The films of David Fincher tend to obsess over the genius of severely tragic and damaged characters. So it’s no surprise that Mank, a period biopic now on Netflix about screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz, has been on Fincher’s cinematic to-do list for many years. His father, Jack Fincher, wrote the screenplay decades ago, but he passed before ever having a chance to see the film brought to the big screen. Now, arguably still at the peak of his filmmaking career, David Fincher returns to deliver this biting treatise on the making of Citizen Kane, without ever really exploring the classic film’s most fascinating details.
This week on Extra Milestone, I’m joined once more by my good friend Guy Simons Jr. to dissect a pair of (relatively) recent classics that have garnered acclaim over the years, and which have almost nothing whatsoever to do with each other! First up is Pixar’s groundbreaking debut feature Toy Story, the first-ever wholly computer animated movie that has gained a reputation as an indispensable landmark in special effects and storytelling. After that, we jump ahead to M. Night Shyamalan’s unconventional superhero story Unbreakable, a grounded deconstruction of the genre that arrived before cinema as a whole had become swept up in comic book storytelling, and which has amassed a sizable (and well-earned) cult following.
It’ll take some time before we really come to terms with the depths of COVID-19’s devastation. It’s hard to grapple with the severity of a disaster when you’re still caught in the eye of the storm. We haven’t seen the last of this deadly and debilitating disease, and it’s hard to know when we ever will. A year ago, you hardly heard a single soul utter the word “coronavirus.” Now, it’s hard to have a conversation where it’s not mentioned in the first few seconds. We’re in a new normal for the time being, and we shouldn’t take it lightly. Because at least for the United States, the worst is yet to come, unfortunately.
Not all of us are in love with Clea DuVall’s latest film, Happiest Season, which is a Christmas romantic comedy on Hulu starring Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis, Aubrey Plaza, and many more. Will and Abby take some time to review the latest “Small Axe” film from Steve McQueen on Amazon Prime Video: Lovers Rock. The whole gang joins the fun of The Twentieth Century, Matthew Rankin’s absurdist festival indie that might’ve stolen all our hearts. We also cover our mixed feelings on Alan Ball’s latest film since 2007, Uncle Frank, which boasts strong performances from Paul Bettany, Peter Macdissi, and Sophia Lillis. And last, Jon discusses Zappa, Alex Winter’s eclectic new documentary about the life of the infamous guitarist Frank Zappa.
Even in the midst of a year as hectic and unconventional as this one, Oscar season is still in full swing when it comes to this week’s selection of heavy hitters. Joining me once again for the first time in nearly three years is Maria Garcia, my former partner in crime from such shows as Now Conspiring and Part-Time Characters, and we’re discussing two films often hailed as being among the greatest of all time! We begin with Raging Bull, the morally complex sports biopic that saved Martin Scorsese’s life and has developed a widely varied legacy, and which one of us isn’t especially fond of! From there, we rewind the clock to visit Miloš Forman’s award season darling One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, a wholly unique classic within film history that holds up wonderfully to this day.
Cinemaholics Podcast #195 – Run, Mangrove, The Last Vermeer, Collective, The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special
It’s just Will and Abby on the show this week, so you know what that means. No rules! No Jon to tell us, “No, you can’t review Aneesh Chaganty’s new film Run, his follow-up to Searching.” It doesn’t matter that it stars Sarah Paulson and Kiera Allen in her breakout role, or that the film is now streaming on Hulu. That’s right, Will and Abby are going all out. They’re talking about the best and worst Ron Howard movies. They’re discussing some under-the-radar films you might want to look into, plus a holiday special they break down brick by brick. So until Jon gets back, it’s a momentous — nay classic — Will and Abby shenanicast.
To close out the month of October, we’re reviewing two of the best films of the 1950s, and also trying out a new format for the show! First up is my conversation with Rob Wilkinson on Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s All About Eve, an all-star drama with a record-breaking number of Oscar nominations, and which happens to be a fantastic exploration of the unforgiving theater world. After that, I chat with my Anyway, That’s All I Got cohost Anthony Battaglia about Nicholas Ray’s Rebel Without A Cause, a landmark teen drama featuring an indelible posthumous performance by James Dean, and which is also fantastic!
The Cinemaholics are having an out of body experience covering the latest films this week, which include a new comedy horror from Happy Death Day director Christopher Landon. In addition to our main reviews, we briefly discuss some new shows we’ve been catching up on and ask the listeners what their favorite (and least favorite) Ron Howard movies are.
We’ve finally hit a dud! The local drunkard in an Old West town receives a surprising visit from fate one day, and what happens next may change his own life – and the lives of others – for good. It’s the third proper episode of The Twilight Zone, it’s one that just doesn’t function at the end of the day, and we’re here to figure out why. Tune in to the Cinemaholics Patreon to hear our analysis of the episode’s various thematic leanings, the reason why this one feels so darn weird compared to the others, how it fits into the greater Twilight Zone lore, and more!
Extra Milestone – Dances With Wolves (1990), The Magnificent Seven (1960), To Sleep With Anger (1990)
Adonis Gonzalez, my cohost on A Nice Place to Visit and Game Over, Man!, is back on the show to discuss a trio of movies that have nothing to do with each other…or do they? Tune in to hear our conversation on Kevin Costner’s Oscar-Winning epic Dances With Wolves, John Sturges’ iconic western remake The Magnificent Seven, and Charles Burnett’s engrossing family drama To Sleep With Anger!
Fables are the fabric through which we weave our hopes, our morals from past failures, and our burning idealism into the consciousness of future generations. In the grand tradition of passing down stories and sharing grand memories to young and impressionable minds, Cartoon Saloon and Mélusine productions’ Wolfwalkers, the new animated movie from directors Tomm Moore (The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea) and Ross Stewart, is a lovely and winningly sincere 2D tale of friendship, acceptance, and the rapid dangers of societal mistrust.
Adonis and Sam are back after an unexpected hiatus to continue the Alien/Predator saga with Stephen Hopkins’ sequel to John McTiernan’s introduction to the Predator, Predator 2! It’s a film that has received a mixed reaction over time, and the two of us certainly have some words for this film. Tune in to the Cinemaholics Patreon to hear what we had to say!
The success of 2011’s Bridesmaids proved female comedies featuring the kind of bawdy, scattalogical humor typically seen in male-led comedies could lead to box office gold. In its wake came a wave of Bechdel-test-passing, R-rated comedies of varying degrees of success, including the smash hit Girls Trip in 2017. Chick Fight feels like the product of Bridesmaids-effect. The women of Chick Fight don’t give a damn about being “ladylike.” They’re badasses! They’re sexual like Melissa McCarthy in that plane scene! The romance is a side plot! But the movie lacks what set Bridesmaids and Girls Trip apart: authenticity.
Cinemaholics Podcast #193 – The Dark and the Wicked, The Queen’s Gambit, Let Him Go, Kindred, Come Play, Time
Election week is over, but that doesn’t mean we took a break from catching up on new movies. Our reviews this week include The Dark and the Wicked, a new horror film from Bryan Bertino that is now streaming on demand. We also discuss the new Netflix miniseries The Queen’s Gambit, which stars Anya Taylor-Joy and Marielle Heller. Plus, we cover Let Him Go starring Kevin Costner and Diane Lane, Kindred starring Tamara Lawrance and Fiona Shaw, Come Play starring Gillian Jacobs and Azhy Robertson, and finally Time, Garrett Bradley’s new Amazon Studios documentary that premiered at Sundance 2020.
Will Ashton returns to Extra Milestone yet again to chart an unusual cinematic path across the 1980s and 1990s! We begin with an examination of David Lynch’s The Elephant Man, including our thoughts on the story’s emotional core, trivia on why the film is significant to the history of the academy, our impressions of David Lynch, and more! From there, we return to the films of Martin Scorsese with After Hours, an unusual and underseen comedic outing from the acclaimed director, and we close out the show by bringing the films of Abbas Kiarostami into focus with Close-Up, a hybrid documentary exploring the very nature and function of cinema.
In this house, we review the new Netflix horror film His House, the feature debut of writer/director Remi Weekes starring Wunmi Mosaku, Sope Dirisu, and Matt Smith. We also discuss the soft reboot/sequel The Craft: Legacy, which is now on VOD. There’s Holidate, an unexpectedly R-rated rom-com on Netflix that might win some hearts. And last, Glen Keane’s feature directorial debut, Over the Moon, an animated family film from the same studio that made last year’s Abominable.
I’m not exactly sure how to sell you on Frederick Wiseman’s City Hall. This sweeping, sprawling, four-and-a-half-hour documentary is a massive, city-wide examination of the inner workings of Boston’s government and public services. It’s an elaborate, expansive look at what makes a city the way it is, how its citizens and political leaders work hard to keep everything running, and the seemingly endless hurdles that poor and marginalized individuals often need to go through in order to make their voices heard. It’s a bulky, burgeoning enterprise of a documentary that’s as interested in watching town hall officials speak to the masses as it is watching the local garbagemen take out the trash on their regular circuits.
Guy Simons Jr. (of Anyway, That’s All I Got fame) joins me for the first time on Extra Milestone for a special Halloween episode devoted to two of the greatest serial killer movies of all time! Kicking off our conversation is Alfred Hitchcock’s game-changing masterpiece Psycho, including the unique and revolutionary distribution of the film, the ways in which it insidiously sets itself apart from every other movie, whether or not it should be considered a ‘slasher,’ and more! After that, we jump forward to David Fincher’s haunting detective thriller Se7en, a movie which one of us had somehow never seen until now! We also discuss the film’s somewhat troubled legacy, the ways in which it has infiltrated the internet consciousness, and even some valuable insight on whether or not it should be viewed as an optimistic film!
Cinemaholics Podcast #191 – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, On the Rocks, The Witches, Rebecca, Bad Hair
It time for very nice episode of Cinemaholics. First American movie is Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, great success. Rashida Jones and Bill Murray have weird marriage problem in On the Rocks, not nice. New streaming service HBO Max ruin day with The Witches, my wife Anne Hathaway make big impression. Rebecca on Netflix make no sense, but Lily James in it, high five. Bad Hair on Hulu scare all children, not appropriate for babies under 3, now official favorite movie of Cinemaholics Halloween.
It’s the second official episode of The Twilight Zone, and it may be one of the best! A traveling salesman (Ed Wynn) is visited by the specter of death (Murray Hamilton), and the two of us have some (many) questions! Tune in to the Cinemaholics Patreon to hear why we connect to this episode so heavily, the ways in which it encapsulates everything that makes the show awesome, and even our incredibly bizarre idea for an entire series that could spin off from this episode!
Cinemaholics host Jon Negroni returns to Extra Milestone for a double feature of two of the greatest films of all time! We start by discussing Sidney Lumet’s 1975 crime thriller Dog Day Afternoon, a revolutionary and dynamic film that remains just as relevant 45 years later, if not even more so. From there, we move on to Martin Scorsese’s career-defining classic Goodfellas, which we believe may potentially hold the title as the greatest gangster film of them all, in addition to being expertly crafted in every way.
Cinemaholics Podcast #190 – The Trial of the Chicago 7, Love and Monsters, American Utopia, Spontaneous, The Kid Detective
This week, we call Aaron Sorkin to the stand for his latest film The Trial of the Chicago 7, which is now on Netflix and stars Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, Mark Rylance, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and many more. We also find some time for love, or Love and Monsters to be specific, which stars Dylan O’Brien and Jessica Henwick. We discuss Spike Lee’s concert film, David Byrne’s American Utopia, which is now on HBO Max. Plus Spontaneous, a high school “sci fi black comedy” starring Katherine Langford and Charlie Plummer. And finally, The Kid Detective, a dark comedy starring Adam Brody and Sophie Nélisse.
There comes a point in many people’s lives when they realize they’re not going to live up to their past potential. Whatever bright promise they once showed grows dim in the recesses of time, and the gradual steps toward the mediocrity and bitter acceptance of a middling adulthood come heavily. This is not autobiographical; I had little-to-no potential growing up, and I’m certainly not living up to it now! But it’s the tortured and tormented existence of Abe Applebaum, the former child protigee-turned-sad-sack protagonist of writer-director Evan Morgan’s dark noir dramedy The Kid Detective, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last month before making its unexpected theatrical release (at least, for me) this weekend.
We’ve met the Aliens, but the time has come at last to face the Predators. This week on Game Over, Man!, Sam and Adonis are taking their first departure from the Alien series to take a look back at John McTiernan’s sophomore feature Predator! If that weren’t enough, one of the hosts isn’t a fan of the movie, making this our first major disagreement! Tune in to the Cinemaholics Patreon to hear how James Cameron serendipitously influenced the design of the Predator, why the hosts are of two different minds, who they actually think would win if a Predator and a Xenomorph were to face off, and more!
