CHA CHA REAL SMOOTH, GOOD LUCK TO YOU, LEO GRANDE, and HALFTIME on Episode #414

Cooper Raiff stands looking at Dakota Johnson who looks at him smiling as her hand rests on a doorway in the movie Cha Cha Real SmoothWe open this week with Amanda Micheli’s HALFTIME (2:31), a moving Netflix documentary that follows Jennifer Lopez as she reflects on her career and starts to navigate the second half of it, leading up to her halftime performance at the 2020 Super Bowl. Next, we discuss Sophie Hyde’s GOOD LUCK TO YOU, LEO GRANDE (22:56), a poignant dramedy about a widow (Emma Thompson) who hires a sex worker (Daryl MacCormack) to help her expand her sexual horizons. We wrap up with Cooper Raiff’s CHA CHA REAL SMOOTH (44:11), a charming dramedy about a recent college grad who strikes up an unlikely friendship with a mother and her autistic daughter while he’s working as a Bar/Bat Mitzvah party starter. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we talk about the winner of our Studio Ghibli poll, Hayao Miyazaki’s 1989 film KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE!

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ALL THE OLD KNIVES, MOTHERING SUNDAY, and WINDFALL on Episode #404

Thandiwe Newton and Chris Pine sit across the table from each other at a restaurant smiling at sunset in the movie All the Old KnivesWe kick things off this week with Charlie McDowell’s slow-burn character study WINDFALL (3:11), which is about a man (Jason Segel) who breaks into a tech billionaire’s empty vacation home, but has to radically change his plans when the mogul and his wife (Jesse Plemons and Lily Collins) unexpectedly arrive. Next, we review Eve Husson’s MOTHERING SUNDAY (21:31), a decades-spanning drama about grief and loss in the wake of WWI, which features a LOT of nude scenes. Then we cover Janus Metz’s ALL THE OLD KNIVES (40:54), a messy spy thriller starring Chris Pine and Thandiwe Newton whose title also happens to rhyme with a Blink 182 song. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we review Christopher Winterbauer’s 2022 HBO Max rom-com MOONSHOT

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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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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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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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THE HARDER THEY FALL, NIGHT RAIDERS, and BUKRA FIL MISH-MISH (BJFF) on Episode #383

Regina King stands with her hand on her gun while Zazie Beetz stands behind her guarded by two men who also have guns drawn in the Western The Harder They FallThis week we start by reviewing Tal Michael’s BUKRA FIL MISH-MISH (3:59), a fascinating documentary playing at the Boston Jewish Film Festival about three Jewish brothers who were pioneers of Egyptian animation. Next, we discuss Danis Goulet’s NIGHT RAIDERS (16:41), a smart Indigenous sci-fi film about a mother (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers) trying to rescue her daughter (Brooklyn Letexier-Hart) from a fascist state. After that we review Jeymes Samuel’s THE HARDER THEY FALL (32:25), a bold Black Western with a stacked cast. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we talk about Lou Adler’s 1982 film LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE FABULOUS STAINS!

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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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DUNE, KNOCKING, and TILL DEATH on Episode #379

Timothee Chalamet looks pensively in Denis Villeneuve's film adaptation of DuneWe start off this week with S.K. Dale’s entertaining thriller TILL DEATH (2:37), which stars Megan Fox as a woman who must outwit two men trying to find her…while handcuffed to her dead husband. Next we discuss Frida Kempff’s thriller KNOCKING (19:10), an effective commentary on gaslighting about a woman tortured by knocking sounds in her apartment. Finally, we review Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic DUNE (30:25), the first part in a proposed two-part adaptation of Frank Herbert’s famous sci-fi novel, starring Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Zendaya, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Jason Momoa, and Javier Bardem. We dig its scope, its cast, and its take on the story. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we talk about Adam Wingard’s YOU’RE NEXT, a 2011 home invasion horror film we all enjoy!

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EVERYBODY’S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE, KATE, and MARTYRS LANE on Episode #374

Max Harwood kneels on a fashion runway in a bright blue blazer during a musical number in the musical Everybody's Talking About Jamie

We loved the choreography, costumes, and cinematography as well as Max Harwood’s lead performance in EVERYBODY’S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE

We head over to MARTYRS LANE (2:14) to learn the meaning of the word “vicarage” and to discuss Ruth Platt’s eerie and allegorical horror film (now on Shudder), about a girl who visited nightly by another girl who slowly reveals shocking secrets about her family. Next, we delve into Cedric Nicolas-Troyan’s bloody and entertaining Netflix action film KATE (18:25), which stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead as poisoned assassin trying to get revenge on the gangsters who betrayed her before she dies. Lastly, we review Jonathan Butterell’s charming and glamorous Amazon musical EVERYBODY’S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE (35:26), a queer coming-of-age tale about a teenager who wants to be a drag queen. And in this week’s Patron exclusive audio, we cover Norman Jewison’s 1987 rom-com MOONSTRUCK starring Cher and Nicolas Cage!

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WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING, BOB ROSS: HAPPY ACCIDENTS, BETRAYAL & GREED, and ON BROADWAY on Episode #373

John James Cronin, Pat Healy, Sierra McCormick, and Vinessa Shaw stand next to each other covered in blood and looking down at something disgusting in the movie We Need to Do Something.

We couldn’t stand watching John James Cronin, Pat Healy, Sierra McCormick, and Vinessa Shaw trapped in a bathroom together in WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING.

Two out of the three of us give our regards to Broadway as we review Oren Jacoby’s ON BROADWAY (2:59), a talking head documentary about the history of Broadway, from its lowest point in the early 1970s through its revival and renaissance in the 80s and 90s to present day. Next, we discuss BOB ROSS: HAPPY ACCIDENTS, BETRAYAL & GREED (22:17), Joshua Rofe’s salaciously titled documentary, which sweetly chronicles the life of beloved painter Bob Ross, through interviews which reveal how his son was unfairly cut out of his father’s legacy. We wrap up with Sean King O’Grady’s WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING (41:13), a frustrating and agonizing horror film about a family that gets trapped together after seeking shelter from a storm. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we’re excited to talk about Ida Lupino’s 1953 film noir THE HITCH-HIKER.

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