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
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)
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.
FilmWonk rating (The Zookeeper’s Wife): 7 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (The Last Laugh): 4/10 (Daniel/Glenn), 7/10 (Erika)
[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.
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.
This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel take an understandably spoiler-filled look at director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal‘s triumphant followup to The Hurt Locker, featuring a performance from Jessica Chastain that makes or breaks the film to an exceptional degree. (30:45)
The European Court of Human Rights does consider sleep deprivation to be “a practice of inhuman and degrading treatment” (and thus a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights), but not precisely torture, as it does not “occasion suffering of the particular intensity and cruelty implied by the word torture”. According to memos released by the CIA, sleep deprivation is a technique that was used in post-9/11 detainee interrogations, and whether or not it constitutes torture is still controversial.
We refer back to our podcast of Act of Valor from last year. Check it out!
As promised, I did look into whether or not the audio recordings of 911 calls from September 11th were genuine or reenactments produced for the film. I have been unable to find definitive word on this (I’m sure the director’s commentary on the DVD will settle the issue eventually), but in the course of searching, I found many 9/11 recordings and transcripts that were as disturbing or more so than the ones featured at the beginning of Zero Dark Thirty. I will not link to them here, and I would encourage you not to seek them out.
Listen above, or download: Zero Dark Thirty(right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)