance), however so much of it just misses the mark for these two reviewers. But - as with all things - we go into the screening with open minds and good attitudes. There are going to be those who love this film and take issue with our opinions, but they are honest, real, and well-considered. Take a listen and let us know what you think. As always, we can be reached at gondoramos@yahoo.com. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions. Many Thanks!

 

Direct download: BuckarooBanzai.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 5:43pm EST

Hiding in Plain Sight: Jack Sholder's

The Hidden

From time to time you get the chance to uncover a hidden gem. On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I get to do exactly that. Showcasing 1987's Jack Sholder directed The Hidden, we take a look at a film that many people are unfamiliar with, however for those who have seen it, it is an exceptionally admired and well-appreciated movie. Featuring Michael Nouri and a young Kyle MacLachlan, The Hidden is a film that is "better than it has any right to be" and a testament to good story-telling and inventive filmmaking propelling a standard story. Take a listen as we look back at this forgotten 80's gem, and count the number of noted character actors that pop up in this 80's B-Movie Classic. And don't worry, this is one of the few times when we concern ourselves with spoilers.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Our continued Love & Thanks.

Direct download: TheHidden.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:22pm EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

"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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

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 EST

1