It's the last episode of 2015, and Ennis Esmer finds a sliver of time between episodes of Blindspot and Red Oaks to salute Three Amigos, John Landis' affectionate 1986 tribute to silent movies, the premise of Seven Samurai and the chemistry of Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short. Your genial host Norm Wilner just tries not to shoot the Invisible Swordsman.
Our first Christmas episode brings Kristian Bruun -- who co-stars in the Murdoch Mysteries holiday special airing on CBC December 21st -- back into the basement to discuss his favorite holiday movies and explore his own relationship with the season. Your genial host Norm Wilner supplies the fruitcake.
Actor, producer, voice of Billy in Black Christmas -- Nick Mancuso has done it all, and now he brings one of his greatest artistic inspirations, Federico Fellini's 8½, into the basement for an aria on cinema, Italy and the craft of acting. Your genial host Norm Wilner is the audience.
Lauren Collins, a Degrassi veteran who spins her TV stardom for comedy in the short film Zero Recognition, brings Gillian Robespierre's 2014 indie Obvious Child into the basement for a conversation about rom-coms, social mores, smart character writing and the magic that is Jenny Slate. Your genial host Norm Wilner is on the same page. #StandWithPP
Nelson George -- whose latest documentary, A Ballerina's Tale, is now available for pre-order on iTunes -- brings the original version of Sparkle into the basement to explore the curious cultural moment that produced a blaxploitation melodrama about Diana Ross and the Supremes. Your genial host Norm Wilner is in it for the Aretha stories.
Producer and director Michael McNamara -- whose new film The Trick with the Gun has its theatrical premiere in Toronto this Thursday (November 19) before going live on Vimeo on Demand this Friday (November 20) -- brings D.A. Pennebaker's Dont Look Back into the basement because it's the movie that changed his life. Your genial host Norm Wilner spends the entire episode trying not to put the apostrophe back into the title.
It's our second straight Best Picture winner, as Milcho Manchevski -- director of the terrific Macedonian drama Before the Rain, and subject of the new archival collection Monograph -- brings the artistry and joy of Milos Forman's extravagant 1984 drama Amadeus into the basement. Your genial host Norm Wilner is most pleased.
Singer/songwriter Natalie Merchant, whose new documentary Paradise Is There: A Memoir is playing in theatres and available this Friday in the deluxe edition of The New Tigerlily Recordings, comes to the basement to discuss (and perform selected dialogue from) Joseph L. Mankiewicz' 1950 classic All About Eve. Your genial host Norm Wilner is her delighted audience.
It's Halloween, so veteran producer (Ginger Snaps, Splice) and newly-minted director (A Christmas Horror Story) Steven Hoban descends into the basement with Drew Goddard's delightful monster mash-up The Cabin in the Woods for a conversation about smart storytelling, sympathizing with the right characters, and how to hide a thoughtful deconstruction of genre inside a workplace comedy. Your genial host Norm Wilner spent the entire time trying to solve this weird puzzle box.
Fresh from screening his new film The Demolisher at the Toronto After Dark Fillm Festival, writer-director Gabriel Carrer champions Kathryn Bigelow's adrenaline-junkie actioner Point Break, now almost a quarter-century old and still somehow the only movie where someone throws a dog at Keanu Reeves during a foot chase. Your genial host Norm Wilner hangs on for dear life.
In advance of the Toronto premiere of her new film He Hated Pigeons on Sunday, October 18th, writer-director-producer Ingrid Veninger comes to the basement with one of the all-time great American indies, John Cassavetes' A Woman Under the Influence. Your genial host Norm Wilner is almost ashamed of how quickly he brings up that time he had lunch with Gena Rowlands and Peter Falk.
With the Canadian premiere of his new movie Queen of Earth coming up in Toronto on October 13th, writer-director Alex Ross Perry takes a nice long look at Sofia Coppola's 2010 drama Somewhere and finds great comfort in its story of a super-famous father bonding with his tween daughter. Your genial host Norm Wilner thought he was the only one.
Winner of TIFF 2015's Toronto City Award for Best Canadian First Feature, Sleeping Giant writer-director Andrew Cividino comes to the basement to discuss the themes, structure and digital wonders of Robert Zemeckis' Contact. Your genial host Norm Wilner had yet to see The Walk at the time of recording.
