FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #101 – “Supergirl” (dir. Jessie Auritt), “Harmonia” (dir. Ori Sivan) (#SJFF2017)

Poster for "Harmonia"

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel preview a pair of selections from the Seattle Jewish Film Festival, which runs from March 25 – April 2. The first is a documentary about a strong girl that held much more of our interest than expected, and the second is an Israeli film which subtly, then aggressively, borrows from Darren Aronofsky and the Book of Genesis in equal measure (52:20).

May contain NSFW language.

Still from "Supergirl" documentary

Harmonia is playing as the Opening Night Film on Saturday, 3/25 @ 8:30PM at AMC Pacific Place 11. Actor Alon Aboutboul (Abraham) will be in attendance.

Supergirl is playing in the Teen Screen segment on Tuesday, 3/28 @ 6:30PM at the SIFF Cinema Uptown. Director Jessie Auritt and editor Erik Dugger will be attendance.

Tickets and passes are available at SeattleJewishFilmFestival.org.

FilmWonk rating (Supergirl): 7 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (Harmonia): 6 out of 10

Show notes:

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #100 – “Moonlight” (dir. Barry Jenkins), “La La Land” (dir. Damien Chazelle)

Poster for "Moonlight"

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel ruminate on 100 episodes, and check out the Academy Award Winner(s?) for Best Picture. There can be only one, and don’t worry – we review the correct one first (01:26:11).

May contain NSFW language.

Still from "La La Land"

FilmWonk rating (Moonlight): 7/10 (Daniel), 8/10 (Glenn)
FilmWonk rating (La La Land): 7/10 (Daniel), 5/10 (Glenn)

Show notes:

  • [05:33] Review: Moonlight
  • [23:34] Spoilers: Moonlight
  • [42:43] Review: La La Land
  • [01:16:35] Spoilers: La La Land
  • Music for this episode is the track “The Middle of the World“, from Nicholas Britell‘s marvelous original score for Moonlight, and “City of Stars” from the La La Land soundtrack, and… I think maybe something we liked a lot more? You’re welcome 🙂
  • If you were confused like Glenn was, read all about the Montreal Screwjob.
  • Minor correction: The neighborhood in Miami was Liberty City, not Liberty Square.
  • As we mentioned, Miami did indeed come close to dissolving as a city in 1997, but the resolution to do so did not pass a popular vote. If it had passed, the city government would have ceased to exist, and the city would’ve become an unincorporated part of Dade County (which changed its name to Miami-Dade County by popular vote in the same year).
  • If you’re feeling the urge to look back at Whiplash, be sure to give this Slate article a read afterward, as it does a pretty solid job of breaking down some the film’s twisted ideas about creative genius.
  • Check out the behind-the-scenes videos of La La Land‘s camerawork on David Chen‘s blog here. They’re videos (and some stills), not GIFs – I may have been thinking of this instead.
  • Поэтому, я иду в ГУЛАГа. That’ll teach Glenn to speak off-the-cuff Russian on the podcast. That was totally dative instead of accusative case. Простите, мои профессори.
  • For the record, Glenn does not own a poster for The Artist. He did rave about it when it came out, however, and it did win the Academy Award for Best Picture that year.

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #99 – “Get Out” (dir. Jordan Peele)

Poster for "Get Out"

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel check out comedian Jordan Peele‘s horror and directorial debut, and then gush (39:31).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 9 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for this episode is the track “Redbone” by Childish Gambino (né Donald Glover), from the film’s soundtrack.
  • The “Stop and identify” statute that we cited for New York state was N.Y. Criminal Procedure Law, §140.50. In practice, the application of this statute is highly variable, including in New York City, where it was implemented for several years as the program known as “stop and frisk,” which tended to disproportionately target African-American or Latino residents of the city.

