Episode 17: 80s Weird Adventure

Our first double feature of season two is here! Chris and Courtney have selected their favorite 80s Weird Adventure movies, and asked Matthew Kessen to act as judge. 

For the super-specific and not entirely real genre 80s Weird Adventure, Chris and Courtney have selected Steven Spielberg's ET and the live-action Disney smash Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. 

The man who is judge--or perhaps even God-- of this genre is Matthew Kessen, aka: The Reverend Matt. Reverent Matt is a minister of the Church of the Subgenius, which is...complicated, but he's also the man behind the hilarious show/podcast Reverend Matt's Monster Science, on which he tells jokes and talks about monsters. 

Where to Find Reverend Matt: 
Reverend Matt's Monster Science

Also in the episode, a lot of talk about nostalgia, a little discussion of Stranger Things, a strange reference to a very obscure Japanese video game that Courtney and Matt are apparently both quite familiar with.

Introducing Season 2

Courtney and Chris introduce season 2, My Favorite of That Type of Movie, as Double Exposure returns to our regularly scheduled program. 

Find out what changes are in store for season 2, what movies we're watching for next week, and what you have to look forward to for the next 16 episodes of Double Exposure. 

Follow Double Exposure on Twitter @twomoviesmn, and subscribe on iTunes or wherever you find your podcasts

Catherine Eaton, director of The Sounding

In The Sounding, Olivia stops talking altogether, and when she starts again, she only speaks Shakespeare. The movie is a massive undertaking for the woman who made it, Catherine Eaton, who acts in, directs, and co-wrote the film.

The Sounding explores otherness, individuality, mental health, love, care-taking and language, and it does so through the creation of a character that is fully realized expression of individuality, artistry and humanity.

Chris was lucky enough to sit down with Catherine Eaton to discuss her debut feature film, the Sounding. Eaton has a long history as an actor, including spending several years at The Guthrie. This morning, we discussed the origins of this deeply fascinating character, and what it was like to play that intense role and simultaneously direct the film.

The Sounding is playing at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival this Friday and Saturday, April 15 and 15. Eaton will be in attendance for that both of those showings. 

The film will play again on April 22nd. 

Interview: John Jencks, Director of The Hippopotamus

The Hippopotamus is a very British affair. An adaptation of Stephen Fry's novel, The Hippopotamus is about a once famous poet named Ted Wallace, who is now a drunk and a journalist. After being fired from his job, he's hired to investigate the miraculous goings-on at Swafford Hall, his ex-girlfriend's brother's wealthy estate, where sick people, according to some, are being healed. 

Director John Jencks joins Double Exposure to discuss his film. We talked about everything from how to direct bad theater in a good movie, to the deliciousness of hearing the Sarah and Duck narrator use such inventive vulgarity. Jencks also shares the film industry insight he's gathered working both on the creative side as a director, and on the financial side as an executive producer.

The Hippopotamus is playing at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival this Friday, at 7PM, and Jencks will be in attendance for that event. 

The film will play again on April 22nd. 

MSP International Film Festival Interview: Jesse Bishop, MSPIFF Program Director

The 36th Annual Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival is here. From April 13 - 29, 350 films from dozens of countries will be playing at five theaters across the Twin Cities. It's a massive undertaking, and one of the best film events in the Midwest. 

As an MSP-based film podcast, Double Exposure can't pass up this festival. Up first is Jesse Bishop, Programming Director for the MSP Film Society. I asked Jesse what it takes to put on a film festival of this size, what MSPIFF has to offer compared to the thousands of festivals in the world, and what films he's particularly excited about. 

Enjoy the interview, and if you're in MSP, go see a few movies this month. We'll have some recommendations later in the festival run.

Browse the MSPIFF Film and Event Calendar

Movies Steve Bannon Would Hate: A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night

The final episode of Movies Steve Bannon Would Hate is here: A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night: Ana Lily Amirpour's punk vampire movie about a young Iranian woman in Bad City who calls down vampire justice on the bad men

In the episode, Chris and Courtney explore all the epic glory of A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, including the simple, stunning images of the Girl that mark the unique familiarity of Amirpour's movie. There's just something about the visual power of Amirpour's film and hero that make it a magical experience.  

