Mockingjay Part 2

In this episode of the Culture Conquistadors Podcast, Charles and James revisit the Hunger Games series one last time. Did the series close on a high note? Or was it another box office letdown? Does anyone get a happy ending? Listen in and hear their thoughts on Mockingjay Part 2.

Mockingjay Preview

In this episode of the Culture Conquistadors Podcast, Charles and James return to preview the last installment of The Hunger Games series, Mockingjay Part 2. The series started off a bit shaky but found it’s footing in Catching Fire. Can it maintain it’s careful balance between war story and political commentary? We ask these questions and more.

Spectre

In this episode of the Culture Conquistadors Podcast, Charles and James return to discuss their review of the latest Daniel Craig/Sam Mendes Bond film, Spectre. How did their predictions from their preview episode hold up? Is this the end of the line for Craig as Bond? Listen in and find out!

My Week in Movies – November 12th

Black Sea

What a movie and a great role for Jude Law. He’s such a fantastic actor. In fact, this movie is great and that is 100% based on his performance. Law plays a salvager who’s fired from his job who aims for one last dive. He gathers his crew and some resources and dives down into the depths. Law’s Captain Robinson must struggle to retain control over himself and his divided crew as they hope to take a stash of gold from under the Russian fleet.

Watch It: If you like Jude Law or a great adventure flick.
Skip It: If the depths and darkness of the ocean are too overwhelming.

Mad Max: Fury Road

So, yeah. This movie was absolutely fantastic. The only dissonance? Why isn’t this movie called Imperator Furiosa instead? Because this movie certainly wasn’t about Max at all.1 Tom Hardy was good in his limited role, but Charlize Theron was absolutely magnificent.

Watch It: If you want to see one of the best characters this year.
Skip It: You shouldn’t. But if you need a reason it’s because this movie isn’t about Max at all.

Spectre

Another Bond film, another solid action flick. Craig and Mendes team up to wrap up Craig’s time as Bond. Spectre introduces the organization that opposes Bond at every turn and peels back the layers on his recent experiences tying them all together. I remember loving Casino Royale, enjoying Quantum of Solace, and raving about Skyfall. I figure Spectre will slot in above Quantum but behind the other two.

Watch It: How can I not recommend a Craig Bond film. He’s been incredible every time.
Skip It: There are plenty of Bond films to skip. This isn’t one of them.


  1. Granted, I must admit I’ve never even watched any of the other Mad Max films. 

Spectre Preview

In this episode of the Culture Conquistadors Podcast, James and Charles try something new as they return to discuss SPECTRE. This episode is spoiler-free as they preview the movie and discuss the buzz surrounding the movie and setting up their own expectations.

My Week in Movies – November 5th

American Sniper (2014)

Bradley Cooper takes on the titular role of Chris Kyle, a SEAL sniper deployed during the Iraq War. Kyle is the deadliest U.S. sniper in history. We watch Kyle deploy four times to Iraq with intermittent glimpses into his past and life state-side. It felt like the script had difficulty portraying Kyle. The movie wanted to portray him as a selfless hero, and yet it focused him with a need for revenge.

Watch It: If you need a good shot of nationalism.
Skip It: If you’d prefer to avoid an overly forced narrative.

Cake

Jennifer Aniston is incredibly compelling in this film about pain and the path to recovery. A collection of great performances by Adrian Barraza, Anna Kendrick and Sam Worthington take this movie up a notch. The journey, characters and emotions on display are strong and deep. As a watcher, you are disappointed with some of the decisions that are made, but you understand the reasoning and hope that they find the light at the end of the tunnel.

Watch It: If you want to see an incredibly superb set of performances.
Skip It: If you are sensitive to the topic of suicide.

Chappie

The latest story from Neill Blomkamp is easily his worst feature that I’ve seen. While I love the basic concept and exploration of consciousness, especially the comparison of artificial intelligence to humanity. Unfortunately, I found the antagonist, played by Hugh Jackman, incredibly boring. An ex-military guy who just wants to use his bigger gunned robot and has to sabotage everything to get green light. I think Blomkamp could have created a better antagonist. Otherwise, the consciousness commentary is a good look, if again, a bit unimaginative.

Watch It: If you’re interested in a somewhat thought provoking commentary on consciousness.
Skip It: If you want a strong antagonist or a fresh take on artificial intelligence.

Cinderella

Wow. Disney has been on an absolute roll this year. Tomorrowland. Inside Out. And now Cinderella,1 which slides into the top 20% of the movies I’ve seen this year. I was slightly concerned with the live action takes after Alice in Wonderland. It was solid but not sure it was worth the re-telling. Cinderella and Emma Watson cast as Belle give me hope for the future. Also, could The Good Dinosaur give Disney 20% of the top 20%? Crazy.

Watch It: If you want to see a great fairytale re-telling.
Skip It: If you hate yourself.

Pixels

For a while, I was into Adam Sandler’s movies. Recently, it’s been tough sledding and Pixels continues this downward trend. The roles, jokes and acting are so predictable these days, you could easily re-label any recent Adam Sandler movie as another. The chemistry works a bit better here than in the last few Sandler movies. Kevin James and Peter Dinklage were great. Sandler and Josh Gad were just okay. Even for a video game fan like myself, the premise for this one was stretched a little too far.

Watch It: If you’re okay watching Sandler do the same thing again.
Skip It: If you’ve seen this script one too many times.

Home

Rihanna and Jim Parsons lend their voices to this great movie from Dreamworks. An adventure of pairing a smart, young girl and a walking disaster as they try to find their home’s. A heart-warming animated film that hits all the positive notes. The only thing holding this movie back is that Pixar’s already hit with Inside Out.

Watch It: If you’re in need of a great, happy story.
Skip It: If you find Jim Parsons annoying.


  1. Yes, I know Cinderella came first but I didn’t catch it in theaters.