Thursday, July 19, 2018

Episode #106 - Janet Staiger (Zombieland)

"I see both my work as an attempt to understand how history works and how people experience and live, and how they can live better lives as critical consumers of media."

What does it mean to study the means of production? Is one deconstructing the way an industry might operate, its cultural and political signification, or is simply one reproducing an apologia for capitalism itself? In a lively and spirited conversation, Peter explores these questions with one of his all-time academic heroes, Janet Staiger. The author of Interpreting Films, Perverse Spectators, and co-author of The Classical Hollywood Cinema examines the various political undertones that have always peppered her work, and where the future of media studies can go in today's political age, whether it be studying the way images are made or the way they are received. But there's also a lot of fun to be had, including the unique connections between Zombieland, a recent "romantic comedy" that just happens to feature blood and gore, and a certain 2017 film of fashionable elegance. Plus, Peter recaps his recent trip to Il Cinema Ritrovato with Welsh critic Christopher Small, where the two debate whether the films or the gelato stood out more.

0:00-4:00  Opening
4:58-29:48 Establishing Shots — Il Cinema Ritrovato with Christopher Small
30:33-1:05:47 Deep Focus — Janet Staiger
1:06:45-1:11:40  Sponsorship Section
1:13:06-1:26:35 Double Exposure — Zombieland (Ruben Fleischer)
1:26:39-1:28:18 Close

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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Episode #105 - Kristen Warner (Magic Mike XXL)

"There's a difference between representation mattering and the way we often decide that it matters, which is through the visual imagery."

While hardly a new problem in the media landscape, issues of representation both in front and behind screen have reached new peaks in the cultural discourse through campaigns like #OscarsSoWhite. But what does the path forward look like? Kristen Warner, a scholar of media industries, brings her unique research to the podcast to look at issues of colorblind casting and what she calls "plastic representation." Kristen and Peter look at a number of televisual milieus in which representational politics play out on our screens, and Kristen challenges a lot of issues to ask when real authentic people of color actually appear. Finally, the two discuss Magic Mike XXL, one of the most unique films of the last decade and a rare site where people of color have been in some way given their space. Kristen explains how a film with a white director and almost all-white cast somehow envisions a utopic vision of diverse American culture.

0:00-4:16  Opening
5:48-11:46 Establishing Shots — Bill Hader and Barry
12:32-48:40 Deep Focus — Kristen Warner
49:39-52:28  Sponsorship Section
53:40-1:06:08 Double Exposure — Magic Mike XXL (Gregory Jacobs)
1:06:49-1:08:41 Close

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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Episode #104 - Dan Callahan (The Heiress)

"When I'm writing about acting, I'm trying to be in the moment with them."

Perhaps in danger of becoming a new cliché for the show, Peter remains fascinated by actors: what is this business they do and how do they do it, especially those stars that littered the studios in Hollywood's Golden Age? Answering that question is film and theatre critic Dan Callahan, who has gone in depth on many of those actors. His new book, The Art of American Screen Acting, explores the Classical Hollywood style of performance through twenty essays on Hollywood's best and brightest. Peter asks about the genesis of the book as well as various technical aspects remarked upon, as well as on Dan's other two totems on Barbara Stanwyck and Vanessa Redgrave. Finally, the two look at the site of a true clash in William Wyler's The Heiress, where four titans of Hollywood—all with different styles—produce one of the most confounding and wondrous mixtures of screen performance one could possibly imagine.

0:00-2:48  Opening
4:27-12:56 Establishing Shots — Old Masters, Digital Tricks
13:42-1:05:00 Deep Focus — Dan Callahan
1:05:41-1:10:01  Sponsorship Section
1:11:23-1:31:48 Double Exposure — The Heiress (William Wyler)
1:31:53-1:34:27 Close / Outtake

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Sunday, May 13, 2018

Episode #103 - Jared Case at The Nitrate Picture Show (Dead Reckoning)

"It's not just the study of the narratives in the film, but the technique, process, and manual handling, which brings them into your hand."