This week, we're asking listeners to consider donating to the Council on American-Islamic Relations. CAIR is doing some of the most important work in the US to protect and promote Muslim Americans, and promote mutual understanding around issues of Islam and civil liberties, and religious freedom.

Donate to CAIR

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night brings together many of the themes that have surfaced in the Steve Bannon episodes--women's relationship to men, religious difference, vampirism-- and makes a fine finale to this film-watching experiment. We hope you've enjoyed listening to the Bannon Series as much as we have had making it. And we'll see you on season 2.

Movies Steve Bannon Would Hate: Spotlight

Two consecutive Best Picture winners are now two consecutive entries in the Movies Steve Bannon Would Hate, as Tom McCarthy's Spotlight makes its Double Exposure debut.

Spotlight tells the story of the investigative journalists who broke the story of the Catholic Church's Rape and Sex Abuse scandal and the cover-up underway to protect the priests responsible.

Steve Bannon despises journalists and the media, which he has called "the opposition party." Donald Trump, for his part, has called journalists "the most dishonest people on earth."

Which means that Tom McCarthy's portrayal of journalists doing the hard work of telling the truth, exposing wrongs, and bringing the sins of the Catholic Church to light is the very kind of movie that Steve Bannon would hate. 

Movies Steve Bannon Would Hate: Moonlight

This year's Academy Award winner for Best Picture, Moonlight, is the latest installment in the Movies Steve Bannon Would Hate miniseries. 

Courtney and Chris gush over the cinematic achievement of Barry Jenkins, in all its glorious execution. A story-driven indie film, beautifully photographed and powerfully acted, that avoids becoming a polemic or a Race Movie.

Instead, Moonlight moves audiences by telling a moving story. One that is too rare in American cinema, featuring characters often avoided in mainstream art and conversation.

Which is one of many reasons why Steve Bannon would hate Moonlight so much. 

What else would Bannon hate? As Courtney says: "He would hate two well-meaning white liberals sitting around and talking about this movie more than anything." 

This week, Courtney and Chris are asking listeners to donate to the National organization of Black Lives Matter, or to find your local BLM and donate. But don't just donate. Get involved.

Donate to Black Lives Matter

An Interview with Guillermo Del Toro

Guillermo Del Toro was in the Twin Cities last week for the opening of a new exhibit at Minneapolis Institute of Arts, titled, Guillermo Del Toro: At Home With Monsters. 

The exhibition includes more than 500 pieces, most of them from Del Toro's personal collection at his home, Bleak House. Mia's own collection is also represented, and the cumulative effect of At Home With Monsters is magnificent. The exhibit runs at Mia until May 28th.

Read more about the exhibit
Buy Tickets

Del Toro contains one of the most gifted cinematic imaginations of our time, and At Home With Monsters is a rare opportunity to peer inside the obsessive nature of that imagination. 

While Del Toro was in town, Chris had the distinct pleasure of sitting down with Guillermo and a few other journalists for a wide-ranging conversation about his work, his life, and what he thinks of the direction the US is taking right now.

Find out why Del Toro's grandmother performed an exorcism on him, and what his personal favorite Del Toro projects are.

We hope you enjoy this very special episode of Double Exposure. 

Movies Steve Bannon Would Hate: Starship Troopers

Starship Troopers is a tricky pick for the Movies Steve Bannon Would Hate miniseries. Because, frankly, we're not sure that Steve Bannon would hate it. But we're certain that he should. 

Paul Verhoeven's 1997 big-budget science-fiction intergalactic bug-war dons all the attire of a fascistic warmongering battle hungry war film. And if one doesn't pay close attention, then that's what you'll find. But Verhoeven is no fascist, and his film undercuts every moment of fascism and authoritarianism it portrays. So argues Chris, anyway.

