CB Podcast Ep. 79 – “Spider-Man: Homecoming” Review

This week, the bros bring you updates on their New Year’s Resolutions and a review of the newest reboot of Spider-Man, Jon Watts’ “Spider-Man: Homecoming”.
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Credits:
  • Hosts: Josiah Wampfler, Sam Wampfler & Jake Wampfler
  • Produced by Josiah Wampfler
  • A Cinema Bros Network Podcast
  • Theme Music by Josiah Wampfler. Film clips used under fair use. All rights belong to their respective copyright holders
  • Music clips used under fair use. All rights belong to their respective copyright holders.
  • Visit our website for show notes as well as articles covering film, television, video games, music & more!
  • Email us at cinemabrospod@gmail.com

CB Podcast Ep. 61 – Top Ten Films of 2016

“The bros take one last look back at 2016 with our top ten films of the year and hand out some awards for other great aspects of film last year.”

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  • Cinema Bros Top 10s
    • Jake
      1. Silence
      2. Arrival
      3. Moonlight
      4. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
      5. Hell or High Water
      6. Fences
      7. Manchester by the Sea
      8. Moana
      9. The Witch
      10. Nocturnal Animals
    • Sam
      1. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
      2. Moana
      3. La La Land
      4. Arrival
      5. Fences
      6. Sing Street
      7. Captain Fantastic
      8. Hell or High Water
      9. The Nice Guys
      10. Zootopia
    • Joe
      1. Moonlight
      2. Arrival
      3. Hell or High Water
      4. Silence
      5. American Honey
      6. La La Land
      7. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
      8. Captain Fantastic
      9. Jackie
      10. Edge of Seventeen

Best Dialogue of 2016

Dialogue is probably one of the most important parts of a film. You can have incredible cinematography, great music, wonderful acting and a great story, but if the things that your characters are saying don’t seem believable or don’t make sense, it doesn’t matter. Good films have dialogue that seems like something a real person may say (or at least makes you suspend your disbelief). Great films have dialogue that you remember, whether because it is funny, moving or profound.

Below, is the Cinema Bros’ top 12 bits of dialogue in 2016 films. Last year was a great year in screenwriting, so hear is our ode to the best bits of that:


12.   Hail Caesar!

Screenwriters: Joel & Ethan Cohen

hail-caesar-quote

— Jake —

The Coen brothers are gifted screenwriters and Hail Caesar! showcases them at the top of their game. This exchange is only the beginning of a masterfully written scene in which Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin), studio head for Capitol Pictures, seeks to bend the ears of four holy men on the portrayal of Jesus Christ in an upcoming biblical epic. Its wry humor and colloquial tone (“Does the depiction of Christ Jesus cut the mustard?”) are a hallmark of Coen films and makes Hail Caesar! another wonderful entry into their impressive filmography.

11.   The Edge of Seventeen

Screenwriter: Kelly Fremon Craig

edge-of-seventeen-quote

— Sam —

This is the one line, fairly early in the film, that made me know that the movie I was watching was going to be immensely entertaining. The main character Nadine is reminiscing about her first meeting with her best friend, Krista. Nadine’s description of Krista as a “small old man” was perfect by itself but then she tacks on the fact that her breath smelled like Sweet Tarts. The fact that she remembered exactly how her friends breath smelled shows how much Krista means to her and also makes this line even more hilarious.

10.   Deadpool

Screenwriters: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick

deadpool-quote

— Sam —

The best part about this scene is the delivery by Ryan Reynolds. Deadpool is inside a wrecked vehicle and sticks his hands out in the air to “surrender” and the scene is played mostly through his hand gestures to a hilarious effect. Ryan Reynolds shows more character in his hands than some actors can show with their entire body. The best part about the dialogue is the “brown pants” bit. It’s basically just a subtle poop joke and the way that the villains don’t seem to understand it makes for an extremely funny scene.

9.   Jackie

Screenwriter: Noah Oppenheim

jackie-quote

— Joe —

The entire screenplay to Jackie is like a masterclass in writing for film, which is impressive considering it is only Oppenheim’s third screenplay. But, this line in particular is what sealed the deal on the film’s greatness for me. As Jackie (Natalie Portman) speaks to a priest about the traumatic events she just endured, this line comes as a perfect summation of what she has been trying to accomplish throughout the film in securing her husbands legacy, a sad realization that her life with John was never meant to last and a poignant expression of modern myth-making and celebrity. The complexities of this one exchange perfectly mirror the complexities of the film as a whole.

