Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 175: Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016) and Brooklyn (2015)

Episode 175

Oh boy! We’re back again already with Movie Podcast Weekly, Episode 175! In this episode, your four favorite hosts bring you Feature Reviews of Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016) and Best Picture nominee Brooklyn (2015). We also bring you Mini Reviews and at least 40 minutes of mostly unlistenable and irrelevant, witless banter, but we hope you enjoy it, anyway. It’s about as ridiculous as any other episode, so you might as well join us!

If you’re new to our show… Movie Podcast Weekly typically features four hosts — Jason, Andy, Karl and Geek Cast Ry — along with frequent guests. We give you our verdicts on at least one new movie release from the current year that’s currently playing in theaters, as well as several mini reviews of whatever we’ve been watching lately. And we usually provide specialized genre recommendations. New episodes release every single Wednesday.


I. Introduction
— An MPW tagline?
— Thanks to the generous donors who literally keep MPW (and HMP) afloat:
Chad Downey
Mark M. from the Netherlands
Pierre from Marland
— Should Karl start a home theater podcast with Chad Downey?
— Jefferson Airplane deaths (and Jefferson Starship)
— Send your brain training tips to or leave it as a voicemail (828) 565-2494 for a chance to win an Amazon gift card from Dr. Trayford of the Train Your Brain Podcast.
— Hear Jason interview Dr. Trayford about the movie “Concussion”
— Great movie-related episode coming up on on Saturday, Feb. 13! Don’t miss it!
— Alan Rickman in the “Eye in the Sky” trailer
— Alan from Wisconsin on “Making a Murderer”
— MPW crew covering the 2016 presidential election? … Seriously? You’d want to hear that?
— MPW listener Christie’s Top 10 Most Important Films list

[ 0:27:44 ] II. Mini Reviews
Karl: The Towering Inferno, The Great Escape and the insecurity of Steve McQueen
Jason: Titanic, Bolt, Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father
Ryan: The X-Files (2016) TV series
Andy: Carnival of Souls, Harry Potter films, Training Day, Horrible Bosses 2, Meet the Fockers, Django Unchained, An Honest Liar

III. New in Theaters This Past Weekend:
The Finest Hours
Kung Fu Panda 3
Fifty Shades of Black
Lights Out
Jane Got a Gun
The Pastor
Lazer Team
A Date With Miss Fortune
The Clan
Mountain Men
Portrait of a Serial Monogamist
Rabin, the Last Day
In the Hell of Dixie


[ 1:00:11 ] IV. Feature Review: KUNG FU PANDA 3 (2016)
Andy = 6 ( Theater / Buy it! )
Karl = 9 ( Theater / Buy it! )
Ryan = 7 ( Rental )
Evan = 10 ( Theater /
Emerson = 1 to 10! 1 and 10!

[ 1:18:57 ] V. Feature Review: BROOKLYN (2015)
Jason = 6 ( Rental )

— Netflix Owes $11 Billion?

VI. Wrap-Up / Plugs / Ending

“Waltz Into the Water” by Jason Pyles
“Forest Flutter” by Dave Eaton

Episode 176 where we’ll be reviewing “Hail, Caesar” with special guest Geek Cast Nic, as well as “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” and “The Witch.” Join us!


You can also hear Geek Cast Live Podcast on on SoundCloud

Contact MPW:
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Ry’s BIO
Ry’s flagship show: Geek Cast Live Podcast
DONATE here to facilitate the creation of more Geek content!
Blog: Geek Cast Live
Web site: Geek
Twitter: @GeekCastRy

Jason recommends supporting: Operation Underground Railroad

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Josh’s links:
Hear Josh named as one of the Top 5 Up-and-Coming Directors on The Film Vault Podcast!
Twitter: @IcarusArts
Josh covers streaming movies on: Movie Stream Cast
Hear Josh on The SciFi Podcast
Hear Josh on Horror Movie Podcast

If you’re a Horror fan, listen to Jason and Josh on HORROR MOVIE PODCAST

We’d like to thank The Dave Eaton Element and Dave himself for the use of his music for our theme song. Buy Dave’s Eaton’s music:

If you like Movie Podcast Weekly, please subscribe and leave us a review in iTunes. If you want to support the show, we have PayPal buttons in our right-hand sidebar where you can make a one-time donation or you can become a recurring donor for just $2 per month. (Every little bit helps!)

