Filmspotting

Filmspotting

United States

Weekly film podcast/WBEZ radio show from Chicago featuring in-depth reviews, top 5 lists and interviews. Hosted by Adam Kempenaar and Josh Larsen.

Episodes

Kumail Nanjiani ("The Big Sick")  

Kumail Nanjiani will be a familiar face to fans of HBO’s "Silicon Valley," or "Portlandia," or appearances on dozens of other sitcoms and sketch shows, but the very funny and surprisingly moving THE BIG SICK should make him a familiar face to many more. The film - co-written with Nanjiani's wife Emily V. Gordon - tells the story of their unusual courtship, which featured not only family tensions due to cultural differences (Nanjiani is Pakistani-American, Gordon is white) but, more significantly, a life-threatening illness that struck Gordon while the two were still just dating.

Nanjiani talks about the art of co-writing a screenplay with your spouse (spoiler: it helps to have Judd Apatow mentor you), the most difficult scene he's ever had to shoot, and he shares his Top 5 Most Influential Movies. Plus, he and Adam chat about their college days - that they nearly spent together. 

Interview: Ana Lily Amirpour  

Ana Lily Amirpour got lots of attention for her 2014 Iran-set vampire movie "A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night." She's back this year with "The Bad Batch," a Sergio Leone-inspired western with cannibals and a double-amputee for a protagonist. The new movie features a cast that includes Jim Carrey, Keanu Reeves and Jason Momoa (Justice League's Aquaman). Adam and Amirpour talk the relativity of badness, the consequences of seeing inappropriate movies at an early age and their favorite Keanu performances.

#639: It Comes At Night / Top 5 Movies About Grief  

Writer/director Trey Edward Shults knocked a lot of us out last year with his indie debut KRISHA. This year, he comes to the multiplex with IT COMES AT NIGHT, an unnerving - and unconventional - horror film that has impressed critics and frustrated some audiences. Shults’ film is as much about loss as it is about scares, so along with a review of his film, Adam and guest host Michael Phillips share their Top 5 Movies About Grief. Plus thoughts on the late Glenne Headley and Adam's recommendation of the Sundance hit "Band Aid."

0:00-3:57 - Billboard
3:57-31:42 - Review: "It Comes At Night"
Angelica Garcia, "The Devil Can Get In"
34:12-40:18 - Adam Recommends: "Band Aid"
40:18-52:27 - Polls
Angelica Garcia, "Orange Flower"
54:30-56:33 - Donations
56:33-1:41:45 - Top 5: Movie About Grief
1:41:45-1:46:31- Close 

#638: Wonder Woman / Top 5 Movie Religious Experiences / Trey Shults  

As the first superhero movie directed by and starring a woman, WONDER WOMAN went into its opening weekend with more baggage than its male-centric peers. It came out of the weekend with critical raves and record box office - and at least one member of the Larsen household practicing Diana-inspired high-kicks. On this week's show, Adam and Josh - bound by the Lasso of Hestia - share their takes, then confess their Top 5 Movie Religious Experiences. Plus, Adam's conversation with "Krisha" director Trey Shults, whose new film "It Comes At Night" opens this weekend.

0:00-1:56 - Billboard
1:56-31:17 - Review: "Wonder Woman"
Secret Sisters, "You Don't Own Me Anymore"
34:06-46:43 - Notes / Massacre Theatre
46:43-1:14:27 - Interview: Trey Shults
Secret Sisters, "You Don't Own Me Anymore"
1:17:36-2:03:20 - Top 5: Movie Religious Experiences
2:03:20-2:05:55 - Close
 

#637: War Machine / Top 5 Movie Military Leaders  

Inspired by Gen. Stanley McChrystal's dramatic fall from grace in 2010 following an unflattering Rolling Stone profile, the new WAR MACHINE from Netflix puts a scowling Brad Pitt in McChrystal's boots for its Afghanistan-set satire. Despite an impressive ensemble cast, Adam and Josh agree that the film has a challenging time finding the right tone. But they also agree that a trio of actors best known for iconic work in the '80s make the most of their screen time. That review, plus the Top 5 Movie Military Leaders.

0:00-2:42 - Billboard
2:42-28:15 - Review: "War Machine"
Black Sabbath, "War Pigs"
30:42-46:42 - Cannes / Notes
46:42-55:57 - Polls
Malcolm Arnold, "Bogey's March"
58:33-1:00:36 - Donations
1:00:36-1:40:07 - Top 5: Movie Military Leaders
1:40:07-1:44:02 - Close     

#636: Top 5 Films of 1984 / The Terminator  

1984 was a banner year for crane kicks, mogwais and bustin' ghosts, but it also saw the debut of Arnold Schwarzenegger's T-800, better known as THE TERMINATOR. Adam and Josh give James Cameron's seminal sci-fi thriller the Sacred Cow treatment, resulting in a heated split review. Plus, the Top 5 Films of 1984.

