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


#874: Men / The General (Keaton #4)

Do you have to understand a movie to love it? And if so, how much do you have to understand a movie to love it? This, more or less, is what constitutes “The Garland Scale,” which Josh introduces as a means of talking about the work of Alex Garland, the brainy, provocative writer/director behind the new MEN and earlier efforts like “Ex Machina” “Annihilation” and the limited series “Devs.” As it turns out, Adam and Josh position Garland’s films at different points on the scale, including his...


#873: Summer Movie Preview

With new films from Jordan Peele, Alex Garland, and Claire Denis, not to mention the latest from Marvel, Pixar, and the long-awaited return of Tom Cruise's Maverick, the fifteen or so weekends that make up the summer movie season gives us plenty to look forward to. Adam and Josh's Summer Movie Preview comes in the form of their Top 5 questions about the upcoming movie season. 0:00 - Billboard 1:49 - Summer Movie Preview Igor Dvorkin, "Golden Summer" 24:37 - Next Week / Notes 33:14 - Massacre...


#872: Spider-Man at 20 / Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Back in 2002, the superhero genre was still finding its feet. Tim Burton's "Batman" had been huge in '89, but the franchise it spawned had fizzled out by the end of the '90s. The first "X-Men" film did decent box office in 2000, but failed to become a culture-defining event like the Burton film had. Sam Raimi's SPIDER-MAN changed all that. A massive success at the box office when it opened in May 2002, it acted as a bridge between the self-aware, still campy comic book movies of the past two...


#871: The Northman / Sherlock, Jr. (Buster Keaton #3)

With obsessive attention to historical detail and a fascination with lore, language, and ritual, there is no mistaking THE NORTHMAN for the work of anyone but Robert Eggers (“The Witch,” “The Lighthouse”). But despite a bigger budget and a much bigger canvas, does the director’s new Viking revenge epic add up to anything but a bloody good time? Along with that review, Adam and Josh return to the Buster Keaton Marathon with the actor/director’s first masterpiece, 1924's SHERLOCK, JR. 0:00 -...


#870: Top 5 Nicolas Cage Performances / Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

For over four decades, Nicolas Cage has remained a distinctive and unpredictable screen presence, navigating a career that has gone from memorable character actor in the 80s, to unlikely movie star and Oscar-winner in the 90s, to VOD mainstay in the 2010s, and then, most recently, to critically (re)acclaimed actor finally playing roles worthy of his talent. Last year’s “Pig” earned Cage some of his best reviews in years, and now with the new meta-Cage movie THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE...


#869: Everything Everywhere All At Once / Face/Off at 25

The directing duo Daniels (“Swiss Army Man”) take a maximalist approach to filmmaking that suits the dizzying plotting of their new multiverse tale EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE. And while Daniels’ seemingly endless inventiveness is impressive and often hilarious, what makes the film really tick is the layered acting work of stars Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan. Speaking of acting, 1997's FACE/OFF has its share of it, with Nicolas Cage and John Travolta trading personas - and faces - in...


#868: A Conversation with Kogonada (After Yang) / Madness Finals

With his first two films, 2017's "Columbus" and the new AFTER YANG, director Kogonada has established a meditative style of filmmaking that rewards close attention. "After Yang" takes place in a near-future that’s populated by techno-sapiens, clones, and self-driving cars, but its characters struggle with all too familiar things like death, grief, and the meaning of life. In his conversation with the director, Adam asks about Kogonada's preoccupation with grieving, the quiet,...


#867: Apollo 10 1/2 / Top 5 Linklater Scenes (2016) / Madness Final 4

Among Richard Linklater's gifts is his ability to find the transcendent in the ordinary. A young man and woman meeting on a train. A last day of school. A life captured in snapshots over a decade. In his latest - APOLLO 10 1/2 - Linklater brings the space-mad suburban Houston of his '60s youth to life with vivid use of animation and inspired episodes of fantasy. Adam and Josh also revisit their Top 5 Richard Linklater Scenes (2016) and unveil the Filmspotting Madness Final 4 Matchups. 0:00 -...


#866: Top 5 Hitchcockian Movies / Charlie McDowell ("Windfall") / Madness Elite 8

Like art itself, "Hitchcockian" can't be easily defined—but you know it when you see it. Sinister plotting, mistaken identity, dangerous obsession; a blonde, some mommy issues, a little gallows humor. That's Hitchcock more or less. This week, Adam and Josh share their TOP 5 HITCHCOCKIAN MOVIES, with picks that range from Hitch contemporaries like Henri-Georges Clouzot to current masters like Bong Joon-ho, Spike Lee, and Pedro Almodovar. Also, Adam's conversation with director Charlie...


