Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 176: Hail, Caesar! (2016) and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)

Episode 176

Welcome to Episode 176 of Movie Podcast Weekly, the Clown Car of Movie Podcasting… In this show, we bring you special guest Geek Cast Nic (of the Geek Cast Live Podcast). We bring you Feature Reviews of Hail, Caesar! and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

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 week.


I. Introduction
— Welcome Geek Cast Nic!
— Super Bowl 50
— Cartoon Joe meets Gomez
— Dr. Shock hits 2,000 movie review — and counting!
— Andy’s birthday topic idea

[ 0:12:36 ] II. Mini Reviews
Karl: Full Frontal With Samantha B., Soundtrack to Tron Legacy Special Edition
Ryan: Black Sails
Jason: Rocky, Dead Poets Society, Room
Nic: Bosch Season 1, Magnolia
Andy: Bolt, Better Call Saul Season 1, all eight Harry Potter movies, No Escape

III. New in Theaters This Past Weekend:
Hail, Caesar!
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
The Choice
All Roads Lead to Rome
4th Man Out
The Pack
The Club


[ 0:52:25 ] IV. Feature Review: HAIL, CAESAR! (2016)
Jason = 4 ( Avoid )
Andy = 6 ( Rental )
Ryan = 6 ( Buy it! )
Nic = 6.5 ( Theater / Rental )

[ 1:11:29 ] V. Feature Review: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES (2016)
Jason = 5.5 ( Rental )
Karl = 7.5 ( Rental )

— Teaser for Jay’s review of “The Witch”:
-Read Jay’s written review here
-Hear Jay’s audio podcast review here

— An antique guitar was smashed during The Hateful Eight (Read more here)
— E-mail from Chris in Richmond, VA
— Thanks to Amos P. and Steve
— Karl’s salute to Peyton Manning

VI. Wrap-Up / Plugs / Ending

Episode 177 where we’ll be reviewing “Deadpool.” Join us!


Hear more of Nic on Geek Cast Live Podcast!

Ryan said to check out Joel Robertson’s Retro Movie Geek
Contact MPW:

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Leave us a voicemail: (801) 382-8789.
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Leave a comment in the show notes for this episode.

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

Listen to MPW:
Add MPW to your Stitcher playlist:
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Right-click to download the MPW 100 Rap

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:

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

26 thoughts on “Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 176: Hail, Caesar! (2016) and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)

  1. I just want to kick things off by saying that, hands down, the best Super Bowl commercial was #PuppyMonkeyBaby. Not sure how you guys got that one wrong. 😉

    Also, Karl, the Tron: Legacy soundtrack is, indeed, very good. BUT, have you listened to Tron: Legacy Reconfigured? It’s a remix version of selected songs from the original soundtrack, and it’s amazing. One of the rare times I think a remix is superior to the source material.

    • The only remix that comes to mind that I love a million times better than the original is Danny Loher’s remix of David Bowie’s Bring Me the Disco King. One of my favorite songs ever.

  2. Jason –

    As last week wore on, I was becoming increasingly concerned by MPW’s absence. Not upset or annoyed by its tardiness (because you know I’ll be here waiting patiently for them whenever they drop), but legitimately concerned. I know you’re good for the weekly shows – death, taxes and MPW every week – so I was beginning to worry that something had happened to you.

    You can imagine, then, that there was a great sense of relief this morning when I saw the latest episode had finally dropped. A part of me wondered why it took so long to release, especially considering that HMP had released on time this past Friday, but that’s neither here nor there; I was just happy to be starting off the week with my beloved MPW piping through my earbuds and into my skull.

    Then, while listening to the show, it became immediately clear why this episode was so late: I imagine that it was an enormous undertaking to edit Andy’s mini-review section in a way to make it sound like he gave a glowingly positive review of No Escape. Editing of that magnitude must take a Magnolia-esque amount of time.

    I know you offered up a “broken computer” as the reason for the delay, but we all know that’s a little too convenient. The clincher for me was when you made Andy (via editing, of course) say that No Escape is not your classic horror, therefore, implying that it was horror. Because we all know THAT movie and THAT genre go together about as well as BJs (bacon jalapeno sandwiches) and the Middle East.

    I’ve largely refrained from directly discussing No Escape up until now because I’m not a huge fan of dogging a movie that someone else loves, but I just do not understand the MPN love for this film. Honestly, to me, it’s the classic Redbox rental – a mindless, exploitative action film with a thin, derivative story and chintzy filmic qualities. And my viewing experience was perfect – my boys were asleep and I was enjoying my favorite craft beer in my most comfortable PJs. Even my wife, who came into the movie about an hour in (after my positive mindset had already been turned by the film’s mediocrity) simply said “what are you watching?… this is horrible” after just a few minutes. I turned to her and ignominiously said “yes, it is.”

