FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #156 – “Joker” (dir. Todd Phillips), “Rocketman” (dir. Dexter Fletcher)

Poster for "Joker" (2019 film)

On this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel check out yet another scary clown with Joker, a film that insisted we think deeply about its shallow politics and half-baked philosophy. We ponder whether death of the author is even possible when the author won’t shut his mouth, and whether a strong, dark, and gritty Joaquin Phoenix performance is enough of a selling point in a world in which You Were Never Really Here already exists.

Then we venture back to earlier in 2019 and find ourselves shocked by our unabashed praise for Rocketman, a biopic of Elton John that we refuse to call a jukebox musical. Glenn decided to make Daniel watch it this week because it’s as close to the opposite of Joker as he could muster, but also because it’s an entry in a genre that we could’ve sworn was creatively bankrupt, and we found ourselves delightfully mistaken (58:03).

May contain NSFW language.

Still from "Rocketman"

FilmWonk rating (Joker): 4 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (Rocketman): 9 out of 10

Show notes:

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

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FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #155 – “It Chapter Two” (dir. Andy Muschietti)

Poster for "It Chapter Two"

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel conquer their worst fear: a sequel to a strong horror film with an inflated budget, indulgent runtime, and inadequate faith in its two strong ensembles (45:55).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 5.5/10 (Glenn), 6.82926/10 (Daniel)

Show notes:

  • [02:02] Review: It Chapter Two
  • [22:55] Review: It Chapter Two
  • Music for this episode is clowns.
  • We referenced an io9 article by Germain Lussier, “Condensing It Chapter Two Into One Movie Was Scarier Than Facing Pennywise“, and since that was posted, another story has indicated that Muschietti is interested in doing a 5-hour supercut of the two films.
  • The actress we praised for her performance in one of the haunts (and the film’s teaser trailer) was Joan Gregson as Mrs. Kersh.
  • When I asked Daniel to give me his score, he responded “7 out of 10.25”, and I’ll bet he didn’t think I’d take him literally, but I haven’t forgotten the last time he did something like this.

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #154 – “The Peanut Butter Falcon” (dir. Tyler Nilson, Mike Schwartz), “American Factory” (dir. Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert)

Still from "American Factory"

On this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel take a journey into the American heartland along with a Chinese glass conglomerate, and only one of our journeys ends well in one of the best documentaries of the decade, as much a case study about how two cohorts from two very different work cultures see each other, as it is metatextual reflection on the future of work in the automated and globalized world of the 21st century. You will be utterly riveted by American Factory, now streaming on Netflix. But first, we take a journey to the Outer Banks of North Carolina (as rendered in Coastal Georgia) for a sweet and heartwarming adventure film featuring a co-lead performer (Zack Gottsagen) with Down Syndrome, on the lam, pursuing his dream of being a professional wrestler (01:13:59).

May contain NSFW language.

Still from "The Peanut Butter Falcon"

FilmWonk rating (The Peanut Butter Falcon): 7 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (American Factory): 10 out of 10

Show notes:

Listen above, or download: American Factory, The Peanut Butter Falcon (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #153 – “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (dir. Quentin Tarantino), “Little Woods” (dir. Nia DaCosta)

On this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel return to the twisted historical fiction of Quentin Tarantino, maybe for the last time, and are pleasantly surprised by what they find there. But first, they take a trip to the Canadian border for a taut Western thriller starring (and executive-produced by) Tessa Thompson, from first-time director Nia DaCosta (01:27:14).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (Little Woods): 7/10 (Daniel), 7.5/10 (Glenn)

FilmWonk rating (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood): 8 out of 10

Show notes:

  • [02:27] Review: Little Woods
  • [16:23] Spoilers: Little Woods
  • [31:16] Review: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • [58:47] Spoilers: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Music for this episode is the tracks “Hush” by Deep Purple and “Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show” by Neil Diamond, from the soundtrack for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Listen above, or download: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Little Woods (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #152 – “Midsommar” (dir. Ari Aster), “Everybody Knows” (dir. Asghar Farhadi)

Poster for "Midsommar"

On this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel see the oddly polite and guileless horror followup from writer/director Ari Aster, Midsommar. And then they return to A Separation director Asghar Farhadi, for a Spanish-language kidnapping thriller starring Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem that was dumped unceremoniously onto Netflix earlier this year (01:18:01).

