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May 26, 2020
Truth can be as strange as fiction. Such is the case with a top-secret program that brought Nazi scientists to America. From L.A. Times Studios comes "Paperclip," a podcast paid for by Amazon Studios and inspired by its Emmy-eligible dramatic series “Hunters." Starring Al Pacino and Logan Lerman. Join host Michael Ian Black as he teams up with a Cold War scholar to explore the truth about Operation Paperclip. Listen now on Apple Podcasts and all other platforms: https://link.chtbl.com/oO7jjC1a This is a paid podcast funded Amazon Studios. The Los Angeles Times newsroom was not involved in the production of this podcast. The views expressed on this podcast are not necessarily the views of Amazon Studios or the Los Angeles Times.
May 12, 2020
From the creators of The Reel, comes “Can’t Stop Watching: Your TV Faves on Their TV Faves." This new podcast, hosted by L.A. Times television reporter Yvonne Villarreal, features conversations with TV stars who’ve helped make the recent weeks of self-quarantine both bearable and entertaining. The actors and showrunners interviewed on the podcast will talk about their most fascinating roles, how their characters would handle the coronavirus, and what they’re watching on television right now. The first few episodes include interviews with “This is Us” actor Milo Ventimiglia, “Pose” star MJ Rodriguez, and David Harbour of “Stranger Things.” Several new episodes are released each week, so subscribe today. Subscribe today: https://link.chtbl.com/CantStopWatching
May 1, 2020
Writer and filmmaker Alex Garland joins host Mark Olsen to talk about his sci-fi thriller television series, “Devs.” Garland talks about the differences between working in film and television. Before “Devs,” Garland created the feature films “Ex Machina” and “Annihilation.” The complete limited series of “Devs” is now available on FX on Hulu.
April 24, 2020
Television writer and producer Dahvi Waller joins host Mark Olsen to talk about “Mrs. America,” FX on Hulu’s new miniseries based on the historical movement to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s. Waller discusses how the show explores the struggle to ratify the amendment and showcases the women at the center of the movement.
April 17, 2020
Writer-director Eliza Hittman joins host Mark Olsen to talk about her new film “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” a drama focused on reproductive rights and a lack of local support. Hittman describes why she created this movie and what it’s been like to have a movie publicly released right when movie theaters began to close their doors worldwide.
April 10, 2020
A very special interview with film critic Kenneth Turan, recorded on his last day in the position of Times film critic after nearly 30 years. Host Mark Olsen has a wide-ranging conversation with Turan about his years reviewing film. He talks to Olsen about some of his most memorable reviews and reminisces on some of his interviews from decades ago. They talk about what it’s like being a film critic, and whether the process has changed over time.
April 3, 2020
We’re talking “Tiger King” the new, hit Netflix docuseries that everyone’s been talking about. Plus, host Mark Olsen catches up with TV reporter Yvonne Villarreal who shares some of her favorite reality TV shows she suggests watching to help pass the time at home. And then, Olsen speaks with entertainment reporter Amy Kaufman about “Tiger King” and why so many people are binging on the series right now.
March 27, 2020
We’re back with more TV and film recommendations for you and your family while you’re spending some extra time at home. Our team is still self-isolated, so we continue to check in with our entertainment colleagues to see what they’re watching. LA Times film critic Justin Chang talks with host Mark Olsen about some light-hearted comedies he recommends for all of us to watch from home. Plus, TV Critic Robert Lloyd joins the show to talk about two shows he recently reviewed and whether they’re worth checking out: The new FX on Hulu sci-fi series “Devs” and HBO’s “The Plot Against America.”
March 20, 2020
We’re taking a short break from our usual format to help guide listeners who may be staying home more often than usual. If you're wondering what to watch, what’s worth streaming now and what you can watch with your kids who are home from school… We’ve got you covered. Host Mark Olsen sits down with film reporter Jen Yamato to talk about specific genre films you may want to check out. Plus, television reporter Lorraine Ali joins the show to talk about the latest season of “Westworld” and how it relates to the real world a little more than you may realize.
March 13, 2020
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This episode was taped on March 11, 2020. Many new developments have emerged and continue to rapidly develop after the taping of this episode.) Entertainment business reporter Ryan Faughnder joins host Mark Olsen to talk about the impact of the coronavirus and how it’s affecting the Hollywood and entertainment industries. Plus, this week marked the final episode of HBO’s six-part documentary series, McMillions. Olsen is joined by two Los Angeles Times television writers to discuss all the series and how it brought the McDonald’s Monopoly scam to light.
March 6, 2020
This week we’re following some of the latest in pop culture and Hollywood. First, host Mark Olsen speaks with two reporters who were actually in the courtroom during Harvey Weinstein’s trial in New York. We take a serious look at the trial and discuss what happens next and whether the verdict marks a milestone for survivors. Then, later in the show, we shift toward a lighter conversation about the television sensation that so many people are talking about: “Love Is Blind.” Olsen is joined by Amy Kaufman and Yvonne Villarreal to discuss Netflix’s new reality dating show that has so many viewers talking.
