ETERNALS, A HERO, and BELLE on Episode #393

The cast of heroes in Marvel's Eternals standing together on a beachEvan and Megan start this week by reviewing Mamoru Hosada’s moving anime drama BELLE (2:06) about a shy young woman who escapes to a virtual reality world where she becomes a pop star. Next, everyone discusses Asghar Farhadi’s heartbreaking drama A HERO (17:19), about a man on leave from debtor’s prison trying everything he can to keep himself from going back. We wrap up with ETERNALS (33:33), Chloe Zhao’s Marvel superhero epic about a group of ancient heroes, which feels both too long and too short at the same time. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we talk about Michael Curtiz and William Keighley’s 1938 swashbuckler THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland.

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PARALLEL MOTHERS, DON’T LOOK UP, and SEE FOR ME on Episode #392

Penelope Cruz and Milena Smit embrace each other tightly in the movie Parallel MothersWe start this week by reviewing Adam McKay’s hotly-debated Netflix climate change satire, DON’T LOOK UP (2:17), digging into the many ways it’s ineffective, and the couple of ways it is. Then we cover Randall Okita’s tense thriller SEE FOR ME (21:20), about a blind woman stuck inside a house full of crooks with nothing but an app and an army vet on the other side of it to guide her. We wrap up with Pedro Almodóvar’s moving, complex drama PARALLEL MOTHERS (33:11), which is about two mothers who give birth on the same day, and oh so much more. We won’t spoil it here, but we sure will in the episode. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we finally review the 1985 John Hughes classic, THE BREAKFAST CLUB

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Our Top 10 Films of 2021 on Episode #391

A graphic which says: Top 10 Films of 2021We didn’t get a chance to share our top 10 films from 2021 last week, so we’re doing it this week! We each dig into our individual top 10 films from our 2021 Boston Online Film Critics Association Awards ballots, discussing the overlap between our lists, and the unique films that made our respective ballots. First up, is Dave (2:47), whose ballot includes a documentary, comedies, and dramas. He’s followed by Evan (33:20), whose list includes dramas, comedies, and horror. After that is Megan (47:09), whose list includes horror, dramas, and one comedy. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we decided to review a film with the number 10 in the title, 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU, starring Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger! 

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THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS on Episode #390

Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity and Keanu Reeves as Neo in Lana Wachowski's film THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS

We’re taking the red pill for our last show of 2021 so we can discuss THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS! We had so much to say we felt that the movie deserved a whole episode worth of conversation. Lana Wachowski’s fourth entry in the franchise stars Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Jessica Henwick, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. We delve deep into the sci-fi film’s themes, particularly its humorous meta commentary on its own existence; its continuation of the Matrix story as a trans allegory; its exploration of trauma, romance, control, and free will; and the many exciting ways it both builds on the Matrix mythology and takes a hammer to it. We also talk about how the movie fits into the context of the franchise as a whole and briefly talk about our experience revisiting the previous films as a primer for this one.

And on this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we go a completely different direction by talking about the winner of our Christmas heist movie poll, Daryl Duke’s 1978 film THE SILENT PARTNER starring Elliott Gould and Christopher Plummer!

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THE TENDER BAR, C’MON C’MON, and RED ROCKET on Episode #389

Ben Affleck and Tye Sheridan in George Clooney's film THE TENDER BAR

It’s movies-that-studios-are-pushing-for-awards week on Spoilerpiece! First up, Evan and Dave talk about Mike Mills’ C’MON C’MON (1:48), a funny drama starring Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny, who steps in to take care of his nephew Jesse (Woody Norman) while Jesse’s mother Viv (Gaby Hoffman) tends to her husband, Jesse’s father, who has bipolar disorder. That’s a clunky description, but don’t hold that against us because it’s a great conversation about a movie that’s firmly plugged into its emotional arc. Next, everyone saw THE TENDER BAR (22:03), director George Clooney’s coming-of-age drama, about JR (Daniel Ranieri as a kid and Tye Sheridan as a young adult), who moves with his mother (Lily Rabe) to her childhood home. Good news: Her brother, JR’s Uncle Charlie, is Ben Affleck. The bad news? Not enough Ben Affleck. Lastly, we talk about RED ROCKET (39:15), Sean Baker’s alternatingly funny yet uncomfortable comedy-drama. A washed-up porn star (a terrific Simon Rex) returns to his working class Texas hometown, crashing into his estranged wife’s life, and striking up a creepy romance with a 17-year-old (Suzanna Son), whom he’s trying to groom into a porn career that he hopes will restart his own.

Over on our Patreon, we talk about FARGO, the Coen brothers’ comedic thriller starring Frances McDormand, William H. Macy, and Steve Buscemi. If you join our $5 tier, you’ll get immediate access to that conversation and more than 200 bonus episodes!

