FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #127 – “Annihilation” (dir. Alex Garland)

Poster for "Annihilation"

This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel head into the mysterious world of the Shimmer, hspcp ylelwtp azcexly lyo zespcd pyepc l xjdepctzfd hzcwo zq dnclxmwpo yzydpydp lyo te’d acpeej nzzw lyo hptco, mfe ld td zqepy esp nldp rwpyy wtvpo te mpeepc esly olytpw (34:26).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 6.5/10 (Daniel), 7.5/10 (Glenn)

Show notes:

  • Music for this episode is the tracks “Disoriented” and “The Beach”, by Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow, from the film’s original score.
  • CORRECTION: The use of white phosphorus munitions is not as clear-cut (from a standpoint of international law or US military regulations) as I suggested. It’s definitely some nasty shit though.
  • We briefly discussed the immortal cervical cancer cell line from Henrietta Lacks (1920-1951), known as HeLa, which has been invaluable and prolific in cancer research, with an estimated 20 tons of sample material grown by researchers in laboratory conditions. It’s also part of the unfortunate legacy of dubious or outright unethical medical experimentation on African-American patients (without consent or compensation) that was commonplace in the early to mid-20th century. The book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, which Lena is seen to be reading in this film, is a fascinating primer on the case.
  • CORRECTION: Apoptosis is indeed the term for the biologically programmed death of a cell. However, I misremembered this as the subject of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Researcher Yoshinori Ohsumi won the prize in that year for his study of a related, but not identical, process, autophagy, a fundamental process for degrading and recycling components within a cell.

Listen above, or download: Annihilation (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)