FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #88 – “A Bigger Splash” (dir. Luca Guadagnino), “Death By Design” (dir. Sue Williams) (#SIFF2016)

Poster for "A Bigger Splash"

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel make an inauspicious start at the 2016 Seattle International Film Festival with an environmental documentary that did a rather poor job of convincing our heroes of things that they already believe. Then they hop overseas to check out the latest Italian collaboration between director Luca Guadagnino and actress Tilda Swinton. Stay tuned for spoilers, because we had vastly different reads on this film’s ending (38:37).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (Death By Design): 2 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (A Bigger Splash): 6 out of 10

Show notes:

  • [00:46] Review: Death By Design
  • [11:36] Review: A Bigger Splash
  • [26:25] Spoilers: A Bigger Splash
  • Music for this episode is the track “Emotional Rescue” by The Rolling Stones, from the soundtrack to A Bigger Splash.
  • Glenn was probably butchering Matthias Schoenaerts‘ name pronunciation, but he is definitely not the first to sorta mistake him for Ryan Gosling, and he regrets nothing.

Listen above, or download: Death By Design, A Bigger Splash (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #87 – “Captain America: Civil War” (dir. Anthony Russo and Joe Russo)

Poster for "Captain America: Civil War"

This week on the podcast, Daniel engages in the as-yet-unprecedented behavior of suggesting that we review a new Marvel film, and shocks Glenn to his very core by enjoying it. Come along for the ride that proves that Marvel continues to check such basic storytelling boxes as “give them a good reason to fight” and “make us care”. Take notes, Zach Snyder – this is how a proper superhero clash is done (42:49).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 7.5 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for this episode is the tracks “Lagos” and “Clash” from the film’s original score, written by Henry Jackman.
  • Our initial screening was canceled for what we describe here as “the usual reasons”. If you’re curious what we mean by this, listen to our brief rant at the beginning of Episode 35.
  • Bit of fictional geography: Wakanda’s location has varied in Marvel lore, but all sources seem to agree that it’s located in northeastern Africa, somewhere in the region inhabited by real-life Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan, and/or Ethiopia. Which is around 2,000 miles from Lagos, Nigeria (in West Africa), where the film’s opening scene takes place. In our discussion (where we got quite a bit wrong, geographically speaking), we referred to Wakanda as the fictional product of an alternate history in which an African monarchy remained untouched by European colonialism, but after recording (and consulting Wikipedia), we remembered that there is a potential real-life parallel for Wakanda, in the Ethiopian Empire (also known as Abyssinia), which successfully avoided colonization. The last Emperor, Haile Selassie I (also the founder and principal religious figure of Rastafarianism) ruled the country for 44 years until he was overthrown by a Soviet-backed communist coup in 1974.
  • Daniel stumped me at one point by asking whether the black panther species is native to Africa. The answer: Yes, kind of. Turns out the term refers to the melanistic (dark-pigmented) variant of a number of species in the Panthera genus. According to Wikipedia, black panthers in Asia and Africa are leopards, whereas the ones in the Americas are jaguars. Also, gibbons are apes, not monkeys. Yay knowledge!
  • Correction: Whoops, Don Cheadle was totally in Iron Man 3. Remember the Iron Patriot? Because we totally forgot him. He was definitely present in the final showdown as well. We regret the error.

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #86 – “Demolition” (dir. Jean-Marc Vallée)

This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel struggle with the overwhelming sense that they’ve seen this movie before – Jean-Marc Vallée’s Demolition is the tale of a rich, white person’s unconventional journey of grief – but well-worn territory or not, it’s quite fun (27:13).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 7 out of 10

Show notes:

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #85 – “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” (dir. Zach Snyder)

This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel unwittingly produce an abundance of pull-quotes for the marketing of Zach Snyder‘s latest disposable superhero mashup. Samples for the press include, “Unrelentingly grim,” “Gal Gadot is in this movie,” and “Supes could’ve blasted his medulla oblongata”(50:38).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 5.5/10 (Daniel); 3/10 (Glenn)

Show notes:

  • Music for this episode is the original 1966 Batman TV series theme song. And we end with “Kryptonite” by Three Doors Down.

Listen above, or download: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #84 – “Anomalisa” (dir. Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson), “Dope” (dir. Rick Famuyiwa)

Poster for "Dope"

In this week’s podcast, in the spirit of #OscarsSoWhite, Glenn and Daniel check out Dope, an overlooked coming-of-age comedy gem with a diverse and memorable cast, then follow it with a stop-motion Charlie Kaufman flick in which all of the supporting characters literally have identical faces. Insert profound connection here. (56:16).

