Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 120: Taken 3 (2015) and Selma (2015)

Episode 120

Special guest Wild Man Willis Wheeler joins us in Episode 120 of Movie Podcast Weekly to help Jason and Karl Feature Review Taken 3. And Andy brings us a very insightful and heartfelt review of Selma. And of course we bring you our world famous Mini Reviews, as well as our recommendation segments. Don’t miss it!

If you’re new to our show… Movie Podcast Weekly typically features three hosts — Jason, Andy and Karl — 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 Tuesday. Join us!


I. Introduction
— Welcome special guest Willis Wheeler

[ 0:06:39 ] II. Mini Reviews
Karl: Friends (TV series), 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, Frozen (2013), In a World…
Willis Wheeler: Martyrs, Pumping Iron, Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI, American Horror Story – Freak Show
Jason: Leonard Maltin’s 2015 Movie Guide, Film Comment’s Top 20 of 2014
Andy: The Whole Nine Yards, Kon-Tiki, Jesus Camp, Brick Mansions, Room on the Broom, The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo’s Child

III. What’s New in Theaters This Past Weekend
Taken 3
Selma [ Expanded ]
Beloved Sisters [ Limited ]
Inherent Vice [ Limited ]
It’s All So Quiet [ Limited ]
Let’s Kill Ward’s Wife [ Limited ]


[ 0:52:42 ] IV. Feature Review: TAKEN 3 (2015)
Jason = 5.5 ( Rental )
Karl = 7 ( Theater / Buy it! )
Willis Wheeler = 7.5 ( Theater / Buy it! )

[ 1:16:26 ] V. Feature Review: SELMA (2015)
Andy = 10 ( Theater / Buy it! )

[ 1:31:13 ] VI. Specialty Segments:

Film: The Road Warrior (1981)
Great Performance: Mel Gibson as Max

When a Stranger Calls (1979) = 7 ( Rental )

Unseemly homework:
The Baby (1973) = 6 ( Rental )
Barbarella (1968) = 6 ( Rental )
The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat (1974) = 3 ( Avoid )
C Me Dance (2009) = 0 ( Avoid )

VII. Wrap-Up / Plugs / Ending

FOXCATCHER (finally!) and BLACKHAT and 88 with special guest William Rowan Jr. — Join us!


Jason recommends supporting: Operation Underground Railroad

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

71 thoughts on “Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 120: Taken 3 (2015) and Selma (2015)

  1. I think any film screening in 300 theaters or more is considered a wide release. 2,000 is a pretty major release. Most bigger indie films are in the area of 50-200 theater range. Many Oscar nominees have only screened in 2 (freaking 2!!!) theaters.

  2. Andy, I’m pretty sure I gave you homework about a year ago and delivered the disc to your house. WATCH THE STAIRCASE! I also have two seasons of PARTY DOWN sitting by my front door to give you. Haven’t located 8 1/2 yet. Lost in the packing dust somewhere. Will find it, though.

      • There were parts I appreciated, but that was also just too grim for me, too nihilistic overall … and too disgusting at the end.

        I’m a longtime and massive fan of VonTrier, but there are 3 of his projects I won’t stand by … and Anti-Christ is one of them.

          • Good question. I would say that NYMPHOMANIAC PT 2 and ANTI-CHRIST both fall into the “excess” category. But, I am more conservative then some. We really dig deep into this topic on the next HMP Wolfman’s Got Nards actually. The third VonTrier film I dislike is BOSS OF IT ALL, which is totally different. That one is cruel too, as usual, but my problem with that is it’s narratively and visually uninteresting and overall very boring.

          • Josh when it comes to a “conservative” film audience you’re one of the last guys I think of.

            The reason I asked that question was because I believe you are open minded enough to view such extreme cinema objectively but sensitive enough to not bow to a wallowing in shock value.

            This new HMP segment of yours may actually end up being pretty useful to me because I’m what the hardcore horror guys might call a wimp but I do like a bit of disturbing content if it serves its context.

          • I feel really good about the discussion we had. I hope it sparks some good debate on the boards. Now, let’s see if Jason posts it before Valentines Day. Juuuuust kidding, Jay.

  3. That’s funny, I hadn’t realized you guys were recording when I texted you.

    Yes, INHERENT VICE was both a “singular” and “trying” experience. The rest of my text said something like “probably most worthwhile if you’re a fan of Pynchon or a major fan of Joaquin Phoenix, but coming to it as a PTA fan, I was a ultimately disappointed.”

    I was able to make my way through most of it, retaining some hope that it would come together for me–mostly due to the knock-out performances and as a major fan of THE BIG LEBOWSKI. Before I realized that this was a Pynchon novel (during the end credits ), I had felt like this was PTA doing his take on the Cohen brothers comedic classic. But, it falls far short of that film for me. And Rachel (my wife / MSC co-host) fell asleep three times and was miserable most of the time she was awake.

