Film Junk Podcast Episode #604: The Great Wall


0:00 – Intro
33:15 – Review: The Great Wall
1:25:35 – Headlines: The Matrix Reboot in the Works
1:46:35 – Other Stuff We Watched: Dragon Blade, King Kong Lives, Outcast, Missing Richard Simmons
2:15:15 – Junk Mail: Frank Letterboxd Fails, Making a List of Every Movie You’ve Watched, Favorite Character Actors + Favourite Movie Studio Logo, Versus Rapid Fire, Nintendo Switch Thoughts
2:48:55 – Recommended “Reeding”
3:04:40 – This Week on DVD and Blu-ray / Outro

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  • Karl with a K

    Agreed, that was great. Up there with Adam’s (i think that was his name) email about cutting dvd covers. And If there’s one thing the FJ comment section needs more of, it’s Nick Cage gifs. ;)

  • Sam

    Okay, your number makes me feel slightly less like a loser. I’m 30, so basically the same age as the e-mailer, but according to my Letterboxd, I’ve seen 3,303 movies, which is pretty close to everything I’ve seen probably, as it includes all the movies I imported from my IMDb rating days which I began using probably when I was like 18.

  • kate
  • kate

    I love the old Amblin one, probably because it was in front of so many films I watched growing up. The Carloco one was cool too.

  • Tommy

    I’m 33. I should really be scoring higher. Time to juice.

  • Roger

    I don’t know if Jay would ever quit, but…

    A more likely scenario:

    Franks quits so he can start TrumpJunk.

    Then, three years from now, when Trump has signed an executive order to keep EVERYONE out of the country, Frank punches his own ticket because he can’t go see the Bills play anymore.

  • sukosuko1

    z-nation is a lot of fun.. zombies are up filmjunk’s alley haha.. has filmjunk reviewed it?

  • Niklas

    Hey Jay, in Toronto and taped Time Machine to watch this weekend!

  • ProjectGenesis

    I’m curious to watch Raise the Red Lantern. Woody Allen was a huge fan apparently and recruited its cinematographer to work with him on a few films. He later parodied this experience in Hollywood Ending.

  • Nicholas

    There should be a weekly segment called “Reed’s Reads” or maybe “Reed’s Reading Rainbow”.

  • I would recommend a whole slew of Zhang Yimou films. You’re probably more familiar with his larger budget, popcorn films like Hero and House of Flying Daggers (which are awesome – would be fucking amazeballs in 4K) and then go backwards and check out his more intimate, lower budget stuff from China: Raise Red Lantern, Shanghai Triad and The Road Home are all great.

    Hell, I even quite enjoyed “Flowers of War” starring Christian Bale – though it can feel like sort of late 80s epic Spielberg at times (i.e. safe, Oscar baity).

    “A Woman, a Gun and a Noddle Shop” is a loose remake of the Coen Brothers “Blood Simple.” It’s not great, but it’s got a lot of things that are pretty interesting stewing around in there.

  • pcch7

    I’ve been listening to Here’s The Thing with Alec Baldwin recently. Great podcast with lots of interesting people being interviewed, like William Friedkin. Highly recommend that

  • pcch7

    yeah the marvel movies don’t get a free pass here very often tbf

  • pcch7
  • pcch7
  • George

    This seems to be everyone’s response, although when the news broke it states they were not involved so I am not sure why everybody is holding out hope that they will come back for this. I’m not opposed to other filmmakers/screenwriters taking a stab at this franchise, but Zak Penn? ugh.

  • George

    Doesn’t renaissance imply there was a Film Junk dark age? Let’s be honest, there’s never been anything close to a dark age for this show.

  • Reed Farrington

    Not sure I knew this about Woody. Thx for the info!

  • Reed Farrington

    Nice that you recommended The Road Home. I don’t think my having it in my Top 10 films of all time has influenced anyone to watch it.

    I still haven’t seen “A Woman, a Gun, and a Noodle Shop.” (Apparently, the bootleg shops felt it wasn’t popular enough to be profitable. :-))

  • Craig

    Seeing the BFI Barry Lyndon release on the big screen was some of my cinematic highlights of 2016.

    Definitely do a Kubrick, and you have to make it two parts!

  • Nobody

    Raise the Red Lantern is a straight-up masterpiece. A Zhang Yimou premium would be interesting, not because it would be a tortuous experience for Jay, but because he’d probably be pleasantly surprised by how different Zhang’s other films are. You can watch all of his big action epics, but it still wouldn’t provide an accurate representation of his filmography. When I read some Great Wall reviews, it seemed like many critics just labeled him as a specialist in martial arts spectacles, and while he’s certainly done a lot to bring that on himself, he’s hardly abandoned other types of movies (e.g., Coming Home).

    Sean, I think poor visual effects in Asian movies has more to do with a lack of resources and ability. If they could reproduce the quality of Hollywood’s effects, I’m sure they would, but they’re still so far behind.

    And God bless you, Reed Farrington.

  • Did they rip on the effects in this film? Because I thought the look of the creatures (in terms of realism) was excellent. Looked like Hollywood-level design and matte composition to me.

    The actual design of the creature is obviously subjective and you can argue all day long about that, but the CGI was impeccable I thought.

    (though again, I did see it in IMAX 3D and perhaps that covered up some of the flaws?)

  • Sean

    I did personally think the CG was hit and miss but I have heard from a few people that the movie looks great in 3D so maybe we did miss out on that.

    Either way, my question was more about cultural differences and if international audiences just aren’t as picky about quality of visual effects. But I suppose it is partially a budget issue and if that’s what you’re used to seeing, you probably just learn to accept it.

  • I would imagine you’re probably correct. In fact, I wonder if in some places (India?) they actually relish some slightly shoddy CGI.