February 21, 2020
The Netflix movie “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You” is out now and we take an inside look at the highly anticipated sequel. Host Mark Olsen sits down with entertainment reporter Jen Yamato, who recently spoke with star Lana Condor and author Jenny Han about the second installment of “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.” Olsen and Yamato discuss the Netflix film series and go behind the scenes of the teen romance movie. Plus, Olsen also talks with entertainment business reporter Ryan Faughnder about the ups and downs of the “Sonic the Hedgehog” movie release.
February 14, 2020
The Oscars are over and this year’s awards season has come to an end. Host Mark Olsen and a team of entertainment colleagues and critics recap the 92nd Academy Awards and share their thoughts on Parasite’s historic night. Plus, Olsen sits down with “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” writer and director, Céline Sciamma.
February 7, 2020
The 92nd Academy Awards are almost here. Host Mark Olsen and a team of entertainment reporters and critics sit down for one final roundtable before the big night. Listen to hear final thoughts and predictions for what’s to come at this year’s Oscars. Plus, hear from entertainment, culture writer Carolina Miranda who breaks down this year’s Oscar nominated movies with a unique angle… architecture. Get a full roundup of Oscars talk right here in this week’s episode.
January 31, 2020
“The Reel” is live in Park City at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Host Mark Olsen had a chance to catch up with some actors and filmmakers to explore different storytelling formats. He moderated a panel, taped live at Audible’s Sundance studio setup, which included Tessa Thompson, Colman Domingo and Justin Simien. Plus, Olsen sits down with a group of Times colleagues to recap and talk about the films of the festival.
January 24, 2020
The 2020 Sundance Film Festival has just begun, and host Mark Olsen and entertainment business reporter Ryan Faughnder sit down to discuss the wheeling and dealing behind the festival. Plus, Olsen is joined by Justin Chang, Glenn Whipp and Jen Yamato, who sit down to talk about this year’s overlooked films and dive into the movies not being considered for major Academy Awards categories.
January 17, 2020
From this year’s most celebrated films to the biggest surprises, host Mark Olsen looks at the 92nd Academy Awards nominations from every level. First, Olsen sits down with entertainment business reporter Ryan Faughnder to dive into the business of awards season and how streaming services may be impacting the dynamics. Plus, Justin Chang, Mary McNamara and Glenn Whipp join the show to dissect the Oscar nominations and provide unique input on this year’s top films, why some face criticism, and which movies were left behind.
January 10, 2020
Screenwriting duo Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski talk with Mark Olsen about the film “Dolemite is My Name” starring Eddie Murphy as Rudy Ray Moore. Plus, Times film and TV writers discuss highlights from the 77th Golden Globe Awards.
January 3, 2020
Wishing our listeners a Happy New Year! Thanks for joining us every week for “The Reel," we hope you’ve been enjoying the show. We look forward to sharing more episodes with you in the New Year. Keep checking back here every Friday for more. Happy Holidays!
December 27, 2019
Writer-director Noah Baumbach sits down with Mark Olsen to talk about his latest film “Marriage Story.” He describes the inspiration for his movie and how he was able to find love through divorce while creating the film. Plus, Times entertainment writers Jen Yamato and Justin Chang on "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" and "Cats."
December 20, 2019
Writer-director brothers Josh and Benny Safdie talk about their latest film, “Uncut Gems,” and why it took them 10 years to finally get it off the ground. Plus, host Mark Olsen talks with Times reporter Amy Kaufman about the latest on Harvey Weinstein.
December 13, 2019
Mark Olsen talks with director Melina Matsoukas about her transition from directing music videos to her directorial debut in feature film for “Queen & Slim.” Matsoukas is also known for directing Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” as well as “Formation,” which won her a Grammy Award for Best Music Video. Plus, Olsen sits down with Los Angeles Times entertainment reporters to talk everything about the Golden Globes nominations.
December 6, 2019
Host Mark Olsen talks with Taron Egerton, who plays Elton John in the film “Rocketman.” They discuss how Egerton prepared to portray the music-icon in the film. Egerton also talks about the close friendship he’s formed with the “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” singer. Plus, Olsen talks with television critic Lorraine Ali about all that’s happening with Gabrielle Union and “America’s Got Talent.”
November 29, 2019
*** SPOILER ALERT in second half of the show *** Heading into the Thanksgiving holiday, here's a replay episode from one of our most popular shows. With a title that suggests the opening of a child’s storybook, Quentin Tarantino revisits the Hollywood of 1969 and that summer night 50 years ago when members of the Manson family set out for Benedict Canyon with murder in their hearts.
