FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #114 – “Wind River” (dir. Taylor Sheridan), “Sicario” (dir. Denis Villeneuve)

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel a contentious ride into Taylor Sheridan‘s directorial debut (Update: nope!), Wind River, as well as a trip down memory lane in Sheridan’s prior filmography, including Denis Villeneuve outstanding 2015 drug war drama,
Sicario (43:01).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (Sicario): 8 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (Wind River): 6.5/10 (Glenn), 3/10 (Daniel)

Show notes:

  • [00:33] Review: Sicario
  • [08:23] Review: Wind River
  • [24:00] Spoilers: Wind River
  • Music for this episode is the track, “Convoy“, from the Sicario score by Jóhann Jóhannsson, and the track, “Bad News“, from the Wind River score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.
  • CORRECTION: In our discussion of Sicario, we referred to a report from a few months ago by the International Institute for Strategic Studies that named the Mexican drug war the second-deadliest conflict in the world in 2016. The Institute has since cited a methodological flaw in this calculation, and issued a retraction, although they still expect the conflict to be in the top ten. The Mexican government released its own response as well.
  • As out-of-touch, big city film critics, we were admittedly rather ignorant if an agency of US Fish and Wildlife Services existed to cull predator species. The answer is emphatically yes – it’s called…Wildlife Services. Its deeds are outlined in this NatGeo article:

    “Since 2000, the agency has killed at least two million mammals and 15 million birds. Although it’s main focus is predator control in the West, Wildlife Services also does things like bird control nationwide at airports to prevent crashes and feral pig control in the South.”

  • We referred to a Kroll Show sketch called “Dead Girl Town“. Click and enjoy.
  • Graham Greene wasn’t on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, but he was in Dances With Wolves, in which he was nominated for an Academy Award.

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

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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 #79 – “Everest” (dir. Baltasar Kormákur)

This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel climb the mountain of conflict as they bicker on how well Everest stacks up to its IMAX and geographical namesakes. Strap on your oxygen tanks and tune in – your survival may depend on it! (37:05)

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 6/10 (Daniel); 7.5/10 (Glenn)

Show notes:

  • Music for tonight’s episode is “All I Wanna Do” by Sheryl Crow, from the film’s soundtrack.
  • The fact-checking website we referred to is known as History vs. Hollywood, and features quite an impressive entry on this film.
  • The world record holder for summitting Mount Everest the most times is Apa Sherpa, at 21 times. We were definitely talking out of our butts a bit on this subject – check out a complete list of the records on Wikipedia.
  • A helicopter has indeed landed on the summit of Mt. Everest – on May 14, 2005, French pilot Didier Delsalle landed an AStar helicopter at the summit, and remained there for approximately 4 minutes before taking off again. The helicopter had several unnecessary items (such as passenger seats) removed to reduce weight, but was otherwise just a stock AStar model. You can view video of this world record landing here. The search result page that contains that video has quite an impressive array of high-altitude rescue landings, and confirm that this film portrayed such flights with an impressive degree of realism.
  • CORRECTION: We conflated a pair of related conditions – high-altitude hypoxia, and high-altitude cerebral edema (HACE), both physiological effects of high altitude and failure to acclimatize, but with different effects.
  • CORRECTION: We referred to a USAF helicopter crashing on Mt. Baker during a rescue – the incident actually occurred on Mt. Hood, and was televised live throughout the region. Video is available here. While several climbers were killed from the initial fall into a crevasse which had prompted the rescue, none of the helicopter’s five crewmembers died in the crash.

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #64 – “Inherent Vice” (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)

Poster for "Inherent 55Vice"

Glenn and Daniel start off the New Year right with a borderline unhealthy dose of Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Inherent Vice. We both identified this film early-on as a hippie-infused shaggy-dog detective story, but surprisingly, only one of us found this delightful. (33:59).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 7.5/10 (Glenn); 5/10 (Daniel)

Show notes:

  • Music for tonight’s episode is Sam Cooke‘s original track, “(What A) Wonderful World“, as well as “Never My Love” by The Association, both from the film’s soundtrack.
  • The film mentions a [fictitious] blacklisted actor – in the film, this actor is played by real-life actor Jack Kelly, who was never blacklisted in real life. The film shows Kelly’s alter ego in a real-life 1962 anti-communist propaganda short film, Red Nightmare. You can watch this 28-minute film in its entirety on YouTube – the scene featured in the film begins at 18:31.
  • The term “inherent vice” is obliquely explained in the film as “whatever can’t be avoided” in the context of insurance – glass breaking, chocolate melting, etc. But the term originates from library and archival science, referring to the material constraints of preservation activities. For example, cellulose acetate film will degrade over time due to chemical instability.
  • Check out our review of Anderson’s previous film, The Master.
  • In the genre of “drug-addled protagonist goes on a confusing detective odyssey”, there was one bit of comedy that came to mind, but didn’t come up on the podcast. And that was a wonderful recurring sketch from That Mitchell and Webb Look, known as “The Surprising Adventures of Sir Digby Chicken Caesar”. You can find all of these sketches on YouTube – check out the first one here.

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #39 – “Labor Day” (dir. Jason Reitman)

Poster for "Labor Day"

This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel dive into Labor Day, a surprising genre exercise from beloved director Jason Reitman, featuring Kate Winslet as a single mother who is taken hostage by – and finds herself falling for – an escaped convict named Frank Josh Brolin. Can a talented cast and filmmakers elevate a premise that seems, on the surface, to be the fodder of Nicholas Sparks novels?

We thought so – and we promise we’re not damning with faint praise. Check out our discussion below (42:32).

May contain some NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 7 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for tonight’s episode begins with “Criminal” by Britney Spears, and ends with Spanish guitarist Fernando Sor‘s “Exercises in B. Minor, Op. 35, No. 22” (as performed by Stephen Novacek) a variant of which appears on the Labor Day soundtrack. Why didn’t we use the version from the movie? Because it wasn’t available as a standalone track. Listen to the lovely guitar. And eat your vegetables. Punks.
  • Correction: Alexie Gilmore played Marjorie, Hank’s stepmother. Evelyn (the annoying neighbor) was played by Brooke Smith, best known from Grey’s Anatomy.
  • Correction: J.K. Simmons is indeed an insurance spokesman, but he represents Farmers Insurance, not Allstate (Dennis Haysbert) or State Farm (“Mayhem”/Dean Winters). As an advertising major, Daniel regrets the error.
  • Correction: It turns out 17-year-old Henry is actually played by a different actor, Dylan Minnette.

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