Highly Suspect Reviews | One of Us

Highly Suspect Reviews

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.

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GLASS

M. Night Shyamalan returns to the universe of his second film Unbreakable with this sorta combo-platter of movies. Glass features from that film Bruce Willis as David Dunn, a super-strong/somewhat invulnerable real-world superhero as well as his counterpart villain, Samuel L. Jackson as the mega-intelligent Mr. Glass. From M. Night’s last film Split (which added on an easter egg at the very end tying it to the Unbreakable film) James McAvoy returns as the serial killer with multiple personality disorder, Kevin Crumb who’s got a more-than-human beast inside. The three of them are held at a psychiatric institute by a doctor who specializes in people who believe they have superpowers (Sarah Paulson). I’m sure nothing will go wrong with her incredibly well-thought-out plan. :/

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ON THE BASIS OF SEX

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has become a very visible (albeit old and shrunken) hero to the left of late and the documentary about her life RBG was celebrated as one of the year’s best. So, of course here comes Hollywood with the not-even-close-to-as-good biopic about her; well…Ruth when she was young and sexy, as played by Felicity Jones with Armie Hammer as her equally young and sexy husband. The film picks a time to focus on and that is her post-collegiate years trying without success to get an actual job as a lawyer (which generally, if anything, she was overqualified for) and then the first sex discrimination case she got to argue which was a landmark event and the beginning of her successes in that legal field. But does it feel real? Is it fun to watch? Listen to Chris, Frank, and Ben lay out their cases.

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THE UPSIDE

As I’ve been saying since 2011, that French film The Intouchables is great. So funny and heartfelt. You can rent it from Amazon or other places and you WILL NOT regret it. Or, I guess, if you’re one of those BUT SUBTITLES people, you can watch this Americanized version of the true story with Bryan Cranston as a wealthy, cranky, quadriplegic who hires irreverent, criminally inclined, parolee Kevin Hart to be his caregiver (largely just to be difficult). Despite all logic, the two become friends and yadda yadda magical life transforming…you get the gist. Nicole Kidman is in this thing too. Listen to Chris, Ben, and JC give their reviews.

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ESCAPE ROOM

Five attractive young people meet when they get a mysterious invitation to an extremely well-funded Escape Room game. All being very different people they have to find ways to work together to survive the game as one room leads into another becoming increasingly more elaborate…and deadly. There, I’ve written the logline for the film. Can I go now? Wait, it’s by the guy who did The Taking of Deborah Logan? That was pretty good, And it’s got Tyler Labine (Tucker and Dale vs Evil), Logan Miller (Love, Simon) and Deborah Ann Woll (Daredevil) in it? Maybe we’re actually on to something here?

WHAT WILL OUR TEAM OF INTREPID CRITICS DECIDE? WAS IT WORTH CHRIS, ALAN, AND KIM’S VOYAGE TO THE THEATER TO SEE A JANUARY HORROR FILM OR ARE THEY LESSER FOR IT? TURN TO PAGE 23 FOR “IT WAS WORTH IT” OR PAGE 72 FOR “NOW THEIR BRAINS ARE MUSH”.

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If Beale Street Could Talk

Barry Jenkins follows up his Best Picture-winning Moonlight with this adaptation of a lauded 1970s novel. The story follows a young African-American couple (Kiki Layne and Stephen James) who fall for each other deeply only for James to get falsely accused of a crime and sent to jail right as Layne discovers she’s pregnant. The story follows the family’s attempt to free James and it explores the depth of police corruption, brutality, and racism rampant at the time while still holding that candle of love up high out in the darkness. Your critics for this one are Ian, Frank, and Lara. Why not listen to what they have to say?

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Vice

The director and writer of The Big Short returns to take on more ‘spoonful of sugar’ political stories with his biopic of George Bush’s Vice-President, Dick Cheney. Christian Bale does the full body transformation again (he says for the last time) into the considerably heftier Cheney with Amy Adams playing his wife Lynn. It’s hard to list all the great performers in this film playing recognizable figures from the Republican party. You can check out the Wiki page for that. But can we say what an odd and comedic way this is of telling a true story that arguably put us directly in the nightmarish political space that American currently finds itself in? We all agree on that, but there are some diametrically opposed viewpoints on whether or not it’s hysterical or just depressing. Listen to Chris, Ben, Frank, and Alan argue it out.

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Destroyer

Nicole Kidman plays the roughest version of herself imaginable in the new film from the director of Girlfight and The Invitation, Destroyer. She plays a police detective who once many years previous went undercover with Sebastian Stan into a Los Angeles gang and (apparently) it ended tragically. All these years later and it appears that the leader of the gang who got away is back and sending a message to Kidman. Can she get past her alcoholic haze and extreme burn-out to deal with the situation? Listen to Chris, CJ, Alan, Lara, and Frank review.

