Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 101: The November Man (2014) and As Above, So Below (2014) and Dinosaur 13 (2014) and God’s Not Dead (2014)

Episode 101

Episode 101 of Movie Podcast Weekly begins with Jason, Karl and Josh briefly reflecting on the summer blockbuster movies of 2014. We also bring you four Feature Reviews of The November Man and As Above, So Below and Dinosaur 13 and God’s Not Dead. We’ve also brought back our specialty genre recommendations. Karl and Jason have two new segments for you. Thanks for listening!

Movie Podcast Weekly typically features four hosts — Jason, Andy, Karl and Josh — 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 or on VOD, 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 Tuesday. Join us!


I. Introduction

II. Reflecting on the Summer Blockbusters of 2014

III. Mini Reviews
Karl: The Giver, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Chef, The Hundred-Foot Journey, Magic in the Moonlight, Into the Storm, The Expendables 3
Jason: The Mountain of the Lord, Holes, Freaky Friday (2003)
Josh: TV Series: True Detective (Season 1), TV Series: The Fall (Season 1), TV Series: Survivor: Borneo (Season 1), We Bought a Zoo

IV. What’s New in Theaters This Past Weekend
— The November Man
— As Above, So Below
— Cantinflas [ Limited ]
— Last Weekend [ Limited ]
— Starred Up [ Limited ]
— The Congress [ Limited ]
— Life of Crime [ Limited ]
— The Notebook [ Limited ]
[ 30th Anniversary Re-release of Ghost Busters (1984) ]
[ Adrien Brody’s Houdini on the History Channel ]


[ 0:58:15 ] V. Feature Review: AS ABOVE, SO BELOW (2014)
Jason = 2.5 ( Avoid )
Josh = 8 ( Theater / Buy it! )

[ 1:09:31 ] VI. Feature Review: THE NOVEMBER MAN (2014)
Karl = 7 ( Theater / Rental )

[ 1:14:50 ] VII. Feature Review: DINOSAUR 13 (2014)
Jason = 10 ( A Must-See / Buy it to support great cinema! )
Josh = 8.5 ( Rental )

[ 1:31:25 ] VIII. Feature Review: GOD’S NOT DEAD (2014)
Jason = 5 ( Rental )

IX. Specialty Segments:

Film: Arthur (1981)
Actor: Dudley Moore as Arthur Bach
Mighty Line: “Everyone who drinks is not a poet. Maybe some of us drink because we’re not poets.”

It’s Alive (1974) = 5 ( Low-priority Rental )

X. Wrap-Up / Plugs / Ending



Karl recommends watching Foster Brooks drunk

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Josh’s links:
Twitter: @IcarusArts
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“Cleanflix” the documenatary’s Website

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

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

39 thoughts on “Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 101: The November Man (2014) and As Above, So Below (2014) and Dinosaur 13 (2014) and God’s Not Dead (2014)

    • Except that “Trans4mers: Age of Extinction” has the lowest domestic gross of any film in the franchise: Just $244.4 million, compared to $402.1 M for “Revenge of the Fallen,” $352.4 M for “Dark of the Moon” and $319.2 M for the original. It looks even worse if you factor in ticket price inflation:

      Explain that, Willis. Why have so many U.S. moviegoers abandoned the franchise? If “Age of Extinction” is so awesome, then why does it need to be artificially propped up by $800 M worth of foreign ticket sales? :-) Why, at that rate, they’ll stop making “Transformers” movies by 2075.

  1. Hi guys. I’m still listening to this episode, but I wanted to comment on your 100th episode. I feel bad that I didn’t comment as much as I would’ve liked, but I’ll hopefully get to that on this week’s episode. Jay, I’d just like to quickly address your list of Creeps and Crime because surprisingly, I have seen all of them except for Gomorrah. Here are my scores:

    Kill List (2011) – 9
    Bullhead (2011) – 8.5
    ATM (2012) – 7
    Pontypool (2008) – 8
    Contracted (2013) – 4.5
    Gomorrah (2008) – Haven’t seen it, sadly
    Compliance (2012) – 8
    Unknown (2006) – 6.5
    Right at Your Door (2006) – 7
    Mountaintop Motel Massacre (1986) – 6

    Out of all of those the ones that I would say are a must (even if I didn’t score them a 10) are: Kill List, Bullhead, Compliance, and Pontypool. Gomorrah would probably make it, but I haven’t seen it.