Babysitter’s Guide, directed by Rachel Talalay (Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare), is based on a three-part book of the same name, written and adapted for the screen by Joe Ballarini. The movie takes place in Rhode Island where teen Kelly is a math whiz and social pariah, dubbed “Monster Girl” by her peers who still mock her for claiming to be have been attacked by a monster at age five. On Halloween night, Kelly learns monsters are, in fact, very real when Jacob, the boy she is babysitting, is kidnapped by the boogeyman himself. Kelly is joined by an underground society of monster-hunting babysitters to rescue Jacob and stop the boogeyman from releasing his army of nightmares on the world.
Emily Kubincanek returns to Extra Milestone at last, and in no small fashion! We’re diving headfirst into the most Classic of Cinema with two brilliant films that connect to the Silent Era! First up is Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush, a dramatic comedy featuring Chaplin’s ‘Little Tramp’ that cemented many dramatic traditions while simultaneously telling a heartfelt and humorous story! From there, we jump forward to Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard, which examines the world of showbusiness, the remnants of the Silent Era, and the widespread sacrifices found in Hollywood living through a melancholy lens steeped in Film Noir tradition.
A man with no memory of his identity wakes up near a small town that’s completely abandoned…or is it? It’s the very first *actual* episode of The Twilight Zone, and we’re joined by our longtime friend and podcast collaborator Bridget Serdock to discuss it! Is it an effective introduction to the series at large? How does this unusual scenario tap into universal anxieties? Does it actually make scientific sense once the twist is revealed? And what would we do with an entire town to ourselves? Find out in the dimension which we call: A Nice Place to Visit.
Cinemaholics Podcast #189 – Hubie Halloween, The Wolf of Snow Hollow, The 40-Year-Old Version, Charm City Kings, The Lie
It’s a little spooky how positive we are on Hubie Halloween, the newest Netflix film starring Adam Sandler and a whole host of other recognizable actors and comedians. We keep the horror comedy vibe going with our review of The Wolf of Snow Hollow, the final film starring Robert Forster. Then we go back to Netflix to watch The 40-Year-Old Version, a Sundance hit starring Radha Blank, who also directed the film. On HBO Max, there’s Charm City Kings, a fun dirt bike racing drama starring Jahi Di’Allo Winston and Meek Mill. And finally, Will welcomes us to “Welcome to the Blumhouse,” a new Amazon Prime Video slate of horror movies starting with The Lie.
The pairings keep getting stranger and stranger every week, and this week’s show is no exception! Special guest Ryan Oliver joins Sam and Jon to tackle two very different classics, starting with Akira Kurosawa’s massively influential 1950 arthouse classic Rashomon. We discuss everything from our differing experiences with the film, how multiple viewings have yielded different interpretations, and why the film has remained so meaningful even after 70 years. After that, we take a huge left turn toward Transylvania to examine the legacy and power of Jim Sharman’s 1975 genre-defining cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which one of us doesn’t like! It’s another collection of varied experiences complete with a litany of recommendations to go along with both films!
By now, you’re likely familiar with Greta Thunberg, a 17-year-old Swedish environmental activist who’s drummed up heaps of international press over her ongoing efforts to bring serious awareness to the increasing dangers of climate change, global warming, and the depletion of our global resources. It’s a problem impacting all of us, young and old. In fact, it’s the youth in particular who will need to live with the consequences of their elders if we don’t do something to prevent the aching calls of distress from our dying planet. It’s been noted several times by now that we’re currently at the brink of irreversible damage, and if something isn’t done imminently, we’ll suffer greatly from the extreme consequences of our inaction.
We had an out-of-body experience trying to review Brandon Cronenberg’s trippy new sci-fi horror film Possessor, which stars Andrea Riseborough, Christopher Abbot, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Sean Bean. After that, we dive into the endless charms of Kirsten Johnson’s new documentary Dick Johnson is Dead. And since it is October, why not add another horror film, Scare Me, which is now on Shudder. Last, there’s Save Yourselves! — a new indie comedy starring Sunita Mani and John Paul Reynolds.
In our first Patron-Exclusive podcast, we’re continuing the Alien franchise with James Cameron’s Aliens, the pluralized sequel that shook the world! Sigourney Weaver returns as Ellen Ripley in an Oscar-nominated role that pits her, a team of memorable space marines, and a young orphaned girl against an entire hive of deadly Xenomorphs, and it’s even better than the original! Tune in on the Cinemaholics Patreon to hear us discuss the brilliant character interactions, effective and efficiently-produced scares, and even the deeper implications on the potential of humanity!
To officially commence the Milestone month of August, Will Ashton and Andrew McMahon make their long-awaited returns to help break down a unique and unexpected triple feature, the likes of which the podcast world may have never seen before. We begin with an analysis of Barbara Loden’s Wanda, the first film to be written, directed, and led by a female filmmaker. We follow this up with a look back at Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, the iconic feature debut of Tim Burton. Finally, we dive into the work of the great Agnès Varda with an observational look at her acclaimed and influential film Vagabond.
Matt Crowley’s play The Boys in the Band shocked mainstream audiences when it opened Off Broadway in 1968. It tells the story of seven gay men at a birthday party in a New York City apartment, which was groundbreaking at the time in how it pioneered representation of gay life. Now, the story is being brought to life once again in a new movie from Netflix and a team of producers that includes Ryan Murphy — as part of his $300 million deal with the streaming service.
The Babysitter: Killer Queen, directed by McG and starring pretty much the exact same cast as the first film, was released exclusively on Netflix earlier this month and is described by the service as a “teen comedy horror…sequel.” Thanks to the sequel’s release, the original went from a cult-favorite film to the first in a cult-favorite franchise. Much like the majority of its cast and crew, The Babysitter: Killer Queen is more of the same kind of material we got from the first movie. Yet, for whatever reason, I enjoyed this one a lot more.
As always, we don’t have a clue what to review this week. But we’ll start with Enola Holmes, a new YA Netflix film starring Millie Bobby Brown as the younger sister of Sherlock Holmes, played by Henry Cavill. We also discuss Miranda July’s latest indie favorite, Kajillionaire, which stars Evan Rachel Wood, Gina Rodriguez, Richard Jenkins, and Debra Winger. Last, there’s a new Disney+ movie made with the Disney Channel called Secret Society of Second Born Royals and, um, yikes.
Apples, the feature directorial debut of Christos Nikou, isn’t a horror film, though it does grapple with something that’s terrifying to think about. In the midst of a nationwide pandemic, where people instantly and inexplicably suffer from acute cases of severe amnesia, Number 14842, a.k.a. Aris (Aris Servetalis), is the latest patient who winds up in the Disturbed Memory Department, a mental rehabilitation center for people who cannot remember their identities, their past, their loved ones, or where they live.
Welcome to the very first episode of A NICE PLACE TO VISIT, the *other* Patreon exclusive podcast hosted by Adonis Gonzalez and Sam Noland! This is the show where we’re going to be reviewing every episode of The Twilight Zone, and to kick things off we’re talking about…a different show entirely?! Before Rod Serling’s vision officially came to fruition in 1959, the show’s concept was introduced in a 1958 episode of the anthology series Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse, and was introduced by none other than the great Desi Arnaz! Starring William Bendix and Martin Balsam, The Time Element tells the story of a man haunted by a recurring dream that may be more supernatural than anyone thinks. Does this episode properly establish the tone of The Twilight Zone? Does it even make sense in spite of that? What recurring dreams have Adonis and Sam had? And how would we react to traveling through time? Find out in the dimension which we call: A NICE PLACE TO VISIT.
I want to believe that most movies are made with good intentions. I have a hard time believing that a group of people would spend a year (or more) of their time working on something for shallow or potentially even cynical reasons. Yes, we live in a very cynical world, as Jerry Maguire once said. I understand that people are not always driven by pure desires and good deeds. But when it comes to art, especially art that is meant to be as emotionally engrossing as Good Joe Bell, the newest film from director Reinaldo Marcus Green (Monsters and Men), I would believe — or, at least, hope — that the motivations behind this project were noble and good, as its dutiful title would suggest. Nevertheless, movies don’t give out prizes for good intentions.
Things are getting real heavy this week, because Adonis Gonzalez is here to talk about the two best movies of 1985, which happen to be radically different from one another! We start with a harrowing exploration of Elem Klimov’s Come and See, an anti-war film depicting the Nazi invasion of Belorussia through the eyes of a young boy. We discuss the history of the film’s reputation, the drama associated with the production, the way that it emerges as (potentially) the only War movie that actually matters, and why we find it so difficult to even recommend. After that, we were happy to cleanse our palate with a discussion on Robert Zemeckis’s iconic Sci-Fi Family Comedy Back to the Future, covering its deft narrative construction, effective antagonist, and curious soundtrack decisions, as well as a deserved commendation for the recently deceased Ron Cobb.
This year’s Toronto International Film Festival has just ended, but we’re just getting started covering and even rediscovering the best and worst of this virtual event. From awards favorites like Nomadland and One Night in Miami to noteworthy standouts like Wolfwalkers and City Hall, we discuss up to 33 films you’ll likely hear even more about as we move into the winter film season.
Enola Holmes is based on the YA book series The Enola Holmes Mysteries by Nancy Springer. It tells the story of Enola Holmes, the younger sister of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, the former of whom is already famous by the time our story starts in 1884. After her father dies and her brothers leave home, Enola is left with her beloved but eccentric mother, Eudoria, at the family’s country estate. Then, on the morning of Enola’s sixteenth birthday, Eudoria disappears. Enola must follow her trail of clues and set out on an adventure to find her. The plot thickens when she meets Viscount Tewksbury, a runaway Marquess pursued by a mysterious assassin in a bowler hat. The game is afoot.
Directed and written by Sean Durkin in his latest film since 2011, The Nest tells the story of Rory O’Hara, portrayed by Jude Law, who after a seemingly successful life of entrepreneurism in the States, moves back to London in the late 1980s so he can work for his old company. Along with his loving wife Allison (Carrie Coon) and their children Samantha and Ben (Oona Roche and Charlie Shotwell), the family moves into a luxurious, countryside house, and as this summary might hint, things begin to take a “twisted turn” once they arrive.
On this week’s episode, we’re hitchhiking all the way to West Virginia and Ohio for the latest Netflix original film, The Devil All The Time starring Tom Holland and Robert Pattinson. We also discuss The Nest starring Jude Law and Carrie Coon, Antebellum starring Janelle Monáe, and The Way I See It, a new documentary about the Obama administration from the perspective of his official White House photographer.
Welcome to the very first episode of a new limited podcast series hosted by Sam Noland and Adonis Gonzalez! The two of them have decided to celebrate the spookiest time of year by reviewing every Alien and Predator movie, and they’re starting at the very beginning with none other than Ridley Scott’s landmark 1979 Sci-Fi Horror Classic Alien. Tune in to hear them discuss their experience and familiarity with the film, why it still easily lives up to the hype, behind-the-scenes information, and even a fun scenario on how they would introduce someone to the film for the first time! Give it a listen, and then be sure to sign up for the Cinemaholics Patreon, where the remainder of the episodes will be exclusively available.
In theory, there’s something quite lovely about David Oyelowo’s directorial debut, The Water Man. It’s a celebration of the power of storytelling and the ways in which we can use our imaginations to understand the intricacies of our realities. The execution is completely earnest and sometimes charming, particularly with a strong lead performance from newcomer Lonnie Chavis. The storybook quality, while not especially novel, certainly makes it an accessible film for young audiences, even when it deals with heavy subject matter. Despite its warm presentation, likable sincerity, and all its good intentions, there’s also a cold irony to how familiar and rudimentary it can be in its narrative structure.
Sam Noland is back on Extra Milestone after a week’s respite to take on, along with friend and coworker Robert Wilkinson, two radically different classics. First up is Charles Laughton’s gothic thriller The Night of the Hunter, which stars Robert Mitchum as a psychopathic priest hunting down two children during the Great Depression. Next up on our itinerary is the landmark spoof comedy Airplane!, the laugh-a-minute lampooning of pop cinema celebrating 40 years of making the world howl with laughter.
Viggo Mortensen makes his screenwriting and directorial debut with Falling, a heavy (and sometimes heavy-handed) family drama in which Mortensen also stars as John, a mild-mannered pilot who takes a week off from work in order to spend time with his critical, outspoken, set-in-his-ways father (Lance Henriksen), a brittle senior who is never afraid to yell, demean, and belittle anyone and everyone around him. John and his family, including his husband (Terry Chen), his adopted daughter (Gabby Velis), and his sister (Laura Linney), all try their best to put up with the old man’s endless torments. After all, it’s not looking good for his future. He’s a relic of the past who haunts his family — even as he’s still among the living (if only for so long). His disgruntled children do everything they can to keep their decades-spanning feelings of anguish, remorse, and frustration toward their father to themselves, but Mortensen’s moody movie is unafraid to turn up the dial until it’s almost unbearable for anyone (them or us) to want to spend even a minute longer in this man’s narrow-minded company.
