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The Cinephiliacs

The Cinephiliacs is a podcast exploring the past and future of cinephelia. Film critic Peter Labuza has interviewed critics, programmers, academics, filmmakers, and more about their relationship to film and film culture. Additionally, each guest will bring in a particular favorite film and discuss it with Labuza. Indiewire declares, "If you want to hear film critics talk at length about their craft, there are few better places on the Internet" and Keyframe Daily has called it "Exhibit A" for the future of film culture

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TC - Live Sports! A Chat on Recent Non-Fiction

Desperate for bodies in motion, five quarantined cinephiles joined Peter and a number of podcast listeners on Zoom to talk about the recent non-fiction films they've been devouring on the world of athletics. Some shows favor the classic narratives; others a different approach. All made for a great happy hour. Join Peter alongside Carman Tse, Nate Fisher, Eric Marsh, Jake Mulligan, and Matt Ellis for a talk about ESPN and the NBA's ten hour "examination" into Michael Jordan and the 1998 Chicago Bulls with The Last Dance, Jon Bois and Alex Rubenstein's expose into the history of baseball's oddest team with The History of the Seattle Mariners, and Theo Anthony's 30 for 30 special on tennis replay, Subject to Review, which might not actually be about tennis but all society. Plus, they remember some guys. Man, remember those guys? Whatever happened to those guys???? 0:00–5:16 Opening 6:07-51:41 The Last Dance (Jason Hehir [or Michael Jordan and the NBA]) 52:29–56:23 Sponsorship Section 57:25–1:40:10 The History of the Seattle Mariners (Jon Bois and Alex Rubenstein) 1:41:18–2:03:48 Subject to Review (Theo Anthony) 2:04:05–1:56:51 Close

2hr 5mins

28 May 2020

Rank #1

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TC #22 - A.O. Scott (The Player)

One year into The Cinephiliacs, Peter brings in a critic that he's read for almost a decade now: A.O. Scott of the New York Times. Tony joins Peter for a traveled conversation about his entry into cinephilia at the repertory houses of Paris and Cambridge, his thoughts on the craft of writing, and how to think about films in the context of their audiences. Tony also explains how he comes up with those "trend" pieces, the phenomenon of "critic proof" movies and why they matter, and the patterns and differences between recent American literature and film. Finally, the two discuss Robert Altman's The Player, which continues to be the only contemporary successful satire of Hollywood, perhaps because it so closely plays the line between satire and seduction. 0:00-1:05 Opening1:35-7:02 Establishing Shots -Montage of The Cinephiliacs: Year 17:17-9:13 Trivia Round9:56-1:17:22 Deep Focus - A.O. Scott1:18:59-1:40:53 Double Exposure - The Player (Robert Altman)1:40:55-1:43:30 Close / Outtake - On The King of Comedy

1hr 43mins

15 Jul 2013

Rank #2

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TC #50 - Mike D'Angelo (Buffalo '66)

Before film criticism and cinephilia moved from print and theaters to the screen and discussion boards, Mike D'Angelo was already there forming its basis for a serious minded engagement with movies. Mike sits down for this 50th episode of The Cinephiliacs to discuss his original path as a screenwriter and an actor, how he moved from an online phenomenon to a full time film critic, and the way the Internet helped in shaping his uniquely crafted voice. Peter also talks with Mike on his walk out policy, his obsession with puzzlebox movies, and the importance of rhythm in cinema. Finally, they look at one of the strangest American indies of recent memory—Vincent Gallo's Buffalo '66—and how the director-star constantly surprises by both engaging and then breaking with indie conventions. 0:00-2:29 Open3:53-8:32 Establishing Shots - Robert Greene's Actress9:18-1:07:04 Deep Focus - Mike D'Angelo1:07:54-1:09:36 Mubi Sponsorship - Edvard Munch1:10:53-1:31:03 Double Exposure - Buffalo '66 (Vincent Gallo)1:31:08-1:33:28 Close / Outtakes

1hr 33mins

8 Dec 2014

Rank #3

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TC #72 - David Bordwell (Daisy Kenyon)

