Monday, December 31, 2012

Special Episode - Our Favorite Films of 2012

Peter believes that the Top 10 list is less of a summation of a year in film than a personal statement on how one view's cinema at that moment. So in this epic 2+ hour episode, he invites the idiosyncratic Keith Uhlich to join him on a journey through the year in film. They discuss terrorists and presidents, romances and mentors, artificial and stylized views of the world to authentic miracles. Plus some of Peter's former guests and friends of the show call in with their picks, and they also list some of the great films of years past that they finally caught up with.

0:00-1:42 Opening / Announcement
1:42-3:54 Introduction to Top 10s
3:55-1:01:04 Picks for #10 through #6
1:01:04-1:02:14 Close

0:00-2:25 Introduction to Part 2
2:26-8:22 Favorite Filmic Discoveries
8:23-1:30:01 Picks for #5 through #1
1:30:01-1:35:30 Picks for #20 through #11
1:35:30-1:39:14 Trivia Round / Close / Outtake


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Episode #10 - Katey Rich (Take This Waltz)

"I tend to be an optimist most of time. I want movies to be good. But when you can look at something—look at the whole big picture, you know everything that's coming out next year already. You have this knowledge of how all the moving pieces are fitting together. It's fun to know I can cover all of that. "

Peter can often get lost in the history of cinema that he often forgets that movies were born in the industry, and Hollywood keeps that art alive. So for his last interview of the 2012 season, CinemaBlend editor-in-chief Katey Rich joins him for a lively conversation about the ins and outs of the movie industry. Katey discusses her origins as a moviegoer in South  Carolina and her interest in why things were popular to the trials, tribulations, and pleasures of running a site that is always about the "now." They then get into some of the more interesting pieces she's written about the depiction of women in Hollywood, as well as why it's okay to nitpick. Finally, they dive into one of 2012's more intimate and underrated films, Take This Waltz, and discover how Sarah Polley can add real magic to a story as old as time.

0:00-1:01 Opening
1:52-5:37 Establishing Shots - Zero Dark Thirty
5:52-46:16 Deep Focus - Katey Rich
47:11-1:01:19 Double Exposure - Take This Waltz (Sarah Polley)
1:01:19-1:09:10 Spoiler Discussion of Take This Waltz
1:09:12-1:12:03 Close and Outtakes
Read Katey Rich's work on CinemaBlend.Com and click here to read her reviews. Follow Operation Kino here.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Episode #9 - Godfrey Cheshire (Close-Up)

"I really like films that engage with the world. Film to me is, persay, a medium. It’s not an end in itself. I like films that deal with human reality, the different problems we have in the world, the different cultures we have in the world, all the sort of compliexities we have going through life—political, romantic, psychological—and I think film is an incredible medium for showing that."

Godfrey Chesire has seen it all. From his early experiences with the Westerns of John Ford, to his experience of the American New Wave while abroad in Europe, to the discovery of Chinese and Iranian cinema in the 1990s, Cheshire has remained an essential voice about how to talk and think about cinema in an honest and humanizing way. So Peter is quite excited to take him back through a whirlwind tour of his career, from the alt-weeky The Spectator to the heyday of the New York Press, and through his experiences with Edward Yang and writing about the emergence of digital cinema. The two also discuss his documentary Moving Midway, a film that battles his own personal history and cultural history of the plantation, and end their discussion with Abbas Kiarostami's all-too-fascinating text Close-Up, which they easily declare the Citizen Kane of Iranian film.

0:00-1:27 Opening
1:27-4:47 Establishing Shots - Portrait of Jason Kickstarter
5:02-1:01:57 Deep Focus - Godfrey Cheshire
1:03:08-1:30:09 Double Exposure - Close-Up (Abbas Kiarostami)
1:30:11-1:31:50 Close
Read Godfrey Cheshire at the New York Press, Film Comment, the New York Times, and The Criterion Collection (Many of Cheshire's articles are only available via digital archives—please contact me via email if there is a particular article you would like at 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Episode #8 - Matt Singer (The Buried Secret of M Night Shaymalan)

"I enjoy more of the debating, the talking it out, the thinking about it, weighing the pieces in your mind, and trying to understand the other person's point of view."

