Hosts: Justin Zarian and Various
Oneofus.net presents our newest review show: the Screener Squad. A show dedicated to covering the films too small for a theatrical release, too obscure for an average audience member and too good to ignore (or so we hope).
The original Screener Squad Theme, “Maximize Damage,” was composed by Lorenzo Giusti (credited Lorenzo Emmanuel). You can listen to the full-length version, along with Lorenzo’s other work, right here.
THE GANGSTER, THE COP, AND THE DEVIL
The Screener Squad have gotten themselves caught up in the seedy world of South Korean crime in this serial killer/gangster/cop drama. The bulk of the story focuses on the tensions between the eponymous gangster (Ma Dong-seok) and the cop (Kim Mu-Yeol), with the cop unable to put away the gangster due to his chief being bought off. Things change, however, when a wanted serial killer attacks the gangster in the middle of the night. Not only does the gangster survive, but he has seen the killer’s face and is determined to kill him at all costs. Seeing a potential opportunity to bring the killer to justice, the cop strikes an uneasy alliance with the gangster and they use their combined resources for a manhunt. Who will get to the killer first though? Justin, Shak, Allen, and Bradly have plenty to say about this strange genre-mashing film, mostly about how much Ma Dong-seok is now their favorite person in the world! Check out their full thoughts here.
It’s time for everyone’s favorite type of review on Screener Squad: the terrible horror movie! Nick and Patience review Hallowed Ground, a film about a couple trying to get away from it all and sort out their marital issues while staying in a cabin in the woods. Little do they know they have stumbled into an ancient feud between the local Barham clan and a Native American tribe, which they have unwittingly escalated the conflict by trespassing on the clan’s property. They are in for a night of torture, possible ghost Native Americans, and villain monologues…so…many…monologues! Check out their full thoughts here!
BLACK MIRROR: SEASON 5
Black Mirror returns after its interactive movie experiment Bandersnatch with three new visions of the future. We start with Striking Vipers, which follows two old friends Danny (Anthony Mackie) and Karl (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) as they reconnect through a VR game with surprising results. Then inSmithereens, we follow a cab driver named Chris (Andrew Scott) as he creates an international incident after kidnapping a social media worker (Damson Idris). Then we conclude with Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too, following a teenager (Angourie Rice) who buys a high-tech robot doll voice by her favorite pop singer (Miley Cyrus), only to learn the truth of a pop star life. Allen and Shak decided to Nosedive (see what we did there) into this review to determine whether this series remains as provocative as ever, or if it is truly running out of steam. Hear their full thoughts!
Because many critics in Austin didn’t get a preview screening for Rocketman, we had to wait to see it in theaters. Now that London, Justin, and Lexie saw it though, they can tell you all about this musical fantasy following the life of Reginald Dwight, or Sir Elton John as most people know him. As played by Taron Egerton, the movie follows his humble beginnings as a musical prodigy living in Middlesex, England leading to his fateful encounter with lyricist and lifelong friend Bernie Taupin (Jaime Bell). From there, it also covers an extensive portion of his career highlights, his romance with his manager John Reid (Richard Madden), his drug-fueled antics, and much more. It sounds like a pretty familiar musical biopic fresh off the heels of a hit like Bohemian Rhapsody, which Dexter Fletcher also co-directed. Does this have enough quality on its own to stand out in a crowded genre? Find out here!
The Screener Squad are traveling back to the 80’s courtesy of HBO to witness the horror that isChernobyl. Over the course of five episodes, the miniseries covers the incident from the initial explosion on April 1986 to the lengthy process in not only handling the nuclear fallout from the reactor but from the potential political fallout once the world catches on to the incident. Because of this, the Soviet Union calls upon chemist Valery Legasov (Jared Harris) and politician Boris Shcherbina (Stellan Skarsgård) to assess the damage of the explosion. As more scientists like Ulana Khomyuk (Emily Watson) come into the picture, the group realizes not only the severity this incident has on the world but how many more lives will be put at risk if the Soviet Union continues to lie about the severity. Can they make enough of a difference to prevent further disaster? Justin, Allen, and Bradly have been brought together for this review committee to report on whether this is truly as great as nearly every critic and audience member in the world seems to think it is. Where do they fall on their ratings? Find out here!
Is this movie truly stranger than fiction? You’re about to find out with the film True Fiction. Meet Avery Malone, a typical out of work writer trying desperately to get work. Things look up for her when she applies for the job of assistant for her favorite horror writer Caleb Conrad. But things get weird when she finds out that in order to write his new book, he plans to scare her for real to get inspiration. Can Avery endure it to escape the craziness? See what Bradly, Justin, and Allen thought about True Fictionright here! And be sure to check out the movie at Fantaspoa, where it is currently playing.
ALWAYS BE MY MAYBE
It’s time for more Netflix lovey-dovey stuff with Always Be My Maybe. The film follows a pair of childhood friends who were very close when they were young but ended up separated for sixteen years as life took them down different paths. They meet up again as adults and get involved in each other’s lives to learn more about each other and, as you’d expect, themselves too. It sounds like a pretty typical romantic comedy, but is there enough charm to push past the familiarity? Allen and Bradly have some thoughts to share as they navigate the web of romance, careers, and family to find out if true love exists.
The hunt is on to stop an ISIS plot in Domino, Brian De Palma’s first film in seven years. The movie follows Christian (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), a cop in Copenhagen, Denmark who, with his veteran partner (Søren Malling), stumbles upon a potential terrorist plot during a routine search. After apprehending the suspect Imran (Eriq Ebouaney), he starts searching for the other collaborators alongside another officer (Carice van Houten). Meanwhile, a corrupt CIA agent named Joe (Guy Pearce) is also on the case. And if that seems like a random segue to an unrelated subplot…well, brace yourself. Allen and Justin saw this movie, which led to many questions that could only be asked in a terrible Brian De Palma film. Listen and laugh along with their full thoughts right here.
It’s time to Netflix and Thrill with Netflix’s The Perfection. Directed by Emmy winner Richard Shepard (Ugly Betty, Girls), the story follows Charlotte (Allison Williams) and her drive for success as a master musician. After a series of setbacks in her personal life, she tries to reclaim her prestige, only to run into the current cellist champion Lizzy (Logan Browning). Little do either of these two women know that the bond they will form will lead them down a rabbit hole of mystery, violence, murder, and, of course, music. Brad and Davey have plenty to say about this twisty little movie, so hear them do their best to say what they can without spoiling anything.
The Screener Squad is ready to kick ass and watch movies…and they’re not out of movies! InAvengement, we follow Cain Burgess (Scott Adkins), a low-level crook turned hardened killer. After breaking out of jail following a lengthy sentence, he holds up a bar and details how he became the killer he is now, along with his plans for revenge on the one who set him up in the first place: His brother Lincoln (Craig Fairbrass). Shak and Nick trained for hours to watch this movie, but little did they realize how hard this movie would rock them. Listen to their full thoughts right here!
WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE
The Screener Squad goes gothic with this newest release We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Mary Katherine Blackwood (Taissa Farmiga), or ‘Merricat,’ lives with her sister Constance (Alexandra Daddario) and Uncle Julian (Crispin Glover) in isolation years after a family tragedy. Things get turned upside when their cousin Charles (Sebastian Stan) comes by to visit, only to see Merricat burying and hiding things in the yard for her own reasons. Is the town right in thinking that this family is a bunch of crazy people or is it just their imagination playing tricks? Listen in as Bradly, London and Allen try to untangle this mystery!
SEE YOU YESTERDAY
Netflix is delving into the time-travel genre with Spike Lee aboard as a producer. Meet CJ and Sebastian, two ordinary kids that discover time travel during an experiment, which they use to try and save the life of CJ’s brother from a shooting. But things aren’t that simple as they learn that their actions have dire consequences. Is there a way to undo the damage they have done and still get the outcome they want? Listen in as Allen and Bradly untangle this web of time Wimey stuff in their review for See You Yesterday.
Before you see the movie Scary Stories to Tell In The Dark this August, check out this documentary all about the book series that inspired it! Over the course of eighty minutes, the film explores not only the impact of Alvin Schwartz’s beloved series on the audiences exposed to his brand of horror, but also the impact his work had on his family, his colleagues, and many more people in ways he couldn’t have foreseen. Two of those people appear to be Brad and Frank, who jumped onto the opportunity to review this movie as soon as it was available. Was it worth the anticipation? Listen and find out!
Amy Poehler writes, directs, and stars in a new Netflix comedy meant to make your mom and grandmother laugh. The story follows six long time friends traveling for a 50th birthday party bash celebrate their long standing friendships in the heart of wine country. And…well, you can probably guess a lot of the rest from there. Listen here as Brad and Davey give you an idea on whether this is a wine trip worth venturing or if you should stay sober.
China has produced a ton of truly great filmmakers over the last few decades and one of the best has been Zhang Yimou. With three Best Foreign Language Film nominations (as well as countless other nominations and wins in other ceremonies) Yimou has gifted the world with classics like Ju Dou, Raise The Red Lantern, Hero, House of Flying Daggers, and, well, ok, The Great Wall (which wasn’t all that bad, despite reports to the contrary). But with Shadow, he returns to the classy wuxia style that he arguably does better than anyone. The story follows a body double for a famous military commander who gets in over his head both with a building military stand-off with a formidable opponent and with falling for the wife of the man he’s impersonating. For fans of art films, martial arts, or just movies in general, Shadow might very well qualify as a must-see. Or at least, so says our team of critics. Listen to Chris, Beau, and Michael get all excited in their review.
KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE
Set prior to the recent election cycle, Knock Down the House focuses on Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez, Cori Bush, Paula Jean, and Amy Vilela as they campaign to change the establishment. As each person works within their region for the Democratic party, we see their hopes, their struggles, and everything in-between to get themselves or the people they support into office. And of course, when we want to talk about American politics on this show, we pass the job over to Allen and Bradly, two Canadians, for a fair and balanced perspective. Right? Can our reviewers navigate their way through this twisted web of politics and corporate loopholes? Listen and find out.
In the wake of the Tate-LaBianca murders by the followers of Charles Manson, there were many questions. The world was stunned by these horrific murders and wanted, nay, needed to know how these young hippy kids could be swayed from peace and love to brutality. Who was this svengali Charles Manson who could have such an effect? Who were these kids and what could possibly convince them to commit such atrocities? Director Mary Harron’s film takes the perspective of three of the Manson girls, Leslie Van Houten, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Susan Atkins, as a prison psychologist tries to get them to open up about what happened and accept responsibility for their actions. While the bulk of the film is in flashback mode as Matt Smith’s version of Manson swings wildly from kindly leader/wannabe musician to misogynist lunatic, our review crew wished more time had been spent with the women post-imprisonment. But there’s still much to say good about Charlie Says. Listen to Chris, Beau, and Kim here with their review.