November 22, 2019
Host Mark Olsen talks with “Knives Out” director Rian Johnson about his latest Agatha Christie-style whodunit movie. Johnson describes his film as a mystery with a Hitchcockian thrill set in 2019 America. Plus, Olsen talks with corporate media reporter, Meg James, about the so-called Paramount decrees that are being tossed out by the U.S. Justice Department.
November 15, 2019
Host Mark Olsen sits down with “Ford v Ferrari” Director James Mangold to talk about his latest action film starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale. Mangold also responds to the latest comments from Martin Scorsese about Marvel movies. Plus, you’ll hear from entertainment columnist Glenn Whipp, who talks about his experience following around comedian Louis C.K. on his latest world tour.
November 8, 2019
Host Mark Olsen speaks with director Lauren Greenfield about her latest documentary, “The Kingmaker,” which explores the extravagant lifestyle and rise to power of former First Lady Imelda Marcos in the Philippines.
November 1, 2019
Host Mark Olsen sits down with “Harriet” director Kasi Lemmons to talk about creating a biopic based on the life of abolitionist leader Harriet Tubman.
October 25, 2019
Host Mark Olsen talks with Tom Perrotta, the author of “Mrs. Fletcher,” and now the showrunner and executive producer of the new HBO series. Also in this episode, as the heated competition in the video subscription world gets underway, Olsen talks with the Times’ TV editor Matt Brennan about the streaming wars. And in the “Glenn Whipp Awards Minute,” entertainment columnist Whipp discusses this year’s honorary Oscar winners who will be recognized this Sunday at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Governors Awards.
October 18, 2019
The Times Mark Olsen talks with the director, writer and star of the anti-Nazi satire “Jojo Rabbit.” Olsen also speaks with the Times culture columnist Mary McNamara about some of the revelations in Ronan Farrow’s new book “Catch and Kill,” including Farrow’s allegations that NBC News shut down his reporting about Harvey Weinstein. And in the “Glenn Whipp Awards Minute,” entertainment columnist Whipp gives an early survey of the best actress race.
October 11, 2019
Host Mark Olsen discusses "Parasite" with members of the Times film staff. For our new culture news segment, reporter Greg Braxton shares his thoughts about the official opening of Tyler Perry Studios, while columnist Glenn Whipp gives the state of the best actor race in the 'Awards Minute.'
October 4, 2019
Times film staff discuss "Joker" and the controversy around the movie. Plus, in our new culture news segment, host Mark Olsen discusses the impeachment inquiry's impact on late-night TV, and Glenn Whipp shares his thoughts about "The Irishman" in our new 'awards minute' segment.
September 27, 2019
Mark Olsen talks with members of the Times TV team about the Emmys, television’s continuing creative renaissance, and the changing nature of the medium. The Reel also introduces new segments: an update on awards season, and a conversation on a news item from the world of culture.
September 20, 2019
Mark Olsen talks to Times film critics Kenneth Turan and Justin Chang about "Downton Abbey" and "Ad Astra."
September 13, 2019
In this special bonus episode, a team of Times reporters at the Toronto International Film Festival give the low-down on this year’s crop of films at the festival — both the hits and the misses.
September 13, 2019
Host Mark Olsen speaks with Lorene Scafaria, the writer-director of the film "Hustlers."
September 6, 2019
Times writers talk fall movie releases and possible awards contenders including Jennifer Lopez in “Hustlers,” Joaquin Phoenix in “Joker,” and Martin Scorsese’s “Irishman.”
August 30, 2019
Mark Olsen and Jen Yamato talk with Derek Mio and Alex Woo, the star and showrunner, respectively, of AMC's "The Terror: Infamy." Set during World War II and the internment of Japanese Americans, the show weds that real-life horror story with a tale of the supernatural.
August 23, 2019
The second season of "Mindhunter" feels especially topical and relevant. Focused primarily on the Atlanta child murders between 1979 and 1981, the show examines disturbingly contemporary topics like distrust of police, embedded racism and white supremacist violence. Host Mark Olsen discusses "Mindhunter" with Times TV writers.
August 16, 2019
Host Mark Olsen talks with Craig Mazin, the writer and creator of HBO's "Chernobyl." The miniseries is more than a dramatization of the 1986 nuclear meltdown in the USSR. It also tells a story of the “cost of lies” and the real-life dangers that result from a culture built on propaganda and misinformation. As he developed the script in 2016, Mazin saw parallels in American politics, with whole segments of the public growing untethered from the truth.
August 9, 2019
Back for its second season, HBO’s “Succession” wears its contempt for the billionaire class on its sleeve. Featuring an ensemble of entertainingly loathsome characters who backstab each other as they battle for power within a family-owned media empire, the Times TV editor says it's the show you need to watch this summer.
