In this slightly spoiler filled podcast (nothing that gives away the ending) we look at David Leitch's Atomic Blond. Based on the comic The Coldest City by Anthony Johnston and Sam Hart, we are taken to 1989 Berlin. The wall hasn't yet come down, but the world's secret service agencies are on high alert after a list containing the names of every agent goes missing. Enter Charlize Theron as Lorraine, MI6's best agent, a striking individual with plenty of fighting skills. Also starring James McAvoy and Sofia Boutella, we break apart this flimsy excuse for an 80s mix-tape and look at how its lack of emotion and gratuitous scenes has unfortunately made one of the most loathsome films of the summer.
Julia Ducournau's feature length debut Raw looks in to the sexual awakening of Justine (Garance Marillier), which coincides nicely with her cannibal urges too. A life long vegetarian, an intense hazing ritual at her new veterinary school unleashes a forbidden lust for human flesh which she finds increasingly hard to disguise, and of which isn't helped along by her older sister Alex (Ella Rumpf). Stylistic and clinical, we argue what the use of cannibal-as-sexual-being metaphor means, and also wonder if the film is too tonally aloof for its own good.
We mention Cannibal Holocaust in this review, Check out our podcast review of that film here.
We have a post-apocalyptic double bill this week, with the requested 2010 Hughes brothers directed The Book of Eli, and survivalist drama Here Alone. First up is Eli, starring Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman and Mila Kunis. We look at the role of religion in this film and how they set up the films history, and wonder if maybe some of the roles were miscast and aspects underwritten. Here Alone, directed by Rod Blackhurst and starring Lucy Walters, Adam David Thompson and Gina Piersanti, is a broodier take on the post-apocalypse, focusing more on the survival aspect. While containing an interesting premise and some nice ideas, is the slow pace and frustrating characterisation holding it back?
The Book of Eli was requested by Evan. You can find him on twitter @FromTheWastes and their website here.
We have a double bill episode this week, and first up is Christopher Nolan's historical war film Dunkirk. Telling the story through three different time lines, we look at how the British pulled off Operation Dynamo and evacuated thousands of troops. Starring Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Fionn Whitehead and Harry Styles, and featuring music by Hans Zimmer, Dunkirk is a bleak film, but is it entertaining enough. Next is The Big Sick, a romantic comedy starring Kumail Nanjiani and telling his own real life story of how he met his wife Emily V. Gordon. Kumail has to deal with his Muslim family who want to arrange a marriage for him, but unfortunately his secret girlfriend Emily falls into a coma. Produced by Judd Apatow and also starring Holly Hunter and Ray Romano, we wonder if The Big Sick breaks the mould of romantic comedies.
We discuss Rogue One briefly in this podcast. You can listen to our review of this here.
We mention Layla's article "The Manosphere and Romance" in our review of The Big Sick. You can read that here.
"Apes together strong!" Who'd of thought that a pulpy dystopia from the 60s could create such a dark and immersive prequel trilogy. War for the Planet of the Apes, directed by Matt Reeves, plays it straight in a world where neither the apes nor the humans seem to be winning. Caesar (Andy Serkis) is consumed by the need for revenge when the Colonel (Woody Harrelson) attacks his group. However, he still needs to ensure the survival of his fellow apes when the renegade military imprison them all. Also starring Judy Greer and Amiah Millar, War for the Planet of the Apes infuses ingenious motion capture with a realistic atmosphere to create a smart and contemplative edition to the summer blockbuster.
The third version of Spider-Man in 15 years, Peter Parker makes his first big screen foray into the wider Marvel universe in Jon Watts' Spider-Man: Homecoming. Neglecting the far too familiar origin story, we go straight into Peter's post-Civil War life, where he is hoping to prove his worth as an Avenger to Tony Stark, but he is wary of his more amateur status. Meanwhile, a scrap merchant is bitter at Stark's inadvertent wreaking of his career, so takes on a new identity as the Vulture, who has giant mechanical wings, and sells modified alien tech on the black market. We discuss the possible consequence for the Marvel cinematic universe after Homecoming, plus the change of villain which allows us to delve into a moral grey area. Starring Tom Holland, Robert Downey Jr., and Michael Keaton.
We discuss Captain America: Civil War in this podcast to. You can listen to our podcast review here.
Netflix are on a role with some of their original programming, and Bong Joon-ho's Okja is no exception. Weaving together different genre's and exploring wildly different tones, from the whimsical to the devastating, Okja looks at an attempt to feed the world, and make a lot of money, with the gigantic super-pig. Teenager Mija (Seo-Hyeon Ahn) has been looking after one of these super-pigs for ten years, and takes it upon herself to rescue her pig when it is taken to be slaughtered. With a high profile cast including Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano and Steven Yeun, Okja is a thought provoking film that forces you too look into the grey areas of animal welfare, big business and capitalism.