The skyline of Rochester is filled with the industrial ghosts of the 20th century. However, the haunt is a more than a pleasant one, and perhaps the essential keeper of its history is the George Eastman Museum—a glowing monument to the history of both photography and the moving image. Jared Case has worked the Museum for over 18 years, and in particular has helped steer what has quickly become one of the go-to destinations for cinephiles: The Nitrate Picture Show. Peter attended the 4th iteration of the festival dedicated to the silvery, flammable material that preserved up cinema half-century, and then sat immediately down to discuss with Jared the work behind the scenes of such a wondrous event. Jared also explains the nuances of cataloging motion pictures, the development of a Technicolor database, and how to bring film preservation to the masses. Finally, the two look at John Cromwell's devilish noir Dead Reckoning with a witty Humphrey Bogart and the black hole of evil that is noir's most bad, bad girl, Lizabeth Scott. And as a bonus, Peter takes a tour of the Eastman Museum's frigid vaults to examine their 24,000 reels of film with Deborah Stoiber.

0:00-4:00  Opening
5:23-28:20 Establishing Shots — Touring the Nitrate Vaults With Deborah Stoiber
29:05-1:15:39 Deep Focus — Jared Case
1:16:41-1:20:29  Sponsorship Section
1:21:35-1:41:38 Double Exposure — Dead Reckoning (John Cromwell)
1:41:56-1:43:387 Close

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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Episode #100 - Peter Labuza (The Long Gray Line)

"Cinephilia is always bigger than yourself."

Every guest of The Cinephiliacs has had their chance in the hot seat to be questioned by Peter on a myriad of topics, but never the other way around. In this very special 100th episode, it is the guests who have control of the mic. Friend of the show Keith Uhlich plays host for an episode to ask Peter about his first cinematic memory, how the podcast got started, and why he turned to film history. Along the way, many other former friends call in to ask their own questions about his favorite theaters, the films he just doesn't understand, and the lessons he's learned through the course of the show. Finally, Peter finally chooses the film and goes with John Ford's enigmatic biopic The Long Gray Line, a story of the military and America in a way that neither Keith nor Peter can wrap their heads entirely around, but find themselves in tears at the end nonetheless. Is it shallow patriotism, or is Ford crafting the most mysterious anti-war film ever made?

0:00-4:27  Opening
5:12-1:38:44 Deep Focus — Peter Labuza
1:39:24-1:43:24  Sponsorship Section
1:44:44-2:18:11 Double Exposure — The Long Gray Line (John Ford)
2:18:56-2:24:10 Final Questions / Thanks 
2:24:12-2:25:54 Close

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Sunday, April 1, 2018

Episode #102 - Antonella Bonfanti (Cabaret)

"We're format agnostic, but we understand our tradition as a film-on-film distribution."

The avant-garde just doesn't "happen." It has relied on institutional networks that create any sort of art world to help it find its publics. These networks are just as critical as they were 50 years ago, and Antonella Bonfanti works to keep that tradition alive. The director of the San Francisco based Canyon Cinema sits down to discuss how she fell in love with the tactile form of film and found herself working with home movies and other amateur formats before joining the famed distribution company for experimental cinema. She then explains how Canyon continues to operate and its bright future in finding audiences in the digital age. Finally, she and Peter put on their jazz hands to highlight the work of Bob Fosse's Cabaret, which of course turns into what else but a Liza Love Fest.

0:00-3:08  Opening
4:17-11:00 Establishing Shots — New Cinemas Hit Manhattan
11:46-58:53 Deep Focus — Antonella Bonfanti
1:00:05-1:04:18  Sponsorship Section
1:06:05-1:19:15 Double Exposure — Cabaret (Bob Fosse)
1:19:42-1:22:43 Close

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Sunday, March 11, 2018

Episode #101 - Shelley Stamp (Not Wanted)

"We hope to chip away at this persistent myth that there weren't many women making films in Hollywood or they weren't of consequence. It's an extraordinary body of work"

One of the most critical ways that women can break the overwhelming male-controlled industry in Hollywood is acknowledging how central they have always been to its existence. UC Santa Cruz Professor Shelley Stamp has been on the forefront of that narrative, exploring how women dominated silent film culture both in terms of their moviegoing habits and the films they created. The author of Movie-Struck Girls and Lois Weber in Early Hollywood sits down with Peter to discuss the critical wave of film historiography that blossomed during her early career and the pre-internet research methods she used to create these and other texts, as well as what the future of the field may hold. Finally, they dive into Ida Lupino's directorial debut Not Wanted and look at both the similarities and differences between her and Lois Weber as the actor charted a new type of social problem film for the noir era.