  • ah

    I desperately need you guys to record a Settlers of Catankerous episode where the junkers play Catan, with Reed, Roman and Dwaynus the Anus all present, and obviously including an extended Recommended Reeding section.

    Even listening you could probably cut the tension with a knife and I want to learn more about how best to trade fish for oars and such like.

    Pleeeeeeeeeeeeease make this happen!!!

  • lovke

    Beauty and the Beast made more money in 4 days than any other 2017 release and didn’t rate a feature review? I mean just from a pop culture reIevance it was worth talking about. I would understand if you didn’t bother because it’s empty blockbuster dreck and you wanted to give some pub to indy fare like T2 Trainspotting but you just came off reviews of The Great Wall and Kong Skull Island. Understand you guys are all dudes but you need to venture a little out of your comfort zone. Devoted listener and premium podcast purchaser but it’s getting harder to brush off mom mentality and breast milk in the brain comments as ironic social satire (or innocent transgressions of youth) when you seem so bent on avoiding anything that might appeal to women more than men and don’t have any women even in your tertiary tier of guest hosts. Might consider trying to rectify that. Don’t need to mess with the core 3, but maybe invite a female guest once every few episodes a la Jerry and Dax. Anyhow, CoPo out.
    P.s. Beauty and The Beast was empty blockbuster dreck.

  • Nick P.

    Fuck all that noise, but it would be nice for them to review the movie that made 170 mil last weekend, and is one I have actually seen.

  • Nick P.

    Yeah, you should have reviewed Beast. I didn’t think it was great, but the box office seems to think it was better than the Great Wall. Oh, and every reviewer on Earth.

  • Nick P.

    Have you ever heard of a little thing called Star Trek?

  • Nick P.

    I agree. Every month I think about getting rid of Hulu, but then i think of one episode of Seinfeld I want to watch…

  • Nick P.

    When have these guys ever given Marvel a pass? Although I do agree with you for three weeks straight they have dissed on pretty solid films.

  • Nick P.

    “cultural differences”? What is that supposed to mean? Only white people appreciate good special effects? I think it is more that people that don’t watch 300 movies a year are not as critical of special effects.

  • Sean

    Maybe. But there are definite differences like the fact that Warcraft made only $47 million in North America and $386 million overseas. It could just be the popularity of the game internationally, but I’m not convinced.

    I am aware of how it sounds but I don’t necessarily think it’s a negative thing. Sometimes people get obsessed over the quality of the special effects and they can’t just kick back and enjoy a movie.

  • Larry Morgan

    Exactly. And Hulu is like the cost of a deli sandwich.

  • While you’re right, Star Trek did exactly the type of thing Frank is talking about, I think the difference is that Trek kind of had its own group of fans. In other words, it wasn’t really for everyone. Trekkies were often vilified and made fun of for just being a bunch of losers in their parents’ basements. Obviously that’s not true, but in general, Trek was looked at as the thing only nerds watch.

    Star Wars came out and that wasn’t nerdy at all. It was cool. Everyone was into it. Everyone.

  • Sean

    We may get to it eventually. I’m actually surprised Frank didn’t see it on his own. I think we all like the Disney animated version but we just generally try to stick with what will make for a good conversation.

  • yonato

    Hey guys, when is the next Game Junk episode coming? Can’t wait to hear you discuss Zelda and Switch. Thanks.

  • Sean

    Nothing planned yet. We’ll keep you posted!

  • Reed Farrington

    I don’t think the guys care about appeasing the CoPO. They seem to pick movies for review that they want to watch. That being said, I don’t know why they chose The Great Wall. FYI, they chose The Great Wall even before I agreed to review it with them.

  • Reed Farrington

    Beast was sold out on two screens at a local multiplex on cheap night. Methinks Beast will out gross Titanic.

  • Reed Farrington

    Settlers of Catankerous! Ha ha. Not sure if I’ve heard anyone make that pun before.

  • Reed Farrington

    Qualifying your answer in order to justify it. :-)

  • Nobody

    I think a foreign movie with weak effects is different than a big Hollywood movie with weak effects, though. So in the case of Warcraft, maybe international audiences wanted to
    see a big, expensive Hollywood fantasy movie, the kind they don’t often see from their home movie industries. Also, Warcraft is a little different because there was a significant amount of Chinese funding behind it as well, and that happens to be the only place it really scored. There was probably a really big marketing push aimed directly at China.

    China in particular is interesting when it comes to box office. The Great Wall didn’t make as much as it needed to, Rogue One and Star Trek weren’t that big relatively speaking, and XXX 3 was a hit. Maybe Vin Diesel is the most popular actor in China now?

  • ah

    Credit where credits due: one of the junkers came up with Catan-kerous on a previous episode you were on. I think it was Greg or Sean.

    Anyhow, please make this happen Reed!

  • ProjectGenesis

    RE: favorite movie studio logos … I’m a huge sucker for the 80s New Line Cinema one.

  • For Star Trek, the show came first, yes, it eventually morphed into a multi faceted franchise, but since it wasn’t a movie first it doesn’t carry the weight of Star Wars or the Matrix. Even the Marvel stuff doesn’t quite have the same feel since it was comics first, then toys, then TV for some characters, then finally the cinematic universe.

  • gibson8

    Studio exec that doesn’t know how profit is calculated: You were a joke today fat man!

  • gibson8

    yeah it’s always tongue in cheek when Frank says something that is stupid, prejudiced or just plain wrong. T

  • gibson8

    ‘I’m not watching any Italian movies made before I was born’. ‘Like you were going to anyway…oh you were only joking…

  • gibson8

    Frank’s comments about the Italian Blu-ray fiasco were very Tumpesque.