We 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!
Hi, everyone! Buckle up because we have a lot of movies this week. Megan and Dave run through Sundance and just about every movie they saw. (Evan is off this week and will return next week.) There’s so much to get to, we’ll dispense with the descriptions here, give you the lead actor info, and get right to the timecodes. Both Megan and Dave saw LIVING (2:19) starring Bill Nighy; DUAL (8:31) starring Karen Gillan and Aaron Paul; YOU WON’T BE ALONE (13:00) starring Noomi Rapace; and MASTER (19:10) starring Regina Hall and Zoe Renee. The following three movies both Megan and Dave like a lot: A LOVE SONG (27:10), starring Dale Dickey; AM I OK? (36:23), starring Dakota Johnson; and AFTER YANG (48:38), starring Colin Farrell and Haley Lu Richardson. Finally, Dave gives short reviews of CHA CHA REAL SMOOTH (59:30), starring Cooper Raiff and Dakota Johnson; ALICE (1:01:24), starring Keke Palmer; SUMMERING (1:03:48), starring Lake Bell, Sarah Cooper and Megan Mullally; and WHEN YOU FINISH SAVING THE WORLD (1:05:15), starring Julianne Moore and Finn Wolfhard. Megan gives short reviews of NANNY (1:06:37), starring Anna Diop; GOD’S COUNTRY (1:07:45), starring Thandiwe Newton; and GIRL PICTURE (1:08:46), starring Oona Airola. There are more Sundance movies on the Patreon this week and we’ll cover the January poll winner in the next episode.
This week we discuss obnoxious drink orders before we delve into our three movies. First, is the disappointing Netflix romcom/murder mystery THE LOVEBIRDS (2:31), which squanders Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani’s chemistry. Next is the entertaining dark comedy LUCKY GRANDMA (16:49), about a hilarious chain-smoking Chinese grandma (Tsai Chin). Then, we cover the sprawling Dakota Johnson/Tracee Ellis Ross music industry drama, THE HIGH NOTE (33:56), which divides our co-hosts. Over on our Patreon exclusive audio we review Justin Lin’s BETTER LUCK TOMORROW in honor of Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month. Both our main episode and Patreon segment were edited by Otto Klammer.
This week, we’re joined by BOFCA member and Hollywood Reporter contributor Robyn Bahr! She and Evan kick things off with GREEN BOOK (4:06), a not-terrible but treacly and episodic look at racial tension containing nothing new (especially in a year with so many strong offerings tackling the same material). Then, Kris and Evan examine SUSPIRIA (15:24) and marvel at how not-fun they managed to make dance-school witches by bogging things down with extraneous characters and a go-nowhere sideplot. Then it’s ASSASSINATION NATION (34:52), a powerhouse of a film with style to spare that’ll leave you energized and hopefully optimistic. Last up, the crew is divided on VOX LUX (42:06), a brutal examination of what it means to be a pop star in the world we currently inhabit. Is it good? Listen to find out!
This week starts with the guys yakking about the READY PLAYER ONE trailer, since Dave and Evan were forced to watch it twice in one sitting. The rest is about two new pictures coming to theaters. First, Kris reviews FIFTY SHADES FREED (3:41), the final chapter in the franchise, which he says redefines the term “captive audience.” Kris laughs at its batty kidnapping plot and explains how it connects to FIFTY SHADES DARKER, a movie that recently made him subscribe to HBO, just so he didn’t have to buy it on Amazon. Next, Evan and Dave take on Clint Eastwood’s THE 15:17 TO PARIS (29:22), a film so bad it actually makes Evan jealous of Kris. They rail against Eastwood’s decision to use real people instead of actors, its terrible dialogue, and its boring focus on minutiae.
What a week it’s been at Spoilerpiece Theatre! The crappy weather here (currently the lead story on several national newscasts) caused several critics’ screening cancellations, so all ya get this week is FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, a movie that isn’t good, but is as good as any movie could be that started as TWILIGHT fan fiction. And besides, there’s plenty to say about it. We get into the nitty gritty of FIFTY SHADES, but not before grousing about Boston’s crappy public transportation. Kris, Evan, and Dave all agree on the movie, by the way — and they agree that the best way to talk about it is ridicule ceaselessly while acknowledging the talent of star Dakota Johnson and director San Taylor-Johnson. There are a million double entendres this week, ladies and gentlemen.