August 2, 2019
Two Fast and Furious superfans and a Times movie critic discuss "Hobbs & Shaw," and the efforts of The Rock and Jason Statham to add science fiction and a heavy dose of comedy to the franchise.
July 26, 2019
*** SPOILER ALERT*** Spoilers start at 15:08. With a title that suggests the opening of a child’s storybook, Quentin Tarantino revisits the Hollywood of 1969 and that summer night 50 years ago when members of the Manson family set out for Benedict Canyon with murder in their hearts. Deep spoilers involving the end of the film start at 15:08. Come back and listen to our writers’ analysis once you’ve seen "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood."
July 19, 2019
When filmmaker Lulu Wang pitched 'The Farewell,' the semi-autobiographical story of her family’s efforts to keep her grandmother from learning of her Stage 4 cancer diagnosis, studio executives pushed for a white love interest, and a Chinese version of ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding.’ But Wang stuck to her vision, and refused to resort to a predictable storyline. Will this tale of an American immigrant family be the indie hit for the summer of 2019?
July 12, 2019
With Amazon Prime’s 'Too Old to Die Young,' director Nicolas Winding Refn brings his arthouse sensibility to streaming television to experiment with pacing, narrative and character development. Refn joins us from Copenhagen to discuss his vision and why he loves to set his stories in Los Angeles.
July 5, 2019
Michael Mann’s 1995 'Heat' has become the definitive LA crime film, but probably no one has done more lately to celebrate the epic tale of cops and robbers than Australian movie critic Blake Howard — his podcast, One Heat Minute, is a broad affirmation of why we love cinematic culture.
June 28, 2019
'The Hills' created the model for reality TV-- where merely being rich can make you famous — and turned the US into a country obsessed with reality television, the genre that launched a presidency.
June 21, 2019
Parents are sure to be triggered by the copious amounts of sex, drugs and smartphone mischief in HBO's Euphoria, while on a lighter note, super fans of Younger are overjoyed by the return of the TV Land favorite.
June 14, 2019
The Last Black Man in San Francisco captures the sorrow and anger of people pushed out of their homes and communities by gentrification.
June 7, 2019
The resistance is storming TV with shows like The Handmaid's Tale and Big Little Lies, while underrepresented communities are challenging the rules of the casting game to gain increasing visibility on the screen.
May 31, 2019
Deadwood, the show that died too young, is now back as a film, and the whiskey and profanity are flowing — is it the end of the line for what some have called an unfinished TV masterpiece?
May 24, 2019
The end of so many beloved and long-running TV series is leaving a hole in our hearts, disrupting our viewing patterns and forcing us to find new and different television companions to fill their place.
May 17, 2019
A conversation with DONNIE DARKO director Richard Kelly about his ambitious, sprawling film SOUTHLAND TAILS. Plus, awaiting the end of Game of Thrones, with @LorraineAli.
May 10, 2019
The summer of Manson is upon us. Ahead of the 50th anniversary of the mass murder masterminded by Charles Manson, a wave of content is coming our way. The grisly slayings of eight people — including the very pregnant Sharon Tate — cast a long shadow over the romantic adventure of the 60s counterculture, fascinating and haunting us to this day. Out now in theaters is CHARLIE SAYS, the second of a trio of Manson family films this year. Rather than focus on the violence, CHARLIE SAYS is a sensitive, psychological portrait of three of Charlie’s girls -- as they descend into the madness of Manson’s world, and with the help of a grad student, go through a deprogramming process in prison. LA Times film writer Mark Olsen ( @IndieFocus) talks with the movie’s director Mary Harron and writer @turnerguinevere, the filmmakers behind AMERICAN PSYCHO. Harron and Turner discuss their efforts to capture the domestic abuse and manipulation within the Manson family, along with the sexism of their freewheeling commune life. But first, Olsen chats with critic and self-described Manson head @katiewalshstx , who calls CHARLIE SAYS a deeply feminist film that captures the toxic masculinity and sexual manipulation practiced by Charles Manson.
May 3, 2019
Women love true crime, but they’re also fed up with maneuvering the male-dominated workplace, being underestimated and checking their emotions at the door. Enter KILLING EVE, the right show for the right time. Featuring a fearless, high-fashion assassin and the astute MI6 agent pursuing her, the psychosexual thriller — made by women and starring women — unapologetically exudes femininity from head to toe. The series has found its audience and is on a roll by playing into the emotions of the cultural moment. Host Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) checks in with Times television team members @LorraineAli and @villarealy halfway through the second season. Later on, horror filmmaker @rox_anne-b makes her feature directing debut with BODY AT BRIGHTON ROCK. Olsen talks with her about the glories — and risks — of filming in the great outdoors and keeping genre fans surprised. Let's listen in.
