The Filmlosophers, Eddie Villanueva, Chad Riley and Spencer Williams, band together to keep from falling apart at the seams with this week’s review of Dark Phoenix (2019). The final installment of Fox’s nearly 20-year-long X-Men film series (since New Mutants may or may not ever release in 2020) tackles the comic book franchise’s most popular storyline and tries to fix some of what went wrong in X-Men: The Last Stand (2006).
Directed and written by Simon Kinberg, the film stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Evan Peters, and Jessica Chastain. Give us a few minutes of your time, and we’ll let you know if that huge stable of talent pulled out a win...or if that cosmic bird needs another attempt at rebirth someday.
The Filmlosophers, Eddie Villanueva, Chad Riley and Spencer Williams, knock over a few buildings while saving the world with this week’s review of Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019). As the third installment of Warner Bros. MonsterVerse, the film presents some of the famous kaiju’s most fearsome opponents while setting up the additional mythology leading up to next year’s Godzilla vs. Kong.
Directed by Michael Dougherty, the film stars Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Bradley Whitford, Sally Hawkins, Charles Dance, Thomas Middleditch, Aisha Hinds, O'Shea Jackson Jr., David Strathairn, Ken Watanabe, Zhang Ziyi and a bunch of monsters “as themselves.” Intrigued? Give us a listen!
The Filmlosophers, Eddie Villanueva, Chad Riley and Spencer Williams, wonder if there’s anything good left in the world after viewing Brightburn (2019). The highly anticipated film, produced by Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, mashes up the superhero and horror movie genres by posing the simple question: what if Superman wasn’t a good guy, even as a child?
Directed by David Yarovesky, the film stars Elizabeth Banks, David Denman, Jackson A. Dunn, Matt Jones, and Meredith Hagner. It debuted to mixed reviews and a modest box office haul, but we think you’ll be very interested to hear where we stand...
The Filmlosophers, Eddie Villanueva, Chad Riley and Spencer Williams, scramble to find weapons in every corner with this week’s review of John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum (2019). The adrenaline-fueled “gun fu” action flick closes out the first trilogy of Chad Stahelski’s relentless series with stars Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Laurence Fishburne, Anjelica Huston and Ian McShane.
Parabellum continues the saga of titular character John Wick’s merc marathon run as he tries to elude death from every assassin in the world after being declared “excommunicado” by the High Table. With a fourth chapter already green-lit, it’s obvious that the film series is here for the long haul...but can you stomach the violence long enough to reach the end?
With Eddie out of the office for a week, Filmlosophers Spencer Williams and Chad Riley do a bit of a duet with this week's review of Detective Pikachu (2019). Starring Ryan Reynold, Justice Smith, Bill Nighy and a whole host of Pokemon characters who've made the transition from cartoon to live action.
With a healthy mix of franchise knowledge (Spencer) and no knowledge at all (Chad), we take a look at how this video game adaptation rates in comparison to other nominally successful properties.
The Filmlosophers, Eddie Villanueva, Chad Riley and Spencer Williams, drag their sorry carcasses out of the theater after repeat viewings of Avengers: Endgame (2019). After 18 previous episodes dedicated to Marvel Cinematic Universe films, everything culminates in this week’s review of the Infinity Saga closeout that rocketed to more than $1 billion at the global box office in record time.
Endgame brings the initial 22-film run of the MCU to a point of closure and rebirth, and we’ve assembled all of our brain cells to recount in spoiler-ridden fashion all three hours and five minutes of the film. If you haven’t seen it yet, listen at your own risk - you’ve been spoiler alerted!
The Filmlosophers, Eddie Villanueva, Chad Riley and Spencer Williams, head back to the start of the infinity loop with this week’s review of Jon Favreau’s Iron Man (2008). The film marked the first official entry of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, established Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark/Iron Man as a household name and paved the road toward this week’s Infinity Saga culmination, Avengers: Endgame (2019).
Also starring Terrence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges and Clark Gregg, Iron Man set a new standard for superhero blockbusters and initiated one of the most unique multi-franchise undertakings in the history of cinema.
The Filmlosophers, Eddie Villanueva, Chad Riley and Spencer Williams, try desperately to escape the flames of the underworld with this week’s review of Hellboy (2019). The remake stars David Harbour from “Stranger Things” alongside Ian McShane, Milla Jovovich, Danial Dae Kim and a whole lot of CGI.
Unfortunately, this slow burning garbage fire of a film is too relentlessly unquenchable even for us. The good news is that we suffered through it so you don’t have to.
The Filmlosophers, Eddie Villanueva, Chad Riley and Spencer Williams, tackle the debate of the modern era with this week’s evaluation of the Netflix effect...and a “mini-review” of one of the streaming giant’s recent releases, Triple Frontier (2019). With a war brewing between Hollywood’s previous generation of upstarts (we’re looking at you, Steven Spielberg) and the new content disruptors (including Oscar-winner Alfonso Cuarón), how are the rest of us supposed to feel about on-demand home viewing versus the grand allure of a cinematic presentation?