0:00-3:59  Opening
4:44-1:05:43 Deep Focus — Shelley Stamp
1:06:48-1:10:01  Sponsorship Section
1:12:06-1:26:23 Double Exposure — Not Wanted (Lupino)
1:26:27-1:18:40 Close

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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Episode #99 - James Urbaniak (The Apartment)

"Some of my favorite moments in acting are moments where people say, 'Did I get any messages?' Those mundane moments are just as important."

Watching an actor transform in an unexpected way—even if the particular action is so simple and its context so mundane—can be a revelatory experience, and the kind that draws us into the movies we adore. James Urbaniak has made that something of a career, giving us the quiet internal rage inside Simon Grim in Henry Fool, the secretly menacing stares of Grant in the TV series Review, and the dozens upon dozens of strange voices he's taken on for series like The Venture Brothers. In this episode, James sits down with Peter to get into the technical and philosophical ideas that drive his character actor career in a number of shows, while also discussing how his love of Classical Hollywood has influenced his decisions—including his noir homage series, A Night Called Tomorrow. Finally, the two dive into Billy Wilder's The Apartment to explore how they actors take the screwball zaniness of the script and make it melancholy, and turn the film's dramatic shifts into comedy.

0:00-2:52  Opening
3:34-9:42 Establish Shots — Contemplating Curtiz
10:28-50:19 Deep Focus — James Urbaniak
51:11-54:02  Sponsorship Section
55:33-1:15:49 Double Exposure — The Apartment (Wilder)
1:16:36-1:18:40 Close

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

2017 Favorites With Keith Uhlich (Part Two)

On one hand, cinema has mutated. It is no longer contained to the theater and its methods no longer simply produce simply 3 act narrative features. But was it ever so limited? The first films were hand cranked into a box at a parlor on 34th street. The military in WWII made cinema portable in order to bring secrets across enemy lines. Films taught people their trades. Video tape launched a spiritual and later political revolution against the dominant mode. The medium was never the message, so let's just celebrate what was seen and experienced—the movement was not just in the image but in our bodies (the real movement...was love). All is this to say, Keith and Peter have good fun exploring their favorite works of 2017, debating the nature of reality in a series of works either attempting to pull it from other the rug or expose it through unsuspecting places. Is it future? Or is it past? Or is it simply the now in which me must live. And live we must.

0:00-2:27  Opening
2:28-47:16 Picks for #5
47:16-1:16:00 Picks for #4
1:16:01-1:34:31 Picks for #3
1:35:14-1:39:05  Sponsorship Section
1:40:07-2:09:39 Picks for #2
2:09:40-2:25:07 Pick for #1
2:25:08-2:27:14 Final Thoughts
2:27:31-2:29:57 Close

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Sunday, January 7, 2018

2017 Favorites With Keith Uhlich (Part 1 — Moments Out of Time)


A love of cinema does not necessitate a love of a total work. Often it is a moment—a person, a camera movement, a lighting choice, or an emotional beat—that strikes us. When Peter and Keith discussed returning once again for their annual countdown, they decided that the first half of their lists should do something different. Instead of highlight their 6 through 10 picks for the year, they instead have chosen five "Moments Out Of Time" within often good (though perhaps bad) films that surprised, challenged, and delighted. With such a list, they discuss a plethora of topics, including a serious examination of the structures within Hollywood that have maintained and sustained diminishing standards under increasingly dubious and especially harmful authorities. Individual artists strive to rise above the system, and here, the two critics aim to find out why that is, and what could be done to uplift the system.

0:00-6:08  Opening
6:09-31:49 Picks for #5
31:50-56:49 Picks for #4
56:50-1:23:54 Picks for #3
1:25:08-1:28:10  Sponsorship Section
1:28:36-1:51:48  Picks for #2
1:51:49-2:18:07 Picks for #1
2:18:08-2:26:07 Repertory Picks of the Year
2:26:11-2:28:04 Close / Outtake

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