Truffaut remarked there was cinema before Godard and cinema after Godard. The academic discipline of Film Studies could be said to have its own Godard in David Bordwell, the author of some of the most influential books in understanding the history of film style. In this sprawling conversation, David discusses his upbringing that led him to movies and his first steps in helping spearhead the neo-formalist movement of film criticism. He looks back at the formation of poetics, his role in thinking about the conventions that tell us a film story, the role of auteurism as problem-solvers, and how popular film criticism has influenced in his more recent work. They swing through conversations on art history, Jean-Luc Godard, new media, Hong Kong filmmaking, and Robin Wood. Finally, David and Peter discuss Daisy Kenyon, a 1947 Joan Crawford-Dana Andrews-Henry Fonda melodrama from Otto Preminger with so many radical choices in its delivery of narrative one might mistake it for being a subversive text, even if it's all convention. 0:00-2:40 Opening3:27-10:22 Establishing Shots - Texture and Claire Denis11:07-1:27:05 Deep Focus - David Bordwell1:28:10-1:30:37 Mubi Sponsorship1:32:20-1:52:00 Double Exposure - Daisy Kenyon (Otto Preminger)1:52:02-1:56:23 Close

1hr 56mins

14 Dec 2015

Rank #4

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TC - 2016 Favorites With Keith Uhlich (Part 1)

In times of crisis, sometimes the easy answer is to escape to the cinema. But the movies of 2016 did not necessarily bring escape, whether it was the mortgage crisis in Texas, homophobia in Miami, or misogyny in Montana. But in these cinematic works of art, some relief or euphoria can transform real life into something more bareable (or if you're Rob Zombie, even more screwed up). Keith Uhlich joins the podcast for his 5th time to countdown the favorites of 2016. Discussions range from the nature of experimental cinema, to the nature of historical fact, to what it means to go past idenity and into specificity. Plus, Peter and Keith list their favorites repertory discoveries of the year. 0:00-3:20 Opening 3:20-22:39 Picks for #10 22:39-39:42 Picks for #9 39:42-1:13:06 Picks for #8 1:13:53-1:16:12 Sponsorship Section 1:17-00-1:36:26 Picks for #7 1:36:26-1:57:00 Picks for #6 1:57:00-2:10:33 Favorite Repertory Picks of 2016 2:10:51-2:12:46 Close

2hr 12mins

6 Jan 2017

Rank #5

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TC #46 - Karina Longworth (Wanda)

Peter doesn't listen to many other film podcasts, but one of his joys this year has been the transporting mysteries of You Must Remember This, hosted by former LA Weekly critic Karina Longworth. Karina discusses how her interest in writing about Hollywood's golden era brought her from the throes of academic writing to the world of online film writing and finally to her new podcast. The two also discuss her books on the careers on Al Pacino and Meryl Street, and her latest text, Hollywood Frame by Frame, which investigates the ins and outs of contact sheets. Finally, the two examine Barbara Loden's singular feminist triumph, Wanda, and how this tragic film explores the psychology of an "ordinary woman." Plus, an brief on the rarities from this year's CineCon, including films by John Ford and Allan Dwan. 0:00-1:50 Opening2:45-7:18 Establishing Shots - CineCon8:04-53:50 Deep Focus - Karina Longworth57:03-1:10:00 Double Exposure - Wanda (Barbara Loden)1:10:03-1:11:41 Close

1hr 11mins

22 Sep 2014

Rank #6

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TC #56 - Calum Marsh (The Last Days of Disco)

What is the "work" of film criticism? That question takes center stage in a lively new episode of the podcast, in which Peter travels to Toronto, Canada to talk movies with critic and writer Calum Marsh. Calum traces his cinephilia to his VHS and DVD days in suburban England, eventually developing via the influence of rigorous Jonathan Rosenbaum, and then swinging to an attempt to understand how film criticism can work more similarly to the great literary critics. They talk the beauty of Blackhat and the Kim's Video generation, but most of all they discuss prose and its function in describing a visual medium. They then top it off with a look at Whit Stillman's wondrous nostalgia critique, The Last Days of Disco, using Stillman's own novelization of his work as an examination of the different worlds of cinema and literature. 0:00-1:53 Opening2:37-9:38 Establishing Shots - Gems from UCLA's Festival of Preservation10:23-59:27 Deep Focus - Calum Marsh1:00:04-1:02:16 Mubi Sponsorship - Travel Plans and Broken Specs1:03:43 -1:26:57 Double Exposure - The Last Days of Disco (Whit Stillman)1:27:01-1:28:58 Close / Outtake

1hr 28mins

23 Mar 2015

Rank #7

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TC - James Agee Remembered (The Night of The Hunter)

