Filmspotting

Filmspotting

Weekly film podcast and WBEZ radio show from Chicago featuring in-depth reviews, top 5 lists and interviews. Hosted by Adam Kempenaar and Josh Larsen. Part of the Panoply Network.... Show More

Episodes

Costume dramas, biopics, elite directors and their passion projects: the prestige movie season is upon us. But if Greta Gerwig's new LITTLE WOMEN adaptation and Marielle Heller's Fred Rogers biopic A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD could be considered Oscar bait, they are also among the best films of the year according to Adam and Josh. And they've got praise to spare for Rian Johnson's star-studded – and politica... Read more

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November 29, 2019 82 min

Adam and Josh talk through the shortlist for this year's Golden Brick award, plus conversations with the creators behind two Brick nominees: Joe Talbot and Jimmie Fails ("The Last Black Man in San Francisco") and Riley Stearns ("The Art of Self Defense"). 0:00 - Billboard 1:09 - Interview: Joe Talbot and Jimmie Fails ("Last Black Man...") Anna of the North, "Thank Me Later" 33:40 - 2019 Golden Br... Read more

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Noah Baumbach has grown up. The director's last movie about divorce - 2005's The Squid and the Whale - took the perspective of the kids. For his latest - the acclaimed Marriage Story - Baumbach explores the bitter remains of a once loving partnership. Adam and Josh debate whether the film plays favorites, but praise the performances from leads Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson and an ensemble featuring memorable turns from... Read more

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Paul Thomas Anderson followed up his breakout hit "Boogie Nights" with 1999’s MAGNOLIA, a 3+-hour ensemble film featuring a treatise on coincidence and frogs falling from the sky. It was nominated for three Oscars, but in the 20 years since, it has earned a reputation in some quarters as messy, melodramatic and overlong (an opinion that PTA himself appears to share). This week on the show, Adam and Josh are much more fo... Read more

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A new film from Martin Scorsese is always an event, but THE IRISHMAN is one that, for many, won’t happen at a movie theatre. After a short theatrical run in select cities, Scorsese's latest - which reunites the director with Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, and adds Al Pacino to the mix - will show up on Netflix. Adam and Josh, fresh from their own theatrical screening, consider the film in the context of Scorsese's work, spec... Read more

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In 2014, director Robert Eggers brought 17th century Puritan New England to frighteningly vivid life in THE WITCH. For his follow-up - THE LIGHTHOUSE - Eggers skips ahead to the late 19th century and the results are no less unnerving. Adam and Josh debate the effectiveness of Eggers' formal gambits - black and white photography, immersive sound design, boxy aspect ratio - and the all-in performances from stars Willem Dafoe and ... Read more

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Steering clear of plot details for one of the most praised films of the year is no easy task, but Adam and Josh managed to pull it off ahead of their screening of Bong Joon-ho's PARASITE. The subject of rave reviews since its Palme d'Or-winning debut at the Cannes Film Festival back in May, Bong's film tackles class warfare as only Bong can – with social commentary mixing freely with black comedy and even a little horro... Read more

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Back in '99, the trailers and movie posters for AMERICAN BEAUTY implored us to "look closer." For their 9 From '99 review, Adam and Josh give the divisive Best Picture winner the closer look it asked for, but they don't always like what they see. Is the movie hypocritical and mean-spirited? Is it merely an overwrought sitcom? Or is it redeemed by its sincerity and the strength of its supporting cast? Also on the... Read more

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Between its late-August premiere at the Venice Film Festival (where it won the festival's top prize) and its release in theaters here in the States, Todd Phillips' JOKER has provoked every possible response, with some calling it among the best films of the year and others calling it the absolute worst – not to mention the much-discussed fears that the movie was "dangerous." No surprise then that when Adam and Josh f... Read more

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It's always good news when an acclaimed director announces a new project, but it's somehow especially thrilling when that project is set in space. We started 2019 with two highly anticipated space missions: Claire Denis' HIGH LIFE with Robert Pattison (reviewed back on ep. 724) and James Gray's AD ASTRA, which has Brad Pitt traveling across the solar system to locate his missing father - and save the planet. In thei... Read more