Enemies of the State, from director Sonia Kennebeck (National Bird), doesn’t need to do too much to make audiences feel an unnerving sense of dread over the dangers of government surveillance in our current technological era. We, the people, are growing ever more aware of the uncovered truths in an age of Wikileaks and other online methods of taking off masks and discovering previously undisclosed secrets. But ironically enough, in an age where information can often be at the click of the button, what is actually true and what is being constructed by our government can become foggy in an age of post-truth and “fake news.” Are we sometimes too quick to assume what is true and what is fabricated? Are government figures merely looking out for their own interests, or do they have more specific agendas? At a time where we know more about the activities of the U.S. government than ever, we might have even more questions than ever regarding their activities and what they seek to find in American homes.
Director Antonio Campos wastes no time setting the tone of The Devil All the Time, his adaptation of the 2011 novel by Donald Ray Pollack. Within the first few minutes, Willard Russell (Bill Skarsgård), an American soldier in the South Pacific during World War II, finds the fly-ridden body of a marine crucified on a cross. The scene is the first of many bloody acts in the bleak film, and the theme of violence and sacrifice is explored even further throughout its 139 minutes.
‘The Way I See It’ Tells a New Story about the Obama White House—From the Perspective of its Photographer
No matter their political persuasion, most people can probably agree that there is a stark difference between the Obama presidency and the current one. Because this is an election year, we’ve been inundated with a seemingly endless stream of new documentaries reminding us of this fact and expanding upon various calls to action leaning one way or the other on who should run the country for the next four years. Perhaps the most unconventional of these recent docs is The Way I See It from director Dawn Porter, which showcases archived stills taken by President Obama’s White House photographer, Pete Souza, who also worked for the Reagan administration.
When I started Holler, the first feature film written and directed by Nicole Riegel and based on her short film of the same name, I had this ringing feeling. Its sense of place, warm authenticity, and bittersweet emotional core were all burning bright just as this homey small-town indie began. Aided by a bristling, genuine lead performance from Jessica Barden (The Lobster, The End of the F****** World), I was already feeling energized and enthusiastic about the wondrous possibility that I might be watching one of the finest debuts of this year’s highly unorthodox Toronto International Film Festival.
Cinemaholics Podcast #185 – Unpregnant, The Social Dilemma, Cuties, #Alive, All In: The Fight For Democracy
The Cinemaholics are going on a road trip! Metaphorically, at least. Our first pit stop this week is an in-depth review of Unpregnant, a buddy road trip comedy streaming exclusively on HBO Max, and it stars Haley Lu Richardson and Barbie Ferreira. Next, we travel all the way to the internet for The Social Dilemma, a new Netflix documentary about how social media is basically ruining society. Fun! After that, we head to France to discuss yet another Netflix film, Cuties, which has been caught in a maelstrom of controversy considering its sexual content. But that’s not all, we go on a detour out east for #Alive, a new South Korean zombie movie on (you guessed it) Netflix! Last, we head on home for an American documentary on Prime Video called All In: The Fight For Democracy, which is about voter suppression in these United States.
When it comes to psychological horror, there is one unwritten but common and maybe even obvious imperative: you have to mess with your audience’s mind. The true horror doesn’t come from a man in a papier-mâché Halloween mask or a creepy-crawly creature from the fifth dimension like you’ll see in other scary movies. It comes from mystery, the feeling that you never have any idea what is actually going on in the film you’re watching, as well as the sense of dread that confusion might entail. So I guess you could say Rent-A-Pal is a pretty good psychological horror — one certainly deserving the genre label.
Hey there, buddy-boys and buddy-gals! This week, we might just have the key to your next favorite movie, The Apartment, which recently celebrated 60 years since its initial release. Widely considered to be one of Billy Wilder’s true masterpieces, this romantic dramedy stars Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, and Fred McMurray. We discuss the film’s impact on our own movie-going lives, play some of our favorite clips, and have a spirited debate about this either being a “Christmas movie” or a “New Year’s” movie.
In our first official episode with new Cinemaholics co-host Abby Olcese, we discuss the honor and honor that is to be found honorable in Mulan, the latest live-action Disney remake, which stars Liu Yifei, Donnie Yen, Tzi Ma, Gong Li, and Jet Li. Plus, we review Charlie Kaufman’s new mind-bending film I’m Thinking of Ending Things, which is now on Netflix and stars Jessie Buckley, Jesse Plemons, Toni Collette, and David Thewlis.
If you search the name “Ellis Haizlip” in your preferred search engine of choice today, you won’t get a lot of results. There is no Wikipedia page, and his IMDB spotlight is slim, to say the least. Most of what you’ll get are stories and reviews about Mr. Soul, the documentary detailing the life and career of Haizlip and his time as the producer and host of “Soul!” from 1968 to 1973. A documentary, I might add, that most people wouldn’t even know to search the name of because much like the person it’s analyzing, it wasn’t massively advertised. Still, Mr. Soul is just as important to American life and TV as the man himself was.
In any other year, it wouldn’t be a question of whether or not you should see writer/director Christopher Nolan’s latest visual extravaganza on the big screen. It would just be a matter of how quickly you should go.
This week’s Extra Milestone is so iconic that we may just need a bigger boat. Anthony Battaglia reunites with Sam to discuss two immensely significant blockbusters that have irreparably shaped the cinematic landscape. We start with a discussion on Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, including our differing experiences with the movie, our appreciation for the writing and acting, differences from Peter Benchley’s novel, a confession as to our shared fear of open water, and even an extremely hot take involving the infamous sequels! After we dry off from that conversation, we take an isolated look at Irvin Kershner’s The Empire Strikes Back and how it changed Star Wars (and sequels in general) forever, why it maintains its effectiveness after dozens of viewings, why we can never view the Dagobah sequence the same way again, whether or not it contains the best lightsaber battle ever, and the dichotomy between good and evil that was solidified in this film.
As a business model, Disney’s years-long effort to re-capitalize its most iconic animated films of yesteryear into big-budget, live-action (or live-action-esque in the case of last year’s The Lion King) reimaginings has been nothing short of a financial masterstroke, not too far below the juggernaut success of their Marvel and Star Wars acquisitions just a decade ago. In some ways, Mulan represents both the highs and lows of Disney’s trip down memory lane, from family favorites like The Jungle Book to more critically shrugged replicants like Beauty and the Beast. Either way, Mulan is sure to leave some audiences clamoring for more, while others might end up feeling somewhat cheated by what could’ve been.
She’s a litigator who spends her days in court defending the little man pro bono and her nights alone with nothing but Chinese takeout for comfort. He’s handsome, wealthy, and charming but totally incapable of falling in love — or so it seems. It’s the perfect setup. By the time the title card appears, accompanied by Tiffany’s 80s pop anthem “I Think We’re Alone Now,” Netflix’s Love, Guaranteed has laid out all the standard rules for the romantic comedy. The next 90 minutes won’t do much to challenge those rules, but it’s a fun 90 minutes nonetheless.
Cinemaholics Podcast #183 – The New Mutants, Bill & Ted Face the Music, The Personal History of David Copperfield
Special guest Charlie Ridgely joins the show for our long-awaited review of The New Mutants, the final X-Men comic-book movie made by Fox…which was shot three years ago. We also discuss Bill & Ted Face the Music, the third installment in the beloved franchise starring Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter. And last we tackle The Personal History of David Copperfield, a new adaptation of the classic Charles Dickens novel, and this one stars Dev Patel and was directed by Armando Iannucci.
On August 28, 2020, the world stood still. As I sat in a diner, patiently awaiting my “breakfast for dinner,” I did what every person nowadays does when there’s nothing else to do: I checked my phone. The first thing I saw when I opened Twitter and looked at my timeline was the most shocking and heartbreaking news I never knew I wasn’t prepared to hear. Chadwick Boseman, star of Black Panther, was dead at 43. Boseman passed away peacefully, surrounded by his wife and family, according to the statement made on his official Twitter account. I sat there in shock and disbelief, hoping and praying that this might be some sort of joke. That maybe his account had been hacked, or I was stuck in some sort of lucid dream. It didn’t take long for the swarms of tweets and replies full of the same amount of disbelief to come in, as well as the responses from those who knew him or wished to know him more. Then I realized it was real.
I’ll never claim to be a great source of knowledge when it comes to the works of Charles Dickens. My familiarity with his words derive through other sources, mainly various adaptations of varying faithfulness or stylistic-to-bombastic re-imaginings of his material that may or may not honor the “spirit” of his original scribbles. Therefore, I cannot tell you whether or not The Personal History of David Copperfield is a fitting adaptation, nor if it properly honors Dickens’ long-standing legacy and cultural relevance. But here’s what I can tell you.
The new Netflix documentary Rising Phoenix, directed by Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui, reflects on the history and impact of the Paralympic Games while telling the stories of several of its elite athletes. The first lines of the documentary draw a parallel between Marvel’s Avengers and Paralympians. Like comic book superheroes, each of the featured competitors has an origin story; a tale of facing obstacles, beating the odds, and unlocking great strength. As an introductory voiceover puts it, “The Olympics are where heroes are created. The Paralympics are where heroes come.”
It’s all play and no work on this week’s Extra Milestone, because Jason Read has returned to the show to discuss a trio of very different movies. We begin with a detailed exploration of Stanley Kubrick’s Horror masterpiece The Shining, complete with reflections on why the terror of it is so effective, analyses of the movie’s themes and mysteries, a discussion of why method acting is a flawed and unnecessary process, and even a few personal stories that relate to the movie. Afterward, we take on Joe Dante’s Gremlins, stopping along the way to discuss its implementation of cinematic language, its historical significance, and all of the darkly comedic chaos that comes with it. Finally, we cap off the show with a fittingly sporadic look at Dante’s oft-overlooked sequel Gremlins 2: The New Batch, which is one of the most entertaining movies either of us have ever seen, as well as being a knowing satire of culture stuffed with enough cameos and mania to last a lifetime.
Wait, video review? For a TV show? I thought this was a Cinema podcast! For all the holics out there! Well, dear listener, guess what. “The Boys” Season 2 is about to hit Amazon Prime Video, and I recorded a video review on our YouTube Channel. Youtube Channel?! That’s right, we have a YouTube Channel. Been a thing for a minute.
Thanks to Disney’s Star Girl, I already know a movie like this — in which some poor young woman shows up from another town and sweeps a completely featureless guy off his feet — can still be made in 2020, but Chemical Hearts somehow takes this worn idea to another level.
The two and only Cinemaholics are back to review The One and Only Ivan, a new Disney+ family feature starring Bryan Cranston, Sam Rockwell, Danny DeVito, Angelina Jolie, and many more. We also go back in time in a fun way with our discussion of Tesla, the Sundance biopic from IFC Films starring Ethan Hawke. And we finish the show with a review of Words on Bathroom Walls, the new YA teen romance starring Charlie Plummer and Taylor Russell.
Tesla stars Ethan Hawke as the titular inventor who navigates life in the 1800s, one of America’s most “brainstormy” times. Around him are a handful of equally inventive and enigmatic characters, such as Anne Morgan, portrayed by Eve Hewson, and George Westinghouse, portrayed by Jim Gaffigan. And of course, you can’t have a Tesla movie without his famous frenemy and rival in the electricity circuit, Thomas Edison; a role that is perfectly performed by Kyle MacLachlan in small doses. Edison isn’t in the film a whole lot, but he manages to steal the show in a manner accurate to how his real-life inspiration repeatedly stole Tesla’s thunder.
In what is certainly the most comedically inclined Extra Milestone yet, I am joined by my very close personal friend Tyler Chambers to discuss a pair of classics within the genre. We begin with a lengthy rundown of Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam’s 1975 cult favorite Monty Python and the Holy Grail, complete with behind-the-scenes stories, details we’ve noticed over the years, our personal experiences with the movie, analyses of the film’s comedic stylings, and revisits of our favorite sequences. Then we move on to John Landis’s 1980 musical road comedy The Blues Brothers. We discuss the film’s story structure, cast, presentation, and deadpan sense of humor, as well as how all of those things compare and contrast surprisingly well with Holy Grail. Afterward, we both give a recommendation to pair with each movie, some much more unexpected than others!
It wasn’t too long ago that young adult coming-of-age movies started to multiply in number upon the box office success of The Fault in Our Stars, which injected the usual teen drama formula with a high-stakes catch. What if you fell in love with someone who has terminal cancer?
This film trend has slowed down somewhat, with the exception of sappy imitators like last year’s Five Feet Apart, and now Words on Bathroom Walls, which rests its central premise on a new question for the genre: what if you fell in love with someone who has schizophrenia?
Personally, I believe the horror genre doesn’t get nearly enough credit these days. I’ve struggled to figure out just why that is. Perhaps it’s because of the over-saturation of the genre, the fact that there are quite literally hundreds of films to choose from, many of them admittedly not exactly something to write home about. Maybe it’s because even when horror was at its peak, when the big monsters like Dracula or Jason Voorhees spooked audiences during the Halloween season, horror was advertised as something of a niche genre; meant only for those who could truly appreciate the shock, schlock, and gore of a scary movie. Or maybe it’s because no on-screen jump scare could ever compare to the horrors of reality that many of us have to live through on a daily basis. Either way, the horror genre is pretty underappreciated and often times overlooked when awards season comes around.