8.   The Nice Guys

Screenwriters: Shane Black, Anthony Bagarozzi

the-nice-guys-quote

— Sam —

This hilarious bit of dialogue comes when the main character, Holland March (Ryan Gosling), takes his daughter and her friend to a bowling alley. Surrounded by screaming girls, he yells “Jesus Christ” and is promptly scolded for it by his daughter’s Christian friend. The exchange is hilarious due to the fact that it takes a common expression and completely subverts it. Holland’s response is completely unexpected on a first viewing. This is one of the best parts if this bit of dialogue and the script in general.

7.   Sing Street

Screenwriter: John Carney

sing-street-quote

— Joe —

Even though the main thrust of Sing Street is a young man forming a band to impress a girl, another important aspect of the film is relationships between men. You have the relationship between the main character, Connor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), and his band mates, the relationship with his father and the relationship with his older brother Brendan (Jack Reynor). This last relationship is one of the most important relationships in the film and is largely comedic, but this bit of dialogue is the moment it takes a turn into the dramatic.

As Brendan realizes that his dreams have slipped away from him and his brother is grabbing those same dreams by the horns, he lets loose one of most heartbreaking monologues I heard last year. As a man with two older brothers, it made me think of the debts I owe both of them for allowing me to move in their “jet stream.” This, combined with the absolutely brilliant delivery by Jack Reynor made this one of the most emotional scenes I saw last year.

“The Edge of Seventeen” – The Hilarious Yet Emotional Adventures of A High School Girl Told By Someone Who Actually Was One

By Josiah Wampfler

The high school comedy has become sort of a genre unto itself. You have classic films such as Ferris Bueller’s Day OffThe Breakfast Club and Heathers. Then you have more contemporary films like SuperbadMean Girls and Easy A. All of these comedies chronicle the adventures of high school teens, but they also have another similarity: They are all directed by men. In fact, if you do a quick Google search for “high school comedies,” of all the films you will see at the top of the page, only two are directed by women: Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Clueless. Which is not to say that the rest of the films in the “genre” are inherently bad for being directed by a man or that they treat their female characters poorly (though some definitely do). Several, including Easy AMean Girls, and Dazed and Confused actually have really good female characters. But, the newest edition to the genre, The Edge of Seventeen, presents the case for why it is so important to have more women writing and directing these films about some of the most formative years of girls’ lives.

The Edge of Seventeen is the directorial debut of Kelly Fremon Craig who, knowing her film would be compared to the films of John Hughes, told Indiewire she certainly didn’t set off to make a John Hughes film. She said, “It was only just a thing in the back of my head, that those films did mean something to me, and still do. I hope this film can live on the shelf with films like those.”

And, by my estimation, Craig succeeds in spades. The Edge of Seventeen is the perfect mix of hilarious comedy and genuinely touching drama that can easily stand alongside the films of John Hughes and other great films in the genre. The characters are fantastically complex human beings backed up by truly wonderful performances and a solid script. It is a film that truly sent me on an emotional roller-coaster. And one that I hope to embark on once again very soon.

The film centers around Nadine, played by the incredibly talented Hailee Steinfeld, who, at 17, is not only dealing with the normal struggles of adolescence, but also with the death of her father three years prior. Her family life is strained as her mother (Kyra Sedgwick) is emotionally unavailable and clearly favors her brother (Blake Jenner), who seems frustratingly perfect. Add to that an event toward the beginning of the film that throws her only real friendship into question and you have one troubled young woman.

Yet many of Nadine’s problems do appear to stem from her own actions or are further exacerbated by them. She is the weird outcast with strange fashion sense that probably projects too much confidence for her own good and she talks A LOT. And she just makes some extremely poor decisions throughout the film as she trusts the wrong people, lets jealousy take hold of her and lashes out at others. But Nadine never becomes annoying or hard to root for because it is all of these very apparent flaws that make her so human. And Steinfeld’s performance is also remarkably great.

Throughout the film, Steinfeld has what I refer to as Wilder eyes, which is taken from the late Gene Wilder and the incredible sadness he could put behind his eyes throughout many of his roles. For Wilder, it was what drove much of the drama in his performances, keying the audience into some latent emotional trauma within, but he also used it to drive the comedy as well. So too does Steinfeld use her eyes in The Edge of Seventeen to drive home both the drama and the comedy. With Nadine, the eyes are what connect us to her character. Behind them we see a genuine human being who is trying to do the right thing, despite the numerous mistakes she makes. It is a classic case of a good person doing the wrong things as the audience can only watch and root for them to course correct.