As a small litmus test, we also dive into an abbreviated review of Triple Frontier starring Ben Affleck, Charlie Hunnam, Oscar Isaac, Pedro Pascal, Garrett Hedlund and Adria Arjona. It may not be the next Roma (2018), but it sure beats most of the Netflix-distributed films we’ve reviewed in previous episodes.
The Filmlosophers, Eddie Villanueva, Chad Riley and Spencer Williams, are feeling a bit of a power surge with this week’s review of Shazam! (2019). Directed by David F. Sandberg, the film stars Zachary Levi as the titular hero, while Asher Angel plays his human alter ego, Billy Batson. Mark Strong, Jack Dylan Grazer and Djimon Hounsou fill out the primary cast, and there are a number of other standouts waiting in the wings of this mostly family-friendly comic book adaptation.
After all, it’s only on the colorful canvas of a superhero film that you typically find story elements such as America’s foster care system, the seven deadly sins, and larger-than-life preteen heroes in the same mix. The real question, though, is whether that mix is just-right or a little too over-the-top. Listen in to find out our take!
The Filmlosophers, Eddie Villanueva, Chad Riley and Spencer Williams, fight to stay comfortable in their own skin this week with a review of Jorden Peele’s sophomore film, Us (2019). Written and directed by Peele, who crafted the massively successful and thought-provoking Get Out (2017), Us provides a unique look at into human psychology and plays on the timeless fear of the shadow self by showing characters in active conflict against their own doppelgänger.
Starring Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex, Elisabeth Moss, and Tim Heidecker, Us cements Peele’s status as one of the 21st century’s masters of suspense and emphasizes just how versatile and compelling Nyong’o has become as one of today’s leading performers.
In this bonus episode, we discuss the current state of where the Marvel Cinematic Universe is, and what are some of our theories for the future of the franchise. What do you think? Listen in to hear our thoughts!
Stick around and join the conversation as we are barely able to contain ourselves! Pull up a chair, check in with the teacher and prepare for some bonus hilarity in "Extra Credit!"
You can also catch all of our previous episodes at Filmlosophers.com!
The Filmlosophers, Eddie Villanueva, Chad Riley and Spencer Williams, get a bit sneaky with this week’s review of Captive State (2019). Written and directed by Rupert Wyatt, the film stars John Goodman, Ashton Sanders, Jonathan Majors, Machine Gun Kelly, and Vera Farmiga. Its depiction of a world held captive by aggressive, insect-like aliens hews closely to other films within the genre while also attempting to differentiate itself as a think-piece on social stratification and themes of insurgency against an oppressive government.
In a landscape full of enemies both foreign and domestic, what chance does one have to rise up and effect change? And can the audience hang in long enough to care about the outcome? Listen in to find out what we thought of the film...
The Filmlosophers, Eddie Villanueva, Chad Riley and Spencer Williams, power up for this week’s review of Captain Marvel (2019). With a record-shattering global opening, the last Marvel Cinematic Universe film before Avengers: Endgame (2019) provides an enormous launchpad for the MCU’s new standard-bearer, Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers. Set in the 1990s, Captain Marvel features one of cinema’s most enjoyable new “buddy cop” duos between Larson and Samuel L. Jackson, while also integrating a star-spanning subplot of warmongering, propaganda and prejudice.
The Filmlosophers, Eddie Villanueva, Chad Riley and Spencer Williams, rally together to deliver this week’s review of How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019). This franchise-finishing film reunites a voice cast that includes Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Cate Blanchett, Craig Ferguson, and a new villain played by F. Murray Abraham. As Toothless works out a few new dance moves for the Light Fury he’s suddenly sweet on, his human companion, Hiccup, wrestles with the mantle of leadership...and where does that leave the human-dragon utopia by the final frame? You’ll have to listen to find out.
The Filmlosophers, Eddie Villanueva, Chad Riley and Spencer Williams, break out the cue cards and goodie bags for this year’s Oscars Recap. We’re light on the fashion play-by-play and heavy on the sass as we dive into who won, who deserved to win and whether or not Samuel L. Jackson and Spike Lee had anything to do with the rise of the Koala Challenge on social media. Honorable mentions go out to Bradley Cooper’s mom, Congressman John Lewis and a sidebar about the review of “Bohemian Rhapsody” we never got around to recording.
The Filmlosophers pick apart the cybernetic workings of the latest film from Director Rober Rodriguez, Alita: Battle Angel (2019). Rodriguez, alongside producer and co-writer James Cameron, set to change the landscape of anime-live action adaptations with their latest cinema offering! The film stars Rosa Salazar as the titular role, alongside the incredible Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley and new-comer Keean Johnson. But does this film measure up to the expectations of anime and film fans, alike? Or will Alita: Battle Angel fall to the wayside much like its predecessors, and become a ghost of its former self?
The Filmlosophers, Eddie Villanueva, Chad Riley and Spencer Williams, host a pop music dance party for this week’s review of The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019). Mike Mitchell directs off a script from executive producers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (who wrote and directed the first film), and the film stars Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Charlie Day, Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, and Will Ferrell reprising their roles from the first film in the series.
