FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #135 – “Tag” (dir. Jeff Tomsic), “Bodied” (dir. Joseph Kahn) (SIFF)

Poster for "Tag" (2018 film)

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel make their final review from the Seattle International Film Festival, and it’s a doozy, in the form of Bodied, Joseph Kahn‘s masterpiece about racism, sensitivity, political correctness, all through the lens of competitive rap battles, which will be premiering on YouTube later this year. And they follow it up with an extremely straightforward action-comedy about a group of grown men playing Tag, whose insistence that it’s based on a true story might be its greatest liability (57:56).

May contain NSFW language.

Still from "Bodied" (2017 film)

FilmWonk rating (Bodied): 9 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (Tag): 6 out of 10

Show notes:

  • [01:51] Review: Bodied
  • [20:09] Spoilers: Bodied
  • [36:48] Review: Tag
  • [47:14] Spoilers: Tag
  • Music for this episode is the tracks “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” by The Crash Test Dummies, from the Tag soundtrack, and “Opus, Pt. 2 Aka Crown” by Brain and Melissa, from the original score for Bodied.
  • We looked up the production timetables for Avengers: Infinity War and Tag, and the timing doesn’t really work out for Renner’s Tag injury to have anything to do with his absence from Infinity War. Tag filmed from June-July 2017, and Infinity War filmed from January-July of the same year. So Renner’s Marvel absence would presumably have been part of the plan by the time his injury occurred.

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

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FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #134 – “Ocean’s 8” (dir. Gary Ross), “Pig” (dir. Mani Haghighi) (SIFF)

Poster for "Ocean's 8"

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel are back at the 44th Seattle International Film Festival to check out Pig, an Iranian farce from Mani Haghighi that lives up its trailer’s promise of being “Iran like you’ve never seen it before”. Do not miss this. Then they head to the multiplex to see whether Sandra Bullock and crew can pull off a slick heist film with Ocean’s 8, and proceed to disagree over whether or not that’s a good thing (48:21).

May contain NSFW language.

Still from "Pig" ("Khook") (2018, Iran)

FilmWonk rating (Pig): 8 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (Ocean’s 8): 5/10 (Daniel), 6.5/10 (Glenn)

Show notes:

  • [02:02] Review: Pig
  • [17:47] Spoilers: Pig
  • [24:21] Review: Ocean’s 8
  • [39:30] Spoilers: Ocean’s 8
  • Music for this episode is the tracks “You’re No Good” by Linda Ronstadt from the trailer for Ocean’s 8, and “Ma Baker” by Boney M., from the international trailer for Pig.
  • Check out the excellent international trailer for Pig.
  • In case anyone was curious like we were, if any of the Ocean’s 8 characters is caught with any part of the Toussaint necklace, each individual piece would exceed a value of $1 million, which, per New York Penal Law § 155.42, would constitute grand larceny in the first degree, a Class B Felony, punishable by a prison sentence of up to 25 years.
  • We slightly misremembered the sole female member of the ensemble in Ocean’s Thirteen – it wasn’t Helen Mirren, but rather Ellen Barkin. And this was after both Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones had declined to return for bit parts.
  • On the [slightly spoilery] subject of whether a 3D printer exists that can produce flawless jewelry replicas, some design folks weigh in on that question at Refinery29 here.

Listen above, or download: Pig, Ocean’s 8 (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #133 – “American Animals” (dir. Bart Layton), “The Bold, The Corrupt, and the Beautiful” (dir. Yang Ya-che) (SIFF)

***CW: This episode contains discussion of sexual violence.***

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel head back to the Seattle International Film Festival to check out the new heist film from director Bart Layton, who wowed them back in 2012 with The Imposter, with special guest Erika Spoden. Then they venture to Taiwan to check out The Bold, The Corrupt, and the Beautiful, a stunning gangster film that somehow merited comparisons to both The Godfather and Breakfast at Tiffany’s (01:15:32).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (American Animals): 6/10 (Daniel), 7/10 (Erika & Glenn)
FilmWonk rating (The Bold, the Corrupt, and the Beautiful): 8.5 out of 10