Good news, we don’t need a superpower pill to put on a powerful episode of Cinemaholics, which this week covers Project Power, now on Netflix and starring Jamie Foxx, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Dominique Fishback. We also discuss Boys State from A24, a documentary about Texas students who learn about politics by building a government of their own, which is now streaming on Apple TV+. Will describes the less magical elements of Magic Camp, a family comedy that just hit Disney+ starring Adam DeVine and Gillian Jacobs. And last, we have a heated debate about the controversial documentary Happy Happy Joy Joy, which is about the making of Nickelodeon’s pioneering ’90s cartoon “Ren and Stimpy” and the complicated legacy of its problematic show runner.
Jon Negroni makes his long-awaited return to Extra Milestone to investigate Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, one of his very favorite films. For 60 years, the film has gained a reputation of being one of the most insightful and layered journeys of World Cinema, and I had a wonderful time learning about its many rich cinematic attributes from Jon. Tune in to hear the two of us break down the film’s cinematography, the way it uses the city of Rome to help tell its story, the many exciting chapters that comprise the plot, and more!
We’ve gotten ourselves into yet another…fermented cucumber. This week we’re reviewing An American Pickle, the new Seth Rogen comedy now streaming on HBO Max. We also discuss David Ayer’s latest directorial/screenwriting effort The Tax Collector, which stars Bobby Soto and Shia LaBeouf. And last is Ciro Guerra’s Waiting for the Barbarians, a slow burn frontier drama starring Mark Rylance, Robert Pattinson, and Johnny Depp. Of course, we open up the episode with a brief, but satisfying check-in with Christopher Nolan, himself.
Settle in, listeners, because Julia Teti is back for this week’s Extra Milestone, and it’s for an undertaking of very subtle, methodical proportions. Julia and I have decided to touch on the most famous work of the late, great Chantal Akerman with her three-hour 1975 art house classic Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai Du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. Celebrating 45 years this past May, the film has been revered by nearly all who have seen it, and continues to signify a wholly unique exploration of a day-to-day life seldom seen to this extent in cinema. With a legacy almost as impressive as its title and runtime, the two of us had plenty to say about this monolithic milestone that continues to have a tremendous impact today.
The Cinemaholics gang is finally getting existential. Our featured review this week is She Dies Tomorrow, a new indie horror from Amy Seimetz. We also discuss Beyoncé’s Disney+ visual album Black is King, which sort of ties into last year’s The Lion King remake. Also, Host is a new horror film shot and produced during the pandemic, and it’s about a Zoom call that goes horribly wrong. Fun! And last is a new political documentary called The Fight, which is about recent ACLU cases fighting various human rights cases in the United States. We also talk briefly about “Umbrella Academy” Season 2, the future of Netflix sitcoms without “Friends” or “The Office,” and the latest release date news for Tenet.
The summer is about to conclude with a creeping, atmospheric, gory bang, because Emily Kubincanek is back on The Extra Milestone to discuss a trio of Horror Classics! We start with a look at Sean S. Cunningham’s iconic slasher Friday the 13th, and how it sets itself apart from other such films, as well as the excitement of it all that still plays today. We continue with a discussion of James Whale’s sequel Bride of Frankenstein, including the similarities to Mary Shelley’s novel and how Universal crafted a new narrative around the characters. Finally, we dive into the hellish effects showcase that is the late Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator!
Special guest Abby Olcese joins us for a review of the new horror thriller The Rental, Dave Franco’s directorial debut starring Dan Stevens, Alison Brie, Sheila Vand, and Jeremy Allen White. We also discuss Yes, God, Yes starring Natalia Dyer and the recent documentary John Lewis: Good Trouble.
Hold on to your helmets, listeners, because the illustrious Julia Teti is back on the Cinemaholics feed! And not a moment too soon, because the two of us are joined by the scintillating Will Ashton to make Extra Milestone history by tackling our second Best Picture Winner, our second 1930s Film, and our first War (and Anti-War) Film with Lewis Milestone’s All Quiet on the Western Front! Celebrating 90 years this past April, the film has built a deserved legacy of being one of the most effective condemnations of combat and warfare in cinema history, and the three of us have plenty to say to support that. The film’s storied production, its unique and controversial release, its eternal relevancy, and much more are discussed, and we even take the time to recommend some complimentary films! You’re not gonna want to miss this one.
No Tenet? No problem. In addition to our featured review this week, we briefly discuss the new streaming service Peacock, including its flagship original series “Brave New World,” which boasts an impressive cast. Plus, Will shares his thoughts on the recently released indie The Sunlit Night, which stars Jenny Slate. Finally, we get into an in-depth discussion of Relic, an Australian horror film starring Emily Mortimer, Robyn Nevin, and Bella Heathcote.
In what will likely go down as the nerdiest and most esoteric Extra Milestone yet, I am joined by my good friend and fellow hardcore cinephile Andrew McMahon to discuss a pair of significant, influential, and all-around great films. We begin with a lengthy discussion of Michelangelo Antonioni’s reflective 1975 thriller The Passenger, in addition to Antonioni’s career as a whole that we’re familiar with, followed by a look at Michael Powell’s career-ending 1960 horror film Peeping Tom. We get into a lot of exciting history and interconnectivity to the greater cinematic art form over the course of both conversations, and we hope it’s just as fun to listen to as it was to record.
Cinemaholics Podcast #176 – The Old Guard, Palm Springs, Greyhound, First Cow, Family Romance LLC, Sometimes Always Never
Special guest Emily Kubincanek joins us for a marathon of reviews this week, starting with the new Netflix action blockbuster, The Old Guard, starring Charlize Theron and KiKi Layne. Then we loop into Hulu’s time-bending rom-com Palm Springs, starring Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti. Tom Hanks writes and stars in the new Apple TV+ WWII epic, Greyhound, which just released this week. We slow things down for the meditative First Cow from writer/director Kelly Reichardt. Oh, and Werner Herzog made a new Japanese-language film called Family Romance, LLC. Last, we finish things off with a wordy scramble of a review for the British quirk-film Sometimes Always Never, which stars Bill Nighy and Sam Riley.
Extra Milestone – The Grapes of Wrath (1940), Terror of MechaGodzilla (1975), How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
Promises are being fulfilled left and right on this week’s Extra Milestone, in which the long-awaited debut of podcast veteran Adonis Gonzalez finally takes place! Adonis and I have a trio of dramatically contrasting movies to discuss, starting with a lengthy exploration of John Ford’s depression-era adaptation of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. We continue with a discussion of Ishirō Honda’s character-defining Kaijū film (as well as Godzilla’s Shōwa Era as a whole) with Terror of MechaGodzilla, and we conclude with a celebration of the 10-year anniversary of Dreamworks’s How to Train Your Dragon. It was great to podcast with Adonis once more, and we hope to unite even more in the future. Enjoy!
Special guest Emily Kubincanek joins us for a double milestone feature of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca, which just celebrated 80 years since its release, as well as Jacques Becker’s final film Le Trou (or The Hole), which recently had its 60th anniversary. As always, we lay out the context for what makes these films so memorable all these years later, plus there’s a little contention between the Cinemaholics on both films, so stay tuned to hear where we all land.
Is Jon Stewart’s sophomore feature film irresistible? Is Dave Bautista our kind of spy? Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga? Find out on this week’s episode of Cinemaholics Z.
When it was announced that Jon Stewart would return with his sophomore feature film, since titled Irresistible, it made sense that folks assumed it would be the scathing satire that would criticize and bring damnation to the hotheaded personalities who take rotating chairs in the Big House. But Stewart’s new movie, his first directorial effort since 2014’s overlooked Rosewater, may not be what some folks expect. Indeed, this is not a takedown of the narcissistic, hypocritical right. Stewart isn’t here to put some right-leaning personalities into their place.
In what will go down as the very first triple header in Extra Milestone history, I am joined once again by Anyway, That’s All I Got veteran Jason Read! Jason and I take a look at both the French New Wave and the work of Jean-Luc Godard with Breathless (1960), explore a fantastic and somewhat lesser-known horror classic with Eyes Without A Face (1960), and round out the show with an exploration of the Giallo subgenre and the work of Dario Argento with the fiendishly frightening Deep Red (1975). Although we went heavily into detail with Breathless, we took special care not to give too much away about the latter two films, so feel free to listen to those segments whether they are old favorites or completely new to you. It’s a delightful series of conversations that traverses a broad section of the cinematic landscape, and we hope it’s just as fun to listen to as it was to record!
This week, we’re kicking the show off with a brief conversation about The Last of Us Part II, plus some listener feedback about political ideologies informing our film reviews. Then we kick off the week’s new releases with Miss Juneteenth, a recent Sundance family drama starring Nicole Beharie. We also fasten our seatbelts for a review of 7500, a claustrophobic hijacking thriller starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt in his first film role since 2016. Will shares his thoughts on the new Netflix spy thriller Wasp Network, which has a huge cast including Penélope Cruz, Ana de Armas, Édgar Ramirez, and more. And we finish the show out with a drive-in feature called Infamous, which stars Bella Thorne and Jake Manley.
The Extra Milestone crew has so far been “silent” when it comes to covering silent films, and for that, we have no excuse. But consider this deep dive of Buster Keaton’s comedic classic Seven Chances to be our comeuppance! That’s right, the screwball romantic comedy that helped define the genre recently celebrated 95 glorious years, making this the oldest film we’ve ever covered on the show. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry (from laughing), and just maybe you’ll fall in love with one of the greatest actor-directors in all of film history.
If anything, curating a list of 2020’s finest films feels more necessary and useful than ever. While many film lovers have used their time sheltering at home to catch up on classic cinema (as we all should), I’ve spent the last several months trying to see at least 4 or 5 new movies a week via screeners and the aforementioned avenues. Now that we’ve reached the halfway point of this bizarre, unpredictable year, I want to share the 25 films that have left the deepest impact on me, whether they be a festival indie from last year just now getting a bigger release, a more mainstream feature from the first block of the year, or somewhere in between, I hope there’s at least one positive recommendation in this list for everyone.
Special guest Charlie Ridgely of Comicbook.com joins the show for a death-defying review of Spike Lee’s new joint Da 5 Bloods, which is now streaming on Netflix. We also answer a listener question, rant about Artemis Fowl (now on Disney+), and finish things out with a balanced discussion of Judd Apatow’s new dramedy The King of Staten Island starring Pete Davidson and Bill Burr, which just came out on VOD.
We haven’t left our cabin for two months, but the good news is we have an internet connection, which means we just watched Shirley on Hulu! After a brief discussion of HBO Max and our current efforts to support causes related to the Black Lives Matter movement, we review some of the notable film releases of the last week, including Shirley from director Josephine Decker starring Elisabeth Moss and Michael Stuhlbarg, Becky starring Lulu Wilson and Kevin James, Deerskin from French director Quentin Dupieux, and Tommaso from director Abel Ferrara starring Willem Dafoe.
When you wish upon a Pod, doesn’t matter which host you are. When you wish upon a Pod, your streams come true. That’s right. We’re celebrating the 80th anniversary of Pinocchio this month on Extra Milestone. But first, a quick word from our good friend, Willt—I mean Walt Disney. Also, be sure to stick around toward the end of the show for a major announcement concerning the Extra Milestone podcast!
This past week may not have opened on a, ahem, high note, but that doesn’t mean the Cinemaholics are tuning out on the latest batch of film releases. After a quick birthday shoutout for our favorite movies ever and a mini review of “Space Force” on Netflix, we jump into our in-depth review of The High Note, a new feel-good comedy-drama starring Dakota Johnson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Ice Cube, and Kelvin Harrison Jr. We also discuss Body Cam starring Mary J. Blige and Nat Wolff, the new Netflix documentary mini-series Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, and Hope Gap starring Annette Bening and Bill Nighy.
Cinemaholics Podcast #169 – The Lovebirds, The Vast of Night, The Painter and the Thief, To the Stars
The Lovebirds just hit Netflix, so Jon and Will are hitting the mic to talk about it. Does this new action rom-com starring Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani, which was originally planned for a theatrical release, scratch our itch for a studio comedy hitting the early ebbs of summer? Also, stay tuned for some extra reviews this week, including The Vast of Night, an indie sci-fi movie that just hit Amazon Prime Video and drive-in theaters. Jon gets a chance to express his love for The Painter and the Thief, a recent Sundance documentary that’s now available via VOD. And the Cinemaholics finish the episode with a more topical discussion about black and white films, tied in with a review of To the Stars, another VOD release.
Special guests Dan Murrell and Sam Noland are here to chat about Zack Snyder’s recently announced director’s cut of Justice League, which came out in 2017 to mostly negative reviews (from us, included). We break down this big news, explain what it means for the movie industry, and speculate about what the cut might look and feel like and what other director’s cuts we’re hoping to see someday.