With additional characters voiced and/or performed by Tiffany Haddish, Stephanie Beatriz and Maya Rudolph, the question isn’t whether or not this sequel has enough star power...but is everything still awesome five years later? Visual gags, plot twists and incessant-tunes-that-get-stuck-in-your-head are here in abundance, so let’s get playful!
The Filmlosophers, Eddie Villanueva, Chad Riley and Spencer Williams, get a little bit shallow with this week’s review of A Star is Born (2018). As the fourth iteration of this particular storyline, the Oscar-nominated film modernizes the tale of an aging and substance-abusing musician who discovers a new talent and helps to launch her professional career. Directed by and starring Bradley Cooper, the film also stars Lady Gaga, Andrew Dice Clay, Dave Chappelle, and Sam Elliott.
As one of this year’s most highly publicized awards contenders, A Star is Born has already raked in more than 180 nominations from a variety of sources in multiple categories. It’s also a commercial success, with nearly $208 million in domestic tickets sales. So why didn’t it earn top marks from our team? Listen and find out!
The Filmlosophers, Eddie Villanueva, Chad Riley and Spencer Williams, dust off their swords and take a few practice swings for this week’s review of The Kid Who Would Be King (2019). The film brings the myth of King Arthur, Excalibur, Merlin and the Knights of the Round Table into the present-day and caters strongly to the YA crowd in terms of both tone and complexity. Directed by Joe Cornish, the film stars a boatload of British youngsters including Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Dean Chaumoo, Angus Imrie, Rhianna Dorris and Tom Taylor alongside Rebecca Ferguson and Sir Patrick Stewart.
One part Arthurian legend and one part Disney’s “The Sword in the Stone” brought into the modern world, the movie works hard to court its young intended audience. In spite of its dismal North American box office opening, is there something worth watching after all?
The Filmlosophers, Eddie Villanueva, Chad Riley and Spencer Williams, get mental with this week’s review of M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass (2019), the trilogy-concluding sequel to Unbreakable (2000) and Split (2016). The film unites Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson and James McAvoy under one roof, as their respective characters are psychologically evaluated by franchise newcomer Sarah Paulson.
Will Jackson’s titular Elijah Price, aka Mister Glass, be able to outthink the shrink and cast his fellow patients as superheroes (or supervillains) in full view of the public? And will we care, once the time comes?
The Filmlosophers, Eddie Villanueva, Chad Riley and Spencer Williams, take time to appreciate their surroundings with this week’s review of Alfonso Cuarón’s ROMA (2018). Comprised almost entirely of scenes taken from Cuarón’s memory and shot on location in Mexico City, the film stars Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira, Diego Cortina Autrey and several others. Its gorgeous, panoramic cinematography provides a meditative look at the places, people and ideas that shaped a generation.
ROMA has been described as Cuarón’s most essential and personal work to date, and fellow director Guillermo del Toro has already listed it as one of his top five favorite films of all time. The Netflix-distributed film is also generating quite a lot of buzz and nominations during the current award season.
The Filmlosophers, Eddie Villanueva, Chad Riley and Spencer Williams, wax a bit nostalgic as they discuss the highs (and lows) of the films of yesteryear. Perusing through the library of reviews they’ve done for 2018, the Trio find themselves relishing in some of the most memorable times -both good and bad- in cinema. Nothing is off the table, as the conversation veers from the most ridiculous and silly, to the most heartfelt and moving of instances we’ve shared on the show. How does our list stack up to yours? Are any of our choices ones you considered for best/worst of 2018?
Listen in as we chop it up casual-style and talk about which films moved us, and which ones needed to move out of the theater faster. Tune in to another episode of The Filmlosophers!
The Filmlosophers, Eddie Villanueva, Chad Riley and Spencer Williams, get a bit retro with this week’s spirited review of Bumblebee (2018). Set in the late 1980s, the film stars Hailee Steinfeld as the original teenage “owner” of the fan-favorite, speech impaired Transformer. Directed by Travis Knight from a script by Christina Hodson, this latest entry in the critically maligned franchise co-stars John Cena and features the voice talents of Peter Cullen, Dylan O’Brien, Angela Bassett and Justin Theroux. The big question this time around isn’t really about the storyline or characters...it’s whether or not audiences even want to spend money on a franchise that’s been the source of so much disappointment for a decade or more.
Listen in as we slice, dice, dissect and recombine our thoughts about the spinoff film, which is produced by Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay. Has it transformed us into true believers once more, or merely reminded us of the deceptions of the past?
The Filmlosophers, Eddie Villanueva, Chad Riley and Spencer Williams, get their “thwip” on in this week’s review of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018). The film features a generous assortment of Spider-Men, -Women and others from across the multiverse with a focus on solidifying the in-continuity origin story of Miles Morales as he takes up the heroic mantle from the Peter Parker of his reality. The unique animation style has been the subject of significant praise since before the film’s release. Now, will the film’s story prove to be as memorable as its form?
Featuring the voices of Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Lily Tomlin, Luna Lauren Velez, John Mulaney, Nicolas Cage, and Liev Schreiber, the film is directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman.