film

Pop Rocket Episode 124: 2017 Summer Blockbusters with Alonso Duralde

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Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Wynter Mitchell
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler
Guests: 
Alonso Duralde

This week, Karen takes over as host as the gang discusses summer blockbusters. They are joined by film critic and writer Alonso Duralde to discuss which summer films they're most excited for, which ones they aren't, and which ones just shouldn't have been made. Margaret tells us what she expects from the perfect summer blockbuster. We find out what the logistics are for a hit film's international release, and the gang takes on the DC versus Marvel movie debate. Plus the panel discusses summer releases that don't have explosions and muscles but rather heart and wit.

We are treated to some awesome recommendations from the gang, from season two of Master of None (watch out for a few tiny spoilers!) to a biography of Harvey Kurtzman, the creator of Mad Magazine. And as always, the gang tells us what their jam of the week is.

Don't forget to check out Alonso's writing at The Wrap magazine or his super smart and hilarious movie criticism podcast Linoleum Knife. You can also follow him on Twitter if you want (you definitely want to!).

With Karen Tongson, Margaret Wappler, Wynter Mitchell, and Alonso Duralde.

Jams:
Karen: Wave Hello, Say Goodbye - Soft Cell
Margaret: 2 Good 2 Be True - Nite Jewel
Wyter: Believe in It - Michael McDonald
Alonso: Here Is My Butt - Saturday Night Live

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to this handy Spotify playlist.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Other Links:
Yacht Rock
Harvey Kurtzman: The Man Who Created Mad and Revolutionized Humor in America

Produced by Christian Dueñas and Kara Hart for MaximumFun.org

Episode 119: Pop Rocket Likes It Raw with April Wolfe

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Guy, April Wolfe, Karen, Wynter
Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Wynter Mitchell
Guests: 
April Wolfe

On this week's Pop Rocket, Guy Branum, Wynter Mitchell and Karen Tongson are joined by LA Weekly film critic April Wolfe for a deep dive into the French horror film Raw by director Julia Ducournau. The movie centers on Justine, a young vegetarian who, along with her sister, is studying to become a veterinarian. When Justine is pressured to eat a rabbit's kidney at a party, that act unleashes all her carnal desires, such as the desire to eat people. When Raw screened in Los Angeles, theaters handed out barf bags to moviegoers because some people can't handle the graphic realism. In this episode, you'll find out why April considers this to be one of the best horror movies of all time. Karen Tongson impresses with a quick history lesson on French veterinary science, and Guy and Wynter explore the ways fear of female sexuality plays such a core role in horror films.

Also in this episode, April's all about the Anne Hathaway film "Colossal", Wynter's all about that Pepsi ad, Guy's all about Shit Town and Karen thinks folks should get into season three of "Grace & Frankie". Plus, the gang shares their favorite jams, but this week Guy's jam isn't a song. It's the horrific footage of the United passenger getting dragged through the plane.

It's a jam-packed episode. Enjoy!

With Guy Branum, Wynter Mitchell, Karen Tongson and April Wolfe.

That’s My Jam:

April Wolfe - Kleenex/ Liliput - Hitch-Hike
Karen Tongson - Lionel Richie - You Are
Wynter Mitchell - Iggy Azalea - Mo Bounce

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to this handy Spotify playlist.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Christian Dueñas and Kara Hartfor MaximumFun.org.

#104 - Lethal Weapon or Die Hard?

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Mark and Hal explore two of the greatest action film franchises of all time to come away with the ultimate victor. Will Murtaugh and Riggs be the ones to finally take down John McClain? Don't worry, everyone. We Got This.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Zach Galifianakis and Michael K. Williams

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Zach Galifianakis
Guests: 
Michael K. Williams

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Zach Galifianakis on Unlikeable Characters, Sudden Fame and Facing “Heartbreaking” Criticism on Public Radio

[r] Zach Galifianakis is an actor, writer and stand-up comedian whose humor isn’t for everyone. His comedic observations and characterizations in television and film have made him a unique voice that some people love and others love to hate.

Galifianakis is probably best known for his roles in The Hangover films and in the Between Two Ferns web series. But he's also been in a lot more, from Up in the Air, to Birdman to Bored to Death. He's now the star and co-creator of the FX series, Baskets, currently in its second season. In the show, he plays a clown who can't keep up with the tuition or his classmates at his French clowning school, and returns to his hometown of Bakersfield, California to work in a rodeo.

Galifianakis sat down with Jesse to talk about creating a show that revolves around a mean and unlikeable character, how he contended with the sudden fame that came with The Hangover and what it’s like be dissed on public radio.

Baskets airs on Thursday nights at 10 pm on FX.


Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Michael K. Williams on His Club Kid Days, Breaking Ground with The Wire and Why a Pop Song Touches Him So Deeply

Michael K. Williams is an actor and dancer who broke out in the role of Omar Little on HBO’s The Wire. His characterization of a criminal “with a code” made the show a favorite among critics and viewers, one of whom was President Obama.

He was a club kid turned professional dancer, and later turned to acting. His resume includes everything from Boardwalk Empire to Twelve Years a Slave to Inherent Vice. He currently co-stars in the new Sundance TV series, Hap and Leonard, which begins its second season in March.

Williams sat down with us to talk about his memories of being a New York club kid, the difference that playing Omar made in his life and others and the opportunity that led him to realize that being a performer could be a career, rather than just a job.

The second season of Hap and Leonard begins airing on March 15.

The Outshot: Gravediggaz’s Poetic

Jesse remembers the poignancy of the late rapper Poetic, who detailed his harrowing fight with cancer in one of his final songs.

Bullseye: Pedro Almodóvar and Alexis Krauss

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Pedro Almodóvar
Guests: 
Alexis Krauss

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Pedro Almodóvar on his new film Julieta, Spain in the 1980’s, and why he never writes about himself

Pedro Almodóvar has been making art for almost 4 decades. Whether that be music, writing, or directing, he has a distinct, bold, and critically acclaimed vision to his art. Originally from a small rural town in Spain, Pedro moved to Madrid in his late teens to study film. His artistic endeavors flourished during the Spanish cultural revolution that followed Francos death in 1975. His first film of distinction was called Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, for which he was nominated for the 1988 Best Foreign Film Academy Award. Since then, he has won two Golden Globe and two Academy awards, among many others.

This week, Jesse sits down with Pedro to talk about his new dramatic endeavor Julieta, his new wave band, and his unseen ailment.

You can find more information about Julieta here.


Photo: Rob Kim/Getty Images

Alexis Krauss on the song that changed her life

Alexis Krauss, one half of the pop-metal band Sleigh Bells has been a musician her entire life. Both of her parents are musicians, and some of her earliest concerts were with her dad performing on the Jersey Shore.

This week, Alexis tells us what song changed her life in a way that only this mid-90’s female pop-rock recording artist could for a young budding musician. You probably oughta know.


Photo: A Prize Bull In A Barn by Richrd Whitford, 1875

The Outshot: 19th Century Paintings of Cows

Finally, Jesse tells it to you straight: he's fallen hard for 18th and 19th century paintings of cows, and you should too.

Bullseye: John C. Reilly & Shamir [r]

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
John C. Reilly
Guests: 
Shamir

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.


Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

John C. Reilly: "Freedom and Anarchy" On Set, and Honesty in Acting

John C. Reilly has shown off his talent for comedy in movies like Talladega Nights and Step Brothers. He's also played a number of dramatic roles in movies like Magnolia and Gangs of New York, and was nominated for an Oscar for playing the cuckolded husband in the movie version of Chicago.

For the past few years, Reilly has also produced and starred in a bizarre show called Check it Out with Dr Steve Brule. So why does a movie star have a faux cable-access show that runs in the middle of the night on adult swim?

John C. Reilly tells Jesse why he chose to take on the goofy, open-hearted and blustery Dr. Steve Brule with comedy duo Tim and Eric, his summer of fun working on the set of Boogie Nights, and what he thinks his duties are as an actor.

Check it Out with Dr Steve Brule is currently airing on Adult Swim. Reilly's new movie The Lobster is in theatres now.

Shamir: Adding Light to Darkness With His Music

Shamir is a musician who is really hard to pin down. His countertenor voice adds a distinctive flair to his infectious, sometimes poignant dance music but it’s a quality that’s also led to confrontations with classmates who were unaware of his Taekwondo training.

With his debut LP, Ratchet, Shamir drew inspiration from his life in Las Vegas. Shamir's Vegas had nothing to do with The Strip and instead was dominated by tumbleweeds and the distinctive odor of a hog farm.

As Shamir describes it, “I kind of decided to make my music more danceable and lighthearted to take away from the heaviness of the lyrics. Because why not, why does your music also have to be heavy if your lyrics are?”

Shamir tells Jesse about constructing a creative identity in a city known for producing more entertainers than artists; how his love for country music inspired him; and how his mother’s proclivity for earth magic isn't quite his thing.

Shamir's latest album is called Ratchet. He's currently on tour in the US and Canada. You can find more on his website.