Show notes:

  • [02:28] Review: American Animals
  • [23:35] Spoilers: American Animals
  • [41:23] Review: The Bold, the Corrupt, and the Beautiful
  • [58:03] Spoilers: The Bold, the Corrupt, and the Beautiful
  • Music for this episode is the tracks “A Little Less Conversation” by Elvis Presley and “Crucify Your Mind” by Rodriguez, from the soundtrack for American Animals.
  • The Transy Book Heist, the real-life basis for American Animals, is chronicled in detail in a 2015 Vanity Fair article.
  • Check out the excellent trailer for The Bold, The Corrupt, and the Beautiful.
  • The Bold, the Corrupt, and the Beautiful was nominated for 7 Golden Horse Awards and won three, including Best Actress for Kara Hui, Best Supporting Actress for Vicky Chen, and Best Picture. It also picked up the Audience Choice Award for the festival.

Listen above, or download: American Animals, The Bold The Corrupt and the Beautiful (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #132 – “Breaking In” (dir. James McTeigue)

Poster for "Breaking In"

This week, Glenn and Daniel check out a promising star turn from Gabrielle Union with V for Vendetta director James McTeigue that devolved into more tepid fare as characters ruin the tension by behaving incomprehensibly. This is probably not the only podcast in which Breaking In will likened to both Panic Room and Taken, but we’re quite sure it’s the only game in town for Reindeer Games (27:39).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 5 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for this episode is the track “Kids Being Kids” from the film’s original score by Johnny Klimek.
  • Glenn casually referred to Marvel’s Black Panther still doing well at the box office even after the release of Avengers: Infinity Waras of last weekend, it had actually dropped to #7, but there was another connection to this film: Seth Carr, who played Glover Russell, also played Young Killmonger in Black Panther.
  • This will be the only time that Gary Sinise‘s performance in Reindeer Games will be mentioned on this podcast. Experience its glory (as he torments Ben Affleck with darts) here.

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #131 – “Anon” (dir. Andrew Niccol), “Avengers: Infinity War” (dir. Russo Bros.)

Poster for "Avengers: Infinity War"

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel take a spoiler-filled dive into Avengers: Infinity War, the culmination of a decade of superhero films and Daniel-skepticism about them. Will this be the villain and ending that can finally satisfy him? Stay tuned! But first, we check out a new film from writer/director Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, In Time), which may finally answer the question of whether Netflix can take on a sci-fi film from an acclaimed director or franchise for some other reason besides…not being very good (01:04:43).

May contain NSFW language.

Still from "Anon" (2018 film)

FilmWonk rating (Anon): 6.5 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (Avengers: Infinity War): 7.5 out of 10

Show notes:

  • [01:52] Review: Anon
  • [17:33] Spoilers: Anon
  • [28:05] Spoilers: Avengers: Infinity War
  • Check out Glenn’s review of Infinity War, as well as his Ten Years Ago retrospective of Iron Man, which came out a decade ago last week.
  • Music for this episode is the tracks “A Lot to Figure Out” and “More Power”from the Avengers: Infinity War score by Alan Silvestri.
  • CORRECTION: When discussing the real-world versions of the technology featured in Anon, we misspoke when referring to the technology known as “Deepfakes“, suggesting that the software is capable of replacing human faces in real-time – that is not accurate (yet). The process involves substantial GPU power and has to be rendered over the course of hours. For now. You really want to lose your minds over the potential implications of such technology, check out Robert Chesney and Danielle Citron‘s article on the Lawfare blog, “Deep Fakes: A Looming Crisis for National Security, Democracy and Privacy?”
  • Check out Buzzfeed’s Deepfakes video of President Barack Obama featuring Jordan Peele, here.
  • We referenced the “Born Sexy Yesterday” trope – we first read about it in a discussion on TVTropes, but the term was coined by Jonathan McIntosh – you can check out his video breakdown of the term on YouTube.

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

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)

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)