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Special Episode: 2016 Movies

Whether or not you saw all the movies you wanted last year, we’ve got you covered. Logan and Bob share their top-ten lists, talk about some movies they wish they’d seen, and make a few little Oscars predictions.

Get your 2016 movies podcast needs met.

Let’s rock!

Follow us on Twitter: @LoganBeaux and @BobCaswell

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John Wick Chapter 2, Fifty Shades Darker, Watch Dogs 2, Hacksaw Ridge, Weekend Picks

We’re back, and so is John Wick with Chapter 2. How, we obviously ask, does it compare to the first installment? To other action flicks?

Logan mini reviews Fifty Shades Darker and Hacksaw Ridge. Bob mini reviews Watch Dogs 2.

In weekend picks, Logan looks back a week and talks about Girls and The Walking Dead. This coming week sees Billions, Big Little Lies, and Crashing. Bob mentions The Great Wall, Fist Fight, and A Cure for Wellness. Oh yeah, and the video games Halo Wars 2 and For Honor!

Let’s rock!

Follow us on Twitter: @LoganBeaux and @BobCaswell

 

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Special Episode: 2016 Video Games

Our third annual video games special episode! We’ve got lists, a new rating system, the obligatory disagreements, and surprisingly little overlap in our favorite games.

Find out what our favorite video games of 2016 were. Hear about games we wish we’d played. And get a load of Bob’s most overrated games.

Let’s rock!

Follow us on Twitter: @LoganBeaux and @BobCaswell

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20th Century Women, Bright Lights, Dishonored 2, Weekend Picks

Well whaddya know: watch 20th Century Women with modest expectations, and you just might end up with a Practically Endorsed review on your hands! Is Annette Bening the leader in the best actress clubhouse? How does the flick pull off the late-70s period piece vibe?

Bob mini reviews Bright Lights. Logan and Bob bellyache a little (in lieu of a mini review) about Dishonored 2.

In weekend picks, Logan mentions Riverdale and Z: The Beginning of Everything. Bob talks about Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, A Dog’s Purpose, Gold, and The Founder.

Let’s rock!

Follow us on Twitter: @LoganBeaux and @BobCaswell

 

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Silence, Battlefield 1, Divorce, Fences, Weekend Picks

Silence is our full review this week. Which of us likes Andrew Garfield more than the other? Does this flick achieve the coveted Practically Endorsed status?

Logan mini reviews Battlefield 1 and Fences. Bob mini reviews Divorce.

In weekend picks, Logan mentions Six and Frontier. Bob talks about XXX: Return of the Xander Cage, Split, and The Red Turtle. The final pick for the week is 20th Century Women.

Let’s rock!

Follow us on Twitter: @LoganBeaux and @BobCaswell

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Lion, 2016 TV, Weekend Picks

We review Lion this week. Does the movie live up to the amazing story? Is little Saroo or big Saroo (the one played by Dev Patel) more charismatic?

Logan takes the lead in our 2016 Best TV segment. What are his (and Bob’s) favorite shows of the year? Also, get some TV shows the defy the 24/The Office effect and have gotten better in their later seasons.

In weekend picks, Logan mentions Taboo, Homeland, and The Young Pope. Bob talks about Patriot’s Day, Monster Trucks, and Silence. (The final pick will have to wait until we see what’s in wide release.)

Let’s rock!

Follow us on Twitter: @LoganBeaux and @BobCaswell

 

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Jackie, Forza Horizon 3: Blizzard Mountain, Rectify, Parenthood, Weekend Picks

We review Jackie this week. Is Natalie Portman up to the huge role? Is it a flattering portrayal or not?

Bob mini reviews Forza Horizon 3: Blizzard Mountain and Parenthood season six. Logan mini reviews Rectify season four.

In weekend picks, Logan mentions It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and Portlandia. Bob talks about Underworld: Blood Wars, Arsenal, and Railroad Tigers–but keep an eye on Twitter for the final pick.

Let’s rock!