    Josh, I was surprised to see that I’ve seen a fairly decent chunk of the documentaries that you listed as your best of the last 10 years. Ok it’s really more like a handful, but I’m not huge on documentaries so it was surprising to me that I’d seen that many. Anyway, your list is pretty large and varied so I’m very much looking forward to catching up. These are the documentaries that from the list that I’ve seen and their ratings:

    The Act of Killing – 10
    The Imposter – 9
    Grizzly Man – 10
    Best Worst Movie – 9
    Chasing Ice – 9

    I wanted to ask you about a few that I thought were great that perhaps you forgot to list, or perhaps you didn’t think they deserved to make the cut. Here they are:

    Blackfish – 9
    Restrepo – 9
    Cutie and the Boxer -9.5
    Jiro Dreams of Sushi – 9.5
    Bully – 8
    The Cove – 8.5

    • I completely forgot about the one that I’m most excited/scared to know your opinion on: Strongman. That film is a 10 for me. It’s one of the most poignant character studies that I have ever seen and the ending is such a perfect combination of sad, happy, and depressing that lingered for days. Anyway, that’s all I have. Feel free to gently destroy my recommendations.

    • All great movies, Juan, but I didn’t forget any of them.

      I think Restrepo is a little overrated. I know that’s hard to say about a situation as intense as that, with real life stakes so high, but for two better films in similar settings, try Armadillo or Hell and Back Again. Restrepo probably makes my Top 50 of the last 10 years. The Cove and Blackfish are a bit overrated as movies too, but they are important for their social action. They both may make a Top 50.

      I absolutely love Jiro Dreams of Sushi and Cutie & the Boxer and both made my end of year lists when they were released, but they aren’t in my top 10 of the past 10 years. Maybe in a Top 30.

      Bully is also great. That one should have made my honorable mentions. Good call. Could probably make my Top 20.

      Haven’t seen Strongman, but I will check it out.

      • I have a feeling that you’ll hate Strongman. I can see the majority of the people strongly disliking Stanless Steel. By the way, I recently watched Under the Skin and wow! You were totally right about the general public hating this movie. I’m personally a huge fan of Kubric, so this was a perfect movie for me. I’ve never seen anything by Jonathan Glazer, but now he’s officially on my radar. You’ve talked a lot about Birth before and I’ll make sure to track that down along with Sexy Beast. Under the Skin is a 9 for me and I say it’s a must.

        • So glad to hear you liked Under the Skin. It is incredibly haunting. Sexy Beast and Birth are much more accessible. I absolutely love Birth, as I’ve mentioned. Curious what you’ll think. I will let you know on Strongman.

  2. NOT A COMMENT ON EPISODE 101: Although I listened to every single episode of Considering the Sequels as soon as it was available (refuting the substance, if not the spirit of Jay’s MPW Ep. 100 rap), I missed the first several months of MPW. So earlier this summer, I started catching up on the early history of MPW. This morning, I was running through a quiet neighborhood in Provo listening to Episode 14 (“Django Unchained” and Best of 2012) when the following happened: Andy names “Les Miserables” as his seventh-best (I think) film of 2012, without having seen it. Then Karl butts in to take a dump on Andy’s pick — only to admit after a few moments that he hasn’t seen it either. Except that Karl’s pseudo-review, based entirely on what he’s read and heard about the movie, rattles Andy so badly that Andy changes his pick on the spot to “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” another movie that he has not seen. Now, I know Andy reviewing movies he hasn’t seen is a proud MPW tradition, but this took it to the next level. Frankly, Karl jumped in so authoritatively, and with such instant derision, that I feel like he both figuratively and literally beat Andy at Andy’s own game. What a beautiful moment, and kudos to Andy and Karl for bringing it off so well.