EXTREMELY WICKED, SHOCKINGLY EVIL, AND VILE
Zac Efron’s High School Musical heartthrob days are over. In this movie acquired from Sundance by Netflix, Efron plays infamous serial killer Ted Bundy in the days leading up to his first arrest in Utah to his eventual death sentence verdict in Florida. During this time, however, we see the drama unfolding not only from his perspective but the perspective of his girlfriend Liz (Lilly Collins). She desperately doesn’t want to believe he is guilty, but the evidence seems overwhelmingly conclusive. How will this affect her? Justin, Allen, and Davey have been called for jury duty to render a verdict on this movie. Is it a sinister delight or just vile? Listen here to find out.
COBRA KAI: SEASON 2
It’s time to return to the dojo with season two of YouTube Premium’s surprise hit series Cobra Kai. We continue to follow the rivalry between Daniel (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny (William Zapka) as they process the fallout of the All Valley tournament. Now new challenges are coming their way as new rivalries form among their students, new threats arise in their personal lives, and a ghost from Johnny’s past in the form of his old sensei John Kreese (Martin Kove) returns to show these kids the ‘real’ Cobra Kai. How will things play out? Who will get caught in the crossfire of this decades-old rivalry? Justin, Nick, and Allen are here to throw down some sweet karate moves and soak up the copious amount of 80’s nostalgia showered throughout this show as they review what continues to be the most surprisingly good show on TV.
BODY AT BRIGHTON ROCK
It’s time to go into the spooky woods once again with Body at Brighton Rock. In this festival darling, a young park ranger named Wendy (Karine Fontes) decides to switch assignments with a fellow ranger to explore the national park. However, she soon realizes that she has ventured off the path and ended up in an unknown part of the park. Worse yet, she has discovered a dead body and help will not come for her until the next morning to help with the crime scene. Can she last the night until then? Brad and Justin have a lot to say about this little indie thriller, so come check out their full thoughts here!
I TRAPPED THE DEVIL
What would you do if you went to go spend the holidays with your slightly-off brother as a surprise and he reveals that he has trapped the Devil in his basement? Obviously, you would believe him and start concreting that sucker right up? Wait, no, you’re not AWARE you’re in a horror movie so you’d make the cuckoo sign at your wife when your brother wasn’t looking and slowly back away. But wait, is it possible that he really DOES have the Devil locked in his basement? This is basically the premise of I Trapped The Devil from IFC Midnight and this is the review from Chris and Allen.
The Screener Squad is going to film school with Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché. This documentary follows an investigation by the director to uncover the forgotten history of director Alice Guy-Blaché, the very first female director in history whose legacy was lost in the shuffle of World War 1 and obfuscated by her male colleagues. As new contacts are discovered and new connections are made, the accomplishments of this film pioneer are brought to light and a forgotten chapter of film history is restored for a new generation of filmmakers. Justin, Lara, and Allen decided to participate in this lecture and now they are here to let you know whether it is worth learning more about this fascinating woman or not.
It’s time to get British with Brad and Justin once again with Peterloo. Directed by veteran Mike Leigh (Mr. Turner, Happy-Go-Lucky, Another Year, Vera Drake), the story is set in Manchester in 1819 as the workers are feeling the burden from the British elite. Fed up with the unjust taxes and punishment, they form their own political reformation party to get a voice in Parliament and secure their rights. Sounds like riveting material, right? Can Brad and Justin find something good among such politically dense Britishness or was this movie pushed out of its Oscar campaign for a good reason? Listen here and see!
Welcome back to the RED SCARE as we review Red Joan! The story centers around the titular Joan (Judi Dench), a woman who after years of keeping her head down has been arrested by the British government on conspiracy charges. She had not only sold British secrets to foreign governments but she was the longest-serving KGB spy embedded within the British government ever. The story then follows her case as her nearly fifty years of espionage are explored in detail, including handing over nuclear weapon plans to the Soviets. Bradly, Lara, and Allen picked up this movie in their regular Screener Squad dead drop locations, but is this movie worth redacting or should it stay hidden in the vaults forever? Follow our trio as they uncover the truth and endure the never-ending well of Bradly’s communist puns!
You might ask, why is there a question mark in the Hail Satan? Movie Review? That’s a fair question. As you know we all unironically praise his infernal majesty around here. Well, no, not really but that’s not ruling out some Chilling Adventures of Sabrina cosplay in the future. Anyway, this tongue-in-cheek documentary follows the modern Satanic Temple and their use of theatrical satire protests to encourage the separation of church and state and other decidedly liberal-minded political pursuits. But are they doing more harm than good? Johnny Neill and Chris explore the question in their review.
Things are about to get really indie drama here with Little Woods. Ollie (Tessa Thompson) is a woman living in the small town of Little Woods, North Dakota. In the last few days of her probation, she’s forced to go back to her life of smuggling prescription drugs across the Canadian border in order to save her mother’s house and support her sister Deb (Lily James), who’s dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. Shak and Nick took the lead on this review. What did they end up thinking of this production from rising director Nia DaCosta? Find out here!
THE PERFECT DATE
The Netflix teen romantic comedy train continues with the release of The Perfect Date. Meet Brook Rattigan (Noah Centineo). In an effort to save up for college he creates an app where people pay him to be the perfect stand-in boyfriend for any occasion. He can be an art student, beekeeper or whatever. All of this is in an effort to discover who he truly is and where he wants to go in life. Is the premise enough for Bradly and Allen to root him on or will the date be ruined? Come find out!
WILD NIGHTS WITH EMILY
Wild nights – Wild nights! Were I with Emily Dickinson. Or at least that’s what Wild Nights With Emilypurports. You too can learn more about the famous poet’s real life here, as opposed to the cleaned up 1900’s version. Do Molly Shannon and her costars tell her story well and in an engaging way? Well, Ben and Bradley will tell you if you should check this one out…and with limited attempts at being poetic.
Oh look. A dystopian apocalyptic thriller movie. We haven’t seen a review for a movie like this in what…one day? But here we are with this new cinematic master…piece of something with Division 19. Welcome to the futuristic world of 2039! Where prisons have been turned into live streaming shows where people can purchase and watch prisoners all the time. We join a particular group of ragtag parkour hackers as they attempt to break out the most popular prison on the live service, The Panopticon. That sounds like a promising premise to work with, but did it manage to impress Lara and Allen enough to fight against the powers that be? Find out here!
Can’t get enough of A Quiet Place? Well, here’s Netflix’s for-all-intents-and-purposes Mockbuster of it, The Silence. So, the premise is, a wildly predatory species of (Pterodactyls?) are released from the ancient underground caves that they live in and in a matter of hours, the world is overrun with them. The creatures respond only to sound so a family who has a deaf child (Kiernan Shipka) has a leg-up on the situation because they all already speak sign language. And then eventually there’s an evil priest, but whatever. I assure you that you will have much more fun listening to Chris, Johnny Neill, and Patience rip this thing apart than you will actually watching the film. Listen to their review here.
Brie Larson is riding off that Marvel high right now, so it’s time for her to tackle her next challenge: directing. In Unicorn Store, she plays a young artist who moves back in with her parents after her career stalls. After taking an office job, she receives a mysterious letter telling her to go to ‘the store,’ a place that sells ‘what you need.’ In here she meets The Salesman (Samuel L. Jackson) who offers her a chance to experience her greatest childhood fantasy: owning a unicorn. But where will this journey of discovering her childhood take her afterward? Brad and Frank reviewed this incredibly quirky drama, so now they’re here to tell you if Brie has a bright future directing films or if she should keep her day job.
We haven’t been to a public library in a while, but we wouldn’t want to be caught in this predicament if we did. This is from Emilio Estevez who wrote, directed, and starred in this ensemble drama following his librarian character caught in a crisis. After the shelter fills up, a crowd of homeless occupy the local library to avoid being left out in the cold. This causes a standoff with the police, led by a crisis negotiator (Alec Baldwin) and the district attorney (Christian Slater). With his fellow librarian (Jena Malone) stuck in the situation with him, how will they manage to solve the problem? Lara and Brad will let you know if this is a movie worth finding out the answer.
MASTER Z: THE IP MAN LEGACY
By now most martial arts fans know the story of the famous IP Man, who probably has more movies made about him than stories exist about him. Well, this movie isn’t about him at all! Instead, it’s about a guy who totally got his ass kicked by him, and then became a vigilante on his own. But with a cast including Zhang Jin, Michelle Yeoh, Tony Jaa, and Dave Bautista it’s an awesome ass-kicking fest! Listen to Allen, Ben, Lara, and Patience extoll its ass-kicking virtues here!
Real life tragedies have always made for compelling and heartwrenching cinema, but between 22 July, Patriot’s Day, and a thousand others can Hotel Mumbai stand out? This true story of a terrorist attack on an Indian hotel is important and somber but Davey and Lara have some thoughts on how the film shoulders the responsibility of its real-world inspiration.
In A Vigilante, Olivia Wilde hunts down domestic abusers in her free time after her life was thrown into ruin, so no, this movie wasn’t a laugh-a-minute riot. But is it good? Davey and Lara take a look at this brutal and uncompromising drama from Sarah Daggar-Nickson to try and find some life at the bottom of this bleak barrel of humanity.
It’s weird how we generally don’t get a lot of old west horror films. Horror fans ask for them. But no. I mean, the old west was creepy. Lots of stuff trying to kill you. And now, in The Wind we get some supernatural creepy-crawlies coming after our characters…or do we? Caitlin Gerard plays frontierwoman, Lizzy Macklin. Living with her husband Issac (who appears to barely ever be home) and suddenly with two new young neighbors, seems to come with a certain degree of stress, albeit stoically handled. But, as The Wind goes on, we see there’s a lot more going on than a touch of jealousy, incompetent settlers, and hungry predators. There just might be a damn PRARIE DEMON. Don’t know what that is? Well, watch The Wind. If you listen to our critics Chris, Zach, Taylor, and Les, you’ll be very glad you did.
I think the Slender Man murder (look it up) convinced us all that A: Kids are dangerous and B: Faith can be a scary viral meme. I mean, no duh, but this really cemented that an imaginary horror character dreamed up on the internet could take on such weight that it led some children to commit the most horrible crime in service to it. This is the starting point for Mercy Black, a quietly dropped on Netflix film from Blumhouse Productions and Austin, TX author (and friend of the site, check out Chris on the set of his last film Blood Fest here) Owen Egerton. In this story, the once little girl is now all grown up (Daniella Pineda), has been in a psych hospital for all these years under the care of a doctor (Janeane Garofalo), and is ready (?) to rejoin the real world. Moving back in with her sister (Elle LaMont) and her young son, she’s determined to start a new life. But what if that monster she and her friends dreamed up as children wasn’t imaginary? What if she discovered that similar killings had happened afterward? What if they started up again in her town? Is Mercy Black real or is it something else? Join Alan and Chris as they delve into the scary linguine of Mercy Black.
