Tag Archives: Ben Sears

Ben’s Column: The Killing of Two Lovers (2021) – Review

Premise: David desperately tries to keep his family of six together during a separation from his wife. They both agree to see other people but David struggles to grapple with his wife’s new relationship.

With a title like The Killing of Two Lovers, you’d be forgiven if you were to go into it expecting a more violent drama. But director, screenwriter, and editor Robert Machoian has more on his mind than surface-level passion. Namely the slow and painful disintegration of a marriage, and everyone that gets sucked into its wake. Machoian’s film uses many impressive tricks and techniques to sell the ideas he’s working towards, but the film could ultimately be polished more in its shadings of some of the secondary characters.

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The Obsessive Viewer Podcast – Ep 343 – Ebert’s Great Movies Part 8 – The Circus (1928), The Searchers (1956), and Paths of Glory (1957) – The Last Dance, Small Axe, and Indy Film Fest 2021: Welcome to Monterey (2021), and Comedy Shorts Block

OV343 – Ebert's Great Movies Part 8 – The Circus (1928), The Searchers (1956), and Paths of Glory (1957) – The Last Dance, Small Axe, and Indy Film Fest 2021: Welcome to Monterey (2021), and Comedy Shorts Block The Obsessive Viewer – Weekly Movie/TV Review & Discussion Podcast

In this episode, Ben, Tiny, and I continue our series reviewing the films from Roger Ebert’s Great Movies list. In this edition, we cover Charlie Chaplin’s The Circus, John Ford’s The Searchers, and Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory.

Runtime: 2:19:12

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Ben’s Column: Stowaway (2021) – Review

Premise: A stowaway on a mission to Mars sets off a series of unintended consequences.

When a company like Netflix resolves to release at least one film per week in a given year, it remains harder and harder for any single film to stand out amongst the pack. For every Mank or The Irishman or Mudbound, there’s a hundred more films that serve as glorified filler material, taking up the same amount of bandwidth on the platform and competing for the same space in our ever-dwindling attention spans. Stowaway manages to hold its own in spite of all of this, and becomes a well-intentioned, character-based space drama.

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The Obsessive Viewer Podcast – Ep 341 – Q: Into the Storm (2021) – Shang-Chi Trailer, Voyagers, Infinite Train, Invincible, Promising Young Woman, and Matt Returns to the Theater

OV341 – Q: Into the Storm (2021) – Shang-Chi Trailer, Voyagers, Infinite Train, Invincible, Promising Young Woman, and Matt Returns to the Theater The Obsessive Viewer – Weekly Movie/TV Review & Discussion Podcast

In this episode, Tiny, Ben, and I review Q: Into the Storm. We also discuss the new Shang-Chi trailer, my return to the movie theater, and round out the episode with a potpourri section in which we talk about Voyagers, Promising Young Woman, Infinite Train, and Invincible.

Runtime: 2:04:11

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The Obsessive Viewer Podcast – Ep 340 – Godzilla vs Kong (2021) & Shiva Baby (2021) – The Father (2020), The Little Things (2021), and Superstore

OV340 – Godzilla vs Kong (2021) & Shiva Baby (2021) – The Father (2020), The Little Things (2021), and Superstore The Obsessive Viewer – Weekly Movie/TV Review & Discussion Podcast

In this episode, Tiny, Ben, and I review Shiva Baby and Godzilla vs Kong. We also discuss the big Knives Out sequel news and round out the episode with a potpourri section in which we talk about The Father, The Little Things, and Superstore.

Runtime: 2:02:52

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The Obsessive Viewer Podcast – Ep 338 – Oscars 2021 Nominee Rundown

In this episode, Ben and I discuss this year’s Academy Award nominees. We also celebrate Ben’s recent acceptance into the IFJA.

Runtime: 2:13:43

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Ben’s Column: Zach Snyder’s Justice League (2021) – Review

Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)

Premise: Zack Snyder’s definitive director’s cut of Justice League. Determined to ensure Superman’s ultimate sacrifice was not in vain, Bruce Wayne aligns forces with Diana Prince with plans to recruit a team of metahumans to protect the world from an approaching threat of catastrophic proportions.

The internet can, on very rare occasions, be used as a force for good in the world. In 2017, Disney pulled the insufferable short film Olaf’s Frozen Adventure from Coco’s screenings after audiences voiced their overwhelmingly negative reactions. In 2019, Paramount re-tooled Sonic the Hedgehog after fans recoiled in horror at the reveal of the titular character’s look. And now, 4 years after its initial release, Warner Bros. has caved to its fans and released the long-fabled “Snyder cut” of Justice League.

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The Obsessive Viewer Podcast – Ep 335 – Ebert’s Great Movies Part 7 – Ikiru (1952) and Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962) – Lisey’s Story on AppleTV+, Malcolm & Marie (2021), The Outsider, and Grown Ups 2 (2013)

OV335 – Ebert's Great Movies Part 7 – Ikiru (1952) and Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962) – Lisey's Story on AppleTV+, Malcolm & Marie (2021), The Outsider, and Grown Ups 2 (2013) The Obsessive Viewer – Weekly Movie/TV Review & Discussion Podcast

In this episode, Ben and I continue our series reviewing the films from Roger Ebert’s Great Movies list. In this edition, we cover Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru, and Agnes Varda’s Cléo from 5 to 7.