Zoinks! Like, we’re finally reviewing Scoob! man! I’m Mathew Lillard, the real voice of Shaggy, and Jon and Will hired me to write this episode description for them. Those guys really know how to make a dude like me feel welcome. So like, special guests Matt Serafini and Chris Sheridan are totally here to help out, man! But I gotta be honest, why can’t we ever review, like, a Burger King or something? Anyway, you enjoy this review of Scoob! while I stay in the van and enjoy this chocolate pizza. What do you think, Frank—er, I mean Scoob? RUH-ROH RAGGY! What is it, Scoob? Wait, is that a…a…P-P-P-ODCAST JUMP THE SHARK MOMENT?! (running away sound effects)
Cinemaholics Podcast #167 – Valley Girl, Capone, Driveways, Spaceship Earth, Becoming, The Wrong Missy
Like, we’re totally traveling to the 80s, man! Will our review of Valley Girl starring Jessica Rothe be as bitchin’ as the original from 1983? As if! But we go even further back in time to discuss Josh Trank’s new biopic Capone starring Tom Hardy, and something smells with this movie, dude! Let’s slow down a bit and relax by the driveway in Driveways, which is a super chill indie drama, don’t have a cow! Forget the 80s, though, let’s go to the 90s in Spaceship Earth, a new Sundance documentary about some radical hippies who lived in a Biosphere back in 1991. Far out, man! On Netflix, we got Becoming, a new doc about Michelle Obama, so like hail to the former chief’s ex-ce-llent first lady. And last, Jon asks Will, “where your beef?!” with The Wrong Missy, a new Netflix comedy starring David Spade and Lauren Lapkus. Guess that one gagged Will with a spoon!
Cinemaholics Podcast #166 – Beastie Boys Story, The Half of It, Hollywood, Dangerous Lies, Clementine
Hit it! Yo it’s Jon and Will and they’re here to chat, CINEMAHOLICS IS WHERE IT’S AT. A podcast, a film show, reviews galore. If you’re not into it, there’s the DOOR. It starts with Beastie Boys and here’s their Story, an Apple TV doc about all their glory. On Netflix we stan, Alice Wu’s romance, it’s THE HALF OF IT, and you stand no CHANCE. We go to Hollywood, the big Ryan Murphy joint, again on Netflix, so yeah what’s the POINT. Of watchin’ what else, like Dangerous Lies, BUT THAT’S ON NETFLIX TOO, man time flies. So if you’re quite unsure, about what to watch, we got one more cure, CLEMENTINE on VOD kicks it up a NOTCH! notch…notch…notch…notch…notch.
I saw Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on opening night, and I doubt I could’ve been less excited for it. So much venom had been spewed at the Star Wars brand by this point, so even mentioning the name of certain chapters came at the risk of actually losing friendships. What’s more, its release signaled the start of what all of my work supervisors assured me would be the most hectic few weeks in our theater’s short history — now, of course, I would practically kill for those days — and my sense of dread was simply too powerful to ignore.
Special guest Emily Kubincanek joins us for a bonus review of The Plot Against America, a new HBO mini-series starring Zoe Kazan, Winona Ryder, John Turturro, and many more. From David Simon (creator of The Wire), this alternate history drama follows a Jewish family in 1940s New Jersey trying to grapple with the presidency of Charles Lindbergh, who wins on a platform of staying out of World War II and has a history of antisemitism.
Cinemaholics Podcast #165 – Bad Education, The Willoughbys, True History of the Kelly Gang, Extraction, Normal People
Hey folks, Coach here. Ready to tell you all about our Bad Education review this week. Now on HBO. Ya gotta trust your teachers, but what if your superintendent was secretly Hugh Jackman? What if Allison Janney was his right hand? Don’t worry. I got my eye on both ’em. Anyway, we also got you folks covered on The Willoughbys, the new Netflix animated film. Time for a history lesson with True History of the Kelly Gang, which just hit VOD. Extraction is on Netflix too, and I gotta say, I love me an action flick with Chris Hemsworth. Finally, we get a little sappy and romantic, what’s new, with Normal People, which just dropped its first season on Hulu. If it’s anything like the season I got comin’ up in the fall, it’s a doozy. Anyway. Coach, OUT!
Well, the news is out. Jon and Will’s parents just got married, which means Cinemaholics has a brand new intro to mark the occasion. Once that’s out of the way, the bruthas get down to business reviewing Sergio, the new Netflix film starring Wagner Moura and Ana de Armas. After a quick chat about their favorite flicks of 2020 so far, the mismatched duo discuss the new sci-fi horror thriller Sea Fever, high school indie Selah and the Spades on Prime Video, Abe starring Noah Schnapp of “Stranger Things” fame, and Endings, Beginnings from Like Crazy director Drake Doremus starring Shailene Woodley, Sebastian Stan, and Jamie Dornan.
Cinemaholics Podcast #163 – Trolls: World Tour, Tigertail, Vivarium, Love Wedding Repeat, Impractical Jokers: The Movie
We may not be allowed to explore the world right now, but a mere quarantine won’t stop these Trolls from rocking out. In this action-packed episode of Cinemaholics, we open with an extended Off-Topics section covering all the latest shows we’ve been watching, including Quibi, for some reason. After a quick PSA, we discuss DreamWorks and Universal’s surprise straight-to-streaming sequel, Trolls: World Tour. Then we slow things way down to discuss Tigertail, a new original Netflix drama starring Tzi Ma. Looking for a weird sci-fi indie starring Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots? Look no further than Vivarium. There’s also Love Wedding Repeat, another new Netflix movie, but this one is a multiverse rom-com starring Sam Claflin and Olivia Munn. Finally, Will Ashton gets a bit serious for our detailed, practical review of Impractical Jokers: The Movie, based on the truTV show.
Eight complete strangers sectioned off into four curiously matched pairs awaken in various rooms of an unfamiliar suburban house. None of them can recall how they may have gotten there, nor is there any apparent method of exit. For the foreseeable future, they’re trapped, and none of them are alone. So describes the events of The Doors Between Us, a micro-indie film produced in Lakewood, Colorado, which held its one-night-only premiere on a single, exciting evening back in December.
Harmony is a utopia. But at what cost? The denizens of Trolls: World Tour, a sequel to the well-received DreamWorks Animation film from 2016, begin this self-examination in segregated exile. What is the world of Trolls if not a watermark of our own “United” States? Because these are trolls are a lot of things, but united is certainly not one of them.
Special guest Sam Noland joins us for a weird review of the new weird western Bacurau, now available through some streaming platforms and maybe your local arthouse theater. The gang also discusses a new sci-fi horror flick called The Platform on Netflix, the HBO documentary mini-series McMillion$, yet another sci-fi horror flick called Swallow starring Haley Bennett, and stoner buddy comedy Coffee & Kareem on Netflix starring Ed Helms and Taraji P. Henson.
From rednecks to orange chests, we’ve to you covered this week on Cinemaholics. First we dive into the insanity of Joe Exotic in the new Netflix documentary series, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness. Then we really kick into gear for our review of Bloodshot, a Vin Diesel action movie that only briefly appeared in theaters before getting blasted into VOD. Last, we discuss a pair of more inspiring documentaries, which include Crip Camp on Netflix from Higher Ground Productions (owned by Barack and Michelle Obama) and Slay the Dragon, a documentary about gerrymandering from Magnolia Pictures.
The cinema may be closed, but not Cinemaholics! We’re covering some of the most notable new streaming releases hitting your WiFi router, which include a Sundance indie on Hulu starring Pete Davidson, a would-be Oscar contender on Apple TV+ starring Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson, a Disney+ original music drama starring Grace VanderWaal, and a crime drama on Netflix starring Amy Ryan.
The time has come yet again for you, our most loyal and dedicated of listeners, to do the hardest part of our job for us by deciding which film to delve into on the next Extra Milestone! February yielded a fascinating and varied selection, and it was hard enough to narrow it down to a measly seven. But now is the time to select the ultimate winner. You may choose from the following:
Here’s the big scoop! For our February Extra Milestone, we’re getting down and dirty with His Girl Friday, see. Directed by Howard Hawks and starring Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy (as himself?), and many others, we discuss how this 1940 film was made and what we think of it today, 80 years later.
Special guest Amanda the Jedi joins us all the way from YouTube to review a host of controversial new films most of us can’t see in theaters right now, including The Hunt starring Betty Gilpin, Guns Akimbo starring Daniel Radcliffe and Samara Weaving, I Still Believe starring Britt Robertson and her boyfriend Archie (fine, KJ Apa), and Never Rarely Sometimes Always starring Sidney Flanigan and Talia Ryder.
Special guest Charlie Ridgely joins us for a cinematic quest from the fantastical suburbia of Pixar’s Onward to the Los Angeles basketball courts of The Way Back, and even further to the debutante affairs of Emma. Whatever your poison (Spenser Confidential, anyone?), the Cinemaholics have you covered this week.
Cinemaholics Podcast #157 – The Invisible Man, A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, Wendy, The Call of the Wild
Special guest The Invisible Man comes on the show to talk about his own movie The Invisible Man, which was directed by Leigh Whannell and stars Elisabeth Moss. So stay tuned to hear our thoughts on the latest Blumhouse horror movie, which has most audiences and critics pleasantly spooked. The Cinemaholics also have a chance to discuss the other new releases of the week, including Wendy, Shaun the Sheep 2, and more.
Special guests Julia Teti and Emily Kubincanek join Jon and Will for an in-depth review of Portrait of a Lady on Fire, one of the most universally acclaimed new films from the last year. Directed by Céline Sciamma, this sweeping romantic drama centers around an intense love affair between a young painter (Noémie Merlant) and the woman she is secretly painting a portrait of (Adèle Haenel).
Vote For Our Next Extra Milestone: His Girl Friday, The Shop Around the Corner, Tremors, Before Sunrise (And More!)
Here on Cinemaholics, we don’t just stop with current realms of cinema. Once a month, we take a trip back in time to look at a film that has gone the extra mile to remain relevant all these years later. But selecting that film isn’t always easy! Welcome to this month’s Extra Milestone Poll, in which YOU get to decide what we break down on our next episode.
It’s been over four decades, and Mel Brooks still has us laughing. As we mark the 45th anniversary of Young Frankenstein, Jon and Sam discuss the spooky comedy’s legacy as one of our latest “Extra Milestone” films. Starring Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Teri Garr, and many more familiar faces, Young Frankenstein proves that even a parody film can be just as thrilling and satisfying as a bonafide sequel in the Universal Monsters canon.
Cinemaholics Podcast #155 – Sonic the Hedgehog, The Photograph, Downhill, To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You
Did audiences have a real need for speed this Valentine’s Day? Jon and Will review Sonic the Hedgehog, which premiered this weekend to huge success despite its release delay, alongside other new wide releases like The Photograph and Downhill, plus the new Netflix rom-com sequel, To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You.
Cinemaholics Podcast #154 – Birds of Prey, Horse Girl, BoJack Horseman, Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made
Ready to be emancipated from January movie season? Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) just flew into theaters, and the Cinemaholics are ready to discuss. Stay tuned for reviews of the new Netflix film Horse Girl starring Alison Brie, our quick Season 6 discussion of BoJack Horseman, and the surprisingly good new Disney+ original movie Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made.
It’s that time of year again, when Jon goes to see way too many movies in Park City, Utah, then comes back to tell us all about them. In addition to giving an overview of the Sundance Film Festival, Jon joins Will for in-depth reviews of the new Taylor Swift documentary Miss Americana, The Rhythm Section starring Blake Lively and Jude Law, and the dark fantasy reimagining Gretel & Hansel.
This week, a couple of gents got together to discuss The Gentlemen, the newest film from writer/director Guy Ritchie. With Jon Negroni still shivering in the cold at the Sundance Film Festival, Will Ashton and special guest Sam Noland go across the pond to see what is being considered a return-to-form for the British filmmaker by some and a regressive piece of work by others. Where do these two lads land? Listen to this week’s episode to find out, in addition to hearing our thoughts on Richard Stanley’s H.P. Lovecraft adaptation, Color Out of Space, starring Nicolas Cage, Tyler Perry’s Netflix Original, A Fall From Grace, Clemency starring Alfre Woodard, and a lot more.
It’s survival of the fittest this week on Cinemaholics, which means special guest Cory Woodroof has stepped up to fill in for Jon while he’s away at Sundance. Cory and Will dive into some catch-up reviews, plus they react to the Oscars 2020 nominations before reviewing the two wide releases this week: Dolittle and Bad Boys for Life.
We’re taking our latest film takes to court this week with Just Mercy, starring Michael B. Jordan, Jaime Foxx, and Brie Larson. We review the other big releases of the week, plus a second opinion on A Hidden Life and a catch-up discussion on Varda by Agnès.
The Skywalker Saga as we know it has been over for the better part of a month now, so Jon and I decided that it would be a fun idea to go over the 42-year-old (and counting!) history of the Star Wars Galaxy. The two of us spent nearly three hours presenting our carefully constructed individual rankings of the films (ALL of them), making plenty of stops along the way to justify our varied positions.
