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The Playlist Podcast Network

The Playlist Podcast Network

By The Playlist
Home to The Playlist Podcast Network and all its affiliated shows, including The Playlist Podcast, The Discourse, Be Reel, The Fourth Wall, and more. The Playlist is the obsessive's guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, and more.
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Frank Grillo Talks 'Boss Level,' The Action Film Algorithm, 'The Raid' Remake & More [The Playlist Podcast]
This week, on The Playlist Podcast, Frank Grillo joins Charles, Brian, and Mike to talk about “Boss Level,” his recipe for a quality action film, what’s going on with that remake of “The Raid,” why he's sad about not coming back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and much, much more.  
March 5, 2021
‘WandaVision’: How Will Marvel Use Two Visions, The Glorious Kathryn Hahn & More To Wrap Up A Great Season Of TV? [The Playlist Podcast]
So, we already know that it was Agatha all along. And Wanda’s unchecked trauma and grief are the reasons behind the Hex and the key to fixing the problems of Westview. But with one episode left, how is “WandaVision” going to end? Well, that’s where The Playlist Podcast comes in to save the day. We don’t have any insider knowledge or anything, but we have theories!
March 2, 2021
Director Sam Pollard Talks 'Black Art,' 'MLK/FBI' & His Work With Spike Lee [Deep Focus Podcast]
At 70-years-old, filmmaker Sam Pollard has had a massive career spanning five decades. But it's arguably just getting its due in a major way and unlike never before (“The phone’s been ringing off the hook,” he said).  Pollard— a director, editor, and producer— is an Oscar nominee (Spike Lee's “4 Little Girls” doc, which he co-produced and edited), has been nominated for seven Emmys and has won three different times (two wins for the Spike’s incredible Katrina doc, “When The Levees Broke”) and has also been honored with a Peabody Award (for Spike's second Katrina doc, (“If God Is Willing And The Creek Won't Rise.” So behind the scenes, he's known and is a giant in the world of documentaries, but thanks to the one-two punch of “MLK/FBI,” the IFC Films documentary released in January and “Black Art: In The Absence of Light,” the critically-acclaimed HBO doc about contemporary Black art in the United States that came out earlier this month, Pollard is finally getting some major name recognition. He's a veteran and an elder statesman of film and documentaries and was recently given another major honor with a lifetime achievement honor from the IDA Documentary Awards. I talked to Pollard about 'MLK/FBI,' 'Black Art,' his seminal work with Spike Lee, and a lot about his entire career. Please take a listen to the words and wisdom of filmmaker Sam Pollard.
February 26, 2021
Craig Brewer Talks ‘Coming 2 America,’ Turning Down A Tyrese Cameo & His Idea For An Eddie Murphy Film Universe [The Playlist Podcast]
In a new episode of The Playlist Podcast, we talked to Craig Brewer, the director of “Coming 2 America,” about taking the reins of the huge sequel to "Coming to America." And trust us, the filmmaker is well aware of the hype surrounding his film and the worry that he will be responsible for ruining a classic film by adding a subpar sequel. He also has an idea for an Eddie Murphy Cinematic Universe!
February 26, 2021
Jermaine Fowler Discusses 'Coming 2 America,' His 'Fifth Element' Spinoff Idea & His Love Of "Tim Burton Sh*t" [The Playlist Podcast]
On this episode of The Playlist Podcast, we speak to Jermaine Fowler about his breakout role in “Coming 2 America,” what it’s like stepping into one of the most anticipated comedy sequels of all time, why he’s really trying to get a ‘Fifth Element’ spinoff film in development, his love of Tim Burton shit, as he puts it. Needless to say, our conversation runs the gamut.
February 24, 2021
Kasi Lemmons' Black Histories and Dreamworlds [Be Reel]
Former actor Kasi Lemmons has charted her own cinematic path since tiring of "best friend" roles in mid-90s. The director of "Eve's Bayou" (1997), "Talk To Me" (2007), and "Harriet" (2019) has gradually cultivated a fascinating directorial career. To discuss this pioneering Black female filmmaker and versatile dramatist, we're thrilled to be joined by Professor Christina N. Baker, author of "Kasi Lemmons: Interviews."
February 24, 2021
Forget 'Face/Off,' These Are The '90s Action Films That Deserve A Do-Over [The Playlist Podcast]
Action films from the ‘90s are an interesting breed. Some are glorious. Others are downright horrible. But, boy, oh boy, did studios sure love VR, pastel colors, and martial arts. And now that Hollywood has decided to go ahead and make an ill-advised sequel to “Face/Off,” the guys from The Playlist Podcast have a few ideas for films from the ‘90s that are ripe for remakes, sequels, or reboots, such as "Double Impact," "Virtuosity," and "Money Train." 
February 19, 2021
Kevin Lewis Talks ‘Willy’s Wonderland,’ Directing A Silent Nicolas Cage & His Life-Threatening Battle With COVID [The Playlist Podcast]
In a new interview with The Playlist Podcast, the director of the Nicolas Cage horror-comedy, “Willy’s Wonderland,” Kevin Lewis talks about his love of genre films, the mystique that surrounds Cage, and his recent near-death experience battling COVID. 
February 18, 2021
Carlos López Estrada, Don Hall, and Qui Nguyen Talk 'Raya and the Last Dragon,' Exhilarating Action, and Clarify 'R-Rated Storyboards' [The Fourth Wall #31]
“Raya and the Last Dragon,” the upcoming action-adventure from Walt Disney Animation Studios, features set pieces and genre thrills that feel wholly unique among their 59 film animated catalog. Starring Kelly Marie Tran as the titular warrior, “Raya” is set in the mythical world of Kumandra, where humans and dragons once lived together in harmony. Sadly, that harmony was short-lived when the Druun, sinister monsters, threatened the land, and the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. 500 years later, Raya must find the last dragon, Sisu (Awkwafina) to defeat the Druun for good. "Raya" sees Disney veteran Don Hall team up with Indie breakout Carlos López-Estrada to co-direct the project. Hall's previous work in the House of Mouse included "Big Hero 6" and "Moana," for which he won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature for the former. Meanwhile, Estrada is best known for directing the critically acclaimed and criminally underseen "Blindspotting," and for his extensive work in music videos. "Raya" co-writer Qui Nguyen (who wrote the screenplay alongside Adele Lim) is an artistic director for the Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company, and an accomplished playwright, with some of his work including "Vietgone," "Living Dead in Denmark," and "She Kills Monsters". Nguyen has also had a successful career in television, working on AMC's "Dispatches from Nowhere" and "The Society." As mentioned during the Early Press Day panels, "Raya" is through and through an action movie. It was important for the team to take bold creative swings ensuring the film stood out from Disney's other animated films but also felt like part of the family. "That was a thing we were really looking for," said Estrada. "How can we present this film that feels like something you may have seen before, an epic adventure, [but with] our own little spin, and how can it feel and sound? Every time it felt like we were doing something traditionally, we would just try to give it a little bit of a twist, which is what makes the movie feel so different." Hall emphasized that, while the action of "Raya" is important, what was paramount was not sacrificing the story in its favor. "Every [action] scene carried narrative," said Hall, "we tried to [give] each a different profile, flavor, tempo, and even musical structure. They all are different and all are trying to accomplish different things story-wise. Some are more comedic, some not at all, and everything in between." There were some rumors floating around about the potential R-rated violence in the action scenes of "Raya," but the group was quick to clarify. "We sort of said that in jest," said Hall, "a couple of our [storyboard] artists really indulged themselves, but we knew we were gonna back off on certain things like blood. There is a particular sword fight that is crazy intense. I don't think we held back in terms of visceral impact, [and] I think that comes because you care about the characters." Nguyen added, "Just as a credit [to Disney], some of the themes and ideas do feel adult and do feel heightened and real, and honestly, we never got [pushback] because everything is so grounded in story and feels very deliberate and necessary." What these other projects may or may not be aside, "Raya and the Last Dragon" looks to be a stellar addition to Disney's animated legacy. During our conversation, we also discuss "Raya's" filmmaking influences such as Danny Boyle, Edgar Wright, and Taika Waititi, the film's timely themes, and much more.  "Raya and the Last Dragon" hits theaters and Disney+ March 5th.
February 16, 2021
Cathy Yan Talks ‘Dead Pigs’ Hitting Streaming, 'Birds Of Prey' & How Her Journalism Past Is Shaping Her Future In Film [The Playlist Podcast]
For many people, the name Cathy Yan automatically brings to mind “Birds of Prey.” That makes sense, considering for years, that is the only film that the young filmmaker has released. But you see, “Birds of Prey” isn’t her first film. No, that distinction belongs to the Sundance award-winning satire, “Dead Pigs,” which is finally getting distributed three years after its festival debut. And the filmmaker is happy to finally discuss her true directorial debut on this week’s episode of The Playlist Podcast.
February 12, 2021
'Silence of the Lambs' at 30 + the Lecterverse's Full Menu Detectives and Demons [Be Reel]
On Valentine's Day, "The Silence of the Lambs" celebrates 30 years of haunting imaginations and changing serial-killer cinema forever. On this week's Be Reel, Noah and Chance appreciate the many inimitable qualities of Jonathan Demme's 1991 classic, including its lack of genre fealty, its simultaneous intensity and restraint, and getting the best out of Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. From there, Be Reel dives into the wider world of Thomas Harris adaptations, discussing Michael Mann's icy-veined "Manhunter" (1986), the gore carnival of Ridley Scott's "Hannibal" (2001), and the bizarre origin story attempt "Hannibal Rising" (2007). 
February 12, 2021
Sam Levinson Talks 'Malcolm & Marie,' The Return Of 'Euphoria' & His Filmmaking Father [The Playlist Podcast]
This week, on The Playlist Podcast, we speak to Sam Levinson, the writer-director of “Malcolm & Marie,” as well as the creator of HBO’s award-winning “Euphoria,” about his new film, his hit show, and his legendary father, Barry Levinson. 
February 4, 2021
Alan J. Pakula: A Master Director (and Derailer) of American Mysteries [Be Reel]
Alan J. Pakula was an under-celebrated voice in 1970s American cinema. Most famous for “All the President’s Men," Pakula built a career focused on rule-breakers and the vast conspiracies they untangle. With Criterion Collection releasing “The Parallax View” (1974) this month, Be Reel takes the opportunity to dive into Pakula’s conspiracy/mystery standouts, focusing on “The Parallax View,” “Klute” (1971) and “Presumed Innocent” (1990).
February 2, 2021
Morfydd Clark Talks A24's 'Saint Maud,' Recapturing The Peter Jackson Magic In The 'Lord Of The Rings' TV Series & More [The Playlist Podcast]
In this episode of The Playlist Podcast, Charles, Mike, and Brian discuss the new film," Saint Maud," from A24 and speak with Morfydd Clark, the unbelievable star of the film. She also talks about the upcoming "Lord of the Rings" TV series and what the future might hold. 
January 28, 2021
Aaron Sorkin Talks'The Trial Of Chicago 7,' 'The Social Network' Sequel and more [Deep Focus Podcast]
We're back. On this episode of the Deep Focus podcast, our guest is writer/director Aaron Sorkin known for writing "The Social Network," "Moneyball," "A Few Good Men," "The West Wing," and many more. The legendary screenwriter has shifted his focus to directing and returns with his second feature-length film following "Molly's Game." Originally a Steven Spielberg project, nine-some years in the making, the filmmaker eventually gave Sorkin his blessing to make the movie after seeing the accomplished "Molly's Game" with Jessica Chastain. In the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests last year and the civil unrest, and even the recent Capitol insurrection, "The Trial Of The Chicago 7," couldn't be more relevant today. It features an all-star cast and captures this moment of civil uprising and protest and the recent splintering in the Democratic party-- the so-called, "radical left," and the more conservative centrists. Sorkin talked about all this, working with Spielberg, his mentor William Goldman, his household of influential lawyers (he loves a courtroom drama), the mooted 'Social Network' sequel he'd love to write if David Fincher were game, and a little tease about his now-announced Lucille Ball project, which now stars Nicole Kidman.
January 27, 2021
Rebecca Hall On Her Sundance Directorial Debut 'Passing' [Deep Focus Podcast]
This episode is a callback return to summer 2020 when Rebecca Hall joined the podcast to talk “Tales From The Loop.” Now that her directorial debut “Passing” is about to make its debut at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, I wanted to revive and excerpt our 20+ minute conversation about “Passing”—as it’s the part that’s stayed with me the most—and really let her feelings on the matter take center stage. Based on Nella Larsen’s acclaimed 1929 Harlem Renaissance novel, “Passing” is about two African American women who can “pass” as white and they have chosen to live on opposite sides of the color line. Now, their renewed acquaintance threatens them both. Hall’s parents came from bi-racial ancestry and had similar stories that she tries to unpack in this movie about identity and representation.
January 26, 2021
Joel Kinnaman Talks ‘Brothers By Blood,’ ‘The Suicide Squad’ & How He’d Do ‘RoboCop’ Differently Today [The Playlist Podcast]
With “Brothers by Blood” arriving in theaters this weekend, Joel Kinnaman spoke with The Playlist Podcast and discussed his new crime drama. He also spoke about David Ayer’s Director’s Cut of “Suicide Squad,” what James Gunn brings to “The Suicide Squad,” and years later, the things he’d do differently if he made a new “RoboCop” film. 
January 22, 2021
Dolly Parton: The Essential Films [Be Reel]
Dolly Parton is a genuine American icon. For her 75th birthday, Be Reel revisits the country superstar and EGOT nominee’s three most significant film roles in “9 to 5” (1980), “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” (1982), and “Steel Magnolias” (1989). Also, thank you for funding the Moderna vaccine, Dolly; we will alwaaaaaays love you.
January 19, 2021
Director Ramin Bahrani Talks The Unexpected Relevance Of ‘The White Tiger,’ His Friendship With Roger Ebert & More [The Playlist Podcast]
On this special episode of The Playlist Podcast, Charles and Mike speak with acclaimed filmmaker Ramin Bahrani about his latest feature, “The White Tiger." And unfortunately, as we discuss, the film has taken on new meaning in the era of the pandemic and rampant wealth inequality. In addition to the film, Bahrani also talks about a project he was developing about the Silicon Valley that fell apart, why he turned down a major studio about a franchise film that might involve superheroes, and his years-long friendship with Roger Ebert. 
January 18, 2021
'WandaVision' Takes A Trip Down Memory Lane As Marvel Studios Prepares For A Busy 2021 [The Playlist Podcast]
The Marvel Cinematic Universe makes its triumphant return to the public with “WandaVision.” And not only does the new streaming series mark the return of the MCU after being gone for over a year, but it also establishes itself as the beginning of Marvel Studios’ run on Disney+. On this episode of The Playlist Podcast, Charles, Mike, and Brian breakdown the new series and whether it lives up the hype, and then they look ahead to the other offerings from Marvel in 2021.
January 15, 2021
'WandaVision' Director Matt Shakman on Recreating Classic Sitcoms and Pushing the Boundaries of the MCU [The Fourth Wall #30]
The most exciting filmmakers are those who meticulously curate the tone and craft of their work. Directing every episode of a television season, as “WandaVision” executive producer Matt Shakman recently did, enables an artist to have a level of control over their work that television rarely provides. “WandaVision” is the first project in Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Marvel Studios’ first plunge into the world of streaming. Taking place after “Avengers: Endgame,” Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) attempt to live a normal life, only to find themselves traveling through the decades in various sitcom-esque scenarios. It’s fitting that Shakman should find his way back to the world of sitcoms given his days on the “Growing Pains” spinoff, “Just the Ten of Us,” but an added advantage is his accomplished career as both a stage and television director for nearly 20 years. From “Mad Men” to “Succession” to “Game of Thrones,” Shakman has directed some of the most acclaimed episodes of several of television’s greatest shows across multiple genres, most notably “Spoils of War” from “Game of Thrones” Season 7. His collaboration with Kevin Feige and screenwriter Jac Schaeffer on “WandaVision” perfectly align with his desire to utilize and experiment with the genre-blurring nature of the stage in combination with complex tonal material. “WandaVision’s” modulating tone isn’t only what makes it such a unique venture. The craftsmanship behind its loving recreation of the classic sitcoms that inspired it, including “I Love Lucy,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” and “Bewitched” is also a remarkable accomplishment. Shakman spoke about the research that went into doing this. Our conversation with Shakman goes even deeper into the way “WandaVision” was constructed, as well as what it was like to work with Olsen and Bettany portraying familiar characters in a wildly unfamiliar setting, and an important lesson Dick Van Dyke taught him about getting authentic reactions from a live sitcom audience. Have a listen to hear from one of the key creative voices behind “WandaVision”, Matt Shakman. "WandaVision" hits Disney+ January 15
January 12, 2021
Marcus Theatres CEO Talks Difficult 2020 For Cinemas, Coexisting With Streaming Services & The Future Of The Industry [The Playlist Podcast]
On this episode of The Playlist podcast, we have an in-depth conversation with Rolando Rodriguez, the CEO and President of Marcus Theatres. Marcus Theatres is the fourth-largest cinema chain in the US and fifth-largest in North America with more than 1,100 screens. And with 2021 upon us, we thought this would be the perfect time to speak with an expert on the theatrical release business about the struggles of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as what the exhibition industry is going to do to make sure it survives and thrives in 2021, especially with the rise of streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and HBO Max.
January 6, 2021
Remember John le Carré: The Film Adaptations of a Master Spy Novelist [Be Reel]
To remember the recently passed John le Carré and his 60-year writing career, Be Reel starts 2021 with a super-sized episode revisiting six film adaptations of the master spy novelist, including "The Spy Who Came In From the Cold" (1965), "The Constant Gardener" (2005), "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" (2011) and more. Happy new year. And rest easy, Mr. Cornwell.
January 4, 2021
The Most Disappointing Films Of 2020 [The Playlist Podcast]
With 2020 finally coming to a close, The Playlist Podcast adds one more Best Of list to the pile. Well, not so much a Best Of, but instead, Charles, Mike, and Brian talk about the only list that “New Mutants” might find itself on this year, the Most Disappointing Films of 2020.
December 31, 2020
'Wonder Woman 1984': A Bold New Era For The Hero Or A Campy, Ridiculous Mess? [The Playlist Podcast]
It’s finally here! After months of delays and the announcement that it would be arriving on HBO Max the same day as in theaters, “Wonder Woman 1984” is upon us. And this week’s episode of The Playlist Podcast features Charles Barfield, Mike DeAngelo, and Sharronda Williams are here to discuss the good, the bad, and the campy in one of the most anticipated films of the year. 
December 25, 2020
Pete Docter, Kemp Powers, and Dana Murray Talk Pixar's 'Soul,' Telling an Authentic New York Story, and Working with Bradford Young [The Fourth Wall #29]
If you thought Pixar’s resume couldn't get any more impressive, “Soul”—the studio’s upcoming release about passion, music, and a soul-in-training—will prove you wrong. That’s no small task. After all, Pixar already boasts a repertoire of celebrated works. “Toy Story”, “Monster’s Inc.”, “Finding Nemo”, “The Incredibles”, “Cars”, and the list goes on. The team at Pixar has shown beyond doubt their ability to tell great stories and to do so year in and year out. Pixar’s diverse blend of creative minds produces an authenticity that rings true to real life. Kemp Powers, the co-director of "Soul" and a New York City native, emphasized this authenticity in the context of the animated cityscape. To ensure a life-like portrayal of the city—which would have to pass the scrutiny of a long-time New York City commuter in Kemp Powers—the Pixar team brought in cinematographer Bradford Young as a lighting consultant. Beyond authenticity, it is these deeper statements that make "Soul" the movie Pixar has been building toward. By inspecting a struggling musician’s life-purpose and connection to his true self—his soul—Pixar’s latest aspires to a depth not often seen in animation. It takes chances in the same way "Inside Out" did in dealing with taboo emotion. It’s daring in the same way "Coco" was in confronting death. So sure, in watching "Soul" when it’s released on Christmas Day, you’ll be engrossed in a story worthy of Pixar’s record. But you’ll also be challenged. You’ll be made to think and feel, and you’ll leave the film with a new perspective and, maybe, a new purpose. Think that’s a tall order for Pixar? My conversation with Pete Docter, Kemp Powers and Dana Murray might convince you otherwise. "Soul" hits Disney+ December 25.
December 22, 2020
The Breakthrough Directors of 2020 [Be Reel]
As we end a truly bizarre movie year, Chance and Noah dive back into the work of seven directors who made their marks and cemented their voices in 2020. Happy holidays, one and all. 3:00- Leigh Whannell (“The Invisible Man”) 9:45 - Kitty Green (“The Assistant”) 17:20 - Jason Hehir (“The Last Dance”) 25:15 - Garrett Bradley (“Time”) 36:40 - Sean Durkin (“The Nest”) 44:30 - Eliza Hittman (“Never Rarely Sometimes Always”) 57:20 - Josephine Decker (“Shirley”)
December 22, 2020
'The Stand' Showrunner Benjamin Cavell Talks Adapting Stephen King's Epic & His Love Of 'The Running Man' [The Playlist Podcast]
In this episode of The Playlist Podcast, Charles Barfield, Mike DeAngelo, and Brian Farvour tackle "The Stand," the new CBS All Access streaming series that is co-created by Benjamin Cavell. The hosts actually speak to Cavell about the process of adapting a 1,200-page epic and some of the major changes that had to be made. In addition, the hosts are joined by writer/King expert Warren Cantrell, who lends his knowledge in explaining all things "The Stand."  0:00 - 40:00 - Warren Cantell joins to breakdown "The Stand" 40:01 - 69:00 - Showrunner Bejanmin Cavell Interview
December 17, 2020
Jon Hamm Talks 'Wild Mountain Thyme,' 'Top Gun: Maverick,' and The Changing Landscape of TV [The Fourth Wall #28]
"Mad Men" star Jon Hamm seeks creative fulfillment in more places than the alpha-male, womanizing life of Don Draper. Whether he’s in budget giants like the upcoming "Top Gun: Maverick" or festival titles like "Lucy in the Sky," he gravitates toward projects he’s passionate about. In the world of television, too, he prioritizes creative alignment over adherence to a consistent personal brand, landing recurring roles in shows like "30 Rock," "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," and "Saturday Night Live." As the distinction between TV and film has grown more and more blurred, Hamm’s versatility has been an important asset. The new landscape of entertainment has freed Hamm to pursue a variety of roles. More importantly, however, it has freed him to work with people he admires, like John Patrick Shanley, director of Hamm’s latest film, "Wild Mountain Thyme." Of his and Shanley’s creation, Hamm says: "It's got all of the elements that make Shanley, Shanley. It's got this beautiful, magical realism. Ireland is a fanciful place. It takes place out of time. It doesn't need to be in the 60s, or the 40s, or the 20s. It has no cynicism. It has no snark. It's the perfect antidote to 2020." In addition to exploring rural Ireland’s natural romanticism in Hamm’s newest film, our conversation ranged from being the unofficial mascot of the St. Louis Blues, to the exciting "volleyball scene 2.0" in "Top Gun: Maverick," and more. Have a listen to hear from the Mad Man himself, Jon Hamm.
December 15, 2020
Disney Presentation Breakdown: Patty Jenkins Does 'Star Wars,' Marvel's 'Secret Invasion' & Much More [The Playlist Podcast]
Charles Barfield, Mike DeAngelo, and Brian Farvour return to discuss the massive news dropped by Disney during its 2020 Investors Presentation. The multi-hour presentation saw Disney unveil about 60 new projects including new films from Marvel, "Star Wars" and Pixar, as well as dozens of TV shows coming to Disney+.  There's A LOT to cover.  0:00 - 5:30 - Disney+ numbers & the future 5:31 - 23:00 - Star Wars films & TV projects 23:01 - 61:00 - Marvel films & TV projects 61:01 - 88:00 - Other Disney projects & FX series
December 11, 2020
Bonus: Fun City Cinema - "Lost In New York"
As a special bonus to our listeners, we're premiering the fourth episode of the new(ish) podcast "Fun City Cinema," which looks at the history of New York City, the history of New York City movies, and their intersection. "Fun City Cinema" was co-founded by Playlist contributor and reviewer Jason Bailey. In this special holiday episode, hosts Jason Bailey and Mike Hull are joined by special guests Mark Asch, Jillian Mapes, Sarah Marshall, and Anya Stanley to look at the 1992 hit "Home Alone 2: Lost In New York," which somehow leads to Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump, “Broken Windows,” the Central Park Five, and 9/11. Happy Holidays!
December 9, 2020
'Safety': Mark Ciardi & Ray-Ray McElrathbey Talk New Disney+ Film And The Power Of Sports Movies [The Fourth Wall #27]
If you're a sports fan, there's nothing quite like the rush of watching a half-court buzzer-beater or a Super Bowl-winning touchdown in the final seconds of the game. There's just something remarkable about a group of individuals uniting to accomplish something greater than themselves. It's a trait that's inherently cinematic, however, simply recreating the excitement of game day for a feature film isn't enough. All the best sports movies understand that the power and impact of their story represent more than a game. For almost 20 years, producer Mark Ciardi ("The Rookie," "Invincible" and "Miracle") has lived by that philosophy delivering some of Disney's most poignant character dramas through the lens of popular athletic contests as a means for sparking a larger conversation. The former baseball player turned producer now takes his talents to Disney+ to deliver the story of 18-year-old Ray-Ray McElrathbey (Jay Reeves) who fights to not only keep his Clemson football scholarship but, most importantly stepping up to care for his 11-year-old brother Fahmarr (Thaddeus J. Mixson) after their mother enters rehab in "Safety." Ray's story is one many young athletes can relate to, yet, it's a story rarely represented on the big screen. Learning how to divide one's time and balance both athletics and academics is enough of a challenge. However, when you factor in a troubled home life, it becomes an almost impossible task to rise to. Ray and his little brother, Fahmarr, understand that all too well, but, hope that their story can give some encouragement to young athletes looking for guidance. While "Safety" has been in development since 2010, Mark Ciardi understood the importance of getting it made delivering encouraging messages of family, maturity, and parenthood as he continued to advocate for it. Even when given the green light, Ciardi wanted to make sure he captured the proper emotions of Ray's moment as the crew headed to Clemson to film in Memorial Stadium for a live football game. You can listen to the rest of our conversation with Mark Ciardi and Ray-Ray McElrathbey and check out "Safety" when it hits Disney+ on Dec. 11. This interview was conducted by Ronal E. Smith (@Just_Ron10)
December 9, 2020
How Does 'Mank' Compare to Other Tall Tales of Hollywood Screenwriting? [Be Reel]
Discussing films about real screenwriters on this episode of Be Reel, we dig into David Fincher's "Mank" (2020)—the new Netflix film about Herman Mankiewicz and the origins of "Citizen Kane." Then, we leap to the 21st century to reappraise Charlie Kaufman fictionalizing and splitting himself in "Adaptation" (2002) as he labors to adapt Susan Orlean's "The Orchid Thief." Finally, it's Dalton Trumbo's quest against the Hollywood Blacklist in "Trumbo" (2015). Each film comes with its own indulgent, even seductive spin on history, but isn't that what Hollywood does anyway? Now, we're just watching the mythologizers get mythologized. Oh, and don't forget to take a whiskey break between cigarettes. 
December 8, 2020
'Nomadland' & 'Another Round' Make Their Awards Season Debuts [The Playlist Podcast]
In this episode of The Playlist Podcast, Charles, Mike, and Brian discuss two new films, "Nomadland" and "Another Round," both hoping to collect trophies this awards season. One is an incredibly emotional look at a woman hitting the open road and searching for connection wherever she can find it, while the other is a Danish film that shows that Mads Mikkelsen can do more than just play a villain. He can also dance!
December 5, 2020
Director Darius Marder Talks The Complexity Of ‘Sound Of Metal’ & Pushing Boundaries In Cinema [The Playlist Podcast]
This special episode of The Playlist Podcast features our new interview with director Darius Marder, the man behind the awards-contending feature, “Sound of Metal." Marder talks about his film, its unique origin story, and the painstaking process it took to make "Sound of Metal" an immersive film experience. 
December 2, 2020
The Playlist Podcast - 'The Mandalorian' Season 2: Quality 'Star Wars' World-Building Or Bad Storytelling?
On this episode of The Playlist Podcast, Charles Barfield, Mike DeAngelo, and Brian Farvour are joined by Rodrigo Perez to talk about "The Mandalorian," as the series enters the second half of Season 2. With 12 total episodes released of this "Star Wars" live-action TV series, the group asks whether or not this is actually a good series or a show without purpose? 
November 26, 2020
The Tao and Triumph of Bruce Lee [Be Reel]
Ahead of Bruce Lee’s (would-be) 80th birthday, we marvel at the flying kicks, unforgettable shrieks, and star wattage of the global icon. This week, Be Reel dives into the Dragon’s life, many afterlives, and three of his major films—“Fist of Fury” (1972), “Way of the Dragon” (1972), and “Enter The Dragon” (1973)—with the help of biographer Jeff Chang and professor/martial artist Lory Dance.
November 25, 2020
Alison Brie Talks 'Happiest Season,' 'Promising Young Woman,' and Making Art that Matters [The Fourth Wall #26]
As we entered 2020, there was arguably no actor poised to have as monumental of a year as Alison Brie. With an already diverse body of work ranging from period dramas to comedies, animation, video games, indie darlings, and more, this year especially feels like a snapshot of everything she's strived for her entire career thus far. She has four acting credits across such films as "Horse Girl," "The Rental," "Happiest Season," and "Promising Young Woman" while also spending time behind the camera directing an episode of the Disney+ docuseries "Marvel 616" and producing and co-writing the script for "Horse Girl." Since her dueling breakout performances in "Mad Men" and "Community," we've always known Brie was someone who refused to be put into a box, and it's that exact drive that's made her such an excitingly unpredictable talent on screen and a force of versatility. However, simply being original and different isn't enough for the 37-year-old actress. At this point in her career, it's imperative that the projects she selects stand for something and helps spark a conversation that reaches as many people as possible while advocating for progress. "I definitely feel like I want my work to be about something important," says Brie. "But at the same time, you want it to go down easy. I know I have a better time processing information often when it's also entertaining." Brie's latest, "Happiest Season," definitely falls into that category being the first Holiday romantic comedy centered around a gay couple. The film follows Harper (Mackenzie Davis) and Abby (Kristen Stewart) as they venture to Harper's family home for the holidays. Along with meeting her partner's parents for the first time, Abby is planning to propose. However, complications arise when Abby discovers Harper's not only kept their relationship a secret but her sexuality as well. For all of it's Yuletide camp and charm, "Happiest Season" is a rather earnest exploration of family acceptance and being true to who you are, something that wasn't lost on Brie when joining the project. While "Happiest Season" makes for essential festive viewing this time of year, Brie will close out 2020 with Emerald Fennell's bold and ferocious Oscar contender, "Promising Young Woman." As Brie puts it, "it's a Me Too revenge thriller, but it just has such a dark but fun sense of humor." Since its premiere at Sundance back in January, the film has been garnering a passionate response from audiences and is sure to lead the charge in having a larger conversation about the sexist culture that turns a blind eye to the mistreatment of women. It's a project that, as soon as I mentioned, Brie was visibly eager to discuss. During my conversation with Alison Brie, we not only discuss "Happiest Season" and "Promising Young Woman," but also what Christmas with her family is like, the future of Netflix's "GLOW," and much more.
November 24, 2020
The Playlist Podcast - 'Wonder Woman 1984' Goes To HBO Max / Sean Durkin Talks 'The Nest' / 'Sound Of Metal' Hits Theaters
On this episode of The Playlist Podcast, Charles Barfield, Mike DeAngelo, and Brian Farvour discuss the shocking news that "Wonder Woman 1984" is being released on HBO Max on the same day as theaters. In addition, filmmaker Sean Durkin joins to talk about "The Nest," his award contending drama starring Jude Law & Carrie Coon. Finally, "Sound of Metal" arrives in theaters and the hosts dive deep into Riz Ahemd's incredible, awards-worthy performance. 0:00 - 19:00 - Intro & 'Wonder Woman 1984' news 19:00 - 36:30 - 'Sound of Metal' discussion 36:00 - 69:00 - 'The Nest' discussion & Sean Durkin interview
November 19, 2020
The Playlist Podcast - 'Freaky' / 'Fatman' / David Fincher Recommendations
In this episode of The Playlist Podcast, Charles Barfield, Mike DeAngelo, and Brian Farvour discuss the new films "Freaky" and "Fatman" while preparing for the release of "Mank" by digging into three of their favorite David Fincher films. Yes, there is some "Alien 3" discussion. 0:00 - 22:00 - Intro & "Freaky" discussion 22:00 - 43:15 - "Fatman" discussion 43:15 - 74:00 - David Fincher recommendations 
November 13, 2020
Remembering Connery, ‘GoldenEye’ at 25, and Every Bond’s First Bond [Be Reel]
In honor of both the late Sean Connery and the 25th anniversary of "GoldenEye" (1995), Be Reel looks back at the debuts of every actor to play 007: Connery (“Dr. No”), Roger Moore (“Live and Let Die”), Timothy Dalton (“The Living Daylights”), Pierce Brosnan (“GoldenEye”) and Daniel Craig (“Casino Royale”)—with a courteous nod to George Lazenby, too. Don't worry, folks, we don't try too many impressions.
November 11, 2020
The Playlist Podcast - 'Let Him Go' Hits Theaters & Director Max Winkler Discusses 'Jungleland'
In this episode of The Playlist Podcast, Charles, Mike, and Brian talk about the latest thriller from Kevin Costner and Diane Lane, titled "Let Him Go." They also discuss the bare-knuckle boxing film, "Jungleland," with director Max Winkler. 0:00 - 16:30 -- "Let Him Go" discussion 16:30 - 25:15 -- "Jungleland" discussion 25:15 - 48:30 -- Max Winkler interview 48:30 - 59:00 -- This Weeks "Recco's"
November 6, 2020
The Playlist Podcast Halloween Edition - The Craft: Legacy / Spell / Kindred
The Playlist Podcast returns with a Halloween episode where The Playlist Managing Editor Charles Barfield is joined by co-hosts Mike DeAngelo and Brian Farvour to talk about the horror facing movie theaters during the pandemic, as well as discuss three new spooky films, "The Craft: Legacy," "Spell," and "Kindred."  0:00 - 18:00 - Movie Theaters, the pandemic, and James Bond 18:00 - 27:00 - Kindred 27:00 - 38:15 - Spell 38:15 - 60:00 - The Craft: Legacy 60:00 - 72:00 - Horror recommendations for Halloween
October 29, 2020
A Very Tim Curry Halloween [Be Reel]
It’s Halloween week, and nobody embodies the committed glam and eerie camp of the holiday quite like Tim Curry. This week on Be Reel, Chance and Noah celebrate and reappraise the British legend’s iconic costumed roles: “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975), “Legend” (1985), and “It” (1990). We also make a brief return to “Clue” manor (1985). Recorded deep in the Vermont woods, this episode also features Noah's girlfriend, Lucy, and their mutual friend Brie, who have come prepared with indispensable "TC Fun Facts."
October 28, 2020
Mark Webber on his 'Reality Cinema', Anton Yelchin and Jim Jarmusch [Be Reel]
You may recognize Mark Webber as the talent, the creep, or the kid from cult favorites like 
“Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World,” “Green Room” or “Broken Flowers.” What you might not know is that the well-traveled character actor has embarked on an ambitiously self-interrogative directing career as well, culminating in his latest film: “The Place of No Words.” This week, Webber talks with Chance about acting with his children in movies they can’t watch, the stewardship of Jim Jarmusch, and leafing through bittersweet set photos from “Green Room.”
October 21, 2020
Charles Burnett Led A 'Rebellion' To Film Poverty, Family and the Beauty of Black Life [ Be Reel]
For the 30th anniversary of "To Sleep with Anger" (1990), we dive into the films of principal "L.A. Rebellion" director Charles Burnett. Part of the first generation of Black directors to come out of American film school, Burnett brought a daring cinematographer’s eye and watchful activist’s pen to films like "Killer of Sheep" (1978) and "The Glass Shield" (1994). Of course, one can’t talk about Burnett without discussing how underappreciated he’s been compared to white directors of his era with similar influences and indie bonafides. So let’s appreciate, dammit. In addition, Be Reel would like to continue directing you to causes that support Black artists and creators. This week, please consider a donation to the “Our Stories Our Lives” response fund from the Portland nonprofit Open Signal. It’s turning donations into hundreds of stipends supporting Black filmmakers in the Northwest. Thank you for supporting their work.
October 12, 2020
Brandon Cronenberg Talks 'Possessor,' Practical Effects, and Phillip K. Dick [The Fourth Wall #25]
Being the son of one of Canada's most heralded genre filmmakers casts a large shadow often resulting in tired comparisons between their respective works that might not have been drawn otherwise. The desire for film fans to group filmmakers together due to familial ties isn't exactly a new concept (even if it is unfair), however, it is something Brandon Cronenberg has had to grapple with his entire filmmaking career. It's fair to acknowledge an overlap of interests given both he and his father, David Cronenberg, have a knack for practical effects-driven body horror. However, that's where the comparison should stop. David is more interested in creating something visually and/or viscerally arresting first and uses that to propel you through the story, whereas Brandon seems more interested in allowing the world of his films to breathe and develop using that to crescendo to a bloody fever dream. With Brandon's latest film, "Possessor," many will be quick to quote "like father, like son" (in a positive sense I might add), however, it's clear the budding filmmaker is personifying the conflict and torment of his own personal identity crisis to say something more. In "Possessor", Tasya Vos (Andrea Riseborough) works for a secret organization with brain-implant technology, allowing agents to inhabit other people's bodies and commit assassinations for affluent clients. The years of becoming someone else has taken its toll on her as she begins to lose any semblance of her former self. Her latest mission requires her to slip into the consciousness of Colin Tate (Christopher Abbott) as the lines between who she is and who she wants to be are blurred. Brandon Cronenberg's directorial debut, "Antiviral," was the product of the filmmaker's own sickness as he obsessed over the idea of someone else being inside of you via the transmission of disease. Continuing this exploration of existentialism, Cronenberg's sophomore effort was birthed out of his experience on the press tour for "Antiviral" during which he struggled with the idea of creating a media persona detached from "David Cronenberg's son" and living life as different people day-to-day. "[While I was making the film] it was very much a personal experience," said Cronenberg. "Traveling with a film for the first time is incredibly surreal because you're constructing a public persona and you're performing this other version of yourself, this new, media version of yourself that runs off and has its own life without you. That experience and a few other things led me to feel like I was waking up in the morning and sitting up into someone else's life and having to madly construct some kind of character who could operate in that context. So I wanted to write a film about somebody who may or may not be an imposter in their own life as a way of talking about how we build characters and narratives in order to function as human beings. Of course, we perform for other people, but we also perform for ourselves. I don't think the way we see ourselves represents the true version of who we are. I think we have our own self-image and personal mythologies as well." During our conversation with Cronenberg, we also discussed Canadian existentialism in horror, how his previous artistic ventures in fine art and music eventually led him to film, practical vs. digital effects and why he thinks filmmakers stray away from the former, wanting to adapt Phillip K. Dick, and much more.
October 7, 2020
Miranda July Tries The Strangest Tenderness [Be Reel Podcast]
A novelist, performance artist and film director, Miranda July is a genre of her own—quite literally—this week on Be Reel. We're talking about the just-released "Kajillionaire" (2020), "Me and You and Everyone We Know" (2005) and "The Future" (2011). In each of July's feature films, the writer-director introduces us to human connections familiar but strange, where chat rooms, taboos and family arrangements both create and bridge the gaps between the world's loneliest people.
September 30, 2020
Christopher Guest Invented The Community Theater Of Bizarro Documentaries Before It Was Reality [Be Reel Podcast]
God loves a terrier and probably the directorial work of Christopher Guest, too. On the latest Be Reel, we watched “Waiting for Guffman” (1996), “Best in Show” (for its 20th anniversary), “A Mighty Wind” (2003), and “For Your Consideration” (2006)—all currently streaming on Hulu. Let’s dive in to ask what these movies tell us about today’s documentary craze for wild subcultures and whether there’s anything funnier than Parker Posey freaking and Fred Willard yapping.
September 17, 2020
Is 'Almost Famous' The Best Period Piece About A Fake Band? [Be Reel Podcast]
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of “Almost Famous” (2000), Chance and Noah look back at an era-jumping quartet of music movies about fictional bands. This week, it’s “That Thing You Do!” (1996), “Dreamgirls” (2006), “Rock Star” (2001) and, of course, Cameron Crowe’s aforementioned neo-classic about a 15-year-old Rolling Stone writer coming of age in a tour bus. So hop on, and let's zoom to the top of those completely fabricated charts!
September 14, 2020
Inspirational Teacher Dramas: The Myth of the Savior and the Rogues [Be Reel Podcast]
As we enter the most fraught back-to-school season in recent memory, Be Reel looks back at Hollywood’s conception of underserved students and the inspirational educators who rescue their learning. This week, it’s “Stand and Deliver” (1988), “Lean On Me” (1989), “Dangerous Minds” (1995), and “Precious” (2009). Joining us are Dr. Micia Mosely and Kia Walton from Black Teacher Project to discuss 2020 classrooms, ideas for improved and updated teacher movies, and their organization’s mission to develop and sustain more Black teachers (36:55). Learn more and donate at
August 25, 2020
Mattson Tomlin Talks 'Project Power,' 'Mega Man' Movie, 'The Batman' and More [The Fourth Wall #24]
For a screenwriter, to be featured on the coveted annual Black List is a tremendous accomplishment that’s jumpstarted the career of many of the industry’s hottest writers. If you’re Mattson Tomlin, you’ve not only been featured on that list six times in the past four years, but you’ve done so before the age of thirty. Like the most accomplished athletes, Tomlin regularly exercises his creative muscles averaging anywhere from 8-12 scripts a year. While the writer himself acknowledges many of those scripts aren’t pitch worthy, they have led to the creation of projects such as Netflix’s latest film “Project Power.” Set against the backdrop of New Orleans, “Project Power” is an original “real world” superhero story that centers around the use of a pill that gives the user unpredictable abilities for five minutes. The story follows a teenage dealer (Dominique Fishback), a local cop (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), and an ex-soldier (Jamie Foxx) as they try to take down the organization responsible for creating the drug and releasing it onto the streets. With “Project Power,” Tomlin confidently establishes himself as a writer who’s a true fan of comic books, graphic novels, and all the titans of pop culture many of us grew up obsessing over even stating that he considered turning his screenplay into a graphic novel had it not gotten picked up. Perhaps that’s precisely why the film is the perfect precursor to the slew of high profile projects Tomlin is attached to; namely, Matt Reeves’ “The Batman” and the upcoming “Mega Man” movie. While Tomlin might be attached to some of the hottest upcoming blockbusters, he remains accessible and active on social media and, especially, Reddit eager and willing to pay his good fortune forward. He understands all to well the struggle of being an aspiring screenwriter and wants to give real, honest, and useful advice (no bullshit) while he still can to help the next generation of writers carve out their own path. During our conversation with Tomlin, we also discussed the responsibility on screenwriters to be honest in their depiction of film’s in the “cop genre” in 2020, the upcoming “Mega Man” movie, the greatness of “Batman: The Animated Series,” “The Batman,” how Bryan Singer’s “X-Men” influenced “Project Power,” why David Fincher’s “Zodiac” is one of the greatest films of the 2010s, and MUCH more.
August 12, 2020
Gordon Parks: American Legend and Overlooked Filmmaker (feat. Craig Laurence Rice)
Only in a career as pioneering and storied as Gordon Parks' could an achievement like "first Black Hollywood director" fall into the second paragraph. Yet Parks' significance as a photographer and renaissance man does often overshadow a film career that saw him direct "The Learning Tree" (1969), "Shaft" (1971), and "Leadbelly" (1976). This week, Be Reel revisits these too-forgotten cinematic portraits of Black life, joined by director/producer Craig Laurence Rice to discuss the years he spent with Parks making the Emmy-nominated documentary "Half Past Autumn" (2000).
August 12, 2020
'Caddyshack' / 'Happy Gilmore' / 'Tin Cup' and the Frozen-In-Time Golf Comedy [Be Reel Podcast]
It's slobs vs. snobs, divas vs. duffers, and Be Reel vs. the bygone bubble of American golf comedies. "Caddyshack" turns 40 this week, which gives us a great excuse to talk about this frozen-in-time genre: when class conflict could allegedly be solved with a 400-foot slapshot ("Happy Gilmore") and any old folkloric failure could tear through the US Open ("Tin Cup"). These leisurely sports comedies are long on charm, light on logic, and were all clearly made in a time before Tiger Woods. Let's tee off. * * * To continue supporting justice and equality for our Black colleagues, friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens, please consider donating to: -The AAR Diversity Internship Initiative-- -Don't Shoot PDX -- -The Family of James Scurlock --
July 24, 2020
'The Old Guard' / 'Palm Springs' / 'First Cow' / 'Relic' / 'The Beach House' [The Discourse #20]
Ryan Oliver and Jenny Nulf (Austin Asian American Film Festival, Austin Chronicle) discuss five of the new releases that came out across various platforms this last weekend, including "The Old Guard," "Palm Springs," "First Cow," and more. 0:00-24:14: "The Old Guard" 24:15-43:30: "Palm Springs" 43:31-01:13:50: "Relic" and "The Beach House" 01:13:51-End: "First Cow"
July 16, 2020
Tom Hanks Is The Captain, Always [Be Reel Podcast]
When it comes to being an on-screen mariner, Tom Hanks takes his orders from no one. To celebrate his recent birthday and the release of the new WWII submarine movie "Greyhound" (2020), Chance and Noah dive into the boat-bound roles of Hanks’ storied career. That means “Splash” (1984), “Sleepless In Seattle” (1993), “Cast Away” (2000), “Captain Phillips” (2013), and then “Greyhound.” Can the guys craft a coherent thesis as to why Hanks keeps choosing the water as his co-star? Permission to come aboard. * * * To support the causes of justice and equity for our Black colleagues, friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens, please consider donating to: -The AAR Diversity Internship Initiative-- -Don't Shoot PDX -- -The Family of James Scurlock --
July 14, 2020
Cristin Milioti Talks 'Palm Springs,' 'Once,' and Being a Singer/Songwriter [The Fourth Wall #23]
Cristin Milioti is the definition of an entertainer. She’s a musician, singer/songwriter, stage performer, Broadway star, and actress - and that’s just what we know. She won a Grammy and was nominated for a Tony Award for her breakout performance in the musical adaptation of “Once.” She collaborated with Martin Scorsese on “The Wolf of Wall Street,” and, in television, has had pivotal (in some cases, awards-worthy) roles in “How I Met Your Mother,” “Fargo,” and “Black Mirror.” Milioti has worked hard to ensure the only thing you can expect from her is to be unexpected with the projects she chooses. Typecasting is the last thing the 34-year-old performer wants, and while, early on, some have tried, Milioti has remained steadfast pivoting using her natural talents and diverse skillset. Milioti's latest film is The Lonely Island's 2020 Sundance smash hit "Palm Springs." The film was one of the most talked-about movies at the festival and even broke records selling to Neon and Hulu for $17.5 million and 69 cents, making it the biggest Sundance sale ever. The film follows two strangers, Nyles (Andy Samberg) and Sarah (Milioti), who attend a wedding at Palm Springs only to get stuck inside a time loop unexpectedly. Re-living the wedding day over and over again, the two not only begin to form a budding romance but embark upon an introspective journey. Being a musician first and then actor, Milioti often finds herself thinking musically when it comes to developing her characters. She creates playlists for each of them and believes the kind of music someone listens too can tell you a lot about a person. During our conversation with Cristin Milioti, we discuss her work on the stage, songwriting, the nervousness that comes with singing in front of an audience, "Russian Doll," how never seeing "Groundhog Day" gave her a fresh perspective on "Palm Springs" and much more.
July 9, 2020
'Cane River' Is A Long-Lost Black Romance, Deepened By Untold Histories [Be Reel Podcast]
"Cane River" (1982), a recently unearthed debut from late writer/director Horace Jenkins, is now, after a year of remastering, available for streaming. Part love story, part critique of colorism in Louisana, "Cane River" is a moving examination of how cinematic romances can't escape history. Critic and writer Tiana Reid joins Noah and Chance to unpack the concept of the "Black outdoors" and review some of Peter Metoyer's poetry. Read Tiana's tremendous review of "Cane River" here:…e-black-outdoors/ * * * To support the causes of justice and equality for our Black colleagues, friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens, please consider donating to: -The AAR Diversity Internship Initiative-- -Don't Shoot PDX -- -The Family of James Scurlock --
July 3, 2020
Dan Stevens Talks Eurovision, Stand-Up Comedy, James Bond, and Narrating Audiobooks [The Fourth Wall #22]
Most actors wouldn't consider leaving a role as one of the most popular and beloved characters on one of the most acclaimed BBC costume dramas in it's prime. However, most actors aren't Dan Stevens. To avoid being typecast, the "Downton Abby" alum boldly exited the series in 2012 to pursue a career in American cinema. Since then, Stevens has strived to diversify his filmography. He's had great success in genre films such as "The Guest" and "Colossal" and even lent his musical talents to Disney's live-action "Beauty and the Beast" as The Beast. He also helped challenge cable television and the comic book genre with his titular role in Noah Hawley's thought-provoking series "Legion." All of this is to say that Dan Stevens is a performer with range and someone who's imagination knows no bounds. This summer, Stevens not only returns to the paranoia driven psychological thrillers he's so fond of but lends his charisma and charm to the first-ever Eurovision movie. In Dave Franco's directorial debut, "The Rental," Stevens stars opposite Allison Brie in this timely thriller following two couples who rent an Airbnb for a weekend getaway. Shortly after arriving, they suspect the owner is spying on them. What follows will make audiences reconsider before booking their next Airbnb (if COVID-19 hasn't already). "Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga," sees Will Ferrell reteam with "Wedding Crashers" director David Dobkin and former SNL writing partner Andrew Steele. The film tells the story of an Icelandic duo (Ferrell and Rachel McAdams) competing in the world's largest international song competition. While the movie is full of entertaining performances, Stevens steals the show with his turn as the suave and eccentric Russian billionaire Alexander Lemtov. Stevens has an attuned ear when it comes to dialect. In fact, the 37-year-old actor revealed that if he converses with someone for long enough, he'll start unintentionally adopting their speech pattern. More often than not, Stevens' entry point into a character is in how they speak, and his attraction to dialect has informed some of his other career decisions. Many may be unaware, but Dan Stevens is a rather accomplished audiobook narrator with credits ranging from Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Orient Express," to "The Illiad" and "The Odyssey," to "Frankenstein," "War Horse," and Ian Fleming's "Casino Royale." Perhaps much of his fascination with audiobooks stems from his love and degree in literature. However, there's something to be said about how Stevens is drawn to words and the endless creativity they inspire when a camera isn't around. Over the course of our conversation with Dan Stevens, we discussed Eurovision, ambitions of pursuing more voice acting, his time doing stand-up comedy, collaborating with a first-time actor turned director on "The Rental," and more.
July 1, 2020
Jami O'Brien Talks 'NOS4A2' Season 2, Zachary Quinto, Expanding Upon Joe Hill's Novel [The Fourth Wall #21]
Much like it's vampirical antagonist, AMC’s summer horror fare, "NOS4A2" recently began its second life. The show, based on Joe Hill's novel of the same name, about a 1938 Rolls Royce Wraith symbiotically linked to succubus Charlie Manx (Zachary Quinto) and his battle against Vic McQueen (Ashleigh Cummings), a young woman who has superpowers of her own, had its second season premiere last week and is once again available as a full season stream to those with the AMC Premiere subscription. However last year, its future wasn't so certain. The premiere of season one garnered significant interest, with over 2 million viewers watching live, streaming, or watching through DVR, but as the season progressed, viewership was almost cut in half. The show's mixed reception slowly affecting return viewership, and the remaining fans were uncertain if they would ever see the conclusion of Vic's battle with Manx. However, that fear was quickly put to rest, as AMC decided to put season two into production before season one had even completed airing on cable. So with newfound confidence, showrunner, and creator, Jami O’Brien knew she and her cast and crew had a rare opportunity to really dig into Hill’s work and begin expanding the mythos. “The big difference with season two is that there is no mystery," said O'Brien. "[In season One, Vic] was learning what her powers were, what she could and could not do, she was learning who Charlie Manx is, [and] the audience was learning all these things along with her.” Perhaps this explains the mixed reception of Season 1. Often it could suffer from slower, but nevertheless important, episodes that had to explain these rules. O’Brien promises season two will excite on a regular basis. “With that mystery gone, it just means the show, right off the bat has more gas in the tank." Having screened the first five episodes, I couldn't agree more. Shows can often find their legs in the second season. Many believe it's the perfect time for them to find their real voice with that first season of exposition out of the way, and the core audience established. O’Brien also knows that she and her writers were given a great opportunity to really focus on the shows’ strengths, and that includes catering the characters to the talents of "NOS4A2’s" (arguably) underrated cast. “[In Season 1] we had most of the scripts written before anything was cast,” said O'Brien as she focused on one of the major draws of the show, the always charming, often twisted Zachary Quinto, as Manx. “Zach is amazing and explosive whenever he’s on-screen in season one. But at the end of the first season I [realized], we have the amazing Movie star/Broadway star, Zach Quinto… let’s put him to work” Season 2, really finds its footing in the second episode, and the first two episodes are excellent companion pieces that reveal how layered the crux of the show can be. They feature excellent performances by Quinto and Cummings. It is a great reminder of why the show was renewed, and how those two can carry it for the remainder of its run (along with a terrific supporting cast). This season promises enough expansion, twists, and turns and fun-filled-horror that AMC and "NOS4A2" are known for, and let’s hope the audiences will return in greater numbers to pump some blood into the heart of the show for future seasons. During our conversation with O'Brien, we discuss getting to the heart of Hill's original novel, the challenge in bringing iconic moments from the book to life, being selective with scares, why comparisons have been drawn between the show and Peter Pan, and much more. Additional reporting by Michael Winn Johnson
June 25, 2020
Rob McElhenney On Evolving ‘It's Always Sunny’, Making Quarantined ‘Mythic Quest’ and Answering Questions About His Body [Be Reel Podcast]
"It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" co-creator and star Rob McElhenney talks with Chance Solem-Pfeifer about 14 seasons of changing yet not changing Mac, answering constant questions about his physique, and the new quarantine episode of his Apple TV+ comedy "Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet." Plus, there's George RR Martin talk and McElhenney's overall advice for staying sharp and responsible as an artist.
June 23, 2020
'Chicken Run' and Aardman's Claymation Wizardry [Be Reel Podcast]
"Chicken Run" (2000) turns 20 this week, and to celebrate, Chance and Noah are looking back at the filmography of Nick Park, the chief creative voice of Aardman Animation through its heyday. To understand the origins of Park's droll but heartfelt world, we rewind to the original, Academy Award-winning "Wallace & Gromit" shorts and discuss all the hallmarks of tactility—exploding fruit, precocious critters and nightmarish “steam folk” machines—that made Aardman movies so singular. After a full-scale celebration of “Chicken Run,” we also review “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit” (2005) and “Early Man” (2018).  * * * To support the causes of justice and equality for Black Americans in these times, please consider donating to: The AAR Diversity Internship Initiative Don’t Shoot PDX The Family of James Scurlock
June 18, 2020
Kathryn Hahn On Jill Soloway, Derek Cianfrance, Her Transition From Comedies To Adult Dramadies & More [Deep Focus Podcast]
Kathryn Hahn is having a sustained ongoing moment and it's arguably been happening since 2013. That year, she starred in Jill Soloway's "Afternoon Delight," and while the response to that Sundance indie was muted, it arguably transformed her career, taking her out of supporting "crazy lady" comedic roles and into the place of lead in complex comedic dramas about female identity, desire and the yearning for much more. Hahn has become something of a muse for many female filmmakers and "Afternoon Delight" lead to terrific turns in Soloway's "Transparent," the overlooked, but short-lived series,  "I Love Dick," and lead roles in Tamara Jenkins' "Private Life," and HBO's "Mrs. Fletcher" series from director Nicole Holofcener and author Tom Perrota (known for writing the novels of "Election" and "Little Children"). Hahn's latest two projects couldn't be more different. One is HBO's "I Know This Much Is True" from director Derek Cianfrance alongside Mark Ruffalo. The other is "Central Park," an animated AppleTV+ show from the makers of "Bob's Burgers." In our hour-long chat, we parsed all these topics, most of Hahn's entire career, and even touched a little upon "Wandavision," the upcoming Disney+ Marvel series that she has a role in. 
June 17, 2020
'The King of Staten Island' / Judd Apatow Retrospective [The Discourse #19]
Ryan Oliver is joined by Nick Allen (, Vulture, MEL Magazine, The AV Club) to look back on the directorial debut of Judd Apatow, starting from "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" all the way to his latest film, "The King of Staten Island." All shows and episodes are a part of The Playlist Podcast Network—which includes The 4th Wall, Be Reel, Indie Beat, and more—and can be heard on iTunes, AnchorFM, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Spotify, and iHeartRadio. To listen on this page, you can stream the podcast via the AnchorFM embed below or up top. Follow us on iTunes, and you’ll get this podcast as well as our other shows regularly. Be sure to subscribe, and drop us a comment or a rating as we do appreciate it. Thanks for listening.
June 16, 2020
'Da 5 Bloods' / The Underrated and Overlooked Films of Spike Lee [The Discourse #18]
On this episode, Ryan Oliver is joined by Kathia Woods (Cup of Soul Show, Philadelphia Tribune, Awards Watch) and Ronda Racha Penrice (Zora, NBC THINK, Atlanta Journal Constitution) to discuss the latest Spike Lee joint - "Da 5 Bloods" - while spending the bulk of the discussion looking back at the more underrated and under-appreciated films in Lee's four decades of filmmaking. 0:00-23:13 - "Da 5 Bloods" Review 23:14-End - The Underrated and Overlooked Films of Spike Lee "School Daze" "Get on the Bus" "4 Little Girls" "When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts" "Summer of Sam" "Miracle at St. Anna" "Red Hook Summer" "Da Sweet Blood of Jesus" "Pass Over" All shows and episodes are a part of The Playlist Podcast Network—which includes The 4th Wall, Be Reel, Indie Beat, and more—and can be heard on iTunes, AnchorFM, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Spotify, and iHeartRadio. To listen on this page, you can stream the podcast via the AnchorFM embed below or up top. Follow us on iTunes, and you’ll get this podcast as well as our other shows regularly. Be sure to subscribe, and drop us a comment or a rating as we do appreciate it. Thanks for listening.
June 11, 2020
Kenneth Branagh Talks Collaborating with Christopher Nolan, Shakespeare, and Teases 'Death on the Nile' [The Fourth Wall #20]
Some cinematic properties are lost in production-limbo for ages, and yet, when the films are finally released, the timing could not have worked better for them. The Creator and author of "Artemis Fowl," Eoin Coffer, has jokingly stated that the film would be finished two years after his death. Luckily, he didn’t have to wait that long. But while the film took almost twenty years to make; those twenty years were very kind to the project. Disney was able to secure the rights, the studio was able to distance itself from Harvey Weinstein, and there was a change in director from Lawrence Guterman to the legendary Sir Kenneth Branagh. Finally, because of a delay due to the Disney/Fox merger, and with recent complications arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, the film will hit Disney+ Friday, June 12th, in what is perhaps the perfect platform for this movie. "Artemis Fowl" stars Ferdia Shaw (grandson of the great Robert Shaw) as the title character, Lara McDonnell, Nonso Anozie, Colin Farrell, and returning to work with Branagh after "Murder on the Orient Express," Josh Gad and Judy Dench. It follows the story of a wunderkind, a self-proclaimed child-criminal genius who must breach the barrier between the world of man, and the world of Irish mythology to save his father from magical peril. Perhaps "Artemis Fowl" being an adaptation of Eoin Colfer's beloved fantasy novels is precisely why Branagh is a great choice to direct. He is no stranger to literary classics turned cinematic, and not simply because of the myriad of Shakespearean adaptations. The filmmaker has "Frankenstein," "Cinderella," "Murder on the Orient Express," and even more contemporary literature like "Thor" that help comprise his filmography. It's apparent that Branagh has a deep love for literature of all kinds and it's what helps fuel his adaptations. What's even more distinct about Branagh's adaptations is how he strikes a balance between traditional folklore ("Thor," "Artemis Fowl") and the contemporary. "Artemis Fowl," specifically, thrives on introducing this fabled world all while making it more accessible and relevant to its target demographic. However, audiences of all ages will be able to find something in this adventure they’ll enjoy, and it will undoubtedly speak to children everywhere, even if they have never read a single page of the novels. During our conversation with Kenneth Branagh, we not only discussed his love of literature and adaptations but his collaborations with Christopher Nolan and Kevin Feige, how he fostered a welcoming set for "Artemis Fowl's" child actors Ferdia Shaw and Lara McDonnell, how he selects which of his directed projects to star in, what we can expect from his upcoming "Death on the Nile" and much more. Additional reporting by Michael Winn Johnson
June 11, 2020
Rebecca Hall On 'Tales From The Loop,' Working With Christopher Nolan & Her Directorial Debut 'Passing' [Deep Focus Podcast]
Rebecca Hall talks about her role as an emotionally closed-off physicist in Amazon Prime's humanist sci-fi series "Tales From The Loop" with the Deep Focus host Rodrigo Perez. Hall is also making her directorial debut with the upcoming film "Passing," starring Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga. It's an adaptation of Nella Larsen's 1920s Harlem Renaissance novel, which explores the practice of racial passing, a term used for a person classified as a member of one racial group who seeks to be accepted by a different racial group. But for Hall, it's a complicated story for her to reckon with the legacy of her own complicated family -- a bi-racial grandfather and mother who grappled with some of the same issues of identity. We also talked about her approach to acting, her career, her many roles, working with Christopher Nolan, and much more. It's a long, hour-long podcast, so buckle in, and hopefully, you'll enjoy it. 
June 10, 2020
The State of the Theatrical Industry [The Discourse #17]
Like everything, it's been a strange world for the film industry in the midst of COVID-19. On this long-belated episode, Ryan Oliver is joined by Playlist Managing Editor Charles Barfield, and the former hosts of Playlist Podcast Adjust Your Tracking - Erik McClanahan and Joe von Appen - to discuss the state of theatrical moviegoing. We speculate on if theaters will hit their proposed July release date, in time for Christopher Nolan's "Tenet," and if it's the right thing to do. We also discuss how the industry is adapting amidst the pandemic (such as PVOD and selling titles to other streaming services) and further cementing co-existence between theatrical and digital. It's a broad topic with no easy answers, but the discussion remains thoughtful. If you have the means, please consider donating to Black Lives Matter ( and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (, among other organizations. All shows and episodes are a part of The Playlist Podcast Network—which includes The 4th Wall, Be Reel, Indie Beat, and more—and can be heard on iTunes, AnchorFM, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Spotify, and iHeartRadio. To listen on this page, you can stream the podcast via the AnchorFM embed below or up top. Follow us on iTunes, and you’ll get this podcast as well as our other shows regularly. Be sure to subscribe, and drop us a comment or a rating as we do appreciate it.
June 4, 2020
The Essential Val Kilmer [Be Reel Podcast]
He’s been called the Lizard King, the Iceman, the Dark Knight, and is perpetually applying for the post of your Huckleberry. Val Kilmer is one of the most fascinating and elusive screen presences of the last 40 years. In the wake of Val's new memoir, Noah and Chance chronicle the highlights of a roller-coaster career from 1985 to present. The questions are as high-minded and dire as Kilmer’s work: was Val the most talented actor of his generation? And if that’s true, why was he done making relevant work by age 45? We certainly acknowledge there are far more important things in the world right now, but we hope you’ll come along with us when you can, at least from "Real Genius" to "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang."
June 3, 2020
'Extraction' Director Sam Hargrave Talks Jackie Chan and the Importance of Practical Action [The Fourth Wall #19]
Over the last decade, you’ve undoubtedly seen both Sam Hargrave and his work without even knowing it. In fifteen years, he has racked up 80 credits working as either a stunt performer or stunt coordinator in both television and film. He's doubled for Hugh Jackman, Chris Evans, and Justin Timberlake, along with many others; and is responsible for staging some of the biggest and most exciting action sequences in recent years. Hargrave served as a stunt coordinator on "Avengers: Endgame," "Deadpool 2," "Captain America: Civil War," "Atomic Blonde," and all but the first film in the "Hunger Games" franchise, just to name a few. While stunt performance allowed Hargrave to make a name for himself, his true passion always lied with directing. In April, he was finally able to turn that passion into a reality with his directorial debut with "Extraction." "Extraction" is a Netflix Original action film written by Joe Russo, produced by the Russo Brothers, and starring Chris Hemsworth and David Harbour. The film tells the story of a mercenary sent in to extricate the son of an international crime lord from the clutches of kidnappers. When Hemsworth’s character (Tyler Rake) is double-crossed, he faces enemies on all sides as he battles to protect the boy and escape town. "Extraction" was an instant hit for Netflix. According to the streaming service, the film "is well on its way to becoming the biggest-ever film premiere on Netflix — with a projected 90 million households getting in on the action in the first 4 weeks." The movie appears to have been the right movie at the right time. While movie theaters are shut down and virtually all theatrical releases have been postponed, Netflix offered an exciting action film produced by the directors of the biggest movie of the past decade, featuring one of today’s leading men, and directed by one of the premier stunt coordinators in the business. People seemed more than willing to tune in. Perhaps much of this has to do with a yearning for more mid-budget action movies. The filmmaker himself even cited the works of Jackie Chan and John McTiernan along with "Rambo"  as works that impacted his filmmaking sensibilities. During our conversation with director Sam Hargrave, we discussed not only "Extraction," its success, and the already announced sequel (and whether he’ll be involved), but also action movies in general, as well as Netflix as a vessel for more niche films to be made and seen. We also learn what action films inspired him as a director and filmmaker, and find out what he has been watching while stuck at home during the pandemic.
May 28, 2020
Remembering Lynn Shelton, Master of the Comedic Heart-To-Heart [Be Reel Podcast]
American independent film lost a guiding light this month with the sudden passing of Lynn Shelton. From 2006 to 2019, Shelton created a multi-film roadmap for considering the dimensionality of place (often Seattle) and deep personal meaning from simple conversation. This week, Be Reel looks back at "We Go Way Back" (2006), "Humpday" (2009), "Your Sister's Sister" (2011), "Laggies" (2014) and "Sword of Trust" (2019) to celebrate an aspirational career, cut tragically short.
May 26, 2020
Remembering Irrfan Khan: Bollywood Icon and One of the Best Actors of his Generation [Be Reel Podcast]
Hollywood and Bollywood both suffered an incalculable loss last month with the untimely passing of actor Irrfan Khan. Known to American audiences for his character work in "Life of Pi" and "Jurassic World", the icon in India spent 30 years embodying quiet masculinity in chameleonic performances. Today, Chance and Noah look at some of his most notable Bollywood films: "Paan Singh Tomar" (2012), "The Lunchbox" (2013), and "Piku" (2015). To start the show, Chance is joined by Vulture contributor Mallika Rao to discuss Khan's career and her tremendous remembrance of the actor, which you can read below.
May 14, 2020
Josh Trank Talks 'Capone,' 'Fantastic Four' Failure, Tom Hardy & More [Deep Focus Podcast]
A candid and affable Josh Trank ("Chronicle") gets on the line to get candid about his "Fantastic Four" failures, his fruitful collaboration with Tom Hardy (which may yield more films) and his latest movie, the surreal fever dream that is "Capone" (or "Fonzo" as he still refers to it), starring the aforementioned "Mad Max" star.  For the belatedly returning (?) podcast show Deep Focus very-infrequently hosted by The Playlist Editor-in-Chief Rodrigo Perez.