Peter remembers seeing Matt Singer during news and festival bits on the IFC channel back in the day, so he was quite excited to bring it the man to sit down to talk about his work on Criticwire and elsewhere. Matt discusses the winding path he took to entering film criticism, his genuine interest in working in various types of media, and of course his fascination of superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger. The two also explore his explanation for watching "bad" movies, the wonderful world of Internet commenters, and the ever notorious Kevin Smith. Finally, Matt brings in a strange pick for 'Double Exposure' - A TV documentary called The Buried Secret of M Night Shaymalan, that is truly one of the most maddening films ever produced, provoking a discussion that proves to be just as bonkers.

0:00-4:43 Opening / Establishing Shots - "To The Film Industry in Crisis"
4:57-58:25 Deep Focus - Matt Singer
59:21-1:20:30 Double Exposure - The Buried Secret Of M. Night Shaymalan
1:20:33-1:22:22 Close / Outtake

Read Matt Singer at Criticwire, Screen Crush, Time Out, the IFC Blog. Listen to Filmspotting: SVU and check out the archives of the IFC Podcast. View his clips from At The Movies.
Follow Matt on Twitter. Email him at

Monday, November 5, 2012

Episode #7 - Ali Arikan (Withnail and I)

"I supposed it's like a two pronged approach: you had the serious business of film criticism, and at the same had the geeks, the nerdish aspect of it. Still today, there is a huge disconnect, and I find myself firmly in both."

Peter takes cinema very seriously, but sometimes we all need a good laugh, and no one makes Peter howl in laughter than reading the work of Ali Arikan. So laughs are abound when Ali comes in from Turkey to join The Cinephiliacs. Ali discusses his early forays into movies while in his home country (as well the troubles with viewing films there) and the journey he took to becoming an established critic working for English language sites like The House Next Door, Press Play, and as a member of Roger Ebert's Far Flung Correspondents. From there, the two dive into the problem of nostalgia in film, a bonafide love for Steven Spielberg, and a defense of one of the most derided films in the last twenty years. Finally, Peter challenges Ali to make him love Withnail & I, a cult comedy from Bruce Robinson that might be more tragic than even its alcoholic protagonists realize. 

0:00-0:56 Opening
1:43-4:40 Establishing Shots - Pierre Étaix and Le Grand Amour
4:56-1:01:56 Deep Focus - Ali Arikan
1:03:09-1:24:19 Double Exposure - Withnail and I (Bruce Robinson)
1:24:20-1:26:10 Close / Outtake

Read Ali Arikan at Dipnot.TV (Turkish language only), The House Next Door, Press Play, Fandor, and his own blog.
Follow Ali on Twitter.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Episode #6 - Farran Smith Nehme (Three Strangers)

"[Writing about undiscovered classics] is in a sense more rewarding because you can give a little light and a little love to something that hasn't been duly appreciated."

After three weeks of new movies, The Cinephiliacs returns by going to old school filmmaking as Peter sits down with Farran Smith Nehme, aka the Self-Styled Siren, blogger extraordinaire when it comes to classic Hollywood movies. The two discuss how she first fell in love with the movies of Hollywood's golden age, approaching classic cinema beyond the expected titles and myths, and living the dream by appearing on Turner Classic Movies. They close out the show by examining Three Strangers, a film noir by Jean Negulesco and co-written by John Huston that might not be the best film ever made, but damn if it doesn't have some out of this world sequences and killer performances by Sydney Greenstreet, Geraldine Fitzgerald, and Peter Lorre as a romantic lead, of all things!

0:00-1:13 Opening
1:14-4:58 Establishing Shots - Kant and Criticism
5:12-45:15 Deep Focus - Farran Smith Nehme
46:30-1:05:38 Double Exposure - Three Strangers (Jean Negulesco)
1:05:39-1:07:32 Close / Outtake

Read Farran Smith Nehme at the Self-Styled Siren, the New York Post, the Criterion Collection, and Joan's Digest.
Follow Farran on Twitter.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Special Episode - The 50th New York Film Festival #3 (David Ehrlich)

If there is one thing that has defined the New York Film Festival since its first year in 1963, the festival has always aligned itself with the most essential names in world cinema (the first film to play NYFF? Buñuel’s Exterminating Angel). So as Peter closes out his coverage of the festival’s 50th iteration, he brings on world cinema aficionado David Ehrlich from the Criterion Corner to discuss the biggest auteurs and their new ambitious movies. Included in this final dispatch are a story of love from Michael Haneke, a celebration of movement from Leos Carax, a cynical autobiography from Olivier Assayss, and a Tokyo-set puzzler from Abbas Kiarostami.