Edgar Wright is back and with a distinctly different flavour with this comedy heist thriller Baby Driver. Starring Ansel Elgort as the young getaway driver, all he wants to do is listen to music and drive away west with his girlfriend Debora (Lily James), but he has to pack back his due to crime boss Doc (Kevin Spacey) and deal with some crazy criminals (Jamie Foxx, Josh Hamm, Eiza González). With an infectious diegetic soundtrack, great performances, and smart script, Baby Driver is a welcome return to cinema for Wright, who has given us the summer film we all deserve.
We mention True Romance is this podcast. Check out our review of that film here.
Written, directed and starring Alice Lowe, while she herself was pregnant, Prevenge is a dark comedy about the taboo subject of prepartum psychosis. Lowe stars as Ruth, whose grieving the death of her partner, and whose unborn daughter is telling her to murder from within the womb. With savage dry wit and an excellent cast, Prevenge is a masterclass in speedy film-making and black humour.
We mention House of Fools in this podcast. You can read Layla's review of season two here.
The official Dark Universe is go with The Mummy, however... its a bit of a non-starter. Tom Cruise stars as Nick Morton, an opportunistic treasure hunter who comes across the grave of long lost Ancient Egyptian princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), who takes it upon herself to bring evil upon the world on her awakening. Also starring Russell Crowe as Dr Jekyll, this franchise based on the classic Universal monsters fails to bring the hype, and also fails to recognise what made those original monsters endearing in the first place. Richee and Layla dissect The Mummy in this episode, and we go into spoilers after the music.
Listen to our review of the original 1932 version of the movie here.
Read Layla's initial trailer speculation post here.
We also mention Train to Busan in this podcast too. Check out our review here.
Amazingly, DC have pulled it out of the bag when it comes to their cinematic universe, with Patty Jenkin's Wonder Woman actually being a pretty good film. While it does play it safe, it is a refreshingly focused film, especially in a franchise that has become known for its rushed pacing. Gal Gadot stars as our titular hero, a naive Amazonian warrior who traverses the landscape of World War I and learns that the humans evil may not be as black and white as she thought. A refreshingly succinct cinematic outing, we discuss the themes and motifs in Wonder Woman, and question how she'll fit into future DC movies.
Based on the classic show from the 90s, Seth Gordon's remake of Baywatch tries to hit the comedic, spoofy heights of 21 Jump Street, but instead meanders amongst its sub par mediocrity as it pays homage. Starring Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron, expect all the things you remember from the TV series, like the red swimsuits, the tacky crime plot, and the slow motion, but its tongue in cheek attitude is undermined by its flat jokes and stretched out running time.
Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood is a modern day classic, so how is it that Layla hasn't seen it already? In this Virgin Viewings podcast of this 2008 multi-award winning film, we experience the intense performance of Daniel Day-Lewis as oil man Daniel Plainview, who manipulates the sacred ideas of family and religion for his own capitalist gain. Also starring Paul Dano, Dillon Freasier and Kevin J. O'Connor, we discuss how There Will Be Blood creates its horror-esque atmosphere through its soundtrack and pacing, and how its the ultimate example of the cinematic maxim "show don't tell".
In this spoiler filled review we break down scene by scene the moments that made Ridley Scott's Prometheus sequel a low point in the Alien franchise. Starring Katherine Waterston, Michael Fassbender, and Danny McBride, Alien: Covenant sees colonists travel to their new extra-terrestrial home, but a surprise transmission that pops up on their radar leads them to a closer planet that's too good to be true. While their are some admirable design points, the film is unable to climb the heights of the previous series entries, and even attempts to alter the lore to its own needs, amongst other disappointments. Listen to our full review in the player below.
A crowdfunded film that prides itself on its practical effects, The Void, directed by Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie, sees a run-down hospital become a portal to a Lovecraftian cult. Starring Aaron Poole and Kathleen Munroe, aesthetics is king in this stylish horror, but how much new ground does this ode to 70s and 80s prosthetics bring to the genre?
Read Richee's review of Harbinger Down here.
Listen to our podcast review of Stranger Things here.
The gang is back in James Gunn's sequel for Marvel's unruly Guardians of the Galaxy. Chris Pratt is back as Peter Quill, otherwise known as Star-Lord, who finally discovers the identity of his father. But is he all he says he is. And what's the deal with the shiny and gold Sovereign race? Co-starring Kurt Russell, Zoe Saldana and Vin Diesel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 comes back with a strong soundtrack and humour, but how does the story fare with all the added characters and subplots? Listen on to find out, and stay tuned after the music for the after credit scene spoilers discussion.
