Hosts: An Ever-Rotating Lineup of OOU.Net’s Unusual Suspects
That’s right, your favorite geek conglomerate website is now doing audio movie reviews! The cast of reviewers is subject to change even movie to movie, we have a whole rogues gallery of cinema outlaws, but one thing you can always count on is that these funny and insightful film reviews will always be, in some way, Highly Suspect.
The Girl in the Spider’s Web
Director Fede Álvarez sits in the director’s chair for this latest attempt to make that Dragon Tattooed girl Lisbeth Salander as big in America as she is in Sweden. They have strangely decided to skip past the next two books in the original trilogy (and the only ones actually written by the late author Stieg Larsson) to the first of the cash-grab book sequels written by David Lagercrantz. And oh boy, is it ever a cash-grab. Chris and Aaron aren’t exactly sure who should get the blame here but there is lots to discuss and have some fun talking about so you should check out their review right here.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
You knew Disney was going to get around to it eventually. Can’t you leave well enough alone? But, I suppose if even Barbie has done an adaptation of The Nutcracker, the Mouse House would at some point. And here we are. Closer in tone to the original short story that Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet was an adaptation of as well (but even then, not that close) the film follows Mackenzie Foy as Clara whose godfather (the ‘magical’ Morgan Freeman) gives her passage to a world created by her dead mother, essentially Narnia but much, much dumber. But chaos is afoot in this land as the fourth realm is at war with the flower, winter, and candy kingdoms and it is up to Princess Clara and her new best pal the Nutcracker Captain (newcomer Jayden Fowora-Knight) to defeat the presumably evil Mother Ginger (Hellen Mirren). But all is not as it seems unless you’re a reasonably intuitive viewer who can see right through this mess. Sigh. Anyway, here’s Chris, Ben, and Frank on that thing.
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Melissa McCarthy takes a break from her usual absurd comedy hijinx (thank FSM) to play real-life lady Lee Israel, a biographer who when her books stopped selling she found an alternate cash flow: forging letters by literary figures and selling them to collectors. Accompanied through her miserable existence largely just by her aged cat and a homeless fellow alcoholic played with gusto by Richard E. Grant, Lee is a misanthropic but witty mess. But what did our crew think of it? Listen to Chris, Marco, and Aaron give their review.
In this hotly debated film (I mean, Brian Singer directed a film about one of the most iconic gay figures of all time, go figure) Rami Malek takes on the role of Queen front man Freddy Mercury and does it with aplomb. There’s no getting away from how great a performance this is, even if some folks weren’t totally thrilled with the rest of the film. We veer away from the crowds a bit on our review. Listen to Chris, Ben, and Marco review it.
The Happy Prince
Actor Rupert Everett writes, directs, and stars in this film about the final years of the famed Irish poet and playwright, Oscar Wilde, with himself, of course, playing the famous bard. This project was years in development as Everett worked tirelessly to get the money together to make the picture (there’s even a documentary about it). But hey, it’s here, and it co-stars Edwin Thomas and Colin Morgan as the competing two loves of his life, Emily Watson as his long-suffering wife, Colin Firth and Tom Wilkinson as friends…how is it? Weeeellll….we had kinda a mixed reaction. Let Chris, Ben, and Kim tell you all about it.
In this film directed and written by Jonah Hill (but not starring), Sunny Suljic plays Stevie, a pre-teen boy who wants to fit in somewhere…his brother (Lucas Hedges) is annoyed by his very existence and his mom (Katherine Waterston) is too busy to be around much. Stevie finds acceptance in a group of older skaters who hang out at a local skate shop and is rapidly turned into a different person, becoming surprisingly “cool” with an enviable amount of speed. But will this alienate him from his family? Is being that cool dangerous for your health? Listen to Chris, Marco, Taylor, and Zach get radical on this indie film.
A Russian coup in progress and the kidnapping of their president are only part of the shenanigans that Gerard Butler, as unconventional submarine commander Joe Glass, has to deal with. Saving some Russians from evil Russians in submarine action…this sounds kinda like a low-rent The Hunt for Red October, right? Pretty much. Listen to Patience, Kim, and Alan give you the deets.
Steve Carell plays journalist David Sheff whose son Nic (Timothée Chalamet) has become deeply addicted to drugs. And the cycle begins of hitting rock bottom, recovery, relapse in this painful look at home addiction can take a heavy toll on the families of the addict. But is it much more than a well-cast After School Special? Therein lies the rub of our review so listen to Chris, Frank, Lara, and Alan do that thing.
