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Author: Filmspotting

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Weekly film podcast and WBEZ radio show from Chicago featuring in-depth reviews, top 5 lists and interviews. Hosted by Adam Kempenaar and Josh Larsen.
387 Episodes
Of the films celebrating 40th anniversaries in 2019, only Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now" can really compete with ALIEN's critical stature and influence, but Adam and Josh make the case for several more films from '79 that deserve to be remembered with this week's Top 5 – including films from directors Andrei Tarkovsky, Carol Ballard, Woody Allen... and Jim Henson. Plus, a revisit of their 2016 Sacred Cow review of Ridley Scott's sci-fi/horror classic.  0:00 - Billboard1:21 - Top 5: Films of 1979Peter Allen, "Everything Old Is New Again" 1:03:08 - Next week / Notes1:07:19 - New Poll1:11:35 - Sacred Cow: "Alien"1:47:09 - Listener Feedback ("Alien")1:54:43 - CloseLearn more about your ad choices. Visit
The Tao of Whoa.Whether you love or hate the JOHN WICK franchise - or even if you're completely indifferent to it - it has given us all the chance to appreciate the particular genius of Keanu Reeves. For those of us who grew up watching him, the former duuude and earnest action star has matured into an actor of depth and vulnerability with a singular sense of physical grace. Whether Keanu's talents are put to their best use in the new JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 - PARABELLUM is up for debate, which Adam and Josh do in their review. Then it's the TOP 5 KEANU MOMENTS, a career-spanning appreciation of The One, from Ted "Theodore" Logan to Mr. Wick himself.Plus Massacre Theatre and Josh's recommendation of the new doc "Our Time Machine," which is currently playing the Chicago Critics Film Festival.   0:00 - Billboard1:09 - Review: "John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum"Josh Ritter, "Old Black Magic"28:25 - Donations30:32 - Josh recs: "Our Time Machine"34:03 - Next week / Notes40:27 - Massacre Theatre48:03 - Top 5: Keanu Moments1:28:42 - Close / OuttakeLearn more about your ad choices. Visit
May's week-long CCFF doubles as a shortlist for potential Golden Brick candidates. Now in its 7th year, the Chicago Critics Film Festival prides itself on bringing the best of the fest circuit to Chicago. With 15 or so features that have played the likes of Toronto, Sundance and SXSW, the week-long fest is a chance for Chicago audiences to catch up with some of the most buzzed-about independent films of the year. It's also a great chance for Filmspotting to put some titles on its Golden Brick radar. Adam and Josh share their Top 5 Most Anticipated CCFF Movies and get additional insight into the fest from Chicago critic - and CCFF programmer - Steve Prokopy. Also on the show: Adam on KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE and the final film in the Stanley Donen Marathon, 1967's TWO FOR THE ROAD. Plus, "The Fizzies" - the Donen Marathon Awards. 0:00 - Billboard1:13 - Preview: Chicago Critics Film FestivalHenry Mancini, "Two for the Road"24:20 - Adam recs: "Knock Down the House"30:53 - Next week / Notes39:48 - Polls: Summer Preview / Best of '7948:57 - Donen #4: "Two for the Road"1:06:38 - "The Fizzies": Donen Awards1:32:53 - CloseLearn more about your ad choices. Visit
