Filmspotting: Reviews & Top 5s-logo

Filmspotting: Reviews & Top 5s


“...affable, insightful film analysis since 2005."–NY Times / New + classic reviews and top 5s. Also on WBEZ Chicago.

“...affable, insightful film analysis since 2005."–NY Times / New + classic reviews and top 5s. Also on WBEZ Chicago.


Chicago, IL


“...affable, insightful film analysis since 2005."–NY Times / New + classic reviews and top 5s. Also on WBEZ Chicago.




Telegraph Road Productions P.O. Box 1038 Oak Forest, IL 60452 206-203-2463


#856: The Matrix Resurrections / The Tragedy of Macbeth

Adam and Josh did not choose the same color pill before recording their review of THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS. Both fans of the '99 original and equally dubious about the merits of the 2003 sequels, they emerged from Lana Wachowski's meta return to the franchise with two very different responses: one grateful to Wachowski for bringing a thoughtful and provocative inventiveness (and enough action movie chops) to the long-delayed fourth entry; the other feeling as if almost nothing about the new...


#855: Top 10 Films of 2021 (Pt. 2)

Sure, a few films have dominated the conversation about the year’s best - Jane Campion’s unsettling western “The Power of the Dog,” Questlove’s ecstatic music doc “Summer of Soul,” and Paul Thomas Anderson’s breezily nostalgic “Licorice Pizza”; but with Adam and Josh joined by Slate’s Dana Stevens and Michael Phillips from the Chicago Tribune for Pt. 2 of their Top 10 Films of 2021, there isn’t even always agreement about the consensus. Plus, top 10 support for a movie musical revival, a...


#854: Top 10 Films of 2021 (Pt. 1)

A shock comic, a gambler, a couple of exotic dancers, and Nicolas Cage all make appearances in part one of the Top 10 Films of 2021 – not to mention a singing puppet baby. On this week's show, it's "The Outliers," the films that only Adam or Josh deemed Top 10-worthy. Next week, they'll be joined by the Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips and Dana Stevens of Slate for part two and the 'consensus' best films of the year. 0:00 - Billboard 1:15 - Top 10 of 2021: The Outliers Jimmy Montague,...


#853: Best Performances of 2021 / Licorice Pizza / Nightmare Alley

The end-of-year conversation starts this week as Adam and Josh talk through their Chicago Film Critics Association ballots, naming their favorite 20 or so performances of the 2021 movie year. Plus reviews of LICORICE PIZZA, Paul Thomas Anderson's nostalgia trip to 70s-era San Fernando Valley, and NIGHTMARE ALLEY, a nasty new noir from Guillermo del Toro. 0:00 - Billboard 1:14 - Best Performances of 2021 Taj Mahal, "Tomorrow May Not Be Your Day" 48:16 - Review: "Nightmare Alley" 1:03:20 -...


#852: The Power of the Dog / Campion Oeuvre-view Awards

Jane Campion’s filmography is one of the greatest collections of woman-led features in the history of the medium, which makes her latest - THE POWER OF THE DOG - such a startling exception. Set in 1925 against a forbidding Montana landscape, Campion’s film takes place in an utterly masculine domain, with Benedict Cumberbatch’s snarling rancher as the film’s primary focus. But armed with the just-completed Campion Oeuvre-view, Adam and Josh see what is undoubtedly a Campion movie, with its...


#851: West Side Story / Red Rocket

When it was announced that Steven Spielberg was mounting a new film adaptation of the classic Broadway musical WEST SIDE STORY, it was entirely reasonable to ask, "Why?" Why a new film adaptation and why Spielberg. The 1961 "West Side," directed by Robert Wise, was a Best Picture-winner and is regarded as one of the great movie musicals of all time. Also? Spielberg has never directed a musical. And yet, as revered as that 1961 adaptation is, it is not without its faults, notably the casting...


#850: House of Gucci / tick, tick... BOOM! / Spencer / Golden Brick Noms

'Tis the season for awards-bait movies based on real lives, so for this week's holiday review roundup, Adam and Josh discuss Ridley Scott's true-crime drama HOUSE OF GUCCI (aka House of Accents), the Lin-Manuel Miranda biographical musical drama TICK, TICK...BOOM!, Kristen Stewart's turn as Lady Di in Pablo Larrain's biopic-as-horror-film SPENCER, and the new bio-doc KURT VONNEGUT: STUCK IN TIME. Plus, the final list of nominees for the 2021 Golden Brick Award, including recommendations for...


#849: Passing / Eternals / Bright Star (Campion #7)

For her debut as a director, actor Rebecca Hall takes Nella Larsen’s 1929 novella about race and identity and turns it into a meditation on the many ways that people “pass” as a means of denying or disguising the truth. Adam and Josh praise the film as a showcase for stars Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson, and for Hall's emergence of a gifted new filmmaker. Adam wasn’t able to make the weekend’s big release, Marvel’s ETERNALS, but Josh did and was pleased to find plenty of director Chloé Zhao...


#848: Last Night in Soho / In the Cut (Campion #6)

Edgar Wright's latest, LAST NIGHT IN SOHO, is another opportunity for the director of "Baby Driver" and "Shaun of the Dead" to bring his visual panache, comic verve, and impeccable musical taste to a genre he clearly adores. Like the films that inspired it, Wright's time-hopping giallo picture – set in both contemporary London and the city in its swinging '60s heyday – takes some nasty turns. But Adam and Josh disagree about whether Wright's film is a thrill-ride that continually upends...