May contain NSFW language.




Still from "Anomalisa"

FilmWonk rating (Anomalisa): 6.5 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (Dope): 8 out of 10

Show notes:

  • [02:13] Review: Anomalisa
  • [21:19] Spoilers: Anomalisa
  • [31:14] Review: Dope
  • [45:44] Spoilers: Dope
  • Music for tonight’s episode is “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper, a version of which of appears in Anomalisa, and “ Can’t Bring Me Down“, written and produced by Pharrell Williams and performed by the film’s cast, from the Dope soundtrack.
  • I mentioned that I had only ever seen stop-motion animated sex in one previous film – that film was a rather juvenile Spanish short called Vicenta, which you can watch on Vimeo. I wouldn’t though. I didn’t mention it as a positive example.
  • The analysis we referred regarding Oscar-nominated performances by black actors is written by Brandon K. Thorp in the NYTimes (here).
    As NYTimes summed it up on Facebook,
    “Of the 10 black women ever up for best actress Oscars, all played characters in poverty. 9 were homeless or nearly so. Black men have been up for best actor Oscars only 20 times. 13 of those characters were arrested. 15 were violent.”

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #83 – “Hail, Caesar!” (dir. Joel and Ethan Coen)

Poster for "Hail, Caesar!"

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel fight their initial impulse to embrace yet another Hollywood love letter to the motion picture, and instead enjoy the Coen Bros‘ vigorous cinematic hate-fuck Hail, Caesar! Gene Autry and Kirk Douglas will be rolling in their graves…with laughter (33:53).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 7.5 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for tonight’s episode is the “The Merry Widow Waltz” by Franz Lehár and “Echelon Song” by A.V. Alexandrov and Osip Kolychev, as performed by The Red Army Choir, both from the film’s soundtrack.
  • Glenn: Hugo was my #1 of 2011 (not 2009), and The Artist was #5 in the same year. Birdman was my #1 of 2014. Like Hollywood, it appears I’m a big ol’ sucker for movies about movies.
  • Cinema attendance has indeed been on the decline since the 1940s, and home televisions are largely credited with this decline. In 1930, more than 65% of the US population went to the movies every week. It dropped to around 10% in the 1960s, and has stayed at about that level since.
  • CORRECTION: We briefly implied that we stand with Rand. We do not. We regret the error.
  • CORRECTION: In the description above, we jokingly implied that Kirk Douglas is dead. He’s alive and kicking, and his son got him a bitchin’ 99th birthday gift.

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #82 – “The Hateful Eight” (dir. Quentin Tarantino), “Concussion” (dir. Peter Landesman)

Teaser Poster for "The Hateful Eight"

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel strike down upon Quentin Tarantino‘s The Hateful Eight with great vengeance and furious anger, but you will know that their name is FilmWonk, when they spend twice as long talking about Peter Landesman‘s Concussion. Note that given the fact-based narrative, we’re not too shy about spoiling the real-life NFL player deaths depicted in the film (55:16).

May contain NSFW language.

Still from "Concussion" featuring Will Smith

FilmWonk rating (The Hateful Eight): 3 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (Concussion): 6.5 out of 10

Show notes:

  • [02:07] Review: The Hateful Eight
  • [13:11] Spoilers: The Hateful Eight
  • [23:23] Review: Concussion
  • Check out Glenn’s combined review of Concussion and Spotlight here.
  • Music for tonight’s episode is “Apple Blossom” by The White Stripes, and “There Won’t Be Many Coming Home” by Roy Orbison, both from The Hateful Eight soundtrack.
  • Daniel called back to a film we saw at the closing night of the 2014 Seattle International Film Festival, called “Story of My Death”. We didn’t feel that film merited a full review, but you can check out the blurb we posted on our Facebook page.
  • We briefly discussed the 2007 double-murder-suicide of WWE wrestler Chris Benoit and his family – from what we’ve been able to find, concussion-related dementia was not considered as a possible factor in this incident by the police and medical examiner. Their focus was on drugs, including the possibility of steroid abuse. Subsequently, Benoit’s family sent his brain to be examined by the real-life Dr. Julian Bailes (Baldwin’s character in the film), who determined that it did have concussion-related neurological damage.

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