Episode #244: LEAVING NEVERLAND, SURVIVING R. KELLY, AFTER LIFE, AND BORDER

We’ve been busy at Spoilerpiece! After doing a not-so-deep dive into the power of cocaine in 1980s rap-rock fusions, Evan, Kris, and Dave get down to what they saw this week. First is Dave with Ricky Gervais’ Netflix series “After Life” (2:32). (Note: Dave makes reference to Mel Gibson’s THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST at about the 11:30 mark, but mistakenly calls it THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST which is Martin Scorsese’s hot take on whether Jesus was a hippie.) At 15:47, Evan covers SURVIVING R. KELLY and LEAVING NEVERLAND, two documentaries about accusations of abuse by R. Kelly (the answer’s in the title) and Michael Jackson. We’re not really a podcast for trigger warnings, but it’s heavy, heavy stuff. Lastly, Kris talks about BORDER (36:30), a Swedish movie about a customs agent who can smell fear, and that’s just the beginning. To end things, the guys have a quick discussion about how to tell non-critics whether to see a particular film (45:40).

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POLAR, DOWN, and HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD on Episode #241

Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) rides a dragon with a fleet of dragons and riders behind him in the animated film How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Dragons, dragons everywhere in HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD

This week, Dave recaps POLAR (2:52), clarifying last week’s confusion over ARCTIC. Very different films! Next, Evan and Dave recommend DOWN (17:15), an entry in Blumhouse’s INTO THE DARK series on Hulu, full of lean, holiday-themed horror flicks. This one is a Valentine’s Day creepfest that is well worth your time. Then, Evan and Kris talk HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD (23:28), a fine conclusion to a great family-friendly series.

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THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART, VELVET BUZZSAW, and KILLERS WITHIN on Episode #239

Rene Russo and Jake Gyllenhaal stand looking curiously toward the camera in an art gallery office in the movie Velvet Buzzsaw
Rene Russo and Jake Gyllenhaal star in the weird horror movie VELVET BUZZSAW.

This week Kris comes up with a compelling concept for a technologically-themed horror film before the guys dig into new releases. For the first movie, he and Evan construct their take on THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART (4:00), an animated sequel that operates the same way as its predecessor, with different degrees of success depending on which of them you ask. Next, Dave and Evan argue about KILLERS WITHIN (17:16), a home invasion horror flick playing at the Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival, which they are very divided on. Finally, they all review Dan Gilroy’s Netflix feature VELVET BUZZSAW (29:55), a weird art-based horror movie that Evan seems to like for some reason, even though Dave and Kris don’t.  

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Oscar Nominations, STAN & OLLIE, and Nicole Kidman in DESTROYER on Episode #237

So we have some opinions on this stuff.

This week’s episode kicks off with, what else those effin’ Oscar nominations (2:17), recognizing outstanding achievement in male mediocrity. There are some deserving nominations — BLACK PANTHER, CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?, BLACKKKLANSMAN — but c’mon already. From there, Kris recaps STAN & OLLIE (11:55), a well-meaning film about Laurel and Hardy in the last year of their joint career. It has some great attributes but never gathers enough momentum to explore the more interesting or entertaining dimensions of its plot. Last up is DESTROYER (21:13), a meandering neo-noir that has some good things going for it but it could have done with a bit — or a lot — of streamlining.

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THE UPSIDE, BANDERSNATCH, and Sean Baker films with special guest Greg Vellante on Episode #235!

Bryan Cranston sits in the passenger seat looking out an open window with Kevin Hart in the driver's seat also looking out in the film The Upside.
Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart try their best in THE UPSIDE

This week we’re joined by friend of the show Greg Vellante! Greg kicks things off with a recap of Sean Baker’s career. Best known for recent successes like TANGERINE and THE FLORIDA PROJECT, there are some real gems early in his filmography, in particular TAKE OUT (3:57). Stay tuned for Greg’s piece in Spectrum Culture! Next up, all three guys spent some time with BANDERSNATCH (18:37), the standalone BLACK MIRROR film where the viewer decides what happens next — or is it simply the illusion of choice?! Closing out the episode is THE UPSIDE (31:12), which is a very misleading name. There are no upsides to this movie.

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Episode #233: Top 10 Films of 2018

Joaquin Phoenix and carrying Ekaterina Samsonov on his back while her arms are draped over his shoulders in the movie You Were Never Really Here
We don’t agree on a lot, but we *can* agree that YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE belongs in the top 10 films of 2018

Dave makes his Spoilerpiece return just in time for the last show of 2018! And it’s a fitting too because the guys use the episode to discuss their top 10 films of the year. Dave kicks things off by revealing his picks (5:10) – bold movies like FIRST REFORMED and BLACKKKLANSMAN, as well as documentary selections like WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? and DISTANT SKY – NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS LIVE IN COPENHAGEN. Next, Kris shares his top movies (22:35) – an eclectic mix of films like AT ETERNITY’S GATE, SORRY TO BOTHER YOU, and HEREDITARY with a surprise underdog in his #10 slot. Finally, Evan wraps things up with his list (35:27), delving into meaningful stories about race like THE HATE U GIVE and MY NAME IS MYEISHA, in addition to technologically driven tales like SEARCHING and EIGHTH GRADE. For Patrons, the guys also recorded a special extended segment on Christmas movies, so if you want to hear it, be sure to check out the Spoilerpiece Patreon and sign up to support the show!

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SORRY TO BOTHER YOU is another of one films from 2018 we can agree on.

AQUAMAN, MARY POPPINS RETURNS and FIRST BLOOD on Episode #232

Jason Mamoa leaning on his trident and Amber Heard looking intently to him on the left in the movie Aquaman
Jason Mamoa and Amber Heard team up to save the ocean in AQUAMAN

Welcome! This week, Evan revisits FIRST BLOOD (6:30), a movie with more human tragedy and societal messages than its notoriously jingoistic sequels are remembered for. Next up, Kris runs us through MARY POPPINS RETURNS (12:31), an unnecessary but nonetheless enjoyable remake/sequel. Last up is AQUAMAN (25:06), the DC Extended Universe’s first movie that’s only okay.

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