Tag Archives: sci-fi

57 – A Wrinkle in Time

Jose can’t handle the bad costumes, pap morality, and smug tone. Mike considers the age of the intended audience a mitigating factor but largely agrees. A Wrinkle in Time inclusively opens the big-budget Hollywood fantasy film to new audiences, but while we agree on the positivity of that aim, we find the film flawed and overly simple.

The film invites comparison with The Wizard of Oz, but as Jose demonstrates, it’s a comparison in which it comes off far worse. Mike fondly remembers the Macaulay Culkin film The Pagemaster and recommends people watch that instead.

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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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.

52 – Annihilation

Alex Garland’s curious sci-fi adventure comes to UK cinemas – for one single evening. A theatrical release in the US that Paramount feared wouldn’t make money elsewhere, it’s on Netflix worldwide, but we waited for the special event to see it properly. And it was worth it, its stunning visual design singing on the big screen.

But what did we make of the rest of it? Has it stayed with us? Does it cohere? What would we have liked to have seen more of, what surprised us, what did it do well? No matter what we make of the details, it’s certainly deserving of a second look, and now we can be grateful rather than rueful that Netflix gives us that opportunity.

Also, Mike bangs on for a bit about Ex Machina, Life, Anomalisa, and The Beach, because he can.

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.

27 – Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi – Second Screening

Mike and Jose return to a galaxy far, far away, in search of new perspectives and thoughts on The Last Jedi. Mike in particular has been itching to talk more about it since he feels he was unfairly lukewarm the first time. We ruminate on what makes Star Wars feel different to other sci-fi; how films feel tighter and shorter on second viewing; Han’s dice; confusion on the resistance cruiser; why we still disagree about Mark Hamill’s performance; whether a Jedi can survive in space; and the differences between the First Order and the Empire, and Hux’s construction as a figure of fun.

And in a shocking climax, Jose claims that Mike doesn’t know anything about love.

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.

26 – Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi

If you don’t want it spoiled, look away now.

It’s beautiful to look at. It’s populated with rich characters. Adam Driver is filmed as a Byronic hero, desperately romantic and at his sexiest. Matt Moore joins us for this discussion and points to how the film focuses on female characters and interestingly alters the focus of the series. We discuss how the film represents a shift from an aristocratic focus on blood and destiny to a more democratic purview on social change everyone, of whatever race or ethnicity, can engage in. Mike came out of the film gleefully playing with a lightsaber only to sit down and slash through what he saw as the film’s weaker points, though he points out how Rian Johnson is the right director for the film and how, in spite of its faults, it truly does feel like a Star Wars film.

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.

11 – Blade Runner 2049 – Second Screening

We couldn’t stay away. And with a second viewing, time to percolate, and responses from friends informing us, Eavesdropping once again delves into Blade Runner 2049.

What to make of the film’s representation of women? How does the film use names? Why did Mike have a little weep at the end this time? Do gay women have cottages? Does the film function as a story about slavery? What about criticisms of its lack of diversity in casting?

Why do people think this film is dull? Is it the film’s fault? Television’s? Humanity’s? Why don’t we care to engage visually any more?

Most importantly, what do the bees mean?

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.

10 – Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049 is something else. You simply must see it on the biggest screen you can find. Do not listen to us if you care about the film because we go heavy on the spoilers. (We always go heavy on the spoilers, but this film is good so it actually matters.)

Mike’s not very good in this one but Jose more than makes up for him so it’s okay.

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.