Friday Film Roundup

Our Friday Film Roundup is an attempt to share what we are reading, watching, and listening to as we head into the weekend. We plan on sharing major film news, interesting film essays/videos, and recommended films you might want to check out.

Good afternoon! Nothing beats a February Friday am I right? Except June Fridays! And July! And…well every other month. February sucks.

Unfortunately for my happiness, my wife is out of town this weekend. Fortunately this means I have time to catch up on my endless movie watch list to fill the crippling void of loneliness.

Reading:

In the future this space will be more fleshed out with many different reviews or analysis or news that stand out to us. For now I only have one post from our friends at Slashfilm (I like to think we are friends even though they don’t know we exist.):

‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,’ ‘Avengers: Endgame’ and the Problem With Nostalgic Blockbusters

It’s a great analysis of one of my favorite topics of the last year, shit talking Avengers: Endgame and The Rise of Skywalker. Except it is actually well thought out and hits on a lot of my personal frustrations.

Watching:

Recommendation: I recently stumbled across Midsommar on Amazon Prime and if you are up for a twisted, dark tale set in beautiful Sweden that will make you want to forever avoid vacations, making friends, being in relationships, and psychedelic drug use then this is the movie for you! Written and directed by Ari Aster (the guy who brought us the unsettling Hereditary) and stars Florence Pugh whose performance makes it worth the horror.

What I’m Watching: My number one goal this weekend is to finally catch the Oscar winning film Parasite, it’s a movie that’s been on my radar for months now and my curiosity is killing me. I’ve been a huge advocate for Korean cinema ever since I say Oldboy and The Handmaiden. Wow I’m into some truly messed up movies.

Outside of that I want to continue the horror trend and finish Train to Busan on Netflix and I’ve been dying to rewatch Cabin in the Woods. 

And while this isn’t technically a “film” (such definitions of what constitutes a film feel arbitrary to me but whatever) Better Call Saul returns to our screens after a loooong hiatus. This show has definitely proven itself even in the shadow of Breaking Bad and now that Jimmy is embracing his Saul side, I expect this show to reach new heights.

And in case you can’t wait until Sunday for your Breaking Bad fix might I recommend you catch up on El Camino which is showing on AMC and on Netflix.

Upcoming Flimsy Film Posts:

Welcome to New York: While We’re Young

I’m jumping back into my ‘Welcome to New York’ series with Brooklyn’s own Noah Baumbach. What happens when a 30-year-old watches a movie about two 40-year-olds making friends with two 25-year-olds? Does it send the 30-year-old into a spiraling existential crisis about aging? Find out on Tuesday!

Let’s Talk About: The Rise of Skywalker

Oh this should be a fun read, two fans who loved The Last Jedi get to discuss all of the shortcomings of the final chapter in the Skywalker saga. I’m sure there will be a lot of yelling in the form of CAPITAL LETTERS.

 

Better Call Saul is Perfectly Serviceable, and that’s the Problem

The challenge that Better Call Saul came up against when it premiered was how it could create drama even though it’s destination has already been predetermined. We know that Jimmy McGill ultimately becomes Saul Goodman, who develops a reputation as the top “criminal” lawyer in all of Albuquerque and like all criminals, sees his reign come to an end.

Prequels don’t often have the luxury of surprising the audience, so no one is holding their breath hoping that Jimmy has a chance as a legitimate attorney or that he’ll make amends with his brother, Chuck. The question is if the show can keep people invested even if they know where things are going. Better Call Saul is in its third season now, so someone out there is paying attention to what’s happening. Personally, a lot of my interest was riding on whether or not Jimmy would get lucky with Kim. Score one for the guy who looks like Kevin Costner.

And while the pre-Breaking Bad escapes of Slippin’ Jimmy hint at greatness and occasionally even delivers it, there’s just not enough substance to make me forget that I’m watching a prequel. When I’m constantly reminded of what awaits these characters in the future, I find myself wishing that I was watching Breaking Bad instead.

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Better Call Saul- “Marco” Review, The Old Con

Addictions are weird things. You work hard to rid of them and you are doing great for a period of time. And then something happens and it triggers your brain to fall back into old habits.

The trigger could be all kinds of things. Seeing an old friend, depression, a fight with a loved one, some guy cutting you off in traffic or hell, the smell of a freshly baked cookie.

The trigger doesn’t need to make sense. It’s like your brain is just finding any sort of excuse to get you back to the high of your addiction.

Jimmy isn’t addicted to drinking, smoking or drugs. He gets his high on conning people. And he is damn good at it.

Spoilers below:

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Better Call Saul- “Pimento” Review, Brotherly Betrayal

Building a career is difficult. The work itself is probably pretty easy but building your name up to be trusted is hard.

Sure you can spend countless hours studying, working or volunteering. You can have the best skills, knowledge and work ethic. Generally that means absolutely nothing in the real world.

Someone out there has to give you a chance. They have to put their trust in you when you probably don’t deserve it. Call it luck or call it hard work paying off, but you can’t get anywhere without someone taking a chance on you.

For Mike, he forced someone to take a chance on him. For Jimmy, he pushed as far as he could before ultimately falling short. Again.

Spoilers Ahoy!

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Better Call Saul- “Rico” Review, A Brother’s Will

They say it is about who you know not what you know. Networking is the driving force behind career growth. It is a lot like Survivor in fact. If people don’t like you then you don’t stand a chance.

Sometimes who you know is a curse. If who you know is so great at what they do then you are forced to live in their shadow. Being close to someone who is a big success can hinder your ability to think and act independently. If you see your brother become a successful lawyer then why wouldn’t you try to become a successful lawyer?

Jimmy McGill loves his brother and he has always fought for his respect. And because of this, Chuck is the last thing that is holding Jimmy back from becoming Saul.

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Better Call Saul- “Bingo” Review

“I do all the talking. That’s the only way this works.” -Jimmy McGill

Last week I declared the episode “Five-O” as the reason Better Call Saul exists. Jonathan Banks was so captivating as Mike Ehrmantraut that I declared him the true star of the series. This week in the episode titled “Bingo”, Bob Odenkirk reminded me why the show is called Better Call Saul.

Spoilers after the jump.

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Better Call Saul- “Five-O” Review

When Better Call Saul first dropped I was impressed but also skeptical. I was impressed with the depth that the writers had put into Jimmy McGill AKA Saul Goodman. I felt like the show had a real star that was both entertaining and intense. Kind of like what they had in Walter White except more charismatic.

My skepticism arose from doubting they could team Jimmy up with someone equally as entertaining as himself. My logic was that you don’t have Breaking Bad without Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. Both Walt and Jesse brought the darkness and intensity that fueled the series to success. But Jesse also brought some lightness through his innocence and his occasional humor. My thought was if Jimmy was bringing the lightness, humor and half the intensity, who will bring the darkness? Well it looks like episode six of the young series has finally answered the question.

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