#865: Oscars Special / Master / Madness Sweet 16

Adam and Josh consider the big four Oscar categories ahead of the March 27th ceremony. They share their picks for who will win and who should win. They have also been empowered to correct one snub per category—but only by cutting a current nominee. Plus, the first Golden Brick nomination of the year goes to Mariama Diallo's MASTER. Josh has a review. And the Sweet 16 round of Filmspotting Madness—Best of the '70s. 0:00 - Billboard 1:28 - Oscars: Supporting Actor/Actress 18:09 - Oscars: Lead...


#864: After Yang / Madness Rd. 2

There have been some great films about the unanticipated complications of artificial intelligence: Spielberg's "A.I.," Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner," Alex Garland's "Ex Machina," Kubrick's "2001." And while AFTER YANG, about a malfunctioning "techno sapien," evokes all of them, it also - unlike those films - avoids exploiting those complications for conflict. Instead, director Kogonada chooses to focus his attention on his film's family of homo sapiens, and how an ailing robot causes all of...


#863: The Batman / Our Hospitality (Keaton #2) / Madness Rd. 1

Part detective story, part serial killer movie, Matt Reeves’ THE BATMAN evokes Fincher’s “Se7en” and “Taxi Driver”-era Scorsese, while star Robert Pattinson - more Bat than Man - brings a despondent rage to his Caped Crusader. Adam and Josh are fans. Stick around for a little Spoiler Talk about the film’s ending. Plus, Rd. 1 of Filmspotting Madness—Best of the '70s, Adam recommends DEAR MR. BRODY, and the Buster Keaton Marathon continues with 1923's OUR HOSPITALITY, where Buster proves he’s...


#862: Buster Keaton #1–The Shorts / Filmspotting Madness

Silent film star Buster Keaton has and probably always will exist in the shadow of his contemporary Charlie Chaplin. And because of that underdog status, Keaton has had his share of passionate advocates. The latest is Slate critic and friend of the show Dana Stevens, whose new book "Camera Man" puts Keaton at the center of her study of "The Dawn of Cinema and the Invention of the 20th Century." With four classic Keaton shorts selected by Stevens, Adam and Josh embark on their Buster Keaton...


#861: Kimi / Encanto

Another year, another Soderbergh. The prolific director has been averaging a film a year for about a decade now, which has Adam wondering if we’re taking him for granted. His latest - KIMI, starring Zoe Kravitz and streaming exclusively on HBO Max - is a tech thriller that lets Soderbergh show off his craft while providing some genre thrills in the vein of “Rear Window” and “The Conversation.” Josh can admire the craft, but wonders if Soderbergh’s feverish filmmaking pace has kept him from...


#860: Top 5 Sondheim Screen Moments

Stephen Sondheim’s contributions to musical theater were so immense and influential that when he died last fall at 91, it was not uncommon to see him compared to Shakespeare. Sondheim hasn’t always translated so well to the big screen, but from "West Side Story" in '61 to "West Side Story" in '21 - and everything in between - there are still more than enough examples of his genius for Adam and Josh and guest Michael Phillips to compile their Top 5 Sondheim Screen Moments. (With Sondhead...


#859: The Godfather at 50

As they approached their rewatch of 1972’s THE GODFATHER, Adam and Josh questioned whether they - or anybody, really - could bring anything new to a conversation about a film that has been written about, talked about, watched and rewatched, quoted, and memed pretty much without ceasing since its release a half-century ago. But when they sat down for their Sacred Cow review, the answer was pretty simple: it didn’t actually matter if there is anything new to say; what mattered was the pleasure...


#858: 2022 Movie Preview

2022 has the directors: Scorsese, Reichardt, Cronenberg, Wilde, Eggers, Aster, Spielberg, Peele. And the talent: Pattinson, Swinton, Cumberbatch, de Armas, Cruise, Pugh, Williams, and DiCaprio. Adam and Josh have the questions. They ring in the new movie year with their Top 5 Questions About 2022. And they announce show plans for the year, including a couple of new marathons, a new Oeuvre-view subject, and more. 0:00 - Billboard 1:14 - 2022 Movie Preview Nervous Dater, "Tin Foil Hat" 28:45 -...


#857: Best Scenes of 2021 / Golden Brick Award

We don't remember movies. We remember movie moments. This week, Adam and Josh say goodbye for now to 2021 with a celebration of the year's best scenes. The ones that made them laugh, the ones that made them cry, and the ones that sent them soaring. Featuring memorable movie moments from "Licorice Pizza," "Summer of Soul," "The Power of the Dog," "The Killing of Two Lovers," "Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar," and more. Plus, the winner of the 13th Annual Golden Brick Award. 0:00 - Billboard...


#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...