    A few leftover observations from Ep. 100: Just wanted to add my voice to the chorus about long episodes. I personally listen to podcasts to occupy my thoughts when exercising or doing mundane, repetitive household chores like dishwashing, sorting and folding laundry, pulling weeds in the yard, etc., so I’m usually happy to have plenty of material. That would be my recommendation to RichardHK, actually: Multitask, bro. Throw on the podcast when you’re doing something that doesn’t demand 100 percent mental engagement. Also, I feel like the product is better when people can talk at length, without rushing or self-editing to keep the show from blowing past some arbitrary deadline. My only hesitation about length, really, would be out of consideration for poor Jay, who has to edit it all together after it’s done.

    Also, regarding “Zodiac,” I agree with Josh (and David). Jason is dissatisfied with “Zodiac” because Fincher includes the Ace Hardware scene, the mug shot scene and the end titles, all of which seems to implicate Arthur Leigh Allen (though the end titles do note that Allen’s DNA, obtained from a tissue sample at the time of his death in 1992, did not match previous samples associated with the killer). So if you view the movie as a procedural about the never-resolved hunt for a serial killer, then you could justifiably argue, as Jason does, that Fincher softens both the reality of the case and its impact on the film by saying, in essence, “This is the guy who probably did it.” Except that Fincher didn’t make that film. He made a film about the obsession with discovering the identity of the killer that tormented Robert Graysmith and other people associated with the case. The ending of the film is essentially an acknowledgement of where Robert Graysmith’s (played by Jake Gyllenhaal in the film) research led him: He thought Allen was the guy. So if you make a movie based on Graysmith’s take (Fincher and screenwriter James Vanderbilt used Graysmith’s two books, “Zodiac” and “Zodiac Unmasked,” as their primary source material), then you sorta have to include (and appropriately weight) Graysmith’s point of view, right? The ending is perfectly suited to the rest of the film: It would have to be maddening to be Graysmith (still alive at 71), have your obsession with the case wreak havoc on your personal life, and then be left with nothing other than strong suspicions. Whether Graysmith actually ever spotted Allen in an Ace Hardware store (I’ve never read the book) is immaterial. The scene is a metaphor for spending years to get something almost within your grasp, and then have it melt away into nothing. And in that sense, it’s a perfect fit.

    • Cody, your “Zodiac” rebuttal is excellent. You pretty much summed up my thoughts on the movie and it’s ending but managed to articulate it far better than I’d ever have hoped to. I can’t wait to hear Jay’s response!

      • Wow. Cody’s comment really sparked something in me. I remember seeing Zodiac when it came out and liking it a lot. But it was at a different time in my life and I’m really curious to see what I think of it now after reading and hearing what Josh, Cody, and David had to say about it. Damnit! I guess Stoker will have to wait until tomorrow.

        • Zodiac didnt do it at all for me. I understand that it rides on the style with seven and Finch’s movie language is smooth and all, but i would rather they took a different approach instead of what cody just commented exactly.

  3. After hearing Jay ripping on my girl Dana Scully I realised that I was wrong to have scolded Josh for being too harsh on Jason in the comments of last weeks show. So very wrong.

    “The X-files” is one of my favourite shows!

  4. It was good to hear Josh eventually settle on a 10/10 for “True Detective”. I do understand his disappointment with the way the plot panned out, which is partly why in previous discussions I’ve tried to emphasize that it’s strength is in it’s characters and themes, though I wouldn’t go so far to say that I was personally that disappointed (though I went in unaware of any real hype surrounding the show). I do think it’s one of those cases where the more you reflect on it the more you come to appreciate it; initially I might have found the ending very slightly underwhelming but having had some time to think on it the show as a whole has only risen in my estimation.