Welcome to Marwen

Robert Zemeckis directs (and believe me, he won’t let you forget it) Welcome to Marwen, a narrative adaptation of the amazing 2010 documentary Marwencol. In this ‘heightened reality’ version, Steve Carell plays Mark Hogancamp, an artist who was beaten nearly to death in a hate crime. Now, years later, he is starting to recover using an elaborate fantasy town he has built next to his house called Marwen: a WWII besieged Belgian village complete with dolls based on himself and people in his life who act out elaborate stories that he takes pictures of. So art therapy healing, a decent cast of folks including Leslie Mann and Merritt Weaver, impressive use of mocap animation of the actor’s faces onto the dolls…what exactly is wrong here? It’s not so easy to put the finger on but Chris, Frank, Marco, and Alan do their best.

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Ben is Back

All seems quiet and calm in suburbia in the home of Holly (Julia Roberts) and Neal (Courtney B. Vance) Burns. They go to church, their kids are in the choir and church play, it’s all so very precious. Everything gets shook up when Ben (Lucas Hedges) returns without warning, the junkie son they had all but given up on. Only Holly seems determined to make this work, but even Ben isn’t as sure as she is. When someone steals the family dog, Ben and Holly take off to try and track down some of Ben’s old drug-related connections to see who might have revenge-dog-knapped and things get more than a bit tense. Listen to Ben, Lara, and Alan discuss the mysteries of Ben (the cinematic one, not our critic).

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Cold War

Pretty much the other top choice for Best Foreign Language Film this year up against Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma, is Polish director Paweł Pawlikowski’s Cold War. Already on the no-brainer list for nomination since his 2015 Oscar win for Ida, Cold War has already made the shortlist. This beautifully shot (in 4:3!) film tells the story of a young singer/dancer and her instructor in Soviet controlled Poland who have a love that goes on for years, often interrupted by separation and political divisions. Listen to Chris, Marco and Frank sing the praises of this one.

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Aquaman

James Wan takes this helm of the movie I really thought I’d never see in my lifetime. The DC comics character of Arthur Curry, better known as Aquaman, is played again here by Jason Momoa where he has to work with Mera (Amber Heard) and Vulko (Willem Dafoe) to get a sacred trident so he can take the kingship of Atlantis and stop his brother (Patrick Wilson) and his human ally Black Manta (Yahya Abdul Mateen II) from starting a war with the surface. I can’t say I was honestly surprised by how I ended up feeling about it, but I was kinda surprised by everyone else’s take on it. Listen to Chris, Aaron, Zach, Taylor, and Ben debate the relative merits of the film here.

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Mary Poppins Returns

Mary Poppins is back and it’s like she never left., assuming you understand that she’s a Time Lord and has regenerated into Emily Blunt. Michael (Ben Whishaw) and Jane (Emily Mortimer) are all grown up with problems of their own. Michael is a widower with three children and through his own dunderheadedness is going to lose the family home to a conniving bank CEO (Colin Firth). But never fear, here comes Mary Poppins to whip the family into shape, sing, dance, hang out with Lin Manuel Miranda (who pretty much is playing the Dick Van Dyke chimney-sweep role this time around) and generally turn reality on its ass. But what did our crew of reviewers think? Listen to Chris, George, Frank, Ben, and Aaron turn into giddy little kids again.

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Mortal Engines

Peter Jackson and Frank Walsh produce and co-write this adaptation of the YA novel(s) of the same name. Imagine a post-war-devastated world where (somehow) a lot of humanity has survived by turning their cities into giant mobile tanks that roam the wastelands looking for resources. And bigger cities prey on smaller ones. Now imagine Hugo Weaving playing the evil guy, some teens in love jumping and swinging off of things, lots of CG, and a zombie terminator. You got yerself some Mortal Engines movie right there. How is it? Listen to Chris, Ben, Alan, and Marco tell you all about it.

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Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse

Our current timeline is spider-infested. This is pretty much the year of the web-crawler. Between the Spider-Man 2 trailer coming out shortly (much anticipated), the success of the PS4 game, and now, this animated film that debuts popular character Miles Morales into the cinematic spider-verse (among others), we’re positively lousy with spider-stuff. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. Brought to you by the guys who made The Lego Movie, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, and 21 Jump Street, it appears that Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the animated film to beat this year. Good luck with that. Listen to Chris, Michael, and Ben squee in their review.

Mary Queen of Scotts

It’s queen versus queen in the ultimate royal rumble deathmatch! In this corner is the sickly but powerful Queen Elizabeth (Margot Robbie) and in this corner is the challenger, the new young upstart with a claim to the throne of England, currently Queen of Scotland, Mary (Saoirse Ronan). Of course, that’s the movie we THOUGHT we were getting. But this is totally Mary’s film as she navigates the complicated waters of dealing with a paranoid England and strife at home as many are not happy about a Catholic sitting on a throne in a largely Protestant country. Especially a wacky-bearded dogmatic David Tennant. But what did we think of it? Listen to Chris, Ben, Taylor, Zach, Alan, Frank, and Marco to find out.

