Episode 191 - 12 Years a Slave

This week, we watch the best picture winner about the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man from New York who gets abducted and sold into slavery. This movie is brutal and important, and should be on the short list of films that everyone from this country must see.  Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong'O, and Michael Fassbender all put in career best performances.  12 Years a Slave (2013), directed by Steve McQueen.

Episode 192 - The Grand Budapest Hotel

This week, we watch the film that is not only largest box office success of Wes Anderson's career so far, but also received a fair number of Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture.  The cast is stacked, the shots are symmetrical, the effects are a combination of miniatures, stop motion, projected live action on matte paintings - all of the styles we've come to love from Wes.  Its might not be the film to turn the nay-sayers, but it certainly gives fans a lot to enjoy.  The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), directed by Wes Anderson.

Episode 193 - Amores Perros

This week, we watch the first film of Inarritu's "Trilogy of Death", where three brutal stories are told before and after a car accident.  Filled with extreme, realistic violence (most of it involving dogs), it is good knowing before going in that no animals were hurt during the making of this very effective drama. Amores Perros, directed by Alejandro Inarritu.

Episode 194 - Million Dollar Baby

This week, we watch the best picture winner that also saw Hilary Swank in win the first Oscar for an actor portraying a boxer. This film follows a determined boxer's rise to the top, as a grizzled old boxing coach learns to respect female boxers, and Morgan Freeman hangs out and does a nice voiceover.  This is one to watch before listening.  Million Dollar Baby (2004), directed by Clint Eastwood.

Episode 195 - Wild Tales

This week, we watch the film that took the country of Argentina by storm, smashing all of the box-office records, and earning a Best Foreign Picture nomination in the 2015 Oscars.  Comprised of six stories that, according to the director, are "linked by violence, and nothing else", this film lets its characters go far beyond typical socially accepted behavior, and explore what might result if people acted solely on their instincts.  Wild Tales (2014), directed by Damian Szifron.

Episode 197B - Ben-Hur Part 2

This week, we watch the epic tale of Judah Ben-Hur, a man who lived at the time of Jesus. Based on the outstandingly popular novel from 1880, and a remake of the 1925 film, this iteration of the tale is distinguished by winning the most Academy Awards in history, and has a number of other records held as well (largest set ever built, etc). Come for the chariot race, and stay for the mind blowing scale. Ben-Hur (1959), directed by William Wyler.

Episode 197A - Ben-Hur Part 1

This week, we watch the epic tale of Judah Ben-Hur, a man who lived at the time of Jesus.  Based on the outstandingly popular novel from 1880, and a remake of the 1925 film, this iteration of the tale is distinguished by winning the most Academy Awards in history, and has a number of other records held as well (largest set ever built, etc).  Come for the chariot race, and stay for the mind blowing scale. Ben-Hur (1959), directed by William Wyler.

Episode 198 - Touch of Evil

This week, we watch the character study disguised as a crime thriller, where Orson Wells flexes his impressive acting chops in a movie he also writes and directs.  Drugs, murder, sex, and lots of lying fill this classic noir film, which takes place in a Mexican boarder town, and has two police officers (Charlton Heston and Wells) clashing in an investigation.  Touch of Evil (1958), Directed by Orson Wells.

Episode 200 - Jurassic Park

This week, we watch the film that brings back dinosaurs in the groundbreaking blockbuster that combines horror, drama, comedy, action, adventure, sci-fi...really, this movie does it all.  Now with four films in the franchise (Jurassic World is currently the 4th highest grossing movie of all time), the original still towers over the sequels, with special effects that somehow didn't age a day. Jurassic Park, directed by Steven Spielberg.