    On a similar note, I took a break halfway through season 2 of “Hannibal” and I’ve just returned to catch up and while watching it I couldn’t help but wonder if Jay or Josh have any plans on checking that show out, if they haven’t already? Season 2 in particular is just masterful in it’s graceful, intelligent, practical-effect gore drenched execution. I also think that Josh might appreciate some of the beautiful cinematography and more surreal elements. Can’t recommend that show enough.

    • Yeah, It’s not that the plot was disappointing, it was just fine. It was good, not spectacular. I really loved the show and I’m excited to see what they do for season two.

      I haven’t gotten around to Hannibal yet, but actually, Karl is a big fan, if I’m not mistaken. Interested in seeing it, but next on my to-do list is Hemlock Grove.

      • I’m sorry Josh, but Hemlock Grove is pile of steaming crap. I gave the first season more than a decent chance by watching the first five episodes and I wanted to gouge my eyes out by the end of the third one. I have to admit that the first episode hooked me with its atmosphere, high production values, and the mystery of who the killer was. It was very disappointing that the performances were so uneven, but mostly terrible to the point of laughter. The very strong “Twilight” meets “True Blood” vibe that the show possesses is extremely unappealing too. If you liked those, then I suppose this will be right down your alley. The story was interesting enough, but it was clumsily told and the pacing was pretty terrible. I don’t mind when a show takes the time to tell its story if enough time is devoted to develop the characters, but sadly, this wasn’t the case. The characters here are as shallow as they are unlikeable. The setting was great though. It’s one of the reasons I kept coming back to the show. The town seemed to have an interesting past and I usually love learning about a town’s story, but all the negatives I’ve brought up kept me from enjoying anything good this show had to offer. In the end, the show was just too painful to watch. David, I say skip this one, man. There are much better shows out there that are more deserving of your time. But if you do give it a try, please let me know your thoughts. For all I know, I’m alone with my criticisms of the show.

        • I’m not necessarily a fan of Eli Roth, but I am always curious about what he’s doing. I AM, on the other hand, a MAJOR fan of Famke Janssen (and, of course, werewolves), plus one of my favorite Survivor contestants, Rafe Judkins (who previously wrote for Agents of Shield and Chuck) is a writer on the show, so my curiosity is piqued in several ways. I don’t like the Twilight movies–though I do like the setting and general concept–and I’ve never seen True Blood (except for a couple of Lizzy Caplan clips, which were great! haha), so the comparisons don’t really help. I’m sure I’ll hate it like everyone else, but it was just renewed for a third and final season, so I like they idea of getting into something so short and self-contained. I don’t know, we’ll see, I guess.

      • Josh: I’ve definitely heard Karl speak positively of “Hannibal” on past episodes of MPW but I think there’s a chance that you and Jay might appreciate it even more than him, you guys being horror fans and all. It seriously has some of most gruesomely imaginative and dare I say “artful” uses of gore that I’ve ever seen, not to mention some really interesting, almost Lynchian sequences peppered throughout. And really, really beautifully shot plates of food. And I’m not even joking.

        Juan: I don’t think you’re alone in your opinions on “Hemlock Grove”; I’ve heard negative things from a quite a few people. Call me close-minded but there wasn’t much chance of me watching it anyway because I lost interest as soon as I heard Eli Roth was involved.

  5. In today’s installment of Things Josh is Right About: “Survivor: Borneo.” At this point, the only people who should ever watch it are fanatical “Survivor” completists. Josh is being generous in his review. I actually didn’t start watching until “Survivor: Thailand,” so there was a four-season gap in my knowledge of “Survivor” for a long time. People who have been with the show since the beginning (Dalton Ross of “Entertainment Weekly” is a notable superfan) always praise the magic of “Survivor: Borneo” (as Josh mentioned in his review), so I finally succumbed and watched it a couple of years ago. Man, what a chore. C-H-O-R-E. Compared to the way that the game is both designed and played in 2014, watching “Borneo” is like watching toddlers play chess on a board with four squares and no chess pieces. Almost zero strategy involved, from anyone present. And let’s just say that the “brilliance” of Richard Hatch, including his supposed domination of the final tribal council, has been hilariously overblown in many a “Survivor” retrospective. Far, far more impressive performance by Richard in the first “All-Stars” season, if only for the moment when he catches a (small) shark, essentially with his bare hands.

