FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #43 – “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (dir. Wes Anderson)

Poster for "The Grand Budapest Hotel"

This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel take a deep dive into historical whimsy in Wes Anderson‘s latest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel (34:00).

May contain some NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 8 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for tonight’s episode was the track Canto at Gabelmeister’s Peak, from the film’s original score by Alexandre Desplat.
  • Correction: The conversation between Jude Law and F. Murray Abraham takes place in the 1960s, not the 1980s.
  • We referred to the historic Empress Hotel in Victoria, B.C. as a visual reference for this film. According to Wikipedia, two real hotels in Hungary and the Czech Republic were influences, as well as archive images from the Library of Congress.
  • Alas, my epidemiological French vocabulary isn’t what it used to be… Grippe is the French word for influenza, not measles.
  • The term “bellhop” does indeed come from a slightly demeaning etymology. “Hop to it, I rang a bell” is an accurate summary of its origins.

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #42 – “3 Days to Kill” (dir. McG)

This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel bear witness to Luc Besson’s latest take on “An Aging American Action Star in Paris”, featuring Kevin Costner in 3 Days to Kill.

Spoiler alert: We’re not shy about our disdain for this film, and we are a bit more lax than usual about concealing plot details.

Check out our discussion below (28:58).

May contain some NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 2.5 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for tonight’s episode features Edith Piaf‘s “Non, je ne regrette rien”, and MC Solaar‘s “Sauvez le monde”.
  • Sarah Silverman was indeed credited as “Raving Bitch” in the 2000 Christopher McQuarrie film, The Way of the Gun. She appears directly below another actress credited as “Sloppy Prostitute”.
  • We also referred to a 2002 film featuring Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock working for the “Dumb CIA”- that film was Bad Company, directed by Joel Schumacher (not Besson).
  • I couldn’t find a French legal citation, but I was able to find several references to the French squatters law, all quite similar in that they suggest that squatters cannot be evicted in winter. More info on EU squatting law here.

Listen above, or download: 3 Days to Kill (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

Movies, Podcasts, Kevin Costner, 3 Days to Kill, Luc Besson, McG, Amber Heard, Hailee Steinfeld

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #41 – “RoboCop” (dir. José Padilha)

Poster for "RoboCop"

This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel are pleasantly surprised by another unnecessary remake of a 1980s film that manages to be a little bit more than the sum of its parts.

Check out our discussion below (49:00).

May contain some NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 6.5 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for tonight’s episode includes the track “First Day” from the RoboCop (2014) soundtrack, composed by Pedro Bromfman. It also includes a brief snippet from the original 1988 RoboCop theme song, composed by the late, great Basil Poledouris. I kept this cut brief because the soundtrack is out of print, so I was unfortunately unable to find a decent digital copy of the original track.
  • Read the full FilmWonk review of Elysium here.
  • We made a brief reference to philosopher Jeremy Bentham‘s concept of the Panopticon – you can read more on Wikipedia if you’re interested in the topic.
  • In case we lost anyone with our brief discussion on neurology and freewill, here is a quick rundown from Dr. Steven Novella at the NeuroLogica Blog regarding a 2008 study illustrating the decision-making phenomenon that we described:

    “The subjects were not necessarily consciously aware of their decision until they were about to move, but the cortex showing they were planning to move became activated a full 7 seconds prior to the movement. This supports prior research that suggests there is an unconscious phase of decision-making. In fact many decisions may be made subconsciously and then presented to the conscious bits of our brains. To us it seems as if we made the decision, but the decision was really made for us subconsciously.”

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #40 – “The Lego Movie” (dir. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller)

Poster for "The Lego Movie"

This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel tackle the latest piece of zany versatility from Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, The Lego Movie.

Check out our discussion below (22:41).