  4. I loved Andy’s review of SELMA. Shows off his big brain. One of our listeners once said “I’ve never learned anything from Andy” but he’s really in his zone discussing more serious legal and social issues in films like this, SONG OF THE SOUTH, JESUS CAMP, 10 YEARS A SLAVE or even THE INTERVIEW.

    When Andy’s ready to move on from his (pretty great) Homework segment (with still the worst intro in the business), I’d love to hear him tackle some big-boy films and school us all on some legal, ethical, and moral issues. I heard swelling music behind his SELMA review this episode.

    • Andy’s ability to entertain with his slightly listless and oblivious façade is only surpassed by his ability to make my heart sing in agreement when he shows his true colours and talks politics/law/sociology etc.

      For some reason this week I’ve come across an inordinate amount of horribly racist and bigoted youtube/messageboard comments just in my general browsing and it’s made me feel bitterly sad so it’s nice to come here and listen to Andy review “Selma” and restore a little bit of my faith in people.

    • Speaking of ethics and morals, I just watched Election for the first time (but not really) and it was great! I remember watching this in high school, but I guess I hadn’t fully developed the thinking part of my brain or perhaps I was just too naive to see past the comedy layer or perhaps my ESL side was still having trouble understanding certain concepts in the English language. Anyway, watching it now was a completely different experience. The cast great all around and both Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick were superb in their roles. I can’t believe you dislike Reese Witherspoon, Josh, she’s so good. She’s waaaaaaay better than Kiele Sanchez, an actress that you champion a lot for some unknown reason in the universe. Election is great though. I’d say it’s a 9 for me.

      • First, yes! ELECTION is incredible. One of my favorite dark comedies of all time and one of the best comedies of that decade too. Completely underrated film.

        But, as far as Greasy Reesey goes, I think this is her best role. I think because she’s supposed to be annoying. My problem is, I find her annoying in pretty much everything. I’ve heard WILD is good. She didn’t ruin MUD, but I’d have preferred someone else (like Kiele Sanchez), and she’s perfect for PLEASANTVILLE too. That’s about all I can say for her.

        Re: Kiele Sanchez, she actually is a solid actress. But the real reason I champion her so much is because I have a celebrity crush on her. I find her incredibly attractive. She’s underrated, though. I don’t see why she’s not a big star yet.

        • Very objective of you Josh haha. I guess I can relate. There are certain actresses that I can’t stand for some reason, like Kiele Sanchez for instance. Just kidding Josh!

  5. I’ve not listened to the whole episode yet so I don’t have anything particularly relevant to say so far.

    But I just watched Bong Joon-Ho’s “Memories of Murder” and wow. What an incredible movie! I can already tell that this is the kind of film that will stay with me for a long, long time. Amazing. I can’t wait to check out more of this guys work.

      • I’ll definitely get to “Mother” Josh, I’ve been meaning to check that out for a while because you’ve talked very highly of it in the past but it kept getting away from me. I’m ashamed to say I’ve also yet to see “The Host”.

          • I’ve seen Mother, The Host, and Snowpiercer. I’ve yet to see Memories of Murder, but it’s been on my list of shame for a while. Snowpiercer is by far his worst movie. It’s not a bad movie, but when you compare it to the rest of his work, it certainly lacks. Snowpiercer is to Bong Joon-Ho as The World’s End is to Edgar Wright.

          • I watched “The Host” yesterday and, Juan my friend, I’m afraid I have to disagree with your assertion that “Snowpiercer” is his “worst movie by far”. I found “The Host” a harder film to entirely invest in and ultimately a story with slightly less emotional impact. Which is not at all to say that I didn’t enjoy “The Host”, in fact I’d give it a very high 7.5/10, maybe even an 8/10. It’s definitely another amazing piece of cinema by this guy and in truth my only real (and blatantly predictable complaint) is the CGI monster. I know there was some questionable CGI in “Snowpiercer” too but that felt more peripheral to me and less integral to my suspension of disbelief.

            Either way, being the extreme CGI snob that I am, I think it says a hell of a lot about a film (whether it be “The Host” or “Snowpiercer” I guess) when I can overcome such arguably questionable effects thanks solely to the level of compelling humanity exercised by the characters and the general quality of the filmmaking.

            I still have yet to see “Mother” (though I am very much looking forward to it) but Bong Joon-Ho has already won my heart. He seems to be able to perfectly balance an emphasis on characterisation with a healthy ability to play satisfyingly to genre conventions. So far I’ve seen him pull off a Dystopian Sci-fi flick, a True-Crime Drama and a Giant Monster movie and he’s done them all with far more heart and panache than the majority of mainstream Hollywood filmmakers these days. I hope this guy keeps getting bigger and bigger because I think he has the potential to be the next Spielberg. The next Spielburger. I’m hungry and there’s a restaurant here that serves a “spielburger” and I want it.