We may not be able to pronounce the name, but we certainly understand the heavy drama featured in Sobibor. Lara and Bradly are here to tell you about Russia’s entry to last year’s Best Foreign Language Film category with this WWII Holocaust drama. Based on a story set within the infamous Sobibor concentration camp in Poland, we follow the Soviet-Jewish soldier Alexander (Konstantin Khabensky) as he is captured by the Nazis. While dealing with the infamous SS officer Karl Frenzel (Christopher Lambert), Alexander plots what will eventually become the largest (and only) prisoner escape from an internment camp. How did he do it? Listen here to find out and to see if it is worth watching the film’s portrayal.
Diane’s life may be getting complicated, but Diane does a great job showing that life simply and elegantly. The biggest winner at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, Diane follows its lead character (Mary Kay Place), a woman who fills her days with busy work to help out friends, family and anyone else who needs her. Though a lot of it is altruistic, it is mostly to escape the pain she feels watching her son (Jake Lacy) struggling with an intense drug addiction. As new developments occur with her son, Diane will be forced to not only process the building frustrations she is feeling towards him but some other deep secrets that may be the true reason for her pain. Justin and Lara had no idea what to expect from this movie, but it turned out to be a huge surprise in the best possible way. Check out the review to learn why!
THE LEGEND OF COCAINE ISLAND
Needing your documentary fix? Allen and Frank have the movie for you! Recently released through Netflix, the film follows the journey of a desperate man who goes on a treasure hunt to find a duffel bag buried on a Caribbean island amounting to $2 million in cocaine. Sounds like a crazy plan? Well…it is! Listen here to find out if this treasure hunt is worth pursuing or if this is a mystery better left buried.
WE ARE BOATS
Now I’m going to be hearing Fun.’s “We Are Young,” but then say ‘boats’ instead! We Are Boats is a drama that follows a young woman (Angela Sarafyan) who dies but becomes an ‘angel of death’, assisting the officious supernatural department with the job of helping the living move towards a better fate. This leads to an assortment of encounters with various folks (including Luke Hemsworth…did these two actors get offered this gig on the Westworld set?). This sounds like a feel-good dramatic version of the show Dead Like Me, but it did make a splash at the AFI Cannes where it won Best Film so there must be something to it. London and Lara will give you the scoop on whether this indie supernatural drama is worth the effort or not, so listen to what they have to say right here!
Do you ever want to go on a bro’s trip out to Central America and just take down and rob a drug lord? I think we’ve all had that fantasy, and here Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, and Pedro Pascal are doing it in Triple Frontier. Ben and Lara have spent the time to let you know if this Netflix bro-down is what you should be checking out this week.
It’s time to hit the road with Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson to hunt down some dangerous criminals…eventually….at some point in the movie. Chris, Allen, and Justin are here to review The Highwaymen, the newest epic from Netflix and John Lee Hancock (The Founder, Saving Mr. Banks). With Bonnie and Clyde still on the loose, Texas governor Ma Ferguson (Kathy Bates) decides to bring in some additional help to bring their crime spree to an end. The help in question is a pair of former Texas rangers named Frank Hamer (Kevin Costner) and Maney Gault (Woody Harrelson), who are definitely past their prime but also willing to relive a moment of their former glory. Will their years of experience be enough to track down the elusive gang of criminals though? Will you care enough to watch it? Not everyone in the review seems to agree, so tune in to find out which side of the law our trio was on!
We are a little behind on this review, but hear us out. We were out late at this crazy party and then someone decided that we all needed a bump. And well…we saw this movie and felt totally vindicated for our life decisions! In Netflix’s adaptation of the outlandish book, Jeff Tremaine (Jackass) takes us through the career highlights of Mötley Crüe, the rock band that are as famous for their inspired sound as they were infamous for their debauchery-driven lifestyle. The film has a Rashomon-like narration driven by the band members Nikki Six (Douglas Booth), Vince Neil (Daniel Webber), Tommy Lee (Machine Gun Kelly) and Mick Mars (Iwan Rheon), This was a band more interested in sex and drugs than the music, and eventually the consequences of their actions rain down on their heads. Will rock and roll win out at the end of the day? Bradly and Justin decide to follow the band on tour for this review and…well, they have some thoughts about what they saw. They were fascinated, entertained, confused, and downright horrified by what they watched. Oh and there was also a rock biopic sandwiched somewhere within all of that. Listen here to find out what they thought in-depth.
Bradly and Justin are about to bring a little class to the site with the newest movie from Julian Fellows, the writer of Downton Abbey. That should be enough of a litmus test to determine whether you’ll be interested in seeing this movie. This book adaptation follows a chaperone named Norma (Elizabeth McGovern) who volunteers to escort the legendary flapper girl Louise Brooks (Haley Lu Richardson) to New York in the 1920s to pursue her dance career. Norma, dealing with some trauma from her marriage, strives to keep up her conservative appearance assuming it will make her truly happy. When she meets a German immigrant who has caught her attention, she’ll look deep inside to uncover details of her past to help face an uncertain future. And if that sounds like a slow and stuffy period piece film to you…you’re absolutely right. Justin and Bradly do not see eye to eye on whether it worked or not. Find out who thought the movie had class or was a pain in the…butt. We don’t want to swear. Norma wouldn’t approve!
SLUT IN A GOOD WAY
This somewhat distressingly titled Québécois film became a festival darling last year and now, finally, the Oneofus.net crew has gotten their chance to see it. And judge it. No, wait, we’re not judging…WE’RE NOT JUDGING!!! The story is about three bestie teenage girls who are gathering around one of their number, Charlotte because she has just discovered her boyfriend is gay. Deciding to go all-in with the ‘indulge’ cure for heartbreak, all three are excited to see the number of cute boys working at a local retailer so they immediately sign up for jobs there. Each dealing with dating in this new pool in a different way, it is Charlotte who ends up trying out different flavors and being a ‘slut in a good way’ as her friends describe it. Ah, but boys aren’t so kind, as it turns out. What will happen when they discover that boys talk…a LOT. Well, a surprisingly mature, albeit far-fetched, discussion about double standards in male and female sexuality. Listen to Marco and Chris on the review.
Jerry was a race car driver, but he was no Hurley Haywood. Hurley Haywood took the racing world by storm in the ’70s and became a legend on the track with Peter Gregg. But now, about 50 years later he is finally willing to talk about his personal life that never came to light when he was tearing up the track. Ben and Bradley let you know if this is a biopic that is destined for the winner’s circle, or if it’s going to the pits.
LOVE, DEATH & ROBOTS
This very adult animated anthology series on Netflix launched with its first 18 episode season and it’s the talk of the town. Some love it, some hate it, some are deeply offended by it. The anthology is overseen by David Fincher, Tim Miller, Jennifer Miller, and Joshua Dohen and features episodes based upon some classic stories by authors like Peter F. Hamilton, John Scalzi, Alastair Reynolds, Ken Liu, our old friend Joe Lansdale, and more. Chris, Matt Frank, and Zach deal with all of the above as they break down all of the episodes and have quite some amount of fun doing it.
DRAGGED ACROSS CONCRETE
When you have Mel Gibson headlining your film, you know things will get ugly! In the third film from S. Craig Zahler (Bone Tomahawk, Brawl In Cell Block 99), Gibson and Vince Vaughn are cops who have been suspended after a civilian filmed them using excessive force at a drug raid. With financial debt and family obligations needing to be met, Gibson hatches a plan to rob an ex-con. Unbeknownst to them, the ex-con is involved with a heist that will escalate out of control. What follows is a methodically paced movie with stern dialogue delivered with growling gravitas, casually brutal violence and one of the scariest villains of the year! Just to warn everyone though, this movie is long. Like, over two and a half hours! So how much enjoyment you’ll get from this very deliberately paced movie depends on if you felt the director’s choices worked or not. Justin and Allen are not fully in agreement in that case, so listen here to find out who was on what side with this movie.
ROLL RED ROLL
The Screener Squad are changing things up this week with a documentary review. Roll Red Roll is a movie covering a real-life rape case and the impact of social media on it. The ‘boys will be boys’ culture at this Ohio high school is frankly pretty shocking (or is it more shocking that it’s NOT that shocking anymore). This may be far from your feel-good movie of the season. However, that doesn’t mean this isn’t an interestingly sordid tale to investigate. Bradly and Allen are your assigned investigators in this review of Roll Red Roll.
GIANT LITTLE ONES
It’s another whimsical tale of childhood and coming-of-age here on Screener Squad. This time, Justin, Brad, and Lexie will tell you what they thought of the story of Franky (Josh Wiggins), who lives in Vancouver with his mother (Maria Bello) and sister (Olivia Scriven) after his father (Kyle MacLachlan) abandons the family for another man. After celebrating a heavy night of drinking on his birthday with his friends, Franky is stunned when his best friend Ballas (Darren Mann), who is dating another girl, starts performing oral sex on him. Rather than speak about what happened, Ballas spreads a rumor that Franky was the one who aggressively initiated the act on Ballas against his wishes. Now stuck in a whirlwind of high school gossip and bullying, Franky must find a way to navigate the messiness of sexual identity and finding his own way in life. Listen here to find out what our trio thought of this surprisingly nuanced little indie film.
OUT OF BLUE
A Martin Amis adaptation is generally not going to turn out well. I mean, historically. Sure, he may be one of England’s most successful and lauded modern day writers, but his stuff just doesn’t seem to translate that well to film. Enter Out of Blue, an adaptation of his novel Night Train. Patricia Clarkson plays New Orleans police detective Mike Hoolihan who is investigating a murder of a renowned astrophysicist (Mamie Gummer). To her chagrin, the case may not be what it seems, reality may not be what it seems, NOTHING MAY BE WHAT IT SEEMS. Or not. Or maybe. *sigh*. Check out Chris, Zach, and Lara on the review for the frustratingly incomplete Out Of Blue.
This ain’t no expendables, this is a team-up of the ACTUAL super-stars of action, and the ones who aren’t in their 60s. Now, perhaps you haven’t been watching the most insane, best shot, best-performed action movies being released in the past few years. If you had been, you’d immediately know who Iko Uwais, Tiger Chen, and Tony Jaa were. And you’d be GOBSMACKED that all three of them were starring together in one action film as the leads. Perhaps you’d be over-the-top to find out Scott Adkins and Michael Jai White were the primary bad guys and said film featured one hell of a lot of battles between good and bad guys. And I imagine you’d be thrilled that it was shot by a director whose history was as a stunt coordinator. Oh man! Listen to Alan and Chris tell you why you should have Triple Threat on your radar, like, now.
It’s a revenge movie thousands of years in the making! Iceman, also referred to by its original title Der Mann aus dem Eis, follows Kelab as he returns home to his Neolithic tribe to find them wiped out by a rival tribe. Having lost all of his family save for a single newborn, Kelab embarks on a quest for revenge while also caring for the child against the harsh environment. Is this simple premise enough to sustain a full movie, perhaps similar to stories like The Revenant? Brad and Allen are here to tell you all about it!