0:00-1:35 - Billboard
2:21-35:28 - Sacred Cow: "The Terminator"
The Ramones, "Too Tough To Die"
37:07-55:28 - Notes / Massacre Theatre
55:28-1:01:43 - Listener Feedback
Kenny Loggins "Footloose"
1:02:21-1:04:58 - Donations
1:04:58-1:42:21 - Top 5 Films of 1984
1:42:21-1:44:43 - Close  

#635: Alien: Covenant / Top 5 Alien Attacks  

Anticipation was high back in 2012 when director Ridley Scott returned to the "Alien" franchise with “Prometheus.” Despite a largely mixed response from audiences and critics, the 79-year-old Scott finds himself back aboard a doomed spacecraft with ALIEN: COVENANT. The return of the xenomorphs to the big screen is also the inspiration for this week’s Top 5: Alien Attacks. That Top 5, a review of ALIEN: COVENANT and more on this week's show.

0:00-2:28 - Billboard
2:28-33:12 - Review: "Alien: Covenant"
Deep Purple, "Space Truckin'"
36:29-59:17 - Notes
59:17-1:07:29 - Polls
Ella Fitzgerald, "Two Little Green Men In a Flying Saucer"
1:11:43-1:47:03 - Top 5: Alien Attacks
1:47:03-1:49:42 - Close 

#634: Top 5 Jonathan Demme Moments / Something Wild  

When the great Jonathan Demme passed away in April, he left behind one of the most acclaimed and diverse filmographies in American cinema. Demme will always be remembered for the Oscar-winning "Silence of the Lambs," but his 1986 cult road trip comedy SOMETHING WILD may be an even better representative of what made him so special. This week, Adam and Josh catch up with that Demme blindspot and – with a little help from some friends – share their Top 5 Jonathan Demme Moments.
   
0:00-4:42 - Billboard
4:42-32:23 - Blindspotting: "Something Wild"
David Byrne, "Loco de Amor"
34:06-53:41 - Notes / Massacre Theatre
Talking Heads, "Once in a Lifetime"
54:32-1:39:10 - Top 5: Demme Moments
1:39:10-1:42:12 - Close 

Varda Marathon #6: The Beaches of Agnes / "The Cleos"  

Adam and Josh wrap up their Agnes Varda Marathon with a conversation about the director's cinema- and life-affirming 2008 memoir THE BEACHES OF AGNES, followed by "The Cleos" - their awards for the series' best performances, scenes, picture and more.

0:00-17:23 - Review: "The Beaches of Agnes"
17:23-38:07 - The Cleos

#633: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 / Summer Movie Preview  

Summer used to have a monopoly on superheroes, fast cars and stuff you bring your kids to, but "Beauty and the Beast," "Fate of the Furious" and "Logan" have already come and made their millions. So what do we have to look forward to when we need to escape the heat? Well, first up, it's GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2. Adam and Josh review the James Gunn-directed sequel, and preview their most anticipated movies of the season with their Top 5 Summer Movie Questions.

0:00-2:01 - Billboard
2:01-26:37 - Review: "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2"
Sam Cooke, "Bring It On Home To Me"
28:06-41:07 - Notes
41:07-50:22 - Polls
ELO, "Mr. Blue Sky"
47:08-1:24:51 - Summer Movie Preview
1:24:51-1:28:52 - Close






#632: Top 5 Movie Expeditions (We'd Sign Up For) / The Lost City of Z  

The movies have taken us on great adventures over the years, both real and imagined: through the deepest jungle, across perilous oceans, to distant planets - and beyond. But which of those cinematic adventures would you actually participate in if given the chance? This week, the Top 5 Movie Expeditions Adam and Josh would sign up for, along with their review of James Gray’s new movie adventure THE LOST CITY OF Z. Plus, Steve Prokopy drops by to preview the Chicago Critics Film Festival.

0:00-2:00 - Billboard
2:00-27:15 - Review: "The Lost City of Z"
Fionn Regan, "The Meetings of the Waters"
28:55-39:25 - Notes / Massacre Theatre
39:25-51:10 - Chicago Critics Film Fest
Fionn Regan, "Book of the Moon"
56:58-1:24:35 - Top 5: Movie Expeditions (We'd Sign Up For)
1:24:35-1:30:41 - Close / Outtake 

Varda Marathon #5: The Gleaners and I  

French New Wave pioneer Agnes Varda has long displayed a curiosity about people who live on society's fringes. In her 2000 doc "The Gleaners and I," the director focuses her camera on communities (and some memorably eccentric individuals) that belong to the French tradition of gathering up what's left behind after a harvest. Documenting the various gleaners, pickers and dumpster-divers becomes a meditation on the creative process itself as Varda becomes a subject of her own film.