So why would Steve Bannon Hate This Movie? Well, Bannon is a Clash of Civilization ideologue. His worldview, as expressed in his Vatican Speech, seems to employ war and conflict as a tool to meet his political aims. Which is terrible, and the very target of Starship Troopers

Also on this episode: much discussion of how terrifying Steve Bannon's appetite for war is, how wonderful Paul Verhoeven's appetite for sex is, and a request for listeners to donate to the people doing the work of helping US veterans living with mental illness.

Donate to National Alliance on Mental Illness
NAMI Minnesota
Find Your Local NAMI Office

Movies Steve Bannon Would Hate: Obvious Child

Everyone's favorite abortion comedy is surely a movie that Steve Bannon would hate, right?

For week two of our miniseries on Movies Steve Bannon Would Hate, Courtney and Chris discuss Obvious Child, as well as abortion politics in America, the alt-right anti-women vision of Breitbart, Bannon, and Milo Yannioupolous. 

Breitbart called Obvious Child propaganda for Planned Parenthood, among other, equally stupid names. But Gillian Robespierre's hilarious and touching debut feature film is much more than a promotional film for the health and reproductive services offered by a vital organization like Planned Parenthood. 

But hey, if Obvious Child were a promotional film for Planned Parenthood, that would be alright by us. And if you want to donate to Planned Parenthood, that would be even better. 

You can do that here: 
Click here to make a tax deductive donation to Planned Parenthood
Click here to donate to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund

Also on the episode: abortion in film comedies, Jenny Slate's fierce/funny performance, Donald Trump's obvious flip-flop on abortion, and a quick and confused discussion of what, exactly, is a cuck.

Movies Steve Bannon Would Hate: Children of Men

Last week marked the end of Season One on Double Exposure. Before we start Season Two, we’re dedicating some time on the show to the subject that is sucking the oxygen out of Chris and Courtney’s, and so many other Americans’, lives: presidential politics. More specifically, Steven Bannon.

The former Executive Chair of the alt-right propo site Breitbart News somehow managed to turn his controversial brand of anti-everything-and-everyone politics into one of the most powerful political positions in America: Donald Trump’s Chief White House Strategist. There are no strings to hold Bannon down, now. Maybe not even his boss.  There’s something about the position of Steve Bannon in our country right now that is deeply troubling. To put it mildly.

So welcome to week 1 of Double Exposure: Movies Steve Bannon Would Hate! For the next few months, Double Exposure is going to explore the life and politics of Steve Bannon, through movies we believe he would (or should) hate.

In our first Movies Steve Bannon Would Hate! installment, Chris and Courtney discuss what it is about Steve Bannon that makes him so unsettling and troubling, before moving to discuss the recent Executive Order on immigration and refugee travel.

All of which leads to Alfonso Cuaron’s 2006 sci-fi dystopian drama, Children of Men. Set in England in 2027, Children of Men presents a society falling apart: immigration and refugees now live in camps and cages, the government distributes suicide pills, and an unknown crisis caused worldwide infertility. Cuaron’s film depicts a bleak future; one too easy to imagine when men like Steve Bannon are in power.



Episode 16: Deborah Carver talks Winona Ryder

Deborah Carver is a writer, editor and filmmaker, just about to wrap up her first short film, The Great Man Theory of History.

She joins Double Exposure this week to discuss the woman of a million facial expressions, Winona Ryder.  

Where to find Deborah:

Winona Rider was the it girl of the late 80s and early 90s, starring in everything from sci-fi/horror comedies to Scorcese-directed period dramas. By the mid-90s was a Gen X icon and a two-time academy award nominee. You could say she really made something of herself by the age of 23. 

For the show, we discuss the 1988 school-shooting comedy Heathers and the 1994 slacker-romance Reality Bites. The former features Ms. Rider as a 16-year old actress making a meal of a terrific screenplay, the latter finds her wading through the middle of a corporate slough. Or so one of us thinks anyway. 

But no matter the movie, Winona Ryder plays her naturalism and authenticity to maximum effect. So we decided to judger her on that very quality. And also, those faces. Those, wonderful faces. 

