FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #130 – “Blockers” (dir. Kay Cannon), “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (dir. Rian Johnson)

Poster for "Blockers"

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel explore a comedy about preventing teenagers from getting laid. And then, appropriately, they spend 40 minutes of their Saturday night dissecting Star Wars: The Last Jedi, a film which Glenn praised effusively back in December, and which Daniel only got around to seeing this week, and called “a solid 5 out of 10”. The spoiler warning comes right away with this one, and may the Force be with us all for the first and only time that Count Dooku will ever be mentioned on this podcast (56:52).

May contain NSFW language.

Still from "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"

FilmWonk rating (Blockers): 6.5 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (Star Wars: The Last Jedi): 8.5/10 (Glenn), 5/10 (Daniel)

Show notes:

Listen above, or download: Blockers, Star Wars: The Last Jedi (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

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FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #129 – “The Death of Stalin” (dir. Armando Iannucci), “Maktub”, “Keep the Change” (#SJFF2018)

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel are back for two outstanding selections from the Seattle Jewish Film Festival, and take a foray into In the Loop director Armando Iannucci‘s uniquely foul-mouthed and hilarious rendition of the demise of Stalin’s Russia. We are joined once again by special guest Erika Spoden (01:13:18).

May contain NSFW language.

The first round of the Seattle Jewish Film Festival closes today, but they will be back for one more weekend next month, April 14-15. For the complete schedule and tickets, head over to SJFF.

FilmWonk rating (Keep the Change): 8/10 (Glenn, Erika), 9/10 (Daniel)
FilmWonk rating (Maktub): 8 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (The Death of Stalin): 8/10 (Glenn), 9/10 (Daniel, Erika)

Show notes:

  • [01:45] Review: Keep the Change
  • [16:16] Spoilers: Keep the Change
  • [27:26] Review: Maktub
  • [42:37] Spoilers: Maktub
  • [51:53] Review: The Death of Stalin
  • These films didn’t have a lot to choose from, so music for this episode is the traditional Russian folk song, “Korobeiniki” and the Soviet National anthem.
  • It does appear that the earliest version of the “whoever saves a life saves the world” verse – which does indeed appear in the Quran (Surah 5:32) – comes from one of the early texts of Judaism (and apparently is a retelling of the Cain and Abel story in-context). Given that Judaism predated both Christianity and Islam, this makes chronological sense, but the origin and evolution of this phrase is expectedly complicated. Check out this article in Mosaic for more details.
  • We spoke vaguely of persecution of the Russian Orthodox Church under the USSR – none of us are particularly familiar with this period, but apparently
    Khrushchev (Stalin’s successor) stepped up this persecution as soon as he took office.

Listen above, or download: The Death of Stalin, Maktub, Keep the Change (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #128 – “Phantom Thread” (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)

Poster for "Phantom Thread"

This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel, along with special guest Erika Spoden, take a very special Oscar week look back at one of the Best Picture contenders we missed last year (and we covered several!), Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread (43:04).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 8.5 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for this episode is the tracks “House of Woodcock” and “For the Hungry Boy”, from the film’s original score by Jonny Greenwood.
  • CORRECTION: We made a reference to the Panama Papers – we were, in fact, thinking of the Paradise Papers. We would simply ignore our misdeed and sweep this errant detail under the rug, but we don’t wish to be like the people featured in these papers.

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #127 – “Annihilation” (dir. Alex Garland)

Poster for "Annihilation"

This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel head into the mysterious world of the Shimmer, hspcp ylelwtp azcexly lyo zespcd pyepc l xjdepctzfd hzcwo zq dnclxmwpo yzydpydp lyo te’d acpeej nzzw lyo hptco, mfe ld td zqepy esp nldp rwpyy wtvpo te mpeepc esly olytpw (34:26).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 6.5/10 (Daniel), 7.5/10 (Glenn)

Show notes:

  • Music for this episode is the tracks “Disoriented” and “The Beach”, by Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow, from the film’s original score.
  • CORRECTION: The use of white phosphorus munitions is not as clear-cut (from a standpoint of international law or US military regulations) as I suggested. It’s definitely some nasty shit though.
  • We briefly discussed the immortal cervical cancer cell line from Henrietta Lacks (1920-1951), known as HeLa, which has been invaluable and prolific in cancer research, with an estimated 20 tons of sample material grown by researchers in laboratory conditions. It’s also part of the unfortunate legacy of dubious or outright unethical medical experimentation on African-American patients (without consent or compensation) that was commonplace in the early to mid-20th century. The book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, which Lena is seen to be reading in this film, is a fascinating primer on the case.
  • CORRECTION: Apoptosis is indeed the term for the biologically programmed death of a cell. However, I misremembered this as the subject of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Researcher Yoshinori Ohsumi won the prize in that year for his study of a related, but not identical, process, autophagy, a fundamental process for degrading and recycling components within a cell.

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #126 – “Fifty Shades Freed” (dir. James Foley), “The Cloverfield Paradox” (dir. Julius Onah)

Poster for "Fifty Shades Freed"

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel take two trips down memory lane – one to the tail-end of the Fifty Shades franchise, which feels like it began a million years ago in 2011, and the other to the site code-named Cloverfield (formerly Central Park), which made a surprise return to Netflix right after the big game this week (47:51).

May contain NSFW language.

Still from "The Cloverfield Paradox"

FilmWonk rating (Fifty Shades Freed): 5/10 (Daniel), 3/10 (Glenn)
FilmWonk rating (The Cloverfield Paradox): 5 out of 10

Show notes:

  • [01:59] Review: Fifty Shades Freed
  • [12:46] Spoilers: Fifty Shades Freed
  • [26:14] Review: The Cloverfield Paradox
  • [38:23] Spoilers: The Cloverfield Paradox
  • Music for this episode is “Love Me Like You Do” by Ellie Goulding and “For You”, by Rita Ora and Liam Payne, from the soundtrack to Fifty Shades Freed.
  • With all appropriate awkwardness, Glenn made a vague reference to an MTV dating and/or karaoke show from the 1990s. The two most likely culprits are either Say What? Karaoke or Singled Out, but…we can’t be sure.

Listen above, or download: Fifty Shades Freed, The Cloverfield Paradox (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #125 – “I, Tonya” (dir. Craig Gillespie), “Call Me By Your Name” (dir. Luca Guadagnino)

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel didn’t even realize that these other jamokes were involved in the story of I, Tonya, which forces them to reexamine a half-remembered media narrative from when they were single-digits old. Special guest Erika Spoden ventures back in time with us, stopping off at a ’90s figure-skating scandal, and continuing with an ’80s romance in Northern Italy, with Call Me By Your Name (59:45).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (Call Me By Your Name): 4/10 (Daniel), 7/10 (Erika), 8/10 (Glenn)
FilmWonk rating (I, Tonya): 8/10 (Glenn), 9/10 (Daniel, Erika)

Show notes:

  • [01:54] Review: Call Me By Your Name
  • [11:57] Spoilers: Call Me By Your Name
  • [27:18] Review: I, Tonya
  • [39:20] Spoilers: I, Tonya
  • Music for this episode is “Mystery of Love” by Sufjan Stevens, from the soundtrack to Call Me By Your Name, and “Goodbye Stranger“, by Supertramp, from the soundtrack to I, Tonya.

Listen above, or download: I Tonya, Call Me By Your Name (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #124 – “Molly’s Game” (dir. Aaron Sorkin)

On a very special Christmas podcast, Glenn and Daniel venture into the plot-complex and dialogue-rich directorial debut of Aaron Sorkin, Molly’s Game, based on the memoir by Molly Bloom, who ran a series of high-stakes underground poker games for a flurry of the rich and powerful before being pulled into legal peril. This film contains four outstanding performances – the two you’d expect, plus Cera and Costner. If you’ve got some time off this holiday, be sure to check it out (35:23).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 8.5 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for this episode is “Velvet Noose” by Thunderpussy and “C’est Si Bon“, performed by Eartha Kitt, from the film’s soundtrack.

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