April 26, 2019
SPOILER ALERT: Spoilers start at 18:10! Eleven years, 22 films, $18 billion and counting at the global box office: Avengers: Endgame is finally in theaters, bringing to a close a chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s been a big emotional investment for fans, and judging by the reaction of some of its stars, it’s been one for the actors as well. Meanwhile, over the course of the franchise, MCU’s longform storytelling has redefined Hollywood. Fans have had a lengthy relationship with these characters. Are they ready for the endgame? Today’s episode is in two parts: The first is spoiler-free, but that is followed by a section for people who have seen the film. So listen for the cues and come back to take it all in, both before and after your trip to the theater. There’s a lot to process. Let’s listen in. SPOILER ALERT: Spoilers start at 18:10!
April 19, 2019
HBO may not have known it had a hit on its hands in 2011, but the premiere of the final season of GAME OF THRONES shattered ratings records for the network. Viewing of the series has reached a fever pitch and blown up Twitter, while fans divine clues over who will live, who will die, and who will win the Iron Throne. LA Times film writer Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus ) is joined by @marymacTV @tracycbrown and @MeredithBlake to ponder deep cuts and the series' role in the history of modern television. When was the last time the public had to say goodbye to a show long before growing tired of it?
April 12, 2019
When the movie HEATHERS was shown at the 1989 US Film Festival, now known as Sundance, the Los Angeles Times film critic Sheila Benson wrote: “No amount of production sheen or acting skill seems excuse enough for the film's scabrous morality or its unprincipled viciousness.” In The New Yorker, Pauline Kael wrote the script for the black comedy “promises that the picture will lift off into the junior division of Blue Velvetland. But layers of didacticism weigh it down.” But HEATHERS has survived the test of time to become a cult sensation, and is now being celebrated on the 30th anniversary of its theatrical release. With its big hair and big shoulder pads, the film took on the nasty high school caste system in a way that was ahead of its time. HEATHERS turned the common cruelty of most teen films of that era on its head. In a conversation with LA Times film writer Mark Olsen, (@IndieFocus ) the movie’s writer, director and one of its Heathers explain that the film was designed as an antidote to John Hughes movies. And later, Fosse/Verdon fans don’t want to miss Olsen's talk with Steven Levenson, the Tony-winning writer of Dear Evan Hanson, and a writer and executive producer of the miniseries on FX.
April 5, 2019
The master himself, Stephen King, has said PET SEMATARY “is a scary movie. Be warned.” It explores grief, emotion, guilt and love. You could say it’s a family film -- in a terrifying, don’t bring your little ones kind of way. LA Times film writer Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) is joined by one of PET SEMATARY’s stars -- actress and filmmaker Amy Seimetz -- who talks about elevating a horror picture to an art film, creating female characters typically not seen on screen, and finding your own people in the indie film world. Then, fans of iconic Broadway and the movie musical: We have your number. Olsen talks to Andy Blankenbuehler, the choreographer of Hamilton, who also choreographed Fosse/Verdon, the new FX miniseries that chronicles the creative and romantic partnership between Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon.
March 29, 2019
Six years after SPRING BREAKERS, Harmony Korine is back with a new film, THE BEACH BUM, out now in theaters. The wildly creative filmmaker and fine artist is a teller of modern-day tall tales, something of a cross between a burnout Mark Twain and an Andy Warhol of the Florida Keys. Korine talks with LA Times film writer Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) about how he’s skirting autobiography in his work, the casting choices he made for The Beach Bum -- like Matthew McConaughey, Martin Lawrence, Snoop Dog and Jimmy Buffett -- and how he feels about being a perennial Hollywood outsider. But first, The Times Yvonne Villarreal (@villarrealy) spoke with the showrunners for the recently canceled Netflix show, ONE DAY AT A TIME. Emotions -- and opinions were strong. Is diversity and inclusiveness really happening in Hollywood? Does the cancellation signal that the American Latinx experience is almost being erased from the airwaves? What happens when a show is more than just a show?
March 22, 2019
The much anticipated follow-up to Jordan Peele’s GET OUT is out now in theaters. And Peele delivers the film he set out to make- one that scares people's pants off. In the process, he has reclaimed the art of the horror genre. LA Times film writer Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus ) talks with Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) and Jen Yamato (@jenyamato ) about how US is in some ways a political film about contemporary America. But it's also a horror flick with a black family at its center, instead of the conventional white one.
March 15, 2019
The Los Angeles Times is in Austin for South by Southwest, the the annual festival of film, music, technology, art, culture, tacos, barbecue, partying - and something of a laboratory think tank for the future. Times film writer Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) talks with @marcmaron, who's expanding his wings as a movie actor, along with director @lynnsheltonfilm, who saw him as a star. Olsen also interviews @alexgibneyfilm, whose documentary about Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, THE INVENTOR: OUT FOR BLOOD IN SILICON VALLEY, is set to debut on HBO. And in a preview of next week's episode, Austin native Ethan Hawke shares his affection for SXSW, and says "its DNA is a little more punk rock than any other festival in America."
