ETERNALS, A HERO, and BELLE on Episode #393

The cast of heroes in Marvel's Eternals standing together on a beachEvan and Megan start this week by reviewing Mamoru Hosada’s moving anime drama BELLE (2:06) about a shy young woman who escapes to a virtual reality world where she becomes a pop star. Next, everyone discusses Asghar Farhadi’s heartbreaking drama A HERO (17:19), about a man on leave from debtor’s prison trying everything he can to keep himself from going back. We wrap up with ETERNALS (33:33), Chloe Zhao’s Marvel superhero epic about a group of ancient heroes, which feels both too long and too short at the same time. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we talk about Michael Curtiz and William Keighley’s 1938 swashbuckler THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland.

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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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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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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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SILENT NIGHT and ENCOUNTER with special guest Kris Jenson on Episode #386

A group of friends and their children sit around a Christmas dinner table, raising their glasses to toast to each other in the movie Silent Night.

Sadly, we will not be raising a glass to SILENT NIGHT

Megan’s on vacation (and we miss her), so we invite a very special guest to join us this week: former Spoilerpiece co-host Kris Jenson! We’re excited to have Kris back for an episode, but feel bad about the movies we made him watch. At least we have some great discussions about them! First up is Michael Pearce’s muddled sci-fi film ENCOUNTER (4:26), starring Riz Ahmed as a father trying to protect his two sons from an alien invasion. Then we cover Camille Griffin’s uneven mix of sci-fi and dark comedy, SILENT NIGHT (31:17), which is about old friends who get together on Christmas as one last hurrah before their imminent demise. And on this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we talk with Kris about Paul Verhoeven’s 1990 sci-fi action film TOTAL RECALL, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger!

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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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SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS, THE FEAST, and JULIA on Episode #384

Simu Liu as Shang-Chi in SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS

This week we picked two VERY different movies about food to discuss. First, we cover Julie Cohen and Betsy West’s delightful documentary JULIA (2:12), about chef Julia Child, which is chock full of great interviews, insights, and shots of food. Next, we review Lee Haven Jones’s Welsh foreboding, slow-burn folk horror film THE FEAST (15:12), starring Annes Elwy, which features some gruesome moments that we have varying reactions to. To completely change gears, we close with Destin Daniel Cretton’s entertaining Marvel Asian American superhero movie SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS (35:40), in honor of its arrival on Disney+, starring Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Tony Leung, and Michelle Yeoh. And in this week’s Patreon exclusive audio, we talk about David Fincher’s 2002 home-invasion thriller PANIC ROOM, starring Jodie Foster, Kristen Stewart, and Forest Whitaker.

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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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Hanukkah Bonus: 2021 Boston Jewish Film Festival Shorts

Orthodox Jewish comedian Daniel Finkelstein holds a microphone in the documentary A Jew Walks into a Bar

A JEW WALKS INTO A BAR was one of our favorite shorts from the 32 Minutes or Less! block at this year’s Boston Jewish Film Festival

Happy Hanukkah! This year the holiday is coming early in real life and on the show. Our gift to you is a bonus episode where Evan and his co-host in life, Shauna, review the shorts programs from the 2021 Boston Jewish Film Festival. First up is the FreshFlix block, where they concentrate on THE MOHEL (1:25), PARADISE (10:46), and THE BINDING OF ITZIK (17:42), with brief comments on DEVEK, GANEF, SCUM BOY, and IMMERSION. Next they discuss Shorts Made in Quarantine with a focus on TANGLED UP IN JEWS (27:13), LONG DISTANCE (29:15), and DIALOGUES AND MONOLOGUES (32:07), and brief nods to VOICES FROM THE BALCONIES and YOM KIPPUR IN LOCKDOWN. They wrap up with the In 32 Minutes or Less! block, engaging in discussions about NEVER AGAIN / PARA NADIE (39:11), BECOMING NAKUSET (47:55), MOM’S IN TOWN AND SHE DIDN’T TELL ME (47:55), and A JEW WALKS INTO A BAR (51:15), while briefly mentioning THE COLLECTION and ZAIDA. Hopefully these reviews inspire you to check out the shorts at the Boston Jewish Film Festival, which runs virtually through November 20, 2021.

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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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