FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #175 – “Kajillionaire” (dir. Miranda July), “The Devil All the Time” (dir. Antonio Campos), “Cargo” (dir. Arati Kadav)

Poster for "Kajillionaire"

This week, Glenn and Daniel check out Miranda July‘s latest, Kajillionaire (in theaters now, on VOD 10/16), which – like a hot tub at 29% APR – is an oddball gift that keeps on giving. Then we venture into a deep, dark, dire pit of the American South with Antonio Campos‘ adaptation, The Devil All the Time (Netflix). And finally, we check out Daniel’s pick for our first foray into Hindi-language films (and the Bollywood equivalent of an indie darling), the outstanding debut sci-fi feature from director Arati Kadav, Cargo (Netflix) (01:25:13).

Still from "The Devil All the Time"

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (Cargo): 8 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (Kajillionaire): 7 out of 10

FilmWonk rating (The Devil All the Time): 7.5 out of 10

Show notes:

  • [01:24] Review: Cargo
  • [21:29] Review: Kajillionaire
  • [34:42] Spoilers: Kajillionaire
  • [51:39] Review: The Devil All the Time
  • [01:08:45] Spoilers: The Devil All the Time
  • We briefly scoffed about a review with the headline, “‘Kajillionaire’ shows how boomers stole from millennials — and what they’ll keep stealing“. To be fair, headlines are often written by editors, and the review, from cultural critic Sam Thielman, is worth a read even if we took very different routes to liking this film.
  • During our review of The Devil All the Time, Glenn pronounced the name of Riley Keough two different ways – regrettably, neither of them was correct. We regret the error.

Listen above, or download: Kajillionaire, The Devil All the Time, Cargo (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #174 – “Mulan” (dir. Niki Caro), “Lingua Franca” (dir. Isabel Sandoval), “Up on the Glass” (dir. Kevin Del Principe)

Poster for "Mulan" (2020 film)

This week, Glenn and Daniel (and special guest Erika) dive into the first Disney live-action remake Glenn has felt any desire to watch, Mulan, a film as American as apple pie and jingoism. We also check out a pair of smaller films – a thriller melodrama debut from director Kevin Del Principe, Up on the Glass (now available on VOD), and a slow-burn romance from trans Filipina director Isabel Sandoval, Lingua Franca, now available on Netflix (01:36:58).

Still from "Lingua Franca"

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (Up on the Glass): 7.5/10 (Daniel), 3/10 (Glenn/Erika)
FilmWonk rating (Mulan): 5/10 (Daniel/Glenn), 7.5/10 (Erika)

FilmWonk rating (Lingua Franca): 6/10 (Daniel), 8/10 (Glenn/Erika)

Show notes:

  • [01:46] Review: Up on the Glass
  • [11:00] Spoilers: Up on the Glass
  • [22:00] Review: Mulan
  • [46:06] Spoilers: Mulan
  • [59:04] Review: Lingua Franca
  • [01:35:51] Spoilers: Lingua Franca
  • We mentioned a video from the excellent long-form media critic (and now NY Times best-selling author) Lindsay Ellis – that video is “Woke Disney“, and you should definitely check it out.
  • We referenced an interview that Sandoval gave to James Factora at them. – you can check that out here (contains spoilers).

Listen above, or download: Mulan, Lingua Franca, Up on the Glass (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #170 – “Irresistible” (dir. Jon Stewart), “Da Five Bloods” (dir. Spike Lee)

On this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel debate the merits of Jon Stewart‘s election-year political satire Irresistible, which joins a micro-genre that comes as regularly and tediously as the elections themselves, and which provoked far more knowing nods than belly laughs. Then we spend substantially longer discussing Spike Lee‘s outstanding modern Vietnam War drama (featuring a career-best performance from Delroy Lindo), Da Five Bloods (01:40:29).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (Irresistible): 6.5 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (Da Five Bloods): 8.5 out of 10

Show notes:

  • [02:10] Review: Irresistible
  • [18:17] Spoilers: Irresistible
  • [33:10] Review: Da Five Bloods
  • [01:01:07] Spoilers: Da Five Bloods
  • Music for this episode is what’s going on.
  • CORRECTION: We referred to the Viet Cong/”VC” and the North Vietnamese Army somewhat interchangeably in our review of Da Five Bloods – while there was a bit of overlap between the two, they were not the same group.
  • CORRECTION: In discussing the history lessons in the dialogue of Da Five Bloods, Glenn mistakenly referred to Milton L. Olive III, an 18-year-old soldier who died heroically in Vietnam (and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor) as “Melvin Olive”.
    We regret the error.
  • CLARIFICATION: During an aside about current events, we referred to a few recent acts of apparent voter suppression, both the long lines in Atlanta, and the polling place closures that were reported in Kentucky for their primary election this past week. While Atlanta is still being investigated, we would editorialize and say that “Governor” Brian Kemp, who “won” his seat by a narrow margin after purging hundreds of thousands of eligible voters from the rolls, is not entitled to a presumption of innocence here. However, as of this writing, it appears Kentucky is headed for a record high turnout for an election-year primary, and the early reports on the poll closures lacked additional context on all of the efforts that were made to expand early voting and vote-by-mail in its place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. PolitiFact has a good roundup on the issue, and local newsradio station WFPL has a more detailed explanation on what we know as of this writing about actual turnout and voter experiences on the day, which did include some lines as long as two hours. Bottom line, in our opinion, please feel free to assume that in a post-Shelby world, if it looks like voter suppression, it probably is, and you’ll be correct more often than not. Until federal law reasserts itself to protect our sacrosanct right to vote, the burden of proving good faith is now on our elected officials.
  • Since we recorded, we did read a very interesting essay from Hoai-Tran Bui at /Film, which approaches the film from a Vietnamese perspective: how the Vietnamese are depicted, how it compares and contrasts with previous cinematic depictions, and where it could be improved in her estimation.
    Definitely worth a read:
    ‘Da 5 Bloods’ and the Strange Ghosts of Imperialism, the Vietnam War, and ‘Apocalypse Now’

Listen above, or download: Irresistible, Da Five Bloods (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #168 – “The Lovebirds” (dir. Michael Showalter), “The Platform” (dir. Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia)

Poster for "The Lovebirds"

[CW: This episode contains discussion of disturbing violent and sexual content.]

On this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel see a parade of talents converge in the delightful new romantic action comedy The Lovebirds, and then descend into the depths of allegorical hell with The Platform. And like Orpheus and Eurydice, we kinda like each other after the experience, but only one of us will make it out again (01:00:51).

Still from "The Platform"

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (The Lovebirds): 7.5 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (The Platform): 5/10 (Daniel), 8.5/10 (Glenn)

Show notes:

  • [02:01] Review: The Lovebirds
  • [11:53] Spoilers: The Lovebirds
  • [21:17] Review: The Platform
  • [37:04] Spoilers: The Platform
  • Music for this episode is a bit peckish.

Listen above, or download: The Lovebirds, The Platform (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #154 – “The Peanut Butter Falcon” (dir. Tyler Nilson, Mike Schwartz), “American Factory” (dir. Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert)

Still from "American Factory"

On this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel take a journey into the American heartland along with a Chinese glass conglomerate, and only one of our journeys ends well in one of the best documentaries of the decade, as much a case study about how two cohorts from two very different work cultures see each other, as it is metatextual reflection on the future of work in the automated and globalized world of the 21st century. You will be utterly riveted by American Factory, now streaming on Netflix. But first, we take a journey to the Outer Banks of North Carolina (as rendered in Coastal Georgia) for a sweet and heartwarming adventure film featuring a co-lead performer (Zack Gottsagen) with Down Syndrome, on the lam, pursuing his dream of being a professional wrestler (01:13:59).

May contain NSFW language.

