Filmspotting: Reviews & Top 5s

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

TV & Film
Film Reviews
Film History
1
#845: No Time To Die / Lamb / The Portrait of a...
Craig's long-delayed farewell to Bond; Campion's follow-up to the "The Piano."
96 min
2
#844: The Piano (Campion #3) / Chicago Int'l Fi...
Jane Campion's bold and brilliant Oscar-winning third feature.
91 min
3
#843: Titane / An Angel at My Table (Campion #2)
Julia Ducournau's Palme d'Or-winner is an ultra-violent provocation.
91 min
4
#842: Casino Royale at 15 / Sweetie (Campion #1)
Daniel Craig's thrilling debut as a 'blunt instrument' Bond.
84 min
5
#841: Top 5 Films of 1971 / The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Happy 50th to Wonka, Shaft, Harold and Maude, and Alex and his droogs.
94 min
6
#840: The Card Counter / Wong Kar Wai Marathon ...
Oscar Isaac and Tiffany Haddish in the latest from Paul Schrader ("First Reformed").
88 min
7
#839: Fall Movie Preview / Shang-Chi / Candyman
10 questions about the fall movie season.
73 min
8
#838: In the Mood for Love at 20 / Nine Days / ...
Loneliness, desire and playacting in Wong Kar Wai's 2000 masterpiece.
93 min
9
#837: Annette / Respect / Happy Together (Wong ...
"Like it or not, it's a real movie." Guest critic Michael Phillips joins Josh for a review of Leos Carax's "Annette"
83 min
10
#836: The Green Knight / The Suicide Squad / Fa...
David Lowery brings his cinematic obsessions to an ancient Arthurian legend.
83 min
11
#835: Pig / Old / Chungking Express (Wong Kar W...
"Truffle pig revenge tale" is the kind of late period Nic Cage picture you've come to expect, except for one thing: it's good.
71 min
12
#834: Top 5 Beach Scenes / Days of Being Wild (...
War, romance, betrayal, escape, the realization that humans destroyed themselves in a nuclear holocaust. It all happens at the beach.
100 min
13
#833: A Clockwork Orange at 50 / Roadrunner / A...
Kubrick's divisive masterpiece still provokes a half century after its '71 debut.
105 min
14
#832: Black Widow / Summer of Soul / No Sudden ...
Natasha Romanoff finally gets her own chapter in the MCU.
106 min
15
FS Revisited: Raiders of the Lost Ark / Top 5 F...
That time Michael Phillips bad-mouthed "Raiders."
72 min
16
#831: F9 / Top 5 Fast & Furious Moments
That's a lot of quarter-miles.
96 min
17
#830: Pixar's Luca / 7 From '76 Awards / The Sp...
What Pixar's latest lacks in ambition it makes up for in modest charm.
99 min
18
#829: In The Heights / Car Wash (7 From '76)
Jon M. Chu’s ecstatic, over-the-top adaptation of the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical.
108 min
19
#828: Undine / Harlan County U.S.A. (7 From '76)
The latest from Germany's Christian Petzold ("Transit") is a romance haunted by history.
78 min
20
#827: A Quiet Place Part II / Top 5 Quiet Scenes
What happens when movie characters stop talking?
94 min
21
#826: Summer Movie Preview / Shiva Baby / "The ...
Summer movies are back. We've got questions.
91 min
22
#825: The Underground Railroad / White Heat ('4...
Barry Jenkins adapts Colson Whitehead's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel for the small screen.
80 min
23
#824: Top 5 '70s Movie Moms / Wrath of Man / Ne...
Complicated moms for a complicated decade.
101 min
24
#823: Together Together / Oscars / The Lady Fro...
Ed Helms and Patti Harrison make an unlikely connection in the new comedy from Nikole Beckwith.
75 min
25
#822: Oscars Special with Michael Phillips
Who will win, who should win—and the Academy's unfortunate omissions.
112 min
26
#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
27
#820: Godzilla ('54) vs. Kong ('33)
Which classic monster movie reigns supreme?
82 min
28
#819: Oscars Homework (Pieces of a Woman / U.S....
Catching up with Best Actress nominees Andra Day and Vanessa Kirby.
76 min
29
#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
30
#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
31
#816: Taxi Driver (7 From '76) / This Gun for H...
Scorsese's grimy urban masterpiece turns 45—and is timely as ever.
100 min
32
#815: Top 5 Anthony Hopkins Performances / The ...
Some actors would have been forever defined by a role like Hannibal Lecter. Not Hopkins.
101 min
33
#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
34
#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
35
#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
36
#811: 2021 Movie Preview
We have so many questions about the new movie year.
81 min
37
#810: Best Scenes of 2020 / Golden Brick Award
The movie moments that made us laugh, cry, dance and sing.
98 min
38
#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
39
#808: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2020
In a year that was mostly cancelled, auteurs delivered.
143 min
40
#807: (Pt. 1) Top 10 Films of 2020
Movies to remember in a year to forget.
96 min
41
#806: Best Performances (and More) of 2020
Adam and Josh talk through their ballots for the 2020 Chicago Film Critics Association Awards.