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Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle

Is it mo-cap or mo-money? It does seem a little unnecessary doing ANOTHER photo-realistic CG mixed with live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book so short a time after Jon Favreau’s 2016 film. But here we are. Because goddammit, Andy Serkis is going to PROVE TO YOU ALL that he is A: the master of mo-cap and B: mo-cap acting is 100% the acting talent and CG artistry has nothing to do with the quality of it. So how did we feel about it? Well, I’ll tell you this…the only thing Serkis proves is how wrong he is about point B. Listen to Chris, Frank, Marco, and Ben give their review.

The Favorite

Yorgos Lanthimos is a director known for his chilly and thoroughly weird films like The Lobster and The Killing of a Sacred Deer. This time around he takes on a period piece about Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) in the early 18th century and the two women competing for her attention, affection, and court standing, Sarah (Rachel Weisz) and newcomer Abagail (Emma Stone) who is throwing off Sarah’s whole game. Things turn ugly between the two and the sickly Queen may or may not be having a ball with the whole thing. It’s not your usual Lanthimos fare, to be sure, but it certainly doesn’t feel like any other period piece film you’ve seen. Listen to Chris, Marco, Frank, and Alan give their review.

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Anna and The Apocalypse

Christmas Zombie Horror Musical. Well alright! That’s all you had to say! No question Chris was gonna run out to see this one (again) as soon as possible and this time he’s joined in his enthusiastic review of this film by Ben and Lara. The story follows the titular Anna and her friends who go to the same high school and all have their own set of problems to deal with. All of that seems not as important when on Xmas eve the zombie virus hits and they have to sing and dance their way through some gnarly kills. But does it live up to its promise of being a new horror Xmas classic? Listen and see. NOTE: Something went a bit wonky with one of our mic cables about half way through this review. I did my best to clean it up but you’ll definitely notice some lower levels for Lara at points and enhanced ambient sound.

Robin Hood

There’s no science to the statement, “It’s so bad, it’s good”. No way to even really characterize it in specifics that would be applicable to everyone or even more than a niche audience who would feel that way. Well, this 2018 version of the venerable old tale of Robin Hood is that movie for Alan and Chris. Taron Egerton is Robin, Jamie Foxx is John, Ben Mendelsohn is the Sherriff, Eve Hewson is Marian, Jamie Dornan is Will, Tim Minchin is Tuck, and the movie is basically an extreme leftish (I mean, EXTREME) call for violent revolution against the government. Like, the current one. Set inside of a CW superhero pilot. But more on those things and much hilarity in the review that you should listen to right now.

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Creed II

There was no way there wasn’t going to be a sequel to Creed. Or, most likely, 5 or 6 more sequels. This time around Michael B. Jordan returns as Adonis Creed who, under the continued tutelage of Rocky Balboa, has to fight the son of the man who killed his father in the ring 30 years before. With Dolph Lundgren returning as Ivan Drago, now training his son Viktor (Florian Munteanu) for the fight, nostalgia-watch is on high alert. But can this sequel live up to the popular original without Ryan Coogler at the helm? Listen to Ben, Alan, and JC discuss.

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Ralph Breaks the Internet

Disney chucks out another sequel as John C. Reilly returns as the video game character Wreck-It-Ralph and Sarah Silverman as his friend Vanellope. This time they leave the arcade through a new wi-fi router installed there to try to find a way to get a replacement piece for Vanellope’s broken game or else it’ll be sold off. Can they navigate through an endless collection of ‘I recognize that reference’ moments? Can you? Listen to Chris, Dimitry, Beau, Harris, and JC and possibly re-think your holiday movie plans.

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Green Book

Peter Farrelly makes a tight turn away from his usual fare with his brother to direct this true-ish story about a friendship that develops through an Italian-American bruiser named Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) and a refined, successful, African-American pianist named Doctor Shirley (Mahershala Ali) when Tony is hired to be Shirley’s driver on a concert tour of the deep south. In the 1960s. As you might expect, trouble ensues. Ok, sure it’s not the deep-drama agonizing anti-racism film that some folks are complaining that it decidedly isn’t, more like the “racism is bad, m’kay” comedy that you can take your grandparents to, but is that a bad thing? Chris, Marco, and Aaron investigate in their review.