Follow us on Twitter: @LoganBeaux and @BobCaswell

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La La Land, Superhot, Atlanta, Easy, Weekend Picks

La La Land is a full on musical! Good thing we like musicals. You know we’ll talk about how Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone sing and dance. And can we agree on the ending? Only one way to find out.

Bob mini reviews Superhot and Easy. Logan mini reviews Atlanta.

In weekend picks, Logan mentions The Mick (and The Bachelor). Bob talks about Paterson and 20th Century Women. Stay tuned to Twitter for the final selection.

Let’s rock!

Follow us on Twitter: @LoganBeaux and @BobCaswell

Logan’s 2016 Mixtape Spotify playlist: https://open.spotify.com/user/1221586781/playlist/7gaISq4WT3A6ud3rwx9zbN

 

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Manchester By the Sea

What’s to like?

It can throw you off, as a critic, when a movie’s themes hit close to home. Will everyone be affected this way, or is it just me, I ask? Casey Affleck, playing Lee in Manchester by the Sea, has to travel from the big city back to the smaller community where he grew up when life gets crazy. But as specifically parallel as that experience is to my life, it’s also universal–even archetypal–in its relatability. So let’s go ahead and chalk that one up in the plus column. Same with Lee’s small but meaningful growth from a person looking out only for number one to a person who realizes he’s happier if he considers what someone else wants. Hell, come to think of it, at this rate I guess we’ll call this an age-old tale. Continue Reading

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Miss Sloane

What’s there to like?

Jessica Chastain, plain and simple. For my money, she just might be the best out there in terms of actresses in their prime, and she brings it here. Power, vulnerability, intelligence–she radiates it all as she plays a fancy DC lobbyist on a gun control case.

So much of Miss Sloane is complex and deserving of a mixed assessment. For me, though, the rest of this review nets out to be below the “liked” line.

What’s not to like?

As much as I loved watching Chastain, well, you know how it’s sometimes hard to separate the parts of a movie for awards, like, say, directing vs. screenplay? Did that movie live or die during casting? Or, in this case, did I love that character because of the actor or the writer? To me, Miss Sloane is a great example of a mediocre screenplay being knocked out of the park by a great performance.

Sloane was so cryptic, yet compelling. Was every flash of emotion on her face simply a ruse she was projecting? I can’t say. What’s her real deal–is she just a mercenary, up for the highest bidder, or the most passionate person on Earth about something she cares about? I’ve seen the whole movie and I still have no idea. And I have mixed feelings about the not-knowing. So the way I’m reconciling this in my mind is to attribute the good parts to Chastain, and pin the blame on writer Jonathan Perera, for the bad parts, fair or not.

There’s of course the fact that the movie takes a definite political stance on a relevant issue. Always dangerous, and I might be more sensitive than most to politics in movies–even when I agree with a position I usually hate the case laid out for it. Sure, the issue was watered down to be as benign as possible, but it will still be somewhat polarizing.

And let’s talk about the plot a bit. There were lots of twists. I mean: LOTS OF TWISTS. The details of which, of course, being the kind of thing I try to avoid mentioning in a review. But I can report that there were too many. I eventually just checked out in terms of emotional investment because it felt like nothing mattered. Anything potentially relevant would be subsumed into the master plan as a diversionary tactic, or at least nullified by the next random-seeming left-turn. And still, by the end, there was a nice, tidy bow placed on everything. It’s like, oh, this all seemed messy and crazy, but it was under control the whole time. The movie’s deception wasn’t that we couldn’t see what happen next; it was that we were chumps for worrying about anything at all.

I think it wants to think about wrestle with the old question of whether the ends justify the means. But Miss Sloane turns out to be a fairly moralistic tale: people on one team end up getting what they fight for, with ultimately little sacrifice or consequence.

The Verdict

Jessica Chastain props up, but can’t ultimately elevate, this political movie whose misdirections turn out to be too clever by half and that offers nihilism in place of balance.

Fine