Jim here. Former co-host of this here show. More is explained in the intro(s) but I decided to offer up a special bonus treat here for both Director's Club + Voices and Visions alike. I had the pleasure of seeing a very good new film called AND THEN I GO, directed by my first guest Vincent Grashaw. We had a great talk about the inspiration behind the film and his process. Then, I was absolutely honored and thrilled to talk to one of my all-time favorite actresses, Melanie Lynskey (HEAVENLY CREATURES, SHATTERED GLASS, THE INFORMANT!). It was a short but sweet interview with a lot of great insights about being an actress, as well as singing the praises of her incredible career.
We are pleased to welcome back Chicago Film Discussion Group Organizer Peter Richards as we look at the comic and kinetic career of the U.K.’s own Edgar Wright. Best known for his trilogy of genre parodies with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, he’d also bring some wild innovations to his American offerings, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Baby Driver. We’ll discuss them all and decide which ones are worth missing a night at the pub for.
In this episode, the Director's Club takes a trek to Hungary to check out the films of Béla Tarr, whose long shots without cutting, luscious imagery of darkness, deliberate yet poetic camera movements, and stark perspectives of man and nature has sculpted out some of the most unforgettable moments in film. In addition to trying to describe what makes his films so special, we look at how he developed his style over decades (and with the help of several talented collaborators), and we explore the world of "contemplative cinema" of which Tarr's work is a prominent example.
Director's Club delves into the Green Valleys, Stagecoaches, and Long Voyages shown in the works of the legendary director John Ford. With the help of fellow Chicago Film Discussion Group member Peter Richards (who guested on our Terence Malick episode), in Part I of our series we not only look into his classic early films, but lesser-known yet no less fascinating efforts which include silent epics, minimalist treks through the desert, dark foggy nights of the Irish soul, and even comedies starring Will Rogers, and how Ford's genius with a film image and concerns of family, history, and myth flow through them.
It's an action-packed episode of the Director's Club as we look at the works of Andrew Davis. Most well-known as director of "The Fugitive", one of the greatest action movies ever made, we explore his ability to enhance a wide range of films (from those of Samuel Z. Arkoff and Chuck Norris to even Alfred Hitchcock) and how he infuses them with great energy, character and Chicago flavor from his very first movie!
Welcome to the exciting conclusion! The Director's Club / Voices & Visions crossover continues once again! Last year around this time, it was so warm outside, we opened the windows. This time, it was cold & snowy (hence the sound of the heater throughout). But have no fear! Your loyal Chicago film critics are here to carry on the tradition of going back 30 years to cover a year in film that they all grew up with. This episode features a lot of films released from July - December of 1988!
Last year around this time, it was so warm outside, we opened the windows. This time, it was cold & snowy (hence the sound of the heater throughout). This special 2-part bonus episode will continue every February, every year. For 2018 of course, we travel back to 1988 and relive the entire year. Just about every weekend of releases are mentioned from classics like WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT to obscure discoveries like BAGDAD CAFE. How much will Jim & Erik argue the merits of certain horror movie sequels? Does either David Byrne or Bono come up courtesy of superfan Collin? You'll have to listen to the 4 and a half hours of conversation to find out.
The Director's Club gives a look at Rob Reiner, who has one of the most two-sided careers in filmmaking history. Through the first part, it was like he could do no wrong, putting great polish and attention to romantic comedies, coming-of-age stories, tongue-in-cheek takes on fantasy, and inventing the mockumentary. In the second half, it was like he was trying to make up for the first half (when Roger Ebert makes his negative review the title of one of his books, you know you're doing something anti-right!)
Part Two! The fun continues. Together again. Gee, it's good to be together again. Jim and Patrick return for their yearly tradition of running down favorites and highlights from the past twelve months. In addition, they answer some emails, read many listener contributions/lists, and discuss the future. They hand out some awards, gifts, and throw paper at one another. Surprisingly, there isn't nearly as many puns and weird voices this time but since it became a 5-hour recording, they dependably get loopy as the show goes on. It's a show so big, it had to be split into two parts. Part One is here!
