FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #118 – “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” (dir. Matthew Vaughn)

Poster for "Kingsman: The Golden Circle"

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel dive into a second chapter in a silly spy saga that doubles down on every one of the first film’s impulses, for weal or woe: the elegant masculine paradigm, the awesomely kinetic and well-shot fights, the ridiculous Dr. Evil-caliber villainy, and the shoddy, one-dimensional female characters saddled with menial tasks in place of depth. Come see where we landed on the only spy film this year that is, and we quote, “Longer than f*cking Dunkirk“. (38:12).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 6 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for this episode is the tracks “My Generation (“Battle Royale” Remix)” by The Who, as remixed by Apashe, from the film’s second trailer. We might’ve used “My Way“, but that vile fuckhead Joe Arpaio has forever sullied it for us.

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

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FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #117 – “It” (dir. Andrés Muschietti)

Poster for "It" (2017 film)

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel conquer their well-earned fears of a half-hearted Stephen King adaptation and venture down to the sewer with all their friends, and it’s quite fun. Because everything floats down there. EVERYTHING (36:52).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 8 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for this episode is the tracks “Six Different Ways” by The Cure, and “Pennywise’s Tower” composed by Benjamin Wallfisch, from the film’s soundtrack and score.
  • The sci-fi short story we referenced, “The Jaunt”, is quite good. While you can find the full text online with minimal googling, I would highly recommend picking up a copy of Skeleton Crew, as the entire short story collection is pretty enjoyable (and also contains the short story version of The Mist). On the podcast, I did confuse it with Different Seasons (which contains the source novellas for The Shawshank Redemption, Stand By Me, and Apt Pupil, which is also worth a read.
  • Curiously, a 2015 io9 article reported that Muschetti would be directing a feature film version of The Jaunt, but it appears to be in development hell. It does seem like the sort of movie that would take…longer than you think.

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #116 – “Crown Heights” (dir. Matt Ruskin)

Poster for "Crown Heights"

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel take in a tale of justice for a man wrongly convicted that greatly exceeded their expectations – both in storytelling, and in the acting prowess of former NFL star Nnamdi Asomugha – a set of words that we never expected to say aloud (39:12).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 7 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for this episode is the tracks “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, and “River” by Leon Bridges, from the film’s soundtrack.
  • You can check out the episode of This American Life that the film was based on here.
  • You just got Nnamdi’d.
  • We correctly summarized the current legal state of Adnan Syed‘s case – as of this writing, he is still in prison, awaiting a new trial that was ordered back in July 2016, and was denied bail back in December.
  • CORRECTION: We referred to Colin being sentenced for murder despite not being ID’d as the shooter as a form of legal fiction – this was intended to be a reference to the felony murder rule (which is either a form of legal fiction or strict liability depending on your perspective), but it’s not really applicable to this case, as Warner was not convicted under this rule – he was wrongly convicted on a standard second-degree murder charge.
  • The New York State Board of Parole is indeed composed of political appointees – up to 19 members appointed by the Governor and approved by the State Senate for a six-year term. Each parole hearing is overseen by a panel of 2-3 members.

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #115 – “Patti Cake$” (dir. Geremy Jasper), “The Trip to Spain” (dir. Michael Winterbottom)

Poster for "Patti Cake$"

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel refer to The Trip to Spain as “Entourage-lite”, in what is inexplicably a positive review, as Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon take in their third pastoral outing of visual, culinary, and improvised comedic indulgence. And then they check out Patti Cake$, the most delightful and original coming-of-age tale we’ve seen since Dope, featuring an unlikely hero (Danielle Macdonald) and her gang of misfits trying to make it in the New Jersey rap scene. This was a fun week. Join us for it! (29:51)

May contain NSFW language.

Still from "The Trip to Spain"

FilmWonk rating (The Trip to Spain): 6 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (Patti Cake$): 8 out of 10

Show notes:

  • [00:36] Review: The Trip to Spain
  • [10:53] Review: Patti Cake$
  • Music for this episode is the track, “PBNJ” and “Tuff Love“, as performed by the cast of Patti Cake$.
  • Seriously, I know none of you saw Philomena. And it is quite good. Check it out before it leaves Netflix this month.

