DEEP WATER, TURNING RED, and MEASURE OF REVENGE on Episode #401

Ana de Armas sits on a couch looking imploringly at Ben Affleck in the movie Deep WaterWe’re back to business as usual this week, starting with MEASURE OF REVENGE (3:02), an atrocious, amateurish thriller starring Melissa Leo as an unhinged stage actress seeking revenge for her son’s murder. Then we review Domee Shi’s moving Pixar film TURNING RED (18:49), which uses a Chinese Canadian girl’s magical transformation to deftly explore the struggles of puberty. After that we cover Adrian Lyne’s disappointing “erotic” thriller DEEP WATER (36:38), starring Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas as a vindictive, dysfunctional couple coming apart at the seams. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we talk about RETURN OF THE JEDI

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THE BATMAN, FRESH, and THE DESPERATE HOUR on Episode #399

Robert Pattinson stars in Matt Reeves's The Batman.

This week, we start with Mimi Cave’s FRESH (2:39), a horror movie starring Daisy Edgar-Jones and Sebastian Stan that made one of us so queasy they had to turn it off. Next, we review THE DESPERATE HOUR (27:27), Philip Noyce’s frustrating thriller about a mother (Naomi Watts) trying to resolve a hostage crisis at her son’s school from her phone while she’s running through the woods. We close with Matt Reeves’ much anticipated movie THE BATMAN (37:55), a stylish film noir detective story worthy of its almost three-hour runtime, starring Robert Pattinson and Zoë Kravitz. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we talk about Guillermo del Toro’s 2006 dark fairytale, PAN’S LABYRINTH!

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NO SUDDEN MOVE, FALSE POSITIVE, and THE ICE ROAD on Episode #365

Don Cheadle talks on the phone from a phone book while Benicio del Toro waits anxiously outside it in the movie No Sudden MoveIn this week’s edition of “We Should Have Known Better,” we cover Liam Neeson’s latest Old Man Neeson actioner, THE ICE ROAD (3:05), this year’s early winner of the “It Wants to be ‘The Wages of Fear’ or even ‘Sorcerer’ but it’s Really Just a Turd” award. Perhaps that’s harsh, but as scary as Canadian ice roads are in April, even scarier is the prospect of a movie filled with half-baked ideas, crummy special effects, and a villain who has more lives than the Energizer bunny. It’s just wretched. But man, was it fun to talk about! Next is FALSE POSITIVE (19:12), which star Ilana Glazer wrote with its director, John Lee. Who doesn’t love pregnancy horror? (Actually, one of us loves pregnancy horror, but sadly, not this film.) In this case, two of us. As Dave puts it, this is a movie that offsets each good idea it has with a bad one. But one of us liked it! (And though he didn’t mention it in the episode, Dave likes Pierce Brosnan’s beard.) Lastly, it’s NO SUDDEN MOVE (40:20), the new Steven Soderbergh thriller starring lots of his favorite people, including Don Cheadle and Benicio Del Toro. It has a little bit of everything, and screenwriter Ed Solomon is a loooong way from Bill & Ted. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we talk about WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?

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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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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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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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HAPPIEST SEASON, LEAP OF FAITH: WILLIAM FRIEDKIN ON THE EXORCIST, TIME, and THE DARK AND THE WICKED on Episode #332

The family in the film Happiest Season posing together for a family photoDave and Megan lead off this week with Bryan Bertino’s tense possession horror flick THE DARK AND THE WICKED (2:43). Appropriately, the next film on the docket is LEAP OF FAITH: WILLIAM FRIEDKIN ON THE EXORCIST (17:44), a fascinating documentary about the iconic possession horror film. Next they talk about TIME (32:34), a poignant documentary about a woman’s fight to free her husband from prison. Finally, they discuss HAPPIEST SEASON (42:48), Clea DuVall’s moving queer Christmas rom-com, starring Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis. In this week’s Patreon bonus audio, we have a blast covering James Cameron’s sci-fi action film ALIENS, which is Megan’s all-time favorite movie.

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THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7, BAD HAIR, SYNCHRONIC, and BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM on Episode #328

Chicago 7

Pepperidge Farm cookies are the latest topic of food debate this week. Dave leads off the movies with the Borat sequel, BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM (2:32), by covering how it stacks up to the original. Then everyone talks about Aaron Sorkin’s timely Netflix courtroom drama THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 (8:35). After that it’s onward to the drug-fueled sci-fi drama SYNCHRONIC (29:10), starring Anthony Mackie. And things heat up while discussing Justin Simien’s Hulu horror comedy BAD HAIR (40:04). In this week’s Patreon bonus audio, we review a Patron’s selection, the 1996 cult classic THE CRAFT.

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PALM SPRINGS, THE OLD GUARD, LAKE OF DEATH, and THE PAINTED BIRD on Episode #314

Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti hold hands looking hopeful by a campfire in the movie Palm Springs

Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti have fantastic chemistry in PALM SPRINGS

Happy 6th Birthday Spoilerpiece! We celebrate by discussing sexy Abraham Lincoln before the movies this week. First, Megan and Evan reveal why neither could finish the twisted, brutal film THE PAINTED BIRD (3:39). Next, they dissect Shudder’s Norwegian horror flick LAKE OF DEATH (9:16). Then they share their differing opinions about the queer Netflix action movie (based on the comics) about immortals, starring Charlize Theron and KiKi Layne, THE OLD GUARD (19:00). Finally, everyone reviews the Andy Samberg / Cristin Milioti rom-com PALM SPRINGS (42:07), which they all very much enjoyed. Also, in this week’s exclusive Patreon audio we review a Selectpiece patron’s pick: THE ADVENTURES OF BUCKAROO BANZAI ACROSS THE 8TH DIMENSION.

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THE KING OF STATEN ISLAND, PREMATURE, and THE SURROGATE on Episode #309

Pete Davidson shirtless with sunglasses and arms outstretched in the movie The King of Staten Island

This week it’s a Bohemian Rootbeersity before the movies. To continue amplifying Black voices in film, we start by discussing PREMATURE (3:01), a compelling Harlem-set coming-of-age picture. Then we talk about THE SURROGATE (24:45), a challenging movie about a surrogate for her gay best friends who faces some thorny decisions. Lastly, we review THE KING OF STATEN ISLAND (49:30), Judd Apatow’s latest comedy, starring Pete Davidson in a very autobiographical story. On our Patreon bonus episode, we discuss Horace Jenkins’ classic Black film (that was lost until a few years ago), CANE RIVER.

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