FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #112 – “Valerian” (dir. Luc Besson), “City of Ghosts” (dir. Matthew Heineman)

Poster for "Valerian"

In this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel address an age-old question – is Fifth Element and Lucy director Luc Besson still a master of sci-fi, and can strong worldbuilding (and one surprising gem of a performance) make up for dubious screenwriting. Come along and find out, but first, check out an important documentary about the worst excesses of ISIS in Syria, and the brave men and women who risk their lives to reveal them to the world (56:31).

May contain NSFW language.

Still from "City of Ghosts" (2017 documentary film)

FilmWonk rating (City of Ghosts): 7 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (Valerian): 6.5/10 (Glenn), 7/10 (Daniel)

Show notes:

  • [01:52] Review: City of Ghosts
  • [23:06] Review: Valerian
  • [37:41] Spoilers: Valerian
  • Music for this episode is the track, “Space Oddity” by David Bowie, from the Valerian soundtrack.
  • Full disclosure, the “back of the envelope” calculation of Alpha’s escape velocity from Earth was done with some assistance from computational knowledge engine Wolfram Alpha, which revealed – assuming a consistent velocity over 600 years (for the sake of simplicity) – that the station was going too slow (relative to the Earth) by a factor of 187.8 to escape Earth’s gravity. And yes, this was just me being nerdy. Not an actual complaint.

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

Advertisements

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #77 – “The Transporter Refueled” (dir. Camille Delamarre)

Poster for "The Transporter Refueled"

This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel reflect on another mediocre genre thriller. It’s pretty sad that I didn’t need to rewrite that first sentence. Ed Skrein and Ed Skrein’s Tough-Guy Voice star in an unnecessary reboot of the Transporter series. (32:42).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 3 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for tonight’s episode is the track “How You Like Me Now?” by The Heavy, from the film’s trailer. Again.
  • As we mentioned, check out the Planet Money podcast explaining why it felt so unrealistic to us to see money transfer quickly in this movie, and why it kinda works in Europe.
  • Here’s the door-kick fight-scene we referred to in the original film The Transporter (which was from 2002, not 2007). Man that movie was fun. Here’s another one!
  • Ed Skrein did indeed play Daario Naharis on Game of Thrones, until he was replaced by a nearly indistinguishable actor.
    Daario Naharis Comparison

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #54 – “Lucy”, “I Origins”

Poster for "Lucy"

This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel use roughly 20% of their cerebral capacity to review the new action thriller from Luc Besson, Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson – then have a severe disagreement on the latest from Another Earth-director Mike Cahill, I Origins (58:06).

Editor’s note: Check out Glenn’s written review of I Origins here.

May contain NSFW language.

Still from "I Origins"

FilmWonk rating (Lucy): 7 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (I Origins): 6/10 (Daniel), 8.5/10 (Glenn)

Show notes:

  • (01:41): Lucy
  • (12:24): Spoilers for Lucy
  • (19:56): I Origins
  • (33:39): Spoilers for I Origins
  • Music for tonight’s episode is the track “Rebirth“, by Joseph Bauer/Hi-Finesse, from the theatrical trailer for Lucy, as well as the track “Dust It Off” by The Dø, from the I Origins soundtrack.
  • Trailer spoiler warning: Do yourself a favor and don’t watch the trailer for I Origins. Not only does it reveal major events in the film; it also presents an interpretation of the film that is at odds with at least one of our opinions.
  • Here’s a good roundup of the 10% brain myth from Dr. Steven Novella at the Neurologica Blog. Also, check out a history of the 10% brain myth from Andrew Tarantola at Gizmodo.
  • The hominid fossil Lucy was indeed an Australopithecus afarensis, but we had its location wrong – it was discovered in the Awash Valley in Ethiopia. It’s possible we were thinking of Chauvet Cave in France, where some of the oldest Paleolithic cave paintings in the world were found.
  • According to a December 2013 Harris Interactive poll, 74% of US adults believe in God, and 64% believe in an afterlife.
  • Daniel was correct about India’s biometric database – there are 600 million Indians enrolled as of May 2014.
  • A brief (albeit slightly out-of-date) rundown of Higgs Boson experimentation on Wikipedia, as some increasing confidence levels in 2014: NBCNews (23 June 2014), IFLScience (17 July 2014).
  • Glenn mentioned that Michael Pitt in I Origins looks a bit like Johnny Depp in Secret Window, an obscure and poorly received Stephen King adaptation from 2004 – have a look and decide for yourself!

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #42 – “3 Days to Kill” (dir. McG)

This week on the podcast, Glenn and Daniel bear witness to Luc Besson’s latest take on “An Aging American Action Star in Paris”, featuring Kevin Costner in 3 Days to Kill.

Spoiler alert: We’re not shy about our disdain for this film, and we are a bit more lax than usual about concealing plot details.

Check out our discussion below (28:58).

May contain some NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 2.5 out of 10

Show notes:

  • Music for tonight’s episode features Edith Piaf‘s “Non, je ne regrette rien”, and MC Solaar‘s “Sauvez le monde”.
  • Sarah Silverman was indeed credited as “Raving Bitch” in the 2000 Christopher McQuarrie film, The Way of the Gun. She appears directly below another actress credited as “Sloppy Prostitute”.
  • We also referred to a 2002 film featuring Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock working for the “Dumb CIA”- that film was Bad Company, directed by Joel Schumacher (not Besson).
  • I couldn’t find a French legal citation, but I was able to find several references to the French squatters law, all quite similar in that they suggest that squatters cannot be evicted in winter. More info on EU squatting law here.

Listen above, or download: 3 Days to Kill (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

Movies, Podcasts, Kevin Costner, 3 Days to Kill, Luc Besson, McG, Amber Heard, Hailee Steinfeld