The Outshot: The Limey

Jesse recommends Steven Soderbergh's The Limey, a revenge movie that’s really about the way we all fight with our own past.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Maria Bamford & Wanda Sykes

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Maria Bamford
Guests: 
Wanda Sykes

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Maria Bamford on Finding the Comedy in Mental Illness

Maria Bamford is a stand-up whose comedy is equal parts confessional and surreal. Using events from her own life, including her struggles with mental illness, she finds comedy in the painful and absurd, infusing both with an infectious joy that has endeared her to fans around the world.

You might know Maria from her roles on shows like Arrested Development, Comedy Bang Bang, Maron and Louie. She found wider national fame during the 2009-2010 holiday shopping season when she appeared as a super-enthusiastic shopper in a series of Target commercials.

Maria sat down with Jesse to talk about her own experiences as a patient of various Los Angeles mental health facilities, finding love and how wanting to work less proved to be a good career move.

Her new show, Lady Dynamite will be available for streaming on Netflix from May 20th. You can find out more about her upcoming tour dates at MariaBamford.com.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Wanda Sykes on Life After the NSA and The Freedom to Be Herself on Stage

Wanda Sykes is a comedian and an actor with an incredible force of personality. Her distinctive voice both as a writer and a performer has earned her success on stage, television and film. She’s been nominated for seven Prime-Time Emmy Award including a win for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Special for her work on The Chris Rock Show.

The Curb Your Enthusiasm star joined Jesse to talk about transitioning from a career with the NSA to stand-up comedy, coming out “accidentally” during a rally against California’s Proposition 8 and why she believes that Bob Hope may have been a super spy.

Jesse was especially excited to talk with Wanda about one of his favorite characters in film, Biggie Shorty from the Louis C.K. directed, Chris Rock produced blaxploitation parody, Pootie Tang (or as we had to refer to it on NPR, “shmooty shmang”).

Wanda Sykes is beginning her tour this month which includes recording dates for her next comedy special.

Sykes is performing two shows at the Theater at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles this Saturday, May 21st. The shows will be filmed for her Epix special out later this year. It's called What Happened…Ms. Sykes? Find out more at WandaSykes.com.

The Outshot: Black Moth Super Rainbow

Jesse talks about his affinity for the music of Black Moth Super Rainbow - an experimental band that declined a request to appear on Bullseye to promote their 2009 album, Eating Us.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Margaret Cho & Whit Stillman

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Margaret Cho
Guests: 
Whit Stillman

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Margaret Cho on Growing Up Korean American, Breaking Through in Comedy and Gay Men She Loved and Lost

Margaret Cho has always found a way to make her life inform her art. With her work as a stand-up comedian, an actor and a singer-songwriter, she has used the events of her life, both good and bad, to inspire her. Whether it’s growing up as a Korean-American girl in San Francisco or breaking through the male-dominated world of stand-up comedy in the early nineties, Cho has always found a way use all of life’s experiences to create entertainment.

Cho famously co-created and starred in the first sitcom that focused on an Asian American family. All-American Girl was cancelled in its first season, but it became a part of American television history and helped lay the groundwork for sitcoms like Fresh Off the Boat. Since then, Cho has continued her standup career, and appeared in numerous film and television shows including Dr. Ken, Family Guy, Sex in the City and on 30 Rock, where in separate episodes, she played North Korean dictators: Kim Jong Il and later his son Kim Jong-un.

Margaret Cho sat down with Jesse to talk about beginning her career during the 90s comedy boom in San Francisco, growing up in a Korean immigrant family, and how the community around her family’s gay bookstore continues to touch and inspire her life.

Margaret Cho’s new album American Myth is now available on iTunes and on her website, MargaretCho.com. She's also out on tour this May and June.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Whit Stillman on Jane Austen, the Importance of Language and Being Inspired by 'Elf'

Whit Stillman is a writer-director who makes comedies of manners. With his films Metropolitan, Barcelona and The Last Days of Disco, the director often explores the world of young upper-class adults who are struggling to find their way in the world both at home and abroad. The films were each made on modest budgets and received praise from critics; his very first film, Metropolitan, garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay.

His latest film Love and Friendship is adapted from Lady Susan, an unfinished novella by Jane Austen. The movie explores the familiar comedic tropes of Austen’s work including class, sexuality, deceit and manipulation.

Whit Stillman joined Jesse to talk about his love for Jane Austen, the importance of language in his films and how the comedy of Will Ferrell infiltrated his new period piece.

Whit Stillman’s new film Love and Friendship is in theaters this week.

A Criterion collection of his first three films (Metropolitan, Barcelona and The Last Days of Disco) are now available in special box set edition.


Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Outshot: Draymond Green

Jesse sings the praises of a basketball scrapper who may not get all the fame, but is no less deserving of the glory.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Geena Davis & Louis C.K.

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Geena Davis
Guests: 
Louis C.K.

