#TryPod: For Film Junkies

film junkies

For Film Junkies

There are SO many movie podcasts. Everyone has opinions about movies and everyone wants to share them, so I’m fairly picky about which film podcasts I’ll listen to. Here are some of my favorites.

TheFilmVault_300The Film Vault
This was the very first podcast I listened to. On a whim I thought I would try The Film Vault and I grew to really love that show. Anderson Cowan and Bryan Bishop host this ‘Top Five’ format show. They spend some time talking about movies they’ve seen in the last week before going through their ‘Top Five’ of the week. I like The Film Vault because it’s consistent, there is always a new episode up on Fridays and even if they cover a topic I’m not particularly interested in, I still enjoy the episode. Bryan and Anderson’s love/hate relationship is entertaining on its own, but they do give thoughtful analysis of the movies they see without giving away important plot points. The biggest thing that I’ve gained from this podcast is a reviewer whose opinion I trust. After many, many episodes of The Film Vault it has become clear that my taste in movies is nearly spot on with Anderson’s. So if there’s ever a movie I’m on the fence about seeing, I hold his opinion to a bit higher esteem than I would other movie critics. However, the biggest gift that The Film Vault has given me is to lead me to The After Disaster, a show so ridiculous that you should always make sure that the headphones are plugged in before you hit play.

  • Honorable mention: Cinemaddicts
    Anderson hosts this show with his friend Greg Srisavasdi, a professional movie critic. Cinemaddicts always covers films that are currently out in theaters and has a more academic approach where The Film Vault is a little more playful and informal. I get a lot of value out of Cinemaddicts, though, so I find it a good companion piece to The Film Vault.

chatterAwards Chatter, The Hollywood Reporter
I love the Awards Season, this blog was born out of a love for all things related to the Oscars so I will absolutely eat up a podcast about Awards Season. Scott Feinberg at The Hollywood Reporter has my career. His job is to cover all things related to the lead-up to the Academy Awards. He gets to do some incredible interviews and now those interviews take an audio form as well as a print form. In Awards Chatter Scott Feinberg talks to actors, writers, directors, producers, and more about their careers and the films that they worked on that are currently getting attetion. There’s a reason Scott Feinberg has this job and I don’t, he’s very good at it. He’s a great interviewer – he asks great questions and gives the interviewee room to give a full answer. I’ve learned a lot about the people who make the films that I love from Awards Chatter.

  • Honorable mention: The Awards Show Show, KPCC &
    Another great episode surrounding the Awards Season. Awards Chatter never offers you an opinion or critique of the nominations, Scott Feinberg is more of a journalist than a critic in his role, but The Awards Show Show offers great critique and educated opinions from people who see just about every movie nominated. I really valued their debates and discussions during this last Awards Season. 

It’s not too late! Watch the Oscar nominated shorts before Sunday!


Along with foreign films and sometimes the documentaries, the nominated short films are always difficult to find before the Oscars. However, RIGHT NOW you can rent the live action and animated shorts via Vimeo! It will cost about $3.50 for each set of nominees, so you shouldn’t have to spend more than $7 or $8 to watch these in your living room.

Many theaters are hosting special screenings of the shorts as well. If you’re in Madison, you can catch the shorts at the AMC Fitchburg theater.



Oscar Predictions: Part 1

This is the first of three posts highlighting my Oscar picks and predictions for this Sunday’s show.

Part 1 includes: Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Foreign Language Film, Makeup & Hairstyling, Best Music (Original Score), Best Music (Original Song), Best Production Design, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing.


Best Cinematography
Birdman, Emmanuel Lubezki
The Grand Budapest Hotel, Robert D. Yeoman
Ida, Ryszard Lenczweski; Lukasz Zal
Mr. Turner, Dick Pope
Unbroken, Roger Deakins
Birdman_courtesy_Fox_SearchlightWill Win: Birdman, Emmanuel Lubezki
Could Win: The Grand Budapest Hotel, Robert D. Yeoman
Should Win: Birdman, Emmanuel Lubezki
This should absolutely go to Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman was nothing short of brilliantly framed choreography. His odds of winner are very good and if he does take home the Best Cinematography Oscar this will be his second year in a row. The Grand Budapest Hotel is great to look at, but I think that’s more of a testament to the production design than the cinematography. However, should the Academy lose their minds before voting, The Grand Budapest Hotel would make an excellent second choice to Birdman. (more…)

Review: Boyhood



Written & Directed by: Richard Linklater
Starring: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Lorelei Linklater, Ethan Hawke

I smiled through this whole movie. Boyhood is an absolutely delight. I saw this film when it was first released in the summer and really enjoyed it; I wondered if time would have soured the charm that Boyhood had but it absolutely did not. Richard Linklater’s 12-years-in-the-making passion project might not be for everyone, but if you don’t connect with these characters in at any point in the story you’re not human.

Boyhood follows Mason Evans (played by Ellar Coltrane) from age six to eighteen; the film chronicles his growth and the elements that have contributed to who the person he has become by the end of the film. The concept is that simple. The unique ambition that Richard Linklater had was to film this transformation in real time: for a few weeks out of every year from 2002 to 2013 the cast and crew came together to capture that moment in time. It’s an entirely scripted story but is told so organically I often had to remind myself that there is no real family story upon which this is based. (more…)

Review: The Theory of Everything

The Theory of Everything


Directed by: James Marsh
Written by: Anthony McCarten, based on “Traveling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen” by Jane Wilde Hawking
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones

Despite some minor shortcomings, The Theory of Everything is a delightful film with two of 2014’s best and most career defining performances. There are many things to praise about this film, but I think it’s important to note; this is much more about Jane Hawking and the unique challenges she faced as she served as Stephen’s companion and caregiver than it is a biopic of Stephen Hawking.

The story opens on a college party where Jane and Stephen meet. In a rather hastily depicted courtship we see the two fall in love and come to face the reality of Stephen’s ALS diagnosis together. Despite being given a devastating life expectancy of just two years, Jane is determined to stay with Stephen. We see the two marry, create a family, and struggle as his illness progresses. Ultimately, The Theory of Everything is a lovely, heartwarming film about two people learning to cope with the devastating effects of chronic illness. (more…)

Review: The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game


Directed by: Morten Tyldum
Written by: Graham Moore, based on “Alan Turing: The Enigma” by Andrew Hodges
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear, Charles Dance, and Mark Strong

If the term ‘Oscar Bait’ was in the dictionary you would find a definition that perfectly encapsulates The Imitation Game: a reputable cast and crew take on the story of a misunderstood public figure in an effort to humanize him/her while making some kind of political statement about the injustices they suffered. This sounds like a negative sentiment, but I did actually really, really like this movie. The Imitation Game is rich with emotional tension and is beautifully put together and acted. The realities of Turing’s life are tragic; by the time the credits rolled I was heartbroken but eager to learn so, so much more. (more…)

Review: Birdman



Directed by: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Written by: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo
Starring: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Andrea Riseborough, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Ryan

I was very, very skeptical about Birdman when it was first released in the fall. I put off seeing it until practically one of the last screenings. The story as I understood it didn’t interest me, the gimmick with Michael Keaton literally having superpowers seemed too much to bear, and the only reputable person on the project that I was aware of was Immannuel Lubezki. Eventually the attention it was getting from critics was just too much to ignore so I reluctantly made my way to the theater and ended up loving just about every minute of Birdman. (more…)

Review: Whiplash



Directed & Written by: Damien Chazelle
Starring: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons

I. Love. Whiplash. This was absolutely my favorite film of 2014. It was smart and funny and brilliantly made. Since it’s 5 well earned Oscar nominations were announced (Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound Mixing) Whiplash has made a second lap in theaters and has a slightly wider release than its original run in the fall. I wish Whiplash was given as many showtimes as something like American Sniper because it has probably an equal audience appeal and is a far better film. (more…)

Review: American Sniper

American Sniper


Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Written by: Jason Hall; based on the book by Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen, James Defelice
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller

I completely underestimated how many people wanted to see American Sniper. Last Saturday I casually strolled into the theater and was met by a ‘sold out’ sign for the screening I was trying to go to. What? Since my initial bewilderment I have realized the this film has appealed to a vast audience by crossing genres, gender appeal, political affiliations, etc. This was a strong recipe for an above average movie that would do exceptionally well at the box office, especially for a lazy January weekend.  (more…)



I swear this day is more exciting than the actual ceremony sometimes.

I’ll post thoughts on the nominees soon!

Full list of Oscar Nominations 2015

A few other nomination lists were released this week:
Visual Effects Society Awards
Director’s Guild Awards
Cinema Audio Society Awards
Motion Picture Sound Editors Awards