FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #197 – “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” (dir. Tom Gormican), “Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn” (dir. Radu Jude)

This week, Glenn and Daniel consider watching a fourth-wall prodding, self-aware film in which Nicolas Cage plays dueling versions of himself, gradually crafting a screenplay and over-the-top conclusion to the very film that we’re watching. But enough about Adaptation. On to The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. And then we check out an epistemological discourse on the multifaceted foundations of fascist thought, punctuated with fucking, because it’s time to watch a Radu Jude film, which regrettably felt like a pandemic-laden, stream-of-consciousness retread of I Do Not Care if We Go Down in History as Barbarians. (28:11).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent): 7 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn): 5 out of 10

Still from "Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn" (2021 film)

Show notes:

  • [00:59] Review: Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn
  • [17:54] Review: The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
  • We misstated the number of COVID-19 deaths per capita in Romania, which, as of this writing, is higher than the per-capita rate in the United States. See Statista for comparison. As an absolute rate, the US death rate (which stands at 989,000) is much higher than that of Romania. Not something we’re inclined to brag about in any case.

Listen above, or download: Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #196 – “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (dir. Daniels), “Deep Water” (dir. Adrian Lyne)

Poster for "Everything Everywhere All at Once"

This week, Glenn and Daniel wade into the dark, twisted, and borderline satirical look at marriage from Unfaithful director Adrian Lyne, Deep Water. But first, they follow Swiss Army Man directors Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan into their multiverse-spanning sci-fi epic/intimate family drama, Everything Everywhere All at Once (54:44).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (Everything Everywhere All at Once): 9/10 (Glenn), 6/10 (Daniel)
FilmWonk rating (Deep Water): 7.5 out of 10

Still from "Deep Water"

Show notes:

  • [01:58] Review: Everything Everywhere All at Once
  • [29:03] Review: Deep Water
  • [42:10] Spoilers: Deep Water

Listen above, or download: Everything Everywhere All at Once, Deep Water (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #195 – “The Batman” (dir. Matt Reeves), “Cyrano” (dir. Joe Wright)

Poster for "The Batman" (2022 film)

This week, Glenn and Daniel check out director Matt Reeves and lead Robert Pattinson‘s take on the Caped Crusader, the fourth in our jaded millennial lives, and find it largely acceptable. Then we check out a musical take on the fictionalized life of Cyrano de Bergerac, from director Joe Wright, adapted from the stage musical by Erica Schmidt, which Daniel thought was solidly fine, and which changed Glenn’s life forever as musicals sometimes do (1:08:53).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (The Batman): 7.5 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (Cyrano): 8.5/10 (Glenn), 6.5/10 (Daniel)

Still from "Cyrano" (2022 film)

Show notes:

  • [02:16] Review: The Batman
  • [23:58] Spoilers: The Batman
  • [43:34] Review: Cyrano
  • The Cyrano soundtrack and score, which Glenn estimated at “probably 90 minutes of music”, clocks in at 1h18m, and has only continued to grow on him since the podcast recording.
  • We referred to a blooper edit of the trial of Tyrion Lannister. Remember it?

Listen above, or download: The Batman, Cyrano (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #194 – “Kimi” (dir. Steven Soderbergh), “Blacklight” (dir. Mark Williams), “I Want You Back” (dir. Jason Orley)

Poster for "Kimi" (2022 film)

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).

Still from "Blacklight" (2022 film)

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

Still from "I Want You Back"

Show notes:

  • [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.
  • Derek DelGaudio has a small and important role in Kimi, which gave us a chance to plug his excellent 2021 Hulu special, “Derek DelGaudio’s In & Of Itself.

Listen above, or download: Kimi, Blacklight, I Want You Back (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #193 – “A Hero” (dir. Asghar Farhadi), “The Lost Daughter” (dir. Maggie Gyllenhaal)

Poster for "A Hero" (2021 Asghar Farhadi film)

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).

Still from "The Lost Daughter"

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (A Hero): 7.5 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (The Lost Daughter): 6/10 (Daniel), 8/10 (Glenn)

Show notes:

  • [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.
  • We also referenced Foxcatcher, The Green Knight, and A Bigger Splash.
  • We referenced film critic Alissa Wilkinson‘s excellent write-up of The Lost Daughter over at Vox – check it out here: “Untangling Maggie Gyllenhaal’s The Lost Daughter“.
  • 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.

Listen above, or download: A Hero, The Lost Daughter (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #192 – “The Matrix Resurrections” (dir. Lana Wachowski), “Drive My Car” (dir. Ryusuke Hamaguchi)

Poster for "The Matrix Resurrections"

This week, Glenn and Daniel are joined by returning guest Megan to do a Scene Unseen-style review of a sequel we both greatly anticipated, The Matrix Resurrections (which Daniel was unable to see last week). Then Megan – both Japan expert and marvelous wife to Glenn – delivers a brutal reminder of the healthy interplay between fandom and family by disdaining director Ryusuke Hamaguchi‘s new adaptation of a Haruki Murakami short story, Drive My Car, which we both compared to previous #1 Glennie selection Birdman, and which Megan referred to as “pretty far up its own ass”. Glenn agreed, but the movie also made him cry, so we sort that out together, as one does.

This will be our last episode for 2021. Thank you for listening for another year and we wish you well (01:31:17).