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Geena Davis on Gender Diversity, Archery and Quieting the Inner Critic

Geena Davis has made a lasting impression as an actress both on film and television in her roles in Beetlejuice, Thelma and Louise, A League of Their Own, The Accidental Tourist and Commander in Chief. Her performances have resulted in acclaim and a lengthy career both in front and behind the camera. It’s also garnered her a Golden Globe and an Oscar.

Davis is just as committed to her work for gender awareness and diversity in film and television. To turn a light on gender disparity in Hollywood, she created the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, a research-based organization that was created to educate and influence change in the entertainment industry. Davis also founded the Bentonville Film Festival, which showcases films featuring minorities and women in both cast and crew and which guarantees distribution to the festival’s winners.

Geena Davis joined Jesse on Bullseye to talk about gaining confidence in voicing her opinions on set, how she feels about being recognized in public and how quieting her inner-critic helped her to almost qualify as an archer for the Summer Olympic games.

The Bentonville Film Festival takes place in Bentonville, Arkansas this week. Tickets are available to the public.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Louis C.K. on Producing a Show in Secret and Paying for It Out of His Own Pocket

Louis C.K. may be known to most as a stand-up comedian, but he's also a writer, an actor, an editor and a producer who thrives when he is creating on his own terms. And that’s what he has been doing with his comedy specials and television shows, including his Emmy-award-winning FX series, Louie.

Louis C.K. has succeeded not only by becoming one the world’s funniest comedians, but by reinventing how an artist succeeds creatively and financially. His direct-to-fan sales of his concerts and videos via his website have proven incredibly successful and have inspired other comedians and artists to offer their content directly to consumers.

He used this model of distribution to release his latest television show, Horace and Pete which features an ensemble cast including Steve Buscemi, Alan Alda, Jessica Lange and Edie Falco. The show, set in a run-down Brooklyn bar, borrows elements from both film and stage plays, to create a unique experience for both the audience and the actors. CK produced the show in complete secrecy, and didn’t leverage pre-press marketing and press junkets to promote the show.

Louis C.K. sat down with Jesse to talk about why he chose to pay for Horace and Pete using his own money, challenging himself as an actor and what inspired him to come up with the family name for the title characters.

All ten episodes of Horace and Pete are available now from Louis C.K.’s website.

The Outshot: Zombo.com

Jesse on the lingering amusement provided by the absurd and simple website, Zombo.com.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Zach Galifianakis & Michael K. Williams

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Zach Galifianakis
Guests: 
Michael K. Williams

If you liked this episode of Bullseye, you can help support our production by becoming a monthly member! It's our annual MaxFunDrive, the time of year we ask for your help. Visit www.maximumfun.org/donate today and help us reach our network goal of 5000 new and upgrading members, and you'll not only get the satisfaction of sustaining the show -- we'll send you some nice swag, too!

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Zach Galifianakis on Unlikeable Characters, Sudden Fame and Facing “Heartbreaking” Criticism on Public Radio

Zach Galifianakis is an actor, writer and stand-up comedian whose humor isn’t for everyone. His comedic observations and characterizations in television and film have made him a unique voice that some people love and others love to hate.

Galifianakis is probably most widely known for his role as Alan in The Hangover films, but he's also been in everything from Up in the Air, Birdman and Bored to Death. He's now the star and co-creator of the new FX series, Baskets. He plays a clown who can't keep up with the tuition or his classmates at his French clowning school, and returns to his hometown of Bakersfield, California to work in a rodeo.

Galifianakis sat down with Jesse to talk about creating a show that revolves around a mean and unlikeable character, how he contended with the sudden fame that came with The Hangover and what it’s like be dissed on public radio.

Baskets airs on Thursday nights at 10 pm on FX.


Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Michael K. Williams on His Club Kid Days, Breaking Ground with The Wire and Why a Pop Song Touches Him So Deeply

Michael K. Williams is an actor and dancer who broke out in the role of Omar Little on HBO’s The Wire. His characterization of a criminal “with a code” made the show a favorite among critics and viewers, one of whom was President Obama.

He was a club kid turned professional dancer, and later turned to acting. His resume includes everything from Boardwalk Empire to Twelve Years a Slave to Inherent Vice. He currently co-stars in the new Sundance TV series, Hap and Leonard.

Williams sat down with us to talk about his memories of being a New York club kid, the difference that playing Omar made in his life and others and the opportunity that led him to realize that being a performer could be a career, rather than just a job.

Hap and Leonard can be seen Wednesday nights at 10 pm on Sundance TV.

The Outshot: Gravediggaz’s Poetic

Jesse remembers the poignancy of rapper Poetic’s examination of his own mortality in the music he produced with Gravediggaz.

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