Filmspotting: Reviews & Top 5s

“...affable, insightful film analysis since 2005."–NY Times / New + classic reviews and top 5s. Also on WBEZ Chicago.

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Film Reviews
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1
#821: Rocky (7 From '76) / Detour ('40s Noir #4...
Stallone's beloved underdog story is impossible to resist. Except when it's not.
91 min
2
#820: Godzilla ('54) vs. Kong ('33)
Which classic monster movie reigns supreme?
82 min
3
#819: Oscars Homework (Pieces of a Woman / U.S....
Catching up with Best Actress nominees Andra Day and Vanessa Kirby.
76 min
4
#818: Network (7 From '76) / Oscar Nominations ...
45 years later, our screens may have changed, but Sidney Lumet’s Oscar-winning media satire still stings.
110 min
5
#817: Top 5 Movie Meals / WandaVision / The Tru...
Prawns, Sushi, Alligator and Ramen are on the menu. And bacon. Lots and lots of bacon.
94 min
6
#816: Taxi Driver (7 From '76) / This Gun for H...
Scorsese's grimy urban masterpiece turns 45—and is timely as ever.
100 min
7
#815: Top 5 Anthony Hopkins Performances / The ...
Some actors would have been forever defined by a role like Hannibal Lecter. Not Hopkins.
101 min
8
#814: The Silence of the Lambs (30th Ann.) / Ma...
Three decades after its historic sweep of the Oscars' top prizes, Jonathan Demme's film remains the gold standard for prestige pulp.
81 min
9
#813: Judas and the Black Messiah / The Letter ...
Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield are electric in the new biopic about slain Black Panther leader Fred Hampton.
79 min
10
#812: All The President's Men (7 From '76) / Ma...
Alan J. Pakula's Best Picture nominee remains a thrilling marriage of craft and ensemble acting.
85 min
11
#811: 2021 Movie Preview
We have so many questions about the new movie year.
81 min
12
#810: Best Scenes of 2020 / Golden Brick Award
The movie moments that made us laugh, cry, dance and sing.
98 min
13
#809: News of the World / Wonder Woman 1984
The new Tom Hanks western from Paul Greengrass is both a throwback—and unusually timely.
59 min
14
#808: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2020
In a year that was mostly cancelled, auteurs delivered.
143 min
15
#807: (Pt. 1) Top 10 Films of 2020
Movies to remember in a year to forget.
96 min
16
#806: Best Performances (and More) of 2020
Adam and Josh talk through their ballots for the 2020 Chicago Film Critics Association Awards.
104 min
17
#805: Top 5 Frances McDormand Performances / No...
Biting, funny, ferocious, there is no one like Frances McDormand.
82 min
18
#804: Mank / Ma Rainey's Black Bottom / Sound o...
Thrilling star turns from Oldman in Fincher's latest—and from Boseman and Davis in "Ma Rainey."
77 min
19
#803: 2020 Golden Brick Nominees / The Nest
Eleven titles from emerging directors who are vying for this year's Golden Brick Award.
95 min
20
#802: Stranger Than Paradise / Wolfwalkers / 8 ...
The best performances, scenes, and surprises from the great movie year 1984—and Jim Jarmusch's '84 indie hit.
98 min
21
#801: Dune (8 From '84) / Twin Peaks Pilot (30t...
What remains of David Lynch in the director's '84 attempt to adapt the Frank Herbert sci-fi classic?
82 min
22
From Chicago, this is Filmspotting.
1 min
23
#800: Fall Movie Preview / Daughters of the Dus...
10 questions about what remains of the 2020 movie year.
114 min
24
#799: Top 5 High-Concept Horror / Bad Hair / Th...
You know it's high-concept when you can fit the plot right into the title.
86 min
25
#798: On the Rocks / Borat 2 / Seven Beauties (...
The latest from Sofia Coppola plays like a spiritual sequel to "Lost in Translation."
78 min
26
#797: American Utopia / Trial of the Chicago 7 ...
David Byrne's ecstatic new concert film, the latest from Aaron Sorkin—and what to see at this year's CIFF.
89 min
27
#796: Top 5 Mozart Moments in Movies / Amadeus ...
Miloš Forman's Best Picture-winning biopic inspires a consideration of Mozart at the movies.
106 min
28
#795: Dick Johnson Is Dead / Wanda (Overlooked ...
Director Kirsten Johnson's inventive send-off to her aging father is "a miracle of a film."
71 min
29
#794: Top 5 Landscapes as Characters w/Gregory ...
The esteemed art photographer joins Adam and Josh for a conversation about the movies that bring landscapes to vivid life.
115 min
30
#793: The Nest / Antebellum / Jeanne Dielman (O...
Director Sean Durkin returns with his first film since "Martha Marcy May Marlene"—and Chantal Akerman's '75 masterpiece.
97 min
31
#792: Top 5 Ennio Morricone Scores / Once Upon ...
The man who invented the sound of the spaghetti western.
116 min
32
#791: Tenet / I'm Thinking of Ending Things / F...
Got new Nolan. Got new Kaufman. Need new brain.
91 min
33
#790: Personal History of David Copperfield / D...
More evidence that Dev Patel needs to be a huge star—and Vera Chytilová's Czech New Wave classic.
64 min
34
#789: Barbara Kopple / Ida Lupino + Maya Deren ...
The two-time Oscar-winning director is back with the new doc "Desert One."
88 min
35
#788: She Dies Tomorrow / Boys State
Plus thoughts on Kris Rey's "I Used To Go Here" and Beyoncé's "Black Is King."
77 min
36
#787: Dunkirk (Nolan #8) / Nolan Awards
Reconsidering the 2017 Best Picture nominee—and Nolan, ranked.
94 min
37
#786: Kelly Reichardt / First Cow
The director of "Meek's Cutoff" and "Wendy and Lucy" talks about casting John "Cookie" Magaro and the influence of Satyajit Ray.
63 min
38
#785: Interstellar (Nolan #7) / Palm Springs / ...
Love in the time of quantum physics—in Nolan's sci-fi epic and in the new Andy Samberg comedy.
81 min
39
#784: Hamilton / The Old Guard / The Cotton Clu...
The Broadway phenomenon comes to the small screen.
81 min
40
#783: Top 5 Films of 2020 (So Far) / Inception ...
The best of an unusual year (so far) at the movies—and a split take on Christopher Nolan's 2010 mind-bender.
123 min
41
#782: Jaws (45th Anniversary) / Power Ranking S...
The technical brilliance - and bracing relevance - of Spielberg's early masterpiece.
102 min
42
Introducing Truth vs Hollywood
Hosted by Joanna Robinson and David Chen.
13 min
43
#781: Da 5 Bloods / Top 5 Spike Lee Shots
Spike Lee takes on the Vietnam War in da latest joint from the master provocateur.
103 min
44
#780: Top 5 Movies That Educated Us About Racism
How movies from Spike Lee, John Singleton, Gordon Parks Jr. and others opened our eyes.
70 min
45
#779: The Prestige (Nolan #5) / Vast of Night /...
If not the best Nolan, arguably the most Nolan.
82 min
46
#778: Top 5 Trip Series Scenes / Trip to Greece
"Gentlemen, to bed!"
93 min
47
#777: The Dark Knight Trilogy (Nolan #4)
15 years after "Batman Begins," a reconsideration of Nolan's bleak, politically charged - and hugely successful - trilogy.
94 min
48
#776: Ghostbusters v Gremlins (8 From '84) / Be...
The battle of the '84 blockbusters and Davis in her biggest box office hit.
109 min
49
#775: Top 5 Moviegoing Experiences
Looking back at a lifetime of going to the movies.
88 min
50
#774: Nolan #3 - Insomnia / Blow the Man Down /...
Nolan's Alaska-set follow up to "Memento" and some promising new releases available online.
82 min
51
#773: Top 5 Things We're Streaming During Quara...
Classic sitcoms, vicarious travel and Miyazaki just some of the things helping us survive the shutdown.
93 min
52
#772: Never Rarely Sometimes Always / Nolan #2 ...
Eliza Hittman's 2020 Sundance hit—and Nolan's mind-bending breakout.
109 min
53
#771: Nolan #1 - Following / Bette Davis #2 - J...
Christopher Nolan's time-shifting debut and Davis at her best in William Wyler's fascinating 1938 drama.
93 min
54
#770: Purple Rain - Spinal Tap - Stop Making Se...
Two of the greatest rock movies of all time—and "Purple Rain."
74 min
55
#769: 1930s Starter Pack / Bette Davis #1 - Of ...
From King Kong to Fred and Ginger, 10 films you need to see from the '30s.
88 min
56
The Process: Guillaume Rocheron (1917)
Adam's conversation with "1917's" Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor.
19 min
57
#768: First Cow / Onward / Madness Sweet 16
Kelly Reichardt's latest is the film of the year so far. It will also make you hungry.
80 min
58
#767: Top 20 Films of the 2010s (Pt. 2) / Invis...
PTA. Wes. Malick. The Coens. Of course they made the cut. But who else?
117 min
59
#766: Top 20 Films of the 2010s (Pt. 1) / Madne...
The films that defined our decade.
112 min
60
#765: Top 10 Performers of the 2010s
The actors and actresses who defined the decade.
115 min
61
#764: Live in Chicago / Oscars / Birds of Prey ...
Celebrating 15 years of Filmspotting with Howard Hawks' "Rio Bravo."
132 min
62
#763: Top 5 Jeff Bridges Scenes / Starman (8 Fr...
He's The Dude. His Dudeness. Duder. Or El Duderino if you're not into the whole brevity thing.
112 min
63
#762: 2020 Oscars Special with Michael Phillips
Who will win, who should win – and the Academy's unfortunate omissions.
114 min
64
#761: 2020 Movie Preview
Looking ahead to Nolan's "Tenet," Villeneuve's "Dune," and whatever Elisabeth Moss is up to.
66 min
65
#760: Best Scenes of 2019 / Oscar Nominations /...
The funniest scenes. The most moving moments. The best needle drops. 
103 min
66
#759: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2019
The #1 films of the year – and some bickering about Tarantino.
132 min
67
#758: (Pt. 1) Top 10 Films of 2019
Bad bets, bad behavior and a couple of bad trips to space among the "outliers" in part one of the best of the year countdown.
137 min
68
#757: The Rise of Skywalker / Safdie Brothers (...
J.J. Abrams is back in the cockpit for a Star Wars finale four decades in the making.
80 min
69
#756: The Phantom Menace at 20 / 9 From '99 Awards
Defending Episode I.
91 min
70
#755: Little Women / Knives Out / A Beautiful D...
Greta Gerwig's vital and inspired adaptation of the Alcott classic.
79 min
71
#754: 2019 Golden Brick Nominees
Which overlooked films will compete for our 2019 award?
78 min
72
#753: Marriage Story / Top 5 Movies About Marriage
Spoiler: Divorce Story.
92 min
73
#752: Magnolia at 20 / Jojo Rabbit / The Report...
Frogs in the forecast.
98 min
74
#751: The Irishman / Contemporary Chinese #4 - ...
Scorsese's new gangster epic is a reflective and elegiac masterpiece.
79 min
75
#750: The Lighthouse / Contemporary Chinese #3 ...
Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe lose their minds in the latest from Robert Eggers.
79 min
76
#749: Parasite / Pain and Glory / Contemporary ...
Bong Joon-ho's Palme d'Or-winner lives up to the hype.
77 min
77
#748: American Beauty at 20 / Contemporary Chin...
Will anyone come to the defense of 2000's Best Picture winner?
95 min
78
#747: Joker / Chicago International Film Festiv...
A split take on the year's most divisive film.
66 min
79
#746: Ad Astra / Top 5 Steppenwolf Member Movie...
"Ad Astra" is best film of the year, the most visually arresting talk therapy session, or both.
90 min
80
#745: Top 5 Judy Garland Moments / Hustlers
Come on Get Happy, it's a Garland extravaganza.
109 min
81
#744: Eyes Wide Shut at 20 / Top 5 Kubrick Scenes
Revisiting Kubrick's kinky, controversial masterpiece on its 20th anniversary.
96 min
82
#743: IT Chapter Two / Fall Movie Preview
Set 27 years later, has the IT sequel grown up enough to be more than just a gross-out carnival ride?
84 min
83
#742: Being John Malkovich at 20 / Dietrich-Von...
Welcome to the 7 1/2 floor of the Mertin-Flemmer building.
106 min
84
#741: Where'd You Go, Bernadette / Dietrich-Von...
Queen Marlene, and Richard Linklater brings his trademark emotional complexity to the adaptation of a bestselling comic novel.
85 min
85
#740: The Nightingale / Dietrich-Von Sternberg ...
Jennifer Kent's follow up to "The Babadook" isn't quite horror, but it is horrific.
81 min
86
#739: The Blair Witch Project at 20 / Dietrich-...
Two decades later, is the seminal found footage horror movie a genre classic or a dated relic?
100 min
87
#738: Hobbs & Shaw / Top 5 Fast & Furious Moments
Good chemistry, great action and new collaborators help to elevate the new Fast & Furious spin-off.
90 min
88
#737: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood / Top 10 Ta...
Why am I Mr. Pink?
111 min
89
Interview: Riley Stearns ("The Art of Self-Defe...
Adam's conversation with the writer/director of the new dark comedy starring Jesse Eisenberg.
28 min
90
#736: Midsommar / Top 5 Horror Movie Performances
Sweden is lovely this time of year.
111 min
91
FS Revisited: Top 5 Classic Rock Moments in Movies
Cue up "Sunshine of Your Love," Morrie the wig salesman just walked in.
63 min
92
FS Revisited: Pulp Fiction / Top 5 of 1994
In honor of Pulp's 25th anniversary, a revisit of our 2012 Sacred Cow review.
58 min
93
#735: Top 5 Films of 2019 So Far
From space prisoners to underground doppelgangers, the best films of 2019 demand careful scrutiny.
94 min
94
#734: Toy Story 4 / Top 5 Toy Story Scenes w/Gr...
Blank Check's Griffin Newman joins Adam in the Filmspotting playroom for the best play date ever.
132 min
95
#733: The Dead Don't Die / Last Black Man in Sa...
The living dead(pan). Plus, Joe Talbot and Jimmie Fails interview.
91 min
96
#732: Fight Club at 20 / Top 5 David Fincher Sc...
I am Jack's bro-tastic id.
111 min
97
#731: Booksmart / Top 5 Female Friendships
The winning friendship at the center of the new teen comedy inspires a rich Top 5 topic.
84 min
98
#730: Top 5 Films of 1979 / Alien
John Hurt's exploding chest turns 40.
118 min
99
#729: Top 5 Keanu Moments / John Wick 3
The Tao of Whoa.
92 min
100
#728: Chicago Critics Film Festival / Donen #4...
May's week-long CCFF doubles as a shortlist for potential Golden Brick candidates.
97 min