August 22, 2019
A public, corporate feud between Marvel and Sony could spell the end of Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe—are we stuck caring about this forever, and will we ever return to the days of movie stars (0:45)? Then, Ben Berman joins the show to discuss his strange and postmodern documentary on magician and comedian “The Amazing Johnathan” (74:51). Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins Guests: Wesley Morris and Ben Berman
August 20, 2019
‘Blinded by the Light’ struggled in what was another slow weekend at the box office, while ‘Good Boys’ broke the trend of superhero and franchise-IP movies dominating 2019. We discuss that, the late-breaking news that Annapurna’s debt will be paid off by Larry Ellison, and ‘Where’d You Go Bernadette’—Richard Linklater’s latest film (2:00). Then, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett, and Chad Villella—collectively known as Radio Silence—join the show to share their collaborative creative process in making their ‘Ready or Not’ (41:31). Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins Guests: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett, and Chad Villella
August 16, 2019
With the release of the Springsteen-inspired coming-of-age film 'Blinded by the Light,' Sean welcomes Chris Ryan to share their five favorite songs from The Boss. They also discuss the recent cancellation of the controversial thriller 'The Hunt,' debate the trailers for 'Little Women,' 'A Hidden Life,' 'Parasite,' and more (1:00). Then Gurinder Chadha, writer-director of 'Blinded by the Light,' swings by to share her journey and explain why Springsteen has been so pivotal to her creative life (51:00). Host: Sean Fennessey Guests: Gurinder Chadha and Chris Ryan
August 13, 2019
We open the mailbag to answer some of our listeners’ most-pressing questions: What films are we most looking forward to for the rest of the year? Is Adam Driver our best working actor (and is he hot)? What are Sean’s guilty-pleasure movies? And more. Host: Sean Fennessey
August 9, 2019
We attempt to have a nuanced conversation about the complicated reception to Quentin Tarantino’s new film. (0:00) Then, we break down the latest shakeup in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' leadership, and how it will affect the Oscars' future (2:00). Plus: Oscar-nominated writer-director Andrea Berloff joins the show to talk about ‘The Kitchen’—her crime drama about 1970s New York, starring Tiffany Haddish, Elisabeth Moss, and Melissa McCarthy (1:06:34). Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins Guest: Andrea Berloff
August 5, 2019
Sean and Amanda finally cave and watch each others’ beloved films after months and months of refusing (1:00). Then, director Avi Belkin joins the show to talk about his motivation for diving into a subject like Mike Wallace (1:13:23). Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins Guest: Avi Belkin
August 2, 2019
‘Hobbs and Shaw’ director David Leitch joins to talk about the challenges of adapting a successful franchise, his work on 'John Wick,' and the state of the action-comedy genre. Host: Sean Fennessey Guest: David Leitch
July 26, 2019
We gather to discuss Quentin Tarantino’s ninth—and allegedly penultimate—film, ‘Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.’ We break down everything from Leonardo DiCaprio grappling with the end of his career in the leading role, to Brad Pitt’s quiet charisma, to the way historical accuracy competes with fantasy. Hosts: Sean Fennessey, Amanda Dobbins, Chris Ryan
July 23, 2019
The ‘Cats’ trailer set fire to Twitter, and Marvel extinguished the flames by announcing its next decade of IP dominance—what are we looking forward to most (1:00)? Then, we finally hash it out: We debate the top five Quentin Tarantino movies (16:15). Lastly, producer Cameron Crowe, director A.J. Eaton, and titular star David Crosby join the show to discuss ‘David Crosby: Remember My Name,’ the long-in-the-works documentary about Crosby’s legendary life and music career (1:22:45). Host: Sean Fennessey Guests: Jason Concepcion, Chris Ryan, David Crosby, Cameron Crowe, A.J. Eaton
