Filmspotting: Reviews & Top 5s
Filmspotting: Reviews & Top 5s
Kempenaar & Larsen
“...affable, insightful film analysis since 2005."–NY Times / New + classic reviews and top 5s. Also on WBEZ Chicago.
#810: Best Scenes of 2020 / Golden Brick Award
It goes without saying that the best movies also have their share of great movie moments, so this year’s Wrap Party allows Adam and Josh to share more thoughts about some of their favorite 2020 films. But it also gives them a chance to celebrate memorable moments in movies that didn’t crack their Top 10s - like “Promising Young Woman,” “Da 5 Bloods,” “On The Rocks” and “Borat Subsequent Movie Film.” Plus the winner of the 2020 Golden Brick Award. Welcome to the party. “Silly Games” sing-a-long at midnight. 0:00 - Billboard 1:08 - Opening Scenes / Funniest Scenes / Moving Moments Tsegue-Maryam Guebrou, “Mother’s Love” 48:12 - 2020 Golden Brick Award 59:01 - Brickspotting: “Identifying Features” 1:02:39 - Next Week / Poll / Notes 1:08:02 - Music Moments / Scenes of the Year 1:37:10 - Outro Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jan 21
1 hr 43 min
#809: News of the World / Wonder Woman 1984
For the first proper show of the new year, the Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips joins Josh for reviews of a couple of late-2020 releases: the Tom Hanks western NEWS OF THE WORLD and Patty Jenkins' WONDER WOMAN 1984. While Josh and Michael agree that neither film quite fulfills its potential, they both prove to be great fodder for debate. 0:00 - Billboard 1:27 - Review: "News of the World" The Previews, "Money For Nothing" 34:28 - Next Week/Notes 44:01 - Review: "Wonder Woman 1984" 54:40 - Outro  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Jan 14
1 hr 4 min
#808: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2020
Any other year that gave us new films from Kelly Reichardt and David Fincher, Sofia Coppola and Charlie Kaufman, two from Spike Lee and five from Steve McQueen, would have been considered a great one. Alas, 2020 will forever be remembered as The Worst Year Ever—that also happened to be a great year for some of our best filmmakers. The Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips and Tasha Robinson from Polygon and The Next Picture Show podcast re-join Adam and Josh for the second half of their conversation about the Top 10 films of the year, including their consensus pick for the best film (or films?) of 2020. 0:00 - Billboard  1:13 - Top 10 of 2020, Pt. 2  Janet Kay, "Silly Games" 51:05 - Top 10 of 2020, Pt. 2, cont. 2:17:58 - Outro Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Dec 31, 2020
2 hr 27 min
#807: (Pt. 1) Top 10 Films of 2020
True to the year that kept us apart, the Filmspotting Top 10 roundtable did not meet in its usual configuration in 2020. However, the Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips and Next Picture Show's Tasha Robinson do make an appearance sharing their 10-6 picks before Zoom-ing into the ether with promises to return next week offering their #1 picks. In a part one heavy on docs, Adam and Josh also make room for films from veteran filmmakers such as Charlie Kaufman and David Fincher, as well as newcomers Kitty Green and Radha Blank. Plus, the finalists for this year's Golden Brick Award. 0:00 - Billboard 1:09 - Top 10 of 2020, Pt. 1 Branford Marsalis, "Levee's Song" 1:06:08 - Golden Brick Finalists / Notes 1:11:21 - Top 10 of 2020, Pt. 1, cont. 1:33:47 - Outro Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Dec 24, 2020
1 hr 40 min
#806: Best Performances (and More) of 2020
With the deadline looming for Adam and Josh to submit their ballots for the 2020 Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, they turned their homework into this week's show, sharing their favorite performances of the year - including Carrie Coon's delicious turn in Sean Durkin's "The Nest" and the final film performance from Chadwick Boseman ("Ma Rainey's Black Bottom") - along with picks for best editing, cinematography and more. 0:00 - Billboard 1:14 - Best Supp. / Editing / Cinematography Bedouine, "Thirteen" 47:45 - Next Week/Notes 1:00:16 - Massacre Theatre 1:09:41 - Best Leads / Breakthrough Directors and Performers 1:41:30 - Outro Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Dec 17, 2020
1 hr 48 min
#805: Top 5 Frances McDormand Performances / Nomadland
