FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #54 – “Lucy”, “I Origins”

Poster for "Lucy"

This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel use roughly 20% of their cerebral capacity to review the new action thriller from Luc Besson, Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson – then have a severe disagreement on the latest from Another Earth-director Mike Cahill, I Origins (58:06).

Editor’s note: Check out Glenn’s written review of I Origins here.

May contain NSFW language.

Still from "I Origins"

FilmWonk rating (Lucy): 7 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (I Origins): 6/10 (Daniel), 8.5/10 (Glenn)

Show notes:

  • (01:41): Lucy
  • (12:24): Spoilers for Lucy
  • (19:56): I Origins
  • (33:39): Spoilers for The Purge: Anarchy
  • Music for tonight’s episode is the track “Rebirth“, by Joseph Bauer/Hi-Finesse, from the theatrical trailer for Lucy, as well as the track “Dust It Off” by The Dø, from the I Origins soundtrack.
  • Trailer spoiler warning: Do yourself a favor and don’t watch the trailer for I Origins. Not only does it reveal major events in the film; it also presents an interpretation of the film that is at odds with at least one of our opinions.
  • Here’s a good roundup of the 10% brain myth from Dr. Steven Novella at the Neurologica Blog. Also, check out a history of the 10% brain myth from Andrew Tarantola at Gizmodo.
  • The hominid fossil Lucy was indeed an Australopithecus afarensis, but we had its location wrong – it was discovered in the Awash Valley in Ethiopia. It’s possible we were thinking of Chauvet Cave in France, where some of the oldest Paleolithic cave paintings in the world were found.
  • According to a December 2013 Harris Interactive poll, 74% of US adults believe in God, and 64% believe in an afterlife.
  • Daniel was correct about India’s biometric database – there are 600 million Indians enrolled as of May 2014.
  • A brief (albeit slightly out-of-date) rundown of Higgs Boson experimentation on Wikipedia, as some increasing confidence levels in 2014: NBCNews (23 June 2014), IFLScience (17 July 2014).
  • Glenn mentioned that Michael Pitt in I Origins looks a bit like Johnny Depp in Secret Window, an obscure and poorly received Stephen King adaptation from 2004 – have a look and decide for yourself!

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #53 – “Sex Tape”, “The Purge: Anarchy”

This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel screen a subpar Sex Tape from director Jake Kasdan, and a cast they usually enjoy, including Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, and Rob Lowe. What went so horribly, tragically, erotically wrong with this film? Tune in below – and then stay tuned as we’re joined by FilmWonk’s senior Obscure Film Correspondent, Rebekah O’Brien, who joins us to review The Purge: Anarchy (53:58).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (Sex Tape): 2 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (The Purge: Anarchy): 7/10 (Daniel and Rebekah), 5/10 (Glenn)

Show notes:

  • (01:57): Sex Tape
  • (14:30): Spoilers for Sex Tape
  • (23:35): The Purge: Anarchy
  • (37:47): Spoilers for The Purge: Anarchy
  • Music for tonight’s episode is the track “Turn It Up” by Ruba, from the Sex Tape soundtrack, and the track “Drink” by Alestorm, which is not on either movie’s soundtrack, but feels anarchy-appropriate.
  • We made a reference to the Streisand effect, a phenomenon whereby an attempt to censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of making that information more widely publicized. Read up on it via the link above.
  • Penile fracture (NSFW, graphic image) is a real thing.
  • Daniel referred to Frédéric Bastiat‘s “Parable of the broken window“.
  • Update: Gizmodo just posted an amusing article about how to get your sex tape off the internet, including via a DMCA takedown notice as we discussed on the podcast.

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

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

Poster for "Earth to Echo"

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)

Poster for "Snowpiercer"

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”

Poster for "22 Jump Street"

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)

Poster for "Fish & Cat"

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)