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


#885: A24 10th Anniversary Draft / Prey

Indie distributor A24 started memorably, if modestly, back in 2012 and 2013, with titles like Harmony Korine's "Spring Breakers" and Sofia Coppola's "The Bling Ring." Within the next couple of years, they'd launched the directing careers of Alex Garland ("Ex Machina") and Robert Eggers ("The Witch"). Then in 2016, they went ahead and - very memorably - won the Oscar for Best Picture with Barry Jenkins' "Moonlight." And they haven't slowed down since. David Lowery's "A Ghost Story," Greta...


#884: Top 5 Brad Pitt Performances / Bullet Train

When Brad Pitt arrived on screen 30+ years ago, he was a pretty face with a surprising sinister side. That brief turn in Ridley Scott's "Thelma and Louise" proved to be a template for the actor's diverse and increasingly accomplished film career. For proof of Pitt's growth as an actor, look no further than the very existence of this week's TOP 5 PITT PERFORMANCES, featuring long-time Pitt skeptic Adam's mea culpa. And for proof of the high quality of the Pitt filmography, consider that Adam...

#883: Nope / The Gray Man / The Lady Eve (Stanwyck #3)

With their potent mix of horror, comedy, and social satire, the films of Jordan Peele are the rare Hollywood films that succeed in entertaining while also puzzling, sending audiences out of the theater sifting through clues in an attempt to find meaning. Peele's latest - NOPE - is no exception, with Adam and Josh sharing their own theories about the director/prophet's wild west sci-fi that's loaded with themes of trauma, spectacle, race, and the movie industry's complicity in all those...


#882: Thor: Love & Thunder / Top 5 Chris Power Ranking

Taika Waititi helming another Thor movie was always going to mean a great deal of silliness along with whatever planetary crisis the MCU brain trust cooked up, but with THOR: LOVE & THUNDER, the question has become: how much silliness is too much? Put another way: how many goats is too many goats? Adam defends his 1-star Letterboxd review and Josh (sort of ) defends Waititi. With its two movie Chrises (Hemsworth and Pratt), "Love and Thunder" also gives us an opportunity to revisit 2018's...


#881: Stanwyck #2 - Stella Dallas / Marcel the Shell With Shoes On / Top 5 Movie Mother-Daughters

As a social climber turned selfless mother in the heartbreaking 1937 melodrama STELLA DALLAS, Barbara Stanwyck earned the first of her four Oscar nominations. And two films into their Stanwyck Marathon, Adam and Josh remain in awe of both the actress's power and her subtlety. The film itself offers a still-potent critique of class as its heroine is forced to choose between her own identity and her beloved daughter. It also gives us an opportunity to revisit 2013's Top 5 Movie...


#880: Stanwyck #1 - Baby Face (1933) / 1930s Starter Pack

The frank sexuality of 1933's BABY FACE has made it one of the defining films of Hollywood’s precode era, with new Filmspotting marathon subject Barbara Stanwyck as Lily Powers, a young woman who escapes the abuse and exploitation facing her at home for the big city, where she acquires money and status by exploiting her own sexual power. Adam and Josh agree that Stanwyck is electrifying and the movie’s precode directness is a lot of fun while considering how successfully it pulls off its...


#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...