Together again. Gee, it's good to be together again. Jim and Patrick return for their yearly tradition of running down favorites and highlights from the past twelve months. In addition, they answer some emails, read many listener contributions/lists, and discuss the future. They hand out some awards, gifts, and throw paper at one another. Surprisingly, there isn't nearly as many puns and weird voices this time but since it became a 5-hour recording, they dependably get loopy as the show goes on. It's a show so big, it had to be split into two parts. Part Two Is Here!
The Director's Club wanted to finish off the year right and begin the new one with a bang, so we're having our first 2018 episode on the films of epic director Akira Kurosawa. This episode looks at the first half of his career, looking in on his early works from "Sanshiro Sugata" through his run of masterpieces ("Rashomon", "Ikiru", "Seven Samurai", "Throne of Blood")
Now Playing Network Master of Ceremonies (and Director's Club founder) Jim Laczkowski joins us for this episode which has us looking at the films of French Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve! With Jim's help, we look at how Villeneuve brings his unique combination of thoughtfulness, pathos, family focus, and strangeness to dramas, genre thrillers, and films across the sci-fi spectrum
Jeff Broitman joins us to talk about a legend. Whale's innovations in camera movement and special effects, set of quirky character actors in supporting roles, and appreciation of the outsiders in society was put to good use in musicals, war films, and courtroom dramas, but never better than when he was making some of the most iconic horror movies in history!
In Part II we look from his takes on Shakespeare with "Othello" and "Chimes At Midnight", through his acidic noir "Touch of Evil", to his 'deconstructumentary' film "F for Fake", and along the way talk about his many unfinished films (one of which may see the light of day yet). His work proved so inspiring we not only looked to compare them to the efforts of Jacques Tati and Alfred Hitchcock, but had to invent words to describe some characters and even hairstyles in his movies!
In this episode the Director's Club tries to grasp the enormity of the works of Orson Welles. It's an extended look at the creative audacity that led to so much artistic triumph and career tragedy, and to make sense of it we include a look at his pre-film life and the many cinema endeavors that sadly never made it to the film screen. In part 1 we look at his start working for the movie studios, from his epic "Citizen Kane" through his take on Shakespeare's "Macbeth"
Alan Parker, whose atmospheric visuals, ability at world-building, affinity to and for music, and brushes with controversy are some of the themes pulsing through a wide range of films in his career. This led us to an epic conversation which ranged from rampant praise to stupefying anger and to several extended arguments about the value of his work. We were treated to a return visit from Chicago cinerenaissance man Collin Souter, who not only joined in the conversation from coming back from a U2 show, but provided the DC with some excellent U2 music clips to introduce each film!
In this episode the Director's Club tokes a look at the works of South Korean director Bong Joon-ho, who has made several remarkable movies (often in the same movie!) Joining us on the journey is Robert Reineke (podcaster of "Still Watching the Skies"), and we had a blast talking about the many zany and fascinating details of his films.
Since my guests today are both tremendously talented filmmakers with a lot of insights, stories and new projects to promote, I decided to include this in both feeds for this show and Voices and Visions. After my introduction to the proceedings, I first speak with writer/director Jonathan Millott who alongside collaborator Cary Murnion have recently made a film called BUSHWICK that couldn't be more timely. We delve into exactly why that is as well as the history between this team who is also responsible for the indie horror/comedy COOTIES. Then around the 40 minute mark, I then speak with someone I've known for quite awhile since she also happens to be the wife of one of my closest friends and former guests, Mr. Dan Solomon. Katherine Craft is an established writer in many forms with a lot of success stories, both as an activist and as a creative artist. Her latest endeavor involves HBO (yes that HBO) so we discuss the experience surrounding that as well as her IndieGoGo campaign for her personal project CHARLOTTE AND CHARLIE, which I hope you'll contribute to.
The Director's Club looks at the films of Sofia Coppola (a.k.a., "The Good One"), whose movies had a dreamlike feeling of melancholy isolation, level of visual composition, and focus on young womanhood that was evident from the start of her career. We're joined in our journey through her film work (that takes us from L.A. to Tokyo to Versailles to the Civil War South) by Rebecca Martin, an ultra-promoter of film appreciation in the Chicago area and host of Now Playing Network's "Fresh Perspective."