LUCA, LES NÔTRES, and PLAN B on Episode #362

Disney Pixar's LUCA, an animated film about two boy sea monsters

This week, we review our second Natalie Morales film of the year, PLAN B (1:54), a hilarious road trip comedy on Hulu about best friends (Kuhoo Verma and Victoria Moroles) trying to track down emergency contraception in middle America. Next, we discuss LES NÔTRES (24:38), Jeanne Leblanc’s difficult to watch yet excellent French Canadian drama about a pregnant teen (Émilie Bierre), which prompts us to issue a trigger warning about the sexual abuse depicted in the film. Then we cover Pixar’s LUCA (45:55), Enrico Casarosa’s animated Italian adventure-fantasy on Disney+ about sea monsters (Jacob Tremblay and Jack Dylan Grazer) who enter the world of humans and find friendship along the way. As part of our conversation, we delve into whether we also feel like movie is a queer allegory or queer love story, like others have interpreted. And on this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we talk about Theodore Witcher’s 1997 romance LOVE JONES, starring Nia Long and Larenz Tate, in honor of Black Music Appreciation Month!

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IN THE HEIGHTS, HOLLER, CAVEAT, and THE MITCHELLS VS. THE MACHINES on Episode #361

Anthony Ramos and Melissa Barrera in film In the Heights

On this week’s show, we open with THE MITCHELLS VS. THE MACHINES (2:28), a wild, quirky, and charming animated movie, written and directed by Mike Rianda and Jeff Rowe, featuring a regular ol’ American family struggling to save humanity from a robot apocalypse. It’s a hoot. Next up is CAVEAT (18:12), Damian Mc Carthy’s eerie and unsettling Irish horror film that says, “Oh, you’re not afraid of rabbits? Get a load of this shit” (Dave watched it in broad daylight if that tells you anything). Then there’s HOLLER (34:36), an excellent drama written and directed by Nicole Riegel, about a high school senior (Jessica Barden) who joins a sleekly scummy scrap metal crew while trying to decide whether she’s going to stay in her hit-by-hard-times Ohio hometown or go to college. Finally, we wrap up with IN THE HEIGHTS (45:28), the long-awaited adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes’ musical, with a screenplay by Hudes directed by Jon M. Chu. One of us loved it, one of us enjoyed moments, and one of us was kind of “eh.” Free scoop of ice cream if you guess correctly! And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we talk about one of Megan’s favorite sci-fi films, Douglas Trumbull’s SILENT RUNNING, starring a young and super intense Bruce Dern. It’s a first-timer for Evan and Dave.

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ARMY OF THE DEAD, UNDINE, CHANGING THE GAME, and THE AMUSEMENT PARK on Episode #360

Dave Bautista in Zack Snyder's zombie heist film ARMY OF THE DEAD

This week, we open by discussing George A. Romero’s recently restored long-lost film, THE AMUSEMENT PARK (2:21), an extremely unsettling commentary on aging and ageism. Next, we review CHANGING THE GAME (13:01), Michael Barnett’s compelling Hulu documentary about trans athletes in the U.S. Then we dig into UNDINE (27:48), Christian Petzold’s moving and tragic modern fairy tale, starring Paula Beer and Franz Rogowski. We wrap up with Zack Snyder’s Netflix zombie heist film ARMY OF THE DEAD (39:38), starring Dave Bautista leading an ensemble cast, which offers us plenty of bones to pick. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we talk about a Patron’s choice, Miloš Forman’s 1996 film THE PEOPLE VS. LARRY FLYNT!

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THE KILLING OF TWO LOVERS, THE DJINN, and THE RECKONING on Episode #357

Clayne Crawford stands by himself with his hands in his pockets in the movie The Killing of Two Lovers

Clayne Crawford gives a compelling performance in THE KILLING OF TWO LOVERS

This week Megan is on vacation so we’re joined by guest Lady Wan from the Screen Run podcast! First, we review Neill Marshall’s torturous period horror film THE RECKONING (2:24) about a woman falsely accused of being a witch. Next, we cover David Charbonier and Justin Powell’s tense horror film THE DJINN (16:44), about a mute boy who asks a dark entity to grant his wish. Then, we wrap up with Robert Machoian’s claustrophobic relationship drama THE KILLING OF TWO LOVERS (24:58), about a couple trying to work through their marriage. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we review Alex Cox’s 1984 cult classic REPO MAN

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MORTAL KOMBAT, SILO, and GOLDEN ARM on Episode #356

Ludi Lin as Liu Kang and Max Huang as Kung Lao in film Mortal Kombat

Dave is off this week, so Megan and Evan talk about the movies. First, we review Marshall Burnette’s sporadically intense thriller SILO (2:31) about the frantic attempt to rescue a teenager who’s stuck in a grain silo. Then we discuss Maureen Bharoocha’s charming comedy GOLDEN ARM (16:01), about a trucker (Betsy Sodaro) who trains her timid friend (Mary Holland) to compete in the National Ladies Arm Wrestling Tournament. Finally, we test our might with MORTAL KOMBAT (29:59), Simon McQuoid’s adaptation of the famous video game, which we have very different opinions about. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we discuss Albert Brooks’s 1991 unconventional rom-com, DEFENDING YOUR LIFE.