May contain some NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 8 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for tonight’s episode includes the delightfully satirical tracks “Everything is Awesome” and “Untitled Self Portrait” (Batman’s song) from the film’s soundtrack.
  • The budget for The Lego Movie is officially $60 million, notwithstanding the “Hollywood math” constraints we mentioned. For more on this, check out Edward Jay Epstein‘s book, The Hollywood Economist. For reference, “the last couple of Pixar films” had official budgets of $185 million (Brave) and $200 million (Monsters University) respectively.

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #39 – “Labor Day” (dir. Jason Reitman)

Poster for "Labor Day"

This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel dive into Labor Day, a surprising genre exercise from beloved director Jason Reitman, featuring Kate Winslet as a single mother who is taken hostage by – and finds herself falling for – an escaped convict named Frank Josh Brolin. Can a talented cast and filmmakers elevate a premise that seems, on the surface, to be the fodder of Nicholas Sparks novels?

We thought so – and we promise we’re not damning with faint praise. Check out our discussion below (42:32).

May contain some NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 7 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for tonight’s episode begins with “Criminal” by Britney Spears, and ends with Spanish guitarist Fernando Sor‘s “Exercises in B. Minor, Op. 35, No. 22″ (as performed by Stephen Novacek) a variant of which appears on the Labor Day soundtrack. Why didn’t we use the version from the movie? Because it wasn’t available as a standalone track. Listen to the lovely guitar. And eat your vegetables. Punks.
  • Correction: Alexie Gilmore played Marjorie, Hank’s stepmother. Evelyn (the annoying neighbor) was played by Brooke Smith, best known from Grey’s Anatomy.
  • Correction: J.K. Simmons is indeed an insurance spokesman, but he represents Farmers Insurance, not Allstate (Dennis Haysbert) or State Farm (“Mayhem”/Dean Winters). As an advertising major, Daniel regrets the error.
  • Correction: It turns out 17-year-old Henry is actually played by a different actor, Dylan Minnette.

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #38 – “12 Years a Slave” (dir. Steve McQueen)

Poster for "12 Years a Slave"

This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel witness the harrowing new film from director Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave, based on a memoir by kidnapped slave Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Featuring one of the most sprawling and talented casts of the year, this film proved to be absolutely essential viewing. Check out our discussion below (53:09).

May contain some NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 9.5 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for tonight’s episode includes the tracks “Roll Jordan Roll” and “Solomon” from the soundtrack and score to the film. To hear the other Hans Zimmer track that came to mind during this film, check out “Time” from the original score to Inception.
  • The banality of evil” is a historical concept and phrase from Hannah Arendt‘s Eichmann in Jerusalem, and is not without controversy. Curiously, Northup expressed a similar idea near the end of his memoir, which can be read at the end of the NY Times article below.
  • Eric Herschthal wrote a fascinating article for the NY Times on the veracity of the memoir and real-life story: The Passion of Solomon Northup
  • The audio lecture series we referred to from The Great Courses is “The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World,” from Colgate University history professor Robert Garland.

Listen above, or download: 12 Years a Slave (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #37 – “The World’s End” (dir. Edgar Wright), “Mud” (dir. Jeff Nichols)

Poster for "The World's End"

This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel tackle the exciting conclusion to Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright‘s recently-minted Cornetto trilogy (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz), as well as a surprising new coming-of-age adventure from writer/director Jeff Nichols. Will the nostalgic and paranormal wanderings of a posse of drunken middle aged-men win our favor? Or will we prefer the naively romantic notions of an adventurous child with his very own motorboat and island? Either way, the soundtrack will be fantastic. Don’t miss either one of these films (53:41).

