The Uncut Gems Podcast – Episode 38 (Ad Astra) and Episode 39 (Prince of Darkness)

This is me being a bit of a lazy bugger because I am no over a week behind schedule with sharing the latest episodes of show over here, so I might as well do a composite entry and save myself the trouble of doing this twice (even though it takes literally 15 minutes to do it).

In any case, on the 38th episode of The Uncut Gems Podcast we tackled James Gray’s Ad Astra in what can only be described as a three-hour-long heavyweight bout because some of us clearly did not agree on whether the movie is a masterpiece or not. I’ll let you figure out who stood where on that, but the point of it is that we managed to essentially go through the movie scene by scene and left no stones unturned. Among other things we talked about James Gray as a filmmaker born a few decades too late because he clearly belongs in the 1970s with the type of movies he wants to make. We also touched on the many stunning moments in this film as well as its immense thematic depth that overshadows its own narrative shortcomings and excuses occasional lapses in pacing and tone. So, all things considered, we had a great time sparring over Ad Astra and hopefully widened each others’ horizons by sharing our perspectives. Tune in and find out for yourself!

On the latest episode of the show, since we are closing in on the Halloween season, it only felt appropriate to discuss a John Carpenter film (most of whose films would easily find their way onto the show if we had enough time in the world to do that). So we talked about Prince of Darkness, arguably one of his most overlooked and underappreciated movies. As we delved into the episode – joined by a special guest Randy Burrows who will hopefully become a recurring presence of the show thanks to the amazingly positive energy and depth of knowledge he brought to the table – we talked how the movie is likely one of Carpenter’s most personal movies and that its critical and commercial failure might have contributed to his eventual artistic decline. We touched on the heady themes of science grinding against spirituality, Carpenter’s guerilla filmmaking style, the possibility for Prince of Darkness to harbour even more meanings beneath the thick layer of thematic frosting applied by the filmmakers and that it could be seen as a spiritual ancestor to Christopher Nolan’s Tenet. So tune in and have a listen to us methodically praising this unsung masterpiece of genre filmmaking that fits much better in the zeitgeist of today than it did in the 1980s, thus cementing John Carpenter as a man who was tragically out of time and without whose influence the zeitgeist of today would look completely different anyway. Which is a bit mind-boggling… just like Prince of Darkness, a masterclass of tone and dread.

Tune in and enjoy!

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