0:00-1:37 Opening
2:00-8:54 Amour (Michael Haneke)
9:01-15:33 Spoiler Discussion of Amour
16:08-26:59 Holy Motors (Leos Carax)
27:54-37:46 Something in the Air (Olivier Assayas)
38:01-52:45 Like Someone In Love (Abbas Kiarsotami)
52:46-54:46 Close/Outtake


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Special Episode - The 50th New York Film Festival #2 (Jaimie Christley)

            Many of the films at this year's New York Film Festival are filled with various cinematic references that can go over Peter's head without him ever realizing, so he brings in Slant Magazine contributor Jaime Christley to help him parse through some of this week's fascinating films. The two dig into the big Hollywood opener Life of Pi from Ang Lee, as well as the extreme art house pleasures of new films from directors like Raúl Ruiz,  Miguel Gomes, and the Taviani Brothers.  Plus, documentaries on conspiracy theorists deconstructing Kubrick's The Shining, and another one about fishing in the Atlantic, but from the perspective from the fish.

0:00-2:01 Introduction
2:36-13:04 Life of Pi (Ang Lee)
13:04-21:37 Caesar Must Die (The Taviani Brothers)
21:37-29:30 Night Across The Street (Raúl Ruiz)
30:07-43:31 Room 237 (Rodney Ascher)
43:32-46:42 Leviathan (Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel)
47:25-57:04 Tabu (Miguel Gomes)
57:04-58:22 Close
Read Jaime Christley at Slant Magazine, and check his website The Filmsaurus.
Follow Jaime on Twitter.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Special Episode - The 50th New York Film Festival #1 (Simon Abrams)

            In this special edition of The Cinephiliacs, Peter averts from the regular format for the next three weeks to report back from his annual visit to the New York Film Festival, a favorite cinephile event of his. To help him break down the first week of films, freelancer extraordinaire Simon Abrams joins him to discuss a cornucopia of films that explore cinema, religion, history, and the imaginative process. They dive into the bold use of digital imagery in De Palma's Passion, clash on the complex morality in Mungiu's Beyond the Hills, and elate over the joy of Renais's You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet. Also included in this episode are thoughts on Christian Petzold's Barbara, Noah Baumbach's Frances Ha, Valeria Sarmiento's Lines of Wellington, and Peter Strikland's Berberian Sound Studio

0:00-2:11 Introduction
2:54-11:31 Passion (Brian De Palma)
11:31-21:26 Barbara (Christian Petzold)
21:26-23:49 Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach)
24:30-35:36 Beyond the Hills (Christian Mungiu)
35:36-43:53 You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet! (Alain Renias)
43:53-46:49 Lines of Wellington (Valeria Sarmiento)
47:16-53:27 Berberian Sound Studio (Peter Strikland)
53:29-54:45 Close
Read Simon Abrams at Esquire, L Magazine, Slant Magazine, the Village Voice, Vulture, and his own blog, Extended Cut.

Follow Simon on Twitter.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Episode #5 - Bilge Ebiri (Barry Lyndon)

“I’d like to think while I’m watching a film, I try and approach it on its own terms. I think to myself ‘What is the review this movie wants? And what is the review this movie is going to get?’ But really it’s about asking what is the ideal version of this movie? What is it trying to be and to what extent does it get there?”

            New York Magazine film critic Bilge Ebiri loves films that he can constantly revisit and pry deeper and deeper, so Peter has no problem prying into Bilge’s own head for his conversation on The Cinephiliacs. Bilge talks about his early exposure to the Hollywood New Wave in Turkey as a young boy, and then traces his cinephilia through his desires to trying to become a filmmaker (including working on a film by Nikita Mikhalkov) before finding his voice as a critic. The two then discuss his love of films that indulge their wildest pleasures, some of his favorite auteurs (a list that includes Terrence Malick and Christopher Nolan side by side), and his own feature film, New Guy. Finally, the two dive into the truly daunting task of investigating Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece Barry Lyndon and try and make sense of a film that asks us to identify with “The Past,” yet always undercuts and manifests itself as something even more audacious.

0:00-4:48 Opening / Establishing Shots – Film Vs. Digital
5:04-1:14:17 Deep Focus – Bilge Ebiri
1:15:13-1:45:31 Double Exposure – Barry Lyndon (Stanley Kubrick)
1:45:32-1:47:58 Close / Outtake

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Episode #4 - Keith Uhlich (The Truth About Charlie)

"I feel like there's all these voices out there, and I want to keep contributing my voice…I think the way film criticism survives in this uncertain landscape is by building a community. As long as you have a strong community of people – not necessarily like-minded on the same films – but people who accept that film criticism is an art that is well worth preserving and keeping around. I’m heartened by the number of different voices I see."