May contain some NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (The World’s End): 8/10
FilmWonk rating (Mud): 7/10 (Daniel), 8.5/10 (Glenn)

Show notes:

  • (00:00) Review: The World’s End
  • (11:11) Spoilers: The World’s End
  • (23:37) Review: Mud
  • (32:48) Spoilers: Mud
  • Music for tonight’s episode is the track “Loaded” from the soundtrack to The World’s End, followed by The Beach Boys’ “Help Me Rhonda” from the end credits of Mud.
  • Seriously, if you’re on the eastside of Seattle, hit up La Fuente for some quality Mexican food. I’m as surprised as you are that this was relevant to a film podcast.
  • Check out my Elysium review here.
  • The “women are more likely to initiate divorce” statistic comes from a 2004 study by the AARP, which found that 66% of divorces were initiated by women, and gets into further detail on some of the reasons cited, which do include infidelity and abuse.
  • Stay tuned at the end of the recording to hear a bit of Daniel’s beautiful siren song.

Listen above, or download: The World’s End, Mud (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #36 – “Pacific Rim” (dir. Guillermo del Toro)

Poster for "Pacific Rim"

This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel go big and get goofy with Guillermo del Toro‘s Pacific Rim, the latest entry in the fairly saturated market of world-ending, giant-robot smashing, quasi-superhero films. Is this film big, loud, and earnest enough to set itself apart? Listen below and find out (36:29).

May contain some NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 7 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Burn Gorman was born in Hollywood to British parents, and moved to London when he was seven years old. Make of his accent what you will.
  • The music for this film was done by Ramin Djawadi, best known for composing opening title themes and original music for TV (Prison Break, Game of Thrones, and others). And a correction – we spoke on the podcast of brass and major chords, but a review of the soundtrack reminded us that Pacific Rim‘s score consisted primarily of strings – both synth/orchestral and rock-and-roll guitar. Quite rousing upon review.
  • Music for this episode comes from the eponymous opening track to the film’s score.
  • We recorded this episode prior to the film’s #3 debut at the box office…and we’re sad to say, we called it. But now seems like a good time to evoke the powerful fiscal ambiguity of Edward Jay Epstein‘s The Hollywood Economist, and say…who knows. It may be profitable eventually.
  • If you want to see how the sausage is made, stick around after the end music to hear a bit of starting difficulty we had with this episode.

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #35 – “The Bling Ring” (dir. Sofia Coppola)

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This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel find out how the other half lives, when the other half is a bunch of bored, extremely wealthy teenage criminals. If there’s one thing our intrepid heroes love, it’s a pleasant surprise, and Sofia Coppola‘s audacious examination of celebrity worship dovetailing into grand larceny definitely qualifies (36:39).

May contain some NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 7.5 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for this episode comes from the film’s soundtrack, including the tracks “Bad Girls” by M.I.A., and “Gucci Bag” by Reema Major.
  • We refer to an episode of the Slate Lexicon Valley podcast, an absolute must for language nerds. Check out the episode, which is entitled “Undocumented Illegals“.
  • In case you’re curious which film we were planning to see before the cell phone incident, I won’t promote it by mentioning its title here (and I’ve redacted it from the podcast), but the offending studio was Fox Searchlight.
  • The real-life players and criminal proceedings surrounding the Bling Ring are summarized on Wikipedia.

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #34 – “Man of Steel” (dir. Zach Snyder)

Poster for "Man of Steel"

This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel dive back into the rough-and-tumble world of Zach Snyder and Superman – two characters whose prior installments have given us a healthy dose of skepticism. Can the stewardship of Christopher Nolan bring all the brooding angst and box-office domination that this franchise needs? Find out after the jump (45:48).

May contain some NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 5 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for this episode is the rather ironically-titled “What Are You Going to Do When You Are Not Saving the World?“, from Hans Zimmer’s enjoyable and epic score.
  • Pa Kent’s first name is Jonathan. I don’t believe this was ever mentioned in the film.
  • Adam Quigley‘s “Antisocial Commentary” defense of Sucker Punch can be found on here on YouTube.
  • The good folks at BuzzFeed hired a consulting firm to estimate the costs and casualties – both direct and indirect – of Superman and Zod’s fight at the end of the film. The results: 129,000 dead, minimum. I misstated a couple of these figures on the podcast, so be sure to check it out for all the details.

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