Jim and A.Ron put on their brown pants tonight to go out and see The Nun, the latest installment in The Conjuring universe, but only one of us needed to. The film’s getting mixed reviews; and Jim worries that co-writer James Wan’s bag of tricks are getting played out and the movie suffers from inconsistent internal logic. Perhaps I’m the biggest wuss alive, but the movie got my hair standing up on the back of my neck fairly consistently. Your mileage may vary!
Jim and I had high hopes for the Gothic horror film, The Little Stranger, thinking it would be an ultra atmospheric mash up of The Witch with Downton Abbey. Instead, we got a commentary on upper class angst during the 1940’s as their fortunes crumbled alongside their estates masquerading as a dull, drab little ghost story. At no point does the film ever manage to generate anything but mild disquiet and malaise. Which is a shame, because all the pieces were there for genuine horror. An interesting core idea, excellent cast, excellent location, and fantastic atmosphere that were all unfortunately squandered with disinterested filmmaking.
Spike Lee has thrown a very well made, very funny, and very devastating bomb into American movie theaters with his latest joint, BlacKkKlansman. To mark the occasion, we’re not keeping our full review and discussion as a Club Member. Anyone who wants to hear this can. Will White America listen to the message we so desperately need to hear, or hit “snooze” and go back to sleep. What are we going to do about the resurfacing of explicit racism in our country, that has until recent years been hiding beneath the still waters of institutional racism? What will you do with friends and family who bemoan Black Lives Matter, or offer the limp rebuttal that “both sides are bad?” As the movie asks, if not now, when, and if not you, who?
Jim and A.Ron have seen the latest “how old is Tom Cruise again?!” installment of the Mission: Impossible franchise, “Fallout”, and it’s crazy. The plot around the absolutely bonkers stunt work is a bit thin, but the stunts themselves fully justify the movie. You can see ever dollar spent and bone broken literally up there on the screen, but it also must be said that these stunts are clinging desperately to the line from believable to unbelievable. And half the time they are careening over that line and land into Fast & Furious territory. Unless they can find an emotional core to build future episodes, this might be as good as a retro-futuristic spy thriller can get.
Cecily and A.Ron have seen the sequel to one of their favorite movies, Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again, and we think if you’re a fan of the original, there is a lot for you to like here. It’s too damn bad the trailers spoiled a reveal that would have otherwise brought the house down, and the first half of the movie might have you worried a little bit. But by the time you hit the half way mark you’re going to laugh and cry so much who even cares what happened in the first act! There are tons of surprises and twists and crowd pleasing moment, the cast is having way too much fun, the big musical numbers are bright and colorful and kinetic… I could go on and on, but the bottom line is we left the movie with a big smile on our faces and red rims around our eyes content. Can’t wait for the Blu-Ray to come out so I can watch it a dozen more times.
We’re back for more discussion of HBO’s miniseries, Sharp Objects, discussing the second episode, “Dirt”. But it turns out we can’t resist the siren call of discussing “all of television” as we do a deeper dive than is truly necessary on the 2018 Emmy nominations, as well as talk about the Stranger Things season 3 teaser that just dropped. We just can’t help ourselves!
Jim and A.Ron are back with another first run Bald Move, this time taking in The Rock’s latest family friendly action flick, “Skyscraper”. Die Hard + Towering Inferno = a pretty damn engaging and entertaining action film, smarter than most, and with plenty of heart courtesy Dwayne Johnson’s charisma and chemistry with co-star (and fellow badass) Neve Campbell. You’re going to be able to predict most beats of the film from the first 10 minutes, but it’s still a pleasure to watch Mr. Johnson do his thing. The flaming 220 story building against the dramatic back drop of Hong Kong serves up several great set pieces and looks great doing it.
Season two of Westworld is in the books. It was a bit of a rough, uneven experience for us, and we suspect from the vast amount of feedback we got this past week, a lot of you as well. But, the bones of Westworld are still sound, and the table is set for season three to be more expansive and interesting than the at time claustrophobic and confusing season two. We discuss our hopes and fears for next season, discuss some leading though on simulations, brain scans, and AI before considering lingering thoughts and questions from our fellow fans. By all accounts it’s going to be a long wait for next season, but we hope to see you back then!
Reasonable people may disagree, but for Jim and I, the finale of HBO’s Westworld season two, “The Passenger” failed to justify an ultimately flawed and uneven 10.5 hours of television. We’re not ready to write the show off by any means, it’s too well constructed with too much talent for that. But we can’t help but think of it as a misstep that is going to justify a lot of fans decisions to give up on the show. Next week, we’ll be back to discuss our overall thoughts on the season, and what we hope for and expect coming into season three. Please send us feedback if you want to join in on that discussion!
Watch us record the podcast, including all the sound checks, flubs, and riveting research breaks that you’ve always wished you could see… Hey, at least you can hear the podcast before anyone else.