Friday, June 20, 2008

Film Podcast Review I: Filmspotting

In one of my earliest blog posts, I highlighted my favorite film podcast (or rather, my favorite podcast overall), Filmspotting. Aside from the obligatory Star Wars/Trek/Matrix/Lost podcasts, I complained that there was a dearth of other interesting film-related podcasts out there. I recently discovered that this is no longer the case. New podcasts like The /Filmcast, Cinebanter, Cinemaslave, Fat Guys at the Movies, and Left Field Cinema have appeared on the scene (or at least, have come to my attention) recently. Anyway, as an avid podcast listener in general, I thought that I'd offer my thoughts and recommendations on these podcasts, plus the NPR production from KCRW/Santa Monica called "The Business".

This is what I originally wrote about Filmspotting:
Filmspotting (formerly Cinecast) is a good one--great commentary, knowledgeable, charismatic hosts, and great production value. Check it out.
In the spirit of film reviews, I will add to that some official ratings for Filmspotting for production quality and content. In those categories, I give Filmspotting
Content Rating: 9/10
Production Rating: 7/10

I do miss their original co-host, Sam Hallgren, but Matty Robinson has been a nice addition. Co-hosted by Adam Kempanar, the podcast is smart without being arrogant or high-minded, and doesn't delve too deeply into adolescent snarkiness like many other podcasts do. The hosts are intelligent and run a tight show which moves along briskly without even coming close to descending into sound bite quickie reviews. I love the combination of reviews of current films along with their film marathons that encourage listeners to follow along (recently featured marathons were 70's Sci Fi, Ingmar Bergman, and Film Noir). They also have fun sideshows like Massacre Theater, top 5 lists, and Matty's Movie Minute that are always well researched and produced. They occasionally have do interesting interviews as well, with the likes of Ellen Page, Diablo Cody

However, Filmspotting is not perfect. I have two complaints about the show. Once in a while, I think that the hosts play devil's advocate simply to be interesting and make for a lively discussion. For example, I find it very hard to believe that Matty really admired Speed Racer as much as he professed to. I also think that while the production quality of the show is excellent compared to other podcasts, once in a while one of the hosts trail off and their comments are unintelligible. Of course, Adam and Matty don't have the resources of a professional recording studio and are not professional radio hosts themselves, so this can be forgiven. The production value is still better than 99.9% of the amateur podcasts that I have heard.

Look for reviews of some other movie-themed podcasts in the coming weeks.

No comments:

Post a Comment