On Filmspotting #632 (Friday, April 27): James Gray's THE LOST CITY OF Z and the Top 5 Movie Expeditions (We'd Sign Up For).

#631: The Fate of the Furious / Top 5 Fast & Furious Moments  

Just how big a deal is the "Furious" franchise? The 8th film in the street-racing saga managed to break an opening weekend box office record previously held by "The Force Awakens." So yeah: it’s big. So big, we're devoting the whole show to Alpha Dom and his ever-expanding crew. The Next Picture Show's Tasha Robinson and Genevieve Koski join Adam for a review of THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS, plus a replay of Adam and Josh's Top 5 Fast & Furious Moments from 2015.​

0:00-1:43 - Billboard
1:43-33:25 - Review: "The Fate of the Furious"
Lil Uzi Vert, "Go Off"
35:53-37:02 - Notes
37:02-1:13:36 - Top 5: Fast & Furious Moments (2015)
1:13:36-1:16:51 - Close

Time codes may differ based on ads.

#630: Rushmore / FS Madness Champ / Charlie Siskel (American Anarchist) Interview  

Wes Anderson’s RUSHMORE was a minor indie hit during its initial run starting in late 1998, but it marked the arrival of a significant new directing talent, and established a brilliant new stage of Bill Murray’s career. Adam and Josh – who joins the show from Ebert Interruptus in Boulder, CO - give Anderson's film the Sacred Cow treatment and unveil your 2017 Filmspotting Madness champion. Also, Adam's interview with Charlie Siskel, co-director the Oscar-nominated "Finding Vivian Maier" and director of the new doc AMERICAN ANARCHIST. Siskel also shares his Top 5 Most Influential Docs.

0:00-1:29 - Billboard
1:29-35:09 - Sacred Cow: "Rushmore"
Cat Stevens, "The Wind"
38:33-1:00:22 - FS Madness Champion / Poll
The Rolling Stones, "I Am Waiting"
1:01:18-1:35:22 - Interview: Charlie Siskel
1:35:22-1:37:55 - Close   

#629: The Discovery / FS Madness Final / Varda #4 - Vagabond  

In 2014, first-time writer/director Charlie McDowell made a big impression (on Adam, anyway) with THE ONE I LOVE, a movie about a troubled marriage with surreal, Charlie Kaufman-esque flourishes. McDowell’s follow up - THE DISCOVERY, which stars Rooney Mara, Jason Segel and Robert Redford, also has a provocative sci-fi premise, this one about the consequences of scientists proving the existence of an afterlife. The film debuted to some acclaim this January at Sundance and is now being distributed exclusively on Netflix.

This week on the show, Adam and Josh mostly agree about the movie's failings, but still manage to get into a fight over Jesse Plemons. Plus, Filmspotting Madness Final Four results (The Godfather v 2001! Pulp Fiction v Empire Strikes Back!) and the Agnes Varda Marathon continues with the director's 1985 masterpiece VAGABOND.

0:00-1:16 - Billboard
1:16-29:08 - Review: "The Discovery"
Alt-J, "3WW"
30:08-53:20 - Notes / FS Madness
53:20-1:16:55 - Varda #4: "Vagabond"
1:16:55-1:27:55 - Close / Hot Mics

#628 with Michael Phillips: Casablanca / FS Madness Final Four  

CASABLANCA is one of the most enduring and beloved films of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Three-quarters of a century after its 1942 release, its famous lines, songs and faces have retained their power. But what does the film itself have to offer 21st-century audiences? (Spoiler: quite a lot actually.) In honor of its 75th anniversary, Adam, guest host Michael Phillips and film professior Katharine Fusco revisit the WWII-era classic with a Sacred Cow review. Plus, Michael mocks and then kinda sorta recommends Terrence Malick's "Song to Song," and the Filmspotting Madness Final Four is revealed.

0:00-2:01 - Billboard
2:01-42:32 - Sacred Cow: "Casablanca"
Dooley Wilson, "As Time Goes By"
43:58-51:15 - MP Review: "Song to Song"
51:15-1:11:26 - Filmspotting Madness
1:11:26-1:16:57 - Close / Outtake

#627: Top 5 Kristen Stewart Scenes / FS Madness / Varda #3 - One Sings, The Other Doesn't  

Kristen Stewart went from child actress to reticent star of the hugely successful TWILIGHT series to… well, we’ll see. But with strong work in a couple of notable indies and European films recently, her cult of fans is expanding. With Stewart's latest collaboration with Oliver Assayas (PERSONAL SHOPPER) now in limited release, Adam and Josh devote this week’s Top 5 to a few of the actress's best moments on screen, plus a conversation with director Stephen Cone about his powerful response to SHOPPER. Plus, Filmspotting Madness Sweet Sixteen results, your Elite 8 matchups, and the Agnes Varda's ONE SINGS, THE OTHER DOESN'T (1977).