Filmmaker Nimisha Mukerji (65_Red Roses, Blood Relative) brings Tyler Measom and Justin Weinstein's documentary An Honest Liar into the basement, marking the first time a guest has chosen to discuss a non-fiction film. (No, Borat doesn't count.) The life and secrets of James Randi are explored, along with the nature of documentary filmmaking itself, as your genial host Norm Wilner does his best to keep it real.
As he brings his documentary Hurt to TIFF, filmmaker Alan Zweig stops by to talk about The Friends of Eddie Coyle, Peter Yates' minimalist crime picture featuring Robert Mitchum, a great cast of 1970s character actors and an approach to the genre that had never quite been attempted before. Your genial host Norm Wilner rides shotgun.
Actress-writer-producer Katie Boland is bringing two films to TIFF later this week -- she produced the short film Boxing and has a supporting role opposite Ethan Hawke in the Chet Baker drama Born to Be Blue -- so it was really nice of her to carve out the time to talk about Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman's rapturous, melancholic 2004 comedy. Your genial host Norm Wilner promised himself he wouldn't cry.
Strange Empire star Cara Gee, who swears she does not like musicals, loves Jesus Christ Superstar. How did Norman Jewison's 1973 adaptation of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's rock opera force its way into her heart? Listen to this week's episode and find out! Your genial host Norm Wilner does not sing, but might bust out his Ian McKellen impression. It's all kind of a blur.
With his feature film Backcountry opening across Canada this Friday, August 28th -- and arriving on Blu-ray and DVD in the US next week - writer-director Adam Macdonald professes his love for Rob Zombie's 2005 sophomore picture The Devil's Rejects, a gay romp with the close-knit Firefly clan through the Texas countryside. Your genial host Norm Wilner has the peroxide close at hand, and this isn't even a joke. (This is the correct version of the episode; due to a technical error, an unfinished version was initially posted. If you got that, please redownload this one with Norm's apologies.)
In this week's episode, the show goes to New York City to talk to comedian-actress Bridey Elliott, whose new movie Fort Tilden is rolling into theatres. And she's picked one of the greatest horror movies ever made: Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby, starring Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes as a young couple whose lovely new apartment on the Upper West Side comes at a terrible price. Your genial host Norm Wilner does his best not to think about how cheap the rents must have been in 1968.
With his comedy Guidance opening at the TIFF Bell Lightbox this week -- and rolling into the U.S. later this month -- writer-director-star Pat Mills brings Mike Nichols' 1988 comedy Working Girl into the basement to discuss the appeal of a good underdog story, the charm of the young Melanie Griffith and the secret genius of Sigourney Weaver. Mercifully, your genial host Norm Wilner does not attempt a Staten Island accent.
With his second feature Diamond Tongues opening at the TIFF Bell Lightbox this Friday, August 7th, filmmaker Pavan Moondi brings Harold Ramis' delightful Groundhog Day into the basement for a conversation about philosophy, destiny, comedy and the perfection of Bill Murray's performance. Your genial host Norm Wilner does not make a single deja-vu joke.
In this week's episode, screenwriter, filmmaker and Feminist Live Read pioneer Chandler Levack brings Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont's 1998 teen-party classic Can't Hardly Wait into the basement, discussing its remarkable cast, its clever investigation of adolescent identity and its appeal to millennials, among other things. Your genial host Norm Wilner does his best not to bring up the fact that he's old enough to be, like, Chandler's dad.
As he returns to Hannibal for the back half of what may be its final season, actor-comedian Scott Thompson -- a podcaster himself with the Scott Free Podcast -- takes a moment to celebrate the magic that is Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell in Howard Hawks' 1953 musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Your genial host Norm Wilner would like to remind you that this episode really earns its language advisory.
In our very first splintersode, your genial host Norm Wilner presents some deleted digressions from our episodes with Kiva Reardon and Faith Erin Hicks! Those conversations took pop-culture detours that couldn't be accommodated within the parameters of a normal show, but they're exactly right for this post-Comic-Con saturated landscape. (Basically, Batman and Chris Evans were on everybody's mind.) Sit back, relax and listen as banter and insight compete for prominence over a fun, rambling hour.
As his movie Pretend We're Kissing arrives on iTunes and various VOD platforms, writer-director Matt Austin Sadowski comes to the basement to mark the 30th anniversary of Robert Zemeckis' time-travel sensation. Your genial host Norm Wilner is all too happy to load the Mr. Fusion.