Episode 15: Josh Stifter talks David Cronenberg

Josh Stifter is a director of bloody, gory short films and wickedly funny animation. Stifter thinks too much of the Minnesota film scene takes itself too seriously. So he goes the other direction completely, making "wild and batshit crazy" shorts about killer Christmas stockings and the perils of early parenthood. "Who cares," Josh says, "it's fun to watch." 

Stifter makes these films for his company Flush Studios. But he got started working for Kevin Smith, animating episodes of Smodcast, and eventually creating an animated scene for Smith's film Tusk (the scene was eventually cut, but is available on DVD and Blu-ray bonus features). 

Where to Find Josh:

Josh picked two early David Cronenberg films to discuss: Scanners and The Fly. Scanners marked Cronenberg's first wide release, introducing his signature style of violence to the nation. It was a critical and box-office failure in 1981, but has become a cult classic. The Fly was a different story, a critical hit and Oscar winner for Cronenberg, The Fly was also a popular success, finding crossover appeal beyond science-fiction and horror fans.

In this episode, Courtney, Chris and Josh dive into Cronenberg's propensity for body horror, his need to show everything (and we mean everything) to the audience, and his vision of technology as an extension of humanity.

Also in the pod: Are studios ruining young sci-fi directors by giving them mega-franchise money too soon? How much glistening Goldblum can humanity survive? And who has the gumption  to sing the John Mayer cover Body Horror is a Wonderland?

Episode 14: Harold Burnett talks Denzel Washington

Self-described poptimist Harold Burnett joins Chris and Courtney to talk about man of the moment Denzel Washington. Harold's first Denzel experience was Spike Lee's Mo' Better Blues, and he has been hooked for decades. 

Find Harold: 
Everything Processed

For the past 15 years or so, Denzel Washington has split his on-screen time between Serious Acting Pictures and average-to-below-average action thrillers.

For this week's Double Exposure, Harold has chosen one of each: 1998's He Got Game and 2014's The Equalizer. 

In this episode we cover everything you need to know about Denzel Washington, plus a vibrant discussion about Geriaction, the recently popular genre of grandpa-aged action heroes, Spike Lee's visual style, and a shout out to W. Kamau Bell and Kevin Avery's podcast Denzel Washington is the Best Actor Ever Period.

Episode 13: Mike Writes talks Alfred Hitchcock

Let me introduce Mike Epperson, aka, Mike Writes. Epperson is a Philadelphia-based rapper and English Professor at Arcadia University and Philadelphia University. He joins us this week on Double Exposure.  

Find Mike Writes

For discussion, Mike brought Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo and North By Northwest, two undisputed masterpieces from the master of suspense. Vertigo recently topped the Sight and Sound critics’ poll, surpassing Citizen Kane as the best film of all time. And North By Northwest has long been considered among Hitchcock’s most successful thrillers.

The question for these films is not are they great, but why are they considered so? How should we account for Hitchcock’s obsessive fetishism for manipulating women into manipulating men? How do fears of mistaken identity effect modern audiences? And why does Hitch make his actresses keep expressionless faces?

Which film will be the most Hitchcockian? And what does that mean when Hitchcock made so many and various films? Let us know what you think.

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Episode 12: Robert Algeo talks Robert Zemeckis

This week Double Exposure welcomes comics artist and wunder-adult Robert Algeo. Robert is sitting in this week for Courtney, who is at home with the Algeo's.....new baby!

Congratulations Courtney and Bob. Tremendous work.

Bob joins Chris to discuss Robert Zemeckis' Forrest Gump and Contact. Zemeckis is a populist art-maker, working with stars in the studio world. But he's also an experimenter in the industry.

An acolyte of Steven Spielberg, Zemeckis is known for pursuing the advancement of technical elements in filmmaking to great success. His most-beloved films, Back to the Future, Forrest Gump, were early successes in seamlessly integrating visual effects, CGI, and live-action. He would take that to the extreme in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and more recently, push it even further with his motion-capture films (Polar Express, Beowulf, A Christmas Carol).

