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The Hopscotch Friday Podcast

Hopscotch Friday is an informed and impassioned pop culture binge. What does that mean? Well, it means we’ll review stuff and give you a good idea of what’s good, what’s bad, and what’s probably worth a cheeky watch anyway. Importantly, we also give you the *why*. Online we mostly focus on movies and DVDs. But we also like music, games, telly, comics…you name it. If you like what you hear, give us a shout at hopfriday@gmail(.com). Join Stevie and Emmet O'Cuana each week for a bit of pop culture pillow talk.
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Now displaying: Category: Film

Hopscotch Friday is an informed and impassioned pop culture binge. What does that mean? Well, it means we’ll review stuff and give you a good idea of what’s good, what’s bad, and what’s probably worth a cheeky watch anyway. Importantly, we also give you the *why*. Online we mostly focus on movies and DVDs. But we also like music, games, telly, comics…you name it.

If you like what you hear, give us a shout at hopfriday@gmail(.com).

Join Stevie and Emmet O'Cuana each week for a bit of pop culture pillow talk.

Dec 3, 2017

The Disaster Artist, directed by James Franco and based on the tell-all memoir by Greg Sestero about his experience of starring in The Room, hits Australian cinemas on December 7. 

And folks - this may be one of the best films of 2017!

The Disaster Artist starring James Franco and Dave Franco

With an all-star cast and a stunning central performance that is more sympathetic recreation than mimicry (Tommy Wiseau being a living cartoon in his own right) - The Disaster Artist has finally made something great out of The Room. 

This week is all about trash cinema meeting the mainstream, but seriously - catch this film. 

Nov 19, 2017

Dr Matt Finch joins the podcast to talk Justice League, Jason Momoa, the DC universe, Jason Momoa, and the impact of the male gaze - and Jason Momoa.

Justice League Ezra Miller The Flash

(pictured - Not Jason Momoa)

This is a spoiler-filled discussion so be warned if you have not yet seen the film. 

But if you're looking for a giddy, rifferific take on the culmination of Zack Snyder's DC movieverse - here it is. 

Oct 29, 2017

When the likes of David Avocado Wolfe are being regarded as medical experts in place of practicing doctors, what does that mean for the discussion of health?

It's a question that has been on my mind lately, particularly in the social media space where expertise is now diffuse. 

Urine Aid Steven Williams

Screening as part of the Melbourne Underground Film Festival, Urine Aid is a documentary all about people who practice urine therapy. These are people looking for answers who have turned their backs on so-called "Western medicine" - so I was interested to learn what lies behind their decision to, well, drink their own piss. 

Finally apologies for the quality of the recording. There were some technical issues on the night that we decided to push through to capture the interview. 

 

Oct 8, 2017

How do you review a film with a plot so tightly under wraps?

Well we are giving it a shot. 

Ryan Gosling as blade runner K

Ryan Gosling plays K, a Blade Runner on the trail of his long-missing predecessor Deckard (Harrison Ford).  Mysteries are uncovered, human nature gets yet another shake up - and Roger Deakins serves up some visual excess for your enjoyment. 

Blade Runner 2049 Denis Villeneuve

This is also a movie about making a sequel. Is it possible to follow-on from the sacred cow of genre cinema, Blade Runner - a Citizen Kane for the science fiction set? Villeneuve does not simply try to do so, he makes the film about recycling - or replicating - what has gone before. 

Lot's to think on here - but did we like it? Listen to find out. 

Sep 24, 2017

**SPOILERS be here - move on if you do not want to be spoiled**

mother! starring Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem has been released to confounded review notices and furious audience response - but is this really a film that warrants the controversy?

mother! jennifer lawrence

This week Stevie and Emmet review mother!, discuss the controversy surrounding the film - and Stevie get's stuck in to the very idea of spoilers, particularly where it comes to Aronofsky's film. 

 

Sep 16, 2017

Originally posted on our youtube channel, here is a short review of Andy Muschietti's IT starring Bill Skarsgard. 


Aug 27, 2017

The BBC has done it again. After last year polling film critics on the best films ever made, the Culture team polled 253 writers on film on the movies that make them laugh out loud. 

His Girl Friday - Howard Hawks

Not LOL. Oh no. Because very few of the 100 film titles listed here date from this century

Emmet and Stevie discuss whether this poll represents the best comedies of all time - or the films that have been safely judged by critical consensus. 

Also what did they miss? Here are a few suggestions - including the much-maligned Death to Smoochy.

Death to Smoochy

What did you make of the list - and what films did we also manage to miss? 