WELCOME TO ACAPULCO
Do you like action, adventure, video games, and narration? Then Welcome to Acapulco may just be the movie for you. Starring Michael Kingsbaker trying to survive as spies, gangsters, criminals, and Billy Baldwin all are out to get him in Acapulco. What more could you want out of a movie? Well, Ben and Bradley are on the case to tell you if you should be checking this one out!
Are you ready for the new movie directed by Idris Elba? It’s about a young gangster from Jamaica named Dennis who, years after his brother is killed, is sent to England to assist the crime lord who raised him. However, he distrusts the criminals of his new country enough to decide that he should go off on his own, while also reconnecting with his girlfriend and their daughter he had never seen before. Justin is certainly too white for this review, but his good friend Shaky is here to help him understand what worked and what didn’t in Idris Elba’s directorial debut. Check it out here.
I’M NOT HERE
Ever wanted to see a very sad J.K. Simmons wrestle with depression, alcoholism, and possible suicide? Well, you got it here, as his character Steve reflects upon the decisions he made as a young man (Sebastian Stan) and as a child (Iain Armitage) that led him to this moment. And it’s directed, written, and edited by J.K.’s real-life wife Michelle Schumacher, so that…well no, that’s not always the best sign to have family involved. Justin and Bradly decided to give this a try nonetheless though. Was it worth it? Check out the review here!
Vincent D’Onofrio is taking a crack at directing with this Western epic. The story follows a young boy and his sister who flee from their violent uncle (Chris Pratt) after they kill their father for killing their mother. While on the run, they encounter an abandoned building where they run into Billy the Kid (Dane DeHaan) and his gang. Shortly after, Billy’s gang is captured by sheriff Pat Garrett (Ethan Hawke), who allows the boy and his sister to follow along as they travel to take Billy to jail. However, the road getting there will not be easy. And it’s not going to be easy for Justin and Allen to review this movie, as you will find out shortly why Western fanfiction is never a good idea.
I AM THE NIGHT – EPS 5-6
It’s time to review the…thrilling(?) conclusion of this TNT miniseries. Our leads have made a major breakthrough in the case and we follow them through a trip to Hawaii, as well as one major face-off, to see where this story concludes. And, well…there’s a reason why we haven’t felt an urgent need to get this review out. But we still had a fun time doing this review, so check it out to learn more about how this all wrapped up.
FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY
Yes, this is a late review, but now that some of the Squad found a theater where this movie was playing (why this is not in wider distribution is a mystery), they’re ready to enter the ring to discuss this biographical family sports drama. Stephen Merchant has decided to write and direct this movie following the story of Saraya-Jade Bevis (Florence Pugh), better known nowadays by her eventual WWE stage name Paige. Growing up in Norwich, England with her parents (Nick Frost and Lena Heady) and brother Zak (Jack Lowden), it has been her dream for her and her brother to audition for WWE and live the life of a professional wrestler. So when their tapes are finally seen by a high profile recruiter (Vince Vaughn) who wants them to audition in person, they couldn’t be happier. That is until they do the audition and Paige makes it through to the next round, but her brother doesn’t. With Paige about to leave her family for months to train in America and her brother coping with the depression of having his dreams shattered, how will this affect their family dynamic? Justin only has a rudimentary knowledge of wrestling to offer an insightful opinion here, so he is lucky that Shak lives and breathes wrestling when he’s not reviewing movies! The two of them tag team to discuss this film which, while obviously not entirely true to the source material, does have a lot worth mentioning. Listen here to find out more!
Things are about to get ugly. Lara and Patience are here to tell Justin about Donnybrook. It’s a bleak drama following a former soldier named Jarhead Earl (Jamie Bell) as he prepares to compete against a violent drug dealer (Frank Grillo) in a bare-knuckle fight with a $100,000 prize. Unfortunately, Earl may find that getting there will be as brutal as the fight itself. This movie has been noted for its unrelentingly dark and brutal content. But how is the product overall? Tune in to find out.
SCOTT MOMADAY: WORDS FROM A BEAR
It’s time for more Sundance goodness from the Screener Squad. This time, Lara and London regale Justin with their review about this documentary focused on the works and life of Native American poet Navarro Scott Momaday. While that may not sound like the most fascinating subject on paper, you may want to listen to what they have to say about this man who won them over with his sharp wit, beautiful writing and a speaking voice that would make Morgan Freeman swoon!
LORDS OF CHAOS
Ever heard of the Norweigan Black Metal band called Mayhem? They pretty much invented the style of music (or at least, that’s what they claim) and it’s touted as the evilest, most fucked up style that exists. Not exactly being connoisseurs of the style, it’s hard for us to say where it ranks, but we’re pretty sure Mayhem has some of the evilest, most fucked up PEOPLE in it ever. Rory Culkin plays the bandleader Euronymous who oversaw (and narrated occasionally) this story of a group of young guys who committed some truly heinous acts in the name of metal. Listen to Chris, Beau, Ben, and Patience give their review.
I AM THE NIGHT: EPS 3&4
The mystery continues as this TNT limited series crosses the halfway point and heads for the endgame. Justin and Les will give you the scoop on whether this Chris Pine-led (if you believe the commercials) series can actually stick the landing or if this whole thing is one big red herring.
DRAGONBALL SUPER: BROLY
We’ve turned the nerd level up to ‘maximumer’ for this review of Dragon Ball Super: Broly. Yes, we are a month behind on this review, but it was only recently released in some towns nearby members of our squad and we figured we should capitalize on the movie crossing the $100 million mark in the global box-office last week! Because this is no challenge one person can face, Justin Zarian assembled the biggest group of Dragon Ballfans he could find with Michael Riojas, Shakyl Lambert, Bradly Martin and Matt Frank(!) to describe what worked and what didn’t work in this movie. There’ll be funny comments, insightful commentary and more Dragon Ball Z Abridged jokes than you can count in what was one of the most entertaining reviews we’ve done in a while. How was the movie itself though? You’ll have to listen to find out.
THE HOLE IN THE GROUND
It’s time for a trip to Ireland with this Sundance horror flick. Seana Kerslake and James Quinn Markey play a mother and son who have moved to the Irish countryside to build a new life for themselves. One night when her son runs off into a forest, she finds him near a massive ominous sinkhole. He seems unhurt, but gradually things seem off with his behavior which leads her to believe that he may actually be an impostor pretending to be her son. But who is he if not her son? Davey returns to the Screener Squad with Justin to discuss this movie and whether it truly gave them the chills or just the cold shoulder.
HIGH FLYING BIRD
Steven Soderbergh’s iPhone crusade continues with this NBA drama penned by Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight). Andre Holland headlines as Ray, a sports agent who finds himself unable to access any money or help his clients when the NBA begins a lockout to negotiate new contracts with the TV networks. Not willing to accept these terms, Ray sets out to work some machinations of his own to right some wrongs while having some very philosophical discussions about the nature of basketball with a variety of friends and co-workers. While Justin and Lara are certainly not sports fanatics, they are big Steven Soderbergh fans. Will that be enough to help them like this movie? Find out here!
THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT
The title alone was enough to bring Ben, London, Lara and Justin together to watch this movie. The story follows a legendary WWII hero, played by Sam Elliott, dealing with his day-to-day life and the trauma that continues to follow him decades after his daring mission to assassinate the Fuhrer. One day, two government agents arrive to warn him that a new threat is emerging that only he can stop: a lethal bacteria that is being spread by the legendary Bigfoot. Can Sam Elliott push himself to save the world one last time? Find out in our review on whether this is worth a watch.
The Screener Squad is going on yet another foreign film trip…emphasis on the trip. A runner-up for the Slamdance festival’s Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature and the only Indian film ever screened at the festival, Cat Sticks follows a group of Calcutta druggies as they seek to find that elusive high from a drug known as ‘Brown Sugar.’ However, the world is clamping down on their lifestyle and their desire to party will take them through some depths they may not be ready for. Or perhaps they don’t care where it takes them? This is hard to review, as it is very much a meandering film where we watch events unfold rather than a strict narrative in an effort to live in the world alongside these characters. Does this translate into a good movie for Justin and Lara? Listen to find out.
It’s Hannibal versus the cold in this indie survival drama. Mads Mikkelson stars as a man stranded in the middle of an arctic tundra (the reason why he is out there is never revealed), who is starting to lose hope until another helicopter crashes nearby him. With one woman surviving the wreck, Mikkelson’s character finds a motivation to seek out rescue to save her life before she succumbs to a grave injury. Little does he know, however, what dangers lay in waiting in the frozen wasteland ahead. Lara, London, and Justin are along for the ride with Mikkelson, trying to determine if this film is truly worth the time or if it is just a frozen version of All Is Lost. Listen here to find out their verdict!
Some people deal with their frustrations with life by playing video games. Some people rent hotel rooms and then call hookers so that they can kill them. That’s where we start with Piercing, adapted from a novel by Ryu Murakami (Audition) and directed by Nicholas Pesce (The Eyes of My Mother). Reed (Christopher Abbot) has left his family at home to fulfill this dark fantasy, only to have the hooker he ordered switched out last minute by a mystery woman named Jackie (Mia Wasikowska). This causes secrets from his past to come back to the surface and then things get even weirder from there. Frank and Brad decided to take this dark journey so they can come back and report to Justin on whether this is rabbit hole is worth following. Tune in to find out!
THE AMITYVILLE MURDERS
Because what everyone really wanted was a remake of Amityville 2: The Possession. Or maybe someone did. I mean, clearly, SOMEONE did, because here we go. Ya see this is the story NOT of the Anson family, as detailed in the original The Amityville Horror or even the remake with Ryan Reynolds. This is about the family that lived in the house before they came into the picture, the oft-mentioned Butch DeFeo who murdered his entire family with a shotgun in their beds as they slept. But is there more to their story than a crazed young man? Was the evil already in the house and forcing him to commit those acts? Will he also get to have a creepy incest sex scene with his sister? The answers to these questions and more, like, is this worth seeing at all, are given by Alan and Chris in their review (with Patience rubbernecking).
Dan Gilroy is the latest big name director to sign up with Netflix for an exclusive film and it’s finally here, his much-anticipated art world skewering/horror film starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Toni Collette, Daveed Diggs, John Malkovich, and more. The simple break-down is, when a gallery employee finds a treasure trove of outsider art by a dead neighbor with no family, the art world jumps all over it. But what they don’t know is the art is possessed by the spirit of the dead guy (I guess) and possessing it will lead to your supernatural death. Ok, that sounds dumb, and yeah, it IS dumb, but it’s not the horror stuff that makes Velvet Buzzsaw so watchable. Listen to Chris, Johnny, Michael, and Aaron give their review.
TAKING TIGER MOUNTAIN
Ever wondered how Bill Paxton started his career? Well, some students at the University of Texas will show you how…whether you wanted to know or not. In this…movie(?), Bill Paxton plays a man in a post-apocalyptic future where an ultra-patriarchal society has taken over the world and implemented prostitution towns. Bill has been programmed by a group of feminist terrorists to kill the mayor of one of these towns once the mayor says a specific story involving tigers. And…well, that’s about as much plot as London and Justin were able to get out of this story. However, it is absolutely worth listening to this review to hear the delirium and uncontrollable laughter the two of them experienced trying to explain the experience of watching this movie!