This week’s stinger comes from our Patreon-exclusive recording: 113 – OV B-Roll – “Ben v Fireworks” – The Twilight Zone, Oscar Nominee Predictions, and Streaming Service Hypothetical – Feb 23, 2021

Runtime: 1:47:17

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Ben’s Column: Judas and the Black Messiah (2021) – Review

Judas and the Black Messiah (2021)

Premise: Bill O’Neal infiltrates the Black Panther Party per FBI Agent Mitchell and J. Edgar Hoover. As Party Chairman Fred Hampton ascends, falling for a fellow revolutionary en route, a battle wages for O’Neal’s soul

I couldn’t help but think of Kurt Vonnegut’s famous quote from his 1962 novel “Mother Night” while watching Judas and the Black Messiah: “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” Vonnegut’s protagonist secretly worked to undermine the Nazis while still wearing the uniform, but was publicly and privately chastised for the rest of his life because of it. The novel, along with director Shaka King’s newest film Judas and the Black Messiah, brings to light an interesting moral conundrum: will we ultimately be remembered for our contributions to a cause, or our best intentions that we keep under the surface?

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Ben’s Column: The Map of Tiny Perfect Things (2021) – Review

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things (2021)

Premise: Two teens who live the same day repeatedly, enabling them to create the titular map.

Filmmakers tend to take on projects in familiar genres for one of two reasons: One could be to explore a previously untapped or underutilized element of the genre. The other could be to put their own personal spin on the material. Martin Scorcese explored the long-lasting effects of the typically short-lived life of crime in The Irishman. Ryan Coogler imprinted the Black experience on Black Panther. Even last year, the time-loop genre went through a reinvention of sorts with Palm Springs. I’m not saying that the release of The Map of Tiny Perfect Things is hindered by its proximity to Palm Springs; rather, it’s that it has hardly anything new to say, in a genre with fairly limited breathing room to begin with.

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The Obsessive Viewer Podcast – Ep 334 – 2021 Golden Globe Nominees + Interview with The Swerve filmmaker Dean Kapsalis

OV334 – 2021 Golden Globe Nominees + Interview with The Swerve filmmaker Dean Kapsalis The Obsessive Viewer – Weekly Movie/TV Review & Discussion Podcast

In this episode, Ben and I share our thoughts on the 2021 Golden Globe nominations and chat with Dean Kapsalis, whose cerebral character-driven psychological thriller The Swerve is currently available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.

This week’s stinger comes from our Patreon-exclusive recording: 109 – OV B-Roll – “Teasing Out the Taffy” – Top 5 Favorite Songs, Motion City Soundtrack, Blink 182, The Wallflowers, Band of Horses, Barenaked Ladies, Eagle-Eye Cherry, and Fastball – Jan 28, 2021

Runtime: 1:42:54

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Ben’s Column: Palmer (2021) – Review

Palmer (2021)

Premise: An ex-convict strikes up a friendship with a boy from a troubled home.

Many elements of AppleTV+’s Palmer will probably seem familiar to many of its viewers, but the film still does offer some redeeming qualities. Fortunately, director Fisher Stevens imbues the film with enough heart, and fills the cast with capable actors from top to bottom, to get past any glaring issues. Stevens, primarily a documentarian behind the lens, makes the film feel like a real place, populated with real people, rather than mouthpieces trying to get an agenda across. Too often we take for granted that aspect of movie-making, and here it’s one more feather in Palmer‘s cap.

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The Obsessive Viewer Podcast – Ep 333 – Ebert’s Great Movies Part 6 – Yojimbo (1961) and Le Samourai (1967) – Tenet (2020), Dazed and Confused (1993), Alex Garland’s Men, and Master of None Season 3 Announced

OV333 – Ebert's Great Movies Part 6 – Yojimbo (1961) and Le Samourai (1967) – Tenet (2020), Dazed and Confused (1993), Alex Garland's Men, and Master of None Season 3 Announced The Obsessive Viewer – Weekly Movie/TV Review & Discussion Podcast

In this episode, Ben and I continue our journey through Roger Ebert’s Great Movies list with reviews of Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo (1961) and Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Samourai (1967). We also discuss Tenet, Dazed and Confused, the latest news regarding Master of None season 3, and more.

This week’s stinger comes from our Patreon-exclusive recording: 108 – OV B-Roll – “Julanuary 19th” – Last Movie of the Trump Administration, Pet Sematary and The Dead Zone, Books About Filmmakers – Jan 19, 2020

Runtime: 1:53:03

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Ben’s Column: Top 10 Movies of 2020

Honorable Mention (in alphabetical order):

  • Athlete A
  • Babyteeth
  • Bad Education
  • Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
  • Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets
  • Deerskin
  • Dick Johnson Is Dead
  • I Used to Go Here
  • I’m Thinking of Ending Things
  • Let Them All Talk
  • Nomadland
  • The Nest
  • Palm Springs
  • Sound of Metal
  • Time
  • Undine
  • Yes, God, Yes
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Ben’s Column: Wolfwalkers (2020) – Review

Wolfwalkers (2020)

Premise: A young apprentice hunter and her father journey to Ireland to help wipe out the last wolf pack. But everything changes when she befriends a free-spirited girl from a mysterious tribe rumored to transform into wolves by night.

It’s been 6 years in the US since the latest film from Japanese master filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, which means that the animation world (and yours truly) has been sorely lacking an animated film with enough style and heart to break through the candy-coated onslaught of Disney and Pixar films.

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