    Then I listen to (almost) nothing but love thrown at the film between MPW and (for some reason) HMP. And not just by you, Jason, but by a few fellow listeners and, now (through the magic of master editing), Andy. It makes me feel like I’m taking crazy pills.

    Luckily, all I need to do to restore my sanity is to step outside of the MPN bubble, where No Escape has been nearly universally panned for what it is. But, that doesn’t answer my question of why there’s so much love for this film HERE. I’ve heard your reasons, ad nauseam, but I just don’t get it. Sometimes I feel like people are just afraid to hurt your feelings, which is not what I’m trying to do. Honestly… I just don’t get it.

    As a closing note, I wanted to say how much I laughed out loud when Geek Cast Nick, an outsider to the horror genre classification discussion, said the very true (and obvious) statement that scary and horror don’t necessarily overlap.

    Anyway, stay true to yourself, brother. Much love…

    — Dino

    • Ah, Dino… We agree on much, but I’m mostly with J on this one. I certainly don’t think of No Escape as a 10/10 or anything close to the best movie of 2015, but I liked it and found it to be quite intense. As I think I said before, the first 30-45 minutes or so were especially well shot and acted, and then it got a little much after that, and also strained credulity. But if anything, it was a lot better than I thought it might be, and I probably wouldn’t have given it a chance if it wasn’t for J’s enthusiasm. 8/10 for me.

      • It’s a generous 6/10 for me, so I’m not saying it’s the worst film of 2015. But this is normally my kind of movie and it just barely passes as mediocre for me. The majority of those 6 points is in sheer, dumb action movie stunts. Sorry, but I’m just not seeing where descriptors like “well shot” or “well acted” are coming from.

        • #dinovstheworld

          I love it!

          I’ll be seeing this very soon just to weight in on this much heated debate. Having seen the trailer though, I am certain I’ll probably align with Dino on this one. But I’ll go into it with the best of intentions and an open mind. It’s all for you, Jay!

        • Again, I would emphasize that early part of the film, especially in the hotel. To me, that was well paced and the growing tension of the danger at hand was shown in a believable and involving way, where I really felt that danger. And I thought Owen Wilson and Lake Bell acted well in those roles, even going against type for Wilson. Not anything Oscar-worthy or whatever, but well done.

    • I thought No Escape was meh…I didn’t hate it when I was watching it but it hasn’t crossed my mind since…Just another typical family in peril action movie…will never watch it a second time…

      • So I watched No Escape last night. I rented it from a Redbox because I wanted to join in on the #dinovstheworld conversation. I have to say that, as harsh as Dino’s words might seem to some, after seeing the movie for myself, I can see why he reacted the way he did and I agree with him on pretty much everything he’s said so far.

        Let me preface my thoughts by saying that the movie isn’t terrible, it’s just terribly mediocre. And Jay, I’m sorry if I’m breaking your already frail heart, but I cannot abide by such positive reviews if a movie is not deserving of them. Now, over the last month or so, I’ve read people’s reviews and reactions. They’ve ranged from “positive” to “masterpiece”; from “well shot” to “scariest movie ever”. I witnessed no such things at any point in the film. I honestly cannot comprehend the praise the movie’s been getting on these comment boards and it bothers me a little bit. Here’s a movie with no substance and style that pales in comparison to the majority of the movies I saw in 2015. Why so much love, guys? I understand that we all have different sensibilities, but No Escape didn’t offer anything that we haven’t seen before and what it did, it did just marginally well. This is a middle-of-the-road, play-by-numbers, mediocre action thriller.

        There was a lot of talk about realism and the fear such realism instilled in many of you. To that I say WHAT?! There was absolutely zero realism in this film. I found myself laughing and chuckling at various points in the movie. Desensitized you say? Perhaps, but if you call that realism, then your definition of the word is as skewed as my tolerance for violence. There is a big difference between showing a potentially scary real life situation and showing a potentially scary real life situation well. No Escape shows a lot of explicit and implicit violence, but it does nothing with it. It doesn’t build tension, which is the most important aspect that a movie like this needs if it wants to be effective. None of the scenes that were meant to make my hands grip the edge of my seat had any effect on me because I didn’t care about any of it. I didn’t connect with the characters. I didn’t care about the panic on the streets. I didn’t care about anyone’s motives. The movie went as far as trying to make me feel sympathetic towards the villains but failed miserably. It was trying so hard to compensate for the lack of tension that even the music tried to do its part, but that ended up being more annoying than anything else. To the movie’s credit, it was all mostly tolerable, but this is far from being a scary movie, let alone a great one. In my opinion, if the movie needs anything, it’s balls. For a movie that wanted to portray a “realistic” worst case scenario in a foreign country, it could’ve done so much more. I feel like many of the situations stopped short of crossing a line that the PC audience would’ve objected.