    “Borneo” is so bad that I’ve haven’t yet been able to make myself go back and watch, “Australia” (S. 2), “Africa” (S. 3) or “Marquesas” (S. 4). I’ll probably get around to them someday.

    In fairness, it should be noted that I am not currently a legitimate film critic. I did that job for three different outlets over a 14-year span, but I sold out and changed jobs in the middle of last year. I guess you could say that, at least for now, I’m going through an indefinite hiatus. :-)

    Also, to chime in on Karl’s request, I’ve watched the first three seasons of “Downton Abbey,” and I enjoy it quite a bit. The melodrama is a bit thick for me at times, and I’m still bummed that Dan Stevens took his ball and went home at the end of Season 3, but overall it’s a damn fine period soap opera. Interestingly, although my wife and I own the fourth season, I have not yet watched it. She insisted on watching a bootleg of the BBC version of Season 4 before it got to DVD in the U.S. I have strong views about piracy, so I told her that if she was going to do that, then I would insist on buying Season 4 as soon as it was available. Anyway, not to get too spoiler-y, but apparently there’s a character arc that essentially visits some extremely harrowing trials on one of the nicest characters in the show, and my wife hasn’t been game to revisit Season 4 yet because of that. I almost never watch anything without her, so … I haven’s seen Season 4 yet.

    • Cody, you’re a genius! I think this should be my new segment on the show … you call in and leave a voicemail regarding THINGS JOSH WAS RIGHT ABOUT from the previous episode. Alternately, I’d accept THINGS JASON WAS WRONG ABOUT.

      Yeah, you’re right on about Borneo. I do like Hatch more than you seem to, and it appears he was more active behind-the-scenes than we were shown, but the truth is he was playing just as hard as he had to. And although forming alliances isn’t rocket science, I have enjoyed seeing how late characters like Gervase and Greg came around to realizing it was necessary. Cool from a historical standpoint, but a pretty rough watch.

      I will say, Thailand is nearly equally boring and I’m surprised you continued with the show based on that as your first experience. Brian REALLY WAS a master manipulator, however and his game really elevated the show and game in general. I also love to see a season dominated by a strategic force. Still, most of those characters and most of that season … brutal.

      I actually have a rough time through and including Amazon, although Cesternino is an important bright light. Each of those early seasons seems to have at least one person.

      BORNEO is a 3.5 and a very low-priority rental for first-time viewers or superfans. Worth it for John’s ridiculous “alphabet strategy,” Sue’s final tribal council speech, and the characters of Greg, Gervase, Rudy & Hatch, including Hatch’s introduction of “alliances.”

      AUSTRALIA is a 4 and a low-priority rental for first-time viewers and superfans. Worth it for the cute father daughter relationship of Roger & Elizabeth, an introduction to (mild by today’s standards) Supervillain Jerri, Wildman Skupin, No-nonsense Alicia, (and not all that) Heroic Colby & Tina. Also the extreme survival conditions are kind of impressive.

      AFRICA is the best of the early seasons, in my opinion, at a 6.5 and a strong rental recommendation. Worth it mainly for the location and for Lex’s dominating strategy, as well as characters like T-Bird, Ethan, Frank, Clarence, and Big Tom.

      MARQUESAS is a 4.5 and a decent rental recommendation. Worth it for the gameplay of John Carroll, the introduction of the alliance “flip” concept, as well as a brief intro to Boston Rob and the characters of Kathy and Sean.

      THAILAND is a 4 and a low-priority rental, this time only for superfans. This season is filled with unlikeable people top to bottom, but is worth it for the total game domination of Brian, the introduction of the “goat” concept, the blatant racism against Shi Ann (who had more game than people give her credit for and mostly got a raw deal from production), and the Ted & Ghandia “Grindgate.”

