Boston Jewish Film Festival & RIDM roundups, BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA, ROMA, and THE FRONT RUNNER on Episode #227

A scene from LOST WARRIOR a documentary that played at RIDM (Montreal International Documentary Festival)

This week, Kris kicks things off with his recent rewatch of BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA (5:03) directed by Francis Ford Coppola. It’s wacky and well worth your eyeballs. Meanwhile, Evan’s been busy! He recaps some highlights from the Boston Jewish Film Festival (13:47), everything from documentaries to found footage horror flicks. Then it’s back to Kris for ROMA (22:30) from Alfonso Cuarón, his best film in years. See it in theaters if you can, Netflix if you must. Then Evan runs us through his favorites from RIDM (Montreal International Documentary Festival) (32:36), highlighting a trilogy focusing on the judicial system in Brazil. Kris closes out the show with THE FRONT RUNNER (46:10), which has a couple of interesting ideas buried way too deep beneath intolerable self-satisfaction.

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WIDOWS, BOY ERASED, PRIVATE LIFE, and more with special guest Megan Kearns on Episode #226

Viola Davis stands in a trenchcoat holding a Post-it note, while Cynthia Erivo stands leaning against a punching bag in workout clothes in the Steve McQueen film Widows

Viola Davis and Cynthia Erivo are incredible in Steve McQueen’s heist film WIDOWS

This week, our friend Megan Kearns returns to the show! She kicks things off with PRIVATE LIFE (3:02), a frank and moving depiction of a couple’s attempts to conceive. Next is Evan with LIFE WITHOUT BASKETBALL (7:37), a documentary about a Muslim American woman who faces discriminatory rules regarding dress, preventing her from advancing her basketball career. Then, Kris runs us through SALEM’S LOT (11:31), the classic spooky miniseries based on the Stephen King story, as well as Orson Welles’s THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND (15:33), a film forty years in the making. It’s a true masterpiece, argues Kris, and you should all see it on Netflix now. Then, Kris and Evan look at BOY ERASED (21:48), Joel Edgerton’s film about  gay conversion therapy, with some good qualities but an unfortunate amount of overlap with THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST. Last up, all three get less and less enthusiastic about Steve McQueen’s WIDOWS (40:11).

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Mini Episode: 2018 Boston Jewish Film Festival Preview with Ariana Cohen-Halberstam

A black and white still of a woman looking at a man in an old Bollywood movie from the documentary Shalom Bollywood

A still from SHALOM BOLLYWOOD a documentary playing at the 2018 Boston Jewish Film Festival

In this special mini episode Evan talks with Boston Jewish Film Festival (now Boston Jewish Film) Artistic Director Ariana Cohen-Halberstam about the festival’s exciting plans for this year (its 30th). Ariana teases their Israeli film festival coming in 2019, as well as their Israeli TV show binge at the festival, which features SHABABNIKIM, SLEEPING BEARS, and YOUR HONOR. She also promotes notable films paired with performances like SHALOM BOLLYWOOD, SATAN & ADAM, and SAMMY DAVIS JR.: I GOTTA BE ME. Be sure to check out the festival, which runs November 7 – November 19. Learn more at http://www.bostonjfilm.org/.

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THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS and A PRIVATE WAR on Episode #225

Tim Blake Nelson on a horse wearing white playing a guitar and singing in front of a picturesque landscape in the film The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Kris was so enthralled by THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS that he could barely Spoilerpiece it

This week Kris proposes a new tactic for disposing of excess Halloween candy that involves a door-to-door Australian accent. Dave is still on paternity leave so Kris and Evan ride duo for this episode, but they keep a chair open in Dave’s honor. Before they get into the movies, Evan gives his quick impressions of the 80s musical ROCK OF AGES (4:34), discussing differences between the current tour and the 2012 film. Then Kris reviews THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS (8:31), the miniseries turned anthology film by the Coen Brothers, which lets you know that everything is on the table with its funny, violent, and tragic short stories. Kris is so captivated by them that he barely even spoils them, encouraging you to take everything in for yourself in theaters or when the film hits Netflix soon. After that both Kris and Evan cover A PRIVATE WAR (26:46), a compelling drama about real-life war correspondent Marie Colvin played by the incredible Rosamund Pike. The film directed by documentarian Matthew Heineman makes a compelling case for the value of journalism by embedding you with Colvin and exploring the impact of PTSD on journalists like her who report on the horrors of war.

