FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #176 – “Nocturne” (dir. Zu Quirke)

Poster for "Nocturne"

This week, Glenn and Daniel check out the debut feature for director Xu Quirke, a tale of cutthroat songbirds that harkens back expectedly to Black Swan, yet carves a path very much its own (35:49).

May contain NSFW language.

Still from "Nocturne" featuring Sydney Sweeney as Juliet Lowe

FilmWonk rating: 6/10 (Daniel), 7.5/10 (Glenn)

Show notes:

  • [01:36] Review: Nocturne
  • [20:50] Spoilers: Nocturne

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #175 – “Kajillionaire” (dir. Miranda July), “The Devil All the Time” (dir. Antonio Campos), “Cargo” (dir. Arati Kadav)

Poster for "Kajillionaire"

This week, Glenn and Daniel check out Miranda July‘s latest, Kajillionaire (in theaters now, on VOD 10/16), which – like a hot tub at 29% APR – is an oddball gift that keeps on giving. Then we venture into a deep, dark, dire pit of the American South with Antonio Campos‘ adaptation, The Devil All the Time (Netflix). And finally, we check out Daniel’s pick for our first foray into Hindi-language films (and the Bollywood equivalent of an indie darling), the outstanding debut sci-fi feature from director Arati Kadav, Cargo (Netflix) (01:25:13).

Still from "The Devil All the Time"

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (Cargo): 8 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (Kajillionaire): 7 out of 10

FilmWonk rating (The Devil All the Time): 7.5 out of 10

Show notes:

  • [01:24] Review: Cargo
  • [21:29] Review: Kajillionaire
  • [34:42] Spoilers: Kajillionaire
  • [51:39] Review: The Devil All the Time
  • [01:08:45] Spoilers: The Devil All the Time
  • We briefly scoffed about a review with the headline, “‘Kajillionaire’ shows how boomers stole from millennials — and what they’ll keep stealing“. To be fair, headlines are often written by editors, and the review, from cultural critic Sam Thielman, is worth a read even if we took very different routes to liking this film.
  • During our review of The Devil All the Time, Glenn pronounced the name of Riley Keough two different ways – regrettably, neither of them was correct. We regret the error.

Listen above, or download: Kajillionaire, The Devil All the Time, Cargo (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #174 – “Mulan” (dir. Niki Caro), “Lingua Franca” (dir. Isabel Sandoval), “Up on the Glass” (dir. Kevin Del Principe)

Poster for "Mulan" (2020 film)

This week, Glenn and Daniel (and special guest Erika) dive into the first Disney live-action remake Glenn has felt any desire to watch, Mulan, a film as American as apple pie and jingoism. We also check out a pair of smaller films – a thriller melodrama debut from director Kevin Del Principe, Up on the Glass (now available on VOD), and a slow-burn romance from trans Filipina director Isabel Sandoval, Lingua Franca, now available on Netflix (01:36:58).

Still from "Lingua Franca"

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (Up on the Glass): 7.5/10 (Daniel), 3/10 (Glenn/Erika)
FilmWonk rating (Mulan): 5/10 (Daniel/Glenn), 7.5/10 (Erika)

FilmWonk rating (Lingua Franca): 6/10 (Daniel), 8/10 (Glenn/Erika)

Show notes:

  • [01:46] Review: Up on the Glass
  • [11:00] Spoilers: Up on the Glass
  • [22:00] Review: Mulan
  • [46:06] Spoilers: Mulan
  • [59:04] Review: Lingua Franca
  • [01:35:51] Spoilers: Lingua Franca
  • We mentioned a video from the excellent long-form media critic (and now NY Times best-selling author) Lindsay Ellis – that video is “Woke Disney“, and you should definitely check it out.
  • We referenced an interview that Sandoval gave to James Factora at them. – you can check that out here (contains spoilers).

Listen above, or download: Mulan, Lingua Franca, Up on the Glass (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play)

FilmWonk Podcast – 10th Anniversary Spectacular – “Raging Bull” (dir. Martin Scorsese), “Lawrence of Arabia” (dir. David Lean)

Poster for "Lawrence of Arabia"

CW: During our review of Lawrence of Arabia, we discuss an incident of sexual assault from T.E. Lawrence’s biography, as discussed by his biographers, and as depicted in the film.

This week, Glenn and Daniel reflect on ten years of the FilmWonk Podcast, and review two cinematic blindspots from the AFI’s Top 100 list – Lawrence of Arabia and Raging Bull (01:48:15).

