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 DRY, THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD, THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW, and PSYCHO GOREMAN on Episode #358

Eric Bana in Robert Connolly's Australian murder mystery THE DRY

We start this week by reviewing Steven Kostanski’s strange yet uneven horror sci-fi comedy PSYCHO GOREMAN (2:08). Next, we cover Joe Wright’s derivative and inert Netflix mystery thriller THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW (13:22), which wastes Amy Adams and a great supporting cast. Then we discuss Taylor Sheridan’s THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD (28:43), an Angelina Jolie neo-Western forest fire thriller that really divided us. Lastly, we review Robert Connolly’s Australian murder mystery THE DRY (41:20) from IFFBoston 2021, which features a compelling lead performance by Eric Bana. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we review Peyton Reed’s 2000 cheerleading film BRING IT ON, starring Kirsten Dunst, Gabrielle Union, and Eliza Dushku.

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TOGETHER TOGETHER, CONCRETE COWBOY, THE BANISHING, and films from Wicked Queer on Episode #354

Ed Helms and Patti Harrison stand together in the movie Together Together

Ed Helms and Patti Harrison are charming in TOGETHER TOGETHER

We start this week by covering films from Wicked Queer, Boston’s LGBTQ+ Film Festival (1:46). Evan reviews the Israeli picture KISS ME KOSHER, and Megan offers quick takes on drama SEE YOU THEN, werewolf horror film BLOODTHIRSTY, and Taiwanese psychological thriller NINA WU. Then, we all discuss Christopher Smith’s horror film THE BANISHING (10:53), a disappointingly by-the-numbers haunted house story. Next, we talk about Ricky Staub’s moving Netflix Western coming-of-age tale CONCRETE COWBOY (26:08) starring Caleb McLaughlin and Idris Elba. We wrap up with Nikole Beckwith’s TOGETHER TOGETHER (42:29), a charming dramedy about platonic love and surrogacy starring Ed Helms and Patti Harrison. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we review a patron’s choice, Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz’s 1973 horror film MESSIAH OF EVIL.

 

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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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CHERRY, I CARE A LOT, THE VIGIL, and BILLIE EILISH: THE WORLD’S A LITTLE BLURRY on Episode #346

Tom Holland in the movie Cherry pointing a revolver right at the camera over a bouquet of flowers

Tom Holland takes aim at a more serious role, but CHERRY is a miss

Dave kicks off this week’s episode with a brief review of R.J. Cutler’s Apple TV+ documentary BILLIE EILISH: THE WORLD’S A LITTLE BLURRY (1:43), which examines the singer-songwriter’s life on the road and at home while she creates her debut album. Next, everyone reviews J Blakeson’s Netflix crime drama/dark comedy I CARE A LOT (8:20), where Rosamund Pike plays a queer woman con artist, a legal guardian whose scheme to take advantage of her elderly wards hits a snag when one of her marks turns out to be more than she seems. Then we talk about Keith Thomas’s unique Jewish horror film THE VIGIL (23:35), about a shomer (Dave Davis) who encounters a demon while providing overnight watch to a deceased member of his former Orthodox Jewish community. We wrap up with Joe and Anthony Russo’s Apple TV+ drama CHERRY (37:04), where Tom Holland is a soldier suffering from PTSD who turns to bank robbing after his drug addiction puts him in serious debt. And in this week’s Patreon bonus audio, we talk about John Landis’s 1988 Eddie Murphy film COMING TO AMERICA, in anticipation of its sequel, which comes out next week.

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THE WHITE TIGER, IDENTIFYING FEATURES, BREAKING FAST, and OUTSIDE THE WIRE on Episode #341

White Tiger 2

THE WHITE TIGER has some great ideas about class tensions, but only one of us thought they were explored effectively.

After a everyone talks a little bit about the inauguration and plugs recent guest appearances on the Screen Fix podcast, Evan and Megan review OUTSIDE THE WIRE (5:05), a Netflix sci-fi film starring Anthony Mackie and Damson Idris, about a cyborg military officer and a drone pilot working together to stop a nuclear attack. Next, Dave and Megan discuss the queer romantic dramedy BREAKING FAST (18:18), Mike Mosallam’s directorial debut about a gay Muslim man (Haaz Sleiman) navigating romantic challenges during the month of Ramadan. Then, Megan and Evan dig into IDENTIFYING FEATURES (33:59), Fernanda Valadez’s devastating drama about a mother (Mercedes Hernández) traveling across Mexico looking for her son when he goes missing trying to cross the border into the U.S. Everyone wraps up with THE WHITE TIGER (53:06), Ramin Bahrani’s Netflix drama, an adaptation of the novel, about an Indian servant (Adarsh Gourav) trying to break free from his employers. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we review a Patron’s choice: the 1985 martial arts flick THE LAST DRAGON.

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WONDER WOMAN 1984, SYLVIE’S LOVE, SOUL, and MANK on Episode #337

Gal Gadot in Patty Jenkins' superhero sequel WONDER WOMAN 1984

Merry Christmas, Spoilerpeeps! This week we start off by discussing David Fincher’s Netflix film MANK (3:18), which tells the story of how screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman) wrote CITIZEN KANE. Then it’s onward to SOUL (14:37), Pixar’s latest movie about a jazz musician (Jamie Foxx) who must help an infant soul (Tina Fey) learn about herself. Next, we discuss Eugene Ashe’s period romance SYLVIE’S LOVE (27:59), which stars Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha. We close with WONDER WOMAN 1984 (41:43), Patty Jenkins’s 1980s-based sequel to 2017’s WONDER WOMAN, starring Gal Gadot as the iconic superhero and co-starring Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, and Chris Pine. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we discuss the winner of our December poll: Brian Henson’s 1992 film THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL!

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PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN, NEWS OF THE WORLD, MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM, and THE MIDNIGHT SKY on Episode #336

Carey Mulligan in Emerald Fennell's film PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN

This week, we open with the Netflix drama MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM (3:34), starring Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman in the George C. Wolfe-directed adaptation of August Wilson’s stage play about the blues singer and her band. Then we review George Clooney’s post-apocalyptic Netflix sci-fi film THE MIDNIGHT SKY (15:18), with Felicity Jones and David Oyelowo. Next, we discuss the first-ever Tom Hanks Western NEWS OF THE WORLD (29:21), directed by Paul Greengrass and co-starring Helena Zengel. We wrap up with Emerald Fennell’s darkly comedic revenge tale PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN (42:42), starring Carey Mulligan. And on this week’s Patreon bonus audio, we discuss the 2006 Nancy Meyers rom-com THE HOLIDAY, because tis the season.

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