Spidey & Wick & Hobbs & Shaw. And Pikachu.Marvel burnout. "Booksmart" hype. Will Smith's genie. Detective Pikachu. And of course the astonishingly worded "Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw." These subjects and more all come up in Adam and Josh's Top 5 Summer Movie Questions. Plus, Adam on Robert "Born to Be Blue" Budreau's STOCKHOLM and doc director Penny Lane's HAIL SATAN? And... fizzy and charming or frivolous and artificial? Adam and Josh debate the third film in their Stanley Donen Marathon, 1963's CHARADE. 0:00 - Billboard1:18 - Summer Movie PreviewHenry Mancini, Charade (Main Theme)33:39 - Adam recommends: "Stockholm" / "Hail Satan?"43:19 - Next week / John Singleton / Notes49:31 - Massacre Theatre57:02 - Donen #3: "Charade"1:20:54 - CloseThanks Baked By Melissa. Get 15% off your order by going to bakedbymelissa.comand entering promo code filmspotting when you sign up.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Can the MCU mothership stick the landing?After earning a probably undeserved reputation for being hard on the MCU, Adam and Josh return from their ENDGAME screening speaking the language of converts: the final chapter of this decade-in-the-making MCU story not only manages to tie up its multiple story threads, but does so in an entertaining and, yes, moving way. Adam and Josh also make time to recommend Beyoncé's new HOMECOMING concert doc and Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams in FOSSE/VERDON. Plus, the second film in the Stanley Donen Marathon, 1957's FUNNY FACE with Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire. Timestamps do not account for ads and may not be exact1:12 - Review: "Avengers: Endgame"23:02 - "Endgame" spoiler talkBeyoncé, "Freedom" (Live at Coachella)50:59 - Josh recs: "Homecoming"55:26 - Adam recs: "Fosse/Verdon"58:42 - Next week / Notes59:54 - Polls (MCU / Summer Preview / Madness '20)1:12:05 - Donen #2: "Funny Face"Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In Alex Ross Perry's HER SMELL, Elisabeth Moss gives a performance that, for Adam and Josh, evokes Gena Rowlands' iconic work in "A Woman Under the Influence" and a punk-rock Lady Macbeth. Moss's Becky Something is the drug-addled, manic and abusive lead singer of a '90s-era rock band that's fallen on hard times. It's also, according to Adam, the best film of the year so far.Also on the show: 1949's ON THE TOWN, the first in a four-film Stanley Donen Marathon. Plus, Josh's report from this year's Ebert Interruptus.0:00-1:07 - Billboard1:07-26:13 - Review: "Her Smell"26:37-38:17 - Spoilers: "Her Smell"On the Town, "On the Town"38:58-39:45 - Donations39:45-53:07 - Next week / Ebert Interruptus / Notes53:07-55:28 - Massacre Theatre55:28-1:18:46 - Donen #1: "On the Town"1:18:46-1:21:31 - Close    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
The 70 year-old French director of "Beau Travail," "35 Shots of Rum" and last year's "Let the Sunshine In" is having a moment. After 30 years of critically-acclaimed work, Claire Denis remains largely unknown in the U.S. That could change with her latest, HIGH LIFE, an existential sci-fi film starring Robert Pattinson and Juliette Binoche. Denis was in Chicago for a recent screening of the film, giving Adam and guest host Scott Tobias a rare chance to sit down with Denis and talk about how "High Life" fits into her sensuous and provocative body of work and how, among other things, Stephen Hawking's writing contributed to the universe she created on screen. She also plays along with the Filmspotting Five, where she admits to loving ok-maybe-not-your-least-favorite-Wes-Anderson-movie-but-few-people's-favorite (not even Josh's).Also on the show: Adam and Scott join the chorus of critics - and moviegoers - who have found themselves surprisingly charmed by the DCEU's SHAZAM. Plus, the crowning of the 2019 Filmspotting Madness champion.0:00-1:17 - Billboard1:17-28:22 - Interview: Claire DenisBad Bad Hats, "Wide Right"29:04-32:53 - Next week / Notes32:53-48:48 - Madness: Champion / Polls48:48-55:56 - Review: "Shazam"Bad Bad Hats, "Dunno Why"56:49-1:15:08 - Review: "High Life"1:15:08-1:19:00 - Close Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