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #98 – “Fifty Shades Darker” (dir. James Foley)

Poster for "Fifty Shades Darker"

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel make what we’re pretty confident will be our last visit to the Twilight fanfic world of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, despite being clearly out of the critical mainstream in finding this to be a vast improvement on the first film (40:00).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 5 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for this episode is the track “Lover, You Should’ve Come Over” by the late, great Jeff Buckley, which appears in the film, but is oddly missing from the film’s soundtrack.
  • CORRECTION: In the intro to this podcast, we referred to E.L. James as a “great American novelist”. We regret the error.
  • CORRECTION: Daniel did not do the math. If Christian makes $24k every 15 minutes, he makes $840 million per year. Making roughly $1.1 million/year puts you in the top 0.1% income percentile in the United States. Christian is cartoonishly rich.
  • CORRECTION: Okay, Portland has a couple of 40+ story buildings. That was still totally Vancouver, B.C. though.

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #97 – “Split” (dir. M. Night Shyamalan)

Poster for "Split"

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel (plus special out-of-town guest Tex) see if M. Night Shyamalan still has the ability to twist a film into something likable. The answer – especially after we disliked The Visit so much – may surprise you (39:24)!

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 7 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for this episode is the track “Frogbass” by Snails, from the film’s soundtrack. Incidentally, this appears during a scene where we were promised that McAvoy would dance to Kanye, but I’m betting he was too expensive for a Blumhouse picture.
  • Speaking of, this film’s budget was $10 million, which is on the high end for Blumhouse Productions, matching the likes of Insidious: Chapter 3, Sinister 2, and The Purge: Election Year.
  • Michael Gioulakis was also responsible for the outstanding widescreen cinematography on Glenn’s #1 film of 2015, It Follows.
  • Check out the great work done by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and if you’re able, think about donating!

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #96 – “Silence” (dir. Martin Scorsese)

Poster for "Silence"

In this week’s podcast, two old friends make their second appearance ever on the podcast. A shout-out to 16th-century Protestant reformer Martin Luther, and our resident Japan expert (and Glenn‘s former fiancée and now-wife), Megan! And don’t worry, Daniel‘s here too, being quite unkind to Adam Driver. Take a stroll through Tokugawa-era Japan as we discuss cultural clash and religious persecution in director Martin Scorsese‘s most Catholic film ever (58:17).

Despite delving into some serious religious themes, this episode actually contains even more NSFW language than usual.

FilmWonk rating: 7 out of 10

Show notes:

  • [17:58] Spoilers: Silence
  • Music for this episode is the track “Supply Chain” by ConfidentialMX, as isolated by Trailer Music Life on YouTube (as there doesn’t seem to be an official track available).
  • Bill Wurtz‘ “History of Japan” is one of the most entertaining and educational history lessons on the internet. Silence takes place at roughly the 4-minute mark of the video, but you should really just watch the whole thing. Seriously, go watch it right now. I might watch it again myself after typing this. It’s that good.
  • Correction: This isn’t super-germane to the film (as it’s over 100 years earlier on the other end of Eurasia), but Martin Luther’s Ninety-five Theses were published in 1517, not 1597.
  • Note: We briefly discuss the story of Cassie Bernall, one of the victims of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, as an oft-cited example of a modern-day Christian martyr. Reading further, I was reminded of something I first learned when reading Dave Cullen‘s exhaustive book on the shooting, which is that this story is – to put it mildly – most likely just a story, even if it has still served the religious and rhetorical purpose that we have put it to today. On a related note, the film that Daniel mentions at the end of the episode is actually a loose Christian dramatization of another Columbine victim, Rachel Joy Scott, and it looks more than a little bit fictionalized and exploitative.

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #95 – “Moana” (dir. Ron Clements/John Musker)

Poster for "Moana"

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel take a visit to an island paradise for a quick musical war between gods brokered by an impressive new Disney princess. No big deal. (31:18).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 8 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for this episode is a pair of tracks from the film’s soundtrack, “We Know the Way” and the fabulous end-credits version of “You’re Welcome” featuring Jordan Fisher and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
  • Check out the full scene with Maui (Johnson)’s “You’re Welcome” introduction on YouTube here.
  • Cravalho’s name pronunciation guide (from an interview along with Johnson) can be found here, courtesy of USA Today.
  • Correction: Moana’s island is Motunui, not Matanui. And the coconut pirates are the Kakamora, not the Kokomota.
  • The language that composer Opetaia Foa’i contributed is Tokelauan, a Polynesian language which has about 4,000 speakers.

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