THEN CAME YOU
It’s time for everyone’s favorite genre: dying teenager romantic dramas. In this movie, we follow a hypochondriac teen Calvin (Asa Butterfield) as he deals with his day to day job as an airport baggage handler. One day, a young British girl named Skye (Maisie Williams) enters his life and convinces him to help her fulfill her eccentric bucket list before she succumbs to her terminal diagnosis. Brad, London, and Lara decided to watch this movie to see if its sugary sweet melodrama would work any magic on them. For some people it did and for some, not so much! Come join Justin as he finds out who felt which way right here.
I AM THE NIGHT – EPS 1 AND 2
***NON-SPOILER REVIEW***Justin and Les are on the case to determine if this TNT limited series is worth the investment. In this six-part procedural inspired by the book by Fauna Hodel, we follow the lives of two individuals whose lives are connected to what may be the Black Dahlia killer. The first is a young girl named Pat (India Eisley), a mixed-race woman who discovers that her mother is not actually her mother and that her real family in Los Angeles may be involved in something sinister. Meanwhile, a sleazy reporter named Jay Singletary (Chris Pine), desperate to build his reputation back stumbles upon a story involving a grisly murder that sucks him into the insanity. How will this tale resolve itself? Justin and Les have decided to parcel out the series review into three parts to highlight the work of the three respective directors, with the first two directed byWonder Woman’s Patty Jenkins. Expect the other reviews to come out with each bundle of two episodes.
KING OF THIEVES
We haven’t had a good hit of ‘My Cocaine’ in a while, so we jumped on the opportunity to review Michael Caine’s newest feature. Directed by James Marsh (The Theory of Everything), King of Thieves follows the real-life events of Brian Reader (Michael Caine). Shortly after his wife dies, Reader gathers together a team of older veteran thieves and a younger cohort to pull off one of the biggest bank heists in British history. Having walked away with nearly £200 million in jewelry and money, it’s only a matter of time before the thieves start turning on each other to get a bigger cut. How will this all end up for them? Frank and Lara bring along their own young protege Justin to tell him whether this heist is worth executing or just needs to be executed.
Justin has decided to bring back Allen from the Midnight Chat Attack to experience the horrors of the bargain bin movies for himself. In Dead Ant, we follow a band of old rockers led by Sean Astin and Tom Arnold (uh-oh…) as they venture through a Native American reservation to play at a music festival. After making a stop to buy peyote from a mysterious Native American shop owner (Michael Horse from Twin Peaks), they are warned that if they kill any animals in the reservation while high, they will be cursed. Sure enough, the rockers’ antics send a swarm of giant killer fire ants after them as a result. How will they get out of this and make it to the concert in one piece? Well, if you ask Justin and Allen, it may not be worth finding out. Listening to our review here will be a good enough substitute to the real thing!
SCREENER SQUAD: FYRE: THE GREATEST PARTY THAT NEVER HAPPENED
The heat is on with this review as Justin, Shak and Allen jump on the bandwagon to discuss Netflix’s scathing documentary Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened. Following the infamous 2017 failed music festival, the film focuses both on the mechanizations involving the main people planning the party and the team on the ground attempting to hastily put the festival together while realizing that it is likely for nothing. No one could have been prepared for what was in store when the guests arrived on the island and the film only continues to shed light on details that most people probably didn’t know about the event. How good is the movie though and how does it stack against the Hulu documentary released days before the film? Our team will tell you all about it here. So pull out a cheese sandwich and enjoy yourselves!
SCREENER SQUAD: THE STANDOFF AT SPARROW CREEK
We’ve had a good run of debut writer/director films lately and this seems to be no exception. Frank and Lara take the lead on this review of The Standoff at Sparrow Creek, a dark and tense thriller shot in Dallas, Texas. The story follows around James Badge Dale playing a former police officer and militiaman who is brought out of retirement after a mass shooting at a police funeral. Things only get worse when he realizes that the shooter is very likely one of the members from his old militia. To ensure that there are no further shootings or copycats after this incident, Dale secludes the group into an old lumber mill to interrogate them and find the killer. Can they convince Justin to watch this movie? We shall have to find out!
SCREENER SQUAD: THE LAST MAN
January is here and for cinema, it’s a real dumping ground. So, of course, we would get a Hayden Christensen movie somewhere in the pile. In The Last Man, he plays a soldier returning from an unspecified war while an unspecified apocalypse brews around an unspecified Latin country (yes, it’s really confusing in the movie too). While attempting to overcome his PTSD, he is hired by his boss to build an apocalypse shelter in his house. Through this, he becomes involved with the boss’s daughter and also starts acting as a vigilante to right the wrongs he sees plaguing the other people around him. Justin listens to Brad and Patience do their best to explain this confusing story. Is it worth your time to invest in the film? You probably know the answer, but check out what they have to say regardless!
SCREENER SQUAD: AN ACCEPTABLE LOSS
It’s time for some good old political intrigue. This is An Acceptable Loss, the newest film from Joe Chappelle who did so much great work on The Wire….and also Halloween: The Curse of Michael Meyers. This time, we follow Tika Sumpter as she deals with the fallout from an unpopular decision she made while serving as a security adviser for the U.S. under Vice President Jamie Lee Curtis. While teaching at a college, a graduate student is stalking her and her former lover from the White House is hounding her concerning that decision that haunts her to this day. She has a plan to get back at those who ruined her life, but how will it play out for her and everyone involved? Justin and Frank couldn’t find a bipartisan approach in reviewing this movie, with both of them having very different reactions to this movie’s tone and plot choices. How different? You’ll have to find out.
SCREENER SQUAD: THE VANISHING
It’s Gerard Butler as you’ve never seen him before: in a small-scale, character-driven indie thriller! With a story VERY LOOSELY based on the Flannan Isle Lighthouse disappearances in 1900, Butler plays one of three lighthouse workers alongside Peter Mullan (Ozark) and Connor Swindells (Netflix’s upcoming Sex Education). While exploring the shoreline of the island their lighthouse rests on, they discover an unconscious man washed onto shore with a treasure chest full of gold bars. However, the unconscious man’s crew soon arrive looking to get their treasure back by any means necessary. How will the lighthouse workers handle the coming threat? Justin, Patience and Ben Glasthal give the scoop on what might be the first good movie of 2019. And it’s a Gerard Butler movie of all things!
SCREENER SQUAD: NEW YEAR, NEW YOU
Hulu’s premiere horror anthology series Into the Dark continues with their New Year’s Eve focused episode New Year, New You. In this movie, a group of girls meet at a house to celebrate the arrival of 2019, but something is amiss. Alexis (Suki Waterhouse) is holding a grudge against one of their friends Danielle (Carly Chaikin) for an incident long ago and has decided tonight is the best time to right that wrong. However, things quickly get out of hand. How will the rest of the night go? Justin, Les and Ben Glasthal discuss this fourth episode of the anthology series to decide whether it is worth continuing to follow month to month or not.
SCREENER SQUAD: SWING KIDS
Oneofus.net is about to get hit with Korean style boogie woogie fever! Swing Kids, based on a Korean musical called Rho Ki-Soo and not that unrelated 1993 movie with Christian Bale, centers around the Geoje prison camp during the Korean war in 1951. A captive North Korean soldier named Ro Ki-soo (Do Kyung-soo) falls in love with tap dancing after seeing it performed by an American Broadway dancer turned officer named Jackson (Jared Grimes). Along with a ragtag group of other colorful characters, they decide to form a dance group to liven the spirits of the other prisoners and find a renewed sense of freedom through dance. Bradly and Ben Glasthal decided to lace up their dancing shoes and cut a rug with this review. Did its charms work on them though?
SCREENER SQUAD: THE QUAKE
Norway thought its brush with disaster had been averted when The Wave hit them. They were very wrong! In this sequel to the hit 2015 movie, the lead characters return and are still recovering from the post-traumatic stress of the last disaster. However, after geologist Kristian (Kristoffer Joner) investigates the death of a colleague, he comes upon the colleague’s study that predicts a massive earthquake is due to hit Oslo shortly. Can he race against time to gather his family and protect them from a disaster that threatens to level Oslo completely? For such an epic tale of disaster, Justin gathered his own expert team of reviewers to cover this movie. Listen to see if Brad, Lara, London, and Patience think this is a worthy sequel to its predecessor or if your faith in quality sequels will continue to be shaken.
SCREENER SQUAD: PRODIGY
The end is near, but Justin and Lara have the movie to help you prepare. Prodigy follows a father whose son is being held by the government after he accurately predicts two supernatural events that he claims will proceed a global catastrophe. After the government contacts the father to help the son receive the sign of what this catastrophic event will be, the father takes matters into his own hands and breaks the son out of the compound he is held at. Now they are on the run and must find a way to receive the sign before the government catches up to them. Sounds like a solid story in the vein of films like Midnight Special, right? Well…listen here to see why that might not be the case…
SCREENER SQUAD: ELVES
The Christmas horrors continue with this VOD release. A group of friends find themselves in a dangerous situation when they open an ancient toy box that releases a mischievous group of seven elves on the world. The problem? All these elves want for Christmas is murder! Once again, Justin gets to sit back and listen to Patience, along with Screener Squad newcomer Ben Glasthal, vent about this movie. How mad did this make them? You need to listen to the review to believe the insanity that they were subjected to!
SCREENER SQUAD: MADEMOISELLE PARADIS
It’s time for some more foreign film goodness! Mademoiselle Paradis follows the true story of famed 18th-century pianist Maria Theresia von Paradis (Maria Dragus), who was blinded after an incident in her childhood but nonetheless found an outlet through music. Desperate to find help for her daughter, Maria’s mother entrusts her in the care of Dr. Franz Mesmer (Devid Steisow). Through some rather unorthodox means, he conducts a series of tests that actually start to restore bits of her eyesight. The problem? Her musical talent is weakening as a result. How will this affect her life afterward? Justin took a backseat on this review as he listened to Lara and Bradly tackle this indie period piece. Does it have the charm to win them over or is it just another stuffy costume drama? Listen to find out!
SCREENER SQUAD: THE MERCY
Colin Firth is on a boat…and it’s not going to be a pleasant experience sadly. This biopic, directed by James Marsh (The Theory of Everything, Man on Wire), chronicles the disastrous attempt by British businessman and amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst to compete in the Sunday Times Golden Globe race. The objective, to travel across the world without setting foot on land once, is ambitious, but Donald feels he can accomplish the task. Unfortunately, he is not prepared for the challenges the open ocean will throw his way, nor is his wife (Rachel Weisz) prepared to watch her husband slowly drift away from her and their kids towards his descent into madness and suffering. Sounds pretty heavy, right? Well…it is. Does it earn its pathos though? Justin, Davey, and London put on their fanciest airs to explain their thoughts on this film.