May contain NSFW language.

Still from "Everybody Knows" (2018 film)

FilmWonk rating (Everybody Knows): 6 out of 10 (Glenn)
FilmWonk rating (Midsommar): 7/10 (Daniel), 7.5/10 (Glenn)

Show notes:

  • [02:19] Review: Everybody Knows
  • [08:49] Spoilers: Everybody Knows
  • [29:28] Review: Midsommar
  • [48:42] Spoilers: Midsommar
  • Music for this episode is the tracks “Se Muere por Volver” by Javier Limón, performed by Venezuelan singer Nella Rojas, from the soundtrack for Everybody Knows.

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #151 – “Booksmart” (dir. Olivia Wilde), SIFF Roundup: “Putin’s Witnesses”, “…Barbarians”

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel (with special guest Erika Spoden) conclude this year’s 45th Seattle International Film Festival with a dark dramedy-cum-Socratic dialogue about the relationship and responsiveness of art when it comes to preserving the dark side of history. But enough about Putin’s Witnesses! We’re also seeing a provocative Closing Night selection, and checking out Olivia Wilde‘s directorial debut, Booksmart, the younger sister and older soul to Superbad. (01:11:05)

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (Putin’s Witnesses): 7/10 (Erika, Daniel), 7.5/10 (Glenn
FilmWonk rating (Booksmart): 7/10 (Erika, Glenn), 8/10 (Daniel)
FilmWonk rating (I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians): 8 out of 10

Show notes:

  • [02:24] Review: Putin’s Witnesses (dir. Vitaly Mansky)
  • [27:41] Review: Booksmart (dir. Olivia Wilde)
  • [41:05] Review: I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians (dir. Radu Jude)
  • Music for this episode is the tracks “Give Up the Funk” by Parliament and “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette, from the Booksmart soundtrack.
  • We referenced a Perry Bible Fellowship comic, “Now Showing“.

Listen above, or download: Putin’s Witnesses, Booksmart, I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #150 – SIFF Roundup: “Alice”, “Pigeon Kings”, “Fight Fam”, “As the Earth Turns”

Poster for "Alice" (2019 film)

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

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel head to the 45th Seattle International Film Festival to check out a documentary about pigeon rolling, a family biopic of MMA fighters, a sci-fi drama that was literally 80 years in the making, yet still felt ahead of its time, and a smart and insightful Franco-Australian drama about Alice, a woman who decides to become a sex worker after her husband squanders all of their money…on sex workers (01:17:17)

May contain NSFW language.

Still from "Pigeon Kings"

FilmWonk rating (Pigeon Kings): 7 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (Fight Fam): 3 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (As the Earth Turns): 7.5/10 (Glenn), 5/10 (Daniel)
FilmWonk rating (Alice): 8.5 out of 10

Show notes:

  • As of this writing, every screening of every one of these films is still to come at the 45th Seattle International Film Festival. For tickets, showtimes, and locations, click the title of each film below.
  • [00:01:30] Review: Pigeon Kings (dir. Milena Pastreich)
  • [00:18:36] Review: Fight Fam (dir. Ruben Rodriguez Perez)
  • [00:29:35] Review: As the Earth Turns (dir. Richard Lyford)
  • [00:45:30] Review: Alice (dir. Josephine Mackerras)
  • [01:08:07] Spoilers: Alice
  • CORRECTION: We were correct that being a sex worker is not a criminal offense in France, but it is subject to multiple restrictions.

Listen above, or download: Pigeon Kings, Fight Fam, As the Earth Turns, Alice (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)