Saturday, March 1, 2014

Hello To Jason Isaacs

Recently I've been catching up with my favorite film review podcast and am experiencing an overwhelming feeling of affection for the program (or programme since it is British).  I thought I'd share the love in case you haven't had the pleasure of  stumbling upon this show that is so much more than just film reviews.  It's a bromance comedy and a collection of adorable quirks and it grows on you like a friendly fuzz of fungus.

I am speaking, of course, about Kermode and Mayo's Film Review, broadcast every Friday on  BBC radio's 5 live.  The thing that makes it especially fantastic is that it is a partnership between a professional film reviewer (Mark Kermode aka the bequiffed one above in the suit) and a surprisingly not at all irritating radio announcer (Simon Mayo) who is not afraid of poking fun of Mark when he gets too esoteric.  Couple that with the fact that they have been doing the show together for ten years which lends an air of camaraderie and sometimes bickering marrieds to the mix.  They are a perfect pair that balance each other quite nicely. 

Mark is also a great reviewer with a lot of personality.  He is intelligent, perceptive and expresses himself well.  He's opinionated and outspoken about those opinions which keeps things interesting (he HATES 3D, Michael Bay, and improper grammar) and is somewhat known for his rants about particularly hateful movies (example below).   I frequently don't agree with him; he loves the Twilight movies (seriously?!?) but is sniffy about Joe Wright's movies (Pride and Prejudice and Atonement) except Hanna. He also does not have the ability to fairly judge the merits of more low brow comedies like any that feature Will Ferrell or Judd Apatow which is especially head scratching given that he and Simon have been giggling non-stop for weeks about a Despicable Me 2 fart gun they were given.  However, his reviews are almost always interesting and entertaining to listen to.

The show also has a lot of quirks and inside jokes that make you feel connected with all the other listeners but initially it can be off putting.  I've been listening for at least 3 years now and feel completely in the know but I do remember feeling a little bewildered at first. They've named this patter and style Wittertainment.   The title to this post is one of their more famous signatures.  Mark attended school with actor Jason Isaacs (British, probably best known for playing Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies but he's been in loads of movies and TV) and Jason listens to the show regularly.  They got into the habit of saying hello to him on air and it expanded into a kind of calling card for show listeners.  Listeners all over the world tried to fit the phrase into high profile events (like their wedding) and other locations (like in some of the graphics on the Jay Leno show). 

The show is roughly 90 minutes long and usually has a countdown of the British top ten movies at the box office, several reviews of new releases by Mark and an interview or two of actors or directors usually by Simon.  It can be subscribed to on itunes. If you like movies and like to smile like a loon for 90 minute stretches, I urge you to check it out. 

Do you have any favorite podcasts to share, particularly about movies? 

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