2019 was filled with era-defining blockbusters, emotionally compact dramas, and just about every other type of exciting feature in between. Many of these films were true gems, but others might’ve gotten a little lost in the shuffle of weekly big screen releases and an onslaught of new content championed by burgeoning streaming services. Despite all the chaos, 29 of our contributors were able to pinpoint their absolute favorite releases of the year.
Special guest Sam Noland joins us for a countdown of our favorite films this year, as well as our general reflections on 2019. You’ll also hear voice recordings from Cinemaholics contributors all across the globe who picked vastly different films for their own lists, which all factor into our definitive Top 25 rankings, which you’ll hear at the end of the episode along with outliers and honorable mentions. This is our longest episode of Cinemaholics yet, but we hope you give the whole episode a listen as we deep dive into a wide variety of films that made this past year just a little better.
We have a bad feeling about this episode. This week, Jon and Will return from their holiday break to catch up on the biggest December releases you may have already seen. From far away galaxy of The Rise of Skywalker to the even more alien city in Uncut Gems and Bombshell (New York), this is an episode you don’t want to miss.
Time for an Extra Milestone of Biblical proportions. Sort of. This month, Jon and Sam explore Monty Python’s Life of Brian, which celebrates 40 years this past November.
We saw Cats. Is it purrfect, or should audiences catnip this in the bud? We saw Cats. Directed and co-written by Tom Hooper, Cats is based on the long-running 1981 musical from Andrew Lloyd Webber. It stars James Corden, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson, Ray Winstone, […]
It’s playtime for the Cinemaholics, as we get sucked into Jumanji: The Next Level. We catch up on a ton of other films, too, including Black Christmas, Richard Jewell, 6 Underground and a whole lot more in our Off-Topics segment. Grab a controller, press play, and join us.
With The Rise of Skywalker, we now have a definitive conclusion to the latest official trilogy from the official kingmakers at Disney, who set out to construct a brand new direction for a boundless franchise. As a capper to this corner of stories, The Rise of Skywalker is an incredible finale, no question. But like its central opposing forces, it’s filled with all the bad and only most of the good there is to be found in blockbuster cinema’s most beloved — and scrutinized — canon.
It’s the most cinematic time of the year…for the cinemaholics, at least! Jon and Will discuss the films they’re most excited about watching from now until the end of February, along with some dark horse picks that have them more curious than ever about the upcoming winter season.
If you’ve been following Cinemaholics closely over the last year, you’ll know I’ve been an outspoken proponent of Kelvin Harrison Jr. as one of the best actors of the year, first due to his landmark performance in Luce from this past summer (which is still on my Top 10 movies of the year list), and now in Waves, a slow burn A24 indie that has a real chance at scoring some Oscar nominations.
Cinemaholics Podcast #145 – Knives Out, 1917, Noelle, Mickey and the Bear, 21 Bridges, Let it Snow, By the Grace of God
This week, every movie is a suspect. Jon and Will discuss the latest releases, including Rian Johnson’s modern whodunnit-murder-mystery ensemble, Knives Out, which stars way too many people to mention. We also talk Christmas movies on streaming, catch up on recent flicks we missed, and cover a few indies you might want to add to your ever-growing radar.
It’s game night for the Cinemaholics, as we play Cinephile on this week’s bonus show, featuring special guests Sam Noland and Cory Woodroof. The gang competes to recall the filmographies of John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Penelope Cruz, and Greta Gerwig. Plus, a few rounds of “six degrees of separation,” where we attempt to link two actors at random through their associated roles with other actors!
Director Trey Edward Shults has a clear interest in the tools needed for families to survive whatever dangers may come their way. His sophomore film from 2017, It Comes at Night—also an A24 film—explored a heightened metaphor for the terrors parents inflict upon their children just as easily as they themselves fear it, and in Waves, Shults presents a far more grounded, but equally as harrowing tale about the fragility of success in modern America.
Cinemaholics Podcast #144 – Frozen 2, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, The Irishman, The Two Popes
The hot takes never bothered the Cinemaholics anyway. This week, Jon and Will review Frozen 2, the latest animated Disney film, along with the other big releases of the week. They also read your answers to the question of the week, catch up on what they’ve been watching, and discuss the Three Rivers Film Festival.
This week, Jon and Will enter the fast lane for an in-depth review of Ford v Ferrari, starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale. They kick things off with some mini reviews for The Irishman, Parasite, and Doctor Sleep. Plus some full reviews for Charlie’s Angels, Klaus, and Jay and Silent Bob Reboot.
Special guest Brandon Katz joins us for a bonus episode of Cinemaholics. We dive into Waves, the new A24 drama starring Kelvin Harrison Jr., Taylor Russell, and Sterling K. Brown. After that, we review Honey Boy from Amazon Studios, which stars Shia LaBeouf as his own father in a semi-autobiographical drama about his life as a child actor coming of age.
Special guest Cory Woodroof joins Will Ashton for an in-depth review of Doctor Sleep, a spiritual sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, but also an adaptation of Stephen King’s novel of the same name starring Ewan McGregor and Rebecca Ferguson. In addition to reviewing Last Christmas and Playing with Fire, Cory and Will answer the question of the week, offer second opinions of Jojo Rabbit and Marriage Story, and briefly review Seth Meyers: Lobby Baby.
This is the episode we’ll be remembered for. This month on Extra Milestone, Jon, Sam, and Will discuss Tim Burton’s Ed Wood, which celebrates its 25th anniversary of release. We discuss how the film got made, its legacy over the years, and what we really think about it after all this time.
This week, Jon and Will explore the bright spots of Terminator: Dark Fate, the newest Terminator film directed this time by Tim Miller (Deadpool). They also discuss Marriage Story from director Noah Baumbach, which stars Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson. As well as Harriet, the new biopic centering around Harriet Tubman starring Cynthia Erivo, and […]
A biopic about American historical figure Harriet Tubman has been long overdue. You can’t go through American history without reading or hearing her name and yet filmmakers have steered away from her story until now. Finally, Kasi Lemmons brings the legendary abolitionist’s life to the big screen in her biopic Harriet, and while her story is one every American should know, the way the film tells it is not without fault.
Consider our timbers shivered. This week, Jon and Will review The Lighthouse, which is the newest indie freak flick from Robert Eggers, director of 2016’s The Witch. Later in the show, Jon reviews Jojo Rabbit from Taika Waititi, and Will talks about the new Netflix film Dolemite Is My Name, as well as The Current […]
Gregory Allen Howard has been working on bringing the story of Harriet Tubman to the screen for over 20 years. Despite Hollywood’s dismissal of his script, Howard continued to persist in getting his film made and he finally found a partner in director-writer Kasi Lemmons. We talked to the legendary screenwriter about what it took to get the story of such a historical figure to the new biopic Harriet.
Cinemaholics Podcast #139 – Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Zombieland: Double Tap, El Camino, Parasite
We’ve let the movies pile up over the last few weeks, which means it’s time for a CINEMAHOLICS REVIEW-ATHON! We start off with the big Disney wide release, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, then dive into Zombieland: Double Tap and catch up on El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. From there, we get into some mini reviews that range from stellar indies to major new shows hitting streaming. This is a packed episode, so be sure to check out the show notes below to see everything we covered.
This week, we’re seeing double. Jon and Will review Gemini Man, a new action-thriller-spy-clone film starring Will Smith from acclaimed writer and director Ang Lee. Known for its off-kilter shooting style and aggressively high frame rate, Gemini Man has critics and audiences torn, but where do the Cinemaholics stand? Also in the show, Will shares his thoughts on two other new films: Mister America and In the Tall Grass. And Jon briefly discusses his experience playing Borderlands 3 for Playstation 4.
A couple jokers reviewing Joker? What could go right? Jon and Will discuss the controversial new film starring Joaquin Phoenix from director Todd Phillips of The Hangover series and other 2000s comedies your dad probably loves. They also dive into some discussion around In the Shadow of the Moon, The Kill Team, The Politician, and more. But the real killing joke is that theme music, which is “Smile” by Jimmy Durante.
Since his first appearance in 1940, the Joker as a comic book villain (and later TV/Film/Video Game villain) has been an ever-evolving enigma, much like his darkly heroic counterpart. So it makes perfect sense for the films to continuously reinvent a character like the Joker, who serves a litany of important functions as an antagonistic presence.
It’s no secret Hollywood loves Hollywood (see: La La Land’s 14 Oscar nominations). A biopic about a beloved star of the Hollywood Golden Age? Singing? My first thought upon viewing the Judy trailer was Oscar. Fodder. But Renée Zellweger’s performance as Judy Garland ultimately transcended my cynicism.
We like to think of ourselves as contenders, so for August and September, Sam and Will are doing a double review of On the Waterfront from director Elia Kazan and Rear Window from Alfred Hitchcock. Both films came out in 1954 and are thus celebrating 65 glorious years at the cinema.
Special guest Sam Noland returns for a packed episode filled with movie news and reviews you can only find at Cinemaholics, or perhaps somewhere over the rainbow. That’s right, after some movie news chat about The Irishman and Spider-Man returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Sam and Will review Judy, a new biopic about the legendary actress and singer, Judy Garland, starring Renée Zellweger. Also, Will briefly shares his thoughts on Abominable, the latest animated film from DreamWorks.
Cinemaholics Podcast #135 – Ad Astra, Rambo: Last Blood, Downtown Abbey, Tigers Are Not Afraid, One Cut of the Dead, In Fabric
Special guest Sam Noland joins us for a galaxy-sized episode of the show this week with more reviews than stars in the sky (or so it might feel). We covered the wide releases of the week, including Ad Astra of course as our featured review toward the end of the show, but we also tackled […]
Do Jon and Will float by on charm, too? Or…TWO?! This week on Cinemaholics, Jon and Will discuss It Chapter Two, the followup to the wildly successful 2017 horror film/Stephen King adaptation. They also talk about Where’d You Go Bernadette, Luce, The Nightingale, Dave Chapelle: Sticks & Stones, American Factory, and Brittany Runs a Marathon.
After recapping the summer movie season and discussing 2019’s best films thus far, Jon and Will dive into a full preview of what’s coming out this fall, including their most anticipated films, a few dark horses, and even some flicks they’ve already seen ahead of time.
This week’s episode of Cinemaholics isn’t a game. We’re reviewing Ready or Not, a new horror thriller/comedy starring Samara Weaving, plus we’re diving into some of the biggest announcements coming out of Disney’s D23 Expo, which includes updates about Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and of course, Disney+. We also tackle a few mini reviews, which […]
A TON of movies have come out in the last few weeks, so with Jon and Will back from vacation, they take on a supersized episode of reviews that include Dora and The Lost City of Gold, The Angry Birds Movie 2, and plenty more, including our featured review of Good Boys, Luce, Peanut Butter Falcon, Blinded by the Light, and Sextuplets.
It might be several weeks late, but July’s EXTRA MILESTONE is here! With Jon away on vacation, Will Ashton and Sam Noland decided to tackle not one, but two notable classics celebrating anniversaries. First up is Dennis Hopper’s Easy Rider, the counterculture classic celebrating its 50th anniversary, followed by Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, the eternally relevant commentary on racial tensions celebrating its 30th anniversary.
If you can’t handle the heat, stay out of Julia and Kimber’s podcast about The Kitchen, a new female-led gangster movie starring Tiffany Haddish, Elisabeth Moss, and Melissa McCarthy. That’s right, Julia Teti and Kimber Myers are guest hosting this episode of the show, which dives deep into the directorial debut of film writer Andrea Berloff (Straight Outta Compton).
2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the infamous Manson Murders — a tragic chain of senseless killings irreparably changing the world forever, and once broadly referred to by Don McLean as one of “the days the music died.” As is true with just about any point in time of this historical caliber, these events have been dramatized in various ways via the cinematic medium. With three films on the subject being distributed this year alone, I decided the time was right to witness and rank each and every one of them that I could get my hands on.
Special guest Preeti Chhibber from the Strong Female Characters podcast joins the show this week to talk about Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw, a spinoff of the “Fast/Furious” franchise starring Dwayne the Rock Johnson, Jason Statham, Vanessa Kirby, and Idris Elba.
Cruelty is currency, and salvation is nothing more than a branch thrown into a ravaging, rapid river. This is the world Jennifer Kent throws her audience, unwillingly, into for her sophomore feature, The Nightingale. A divisive and often outright dread-inducing picture, Kent’s film rides through the Tasmanian wilderness with a steadfast purpose, to confront and kill the colonizing demons that haunt her main characters by body and land. To an extent, the vindictiveness of Kent’s picture thrives in the lush greenery of Tasmania. But the bonds that hold her characters together break under pressure.
Get ready to cruise down the sunset strip to WSJ radio (Will/Sam/Jon), because we’re reviewing Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood, the latest film from director/writer Quentin Tarantino, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, and a huge cast of surprise faces you’ll probably recognize. This is one of our most divisive conversations of the year, so you don’t want to miss it, ya dig?
