The Next Picture Show

A biweekly roundtable by the former editorial team of The Dissolve examining how classic films inspire and inform modern movies. Episodes take a deep dive into a classic film and its legacy in the first half, then compare and contrast that film with a modern successor in the second. Hosted and produced by Genevieve Koski, Keith Phipps, Tasha Robinson and Scott Tobias. Part of the Filmspotting family of podcasts.


  • #312: Tales as Old as Time, Pt. 1 — Beauty and the Beast (1991)

    Jan 18 2022

    Mamoru Hosada’s new anime BELLE is the latest take on a certain tale as old as time, one that was previously enshrined in the animated feature canon with 1991’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, one of the touchstones of Disney’s storied late-20th-century renaissance. This week we crack open the clamshell VHS case on Disney’s version, in particular its labored-even-by-Disney-standards development process, its unforgettable Ashman/Menken music, what made it stand out in the animation landscape back then, and...more

  • #311: Our 2021 Top 10s, Part 2

    Jan 11 2022

    Our look back at 2021 in film concludes with Tasha, Keith, and Scott’s picks for films number five through one on their respective top 10 lists—or at least their top 10s as they stood at the tail end of December. All three acknowledge that the year offered several quality releases that on any other given day might have made their way onto one of these lists, but for the overlapping factors of time, availability, and the inherently mercurial nature of annual list-making. And so they also dig into...more

  • #310: Our 2021 Top 10s, Part 1

    Jan 04 2022

    We’re kicking off 2022 by setting aside our usual format for a look back at 2021 in film, via that tried and true structure, the Top 10 list. Keith, Scott, and Tasha have each come to this two-part episode bearing their individual top 10 lists, as well as broader thoughts on a year in which established moviegoing models seem to be shifting more rapidly than ever. This week covers the films at the 10 through 6 slots on their lists, as well as an abbreviated discussion of the film that’s number on...more

  • #309: Carnival Games, Pt. 2 — Nightmare Alley (2021)

    Dec 28 2021

    Guillermo del Toro’s new NIGHTMARE ALLEY is a first for the director, a film with no supernatural or fantasy elements at all, and yet it is still arguably more recognizable as a del Toro film than as a remake of the 1947 Edmund Goulding noir of the same name. Why this project, for this director, and with these actors? We’re joined once again by our friend and critic Noel Murray to hash out our varied reactions to del Toro’s project, before bringing Goulding’s version of NIGHTMARE ALLEY back into...more

  • #308: Carnival Games, Pt. 1 — Nightmare Alley (1947)

    Dec 21 2021

    Guillermo del Toro has emphasized that his new NIGHTMARE ALLEY is not a remake of Edmund Goulding’s 1947 noir of the same name, but rather an attempt to more faithfully adapt the 1946 novel by author William Lindsay Gresham, about a carnival con artist who expands his hustle into spiritualism and subsequently opens himself up to disaster. Nonetheless, this week in preparation of our discussion of del Toro’s NIGHTMARE we’re taking a deeper look at Goulding’s, with an assist from our friend and cr...more

  • #307: Model Males, Pt. 2 — The Power of the Dog

    Dec 14 2021

    With less of a narrative focus on survival than DELIVERANCE, Jane Campion’s new POWER OF THE DOG takes a comparatively subtle approach to unpacking the nuances of toxic masculinity and the myriad ways in which it can poison relationships — but there’s nothing subtle about that ending and the way it makes everything leading up to it click into place. We dig into the power of POWER’s storytelling, performances, and late-Western vibe before bringing it into conversation with DELIVERANCE as compleme...more

  • #306: Model Males, Pt. 1 — Deliverance

    Dec 07 2021

    Jane Campion’s new POWER OF THE DOG includes a tense passage involving a banjo that plays as a nod to the 1972 John Boorman classic DELIVERANCE, but the two films’ shared thematic concerns go much deeper than banjo duels. Chief among those is the theme of toxic masculinity and its myriad manifestations, which we explore this week via DELIVERANCE’s four male archetypes and their misbegotten river adventure. Plus, we’re still getting feedback about LAST NIGHT IN SOHO, which means we’re still talki...more

  • #305: White Lies, Pt. 2 — Passing

    Nov 30 2021

    Rebecca Hall’s new PASSING takes a more restrained, internal approach to its story about racial identity and the rejection thereof than Douglas Sirk’s 1959 classic IMITATION OF LIFE, but the two films share an awareness of how style and subject matter can work hand in hand. We’re joined again this week by critic Odie Henderson to discuss how each film balances its messaging, storytelling, and style, after digging into PASSING’s black-and-white cinematography, literary source material, and ambigu...more

  • #304: White Lies, Pt. 1 — Imitation of Life

    Nov 23 2021

    Rebecca Hall’s new film PASSING centers on a complicated female friendship defined in part by semi-porous racial boundaries, a thematic throughline that pointed us directly to Douglas Sirk’s IMITATION OF LIFE — with an assist from RogerEbert.com critic Odie Henderson, who in his recent review of Hall’s film invoked Sirk’s 1959 melodrama, citing it as his #3 film of all time. We’re joined this week by Henderson to discuss how IMITATION OF LIFE's wrenching storyline about a Black woman’s ongoing r...more

  • #303: Dual Duels Pt. 2 — Last Night In Soho

    Nov 16 2021

    LAST NIGHT IN SOHO director and co-writer Edgar Wright is never shy about sharing and celebrating his influences for each new project, which in this case includes the other film in this pairing, Ingmar Bergman’s famously inscrutable PERSONA. We get into the connections between those two, including their portrayals of relationships between two women and their allusive tendencies, after digging into what makes Wright’s newest film so intoxicating… for its first half, at least. Plus Your Next Pictu...more

  • #302: Dual Duels Pt. 1 — Persona

    Nov 09 2021

    In familiar Edgar Wright fashion, the director’s new LAST NIGHT IN SOHO is brimming with cinematic allusion, but that self-reflexivity combined with a focus on a pair of similar-looking women whose identities begin to merge in uncanny ways brought us immediately to one of film’s most mysterious and scrutinized movies: Ingmar Bergman’s PERSONA. Broadly concerned with two women’s power struggle and eventual convergence, Bergman’s film is open to countless, sometimes overlapping interpretations, ma...more

  • #301: Just Deserts Pt. 2 — Dune (2021)

    Nov 02 2021

    Denis Villeneuve’s new DUNE (or, more accurately, DUNE PART ONE) begins the process of adapting Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel of the same name, which itself drew from the biography of T.E. Lawrence, the inspiration for another film concerned with “desert power” and messiah mythmaking: 1962’s LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. While the two films each slot into different genres — science-fiction and historical war story, respectively — their narratives are remarkably similar, particularly when it comes to the whit...more

  • #300: Just Deserts Pt. 1 — Lawrence of Arabia

    Oct 26 2021

    The 1965 Frank Herbert novel that gave rise to Denis Villenueve’s new adaptation DUNE drew direct inspiration from the life of T.E. Lawrence, the subject of one of cinema’s towering classics: LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. David Lean’s 1965 film is a celebrated, Oscar-winning classic that’s become shorthand for “big screen epic,” but for every major set piece where Peter O’Toole’s Lawrence seems to consider himself immortal, there’s an accompanying intimate moment where he gives in to his self-doubt. It’s ...more

  • #299: Family History, Pt. 2 – The Many Saints of Newark

    Oct 19 2021

    When it comes to the cultural obsession with origin stories that’s led to the underwhelming Sopranos prequel film THE MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK, how much credit/blame should be placed at the feet of THE GODFATHER PART II as an originator of this storytelling fixation? That’s among the questions we consider as we parse our mixed-to-negative reactions to the newer film, and bring it into conversation with Francis Ford Coppola’s classic to compare the films’ respective entwining of crime, American hist...more

  • #298: Family History, Pt. 1 – The Godfather, Part II

    Oct 12 2021

    The new Sopranos-inspired film THE MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK is both a prequel and a follow-up to one of the most acclaimed and influential mafia stories ever told, a description that also applies to Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974 film THE GODFATHER: PART II. Coppola’s follow-up to his 1972 smash has a prequel embedded within its flashback structure, but its dual narrative makes it much more than just an origin story — it’s a very different film than its predecessor, but does that make it, as the conve...more

  • #297: Bet Your Life Pt. 2: The Card Counter

    Oct 05 2021

    Like HARD EIGHT, the new Paul Schrader film THE CARD COUNTER puts a professional gambler on the road to redemption via his relationship with a confused and volatile young man, in the latest iteration of Schrader’s “God’s Lonely Man” character. We unpack that character, along with CARD COUNTER’s view of him and his sins, with the help once again of critic and Schrader expert Vikram Murthi, before putting these two films side by side to discuss their respective approach to father-son relationships...more

  • #296: Bet Your Life Pt. 1: Hard Eight

    Sep 28 2021

    The uneasy pact between a professional gambler and a young man from his past in Paul Schrader’s THE CARD COUNTER recalls the surrogate father and son at the center of Paul Thomas Anderson’s debut feature HARD EIGHT. Both films follow solitary men into dark casino halls, but on very different paths to redemption. For this week’s focus on HARD EIGHT, we’re joined by freelance critic and longtime friend of the pod Vikram Murthi to debate Anderson’s approach to withholding and revealing character mo...more

  • #295: Missing Movies + Strange Days (1995)

    Sep 21 2021

    Our recent pairing of Michel Gondry’s ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MINDS with Lisa Joy’s REMINISCENCE was actually a second-choice selection forced by the ongoing unavailability of the film we initially thought of as a slam-dunk companion to Joy’s new film: Kathryn Bigelow’s 1995 thriller STRANGE DAYS, another noir-inflected science-fiction story concerned with the intersection of technology and memory. But that film is nearly impossible to find these days (at least through official channels...more

  • #294: Memory Machines Pt. 2 — Reminiscence

    Sep 14 2021

    Where Michel Gondry’s ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND used the conceit of a memory machine in service of a science-fiction romance, Lisa Joy’s new feature debut REMINISCENCE uses a similar device in service of a science-fiction noir, but despite their different genre footholds, both are naturally fixated on the idea of revisiting memories and what they can tell us about ourselves. Despite a high-style approach reminiscent of Joy’s work on WESTWORLD, her REMINISCENCE hasn’t been particularl...more

  • #293: Memory Machines Pt. 1 — Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

    Sep 07 2021

    Lisa Joy’s new REMINISCENCE turns on a techno-magical procedure that blurs the distinction between memories and reality, a conceit that immediately reminded us of ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND. Michel Gondry’s 2004 film was one of our collective favorites back when it premiered, but do our memories of it hold up to the reality of a present-day rewatch? This week we re-examine our relationship to ETERNAL SUNSHINE’s unlikable protagonists and the decisions they make, and to writer Charlie ...more

  • #292: Musical Variations, Pt. 2 — Annette

    Aug 31 2021

    Like Francis Ford Coppola’s 1982 musical folly ONE FROM THE HEART, Leos Carax’s new rock opera ANNETTE is not interested in playing it safe, whether that means, like Coppola's film, enlisting idiosyncratic musicians for songs that challenge movie-musical convention, or enlisting a puppet to play the titular role. We’re joined again this week by our friend Joshua Rothkopf to unpack which of ANNETTE’s provocations work and which don’t, before placing it alongside ONE FROM THE HEART to discuss the ...more

  • #291: Musical Variations, Pt. 1 — One From The Heart

    Aug 24 2021

    As a self-consciously artificial musical about a troubled couple (among other things), Leos Carax’s new ANNETTE put us in mind of another original movie musical with little use for convention: Francis Ford Coppola’s 1982 folly ONE FROM THE HEART, a famous flop that also represents a singular artistic achievement. We’re joined this week by critic and old friend Joshua Rothkopf to consider how this tarnished labor of love stands the test of time, whether the film’s surplus of style is enough to of...more

  • #290: Knight Visions, Pt. 2 — The Green Knight

    Aug 17 2021

    We just can’t resist discussing a new David Lowery film here at the Next Picture Show, and his latest, THE GREEN KNIGHT, gives us plenty to chew on, taking an alternately minimalist and maximalist approach to a story about honor, myth, and magic that takes place on the edges of King Arthur’s legend. Its bordering-on-abstract narrative stands in high contrast to the more expository approach seen in John Boorman’s EXCALIBUR last week, but the two films’ shared source legend provides a wealth of co...more

  • #289: Knight Visions, Pt. 1 — Excalibur

    Aug 10 2021

    The new low-key fantasy fable THE GREEN KNIGHT plays with favorite David Lowery themes like time and death and memory, cross-pollinated with familiar Arthurian themes like chivalry and honor, and one era giving way to another. That combination reminded us of a similarly personal vision of Arthurian legend, albeit one working in a decidedly different tonal register: John Boorman’s 1981 fantasy epic EXCALIBUR. In this first half of the pairing, we consider the unwieldy storytelling, unpredictable ...more

  • #288: Interior Angles, Pt. 2 – Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain

    Aug 03 2021

    **This episode contains discussion of suicide. If you or someone you know is in crisis, free help is available 24/7 by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or texting the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741).**Continuing our pairing of documentaries about the interior life of dark-minded artists who became celebrities without expecting it, we take up Morgan Neville’s new Anthony Bourdain exploration ROADRUNNER, which in crafting its narrative about the la...more

  • #287: Interior Angles, Pt. 1 – Crumb

    Jul 27 2021

    The new ROADRUNNER plumbs some of the darker emotional depths of the late Anthony Bourdain, and has come in for scrutiny about some of its methods for doing so. That combination reminded us of another documentary about a similarly unlikely public figure: CRUMB, Terry Zwigoff’s 1995 examination of his old friend and underground comics legend Robert Crumb, alongside some other more troubled members of his deeply troubled family. We’re joined this week by an old friend of our own, freelance critic ...more

  • #286: The Summer of '69, Pt. 2: Summer of Soul

    Jul 20 2021

    Our look at the musical happenings of the summer of 1969 shifts from upstate New York to uptown New York City to experience the Harlem Cultural Festival, rescued from historical obscurity by Amir “Questlove” Thompson in his new documentary SUMMER OF SOUL (...OR, WHEN THE REVOLUTION COULD NOT BE TELEVISED). We’re joined once again by music critic Steven Hyden to consider how SUMMER OF SOUL works as a music documentary both in its own right and as an “answer film” of sorts to Woodstock, the subjec...more

  • #285: The Summer of '69, Pt. 1: Woodstock (1970)

    Jul 13 2021

    The summer of 1969 saw several large-scale music festivals, but few have crossed into the realm of myth as definitively as Woodstock, thanks in no small part to Michael Wadleigh’s landmark 1970 documentary, released less than a year after its titular event. Questlove’s new film SUMMER OF SOUL seeks to add another, less-discussed concert to the musical narrative of that summer, which we will bring into the discussion next week, but in this WOODSTOCK-focused half of our pairing we’re joined by mus...more

  • Bonus Episode: The State of Streaming Movies

    Jul 06 2021

    When it comes to streaming services, we’re leaving the Wild West era and entering a new one where multiple corporations with slightly varying distribution models are jockeying for dominance in an increasingly crowded landscape. Where does this leave the new films landing on these services, the audiences who want to watch them, and the fate of the theatrical model as we emerge from the past pandemic year? In this episode, originally recorded for our Patreon subscribers, Scott, Tasha, Keith, and G...more

  • #284: Immigrant Songs, Pt. 2 — In the Heights

    Jun 29 2021

    Like last week’s film, WEST SIDE STORY, Jon M. Chu’s new big-screen adaptation of IN THE HEIGHTS is about the American Dream, but it acknowledges that the dream isn’t one-size-fits-all—only, you know, in song! In this half of our pairing we debate how that mission squares with IN THE HEIGHTS’ fundamentally optimistic outlook, before bringing the two films together to compare how they work as movie musicals, as stories about immigration, and, in different but related ways, as subjects of controve...more

  • #283: Immigrant Songs, Pt. 1 — West Side Story (1961)

    Jun 22 2021

    The new IN THE HEIGHTS is a film derived from a Broadway hit that challenged mainstream notions about musical theater, which in addition to being a love story examines the immigrant experience through the framing of a specific Manhattan neighborhood — all of which can also be said about Ray Wise’s 1961 Oscar behemoth WEST SIDE STORY. And so while we recognize that WEST SIDE STORY will be receiving the modern-update treatment later this year, we’re instead taking this earlier opportunity to compa...more

  • #282: Survivors Down Under Pt. 2 — The Dry

    Jun 15 2021

    The new Australian film THE DRY is an adaptation of a hit novel, set in Victoria, that considers a remote community beset by grief over a mysterious loss, all of which reminded us of Peter Weir’s Australian New Wave classic PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK; but despite those similarities in general shape, the specific contours of the two films are vastly different, particularly in their respective approaches to mystery and resolution. But there’s lots of interest to examine in that contrast, which we do i...more

  • #281: Survivors Down Under Pt. 1 — Picnic at Hanging Rock

    Jun 08 2021

    The new thriller THE DRY makes a central character of its setting, a rural Australian town plagued by a drought that’s turned it into a (literal) tinderbox, and haunted by a tragedy that threatens to send it into (metaphorical) flames. That heavily symbolic use of the Australian landscape, combined with its focus on a community in the aftermath of tragedy, struck us as an opportunity to revisit 1975’s PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK, Peter Weir’s Australian New Wave classic about the disappearance of thr...more

  • #280: Window Watchers Pt. 2 — The Woman in the Window

    Jun 01 2021

    THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW hangs a lantern on its obvious homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s REAR WINDOW, but how does Joe Wright’s latest fare when placed into conversation with such a vaunted comparison point? We’re joined again this week by freelance critic Roxana Hadadi to determine just that — the answer probably will not surprise you — as well as the two films’ use of voyeurism as compulsion vs. plot device, their respective “secret protagonists” that prove more compelling and complex than the main...more

  • #279: Window Watchers, Pt. 1: Rear Window

    May 25 2021

    Joe Wright’s new adaptation of the bestselling novel THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW is hardly the first film to tip its hat to Alfred Hitchcock in general and 1954’s REAR WINDOW in particular, in no small part because Hitchcock’s film is in many ways a movie about the act of watching movies. But it can also be processed as a film about storytelling in general, or the journalistic impulse in particular, both readings of the film that we get into this week with our special guest, freelance critic Roxana ...more

  • #278: Fighting Spirits, Pt. 2: Mortal Kombat (2021)

    May 18 2021

    The new MORTAL KOMBAT, directed by Simon McQuoid, drops a new, nobody protagonist, Cole Young, into the videogame world’s established mythology, positioning him as an outsider within a generations-spanning supernatural battle. That conceit is a big part of why we chose to pair the film with John Carpenter’s BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, but does it make for a compelling movie narrative? No, it doesn’t, and we discuss why in our debriefing on MORTAL KOMBAT, before bringing it into conversation wit...more

  • #277: Fighting Spirits, Pt. 1: Big Trouble In Little China

    May 11 2021

    The newest film iteration of MORTAL KOMBAT is a fighting fantasy with roots in the tradition of Asian martial arts movies, but with a pronounced supernatural component that pushes it deeper into the realm of the uncanny. That particular combination, along with the film’s outsider protagonist, put us in mind of John Carpenter’s BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, a 1986 action-comedy that plops a mostly hapless Kurt Russell in the middle of a chaotic conflict that moves from the streets of San Francisco...more

  • #276: One Wedding and a Funeral, Pt. 2 — Shiva Baby

    May 04 2021

    The second half of our pairing looking at young women publicly testing the goodwill of their loved ones drops in on another awkward community function in the form of SHIVA BABY’s titular gathering. We’re joined again by film writer Jordan Hoffman to talk about Emma Seligman’s extraordinary debut feature and how it connects to Jonathan Demme’s RACHEL GETTING MARRIED in its view of familial and social expectations, filmmaking that reflects its protagonist’s anxious state, and character details tha...more

  • #275: One Wedding and a Funeral, Pt. 1 — Rachel Getting Married

    Apr 27 2021

    The new indie comedy SHIVA BABY’s focus on a young woman attending an obligatory family event and finding herself the center of attention reminded us of a similar cinematic predicament set at a very different sort of major life event: Jonathan Demme’s 2008 drama RACHEL GETTING MARRIED. Revisiting the film for this week’s pairing, along with our special guest, film writer Jordan Hoffman, was a potent reminder of the late Demme’s talent for capturing humanity and optimism onscreen, not to mention ...more

  • #274: Revenge Is a Dish Best Served Twice, Pt. 2 — Nobody

    Apr 20 2021

    The new Bob Odenkirk-starring revenge thriller NOBODY could be read as commentary on the revenge thriller form, but that may be an overly generous reading — or it may just be because we’ve paired it this week with Steven Soderbergh’s THE LIMEY, which is much more overtly reflective about its fantasies of violence and retribution. After working through what did and didn’t work for us about NOBODY, we put it into conversation with THE LIMEY — and by extension the long cinematic tradition of the re...more

  • #273: Revenge Is a Dish Best Served Twice, Pt. 1 — The Limey

    Apr 13 2021

    The new NOBODY, starring Bob Odenkirk as an unlikely action star, is drawing on a long tradition of revenge movies, which means we had our pick of comparison points this week, but Steven Soderbergh’s 1999 film THE LIMEY struck us as particularly apt not just for the commentary it provides on the revenge narrative, but also for its focus on its protagonist’s relationship to his past. In this first half we dig into THE LIMEY, a film one of our panelists considers top-three Soderbergh and another c...more

  • #272: A Tina Twofer, Pt. 2 — Tina

    Apr 06 2021

    The new HBO documentary TINA touches briefly but memorably on the release of 1992’s WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT, but it’s much more focused on providing a bird’s-eye view of Tina Turner’s entire career, beyond the years she spent in a creatively fruitful but abusive partnership with Ike Turner. Watching the two films together, as we did for this week’s pairing, reveals how the films’ respective documentary and narrative approaches both support and push against each other when it comes to portr...more

  • #271: A Tina Twofer, Pt. 1 — What's Love Got to Do With It

    Mar 30 2021

    It’s rare that one of the films in a Next Picture Show pairing is directly addressed in the other film, but that’s the case with WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT and the new documentary TINA, two films with distinctly different approaches tackling a common subject: the life of soul music legend Tina Turner. This week we zoom in on Tina through the lens of Brian Gibson’s 1993 biopic, a film that treats the abuse Tina received at the hands of her husband/tormenter Ike Turner as its narrative North St...more

  • #270: Famous Last Worlds, Pt. 2: Raya and the Last Dragon

    Mar 23 2021

    Unlike the last unicorn in the eponymous 1982 animated film by Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin Jr., this week’s last-of-her-kind fantasy creature knows what happened to the rest of her kind, setting the new Disney Animation feature RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON off on a quest narrative that takes a much different shape than THE LAST UNICORN. We’re joined once again this week by John Maher to discuss RAYA’s shiny, roller-coaster-like thrills, and then compare the two films’ respective journeys, the mythi...more

  • #269: Famous Last Worlds, Pt. 1: The Last Unicorn

    Mar 16 2021

    While the new RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON shares far more with its Disney Animation brethren than anything made by Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass, those filmmakers’ 1982 animated adaptation of Peter S. Beagle’s THE LAST UNICORN shares RAYA’s interest in telling a story about humanity via the plight of a fantasy creature believed to be the last of its kind — it just goes about it in a much more idiosyncratic, often flat-out weird way. To dig into all the ways THE LAST UNICORN defies convention and...more

  • #268: Hard Water Pt. 2 — Minari

    Mar 09 2021

    Yes, Lee Isaac Chung’s new feature MINARI is a story that involves family farming and scarcity of water, but its connections to Claude Berri’s 1986 tragedy JEAN DE FLORETTE go beyond plot similarities and into deeper explorations of community and outsiders. After discussing our initial reactions to MINARI we dig into those connections, as well as how the specifics of each film’s setting — rural Arkansas and Provence, France — shape those communities. Plus Your Next Picture Show, where we share r...more

  • #267: Hard Water Pt. 1 — Jean de Florette

    Mar 02 2021

    Lee Isaac Chung’s new MINARI centers on a family starting over in the country, a theme that got us thinking about French director Claude Berri’s 1986 film JEAN DE FLORETTE, and how its concerns of agrarian hardship in general and water scarcity in particular echo those in Chung’s film. In this half of the pairing we get into JEAN DE FLORETTE’s unsparing view of an oft-idealized provincial setting, its showy yet subtle performances, and what it reveals about French filmmaking in the 1980s. Plus, ...more

  • #266: Uneasy Riders Pt. 2 — Nomadland

    Feb 23 2021

    In Chloe Zhao’s new NOMADLAND, Frances McDormand’s Fern “drops out of society” not by choice, unlike the yuppie couple at the center of Albert Brooks’ 1985 comedy LOST IN AMERICA, but she proves much more adept than they at surviving (perhaps even thriving?) outside the mainstream. This week we bring NOMADLAND’s view of life on the road into conversation with LOST IN AMERICA’s satirization of the impulse to pursue that lifestyle, to consider their respective approaches to dropping out of society...more

  • #265: Uneasy Riders Pt. 1 — Lost In America

    Feb 16 2021

    Chloe Zhao’s new feature NOMADLAND presents a “houseless” life on the road as a choice born half out of desperation and half out of curiosity about life outside the American mainstream, which called to mind the yuppie adventurers looking to “drop out of society” in Albert Brooks’ 1985 comedy LOST IN AMERICA. This week, Brooks’ film serves as the catalyst for another Scott-Tasha showdown, as we dig into the nuances of both Brooks’ comedic style and the satirical premise he sets up in LOST IN AMER...more

  • #264: Lady Killers, Pt. 2 — Promising Young Woman

    Feb 09 2021

    Though Emerald Fennell has cited Mary Harron’s AMERICAN PSYCHO as one of the inspiration points for her buzzy debut feature PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN, there’s not a whole lot obviously linking the films in terms of protagonist, narrative, or even their respective satirical targets. But as we discuss in this week’s comparison, both woman-directed films are deeply concerned with ideas of male privilege and toxic masculinity, make ample use of high-pop needledrops, and engage with violence in a heighte...more

  • #263: Lady Killers, Pt. 1 — American Psycho

    Feb 02 2021

    PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN writer-director Emerald Fennell has cited AMERICAN PSYCHO as one of her cinematic reference points when creating her first debut feature, which was enough reason for us to revisit Mary Harron’s 2000 cult classic ‘80s satire to see if there’s more to that comparison than the films’ shared taste for dark, dark humor. First up this week, we dig into AMERICAN PSYCHO’s inscrutable protagonist and even more inscrutable ending, its approach to adapting what many considered an unad...more

  • #262: Drinking Buddies, Pt. 2 — Another Round

    Jan 26 2021

    With the new ANOTHER ROUND, Thomas Vinterberg saw Alexander Payne’s 2004 middle-aged-men-drink-and-have-feelings comedy SIDEWAYS and said “Hold my Akvavit.” After swooning for a while over Vinterberg’s film — in particular its spectacular closing scene — we bring it into conversation with Payne’s to consider what the two films are each driving at when it comes to their ideas about middle age, lost youth, and drinking culture, and tackle the inevitable (but perhaps uninteresting) question of “is ...more

  • #261: Drinking Buddies, Pt. 1 — Sideways

    Jan 19 2021

    Among other accomplishments, Thomas Vinterberg’s new ANOTHER ROUND has unseated Alexander Payne’s SIDEWAYS as the ne plus ultra of funny films about sad men drinking their way through midlife crises. In celebration of that feat, this week we’re looking back at what made SIDEWAYS so intoxicating back in 2004, discussing the film’s many small moments that carry a wealth of character, what to make of the connection between Miles (Paul Giamatti) and Maya (Virginia Madsen), and whether we feel comfor...more

  • #260: Stairways to Heaven, Pt. 2 — Soul

    Jan 12 2021

    Both Pixar’s new feature SOUL and Powell and Pressburger’s 1946 fantasy-romance A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH center on a soul gone missing from heaven’s ledger because he’s anxious to get back to his life on earth, but the journeys each of them takes to get there end up drawing different conclusions about the meaning of life. This week we’re joined again by critic and 812FilmReviews founder Robert Daniels to dig into SOUL and debate whether it manages to strike the delicate tonal balance it’s reac...more

  • #259: Stairways to Heaven, Pt. 1 — A Matter of Life and Death

    Jan 05 2021

    With the image early in SOUL of a conveyor belt ferrying new souls into the afterlife, the new Pixar film makes clear the thematic debt it owes to Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s 1946 fantasy-romance A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH. But there’s much more to the Powell and Pressburger film than that indelible image; in this week’s half of our pairing we dig into what lies beyond the stairway to heaven with an assist from critic and 812FilmReviews founder Robert Daniels, with whom we discuss MA...more

  • #258: At Home At The Movies: Our Top 5 Films of 2020

    Dec 29 2020

    As we say goodbye to a moviegoing year like none other, we go off-format this week for a year-end discussion about what it meant to go to the movies — or not, as the case may be — in a pandemic year that’s still in the midst of upending the theatrical experience as we’ve known it. We also share our hopes for our filmgoing futures; look for some glimpses of a silver lining amid the havoc 2020 has wreaked on the industry; and welcome some special guests to share their under-the-radar favorites of ...more

  • #257: The Shape of Nature, Pt. 2 — Wolfwalkers

    Dec 22 2020

    WOLFWALKERS’s consideration of the connections between humans and nature via the history and fables of Ireland is in keeping with previous films from Irish animation house Cartoon Saloon, but we’re reaching back a little further, and into a different filmmaking medium, to connect the new animated film to John Sayles’s 1994 magical realist fable THE SECRET OF ROAN INISH. After gushing a bit over WOLKWALKERS’s visual and emotional punch, we look at both films within the traditions of shapeshifting...more

  • #256: The Shape of Nature, Pt. 1 — The Secret of Roan Inish

    Dec 15 2020

    Like Irish animator Tom Moore’s previous films, the new WOLFWALKERS has a strong base in Irish legend and Celtic design, which, along with the film’s story about a young girl striking out on her own in a world of shapechangers and mythology, put us in mind of American filmmaker John Sayles’ 1994 venture into Irish legend, THE SECRET OF ROAN INISH. In this half of the pairing we consider whether ROAN INISH falls under the heading of children’s movie or arthouse film, how it fits into Sayles’ film...more

  • #255: The Manking of Kane, Pt. 2 — Mank

    Dec 08 2020

    Though David Fincher’s new MANK certainly makes the case for giving Herman Mankiwiecz more of the credit for CITIZEN KANE than he’s often received, it’s more interested in peeling back the layers of a complex character and exploring the many personal and cultural themes that found their way into KANE. That makes it all but impossible not to discuss the film in relation to the Orson Welles classic, which is exactly what we do this week, comparing how the two films function as biography, how they ...more

  • #254: The Manking of Kane, Pt. 1—Citizen Kane

    Dec 01 2020

    It’s rare that a new film suggests a historical comparison point as strongly as David Fincher’s new MANK does, so we’re taking the bait and putting it in conversation with the film that is its raison d’etre: Orson Welles’ towering 1941 directorial debut, CITIZEN KANE. Is there anything new to say about a film frequently hailed as the form’s crowning achievement? Perhaps not, so in this half of the conversation we dig into KANE’s legacy as much as the film itself, to consider how the film plays i...more

  • #253: Family Feuds, Pt. 2 — The Nest

    Nov 24 2020

    Writer-director Sean Durkin’s long-awaited followup to MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE, the new THE NEST casts Jude Law and Carrie Coon as an unhappily married couple in the 1980s who relocate their family to an isolated British country estate, a move that hastens the seemingly inevitable collapse of their family unit. Though the film is separated from the setting of Ang Lee’s 1970s-set THE ICE STORM by a decade and an ocean, the two films express a similar merging of period values and family values, a...more

  • #252: Family Feuds, Pt. 1 — The Ice Storm

    Nov 17 2020

    THE NEST, Sean Durkin’s chilly new drama about a marriage on the brink, weaves together its very 1980s setting and the issues afflicting its central family in a manner we found reminiscent of Ang Lee’s 1997 feature THE ICE STORM, which examines a similar sort of familial dysfunction through the lens of 1970s libertine values. In this half, we debate how well THE ICE STORM holds up another two decades removed from the time period it depicts, what stands out about its approach to that time period,...more

  • #251: Byrne-ing Down the House, Pt. 2 — David Byrne's American Utopia

    Nov 10 2020

    DAVID BYRNE’S AMERICAN UTOPIA is a fairly traditional concert film — at least as traditional as a collaboration between David Byrne and Spike Lee can be — which differentiates it from Byrne’s vignette-based 1986 ramble TRUE STORIES, but both projects are indelibly marked by the musician’s mindset, clearly the products of someone who works intuitively and metaphorically. This week we attempt to parse how the “David Byrne” character has evolved over the decades separating the two films, and how TR...more

  • #250: Byrne-ing Down the House, Pt. 1 — True Stories

    Nov 03 2020

    Spike Lee’s new feature-length document of David Byrne’s stage show AMERICAN UTOPIA seemed like a prime opportunity to look back on the the iconoclastic alt-rocker’s own 1986 directorial effort TRUE STORIES, which also uses the framework of Talking Heads songs to muse about the state of America and how humans seek and find connections in the modern world. In the first half of our Byrne double feature, we consider TRUE STORIES’ vignette-based journey through the fictional Virgil, Texas, through t...more

  • #249: Bonus - The Fall (with Elliott Kalan from "The Flop House")

    Oct 27 2020

    Longtime listeners of The Next Picture Show likely have at least passing familiarity with THE FALL via the many, many mentions it’s received over the years from co-host Tasha Robinson, one of the foremost advocates of Tarsem Singh’s hard-to-find, cultishly adored 2008 film. Joining her in that small but mighty fandom is Elliott Kalan, Emmy-winning comedy writer and co-host of THE FLOP HOUSE podcast, where he has shared Tasha’s experience of singing THE FALL’s praises to his bemused co-hosts. So ...more

  • #248: Parent Traps, Pt. 2 — Kajillioniare

    Oct 20 2020

    If you’ve ever wondered, “What if Miranda July made her own version of DOGTOOTH?”, her new film KAJILLIONAIRE would be a pretty good answer. In this half of our pairing of darkly comic films centered on cloistered, dysfunctional families, we parse our reactions to KAJILLIONAIRE before bringing in DOGTOOTH to consider the two films’ respective handling of parenting with an agenda, isolation and the threats of the outside world, and sexuality and romance. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we sha...more

  • #247: Parent Traps, Pt. 1 — Dogtooth

    Oct 13 2020

    The cloistered familial bubble at the center of Miranda July’s new KAJILLIONAIRE felt reminiscent of the one in Yorgos Lanthimos’ 2009 breakthrough DOGTOOTH, and that was before the film’s introduction of an outsider who contaminates said bubble, a complication carried out to slightly more disturbing ends in DOGTOOTH. In this half of our pairing we dig into the nature of DOGTOOTH’s sadistic parental experiment, whether the film’s highly symbolic premise overwhelms its story, and our respective i...more

  • #246: True/False, Pt. 2 — Dick Johnson is Dead

    Oct 06 2020

    Kirsten Johnson’s new DICK JOHNSON IS DEAD is a rumination on memory, death, and movie illusion, one that brings the veteran “cameraperson” in front of the lens, alongside her titular father. In that, it’s reminiscent of an earlier essay film with a strongly autobiographical bent, and a similar fixation on what remains after we’re gone: Orson Welles’ F FOR FAKE. In this half of our pairing of the two films, we debate how — or whether — Johnson’s film successfully skirts exploitation of its centr...more

  • #245: True/False, Pt. 1 — F For Fake

    Sep 29 2020

    Kirsten Johnson’s new film DICK JOHNSON IS DEAD is an unconventional documentary perhaps more at home under the nebulous subgenre known as the personal essay film, a form that was, if not popularized, then at least institutionalized by Orson Welles with 1973’s F FOR FAKE. In preparation for discussing Johnson’s film next week, we spend this week working through how Welles made a highly personal film using someone else’s cinematic scraps, and whether watching the final product is, as one of us pu...more

  • #244: Bonus - Mulan (2020)

    Sep 22 2020

    Dear NPS listeners — we’ve been forced to make some changes to our schedule, which means our previously announced pairing of DOGTOOTH and KAJILLIONAIRE has been postponed a few weeks, and we’ll be back next week with the first part of our pairing of DICK JOHNSON IS DEAD and F IS FOR FAKE. In the meantime, though, we’re offering you a sneak peek behind the Patreon paywall, a bonus episode of our quick-reaction post-viewing series The Lobby, wherein noted Disney live-action skeptics Genevieve Kosk...more

  • #243: The Mind of Charlie Kaufman Pt. 2 — I'm Thinking of Ending Things

    Sep 15 2020

    I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS plays into some of Charlie Kaufman’s favorite preoccupations — surrealism, questions of identity and self, quietly desperate men, and the breakdown of order — which makes it not only an ideal pairing with Kaufman’s film screenwriting debut BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, but also an illustration of how those preoccupations have deepened in the years since Kaufman's breakout. It works better for some than others on our panel — which this week once again includes Screencrush ed...more

  • #242: The Mind of Charlie Kaufman Pt. 1 — Being John Malkovich

    Sep 08 2020

    With 1999’s BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, screenwriter Charlie Kaufman kicked off a two-decade run of dizzying audiences by playing around with identity and surrealism, and channeling and expressing anxiety, a mode he’s continued right on through to his latest, I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS, which he also directs. Before we dig into his latest next week, we’re going back to the beginning to examine the mind of Charlie Kaufman via his “big swing debut” BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, with some help from Matt Singe...more

  • #241: Boys Will Be Boys, Pt. 2 — Boys State

    Aug 25 2020

    The school-age boys at the center of Amanda McMaine and Jesse Moss’s new documentary BOYS STATE may not be facing the sort of life-and-death circumstances that frame Peter Brook’s film of LORD OF THE FLIES, but the two films undoubtedly echo each other in their portrayal of humanity’s tribalist instinct run amok. After discussing BOYS STATE and whether the kids are indeed all right, we look for connections between the two films and find many, not just in the aforementioned portrayal of tribalism...more

  • #240: Boys Will Be Boys, Pt. 1 — Lord of the Flies (1963)

    Aug 18 2020

    The engrossing new documentary BOYS STATE, about a group of young men attempting to build a functional democracy and all of the ways it can go awry, naturally invites comparisons to William Golding’s LORD OF THE FLIES, but as we discover in our revisitation of the latter in the form of Peter Brook’s 1963 adaptation, the allegorical nature of Golding’s story doesn’t shift so easily from page to screen. This week we dig into the unusual production circumstances of Brook’s film and how they both de...more

  • #239: The Reichardt Way, Pt. 2 — First Cow

    Aug 11 2020

    After slogging across the Oregon Trail with Kelly Reichardt’s MEEK’S CUTOFF last week, this week we’re going even further back in the 19th century for Reichardt’s new FIRST COW. We’re joined once again by Vox film critic Alissa Wilkinson to discuss FIRST COW’s offbeat humor and quiet reverence for the artistry of cooking, on the way to discussing what it shares with MEEK’S CUTOFF in terms of the portrayal of masculinity and vulnerability, the films’ respective approaches to history, and the hand...more

  • #238: The Reichardt Way, Pt. 1 — Meek's Cutoff

    Aug 04 2020

    Kelly Reichardt’s latest, FIRST COW, finds the veteran indie filmmaker returning to territory she’s visited before — specifically 19th-century Oregon Territory, a historical terrain Reichardt first explored in her 2010 anti-Western MEEK’S CUTOFF. This week we’re joined by Vox Culture critic Alissa Wilkinson as we hitch our proverbial wagons to MEEK’S CUTOFF to discuss how it fits into Reichardt’s tradition of road movies that don’t go anywhere, and our respective reactions to its deliberately sl...more

  • #237: In the Loop, Pt 2 — Palm Springs

    Jul 28 2020

    The new Hulu comedy PALM SPRINGS wouldn’t exist without the broad comedy and sentimental romance of GROUNDHOG DAY, but there are some key differences in its depiction of life and love inside a time loop — chief among them the decision to give Andy Samberg’s character a partner in looping, played by Cristin Milioti — that make it a very different sort of circular journey. We’re joined once again by Vox critic at large Emily Vanderwerff to discuss the efficacy of that decision, as well as how the ...more

  • #236: In the Loop, Pt. 1 — Groundhog Day

    Jul 21 2020

    GROUNDHOG DAY didn’t invent the time-loop genre, but it’s safe to say that without Harold Ramis’ beloved 1993 Bill Murray-starring comedy, we wouldn’t have nearly as many film and television series about people stuck in a period of time that keeps resetting and endlessly repeating — including the new Hulu comedy PALM SPRINGS, the subject of next week’s discussion. We’re joined this week by our friend and former colleague Emily Vanderwerff, Vox’s critic at large, to dissect how our feelings about...more

  • #235: Mirth, Wind & Fire, Pt. 2: Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

    Jul 14 2020

    The new EUROVISION SONG CONTEST: THE STORY OF FIRE SAGA concerns a different genre and different part of the world than Christopher Guest’s folk-music-focused A MIGHTY WIND, but the comedies share an irreverently reverent approach to parodying their chosen music scene. In this half of our pairing of the two films, we debate whether that approach is helped or hindered in EUROVISION by the presence of Will Ferrell, along with the function of the film’s centerpiece “Song-Along.” Then we bring EUROV...more

  • #234: Mirth, Wind & Fire, Pt. 1: A Mighty Wind

    Jul 07 2020

    The new Netflix comedy EUROVISION SONG CONTEST: THE STORY OF FIRE SAGA sneaks moments of real pathos into its parodic look at a highly specific music scene, a sly approach it shares with another classic of the musical-spoof form: 2003’s A MIGHTY WIND, the third in a series of improv-heavy comedies directed by Christopher Guest and starring a cast of ensemble players. In this unfortunately “Ja Ja Ding Dong”-free half of our pairing, we dive into A MIGHTY WIND to examine the source and efficacy of...more

  • #233: The Price of Gold, Pt. 2 — Da 5 Bloods

    Jun 30 2020

    Spike Lee’s ambitious new war epic for Netflix, DA 5 BLOODS, is brimming with cultural and historical reference points — including an extended homage to the other film in this pairing, John Huston’s THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE — but it’s also full of Lee signatures, in both its story and its style. We break down some of them in our consideration of DA 5 BLOODS, before connecting Lee’s doomed treasure hunt to Huston’s by way of their respective depictions of paranoia and madness, their ideas...more

  • #232: The Price of Gold, Pt. 1 — The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

    Jun 23 2020

    Spike Lee’s new DA 5 BLOODS has no shortage of cinematic and historical touchpoints, but its focus on the literal and metaphorical weight of gold — not to mention that whole “stinking badges” thing — is a direct nod to the 1948 John Huston classic THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE. In this half of our pairing we assess what’s made TREASURE endure, from the knotty moral complexity of its central trio to its utilization of real locations, and go beyond the most quotable moments to explore some of t...more

  • #231: Studio Ghibli Special — Castle In the Sky

    Jun 16 2020

    2020 is the year that Japan’s beloved Studio Ghibli fully enters the streaming age, rolling out its films for Netflix viewers around the world, and for HBO Max subscribers in the U.S. This marks a major shift from recent decades, when Ghibli’s films were mostly relegated to boutique DVD releases and special theatrical events. So in celebration of Ghibli’s films being readily available to a wide audience for the first time, we’re departing from format a bit for an in-depth look at the studio’s ve...more

  • Introducing: Truth vs Hollywood

    Jun 12 2020

    Introducing the newest Audioboom original podcast, Truth vs Hollywood. Join Film lovers David Chen and Joanna Robinson as they do a deep dive into well known films and discuss how similar they are to the actual story. Truth vs Hollywood premieres 6/12. Subscribe to Truth vs Hollywood on Apple Podcasts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • #230: The House That Shirley Built, Pt. 2 — Shirley

    Jun 09 2020

    Josephine Decker’s new SHIRLEY uses the home of a fictionalized Shirley Jackson to tell a different sort of haunted house tale, one that shares some thematic links with one of the best-known Jackson adaptations, 1963’s THE HAUNTING, if not necessarily strong narrative ones. This week we’re joined once again by Alison Willmore of Vulture to discuss SHIRLEY’s expressive style and dissolute ending, then dig into how it connects to THE HAUNTING in its depiction of madness, divided personas, and sexu...more

  • #229: The House That Shirley Built, Pt. 1 — The Haunting (1963)

    Jun 02 2020

    Josephine Decker’s new SHIRLEY attempts to invoke the spirit of Shirley Jackson in suitably discomfiting fashion, which makes Robert Wise’s 1963 Jackson adaptation THE HAUNTING something of a prerequisite for the new film. How does THE HAUNTING stack up against its reputation as one of the scariest films of all time, and what makes it both a paragon and an anomaly of the haunted house genre? Joined by special guest Alison Willmore, we dig into those questions, plus the film’s distinctive visuals...more

  • #228: I'm With The Band, Pt. 2. - How To Build A Girl

    May 26 2020

    Coky Giedroyc’s HOW TO BUILD A GIRL, based on British humorist Caitlin Moran’s own life as a teenage music writer in the British Midlands, plays in many ways like Cameron Crowe’s mostly autobiographical ALMOST FAMOUS, translated to a new time and place. But it’s also a different sort of coming-of-age story about a very different sort of protagonist, based on the life of a very different sort of writer, all of which we get into by way of the two films’ respective approaches to writing and journal...more

  • #227: I'm With The Band, Pt. 1 — Almost Famous

    May 19 2020

    The new HOW TO BUILD A GIRL is a heavily autobiographical film about a teenage music journalist, which means it inevitably gets mentioned in the same breath as Cameron Crowe’s ALMOST FAMOUS, a heavily autobiographical 2000 film about a teenage music journalist, this one inspired by Crowe’s own past as Rolling Stone magazine’s youngest-ever correspondent. In this first half of our pairing looking at young, uncool kids chasing their own ideals of cool, we dig into ALMOST FAMOUS—in particular the m...more

  • #226: Career Women, Pt. 2 — The Assistant

    May 12 2020

    Kitty Green’s recent day-in-the-life drama THE ASSISTANT, starring Julia Garner as a new assistant to a Weinstein-like executive, is nowhere near the crowd-pleaser Mike Nichols’ 1988 corporate Cinderella story WORKING GIRL was, and its scenario places the film squarely within a very current cultural conversation; but taken together the two films provide an apt illustration of what has and hasn’t changed for women in the workplace in the last three decades. After digging into our surprisingly div...more

  • #225: Career Women, Pt. 1 — Working Girl

    May 05 2020

    Mike Nichols’ 1988 hit workplace comedy WORKING GIRL is set in a very different era than Kitty Green’s new, more somber THE ASSISTANT, but taken in tandem, the two films reveal how certain gendered power dynamics haven’t changed much in the 32 years separating them. This week we look at WORKING GIRL in the context of a string of 1980s workplace-empowerment movies and Nichols’ career alike, and try to parse its broader points about women in the workplace, and how they function within what is in m...more

  • #224: High School Confidential, Pt. 2 — Bad Education

    Apr 28 2020

    In its adaptation of a true story of malfeasance and misappropriation in a Long Island high school, Cory Finley’s new HBO film BAD EDUCATION sets up a clash between shady educator and meddlesome student that put us in mind of Alexander Payne’s 1999 political satire ELECTION. In this half of our pairing, we debate the level of sympathy we’re able to extend to Hugh Jackman’s corrupt superintendent in BAD EDUCATION, before putting the two films in conversation to see what they have to say about the...more

  • #223: High School Confidential, Pt. 1 — Election

    Apr 21 2020

    Cory Finley’s new BAD EDUCATION is based on a real-life incident, whereas Alexander Payne’s 1999 high school satire ELECTION is based on a Tom Perrotta novel (itself inspired by the 1992 presidential election), but they both use their high school settings to make their way toward similar conclusions about the corruptibility of adulthood. In this half of our pairing looking at morality, ethics, and the educators who unwittingly illustrate the difference to their students, we dig into ELECTION’s s...more

  • #222: Home Sickness, Pt. 2 — Swallow

    Apr 14 2020

    Where the unsettling illness metaphor at the center of Todd Haynes’ 1995 film SAFE tendrils out in a manner that defies easy resolution, Carlo Mirabella-Davis’ newly released debut SWALLOW tracks a similarly metaphorical affliction toward a more finite ending point. But within those two very different arcs, the two films explore complementary ideas about isolation, gender roles and archetypes, and societal expectations about sickness and recovery, all of which we get into following an in-depth d...more

  • #221: Home Sickness, Pt. 1 — Safe (1995)

    Apr 07 2020

    We continue our shelter-in-place film series with a pair of films featuring magazine-perfect housewife archetypes struck by mysterious illnesses that are inextricably linked to their oppressive environments: Todd Haynes’ 1995 feature SAFE and Carlo Mirabella-Davis’ debut film SWALLOW. In this half we dig into the many shifting metaphors at play in SAFE, how they reflect both the film’s era and our current moment, and how they’re all held together by Julianne Moore’s remarkable central performanc...more

  • #220: Infection Point Pt. 2 - Contagion

    Mar 31 2020

    Steven Soderbergh’s viral thriller CONTAGION may have come out in 2011, but it’s never felt more timely than in the midst of the world’s current coronavirus crisis, which makes it a natural stand-in for the “current film” half of our pairing with Elia Kazan’s 1950 plague noir PANIC IN THE STREETS. Watched today, Soderbergh’s film, a kaleidoscopic treatment of an illness called MEV-1 with a startling 25 percent mortality rate, is both alarming in its prescience and comforting in its diversions fr...more

  • #219: Infection Point Pt. 1 - Panic In the Streets

    Mar 24 2020

    The 2020 coronavirus outbreak has affected virtually everything about our modern world, including the movies we watch, how we watch them, and how we podcast about them. It’s a sobering but fascinating lens through which to view past films that have wrestled with outbreaks, from Elia Kazan’s 1950 noir PANIC IN THE STREETS up through Steven Soderbergh’s 2011 pandemic procedural CONTAGION. We tackle the first half of that double-feature this week, unpacking the central metaphor — or lack thereof — ...more

  • #218: Believe It Or Not, Pt. 2 - The Invisible Man (2020)

    Mar 17 2020

    Leigh Whannell’s new take on H.G. Wells’ 1897 novel THE INVISIBLE MAN is a Blumhouse film, so of course there has to be a twist — and in this case, it’s one that makes this version of INVISIBLE MAN less like the many adaptations that preceded it, and more like George Cukor’s 1944 film GASLIGHT, which is similarly focused on a man’s malicious manipulation of a woman at the expense of her own credibility. In this half of our gaslighting double feature, we talk over what makes this new INVISIBLE MA...more

  • #217: Believe It Or Not, Pt. 1 - Gaslight (1944)

    Mar 10 2020

    Leigh Whannell’s new take on THE INVISIBLE MAN comes with a modern twist, one based in a dynamic — a husband pushing his wife toward mental illness for personal gain — that was entrenched in the pop-cultural lexicon thanks in large part to George Cukor’s 1944 film GASLIGHT, starring Ingrid Bergman as a woman whose husband mounts a disinformation campaign against her for insidious purposes. In this half of our gaslighting double feature, we dig into how the film’s direction, design, and fine-tune...more

  • #216: Bad Girls Club, Pt. 2 - Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

    Mar 03 2020

    Like the landmark 1991 film THELMA & LOUISE, the latest DC comics movie entry, BIRDS OF PREY (AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN) uses a recognizable form to take its female protagonists to some unfamiliar places. The newer film hasn’t received that same sort of critical acclaim as its predecessor, but some on our panel — which this week once again includes Angelica Jade Bastién of Vulture.com — argue why perhaps it should have, on the way to discussing what the two films s...more

  • #215: Bad Girls Club, Pt. 1 - Thelma & Louise

    Feb 25 2020

    The new BIRDS OF PREY: AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN is part of an inconsistent and fitfully realized tradition of female-empowerment stories told within a high-gloss genre framework, a tradition that reached one of its too-rare high points with THELMA & LOUISE, a Ridley Scott-directed, Callie Khourie-scripted take on a buddy road movie/chase film that ruffled plenty of feathers when it became a sleeper hit in 1991. This week we’re joined by Vulture.com critic and frie...more

  • #214: Fantasy Islands, Pt. 2 - Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    Feb 18 2020

    With PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE, Céline Sciamma became the first woman director to win the Queer Palm at Cannes, an embarrassingly belated milestone reminiscent of Jane Campion becoming the first woman director to win the Palme d’Or in 1993 with THE PIANO. And while these two films have much more in common than their directors’ gender, as we discover when we put them in conversation this week, both Sciamma and Campion bring a distinct point of view to their respective stories of repressed desire...more

  • #213: Fantasy Islands, Pt. 1 - The Piano

    Feb 11 2020

    Céline Sciamma’s 2019 Cannes sensation PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE is a lush, romantic film set on an isolated island and concerned with irrepressible desires in deeply repressive times, a description that neatly applies to another Cannes breakout from 1993: Jane Campion’s THE PIANO. But the love affair at the heart of Campion’s film plays with a much trickier power imbalance, which we get into as we process THE PIANO’s complicated relationships, its most essential performances, and the conversat...more

  • #212: Men of War, Pt. 2 - 1917

    Feb 04 2020

    We return to the trenches of the first World War to consider Sam Mendes’ 1917 within the greater history of World War I films generally, and as a companion to Peter Weir’s GALLIPOLI specifically. Following some debate over whether 1917’s continuous shot gimmick makes it more or less emotionally affecting, and an attempt to parse the film’s attitudes about war, we look at these two films in tandem to consider what they have to say about the failures of leadership in wartime, their respective depi...more

  • #211: Men of War, Pt. 1 — Gallipoli (1981)

    Jan 28 2020

    Inspired by this year’s surprise Oscar favorite 1917, we’re digging down into the trenches and slogging through the mud and blood of World War I, with two films centering on young soldiers delivering crucial messages that decide the fates of thousands of other young men. First up this week is Peter Weir’s 1981 film GALLIPOLI, which stars a shockingly young Mel Gibson as one half of a pair of Australian mates who join the war effort out of a mixture of patriotism, pride, and recklessness; we dig ...more

  • #210: March Madness, Pt. 2 - Little Women (2019)

    Jan 21 2020

    We return to Orchard House and Concord via Greta Gerwig’s new LITTLE WOMEN, which takes a much less traditional approach to Louisa May Alcott’s famed novel than Gillian Armstrong’s 1994 version, while still hitting on enough nostalgic touchpoints to feel like a faithful adaptation. In this second half of our March family double feature, we dig into how we processed Gerwig’s approach as an intellectual experience versus an emotional one, and how the film’s bold ending works in the context of the ...more

  • #209: March Madness, Pt. 1 - Little Women (1994)

    Jan 14 2020

    In the first half of the 20th century, a steady stream of adaptations made it seem like every generation would have a version of Louisa May Alcott’s novel LITTLE WOMEN to call their own. Then the film adaptations just… stopped, until 1994’s Gillian Armstrong-directed version starring Winona Ryder as Jo became a hit, and set the stage for the latest cinematic iteration of the March sisters, courtesy of Greta Gerwig. In this first half of our LITTLE WOMEN double feature, we dig into the cozy confi...more

  • #208: Betting Men. Pt. 2 - Uncut Gems

    Jan 07 2020

    Though Josh and Benny Safdie are avowed admirers of John Cassavetes, the aggressive intensity of their new gambling drama UNCUT GEMS stands in stark contrast to Cassavetes’ more enigmatic, melancholic take on a similar sort of degenerate in 1976’s THE KILLING OF A CHINESE BOOKIE. Nonetheless, the two films do share a lot beyond protagonists trying to rebound from some bad bets with bad people. After sharing our (sometimes visceral) reactions to the relentless tension of UNCUT GEMS, we get into s...more

  • #207: Betting Men, Pt. 1 - The Killing of a Chinese Bookie

    Dec 31 2019

    Inspired by the Safdie brothers’ new thriller UNCUT GEMS, we’re traveling back to 1976, and the other side of the country, to look at another film about a gambling man at the end of his rope, made by one of the Safdies’ favorite filmmakers: John Cassavetes’ idiosyncratic take on the gangster genre, THE KILLING OF A CHINESE BOOKIE. In this half of our pairing about bad bets with bad people, we dig into CHINESE BOOKIE’s seeming delight in setting up expectations it has no intention of satisfying, ...more

  • #206: Rian Johnson's Mystery Master, Pt. 2 - Knives Out

    Dec 24 2019

    Rian Johnson’s new KNIVES OUT is much broader and goofier than the writer-director’s first foray into a murder-mystery genre, 2005’s BRICK, but as with his feature debut, Johnson acknowledges the audience’s expectations for the genre and then subverts them in order to create an outsized world for his characters to play in. After digging into why that approach works to such crowd-pleasing effect in KNIVES OUT, we bring in BRICK to talk about what the two films share, and where they diverge, in th...more

  • #205: Rian Johnson's Mystery Mastery, Pt. 1 - Brick

    Dec 17 2019

    Rian Johnson’s new KNIVES OUT is much more of a romp than 2005’s BRICK, but it hearkens back to Johnson’s debut feature in the way it upends the conventions of mystery stories and gives the audience much more up-front information about the plot-inducing murder than is typical for the genre. In this half of our Johnson mystery pairing we go back to the beginning to consider what BRICK looks like from the other side of the writer-director’s genre-hopping career, how the film navigates its transpos...more

  • #204: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, Pt. 2 - Marriage Story

    Dec 10 2019

    Released 40 years after Robert Benton’s Best Picture-winning KRAMER VS. KRAMER, Noah Baumbach’s latest, MARRIAGE STORY, depicts a process that hasn’t grown any easier in the intervening time, but has certainly become less novel. After discussing whether Baumbach’s portrayal of modern divorce might actually be a stealth feel-good movie, and which three of its many great scenes make the film, we get into the shared nuances that connect these two films across the decades, from their portrayal of th...more

  • #203: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, Pt. 1 - Kramer vs Kramer

    Dec 03 2019

    Noah Baumbach’s acclaimed new family drama MARRIAGE STORY has invited comparisons to Robert Benton’s acclaimed 1979 family drama KRAMER VS. KRAMER over the films’ shared preoccupation with the end of love and the challenges of finding happiness while also doing right by the next generation. We’ll dig into the nuances of that comparison via this pairing, beginning with a discussion of how KRAMER VS. KRAMER balances, or doesn’t, its portrayal of divided parenting, why its ending feels like a cop-o...more

  • #202: Hitler Heil-arity, Pt. 2: Jojo Rabbit

    Nov 26 2019

    Our brief, incomplete history of cinema’s attempts to make comedy out of Adolf Hitler brings us to the present day and writer-director Taika Waititi’s discussion-generating “anti-hate satire” JOJO RABBIT, which doesn’t share much in the way of thematic material with our last film, Mel Brooks’ THE PRODUCERS, but does exhibit a similar eagerness to paint the führer as an object of ridicule. We discuss whether JOJO succeeds in walking the tricky tonal tightrope it sets itself on, and try to locate ...more

  • #201: Hitler Heil-arity, Pt 1 - The Producers (1967)

    Nov 19 2019

    Take Waititi’s new “anti-hate satire” JOJO RABBIT extends a cinematic tradition of casting Adolf Hitler as a buffoon that goes back to Charlie Chaplin, though Mel Brooks’ 1967 debut feature THE PRODUCERS is ultimately more concerned with the question of how to contextualize the very idea of laughing at Hitler. In this half of our pairing, we debate the extent to which Brooks’ rock-solid premise — in which a producer and an accountant bank on audiences being turned off by a musical called “Spring...more

  • #200: Family Matters, Pt. 2 - Parasite

    Nov 12 2019

    Bong Joon-ho’s new PARASITE feels weirdly similar to his 2006 film THE HOST, even though there’s no monster in sight — unless you count entitlement, inequality, and greed as monsters, which given how they shape PARASITE’s story, maybe you should. But it also features the return of Song Kang-ho as a father figure, albeit a more capable and traditional one, and a story shaped by Bong’s obsessions with family bonds and duty. In this half of our Bong pairing, we look at all the other things these tw...more

  • #199: Family Matters, Pt. 1 - The Host (2006)

    Nov 05 2019

    Korean director Bong Joon-ho has a long-running interest in films about family, one that’s mirrored in two of his best-known films: His international breakout THE HOST and his new film PARASITE, both of which star Song Kang-ho as a father trying to keep things together on his kids’ behalf, and both of which are about the sense of duty among protagonists who have to improv their way through unexpected situations. In this half of our pairing, we revisit Bong’s monster movie THE HOST with a focus o...more

  • #198: Watching Watchmen

    Oct 29 2019

    Inspired by our recent pairing of THE DARK KNIGHT and JOKER, we’re diverging from our usual format this week to look at a new TV show that stems from the same era of comic-book history as those films: HBO’s new Damon Lindelof-helmed “remix” of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ seminal superhero deconstruction WATCHMEN. In this one-off episode, we dive into the series to discuss the promise it holds, as well as its potential to run screaming off the rails, based on the first two episodes that have air...more

  • #197: The Man Who Laughs, Pt. 2 - Joker

    Oct 22 2019

    Todd Phillips’ new JOKER gives a concrete origin story to a character who, in Christoper Nolan’s 2008 film THE DARK KNIGHT, willfully obfuscates what turned him into Gotham’s Clown Prince of Crime. In this second half of our look at two grim-and-gritty takes on the character, we examine JOKER, and some of the discourse around it, in an attempt to pinpoint meaning within an audacious and violent film, and consider how it fits into Phillips’ filmography of put-upon males processing rejection; then...more

  • #196: The Man Who Laughs, Pt. 1 - The Dark Knight

    Oct 15 2019

    The narrative and tone of Todd Phillips’ latest is heavily inspired by TAXI DRIVER and KING OF COMEDY, but given the attention paid to the work of Martin Scorsese on this podcast of late, we decided to look at Phillips’ new JOKER in tandem with a more literal cinematic predecessor: Christopher Nolan’s THE DARK KNIGHT, featuring Heath Ledger’s posthumous Oscar-winning performance as the Clown Prince of Crime himself. In this half we consider Ledger’s Joker in the context of a film that took a rad...more

  • #195: Vice Principles, Pt. 2 - Hustlers

    Oct 01 2019

    Lorene Scafaria portrays the criminal scam at the heart of HUSTLERS with a sort of cinematic brio that has earned the film comparisons to the work of Martin Scorsese, in particular the similarly flashy Vegas epic CASINO — and not just because both prominently feature chinchilla fur coats. In this half of our vice-ridden pairing, we talk over what works and what doesn’t about HUSTLERS before diving into the two films’ shared preoccupations with destructive trust and capitalist systems and compare...more

  • #194: Vice Principles, Pt. 1 - Casino

    Sep 24 2019

    The big question at the heart of Lorene Scafaria’s new HUSTLERS — one about the corrupting force of American capitalism and who is allowed to rip off whom — is the same one that drive’s Martin Scorsese’s 1995 Vegas gangster epic CASINO, a question both films address with no small amount of verve and flash. In this half of our vice-ridden pairing, we dig into CASINO’s reputation as a GOODFELLAS retread and how its characters conform, or don’t, to our expectations about Scorsese characters. Plus, ...more

  • #193: Most Dangerous Games, Pt. 2 - Ready or Not

    Sep 17 2019

    It’s too early to know whether Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett’s horror-comedy READY OR NOT will eventually become a cult hit in the manner of 1985’s CLUE, but the two films share a foundation in dangerous games and the even more dangerous people who play them. After parsing how READY OR NOT works as both horror and comedy, and inducting star Samara Weaving into the scream queen hall of fame, we dig into the two films’ crucial central performances, how both incorporate elements of class ...more

  • #192: Most Dangerous Games, Pt. 1 - Clue

    Sep 10 2019

    The gamified murder and mayhem of the recent horror-comedy READY OR NOT put us in mind of a similarly scrappy, low-budget affair with board games in its DNA: John Landis and Jonathan Lynn’s flop-turned-cult-classic CLUE. In this CLUE-centric half of our deadly games pairing, we get into how much both sides of that flop/cult reputation are earned, how much of the film’s genesis in a board game comes across on screen, and how much those additional endings add to the film. Plus, we respond to some ...more

  • #191: Which Side Are You On? Pt. 2 - American Factory

    Sep 03 2019

    A few decades and a whole industry removed from Barbara Kopple’s HARLAN COUNTY, USA, Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert’s AMERICAN FACTORY is an entertaining yet dispiriting illustration of how much working conditions, labor relations, and blue-collar work have changed — and, in some ways, haven’t. After wrestling with AMERICAN FACTORY’s sometimes-funny, sometimes-demoralizing portrayal of the current state of American industry, unions, and national identity, we dive what unites and separates thes...more

  • #190: Which Side Are You On? Pt. 1 - Harlan County, USA

    Aug 27 2019

    The new Netflix documentary AMERICAN FACTORY is funnier than Barbara Kopple’s 1976 Oscar-winning documentary HARLAN COUNTY USA, and not nearly as fraught with violence, but it pivots on many of the same core tensions between workers and corporate bosses. In this half of our pairing of labor struggles past and present, we look back at HARLAN COUNTY to see how the time Kopple’s team spent embedded in Harlan County shaped the film, as well as the 1973 miners strike it depicts; how the film’s style ...more

  • #189: Hollywood Endings, Pt. 2 - Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    Aug 20 2019

    Quentin Tarantino’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD looks back at 1969 Hollywood from a 2019 vantage point, where Hal Ashby’s 1975 satire SHAMPOO examines that same era from a much closer distance, but the two films share a funny but bittersweet outlook on what would turn out to be a turning point in history. In this half of our pairing of 1969-set “Hollywood endings,” we share our responses to Tarantino’s newest film, and to some of the discussion surrounding it, before diving into what links the...more

  • #188: Hollywood Endings, Pt. 1 - Shampoo

    Aug 13 2019

    Quentin Tarantino’s ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD filters its wistful look at the end of an era through the lens of a real historical event (albeit one altered for the film), an approach that mirrors the one taken by director Hal Ashby and star/co-writer Warren Beatty in 1975’s SHAMPOO, which situates its late-1960s Hollywood satire within the broader sociopolitical context of the Nixon presidential election. Both films concern characters looking out at an uncertain future and fearing what unha...more

  • #187: Man Up, Pt. 2 - The Art of Self-Defense

    Aug 06 2019

    Riley Stearns’ new dark comedy THE ART OF SELF-DEFENSE centers on an underground scene of fighters who engage in their own version of the transgressive tactics Tyler Durden plays with in 1999’s FIGHT CLUB, but both films are ultimately about the catharsis of violence. After digging into how ART OF SELF-DEFENSE spins the “fight club” premise to its own ends, we pit these two films against each other to see which reigns supreme!…Or, to determine what each movie has to say about their shared intere...more

  • #186: Man Up, Pt. 1 - Fight Club

    Jul 31 2019

    We’re looking at two films featuring underground fight clubs, secret identities, and male protagonists trying to reclaim their self-worth through violence, beginning with David Fincher’s FIGHT CLUB, which traffics in many of the same themes as Riley Stearns’ new THE ART OF SELF DEFENSE, albeit with decidedly more stylistic flourish. In this half of our toxic masculinity double feature, we dig into what made FIGHT CLUB so divisive in 1999, and what makes it seem so prescient today. Plus, some fee...more

  • #185: Print the Legend, Pt. 2 - Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story

    Jul 16 2019

    Our look at musical films that willfully straddle the line between fact and fiction brings in Martin Scorsese’s newest effort for Netflix, ROLLING THUNDER REVUE: A BOB DYLAN STORY, to see how it applies that MO to a documentary format, where Todd Haynes’ VELVET GOLDMINE applied it to a narrative one. After debating to what extent ROLLING THUNDER REVUE tells us anything about its slippery subject, we bring these two films together to see how they each play with ideas about alter-egos and disposab...more

  • #184: Print the Legend, Pt. 1 - Velvet Goldmine

    Jul 09 2019

    Martin Scorsese’s new ROLLING THUNDER REVUE takes a documentary-esque approach to Bob Dylan’s titular 1970s tour-slash-roadshow, blending fact and fiction in a manner reminiscent of Todd Haynes’ 1998 cult favorite VELVET GOLDMINE, which creates a similar sort of parallel fiction around an extraordinary moment in music history. In this half of our pairing looking at “print the legend” musical histories, we focus on VELVET GOLDMINE and its dense, post-modern approach to crafting an ersatz Bowie bi...more

  • #183: Galaxy Defenders, Pt. 2 - Men in Black: International

    Jul 02 2019

    What went wrong with F. Gary Gray’s attempt to revive a franchise with MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL? There are many answers to that question, which we dig into this week, but a lot of the DOA sequel’s problems can be traced directly back to the successes of 1997’s MEN IN BLACK. We look at the newest MEN IN BLACK alongside its much funnier, more sprightly forebear to see how the two films’ respective use of humor, movie stars, and setting contribute to their success, or lack thereof. Plus, Your Ne...more

  • #182: Galaxy Defenders, Pt. 1 – Men In Black (1997)

    Jun 25 2019

    The lackluster new MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL has failed to rekindle much interest in the action-comedy franchise — more on that in the next episode — which makes the 1997 blockbuster from which it stems seem like even more of a miracle in hindsight. Having seen how the franchise’s formula can fail, we’re going back to the source to see how director Barry Sonnenfeld, with no small assist from stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones and effects master Rick Baker, achieved that rarest of cinematic f...more

  • #181: King of Monster Movies, Pt. 2 - Godzilla: King of the Monsters

    Jun 18 2019

    The new GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS looks and acts a lot more like one of the other recent entries in Warner Bros’ “Monsterverse” than it does the classic creature features inspired by the original GODZILLA, but it also consciously echoes Ishiro Honda’s 1954 film in some key ways. After airing our grievances with the frustratingly incoherent KING OF THE MONSTERS, we dig into what links this newest film to its very different predecessor, from its city-flattening monster effects to its shaky at...more

  • #180: King of Monster Movies, Pt, 1 - Godzilla (1954)

    Jun 11 2019

    The new CGI spectacle GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS further extends the longest running film franchise in history, but it’s a far cry (roar?) from the 1954 film that first set this fire-breathing, city-flattening phenomenon in motion. So this week we’re looking back at Ishiro Honda’s originating film to speculate how and why its central nuclear metaphor shifted over the decades, to discuss how the film and its effects—don’t call them dated or Keith will be sad!—benefit from Godzilla’s literal a...more

  • #179: Escapes From New York, Pt. 2 - John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum

    Jun 04 2019

    We return again to the deadly streets of the Big Apple at night to discuss Chad Stahelski’s latest entry in the JOHN WICK franchise, CHAPTER 3—PARABELLUM, and its place in the action pantheon alongside Walter Hill’s 1979 cult classic THE WARRIORS. After talking over our reactions to the latest JOHN WICK, and the series as a whole, we bring in THE WARRIORS to compare how these two films’ respective styles approach the streets of New York and action choreography, how they both embrace the trope of...more

  • #178: Escapes From New York, Pt. 1 - The Warriors

    May 28 2019

    The latest chapter in the JOHN WICK saga, the new PARABELLUM, follows its assassin hero on a long perilous journey through hostile territory, a setup that brought to mind Walter Hill’s controversial hit turned cult classic THE WARRIORS. In this half of our pairing of violent journeys through the night, we examine Hill’s film in the context of the director’s late-’70s/early-’80s hot streak, to discuss how its rain-slicked streets and stylized version of New York gang culture came to typify a cert...more

  • #177: Political Affairs, Pt. 2 - Long Shot

    May 21 2019

    It’s rare for a rom-com to situate itself firmly in the realm of contemporary American politics, which makes Jonathan Levin’s new Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen-starring LONG SHOT feel in many ways like a spiritual sequel to 1995’s THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT, right down to both films’ exploration of moral compromise through a big environmental initiative. But LONG SHOT takes a distinctly different comedic approach to its material, which we dig into before bringing these two political romances togeth...more

  • #176: Political Affairs, Pt. 1 - The American President

    May 14 2019

    The new Charlize Theron/Seth Rogan rom-com LONG SHOT looks for comedy at the intersection of love and the highest tier of American politics, an unusual combination that positions it as a spiritual successor to an earlier, much more earnest portrayal of a similarly unlikely romance — that of Rob Reiner’s 1995 Aaron Sorkin-penned crowd-pleaser THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT. In this half of our pairing of the two films, we look back at THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT to consider how its Clinton-era populism scans ...more

  • #175: Twisty Mysteries, Pt. 2 - Under the Silver Lake

    May 07 2019

    David Robert Mitchell’s wandering, shaggy, endlessly referential UNDER THE SILVER LAKE isn’t nearly as tightly plotted as Roman Polanski’s CHINATOWN, one of its many cinematic reference points, but it’s just as stark and cynical about both human nature and its Los Angeles setting. In this half of our pairing of twisty, paranoid LA mysteries, we dig into whether UNDER THE SILVER LAKE is a movie that can be solved, or a movie that mocks attempts to solve it, before bringing in CHINATOWN to see how...more

  • #174: Twisty Mysteries, Pt. 1 - Chinatown

    Apr 30 2019

    In David Robert Mitchell’s new UNDER THE SILVER LAKE, every clue leads deeper down a rabbit hole toward an endpoint that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the beginning point. In a film as referential as Mitchell’s, that structure seems purposefully lifted from Roman Polanski’s 1974 classic CHINATOWN, another sunlit noir about a private investigator who starts with a simple philandering case and winds up peeking into a secret battle for control of the city. In this half of our pairing of ...more

  • #173: Big Little Guys, Pt. 2 - Shazam!

    Apr 23 2019

    The new superhero movie SHAZAM owes such a debt to Penny Marshall’s weird and whimsical 1988 comedy BIG that it includes a giant piano as an homage, but the connections between these two wish-fulfillment fantasies go beyond their shared premises. After discussing how SHAZAM distinguishes itself from other superhero films, and what it might say about the future of the DCEU, we bring in BIG to see how these two films echo and refract each other in their ideas about what maturity looks like to kids...more

  • #172: Big Little Guys, Pt. 1 - Big (1988)

    Apr 16 2019

    The new SHAZAM, about a 14-year-old kid granted the power of becoming a grown-up superhero, openly acknowledges the debt it owes to Penny Marshall’s 1988 breakthrough BIG, which made a potent comic fantasy out of what adolescents imagine adulthood to be. In this first half of our pairing of the two films, we wrestle with BIG's age-shifted central relationship and marvel over how stars Tom Hanks and Elizabeth Perkins manage to find some real sweetness within an uncomfortable romantic scenario, wh...more

  • #171: Double Troubles, Pt. 2 - Us

    Apr 09 2019

    Our pairing of devious doppelgängers arrives at Jordan Peele’s new US, which brings into 2019 some of the same themes of paranoia and dread seen in one of its many predecessors, Philip Kaufman’s INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS. After comparing our reactions to US’s “messy by design” narrative and the conversations that have sprung up around it, we bring these two films together to compare how they reflect their respective eras, how each works as horror, and the weird character relationships that ...more

  • #170: Double Troubles, Pt. 1 - Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

    Apr 02 2019

    Jordan Peele’s new US extends a long history of horror stories that use doppelgängers to explore identity, one that includes as a cornerstone Philip Kaufman’s 1978 adaptation of INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS. This episode we delve into the film’s eerie version of San Francisco to talk about how its atmosphere of dread and late-‘70s malaise distinguishes it from other versions of this story, and amplifies the human drama within this classic alien-invasion narrative. Plus, some feedback inspired ...more

  • #169: Muscled Memories, Pt. 2 - Captain Marvel

    Mar 26 2019

    Our pairing of sci-fi action films with a side of meditation on memory and identity brings in the new CAPTAIN MARVEL to see how Carol Danvers’ journey of lost and reclaimed memories looks next to the very different (and much bloodier) journey taken by Douglas Quaid in Paul Verhoeven’s TOTAL RECALL. We share our reactions to CAPTAIN MARVEL and its choice to center its narrative on an amnesiac hero, then bring in TOTAL RECALL to compare the two films’ approaches to their central ideas about memory...more

  • #168: Muscled Memories, Pt. 1 - Total Recall (1990)

    Mar 19 2019

    The newest MCU entry CAPTAIN MARVEL is, among other things, an action-packed science-fiction film that’s also interested in the question of how memory relates to identity. That, plus the film’s 1990s setting, put us in mind of another cosmic blockbuster from that era with similar ideas crackling beneath its action-movie surface: Paul Verhoeven’s TOTAL RECALL. In this half of our pairing of brawny-yet-brainy blockbusters, we debate how much TOTAL RECALL is asking us to interrogate the bloody acti...more

  • #167: The Hustle Play, Pt, 2 - High Flying Bird

    Mar 12 2019

    Like WHITE MEN CAN’T JUMP, Steven Soderbergh’s new Netflix digital experiment HIGH FLYING BIRD looks at what it takes for talented basketball players to survive outside of the professional leagues, with a high-stakes corporate heist in place of that film’s street-level hustle. This week, we talk over our reactions to HIGH FLYING BIRD’s story, dialogue, and in particular its iPhone cinematography, before bringing these two films together to look at how they each depict baller life outside the NBA...more

  • #166: The Hustle Play, Pt. 1 - White Men Can't Jump

    Mar 05 2019

    Steven Soderbergh’s new quick-and-dirty Netflix film HIGH FLYING BIRD follows a basketball agent’s bold attempt to work outside the dictates of a professional league, a hustle that calls to mind the Venice Beach street-ball scene of Ron Shelton’s 1992 comedy WHITE MEN CAN’T JUMP. In this half of our look at freelance ballers and the games they play on and off the court, we talk about what WHITE MEN CAN’T JUMP has to say about the game, friendship, race, and how they intersect, and dig into how a...more

  • #165: The Bloody Act of Creation, Pt. 2 - Velvet Buzzsaw

    Feb 26 2019

    Like Roger Corman’s A BUCKET OF BLOOD, the new Netflix release VELVET BUZZSAW, director Dan Gilroy’s follow-up to NIGHTCRAWLER, presents as an art-world satire wrapped around the bones of a horror movie, though it doesn’t deliver on the horror element until pretty deep into the film. We talk over whether that approach is a benefit or detriment to both sides of the horror-satire equation, and about whether Netflix’s current content model is a natural evolution of the “give ‘em what they want” str...more

  • #164: The Bloody Act of Creation, Pt. 1 - A Bucket of Blood

    Feb 19 2019

    Inspired by Dan Gilroy’s new VELVET BUZZSAW — and a listener suggestion — we’re looking back this week at another darkly humorous tweaking of the destructive world of high art and those who inhabit it: Roger Corman’s 1959 low-budget horror-comedy A BUCKET OF BLOOD. In this half of the pairing we talk about how Corman and screenwriter Charles B. Griffith balance the film’s tricky tone, how its obvious cheapness reflects Corman’s storied ability to work within restrictions, and what it’s like to w...more

  • #163: Chris Smith's Charismatic Dreamers, Pt. 2 - American Movie

    Feb 12 2019

    Chris Smith’s new Netflix doc FYRE tells the story of huckster Billy McFarland and his doomed Fyre Festival as a compelling piece of meat-and-potatoes journalism that’s far from the verité of Smith’s portrait of Mark Borchardt in 1999’s AMERICAN MOVIE. But for all their surface differences, at heart FYRE is another movie about a charismatic leader who overpromises and under-delivers. After dissecting what FYRE shows us — and doesn’t show us — about McFarland’s history of scammy endeavors, we dig...more

  • #162: Chris Smith's Charismatic Dreamers, Pt. 1 - American Movie

    Feb 05 2019

    The new Netflix documentary FYRE: THE GREATEST PARTY THAT NEVER HAPPENEDfinds director Chris Smith returning to a character type that defined his 1999 Sundance breakout AMERICAN MOVIE: the charismatic dreamer who overpromises and under-delivers. In AMERICAN MOVIE, that dreamer is one Mark Borchardt, an independent filmmaker from Milwaukee whose moviemaking dreams are continually stymied by circumstance, both external and of his own making. In this half of our Smith pairing, we revisit AMERICAN M...more

  • #161: Enter the Shyamalaniverse, Pt. 2 - Glass

    Jan 29 2019

    The evolution of a divisive auteur.We return once more to the Shyamalaniverse to dig into the culmination of the so-called Eastrail 177 trilogy, the new GLASS, which purports to be the thrilling conclusion of a story that began with 2000’s UNBREAKABLE. Has divisive auteur M. Night Shyamalan discovered a new trick up his sleeve, or is GLASS and its climactic parking lot fight yet another example of the diminishing returns that have plagued his filmography? After breaking down our reactions to GLA...more

  • #160: Enter The Shyamalaniverse, Pt. 1 - Unbreakable

    Jan 22 2019

    With M. Night Shyamalan’s new GLASS purporting to be the culmination of his so-called Eastrail 177 trilogy, we’re returning to the film that set it in motion, and that many rank among the divisive writer-director’s best: UNBREAKABLE. How does this brooding, stylistically bold superhero origin story look today, in a culture where both comics and their movie adaptations play a much more central role than they did in 2000? How do Shyamalan’s various auteur signatures, good and bad alike, play out i...more

  • #159: Great Power, Great Responsibility, Pt. 2 - Into the Spider-Verse

    Jan 01 2019

    The remarkable new animated film SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDERVERSE has us thwipping through the beloved web-slinger’s cinematic history to see how it culminated in a Miles Morales origin story that doubles as a giddy trip through Spidey-lore. After some collective swooning over SPIDERVERSE’s unique and eye-popping style and clever conceit, we put the new film in conversation with another top-tier Spider-man film, Sam Raimi’s 2004 sequel SPIDER-MAN 2, to see what the films share, and how they diff...more

  • #158: Great Power, Great Responsibility, Pt. 1 - Spider-Man 2

    Dec 25 2018

    Spider-Man, the web-slinging comics creation of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, has made the leap to movie screens many times, but arguably never as successfully as in Sam Raimi’s 2004 sequel SPIDER-MAN 2 — or, perhaps, in the new animated entry INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE. This week we’re putting two of Spidey’s cinematic high-water marks in conversation, beginning with a deep dive into why SPIDER-MAN 2 holds up so well, how its performances and action work together to honor its comic-book roots, and wheth...more

  • #157: Girl World, Pt. 2 - The Favourite

    Dec 18 2018

    Our trip through Girl World makes its second stop with Yorgos Lanthimos’ new period piece THE FAVOURITE, to see how its portrayal of women battling for social advantage in Queen Anne’s court looks next to the more contemporary high-school machinations of 2004’s MEAN GIRLS. After sharing our reactions to THE FAVOURITE and pinpointing its most “Lanthimosian” characteristics, we pit these two films against each other to see which portrayal of the cruelty and backbiting of Girl World—and Guy World!—...more

  • #156: Girl World, Pt. 1 - Mean Girls

    Dec 11 2018

    Yorgos Lanthimos’ THE FAVOURITE is, in the words of star Rachel Weisz, a bit like a “high-stakes MEAN GIRLS”: It’s the story of a woman in power challenged by a fresh young outsider, only it plays out in the halls of court rather than the halls of a suburban high school. In this half of our pairing examining the power plays and back-biting of “Girl World,” we look back first at Mark Waters’s MEAN GIRLS to ask whether the much-quoted Tina Fey-penned comedy is still totally fetch, and which of its...more

  • #155: The Chicago Way, Pt. 2 - Steve McQueen's "Widows"

    Dec 04 2018

    We return to the City of Big Shoulders circa the present day for a discussion of Steve McQueen's thrilling new WIDOWS, a Chicago-set heist movie that builds on a foundation of urban corruption in a manner reminiscent of Michael Mann's 1981 debut THIEF. After sharing our reactions to WIDOWS, we look at the two films in tandem to see how they portray their respective criminal leaders, how they incorporate the city's deeply entrenched corruption and cynicism, and how they each handle Scott's Belove...more

  • #154: The Chicago Way, Pt. 1 - Michael Mann's "Thief"

    Nov 27 2018

    Director Steve McQueen’s new thriller WIDOWS is a Chicago-set heist film that puts to good use the city’s notorious corruption, which puts it in the company of Michael Mann’s stylish 1981 feature debut THIEF. In this half of our Windy City-centric pairing, we dig into THIEF and its strangely compelling criminal protagonist Frank, played by James Caan, to see what the film says about the kind of city Chicago was (and is), and the kind of filmmaker Mann would become. Plus, still more feedback on B...more

  • #153: Lost Films Found, Pt . 2 - Shirkers

    Nov 20 2018

    A landmark first feature shot in the 90s but never seen until now.Where Orson Welles' THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND is the story of a movie finished years after its director let it go, Sandi Tan’s new SHIRKERS is the story of a film its director could never really let go. In this half of our discussion on lost films found, we share our reactions to Tan’s unusual film, before bringing in Welles' WIND to see what the two films share in their portraits of auteurism, their difficult production historie...more

  • #152: Lost Films Found, Pt. 1 - The Other Side of the Wind

    Nov 13 2018

    Orson Welles' final film is finally finished. We’re switching things up this week to look at a pair of new films that are also old films — sort of — which together show that while making movies is always hard, some are harder than others. Orson Welles shot THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND decades ago, but the previously unfinished film is only seeing the light of day now, alongside a documentary about another kind of lost film, Sandi Tan’s SHIRKERS. In this first half, we dig in to why WIND is the lou...more

  • #151: A Star Is Born, Pt. 2 - Bradley Cooper (2018)

    Nov 06 2018

    Bradley Cooper’s debut directorial feature A STAR IS BORN is the fourth film to bear that title, and the second to translate this Hollywood tale of rising and falling fame to the music industry. And much like George Cukor’s 1954 version starring Judy Garland, it’s a fantastic showcase for its leading lady, played this time around by Lady Gaga as an aspiring songwriter to Bradley Cooper’s fading rock god. In bringing this oft-told tale to the screen, Cooper’s version follows most of of the broad ...more

  • #150: A Star Is Born, Pt. 1 - George Cukor (1954)

    Oct 30 2018

    Bradley Cooper’s new A STAR IS BORN remake is a current-day spin on a Hollywood fable that’s been around since the 1930s, about a struggling male star and the young ingenue he pushes toward fame. But its music-industry setting makes it a particularly apt match for George Cukor’s 1954 musical spin on the tale, starring a career-redefining Judy Garland as the titular star to James Mason’s fading one. In this half of our two-part discussion of the films, we dig into the legend and legacy of Cukor’s...more

  • #149: Robert Redford, Pt. 2 - The Old Man and the Gun

    Oct 23 2018

    Robert Redford says that his starring role in David Lowery’s new THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN will be his final film performance, and if that turns out to be the case, it is in many ways an ideal bookend to Redford’s breakout role in the classic 1969 Western BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID. In this second half of our Redford pairing, we talk over the many echoes between OLD MAN and BUTCH CASSIDY, from their respective views on a life of crime and methods of robbery, to how each treats their centra...more

  • #148: Robert Redford, Pt. 1 - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

    Oct 16 2018

    David Lowery’s new THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN draws purposely and purposefully on the legacy of Robert Redford, which makes it a perfect bookend to Redford’s star-making turn in George Roy Hill’s elegiac 1969 blockbuster BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID. In this first half of our Redford double feature, we dive into that earlier film’s legacy, considering its place in the Western tradition, its quirky yet widely appealing tone, and the complimentary but very different performances of Redford and ...more

  • #147: (Pt. 2) Fahrenheit 11/9 / Roger & Me

    Oct 09 2018

    Is FAHRENHEIT 11/9, Michael Moore’s latest essay-film about the state of the nation under Trump, a natural extension of the techniques used in his 1989 debut ROGER & ME, or a worst-case-scenario evolution of Moore’s filmmaking style? We try to wrap our heads around that question as we put the two films in conversation, looking at what they tell us about the figure Moore has become, how he’s affected the development of first-person documentary, and whether his approach plays in 2018’s heighte...more

  • #146: (Pt. 1) Fahrenheit 11/9 / Roger & Me

    Oct 02 2018

    With Michael Moore’s latest provocation, FAHRENHEIT 11/9, in theaters, we’re returning to the liberal gadfly’s cinematic origins: 1989’s ROGER & ME, a first-person documentary about the declining fortunes of Moore’s hometown of Flint, Michigan, which makes a notable return appearance in his latest film. In this half of the pairing, we consider the impact of Michael Moore, for better and worse, on the culture and documentary form alike, and whether the criticisms leveled at the film upon its ...more

  • #145: (Pt. 2) BlackKklansman / Malcolm X

    Sep 11 2018

    Though BLACKKKLANSMAN is, like MALCOLM X, drawn from real life, Spike Lee’s newest film takes more liberties in telling its ostensibly true story (something that’s drawn criticism from some corners). And also like MALCOLM X, it’s a film set in the past that’s commenting, often directly, on the present. Together the two films give us a lot to talk about, from their respective uses of speechmaking and divided identities, to their perspectives on white allies. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we...more

  • #144: (Pt. 1) BlackKklansman / Malcolm X

    Sep 04 2018

    Spike Lee’s new BLACKKKLANSMAN is an urgent call to look to the past to understand the present, an approach it shares with many of Lee’s films, though perhaps none as strongly as his 1992 epic biopic MALCOLM X. The films revisit two different chapters in 20th-century history, and star two different members of the Washington family — Denzel and his son, John David — but both are pure Lee in both their narrative motivations and their filmmaking technique. In this half, we consider what makes MALCO...more

  • #143: (Pt. 2) Jaws / The Meg

    Aug 28 2018

    Jon Turteltaub’s new late-summer sharkstravaganza THE MEG isn’t shy about the debt it owes to Steven Spielberg’s JAWS, nor about its clear conception as an international co-production partially aimed at the Chinese market. We discuss whether those qualities end up being an asset or a liability in our discussion of THE MEG, before bringing in JAWS to examine how the shark movie has progressed, and not, from 1975 through the current day. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoin...more

  • #142: (Pt. 1) Jaws / The Meg

    Aug 21 2018

    The new Jason Statham late-summer vehicle THE MEG, like so many middling shark movies before it, can trace its lineage directly to the 1975 film that made us afraid to go into the water: Steven Spielberg’s JAWS. In this half of our sharktastic discussion, we’re diving in (cautiously) to what your NPS crew considers a perfect movie, considering what gives JAWS its hidden depths, what it told us about the director Spielberg would become, and whether its impact on the blockbuster model is a net pos...more

  • #141: (Pt. 2) Mission: Impossible - Fallout / Mission: Impossible (1996)

    Aug 14 2018

    With its latest entry FALLOUT, the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE franchise has solidified its evolution from the spy thriller Brian De Palma made in 1996 into the setpiece-centric, Tom Cruise-endangering action series we know it as today. In this half of our franchise-spanning conversation, we look at what FALLOUT, helmed by first-time returning director Christopher McQuarrie, brings to the table in terms of stakes-raising action and plot. Then we pull at the many strings connecting the two ends of the MI...more

  • #140: (Pt. 1) Mission: Impossible - Fallout / Mission: Impossible (1996)

    Aug 07 2018

    The new MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE — FALLOUT is the latest entry in a franchise that’s become a showpiece for Tom Cruise-endangering stunts and practical effects, but the surprisingly enduring action series began as something more akin to a spy thriller built around a handful of Hitchcockian setpieces. In this half of our franchise-spanning pairing, we look back at 1996’s MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, in which Brian De Palma helped shape what the series would become, while also exerting his own iconoclastic sty...more

  • #139: (Pt. 2) Sorry To Bother You / Putney Swope (1969)

    Jul 31 2018

    As with Robert Downey Sr.’s 1969 satirical oddity PUTNEY SWOPE, there’s a lot going on in Boots Riley’s new SORRY TO BOTHER YOU, which takes a similar anything-goes approach to the intersection of race and capitalism. In the second part of our “white voice” double feature, we dig into the anti-capitalist philosophy that unites Riley’s work and keeps SORRY TO BOTHER YOU on the rails, then we look at how the two films compare in their views of race and capitalism, and their use of satire and surre...more

  • #138: (Pt. 1) Sorry To Bother You / Putney Swope (1969)

    Jul 24 2018

    Rapper-director Boots Riley has said he hadn’t seen Robert Downey Sr.’s 1969 satirical comedy PUTNEY SWOPE when he made the buzzy new SORRY TO BOTHER YOU, but the films share so much on both a surface level (white men providing the literal voices of black characters) and deeper thematic ones (concerns about capitalism, race, and what it might take to burn down an unjust system) that we had to put them in conversation with each other. In this half, we try to make sense of the fascinating mess tha...more

  • #137: (Pt. 2) Hereditary / Don't Look Now

    Jul 17 2018

    Ari Aster’s debut feature HEREDITARY carries over the themes of grief, guilt, and extrasensory perception found in Nicolas Roeg’s 1973 shocker DON’T LOOK NOW, another emotionally grueling story about parents wrestling with loss. After discussing our sometimes-visceral reactions to Aster’s film, we put these two movies in conversation with each other, talking over their use of shock tactics, the supernatural, and a memorable setting. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing e...more

  • #136: (Pt. 1) Hereditary / Don't Look Now

    Jul 10 2018

    Ari Aster’s breakout debut HEREDITARY draws on a fair number of horror touchpoints, but it’s linked by its themes of parental grief and psychic distress to another terrifying film about the lingering impact of a death in the family: Nicolas Roeg’s form-busting 1973 thriller DON’T LOOK NOW. In this half focused on Roeg’s film, we discuss why the film’s intensity of emotion is integral to its horror, what makes its shadowy vision of Venice so unnerving, and what's behind the film’s famously graphi...more

  • #135: (Pt. 2) Incredibles 2 / Goldfinger

    Jun 28 2018

    On the surface, Brad Bird’s new animated family adventure INCREDIBLES 2 wouldn’t seem to have a lot in common with Guy Hamilton’s swingin’ 1964 James Bond entry GOLDFINGER, but superhero films and spy movies are actually pretty closely thematically related, as we discover in our comparison of the two films. After discussing our reactions to INCREDIBLES 2, a follow-up to what one of us calls “a perfect movie,” we look at how these two very different versions of 1960s heroism compare in their evol...more

  • #134: (Pt. 1) Incredibles 2 / Goldfinger

    Jun 26 2018

    This week on the podcast, it’s supervillains, secretive heroes, and slippery schemes as we pair Brad Bird’s new, long-delayed INCREDIBLES 2 with arguably the best iteration of one of Bird’s oft-cited reference points — James Bond — the third film in the Bond franchise, 1964’s GOLDFINGER. In this Bond-centric first half, we discuss how GOLDFINGER helped codify the 007 we know so well today, how its aspirational qualities and gender politics have aged, and how playing Bond shapes an actor’s subseq...more

  • #133: (Pt. 2) First Reformed / Taxi Driver

    Jun 14 2018

    Our examination of Paul Schrader’s fixation with “God’s Lonely Man” continues with the critic-turned-screenwriter-turned-director’s 20th film, the searing and excellent FIRST REFORMED, which shares more in common with the Schrader-scripted TAXI DRIVER than just a lonely male protagonist. After examining our reactions to FIRST REFORMED — including its bold ending — we look at how these two films make use of their female characters and the idea of the male savior, what they have to say about socie...more

  • #132: (Pt. 1) First Reformed / Taxi Driver

    Jun 12 2018

    Paul Schrader’s excellent, difficult new film FIRST REFORMED inspires us to travel back to Schrader’s first screenwriting collaboration with Martin Scorsese and grapple with TAXI DRIVER, to see how Schrader’s vision of “God’s Lonely Man” first graced movie screens. In this first half focusing on TAXI DRIVER, we discuss the techniques Scorsese uses to force us into Travis Bickle’s sick mind, and consider what effect that approach has had on the reception and legacy of this “dangerous” film. Plus,...more

  • #131: (Pt. 2) Deadpool 2 / Gremlins 2: The New Batch

    May 31 2018

    In part two of our comparison of two part twos, we dig into the meta magic that animates both GREMLINS 2 and DEADPOOL 2 (and get a little meta ourselves in the process). After discussing what works and doesn’t in DEADPOOL 2, a film with a lot that works and a lot that doesn’t, we look at how these two studio sequels tap into similar but different veins of self-aware and reference-based humor, how they play with the restrictions and perks of studio filmmaking, and how to break the fourth wall wit...more

  • #130: (Pt. 1) Deadpool 2 / Gremlins 2: The New Batch

    May 29 2018

    The new DEADPOOL 2 shares a self-aware sensibility and anarchic spirit with Joe Dante’s GREMLINS 2: THE NEW BATCH, which saw the director returning reluctantly to the franchise and wreaking havoc on everything that had made it a hit, up to and including the much-loved (by everyone but Dante) mogwai Gizmo. That approach works far better for some of us that others, and so we spend much of the first half of this pairing debating whether GREMLINS 2 is a funny movie, a good movie, both — or neither. ...more

  • #129: (Pt. 2) Avengers: Infinity War / X2: X-Men United

    May 17 2018

    AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR is the culmination of a decade of Marvel moviemaking, but much of the mechanics of this massive superteam machine can be traced back further, to what was once the biggest teamup of the modern superhero era, 2002’s X2: X-MEN UNITED. After we spend some time helping Scott work out his emotions surrounding INFINITY WAR, we dive into the connections between these two films, including their mass-extinction plots, their lazily conceived romantic pairings, and their respective fe...more

  • #128: (Pt. 1) Avengers: Infinity War / X2: X-Men United

    May 15 2018

    The Russo Brothers’ new, massive AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR may exist in a different cinematic universe than Bryan Singer’s 2003 sequel X2: X-MEN UNITED, but the two films use a lot of the same tricks to bring Marvel's four-color heroes to a live-action setting, and both function as middle chapters in a bigger ongoing saga. In this half of the pairing, we consider how X2’s superteam dynamics look after 15 years of subsequent superhero-movie evolution, dig into the malleability of the mutant metaphor...more

  • #127: (Pt 2) The Rider / Close-Up

    May 03 2018

    Chloe Zhao’s THE RIDER’s naturalistic synthesis of documentary and narrative has some roots in Abbas Kiarostami’s 1990 Iranian classic CLOSE-UP, but with a very different story to tell, about a very different part of the world. After discussing what made The Rider one of our favorite films of the year so far, we look at how these two films both dance on the line separating fact and fiction, through their use of non-actors, their respective sense of place, and their preoccupation with identity. P...more

  • #126: (Pt. 1) The Rider / Close-Up

    May 01 2018

    Chloe Zhao’s new THE RIDER lives in the space between the real world and a fictional world that was memorably carved out by Abbas Kiarostami’s 1990 classic CLOSE-UP, which blends documentary and narrative to find a third approach that draws on the strengths of both while committing to neither. In this half of the comparison, we dig into what makes CLOSE-UP tick, where it fits into a Western understanding of Iranian cinema, and how Kiarostami calls attention to the artificiality of filmmaking. Pl...more

  • #125: (Pt. 2) Isle of Dogs / Chicken Run

    Apr 19 2018

    We continue our examination of stop-motion animals conspiring to escape captivity by bringing in ISLE OF DOGS, Wes Anderson’s new Japan-set homage/provocation, to see how it stacks up against Aardman Animations’ 2000 feature CHICKEN RUN. After weighing the controversy that’s arisen around ISLE OF DOGS against our own reactions to the film, we dig into what unites these two tonally distinct features, from their deployment of cinematic reference points to their ideas about human/animal interaction...more

  • #124: (Pt. 1) Isle of Dogs / Chicken Run

    Apr 17 2018

    Is there such a thing as “auteurist animation”? That’s a question that unites this week’s pairing, which looks at two highly collaborative stop-motion animated films that nonetheless bear the fingerprints of a singular filmmaking presence: Wes Anderson’s new ISLE OF DOGS and Aardman Animations’ 2000 feature CHICKEN RUN, co-directed by Wallace & Gromit creator Nick Park. In this half of the pairing we focus on CHICKEN RUN, digging into what exactly gives it that “Aardman Touch,” whether its s...more

  • #123: (Pt. 2) Ready Player One / Tron (1982)

    Apr 05 2018

    Steven Lisberger’s groundbreaking live-action Disney film TRON is one of the few 1980s properties that doesn’t get explicitly referenced in Steven Spielberg’s new adaptation of Ernest Cline’s novel READY PLAYER ONE, but the earlier film makes up a significant portion of RP1’s source code. After discussing our reactions to READY PLAYER ONE, and hashing out what made Cline’s novel become so strangely controversial, we look at what connects and distinguishes these two films about life inside a vide...more

  • #122: (Pt. 1) Ready Player One / Tron (1982)

    Apr 03 2018

    Steven Spielberg’s new READY PLAYER ONE turns videogaming into both a fantasy adventure and a meta-narrative about adventure fantasies, a premise that feels directly inspired — and given Ernest Cline’s source novel, almost certainly is — by Steven Lisberger’s 1982 Disney oddity TRON. Before digging into what connects the two films, we dive into TRON’s glow-y, rudimentarily CGI-ed mainframe to consider the bits and bytes that drive this fascinatingly flawed film, from its confusing religious unde...more

  • #121: (Pt. 2) Thoroughbreds / Diabolique (1955)

    Mar 22 2018

    Like H.G. Clouzot’s DIABOLIQUE, Cory Finley’s directorial debut THOROUGHBREDS develops around a plot between two women who enter into a pact to murder a purely malevolent man, but to much different effect. After discussing our reactions to THOROUGHBREDS’ hyper-formal style and disconcerting ending, we dig into how the two films compare and contrast in terms of their many stylistic flourishes, their motivations for murder, and their respective killer conspiracies. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, wh...more

  • #120: (Pt. 1) Thoroughbreds / Diabolique (1955)

    Mar 20 2018

    Cory Finley’s stylish directorial debut THOROUGHBREDS follows an unlikely pairing of women as they endeavor to kill a domineering man in their life, a setup reminiscent of H.G. Clouzot’s classic 1955 shocker DIABOLIQUE, which took that premise and then applied one of cinema’s all-time greatest twists. In this half of our pairing, we dig deep into DIABOLIQUE, discussing whether its legendary ending is “spoiler-proof,” admiring the skill with which Clouzot keeps viewers off their guard (and how it...more

  • #119: (Pt. 2) Annihilation / Stalker (1979)

    Mar 08 2018

    We take another science-fiction-adjacent journey into the unknown via Alex Garland’s new ANNIHILATION, a distinctive cinematic vision that nonetheless calls back to Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 film STALKER in terms of its structure and filmmaking — if not quite the specifics of its dreamlike narrative and themes. After discussing what puzzled and delighted us about ANNIHILATION, we discuss what connects it to STALKER, and how both challenge viewers in their own way. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, whe...more

  • #118: (Pt. 1) Annihilation / Stalker (1979)

    Mar 06 2018

    Alex Garland’s new ANNIHILATION is a loose adaptation of a novel, but its premise, themes, and style give it just as strong a connection to Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 philosophical science fiction film STALKER. In this half of the pairing, we venture into STALKER’s mysterious Zone on a search for meaning and metaphor within an enigmatic cinematic landscape that’s as beguiling as it is intimidating. Plus, feedback on some recent episodes that were, and episodes that might have been.Please share your...more

  • #117: (Pt. 2) The Shape of Water / The Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954)

    Feb 22 2018

    We return to the deep, dark waters of the id to unpack what SHAPE OF WATER director Guillermo Del Toro saw in Jack Arnold’s 1954 horror-sci-fi classic CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON that inspired him to literalize a relationship between a woman and a fish-man. After analyzing the range of reactions we had toward Del Toro’s film and debating whether it is a “snowglobe movie,” we plunge into the connections that link the two films, from the obvious character analogs to their not-so-obvious shared ...more

  • #116: (Pt. 1) The Shape of Water / The Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954)

    Feb 20 2018

    Guillermo Del Toro has made clear that his new THE SHAPE OF WATER stems directly from his obsession with 1954’s THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, and his desire to see the “romance” between the monster and leading lady work out. We unpack that desire by revisiting Jack Arnold’s horror-sci-fi classic, to consider the film’s place in the Universal Monsters pantheon and mid-century sci-fi boom alike, ponder what makes the image of a screaming woman being spirited away by a monster so enduring, an...more

  • #115: (Pt 2) A Futile and Stupid Gesture / Wet Hot American Summer

    Feb 08 2018

    David Wain’s new A FUTILE AND STUPID GESTURE brings the deconstructive spirit of his cult comedy classic WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER to the biopic formula, putting a meta, self-aware spin on the story of Doug Kenney, co-founder of The National Lampoon. After digging into the benefits and limitations of Wain’s approach as applied to a sprawling biopic-slash-portrait of a scene, we talk over how the two films work together, as points of comparison as well as contrast. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, whe...more

  • #114: (Pt. 1) A Futile and Stupid Gesture / Wet Hot American Summer

    Feb 06 2018

    David Wain’s new biopic spoof A FUTILE AND STUPID GESTURE had a pretty ignominious Netflix debut, but that seems in keeping with the comedic director’s history of films that are unappreciated in their time but grow a cult following — a history that was established with 2001’s WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER, a Sundance flop that’s now rightly considered a comedy classic. In the first half of our comparison of the two films, we talk over our WET HOT impressions then and now, share some theories for why i...more

  • #113: (Pt. 2) Phantom Thread / Rebecca (1940)

    Jan 25 2018

    With PHANTOM THREAD, Paul Thomas Anderson has repurposed REBECCA to his own ends, telling a personal story that’s unique from the original yet still resonates with echoes of Hitchcock’s gothic romance. We tug at the many threads Anderson has woven throughout his film, before diving into what unites it with REBECCA, from the two films’ character analogs to their complementary relationships with food. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing experiences in hopes of putting som...more

  • #112: (Pt. 1) Phantom Thread / Rebecca (1940)

    Jan 23 2018

    Paul Thomas Anderson has made it clear that his new PHANTOM THREAD is a purposeful riff on Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 Best Picture winner REBECCA, inspiring us to return to Manderley for a reflection on the film that brought Hitchcock to Hollywood (and to producer David O. Selznick, whom he famously clashed with). We talk over what REBECCA gained and lost from being produced under the Hays Code, what it signaled for Hitchcock’s career going forward, and what to make of the two big relationships (or...more

  • #111: (Pt. 2) I, Tonya / To Die For (1995)

    Jan 11 2018

    Like Gus Van Sant’s TO DIE FOR, Craig Gillespie’s new I, TONYA takes a light, playful tone with a lot of ugly events, an approach that’s earned it acclaim and some criticism, particularly for its treatment of domestic violence. We talk over our reactions to that and the rest of I, TONYA, then dive into the many connections between these two films, from their portrayals of a scandal-hungry media to their depictions of ambitious women in bad marriages to their conspicuous use of attention-getting ...more

  • #110: (Pt. 1) I, Tonya / To Die For (1995)

    Jan 09 2018

    Craig Gillespie’s crowd-pleasing new I, TONYA features a tragicomic tone, a genesis in tabloid true-crime, and an abundance of style, all qualities it shares with Gus Van Sant’s 1995 mockumentary TO DIE FOR, starring an ascendant Nicole Kidman. In this half of our discussion of the two films, we attempt to pinpoint where TO DIE FOR fits into Van Sant’s varied filmography, how it navigates its tricky tonal and narrative divides, and what exactly its broad satire is actually targeting. Plus, in pl...more

  • #109: (Pt. 2) Call Me By Your Name / The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

    Dec 28 2017

    We return to the consideration of pleasure and heartbreak under the Italian sun via Luca Guadagnino’s sensual new romance CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, a film with a very different narrative than THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY that nonetheless shares some of its major characteristics. After sharing our reactions to CMBYN, we dive into a discussion of what the two films share, and don’t, in their portrayals of life in (and a little bit out of) the closet, their approach to the Italian/American cultural divide, ...more

  • #108: (Pt. 1) Call Me By Your Name / The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

    Dec 26 2017

    The new CALL ME BY YOUR NAME’s gorgeous invocation of Italian summers and repressed desire brought to mind an earlier film that does the same, though to much darker ends: Anthony Minghella’s 1999 film THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY, starring top-of-their-games Matt Damon, Jude Law, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Gwyneth Paltrow. In this half of the discussion, we dig into what all three of those actors bring to their respective roles, as well as the additions Minghella brings to his adaptation of Patricia...more

  • #107: (Pt. 2) The Disaster Artist / Ed Wood (1994)

    Dec 14 2017

    Our so-bad-it’s-good moviemaking double feature continues with a new film from James Franco that channels the spirit of Tim Burton’s ED WOOD: THE DISASTER ARTIST, about the tortured making of Tommy Wiseau’s cult hit THE ROOM. We discuss the new film in some depth before going into its connections to ED WOOD, from their depictions of the filmmaking process to their shared instinct to send their tragic subjects out on a high note. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing exper...more

  • #106: (Pt. 1) The Disaster Artist / Ed Wood (1994)

    Dec 12 2017

    Inspired by James Franco’s new THE DISASTER ARTIST, we look back at another movie about bad movies and the people who make them, Tim Burton’s 1994 comic biodrama ED WOOD. In this half of our discussion, we muse on the motivations driving Wood and Burton alike, locate the emotional core of this highly stylized film, and try to determine what makes a good bad movie, rather than just a plain old bad one. Plus, some feedback on a recent episode and a suggestion for a pairing that might have been.Ple...more

  • #105: (Pt. 2) Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri / State & Main (2000)

    Nov 30 2017

    Following our visit to David Mamet’s STATE AND MAIN, we head to another small town for a different sort of redemption tale: Martin McDonagh’s THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI. While the two films may not have a whole lot of overlap in terms of plot, they share a theatrical lineage as well as a tweaked view of small-town life, and both feature stacked ensembles with a strong handle on writerly dialogue, all of which we dig into here. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent fi...more

  • #104: (Pt. 1) Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri / State & Main (2000)

    Nov 28 2017

    Inspired by Martin McDonagh’s new pitch-black comedy THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI, we look back at another playwright-driven film about redemption set in a small town populated by a colorful ensemble: David Mamet’s 2000 comedy STATE AND MAIN. How does the sex scandal at the center of Mamet's film look in a post-Weinstein 2017? What are we to make of the film’s cynicism toward Hollywood and those who populate it? And just what is the deal with that running matzo gag? We discuss all t...more

  • #103: (Pt. 2) Lady Bird / Ghost World (2001)

    Nov 16 2017

    We return to the dawn of the millennium to discuss Greta Gerwig’s new solo directorial debut LADY BIRD, and how it echoes the sardonic coming-of-age comedy that characterizes Terry Zwigoff’s GHOST WORLD. After parsing our individual reactions to and readings of LADY BIRD, we look at how the two films compare in terms of their view of nostalgia and mainstream culture, as well as the respective family dynamics that affect each protagonist’s view of the world. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we...more

  • #102: (Pt. 1) Lady Bird / Ghost World (2001)

    Nov 14 2017

    Greta Gerwig’s fantastic directorial debut LADY BIRD is set in 2002, when its protagonist might have recognized a contemporary kindred spirit in Enid, the protagonist of Terry Zwigoff’s 2001 coming-of-age comedy GHOST WORLD: Both characters are creatively minded outcasts who are leaving high school and facing uncertainty about their futures. In this half of our pairing of the two films, we focus on the prickly and not-quite-lovable iconoclasts who populate GHOST WORLD, discussing its garish vers...more

  • #101: (Pt. 2) The Graduate (1967) / The Meyerowitz Stories

    Nov 02 2017

    Noah Baumbach’s new THE MEYEROWITZ STORIES (NEW AND SELECTED), starring Dustin Hoffman, has some strong connections to Hoffman’s star-making role in Mike Nichols’ THE GRADUATE, in particular, its depiction of generations trying to escape one another. After discussing our largely positive reactions to the new film (with one major exception), we talk over how the two stories reflect and refract each other, in their Hoffman performances as well as their respective family dynamics and female charact...more

  • #100: (Pt. 1) The Graduate (1967) / The Meyerowitz Stories

    Oct 31 2017

    Noah Baumbach’s new THE MEYEROWITZ STORIES casts Dustin Hoffman on one side of a generational divide, which naturally brings to mind Hoffman’s breakout role as a character on the other side of that generation divide: Mike Nichols’ seminal 1967 comedy-drama THE GRADUATE. In this half of the discussion dedicated to that earlier film, we discuss how THE GRADUATE’s sympathies shift with age, argue over the nature of Ben Braddock’s affair with Mrs. Robinson, and swoon together over that perfect endin...more

  • #099: (Pt. 2) Blade Runner 2049 / Blade Runner (1982)

    Oct 19 2017

    Our consideration of Blade Running through the decades continues with a discussion of Denis Villeneuve’s new BLADE RUNNER 2049, which picks up several of the threads left dangling by Ridley Scott’s BLADE RUNNER and adds a few more of its own in the process. After discussing our mixed reactions to the new film, we dig into the many ways 2049 is informed by its predecessor, and the ways in which it manages to distinguish itself as well. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing...more

  • #098: (Pt. 1) Blade Runner 2049 / Blade Runner (1982)

    Oct 17 2017

    Denis Villeneuve’s new sequel BLADE RUNNER 2049 made an inauspicious debut with audiences and critics alike when it opened, something it shares with its predecessor and inspiration, Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi noir touchstone BLADE RUNNER. Will the new sequel follow in its ancestor’s footsteps and become a cult classic that viewers are still picking apart 35 years later? It’s too soon to tell, but we do know that the original BLADE RUNNER offers plenty to talk about in this first half of our disc...more

  • #097: (Pt. 2) Mother! / The Exterminating Angel

    Oct 05 2017

    We return to the realm of societal allegory in our examination of Darren Aronofsky’s divisive horror-comedy-whatsit MOTHER! and how it relates to Luis Buńuel’s 1962 surrealist satire THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL, a film Aronofsky has cited as direct inspiration. After grappling with our reactions to MOTHER! and its abundance of malleable metaphors, we look at what the two films share — and what they don’t — in terms of their central allegories, their relationship with religion, their tone and style, ...more

  • #096: (Pt. 1) Mother! / The Exterminating Angel

    Oct 03 2017

    In Darren Aronofsky’s MOTHER!, Jennifer Lawrence is stuck in a creepy old estate while a series of bizarre, inexplicable events drive her to the brink of madness — a premise and tone that’s surprisingly similar to the surreal black comedy of Luis Buñuel, in particular his 1962 classic THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL. In this half of the discussion, we dig into Buñuel’s film, its place in his filmography, and what the film's deadpan satire and surrealism reveal about its maker's opinion of human nature. ...more

  • #095: (Pt. 2) It (2017) / Stand By Me

    Sep 21 2017

    We return to the realm of Stephen King adaptations for a first-impressions review of the new IT, whose vision of 1980s childhood camaraderie and adventure shares a lot with STAND BY ME’s vision of 1950s childhood camaraderie and adventure — only with a really scary clown in the mix. We dig into how the two films reflect some of King’s favored tropes around bullies and adults, how they each handle their period settings, and whether or not they’re both “rite of passage” movies. Plus, Your Next Pic...more

  • #094: (Pt. 1) It (2017) / Stand By Me

    Sep 19 2017

    On the surface, Andy Muschietti’s new adaptation of Stephen King’s IT is about a scary clown and fear itself, but beyond that, it’s also about friendship, nostalgia, and the moment when childhood ends — themes it shares with another of the better cinematic King adaptations, Rob Reiner’s 1986 film STAND BY ME. In this half of our comparison of the two films, we speculate why King thought STAND BY ME was the first film adaptation to get his work right, what in the film holds up (the performances),...more

  • #093: (Pt. 2) Logan Lucky / Oceans 11

    Sep 07 2017

    For the second half our gentleman-thieves pairing, we bring LOGAN LUCKY into the discussion, to see how it fits into the reliably eclectic filmography of Steven Soderbergh, and how it stands up to its clear forebear within that filmography, 2001’s OCEAN’S ELEVEN. But there are marked distinctions between the two films as well, from their wildly different settings and characters to the mechanics and styles of their central heists, all of which we get into in Connections. Plus, Your Next Picture S...more

  • #092: (Pt. 1) Logan Lucky / Oceans 11

    Sep 05 2017

    Steven Soderbergh’s recent return to feature filmmaking, LOGAN LUCKY, has drawn comparisons to the director’s 2001 smash hit OCEAN’S ELEVEN, and not without good reason: The two crowd-pleasing heist films share a lot in terms of their structure, team dynamics, and filmmaking style. In this first half of our discussion of the two films, we dive into Soderbergh’s OCEAN’S to talk over how this finely tuned entertainment machine reflects its director’s preoccupations as a filmmaker, how it utilizes ...more

  • #091: (Pt. 2) Detroit / Battle of Algiers

    Aug 24 2017

    Like Gillo Pontecorvo’s BATTLE OF ALGIERS, Kathryn Bigalow’s new film DETROIT expresses a strong point of view on racial injustice through a careful recreation of a real historical event — and also like BATTLE OF ALGIERS, it’s stirred up some controversy surrounding its docu-journalistic approach. We unpack that controversy, and DETROIT more generally, before diving into how the two films compare in their visceral style, their portrayals of law enforcement, their use of female characters, and mo...more

  • #090: (Pt. 1) Detroit / Battle of Algiers

    Aug 22 2017

    Kathryn Bigelow’s intense, controversial new docu-drama DETROIT owes no small debt to Gillo Pontecorvo’s intense, controversial 1966 film THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS, which covers another volatile historical moment with a potent mixture of newsreel-style realism and expressionistic fervor. In this half of our comparison of the two films, we discuss what makes BATTLE OF ALGIERS such an unsettling and resonant film, debate what point it’s making around the issues of terrorism and torture, and, somehow, ...more

  • #089: (Pt. 2) Planet of the Apes ('68) / War for the Planet of the Apes

    Aug 10 2017

    We return to the PLANET OF THE APES series to see how it’s evolved from the 1968 original to Matt Reeves’ stunning new WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES. After discussing why the new trilogy, and WAR in particular, works so well in the current era, we examine how the two ends of this franchise speak to each other over the span of five decades, discussing their ape effects, their social themes, and their very different central performances. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoi...more

  • #088: (Pt. 1) Planet of the Apes ('68) / War for the Planet of the Apes

    Aug 08 2017

    This week, we’re exploring two films from the opposite ends of the same ape-filled franchise. First, we focus on the cry of “YOU MANIACS” heard ’round the world, 1968’s PLANET OF THE APES, which introduced a fruitful concept that would continue evolve through sequels, TV series, remakes, and a modern prequel series, the most recent installment of which, WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES, we’ll discuss in Pt. 2. In this half, we tease out the various thematic notions that have kept this premise enti...more

  • #087: (Pt. 2) A Ghost Story / Carnival of Souls (1962)

    Jul 27 2017

    We return to a plane somewhere between life and death (and between horror and drama) to discuss David Lowery’s new A GHOST STORY, both on its own and in the context of Herk Harvey’s similar haunting and genre-defying CARNIVAL OF SOULS. We talk over how the two films tackle big, weighty concepts like the nature of time and the afterlife, as well as how their distinctive use of music contributes to their eeriness. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing experiences in hopes o...more

  • #086: (Pt. 1) A Ghost Story / Carnival of Souls (1962)

    Jul 25 2017

    Inspired by David Lowery’s new A GHOST STORY, we’re looking back at another microbudget horror-drama that’s haunting in both the literal and puntastic sense: Herk Harvey’s creepy cult hit CARNIVAL OF SOULS, a 1962 oddity about a woman trapped somewhere between life and death who can’t ditch the strange figures following her. In this half of the discussion, we look for links to Harvey’s background in industrial filmmaking and interest in European cinema, contextualize the film’s strangely wooden ...more

  • #085: (Pt. 2) Okja / Babe (1995)

    Jul 13 2017

    Bong-Joon Ho’s new Netflix release OKJA has some commonalities with Chris Noonan’s 1995 family film BABE — beyond just a porcine protagonist — but it’s a decidedly different animal. In this half of the discussion, we talk over the odd beast that is OKJA, then consider the how it and BABE both engage with the question of whether it’s wrong to eat meat, how they use very different settings and time periods to similar effect, and more. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing e...more

  • #084: (Pt. 1) Okja / Babe (1995)

    Jul 11 2017

    Inspired by Bong Joon-ho’s new OKJA, we look back at another whimsical fantasy film about a super-pig and its human, albeit one of a decidedly different breed: BABE, Christopher Noonan’s 1995 family hit about a taciturn farmer and his innocent sheep-pig. In this half of the discussion, we consider the film’s well-honed storybook sensibility, the endurance of its then-cutting-edge special effects, and the note-perfect perfect performance at its center. Plus, some of the excellent feedback we rece...more

  • #083: (Pt. 2) It Comes At Night / The Thing

    Jun 29 2017

    We return to matters of isolation and paranoia in the second half of our comparison of John Carpenter’s THE THING with Trey Edward Shults’ new horror-drama IT COMES AT NIGHT. After debating IT COMES AT NIGHT’s difficult ending and almost perverse commitment to ambiguity, we talk over what the two films share — and don’t — in their portrayals of paranoia, the ties that bind, the apocalypse, and, naturally, dogs. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing experiences in hopes of...more

  • #082: (Pt. 1) It Comes At Night / The Thing

    Jun 27 2017

    Trey Edward Shults’ new IT COMES AS NIGHT takes as one of its influences John Carpenter’s 1982 bloody masterpiece THE THING, which is as good a reason as any to revisit one of our favorite genre films. In this half of the discussion, we geek out over the film’s how’d-they-do-that gore effects and distinctive ensemble, and theorize why THE THING didn’t connect with audiences in 1982, and why it holds up so well today. Plus, a small taste of the deluge of feedback we got on our recent episodes on ...more

  • #081: (Pt. 2) Wonder Woman / Paths of Glory

    Jun 15 2017

    We return to the battlefields of WWI to talk over Patty Jenkins’ new WONDER WOMAN, both on its own and as it relates to Stanley Kubrick’s PATHS OF GLORY. After discussing what worked and didn’t work in WONDER WOMAN, we bring in the Kubrick film to discuss how these two stories approach themes of leadership and the military, as well as their views of the Great War specifically and all war in general. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing experiences in hopes of putting som...more

  • #080: (Pt. 1) Wonder Woman / Paths of Glory

    Jun 13 2017

    Patty Jenkins’ new WONDER WOMAN takes World War I as its setting, opening up a host of comparisons to a much earlier, much different cinematic vision that looks to the Great War to uncover the best and worst of humanity: Stanley Kubrick’s 1957 anti-war drama PATHS OF GLORY. In this half of the discussion, we focus on PATHS OF GLORY, marveling at its efficiency and technical achievement — and at how both contribute to the film’s delicate but scathing unilateral indictment of the military system. ...more

  • #079: (Pt. 2) Baywatch / The Brady Bunch Movie

    Jun 01 2017

    We brave the choppy comedic waters of the new BAYWATCH movie to see how it stacks up against the parodic TV-to-film genius of 1995’s THE BRADY BUNCH MOVIE. Spoiler: Not well. But the comparison allows us to unpack the nuances of each film’s comedic approach, and consider how the films’ respective approaches to self-awareness, casting, and sophomoric humor contribute to their overall success. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing experiences in hopes of putting something n...more

  • #078: (Pt. 1) Baywatch / The Brady Bunch Movie

    May 30 2017

    Inspired by the less-than-inspiring new BAYWATCH movie, we consider the strange alchemy that is the cheesy-TV-show-to-feature-film adaptation, via one of the genre’s standout entries: Betty Thomas’ 1995 spoof THE BRADY BUNCH MOVIE. In this half of the discussion, we debate how essential knowing the source material is to the BRADY BUNCH MOVIE’s comedy, which of the many standout Brady performances reigns supreme, and whether the film’s moments of slapstick add anything to a movie that thrives on ...more

  • #077: (Pt. 2) Stop Making Sense / Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids

    May 18 2017

    In this half of our appreciation of the late, great director Jonathan Demme, we bring what would be his final film, JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE + THE TENNESSEE KIDS, into the mix, to see what connects it to the director’s first foray into the concert-film genre, STOP MAKING SENSE. The two films focus on very different musical acts, but they’re undeniably connected via “the Demme touch,” and function as appropriate bookends to an impressive filmmaking career (which we can’t help but explore a little more b...more

  • #076: (Pt. 1) Stop Making Sense / Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids

    May 16 2017

    We’re still mourning the recent death of Jonathan Demme, a director of incredible range capable of working across many different genres — most notably, for our purposes, the concert film. This week, we hold our lighters aloft for Demme by looking at his first and last concert films, 1984’s STOP MAKING SENSE and 2016’s JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE + THE TENNESSEE KIDS. In this half, we consider the first film’s enduring legacy and influence on the concert-film genre, and how the film functions as a symbiosi...more

  • #075: (Pt. 2) The Lost City of Z / Burden of Dreams

    May 04 2017

    There’s a lot more connecting Les Blank's BURDEN OF DREAMS with James Gray’s new THE LOST CITY OF Z than the jungle setting, though that of course factors into our discussion of the two films. In this half, we share our reactions to Gray’s stately new film before delving into how the two films engage with obsession and hubris, the clash between European and South American cultures, and the handling of early-19th-century stories. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing exper...more

  • #074: (Pt. 1) The Lost City of Z / Burden of Dreams

    May 02 2017

    James Gray’s new jungle adventure THE LOST CITY OF Z inspired us to take another trip to the Amazon via Les Blank’s BURDEN OF DREAMS, the 1982 documentary chronicling the notoriously difficult filming of Werner Herzog’s Amazonian epic FITZCARRALDO. In this half, we talk about Herzog — both the director and the pop-culture character we’ve come to know — and the borderline-mania that seems to drive his unique process. We also wrestle with what BURDEN reveals about how the indigenous people who wor...more

  • #073: (Pt. 2) The Matrix / Ghost in the Shell (2017)

    Apr 20 2017

    In this half of our discussion of the “weird conceptual sandwich” that is THE MATRIX and GHOST IN THE SHELL, we puzzle over why the latter hyper-stylish, cerebral film fails where the former succeeds. The two films ultimately have different aims, but their approaches are surprisingly similar — though it’s how they differ that’s most telling. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing experiences in hopes of putting something new on your cinematic radar.Please share your commen...more

  • #072: (Pt. 1) The Matrix / Ghost in the Shell (2017)

    Apr 18 2017

    The poorly received new live-action GHOST IN THE SHELL draws inspiration from a lot of different sources — including one that was itself inspired by the original GHOST IN THE SHELL anime: The Wachowskis’ 1999 future-thriller THE MATRIX, which turns on a similar form of science-fiction dysmorphia. In this half of the discussion, we focus in on tiny miracle that is THE MATRIX, a studio-backed, creator-driven sci-fi film that drew from a deep well of cinematic, literary, and philosophical reference...more

  • #071: (Pt. 2) Alien (1979) / Life (2017)

    Apr 06 2017

    It’s perhaps unfair to compare the uninspiring new LIFE with the genre-defining ALIEN, but we do it anyway in this half of our discussion of how the Ridley Scott classic (and GRAVITY) informed Daniel Espinosa’s halfhearted homage. After wrestling with our apathy toward the newer movie, we compare the two films’ extraterrestrial baddies, their effects, and their use of space, both outer and inner. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing experiences in hopes of putting someth...more

  • #070: (Pt. 1) Alien (1979) / Life (2017)

    Apr 04 2017

    The new LIFE has come in for some pointed comparisons to Ridley Scott’s ALIEN, which seems like as good an excuse as any to revisit the unimpeachable 1979 space thriller. In this half of the conversation, we marvel at how a film so narratively economical can be so deliberately paced, and still manage to induce scares after multiple viewings. Plus, some feedback from our recent episodes on KONG: SKULL ISLAND and GET OUT.Please share your comments, thoughts, and questions about ALIEN, LIFE, or bot...more

  • #069: (Pt. 2) Kong: Skull Island / King Kong (1933)

    Mar 23 2017

    We return to Skull Island to puzzle over the stylish curiosity that is Jordan Vogt-Roberts’s new take on the classic film monster, KONG: SKULL ISLAND. Why is this movie aping APOCALYPSE NOW? Have we reached our limit of giant CGI creatures pummeling each other? And, most pertinent of all, how does this bigger, bolder vision of Kong reflect and react to the legacy of its legendary cinematic ancestor, 1933's KING KONG? Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing experiences in ho...more

  • #068: (Pt. 1) Kong: Skull Island / King Kong (1933)

    Mar 21 2017

    Does every generation get the Kong it deserves? That’s the question on our minds with the release of Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ new take on the great ape, KONG: SKULL ISLAND, which inspired us to go all the way back to the source: 1933’s medium-defining KING KONG. In this half of the discussion, we attempt to separate the movie from the cinema myth, grapple with some less savory aspects of the film’s legacy, and give Keith a few more opportunities to rail against the term “dated.” Plus, a few of the m...more

  • #067: (Pt. 2) Get Out / People Under The Stairs

    Mar 09 2017

    Jordan Peele’s writing-directing debut GET OUT translates the satirical horror of Wes Craven’s THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS from the Reagan era to the Obama era, to very different — and highly entertaining — effect. In this half of our discussion of the two films, we rave for a bit about GET OUT’s willingness to make us uncomfortable, then discuss the two films’ respective horror-to-satire ratios, as well as their approach to comedy. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing e...more

  • #066: (Pt. 1) Get Out / People Under The Stairs

    Mar 07 2017

    Inspired by Jordan Peele’s excellent new writing-directing debut GET OUT, we’re looking at another horror film that openly addresses race, inequality, and its era: the 1991 Wes Craven oddity THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS. In this half, we debate how the earlier film’s central metaphor holds up divorced from the Reagan era that inspired it, how it reflects and fits into Craven’s directorial viewpoint, and to what extent it's actually scary and/or funny. Plus, excerpts from some of the most detailed...more

  • #065: (Pt. 2) Batman (1989) / The Lego Batman Movie

    Feb 23 2017

    Tim Burton’s BATMAN kick-started the cinematic and pop-culture proliferation of the now-ubiquitous Batman, who today can not only sustain multiple movies at once, but also provides ample fodder for the reference-happy new THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE. In this half of our discussion of all things Batmen, we talk about all the ways LEGO BATMAN draws on — and benefits from — the character’s long history, and consider how the larger Bat Universe has evolved on film since Burton’s day. Plus, Your Next Pictu...more

  • #064: (Pt. 1) Batman (1989) / The Lego Batman Movie

    Feb 21 2017

    This week’s show tells a tale of two Batmen — plus a whole bunch of other Batmen in between. The success of the new family-friendly LEGO BATMAN MOVIE inspired us to go back to a very different earlier iteration of The Caped Crusader: Tim Burton’s 1989 series-starter BATMAN, which took the comic-book hero into darker realms than he’d previously occupied onscreen. In this half, we talk about how Burton and Michael Keaton’s vision for the character functions in the larger context of Batman adaptati...more

  • #063: (Pt. 2) The War Room / Weiner

    Feb 09 2017

    We turn our attention now to Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg's cringe-inducing 2016 behind-the-scenes campaign documentary WEINER, which plays in many ways like a natural extension of 1993’s THE WAR ROOM. After discussing how WEINER plays today — after its star, disgraced Congressman and mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, arguably had a hand in sinking Hillary Clinton’s presidential hopes — we talk about how the newer film’s versions of scandal, politics, and media compares to those of THE WAR ...more

  • #062: (Pt. 1) The War Room / Weiner

    Feb 07 2017

    This week’s pairing tracks the rise and fall of Clintonism in America via two behind-the-scenes documentaries following dramatic Democratic campaigns: 1993’s THE WAR ROOM and 2016’s WEINER. In this deep-dive discussion of the earlier film, we talk over the advantages and limitations of Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker's fly-on-the-wall documentary style, compare the yin-yang personalities of stars James Carville and George Stephanopoulos, and, inevitably, wonder about the lasting effects of Bil...more

  • #061: Live at the Chicago Podcast Festival

    Jan 24 2017

    In lieu of our regularly scheduled episode — postponed two weeks due to the collision of illness and the Sundance Film Festival — we bring you a recording of our recent live episode, recorded at the Chicago Podcast Festival in November 2016. Inspired by the selection process that goes into each Next Picture Show pairing, with each host pitches a future episode inspired by a 2016 film (and letting the audience decide which we'll do). Plus, a game where the hosts — and live audience — challenge ea...more

  • #060: (Pt. 2) Stranger Than Paradise / Paterson

    Jan 12 2017

    Jim Jarmusch’s new PATERSON is one of 2016’s best films, and plays like a natural mirror to his breakthrough, STRANGER THAN PARADISE. After waxing rhapsodic about PATERSON for a while, we talk about how the two movies are connected, through their observational approaches, their quirky relationships with time, and their appreciation for the small things in life. We also try in vain to determine whether Jarmusch actually hates dogs, or just finds them unpredictable. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, w...more

  • #059: (Pt. 1) Stranger Than Paradise / Paterson

    Jan 10 2017

    Inspired by Jim Jarmusch’s new PATERSON, we take a trip through Jarmuschland, way back to the director’s second and breakthrough feature, STRANGER THAN PARADISE. We talk over the ways in which STRANGER THAN PARADISE helped redefine American independent filmmaking, through its bare-bones style, dry humor, memorable characters, and glimpses of underexplored parts of the country. Plus, some feedback on LA LA LAND and UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG, inspired by our last episodes.Please share your comments, ...more

  • #058: (Pt. 2) The Umbrellas of Cherbourg / La La Land

    Dec 29 2016

    Our melancholy-musical double feature heads from Cherbourg, France, to Los Angeles USA, to see how Damien Chazelle’s new “modern-throwback” musical LA LA LAND stacks up against Jacques Demy’s UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG. We talk over LA LA LAND’s nostalgic appeal and speculate about its staying power, then compare how the two films utilize their settings, love stories, and singing to different but complementary ends. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing experiences in hopes o...more

  • #057: (Pt. 1) The Umbrellas of Cherbourg / La La Land

    Dec 27 2016

    Damian Chazelle’s new big-screen musical LA LA LAND takes its cues from various singing-and-dancing cinematic predecessors, but its melancholy tone is directly descended from Jacques Demy’s classic 1964 musical THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG — a Next Picture Show favorite that we dig into in this first half. We talk over the effects of the film’s sung-through style and working-class setting, and try to pinpoint that certain je ne said quoi that makes UMBRELLAS so indelible. Plus, some feedback on ou...more

  • #056: (Pt. 2) Mulan / Moana

    Dec 15 2016

    Disney Feature Animation had some ups and downs—both artistic and commercial—in the years between MULAN and MOANA, and we chart them in the second half of our comparison of the two films. After taking a moment for a big collective squee over the great MOANA, we get into the evolution of the Disney female heroine (and her sidekicks) and discuss how music features in these films—perhaps with some singing involved. (You're welcome!) Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing expe...more

  • #055: (Pt. 1) Mulan / Moana

    Dec 13 2016

    MOANA is a successful new entry in Disney Feature Animation’s ongoing experimentation with non-Western stories and non-white characters, an experiment that was still in its nascent stages around the time of 1998’s MULAN. Inspired by an ancient Chinese poem about a female warrior who disguises herself as a man, the film is an odd mishmash of comedy and war movie, of ancient and modern reference points, and of traditional and CG animation. In this half, we talk over how MULAN fares in 2016, and pu...more

  • #054: (Pt. 2) Contact / Arrival

    Dec 01 2016

    Our conversation about movies about talking to aliens moves to the present with Denis Villeneuve’s new ARRIVAL, which hits many of the same narrative points as CONTACT, but points them in a different emotional direction. We talk about our reactions to the newer film, and how its ideas about science, communication, and emotion compare with CONTACT’s. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing experiences in hopes of putting something new on your cinematic radar.Please share you...more

  • #053: (Pt. 1) Contact / Arrival

    Nov 29 2016

    This week, we look to the skies to consider two films about the difficulty of communication between worlds, and the inward journeys involved in looking to the stars. Inspired by Denis Villeneuve’s new ARRIVAL, we begin with an in-depth discussion of an earlier film with which it shares many thematic and narrative elements: Robert Zemeckis' 1997 Carl Sagan adaptation CONTACT. We consider the film’s ambition, dissect its blockbuster qualities, and try to determine what makes this unwieldy, emotion...more

  • #052: (Pt. 2) In the Mood for Love / Moonlight

    Nov 24 2016

    Our discussion of lyrical portraits of unrequited love turns its attention to Barry Jenkins’ MOONLIGHT, the look and feel of which—the final third in particular—recalls the bittersweet tone of Wong Kar-Wai’s IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE. We share our reactions to MOONLIGHT, and consider the two films’ shared qualities, including their use of unusual framing and the thematic importance placed on food. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing experiences in hopes of putting something ...more

  • #051: (Pt. 1) In the Mood for Love / Moonlight

    Nov 22 2016

    Inspired by one of the year’s biggest indie sensations, Barry Jenkins’ MOONLIGHT, we’re looking at another highly romanticized tale of unrequited love: Wong Kar-wai’s beautiful 2000 film IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE. In this half, we talk about how affecting LOVE’s central non-love-story is - and why - and consider how the film reflects Wong’s improvisational methods and his desire to create a dreamlike return to the Hong Kong of his childhood. Plus, feedback from our last episode on AMERICAN HONEY and ...more

  • Short: Elections, Entertainment, and Empathy

    Nov 15 2016

    This week’s regular episode has been postponed a week, but in the meantime, Tasha and Genevieve get together to chat a little about why we’re postponing, and how we’re collectively figuring out how to care about movies again when so much else is going on in the world. Check back in two weeks for our regular episodes on IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE and MOONLIGHT. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

  • #050: (Pt. 2) My Own Private Idaho / American Honey

    Nov 03 2016

    We return to the road in our two-part exploration of America and self, jumping to the current day with Andrea Arnold's sprawling, music-packed AMERICAN HONEY, a film with some of the same concerns as MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO, but a much different stylistic approach. In this half, we talk over how the two films handle matters of poverty, style, infatuation, and "the other America." Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing experiences in hopes of putting something new on your cine...more

  • #049: (Pt. 1) My Own Private Idaho / American Honey

    Nov 01 2016

    This week, we’ve all come to look for America, and we’re looking for it in a pair of road movies about underprivileged outsiders and the dreams that keep them hustling from place to place. Inspired by Andrea Arnold's sprawling new AMERICAN HONEY, we look back at Gus Van Sant's 1991 indie-punk-surrealist-fantasy-coming-of-age mishmash MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO. In this half, we attempt to wrangle IDAHO's many moving parts, admire and mourn its central performances, and share some crazy (or not so craz...more

  • #048: (Pt. 2) Westworld (1973) / Westworld (2016)

    Oct 20 2016

    We return to WESTWORLD in the second half of our double-feature, this time venturing into the wilds of television to discuss HBO's high-profile new series, which uses the concept of Michael Crichton's 1973 film as a jumping off point for a sprawling meditation on humanity, AI, evil, and where they intersect. We talk about how the series extends some of the ideas of the original film, and talk about what the two share—and don't—in their portrayals of humans, robots, and techno-paranoia. Plus, You...more

  • #047: (Pt. 1) Westworld (1973) / Westworld (2016)

    Oct 18 2016

    This week, we take two trips to Westworld—one via hovercraft, in Michael Crichton's 1973 film of the same name, and one via underground train, in the new HBO series that blows out the film's premise to a serialized-television scale. In this half we focus on Crichton's film, questioning whether it's a political film or just a sci-fi lark, how WESTWORLD plays into its creator's ongoing fixations (ahem, JURASSIC PARK), and what the deal is with those weird robot hands. And yes, we also talk robot s...more

  • #046: (Pt. 2) Don't Breathe / Wait Until Dark

    Oct 06 2016

    In this half, we look at a successor to WAIT UNTIL DARK that puts a very different sort of blind person in the middle of a home invasion: Fede Alvarez's recent horror-thriller DON'T BREATHE, which stars Stephen Lang as a blind ex-Marine who turns out to be much more than a simple victim. We talk over the new movie's more grisly aspects, and compare how the two films both use their settings and space, empathy, and blindness itself to eke different kinds of thrills from their viewers. Please share...more

  • #045: (Pt. 1) Don't Breathe / Wait Until Dark

    Oct 04 2016

    We return from hiatus with a much-requested pairing inspired by Fede Alvarez's new breakout horror hit, DON'T BREATHE, which reminded us, and our listeners, of a different cinematic take on the story of a blind person fending off a home invasion: Terence Young's WAIT UNTIL DARK, a 1967 Audrey Hepburn-starring thriller that plays on different sympathies than its modern successor, but delivers similarly chilling results.Please share your comments, thoughts, and questions about WAIT UNTIL DARK, DON...more

  • #044: (Pt. 2) Kubo and the Two Strings / The Dark Crystal

    Sep 08 2016

    We turn our discussion of puppet-driven fairy-tale adventure stories to Laika Studios' new stop-motion wonder, KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS, to see how it extends THE DARK CRYSTAL's tradition of deep personal investment on the part of committed craftspeople. We discuss the two films' shared strengths and weakness, and how they're reflected in how each utilize puppetry, villains, and mythology. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent film-related experiences in hopes of putting something ...more

  • #043: (Pt. 1) Kubo and the Two Strings / The Dark Crystal

    Sep 06 2016

    Inspired by the new Laika stop-motion marvel KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS, we look back at another unconventional children's movie, made by unconventional creators pushing the envelop of their craft: Jim Henson's live-action puppet fantasy THE DARK CRYSTAL. In this half, we talk about how Henson and conceptual designer Brian Froud created their high-fantasy world, and wonder whether there's room for a satisfying story among all the visual wizardry. Plus, we talk over some of the other suggestions we...more

  • #042: (Pt 2) Pete's Dragon / The Black Stallion

    Aug 25 2016

    Continuing the legacy of Carroll Ballard's THE BLACK STALLION, David Lowery's new Disney live-action remake of PETE'S DRAGON treats kids' films, kid audiences, and the emotional lives of children with respect and intelligence. In this half of the discussion, we talk over the two films' use of stories within stories, cinematography, child actors, and our relationship with animals and the natural world.Please share your comments, thoughts, and questions about THE BLACK STALLION, PETE'S DRAGON, or ...more

  • #041: (Pt 1) Pete's Dragon / The Black Stallion

    Aug 23 2016

    The director of the new Disney live-action remake PETE’S DRAGON, David Lowery, recently cited as inspiration Carroll Ballard’s 1979 film THE BLACK STALLION, noting the older film’s careful merging of art and the mainstream. Following Lowery’s example, we look back this week at THE BLACK STALLION’s wondrous beauty and split structure, and try to ascertain what makes the film unique among films aimed at children. Plus, we’re still fielding feedback from our GHOSTBUSTERS episodes, and we have some ...more

  • #040: (Pt. 2) Suicide Squad / The Dirty Dozen

    Aug 11 2016

    Our comparison of bad-guys-doing-good films continues with THE DIRTY DOZEN’s ultra-modern, ultra-messy progeny, the new DC Extended Universe entry SUICIDE SQUAD. We try to make sense of the many issues plaguing the newer film, and decipher how the two films each come down on the ideas of villainy and leadership. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing experiences in hopes of putting something new on your cinematic radar. Please share your comments, thoughts, and questions a...more

  • #039: (Pt. 1) Suicide Squad / The Dirty Dozen

    Aug 09 2016

    David Ayer has characterized his new entry in the DC Expanded Universe, SUICIDE SQUAD, as a modern take on Robert Aldrich's THE DIRTY DOZEN, a 1967 war/heist film that set the standard for movies about a band of criminals teaming up to take on a greater evil. In this half of the conversation, we put THE DIRTY DOZEN's violence and attitude toward war in historical context, and tangle with the film's difficult morality. Plus, lots of feedback from our last episode on the GHOSTBUSTERS of the past a...more

  • #038: (Pt. 2) Ghostbusters (2016) / Ghostbusters (1984)

    Jul 28 2016

    Our GHOSTBUSTERS discussion turns its attention to Paul Feig's new remake, which was made with obvious affection for (and cameos from) the 1984 version, and replicates certain character types and plot points. But it also breaks from it in significant ways we'll discuss, as well as thoughts on the effects, the villains, New York City, blockbuster culture, and more. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing experiences in hopes of putting something new on your cinematic radar. ...more

  • #037: (Pt. 1) Ghostbusters (2016) / Ghostbusters (1984)

    Jul 26 2016

    This week, we ain’t afraid of no ghosts, but we’re a little freaked out by the politics of busting them. The strange controversy over Paul Feig's gender-reversed GHOSTBUSTERS has us looking back at the original 1984 GHOSTBUSTERS to see what about it has inspired such strong feeling. In this half of the conversation, we focus on the then-and-now of Ivan Reitman's original, while trying (unsuccessfully) to dodge the dreaded "N" word: "nostalgia." Plus, some extra-long, extra-great feedback from ou...more

  • #036: (Pt. 2) The Neon Demon / Suspiria

    Jul 14 2016

    We move our conversation of Dario Argento's 1977 film SUSPIRIA to Nicholas Winding Refn’s THE NEON DEMON, which works as a contemporary companion piece. In this half, we talk over the two films' respective uses of color, violence, and female competition. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing experiences in hopes of putting something new on your cinematic radar. Please share your comments, thoughts, and questions about SUSPIRIA, THE NEON DEMON, or both by sending an email ...more

  • #035: (Pt. 1) The Neon Demon / Suspiria

    Jul 12 2016

    Nicholas Winding Refn’s new THE NEON DEMON inspired us to look back at another tale of female rivalry that plays out in lurid colors and more than a little violence: Dario Argento’s classic 1977 horror movie SUSPIRIA. In this half, we explore the specific, lurid style in which Argento works, and consider how it functions as both cinema and horror. Plus, lots of MEMENTO feedback from our last episode.Please share your comments, thoughts, and questions about NEON DEMON, SUSPIRIA or both by sending...more

  • #034: (Pt. 2) Finding Dory / Memento

    Jun 30 2016

    We dive into the murky waters of Andrew Stanton's new FINDING DORY to search for links between Pixar's latest and Christopher Nolan's mind-bending thriller MEMENTO. Turns out the two disparate films have more in common than even we thought, in their respective treatments of memory, identity, mystery, and more. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing experiences in hopes of putting something new on your cinematic radar. Please share your comments, thoughts, and questions abo...more

  • #033: (Pt. 1) Finding Dory / Memento

    Jun 28 2016

    The conceit behind Pixar's new FINDING DORY, about Ellen Degeneres' forgetful fish character, inspired us to talk about a very different film about memory and the limits thereof: Christopher Nolan's breakthrough feature MEMENTO. In this half, we consider the unsolvable mysteries of Nolan's film, how it fits into his larger body of work, and whether it qualifies as a noir. Plus, some contentious feedback from our SPINAL TAP/POPSTAR episodes.Please share your comments, thoughts, and questions abou...more

  • #032: (Pt. 2) This Is Spinal Tap / Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

    Jun 16 2016

    Our look into the mockumentary's trajectory from THIS IS SPINAL TAP through the new POPSTAR: NEVER STOP NEVER STOPPING delves into the comedic complexities of The Lonely Island's supremely silly update of the Spinal Tap formula. In this half of the discussion, we consider the two films' respective use of editing, music, pop culture, and the comeback narrative. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing experiences in hopes of putting something new on your cinematic radar.Pleas...more

  • #031: (Pt. 1) This Is Spinal Tap / Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

    Jun 14 2016

    Inspired by the new Lonely Island feature mockumentary POPSTAR: NEVER STOP NEVER STOPPING, we look back at the grandaddy of mock-rock-docs: Rob Reiner's THIS IS SPINAL TAP, which helped set the template for modern comedy in more ways than one. In this half of the discussion, we go deep into the hows and why's of SPINAL TAP's improvised humor, and consider how the film's message scans in the current music-industry climate. Plus, lots of feedback from our L.A. CONFIDENTIAL/THE NICE GUYS episode.Pl...more

  • #030: (Pt. 2) L.A. Confidential / The Nice Guys

    Jun 02 2016

    We bring our discussion of L.A. noir into the modern era by connecting L.A. CONFIDENTIAL with the slick new buddy action-comedy from Shane Black, THE NICE GUYS. The two films are playing on very different sandboxes, and decades, but we find connective tissue in their central ideas of justice, their period settings, and their view of L.A.'s secrets. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing experiences in hopes of putting something new on your cinematic radar.Please share your...more

  • #029: (Pt. 1) L.A. Confidential / The Nice Guys

    May 31 2016

    This week's pairing brings us into the twisted world of L.A. noir, courtesy of two period pieces that follow byzantine plots to the depths of human depravity. Inspired by Shane Black's new THE NICE GUYS, we're revisiting Curtis Hanson's L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, which has a much different tone, but similar spirit. In this half, we zoom in on the tabloid sleaze and police corruption that inform "Confidential," and how it reflects the preoccupations of L.A. noir.Please share your comments, thoughts, and ...more

  • #028: Iron Man / Captain America: Civil War (Pt. 2)

    May 19 2016

    We return again to the Marvel Cinematic Universe to see how the armor-plated seed planted in IRON MAN has blossomed into the sprawling new CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR. We discuss how the newer movie carries its added weight, and compare how the two films - and their MCU brethren - handle matters of heroes, villains, and the Marvel House style. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing experiences in hopes of putting something new on your cinematic radar. Please share your comm...more

  • #027: Iron Man / Captain America: Civil War (Pt. 1)

    May 17 2016

    This week, The Next Picture Show is going full-on superhero. Inspired by the Marvel Cinematic Universe's latest offering, CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, we look back at the movie that serves as the Big Bang for the MCU: 2008's IRON MAN. This half of the discussion focuses on how Jon Favreau's interpretation of Tony Stark's superhero transformation helped set the template for what became the biggest thing in modern blockbuster cinema, and how that vision holds up under the weight of what followed. P...more

  • #026: Assualt On Precinct 13 (1976) / Green Room (Pt. 2)

    Apr 28 2016

    In this half of our ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13/GREEN ROOM discussion, we bring Jeremy Saulnier's chill-inducing new thriller into the picture, and consider the many ways in which it reflects John Carpenter's earlier work. The two films have a lot to say about each other, particularly in their distinctive approaches to political statement and violence, and the way in which they both use callbacks to create a distinctive narrative. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing experien...more

  • #025: Assault On Precinct 13 (1976) / Green Room (Pt. 1)

    Apr 26 2016

    As John Carpenter fans, we were excited to see director Jeremy Saulnier citing Carpenter's ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 as a specific influence on his excellent new film GREEN ROOM. Watching the two movies together, it’s hard to miss the connections: Both feature an outnumbered and outgunned group of people barricaded in a small, remote space, figuring out how to either hold off waves of merciless attackers, or make a break for it through enemy lines. In this Carpenter-focused half of this week's disc...more

  • #024: Close Encounters Of The Third Kind / Midnight Special (Pt. 2)

    Apr 14 2016

    Our CLOSE ENCOUNTERS/MIDNIGHT SPECIAL discussion turns toward the newer film, and the ways it reflects its Spielbergian inspiration – and the many more ways it diverts from the earlier film. We'll talk over how the two films explore spirituality and mystery, and the similar ways they utilize child actors. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing experiences in hopes of putting something new on your cinematic radar. Please share your comments, thoughts, and questions about CL...more

  • #023: Close Encounters of the Third Kind / Midnight Special (Pt. 1)

    Apr 12 2016

    Director Jeff Nichols cited the 1977 Steven Spielberg classic CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND as one of his primary inspirations for the new MIDNIGHT SPECIAL. But while the two films work toward a similar ending, they don't necessarily work toward the same ends. In this half, we dig into the wonders and optimism of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, and the many ways in which the film reflects both its director and its era. Plus, we share some of the great feedback we received from our PSYCHO/10 CLOVERFIELD L...more

  • #022: Psycho (1960) / 10 Cloverfield Lane (Pt. 2)

    Mar 31 2016

    Our PSYCHO/10 CLOVERFIELD LANE discussion brings the newer film into the picture, grappling with how the Dan Trachtenberg-directed/JJ Abrams-produced psuedo-sequel echoes Hitchcock's film both deliberately and accidentally. We'll talk over how the two films approach fear the the unknown, highlight their unusual sound design and marketing, and determine whether 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE falls into the grand tradition of "the gearshift movie." Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoin...more

  • #021: Psycho (1960) / 10 Cloverfield Lane (Pt. 1)

    Mar 29 2016

    Two women skip town in a hurry and find themselves in an isolated place, overseen by a gentle-toned but temperamental host: You might think us mad to compare PSYCHO and 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE, but we all go a little mad sometimes. There's more than just the setup connecting these two films, though. In this half of the discussion, we dig deep into Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 horror-suspense classic, getting into its legacy, style, and psychology, and how all three affect a modern viewing of the film. Pl...more

  • #020: MASH / Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (Pt. 2)

    Mar 17 2016

    Our MASH - WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT discussion digs deeper into the two films' many contrasts, finding unexpected connections in the films' depictions of the military, women, and downtime. We also get into the two films' very different strains of black humor. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing experiences in hopes of putting something new on your cinematic radar. Please share your comments, thoughts, and questions about MASH, WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT, or both by sending an e...more

  • #019: MASH / Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (Pt. 1)

    Mar 15 2016

    Attention. Attention: This week’s movie pairing looks at the communities that spring up in the middle of war, and the odd ways people try to push back against the insanity that surrounds them. Inspired by the new Tina Fey wartime dramedy WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT, we look back at Robert Altman's 1970 breakthrough MASH to see how the lives of those at war – and the visions of those depicting it – have changed in the years between Korea and Afghanistan. Fittingly, this turns out to be our most content...more

  • #018: The Wicker Man (1973) / The Witch (Pt. 2)

    Mar 03 2016

    Our THE WICKER MAN - THE WITCH conversation goes deeper into the two films' shared qualities, including their portrayals of religion and women, and their canny use of (very different types of) music. We'll also get deeper into the question of "is it horror?" and whether that ultimately matters. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing experiences in hopes of putting something new on your cinematic radar. Please share your comments, thoughts, and questions about THE WICKER MA...more

  • #017: The Wicker Man (1973) / The Witch (Pt. 1)

    Mar 01 2016

    The buzzy new horror film THE WITCH inspired us to look at another period piece about good, evil, self-righteousness, and murder: Robin Hardy's 1973 cult classic THE WICKER MAN. (No, not the Nicolas Cage one - though it does come up.) In this half of the discussion, we talk over both films' reputations as horror (or not), and get into how THE WICKER MAN cultivates its very specific strain of dread. Plus, lots and lots of feedback from our last Coen Brothers-centric episode. Please share your com...more

  • #016: Barton Fink / Hail, Caesar! (Pt. 2)

    Feb 18 2016

    Our cinematic matchup of Coen brothers past and present continues as we dive deeper into the connections between 1991's BARTON FINK and the new HAIL, CAESAR! In this half of the discussion, we get into the films' shared lineage as "movies about movies," and try to home in on what exactly gives both films "that Coen Brothers feeling." Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing experiences in hopes of putting something new on your cinematic radar. Please share your comments, tho...more

  • #015: Barton Fink / Hail, Caesar! (Pt. 1)

    Feb 16 2016

    This week's pairing seems like an obvious one: Two Coen Brothers films about Hollywood, set at the same fictional studio, during roughly the same time period–what do you need, a roadmap? But Joel and Ethan Coen's 1991 breakout BARTON FINK has very different things on its mind than the brothers' new HAIL, CAESAR! In the first half of this week's discussion, we get into our various interpretations of BARTON FINK, its titular character, and what it says about the Coens' work as a whole. Plus, liste...more

  • #014: John Carter / The Martian (Pt. 2)

    Feb 04 2016

    The second half of our JOHN CARTER/THE MARTIAN comparison looks at the various ways Ridley Scott's film succeeded where Andrew Stanton's failed: its humor, its production design, its approach to adaptation, and its overall simplicity. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing experiences in hopes of putting something new on your cinematic radar. Please share your comments, thoughts and questions about JOHN CARTER, THE MARTIAN, or both by sending an email to comments@nextpictu...more

  • #013: John Carter / The Martian (Pt. 1)

    Feb 02 2016

    This week, we look back to one of last year's biggest blockbusters — and an Oscar frontrunner — for inspiration, and turn up an interesting, misbegotten cinematic comparison point. Ridley Scott's THE MARTIAN is critically and commercially successful in a way Andrew Stanton's D.O.A. JOHN CARTER never even approached, but the two Mars-centric films viewed in tandem offer interesting takeaways about the nature of science fiction and fantasy, the perils of source-material fidelity and visual poetry....more

  • #012: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? / 45 Years (Pt. 2)

    Jan 21 2016

    Our discussion of "old marrieds" past and present reveals that Andrew Haigh's new 45 YEARS covers a lot of the same ground as Mike Nichols' WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF — it just does it a lot more quietly. We talk over how the two films relate and diverge when it comes to their depictions of a long marriage, how the past informs those marriages, and what emotional inflections each film brings to the party. Plus, Your Next Picture show, where we share recent filmgoing experiences in hopes of p...more

  • #011: Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? / 45 Years (Pt. 1)

    Jan 19 2016

    The release of Andrew Haigh's beautiful 45 YEARS got us thinking about another film about the toxic dynamic between a long-married couple: Mike Nichols' 1966 film debut WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? In this half, we discuss how Nichols brought Edward Albee’s play to the screen, how Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton brought the tension of their own famously fraught marriage to their performances, and what the film says about the institution of marriage, our capacity for illusion, and American...more

  • #010: Star Wars: A New Hope / The Force Awakens (Pt. 2)

    Jan 07 2016

    Our conversation linking the very first STAR WARS film with the new sequel (or is it a reboot? a remake?) THE FORCE AWAKENS delves into the myriad ways the two films are connected, and how the cultural impact of A NEW HOPE plays out in the new film. And in a special edition of our recommendation segment Your Next Picture Show, we'll share our top films of 2015, our ultimate recommendation for what to watch during the January catch-up season. Please share your comments, thoughts and questions abo...more

  • #009: Star Wars: A New Hope / The Force Awakens (Pt. 1)

    Jan 05 2016

    J.J. Abrams' record-breaking smash THE FORCE AWAKENS consciously reaches back to the very first entry in the STAR WARS universe, 1977's A NEW HOPE, for inspiration, plot points and design — and offers us an opportunity to look back at how George Lucas changed the game for science-fiction, and film in general, forever. In this half of this week's discussion, we'll look at Lucas' inspirations, the story A NEW HOPE tells, and how the legend around it grew into a billion-dollar business. Please shar...more

  • #008: Aguirre, The Wrath of God / The Revenant (Pt. 2)

    Dec 24 2015

    Our conversation about the links between Werner Herzog's 1972 cult classic AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD and Alejandro González Iñárritu's new THE REVENANT delves into the way the two films handle the themes of imperialism and madness, and how each is informed by their reportedly tense and exhausting shooting conditions. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing experiences in hopes of putting something new on your cinematic radar. Please share your comments, thoughts, and questi...more

  • #007: Aguirre, The Wrath of God / The Revenant (Pt. 1)

    Dec 22 2015

    BIRDMAN director Alejandro González Iñárritu is back with THE REVENANT, a half-revenge thriller/half-survival adventure that recalls in many ways the work of cinema’s most intrepid adventurer, Werner Herzog – particularly AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD. In the first half of this week's discussion, we talk about how Herzog's 1972 cult classic, about Spanish conquistadors searching for El Dorado, informs "The Revenant," in both its depiction of arrogant non-natives trying to exploit a foreign land, and...more

  • #006: Toy Story / The Good Dinosaur (Pt. 2)

    Dec 10 2015

    Our conversation on Pixar's trajectory from 1995 to today delves into the company's most recent offering, discussing how THE GOOD DINOSAUR fits in with the rest of Pixar's output, including TOY STORY, as well as the modern computer-animated-feature landscape. Plus, Your Next Picture Show, where we share recent filmgoing experiences in hopes of putting something new on your cinematic radar. Please share your comments, thoughts, and questions about TOY STORY, THE GOOD DINOSAUR, or both by sending ...more

  • #005: Toy Story / The Good Dinosaur (Pt. 1)

    Dec 08 2015

    The second Pixar film of 2015, THE GOOD DINOSAUR, inspires us to look back at the revered animation company's auspicious beginning: 1995's TOY STORY, the first computer-animated feature film. In the first half of this Pixar-spanning discussion, we discuss the history of the company that would go on to change feature animation forever, and how the seeds of that change are apparent in TOY STORY. Please share your comments, thoughts and questions about TOY STORY, THE GOOD DINOSAUR, or both, by send...more

  • #004: Battle Royale / The Hunger Games Series (Pt. 2)

    Nov 26 2015

    Our conversation on the many connections between BATTLE ROYALE and THE HUNGER GAMES series continues with the Forum discussion focusing on the films' respective styles, their different approaches to violence and teen angst, and their influence on the YA film genre as a whole. Plus, Your Next Picture show, where we share recent filmgoing experiences in hopes of putting something new on your cinematic radar. Please share your comments, thoughts, and questions about BATTLE ROYALE, THE HUNGER GAMES ...more

  • #003: Battle Royale / Hunger Games Series (Pt. 1)

    Nov 24 2015

    With the final installment of the blockbuster YA series THE HUNGER GAMES hitting theaters, we look back to the material many accused HUNGER GAMES author Suzanne Collins of ripping off: 2000's BATTLE ROYALE, a hyper-violent Japanese film adaptation of a hyper-violent manga about kids killing kids in a government-mandated slaughter. In this episode, we get into the many similarities – and many more differences – between the two, as well as BATTLE ROYALE's reputation and place in the larger scope o...more

  • #002: All The President's Men / Spotlight (Pt. 2)

    Nov 12 2015

    The Next Picture Show's discussion of ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN and SPOTLIGHT continues with the group Forum discussion. In this half, Scott Tobias, Tasha Robinson and Keith Phipps talk about the films' respective approaches to journalism, the cities of Washington, D.C., and Boston, and visual style. Plus, Your Next Picture show, where we share recent filmgoing experiences in hopes of putting something new on your cinematic radar. Please share your comments, thoughts, and questions about "All The ...more

  • #001: All The President's Men / Spotlight (Pt. 1)

    Nov 10 2015

    Welcome to The Next Picture Show, a movie of the week podcast devoted to a classic film that has shaped our take on a new release. With director Tom McCarthy's SPOTLIGHT getting lots of acclaim for its treatment of the Boston Globe's investigation into the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal, Scott Tobias, Tasha Robinson and Keith Phipps devote their debut show to arguably the Fourth Estate's finest couple of hours on celluloid, the 1970s classic ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN. Part of the Filmspottin...more