Thanks for listening, and join us again next Wednesday for Movie Podcast Weekly.

50 thoughts on “Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 175: Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016) and Brooklyn (2015)

  1. I had a really good time watching ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’ with my daughter. When we got out she told me that was her favorite movie ever but she’s four so pretty much everything she sees is her favorite movie ever.

    The original ‘Kung Fu Panda’ is probably my favorite Dreamworks animated film; it’s definitely neck and neck with ‘How to Train Your Dragon.’ I remember very little about the 2nd ‘Kung Fu Panda,’ but I believe I liked the 3rd one a little better. One thing that really stood out to me was the villain (voiced by John Goodman); I can’t remember the last time we had this effective of a villain in an animated film (maybe Scar from ‘Lion King’). The father/son stuff worked well; I didn’t think Cranston was miscast either. A very solid film; a fun time if you’ve got a child at the right age. It’s a solid 7 out of 10 for me.

    • Nor is it very helpful to any of those Manitowoc Police Department employees that in no way had anything to do with any of the injustice done to the innocent or guilty Steven Avery.

  2. Is it just me, or did anyone else have trouble picking out Andy’s voice from his daughters’? 😉


    Jason – You should use the “bye listeners” sound byte from Andy’s girls to close out every show.

    • I agree with all of this. It’s always great when the kiddies come on. Josh’s little dude is super-cool too.

      Talk about great podcast ideas, there it is…a podcast with everyone’s adorable little kids giving reviews. They say the darndest things!! :-)

  3. I’m with Jason almost exactly on Brooklyn. It was charming and had a lot of nice moments, especially earlier on. But ultimately it was just a nice little film and not anything particularly memorable or outstanding. I was really surprised when I saw it on so many top 10 lists. And it really seems out of place on that Best Picture list. They could have put Chi-Raq or Creed in its place and avoided some of the whole controversy thing. I can see Saoirse Ronan for Best Actress, sure, but not the film. I think I gave it a 7.5.

    Beautiful song, J! Nice pipes. :o)

    • Hey Eric,

      It sounds like you liked Brooklyn more than Jason, and it seems I liked it better than you. In terms of Best Picture, I can certainly think of more fitting movies to occupy it’s slot; OTOH, I think it’s probably a better overall film (i.e. what it was attempting to achieve with fewer missteps) than either Bridge of Spies or The Big Short. But to be honest, I’d replace all three of those Best Picture nominees with Sicario, Inherent Vice, and Ex Machina (but that’s just me).

      And even though Brooklyn is not the type of film I most enjoy, I understand the reasons why it’s getting the acclaim that it is (one of which you already mentioned) – and why I think it’s a cut above standard fair in the genre:

      1. Saoirse Ronan’s performance in the lead is truly star-making.

      2. We’ve seen many of these types of stories over the years involving male protagonists – so it’s refreshing and different to see it from the perspective of a female with some actual agency.

      3. It’s a fairly difficult feat to pull off “heartwarming” without being saccharine or mawkish – IMO, this does it very well.

      Anyway, like I said, not my normal fare, but I’d still give it a 8/10.

  4. Jason,

    I’m hard at work on a slogan for the show, but meanwhile – while listening to you guys brainstorm about clown-car and using your initials – the following initial-inspired synonym popped spontaneously into my mind:

    J-KAR – i.e. J(ester)-KAR; J(o)-KAR

    It also seemed metaphorically fitting to have J driving the KAR.