July 19, 2019
Disney is in the midst of a nostalgia churn, and the latest installment is a remake of ‘The Lion King,’ the iconic 1994 peak of the Disney golden era. Have we reached a dark place with live-action remakes, and are there more to come? Plus, does the 2019 all-star cast live up to the original voice performances? Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins
July 16, 2019
The slow box office summer continued this weekend as ‘Stuber’ failed to make a real impact in theaters. Is streaming going to put an end to the big-budget action comedy (0:37)? Plus, a long conversation with Lulu Wang about her path to becoming a filmmaker, the deeply personal experience of making ‘The Farewell,’ and what wider success means for a Sundance darling (42:30).  Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins Guest: Lulu Wang
July 12, 2019
David Shoemaker joins the show to talk about how action stars are minted in the post–The Rock era of filmmaking, Dave Bautista’s rise to legitimate actor, and who is primed to make the leap from WWE to the big screen (0:45). Then, ‘Stuber’ director Michael Dowse comes in to talk about the role of improvisation in his films, working with Bautista and comedian Kumail Nanjiani, and what his future in directing looks like (25:07). Host: Sean Fennessey Guests: David Shoemaker, Michael Dowse
July 9, 2019
We take an early survey of the alleged frontrunners in the 2020 Oscars—a slim list of movies that are already getting negative buzz—before discussing the live-action remake trend that Disney is employing in its latest effort to dominate the financial landscapes of moviemaking (1:00). Then, Jesse Eisenberg and Riley Stearns join the podcast (previously recorded at SXSW) to discuss their partnership in making ‘The Art of Self-Defense’ (54:17). Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins Guests: Jesse Eisenberg and Riley Stearns
July 3, 2019
Chris Ryan joins to discuss ‘Midsommar,’ Ari Aster’s shocking Swedish nightmare follow up to his debut horror hit ‘Hereditary’ (1:00). Then, Aster comes by to talk about the challenges of making a horror film set exclusively in the daylight, the pressure of following ‘Hereditary,’ and what he’s doing next (14:47). Host: Sean Fennessey Guests: Chris Ryan and Ari Aster
July 2, 2019
Friendly neighborhood MCU fan Micah Peters joins the show to discuss ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home,’ the Marvel movie tasked with following ‘Avengers: Endgame,’ the wonders of Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio, and how the movie stacks up to last year’s smash hit ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.’ Host: Sean Fennessey Guest: Micah Peters
June 28, 2019
In this double episode, Sean and Amanda review ‘Yesterday,’ a movie that delivered in Beatles nostalgia but came up short in plot payoff (1:00). Then, Adam Nayman calls in from Toronto to share his top five movies of a slow year so far (42:50). Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins Guest: Adam Nayman
June 25, 2019
The horror genre spent decades as the lowbrow stepchild of the movie industry, but now it’s the vehicle for exciting young filmmakers like Ari Aster and Jordan Peele. Chris Ryan joins the show to help make sense of how we got here (1:00). Then, Gary Dauberman stops by to discuss his path from writing spec scripts to becoming the director of ‘Annabelle Comes Home’—the latest movie in the 'Conjuring' universe, a series he helped grow (21:31). Host: Sean Fennessey Guests: Chris Ryan and Gary Dauberman
June 21, 2019
Despite the threat of sequel fatigue, Pixar has managed to create classics. 'Toy Story 4' is the latest example, a fascinating portrait of identity that doubles as a treatise on trash. Rob Harvilla joins Sean Fennessey to talk about the new film, what it means to kids and parents, and how the studio has persisted for 25 years (1:36). Then, they share their top five Pixar movies (28:43).