The film is also bolstered by an excellent ensemble cast as well, not least of which is Woody Harrelson as Nadine’s teacher, Mr. Bruner. Much of the film’s comedy comes from this relationship as Mr. Bruner is a foil to Nadine’s excessive talkativeness with both his slow manner of speaking and his sarcasm. Yet, again, the drama creeps in as we see the sarcasm and aloofness of the character peel back ever so slightly to reveal a man who truly does care. And I would be remiss if I did not mention relative newcomer Hayden Szeto who plays a love interest of sorts. His awkward, shyness is hilarious, yet, as with all the other characters, his humanity still finds its way through the comedy.

Kelly Fremon Craig, through her stellar script, sure-handed direction and perfect casting has truly delivered one of the best additions to the high school comedy genre. She has said that she did extensive research into the subject matter, talking to many teenagers about their experiences in high school, and it shows. The Edge of Seventeen is an extremely truthful and powerful portrayal of what it is to be a teenager. It deals with themes that we all have some experience with: death, growing older, responsibility, jealousy, the difficulties and joys of many types of relationships, depression and much more. And it does all of this while also being an extremely funny movie. That is quite an achievement in my book.

 

 

“Hell or High Water” Review – A Modern Masterpiece on the Dying American Dream

By Jacob Wampfler

As I sit here listening to the score for Hell or High Water, there is something eerily uncomfortable yet familiar about this beautiful film.  Set in rural West Texas and focusing on two bank-robbing brothers, this is a story of those who have lost out on the proverbial and increasingly illusive American dream.  It is a showcase for the ferocious love that is established by blood, but also displays the darkness of which we are capable in the name of that same love.

There are two major elements in play that make this film, quite frankly, a modern masterpiece.  The camera and script work in a perfect union.  Together, they create what can only be described as some of the most beautiful and rugged artwork I have witnessed in recent memory.  If not for stark reality, I would almost say some shots were too blatant: “for sale” signs, realty company billboards, closed businesses, bars on windows and chains on door handles.  However, these shots aren’t as blatant as they are intentional.  This is the rural and small-town America that this nation’s people have come to know.  As such, this film is all-too familiar.  My parents owned one of those businesses that had to close its doors.  I saw the “for sale” sign go up.  I sat next to them as they mourned the loss of their dreams.  And if robbing a bank would have helped them, I can’t truly say that option would have been off the table.

Taylor Sheridan’s script for this film is simply one of the best I have ever heard acted and spoken aloud.  I’m still trying to wrap my mind around how this character actor, best known for his portrayal of Deputy Chief of Police David Hale in Sons of Anarchy, has ascended to his current status as one of the best screenwriters in Hollywood.  His previous work with Sicario hinted at greatness.  Following Hell or High Water, there is no question that Sheridan is legitimately an upper echelon player today.  Perhaps my favorite line in the whole film, spoken by Jeff Bridges, epitomizes that greatness.  While conducting an investigation in a bank, Ranger Marcus Hamilton (Bridges) sees a man wearing a business suit.  “That looks like a man who could foreclose on a house!” Marcus exclaims as he hurries over to talk to the banker.  This script is pure gold, and Sheridan needs recognition for his poignant work on Hell or High Water.

Director David Mackenzie brings everything together, including the four stand-out lead actors and a heart-wrenching score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.  Chris Pine is the best he’s ever been in this film, and Ben Foster displays a powerhouse performance and an embodiment of vicious brotherly love.  Honestly, Foster deserves awards attention for this performance but will likely get crowded out of any supporting actor nods.  Likewise, the relationship between Marcus and Gil Birmingham’s Alberto Parker brings a welcome measure of levity to the film, while also serving as a foil for Toby and Tanner (Pine and Foster).  The bank-robbing brothers and lawmen are two sides of the same coin, and the film portrays them as such without spoon-feeding the viewer any easy answers.

In the vein of Jeff Nichols’ work with Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter, and Mud, filmmakers would be wise to take Hell or High Water very seriously.  These are the original stories that need to be told about the people of this country.  These Steinbeckian tales are real ones.  They are about real people with real struggles and real dreams.  And often, the reality of our world is too much to bear alone.  To quote another Jeff Bridges film, (Crazy Heart) “This ain’t no place for the weary kind.”  Films like this one shed light on the weary – the bruised, battered, and broken – and help us realize our own darkness and need for redemption.  Hell or High Water, now more than ever, is essential and relevant filmmaking.  We need to start listening to its message.  

CB Podcast Ep. 40 – “Jason Bourne” Review

“This week on the podcast, the bros bring you some recommendations in film and TV and discuss the return of Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon to the ‘Bourne’ series in the newest film, ‘Jason Bourne.'”

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