    I’m not claiming it’s a good slogan – just thought I’d share. :)

  5. Holy canolli everyone. Sorry, I haven’t even listened to this ep yet. I’m sitting here watching The Assassin and am floored by its beauty. Has there already been a discussion on it? Any kind-hearted spul care to direct me to it? If not, wow, I love it so far. Also, just finally caught up with Mr. Robot season 1 and really enjoyed it. Anywho…I can’t wait to dig into this ep on the train tomorrow. Just glancing at the comments and having the rest of all of society beat on my brain…I reeeaallllyyyy need to get down with Making A Murderer already. Sheesh! :-)

    • Gomez98,
      I’ve been trying to track down “The Assassin” since it was featured in Film Comment a few months ago! I just recently saw that it’s available, so I’m going to be reviewing it ASAP. So, many of the film snob critics had “The Assassin” at No. 1 on their Top 10 of 2015 lists. I can’t wait!

      • I got it from my local library. Not sure how yours is, but I love mine as a source of after-the-fact, but great new releases…

        Loved all your work with The Traders Podcast btw….I fell out of listening to it so I’m just now seeing that there’s a farewell to you episode. All the nice things said to and about you were well deserved. In the end there, you were 80-90% of the reason why I would still listen to that podacast. Anyway, well done sir, it’s a body of work to be proud of. :-)

  6. I saw ‘Hail, Caesar!’ last night. Thought I’d share a few thoughts.

    First off, the trailer is misleading a bit (what’s new). It focuses on George Clooney getting kidnapped and being held for ransom, but this is a mere twenty or so minutes of the film. The movie is really more like a version of Altman’s ‘The Player’ but set in the 1950’s. Josh Brolin plays (very well) a studio chief for Capitol Pictures and the film follows him for a few days and shows all of the fires he has to put out (the Clooney kidnapping is a mere one of those fires).

    The movie is a bit of a mess (it’s all over the place), but it deals with a few productions of movies that are also a bit of a mess so maybe that’s intentional., The biggest compliment I can give this film though is that the movies within the movie actually seem like legit productions. One of my biggest complaints on movies about Hollywood is that the movies they are about always seem so over the top and ridiculous (the ‘Stab’ series for instance). Here you have films that make sense being on a studio’s roster in the 50’s: singing cowboy film, costume period drama, biblical epic (the movie’s namesake), etc.

    Like most Coen brother comedies, there are many subplots that go nowhere (I’m still waiting for the bowling tournament in ‘The Big Lebowski’) and there are many interesting characters that only pop up for one scene and are never heard from again; Jonah Hill has possibly the best 1 minute cameo you are likely to see this year.

    The movie is a mess but overall it still worked on me; it has a lot of charm. And the parts that are funny are really funny. My personal favorite subplot involves an image makeover of a western musical star played by Alden Ehrenreich (from Stoker).

    It’s nowhere near the top tier of the Coen Brothers’ output but it falls somewhere in the middle. Part of the problem is that it’s hard not to compare this to ‘The Player’ and also another Coen Brothers film, ‘Barton Fink,’ which are much better films. I’m leaning toward a 7 out of 10 currently but I could easily see this go up a bit (or possibly down) after a couple more viewings.

        • I haven’t seen it yet, but I don’t suppose there’s any attempt to use any characters from Barton Fink’s Capital Pictures in background scenes? Even though Barton Fink was made 25 years ago, the two movies are set 10-15 years apart in real time, so it might be feasible to use someone that was young in Barton Fink in the same role (but playing younger than they actually are now).

          BTW, for me, personally, I tend to like the Coen’s dark movies immediately, with their farces usually taking me a couple of viewings before I really warm up to them.

          • I agree with you 100% on the farces. There are only three films of theres that I find to be just so-so or mediocre and those are all straight up comedies: Ladykillers, Intolerable Cruelty, and Big Lebowski (I know I’m in the minority on this one but I just don’t find stoner characters funny).

            I do love Raising Arizona and Burn After Reading. I find Hudsucker Proxy and O Brother Where Art Thou to be decent. ‘Barton Fink’ and ‘The Man Who Wasnt There’ are both really good but they kind of ride the line of dark and farce.

          • And there were no characters in the background that I remembered from Fink, but it’s been so long since I’ve seen it it’s possible.