May 16th, 1955—60 years ago before this recording—James Agee died of a heart attack in the back of a New York taxi at the all too young age of 45. In his wake, he left a mountain of unprecedented writing, including the foundations for the first wave of serious film criticism in America. In this special episode, Scott Nye and Kristen Sales join Peter to discuss Agee's work and life. From his Southern roots in literature, including his poetic depiction of the depression, to his adoration of the silent comedies and vitriolic defense of one of Charles Chaplin's most contentious films. The conversation spreads from criticism to narrative prose to photography and finally to Agee's work within the moving image, especially his contribution to one of the all time great films, The Night of the Hunter. 0:00-4:19 Opening4:40-22:30 "Comedy's Greatest Era" and Let Us Now Praise Famous Men23:05-33:39 On Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity and The Lost Weekend34:20-51:37 Monsieur Verdoux and "Knoxville: Summer 1915"52:36-1:00:20 In The Street1:00:56-1:03:15 Mubi Sponsorship - Mother and We Can't Go Home Again1:04:22 -1:22:38 The Night of the Hunter1:22:42-1:24:49 Close / Outtake

1hr 24mins

18 May 2015

Rank #8

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TC #15 - Ignatiy Vishnevetsky (The Moderns)

In 2011, a young cinephile named Ignatiy Vishnevetsky became the poster boy for new cinephilia during the return of Roger Ebert's At the Movies. But there's much, much more to Mubi's esoteric and erudite critic than his days on public television. Recorded over two snowy Chicago days in January, Peter sits down with Ignaty to discuss how his Russian heritage influenced the way he watches movies, his interactions with the video store, and his very twisted process to writing criticism. They also discuss his obsession with images in 21st century filmmaking and cinephilia, the rise of vulgar auteurism, and the moral guidance than drives his writing. Finally, Ignatiy introduces Peter to the intoxicating world of Alan Rudolph through his impressionist work The Moderns, a film that might long for an image of the past, but asks us to question the context in which we view them. 0:00-4:59 Opening / Establishing Shots - The Essential Narrative5:00-7:52 Trivia Round / Donations8:38-1:31:02 Deep Focus - Ignatiy Vishnevetsky1:31:50-1:59:52 Double Exposure - The Moderns (Alan Rudolph)1:59:54-2:01:47 Close / Outtakes

2hr 1min

11 Mar 2013

Rank #9

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TC #75 - Blake Williams (INLAND EMPIRE)

What does it mean to view a stereoscopic image, to see films in a way that's at once closer to our daily life perception while also expanding it beyond anything we could ever see? Blake Williams is one of many filmmakers working in the avant-garde who has been exploring this question—through filmmaking, criticism, and historical research. Williams joins the podcast to trace his lineage as both a critic and a filmmaker, and the very nature of 3D images that has made this such an exploratory visual medium to work in, using it to explore heady concepts in both literal and theoretical terms. Peter and Blake then turn to a narrative filmmaker who created his own long experimental: David Lynch's INLAND EMPIRE. The two debate the use of narrative in the film while also examining the nature of its low-grade digital imagery, which can be sublime or absolutely terrifying. 0:00-3:02 Opening3:40-11:14 Establishing Shots — The Mermaid and Mountains May Depart11:59-1:10:24 Deep Focus — Blake Williams1:11:26-1:15:24 Sponsorship Section1:16:39-1:39:33 Double Exposure — INLAND EMPIRE (David Lynch)1:39:36-1:41:14 Close

1hr 41mins

29 Feb 2016

Rank #10

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TC — This American Life: Remembering Jonathan Demme

Jonathan Demme began his film career 50 years ago while working for Joseph Levine's production company in 1967, carving a path that resembled no other director in American film. His narrative films ranged from the grindhouse to Oscar prestige pictures to indies and more. Beyond fiction, he made documentaries about musicians and politics, music videos for the coolest bands, and a number of television episodes that gave life to the so-called writer's medium. While the word humanist gets thrown around carelessly, Demme deserved that term for the worlds his films enveloped and the generosity he showed each and every character while often creating an implied utopian vision of diversity. This special episode mourns the death of one of the great directors, as Peter invites on Jake Mulligan and Willow Maclay to discuss the multifaceted career of a director destined to cement a place in the canon. Plus, we revisit that oft-discussed director with three Double Exposure discussions with former guests. 0:00-4:12 Opening 4:12-43:27 Discussion with Jake Mulligan and Willow Maclay 44:34-47:26 Sponsorship Section 48:41-1:04:20 Beloved with Stephen Cone 1:05:21-1:28:18 The Truth About Charlie with Keith Uhlich 1:29:27-1:52:13 Stop Making Sense with Tim Grierson 1:52:40-1:22:02 Close