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TOM CLANCY’S WITHOUT REMORSE, LIMBO, FOUR GOOD DAYS, and 2021 Oscars recap on Episode #355

Michael B. Jordan in TOM CLANCY'S WITHOUT REMORSE

This week we start by recapping our thoughts on the 2021 Oscars! We talk about he winners we loved, the nominees we wished won, the ceremony’s unconventional format, and the heartfelt acceptance speeches that moved us. Next, we discuss Rodrigo García’s FOUR GOOD DAYS (22:47), a challenging and raw mother/daughter drama about addiction, starring Glenn Close and Mila Kunis. After that, we review LIMBO (37:11), Ben Sharrock’s disarmingly moving, poignant, and compelling drama about a Syrian refugee (Amir El-Masry) stuck in rural Scotland while he awaits his asylum request. We wrap up with TOM CLANCY’S WITHOUT REMORSE (49:37), Stefano Sollima’s disappointing action flick starring Michael B. Jordan. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we review the winner of our hair poll: Paddy Breathnach’s 2001 film BLOW DRY.

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SXSW 2021: LANGUAGE LESSONS, DEAR MR. BRODY, and SOUND OF VIOLENCE on Episode #350

In a split-screen from the movie Language Lessons, Mark Duplass stretches his face in a funny way, while Natalia Morales laughs

Natalie Morales and Mark Duplass are both wonderful in LANGUAGE LESSONS

This week we open with a statement in support of the Asian American community. Then we discuss some movies that played at this year’s SXSW. Evan and Megan cover SOUND OF VIOLENCE (2:52), Alex Noyer’s brutal horror film about a college student (Jasmin Savoy Brown) who sees euphoric colors when she hears violent sounds and finds herself chasing a synesthetic high at all costs. Next, we talk about Keith Maitland’s uneven yet intriguing documentary DEAR MR. BRODY (14:30), which tells the story of Michael Brody Jr., who inherited $25 million (an heir to a margarine fortune) in 1970 and publicly offered to give anyone money who asked him for it. Last, but certainly not least, we review the delightful Natalie Morales directorial debut, LANGUAGE LESSONS (27:37), about a Spanish teacher (Morales) and her student (Mark Duplass) who have remote classes over video chat and form a surprising bond. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we discuss this year’s Oscar nominations, including our favorites and some films we wish had been nominated.

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THE COURIER, SLAXX, LUDI, and OPERATION VARSITY BLUES: THE COLLEGE ADMISSIONS SCANDAL on Episode #349

Merab Ninidze and Benedict Cumberbatch glance furtively as they talk quietly at night on a city street in the movie The Courier

Merab Ninidze and Benedict Cumberbatch try to keep things on the down-low in the Cold War spy thriller THE COURIER

Dave and Megan kick off this week’s episode by discussing LUDI (2:09), Edson Jean’s drama about a Haitian nurse chasing the American Dream. Next, everyone reviews Chris Smith’s Netflix documentary OPERATION VARSITY BLUES: THE COLLEGE ADMISSIONS SCANDAL (12:38), which delves into the notorious scheme by celebrities and wealthy individuals to sneak their kids into prestigious universities. Then, we cover SLAXX (22:58), Elza Kephart’s horror-comedy about a killer pair of pants…yeah that’s right, pants. We wrap up with THE COURIER (37:45), Dominic Cooke’s Cold War thriller about a British spy (Benedict Cumberbatch) who works with a Russian source to help stop the Cuban Missile Crisis. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we talk about THE SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE, the winner of our women-directed horror movies poll.

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MOXIE, SOPHIE JONES, JUMBO, and films from the Boston Israeli Film Festival on Episode #348

Hadley Robinson stands in the rain angrily holding her zine Moxie in the movie Moxie

Moxie. Hadley Robinson as Vivian in Moxie. Cr /NETFLIX © 2020

Evan starts this week by recapping two feature-length films he saw from the Boston Israeli Film Festival (1:29). He talks about Nir Bergman’s HERE WE ARE, a drama about a father’s changing relationship with his autistic son, and Yohanan Weller’s LOVE IN SUSPENDERS, a rom-com about finding love again later in life. Then Megan and Dave review Zoé Wittock’s JUMBO (13:04), romantic drama about a woman who falls in love with an amusement park ride. Next, we all discuss Jessie Barr’s SOPHIE JONES (28:25), a coming-of-age story about a teenager processing the grief of her mother’s death. Lastly, we cover Amy Poehler’s MOXIE (44:52), a dramedy about a teenager who takes on sexism at her high school by starting a feminist zine. And on this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we celebrate the 35th anniversary of PRETTY IN PINK with an in-depth discussion about the Howard Deutch/John Hughes 80s classic.

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RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON, LUCKY, THE UNITED STATES VS. BILLIE HOLIDAY, BOOGIE, and shorts from the Boston Israeli Film Festival on Episode #347

Raya looks at Sisu the dragon smiling in the movie Raya and The Last Dragon

Kelly Marie Tran and Awkwafina are delightful together in Disney’s RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON

This week, Evan opens with a plug for the Boston Israeli Film Festival, where he briefly mentions some moving shorts he saw from it (1:56). Then, Dave shares quick thoughts about the ending of I CARE A LOT (3:57). Megan starts the new movies with BOOGIE (7:58), Eddie Huang’s coming-of-age story about a Taiwanese American high school basketball player (Taylor Takahashi). Next, everyone discusses Lee Daniels’ Hulu film THE UNITED STATES VS. BILLIE HOLIDAY (17:16), a story about singer Billie Holiday’s turbulent life (starring Andra Day) and the FBI’s targeted campaign to harass her. After that we dig into LUCKY (31:35), Natasha Kermani and Brea Grant’s horror film about a woman (Grant) stalked by the same killer every night. We wrap up with Disney’s RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON (47:36), an epic post-apocalyptic fantasy animated film starring Kelly Marie Tran and Awkwafina. For our Patreon bonus audio, we continue our James Cameron kick by digging into his 1984 film THE TERMINATOR.

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