    • I left Hail Caesar tonight thinking, eh, they’ve done better. But then on the ensuing drive I recalled so many fun things, like the scene with the religious leaders, the increasingly homoerotic sailor dance number, the clever idea of Jonah Hill’s character, the amazing scene with Ralph Fiennes and the cowboy actor, and so forth. So I feel like overall it wasn’t greater than the sum of its parts, but it was quite a fun collection of parts. I loved the production numbers and other film scenes. A nice love letter to Hollywood of that era, and films in general as a commodity of entertainment. I feel like the tone was a bit unsure of itself at times, where they might have committed more to the comedy, and it kind of bounced between levity and entertainment and more dialogue heavy light drama, but as usual for many Coen comedies, much of it was often charmingly quirky, regardless of whether it was humorous or serious.

      Good comparison to The Player. Eddie Mannix is more of a fixer than Tim Robbins’ producer, but there is some similar ground covered.

      7.5/10, but likely to go up on another viewing.

  7. I can’t say I have much to say about this episode due to not seeing either of the two feature films. The review by Andy’s daughters were adorable. Evan was more prepared than Andy has ever been and Emerson’s rating makes it clear that she’s her dad’s daughter. Ha

    Jay’s review of Brooklyn hurt my interest in seeing it. For someone who is still fairly young, Saoirse Ronan has had a pretty killer career thus far.

    Jay’s song at the end was a pleasant little tune and worth sticking around past the ending to hear it.

    • Hey Sal,

      IMO, Jay’s review of Brooklyn was too harsh. Even though it’s not my normal cup of tea, it’s definitely charming and Saoirse Ronan’s performance was really good. It definitely feels more like an Irish (European) film than American; i.e. dealing with the subject of immigration in a more straightforward, less sentimental way. I don’t think you’d be disappointed with it – although I’m not sure it has to be seen in a movie theater.

  8. For all of the MPW crew and listeners:

    If you’re unaware of Don Hertzfeldt, I envy you – because that means you still get to discover his work. Hertzfeldt is, without a doubt, one of the most brilliant solo artists working in animation today.

    And whether you know Hertzfeldt or not, if you haven’t seen his latest film, “World of Tomorrow” (2015), you really should stop what you’re doing right now and watch it. It won the Grand Prize for Best Animated Short at Sundance, and it’s been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short – and I think it’s likely to win the Oscar because it’s pure genius. Hilariously funny “sci-fi” with a huge dollop of pathos: 10/10 – highest recommendation.

    It’s ~$5 for 30 day rental on Vimeo – and though that might seem steep for a 16-minute film – I guarantee you’re going to watch it more than once (I’ve already watched it four times myself, and twice with friends) – plus you’ll be supporting an artist that truly deserves it.

    • I second this, Mark. In fact, I’ve been touting World of Tomorrow around here as one of the year’s best for awhile – it was on my top 10 movies of 2015 list, and was one of the must-see films I emailed to Jason towards the end of the year.

      I’m pretty sure nobody on MPW has seen it yet, which is shameful considering it’s only <17 mins.

      It popped up on Netflix a few weeks ago, so is available to stream there… but I would suggest paying the rental fee on Vimeo (as I did) to support Hertzfeldt.

      • Dino – I somehow missed your recommendations for it (which is a pity, since I think we share quite similar tastes), but since I just became aware of it recently (even though I’ve been a Hertzfeldt fan for over a decade) perhaps I read a comment of yours where you mentioned it but didn’t realize it was one of his films.

        Good to know about Netflix, although I agree with renting it on Vimeo to help support Hertzfeldt if possible. But for people unfamiliar with his stuff (like certain family members of mine), getting them to watch it on Netflix may be the only way they’ll ever see it.

  9. Alright gang, here’re my submissions for the MPW slogan…

    MPW where…

    – a quirky quad of chaps give you satirical shenanigans & scintillating cinematic criticisms
    – a ferociously fantastical foursome flies their flags for fabulous flicks
    (Jay’s mid-episode alliteration got me goin’ :-) )
    – the podcasts might come late, but you’ll still beg for more
    – people come from far and wide to hear Jason Pyles hatin’ on the cinema
    (couldn’t resist this one)


    MPW, it’s like….
    – if a clown car crashed into a movie theater
    (I like the clown car imagery)
    – if the cast from Cheers had a baby with Siskel and Ebert
    (I’ll let everyone else decide who’s who in the Cheers cast)
    – if the Ghostbusters busted your shitty taste in movies
    – if Spinal Tap had an album called ‘Smell the Movie’
    – if the A-Team blew up beliefs on movies with a critical cigar and opinionated TNT!!!

