FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #187 – “The Suicide Squad” (dir. James Gunn), “The Green Knight” (dir. David Lowery)

Poster for "The Suicide Squad" (2021 film)

This week, Glenn and Daniel gaze back into last week, when Glenn wrote 2,000 glowing words about writer/director David Lowery‘s rich, gorgeous, legendary tone poem The Green Knight, which captured both of our imaginations. And then we venture into James Gunn‘s post-Super return to R-rated comic book storytelling, in a American intervention tale straight out of the Cold War (not in a good way), which is never quite sure whether it’s doing the thing or satirizing the thing. But The Suicide Squad is a hoot-and-a-half nonetheless, and we really can’t blame the film for pretending its precursors don’t exist (1:12:15).

Still from "The Green Knight"

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (The Green Knight): 9 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (The Suicide Squad): 7 out of 10

Show notes:

  • [02:04] Review: The Green Knight
  • [12:18] Spoilers: The Green Knight
  • [30:40] Review: The Suicide Squad
  • [52:35] Spoilers: The Suicide Squad
  • CORRECTION: In my eagerness to draw parallels between A Ghost Story and The Green Knight, I carried forward an error from my original review by stating that the films shared a 4:3 aspect ratio. This is not correct. AGS was indeed 4:3, but TGK was actually 1.85:1.
  • As promised, here is my debate with Somebody on Twitter about whether The Green Knight is “too dark” – a criticism I found legitimately baffling at the time. They clarified that this was a s pecific aversion to the use of natural lighting, which they felt was a poor fit for this specific story. I still don’t agree, but they did do a very good job of clarifying their position, and we can always use more nice, friendly interactions on Twitter.
  • [Minor spoiler] We mentioned Gawain’s “supernatural side-quest” involving a ghostly maiden who asks him to retrieve her decapitated head from the bottom of a marsh. We didn’t know at recording time that this was a representation of Saint Winifred, whose biography makes her reaction to Gawain’s vague proposition of a quid pro quo even more understandable.
  • Check out this excellent interview by Carlos Aguilar of Variety with the makeup and prosthetic team at BGFX that helped transform actor Ralph Ineson into the Green Knight.
  • The Film Twitter argument I (rather poorly) alluded to was inspired by RS Benedict‘s seminal article on the avoidant sexuality of the modern American blockbuster, “Everyone is Beautiful and No One is Horny,” as well as Caroline Siede‘s excellent write-up of the long-neglected romantic adventure film genre, “Long before Jungle Cruise, Hollywood mastered the adventure romance genre.”
  • Polka-Dot Man’s mom was played by Lynne Ashe, previously seen in I, Tonya.

Listen above, or download: The Green Knight, The Suicide Squad (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #124 – “Molly’s Game” (dir. Aaron Sorkin)

On a very special Christmas podcast, Glenn and Daniel venture into the plot-complex and dialogue-rich directorial debut of Aaron Sorkin, Molly’s Game, based on the memoir by Molly Bloom, who ran a series of high-stakes underground poker games for a flurry of the rich and powerful before being pulled into legal peril. This film contains four outstanding performances – the two you’d expect, plus Cera and Costner. If you’ve got some time off this holiday, be sure to check it out (35:23).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 8.5 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for this episode is “Velvet Noose” by Thunderpussy and “C’est Si Bon“, performed by Eartha Kitt, from the film’s soundtrack.

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #36 – “Pacific Rim” (dir. Guillermo del Toro)

Poster for "Pacific Rim"

This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel go big and get goofy with Guillermo del Toro‘s Pacific Rim, the latest entry in the fairly saturated market of world-ending, giant-robot smashing, quasi-superhero films. Is this film big, loud, and earnest enough to set itself apart? Listen below and find out (36:29).

May contain some NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 7 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Burn Gorman was born in Hollywood to British parents, and moved to London when he was seven years old. Make of his accent what you will.
  • The music for this film was done by Ramin Djawadi, best known for composing opening title themes and original music for TV (Prison Break, Game of Thrones, and others). And a correction – we spoke on the podcast of brass and major chords, but a review of the soundtrack reminded us that Pacific Rim‘s score consisted primarily of strings – both synth/orchestral and rock-and-roll guitar. Quite rousing upon review.
  • Music for this episode comes from the eponymous opening track to the film’s score.
  • We recorded this episode prior to the film’s #3 debut at the box office…and we’re sad to say, we called it. But now seems like a good time to evoke the powerful fiscal ambiguity of Edward Jay Epstein‘s The Hollywood Economist, and say…who knows. It may be profitable eventually.
  • If you want to see how the sausage is made, stick around after the end music to hear a bit of starting difficulty we had with this episode.

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #10: Kenneth Branagh’s “Thor”

This week, Nick returns to throw down the gauntlet and help Glenn review Kenneth Branagh’s Thor, the latest entry in the Avengers saga. Will it be a worthy standalone film, or merely a S.H.I.E.L.D.-infused trailer for what’s to come? Listen below to find out [may will contain some NSFW language] (24:21).

(Part 1 – 10:01)
(Part 2 – 14:20)

FilmWonk ratings: 5/10 (Glenn), 4/10 (Nick)

Show notes:

  • Music for this episode is from Patrick Doyle’s original score for the film (track: “Sons of Odin”).

Listen above, or download: Thor Part 1, Part 2 (right-click, save as).