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 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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FINCH, PASSING, and BEANS on Episode #382

We get a good laugh about how the one-word titles we’re reviewing form a sentence, but after that we get serious about this week’s movies. First, we discuss Tracey Deer’s BEANS (2:22), a layered coming-of-age drama set against the real-life 78-day standoff between the Mohawk community and government forces in 1990 Quebec. Next, we cover Rebecca Hall’s PASSING (22:39), a compelling 1920s drama about race and class starring Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga. Lastly, we review FINCH (42:21), Miguel Sapochnik’s moving post-apocalyptic sci-fi drama about a man (Tom Hanks) who builds a robot that he must teach to take care of his dog. And on this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we talk about Penny Marshall’s 1992 baseball film A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN starring Geena Davis, Lori Petty, and Tom Hanks! 

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HORROR NOIRE, CHAMELEON STREET, and IFFBoston’s Fall Focus on Episode #381

Horror Noire poster 2

Praise be that film festivals are back! To kick things off, Megan talks about IFFBoston’s Fall Focus, and her experiences watching Pablo Larraín’s biopic SPENCER (2:03), starring Kristen Stewart; Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical dramedy BELFAST (6:12), starring Caitríona Balfe and Jamie Dornan; Audrey Diwan’s French drama HAPPENING (8:32), starring Anamaria Vartolomei; and Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s international drama-fantasy MEMORIA (10:31), starring Tilda Swinton. Evan joins her to talk about Céline Sciamma’s French fantasy-drama PETITE MAMAN (14:21), Joséphine Sanz and Gabrielle Sanz, and Joachim Trier’s Norwegian drama THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD (20:52), starring Renate Reinsve. Then Evan (with an assist from Megan) takes everyone through Shudder’s HORROR NOIRE (30:25), an entertaining horror anthology film with six stories from Black filmmakers: director Kimani Ray Smith and screenwriters Steven Barnes, Ezra Clayton Daniels, Tananarive Due, Shernold Edwards, Victor LaVelle, and Al Letson. Lastly, Dave and Evan review the 4K restoration of Wendell B. Harris Jr.’s CHAMELEON STREET (44:13), which won the 1990 Sundance Grand Jury Prize and has been hard to find since. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we feature the monthly poll winner – We asked you to choose from FRANKENSTEIN films and the winner is THE BRIDE, starring Sting and Jennifer Beals. We had a blast talking about it, so check it out and consider becoming a patron!

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THE MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK, NO TIME TO DIE, THE GUILTY, and BINGO HELL on Episode #378

Billy Magnussen, Jon Bernthal, Corey Stoll, John Magaro, Ray Liotta, and Alessandro Nivola stand in a doorway looking out angrily in the movie The Many Saints of Newark

What do we think about THE MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK? Fahgettaboudit!

To kick things off, Dave offers his brief take on Cary Joji Fukunaga’s NO TIME TO DIE (2:30), Daniel Craig’s satisfying final outing as James Bond. Next, we all review BINGO HELL (11:55), Gigi Saul Guerrero’s brief, yet heavy-handed horror comedy that’s part of Amazon’s 2021 WELCOME TO THE BLUMHOUSE series. After that we cover Antoine Fuqua’s THE GUILTY (22:41), a frustrating and problematic thriller about a 911 operator played effectively by Jake Gyllenhaal. Finally, we dig into THE MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK (40:49), Alan Taylor’s extremely disappointing Sopranos prequel about the rise of Tony Soprano. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we have a blast discussing Joe Cornish’s 2011 sci-fi comedy ATTACK THE BLOCK, starring John Boyega and Jodie Whittaker. 

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DEAR EVAN HANSEN, CRY MACHO, and SMALL ENGINE REPAIR on Episode #376

Ben Platt looking bewildered standing in the spotlight on stage with cards in his hand and a cast on his wrist in the movie Dear Evan Hansen

Ben Platt looking way too old for a high schooler in DEAR EVAN HANSEN

Megan is on vacation, so Dede Crimmins, the Alec Baldwin of Spoilerpiece, is back to fill in! Before we talk about this week’s movies though, Dede has a bone to pick with Dave about MALIGNANT. After that we review John Pollono’s gritty New England drama SMALL ENGINE REPAIR (6:32), about three lifelong friends (Pollono, Jon Bernthal, and Shea Whigham) faced with an ethical dilemma inside a small engine repair shop. Next, we discuss Clint Eastwood’s slow period drama CRY MACHO (25:40), which follows an old cowboy who heads down to Mexico to retrieve his boss’s son. Lastly, we dig into DEAR EVAN HANSEN (44:23), the big-screen adaptation of the Broadway musical that everyone’s talking about. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we cover Clint Eastwood’s 2008 drama GRAN TORINO

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JUNGLE CRUISE, NINE DAYS, and FEAR STREET: PART THREE – 1666 on Episode #368

Dwayne Johnson is Frank and Emily Blunt is Lily in Disney's JUNGLE CRUISE.

Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt are fun to watch, but don’t have much chemistry in JUNGLE CRUISE

What if souls had to interview to be born? That’s the premise of the first film on our docket this week, Edson Oda’s moving drama NINE DAYS (1:59), starring Winston Duke and Zazie Beetz. Next, we review FEAR STREET: Part Three – 1666 (16:14), the satisfying conclusion to Leigh Janiak’s Netflix horror trilogy, which we’ve really enjoyed discussing over the past two episodes. We wrap up with Jaume Collet-Serra’s JUNGLE CRUISE (37:18), the latest Disney ride turned movie starring Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson that borrows too heavily from other adventure films, including some of Disney’s. And on this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we discuss the winner of our video game movie poll: the 2006 Christophe Gans film SILENT HILL

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