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


#879: Top 5 Movie Summers / Elvis / Lightyear

The summer movie season offers the promise of a special kind of escape. With our brains and bodies fried from the heat, we go to the multiplex less for the subtlety of great cinema and more for big pleasures: belly laughs, impossible action sequences, jump scares, and explosions. Lots and lots of explosions. But which movie years best delivered on that promise? This week, Adam and Josh break out the spreadsheets to determine the Top 5 Movie Summers of all time (or at least since 1975), and...


#878: Cooper Raiff (Cha Cha Real Smooth) / Hustle / Top 5 Toy Story Moments w/Griffin Newman (2019)

Cooper Raiff's debut film, 2020's "Sh*thouse," put the young writer/director on the map with a tale of collegiate malaise, and was made not long after Raiff himself left college. His follow-up, the new CHA CHA REAL SMOOTH, sees Raiff exploring the existential restlessness that awaits college grads. As with his debut, Raiff is back in a starring role, this time with a legit movie star as his co-star, Dakota Johnson. Adam interviews Raiff, who talks about crying in movies, his mentor Jay...


#877: Top 5 Films of the Year So Far / Keaton Marathon Awards (Live in Chicago)

At the midpoint of the movie year, Adam and Josh come to the show with several titles big and small vying for their Top 5 Films of the Year So Far, along with a shared number one that Josh describes as "the standard that cinema 2022 will have to meet." Plus, highlights from last weekend's live event at Chicago's Music Box Theatre, which featured a screening of Buster Keaton's THE CAMERAMAN, and Slate's Dana Stevens joining Adam and Josh for "The Porkpies," the end-of-Keaton-marathon awards....


#876: Top 5 Movies For Graduates

For their TOP 5 MOVIES FOR GRADUATES, Adam and Josh choose tales of hardship, uncertainty, letting go, and finding fulfillment from Hayao Miyazaki, Cameron Crowe, Agnes Varda, Akira Kurosawa, and others. Plus thoughts on the gone too soon Ray Liotta, listener picks for the best high schoolers in transition movies, and Pixar’s best of the last decade. 0:00 - Billboard 1:51 - Top 5 Movies for Graduates 34:51 - Remembering Ray Liotta 39:42 - Next Week / Notes 52:50 - Polls 1:03:08 - Top 5...


#875: Top Gun: Maverick / Steamboat Bill, Jr. (Keaton #5)

Scrubbed of nostalgia, 1986's "Top Gun" is, let's be honest, a big slab of '80s cheese. But there's that star-making turn by Tom Cruise; some flashy direction from Tony Scott; the rousing, synth-heavy score; and a memorable supporting cast led by the never more intense Val "Iceman" Kilmer. Could TOP GUN: MAVERICK, the long in the works sequel, justify its return? Adam comes to the sequel as a "Top Gun" fanboy, with the '86 original a seminal film of his bike-riding preadolescence. Josh,...


#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...