June 18, 2019
'Men in Black: International' is yet another in a series of disappointing and drab sequels to hit this summer. What went wrong with the alien comedy relaunch? And should young stars like Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson count on shaky franchises to brighten their careers (1:15)? Then, we examine what makes a great summer movie slate, and what—if anything—we can learn from the lineups of the past 10 years (36:40). Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins
June 14, 2019
We dive deep on ‘The Snyder Cut’—the unreleased director’s cut of ‘Justice League’—and the activism surrounding it from DCEU fans, before reviewing the Netflix Bob Dylan mockumentary ‘Rolling Thunder Revue’ (1:00). Then, indie film pioneer Jim Jarmusch joins the show to discuss his new film 'The Dead Don’t Die,' his first foray into the zombie genre (37:55). Host: Sean Fennessey Guests: Rob Harvilla, Jim Jarmusch
June 11, 2019
We go over Mindy Kaling’s feature screenwriting debut, ‘Late Night, before reviewing the box office flop of ‘Dark Phoenix,’ the most recent and final release of this generation of the X-Men franchise (1:00). Then, ‘The Last Black Man in San Francisco’ director Joe Talbot joins to talk about his directorial debut—a picturesque examination of his hometown in the face of rapid gentrification (55:45). Host: Sean Fennessey Guests: Amanda Dobbins and Joe Talbot
June 7, 2019
Sean is joined by Chris Ryan to dive deep on the existing X-Men franchise, a two-decade-long series of movies that have seldom delivered but still grabbed our attention. Then, the two review the newly released “Dark Phoenix” and speculate over the direction Disney will take with X-Men’s intellectual property. Host: Sean Fennessey Guest: Chris Ryan
June 4, 2019
Sean is joined by Mallory Rubin to react as fans to HBO’s ‘Chernobyl’—a science-laden docudrama that snuck up as one of the best shows on television this year (1:00). Then showrunner Craig Mazin comes to the studio to talk about making the jump from film to TV and how writing for feature-length comedy prepared him for conveying a real-life tragedy on screen (37:00). Host: Sean Fennessey Guest: Mallory Rubin and Craig Mazin
May 31, 2019
We give our immediate reactions to ‘Rocketman’—Dexter Fletcher’s Elton John biopic, starring Taron Egerton. How is Egerton’s singing? How does the film handle John’s sexuality in comparison to a film like ‘Bohemian Rhapsody?’ Is “Elton John is good” the first thing Sean and Amanda have ever agreed on? Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins
May 29, 2019
The discourse around ‘Booksmart’ blew up on Twitter over the long weekend, but the film still disappointed at the box office. What, if anything, is there to make of the reaction (1:15)? Then we discuss the breakout movies from the Cannes Film Festival, the premiere of Quentin Tarantino's 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,' and early Oscar favorites (25:41). Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins
May 24, 2019
Disney is releasing its third live-action remake of a beloved animated classic this year alone—is this overflooding the market or is it a smart strategy for bolstering their incoming streaming platform? Plus, we examine how Will Smith’s career led him to be a charming (if lacking) Genie, and the perplexing decisions of an ultimately interesting filmmaker in Guy Ritchie. Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins
May 21, 2019
We preview ‘Booksmart,’ Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut out this weekend, and the latest in a long tradition of what we call “high school movies"—of which we share our top five lists (1:10). Then (recorded previously at SXSW), Sean is joined by Olivia Wilde, Beanie Feldstein, Kaitlyn Dever, Katie Silberman, and Billie Lourd to talk about making ‘Booksmart’ and what it takes to make a successful high school comedy in 2019 (49:30). Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins Guests: Olivia Wilde, Beanie Feldstein, Kaitlyn Dever, Billie Lourd, Katie Silberman
May 17, 2019
Chad Stahelski, the mind behind John Wick, joins the show to discuss some of the unique difficulties of shooting one of the most action-packed franchises in Hollywood, his relationship with Keanu Reeves, and the converging arts of stunt making and directing (2:11). Then, Shea Serrano calls in to wax poetic about the Wick universe and what ‘Parabellum’ means for its future (50:42). Host: Sean Fennessey Guests: Chad Stahelski, Shea Serrano
May 14, 2019
You asked and we answered—sort of. In a year dominated by superheroes, it's been hard to find a common theme at the movies for just about anything else. So we share some of the weirdest movies of the year so far, like 'Serenity,' 'Under the Silver Lake,' and 'Wine Country.' Then we break down some of our favorites, including Olivier Assayas's 'Non-Fiction' and Claire Denis's 'High Life.' Host: Sean Fennessey Guest: Amanda Dobbins
May 10, 2019
Micah Peters joins the show to make sense of the public’s obsession with Pokémon and the release of ‘Detective Pikachu’ (1:30). Then, Werner Herzog comes by the studio to discuss his new documentary, ‘Meeting Gorbachev,’ and the scope of his long and successful career (26:30). Host: Sean Fennessey Guests: Micah Peters and Werner Herzog
May 7, 2019
We discuss the continued dominance of ‘Avengers: Endgame’ at the box office and the ramifications for wide-release movies and smaller festival darlings alike (1:30) before analyzing Zac Efron’s portrayal of Ted Bundy (26:40) in Netflix's ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile.’ Then the film's director, Joe Berlinger, joins the show to discuss his documentary work, his second narrative film, and its companion documentary (31:40). Host: Sean Fennessey Guests: Amanda Dobbins, Joe Berlinger
May 3, 2019
We examine Charlize Theron’s arc on the big screen—from prototypical roles that leaned heavily on her sexuality to her turn toward action stardom, ultimately leading to her role as secretary of state in Jonathan Levine’s new comedy, ‘Long Shot’ (0:45). Then, Levine joins the show to talk about working with Theron, Seth Rogen, and what types of films he sees himself making in the future (49:15). Host: Sean Fennessey Guests: Amanda Dobbins, Rob Harvilla, Jonathan Levine
April 30, 2019
We discuss the high-wire act that ‘Avengers: Endgame’ was trying to pull off—stitching together over a decade of films into one neat, fan-serviceable, creative ending—and if it ultimately worked (1:00). Then, we take a step back and look at some of the numbers ‘Endgame’ put up at the box office, and whether it spells total domination for the mid-budget movie (23:40). Finally, we look ahead to a summer full of non-Marvel movies and share which ones we’re most excited for (40:30). Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins Guest: Chris Ryan
April 26, 2019
‘Avengers: Endgame,’ the culmination of more than a decade of Marvel Cinematic Universe films, is finally here. We discuss how the long-running arcs of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and many others have been strung together and resolved in ‘Endgame.’ Plus, we break down the movie’s complex ideas about time travel, character deaths, and, ultimately, its stakes. Finally, we take stock of where this leaves the MCU, and what could be in store for Phase 4 and beyond. Host: Sean Fennessey Guest: Mallory Rubin
April 24, 2019
‘Avengers: Endgame’ is just days away, and with that comes the final installment in our Marvel Month series: ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming.’ We discuss our relationships with Spider-Man as a cinematic figure, Tom Holland’s portrayal of a character who hadn’t been quite nailed down by other talented actors like Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, and where the character is headed as the Marvel story drifts further into space—decidedly different than the high school setting of this film. Host: Sean Fennessey Guest: Adam Nayman
April 19, 2019
We go over the week in the movie world: Beyoncé’s documentary ‘Homecoming,’ the Oscars happening two weeks earlier, and the movies we’re anticipating will enter the Best Picture conversation (1:40). Then Andrew Garfield joins the show to talk about his new film ‘Under the Silver Lake,’ an L.A.-based noir film that is a change of pace from his career arc thus far (33:00). Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins Guest: Andrew Garfield
April 17, 2019
In the penultimate episode of our Marvel Month preview series, we sit down to discuss ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron.’ How does AI function as a villain in the Marvel universe? Does the movie jump from location to location too frequently? Is this movie better now than when it actually came out? Host: Sean Fennessey Guest: Micah Peters
April 12, 2019
As ‘Avengers: Endgame’ inches closer, we continue our Marvel month with one of the most effective, influential, and surprising movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: James Gunn’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy.’ We review the original ‘Guardians’ comics, then examine the movie’s star-making ability, its use of music, and its long-lasting impact on the MCU. Host: Sean Fennessey Guest: David Shoemaker
April 11, 2019
We go over some of the most iconic rock star movies ever made and review the recent slew of films in that vein—including ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ ‘A Star Is Born,’ ‘Vox Lux,’ and more (1:30). Then, Elisabeth Moss and Alex Ross Perry join the show to talk ‘Her Smell,’ their recent installment in the trend (31:00). Host: Sean Fennessey Guest: Lindsay Zoladz, Elisabeth Moss, Alex Ross Perry
April 8, 2019
Sean is joined by Miles Surrey to assess the landscape of DC films after the breakout success of ‘Shazam!' (2:00). Then, 'Shazam!' director David F. Sandberg swings by to talk about how he turned his terrifying short, 'Lights Out,' into a feature-film career in Hollywood, the movies that inspired him, and his future in the DCEU (13:30). Host: Sean Fennessey Guests: David F. Sandberg and Miles Surrey
April 5, 2019
We break down Joss Whedon's 'Marvel’s The Avengers’—a landmark in the cinematic universe that established the rapport between the tentpole superstars and set the tone for the films going forward. How has the MCU changed our relationship with movie stars, and does that make Marvel the most important force in Hollywood right now? Host: Sean Fennessey Guest: Chris Ryan
April 2, 2019
With Harmony Korine’s latest film ‘The Beach Bum’ now in theaters, Sean, Amanda, and Rob take a look back through Matthew McConaughey’s mercurial career—including his breakthrough moments, peaks and valleys, and where his stardom stands today. Host: Sean Fennessey Guests: Amanda Dobbins, Rob Harvilla
April 1, 2019
In a rotating-guests episode of 'The Big Picture,' Sean is first joined by Bill Hader to discuss how filmmaking played into the conception of his HBO show ‘Barry’ (2:15). Then, Mary Kay Place and Kent Jones join the show to discuss Jones’s first narrative feature, ‘Diane,’ which stars Place as a mother trying to bond with her drug-addicted son (41:10). Host: Sean Fennessey Guest: Bill Hader, Mary Kay Place, and Kent Jones
March 29, 2019
In the first episode of our Marvel Cinematic Universe series—dropping once a week in the lead-up to ‘Avengers: Endgame’—Sean and Amanda go deep on the first Captain America movie. How did this movie set the tone for patriotism in superhero movies? Did it succeed as a period piece/spy drama? Why don’t Avengers have more sex? Host: Sean Fennessey Guest: Amanda Dobbins
March 26, 2019
Now 20 years removed, we convene to discuss and share our top five movies from 1999—the year many believe was the greatest year of movies ever (1:00). Then, a conversation with ‘Running With Beto’ director David Modigliani from SXSW (1:08:00). Host: Sean Fennessey Guest: Amanda Dobbins, Chris Ryan, and David Modigliani
March 22, 2019
We react to ‘Us,’ Jordan Peele’s much-anticipated follow-up to the social thriller ‘Get Out.’ We give a spoiler-laden explanation of the ending, analyze Peele leveling up as a filmmaker, and parse some of the cultural (but largely personal) themes that peek through in the film. (Disclaimer: there are spoilers in this podcast.) Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins
March 19, 2019
Oscar-winning director and writer Jordan Peele joins the show—the day after the premiere of his new film ‘Us’ at SXSW—to discuss following up ‘Get Out,’ working with stars like Lupita Nyong’o, Elisabeth Moss, and Winston Duke, and tackling complex themes within the horror genre. Hosts: Sean Fennessey Guest: Jordan Peele
March 15, 2019
With ‘Triple Frontier’ now streaming on Netflix, we launch the first episode in a series of career retrospectives on Hollywood’s biggest stars. From ‘Good Will Hunting’ to ‘Gone Girl,’ ‘Armageddon’ to ‘The Town,’ ‘Justice League’ to the "Jenny From the Block" video, we identify Affleck’s breakthrough moments and peak performances before breaking down his latest movie. Hosts: Sean Fennessey, Amanda Dobbins, Rob Harvilla
March 12, 2019
Sean, Chris, and Amanda convene to talk about their favorite movies from the SXSW Film Festival—including Jordan Peele’s much-anticipated directorial follow-up to ‘Get Out’ (1:05). Then, Sean sits down with ‘Gloria Bell’ director Sebastián Lelio to discuss working with Julianne Moore and John Turturro and the calculus behind remaking one of your own films (55:30). Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins Guests: Chris Ryan and Sebastián Lelio
March 8, 2019
Brie Larson stars as ‘Captain Marvel’ in the latest installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its first stand-alone female superhero movie. We react to what it means for the forthcoming ‘Avengers: Endgame’ and how directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck incorporated elements of the 1990s into the Marvel machine. Hosts: Sean Fennessey and Amanda Dobbins
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