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THE POWER OF THE DOG and THE NOVICE on Episode #388

Benedict Cumberbatch in Jane Campion's Western film THE POWER OF THE DOG

Megan is back from vacation, so she’s excited to review this week’s films! We start with Lauren Hadaway’s fantastic unsettling psychological thriller THE NOVICE (2:24) about a college student’s obsessive quest to make her school’s varsity rowing team, starring Isabelle Fuhrman. Then, we review Jane Campion’s beautifully-shot Western THE POWER OF THE DOG (21:42), starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Kodi Smit-McPhee, and Jesse Plemons. The Netflix film has been racking up awards from many film critics groups, including the Boston Online Film Critics Association, so we have a lot to say about it. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we change things up a bit by talking about our favorite movie car chases!

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HOUSE OF GUCCI, THE CARD COUNTER, and WEST SIDE STORY with Guest Charlie Nash on Episode #387

Lady Gaga smirks with a cigarette in her mouth that she's about to light in the movie House of Gucci

We don’t all agree on HOUSE OF GUCCI, but we do all agree that Lady Gaga is great in it

Frequent guest Charlie Nash stops by this week to fill in for Megan. He offers a quick plug for his new podcast, Almost Major, before he reviews Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of WEST SIDE STORY (6:09), which despite his admitted bias against a particular actor in it, offers great spectacle and inspired tweaks to the original story. Next, we all discuss Paul Schrader’s THE CARD COUNTER (16:30), an intense tale about trauma and guilt starring Oscar Isaac, Tye Sheridan, Tiffany Haddish, and Willem Dafoe. After that we delve into Ridley Scott’s HOUSE OF GUCCI (39:28), a movie about wealth and manipulation that we have polarized reactions to. One thing we do agree on: Lady Gaga is great in it. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we talk about a Patron’s request, Ted Demme’s 1994 dark Christmas comedy, THE REF, starring Denis Leary!

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SILENT NIGHT and ENCOUNTER with special guest Kris Jenson on Episode #386

A group of friends and their children sit around a Christmas dinner table, raising their glasses to toast to each other in the movie Silent Night.

Sadly, we will not be raising a glass to SILENT NIGHT

Megan’s on vacation (and we miss her), so we invite a very special guest to join us this week: former Spoilerpiece co-host Kris Jenson! We’re excited to have Kris back for an episode, but feel bad about the movies we made him watch. At least we have some great discussions about them! First up is Michael Pearce’s muddled sci-fi film ENCOUNTER (4:26), starring Riz Ahmed as a father trying to protect his two sons from an alien invasion. Then we cover Camille Griffin’s uneven mix of sci-fi and dark comedy, SILENT NIGHT (31:17), which is about old friends who get together on Christmas as one last hurrah before their imminent demise. And on this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we talk with Kris about Paul Verhoeven’s 1990 sci-fi action film TOTAL RECALL, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger!

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KING RICHARD, BRUISED, and THE HUMANS on Episode #385

Will Smith as Richard Williams stands on one side of a tennis net talking coaching his Demi Singleton and Saniyya Sidney who play Venus and Serena Williams in the movie King Richard

The film’s amazing performances are KING RICHARD’s greatest strength

This week just in time for the holiday, we kick off our show with Stephen Karam’s Thanksgiving family drama THE HUMANS (1:41), which underwhelms despite its stacked cast. Next we discuss Halle Berry’s directorial debut BRUISED (16:32) a formulaic sports film about a down on her luck queer MMA fighter trying to find redemption. Then we review KING RICHARD (34:45), Reinaldo Marcus Green’s engaging sports biopic, which looks at how Venus and Serena Williams’ father Richard (Will Smith) propelled them into tennis superstardom from birth. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we talk about the winner of our November film noir poll, Robert Altman’s 1973 film THE LONG GOODBYE, starring Elliott Gould!

Check out this week’s episode of Spoilerpiece Theatre!

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SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS, THE FEAST, and JULIA on Episode #384

Simu Liu as Shang-Chi in SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS

This week we picked two VERY different movies about food to discuss. First, we cover Julie Cohen and Betsy West’s delightful documentary JULIA (2:12), about chef Julia Child, which is chock full of great interviews, insights, and shots of food. Next, we review Lee Haven Jones’s Welsh foreboding, slow-burn folk horror film THE FEAST (15:12), starring Annes Elwy, which features some gruesome moments that we have varying reactions to. To completely change gears, we close with Destin Daniel Cretton’s entertaining Marvel Asian American superhero movie SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS (35:40), in honor of its arrival on Disney+, starring Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Tony Leung, and Michelle Yeoh. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we talk about David Fincher’s 2002 home-invasion thriller PANIC ROOM, starring Jodie Foster, Kristen Stewart, and Forest Whitaker.

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