104 min
42
#805: Top 5 Frances McDormand Performances / No...
Biting, funny, ferocious, there is no one like Frances McDormand.
82 min
43
#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
44
#803: 2020 Golden Brick Nominees / The Nest
Eleven titles from emerging directors who are vying for this year's Golden Brick Award.
95 min
45
#802: Stranger Than Paradise (8 From '84) / Wol...
The best performances, scenes, and surprises from the great movie year 1984—and Jim Jarmusch's '84 indie hit.
98 min
46
#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
47
From Chicago, this is Filmspotting.
1 min
48
#800: Fall Movie Preview / Daughters of the Dus...
10 questions about what remains of the 2020 movie year.
114 min
49
#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
50
#798: On the Rocks / Borat 2 / Seven Beauties (...
The latest from Sofia Coppola plays like a spiritual sequel to "Lost in Translation."
78 min
51
#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
52
#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
53
#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
54
#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
55
#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
56
#792: Top 5 Ennio Morricone Scores / Once Upon ...
The man who invented the sound of the spaghetti western.
116 min
57
#791: Tenet / I'm Thinking of Ending Things / F...
Got new Nolan. Got new Kaufman. Need new brain.
91 min
58
#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
59
#789: Barbara Kopple / Ida Lupino + Maya Deren ...
The two-time Oscar-winning director is back with the new doc "Desert One."
88 min
60
#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
61
#787: Dunkirk (Nolan #8) / Nolan Awards
Reconsidering the 2017 Best Picture nominee—and Nolan, ranked.
94 min
62
#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
63
#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
64
#784: Hamilton / The Old Guard / The Cotton Clu...
The Broadway phenomenon comes to the small screen.
81 min
65
#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
66
#782: Jaws (45th Anniversary) / Power Ranking S...
The technical brilliance - and bracing relevance - of Spielberg's early masterpiece.
102 min
67
Introducing Truth vs Hollywood
Hosted by Joanna Robinson and David Chen.
13 min
68
#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
69
#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
70
#779: The Prestige (Nolan #5) / Vast of Night /...
If not the best Nolan, arguably the most Nolan.
82 min
71
#778: Top 5 Trip Series Scenes / Trip to Greece
"Gentlemen, to bed!"
93 min
72
#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
73
#776: Ghostbusters v Gremlins (8 From '84) / Be...
The battle of the '84 blockbusters and Davis in her biggest box office hit.
109 min
74
#775: Top 5 Moviegoing Experiences
Looking back at a lifetime of going to the movies.
88 min
75
#774: Insomnia (Nolan #3) / Blow the Man Down /...
Nolan's Alaska-set follow up to "Memento" and some promising new releases available online.
82 min
76
#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
77
#772: Never Rarely Sometimes Always / Nolan #2 ...
Eliza Hittman's 2020 Sundance hit—and Nolan's mind-bending breakout.
109 min
78
#771: Following (Nolan #1) / Bette Davis #2 - J...
Christopher Nolan's time-shifting debut and Davis at her best in William Wyler's fascinating 1938 drama.
93 min
79
#770: Purple Rain - Spinal Tap - Stop Making Se...
Two of the greatest rock movies of all time—and "Purple Rain."
74 min
80
#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
81
The Process: Guillaume Rocheron (1917)
Adam's conversation with "1917's" Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor.
19 min
82
#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
83
#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
84
#766: Top 20 Films of the 2010s (Pt. 1) / Madne...
The films that defined our decade.
112 min
85
#765: Top 10 Performers of the 2010s
The actors and actresses who defined the decade.
115 min
86
#764: Live in Chicago / Oscars / Birds of Prey ...
Celebrating 15 years of Filmspotting with Howard Hawks' "Rio Bravo."
132 min
87
#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
88
#762: 2020 Oscars Special with Michael Phillips
Who will win, who should win – and the Academy's unfortunate omissions.
114 min
89
#761: 2020 Movie Preview
Looking ahead to Nolan's "Tenet," Villeneuve's "Dune," and whatever Elisabeth Moss is up to.
66 min
90
#760: Best Scenes of 2019 / Oscar Nominations /...
The funniest scenes. The most moving moments. The best needle drops. 
103 min
91
#759: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2019
The #1 films of the year – and some bickering about Tarantino.
132 min
92
#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
93
#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
94
#756: The Phantom Menace at 20 / 9 From '99 Awards
Defending Episode I.
91 min
95
#755: Little Women / Knives Out / A Beautiful D...
Greta Gerwig's vital and inspired adaptation of the Alcott classic.
79 min
96
#754: 2019 Golden Brick Nominees
Which overlooked films will compete for our 2019 award?
78 min
97
#753: Marriage Story / Top 5 Movies About Marriage
Spoiler: Divorce Story.
92 min
98
#752: Magnolia at 20 / Jojo Rabbit / The Report...
Frogs in the forecast.
98 min
99
#751: The Irishman / Contemporary Chinese #4 - ...
Scorsese's new gangster epic is a reflective and elegiac masterpiece.
79 min
100
#750: The Lighthouse / Contemporary Chinese #3 ...
Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe lose their minds in the latest from Robert Eggers.
79 min