CW: Pregnancy loss
May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (The Matrix Resurrections): 7 out of 10 (Megan/Glenn)
FilmWonk rating (Drive My Car): 5/10 (Megan), 7/10 (Daniel), 8.5/10 (Glenn)

Show notes:

  • [02:02] Review: The Matrix Resurrections
  • [19:17] Spoilers: The Matrix Resurrections
  • [45:35] Review: Drive My Car
  • [01:03:39] Spoilers: Drive My Car

Listen above, or download: The Matrix Resurrections, Drive My Car (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #191 – “The Power of the Dog” (dir. Jane Campion), “Bruised” (dir. Halle Berry)

Poster for "The Power of the Dog"

This week, Glenn and Daniel welcome back Erika to check out the directorial debut of Halle Berry in Bruised, in which she stars as a disgraced MMA fighter trying to connect with her estranged son. And then we check out Jane Campion‘s gorgeous, but narratively unfocused adaptation on toxic masculinity in the early 20th century American West, The Power of the Dog, which provoked a wide range of reactions on the podcast. Both films are now available on Netflix. (01:24:17).

Still from "Bruised" (2021 film)

*CW: This episode contains mentions of suicide, alcoholism, familial and intimate partner violence, and rape, as pertains to the subject matter of each film.
May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (Bruised): 5/10 (Erika), 6/10 (Daniel), 7/10 (Glenn)
FilmWonk rating (The Power of the Dog): 3/10 (Daniel), 5/10 (Glenn), 9/10 (Erika)

Show notes:

  • [02:01] Review: Bruised
  • [26:34] Spoilers: Bruised
  • [39:58] Review: The Power of the Dog
  • [55:46] Spoilers: The Power of the Dog
  • There was a minor technical issue with the remote recording, and it is occasionally possible to hear a brief echo – we edited this out as much as possible, and we do apologize for the disruption.
  • CORRECTION: Jane Campion was not the first woman to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director – she was second (for The Piano, for which she would win the award for Best Original Screenplay). The first woman to be nominated for Best Director was Lina Wertmüller for the 1976 Italian film, Seven Beauties.
  • Erika plugged the 1989 TV miniseries Lonesome Dove, starring Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones, which is streaming on StarzPlay as well as for rent on multiple platforms.

Listen above, or download: Bruised, The Power of the Dog (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #190 – “Eternals” (dir. Chloé Zhao)

Poster for Marvel Studios' "Eternals"

This week, Glenn and Daniel once again had a busy week as a Marvel film came out for us to review by itself, and we promise that’s a coincidence. Academy Award-winning director Chloé Zhao tries to tell a tale as old as time and bring a new superhero team to life. Tune in as we give Eternals more credit for ambition than execution, in that good, Chronicles of Riddick sort of way (49:43).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 6 out of 10

Show notes:

  • [01:36] Review: Eternals
  • [25:53] Review: Eternals

Listen above, or download: Eternals (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #189 – “The French Dispatch” (dir. Wes Anderson), “Last Year at Marienbad” (1961) (dir. Alain Resnais)

Poster for "The French Dispatch"

This week, Glenn and Daniel check out a French Dispatch, and a series of meandering vignettes which may or may not coalesce into a coherent narrative. And it’s up to our intrepid podcasters (with special guest and friend of the show Jason) to determine which is which. First, we check out Wes Anderson’s vision of The New Yorker as a star-studded anthology film, then venture back to the 1961 French Left Bank film, Last Year at Marienbad, a bizarre and experimental film that mesmerized us (01:01:03).

Still from "Last Year at Marienbad"

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (The French Dispatch): 5 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (Last Year at Marienbad): 7.5 out of 10

Show notes:

  • [01:09] Review: The French Dispatch
  • [25:35] Review: Last Year at Marienbad
  • Connect with Kanopy via your local library, and you too can watch Last Year at Marienbad!
  • Daniel referenced an extremely self-aware Wes Anderson interview in The New Yorker:
    How Wes Anderson Turned The New Yorker into ‘The French Dispatch’“.
  • Daniel referred to a real-life incident not depicted in the film which occurred during the May ’68 protests: student protestors temporarily occupied (and attempted to set fire to) the Bourse (the Paris Stock Exchange). The building did not burn down (it is largely built of stone), and still exists today as Euronext Paris.
  • The matchstick game in Last Year at Marienbad is Nim, which features a variety of mathematical strategies you can read all about on Wikipedia.
  • We mentioned a few previous review selections that came to mind while reviewing Marienbad, including Holy Motors, Under the Shadow, Fish & Cat.

Listen above, or download: The French Dispatch, Last Year at Marienbad (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #188 – “Dear Evan Hansen” (dir. Stephen Chbosky), “Malignant” (dir. James Wan)

Poster for "Dear Evan Hansen"

*CW: This episode contains mentions of suicide, substance abuse, familial and intimate partner violence, pregnancy loss, and rape, as pertains to the subject matter of each film.

This week, Glenn and Daniel check out the misfiring adaptation of the Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen, whose narrative problems stem as much from its original book as from its later casting decisions, then differ sharply on James Wan‘s ’80s VHS bargain bin throwback, Malignant, whose “Seattle”-set monster antics charmed one and perplexed the other (1:11:05).

Still from "Malignant"

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (Dear Evan Hansen): 4 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (Malignant): 7/10 (Glenn), 2/10 (Daniel)

Show notes:

  • [02:27] Review: Dear Evan Hansen
  • [32:28] Review: Malignant
  • [43:51] Spoilers: Malignant
  • Daniel went all the way back to the early days of the FilmWonk Podcast by referencing the 2010 film from writer/director Adam Green, Frozen (not that one), a survival horror flick that takes place entirely on a stalled ski lift with three skiers trapped aboard, which we reviewed all the way back on Episode #5.

Listen above, or download: Dear Evan Hansen, Malignant (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play)