Category Archives: podcasts

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Black Mirror Season 4, discussed.

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I’m on today’s episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour, weighing in on the new season of Netflix’s cautionary-tale tech anthology Black Mirror. One thing I should’ve said had there been time is just how much the open format of the show contributes to its ability to build tension. Two of my favorites among the six new episodes are “U.S.S. Callister,” which runs a nearly feature-length 76 minutes, and “Metalhead,” which clocks in at around 40 minutes—not even long enough to fill a network hour.

Anyway, I was happy as always to join Linda and Glen, and especially glad to get to speak with Brittany Luse, whom I had not met previously. You can hear the episode here, or on whatever smart device you’ve got. Or both. I mean, we’re all cuffed to our digital appendages now, despite the warnings of Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker. Continue reading

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I’m on The Canon, Debating His Girl Friday v The Philadelphia Story with my pal Amy Nicholson!

IMG_0083“Your assignment will be Spy magazine’s greatest achievement: Tracy Lord. Big game hunting in Africa, fox hunting in Pennsylvania. Married on impulse. Divorced in a rage. And always unapproachable by the press. The unapproachable Miss Lord… The Philadelphia Story!”

I was so certain that recording an episode of The Canon with my friend Amy Nicholson, pitting one Problematic 1940 Divorced Cary Grant movie against another, would require me to perform an impression of Henry Daniell as Spy publisher Sidney Kidd that I might’ve ripped the audio of the scene into my iPhone and rehearsed it during my drive to Earwolf HQ in Hollywood a few weeks ago. In the end, I forgot to break out the imitation I’d practiced to carefully, because Amy is just as brilliant in conversation as she is in prose. So the fact that she spared you all my, um, acting is not the best reason to be grateful for her insight and eloquence, but it’s a reason.

You can listen to our debate here.
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My Lazenby Moment: I’m on today’s episode of James Bonding!

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I’ve wanted to be a guest on James Bonding, the podcast hosted by 007 “lovers, not experts” Matt Gourley and Matt Mira, since the first episode appeared four years ago. (The topic was Dr. No, 007 No. 001, and the guest was Paul F. Thompkins.) I’ve plugged the show on Pop Culture Happy Hour and on Filmspotting. I owe Gourley and Mira a debt of gratitude for getting my girlfriend interested in watching Bond movies by poking fun at them in the loving way that only a true fan can. Beyond that, I’ve been a huge admirer of Gourley’s work on his other podcasts, I Was There Too and Superego.

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Pop Culture Happy Hour: Blade Runner 2049, Voigt-Kampff’d.

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Any debate over whether Blade Runner 2049, a 35-years-later sequel to the cultiest cult film in the history of movies, has general-interest appeal should be put to rest by virtue of the fact that Stephen Thompson—the host of the three-way discussion of the film the comprises today’s Pop Culture Happy Hour—liked it, too! Pal-for-Life Glen Weldon and I are this movie’s core constituency. But when the Kung Fu Panda-loving Mr. Thompson gives his approval to an intense, nearly-three-hour dystopian future flick, you know it’s got some moves.

You can listen in here, where the episode is posted along with my review from last week. I had to write it just a couple of hours after I saw Blade Runner 2049, but I think the piece stands up. I’m seeing the movie again tomorrow night at the National Air and Space Museum. I’m looking forward to spending another 163 minutes with a new stone classic.

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Logan Lucky, discussed.

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I dropped by NPR HQ to talk about Steven Soderbergh’s return to features, Logan Lucky, with screenwriter and author Danielle Henderson and regular Pop Culture Happy Hour panelists Linda Holmes and Glen Weldon.  When we recorded this discussion, I’d taken the opportunity to see the movie a second time after filing my review, and my opinion on it had evolved a little. Anyway, you can find the episode here.

I wish I could put my finger on why it read to me as condescending in a Coenesque way the first time but not the second. I love the films of Joel and Ethan Coen. But the ones Logan Lucky most recalled for me, Raising Arizona and Fargo, are not among my favorites.

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Atomic Blonde

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The Mondo two-LP blue-and-yellow-vinyl edition of the soundtrack to David Leitch’s stylish Charlize Theron-headlined, set-in-1989 espionage thriller Atomic Blonde that I ordered won’t arrive for several weeks, I’m told. Until then you and I will just have to make do with our extant libraries of New Order, The Clash, A Flock of Seagulls, etc. And with this thrilling recorded-in-one take episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour, wherein host Linda Holmes and regular panelists Stephen Thompson and Glen Weldon brought me in to talk about how much we all like watching Ms. Theron kick ass. It’s a lot more satisfying that watching her play second-fiddle to some grunting no-talent clown in a tank top.

Hear Me Threaten the Life of Co-Host Josh Larsen on Last Week’s Filmspotting!

Hamilton Biehn CameronThe Terminator is one of my favorite movies. When my Windy City pals Adam Kempenarr and Josh Larsen announced the other week that they would make writer-director James Cameron’s low-budget, high-concept sci-fi classic the subject of one of their “Sacred Cow” reviews, I knew that the likelihood that Josh—a critic who generally seems to dislike action films, with the bizarre exception of the Fast & the Furious franchise, which to me represents the genre at its most derivative and least inspired—would rain on it. He hates Predator, people! Predator! A film I saw last year at the Library of Congress!

So I took action. To paraphrase Al Capone, you can get farther with a kind word and a quote from The Terminator than you can with a kind word alone. And the threatening voice mail I left for Josh opened last week’s episode.
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