FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #105 – “Time Trap” (dir. Ben Foster, Mark Dennis) (#SIFF2017)

Poster for "Time Trap"

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel jump into their favorite perennial time-bubble, the Seattle International Film Festival (which opens today!) (20:38).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 6 out of 10

There are three public screenings of Time Trap at SIFF 2017, two of them this weekend (Friday 5/19 and Saturday 5/20), and another on 5/30 up in Shoreline. Check out the film’s SIFF page for tickets and details.

Show notes:

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #104 – “The Wall” (dir. Doug Liman) vs. “Buried” (dir. Rodrigo Cortés)

Poster for "The Wall" (2017 film)

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel return to the latter days of the Iraq War with a lean thriller from Amazon Studios and director Doug Liman, The Wall, and we revisit the 2010 Rodrigo Cortés thriller, Buried. It all looks a bit grim, and while there may be an ending in sight, we’ll figure out which flick handled that ending best (47:15).

May contain NSFW language.

Still from "Buried"

The Wall is in theaters this Friday, 5/12, and will be available on Amazon video later this year.

FilmWonk rating (The Wall): 7/10 (Daniel); 6/10 (Glenn)
FilmWonk rating (Buried): 6/10 (Daniel); 7.5/10 (Glenn)

Show notes:

  • [00:33] Review: The Wall/Buried
  • [24:02] Spoilers: The Wall/Buried
  • Music for this episode is the opening title theme from Buried, composed by Victor Reyes.
  • Check out Glenn’s 2010 review of Buried.
  • Clarification: We stated a figure of 500,000 deaths from the Iraq War, and this appears to be on the high end of estimates, based on a 2011 study in PLoS Medicine, which relied on census-style household surveys, and had an extremely high uncertainty interval (95%), meaning that the study’s casualty estimate was anywhere from 48,000-751,000. The Iraq Body Count project, which relies largely on media reports (and thus may be underestimating), puts the figure at closer to 120,000. The overall point notwithstanding, there does not appear to be a single, agreed-upon figure. See Wikipedia: Casualties of the Iraq War for more information.
  • As promised, according to RF Cafe, the density of dry sand is 100 lb/ft3. A standard coffin is approximately 7 feet long, and 2.333 feet wide at its widest point. If Paul was buried under 3 feet of sand, this amounts to approximately 49ft3 of sand above him, weighing just under 5,000 pounds (2,268 kg). With all respect to The Bride, Paul’s not punching his way out of this.

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #103 – “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2” (dir. James Gunn)

Poster for "Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2"

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and discover their limit of inconsequential action is about the first 90 minutes (53:28).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 4.5 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for this episode is the tracks “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” by Looking Glass, and “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac, from the film’s soundtrack and trailer respectively.
  • After recording this episode, Glenn got into it offline with the hosts of The Spoilers: Wayne & Daryl (not for the first time – Glenn previously crashed their episode of The Seattle After Party podcast).
    Suffice to say, you should check out what these nerds have to say about this film, and expect some guest appearances in the future.
  • Check out Glenn’s review of Passengers here.
  • We called out the greatness of the makeup artists behind these characters, and how well Nebula, Gamora, Yondu, and Drax’s makeup held up in IMAX closeups – but there was one we didn’t even realize. Young Ego (Kurt Russell) was mostly makeup, (applied by artist Dennis Liddiard), with only a few CGI tweaks. Very cool.
  • The video that was ringing in our heads as we evaluated the atrocious character of Mantis (Pom Klementieff) was Anita Sarkeesian‘s most recent (and final) video in the Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series, “The Lady Sidekick“. And…wow, was it ever spot-on for this character.

Listen above, or download: Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2. (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #102 – “The Zookeeper’s Wife” (dir. Niki Caro), “The Last Laugh” (dir. Ferne Pearlstein) (#SJFF2017)

Poster for "The Zookeeper's Wife"

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel check out their final two selections from the Seattle Jewish Film Festival, starting with Jessica Chastain in an untold Schindler’s List story, The Zookeeper’s Wife. And then we’re joined by a special guest, local author Erika Spoden, to discuss see who gets The Last Laugh when it comes to the Holocaust and other taboo humor subjects (including 9/11 and suicide bombings). Light, fluffy stuff, really. We promise (01:21:30).

May contain NSFW language.

Still of Mel Brooks in "The Last Laugh"

FilmWonk rating (The Zookeeper’s Wife): 7 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (The Last Laugh): 4/10 (Daniel/Glenn), 7/10 (Erika)

Show notes:

  • [01:47] Review: The Zookeeper’s Wife
  • [26:32] Spoilers: The Zookeeper’s Wife
  • [46:55] Review: The Last Laugh
  • Music for this episode is the track “It’s Now or Never” by Elvis Presley (an English-language adaptation of O Sole Mio), which appears prominently (if a bit randomly) in The Last Laugh.
  • Special thanks to Erika for joining us this week – her memoir is titled Strawberries for 50 People, and it is available on Amazon Kindle.
  • Thanks as well to the Seattle Jewish Film Festival and Smarthouse Creative for helping us cover so much of the festival (for the first time) this year – we’ll definitely be back!
  • 20-year-old spoiler warning: We do discuss the ending of Roberto Benigni‘s Life is Beautiful in this episode.
  • We remarked upon the first film’s similarity to Schindler’s List – this led us to read up on those individuals who have been designated Righteous Among the Nations (an honorific by the State of Israel, similar to knighthood) for their work protecting Jews from persecution and death during the Holocaust. Over 26,000 individuals in 51 countries have been so designated, and their stories of heroism and sacrifice are well worth studying.
  • Daniel was correct – the term “genetics” dates back to the 19th century, and was coined in 1872 by an English biologist as a term for “laws of origination”. The sense of “study of heredity” comes about 20 years later, so the term had been around for over half a century by the time of this film’s events.
  • Correction: Oof. Glenn definitely referred to the late, great Joan Rivers as the very much alive Joan Collins at least once. Apologies to both ladies.
  • The two films that we discussed in the context of modern terrorism were Four Lions, from British comedian Chris Morris, and Paradise Now, from Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad.
  • Joan Rivers told a Holocaust joke on the E! Channel, said a few more things on Letterman, and came back a year later to double down on Jimmy Fallon. These jokes are offensive, and we laughed at every single one of them. We repeatedly called this woman a national treasure and we stand by it.

Listen above, or download: The Zookeeper’s Wife, The Last Laugh (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

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)