As a high school student and undergrad, I was a cineaste and hoped to go to film school. That didn't happen, but I read a lot about film, took film courses and watched a lot of movies anywhere they were showing in New York & New Jersey. I still try to keep up via Netflix and go to the movies just about every week, but the past year, what has really gotten me back into thinking, reading and talking about films has been podcasts.There are a lot of podcasts available about movies, films, and cinema - and, yes, there is a difference.
First up is "The Treatment" with Elvis Mitchell. It's one of a bunch of great podcasts available from KCRW. In Hollywood speak, a treatment is a brief overview of a script that people sometimes use to pitch a movie idea. Mitchell gets big guns into the studio - directors, writers, actors - and they talk widely about film. He's got the background. He was film critic at The New York Times.
It's a professional podcast, as you would expect knowing the host and KCRW. I like that the shows run a comfortable half hour (though when they are really interesting, you wish for an hour).
Next up is Movies 101. It's kind of Ebert & Roeper style (whatever happened to their podcast show?) with three hosts. Bob Glatzer is a film critic and Dan Webster is a Spokane film critic, and Mary Pat Treuthart is a law professor, film buff and Dan's wife. This show also comes out of a public radio (KPBX and KSFC). The shows run under 30 minutes and cover a few films that are in the theaters.
If you want some short (around 5 minutes), insightful reviews of current films, subscribe to the film reviews at KCRW. The reviewer is a Pulitzer Prize-winning critic from The Wall Street Journal, Joe Morgenstern.
"Out of the Past" is a monthly podcast with an academic sound and feel. The hosts, Clute & Edwards, have focused their aim at film noir. They are academics and their analysis is academic. But they don't sound like radio show "hosts" and the show's production is somewhere below pro and above homegrown. The shows run around 30-60 minutes.
The mix of films is diverse. You'd expect films like The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity and such - maybe not immediately Blade Runner, It's A Wonderful Life or Batman Begins. Good stuff.
The podcasts from the Film Forum in New York City. This one takes me back. A long time ago I used to attend film showings at the Film Forum. These podcasts vary widely. Some are just a brief intro to the film being shown (Coming Home introduced by producer Jerome Hellman or Mary Beth Hurt's odd 5 minute intro to Woody Allen's Interiors) to great free form film stories (Peter Bogdanovich intros his Targets with a tribute to Boris Karloff; Isabella Rossellini on Blue Velvet).
Watching the Directors is a podcast has been going since May 2006 and has 40+ episodes online. This is cool homegrown podcast done by a couple. Joe & Melissa watch lots of movies, have taken some film courses and apparently love making lists. Each show focuses on a director (Hitchcock, Woody Allen, Scorsese, George Lucas, Spielberg, Mel Brooks, Akira Kurosawa...) Some shows also have a companion "Ten Quiz" for that director. Not a whole lot of information on the website about what it's all about, but listen to a few episodes and you'll catch on.
I starting to think of them as this nice couple you know who are really good company at the movies. You watch a movie, then you go out afterwards to get something to eat and have great conversations about what you watched.
They are not pros. That's part of the appeal. Their site says, "Our kids' college fund is going to Netflix." (Unfortunately, the contribution link to PayPal didn't work.) And they also do a podcast called "Watching Theology" that looks at a single film through a theological/philosophical lens.
Many film courses are learning in the dark, but you can join these and listen on a walk in the sun or while you prep the garden for your Jersey tomatoes.