        Like I said, not a terrible movie by any means, but a far cry from being the movie deserving to sit at the top (or anywhere near the top) of your queue. This is a 5/10 and I say skip it or place it at the very bottom of your queue. So, you’re not crazy, Dino.

  3. Glad you guys are up and running again. Sorry to hear of the troubles.

    I have Andy beat, easily, as far as sports team pain… Until 12 years ago I lived my whole life in Buffalo. Btw, Netflix now has the recent ESPN film about that, called The Four Falls of Buffalo, which is very well done. I was one of the million people at the Bills-Houston comeback game. My friends and I were at a bar down the street and as we saw people pouring out of the stadium at halftime, we walked up and were let in for free. Most amazing sporting experience ever in my life.

    More later as I catch up on the podcast.


  4. Andy mentioned speaking at length before about Clean Flicks, and I had asked J about that and the rated R/LDS issue before, but didn’t get a response. Can you point me to an episode(s) where that was discussed?

  5. I probably can’t listen to the rest of the show until tomorrow, but I happened to catch the ratings. J must have had a bad week or something. There will likely be further accusations about cinema hating.

    I mean, I’m not going to put up too much of a fight about P&P&Z, but it was surprisingly fun. Eh, actually I gave it a 6.5, so I’m right in between J and Karl on that. But a 4 for Hail Caesar??! Yikes. It wasn’t the best Coen Bros. film ever, but had quite a lot to appreciate. Definitely worth more than a 4. (Still better than that Star Wars rating by the guy who is now dead to me, and therefore I’ve conveniently forgotten his name.) Anyway, let the fireworks begin! :oP

  6. So I fell behind on my MPW over the holidays and am now catching up. Was listening to Ep. 173 this morning while running through the silent streets of east Orem and north Provo. First of all, I’m glad Karl remembered to give “Galaxy Quest” a little love during the Alan Rickman retrospective. Definitely one of Rickman’s finest hours. Also, it was amusing to mentally compare the all-male MPW career recap to what I observed on my wife’s Facebook feed. Men seem to universally toast the greatness of Hans Gruber from “Die Hard,” and I know that plenty of women also love that movie. The Alan Rickman performance that seemingly burns brightest in the female memory, however, is one that didn’t even get a casual mention from MPW crew: Colonel Brandon from the Emma Thompson/Ang Lee version of “Sense and Sensibility.” (Fantastic movie, by the way, and Rickman is great in it.)

    Also, “I was busy driving the family van to Miami for Christmas,” will now be my go-to excuse for every single thing in life that I don’t get done in a timely fashion.

    Also: Why do you hate the cinema, Jason? Thomas Hardy (and Victorian literature in general) can be a bit of an acquired taste. But even so I thought “Far from the Madding Crowd” was one of the finest films released last year. The acting is excellent all around, and the visuals are exquisite. It’s a strikingly beautiful film and a largely faithful (if inevitably compressed) adaptation of Hardy’s novel. Jay listed all of the featured performers, but one name he didn’t mention that may be of interest to some is that of the director: Thomas Vinterberg, co-creater with Lars Von Trier of the Dogme 95 manifesto. Not saying anyone is right or wrong here. I’m just surprised by how thoroughly Jason detested the film. I would heartily recommend “Far from the Madding Crowd” to anyone who enjoys period romantic drama. (Hmmm. Maybe I’m not surprised, after all, that Jay despises it.)

    And finally: Why does Michael Bay get a pass from everyone on being a great action director? Having seen nine of the 13 films he’s directed (the seven most recent of which were in some sort of professional capacity), I feel like I’m qualified to at least have an opinion. He has a few solid instincts as a director, but his handling of action scenes is almost uniformly terrible. He blows the three Cs of action directing almost every time. His action scenes are almost never either Clear, Comprehensible, or Convincing. Directing action well is kind of a dying art form, and directing action badly is practically par for the course in 2016, so it’s not like he’s the only guy who routinely blows it. But so many people just give him a pass on the “awesome” action scenes in his movies. Get off my lawn, Michael Bay!

  7. So… a 4 and an “avoid” for Hail Caesar. Let’s get into this a little. First of all, I have this to say: “Phhhhbbtthhhppttttt!”

    But seriously, an “avoid”? Not even a “rent it if you’re a Coen Bros. fan”? And a 4??? Oy.

