Podcast Revisits Neglected Movie Gems: Flashback with Dana Stevens and K. Austin Collins

Posted on June 17, 2019 at 8:00 am

Slate’s wonderful movie critic, Dana Stevens, has a new podcast with Vanity Fair’s K. Austin Collins. It’s called “Flashback,” and it’s a conversation about terrific older films today’s audiences might have missed. The first few episodes included “Gaslight,” “Wanda” and “The Straight Story.”

Every other Sunday, Kam and I will take one older movie and talk about what it meant in its time and what it might mean today. Older in this context might mean anything made between 1895 (the Lumière brothers’ Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat? Two thumbs up!) and, say, the last year of the 20th century (does David Cronenberg’s Existenz hold up as a vision of the future of virtual reality?). The idea is not to plod chronologically through film history but to treat it as a mysterious storage chest with endless drawers to open, so we’ll skip from era to era and genre to genre, following our instincts and curiosity as well as whatever parallels we find in the movies and headlines of the present day.

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Film History Neglected gem Podcasts
Slate Spoils Annihilation

Slate Spoils Annihilation

Posted on March 3, 2018 at 10:12 pm

I never miss an episode of Slate’s Spoiler Specials, the discussions of movies for those who have already seen them, so there is no need to avoid spoilers of plot twists or surprise endings. There couldn’t be a better choice of movie for a spoiler-filled discussion than Annihilation or a better trio to discuss it than Dana Stevens, Inkoo Kang, and Marissa Martinelli. They may not answer every question, but they puzzle along with you in an exceptionally thoughtful and enlightening conversation.

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Critics Podcasts Understanding Media and Pop Culture
Slate’s 2016 Movie Club

Slate’s 2016 Movie Club

Posted on January 6, 2017 at 8:00 am

I look forward to Slate’s annual movie club roundup of critics discussing the best and worst of the year.

Copyright 2016 Plan B Entertainment

Slate’s own Dana Stevens points out that there was only one title on all four participants’ top ten lists for the year, Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight.” She says, “‘Moonlight’s’ commercial and critical success—the near-universal recognition of its hard-to-define specialness—was one of the cracks in the wall that allowed light (that liquid Miami moonlight) to shine into this sometimes pitch-dark year.” Mark Harris calls it “a beautifully accomplished work that takes seminar-room issues of race, class, sexuality, and identity and transforms them into something artistic, sexy, tragic, wrenching, human, and fully American.”

I am more interested in the discussions and debates about particular movies than in the effort to look for themes in the movies that were released or popular in any individual year or consider them as a reflection on our times. But I did like Brooks Barnes’ essay in the New York Times about how in the tumultuous year all of the top box office films were fantasies.

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Understanding Media and Pop Culture

What Movies Do You Watch Over and Over?

Posted on March 6, 2015 at 3:32 pm

A couple of weeks ago, “The Best Years of Our Lives” was on TCM and I decided to watch the first few moments to enjoy again scenes I have enjoyed many, many times. I promised myself I would go to bed after half an hour but found myself once again watching all the way to the end. There are lots of movies I seem unable to not watch, even if I’ve seen them a hundred times and even if I own the dang thing and can watch it any time I want. So I especially enjoyed this discussion by two of my favorite critics, Matt Zoller Seitz and Dana Stevens, talking to Professor Cristel Russell about the movies they can’t resist watching over and over.

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