Still from "The Peanut Butter Falcon"

FilmWonk rating (The Peanut Butter Falcon): 7 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (American Factory): 10 out of 10

Show notes:

Listen above, or download: American Factory, The Peanut Butter Falcon (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #152 – “Midsommar” (dir. Ari Aster), “Everybody Knows” (dir. Asghar Farhadi)

Poster for "Midsommar"

On this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel see the oddly polite and guileless horror followup from writer/director Ari Aster, Midsommar. And then they return to A Separation director Asghar Farhadi, for a Spanish-language kidnapping thriller starring Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem that was dumped unceremoniously onto Netflix earlier this year (01:18:01).

May contain NSFW language.

Still from "Everybody Knows" (2018 film)

FilmWonk rating (Everybody Knows): 6 out of 10 (Glenn)
FilmWonk rating (Midsommar): 7/10 (Daniel), 7.5/10 (Glenn)

Show notes:

  • [02:19] Review: Everybody Knows
  • [08:49] Spoilers: Everybody Knows
  • [29:28] Review: Midsommar
  • [48:42] Spoilers: Midsommar
  • Music for this episode is the tracks “Se Muere por Volver” by Javier Limón, performed by Venezuelan singer Nella Rojas, from the soundtrack for Everybody Knows.

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

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #147 – “The Hummingbird Project” (dir. Kim Nguyen), “Triple Frontier” (dir. J.C. Chandor)

On this week’s podcast, Glenn and Daniel return from a familial hiatus to check out The Hummingbird Project, a film about laying a more reliable fiber optic line for faster data transmission to game the stock market, so the irony wasn’t lost on us when Daniel had connectivity issues and was only able to watch the first 20 minutes. But you know Jesse Eisenberg will be involved, even if you’re a bit more prepared in advance for his tragic, greedy, tech-infused salesman to also be a diabolical dick. And then we check out an ensemble military heist film from the team behind The Hurt Locker along with director J.C. Chandor, Triple Frontier, an action film with some surprising moral and character depth that feels a bit too big for Netflix (01:00:50).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (The Hummingbird Project): 7 out of 10 (Glenn)
FilmWonk rating (Triple Frontier): 7.5/10 (Glenn), 6/10 (Daniel)

Show notes:

  • [00:34] Review: The Hummingbird Project
  • [06:26] Spoilers: The Hummingbird Project
  • [28:38] Review: Triple Frontier
  • [41:46] Spoilers: Triple Frontier
  • Music for this episode is the tracks “Masters of War” by Bob Dylan, from the soundtrack for Bumblebee, and “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Metallica, from the soundtrack to Triple Frontier.
  • To see the location of the Tres Fronteras on a map, check out this pinpoint of Isla Chineria, just on the Peruvian side of the border.
  • The scene we remembered from The Hurt Locker actually featured Jeremy Renner wandering all over the grocery store, first on the frozen aisle, and ending on the cereal aisle, which seems to be the source of the callback in Triple Frontier.

Listen above, or download: The Hummingbird Project, Triple Frontier (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #145 – “The Favourite” (dir. Yorgos Lanthimos), “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” (dir. David Slade)

In the first podcast of the new year, Glenn and Daniel check out their favo(u)rite film of 2018, as well as a tech-infused experimental film from Black Mirror (01:26:20).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating (Black Mirror: Bandersnatch): 6 out of 10
FilmWonk rating (The Favourite): 10/10 (Glenn), 9/10 (Daniel)

Show notes:

Listen above, or download: Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, The Favourite (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)

FilmWonk Podcast – Episode #142 – “22 July” (dir. Paul Greengrass)

This week, Glenn and Daniel take a harrowing journey with Paul Greengrass into yet another hyperrealistic human tragedy, with 22 July, a film about the 2011 Norway attacks and the legal aftermath. This film is as effective as it is upsetting, and if you’re mentally prepared, you can watch it right now on Netflix (37:54).

May contain NSFW language.

FilmWonk rating: 8 out of 10

Show notes:

  • There is no music in this episode – including some of the score didn’t really feel appropriate, so we’ve just included a snippet of the trailer.
  • We make reference to Glenn’s 2010 review of Uwe Boll‘s Rampage – check it out here.

Listen above, or download: 22 July (right-click, save as, or click/tap to play on a non-flash browser)