Essential podcasts for movie geeks

News Glen Chapman 6 Apr 2010 - 16:11

Glen highlights the movie podcasts that really do warrant your attention...

Podcasts have saved me from hours of boredom over the years, whether it be during quiet times during my day job or the many tasks and chores that inevitably come with adult life. I find that listening to a podcast makes these moments infinitely more tolerable.

Having listened to dozens of movie-related podcasts over the years, here's what I consider to be essential listening:

SModcast

I fully appreciate that filmmaker Kevin Smith is somewhat of a divisive character, but SModcast has provided me with many hours of entertainment over the years.

Smith's recording partner is mostly his producer Scott Mosier and what frequently plays out is the two of them chatting casually about various topics, some of which they appear to have very little knowledge of whatsoever.

In addition to the casual chat on topics that take their fancy, there are occasionally insights into Smith's past and upcoming projects, as well as tales about the stars of his films that prove to be entertaining and insightful.

Other guests over the years the podcast has been running have included Smith's wife, Jennifer Schwalbach, his daughter. Harley Quinn Smith and Jay himself. Jason Mewes. to name but a few.

The series took a dip in quality after the release of Zack And Miri Make A Porno, but they've picked up lately.

Often crass but frequently hilarious, this isn't a podcast that everyone will enjoy, but for fans of Smith, SModcast proves to be a great listen.

Spill

Another show that won't be to everyone's tastes, but is one that I thoroughly enjoy, The Spill crew, consists of four critics based in Houston Texas, who deliver their matter-of-fact film reviews in an extremely informal way and it's just like listening to a group of mates discussing the latest releases.

The banter between the hosts is excellent and occasionally the reviews descend into exchanges of insults.

Even though the tone is casual and there's plenty of humour in each episode, the shows are well balanced and the hosts are all extremely knowledgeable. At the end of their in depth discussion they all provide a summary of their opinions.

If you're after a serious movie review podcast, this one isn't for you, but if you're after a balance between humour and indepth insights, you could do much worse than Spill.

Mondo Movie

Ben Howard and Dan Auty's Mondo Movie podcast recently celebrated its 100th episode with a rundown of each of the hosts' top 20 films of the last decade. It was a great episode, but not exactly representative of the type of films that are normally covered.

As the title of the show would suggest; the show tends to focus on genre cinema with a strong focus on video nasties. Auty and Howard really know their stuff about the types of films that they cover and how they fare when compared against other genre films.

Even if some of the films that are discussed aren't to my tastes, it's great to hear people talk about them with such knowledge and enthusiasm when a lot of other sources simply neglect to cover them. Recent examples of this are Cabin Fever 2, which I haven't seen any other coverage for and (REC) 2, which I had no idea was available for import and swiftly ordered a copy whilst I listened to the presenters talk so enthusiastically about it.

The show's usually bi-weekly, although from time to time there'll be a longer wait between episodes.

/Filmcast

Hosted by Slash Film's managing editor David Chen and regular contributors Devindra Hardawar and Adam Quigley the /Filmcast is among the finest podcasts available for movie reviews and news as well as discussions on the best shows TV has to offer. The popularity and success of the show is impressive given its modest beginnings of what the hosts themselves recently described as them "dicking around on Skype".

The weekly show usually focuses on one indepth review that's preceded by discussing what each of the hosts have been watching the week prior to the show, and the latest news stories that the site's covering. There's also a bonus show each week called After Dark, where the hosts and their guest will leave the mics on and carry on their discussions and go through listener voicemails and emails.

I've recently made reference to another /Film podcast, The Tobolowsky Files, which is also fantastic and one that comes highly recommended. Read my thoughts on it here.

Filmspotting

Hosted by Chicago-based critics Adam Kempenaar and Matty Robinson, Filmspotting is undoubtedly one of the finest podcasts available.

Filmspotting has been running under its current guise since May 2006, when it changed from Cinecast, which ran from March 2005. Kempenaar started the podcast with Sam Van Hallgren when podcasts were a relatively new thing. Robinson joined in September 2007, following Van Hallgren's departure.

The shows usually clock in at just over an hour and during that time the hosts review one new release, discuss a film that's part of their current movie marathon, re-enact a scene from a movie as part of a competition named Massacre Theatre and they close with a topical top five list, where both hosts provide their choices for the day's topic.

Kempenaar and Robinson display a huge amount of love and knowledge for all things cinema-related which is, no doubt, the reason why, over the years, Filmspotting has firmly established itself as one of the finest and most highly regarded movie podcasts available.

New shows are available every Friday.

Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo's Film Reviews

This podcast or the live broadcast will, no doubt, be essential listening for many readers of this site and whilst any hopes of the good doctor hosting Film 2010 have disappeared following the recent announcement that Claudia Winkleman will take hosting duties (although Kermode has dismissed rumours on a number of occasions), it's great that we'll still get to enjoy this excellent show for the foreseeable future.

There's great chemistry between Kermode and Mayo which, no doubt, has attributed to the show's success. That and Kermode's wealth of cinematic knowledge, of course. Mayo acts as a good counter to Kermode which ensures most people's tastes are catered for. Ge also reins the good doctor in when he goes off on his rants.

I'm rarely able to catch the live show, due to work, but I've barely missed a podcast over the years it's been running. Out of all the review-focussed podcasts, I would say that this is my favourite.

Creative Screenwriting

Jeff Goldsmith's Creative Screenwriting podcast lets the writers of some of the biggest movies take centre stage and discuss the creative process. Without exception, these have been brilliant over the years that the series has been running, and even if a film or individual that I'm not particularly interested in or fond of are featured, it's always interesting to hear about their methods and thoughts on the screenwriting process.

Probably one of the best examples of this is Goldsmith's interview with Dr. Uwe Boll. I've seen a fair few of Boll's films over the years and dismissed most of them as rubbish, but he comes across very well in the interview and I gained a new appreciation for his approach to funding and making films.

Other highlights include Zombieland Writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick discussing the origins of the film and the setups for the various cameos they pitched prior to getting Bill Murray, Armando Iannuci, Peter Capaldi and Mimi Kennedy discussing In The Loop and Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci discussing Star Trek and Transformers, to name but a few.

Goldsmith is a brilliant interviewer, who doesn't shy away from asking difficult questions and gets his interview subjects to provide great insights as a result.

No doubt I've missed some great shows off this list. Please add your suggestions below.

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