SCREENER SQUAD: MIRAI
The birth of your second child should be a joyous occasion for a family…unless the older sibling feels jealous of the attention the newborn gets. This is the central premise of GKIDS and Toho’s Mirai, the newest feature from Mamoru Hosoda (The Boy and the Beast). The film follows Kun, a four-year-old boy whose comfortable life as an only child is disrupted with the arrival of his baby sister Mirai. As he lashes out at his parents and his sister, he is confronted with a series of magical trips via his house’s garden to help him cope with his new situation and to hopefully learn some important life lessons. Justin, Bradly, and Screener Squad first-timer Michael Riojas enjoy a longer than usual discussion to point out the merits of this film and what it has to say about the nature of family.
SCREENER SQUAD: CLYDE COOPER
The future. No one knows what lies in store for us, but this movie believes there will be a lot of noir there. Clyde Cooper follows its eponymous character as he is hired to investigate the disappearance of a man’s girlfriend. This leads down a long investigation involving hookers, Silicon Valley tech giants and so much more. At least, we think that’s what was meant to happen. Listen to Justin and Brad review the movie right here.
SCREENER SQUAD: UGLY SWEATER PARTY
The yuletide murder keeps on coming with this movie. Ugly Sweater Party follows two young men named Cliff and Jodi who are on their way to what they think will be an ugly sweater themed sex party when they realize they forgot a sweater. They later find a homeless man carrying a spare one, only to realize it is possessed by the soul of a serial killer who attempts to take over Cliff’s body. Will they be able to prevent mass murder from ruining their holidays? You’ll have to listen to Justin and Brad’s review find out, but let’s just say that Justin may be more uncharacteristically surly about this movie than he usually is.
SCREENER SQUAD: MEOW WOLF: ORIGIN STORY
Meow Wolf: Two words together that have no business associating. But now, this non-sequitur of a term defines one of the coolest art collectives in the world who really hit the attention button hard when they launched their wildly immersive and interactive permanent art project House of Eternal Return in 2006. Since then, every city wants their own Meow Wolf installation with developing ones in Denver and Las Vegas coming soon. But how did these weird folks manage to pull this off? Meow Wolf – Origin Story has your answers and Chris and Marco are here to tell you about it.
SCREENER SQUAD: KRAMPUS ORIGINS
Tis the season…for horror! In this Christmas horror film, we follow a group of soldiers in World War 1 who accidentally release the demonic Krampus from an artifact. After the soldiers are killed, the artifact is sent to the commanding officer’s widow, who runs a small-town orphanage. When the orphans once again release the Krampus from its prison, they must team up to banish it once and for all. Sounds fun, right? Well…Chris and Brad have some bad news for you. How bad? You’ll have to find out here.
SCREENER SQUAD: MAIL ORDER MONSTER
Chris has joined forces with regular Screener Squad reviewer Bradly Martin for two horror movie reviews this week. Their first movie, Mail Order Monster, follows a young girl named Sam (Madison Horcher) dealing with the death of her mother and the harassment of bullies. In addition, her father (Josh Hopkins) is dating a new woman (Charisma Carpenter). Deciding she has had enough, Sam orders the parts for a robot monster to offer protection and guidance. Will that be enough though? Find out here in our review.
SCREENER SQUAD: LASSO
Yeehaw! Patience and Justin are headed out West to cover this cowboy horror film. A senior citizen tour group and their handlers head out for a fun day at a rodeo, only to realize that the workers may have more sinister intentions for their guests. Can they make it through the night to return home or will they end up being wrangled and tortured in these cowboys’ sick game? Does this movie deliver on its over-the-top scares? Or is it just an excuse for cowboy-themed torture porn? Find out here!
SCREENER SQUAD: THE LONG DUMB ROAD
What if we told you that you were about to take a trip with Zero from The Grand Budapest Hotel and Derek from The Good Place? Sounds like either a recipe for hilarity or disaster! While driving from Texas to start college in California, Nathan’s (Toni Revolori) car stalls out. With no other options, he enlists the help of a stranger named Richard (Jason Mantzoukas) who fixes his car in exchange for a ride to a nearby town along the way. Little does Nathan realize how much Richard’s loose cannon attitude will affect their trip in bizarre ways. And little does Justin, Nick and Travis realize what they’re in for while watching this movie. Warning: You’re about to hear an epic Nick rant in this podcast!
SCREENER SQUAD: JONATHAN
And you thought your life was complicated! In this indie sci-fi, we follow Jonathan (Ansel Elgort) as he goes about his day-to-day life designing architecture. The catch? He has a special condition where he inhabits the same body as his brother John, meaning he is only active between 7AM and 7PM before his brother takes over. They have a simple system to deal with this. They communicate through video camera messages, they stay with the schedule, they meet with their doctor (Patricia Clarkson) and they absolutely do not have girlfriends. That is, until John decides to get a girlfriend (Suki Waterhouse) behind Jonathan’s back. Once he catches wind of this though, Jonathan decides to investigate and take matters into his own hands before things get even more complicated. Little does he know what this will get him into.
Justin and Frank take the reins on this movie, which they were more than happy to do with the good word of mouth it has got from the festival circuit. Does it live up to the hype though? Check out the review to see!
SCREENER SQUAD: CAM
Not everything is glamorous for this cam girl. Alice (Madeline Brewer), in a desperate move to crack the Top 50 cam girls on her website, teams up with other cam girls at a hub house to attract more viewers. The next day, she discovers that she has not only been locked out of her account, but someone who looks exactly like her is streaming live on the site under her name. As the conspiracy expands and continues to invade more of her privacy, Alice has to think quickly to get her identity back before it gets any worse.
Justin and Patience cover this little indie thriller, which has been a hit at festivals and has been praised on a previous podcast by Chris and his co-hosts. How did it hold up with these two? Well…you’ll have to listen to find out, but…yeah, they have a lot of great things to say too!
SCREENER SQUAD: BURNING
The Squad is back and this time they are covering a potential Oscar contender. Burning, South Korea’s submission to the Best Foreign Language category which follows Lee Jong-su (Yoo Ah-in) as he gets romantically involved with an old friend named Shin Hae-mi (Jeon Jong-so). After a trip to Africa, she returns with a new friend she made named Ben (Steven Yeun), who almost immediately rubs Jong-su the wrong way with his cryptic, sociopathic leanings on top of the mysterious fortune he seems to have amassed. How will the arrival of this new person affect the lives of this couple?
Shak already reviewed this movie on our TIFF Infestation podcast, but he decided to give this movie another shot with Justin and Davey in tow. After all, this is a movie with an over 90% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Will the second time be a charm?
SCREENER SQUAD: VIPER CLUB
Susan Sarandon stars in this YouTube Premium film following a mother whose journalist son has been kidnapped in the Middle East. Feeling that the government is not doing enough to ensure his return, she turns to an underground group of journalists and benefactors called the Viper Club in hopes to raise the $20 million that the captors are asking for. Will she be able to raise that much in so little time?
Justin has brought upon Highly Suspect Reviewer Lara Britton this time around to discuss a film that seems to have its heart in the right place. But is that enough?
SCREENER SQUAD: THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND
Orson Welles never finished this movie in his lifetime due to legal and financial complications, but Netflix and a dedicated team finally assembled the hundreds of hours of footage left behind into the product we have today: The Other Side of the Wind. This self-reflexive Hollywood satire centers on the birthday of a veteran director (John Houston) as he screens his unfinished film titled The Other Side of the Wind in an effort to convince the main actor to return to production, secure additional funding, placate a critic, and entertain a cadre of students and reporters who are documenting the entire event. How will the night unfold and can everyone keep themselves together through it?
Justin and Frank delve into this complex, frenetic and sprawling film that is packed to the brim with footage to honor Orson’s memory. Did it pay off? You’ll have to listen to find out.
SCREENER SQUAD: WELCOME TO MERCY
The Screener Squad has called upon Brad and London to tackle yet another spooky film set in a European country. This time, they follow the story of a single mother (Kristen Ruhlin, who also wrote the script) as she deals with a stigmata and is sent to a remote convent. There, she must rely on those she can trust to help exorcise the demons within her.
Did this movie creep Brad and London to the bone? Or did it leave them feeling as cold as a winter in Latvia (they have cold winters there, right?)? Tune into the review to find out!
SCREENER SQUAD: BODIED
The Screener Squad is laying down some fresh beats with this review of Neon and YouTube Premium’s Bodied. Directed by music video titan Joseph Kahn, the story follows a white progressive graduate student named Adam Merkin (“American Vandal‘s” Callum Worthy). While writing a thesis about the use of offensive racial language in rap battles, he is put into a situation where he shows that he is not a bad battle rapper himself. The catch? His lyrics work best when he unleashes his most unfiltered, and often racist, material. Even with how non-politically correct his battle rap community is, Adam is unprepared for where this journey will take him and how it will affect his relationships with everyone.
Shak, Justin, Bradly and Ben Gentile had heard the massive hype behind this movie from the festival circuit, so they had an epic watch party to make sure they had the best experience possible. Did it help? Well, you’ll have to listen to find out!
SCREENER SQUAD: BORDER
The Screener Squad has embarked on another international mission to review this Cannes Un Certain Regard-winning film. Adapted from a short story by John Ajvide Lindqvist (Let the Right One In), we follow a deformed woman who works for the Swedish customs office who meets a man with not only similar deformities but some of the other heightened senses she has developed through it. The connection she builds with him will not only get her involved in an intense police investigation but will also present her with revelations that will question her entire existence.
Justin could only moderate this review due to other obligations, but Brad and newcomer London took the lead in reviewing this acclaimed foreign film. Is this truly good enough to earn its place as Sweden’s Oscar candidate for Best Foreign Language film? Or will voters be too grossed out and terrified by its reveals? There will certainly be no end of ‘border’ puns while you listen to the review to find out!
SCREENER SQUAD: 22 JULY
Paul Greengrass has returned with the latest in his series of ‘made too soon’ movies, this time courtesy of Netflix. Centered on the 2011 Norwegian terrorist attacks conducted by Anders Behring Breivik (Anders Danielsen Lie), we follow the story from the bombing and shooting that claimed the lives of 77 people to Breivik’s final courtroom verdict. Can the victims of this shooting recover from the scars left by this crime? And was this the work of a monstrous lunatic or a coordinated attack that speaks to an even greater threat?
Paul Greengrass definitely wants people to think about during this movie. However, Justin and Brad weren’t buying what he was selling. Admittedly, Justin is more right leaning than the audience this movie was made for, though he does not condone any of Breivik’s actions or that of any political group that promotes violence to any person. However, both reviewers objectively felt that this film was a decently made and well-acted but exploitative take on a real-world event that comes off as a political fear mongering tool without offering substantial solutions. If the movie had better pacing and more nuance in discussing its main points, that may have been less of an issue.
