We saw Steven Spielberg’s 80’s nostalgic fun fest, Ready Player One, and we were surprised that it managed to be a good film. We’d heard nothing but shaky things leading up to it, but with our appropriately set expectations, we had a lot of fun with it. It’s not perfect, the ending in particular is a bit of a mess, but it works if you want it to work, and if you’re in this movie’s target demo, you’re going to want it to work. Since we’re both pretty much at ground zero of that target, we can’t say how well it would hold up if you’re safely outside the film’s nostalgia blast wave.
Today’s commission is courtesy the kind support of Sean Ray, a five time commissioner! He selected It Follows, an extremely clever and inventive horror flick written and directed by David Robert Mitchell. It has big ideas, and while it struggles to live up to them in places, the concept and performance of the plucky cast of likable yet relatively obscure young actors really makes the film shine. It’s fun to watch, it’s fun to think about, and it’s fun to talk about. How would you survive being hunted by “It”? That and a few beers is a topic that can easily kill a whole evening of hanging with your friends.
Jim and I saw a movie about giant robots punching even bigger monsters, and it was even dumber than we thought it would be. Jim and I have no small amount of affection for the first Pacific Rim. But hoo-boy, Pacific Rim: Uprising might up the robot on monster punching action slightly, but removes all of the spunk and charm of the original to give us a loud, boring, and thoroughly by the numbers action movie. My 11 year old loved it, though, so if you have one of those around, or are one of those in heart and mind, by all means, don’t let us stop you from seeing Pacific Rim 2. Everybody else should steer well clear.
Special thanks to our buddy Jason Shankel hailing from the Nattercast for commissioning this podcast for the 1986 sci-fi action fantasy film Highlander, directed by Russell Mulcahy and starring Sean Connery and Christopher Lambert. Jason and his friends also did a deep dive on Highlander, so please check that out if you’re looking for a very affectionate and informed take from life-long fans of the franchise. As for us, we thought Highlander was cheesy fun. The film boasts an excellent soundtrack, exciting and varied sets for the extended sword fights, and some of the sturdiest and most interesting fantasy bones to hang a franchise on. We walk away wondering why hasn’t anyone rebooted this?
Tonight we were supposed to see A Wrinkle in Time, but we were upstaged by A Wrinkle in Ticket Pre-sales, so we called an audible and saw the movie we were supposed to see last week, Red Sparrow. Starring Jennifer Lawrence as a Russian ballerina turned deadly secret agent, and Joel Edgerton as just a dumb*ss American spy it manages to be lurid without being interesting. We’ll tell you what we thought about the movie up front, then talk about upcoming movies and trailers for a bit, but if you want our full spoiler-filled take you’ll have to be a Club Member!
So Jim and I did this 24 hour Groundhog Day marathon on Groundhog Day, and ended up raising $10,205 for the homeless! You can watch the entire thing on YouTube if you’re so inclined, but if you want to know the highlights, listen to this podcast. We couldn’t be prouder of the Bald Move family. We truly felt like we really came together and did something special.
Special thanks to Stephen Moore, whose original commission of Home Alone we thoughtlessly trampled upon during our holiday revelries. For his make-good podcast, he has selected the classic 1973 horror film, The Exorcist. Directed by William Friedkin and starring Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, Max von Sydow, and Jason Miller, it tells the harrowing tale of a mother who turns to Catholic priests as her last hope when her daughter gets possessed by an ancient evil spirit. I’ve got to be honest, I was skeptical that the film would hold up, but does it ever. Not only does it still manage to be genuinely disturbing, but it elevates the form of the horror flick into a generally excellent film in terms of art.
We’ve just seen Annihilation, and boy are our minds blown. Written and directed by Alex Garland and starring Natalie Portman, Oscar Isaacs, Tessa Thompson, and Jennifer Jason Leigh, it features a plot that it is alien, wondrous, unfathomable, and terrifying, with visuals to match. It compares favorably to The Arrival, and is the kind of movie we wanted Alien: Covenant to be. It’s just too bad that Paramount had so little faith in the film, in our eyes they had something special on their hands, and we feel sorry for the international audience that is going to see this for the first time on the small screen. For everybody in the US, Canada, and China, go see this film!
Special thanks to Freddy C, friend of the pod and one of the heroes from our recent Groundhog Day charity drive, who commissioned the epic 1995 crime thriller, Heat. Directed by Michael Mann and starring Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Val Kilmer, among many, many other notable stars, it features some of the best looking and sounding action ever committed to film, not to mention an inspired mano a mano acting showdown between some of the greatest actors of their generation.
Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther is a great super hero film, and an even better launching point into interesting discussions about the politics of colonialism and liberation. Starring Chadwick Boseman as the Panther himself, and Michael B. Jordan as the best Marvel villain since Magneto, the movie is a constant challenge to one’s complacency and sense of justice. Wakanda looks amazing, the cast is fantastic, the world they are building is both visually and philosophically amazing, to the point that one of the films weaknesses is that we were desperate to learn and know more.