No two Frances McDormand performances are alike, but they're all rooted in the actor's no-nonsense directness and fierce intelligence. From scene-stealing supporting turns to Oscar-winning lead performances, McDormand has been doing memorable - and frequently iconic - work since the '80s. With her latest performance - in Chloé Zhao's ("The Rider") soon to be released NOMADLAND - earning her yet more acclaim, Adam and Josh devote this week's show to a career-spanning consideration with their Top 5 McDormand Performances. 0:00 - Billboard 1:05 - Top 5: Frances McDormand Performances Lucinda Williams, "You Can't Rule Me" 31:41 - Next Week / Polls / Notes 53:50 - "Nomadland" 1:02:40 - Top 5, cont. 1:19:38 - Outro Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Dec 10, 2020
1 hr 27 min
#804: Mank / Ma Rainey's Black Bottom / Sound of Metal
David Fincher's big-screen exploration of Hollywood's "Golden Age" will, unfortunately, be a small-screen experience for most (it comes to Netflix this weekend), but Adam and Josh agree that MANK, his biopic about "Citizen Kane" scribe Herman Mankiewicz, still offers lots of pleasures, including Oldman's title performance and a stacked supporting cast. Another top-notch ensemble can be found in George C. Wolfe's adaptation of August Wilson's MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM, with an electrifying final performance from the late Chadwick Boseman alongside the always reliable Viola Davis. Adam also throws the new SOUND OF METAL into the mix for Golden Brick consideration. 0:00 - Billboard 1:15 - Review: "Mank" 24:57 - Fincher Ranked / Top 5 Performances Ma Rainey, "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" 30:03 - Golden Brickspotting: "Sound of Metal" 34:42 - Next Week / Notes 47:58 - Massacre Theatre 54:02 - Review: "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" 1:14:49 - Outro Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Dec 3, 2020
1 hr 22 min
#803: 2020 Golden Brick Nominees / The Nest
Previous winners of the Filmspotting Golden Brick Award - Sean Baker's "Tangerine," Bing Liu's "Minding the Gap," Anna Rose Holmer's "The Fits" - didn't just tell compelling stories; they told stories in vivid and surprising ways. It's what Adam and Josh have come to look for in a Brick nominee and it's a quality that all eleven of this year's nominees display—in ways as various as their styles and genres: a time-bending documentary, a retro sci-fi flick, a pair of intricately directed and timely dramas, a Coen Brothers-style thriller, a little of the old ultra-violence - and more. Plus, Adam and Josh revisit their review of Sean Durkin's THE NEST, which is available to rent on digital after playing in limited release. 0:00 - Billboard 1:17 - 2020 Golden Brick Nominees Michigander, "Let Down" 47:12 - Next Week/Notes 56:51 - Polls ('80s Directing Debuts, Christmas Movie Death Match) 1:06:51 - Review: "The Nest" 1:34:07 - Outro  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Nov 26, 2020
1 hr 40 min
#802: Stranger Than Paradise / Wolfwalkers / 8 From '84 Awards
This year's 8 From '84 series - the sequel to last year's 9 From '99 - gave Adam and Josh a chance to revisit some nostalgic favorites ("Ghostbusters," "This is Spinal Tap," "Beverly Hills Cop"), fill in some blind spots (Leone's "Once Upon a Time in America," Coppola's "The Cotton Club") and complete a director's filmography (David Lynch's "Dune," check). This week, they wrap up the series with the film that launched the career of indie auteur Jim Jarmusch, STRANGER THAN PARADISE, and share their picks for the best performances, scenes and surprises from the 13-film series. Josh also recommends the latest from Cartoon Saloon and director Tomm Moore, WOLFWALKERS. 0:00 - Billboard 1:20 - 8 From '84: "Stranger Than Paradise" Screamin' Jay Hawkins, "I Put A Spell On You" 29:34 - Josh recommends "Wolfwalkers" 32:50 - Next Week/Notes 44:05 - Massacre Theatre 51:09 - 8 From '84 Awards 1:36:24 - Outro  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Nov 19, 2020
1 hr 43 min
#801: Dune (8 From '84) / Twin Peaks Pilot (30th Anniv.)
David Lynch's '84 adaptation of Frank Herbert's DUNE ended the director's flirtation with mainstream Hollywood, but it remains a singular - and still Lynchian - vision. (And oh so spice-y.) Six years later, Lynch achieved cult legend status with the massively popular network TV series TWIN PEAKS. The movie-length pilot episode celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Thanks to ArmorLock for supporting Filmspotting. Go to to learn more and purchase yours. 0:00 - Billboard 1:23 - 8 From '84: "Dune" Angelo Badalamenti, "Falling" (feat. Julee Cruise) 34:05 - Next Week/New Poll ('80s Directing Debuts) 40:40 - Notes/Poll Results (Movie failures you defend) 53:18 - Review: "Twin Peaks Pilot" 1:19:41 - Outro Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Nov 12, 2020
1 hr 27 min
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