    Some of those might be too much of a mouthful, but that’s what I got. :-)

  10. As I mentioned a few days ago, I had the pleasure of seeing The Revenant earlier this week. What an experience. The movie is extremely effective on an emotional level and as a showcase for the beauty (landscape) and horror (dangers) of frontier life. I found the father-son dynamic to be especially poignant, having two “half-breed” (quote from the movie) sons of my own – I’m not ashamed to admit that it got a little misty in the theater for me a couple of times. I also really liked that, while the film was long and slowly paced, it never actually felt long or slowly paced.

    Now, I want to be careful not to misrepresent my feelings for this movie, because I do like it… a lot… but I also have a few issues with it I’d like to discuss.

    A lot of people have been praising the cinematography and it’s easy to see why. However, while I agree that the movie is laden with flashy imagery and beautiful panoramic shots of the landscape, I didn’t find the cinematography to be all that interesting. As is his tendency to do, Iñárritu very actively moves the camera around a scene to force the audience’s focus, which frankly, I find to be a somewhat boring storytelling technique. I much prefer a more nuanced presentation where certain small details in the background or off to the side elaborate on the story being told. A good example of this is Tarantino’s frequent use of wide, stationary shots at Minnie’s Haberdashery in The Hateful Eight. I find this more nuanced approach to be more interesting and less tiring because it makes me a more active viewer of the film.

    Now, moving on to the film’s story, which leads me to…


    Jason… I have a serious bone to pick with you, my friend. Now tell me, honestly, how can you criticize Mad Max: Fury Road for having no story, and then call this film your second favorite movie of all-time despite the fact that it has very little story of its own?! To be clear, I am not criticizing The Revenant for its thin story; there’s nothing wrong with a streamlined story. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that there is very little there in the way of story. In fact, I would argue there is more story in Fury Road with the richness of character and world that Miller builds, but that’s neither here nor there. It just seems very uneven to me for you to so vehemently criticize Fury Road for having “no story” and then call The Revenant your second favorite movie of all-time just a few months later with nary an acknowledgement of its paucity of story.

    ##### END BONE-PICKING #####

    Overall, as I said before, I did really enjoy this film. I’m not sure how well it will hold up on re-watch, but I think it’s a theater experience everyone should have. The Revenant is an 8.5/10 for me.

  11. I just watched Dear Zachary (available on US Netflix)! I’ve never seen a documentary that was both powerfully inspirational and incredibly depressing at the same time. I highly recommend it. I also watched The Staircase and enjoyed that as well. Both are good documentaries to watch if you liked Making a Murderer.

  12. I saw Pride & Prejudice & Zombies the other day. Pretty amusing, actually. Not that it’s a comedy. It takes its premise seriously, but by doing that, it comes off as fun and amusing for the absurdity of it. And watching pretty ladies in Victorian get-ups kicking zombie butt isn’t a bad way to spend 90 minutes. Pretty good cast, overall, though I kept thinking that John Hurt was doing voiceover for the guy playing Darcy. An odd voice. I give it a 6.5/10, which is low compared to a lot of things I rate, but I mean that as a pretty positive rating, really, just weighted for the material. And definitely higher than I thought it might be.

    I finished Mad Dogs on Amazon, which I think I mentioned before. I can definitely recommend it. It does kind of teeter on the rails for a while there in the middle to later episodes. Like many shows of this type, I think it would have been much better served with a tighter 6 or 8 episodes, instead of its 10. But I did like the way it ended quite a lot, so that made it feel worthwhile, regardless.

    • That’s a convenient excuse… all too convenient, if you ask me. I have a different theory, which I’ll be sharing over in the comments for the new show later this morning. Stay tuned.

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