#847: The French Dispatch / Rushmore (Sacred Cow Revisited)

Welcome to the Wes Anderson deep end. Adam and Josh sit down to discuss Anderson's latest, THE FRENCH DISPATCH, the densest, most intricate, and maybe most melancholy of his career. There's also that cast, with standout performances from Jeffrey Wright, Benecio del Toro, and Bill Murray. Adam and Josh also share their Anderson Ranked lists and revisit their 2017 Sacred Cow review of RUSHMORE. 0:00 - Billboard 1:03 - Review: "The French Dispatch" Sex Bob-Omb, "We Are Sex Bob-Omb" 35:43 -...


#846: Dune / Holy Smoke (Campion #5)

The worst kept secret about Denis Villeneuve's DUNE is that it's only half a movie. Or half a story, anyway. Villeneuve split Frank Herbert's classic sci-fi novel in two, with part one offering a stunningly detailed and impressively cast setup to a conclusion we may not see for years. Adam and Josh admire the film's craft, but they were left with more questions than answers about how the new adaptation will reckon with the source material's 20th-century origins. Plus, the Jane Campion...


#845: No Time To Die / Lamb / The Portrait of a Lady (Campion #4)

In five films over 15 years, Daniel Craig has established himself as the pre-eminent Bond. But will he also prove to be the final 007? The 60-year-old franchise has its work cut out for it, finding someone to fill Craig's shoes and bringing the iconic, if archaic, character firmly into the 21st century. Adam and Josh agree that the new NO TIME TO DIE does right by Craig—but does that make it a good Bond film? They take their review into spoiler territory to unravel their feelings about the...


#844: The Piano (Campion #3) / Chicago Int'l Film Festival Preview

“I hear what you’re saying, but you’re completely wrong.” Adam has employed his favorite catchphrase many times over the years, but never on himself. On this week’s show, as part of the Jane Campion Oeuvre-View, he revisits the director's Oscar-winning (and beloved by Josh) THE PIANO for the first time since his lukewarm first encounter with the film in 2013—and this time he comes away from the film singing a very different tune. Plus, a preview of the 57th annual Chicago International Film...


#843: Titane / An Angel at My Table (Campion #2)

Director Julia Ducournau wants to shake her audience to the core. And she more or less accomplished that feat - for Josh, anyway - with her 2016 debut "Raw." Her latest, TITANE, falls into several genre categories—body horror, revenge picture, deeply black comedy—none of which quite prepare you for the experience of watching it. While Ducournau proves herself a filmmaker of great talent, Adam and Josh debate whether the 2021 Palme d'Or winner has much to offer beyond its many unexpected and...


#842: Casino Royale at 15 / Sweetie (Campion #1)

Ahead of Daniel Craig's final outing as 007 in "No Time To Die," Adam and Josh revisit Craig's 2006 debut, CASINO ROYALE, a film both agree remains a high-water mark for the franchise. Plus, the Jane Campion Oeuvre-view kicks off with the New Zealand director's funny, harrowing, and utterly assured first film, 1989's SWEETIE. 0:00 - Billboard 1:06 - Review: "Casino Royale" at 15 Cate Le Bon, "Sisters" 34:31 - Next Week / Notes 47:49 - Massacre Theatre 53:44 - Campion #1: "Sweetie" 1:23:27 -...


#841: Top 5 Films of 1971 / The Eyes of Tammy Faye

The 50th anniversary of the ’71 movie year provided Adam and Josh an excuse to give Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange" the Sacred Cow treatment earlier in the year and, with this week’s TOP 5 FILMS OF 1971, to celebrate the movies that introduced iconic movie characters and performances like Richard Roundtree’s John Shaft, Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka and Ruth Gordon’s Maude. Also on the show, Josh recommends the new THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE, featuring a galvanizing performance from star Jessica...


#840: The Card Counter / Wong Kar Wai Marathon Awards

A gambling movie that only Paul Schrader could make, THE CARD COUNTER has the "First Reformed" director meditating on weighty subjects like redemption and absolution in his tale of an ex-con (Oscar Isaac) trying to make amends for past deeds. Tiffany Haddish and Tye Sheridan co-star. Along with that review, Adam and Josh wrap up the World of Wong Kar Wai Marathon with "The Tonys," their favorite performances and moments from the marathon. 0:00 - Billboard 0:58 - Review: "The Card Counter"...


#839: Fall Movie Preview / Shang-Chi / Candyman

The coming fall movie season is less a slate of titles than it is a promise fulfilled, with loads of big films coming to the big screen, some of which have been delayed for a year or more: “No Time To Die,” “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune,” and Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch,” to name just a few. For their FALL MOVIE PREVIEW, Adam and Josh have questions about some of those long-anticipated titles, along with queries about some of the season’s...


#838: In the Mood for Love at 20 / Nine Days / Top 5 Romantic Gestures (Revisited)

Wong Kar Wai’s IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE had no shortage of acclaim on its 2000 release (2001 in the U.S.), but its stature has only grown in the past two decades and is now considered by many to be one of the great achievements of the 21st century. Adam and Josh offer no arguments to the contrary in their 20th-anniversary revisit of the film, part of their World of Wong Kar Wai Marathon. And not that you asked for it, but the review also prompts them to debate which is sexier: silence or food....


#837: Annette / Respect / Happy Together (Wong Kar Wai #5)

French director Leos Carax isn't very well known here in the States, but his films are always something of an arthouse event, coming as they do about once a decade. His 2012 film, "Holy Motors" showed up on several best-of-the-2010s lists, and his latest, ANNETTE, premiered at this year's Cannes Film Festival to a 20-minute ovation (along with a smattering of boos). An L.A.-set rock musical starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard, Carax's film is, according to guest critic Michael...