Listen above, or download: Patti Cake$, The Trip to Spain (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #114 – “Wind River” (dir. Taylor Sheridan), “Sicario” (dir. Denis Villeneuve)

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel a contentious ride into Taylor Sheridan‘s directorial debut (Update: nope!), Wind River, as well as a trip down memory lane in Sheridan’s prior filmography, including Denis Villeneuve outstanding 2015 drug war drama,
Sicario (43:01).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (Sicario): 8 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (Wind River): 6.5/10 (Glenn), 3/10 (Daniel)

Show notes:

  • [00:33] Review: Sicario
  • [08:23] Review: Wind River
  • [24:00] Spoilers: Wind River
  • Music for this episode is the track, “Convoy“, from the Sicario score by Jóhann Jóhannsson, and the track, “Bad News“, from the Wind River score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.
  • CORRECTION: In our discussion of Sicario, we referred to a report from a few months ago by the International Institute for Strategic Studies that named the Mexican drug war the second-deadliest conflict in the world in 2016. The Institute has since cited a methodological flaw in this calculation, and issued a retraction, although they still expect the conflict to be in the top ten. The Mexican government released its own response as well.
  • As out-of-touch, big city film critics, we were admittedly rather ignorant if an agency of US Fish and Wildlife Services existed to cull predator species. The answer is emphatically yes – it’s called…Wildlife Services. Its deeds are outlined in this NatGeo article:

    “Since 2000, the agency has killed at least two million mammals and 15 million birds. Although it’s main focus is predator control in the West, Wildlife Services also does things like bird control nationwide at airports to prevent crashes and feral pig control in the South.”

  • We referred to a Kroll Show sketch called “Dead Girl Town“. Click and enjoy.
  • Graham Greene wasn’t on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, but he was in Dances With Wolves, in which he was nominated for an Academy Award.

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #113 – “Atomic Blonde” (dir. David Leitch)

Poster for "Atomic Blonde"

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel have a grand ol’ spy romp with Charlize Theron. It’s not complicated, but it is fun – and it succeeds on soundtrack where Baby Driver failed with us (22:20).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 7.5 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for this episode is the tracks “Major Tom (Völlig Losgelöst)” by Peter Schilling, and a new, dour version of “99 Luftballons” by Kaleida, from the film’s soundtrack.
  • CORRECTION: We lamented Theron’s relative lack of starring roles – of course, she was the sole lead in Æon Flux and Monster, the latter to great critical acclaim.

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #112 – “Valerian” (dir. Luc Besson), “City of Ghosts” (dir. Matthew Heineman)

Poster for "Valerian"

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel address an age-old question – is Fifth Element and Lucy director Luc Besson still a master of sci-fi, and can strong worldbuilding (and one surprising gem of a performance) make up for dubious screenwriting. Come along and find out, but first, check out an important documentary about the worst excesses of ISIS in Syria, and the brave men and women who risk their lives to reveal them to the world (56:31).

May contain NSFW language.

Still from "City of Ghosts" (2017 documentary film)

FilmWonk rating (City of Ghosts): 7 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (Valerian): 6.5/10 (Glenn), 7/10 (Daniel)

Show notes:

  • [01:52] Review: City of Ghosts
  • [23:06] Review: Valerian
  • [37:41] Spoilers: Valerian
  • Music for this episode is the track, “Space Oddity” by David Bowie, from the Valerian soundtrack.
  • Full disclosure, the “back of the envelope” calculation of Alpha’s escape velocity from Earth was done with some assistance from computational knowledge engine Wolfram Alpha, which revealed – assuming a consistent velocity over 600 years (for the sake of simplicity) – that the station was going too slow (relative to the Earth) by a factor of 187.8 to escape Earth’s gravity. And yes, this was just me being nerdy. Not an actual complaint.

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