    As I said before, Hail Caesar doesn’t hold together as well as some other Coen films, and the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts. But man, a lot of those parts are really wonderful. Here’s a short list…

    – The religious leaders discussing the worthiness of the Christian message of Hail Caesar.
    – The confrontation between Ralph Fiennes’ director and Alden Ehrenreich about the line delivery, with the great follow-up later.
    – The amusingly homoerotic undertones of the Channing Tatum dance sequence, and the entertainment of the sequence itself.
    – Tatum’s entrance to the submarine.
    – The character played by Jonah Hill, which was amusing enough of an idea to merit its own film.
    – Frances McDormand’s editing scene.
    – Alden Ehrenreich’s horse trickery and spaghetti lasso.
    – The powerful ending scene, where everyone is getting emotional about Clooney’s big speech, only to have him blow the line. (I’ll admit that the enjoyment of this was diminished a bit by having that feature so prominently in the trailer. It would have had more impact if I didn’t know what was coming. But it was still a great moment and I appreciated it better in context.)

    And many other small moments and parts and lines. It all works together as a kind of meta or metaphorical description of itself; a parallel between Christianity and Capitalism, between the artistic intention of Hail Caesar and the production of Hail Caesar. Comparing the art of something with its place as a commodity. Josh Brolin (who was terrific in this) is like God or Jesus, sacrificing his time and effort and energy to make sure everyone else gets what they need in order to work, so the bigger (motion) picture can come off, bringing a kind of (Hollywood tinged) blessing to the world. There were some really interesting layers in that respect. I can see appreciating the underpinnings of this film better on a second viewing, where I’m not expecting the screwball comedy that the trailer presented.

    And if nothing else, it’s a nice love letter to Hollywood of that era, covering so many different genres (western, musical, epic, period, film noir, etc.) and both lampooning them a little and showing love for them. And Brolin’s character also worked as a surrogate for the audience (literally in some cases, where he walks into a studio hall and observes a dance number in our place), to just appreciate a lot of that on a purely entertainment level.

    That being said, I do wish it had committed more to either being a screwball comedy or being a more thoughtful commentary on films and capitalism and purpose and such. It did feel unfocused in that sense, and there were stretches where it suffered for that. If they could have kept it breezy the whole time, while still showing off and satirizing Hollywood and having some commentary of that nature in a more comedic sense, that would have been more of a winner.

    So I can accept a 6 or 6.5 and a “rent it if you’re a Coens fan” rating. But a 4 and an “avoid,” nuh uh. J, you’ve earned another notch on your “hates the cinema” reputation. :oP

  8. Saw the Witch last night (or, I suppose, The VVitch). Definitely a unique entry in the horror genre. I’m not a horror movie fan, per se, but I do love good movies that have horror elements, and I think this definitely qualifies. I fear this may suffer for an expectation that it’s more “horror” than it actually is, though, when a lot of it is more dramatic and psychological in nature. That being said, there are some very disturbing and genuinely spine-tingling parts. But it works really well in a sense of this family coming unglued and each wondering if they are the cause.

    Reminds me of The Shining in terms of some of the style and shot choices, and the score is very similar to 2001, so a heavy Kubrick influence. I felt like the conclusion was telegraphed just a little too strongly… I saw that coming pretty early on. But it’s not like it’s a twist or big mystery or anything, so it still works well enough, and does play out in a way that is really creepy.

    I’m looking forward to J’s review, and may even have to dip into the new HMP to get a jump on that.

  9. Cannot believe all the hate for this movie…

    “Hail, Caesar!”


    I am largely hit and miss with the Coen Brothers and their films. What’s weird is that I tend to prefer many of their “less popular” films and this seems to be the exception that proves the rule. While many critics are struggling to say anything positive about this movie, it was an awesomely fun ride for me and just proved how talented these men are as writers. Their characters are fun, quirky, enjoyable to watch, and are always pushed forward with a specific motivation that makes these people engaging to watch. And the aptly named “Guy Mannix” is no different- he’s an engaging character from beginning to end and Josh Brolin delivers this very serious character in the midst of several crises with perfect tone and temperament.

    And one of the reasons I think I find myself in a different boat than most reviewers is that they are totally missing the real story being told. And this is despite the declaration from the title card of the picture, which blatantly spells it out for anyone who may be curious. It’s repeatedly addressed in a number of scenes, but most spectacularly when Mannix takes a meeting with several figures from the various religious communities. “Hail, Caesar!” is a tale of The Christ- the Christ as a figure, as a savior, as a miracle worker, as a sacrifice, and all of that- and Guy Mannix represents the Christ of this film as he performs one miracle after another, helps the community with which he has taken responsibility, and ultimately faces temptation, betrayal, and doubt in a manner that is very specific to the Gospel itself. And it’s done in a way that’s funny, irreverent, and with several nods to the splendor and creativity that is the Film Industry.

    So while many reviewers will dismiss the film as “confusing” and with too many unresolved plot points, I’m going to say that this film was a fun ride and a great experience. The plot is very linear so long as you understand that you are watching three days in the life of one man and especially when you understand that this is an adaptation of Christs’ tale in the same way that “O’ Brother, Where Art Thou’” was an adaptation of The Odyssey.

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