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September 19, 2019 114 min

50 years after Judy Garland's death at the tragically young age of 47, the movie musical legend is largely remembered for one iconic film role - Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz. But Garland appeared in - and often starred in - nearly 40 films in her 30-year career; a career Adam and Josh attempt to come to terms with - along with the Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips - for their Top 5 Judy Garland Moments. Plus, Adam and ... Read more

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Back in 1999, it was hard to watch EYES WIDE SHUT without thinking about Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman as a real-life married couple participating in some sadistic form of therapy. Twenty years later, it's maybe still a little distracting, but it's easier to see the pair's performances in the greater contexts of their respective careers – and, in particular, how effective the casting of the cocky, entitled Cruise is as D... Read more

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September 5, 2019 88 min

Adam and Josh left 2017's blockbuster IT at least mildly curious for more, but is the sequel film's almost three-hour running time and the addition of A-listers like Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy and Bill Hader enough to satisfy that curiosity? This week, Filmspotting returns to Derry and to director Andy Muschietti's epic - or at least epic in length - IT CHAPTER TWO. Plus, the Fall Movie Preview in the form of Adam a... Read more

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In 1999, BEING JOHN MALKOVICH marked the auspicious debut of two geniuses: screenwriter Charlie Kaufman ("Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," "Synecdoche, NY") and director Spike Jonze ("Where the Wild Things Are," "Her"). 20 years later, the movie remains surprising and innovative, and its concerns - artistic fulfillment and artistic exploitation - feel as current as ever. Adam and Josh revisit ... Read more

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Initial critical response to Richard Linklater's WHERE'D YOU GO, BERNADETTE was not great, earning some of the worst reviews of his 30-year career. But Adam and Josh find plenty to recommend in both Linklater's direction and star Cate Blanchett's performance. Listener feedback has them crunching numbers to determine this decade's defining actress, plus a look ahead to September's Toronto International Film F... Read more

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Making a film that details the violence – specifically, the sexual violence – that colonialism wrought in places like Tasmania in the early 19th century is an honorable endeavor that also makes for a very difficult viewing experience. Adam and Josh find lots to admire in Kent's THE NIGHTINGALE, but question whether the director's decision to make the film so explicit makes it a better one. That review, plus Dietrich in drag... Read more

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Benefiting from an ingenious viral marketing campaign, THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT wasn't just a massive hit at the box office in 1999, it was a cultural phenomenon – two things that made it difficult to reckon with as a work of art at the time. But 20 years later, the myth that shrouded the movie has lifted, and Adam and Josh discuss the merits of a film that relies on some of our most fundamental fears to generate its scares. Tha... Read more

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The Fast & Furious franchise has come a long, long way since its street-racing origins, and its latest entry, HOBBS & SHAW (from "John Wick" co-director David Leitch), continues the series' evolution into a James Bond/Jason Bourne/Avengers hybrid. And Adam and Josh are mostly on board for Jason Statham's and Dwayne Johnson's comic bickering and Idris Elba's "Black Superman." But when the movi... Read more

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Why am I Mr. Pink? Adam and Josh sift through the rogues' gallery of memorable QT creations for their Top 10 Tarantino Characters and discuss the director's latest, the surprisingly melancholic ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD. 0:00 - Billboard 1:23 - Review: "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" Nancy Sinatra, "Bang Bang" 36:07 - Next week / Notes 46:45 - Poll results ("Favorite Tarantino") / New Poll ("... Read more

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THE ART OF SELF-DEFENSE is director Riley Stearns' second film. His first - 2014's FAULTS - concerned a man (Leland Orser) hired to de-program a young woman (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) after she joins a cult. SELF-DEFENSE continues Stearns' fascination with groupthink and charismatic leaders by moving the action to a karate dojo led by Alessandro Nivola's eccentric sensei. Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots also star. ... Read more

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