A little more than five years ago in March, 2015, Chronicle Herald arts reporter Stephen Cooke and I launched a podcast on the Village Soundcast Network called LENS ME YOUR EARS.
Full credit lies with Stephen’s pun-tastic imagination for the title.
On the show we discuss new movies in cinemas — or occasionally on streaming services — and compare and contrast them with films from years gone by — antecedents in the same genre, from the same director, or starring the lead actor, or maybe just something in a similar spirit.
This concept prompts Stephen and I to watch older films we’ve always wanted to see, or revisit our favourites, and hopefully listeners will be turned on to movies they’ve never seen before.
The 100th episode is due soon. Stephen and I, both missing the in-cinema experience during this pandemic, will celebrate this milestone with a chat about our favourite memories of watching movies in the dark with friends and strangers.
Here’s a list of episodes we’ve done to date.
Episode 1: Time Travel Movies
We create a paradox by going backwards and forwards in time, with the very different Spongebob Squarepants: A Sponge Out Of Water and the Spierig Brothers’ Presdestination, which leads to a conversation about Project Almanac, The Time Machine, The Final Countdown, Timecrimes, and Primer.
Episode 2: New York Movies
What makes a New York movie, anyway? We rave over A Most Violent Year, leading to a discussion of On The Town, Serpico, Taxi Driver, After Hours, Next Stop Greenwich Village, An Unmarried Woman, Manhattan, Q: The Winged Serpent, and The Warriors.
Episode 3: Irish Movies
We watched ’71, and then discuss a few Irish films — as well as Hollywood movies set in Ireland or involving Irish characters — including The Quiet Man, Hidden Agenda, The Wind That Shakes The Barley, Bloody Sunday, In Bruges, The Guard, Hear My Song, Once, as well as a few Neil Jordan films.
Episode 4: Car Movies
We take our time over Furious 7, buzz through the Fast & Furious series, before going backward at speed to Two Lane Blacktop, Vanishing Point, Gone In 60 Seconds, Death Race 2000, The Driver, The Blues Brothers, Thelma & Louise, Drive, and a couple Burt Reynolds vehicles.
Episode 5: Tech Will Destroy Us
A discussion of androids, artificial intelligence, and monsters in the movies, starting with Ex Machina and Avengers: Age of Ultron, followed by Frankenstein, Godzilla, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Michael Crichton movies, Runaway, The Terminator series, Planet of the Apes, and Splice.
Episode 6: Post-Apocalypse Movies
Episode 7: Vampire Movies
A conversation about future Star Wars director Taika Waititi’s What We Do In The Shadows leads to other tales of bloodsuckers including Only Lovers Left Alive, Hammer horror films, Dracula (1979), Scream Blacula Scream, Nosferatu, Lifeforce, Vamp, Near Dark, Martin, Let The Right One In, Byzantium, and Daybreakers.
Episode 8: Music Biopics
Impressed by the parallel timelines of the Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy, we examine other real life and fictional tales of musical talent, including The Lady Sings The Blues, La Vie En Rose, De-Lovely, Walk The Line, I’m Not There, 32 Films About Glenn Gould, Control, Last Days, Coal Miner’s Daughter, 24 Hour Party People, Backbeat, Topsy Turvy, Almost Famous, and A Mighty Wind.
Episode 9: Submarine Movies
Stephen and I take a trip to the Black Sea and stay in the depths to enjoy, mostly, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, The Enemy Below, Run Silent Run Deep, Grey Lady Down, Ice Station Zebra, Das Boot, Hunt For The Red October, Crimson Tide, and K-19 The Widowmaker.
Episode 10: Insect Movies
The release of the Marvel Studios movie, Ant Man, we put insect (and occasional arachnid) movies under a magnifying glass, including THEM!, Tarantula, The Incredible Shrinking Man, Kingdom Of The Spiders, Swarm, Arachnophobia, The Fly, Matinee, Angels & Insects, Starship Troopers, Slither, and Enemy.
Episode 11: Dark Comedies
A special screening of The ‘Burbs at local cinema series Thrillema prompts a look at dark comedies like The Ladykillers, The Loved One, Dr Strangelove, MASH, Catch 22, Three Kings, Harold & Maude, SOB, Heathers, Gremlins 2, Bad Santa, The Player, Barton Fink, and Death To Smoochy.
Episode 12: Spy Movies
We discuss two recent spy thrillers inspired by 1960s cold war TV sources, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and The Man From UNCLE, and then we go back to a heavily-researched look at almost everything but Hitchcock and Bond — The Ipcress File, The Quiller Memorandum, The Kremlin Letter, The Tamarind Seed, The Odessa File, The Internecine Project, Three Days of the Condor, Marathon Man, The Osterman Weekend, No Way Out, The Quiet American, Munich, and a number of John Le Carré adaptations.