SCREENER SQUAD: SADIE
Sadie (Sophia Mitri Schloss) doesn’t have it easy. Her dad has been fighting overseas for years, she frustrated with school and now she has found out her mother Rae (Melanie Lynskey) is having an affair with the sketchy mechanic next door named Cyrus (John Gallagher Jr.). Convinced that the only way to fix her family’s problems is to remove Cyrus from their life, Sadie decides to use her manipulation skills to sabotage her mother’s relationship. But will it actually fix anything?
Justin and Davey went into this Sundance movie hoping for an insightful look at teenage angst. Instead, they got a well-acted and competently made movie that can’t decide if its lead character is an understandably moody teenager or a dangerous sociopath in the making. There are other more objective complaints too, which they will detail in the review.
SCREENER SQUAD: WILDLIFE
Paul Dano has made the leap from actor to writer/director, alongside his established writer partner Zoe Kazan, in this adaptation of Richard Ford’s 1990 novel. The story revolves around Joe (Ed Oxenbould), a young boy living in Montana during the 1960’s. His father Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal), after losing his job as a golf attendant, has taken a new job fighting wildfires that will require him to leave the family for several months. Once he leaves, Joe sees his mother Jeanette (Carey Mulligan) slowly unravel as she neglects his needs and falls for an older neighbor named Warren (Bill Camp). How will Joe be able to handle his own coming-of-age if his parents can’t deal with their own deep seeded problems?
Justin and Davey have brought along One of Us regular Frank Calvillo for this review to see if Paul Dano is the latest in the recent trend of successful transitions from actor to filmmaker. Thankfully, their answer is not simply ‘Yes,’ but an enthusiastic ‘YES!!!’ Hear them wax on about this gorgeously shot, well-written, well-directed and superbly acted film that tackles marital drama and teenage anxiety with more nuance and compassion than most movies by veteran filmmakers. If this is what Paul Dano and Zoey Kazan can do their first time collaborating together behind the cameras, we can’t wait to see what they do next.
SCREENER SQUAD: ALL ABOUT NINA
There’s nothing funny about Nina Geld’s life. She’s a stand-up comedian with an acerbic tongue, a chip on her shoulder and a bad habit to get in bed with the wrong guys. However, when she heads to Los Angeles to audition for a prime time comedy show, she meets the man of her dreams in the form of Rafe. Will she be able to find true happiness or will her demons keep her in this cycle of misery?
Sounds like a laugh a minute right? Well…not really. Justin and Shak had a lot of good things to say about this complicated but compelling film. Just know that this is going to get heavy!
SCREENER SQUAD: BIKINI MOON
Oh boy…this review is going to be a doozy. Justin and Davey discuss this new film Bikini Moon from director Milcho Manchevski (Before the Rain), a faux-documentary where a group of young independent filmmakers come across a mentally unstable Iraq War veteran who calls herself ‘Bikini.’ They soon become fascinated with her and decide to dedicate their time helping her gain stability while exploiting the process for their film to make money. What does this say about the condescension of white liberalism, the plight of the homeless and the relationship documentary filmmakers build with their subjects?
Not as much as you’d think if you ask Justin and Davey. Though there has been some early positive word of mouth for this film, you’re going to hear very little positive about this movie from this site. Even the fact this is a decently produced film with a solid team of actors, including Sarah Goldberg from Barry, couldn’t stave off our reviewer’s feelings that this was a pretentious exercise. It’s worth it just to hear Davey barely contain his vitriolic hate!
SCREENER SQUAD: THUNDER ROAD
Ever had the loss of a loved one mess with everything in your life? Jim Cummings has apparently, or at least his character does in this movie that Cummings not only played the lead in, but also wrote and directed. Adapting his original short film, we follow Officer Jim who, following a humiliatingly overwrought eulogy at his mother’s funeral, tries to return to his daily routine. However, the stress from the loss, along with potentially losing his daughter in a custody battle with his ex-wife, is making Jim more emotionally vulnerable than ever. Can he find a way to constructively channel his grief before he pushes all of his family and friends away?
The film is admittedly impressive in the way it emphasizes long takes to highlight its strong central performance. How does it fare as a whole product though? Justin and Davey would say it’s a pretty solid film, even if they aren’t completely in agreement on how much they liked it. Just be ready to get weepy, and more than a little uncomfortable, when you find this tragicomedy streaming on a service near you.
SCREENER SQUAD: STELLA’S LAST WEEKEND
How does one prepare for the impending death of a family dog? Why, by throwing a goodbye party for them while dealing with love triangles of course! Written, directed by and starring Polly Draper (thirtysomething), the film follows two brothers named Jack and Oliver, played by real-life brothers Nat and Alex Wolff respectively, planing for one last weekend with their mother and her boyfriend before euthanizing their dog, Stella. However, things get complicated when Oliver brings over his girlfriend Violet (Paulina Singer), who Jack may still have a crush on after a prior fling…and she may still have a crush on him too! How will this all these messy emotions culminate in the end?
For this review, Justin managed to call upon “The TV Dudes” podcaster and dog lover Les Weiler to discuss this genuinely likable, if not memorable, romantic film. Just don’t watch this with your dogs like Les did or it may elicit very strong emotions!
SCREENER SQUAD: PRIVATE LIFE
It’s about to get real uncomfortable in here, but for all the best reasons. Tamara Jenkins (“The Savages”) returns to film making after an eleven-year hiatus with this Sundance darling. The story follows Paul Giamatti and Kathryn Hahn as a New York couple named Richard and Rachel, who despite their best efforts cannot conceive a child or secure one for adoption. Things seem grim until their step-niece Sadie (Kayli Carter) decides to live with them after dropping out of college. Seeing no other options and knowing they can trust Sadie, the couple decide to ask her if she’s willing to donate eggs for an In Vitro Fertilization treatment. But will it all work out?
This movie covers just about every minute detail about infertility and its effects on a married life you can think of, but in a way that is more honest and heartfelt than any other film like it. So much so that Justin and Brad couldn’t say enough good things about this movie, that toes the line between uncomfortably real and disarmingly funny with aplomb. It helps too to have such lovable characters played by cast totally on their A-game. Just go in knowing that this is a movie for grown-ups and that it may prompt some serious discussions after (or maybe during) your viewing.
SCREENER SQUAD: COLETTE
Justin and Davey continue exploring their new favorite genre to review together: lesbian historical biographies. This time, they’re exploring the life of famous French author Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, played here by Keira Knightley. Following her marriage to socialite and libertine Henry ‘Willy’ Gauthier-Villars, she is encouraged to write a novel as a means of expressing herself. Things get complicated, however, when her husband decides to publish the novel Claudine under his name so the book can be ‘taken seriously.’ Colette must find a way to navigate this toxic relationship however she can, including through a steamy affair with the Marquise de Belbeuf, a French noblewoman living as a man.
You’d think this movie wouldn’t be up their alley after their tepid response to Lizzie, on top of the fact that this was made by the director of Still Alice. Well…it turns out that this is a significant improvement to both of those movies. Tune into the review to hear them rave over this compelling and incredibly well-acted movie!
SCREENER SQUAD: MONSTERS AND MEN
The Screener Squad gets serious this time out as they cover Monsters and Men, the Sundance darling from director Reinaldo Marcus Green making his feature film debut. The story follows three lead characters (played by Anthony Ramos, John David Washington, and Kelvin Harrison Jr.) as they deal with a police shooting that affects their lives more than they could have imagined. From the moment capturing the horrific event to the political activism built around the shooting, the film uses a short film like structure to capture the moments that make up this emotionally complex issue of how to get justice and how to process trauma.
Justin and Shak have a lot of good things to say about this movie that, while not quite reaching its potential due to some structural and narrative issues, is a worthwhile film to watch if you have even the slightest interest in its subject matter. They also can’t get over how much John David Washington can sound EXACTLY like his father Denzel in key scenes. Find out why in the review!
SCREENER SQUAD: MY HERO ACADEMIA: TWO HEROES
The Screener Squad takes on another international assignment as they venture into the weird and wild world of anime! Their target this time is the English dub film for My Hero Academia, subtitled both Two Heroes and The Movie (they use both on the title card for some reason…). The series leads the ultra-powerful All Might and his protege Deku traveling to the floating city of I-Island for a special expo to celebrate the innovations brought on by the superheroic ‘Quirk’ abilities enjoyed by most of the world’s population. However, a villainous plot looms in the background that threatens their joyous occasion. Our heroes must use their wits, strengths and a whole ton of series cameos to save the day!
As fans of the show, Nick Thyes and Bradly Martin take the lead on this review. However, Justin Zarian is also on board to see if the movie can be enjoyed by newcomers as much as hardcore fans. To their surprise, it totally is! Listen to hear them rave over this light but thoroughly entertaining romp that manages to showcase strong characters and emotional beats just as much as well-animated fight scenes.
SCREENER SQUAD: THE GREAT BATTLE
The Screener Squad takes on another international mission as they review South Korea’s latest epic, Kim Kwang-Sik’s The Great Battle. Based on the legendary siege of Ansi set during the Goguryeo-Tang War in 645 A.D., we follow a small Korean force led by Commander Yang Man-chun (Jo In-sung) as they defend their fortress against 500,000 of Chinese emperor Taizong’s soldiers. Unbeknownst to them though, one Korean soldier named Sa-mul (Nam Joo-hyuk) has been ordered by a general to assassinate Yang after he refused to assist in a disastrous battle.
Is this movie long? Sure. Is it historically accurate? Kind of. Is it a blast to watch? Absolutely!
In spite of its obvious influences from 300 and The Two Towers, Justin Zarian and Davey Peppers still found a lot to praise with this gorgeous and thrilling war film, including some of the best battle scenes you’ll see in any movie this year! Not too shabby for a $20 million production from a previously untested indie film director!
SCREENER SQUAD: LITTLE ITALY
Mamma mia! Justin Zarian has to review this stinky meatball of a movie called Little Italy, but he’s woefully unprepared like musciada pasta. So he has called Ben Gentile, that little Italian-American goomba of his, to help him not look like a giamope while reviewing this movie! It’s about this adorable pazzo couple whose families are acting like a bunch of ciucciosand now run rival restaurants next to each other, which means these adorable broccolini kids can’t fall in love. Can they overcome this obstacle to let the fire of romance burn between them like a hot pizzeria oven? Magari!
Trust us, what you just read above was painless compared to this movie. Surely it can’t be that bad though, right? It’s directed by the guy who brought us How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Just My Luck and…oh….well, Emma Roberts is the lead….oh….well, her romantic co-lead is Hayden Christensen doing an Italian-American accent….
…yeah, you should just listen to the review. This summation cannot do it justice.
SCREENER SQUAD: BEL CANTO
A South American country is throwing a birthday party for a rich Japanese industrialist (Ken Watanabe) trying to woo him into opening a factory there by getting his favorite opera singer (Julianne Moore) to perform. But when rebels storm the party and hold all the guests hostage, mistakenly thinking the President of the country is in attendance, things turn into a weeks-long stand-off. Over time, the hostages and the rebels form a sort of bond, but whether you find that convincing or moving is going to depend on whether you find yourself more on Frank’s side or Chris’s side. Listen to their review right here.
