FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #52 – “Earth to Echo” (dir. Dave Green)

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This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel take on a found-footage tribute to E.T. with Earth to Echo. With bitter (albeit well-casted) memories of J.J. Abrams’ Super 8 firmly in our heads, this film had a great deal of baggage to overcome. Did it manage to turn nostalgia into a film worth watching on its own merits? Find out below (28:48).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 7 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for tonight’s episode is the track “21 Flights” by Heavy English, from the film’s soundtrack.

Listen above, or download: Earth to Echo (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #51 – “Snowpiercer” (dir. Bong Joon-ho)

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This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel go off the rails from the rest of the critical community when it comes to Bong Joon-ho‘s Snowpiercer. Will this post-apocalyptic train to nowhere make any tracks with us? Tune in below and find out (36:01).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (Glenn): 6 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (Daniel): 2 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for tonight’s episode is the track “Blackout” from the film’s score by Marco Beltrami.
  • We likened the film to sci-fi author Hugh Howey‘s Silo Saga – check out the first Omnibus volume, Wool.
  • CORRECTION: We referred to a real-life [proposed] geoengineering project, which would involve seeding the sky with a substance to alleviate the effects of global warming. We had the substance wrong – the proposal in question uses stratospheric sulfate aerosols, not silver, as we vaguely recalled. We also referred to Kurt Vonnegut‘s fictitious substance, Ice-nine (from Cat’s Cradle), which appears on an episode of Alias as “Ice-5″.

Listen above, or download: Snowpiercer (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #50 – “22 Jump Street”, “Edge of Tomorrow”

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This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel take in a criminally underseen sci-fi romp from director Doug Liman, Edge of Tomorrow. Listen and find out why we thought this film was an instant sci-fi action classic, right alongside the likes of Starship Troopers. But first, listen to us talk about a sequel that also felt like it was stuck in a temporal loop, 22 Jump Street. How precisely can this film toe the line between trolling its audience with its genre-savvy and deliberate stupidity, and merely being funny? Listen as we struggle to answer that very question. (57:11).

May contain NSFW language.

Still from "Edge of Tomorrow"

FilmWonk rating (22 Jump Street): 4.5 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (Edge of Tomorrow): 8 out of 10

Show notes:

  • (02:02): 22 Jump Street
  • (16:00): Spoilers for 22 Jump Street
  • (24:07): Edge of Tomorrow
  • (41:26): Spoilers for Edge of Tomorrow
  • Music for tonight’s episode includes the…truly abysmally-named track, “#STUPiDFACEDD (White Boy Wasted)” by Wallpaper, from the trailer for 22 Jump Street. It also includes the track “D-Day“, from the original score to Edge of Tomorrow, which was indeed composed by Christophe Beck.
  • We actually referred to our Divergent podcast in both reviews, so listen here if you’re curious what we’re talking about (specifically with regard to female action hero casting). We promise we like Shailene Woodley, you guys! She just needs the right roles.
  • Update: Just learned we’ve been mispronouncing Peter Stormare‘s name for years (the last part is closer to rhyming with “Sorry” than “Stare”). Rest assured that the irony of us mispronouncing his name in the process of criticizing his accent work is completely lost on us. We’re pretty sure we could pronounce his given name (Rolf Peter Ingvar Storm) correctly.

Listen above, or download: 22 Jump Street, Edge of Tomorrow (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #49 – “Age of Uprising”, “Fish & Cat”, ” Remote Control” (#SIFF2014)

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This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel return to the Seattle International Film Festival to take on a trio of international selections. They start in 16th century feudal France, to watch Mads Mikkelsen lead a shockingly boring peasant uprising, then head over to Iran to watch some of the most technically and narratively innovative filmmaking they’ve seen this year, and finish up on the rooftops of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. We keep the spoilers light in this episode, and at least one of these films – seemingly shot in a continuous two-hour take, is well worth seeking out (37:26).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk ratings:

  • Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas: 3/10
  • Fish & Cat: 9/10
  • Remote Control: 6/10

Show notes:

  • (00:00): Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas
  • (11:46): Fish & Cat
  • (28:30): Remote Control
  • Due to the accelerated production schedule for our SIFF reviews and relative obscurity of these films, there is no music in tonight’s episode.
  • Apologies in advance for all name pronunciations. We think we did well with the French, okay with the Iranians, and terrible with the Mongolians. If anyone knows for sure, shoot us an email.
  • Read more about the awesome sport of kite fighting here.
  • The cinematographer behind Fish & Cat, Mahmoud Kalari, also shot the brilliant Iranian film A Separation, which we reviewed on the podcast, and highly recommend.
  • CORRECTION: We mentioned the party-rewind sequence from the 2002 film, The Rules of Attraction, but mistakenly referred to the character of Sean Bateman (James Van Der Beek) as a younger version of Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) from American Psycho – the two characters are actually brothers. The sequence we mentioned is not available on YouTube, but the film also featured an innovative use of split-screen and motion-control rig technology – that sequence is available here.
  • We mentioned our upcoming SIFF screening of Alex of Venice, which is neither Italian nor French, but rather is an American film directed by and starring Chris Messina (alongside Mary Elizabeth Winstead as the title character). This film is Messina’s directorial debut, and as far as we know, it takes place in the United States.

Listen above, or download: SIFF International Roundup (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #48 – “Blended” (dir. Frank Coraci)

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This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel take a break from their SIFF coverage to revisit some old cinematic friends from their teenage years, Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, who regroup for a zany family rom-com set in South Africa. Sure. Why not?

Several reasons, as it turns out (24:56).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 4 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for tonight’s episode includes the track “Hasa Diga Eebowai“, from the original cast recording of “Book of Mormon: The Musical”, and “Hakuna Matata” from “The Lion King”.
  • We speculated about the security arrangements at Sun City, and apparently it does have armed guards (who engaged in a shootout with heavily armed casino robbers in 2010). I’m sure they’re at least as well-armed as Disneyland must be. A 2005 review in The Independent referred to Sun City as “South Africa-lite“, which was pretty much our assessment as well.
  • Correction: Sandler’s age as of this writing is 47, not 50.

Listen above, or download: Blended (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #47 – “The Double” (dir. Richard Ayoade) (SIFF)

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This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel bring the first of many live dispatches from the 40th annual Seattle International Film Festival, starting with Richard Ayoade‘s new film, The Double, starring Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, and Wallace Shawn. (15:10).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 5.5 out of 10

Show notes:

  • It’s festival time! That means we’ll be seeing a lot of films and our SIFF dispatches will be recorded and posted quickly – which unfortunately means the audio quality will be just a bit less polished than usual.

Listen above, or download: The Double (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #46 – “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″ (dir. Marc Webb)

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This week on the podcast, Marc Webb, Andrew Garfield, and Emma Stone do whatever a spider can, and Glenn and Daniel are unimpressed. Listen below to hear why Glenn posted on Facebook that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is “a tedious, exploitative, and aggressively stupid piece of disposable, commercial tripe” (45:05).

This episode contains even more NSFW language than usual. We were not happy campers with this film.

FilmWonk rating: 3 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for this episode comes from a pair of Spider-Man TV series theme songs. The first is the classic 1967 animated series theme, with lyrics by Paul Francis Webster and music by Bob Harris. The second is from the 1994 Fox Kids’ animated series, with music by Joe Perry of Aerosmith.
  • We didn’t realize when we compared this to Michael Bay‘s Transformers films that TASM2 was cowritten by none other than Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, also the screenwriters behind Transformers and Transformers 2. They also cowrote last year’s Star Trek Into Darkness, which had many issues in common with this film in terms of insubstantial spectacle. We’re big fans of these guys from Alias and Fringe, but it may be time for them to return to TV for a while.
  • We compared the final battle with Electro to Animusic, a series of MIDI-visualization videos produced since the mid-1990s. There are plenty of them on YouTube… Here’s an example.
  • Indian Spider-Man is a real thing.
  • Matt Singer from The Dissolve and Drew McWeeny from HitFix both liked this movie better than we did, but they wrote a pair of excellent thinkpieces about what an empty spectacle like this film means for the future of cinema:

Listen above, or download: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)