Episode 13: Clint Eastwood Movies
Surprise hit American Sniper arrived on DVD, so Stephen and I felt lucky, punk, and enjoyed a few movies from actor-director Eastwood’s impressive body of work, including Where Eagles Dare, Play Misty For Me, The Beguiled, Thunderbolt & Lightfoot, The Outlaw Josey Wales, White Hunter Black Heart, and The Bridges Of Madison County.
Episode 14: Movies made in Nova Scotia
On the occasion of the 2015 Atlantic Film Festival we take a look at a number of films shot in Nova Scotia, both local productions and so-called “service” productions, usually Hollywood films that shoot here for reasons of budget or landscape. We catch up with movies like Corvette K-225, Delores Claiborne, Margaret’s Museum, The Shipping News, Snow Angels, Poor Boys Game, Down To The Dirt, Goin’ Down The Road, New Waterford Girl, Just Buried, Siege, George’s Island, Touch & Go, Candy Mountain, Charlie Zone, Hobo With A Shotgun, and Heartbeat.
Episode 15: American Gangster Movies
After a screening of Black Mass, we took the cannoli, enjoying White Heat, The Killing, Prizzi’s Honor, The King Of New York, State of Grace, Miller’s Crossing, Carlito’s Way, and Boyz In Da Hood.
Episode 16: Lost In Space Movies
Matt Damon is The Martian, which prompted us to head “out there” with Robinson Crusoe On Mars, Silent Running, Capricorn One, The Black Hole, Saturn 3, Event Horizon, Solaris (1972, 2002), Sunshine, Moon, and Europa Report.
Episode 17: James Bond 007 Movies
We press the ejector seat on the so-so Spectre and serve up some of our favourite movies in the Bond canon — You Only Live Twice, Casino Royale (2005), Live And Let Die, From Russia With Love, The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only, Skyfall, Goldfinger, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and even A View To A Kill, endorsed by our guest in the podcast booth — filmmaker and hardcore 007 fan, Luckas Cardona-Morisset.
Episode 18: Alfred Hitchcock Movies
Our first podcast recording live in front of an audience at Carbon Arc Cinema following a screening of the documentary Hitchcock/Truffaut. There’s no way to discuss all of the films from the master of suspense in an hour or so, but we did get into The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog, Sabotage, Shadow Of A Doubt, Strangers On A Train, I Confess, Frenzy, Vertigo, Notorious, Rebecca, The Birds, Psycho, and Dial M For Murder.
Episode 19: New Filmmakers
With the release of Jeff Nichols fascinating Midnight Special, we celebrate new and newish directors and their films — amongst them Jean-Marc Vallée, Denis Villeneuve, Jeremy Saulnier, and Ryan Coogler.
Episode 20: Terrence Malick Movies
Malick’s more recent films have been divisive, and that’s certainly true of his last film released in local cinemas, Knights of Cups. We also talk about Badlands, Days Of Heaven, The Thin Red Line, Tree Of Life, and To The Wonder.
Episode 21: Meryl Streep Movies
Stephen and I discuss Streep’s role in Florence Foster Jenkins, and go back to discuss her incredible career, including work in films like The Deer Hunter, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Sophie’s Choice, Silkwood, Out Of Africa, Heartburn, Ironweed, Cry In The Dark aka Evil Angel, One True Thing, Doubt, and Ricki And The Flash.
Episode 22: Woody Allen Movies
The New York filmmaker’s career is pretty much cancelled these days, but back in 2016 he directed a comedy/drama that was released in cinemas called Café Society. We consider that one, and go back to some of Allen’s better, funny films, including Casino Royale (1967), What’s Up Tiger Lily, Love & Death, Broadway Danny Rose, Zelig, Radio Days, Everyone Says I Love You, Deconstructing Harry, Sweet & Lowdown, and Match Point.
Episode 23: Modern Westerns aka Westerns-ish
The excellent Hell Or High Water is reviewed, and take a stroll through a few Budd Boetticher westerns, and then Open Range, No Country For Old Men, The Killer Inside Me, Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia, Z For Zachariah, Johnny Guitar, The Salvation, Slow West, The Homesman, The Revenant, The Proposition, Meek’s Cutoff, and recent Tarantino — Hateful Eight and Django Unchained.
Episode 24: Animated Movies
Kubo And The Two Strings and Sausage Party couldn’t be more different, but they are both animated films. We then discuss some of our favourite animated pictures, including Jungle Book, Looney Tunes, Heavy Metal, the work of Studio Ghibli, Ralph Bakshi, and then jump into The Incredibles, The Triplets of Belleville, Waking Life, A Scanner Darkly, and finally take a brief detour into TV with Rick & Morty.
Episode 25: Remake Movies
We were as surprised as anyone that the remake of The Magnificent Seven turned out to be fairly entertaining. Then we distinguish between remakes, reboots, and sequels, and get into The Seven Samurai, the Ghostbusters remake, Blair Witch Project, Point Break, Yojimbo vs A Fistful of Dollars, Infernal Affairs vs The Departed, The Thing, The Fly, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, King Kong, Godzilla, Nosferatu, and Manhunter vs Red Dragon.
Episode 26: The Films of Tim Burton
We were lukewarm on Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, but have some kinder remarks for the sometimes kooky/ooky filmmaker’s other work, films like Peewee’s Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Batman, Batman Returns, Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Mars Attacks, Planet Of The Apes (2001), Sleepy Hollow, Sweeney Todd, Big Fish, and Big Eyes.
Episode 27: Romantic Comedies
Bridget Jones’ Baby was a real disappointment, but we’re both fans of romcoms like The Thin Man, The Philadelphia Story, His Girl Friday, Switching Channels, Kissing Jessica Stein, The Tall Guy, Four Weddings & A Funeral, The Butcher’s Wife, LA Story, Hear My Song, Notting Hill, A New Kind Of Love, Sleeping With Other People, and Man Up.
Episode 28: Alien Invasion Movies
We can’t stay away from science fiction, and we loved Arrival. We also dive into War Of The Worlds, The Day The Earth Stood Still, Earth Versus The Flying Saucers, Mars Attacks, They Live, Communion, The Arrival (1996), Slither, and Attack The Block.
Episode 29: Roger Ebert’s Great Movies – Take #1
Roger Ebert wrote a series of books called Great Movies, collecting reviews of cinematic landmarks. We made a list of ones we’d seen and wanted to see again, and ones we’d always wanted to see, and chipped away at that list — including these classics: Wings Of Desire and other Wim Wenders films, with discussion on The American Friend, The Talented Mr Ripley, and Ripley’s Game. Then we venture into Johnny Guitar, In A Lonely Place and other Nicholas Ray films, The Big Red One and the films of Sam Fuller.
Episode 30: Bewitching Movies – Magic and the Occult
Using supernatural means we connect Doctor Strange with Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, and conjure Angel Heart, Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, George Melies, Hammer Horror, Night Of The Demon, The Witches (1966), The Devil Rides Out, The Devils (1971), The Wicker Man (1973 and 2006), The Craft, The Ninth Gate, The Invitation, and The Witch (2016).
Episode 31: Getting To Know Us! – Stephen and Carsten’s Film Credentials
At this point in our podcast, we figure this is a thing, and maybe you might wanna know both our professional background and why we’re both so obsessed with movies. This leads to a conversation of some sentimental favourites from our youth, including The Black Hole, Pink Panther movies, The Jungle Book, The Shipping News, Star Wars, The Poseidon Adventure, An Unmarried Woman, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and Chinatown.
Episode 32: Musicals
This was the La La Land episode, which inspired us both break into song. Kidding! But we do enjoy a chat about The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Whiplash, Al Jolson, 42nd Street, MGM Musicals, Star, The Bandwagon, The Gang’s All Here, Dr Doolittle, Cabaret, Singing In The Rain, Saturday Night Fever, Grease, Fame, Flashdance, Footloose, Dirty Dancing, Blues Brothers, Everyone Says I Love You, Topsy Turvy, Almost Famous, Hail Caesar, Sing Street, and London Road.
Episode 33: Marty Party – The Movies of Martin Scorcese
We watch the serious and solemn Silence, and talk about Scorcese’s other movies, like Who’s That Knocking At My Door, Boxcar Bertha, Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, King Of Comedy, The Color of Money, Age Of Innocence, his documentary A Personal Journey with Martin Scorcese through American Movies, Casino, and The Departed.
Episode 34: Hurt’s So Good – Remembering John Hurt
A sincere celebration of the work of the late, great John Hurt, even with the punny title. We start with Jackie, and going back to A Man For All Seasons, The Naked Civil Servant, Englishman In New York, The Elephant Man, The Hit, 1984, Jake Speed, Alien & Spaceballs, Outlander, Scandal, Love & Death On Long Island, and Snowpiercer,
• From here on, some of the episodes we recorded never found their way online for… reasons. I’m including them for the archive, and maybe we’ll end up revisiting these subjects and films again in the future.
MISSING: Episode 35: Twist Movies
Yes, M. Night Shyamalan built his reputation on the twist, which we spoil somewhat in his picture, Split, amongst his other movies. We also reveal the secrets behind The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari, Planet of the Apes, No Way Out, To Live & Die in LA, The Mist, and The Prestige.
Episode 36: Making America Great Again – Roger Ebert’s Great Movies – Take #2
For a second time we discuss mysteries and crime dramas from Ebert’s list, and somehow rope Get Out into the conversation, and then discuss JP Melville and The Red Circle, Body Heat, Au Revoir Les Enfants and Louis Malle, and then get into Vanya on 42nd Street, and My Dinner With Andre.
MISSING: Episode 37: Monster Movies and Creature Features
We wash up on Kong: Skull Island before grappling with King Kong, Godzilla Destroy All Monsters, War Of The Gargantuas, Shlock, Q-The Winged Serpent, Splice, Prophesy (1979), Monsters (2010), Shin Godzilla, and Pacific Rim.
Episode 38: Watching Paint Dry – Artists on the Big Screen
Maud Lewis is a big deal in this part of the world, and biopic Maudie was much appreciated when it was released, which prompts a look at artists on the big screen in Weirdos, Mr Turner, Lust For Life, The Agony & The Ecstasy, New York Stories, Basquiat, Coco Avant Chanel, Renoir (2012), and Camille Claudel.
Episode 39: Not Dat Topia, Dystopias!
Ghost In The Shell is the live-action Hollywood version of the 1990s anime — I liked the production design, but took issue with the plotting. It inspired us to visit Gattaca, Brazil, Metropolis, the original Ghost In The Shell, THX 1138, Logan’s Run, Equilibrium, The Handmaid’s Tale, Children Of Men, Equals, and even The Lobster.
Episode 40: Location, Location, Location – Single Location Movies
Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire is our platform to get into a few of his films, and then these great single-location pictures — Rope, Rear Window, The Disappeared, Exterminating Angel, My Dinner With Andre, 12 Angry Men, Assault On Precinct 13, Silent Running, Moon, Source Code, Reservoir Dogs, Cube, Coherence, The One I Love, Insignificance, Glengarry Glen Ross, A Pure Formality, Death & The Maiden, Fences, and the amazing Locke.
MISSING Episode 41: Explorer Movies
We find The Lost City of Z before we explore a few classic and not-so classic explorer movies, including King Solomon’s Mines, The Far Horizon, The Secret of the Incas, Aguirre Wrath Of God, The Man Who Would Be King, The Mosquito Coast, Mountains Of The Moon, Walkabout, Tracks (2014), The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec, and Embrace Of The Serpent.
MISSING Episode 42: The Alien Series
I recognize Alien: Covenant is a movie with problems, but I enjoyed revisiting the Alien universe — for what it’s worth. We also crewed up for Alien, Aliens, Alien3, Alien: Resurrection, Prometheus, AVS: Alien Versus Predator, AVP: Alien Versus Predator Requiem, Species, Event Horizon, and Life.
Episode 43: Wonder Women – Female Action Stars
Wonder Woman brought on a heroic thrill, and so did a lot of these movies: Perils of Pauline, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Michelle Yeoh movies, Tai Chi Master, Tomorrow Never Dies, Resident Evil, Underworld, Hunger Games, Kill Bill, Lucy, La Femme Nikita, Salt, Wanted, Hanna, Smilla’s Sense of Snow, Haywire, and The Long Kiss Goodnight.
MISSING Episode 44: Prisoner Of War Movies
That’s how we connect War For The Planet of the Apes with Dunkirk. It’s a bit of a stretch in both departments, I grant you, but it allows us to consider Stalag 17, The Great Escape, Bridge On The River Kwai, Grand Illusion, King Rat, Escape To Athena, Escape To Victory, Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, and Empire Of The Sun.
MISSING Episode 45: Heist Movies
These ones are a little more in line; Baby Driver and Logan Lucky, which owe a debt to great heist movies like Rififi, Bob Le Flambeur, The Good Thief, The Thomas Crown Affair (1968 and1999), The Brinks Job, Quick Change, Blood & Wine, The Bank Job, Triple 9, and Out Of Sight.
Episode 46: Characters You Love To Hate and Hate To Love!
The unsympathetic protagonist gets their day in the sun with The Founder, and in these pictures: Ace In The Hole, A Face In The Crowd, One Two Three, King Of Comedy, There Will Be Blood, The Social Network vs Steve Jobs, Naked, Bronson, Ingrid Goes West, Young Adult, Morvern Callar, Election, and even a movie that has yet to come out, The Current War.
Episode 47: A Lot of Scotts – Blade Runner and the Films of Ridley Scott
We talk about Denis Villeneuve’s masterful Blade Runner 2049, but we use the opportunity to consider the work of the director of the original Blade Runner, Ridley Scott, who served as executive producer on the sequel. His best films include The Duellists, Alien, Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Kingdom Of Heaven and The Martian.
Episode 48: Darren Aronofsky’s Mother! and Freak-Out Movies
Mother! is a deeply weird and wonderful movie, but we take a second dose of Aronofsky’s other work, such as The Fountain and Noah, as well as other odd and psychedelic pictures — Last Year at Marienbad, Zabriskie Point, Strawberry Statement, More, Pink Floyd The Wall, Lost Highway, Inland Empire, Gerry, and Enter The Void.
Episode 49: Serial Killers
The Snowman is a bit of a catastrophe, but it allows us to walks with the serial killers in movies like M, He Walked By Night, Peeping Tom, Targets, Vengeance Is Mine, Manhunter, and Zodiac.
Episode 50: Train Movies
We take a slow ride on the Kenneth Branagh remake of Murder On The Orient Express, as well as the original from 1974, along with movies like The Iron Horse, The General, Night Train To Munich, The Train, Silver Streak, The Cassandra Crossing, Runaway Train, and Train To Busan.
MISSING Episode 51: Movies of 1987
At the end of 2017 we took a look back 30 years to some of the best movies of 1987 at a time where Stephen and I were both really finding our passion for film. Those movies were Ishtar, Withnail & I, Adventures in Babysitting, Black Widow, 84 Charing Cross Road, A Month In The Country, Less Than Zero, Bestseller, The Big Easy, and White Mischief.
MISSING Episode 52: Guillermo Del Toro
The Shape Of Water was a triumph for the talented Mexican auteur who loves Canada and shoots here all the time, going back to his giant bug movie, Mimic. His other movies include Cronos, The Devil’s Backbone, Blade II, Hellboy, Hellboy II, Pan’s Labyrinth, Pacific Rim, and Crimson Peak.
Episode 53: Call Me By Your Name and a look at Queer Cinema
One of the great movies of the past 10 years, Call Me By Your Name was beloved by many, including Stephen and me. It gives us a chance to look at the history of LGBTQ culture in film, as with The Boys In The Band, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Midnight Cowboy, My Beautiful Laundrette, Passing Glances, Prick Up Your Ears, Maurice, Beginners, Pride, A Fantastic Woman, and God’s Own Country.
Episode 54: Black Panther and a look at African American Cinema
Ryan Coogler’s astonishing, political superhero movie gets our attention, as does Jordan Peele’s Get Out. We revisit classics by Spike Lee, including Do The Right Thing and Blaxploitation pictures from the 1970s like Shaft, Super Fly, Dolomite, Trouble Man, and The Spook Who Sat By The Door, before going forward into Daughters of the Dust, Eve’s Bayou, and Girls Trip. We also include a couple of Nova Scotian films, Across The Line and Black Cop.
Episode 55: Phantom Thread and Daniel Day-Lewis’ noteworthy performances
The famed chameleonic performer announces his retirement from acting, and we give his last role in PT Anderson’s Phantom Thread the once over, along with Room With A View, My Left Foot, Last Of The Mohicans, Age of Innocence, In The Name Of The Father, The Boxer, Gangs of New York, The Ballad Of Jack & Rose, and There Will Be Blood.
Episode 56: Death Wish and the Revenge Thriller
The Bruce Willis remake isn’t something I’d recommend, but the original Death Wish (less so the sequels in ’82 and ’85) is at least a slice of a time and place. We got locked and loaded with The Big Heat, Point Blank, Get Carter, Thriller: A Cruel Picture aka They Call Her One Eye, The Count of Monte Cristo (1975 and 2002), Ms.45, Leon: The Professional, The Brave One, and Blue Ruin.
Episode 57: Soderbergh Dead Ahead (or Unsane in the Membrane)
After a brief retirement, Steven Soderbergh returns to feature filmmaking with the shot-on-a-cellphone Unsane, and the redneck heist picture Logan Lucky. It’s a welcome return given movies like Sex Lies And Videotape, Kafka, King Of The Hill, Schitzipolis, Out Of Sight, The Limey, Erin Brockovich, Traffic, Solaris, Magic Mike, and Oceans 11.
Episode 58: Go Wes Young Person!
Wes Anderson’s canine animated fantasy Isle of Dogs led us down the path to his cinematic world — Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, Royal Tenenbaums, Steve Zissou and the Life Aquatic, Fantastic Mr Fox, and The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Episode 59: Funny Women, Amy Schumer, and beyond
Amy Schumer had a lot of success a few years ago, and while I Feel Pretty isn’t considered one of her triumphs, it’s no slight on her talent or hard work. On this episode we pay tribute to talented ladies who make us laugh, like Mae West, Goldie Hawn, Lily Tomlin, and Melissa McCarthy.
Episode 60: Halifax Independent Film Festival and cult Canadian gems
The Halifax Independent Filmmakers Festival screens, as the name suggests, indie and unorthodox films, and Stephen and I dive into the 2018 edition, including All You Can Eat Bouddha, Mass for Shut-Ins, and In the Waves, and then take a left turn into Canadian movies like Goin’ Down The Road, Murder By Decree, The Disappearance, Cafe de Flore, and Meditation Park.
Episode 61: Creep-o-Rama, inspired by Hereditary
I’ve said it a lot on this podcast: I’m not a horror guy. If all a movie offers is a scare and a gross-out, I’m not going to be interested. Hereditary does deliver more than that, at least until an underwhelming ending. We discuss our favourite scary movies from our youth, which for me are The Poseidon Adventure, Don’t Look Now, The Omen, The Fury, The Eyes of Laura Mars, and The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane. We also take a chilling stroll through Who Would Kill A Child, Event Horizon, Audition, The Blair Witch Project, amongst others.
Episode 62: Pixar yourself on a boat on a river
Stephen really outdid himself on the title. Yes, this episode is dedicated to the Disney-owned computer animation mavericks who, over the course of almost 30 years, have hit it out of the park a lot more often than not. We start with The Incredibles 2 and offer our personal favourite three — Toy Story 2, Ratatouille, and Wall-E are all considered.
Episode 63: Later, Schrader
First Reformed is a comeback of sorts for the legendary screenwriter and filmmaker Paul Schrader. We take on a few of his many gems — The Yakuza, Taxi Driver, Rolling Thunder, American Gigolo, Cat People, Mosquito Coast, Light Sleeper, Comfort of Strangers, and The Canyon.
Episode 64: DISAPPOINTED!
Where Stephen and I reveal ourselves to be secret haters of super-popular movies. Maybe not so secret. Jurassic World, Star Trek Into Darkness, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Forrest Gump, ET, Braveheart, and even, shocker! Raiders Of The Lost Ark all get some shade.
Episode 65: Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’: Mission: Impossible – Fallout and the films of Ton Cruise
Well, Tom Cruise must be frequently bruised, so this one works. We give him all the consideration he deserves, which is a lot — he’s managed to sustain an A-List career as a movie star for 35 years, which is close to unprecedented, and in the last decade he’s literally been risking his life for our entertainment. We start with Fallout, go back through the earlier Mission: Impossible movies, as well as Risky Business, All The Right Moves, The Color of Money, Vanilla Sky, Magnolia, Collateral, and Oblivion.
Episode 66: ‘Q-Brick’ The Films of Stanley Kubrick
There’s really no excuse for this title, but this episode? We had to deal with this guy sometime, and the real surprise is it took us 66 tries to get there. We touch upon Kubrick’s films going back to the 1950s, and my favourite of his earlier work, Paths of Glory, all the way up to his final picture, Eyes Wide Shut, and the documentary Filmworker, about Kubrick’s longtime assistant, Leon Vitali.
Episode 67: ‘Everything’s FIN’ A look at the FIN Atlantic International Film Festival 2018
On the docket in this episode are films screening at the annual fest including regional dramas Splinters and An Audience of Chairs, and a host of documentaries — The Song and The Sorrow, Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, The Girls of Meru, Love Scott, Carmine Street Guitars, Nothing Like A Dame, and Bad Reputation.
Episode 68: ‘Burt’s So Good’ Looking at the life and legacy of Burt Reynolds
But, really, the movies — definitely the movies — of Burt Reynolds. He was at one time the world’s biggest box office draw because of pictures like Navajo Joe, Deliverance, White Lightning, Gator, Smokey and the Bandit, Semi-Tough, The End, Sharkey’s Machine, Cannonball Run, Best Friends, City Heat, and Stick. (Maybe not Navajo Joe, of which Burt reportedly said, ““It’s so awful it was only shown in prisons and airplanes because nobody could leave.”)
Episode 69: A Star Is Born again… and again… and again
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga take their fresh edition of A Star is Born to both box office success and the Oscars, and we go back to the ’30s, the ’50s, and the ’70s to explore the earlier versions of the same story.
Episode 70: ‘Undercover Jesters’ A peek into the world of spy spoof movies
Rowan Atkinson returns to, let’s face it, not his most popular franchise in Johnny English Strikes Again, and we watch the earlier Englishes, and a few other comedic spy capers like Where The Spies Are, Our Man Flint, Casino Royale (1967), the Matt Helm movies, OSS 117 Cairo: Nest of Spies, Central Intelligence, Spy, and The Spy Who Dumped Me.
Episode 71: ‘Robin’ the ‘Hood’
Let me assure you Robin Hood (2018) won’t be remembered amongst the best, or even the middling, in the catalogue of Robin Hood movies. Fortunately, there are a lot of other more entertaining tales of Robin of Sherwood, amongst them The Adventures of Robin Hood, Swords of Sherwood Forest, Robin & Marian, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Disney’s Robin Hood (1973), Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), Robin Hood (2010).
Episode 72: Saying farewell to some cinematic greats we lost in 2018
We remember the great work of Bernardo Bertollucci, Nicolas Roeg, William Goldman, and Penny Marshall. Some of the films we discuss: The Conformist, The Sheltering Sky, Performance, Walkabout, Don’t Look Now, The Man Who Fell To Earth, Bad Timing, The Hot Rock, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Big, and A League Of Their Own.
Episode 73: ‘Killer Queens and Kings’ – The Favourite and Mary Queen of Scots
They keep making films about royalty, especially the British royal family, so who are we to argue with inherited majesty? We start with the incredible film, The Favourite, and the somewhat more disappointing Mary Queen of Scots, we kneel before Private Life of Henry VIII, Camelot, The Lion In Winter, Excalibur, La Reine Margot aka Queen Margot, Elizabeth, A Royal Night Out, and Outlaw King.
Episode 74: M Night of the Living Shyamalan (A Look at Glass and Other Works)
I’m a longtime M Night Shyamalan apologist — and I’d like to apologize to him for this episode title — so I’m thrilled to be able to watch his films, even Glass, and going back to his early work Praying with Anger, The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs, The Village, Lady In The Water, The Happening, The Last Airbender, The Visit, and Split.
Episode 75: Roger Ebert’s Great Movies Take #3
On this, the third dive into the late, great Chicago film critic’s books of classic film, we discuss just three (but they’re all keepers): The Seventh Seal, Army of Shadows, and Cache (Hidden).
Episode 76: Best Foreign Language Oscar nominees 2019
Well, some of them, at least. We were able to see three of the five nominees in advance of the ceremony, so we talk about those: Roma, Shoplifters, and Cold War, and remember with fondness a few of our favourites recognized in the past, such as The Lives of Others, A Separation, Embrace of the Serpent, and Mustang.
Episode 77: Albert Finney RIP
The great English actor never gave a bad performance, and we dig into the back catalogue to make sure: Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Tom Jones, Two For The Road, Charlie Bubbles, Murder On The Orient Express, Wolfen, Under The Volcano, Miller’s Crossing, Erin Brockovich, and Skyfall. We also tip the hat to a few other cinematic stars counted among the recently departed: Bruno Ganz, Stanley Donen, and Jan Michael Vincent.
Episode 78: Movie Party like it’s 1999
Twenty years ago Hollywood had a terrific year, so we rough out our lists of the cream of those 12 months — Galaxy Quest, Ride With The Devil, The Straight Story, The 13th Warrior — which I’ll defend until the grave — Topsy Turvy, The Insider, The Limey, Eyes Wide Shut, The Matrix, and Fight Club.
Episode 79: ‘(Wo)Men on a Mission Movies ‘
With the release of Triple Frontier on Netflix, we take a look at a Dad Genre if there ever was one, those movies where a group of commandos or mercenaries kill a bunch of people to rescue a VIP and get paid. The politics of these movies a little too often feels like some colonial hangover, but as action pictures they have something to recommend: Guns of Naverone, Dark of the Sun aka The Mercenaries, Ashanti, The Wild Geese, Force 10 From Naverone, High Risk, The Dogs Of War, Inglorious Basterds, and Annihilation.
Episode 80: Julianne Moore
The veteran actor is so good in Gloria Bell, so good in most things, whether it’s an indie drama or an escapist blockbuster. We consider mostly indies like Short Cuts, Vanya on 42nd Street, Safe, The End of the Affair, Chloe, and Wonderstruck.
Episode 81: ‘Super Duper Super Persons’ Avengers: Endgame and beyond!
With the many movies of the MCU there’s plenty to discuss, but this has never been the kind of podcast where we jump a building in a single bound when we can jump a mountain. To better illustrate that clumsy metaphor — we go further back, all the way to Richard Donner’s Superman and Tim Burton’s Batman, to add a little DC flavour to our Marvel meal, though I don’t know if that metaphor is any better.
Episode 82: ‘Collecting Criterion’ with Powell and Pressburger
The launch of the Criterion Channel prompted a celebration of a few of the great films available there, including the great work of British masters Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, movies such as The 49th Parallel, A Canterbury Tale, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, A Matter of Life and Death, The Red Shoes, and Black Narcissus.
Episode 83: ‘Actors Directing’
It makes sense actors would make decent directors, given all the time they spend on sets, and we’re thrilled to find that Olivia Wilde and Jonah Hill do great work with their debut feature efforts, Booksmart and Mid90s, respectively. Also on our list of films from directors who moved from in front of the camera to behind, Night Of The Hunter, The Naked Prey, Reds, Quiz Show, Away From Her, and The Station Agent.
Episode 84: ‘The Keanussance’ – The career of Keanu Reeves
What a time to be alive, with return of Keanu Reeves to box office favour in movies like John Wick Chapter 3 and Toy Story 4. Other highlights on this visit to Keanuda are Youngblood, The River’s Edge, My Own Private Idaho, Speed, The Matrix, Constantine, Side By Side, To The Bone, and Always Be My Maybe. Whoa!
Episode 85: ‘Once Upon a Time in… 1969’
Quentin Tarantino’s Oscar-winning Once Upon A Time in… Hollywood gave a lot of love to the TV and movies of the era in which it’s set, late-’60s Los Angeles, so we follow suit, watching a few of the titles that came out in ’69 — Cactus Flower, Castle Keep, Medium Cool, Downhill Racer, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, If…, and Midnight Cowboy.
Episode 86: ‘What’s the Matter with Kids? Yesterday and Today’
Good Boys was unfortunately unfunny, but it did prompt us to watch movies about kids that are definitely not for kids. We take a look at It Chapter one and two, Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, Bugsy Malone, The Bad Seed, and Birth.
Episode 87: ‘On the Sly’ – Rambo: Last Blood and the filmography of Sylvester Stallone
There’s so much in Stallone’s body of work that’s impressive, but Rambo: Last Blood really isn’t, so we swiftly go back in time to hail the original, First Blood, and then move onto Death Race 2000, films in the Rocky saga, Nighthawks, Cobra, Creed, Copland, and Escape Plan.
Episode 88: ‘Off The Shelf’ Volume One: Stephen and Carsten watch films in each other’s DVD libraries
Stephen kindly loans me Blow-Up and Blow Out, two films with direct and yet tenuous connections to each other, neither of which I’d seen. I loan him two films he hadn’t yet enjoyed, the Norwegian thriller Headhunters and the Tom Hardy acting masterclass Locke.
Episode 89: Gemini Man and the filmography of Ang Lee
The long-awaited action movie featuring a digitally de-aged Will Smith as the antagonist versus his 50-ish year-old self didn’t thrill us much, but that’s OK because Lee has plenty of films in his catalogue that do: Pushing Hands, Wedding Banquet, Eat Drink Man Woman, Sense and Sensibility, The Ice Storm, Ride With The Devil, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Hulk, Brokeback Mountain, Life of Pi, and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.
Episode 90: Terminator: Dark Fate and the filmography of Arnold Schwarzenegger
Who would’ve thought back in the early 1970s that almost 50 years later so many people in the English-speaking world would know how to both spell and pronounce Schwarzenegger? That was before the Austrian Oak would rule the professional bodybuilding world before becoming the biggest movie star of the 1980s — though Stallone and Murphy might take issue with that — and then the Governor of California. We judge his return to the Terminator franchise, and check out many of his other films, including Stay Hungry, The Villain, Conan, Commando, The Last Action Hero, Sabotage, Maggie, and Aftermath.
Episode 91: Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite and a trip through the cinema of South Korea
Parasite is a classic thriller and a cultural phenomenon we’re happy to get swept up into before checking out other fascinating features from South Korea’s rich cinematic tradition: The Host, Burning, Okja, Snowpiercer, Secret Sunshine, Handmaiden, The Isle, The Man From Nowhere, The Good The Bad and The Weird, Train To Busan, and The Villainess.
Episode 92: ‘London Crawling’ – Last Christmas and The Good Liar
My trip to London inspires a look at movies that revel in the city’s unique charm, including two in cinemas — the delightful seasonal romcom Last Christmas and the disappointing con-artist drama The Good Liar. Plenty more to enjoy: Passport to Pimlico, Night And The City, Poor Cow, Robbery, Villain, The Long Good Friday, Mona Lisa, A Fish Called Wanda, Layer Cake, Redemption, and The Sweeney.
Episode 93: LENS ME YOUR CHEER – Stealthy and less-heralded Christmas movies
With the holidays upon us, we select movies that don’t advertise themselves as Christmas movies, but they qualify: The Thin Man, Tangerine, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, In Bruges, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Smilla’s Sense of Snow, Brazil, One True Thing, 84 Charing Cross Road, and Carol.
Episode 94: ‘Cats and Underdogs’ – Box-office bombs worthy of reappraisal
That doesn’t mean we’re gonna rave about them, especially not Cats, but we recognize that time can be kind to movies that stalled out of the gate, with reconsideration given to 1941, Xanadu, Heaven’s Gate, Ishtar, Hudson Hawk, and Waterworld.
Episode 95: 1917 and other movies about the First World War
We go back more than a century to revisit what they once called The Great War, first with Oscar-winner 1917, and then with films about the war made not long after, including The Big Parade, Wings, Hell’s Angels, All Quiet On The Western Front. Also in the conversation are Paths of Glory, The Blue Max, Aces High, Galllipoli, Passchendale, Testament of Youth, and They Shall Not Grow Old.
Episode 96: ‘Off The Shelf’ Volume Two: From Monkees to Marvin Gardens: The BBS Story
Stephen and I crack open a Blu-Ray box set we both own but hadn’t yet seen to enjoy these films that changed Hollywood: Head, Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, Drive He Said, A Safe Place, The Last Picture Show, and The King Of Marvin Gardens.
Episode 97: ‘Scanning Cronenberg’ – A look at ‘Disappearance at Clifton Hill’ and David Cronenberg’s filmography
Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg’s appearance in the film Disappearance at Clifton Hill inspires us to wade into the frequent body horror found in Cronenberg’s own films going back to the early 1970s: Crimes of the Future, Shivers, Rabid, Fast Company, The Brood, Scanners, Videodrome, The Dead Zone, The Fly, Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch, eXistenZ, Spider, A History of Violence, Eastern Promises, and A Dangerous Method.
Episode 98: Escape Plan – Films about shaking off your shackles
Recorded remotely in April 2020 while staying home and safe during the pandemic, our thoughts drift to escape and so do our viewing habits. We take in Escape From Sobibor, the more recent film version of the same story, Sobibor, Empire Of The Sun, Escape From New York, Logan’s Run, The Island, Neruda, The 12th Man, and Hunt For The Wilderpeople.
Episode 99: Comedies Tonight! – Films that will provide some much-needed laughs right now 🙂
And, perverse as we are, we chose a bunch of tragicomedies, satires, and even a horror-comedy or two to talk about, but all are available on streaming services for convenience of isolation viewing: Billy Liar, Shampoo, Into The Night, In The Soup, The Death Of Stalin, In Fabric, and Little Monsters.