Aug 13, 2017

In a week when everything has been pretty terrible, Emmet makes the case for Valérian and Logan Lucky being two films about hope. 

While Luc Besson's spiritual sequel (or response to) The Fifth Element has attracted criticism, is this is misreading of the film's naive sincerity?

Dane De Haan plays Valérian as a young man who has read Romantic Heroes for Dummies, partnered with the far more competent Agent Laureline (‎Cara Delevingne). They chase McGuffins, uncover a conspiracy to destroy the peace enjoyed by humanity's space-faring utopian future - and all the while try to discover the meaning of love. 

It's a film that lives or dies on its appeal to the audience's sense of sentiment. Also, it's very pretty. 

Logan Lucky is a far more recognizable world of working class Americans ground down beneath corporate greed. Our unlikely Robin Hood is Channing Tatum, whose Jimmy Logan conspires with brother Clyde (Adam Driver) and Mellie (Riley Keough) to rob Nascar. All they need is an explosives expert - enter Daniel Craig's wonderful creation Jimmy Bang.

This is another film with heart and soul, skillfully made by Soderbergh while not eschewing emotion. Strongly recommended. 

Aug 13, 2017

First off - apologies for the sound quality in this episode. But as promised in episode Episode 27 here is a mini-episode on Kumail Nanjiani's The Big Sick, directed by Michael Showalter and starring Zoe Kazan and Holly Hunter. 

Here is a romantic comedy with a difference. First it draws on the real life experience of Nanjiani and his wife Emily Gordon, so the tropes of cinematic romance are skewed with a nice dose of real-life insight. 

On top of that we have an Apatow comedy-stable film that is tighter and less indulgent than the free-form improvisational pictures the producer has previously served up. 

It's also a movie about race that both utilises that in its plot - but does not employ tokenisms. 

 

Aug 7, 2017

This week we take a tour around Spain with Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan, and then revisit the cold calculations of murder in 1989 Berlin.

Michael Winterbottom's The Trip to Spain is the third in a series of would-be travelogues that blends reality and farce to excellent effect. Brydon and Coogan play versions of themselves, again musing on death, fame, sex - as well as the passing of David Bowie.

The Trip to Spain Rob Brydon Steve Coogan 
In between driving each other to distraction with dueling impersonations, the pair enjoy amazing food lovingly prepared onscreen and go on yet another literary tour, this time following the foolhardy exploits of Cervantes's Don Quixote. 

Less literary fun is to be had in David Leitch's Cold War espionage thriller Atomic Blonde - although Bowie *does* of course pop up again. This is Berlin after all. 

Atomic Blonde - Charlize Theron James McAvoy

Adapting Antony Johnston and Sam Hart's comic The Coldest City to the big screen, Charlize Theron stars as Lorraine Broughton, an MI6 operative sent to Berlin to recover a McGuffin taken from a murdered former lover by a KGB agent. 

There she encounters James McAvoy's gone-native agent Percival, who clearly knows more than he's letting on, and is tailed by a French agent played by Sofia Boutella. 

Complete with a stormer of a soundtrack of 80s hits, Theron carries the picture with a heady mix of cool glamour and a capacity for savage violence. 

This week Stevie and Emmet also recommend -

Tim Powers's Medusa's Web
Birthright by Joshua Williamson and Andrei Bressan
Jon Ronson's So You've Been Publicly Shamed

Jul 31, 2017

This week is all about monstrous metaphors and how horror can speak to us.

A Monster Calls - poster

Firstly we review A Monster Calls, starring Felicity Jones, Sigourney Weaver, Liam Neeson and impressive young actor Lewis MacDougall.

Adapting Patrick Ness's illustrated novel to the big screen, director J.A. Bayona realizes the allegorical theme of grief for the loss of a loved one with judicious CGI and animated 'fairy tale' sequences.

In this fashion Bayona's film follows in the tradition of horror as metaphor defined by the work of George Romero, who died on 16 July 2017.

Day of the Dead - Bob

Known principally as a zombie movie icon, the Pittsburgh native was also a film-maker committed to the principles of independence. His investment in the locality of Evans City gave an economic burst to the depressed blue-collar region, and it's this ethos of DIY film-making for which Romero deserves more recognition.

From the inevitability of death represented by his zombies, to the deromanticised vampire Martin ("There's no magic") and Ed Harris's modern-day King Arthur in Knight Riders reduced to a Renaissance Fair performer, Romero raised up the ordinary instead of escaping to fantasy.

Jul 23, 2017

Neevon reviews this film adaptation of a 19th century Russian novella, that draws loosely on the Scottish play. 