Julia Teti and Sam Noland join Jon Negroni for an Indie Panel discussion of Wild Rose, a new drama about a country music singer (Jessie Buckley) who lives in Scotland but dreams of somehow going to Nashville to realize her dreams, despite all the obstacles standing in her way.
Before we indulge in Disney’s recycle of life by reviewing The Lion King, the newest “reimgainging” of one of their animated classics, the Cinemaholics catch up on the latest details coming out of Comic Con, specifically the big announcements surrounding Marvel’s next timeline of films and streaming releases. Plus, we get into a fur-raising discussion […]
We have a triple feature this week, as we dive into the new hurricane horror predator flick Crawl from director Alexandre Aja, the new R-rated buddy action comedy Stuber starring Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista, and the dark indie comedy The Art of Self-Defense starring Jesse Eisenberg.
Jon, Will, and Julia escape the daylight and discuss Midsommar, the latest “horror” film from director/writer Ari Aster and A24. Yes, we’re doing another bonus review on an A24 movie. We start with a spoiler-free overview of our thoughts, then we dive into spoiler-filled deep dive of the film. Midsommar stars Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, William Jackson Harper, Will Poulter, and Vilhelm Blomgren.
The time has come yet again for a new release to be completely steamrolled at the box office by an installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — and shamefully so, if you ask me. The unfortunate and doomed film comes this time in the form of A24’s Midsommar, a folk mystery/thriller from Hereditary director Ari Aster, which just so happens to be one of the best movies of the year.
Special guest and fellow webhead Matt Serafini joins us for a full review of Spider-Man: Far From Home, the newest Marvel film featuring Tom Holland as everyone’s favorite neighborhood superhero. We also catch up on some other films and shows we’ve been watching, including Stranger Things Season 3, Anima, and Annabelle Comes Home. This week’s […]
The children are our future. So how do they perceive our past? In the documentary, The History Project, producers Daniel Ahrens and Jason Flood compiled a collection of video projects from both middle schoolers and high schoolers depicting the events that shaped our nation’s history. The result is an amusing, revealing, often bizarre and surprisingly touching […]
This past weekend saw the release of Danny Boyle’s Yesterday, a high-concept dram-com with a hint of romance in which an unprecedented global anomaly erases The Beatles (among other cultural bullet points) from history. The Fab Four are allowed to live on, however, in the baffled memory of struggling musician Jack (Himesh Patel), the only one with any understanding of what’s happened.
Do we believe in Yesterday? Special guest Kimber Myers joins the show to discuss the latest film from director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Richard Curtis, which explores a world where the Beatles never existed, and the one person who remembers them tries to pass their legendary music off as his own. We also discuss Midsommar and Wild Rose, then dive into some feedback from last week’s show.
If you’re a fan of the Annabelle and Conjuring movies, then we have a special treat for you this week. I recently spoke with Gary Dauberman, writer and director of the new horror film Anabelle Comes Home, which hits theaters later this week. Dauberman was also the screenwriter for the first Annabelle in 2014, along with Annabelle: Creation and The Nun. He co-wrote It from 2017 and is the executive producer and co-writer for Swamp Thing, a new DC Comics series on streaming.
The seventh film in the Conjuring series and the third to focus on the now-famous Annabelle doll comes to us from first-time director Gary Dauberman, who previously wrote the first two Annabelle films and co-wrote The Nun, as well as the latest adaptation of Stephen King’s It.
Special guest Charlie Ridgely (ComicBook.com) joins us for some playtime with Woody and the gang in Toy Story 4, the latest Toy Story film from Pixar. We discuss our thoughts and feelings on the overall series, plus we kick off the episode with some discussion about our favorite films of the year so far.
When it came to selecting the Movie of the Week, there was no clearer choice than George A. Romero’s inimitable classic Night of the Living Dead, especially with the recent release of Jim Jarmusch’s zombie comedy The Dead Don’t Die, which was heavily inspired by the 1968 film. Night of the Living Dead wasn’t the first film to feature the undead, but it is widely considered to be the definitive introduction for mainstream audiences. The mythology it established all those years ago continues to be the standard for almost every other zombie movie, TV show, or other medium in the genre to come out since.
Suit up. Jon and Will are back in black to discuss Men in Black: International, the fourth film in the franchise, now starring Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson as the memory-wiping, alien-saving agents. They also discuss the lackluster summer box office in 2019 and how this may affect theatrical releases in the future. And you’ll hear reviews for Jim Jarmusch’s “dry zombie comedy” The Dead Don’t Die and Seth Green’s directorial debut Changeland.
It’s been two weeks since the release of Michael Dougherty’s long-awaited sequel Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which hit theaters to a mixed critical reaction and moderate financial success. It hasn’t received the widespread enthusiasm Legendary and Warner Bros. were likely hoping for, but the film does contribute to the now 65-year old legacy of the world’s favorite giant monster in more ways than one.
The Toy Story movies have always been filled with lots of toys, and rightfully so. But every film so far has mostly played around with the character of Woody the cowboy doll. His story has progressed both positively and negatively to some extent over the years, from his fear of being replaced in the first […]
Have you tried…not being a Cinemaholic? The “X-Men” franchise is on its last wings these days, so Jon and Will are here to discuss Dark Phoenix, Fox’s last breath of fire before Disney bought the rights to these characters. We also discuss the new comedy Late Night starring Mindy Kaling and Emma Thompson, The Secret Life of Pets 2 from Illumination, and Joanna Hogg’s latest film The Souvenir from A24.
‘Dark Phoenix’ Review – The X-Men Franchise Ends As It Did The First Time, By Flaming Out Spectacularly.
19 years of X-Men films have led to one very awkward moment. A patchwork of sagas ranging from transcendent to bottom-dweller couldn’t have a picked a flatter vehicle for punctuating a complex legacy now in the hands of Disney upon the Disney-Fox merger. And to make matters more confused, we still have another one of these ancillary films, New Mutants, delayed to next spring for an unrelated and likely inconsequential misadventure. For now, Dark Phoenix effectively closes the book on a story that already has two, maybe three endings as it is.
‘Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am’ Review – The Living Literary Icon Gets A Meditative Documentary Of Her Own
Where there once stood the pillar of the white, male gaze in literature, Toni Morrison exchanged her chisel for a sledgehammer and there, knocked it down. The author, editor, and icon has amassed a following worthy of her extraordinary verve. A towering figure in the world of fiction, Morrison’s titles include The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon, Tar Baby, and Beloved, among many others. She is a Nobel Peace Prize winner in literature and, will have you know, she makes the best carrot cake you will ever have.
Cinemaholics Podcast #119 – Rocketman, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Ma, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Always Be My Maybe
We’re not the podcast you thought we were before. This week, Sam Noland joins Jon Negroni for a packed episode, covering all the wide releases of the week, plus some extra limited/streaming releases. Our theme music this week is “Amoreena,” performed by Taron Egerton on the Rocketman soundtrack.
Jon, Will, and Sam talk about François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows, which began the French New Wave of Cinema in the late 1950s. We discuss the significance of the film and why it’s essential viewing for cinemaholics, plus we debate the meaning behind the film’s controversial ending.
Over the past 65 years, there have been 35 films featuring Godzilla (or 38 if you’re being technical), a super-powered reptilian giant and titan of the ancient world, born against his will from the complicit ashes of mankind’s mistakes. He’s a rightful god among monsters and humans alike, and such is the case in this latest outing of the world’s favorite monster, in which there might be some serious competition for the title of “King.”
Sifting through Netflix’s endless rolodex of content can be daunting. What should you watch? What are the streaming overlords recommending? Is there a category curated specifically for one’s own tastes? Mind-boggling algorithms aside, there are sometimes those movies that just pop up out of nowhere (fine, not out of nowhere exactly, I just went through the algorithm process). But these are the movies that always seem to simply say, “maybe.” Maybe this is the one. And this time, that “maybe” is literal in Always Be My Maybe, which is now streaming on Netflix and stars Ali Wong and Randall Park.
Do you trust us? Great! We’re sweeping you off your feet as we review a whole new Disney live-action remake, this time covering everyone’s favorite street rat, Aladdin, in Aladdin. We also discuss The Perfection, a new Netflix film you have to hear to believe, and Brightburn, a super-hero-horror flick that will probably make you […]
What we know of Ophelia has only been communicated by men. Shakespeare wrote her, Hamlet showed her disdain, and our high school English teachers misjudged her actions for hysteria. She is a tragic character worth revisiting, and worth further examination. Her story, though thought to be mostly miserable, has earned a more hopeful iteration. It’s […]
Every teen generation tends to get defined by the media they consume and how they consume it. Sure, not everyone can relate with the exact feeling a single song from the 70s can invoke when played in a film like Dazed and Confused, or perhaps what an early 2000s pop culture reference might inform in Superbad. But in Booksmart, the tradition of expanding relatability beyond the constraints and memories of a given era continues in this lovingly ambitious feature debut from actor-turned-filmmaker Olivia Wilde.
Fellow Game of Thrones fanatics Kimber Myers and Julia Teti join us for a full-length discussion of the hit HBO series and its 8-season finale. We discuss what we liked and disliked, what surprised us, and how the legacy of Game of Thrones may shape pop culture for winters to come.
We’re ready to get in on the action of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, the third installment of the ongoing Keanu Reeves hitman franchise from director Chad Stahelski and screenwriter Derek Kolstad. We kick off the show with Off-Topics and briefly catch up on some of the new films we saw this week and last week but don’t have time to fully review.
In my view, 2014’s John Wick is the ultimate Redbox movie. On the surface, it looks like your typical, generic B-movie action thriller. It features a recognizable actor who was out of the limelight at the time, and to some, past his prime. In this case, that actor was Keanu Reeves, and this revenge tale looked like any other generic action romp, the likes of which you typically find crowded in those recognizable movie machines outside of Wal-Mart.
Special guest Cory Woodroof joins Will for a long conversation about Under the Silver Lake, the latest film from director David Robert Mitchell (It Follows), which stars Andrew Garfield and Riley Keough. Despite a lot of buzz surrounding this neo-noir thriller after premiering last year at Cannes Film Festival, A24 has only recently unleashed the mystery upon us hopeful cinemaholics. Is that for good reason? Dive in and find out!
I can still recall…The Last Summer.
John Ronald Reuel (J.R.R.) Tolkien, author of such high fantasy novels as The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, was recently the subject of Dome Karukoski’s Tolkien, a new biopic about the prolific author produced by Fox Searchlight Pictures and released through Disney last weekend.
We just have one movie following us around as we battle it out over Pokémon Detective Pikachu, a new live-action movie based on the video game, as well as the larger world of pocket monsters with so many games and merchandise, we couldn’t possibly hope to catch ’em all.
In Pokémon Detective Pikachu, the rules of Pokémon and perhaps video game movies in general are turned on their head to seemingly serve a single purpose: give the people what they want. But what do audiences really want in a new Pokémon movie? A stylish film noir? A diversely casted Zootopia narrative? Dozens of CG monsters to adore and collect? The Ryan Reynolds brand of comedy under a PG rating? Or perhaps simply a reminder that when many of you were young, Pokémon (in some fashion) was a big deal to you, and now it can be a big deal to your kids.
Filmmakers generally build their stories around proven formulas. Either intentionally or not, most movies you see at your local theater follow a predictable series of set ups and payoffs. Sometimes this can be grating, and other times, it’s part of the charm. In one’s mundane day-to-day living, a familiar, run-of-the-mill story can be dull, meandering, or frustrating. You’ve almost certainly heard someone ask, “Why won’t Hollywood make something new?” But in other cases, a film that’s light, good-natured, and winningly by-the-books can invoke a welcome sigh of relief.
Cinemaholics Podcast #115 – Long Shot, Booksmart, Extremely Wicked Shockingly Evil and Vile, Tuca & Bertie, Knock Down the House
Special guest Abby Olcese joins us as we cast our ballots for Long Shot, a brand new political romantic comedy starring Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen. But that’s not all! School is out but the party is just getting started. We’re doing an early review for the upcoming bad teen comedy Booksmart, the first film directed by Olivia Wilde. And later in the show, we discuss three new releases on Netflix: Extremely Wicked Shockingly Evil and Vile, Tuca & Bertie, and Knock Down the House.
For reasons that may be obvious, critically analyzing a film intended for children can be a difficult task. There’s a prevailing notion that kids, due to their general lack of experience, have very low standards and will eat up whatever colorful media they’re given. There may certainly be some truth to that sentiment, given that children and adults consume art very differently, but one of our responsibilities as critics is to thoroughly clarify how disparate age groups might react to a film, especially one made for kids to enjoy.
This month on Extra Milestone, we’re celebrating the 65th anniversary of Akira Kurosawa’s legendary action epic, Seven Samurai, which was released on April 26, 1954. As always, we dive into the historical context and legacy for the film, why it’s so fondly remembered, and what we think of it all these years later.
Pristinely lined upon walls in America’s capital are the imposing, glorifying portraits of the fathers of our nation. Men who may have written moving words, but did so using the backs of women, people of color, and disenfranchised groups as the desk to write upon. It’s a tiring cycle; to be told the people have power only as far as the ballot box, and only if they can even get there. But in Netflix’s new documentary Knock Down the House, director Rachel Lears follows four women and their personal, political battles against a broken system.
We’re assembling some surprise guests to review Avengers: Endgame, starting with a spoiler-free discussion of the blockbuster event that’s already breaking box office records. Afterward, all of our spoiler hesitations disappear with a snap, and we have special guests Alisha Grauso and Matt Donato on deck to help us process basically everything this saga by Marvel has been building up to for over a decade.
Avengers: Endgame marks the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it. At least…until Spider-Man: Far From Home comes out in a few months. Regardless, there are 22 films in this sprawling quilt of franchises, and not all of them are made equal. In this bonus episode of Cinemaholics, I spend a grueling two hours with Sam Noland collaborating and debating a definitive ranking we can both put our names on.
The set up and payoff structure of the Marvel films beginning with Iron Man in 2008 may never be fully realized. These stories will continue on for as long as audiences continue to be fans of the material, so any definitive ending for a saga of episodic films requires a conclusion to at least one prominent idea, not necessarily an entire world of characters and their respective potential as branched franchises. This is why Avengers: Endgame is a film deftly committed to playing out the first and last revelation of such a film series. Tony Stark is Iron Man. And the Avengers are the Earth’s mightiest heroes. Everything else in Endgame is secondary, including its villain.
Special guests Sam Noland and Julia Teti join us for a Summer Movie Preview that includes the entire writing staff at Cinemaholics for the first time! We talk about all the biggest sparks, spooks, and bops we’re looking forward to the most this summer. Plus we each pick a few “dark horse” films we think might be better than they look, then cover all of our honorable mentions for the upcoming blockbuster season.
Actor Raymond Cruz is often best known for his television work, particularly on TNT’s The Closer and his memorable reoccurring turn in Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul. For more than thirty years, however, Cruz has appeared on screens both big and small, providing memorable and distinctive turns in a variety of projects. His latest role in the New Line horror film The Curse of La Llorona, however, is one of his biggest to date. Premiering in theaters and IMAX screens around the world starting tonight, his role in The Conjuring spin-off film is literally and physically among his most gigantic to date, particularly if you see him on the 72-foot screen.
‘The Curse of La Llorona’ Review – The Latest ‘Conjuring’ Feature is Only Superficially Supernatural
The Curse of La Llorona is the sixth film in the ongoing Conjuring series. Released through Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema, the film is helmed by first-time director Michael Chaves (the director of next year’s The Conjuring 3), written by Mikki Daughtry & Tobias Iaconis, and stars Linda Cardellini, Raymond Cruz, and Patricia Velásquez. The story is based on the Mexican folklore of La Llorona, also known as The Weeping Woman, and follows Anna (Cardellini), a widowed mother of two in 1970s Los Angeles, who must protect her children from the supernatural entity in question (Marisol Ramirez).
Merriam-Webster Dictionary should be on the lookout. Paying attention to the latest changes in the English language, the millennial vernacular has birthed some questionable terms in its wake: “Extra,” “Slay,” and the ever-practical “Lit” have found their way into the jargon of many young folks. But above all other terms, there is one that shames them all. Adulting. Defined: “to behave like an adult, to do the things that adults regularly have to do,” as per Merriam-Webster. This is the very word encompassing the Netflix nexus of Jennifer Kaytin Robinson’s neon-lit directorial debut, Someone Great.
Slut in a Good Way is directed by French-Canadian actress Sophie Lorain and stars Marguerite Bouchard, Romane Denis, and Rose Adam as Charlotte, Mégane, and Aube respectively, a trio of teenage girls who are hired to work part-time at a toy store during the winter holidays. Over the course of the season, they each engage in various romantic and sexual exploits with their coworkers and are suddenly forced to reckon with the frustrations and uncertainties that arise when it comes to adult relationships.
Cinemaholics Podcast #112 – Hellboy, Missing Link, High Life, Guava Island, Little, The Death of Dick Long, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, Breakthrough
We’re traveling to hell and back this week with our review of Hellboy, a new R-rated adaptation of the monster-fighting comic book anti-hero, now starring David Harbour. We also catch up on the latest stop-motion animation family film from LAIKA, Missing Link, and cover plenty of other releases worth talking about, including High Life, Guava Island, Little, The Death of Dick Long, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, and Breakthrough.
‘The Man Who Killed Don Quixote’ Review – Terry Gilliam’s Delayed, Surreal Fantasy Finally Becomes A Reality
For many film fans, Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote has taken on a bit of a mythic quality since its inception. Either fittingly or ironically, this long-in-the-works passion project centered (in part) around the literary icon is one that has often alluded the Brazil director. For the past 30 years, Gilliam has tried — with only fleeting success — to bring this mischievous fable to the big screen. Despite every intention and aspiration to make it a reality, Don Quixote yet remained a fantasy.
Cinemaholics Podcast #111 – Shazam, Pet Sematary, The Best of Enemies, Unicorn Store, Shrill, The Inventor
Special guest Ryan Oliver (The Playlist) joins us for a supersized review of Shazam, the latest superhero film from DC and Warner Bros. We also bury our feelings to discuss Pet Sematary, a new horror remake of the 80s Stephen King adaptation. Later in the show, we’re covering a wide variety of other releases, including The Best of Enemies, Shrill Season 1, The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley, and Unicorn Store.
It’s been some time since I’ve been completely and utterly transfixed by a film. It happened quite often back when I started to really dive into cinema; it was only 2015, but it seems like a thousand years ago, and I remember everything I watched seeming so unique and tantalizing at the time. Naturally, the frequency of this sensation started to die out as my knowledge grew, and it slowly began to take a lot more for a movie to truly knock my socks off.
The escapist horror of Stephen King is known and perhaps beloved for its eery “other” worlds and frightscapes mirroring our own reality, yet are not quite the same. Something is always off in the very best of King’s written stories and media adaptations, and in the same way, Pet Sematary (a remake of the schlocky 1989 horror hit) contains just about everything recognizable in a memorable, unshakeable King horror, but something here inevitably strikes as a bit twisted and wrong.
Robin Bissell has produced, though not frequently, films of varying quality over the years, primarily under director Gary Ross. If you’ve watched Pleasantville, Seabiscuit, The Hunger Games, or Free State of Jones, for instance, then you’ve had a chance to spot his name in the credits. And now, after two decades of bringing films to the big screen, Bissell has jumped into the director’s chair with his own screenplay for The Best of Enemies, a lukewarm debut for the veteran producer under the STX Films brand.
There’s a moment in Unicorn Store when frustrated Kit (Brie Larson) is coaxed to sit down at the kitchen table for a chat with her mom, Gladys (Joan Cusack). During their mother-daughter heart to heart, Gladys tells Kit, “The most grown-up thing you can do is fail at something you love.” This is the gamble Brie Larson takes on as director and star of the latest Netflix original film. Unicorn Store is not a failure by any means, but it’s also quite far from brilliance.
The inmates are running the asylum this week as Jon is absent for mysterious reasons and Will takes over the show to ramble about Danny DeVito, Sad Clowns, and his enemy list with special guest Cory Woodroof! Later in the show, Will is high on his own supply — i.e. the sound of his own voice — as he spews more nonsense about Harmony Korine in a prolonged, in-depth conversation about The Beach Bum, starring a far-out Matthew McConaughey. All this and more as fans begin to get worried about Jon’s sudden disappearance.
This month for our Extra Milestone series, we’re discussing the classic Billy Wilder comedy Some Like It Hot, celebrating 60 years since its release on March 29,1959. Joining us is Sam Noland, our Movie of the Week columnist. In this discussion, we cover the background and legacy of the film, which stars Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, and Tony Curtis. Afterward, we dive into the plot of the film with clips and our own double entendres.
If there’s one adjective I typically abhor when it comes to describing films, it’s “cute.” Cute, to my disgruntled ears, comes off as cheap, lazy, and non-descriptive. It’s a broad word that doesn’t really get to the meat of one’s feelings beyond the surface level. It’s a deflection term, often used to describe the exterior of a film while avoiding anything specific, intellectual, or meaningful. It’s an inoffensive word, certainly; there’s really no sense in getting mad about its overuse beyond my (admittedly) overbearingly high literary standards. But I still find it ceaselessly grating. What exactly does it mean to be “cute” anyway? It looks nice? A squeaky-clean disposition? Positive vibes? Good morals? It’s a placeholder word when others fail you.
Originating from the German Expressionist movement of the early 20th century, film noir is a corner of cinema often reduced to a shallow microcosm of its time period. It’s a genre that has been worked in ever since the 1930s, but the most common association with noir is made to the stylish, studio-mandated crime dramas of the 1940s. Production-code-overseen stories of bitter detectives, steely romantic interests, and Tommy Gun-toting gangsters punctuating every sentence with “See?” are typically conjured up when thinking of the prototypical noir story, but there’s a distinct tonal influence hovering over these films, setting them apart from other thrillers. This is the compelling narrative underpinning the Criterion Channel’s choice for our 8th Movie of the Week.
Shazam! is probably the last film a lot of superhero movie fans expected from the expanded cinematic universe of DC stories, which have recently taken a turn for the colorful and fantastical with Aquaman, as well as the dynamic and righteous Wonder Woman. Unlike those entries into the ever-growing mythology of live-action gods and heroes, this new film from oft-horror director David F. Sandberg is a heartfelt family comedy with an authentically “teen” edge, boasting far more angst to chew on than its closest rival, Spider-Man: Homecoming.
In the light of day, the American prairie is an open and endless field of grass. Landscapes of the Old West stretch on for miles, and the golden plains evoke a warm, welcoming feeling. But at night, the howling wind creeps in through the windows. Candles flicker and the once open country becomes a claustrophobic nightmare, where nature speaks and shrieks. This is the visage first-time director Emma Tammi captures in The Wind, a psychological western-horror hybrid with haunting elements that work separately, but never coalesce into something truly frightening.
This week, we’re dedicating the majority of the show to reviewing the new horror film Us, the second feature by director Jordan Peele after his 2017 debut Get Out. We’ll be discussing the film entirely spoiler-free for the first half of this review, then after a fairly obvious spoiler warning, we’ll be digging deep into the secrets, meanings, and interpretations we had after our first watch. Plus, we kick off the episode with a brief review of Yardie, the first feature film directed by Idris Elba.
There are many times in life — perhaps especially, as a critic — when you have to admit that you were wrong. “To err is human,” Alexander Pope once said, and I believe that to be true. For me, when I first saw Get Out in theaters in 2017, I recognized it as a strong and […]
In 2001, the four members of the 1980s rock band Mötley Crüe chronicled their drug and sex laden escapades in a tell-all book entitled The Dirt. It was far more about sex and drugs than it was rock ‘n’ roll; detailing stories of trashed hotel rooms, struggles with addiction, and personal pitfalls over the sake of living the rockstar life doled out in absolute chaos. The film incarnation is, unfortunately, much of the same. Netflix’s adaptation of the tumultuous, vile story of Mötley Crüe never finds the right tone and ultimately hits all the wrong notes.
It’s been half a century since the significant culminating events of the Space Race, and the film landscape is making good on celebrating this milestone. 2018 saw several high-profile releases for Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, plus there was the debut of First Man, Damien Chazelle’s fantastic Neil Armstrong biopic. And even more recently, there was the 2019 IMAX release of Apollo 11, Todd Douglas Miller’s fascinating documentary. Not to be outdone, the Criterion Collection recently offered the acclaimed documentary For All Mankind to early subscribers of their approaching streaming service.
Cinemaholics Podcast #108 – Triple Frontier, Five Feet Apart, Captive State, The Mustang, After Life
Special guest Sam Noland joins us for a triple review of Triple Frontier, a new “soldier-heist” film debuting on Netflix and starring Ben Affleck and Oscar Isaac. We’re also getting emotional over the new teen romance dramedy Five Feet Apartstarring Haley Lu Richardson and Cole Sprouse. Stick around for even more reviews, including the new sci-fi release Captive State, After Life from Ricky Gervais, and The Mustang, now in limited release.
Captive State has a lot going for it: a talented cast and crew, a solid visual and narrative aesthetic, and an interesting premise rife with potential to explore the faith we bestow upon our leaders. It deeply saddens me, then, to report that the film misses nearly every opportunity to create something meaningful, original, or memorable. It fails to deliver on any of the promises it makes from the outset and winds up feeling like a wholly unrewarding chore to watch.
The Criterion Collection is often revered (rightfully so) for bringing well-deserved attention to the more obscure, lesser-known corners of cinema history. They have highlighted great films that — whether due to poor accessibility or popularity — have been largely forgotten, and those interested enough to take advantage of the opportunity are typically better off as a result. Their sixth movie of the week, available exclusively to charter subscribers of The Criterion Channel, is a prime example of their knack for worthwhile curation and restoration, and it also serves as an exciting sneak peek into a title not yet released on physical media.