Screener Squad: Lizzie
Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave Davey Peppers forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave Justin Zarian forty-one. All skipping-rope rhymes aside, Lizzie is Chloe Sevigny’s long-gestating passion project depicting the murders of the Borden family, which scholars continue to debate on how culpable their daughter Lizzie was. Was she innocent? Did she kill them because they discovered her lesbian relationship with their servant? Did she get away with murder? All of these are interesting questions that the movie only sometimes addresses satisfactorily. Justin and Davey take a whack at reviewing this movie that, in spite of solid production values and performances, never quite delivers on its dramatic potential.
Screener Squad: The Basement
Justin has kidnapped Shak and Brad once again to subject them to horrors from the bargain bin. This time, they’ll experience a story about a crazy person who kidnaps a guy and ties him in a basement where he seemingly tries to get him to confess to…wait….is this 3: An Eye for An Eye all over again? Not quite. This is more like if you took that movie and merged it with Split. You’ll understand when you listen to the review.
Screener Squad: Slice
We all know that A24 as a film distributor or producer has of late become the mark of a certain level of quality. Which is why we were surprised by Slice. I mean, it’s a Slasher-horror-comedy, which didn’t seem particularly A24’s line…and then we saw the movie. I mean, what? The story follows a pizza place run by Paul Scheer that apparently is situated over the buried murdered inmates of a former asylum. This is a world where the supernatural is real and the town has a huge ghost population just walking around, ordering pizza, being treated as second-class citizens. But suddenly someone starts murdering the pizza delivery drivers. The mayor (Chris Parnell) blames it on the spectral population but something seems off. It’s up to the coolest of the pizza drivers (Zazie Beetz ) a curious journalist (Rae Grey) and a gentle werewolf (Chance the Rapper) to…oh hell, I don’t know. Listen to our review with Chris, Ben, and Marco right here.
Screener Squad: Silencer
The Screener Squad dives into the bargain bin once again. This time, they chose this little film that not only features Danny Trejo, but also legendary UFC fighters Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddel. However, they take a backseat while we follow Chris Messner playing a retired military sniper brought in to avenge the death of Trejo’s daughter, only for things to go very wrong. Sounds like an action-filled romp right? Oh, sweet listener…you have no idea. Justin, Shak, and Brad will give you the scoop on this wannabe revenge thriller, where the majority of the silence comes from all the scenes where nothing happens.
Screener Squad: Hostile
The future is rough. Especially for the poor woman in this movie. Stranded in the desert under a flipped over car with monsters after her, she must recall the experiences of her past to help her survive the present. Justin and Davey review this little indie that genuinely impressed them…only to pull the rug out from under them in the end. But it sure looked pretty!
Screener Squad: Blood Fest
A horror movie fanatic and his friends head to a horror movie festival for a night of celebrity sightings, total geek outs and maybe even a chance to get lucky. Little do they know that the people in charge of the festival have more sinister intentions in mind as they suddenly start killing the guests en masse. Can our heroes use their horror movie trope knowledge to survive the night?
Our own little movie fanatic team of Justin, Patience, Shak and Nick took it upon themselves to watch this movie, written and directed by Owen Egerton with distribution from Rooster Teeth. Does this horror comedy have the scares and the laughs to win them over? Check out the review!
A huge thank you once again to Owen Egerton and Rooster Teeth for letting our crew do that set visit as well!
Screener Squad: The Captain (A.K.A. Der Hauptmann)
Who’s the captain now? Unfortunately, it’s the psychopath in this movie. Based on the story of war criminal Willi Herold, we follow his journey from deserting the front lines near the end of World War II to his discovery of an abandoned Luftwaffe captain uniform. Using this rank and his gift for gab, he assembles a ragtag group of soldiers for a ‘special mission’ that leads him to a prison camp where he commits and convinces other to commit, numerous atrocities to see how far his newfound power can take him.
It must be said upfront that this German-language movie is almost unrelentingly bleak and contains several hard-to-watch sequences. However, if you can stomach the film like Justin and Patience did, you’ll see the gorgeously shot, well sound mixed and overall thought-provoking tale within about how it easy it can be to do evil when suddenly given immense power. It’s not a new story, but it’s one that is well-told and still relevant today. Who would have thought this would come from writer/director Robert Schwentke, the man responsible for such ‘classics’ as R.I.P.D., Flightplan and the second and third Divergent movies? It goes to show that sometimes taking away those big budgets and going back to your roots can really pay off!
Screener Squad: 3: An Eye for An Eye
A man and a woman kidnap another man she accuses of raping her at a party, determined to torture him until he confesses to his crimes. However, the man’s unwillingness to confess and claims that he has no idea what they’re talking about, on top of other brewing personal problems, bring troubles abound for the group. Sounds like the potential for a serious discussion about morality, male privilege and other serious discussion topics, right? Well, it would be…if it was in the hands of competent filmmakers. Justin Zarian and guest reviewer Bradly Martin took it upon themselves to sit through this movie, unprepared for how cheaply made and unintentionally hilarious the experience would be. Listen to the review to hear what happens when presumably good intentions go horribly wrong.
Screener Squad: Along With The Gods: The Last 49 Days
The Screener Squad has taken their first foreign assignment to review the sequel to the hit 2017 Korean movie Along With The Gods: The Two Worlds.In this movie, three Grim Reapers must help a young South Korean soldier clear his wrongful death to prove he was actually murder and qualify for reincarnation. There’s also some stuff with a grandpa and his grandson, a stock market fiasco, millennia-old secrets and a whole ton of terrible CG fight scenes. And yet…we didn’t dislike this film at all. Justin and Nick may have differing opinions on how much they liked it on the whole, but listen to their review for the full scoop on why you should or shouldn’t check this movie.
Screener Squad: Leave No Trace
The Screener Squad returns to talk about, and stop us if you’ve heard this before, a movie where Ben Foster plays an unhinged person. Real shocker, right? While living in the woods of Oregon with his teenage daughter, a minor incident derails their ideal survivalist existence and forces them to find a new way to co-exist with a society Ben Foster has fought so hard to distance them from. Will his restless PTSD-fueled inner demons keep them from ever having a place to call home? Justin, Ethan, and Ben gush over this incredibly well-told and compassionate story written and directed by the team behind Winter’s Bone, that shines a light on the plight of rural America, the problems facing homeless veterans, finding independence in an increasingly intrusive society and the ways families work together to address trauma. It’s a movie currently sitting at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, people. Go watch it!
Screener Squad: A.I. Tales
What can we expect to see in the near future? Hopefully better anthology films than A.I. Tales. Justin and Shak took the bait from the totally misleading title to sit through four short science fiction films about overpopulation, leaving family, nuclear war and…something maybe involving time travel? Eric Roberts cameos in one of the shorts too, so you know what kind of film you’re walking into. Check out this review to hear which shorts, and which parts of the shorts, are worth your time.
Screener Squad: The Jurassic Dead
The Screener Squad are back to cover more horrors from the bargain bin. This time, they tackle The Jurassic Dead, a film about a crack militia unit and a group of young nerds who team up to stop a bio-engineered zombie T-Rex, a mad scientist dressed like a Sith Immortan Joe, and an EMP blast triggered by an asteroid crashing into the Earth. Or at least they think that’s what happened. It really makes no sense whatsoever! That didn’t stop Justin from getting his frequent Breakfast Pub collaborators Nick and Shak to subject themselves to the horrible green screen, laughably bad acting and overall ineptitude of this movie. Listen to the review to hear some truly epic ranting from Shak and Justin totally spacing out during the plot synopsis. You can’t really blame him when you hear about this movie.
Screener Squad: Director’s Cut
Penn Jillette stars as a crazed fanboy who gets involved with a crowdfunded movie so he can stalk one of the lead stars, Missi Pyle, all the while offering a director’s commentary on the movie currently in progress. And things only get weirder from there! Justin does his first ‘solo mission’ review for the podcast in an attempt articulate his feelings on this bizarre genre-blender that is best enjoyed knowing as little as possible, even if you might enjoy parts more than the whole.
Screener Squad: The Yellow Birds
It’s the blockbuster team-up you never knew you wanted where Han Solo and Cyclops join forces to fight in the Iraq War! Okay, it’s not nearly that interesting. Alden Ehrenreich and Tye Sheridan headline this movie based on an acclaimed book following young soldiers who experience the horror of war and return only for those nightmarish images, along with a devastating secret they’d rather leave in the past, to follow them home. Justin and Ethan give you the scoop on this feature-length brooding montage and whether it is truly worth the effort to go out of your way to see.
Screener Squad: American Animals
Based more or less on a true story, American Animals follows a group of young college students from Transylvania University (located in Kentucky of all places) who conspire to steal a collection of valuable books from their library’s special selections. However, none of them are expert thieves, none of them have connections that would make the job easier and some of them are starting to have doubts in the heat of the moment. Can they keep their cool long enough to pull off such an audacious caper or will they fold before they can even get started? Justin, Ethan, and their friend Ben give you some varying opinions on why they feel this movie’s an enjoyable, if somewhat flawed, caper that should entertain those who aren’t into the Ocean’s movies.
Screener Squad: Hearts Beat Loud
Oneofus.net presents our newest review show: The Screener Squad. A show dedicated to covering the films too small for a theatrical release, too obscure for an average audience member and too good to ignore (or so we hope). In this review, Justin Zarian and Ethan cover Hearts Beat Loud, the newest indie darling from director Brett Haley (The Hero). A widower father and rock n’ roll connoisseur struggles to cope with the passing of his beloved wife, his record store’s dwindling revenue and his daughter preparing to travel across the country for medical school. However, after an impromptu music jam session that yields a catchy song, he realizes the two of them could have a budding future as a father/daughter songwriting team. However, life is never easy for wishful thinkers like him and he has to decide what ultimately will make everyone happy in the long run. With a stellar ensemble including Nick Offerman, Kiersey Clemons and Toni Collette, is this indie rock indie worth a trip to the theater? Tune in and feel your hearts beat fast in anticipation for this movie!
Screener Squad: Jurassic Games
Oneofus.net presents our newest review show: the Screener Squad. A show dedicated to covering the films too small for a theatrical release, too obscure for an average audience member and too good to ignore (or so we hope). In this review, Justin Zarian and his good friend Ethan launch this new show with a review of The Jurassic Games. In the near future, humanity has coordinated a brutal Battle Royale/Hunger Games style event where convicted death row inmates must fight for survival against the environment, each other…and dinosaurs! The last person standing gets fully pardoned for their crimes. Could this be a fun dino romp to tide over audiences before Jurassic World 2 hits theaters or is it just a cheap cash grab? We’re pretty sure you know the answer, but check out our impressions anyway!