Eavesdropping at the Movies  By  cover art

Eavesdropping at the Movies

By: Jose Arroyo and Michael Glass
  • Summary

  • "I have this romantic idea of the movies as a conjunction of place, people and experiences, all different for each of us, a context in which individual and separate beings try to commune, where the individual experience overlaps with the communal and where that overlapping is demarcated by how we measure the differing responses between ourselves and the rest of the audience: do they laugh when we don’t (and what does that mean?); are they moved when we feel like laughing (and what does that say about me or the others) etc. The idea behind this podcast is to satiate the urge I sometimes have when I see a movie alone – to eavesdrop on what others say. What do they think? How does their experience compare to mine? Snippets are overhead as one leaves the cinema and are often food for thought. A longer snippet of such an experience is what I hope to provide: it’s two friends chatting immediately after a movie. It’s unrehearsed, meandering, slightly convoluted, certainly enthusiastic, and well informed, if not necessarily on all aspects a particular work gives rise to, certainly in terms of knowledge of cinema in general and considerable experience of watching different types of movies and watching movies in different types of ways. It’s not a review. It’s a conversation." - José Arroyo. "I just like the sound of my own voice." - Michael Glass.
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  • 405 - Napoleon (2023)
    Nov 27 2023
    For our discussion of Ridley Scott's new historical epic, Napoleon, we have the privilege of being joined by Paul Cuff, a film historian and expert on the Napoleonic era in cinema, including and especially Abel Gance's Napoléon from 1927, about which he wrote A Revolution for the Screen: Abel Gance's Napoleon. Together, we ask whether Scott's film has anything to say about the man whose life it depicts - and if so what? - whether its ahistoricity matters, and how substantially it fleshes out its characters and the events and relationships dramatised. Recorded on 26th November 2023.
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    1 hr and 13 mins
  • 404 - The Killer
    Nov 18 2023
    David Fincher's precise, controlled direction is a perfect match for Michael Fassbender's precise, controlled performance in this lean but complex story of a botched assassination, revenge, and the hitman's attempts to reassert precise control over his life. We discuss the world in which The Killer is set and the way in which its title character operates, lives, and sees his place within it; the functions we see in its premise of a murderer-for-hire bored with his job, be it a critique of capitalism or a satire on work; the many names he assumes and what we take from the fact that they're all drawn from sitcoms; the extraordinary audiovisual craft that we're used to seeing from Fincher and thankfully not inured to; how the film uses noir and thriller tropes and where it might overplay them; the film's obsession with process and procedure and why Mike likes playing it more than watching it; and more. The Killer is a brilliantly conceived and assembled thriller filled with cinematography and editing to admire, and a lot to chew on despite its slight appearance. See it. Recorded on 14th November 2023.
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    1 hr and 2 mins
  • 403 - Killers of the Flower Moon
    Oct 30 2023
    Based on true events, Killers of the Flower Moon tells a story that invokes the foundational genocide upon which the USA was built, but has its own peculiarities. The Osage Nation, a Native American tribe and unusually the owners of their reservation in Oklahoma, became extraordinarily wealthy in the early 20th century upon finding their land gushing oil - but in pursuit of their riches, the white population in the region devised a plan to rob them of their individual land rights, which were only allowed to be inherited. In telling this story, Killers of the Flower Moon justifies its three and a half hours of runtime - though there's no reason not to include an intermission! - and Leonardo DiCaprio, in particular, has never been better. We discuss the specific events depicted and the wider history to which they relate and that they evoke in microcosm; the complexities in DiCaprio's character, who participates knowingly in hideous crimes but truly loves his wife, whose community and family he's devastating, all the while not quite having the mental acuity to understand the full extent of what he's involved in; the quality and qualities of the performances and characterisations; the visual design, effects of lighting, and evocation of the feeling of so many mid-20th century Westerns through subtle and specific elements of the cinematography; and the idiosyncratic ending and what it has to say to its audience. Recorded on 29th October 2023.
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    48 mins

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