The Front Runner

Hugh Jackman plays the guy who DEFINITELY would have become president in 1988 if he had just been able to keep his fly shut, Democratic nominee Gary Hart. This new Jason Reitman film, after a brief look at Hart’s unsuccessful bid against Walter Mondale for the Democratic nomination in 84, switches to his titular front-running campaign in 88. Vera Farmiga plays his wife and the film also features strong and funny performances by JK Simmons, Alfred Molina, Sara Paxton, and a ton of familiar faces. However, there’s something just off a bit about what the film is trying to say and our critics (Chris, Marco, and Elliott) have very different ideas about what that problem is. It all leads into a fun and heightened discussion on the topic that you don’t want to miss.

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A Private War

Rosamund Pike plays famed war correspondent journalist Marie Colvin in this film about her life, the danger she constantly put herself in so she could get the stories, and her friendship with her photographer (Jamie Dornan) who accompanied her on her final tragic voyage to war-torn Syria. Directed by Matthew Heineman, best known for his award-winning documentaries like City of Ghosts and Cartel Land, A Private War seems set up for awards, especially for Pike who lots of critics are calling already for Best Actress. But what do the humble critics at Oneofus.net think? Listen to Chris ask Ben and Marco what they thought in this review.

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The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

When the Coen brothers get together for a new project it always demands scrutiny and their first project partnering with Netflix is no exception. Taking on their first anthology, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (premiering on Netflix tomorrow, November 16th) features an impressive line-up of talent (including Tim Blake Nelson as the titular singing cowboy character) and a lot of tonally very different types of stories. All set in the old west, this had both highs and lows for our critics (Chris, Marco, Ben, and Alan) and it’s hard to talk about a collection of shorts without giving away much, but we do our best.

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Widows

Director/writer Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) teams up with novelist Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) for this movie version of an ITV series from 1983. So, there’s this bunch of thieves and they get blow’d up very shortly into the film (featuring an unusual amount of big-name actors in small roles). Left putting the pieces together are their wives. Liam Neeson was the leader of the group and his wife (Viola Davis) is being held responsible by a gangster-wannabe-politician (Brian Tyree Henry) for 2 million dollars that he stole from them. After she finds a book left to her by her late husband that includes plans for a new heist, she gathers together the other widows to pull it off themselves. Featuring strong performance from Davis, Neeson, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Eriva, Colin Farrell, Daniel Kaluuya, Carrie Coon, Robert Duvall and more, this is definitely one people will be talking about. But in a good or meh way? Chris, Marco, Frank, Kim, and Alan address this and other issues in their review.

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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

The Harry Potter-less prequel franchise continues, now continuing the search for the powerfully magic and emo Creedence Barebone (Ezra Miller) and with an escaped Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) looking for him as well, Newt (Eddie Redmayne), Tina (Katherine Waterston), and about, as near as we could tell, 3000 other characters have their work cut out for them. Chris, Taylor, Zach, and Ian got to see this latest chapter and they’ll sort it for you into house awesome or house crapola.

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Time Trap

Sometimes it really is the little indie films out of nowhere that surprise you the most. Take, for example, Time Trap. Made for a very low budget by an Austin School of Film alumni, its story about a group of young people that get lost in a cavern that exists outside of the normal flow of time is smart, fun, and pretty darn ballsy if you ask us. Us being Chris and Alan. You should check out our review and also check out the film in a theater if you can, and if not, after November 13th you can get it on VOD right here.

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Outlaw King

I know this film is called Outlaw King but YOU KNOW there was a discussion at some point about calling in Braveheart 2. Because it pretty much is. At least in terms of where the story picks up. Although Patience and Kim make an argument that to get the right crowds in the seats perhaps they could call it Chris Pine’s Peen but that’s another story. Pine does play the role of Robert the Bruce, who if you remember from Braveheart was kind of wishy-washy, but now the noble sacrifice death of Willam Wallace has emboldened him to organize the Scottish against the British yet again. I mean, eventually. Check out Chris interrogating them for their review right here.

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The Grinch

This time it’s Illumination Entertainment’s turn (you know, that company that keeps torturing us with those nattering little yellow pill-shaped creatures) to adapt Dr. Seuss’ Christmas classic, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. And now we officially owe Jim Carrey an apology. Sigh. This time Benedict Cumberbatch takes over the role of the now more laissez-faire titular green guy and Chris, Ben, and Alan take over the roles of the critics who had to sit through this damn thing so they could review it. The least you could do to justify their pain is listen to them agonize over it.

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Boy Erased

Joel Edgerton heads behind the camera for the second time with this film Boy Erased, based on the memoir by Garrard Conley detailing his experience with his family making him go to a gay conversion therapy program. With Lucas Hedges as Garrard, Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman as his parents, and Joel Edgerton himself as the head of the conversion program, you’re looking at a real powerhouse cast. But are we talking ABC Family Special stuff here or a powerfully moving drama? Chris, Frank, and Elliott are here to tell you about it.

CHECK OUT PAGE 25 of HIGHLY SUSPECT REVIEWS

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