This week, Glenn and Daniel check out a pair of thrillers, starting with Blacklight, a Liam Neeson thriller currently only in theaters, which provoked rare agreement that it is one of the worst movies we’ve ever reviewed on the podcast. Then we found a breath of fresh air with Steven Soderbergh‘s Seattle-set (and Seattle-shot) thriller, Kimi, a thoroughly modern take on a Hitchcockian thriller set in the modern, tech-infused, poverty-laden corporate surveillance state in which we live, new on HBO Max.
Finally, speaking of Hitchcock, we concluded with the Strangers on a Train of romantic comedies, in which a thoroughly charming Jenny Slate and Charlie Day play a pair of new acquaintances who each conspire to undo the other’s recent breakup, with the messy and enjoyable I Want You Back, new on Prime Video (51:42).
May contain NSFW language.
FilmWonk rating (Kimi): 8 out of 10 FilmWonk rating (Blacklight): 2 out of 10 FilmWonk rating (I Want You Back): 7.5 out of 10
[02:41] Review: Kimi/Blacklight
[33:18] Review: I Want You Back
Glenn just wrote a 10YA re-evaluation of Liam Neeson in The Grey, a film that improved with age, which made Blacklight even harder to stomach.
Kimi prompted us to look up what happened to the Arkansas first-degree murder case that hinged on evience obtained from an Amazon Echo device – the case was eventually dropped due to what prosecutors declared was insufficient evidence to support a murder charge.
This week, Glenn and Daniel return to the elaborate moral maze of Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi with A Hero (now streaming on Prime Video). They debate what’s right and wrong, and whether moral complexity that feels calculated can still effectively serve a good story. Then they venture into the rich narrative world of novelist Elena Ferrante, as adapted by first-time director Maggie Gyllenhaal, with The Lost Daughter (now streaming on Netflix), for a different sort of moral complexity, examining the role of women who find themselves unsuited for motherhood (01:13:35).
May contain NSFW language.
FilmWonk rating (A Hero): 7.5 out of 10 FilmWonk rating (The Lost Daughter): 6/10 (Daniel), 8/10 (Glenn)
[01:37] Review: A Hero
[17:24] Spoilers: A Hero
[38:05] Review: The Lost Daughter
[52:51] Spoilers: The Lost Daughter
CORRECTION: We misstated a couple of details about A Hero. It was filmed in the Iranian city of Shiraz, not Tehran. And while the film was selected to compete for the Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, it actually won the Grand Prix, which is considered the second-most prestigious prize of the festival after the Palme D’Or.
We referred back to a review of a previous festival selection, Glory, a Bulgarian political satire about a character who finds a bag of money on the railroad tracks, which came to mind while watching A Hero. As of this writing, Glory is available for streaming on Tubi.
At Daniel’s request, I also read Armond White‘s awful review of the film (which has an equally awful headline) at National Review, which I will not link here, but you’re welcome to google if you want to welcome that into your life.