March 8, 2019
With its first female-led installment in the Marvel Studio franchise, most people are asking what took so long? But in one corner of the Internet, CAPTAIN MARVEL is a bridge too far, especially for those angered by star Brie Larson's progressive calls for diversity and inclusivity. LA Times film writer Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) is joined by Kenneth Turan (@KennethTuran), Jen Yamato (@jenyamato), Justin Chang (@JustinCChang), Tracy Brown (@tracycbrown) and Sonaiya Kelley (@sonaiyak ) to discuss the politics surrounding CAPTAIN MARVEL and the merits of the film itself -- its indie directors, its '90s nostalgia and its cast, including Reggie, the cat thespian.
March 1, 2019
Despite what's been called a "despicable" Best Picture win, L.A. Times feature writer and reviewer Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) talks with Justin Chang (@JustinCChang), Mary McNamara (@marymacTV) and Glenn Whipp (@GlennWhipp) about how real change may have arrived at the Academy. Plus, Jen Yamato (@jenyamato) and Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA) get their Gaga fix on, and share the scoop on what was going on off-camera at the Academy Awards.
February 22, 2019
On this week’s episode of The Reel, L.A. Times feature writer and reviewer Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) previews the 2019 Academy Awards with Justin Chang (@JustinCChang), Mary McNamara (@marymacTV) and Glenn Whipp (@GlennWhipp). They discuss their favorite films of the year and explore some of the possible outcomes in this year's top award categories.
February 15, 2019
On this week’s episode of The Reel, L.A. Times feature writer and reviewer Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) is joined by Director Spike Lee and two of his longtime collaborators, composer Terence Blanchard and editor Barry Alexander Brown. They discuss the success of their latest, “BlacKkKlansman” and the lasting impact of the film.
February 8, 2019
On this week’s episode of The Reel, L.A. Times feature writer and reviewer Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) was joined by Director Steven Soderbergh, to talk about his new film “High Flying Bird,” which premiered at Slamdance Film Festival last month. The Oscar-winning filmmaker takes us inside his movie-making process, including what it's like shooting a movie entirely on a smartphone.
February 7, 2019
On this week’s episode of The Reel, L.A. Times feature writer and reviewer Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) was live in Park City, Utah for the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. After watching many of this year's movies and documentaries, he sat down with Justin Chang (@JustinCChang), Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA), Kenneth Turan (@KennethTuran) and Jen Yamato (@jenyamato) to discuss the best films they saw and why.
January 28, 2019
On this week’s episode of The Reel, L.A. Times feature writer and reviewer Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) sits down with Glenn Whipp (@GlennWhipp) and Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) to take an early look at the 2019 Oscar nominations. They discuss key takeaways from the nominated films, including an increase in internationally focused nominations and the significance behind the “best director” category.
January 18, 2019
On this week’s episode of The Reel, LA Times feature writer and reviewer Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) sits down with Meredith Blake (@MeredithBlake), Robert Lloyd (@LATimesTVLloyd), and Yvonne Villarreal (@villarrealy) to discuss HBO’s latest season of 'True Detective' starring Mahershala Ali. They also reflect back on David Chase's HBO series ‘The Sopranos’ 20 years after its premiere.
January 14, 2019
This week Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) leads a discussion about the importance of last week's Golden Globes and how they might shine a light on what we can expect from the Oscars as we start to wrap up awards season.
January 5, 2019
This week Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) talks to reporter Carolina Miranda (@cmonstah) after she and director Alfonso Cuarón walked through the streets of the Mexico City neighborhood where he shot his film Roma.
December 21, 2018
Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) and TV writers Yvonne Villarreal (@villarrealy), Lorraine Ali (@LorraineAli) and Robert Lloyd (@LATimesTVLLoyd) break down whether 2018 was a good year for TV. They talk about Barry, Killing Eve, and more as they make their assessment about whether we've gone beyond the "peak TV" era.
December 20, 2018
Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) and film critics Kenneth Turan (@KennethTuran) and Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) break down their favorite movies of 2018, including Vox Lux, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and Black Panther. Sifting through the big studio blockbusters, independent films, foreign-language films, and documentaries their recommendations will add to your list of the "must watch" movies of the year.
December 13, 2018
This week LA Times music reporters Gerrick Kennedy (@GerrickKennedy), Mikael Wood (@mikaelwood), and Randy Lewis (@RandyLewis2) join Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) to discuss the intermingling of music and film. First, the group focuses on capturing live performance on film, as seen in the new Springsteen on Broadway special on Netflix and the archival the Aretha Franklin documentary, Amazing Grace. Then, the group discusses the act of music creation and recording on film, with A Star Is Born, Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book as the main examples.