But is Zemeckis' skill mostly technical? Forrest Gump was a Best Picture and Best Director winner, and a beloved Baby-Boomer reflection. But does Gump tell a good story? Contact is a thoughtful exploration of science, religion and politics. But is it just a boring philosophical treatise? When you try to nail a guy like Zemeckis down, what is left? Are their organizing thematic principles to one of the most successful, if under-recognized, directors of the last thirty years? 

Chris and Bob get into all this, and more. From Zemeckis' obsession with the uncanny valley to Jodie Foster's unimpeachable career, to wild assertions about the talent of Jim Carrey.

Episode 11: Bao Phi talks Ang Lee

Photo by Anna Min

Photo by Anna Min

This week Double Exposure welcomes poet and writer, live performer and all around wonderful nerd, Bao Phi.

Bao is a two-time Minnesota Grand Slam Champion and a finalist for the National Poetry Slam. In his collection, Sông I Sing, according to the New York Times, "Mr. Phi writes rhymes with the truth."

Find Bao Phi

For his double feature, Bao selected director Ang Lee, and his films Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Hulk

In 2000, Crouching Tiger won 4 Academy Awards, including Best Foreign Film. A combined production of Ang Lee's Taiwan and American studios, the film was perceived negatively in China. But it was a smashing success in the west. 

Such a hit was Crouching Tiger that Ang Lee was given buckets of money in 2003 to make the Marvel adaptation Hulk. Eric Bana and Jennifer Connelly star in Lee's weird little superhero movie about adult children wrestling with the legacies of their highly troubling fathers. 

Bao, Chris and Courtney explore every corner of Ang Lee's work (like all of them) as well as kung fu movies, cultural appropriation, and why Matt Damon is hanging around Great Wall. 

Episode 10: Wes Burdine talks Guillermo del Toro

Wes Burdine is an academic who studies English Literature and Psychical Research. What is psychical research? It's rad scientific research into paranormal stuff from the early 20th century, such as ghosts, time travel, and all kinds of stuff that fits right at home in fantasy and science fiction stories, like, oh, the films of Guillermo del Toro. 

Wes is also the Managing Editor of FiftyFive.One,  an online magazine that covers soccer in Minnesota and beyond. 

Where to find Wes:

For his double feature, Wes selected auteur director Guillermo del Toro.

Pan's Labyrinth was del Toro's triple Academy Award winner from 2006. In the decade since it has become recognized as one of the best films of the 21st century (BBC's recent survey of international critics placed the film as the 17th best of the this century). del Toro followed Pan's Labyrinth with Hellboy 2 in 2008, based on the Dark Horse comic created by Mike Mignola.

On this episode, Wes argues that Hellboy 2 is a Conservative film, and that objective scientific answers to mysteries are the pits. Courtney delivers a number of half-researched facts. And Chris fawns over (fauns over?!?) Doug Jones.  

Also: del Toro's unending boner for creating beautifully imagined creatures. From the Pale Man and the Angel of Death to Cathedral Head and the tooth fairies. So many terrific, scary, beautiful creatures inhabit del Toro's weird and dark stories. 

Episode 9: Zach Broussard and Mary Lordes talk Kevin Kline

TV writer Mary Lordes and actor Zach Broussard are this week's guests on the film podcast Double Exposure. Mary currently writes for Tru TV's Adam Ruins Everything, where she, well, ruins what you love. Zach's upcoming credits include the films Coin Heist and In Case of Emergency.

Where to find Mary and Zach

For their double feature, Zach and Mary chose Kevin Kline, America's favorite normal guy of the movies. In 1993, Kline played the body double to the President in the Ivan Reitman film Dave. Then, in 1999, Kline would take his big-budget blockbuster turn in the Barry Sondenfeld bomb Wild Wild West

Hosts Chris Zumski Finke and Courtney Algeo discuss with Broussard and Lordes the work and legacy of Kevin Kline, as well as the romance that brought the world six (6!) Resident Evil films, and a little known web-treasure called wikifeet.