1hr 54mins

5 May 2017

Rank #11

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TC - 2017 Favorites With Keith Uhlich (Part One — 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

2hr 28mins

8 Jan 2018

Rank #12

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TC - Life and Something More: Abbas Kiarostami Remembered

Abbas Kiarostami, born in 1940 in Tehran, turned to filmmaking in 1970 when he helped set up the Institute for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults. He had made a half dozen shorts and one feature, The Report in 1977, before the Iranian Revolution changed the public face of his country. While many filmmakers moved away in search of more creative freedom, Kiarostami continued to direct. Around the early 1990s, his films suddenly found an international foothold at festivals via the Koker trilogy and his most famous work, Close-Up. In 1997, he won a Palm D’Or for Taste of Cherry, helping paint the way for Iranian filmmakers to find an audience abroad. His filmmaking only became more cryptic and complex, especially with his early adoption of digital cinema with Ten and the self-reflexive documentary, Ten on Ten. His final films, Certified Copy and Like Someone In Love, were his only made outside his native Iran. Kiarostami passed away on July 4, 2016. In this special episode of the podcast, Amir Soltani, Tina Hassania, and Carson Lund join the podcast to celebrate the life and work of one of the legendary filmmakers to emerge on the world cinema stage. 0:00-2:49 Opening 2:49-46:18 Abbas Kiarostami — Part 1 47:16-52:02 Sponsorship Section 52:48-1:32:07 Abbas Kiarostami — Part 2 1:32:10-1:33:22 Close

1hr 33mins

11 Jul 2016

Rank #13

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TC #122 - Marie-Louise Khondji (Birth)

Nothing is more frustrating in our streaming era than turning on any specific app and suddenly staring hundreds of movie posters with only an algorithm trying to decide what you might like (especially if such product is actually made by the company to help its margins). But what if there was a streaming site that only offered a single movie a week, and maybe not even a feature but a short or medium-length feature? And what if it had circulated ultra-rare films by Claire Denis, Hong Sang-Soo, Matias Piñeiro, Jonas Mekas, and fascinating filmmakers you had never heard of? That's the promise Marie-Louise Khondji has brought to her site Le Cinéma Club. Marie sits down to talk about growing up with her father (the cinematographer Darius) and how she moved into management through distribution and production before starting a site to help filmmakers showcase work that needed an outlet and created to be accessible for all. Finally, the two talk about the wonderful Jonathan Glazer film Birth, and how it seems to capture a certain timeless stasis of its upper elite New York culture. 0:00–6:27 Opening7:40-11:32 OVID.TV Sponsorship12:17–45:51 Deep Focus — Marie-Louise Khondji46:40–51:15 MUBI Sponsorship Section52:31–1:03:47 Double Exposure — Birth (Jonathan Glazer)1:04:12–1:06:42 Close 

1hr 6mins

3 Apr 2020

Rank #14

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The Cinephiliacs - NYFF50 #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


11 Oct 2012

Rank #15

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TC #123 - James Leo Cahill (Pom Poko)

As a constant Instagram user, I find it hard not to love the numerous videos of mammals and other species in behavior whose response always comes down to "they're just like us!" But what about that history of cinema that shows us how animals are not like us, and perhaps encourages us to think outside our own worldview. In Zoological Surrealism, University of Toronto professor James Leo Cahill explores the wondrously strange history of filmmaker Jean Painlevé, best known for his documentary The Seahorse, and explores the numerous scientific films and how he and his collaborators essentially embraced a different worldview by merging art and science. In this long ranging history, James takes us through his first fascinations with cinema and animals as well as through the numerous unique theories he develops through tracing a transhistorical understanding of Painlevé. Finally, the two embrace every emotion through examining Pom Poko, a curious anime from Studio Ghibli that traces the last years of a dying species and celebrates the way we feel loss....a film quite appropriate for our current moment. 0:00–7:10 Opening7:54-13:05 MUBI Sponsorship13:50–1:32:30 Deep Focus — James Leo Cahill1:34:35–1:37:35 OVID.TV Sponsorship Section1:38:21–1:54:08 Double Exposure — Pom Poko (Isao Takahata)1:54:56–1:56:51 Close 

1hr 56mins

30 Apr 2020

Rank #16

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TC #97 - K. Austin Collins (Margaret)

