Monday, July 21, 2008

Film Podcast Review XI: CinemaBlend

Rafe Telsh, Margaret Williams and "Sometimes" Tim Kennard host Cinemablend, weekly hour long podcast talking about the latest releases and box office numbers.

This review will now benefit/suffer from the fact that it is eleventh in my series--I can't help but compare it to the others that I have listened to and reviewed. Content-wise this podcast is pretty good, but never really offered too many insightful ideas about their topics aside from what I have heard on other podcasts. They did have discussions about movie news which is different--a "Fiends" movie in the works? Can you believe Hellboy made $35M? Still, I am more interested in the films themselves than the Hollywood gossip. But if this is your cup of tea, then this may be a positive for you. Also, as I have said before, I always like to see a woman as a part of a movies podcast as most of the ones that I have heard are hosted solely by men.

Cinemablend is sort of a weak mashup of my previously reviewed Kermode and Cinebanter podcasts. It is like Kermode in that it has multiple hosts, but one host is clearly in charge--Rafe Telsh, in this case does 80-90% of the talking. Unfortunately, he doesn't have same level of charisma, wit, or insightfulness of Kermode. The podcast is like Cinebanter in that it is refreshing to hear a balanced view. Unfortunately, because Telsh dominates the airtime, the voices of the co-hosts are rarely heard. When they are heard, it is usually to mildly agree or disagree with the primary host or make a snarky comment. Not too many fireworks here. Essentially, if their idea is to have them engaged in a dialog a la Cinebanter, they come up short because one host dominates. If they are trying to replicate Kermode's podcast, where one host is meant to be dominant, they come up short there as well. Kermode is lightning in a bottle for 30 minutes, where Telsh is interesting enough, but can't sustain my interest for an hour. Plus, his co-hosts do little to prod him and stir things up like Kermode's brilliant co-host, Simon Mayo.

I was also disappointed in the production quality of this podcast. The microphone quality of the three hosts is different, making for uneven listening. There were plenty of instances of my personal pet peeve--popping p's. Also, from a production standpoint, some strange things happen. For example, in one episode, Margaret clearly leaves the 'studio' for a couple of minutes. Seriously? If the cohost can't stand to be a part of the show, why should I?

I do have to credit CinemaBlend for turing me on to Burn Notice, which I recently started watching on USA. Great show.

Production: 4/10
Content: 6/10

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