Lady Macbeth

This episode discusses the application of Shakespeare's themes outside of the plays and the exploration of feminist and class themes in the film.

This is a shorter episode in advance of a bumper show next week - including our tribute to George Romero, and a review of A Monster Calls. 

Lady Macbeth posters

 

Jul 9, 2017

This week we have the return of Edgar Wright with his feature-length adaptation of a music video concept Baby Driver, and the arrival of Spider-Man in the Marvel Universe.

Baby Driver - Ansel Elgort and Lily James

First cab off the rank has Stevie and Emmet discuss whether Wright's technically stunning car heist movie succeeds.

Is this a genuinely original film, or simply a parody of 1970s B-movies?

Spider-Man Homecoming

Next Spider-Man returns to high school with a younger cast and a passing of the torch from Robert Downey Junior's franchise leader Iron Man.

Does the Marvel Studios endorsed webslinger enliven the prospect of an IP relaunched for the third time in fifteen years?

And in next week's episode we will definitely not be talking about superheroes!

Jun 18, 2017

Steve Carrell and Kristen Wiig return as the heads of a super(villain) family that everyone loves.

Also there are Minions.

Stevie and Emmet talk about how the film's treatment of blended families gives the slapstick some soul and how Trey Parker's villain, an 80s obsessed former child celebrity desperate to make his fantasies real, feels apt to today.


Despicable Me 3

In the second half of the show Emmet discusses the Nick Broomfield documentary Whitney: Can I Be Me.

While the film examines the theories surrounding the singer Whitney Houston's sexuality and the revelations of drug use, it also features incredible concert footage from Rudi Dolezal that showcases how amazing a performer she was. 

Whitney: Can I Be Me


As always, you can find us on Facebook and Twitter, and give us a rating or review on iTunes

Jun 4, 2017

Neevon Mohtaji from 2 Dollar Movie Reviews returns to discuss the Armenian genocide drama The Promise

The Promise

Starring Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac, the film has attracted headlines for being a Hollywood production centred on the events of the Armenian holocaust - and for the online protests, particularly on imdb where the film has been downloaded thousands of times to dissuade people from viewing the film. 

Neevon and Emmet discuss the film, as well as the protest's potential for straying into the Streisand Effect by drawing attention to the very events that would be buried. 

The Promise Oscar Isaac and Tom Hollander

As always, you can find us on Facebook and Twitter, as well as iTunes

May 30, 2017

Patty Jenkins has done what Joss Whedon, George Miller, Ivan Reitman and Joel Silver failed to do. 

Make a film about Wonder Woman. 

Wonder Woman

Out in cinemas June 1, we discuss what the film got right, the critical buzz around the project in the last few weeks - and answer the question, is Wonder Woman actually any good?

As always, you can find us on Facebook, Twitter and iTunes - let us know what you think of the show. 

May 28, 2017

Taking a wee break after the recent weeks of sturm and drang for two quieter dramas, before the much belated arrival of Wonder Woman next week, we discuss John Butler's Irish comedy drama Handsome Devils and Mike Mills' semi-autobiographical film 20th Century Women

Handsome Devil movie poster

Handsome Devil is a sweet drama featuring a stand-out performance from Andrew Scott as an English teacher in an Irish boarding school obsessed with sport. 

Ned (Fionn O'Shea) is an alienated student at the school who is excluded because he has no interest in sport. Subjected to homophobic bullying, he creates a sarcastic outsider persona as a defense. When a new boy arrives at the school and becomes Ned's room-mate (Nicholas Galitzine), early resentment between them slowly evolves into a fragile friendship. But what led to Conor, a stunning rugby player, being expelled from his last school - and what will Ned do once he learns his only friend's secret?

20th Century Women

Annette Bening's Oscar snub seems more unbelievable now this film is out in Australia. Heading up a stellar cast including Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig and Billy Crudup, Mike Mills draws on his childhood for this story of a young teenager being raised without a male role model and his strained relationship with his mother. 

Quietly powerful and featuring interesting digressions into the histories of the characters' lives with archive footage, 20th Century Women is a time capsule from a vanished era of Californian optimism and free thought. 

This episode is dedicated to the memories of Roger Moore and Dennis Johnson. 

As always, check us out on Facebook and Twitter @hopscotchfriday, and drop us a rating on iTunes.

May 21, 2017

Two movies that couldn't be more different - but what can we learn from how John Wick: Chapter 2 and King Arthur - Legend of the Sword use onscreen violence?

 

Or punctuation,  for that matter!