          • Haha David, my friend, I just posted a comment over at Movie Streamcast where I pretty much say completely the opposite about Snowpiercer. Let’s have us a fight. Spielburger vs. Señor Spielbergo!

          • Yeah, I think SNOWPIERCER ties with THE HOST for me at the bottom. MOTHER is at the top. MEMORIES OF MURDER snugly in the middle. I will agree with you, Juan, that it is his THE WORLD’S END. I just appreciate that film far more than you do too. When you’ve got guys this good with such small bodies of work, you can’t help but support them and love them to bits. Looking forward to whatever Edgar Wright or Bon Joon-Ho do next.

        • But The Señor Spielbergo comes with the most delicious chipotle sauce. There’s no way I can win against that. And I’m mildly inebriated. I indulged and worked my way through a 12 year, a 16 year and then an 18 year Ola Dubh and they have gone to my head, thick and delicious as they were!

          • Is okay. You have a better dominance over the English language, so that evens things out. Those beer choices though. Three in a row will get you.

          • Yet I entirely lack the ability to speak any other language! Us Brits can show off with our obsessions over our own language all day but our general linguistic myopia is shameful!

            And I have become quite taken with Belgian beers of late Juan. Do you guys get a good selection of those over there? I love these Trappist brews and the thought of them being made by monks in medieval monasteries.

          • I have but I can’t, for the love of this podcast, remember any names. I do keep a log to remind myself of which ones to drink more of and which ones to stay away from. Let me get back to you on this.

          • So many of those Belgian beers have what sound to my ears like somewhat generic names. I like myself a bottle of “Delirium Nocturnum” but I sometimes wonder if that’s simply because I recall the name better than the others!

            And right now I’m having a glass of Berkshire beer called Haunted Dream which is a chocolate porter infused with pumpkin pie flavours. It makes me wish it was Halloween again!

            Also, it’s a night of the year with personal significance on which it is tradition that I imbibe a little too much and I’m afraid (and a little ashamed) to say but I’m rather drunken now. I know this because I just sent an email to an ex-girlfriend of many years ago. That is the signifier of great drunkenness if ever there was one! Oh dear!

          • We do get quite a few of those actually, David. I am familiar with the Delirium series, it’s quite good. I agree that they are memorable the most because of the bottle design and name. A few Belgian beers that I’d recommend (though not necessarily trappists):

            Trappistes Rochefort 6
            Westmalle Trappist Tripel
            La Trouffette Belle d’ete
            Rince Cuchon Cuve Speciale
            Maredsous 8° Brune
            Monk’s Cafe Flemish Sour Ale (this one is incredibly sour. I love it!)

  6. Well, the Oscars certainly snubbed Nightcrawler (and a bunch of other fine films), but at least Birdman got the attention it deserves. I can’t say that it was surprising to see The Grand Budapest Hotel nominated for that many technical categories, but best picture? I loved the movie, but it wasn’t even close to being the best. It didn’t even make it into my top ten :/

    Anyway, here’s the link to all nominees:

    And for the curious, here’s my top ten list of 2014:

    1. Birdman
    2. Nightcrawler
    3. Enemy
    4. Blue Ruin
    5. Interstellar
    6. Under the Skin
    7. The Babadook
    8. Borgman
    9. Frank
    10. Ida

    But here’s the twist, I actually got to see two really great movies: “Starred Up” and “I Origins”, which both get a 9.5 from me. Had I seen those movies, my list would have been different. I may have even cheated a bit and tied some of them. Anywho, I highly recommend them. David, I’d be curious to see what you think of Starred Up since it’s a British film. I had a really hard time following it because the dialogue is delivered quite fast and I’m not used to certain British accents. There is also a lot of slang, which I’m not familiar with either so I did a lot of rewinding and even googling throughout the movie. It didn’t detract from it though.

    • There are so many of these movies that I’ve yet to see that it makes me feel like a total schmuck. I’m not sure some of them are even available here yet!

      And I’ve never heard of “Starred Up” but I’m awfully neglectful of my native cinema. What’s it about?

      Also, I realise I still owe you a list of beers to check out Juan. I’ve been trying to get my hands on some of your suggestions from months ago but haven’t had much luck so far. A decade ago beer snobs would have laughed at the concept of the USA offering more than us Europeans could keep up with but it’s true. I keep getting blown away by the huge selection and amazing quality of US beers!