Still from "Raging Bull"

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (Raging Bull): 7 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (Lawrence of Arabia): 10 out of 10

Show notes:

Listen above, or download: Raging Bull, Lawrence of Arabia (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #172 – “Rebuilding Paradise” (dir. Ron Howard)

Poster for "Rebuilding Paradise"

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel grapple with a horrific natural disaster that has been exacerbated by inept individual and governmental decisions whose ongoing toll of human tragedy is difficult to fathom.
And they also watch a documentary about the 2018 Camp Fire (29:30).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 6 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Tune in next week for our Tenth Anniversary episode!
  • We mentioned California SB50, which represented multiple failed attempts at increasing housing density in California during 2018. Several more attempts were made to pass the bill in 2019 into early 2020 without any more success.
  • We speculated that the town of Paradise must have experienced some permanent population loss as a result of this disaster (which is only mentioned in passing in the film). According to US Census Bureau estimates, the population went from 26,711 in 2018 to 4,476 in 2019, an estimated population loss of 83%.

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #171 – “Palm Springs” (dir. Max Barbakow), “The Old Guard” (dir. Gina Prince-Bythewood)

Poster for "Palm Springs"

On this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel debate the raison d’être of both an all-Wolverine superhero team, as well as romance and human existence itself, with a pair of blockbuster streaming selections, Palm Springs, an outstanding debut from first-time feature director Max Barbakow, and The Old Guard, a graphic novel adaptation which divided us, from Gina Prince-Bythewood (01:08:42).

Still from "The Old Guard"

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (Palm Springs): 9 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (The Old Guard): 4/10 (Daniel), 6/10 (Glenn)

Show notes:

  • [02:18] Review: Palm Springs
  • [15:27] Spoilers: Palm Springs
  • [32:26] Review: The Old Guard
  • [48:49] Spoilers: The Old Guard
  • CORRECTION: Glenn mispronounced director Max Barbakow’s surname (which we have since learned ends with a ‘v’ sound) when introducing him – we regret the error.
  • CORRECTION: Glenn also mispronounced actor Matthias Schoenaerts‘ name (not for the first time!). Here he is in 2012 with Marion Cotillard, taking us to school. We regret the error and are amused!
  • We slightly overstated Netflix’s original content budget – according to Variety, Netflix will spend $17 billion on original content in 2020.
  • We gave a shout-out to former Amazon Studios Head of Strategy Matthew Ball, who maintains a very interesting (and well-argued) blog on the state of the streaming wars.

Listen above, or download: Palm Springs, The Old Guard (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #170 – “Irresistible” (dir. Jon Stewart), “Da Five Bloods” (dir. Spike Lee)

On this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel debate the merits of Jon Stewart‘s election-year political satire Irresistible, which joins a micro-genre that comes as regularly and tediously as the elections themselves, and which provoked far more knowing nods than belly laughs. Then we spend substantially longer discussing Spike Lee‘s outstanding modern Vietnam War drama (featuring a career-best performance from Delroy Lindo), Da Five Bloods (01:40:29).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (Irresistible): 6.5 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (Da Five Bloods): 8.5 out of 10

Show notes:

  • [02:10] Review: Irresistible
  • [18:17] Spoilers: Irresistible
  • [33:10] Review: Da Five Bloods
  • [01:01:07] Spoilers: Da Five Bloods
  • Music for this episode is what’s going on.
  • CORRECTION: We referred to the Viet Cong/”VC” and the North Vietnamese Army somewhat interchangeably in our review of Da Five Bloods – while there was a bit of overlap between the two, they were not the same group.
  • CORRECTION: In discussing the history lessons in the dialogue of Da Five Bloods, Glenn mistakenly referred to Milton L. Olive III, an 18-year-old soldier who died heroically in Vietnam (and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor) as “Melvin Olive”.
    We regret the error.
  • CLARIFICATION: During an aside about current events, we referred to a few recent acts of apparent voter suppression, both the long lines in Atlanta, and the polling place closures that were reported in Kentucky for their primary election this past week. While Atlanta is still being investigated, we would editorialize and say that “Governor” Brian Kemp, who “won” his seat by a narrow margin after purging hundreds of thousands of eligible voters from the rolls, is not entitled to a presumption of innocence here. However, as of this writing, it appears Kentucky is headed for a record high turnout for an election-year primary, and the early reports on the poll closures lacked additional context on all of the efforts that were made to expand early voting and vote-by-mail in its place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. PolitiFact has a good roundup on the issue, and local newsradio station WFPL has a more detailed explanation on what we know as of this writing about actual turnout and voter experiences on the day, which did include some lines as long as two hours. Bottom line, in our opinion, please feel free to assume that in a post-Shelby world, if it looks like voter suppression, it probably is, and you’ll be correct more often than not. Until federal law reasserts itself to protect our sacrosanct right to vote, the burden of proving good faith is now on our elected officials.
  • Since we recorded, we did read a very interesting essay from Hoai-Tran Bui at /Film, which approaches the film from a Vietnamese perspective: how the Vietnamese are depicted, how it compares and contrasts with previous cinematic depictions, and where it could be improved in her estimation.
    Definitely worth a read:
    ‘Da 5 Bloods’ and the Strange Ghosts of Imperialism, the Vietnam War, and ‘Apocalypse Now’