For a film critic who has to keep his reviews under 250 words, Time Out New York staff writer Keith Uhlich has quite a lot to say as he joins Peter for the podcast. Keith explains how he originally got the cinephile bug watching films like Popeye and Spaceballs, as well as his frustrations in making his own films at NYU. They then dive in deep to Keith's unique writing process and spar a bit over some of his more oddball opinions (a love of The Black Dahlia, anger toward Steven Soderbergh). Keith also explains his frustrations over the current state of independent LBGTQ cinema (never have the words “Fuck you, Tom Ford” been spoken with such force). Finally, the two discuss Jonathan Demme’s The Truth About Charlie, an often maligned remake of Charade that inspires both of them for its visual appreciation of Paris and its overlooked humanism.

0:00-4:50 - Opening/Act One: Establishing Shots - Remembering Tony Scott
5:05-1:40:50 - Act Two: Deep Focus - Keith Uhlich
1:41:40-2:06:18 - Act Three: Double Exposure - The Truth About Charlie (Jonathan Demme)
2:06:20-2:08:00 - Close/Outtake

Read Keith Uhlich at Time Out New York, Slant Magazine, The House of Next Door, Senses of Cinema, and Reverse Show. Also read his haiku reviews on Letterboxd.


Friday, August 24, 2012

"Demme’s Thrilling Humanist Romance" - Keith Uhlich on The Truth About Charlie

On Monday's show, Keith Uhlich will be joining me to discuss his life as a cinephile. We also have a conversation regarding Jonathan Demme's The Truth About Charlie, his 2002 remake of Charade. I'm thankful that Keith provided me with his original review of the film, which was then written for, which became Toxic Universe and then Culture Cartel before it finally shut down. With Keith's permission, I've posted his original review (no longer online) with some very minor revisions by him. He wrote this prelude to the piece:

Clive Barker wrote, "We are our own graveyards; we squat amongst the tombs of the people we were." The person that authored the words below is almost ten years gone. I'd like to slap him upside the head for his oft-clunky phrasing and stiff-necked swagger. But I also see the fire and spirit (the stalwart belief in humanity, even when confronted with the worst the species has to offer) that I continue to kindle and cultivate. Aesthetic and technical embarrassments aside, I'm happy this little shit-stirrer haunts me still. 
—Keith Uhlich, 08/24/2012

Here’s the one this year that got away.

          Jonathan Demme’s The Truth About Charlie is ostensibly a remake of the 1963 Stanley Donen comedy/thriller Charade and that alone practically guaranteed the film’s financial failure. Charade is an example, after all, of the perfect Hollywood film: attractive stars (Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn), ingenious script (by Peter Stone), memorable setting and atmosphere (using both real and make-believe Paris locations) all combine for an entertainment that fires on all cylinders. If that sounds like too mechanistic a metaphor, then perhaps you’ve caught onto what we might call the weakness of Charade – it works so perfectly that the pleasures it gives can feel like perfectly placed manipulations, cogs in the wheel of the Hollywood machine. No matter, machines can be beautiful too (and Charade is certainly one of those perfect mechanoids), but it presents a daunting challenge to the crazy bastard who wants to try his hand at revisiting the material. The obvious question: Why remake perfection?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Episode #3 - Kenji Fujishima (Fallen Angels)

"I feel like film for me is kind of a fulfillment of an ideal of an art form that has power and the ability to fuse all these previous forms of art, even before the beginnings of cinema, into one work."

           Kenji Fujishima might not have the wisdom that comes from age of Peter's previous guests, but the two have an excellent time talking about how he became a hardcore cinephile and writing for The House Next Door. Kenji discusses reading Pauline Kael at an early age, choosing to forgo his mother’s wishes to go into accounting, and becoming a consumer of arts beyond cinema. The two also chat about his blog My Life, 24 Frames Per Seconds, balancing emotion and formalism in writing, and the beauty of “cinematic recklessness.” Finally, they explore the dark beauty of Wong Kar-Wai’s Fallen Angels, which Kenji posits as the filmmaker’s most reflexive commentary on his own feelings to transition toward a new style.

0:00-5:00 - Act One: Establishing Shots - Sight & Sound Poll
5:16-52:13 - Act Two: Deep Focus - Kenji Fujishima
53:07-1:18:12 - Act Three: Double Exposure - Fallen Angels (Wong Kar-Wai)
1:18:13-1:19:50 - Close/Outtake