Tag Archives: action

72 – Sicario 2: Soldado

We only thought of it in this way after we finished the podcast, but Sicario 2 is the best movie for watching on a plane we’ve ever seen. It’s pacey, entertaining, catchy, and entirely insubstantial. José discusses some issues he has with the film, including how many Mexicans it’s happy to kill while keeping every American alive, and the lack of tension in scenes that are crying out for it – Mike agrees with everything José says and knows he should have a problem with this stuff but just doesn’t. We agree that it’s a joy to see so much of Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin, and when they share the screen there’s a special feeling, but the conscience that Emily Blunt brought to the first film is perhaps lacking here.

It doesn’t live up to the first Sicario – and really, how could it – but it’s good, rough, dark fun.

The podcast can be listened to in the player above or on iTunes.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.

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61 – Avengers: Infinity War

The first part of Marvel’s ending to the unendable story wallops us with two and a half hours of punching and planets. Mike is even more gullible than usual. Jose stays cynical and rightly so. The film leads to discussions on whether we can actually find themes in it, the leaps of faith necessary to buy into it, the way in which we can’t help but buy into the story logic in the way we talk about it, and the nature of even trying to talk about corporate assets this enormous. It all gets quite meta. Jose mentions the state of modern America again. We bring up Call Me by Your Name somehow.

The podcast can be listened to in the player above or on iTunes.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.

60 – Rampage

One of the stupidest films we’ve seen for a long time, but was it fun? We discuss its lazy and crass writing, the treatment of its female star, its lack of balance between entertainment and boredom, missed opportunities, and just how many people we think died.

The podcast can be listened to in the player above or on iTunes.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.

53 – Ready Player One

Ready Player One is a strange beast, crammed full of energy and references on the one hand, amounting to nothing on the other. Jose dislikes it. Mike kind of likes it. To say it’s flawed is understating it, but there are interesting ideas to probe. Who is the film aimed at? How does it have its cake and eat it? Is it making interesting decisions, mistakes, or both simultaneously? What can we make of a film that references other work not as Easter eggs but as the very cloth from which it’s cut?

Mike wishes it was more cutting, more biting, about the ideas it raises and the nerds it seeks to please. Jose just wants it to end.

Also: It was shot in Birmingham! Mike even went to go and see it during filming just one road over from his flat. What he saw was a couple of cars driving, once, and almost nothing else of note. He would never admit that though. As far as he’s concerned, he is best mates with Steven Spielberg.

The podcast can be listened to in the player above or on iTunes.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.

45 – Black Panther

Jose’s been away for a week, and while we’ve been apart we’ve each seen Black Panther. You join us after our second screening, in the midst of an already feverish conversation taking place online and amongst friends. So much to discuss! How does the film build compelling conflict between the characters, what are the nuances of its commentary on racism, colonialism and masculinity, what were our shared experiences with the audiences, what did we draw out of its costume and character design – and is really really really obviously the best Marvel film?

The podcast can be listened to in the player above or on iTunes.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.

42 – The Commuter

Mike doesn’t believe that Liam Neeson is a normal person with real problems, and wants him to do proper acting again. Jose admires the film’s social conscience and visual flair. It’s The Commuter, a film that exceeds the low expectations set by its dull title. We discuss its portrayal of society through the characters on the train, how much we like its premise, and where it stands in the cheapish high-concept B-movie canon.

The podcast can be listened to in the player above or on iTunes.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.

34 – Jumanji – Welcome to the Jungle

Boy oh boy, there’s a lot to talk about, and the word of the day is denial. Specifically, Mike’s unspoken, subcutaneous, existential denial that 1995’s Jumanji is crucially meaningful to him, because how else can you explain the tension in the air as he grapples with the simple question, “Do you recommend the new Jumanji?” Ironic, really. The new Jumanji depicts characters who are forced to confront harsh truths about themselves, and in doing so forces Mike to confront the fact that he can talk about Jumanji for an hour with very little prompting.

And that new Jumanji provides a surprising amount of food for thought. We discuss how the film uses and satirises videogames, how much it made us laugh, the Jonas Brothers, Mike being a sucker for a happy ending as usual and Jose rolling his eyes, the stereotypes from which the central characters are built, how the film has its sexist cake and eats it, the ways the stars play off each other and suit their roles, aspects of performance, the muddled nature of the world and fundamental change in the characters’ relationship to it, how much harder it is to play videogames than it is to watch films, moviegoers’ over-investment in films from decades past, and last year’s Power Rangers movie.

And it’s a name-heavy edition of the podcast, with Jose getting names wrong left, right, and centre, and a final, authoritative correction of our pronunciation of Jia Zhangke’s name. (Thanks to Sam and Jessy Stafford for their contributions.)

The podcast can be listened to in the player above or at this link.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.