GREEN BOOK, SUSPIRIA, ASSASSINATION NATION, and VOX LUX with guest Robyn Bahr on Episode #230

Natalie Portman singing in futuristic makeup in the film Vox Lux
Natalie Portman sure is something in Vox Lux.

This week, we’re joined by BOFCA member and Hollywood Reporter contributor Robyn Bahr! She and Evan kick things off with GREEN BOOK (4:06), a not-terrible but treacly and episodic look at racial tension containing nothing new (especially in a year with so many strong offerings tackling the same material). Then, Kris and Evan examine SUSPIRIA (15:24) and marvel at how not-fun they managed to make dance-school witches by bogging things down with extraneous characters and a go-nowhere sideplot. Then it’s ASSASSINATION NATION (34:52), a powerhouse of a film with style to spare that’ll leave you energized and hopefully optimistic. Last up, the crew is divided on VOX LUX (42:06), a brutal examination of what it means to be a pop star in the world we currently inhabit. Is it good? Listen to find out!

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CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?, AT ETERNITY’S GATE, and an update from Dave on Episode #229

Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant in the movie Can You Ever Forgive Me? are sitting at a bar holding up their glasses of liquor asking for more.
Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant are hilarious as oddball pals in Marielle Heller’s CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?

Kris recounts a bizarre run-in he had some naked bike riders in college before he and Evan put on their critic hats this week. Dave is still on paternity leave, but he didn’t let that stop him from recording a special update about what he has been doing and the movies he has been watching. Buckle up for some “Riedel’s Recaps” baby! Kris leads off the main show with a half review of AT ETERNITY’S GATE (8:55), the Willem Dafoe Vincent Van Gogh picture that he was really getting into before recording the show. Then Evan serves up a “Crewind” where he talks about CRAZY RICH ASIANS (17:20), which he liked a lot, and A STAR IS BORN (20:43), which he absolutely hated. After he and Kris spend some time dissecting exactly why he hated it, they tackle this week’s main film, CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? (27:53), an entertaining Melissa McCarthy drama based on a true story. Its direction is terrific, McCarthy is fantastic, and the unusual friendship at the movie’s center is a joy to watch.

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CREED II, THE OUTLAW KING, and SIMON AND THEODORE with Sean Burns on Episode #228

Wood Harris and a team in warmup suits escort Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed wearing a red boxing robe in the film Creed II.
Michael B. Jordan returns as Adonis Creed in CREED II (aka ROCKY IV – PART III).

Kris laments the dangers of tweeting niche puns and searching for yourself on Twitter with Evan and special guest Sean Burns before they dig into this week’s movies. They kick things off with a “Crewind,” where Sean finally satisfies his curiosity about whether Paul Schrader’s FIRST REFORMED (3:30) really is an “Evan movie” or not. Then he and Kris describe the utterly dull OUTLAW KING (13:00), a forgettable movie that covers similar cinematic material to BRAVEHEART without any of its showmanship. Next Evan wraps up his coverage of the Boston Jewish Film Festival (21:00) by reviewing their entertaining Israeli TV binge and the cute French film SIMON & THÉODORE. And finally, by the time the bell sounds for this week’s main event CREED II (32:00), one of the guys finds himself on a different side of the ring than the other two, and who it is might surprise you.

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Boston Jewish Film Festival & RIDM roundups, BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA, ROMA, and THE FRONT RUNNER on Episode #227

A scene from LOST WARRIOR a documentary that played at RIDM (Montreal International Documentary Festival)

This week, Kris kicks things off with his recent rewatch of BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA (5:03) directed by Francis Ford Coppola. It’s wacky and well worth your eyeballs. Meanwhile, Evan’s been busy! He recaps some highlights from the Boston Jewish Film Festival (13:47), everything from documentaries to found footage horror flicks. Then it’s back to Kris for ROMA (22:30) from Alfonso Cuarón, his best film in years. See it in theaters if you can, Netflix if you must. Then Evan runs us through his favorites from RIDM (Montreal International Documentary Festival) (32:36), highlighting a trilogy focusing on the judicial system in Brazil. Kris closes out the show with THE FRONT RUNNER (46:10), which has a couple of interesting ideas buried way too deep beneath intolerable self-satisfaction.

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WIDOWS, BOY ERASED, PRIVATE LIFE, and more with special guest Megan Kearns on Episode #226

Viola Davis stands in a trenchcoat holding a Post-it note, while Cynthia Erivo stands leaning against a punching bag in workout clothes in the Steve McQueen film Widows

Viola Davis and Cynthia Erivo are incredible in Steve McQueen’s heist film WIDOWS

This week, our friend Megan Kearns returns to the show! She kicks things off with PRIVATE LIFE (3:02), a frank and moving depiction of a couple’s attempts to conceive. Next is Evan with LIFE WITHOUT BASKETBALL (7:37), a documentary about a Muslim American woman who faces discriminatory rules regarding dress, preventing her from advancing her basketball career. Then, Kris runs us through SALEM’S LOT (11:31), the classic spooky miniseries based on the Stephen King story, as well as Orson Welles’s THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND (15:33), a film forty years in the making. It’s a true masterpiece, argues Kris, and you should all see it on Netflix now. Then, Kris and Evan look at BOY ERASED (21:48), Joel Edgerton’s film about  gay conversion therapy, with some good qualities but an unfortunate amount of overlap with THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST. Last up, all three get less and less enthusiastic about Steve McQueen’s WIDOWS (40:11).

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Mini Episode: 2018 Boston Jewish Film Festival Preview with Ariana Cohen-Halberstam

A black and white still of a woman looking at a man in an old Bollywood movie from the documentary Shalom Bollywood

A still from SHALOM BOLLYWOOD a documentary playing at the 2018 Boston Jewish Film Festival

In this special mini episode Evan talks with Boston Jewish Film Festival (now Boston Jewish Film) Artistic Director Ariana Cohen-Halberstam about the festival’s exciting plans for this year (its 30th). Ariana teases their Israeli film festival coming in 2019, as well as their Israeli TV show binge at the festival, which features SHABABNIKIM, SLEEPING BEARS, and YOUR HONOR. She also promotes notable films paired with performances like SHALOM BOLLYWOOD, SATAN & ADAM, and SAMMY DAVIS JR.: I GOTTA BE ME. Be sure to check out the festival, which runs November 7 – November 19. Learn more at http://www.bostonjfilm.org/.

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THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS and A PRIVATE WAR on Episode #225

Tim Blake Nelson on a horse wearing white playing a guitar and singing in front of a picturesque landscape in the film The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Kris was so enthralled by THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS that he could barely Spoilerpiece it

This week Kris proposes a new tactic for disposing of excess Halloween candy that involves a door-to-door Australian accent. Dave is still on paternity leave so Kris and Evan ride duo for this episode, but they keep a chair open in Dave’s honor. Before they get into the movies, Evan gives his quick impressions of the 80s musical ROCK OF AGES (4:34), discussing differences between the current tour and the 2012 film. Then Kris reviews THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS (8:31), the miniseries turned anthology film by the Coen Brothers, which lets you know that everything is on the table with its funny, violent, and tragic short stories. Kris is so captivated by them that he barely even spoils them, encouraging you to take everything in for yourself in theaters or when the film hits Netflix soon. After that both Kris and Evan cover A PRIVATE WAR (26:46), a compelling drama about real-life war correspondent Marie Colvin played by the incredible Rosamund Pike. The film directed by documentarian Matthew Heineman makes a compelling case for the value of journalism by embedding you with Colvin and exploring the impact of PTSD on journalists like her who report on the horrors of war.

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