Listen above, or download: Irresistible, Da Five Bloods (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #169 – “The Vast of Night” (dir. Andrew Patterson), “Holy Motors” (dir. Leos Carax)

Poster for "The Vast of Night"

On this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel head back in time to the age of radio to check out the outstanding small-town sci-fi drama debut from director Andrew Patterson, The Vast of Night (which premieres on Amazon Prime today), and then come almost all the way back to the present day with Leos Carax‘s delightfully wacky 2012 film Holy Motors (54:03).

Still from "Holy Motors"

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (The Vast of Night): 8/10 (Daniel), 9/10 (Glenn)
FilmWonk rating (Holy Motors): 6/10 (Daniel), 7.5/10 (Glenn)

Show notes:

  • [02:14] Review: The Vast of Night
  • [17:19] Spoilers: The Vast of Night
  • [33:42] Review: Holy Motors
  • Music for this episode can be heard on the AM radio.
  • We mentioned a pair of audio drama podcasts as points of tonal comparison for The Vast of Night:
    • The Message by Mac Rogers (made for the former GE Podcast Theater; shares a feed with another excellent audio drama, LifeAfter)
    • Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
  • Daniel chose Holy Motors from an excellent list from David Sims at The Atlantic, which we may be revisiting again.

Listen above, or download: The Vast of Night, Holy Motors (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #168 – “The Lovebirds” (dir. Michael Showalter), “The Platform” (dir. Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia)

Poster for "The Lovebirds"

[CW: This episode contains discussion of disturbing violent and sexual content.]

On this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel see a parade of talents converge in the delightful new romantic action comedy The Lovebirds, and then descend into the depths of allegorical hell with The Platform. And like Orpheus and Eurydice, we kinda like each other after the experience, but only one of us will make it out again (01:00:51).

Still from "The Platform"

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (The Lovebirds): 7.5 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (The Platform): 5/10 (Daniel), 8.5/10 (Glenn)

Show notes:

  • [02:01] Review: The Lovebirds
  • [11:53] Spoilers: The Lovebirds
  • [21:17] Review: The Platform
  • [37:04] Spoilers: The Platform
  • Music for this episode is a bit peckish.

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #167 – “Bad Education” (dir. Cory Finley), “Gunpowder Heart” (dir. Camila Urrutia), “NT Live: Frankenstein” (dir. Danny Boyle)

Poster for "Bad Education"

[CW: This episode contains discussion of sexual violence.]

On this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel (with special guest Erika Spoden) are a bit more playful than usual. That’s to say, we’re reviewing a play – specifically, the National Theatre of Great Britain’s 2011 performance of Frankenstein, adapted for the stage by Nick Dear, and directed by Danny Boyle, as recently made available on YouTube for free (you can donate to NT here!), and starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the Creature (as there were two cast versions available!). Then we venture down to Guatemala for a revenge thriller from the SXSW collection on Amazon Prime, Gunpowder Heart from director Camila Urrutia. And finally, we check out a new tale of small-town corruption from HBO Films, Bad Education (01:33:30).

Poster for "National Theatre At Home: Frankenstein"

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (NT: Frankenstein): 8/10 (Glenn, Daniel), 9/10 (Erika)
FilmWonk rating (Gunpowder Heart): 6.5/10 (Daniel), 7/10 (Glenn, Erika)
FilmWonk rating (Bad Education): 8.5/10 (Glenn, Erika), 8/10 (Daniel)

Show notes:

  • [00:00:30] Review: National Theatre Live presents: Frankenstein
  • [00:24:06] Review: Gunpowder Heart
  • [00:37:44] Spoilers: Gunpowder Heart
  • [00:54:19] Review: Bad Education
  • [01:11:58] Spoilers: Bad Education
  • Music for this episode was working in the lab, late one night.
  • Check out Lisa Liebman‘s article in Vulture about the real people behind then story of Bad Education.

Listen above, or download: NT Live: Frankenstein, Gunpowder Heart, Bad Education (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play)