+ prerolls
0:00-2:05 - Billboard
+squrespace
3:44-15:16 - "Personal Shopper" w/Stephen Cone
15:16-44:50 - Top 5 Kristen Stewart Scenes
Mitski, "Your Best American Girl"
+blue apron
51:10-1:18:50 - Filmspotting Madness
Mitski, "Once More To See You"
+donations
1:21:12-1:25:47 - JL Review: "Beauty and Beast" (2017)
1:25:47-1:50:02 - Varda #3: "One Sings, The Other Doesn't" 
1:50:02-1:54:32 - Close / Outtake

#626 w/ Danny Boyle: Top 5 Boyle Characters / FS Madness / Varda #2 - The Creatures  

TRAINSPOTTING was never a huge hit in its day, but the 1996 film made a huge impression on a generation of young film fans thanks to its visual flair, memorable soundtrack and its quartet of talented stars. That quartet - lead by Ewan McGregor’s Mark Renton - is making a surprise comeback 20 years later with the release of T2: TRAINSPOTTING. Also back: director Danny Boyle. This week on the show, Boyle sits down with Adam to talk about how he approached the sequel and contributes his own picks to the Top 5 Danny Boyle Characters. (Spoiler: they're all women.)

Also on the show, a surreal chat with Tim Heidecker and Gregg Turkington from Adult Swim's "On Cinema," Filmspotting Madness Round 2 results and Film Comment's Violet Lucca joins Adam and Josh for week 2 of the Agnes Varda Marathon.

0:00-2:00 - Billboard
3:45-39:01 - Danny Boyle: Top 5 Boyle Characters
Young Fathers, "Only God Knows"
40:37-1:01:17 - T2: Trainspotting / Top 5 Boyle Characters, cont
1:01:17-1:13:35 - Tim Heidecker and Gregg Turkington (Adult Swim's "On Cinema")
1:13:35-1:42:55 - Filmspotting Madness
Young Fathers, "Low"
1:49:17-2:00:31 - Filmspotting Madness, cont
2:00:31-2:25:44 - Varda #2: "The Creatures" w/Violet Lucca
2:25:44-2:30:22 - Close

#625: Logan / Filmspotting Madness / Varda #1 - La Pointe Courte  

The tale of the once-great gunslinger forced out of retirement for one more job is a familiar one, but not one we’ve seen adopted by the superhero genre – until now. Marvel’s LOGAN is one part “Shane,” one part “Unforgiven," and if last weekend’s box office is any indication, we may see more like it. Adam and Josh share their mixed review, plus Round 1 results from Filmspotting Madness and the first film in the Agnes Varda Marathon - 1955's LA POINTE COURTE.

0:00-2:12 - Billboard
3:54-27:59 - Review: "Logan"
Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, "Lost In the Desert"
29:56-39:34 - Notes
39:34-1:20:54 - Filmspotting Madness
Corinne Marchand, "Sans Toi" ("Cleo From 5 to 7")
1:23:50-1:41:37 - Varda #1: "La Pointe Courte"
1:41:37-1:44:15 - Close / Outtake

#624: Filmspotting Madness / Get Out / Top 5 Pantheon Contenders  

Who needs to be told how great The Godfather is? Or Citizen Kane? Or, um... Midnight Run? That was the logic back in the early days of the show - in 2005 - when Adam and original co-host/current producer/Midnight Run-lover Sam established the Filmspotting Pantheon: an eccentric mix of movie greats and personal favorites. For the show’s 12th anniversary, Adam and Josh dust off the Pantheon for Filmspotting Madness - our month-long tournament that will leave only one film reigning supreme. That, plus a review of surprise box office hit GET OUT.

0:00-1:49 - Billboard
1:49-43:42 - Top 5 Pantheon Contenders
Spoon, "Can I Sit Next To You"
46:51-1:03:10 - Notes
1:03:10-1:24:29 - Filmspotting Madness
Spoon, "Can I Sit Next To You"
1:25:42-1:30:59 - Donations
1:30:59-1:47:53 - Review: "Get Out"
1:47:53-2:00:38 - Filmspotting Madness, cont.
2:00:38-2:03:51 - Close / Outtake

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