Academy Award nominee Luca Guadagnino takes on one of the most controversial remakes in cinema history. This is like the equivalent of when they brought Bucky back in the comics. And one could argue, that like that, it works, but in a way we certainly never could have predicted. Taking Dario Argento’s legendary Suspiria and reinventing/reimagining it as this very different take is just plain ballsy. Even though there’s nary a ball to be seen in this female-dominated cast featuring Tilda Swinton (in multiple roles), Dakota Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz, Mia Goth, Jessica Harper, and more. For all the nitty-gritty on what works and what doesn’t, listen to Chris, Ian, and Frank with their review.
The Hate U Give
Starr (Amandla Stenberg) lives with her mom (Regina Hall) and dad (Russell Hornsby) in a poor, largely African-American neighborhood. But she and her brother get sent to an uptown private school that, surprise, is mostly white kids. Her two worlds both collide and shatter when she witnesses a friend (Algee Smith) get fatally shot down by a police officer during a routine traffic stop. She’s been kept sheltered from this type of thing by her parents and they manage to keep her witness status a secret, but is that what Starr wants? Directed by George Tillman Jr (Soul Food) and written by the sadly suddenly passed Audrey Wells, we found The Hate U Give to be pretty powerful. Listen to Chris, Miguel, and Alan discuss.
Damien Chazelle (Whiplash, LaLa Land) firmly takes the reigns on awards season (again) with his story of Neil Armstrong, the first man to step foot on the moon, here played by, of course, Ryan Gosling with Claire Foy as his wife Janet and a SIZABLE cast of other famous faces as pretty much everyone else involved with before, during, and after the legendary Apollo 11 mission. Chazelle’s film elicited a wide range of reactions from Chris, Ben, and Miguel and engendered some really interesting discussion. Check it out here.
Bad Tines at the El Royale
Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods) returns for his sophomore effort at directing a feature film with this period piece crime film with seven strangers who meet at a hotel at the crossroads of Nevada and California, each with purposes different from how they initially appear. With Jon Hamm, Chris Hemsworth, Dakota Johnson, Jeff Bridges and more, you better believe there’s a lot of anticipation for this one? But is it earned? We have differing opinions on that. Listen to Chris, Beau, and Ben battle.
The Old Man and the Gun
Writer/director David Lowery (A Ghost Story, Pete’s Dragon) tells this tale based on the real story of Forrest Tucker, a career criminal but one with a special skill for escaping any cell they put him in, here played by Robert Redford. The story follows him, his new love interest (Sissy Spacek), the gang he puts together (Danny Glover and Tom Waits) and the cop who finds a new lease on life through his pursuit of him (Casey Affleck). Listen to Ben and Lara suss out all the feels they got watching it.
The Sisters Brothers
Eli and Charlie Sisters (John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix) are very different people but they are brothers and they do work together as assassins. It’s the old west and gold fever is high. Their boss (Rutger Hauer) assigns them a task: find Riz Ahmed who is a scientist who developed a formula to find gold, and do whatever it takes to get it out of him. With the help of a Pinkerton detective (Jake Gyllenhaal), they might just get the job done but, with expected hijinx on the way. Sounds like an action-comedy-western, right? Apparently not so much. Listen to Beau and Ben discuss this unusual anti-trope film.
A Star is Born
I don’t remember anyone putting this fourth version of “A Star is Born” on their must-see anticipated lists, but now that it’s out, everyone is going back to see it again and again. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, really. There’s something about this story of the experienced older musician taking the young ingenue under his belt until she eclipses him that seems to resonate. All three of the previous films of the story have been major hits and this new one directed, co-written, produced, and starring Bradley Cooper and co-starring Lady Gaga, is tracking to be a bit hit with audiences and award ceremonies as well. But what did we think? Let’s listen to Chris interrogate Beau and Frank on the subject, shall we?
Not exactly the most anticipated super-hero (sorta) movie ever, but at the same time, everyone wants to know, HOW IS IT? The expectations for Tom Hardy playing Spider-Man’s traditional symbiote-decked villain were low-to-trainwreck and our audience’s schadenfreude is palpable. Well folks, we got bad news for you. It’s not really that bad. Not really great either but…oh hell, just listen to Chris, Matt Frank, Jen, Ben, Aaron, Frank, and JC tell you all about it.
