Tag Archives: Jonathan Groff

Eavesdropping at the Movies: 390 – Knock at the Cabin

Listen on the players above, Apple PodcastsAudible, Google Podcasts, or Spotify.

Like his previous film, Old, M. Night Shyamalan’s Knock at the Cabin is an intriguing, self-contained, efficient thriller – although not nearly as satisfying as it could be. The setup: A family staying at that classic American horror location, the cabin in the woods, is taken hostage by four invaders who’ve had visions of the apocalypse.

To say more would rob the film of some of its surprise, and its ability to keep you questioning what will happen is one of its pleasures – so think twice about listening to the podcast before you see it, because we spoil everything! There’s a lot to like, including its portrayal of a same-sex couple so unremarkable that the characters’ sexuality barely needs addressing (although more affection shown between them would have been welcome) and Dave Bautista’s calm but imposing presence as the leader of the intruders. But it’s so keen to have its sceptical protagonists arguing with what their opponents tell them that it doesn’t explore the dramatic and moral questions it has the opportunity to, and it’s too eager to be tasteful. When even José’s asking for gruesomeness you know you’ve shown too much restraint.

Knock at the Cabin is an interesting and engaging film but rather thin and could do with showing more bravery and style. Worth a look, though.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.


Eavesdropping at the Movies: 332 – The Matrix Resurrections

Listen on the players above, Apple PodcastsAudible, Google Podcasts, or Spotify.

Listen to our episode on 1999’s The Matrix here.

After eighteen years away and vast changes in the blockbuster landscape in which it once broke incredible new ground, the Matrix series is back with a fourth film, The Matrix Resurrections. Keanu Reeves’ Neo is once again plugged into the Matrix as Thomas Anderson, but having trouble separating reality from dreams of events that happened twenty years ago… if dreams are what they are.

We discuss Resurrections‘ endless self-reflexivity, how it uses motifs and themes of the previous films, updating them where necessary and bringing more out of them (Mike is glad of the much improved use of mirrors). We also consider the film’s inclusivity, which is key to the Wachowskis’ work, and an uncomplicated joy here – it’s not difficult for people from a range of ethnic backgrounds and situated in different places along sexual and gender spectra to coexist in a blockbuster with no particular importance placed upon their identities, as Resurrections proves. You just have to want to do it, and the world that results is beautiful. And, at heart, it’s a middle-aged romance – for which José swoons!

Resurrections isn’t without its issues, and we consider those too – Mike asks whether the sense of wonder associated with the special effects of the original films is simply gone forever in a world in which literally anything can be done, and is, with all-powerful CGI, and we agree that the action is a Bourne-inflected disappointment, especially so in a series that itself spawned so many imitators of its own action scenes two decades ago.

But seen in its entirety, The Matrix Resurrections is an imaginative and interesting continuation of the story begun twenty years ago, and a holistic triumph of well-intentioned, positive and effortless representation. Whoever thought we’d get a fourth Matrix? And that it would be this different, and this good?

The interview with Jean Baudrillard referenced by Mike can be found here.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.