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UPGRADE, WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?, ADRIFT, and DEAD CALM (briefly) on Episode #203

Logan Marshall-Green cries out in pain from stabbing his own hand in the sci-fi movie Upgrade.

Logan Marshall-Green stars as Grey, a paraplegic man given a second chance to walk so he can avenge his wife’s death in the sci-fi flick UPGRADE.

This week kicks off with a special edition of Riedel’s Crewind, as Dave and Evan talk WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? (4:12), the Mr. Rogers documentary that has been charming critics and audiences the world over. Next up, Kris talks ADRIFT (14:18), a true story starring Shailene Woodley as a young woman left to fend for herself and her injured partner after a hurricane destroys their boat. It’s a tad uneven, but the sheer physicality of Woodley’s performance and the fascinating focus on just how taxing survival can be. This leads Dave to quickly recap DEAD CALM (25:08), before Dave and Evan wrap things up with gritty, violent, and inventive sci-fi flick UPGRADE (31:02).

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SUBURBICON, TOO FUNNY TO FAIL, and G.I. JANE on Episode #172

Left to right: Julianne Moore as Margaret and Matt Damon as Gardner in SUBURBICON, from Paramount Pictures and Black Bear Pictures.

Julianne Moore and Matt Damon in SUBURBICON, a movie that would have been better if the Coen Brothers made it in the 80s.

This week the guys reminisce about long-gone insults of yesteryear before Kris offers a unique barb of his own design. For the movies, Evan delivers a “Crewind” of G.I. JANE (5:00), the Ridley Scott picture where Demi Moore is a badass Navy SEAL in training trapped in a story that gets a little muddled with conspiracy plots. Next Dave covers TOO FUNNY TO FAIL (17:17), a rollicking documentary on Hulu about the short-lived DANA CARVEY SHOW that explains that the inspiration for some of the show’s best sketches while reflecting on its failure. Then the guys take on SUBURBICON (28:35), a George Clooney film that borrows an old Coen Brothers script, but fails to imitate them effectively. While they chide it for being too heavy-handed and trying to cover too much narrative ground, they can all agree that Oscar Isaac injects much-needed vitality into his brief scenes.

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LOGAN LUCKY, HEAD, GLORY, THE PRODUCERS, SOME FREAKS, and AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL on Episode #163

Daniel Craig talking to Channing Tatum and Adam Driver in LOGAN LUCKY.

Channing Tatum and Adam Driver enlist Daniel Craig’s help with a robbery in LOGAN LUCKY.

It’s late August at Spoilerpiece! Hells yeah! Even though it’s the g.d. dog days of summer and there’s jack in the way of new releases, we did a new episode and we even found a new movie! Yay! But first, we step into RIEDEL’S RECAPS. Dave takes on the Monkees in HEAD (2:56) and then Edward Zwick’s GLORY (7:15), which spends a lot of time with the white cast members even though it’s about the first black soldiers fighting in the American Civil War. Evan takes over for an installment of CREWIND, featuring his take on the 2005 version of Mel Brooks’ THE PRODUCERS (11:00). We get to a new release with KRIS spoilerpiecing SOME FREAKS (17:25), which is On Demand right now. (Demand it!) Evan and Dave then get into Steven Soderbergh’s feature film return, the glorious LOGAN LUCKY (37:15), which they enjoyed the hell out of. Finally, Kris and Dave hit up AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL: TRUTH TO POWER (51:24), which is a movie.

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