      • Yeah, the craft beer scene is pretty big these days. Houston is still in its infancy stages, but it’s growing fast. Texas as a whole though, is not too shabby. I’m hopeful one day we’ll be able to compete with the bigs boys over in Denver and California. I would love to try more European beers. The choices here are pretty limited and ordering online is expensive because of shipping charges.

        • From what I’ve sampled I honestly don’t think that you’re missing out on much when it comes to European beers good sir. Your craft breweries seem to have got their heads very well around brewing everything from a good hoppy IPA to a pleasantly acidic Witbier.

      • I don’t even get why anyone pays attention to these award show things. I’d like to hear a show with Cody Clark as a guest where the significance of these awards is explored. The gentlemen invovled always seem almost as out -of-touch as I am and even more drunk.

        • It’s just the biggest award for the art form. I want to see my picks recognized by the industry and the public. Does it really matter? No, probably not. But, it still gets me excited.

          • You’re probably right. Dr. Shock is actually an Oscar expert. He’d be the one to ask. This should be a Movie Podcast Network special featuring Jason (because he loves the Oscars more than his kids), Cody, Dave, and Karl (for good measure, since he hates the Oscars).

          • That would be an amazing episode: “Debating the worth of the Oscars”.

            I know Jay is busy enough just putting together the regular episodes but I think such topical bonus episodes would be an extremely valuable thing if it was possible to put them together.

            I’m genuinely uneducated when it comes to these award shows (though I did listen to Jay and Doc’s academy award specific podcasts) but being a contrary cynic the Oscars just seem like a bunch of easily offended rich old guys getting paid off by distribution companies to vote for this or that movie. Again though this may be a dated view of what goes on as I haven’t paid attention in so long.

  7. Did I misheard or did you really mentioned “Predestination” like it wasn’t this huge, awesome movie of 2014? Did you seriously just discovered it? Then you should just stop doing whatever you’re doing in this moment and sit down to watch this film. It’s brilliant.

    I’m glad Jason mentioned “Ida” while reading critics’ lists. It’s one of 5 Polish movies that were nominated to Oscars this year (“Ida” was nominated in two categories).

    Homework for Andy: Please watch “Katyń” from 2007. Polish film, so you would need subtitles. I don’t know if it is available on Netflix or Amazon. I know you can rent it on iTunes.

    Great episode. I like how Liam Neeson was earning more and more millions with the progress of this episode. At the end of it he ended up with 50 mln. Very amusing! Thanks, guys.

    • Hey, Monika – Just so you know, I feature-reviewed IDA on MPW episode 88, when I saw it in theaters, it made my year-end “honorable mentions” list on MPW episode 118, and we’re discussing it on the upcoming episode on episode 42 next Monday. Really incredible film.

      Never heard of PREDESTINATION, though. It’s going on my list.

      • Hey, Josh. I will definitely check it out. The movie that I can recommend for you to watch is Polish film (obviously) Miasto 44 (2014).

        I don’t know if they ever translated it but it literally means City 44. It’s about Warsaw Uprising but it’s a film that will blow your mind. Nothing like that was made before in terms of war movies and trust me as Polish girl I’ve seen a lot of European movies about WWII and some American ones. It’s worth your time and you won’t regret it. It’s that good.

        • Little Correction, not 5 movies but 5 nominations. “Ida” in two categories then movie “Joanna” and “Nasza Klątwa” and last one to Anna Biedrzycka-Sheppard for costume design in movie “Meleficent”.

          • Okay, cool, I’ll try to find MIASTO 44. What about JOANNA and NASZA KLATWA? Worth searching out? Those will probably be easier to find over here since they got Oscar nominations.

          • I haven’t seen those two yet. I’m not really a fan of Polish cinematography but sometimes we have little gems. Both movies are documentaries and look like not my cup of tea but maybe you would enjoy them if you ever come across them. Although, I recommend to wait and see which one (if ever) will be the winner.

  8. Wish I was as articulate as David and Juan…respect the hell out of them…but I am not…so I just gotta be me…the highlight of the episode was Karl’s take on The Road Warrior…growing up in iowa in the 80’s…being a movie…pop culture child before there was such a thing…The Road Warrior was and still is the measuring stick to all action films since…and I get chills watching the trailer for Mad Mad Fury Road…I hope this is a game changer much like what came before it…

    • What? I’m articulate? You’re much too kind Shannon. I think David deserves the credit for that. Writing skills aside, I find just as much value, if not more, in people’s personalities. I love hearing (well, reading) people’s thoughts, opinions, points of view, etc. As long as you’re able to communicate these things in whatever way best suited to you, then that’s all that matters.

      And I second you on Mad Max. It’s one of those old movies from my childhood that I hold very dear. I need to revisit it soon because I haven’t seen it in years. How does it hold up in your opinion? Well, if it’s the measuring stick by which all other action movies are measured then it must still be pretty badass haha.

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