December 7, 2018
This week Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) leads a conversation breaking down the Golden Globe nominations and what they mean for the awards season landscape. We discuss the controversial nominee Green Book, how Black Panther earned Marvel Studios it's first nomination, the crowd-pleasing results from the Globe's distinct drama and comedy categories, and what we might expect from the unusual host pairing of Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh. Mark is joined by Glenn Whipp (@GlennWhipp), Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA) and Ashley Lee (@cashleelee).
November 29, 2018
This week, host Mark Olsen (@indiefocus) hands the mic to reporter Yvonne Villarreal (@villarrealy) as she interviews Alex Cunningham, the show-runner of Bravo's new TV series Dirty John. Based on the L.A. Times podcast by the same name, the show further explores the complicated and manipulative relationship between Debra Newell and John Meehan. Cunningham breaks down the show's casting choices, how the the series gives Debra a stronger voice and what fans of the podcast might expect to see on the TV adaptation.
November 22, 2018
Focusing this week on the music business, Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) sits down with music reporter Randy Lewis (@RandyLewis2), pop music critic Mikael Wood (@mikaelwood) and Times television critic and former music editor Lorraine Ali (@LorraineAli) to discuss the recent releases of Bob Dylan's "More Blood, More Tracks," which features unreleased takes from the session for his 1975 album "Blood on the Tracks," and the 50th anniversary remastered release The Beatles' "The White Album" with unheard demos and session tracks. What do these two pillars of the classic rock era still have to say to the modern ears of current audiences, and how does the contemporary music industry treat their legacy artists?
November 16, 2018
This week our team breaks down what to expect next year at the Academy Awards and which movies have already started to make a splash. Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) is joined by Glenn Whipp (@GlennWhipp) and Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA) to break down Marvel's history at the Oscars and Black Panther's potential for success, Netflix's drama Roma, and which movies have passed Amy's "cry test" this year.
November 8, 2018
This week, Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) sits down with critics Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) and Kenneth Turan (@KennethTuran) to discuss the demise of FilmStruck, how streaming services like Netflix have impacted the types of classical films that were once available on FilmStruck, and, specifically, a brand new Orson Welles film now on Netflix that is one of Hollywood's most famous unfinished projects. There are mixed feelings about all of the topics, and the conversation foreshadows what may happen to films like Orson Welles' Other Side of the Wind.
November 1, 2018
This week, host Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) interviews Luca Guadagnino, the director of the remade film Suspiria and also recently known for directing the award-winning movie, Call Me By Your Name. Guadagnino talks, among many other things, about the inspirations for his remake, his friendship with Tilda Swinton and her three roles in the film, and what the movie is actually about.
October 25, 2018
It's Halloween time, and to celebrate the occasion our team of reporters dives deep into some recent horror hits in film and television. Film critic Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) and reporters Libby Hill (@midwestspitfire) and Jen Yamato (@JenYamato) join host Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) to discuss the newest Halloween sequel as well as the remake of cult classic Suspiria and the new Netflix horror show Haunting of Hill House.
October 18, 2018
This week, the L.A. Times team is joined by Joy Press, a former LAT staffer and writer of Stealing the Show: How Women Are Transforming Television, to discuss two recent TV reboots: The Conners and Murphy Brown. The group discusses how ABC dealt with Roseanne leaving her namesake show, the big reveal at the start of The Conners, and how Murphy Brown is faring in comparison.
October 11, 2018
Film critic Kenneth Turan (@KennethTuran) and reporters Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA) and Jen Yamato (@JenYamato) join host Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) to discuss the new hit movie, A Star is Born. They talk all about Bradley Cooper's directing debut, how the movie compares to previous iterations, and Lady Gaga's performance.
October 4, 2018
On the heels of producer Suge Knight's murder trial, LA Times reporters James Queally (@JamesQueallyLAT), Marisa Gerber (@marisagerber), and Gerrick Kennedy (@GerrickKennedy) join Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) for a deep dive discussion about his life, the trial proceedings, and particularly how the proceedings reflect his impact on the music industry.
September 27, 2018
Numerous recent movies have been charged by an immediacy of anxiety, as many of the same feelings from the world-at-large have made their way onto our movie screens with an alarming speed and connection. Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) is joined by Times film reporters Jen Yamato (@JenYamato) and Tre'vell Anderson (@TrevellAnderson) and film critic Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) to talk about his current phenomenon and what we expect from our movies, what they can do to inform, explain or even distract us, taking in a broad range of titles from "Monsters and Men," "Fahrenheit 11/9," "Assassination Nation," "The Lie," "Suspiria" and others to get some sense of our Cinematic Now.
September 20, 2018
This week, we're recapping everything that happened at the Emmys. Reporter Yvonne Villarreal (@villarrealy) and TV critics Lorraine Ali (@LorraineAli) and Glenn Whipp (@GlennWhipp) join host Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) to break down the surprises and disappointments, the performances of this year's hosts, and the unexpected visit from Teddy Perkins.