 

John Wick: Chapter 2 and King Arthur

May 7, 2017

Jordan Peele's debut mixes horror and social commentary on race relations to impressive effect. Smashing the box office, this film has won over audiences in the States and is now screening in Australia. 

Get Out poster - Jordan Peele director

Peele's greatest success with this scary and fitfully very funny movie is the passion pounding away at its core. The story concerns a young man Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), whose white girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) invites him home to meet her parents, avuncular well-to-do liberals played by Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener. Yet despite the kindness of Rose's family, Chris cannot escape the feeling that something is wrong. 

Peele's script has Chris assume at several points that the problem is his being black - and that gets to the heart of out Get Out treats of racial tension. 

Get Out is discussed within the context of films that have used the constraints of genre to explore social commentary - such as Starship Troopers, Children of Men, Night of the Living Dead and Idiocracy.

 - Emmet O'Cuana

Apr 30, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is back, with more tunes and more antics from this galactic misfits. Stevie and Emmet chat about the film and where it fits in the Marvel Studios. James Gunn has delivered a film that promises to get close and personal with Quill, Gamora, Drax and Rocket - but does it deliver?

Guardians of the Galaxy - team shot

Then Neevon Mohtaji from 2 Dollar Movie Reviews is back to talk Kiwi comedy Pork Pie, starring Dean O'Gorman (The Hobbit prequels, Trumbo, The Almighty Johnsons) and James Rolleston (Boy, from Boy, went and grew up!). 

It's a show of tunes, chases and grand desperate gestures. 

As always you can find us on Twitter and Facebook - and if you feel like giving us a rating pop over to iTunes

Apr 23, 2017

To quote Pauline Kael, this week is all about Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang.

Or just Bang Bang.

Aliens

Stevie and Emmet talk violence in movies, from the taboo busting films of Arthur Penn and Sam Peckinpah, up to the work of James Cameron in the 80s and Michael Bay's stylised chaos.

Free Fire

Then Neevon Mohtaji from 2 Dollar Movie Reviews drops by to talk about Ben Wheatley's new film Free Fire, a movie that extends a gun fight to the very extremes.

This week's show is all about bullets and blood, with a run through of our favourite movies that use action and violence to make a point - or even leave a mark.

Apr 16, 2017

Two very different movies - one a historical drama directed by Mick Jackson of the David Irving libel case, and Nacho Vigalondo's curious horror rom-com Colossal - that feel very close to home today. 

Rachel Weisz plays Deborah Lipstadt, a Holocaust historian who is sued in London by David Irving (Timothy Spall) for identifying him as a denier of the genocide of Jewish people in German concentration camps. 

Denial also stars Andrew Scott and Tom Wilkinson and has a great deal of resonance to current events given its focus on freedom of speech and the abuse of same. 

Denial - Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, Andrew Scott

 

Colossal is an original and inventive picture by Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo that stretches from South Korea to rural America. This international production mashes up Kaiju monsters with the tropes of Hollywood romantic comedy and then serves up something genuinely startling. 

While this vehicle of Anne Hathaway has been described as a metaphor for addiction, there is far more at work here. Stevie and Emmet dance around potential spoilers while trying to sketch out exactly why you should see this curious and powerful film. 

Colossal - Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis

Also Emmet tries to suggest a tagline for the film 'The personal is Colossal.'

Apr 9, 2017

This week's films run the gamut from the poignantly romantic to the perplexing and strange.

Stevie and Emmet review British romantic drama (made by Danish director, Lone Scherfig), Their Finest starring Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin and Bill Nighy. Set in 1940, the film follows Catrin Cole as she negotiates the man's world of propaganda films during wartime.

Their Finest with Gemma Arterton

Stevie then explains to Emmet why she's not sure about Olivier Assayas' Personal Shopper, a surreal vehicle for Kristen Stewart. Acclaimed by some, Stevie's not sure if it's brilliant or ordinary.

 Personal Shopper Kristen Stewart

Feb 19, 2017

It's already late-February so let's get this over with. Stevie and Emmet list their most anticipated films of 2017, and say why they're looking forward to them.

Unsurprisingly, there's some overlap! Combined, the list includes Anna Biller's The Love Witch, Danny Boyle's T2: Trainspotting, Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok, Blade Runner 2049, Luc Besson's Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and Edgar Wright's Baby Driver. Oh, and Logan somehow manages a reference in there too!

 

 
Feb 12, 2017

Posters for Silence and The Family

 

Stevie and Emmet ponder how to recommend films that need to be watched, but may not be of general interest, specifically Martin Scorsese's Silence, Rosie Jones' The Family and, briefly, Steve Oram's Aaaaaaah!

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