As the 2019 edition of Filmspotting Madness comes to a close, Adam and Josh share some favorite titles that didn't make the 64-film bracket. Their Top 5 Overlooked Films of the 2000s features some under-seen comedies starring Jack Black, Seann William Scott and Mark Duplass; docs and "docu-fantasias" from Steve James and Guy Maddin; and less familiar titles from A-list directors like Ridley Scott and Robert Zemeckis. Plus, the Madness championship matchup is revealed, and a Sacred Cow review of Andrew Dominik's 2007 meditative western THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD.0:00-1:16 - Billboard1:16-39:11 - Review: "Assassination of Jesse James..."Hembree, "Culture"39:53-49:48 - R.I.P Agnes Varda / Next week / Notes49:48-1:02:52 - Madness: Final 4 Results / ChampionshipHembree, "Almost"1:03:35-1:07:31 - Donations1:07:31-1:54:22 - Top 5: Overlooked Movies of the 2000s1:54:22-1:58:22 - CloseLearn more about your ad choices. Visit
Big Top Tim Burton remakes the Disney classic.With Adam out of town, Michael Phillips joins Josh for a review of the new DUMBO, plus Filmspotting Madness Final 4 matchups and the Top 5 Movie Circus Acts. Also, Michael shares thoughts on HOTEL MUMBAI, and Josh has 2019's first Golden Brick recommendation: A.T. White's STARFISH.0:00-1:08 - Billboard1:08-27:30 - Review: "Dumbo"Betty Noyes, "Baby Mine"28:11-32:43 - Next week / Notes32:43-36:10 - Michael on "Hotel Mumbai"36:10-38:21 - Josh recommends: "Starfish"38:21-47:40 - Madness: Elite 8 Results / Final 4David Bromberg, "Sharon"48:38-1:21:02 - Top 5: Movie Circus Acts1:21:02-1:24:17 - CloseLearn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jordan Peele is not done scaring us.Peele's "Get Out" was one of the defining films of 2017. A huge box office success early in the year, it went on to be nominated for Best Picture, and won Peele an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. So if that’s your directing debut... how exactly do you follow that up? With US, Peele sticks with horror and proves that his talent for juggling scares with comedy and social commentary was no fluke. Adam and Josh talk about Peele's mastery of horror craft and his film's stellar cast, in particular Lupita Nyong'o as a trauma survivor whose family becomes the target of a home invasion. And if you've seen the film, stick around for an extended SPOILER conversation about US.Also on the show: Filmspotting Madness Best of the 2000s Sweet 16 results and Elite 8 matchups; the final film in the John Cassavetes Marathon (1977's OPENING NIGHT); and "The Blue Hats," the Cassavetes Marathon Awards.          0:00-1:05 - Billboard1:05-21:02 - Review: "Us"21:02-42:07 - Spoilers: "Us"Karen O and Dangermouse, "Turn The Light"43:02-48:57 - Next week / Notes48:57-1:08:10 - Madness: Sweet 16 Results / Elite 8Le Tigre, "What's Your Take On Cassavetes"1:03:37-1:27:59 - Cassavetes #4 - "Opening Night"1:27:59-1:55:12 - Cassavetes Awards 1:55:12-1:57:27 - CloseLearn more about your ad choices. Visit
Comments (6)


I would have thought Jessica rabbit, Gillian Anderson , Karen Gillan (Dr Who), Black Widow (Avengers), carice van Houten( game of thrones) would get honory mentions. Lastly the girl in 5th Element.

Apr 30th


Very hard choice of crackpots. Doc Brown is the most obvious choice. Willy Wonka a good choice. But my other choice might be more Mad scientist eg. Dr Strangelove, The guy in rocky horror show . Most of the James bond villains. Lex Luther, people thought Noah was crazy. Most of Jim carreys characters. John Goodman in cool runnings.

Apr 30th

Victoria Bert

What kinda guy doesn’t like the Terminator.

Nov 3rd

Fuck Fuckery

I liked it

Oct 8th


annoying when the female guest refers to everything as "uncomfortable". the virtue signaling is staggering.

Sep 20th

Ben Murphy

get off the pretentious bandwagon. tedious boring unthrilling "thriller".

Sep 10th
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