September 13, 2018
The Reel is at Toronto International Film Festival! Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) breaks down the last few days at the film festival with reporters Tre'vell Anderson (@TrevellAnderson) and Jen Yamato (@Jen Yamato) and film critic Justin Chang (@JustinCChang). Hear about the festival's new diversity initiatives and this year's biggest films.
September 6, 2018
Our team breaks down what they think will be the best fall movies this year. Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus), Tre'vell Anderson (@TrevellAnderson) and Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA) pick their favorites and talk about memorable interviews they've had with the stars--including Lady Gaga.
August 30, 2018
In this week's episode, Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) starts off leading a discussion about this year's Emmys contenders with Lorraine Ali (@LorraineAli) and Glenn Whipp (@GlennWhipp). Then, hear Yvonne Villarreal (@villarrealy) interview The Crown's Matt Smith on the show's last two seasons and how he feels about the United States' fascination with the royal family.
August 23, 2018
TV reporter Yvonne Villarreal (@villarrealy) interviews both Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell, who play Russian spies Philip and Elizabeth Jennings in the FX show The Americans. The pair separately discusses the shows many Emmy nominations and the many emotions felt while filming the final season. They also touch on how the 1980's show about the Cold War went from period piece to contemporary flashpoint.
August 17, 2018
Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) is joined by film critic Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) and writers Jen Yamato (@JenYamato) and Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA) to discuss the new and controversial Popular Film category announced by The Academy. They also break down their favorite summer movies. Then, writer Yvonne Villarreal (@villarrealy) interviews the co-creators of Netflix's GLOW to talk all about the show.
August 14, 2018
After some time off, The Reel is back! This week film critic Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) and reporters Jen Yamato (@JenYamato) and Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA) discuss the movies Crazy Rich Asians and BlacKkKlansman with host Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus). They discuss the importance of the films in their respective communities and the film world at large, as well as the genre-bending techniques each uses to stand out from the crowd. Then, reporter Lorraine Ali (@LorraineAli) interviews The Handmaid's Tale show runner, Bruce Miller.
July 19, 2018
Host Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) talks with writer Kristine McKenna about the process of writing Room to Dream, a new book that she co-wrote with David Lynch. Room to Dream is part biography and part memoir of David Lynch. Due to this unconventional format, it offers a unique window into his singular vision for his life and art.
July 13, 2018
Hear our reactions to this year's Emmys nominations and our team's predictions for who might win the night's most coveted awards. TV writer Lorraine Ali (@LorraineAli) and critic Glenn Whipp (@GlennWhipp) join Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) to discuss the different categories and talk about what else to expect as we prepare for the 2018 Emmy Awards.
July 12, 2018
A number of recent television shows, including the second seasons of “GLOW” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” and the premieres of “Sharp Objects” and “Dietland,” have dealt with female empowerment and rage in fresh and innovative ways, grappling with the roles set out for women in society. There’s also been a behind-the-scenes analogue for many of these shows as well, with women often in roles of creative control. Times TV reporter Yvonne Villarreal (@villarrealy), television critic Lorraine Ali (@loraineali) and resident wrestling enthusiast Jen Yamato (@jenyamato) join Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) for a conversation on these exciting turns both in front of and behind the camera.
July 6, 2018
As there has been increased attention given to issues of representation, inclusion and diversity regarding what goes on-screen and who is involved in making the movies that we see, there has also recently been a parallel conversation gaining momentum with regards to the media itself. Who are the people who write the reviews, cover the red carpets, attend the film festivals and how do their perspectives impact how movies are discussed and received? From the LA Times film team, Tre'vell Anderson (@TrevellAnderson), Jen Yamato (@JenYamato), Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) and Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) get into the nuance of what this all means for the media and the reviews and coverage of films such as “Sicario: Day of the Soldado,” “Nancy,” “Sorry To Bother You,” “Ocean’s 8” and “BlacKkKlansman.”
June 29, 2018
Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) brings in reporters Jen Yamato (@JenYamato), Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA), and Yvonne Villarreal (@villarrealy) to talk about Netflix's recent wave of new romantic comedies. Focusing on the films Set It Up, The Kissing Booth, and Ibiza, the group discusses the timeless appeal of romcoms, why they are the perfect movies for summer, and how these type of movies and their inherent charm let actors become stars.
June 25, 2018
Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) interviews co-creator and showrunner of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Aline Brosh McKenna (@alinebmckenna). They discuss the dark, emotional places that emerge in the show's third season and talk about what's next for Rebecca Bunch.
June 22, 2018
Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) speaks to Academy Award-Winning Documentarian Morgan Neville about his most recent film, Won't You Be My Neighbor? The documentary celebrates the life and work of Fred Rogers, best known for his TV program Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. Morgan discusses the use of archival footage and new interviews in his film as well as the overarching theme of both his documentary and Mr. Rogers' program: the idea that culture matters.
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