Netflix's latest series 13 Reasons Why is making headlines due to its graphic depiction of suicide, but in a world where self harm is one of the biggest killers of young people, is this not a good thing to discuss? Starring Dylan Minnette as Clay, an unassuming teenager, he is left a box of cassettes on his doorstep containing the thirteen reasons why his friend Hannah, played by Katherine Langford, committed suicide. This drama can be dark and brutal at times, and while it isn't perfect, it does raise a lot of questions that deserve discussion.
Find out more about the end-of-history illusion here.
If you need to talk to someone about the subjects brought up 13 Reasons Why, you can find people that will listen here.
Dom Toretto is back, and this time he's gone rogue! F. Gary Gray directs Fast & Furious 8 (The Fate of the Furious in the US) with the usual bombastic explosions and family dynamic, but the future of their group hangs in the balance of Charlize Theron's Cipher, a nefarious hacker with blasé reasons. Starring Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez and Jason Statham, FF8 is over the top, crazy, and with just enough heart to counteract its absurdism, but has it gone too crazy this time? Listen to our podcast review for our opinions.
If you think the zombie genre is dead, then maybe you should watch South Korean horror Train to Busan. Directed by Yeon Sang-ho, Gong Yoo stars as a work obsessed father who's trying to take his daughter to her mother when an outbreak of the walking dead takes over the country. Serving as an allegory of class struggles, Train to Busan is a masterful tale of suspense mixed with engaging character arcs and great set pieces. Also starring Ma Dong-Seok, Kim Ui-Seong and Yung Yu-mi.
This week we have a special double bill episode. First up is Ghost in the Shell, directed by Rupert Sanders, has suffered its fair share of criticism, but how does it really stand against the 1995 anime classic its based on. Starring Scarlett Johansson, Takeshi Kitano and Michael Pitt, we look into how the philosophy of transhumanism has changed between the different versions, and what could possibly make the remake more worthy. Next we have Ben Wheatley's latest Free Fire, starring an ensemble cast which includes Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy and Sharlto Copley, and takes place all in one warehouse where they all get shot. We discuss the aesthetics of violence and if this film is justified in its minimal plot.
In space, no one can hear you scream... Especially when its a Martian you re-animated and now is killing you all. Looking a whole lot like Ridley Scott's classic 1979 film Alien, Daniel Espinosa's Life explores the terrifying consequences of hostile extra-terrestrial life on the claustrophobic International Space Station. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal and Rebecca Ferguson as astronauts charged with incubating the new discovery, Life may be an entertaining B-movie style sci-fi/horror, but it stops itself from being anything truly original. Listen on after the music to hear our view on the films spoilers.
How joyous it is when an smart and nerve-tingling horror film comes out. Written and directed by Jordan Peele, Get Out stars Daniel Kaluuya as a black man meeting his white girlfriend's (Allison Williams) family out in the country. A biting satire on liberal racism, we are treated to a confident debut that speaks the language of horror cinema without resorting to cliche. Also starring Lil Rey Howery, Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford, check out our full podcast review on this chilling film.
The MonsterVerse is starting to take shape with the new King Kong reboot. Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, Kong: Skull Island is an action heavy version of the story with an all-star cast which includes Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson and John Goodman. Taking place in post-Vietnam War 1973, an excursion to a remote island leads quickly into mayhem when the king of Skull Islands defends it against the visiting humans. In this extended episode, with spoilers after the credits, we discuss the violence, the symbology of Kong, and what we can expect next from him.
This extended review of latest in the X-Men movie franchise, James Mangold's Logan, takes a look into the bleak world of 2029, where mutants are nearly non-existent, but a new breed are being manufactured by the nefarious Transigen project. An ageing Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and senile Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) are forced into the life of X-23 (Dafne Keen), a new mutant who is much like Logan in many ways. We explore what makes this the best of the X-Men films so far, and why that isn't necessarily a good thing, as well as what could happen for the future of the cinematic series. Co-starring Stephen Merchant, Richard E. Grant and Boyd Holbrook, this review contains a spoiler free first half, and then spoilers after the music.
(Massive apologies for the phone vibrations at one point in the review. Won't happen again!)
Based on the book by M. R. Carey, Colm McCarthy's The Girl with All the Gifts paints a bleak vision of a future England, ravished by a cordyceps type fungus which turns people into zombies. Starring Sennia Nanua, Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine and Glenn Close, The Girl with All the Gifts traverses between brutal images and cringe-worthy dialogue while still taking the zombie genre in an interesting direction. So why can't we get The Last of Us out of our heads? Listen to our podcast review to find out.