      AMAZON is a 3 and would be an avoid if not for Rob Cesternino who takes the concept of the “flip” to a whole new level and becomes one of my favorite characters of all time. I found the men vs women concept intolerable here. Add no likable characters and a terrible winner, and I’m out.

      Almost every other Survivor season for me is a 7 or above–including seasons other superfans dislike such as FIJI, SOUTH PACIFIC, and ONE WORLD. The only 2 of 22 seasons after AMAZON that score lower than a 7 for me are VANUATU and NICARAGUA that I think are about 4s.

      Many of those remaining 20 seasons are a 9 or a 10 for me and a must-watch.

    • Cody – I too have strong feelings about piracy. What is your wife’s full name and address ? ( is it ? can’t remember…) 😉

      Seriously I worked with anti piracy folks at Novell. And it goes toward the downfall of physical media which I love and want it to stick around. Remind me to talk about a new gripe against Amazon this Sunday. :)

  6. If we ever do another CTS style bonus episode I think we should review THX1138, Logan’s Run, The Island, and The Giver. You could still get into the dead-horse-beating stuff and it would be fun to talk about who did the concept best.

    Mostly, I just want to force a scenario where Jason has to watch THX1138 and Logan’s Run.

    Also, I am strangely attracted to The Maze trailer. Am I alone there? It’s uncharacteristic for me and I don’t know why this movie gives me a funny feeling in my tummy.

    Also, apparently there was a trailer for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful 8 before Sin City 2. I didn’t see it. Did anyone notice that? I feel like it should’ve been discussed.

    • Are you talking about “The Maze Runner” Josh? If so I kind of know what you mean. I’m as far as you can get from a fan of these CGI heavy movies based on popular teen-fiction but there’s something about that trailer that weirdly appeals to me. I’m getting a slight “Lord of the Flies” vibe from it and that’s one of my favourite novels so at first I thought it was just an associative reaction, but the more I think about it the more it seems that there’s actually just a little child inside me that thinks big mazes are one of the coolest most exciting things in the world.

      • Yes, that’s it, The Maze Runner. You nailed my reaction perfectly, from Lord of the Flies to young adult fiction. I can’t believe that I’m so interested in seeing this movie.

        • There’s almost no chance that I’ll be going to see it at the cinema but I’ll look forward to your thoughts if you end up covering it for the podcast.

          Also watching that trailer seemingly resurfaced fond memories of an awesome 90’s gameshow that I used to watch every Saturday night when I was a kid called “The Crystal Maze”. Not sure if you guys in the states had an equivalent but it was one of those things that at the time just seemed like the most fun imaginable. Teams of people were sent into these themed zones (“Aztec Zone”, “Industrial Zone”, “Medieval Zone” etc) where they had to complete physical and mental challenges before the timer ran out and they got locked in. The zones were these huge sets with Indiana Jones-esque passageways and obstacles and as a 7 yearold I’d have given anything to be let loose on that show. Anyway, off I go again on rambling flights of nostalgia. Really the point remains: Mazes are awesome.

          Josh maybe you should make a documentary about mazes, surely there must be some kind of noteworthy issue there; folks vanishing in big hedge mazes, never to be seen again or something.

  7. Jay’s man-crush David Chen on God’s Not Dead.

    “When I was growing up in Sunday School, I was taught a lot of things about ‘atheists.’ As I grew older, I realized that many of those characterizations were hyperbolic and inaccurate. But in the decades since then, it looks like Christians still perceive atheists the same way.

    Here’s a compilation of all the scenes in GOD’S NOT DEAD featuring atheists being dicks: FYI, This movie made $61 million.”

    Jay, this movie looks terrible and the result is invalidating their cause and making us all look like morons. I don’t get why you wanted it to be good. It rings so false. Totally inauthentic and offensive.

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