Since debuting in the fairgrounds during the Fin de siècle of the late 19th century, movies have never been inseparable from our culture around them. So how does one write about them in a way that gives both the text and the world a fair shake? Over at The Ringer, K. Austin Collins has been using his writing to explore how films operate as cultural artifacts, even as the machine of Hollywood has attempted to vacuum itself from any discussion. Kam dives into his interest in writing as a practice and how he moved from the academic sphere into the weekly reviewing gig, and how he finds ways to bring his training to even writing about blockbusters. The two have a long discussion in particular about movie stars and the particular pleasures of watching them and seeing them create identities. Finally, Kam brings on Kenneth Lonergan's almost lost to litigation masterpiece Margaret with Anna Paquin, which leads to a discussion of what exactly is melodrama and how and why do movies affect us. 0:00-3:22 Opening4:07-1:11:48 Deep Focus — K. Austin Collins1:12:48-1:16:33 Sponsorship Section 1:17:56-1:45:33 Double Exposure — Margaret (Kenneth Lonergan)1:46:37-1:48:36 Close 

1hr 48mins

6 Nov 2017

Rank #17

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TC #42 - J. Hoberman (Poor Little Rich Girl)

While his origins as a cinephile are based largely in his interest in the avant-garde, J. Hoberman has become one of the most influential critics through his examinations of Hollywood blockbusters, world cinema, the outer limits of experimental works, and most importantly, film history. In his appearance on the podcast, Hoberman talks to Peter about his adventures as a kid traversing New York City's film culture, his movement through the the city's underground scene, and eventually to his position at The Village Voice and creating a voice that often examined the relationship between politics and cinema. Finally, the two discuss Poor Little Rich Girl, Andy Warhol's out-of-focus and out of this world portraiture of Edie Sedgwick, which Hoberman describes as a work of "pure cinema." 0:00-1:38 Opening2:03-10:18 Establishing Shots - 2 Years of Cinephiliacs / Donations and Reviews11:02-1:09:29 Deep Focus - J. Hoberman1:12:19-1:28:52 Double Exposure - Poor Little Rich Girl (Andy Warhol)1:28:57-1:31:32 Close / Outtake

1hr 31mins

14 Jul 2014

Rank #18

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TC #28 - Imogen Sara Smith (In A Lonely Place)

While it can be fun to talk to critics who spend their time keeping up with contemporary cinema, Peter is glad to bring on Imogen Sara Smith, who has always dived into cinema's past worlds. The author of Buster Keaton: The Persistence of Comedy and In Lonely Places: Film Noir Beyond the City talks about her initial love of film via the Great Stoneface, her desire to write long in order to thoroughly engage with a topic, and her love of Pre-Code's subversive pleasures. The two also dive deeply into the many ends and odds of the strange cycle of film noir, engaging with questions of genre, psychology, and some underrated hits, before ending with one of noir's canonical masterpieces: Nicholas Ray's In A Lonely Place, a film so brutal in its depiction of love by being at first so intoxicating. 0:00-1:24 Opening2:15-5:12 Establishing Shots - In The Mouth of Madness5:28-10:18 Listener Feedback11:03-1:12:57 Deep Focus - Imogen Sara Smith1:13:56-1:36:45 Double Exposure - In A Lonely Place (Nicholas Ray)1:36:47-1:39:19 Close / Outtake

1hr 39mins

18 Nov 2013

Rank #19

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TC #38 - Sam Adams (The Long Goodbye)

Sam Adams may not be in the center of the criticism landscape from his home in Philadelphia, but his presence at the editor for the Criticwire blog has made his dialectic voice a reasoned and fascinating one in a world of polemics. In this latest episode, Peter sits down with Sam to talk about his first interest in criticism through his desire to talk through a film, his participation in the experimental Flaherty seminar, and his thoughts on the strange world of television criticism and its constant evolution. Finally, the two work through Robert Altman's 1973 hazy noir The Long Goodbye and consider how the director's comedic take on the Chandler hero with Elliot Gould might in some ways be more noir than most revisionist works. 0:00-1:25 Opening2:46-9:13 Establishing Shots - Mann Noirs / Donations9:59-1:15:19 Deep Focus - Sam Adams1:16:45-1:42:42 Double Exposure - The Long Goodbye (Robert Altman)1:42:45-1:44:40 Close / Outtake

1hr 44mins

12 May 2014

Rank #20