Writer/director Dan Fogelman, creator of the hit show This Is Us, brings us this multigenerational story told in five chapters/timelines focusing on Will (Oscar Issac) and his wife Abby (Olivia Wilde) that according to our critics Beau and Frank serves as nothing so much as tragedy porn. So no, they didn’t care for it but it sure is funny listening to them agonize about it. Check out their review here.
A House with a Clock in its Walls
Eli Roth (!…I know, right?) directs this children’s book adaptation about a young orphan boy who goes to live in a creepy and seriously weird old house with his uncle (Jack Black) and his friend Florence (Cate Blanchette). Both are good wizards who wouldn’t be out of place as instructors at Hogwarts, trying to figure out where a mysterious and ominous counting-down clock is hidden in the house once owned by a nefarious warlock (Kyle MacLachlan). Meanwhile, the kid deals with being a weirdo himself, learning magic, and trying not to screw up everything because he wants so desperately to be liked at school. There are a lot of eyes on this one and everyone wants to know, is it gonna be good? Chris, Taylor, Zach, and Ben are here to tell you.
Nicholas Cage reaches new heights of insanity in this revenge horror from the director of Beyond the Black Rainbow. A Manson-esque cult leader (Linus Roache) decides that he’s fated to have Nic’s girlfriend (Andrea Riseborough) for himself and then the movie takes about 10,000 hits of acid and starts killing everything. Or Cage does. Something like that. The anticipation for this blood-soaked hallucination has hit fevered heights in certain circles so Chris and Patience HAD to go see it. Listen to their review right here.
Director Shane Black managed to get the job helming the new Predator movie and teamed up with his old buddy Fred Dekker to write it. Now, this comedy-action-horror featuring a predator on Earth versus a team of miscreant soldiers…and then eventually versus a supah-predator, is going to have a mixed reaction for sure from the die-hard Predator fan camp. But we think the die hard Shane Black camp is going to be more than pleased. Check out Chris, Matt Frank, Harris, Marco, and Patience on the review.
A Simple Favor
Anna Kendrick plays Stephanie, a widowed super-mom who manages to do it all for her son as well as run an instructional mom vlog. She strikes up a strange opposites-attract friendship with the wild Emily (Blake Lively) but before you know it, this other mom that is breaking Stephanie out of her normal routine mysteriously disappears. Stephanie isn’t exactly the laid-back and don’t worry about it type and she goes full Veronica Mars trying to find out what happened. And that is one seriously twisty and wild path. Director Paul Feig breaks away (not completely, but a lot) from his usual style of film with this comedy-thriller that we have a feeling will surprise you. But what will really surprise you is the strength of feeling coming from all of our critics (Chris, Aaron, and Beau) on this review.
How many scenes in this film are terrifying? Nun. Sorry, had to do it as I managed to skip that most obvious of all puns in the review. But it’s also true. And yet, this latest film in the Conjuring-verse featuring Taissa Farmiga and Demián Bichir about a demon-nun in a spooky old convent managed to make our crew happy. Despite being scary. Imagine that. Want to hear why? Gotta listen to Chris, Marco, JC, and Aaron on the review.
Jennifer Garner is a former soccer mom out for revenge against the gang that murdered her husband and child, by outright killing the crap outta every last one of them. I really don’t know what else to add. That’s pretty much the plot. Anything else and I start criticizing it angrily right here and you should go listen to the review with Chris, Ben, Miguel, Patience, and JC for that.
This Nick Hornby adaptation stars Rose Byrne as Annie who lives in a small British seaside town with her longtime boyfriend Duncan (Chris O’Dowd). Duncan is more than a bit uncomfortably into an indie rock star from the 90s named Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke) who mysteriously disappeared after putting out just one album. Which is to say, he has a shrine room to the faded rocker in their house and he runs a website for fans and theories as to his whereabouts. When Annie rebelliously posts a negative review of a demo version of the record which has surfaced, she is surprised to be contacted by the erstwhile rocker and the two spark up a friendship online, and eventually in person. Complications ensue.
Rob and Russ Summers join Chris for this review and it might surprise you how strongly they all feel about this film. Listen here to find out how.
CHECK OUT PAGE 25 of HIGHLY SUSPECT REVIEWS