The Reel

By L.A. Times

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Smart, engaging conversations on the entertainment industry fresh from the people who know it best. From hidden gems to blockbusters to the biggest moments in show business, host Mark Olsen gets the latest from actors, writers and directors as well as reporters and critics from the Times’ celebrated film and television teams. Hear the art in entertainment, each week on The Reel.

Episode Date
Escaping reality with ‘Tiger King’ and our top reality show picks

We’re talking “Tiger King” the new, hit Netflix docuseries that everyone’s been talking about. Plus, host Mark Olsen catches up with TV reporter Yvonne Villarreal who shares some of her favorite reality TV shows she suggests watching to help pass the time at home. And then, Olsen speaks with entertainment reporter Amy Kaufman about “Tiger King” and why so many people are binging on the series right now.

Apr 03, 2020
Comedy picks, Hulu’s ‘Devs’ and HBO’s ‘The Plot Against America’

We’re back with more TV and film recommendations for you and your family while you’re spending some extra time at home. Our team is still self-isolated, so we continue to check in with our entertainment colleagues to see what they’re watching. LA Times film critic Justin Chang talks with host Mark Olsen about some light-hearted comedies he recommends for all of us to watch from home. Plus, TV Critic Robert Lloyd joins the show to talk about two shows he recently reviewed and whether they’re worth checking out: The new FX on Hulu sci-fi series “Devs” and HBO’s “The Plot Against America.”

Mar 27, 2020
‘Westworld’ Season 3 and what to watch right now

We’re taking a short break from our usual format to help guide listeners who may be staying home more often than usual. If you're wondering what to watch, what’s worth streaming now and what you can watch with your kids who are home from school… We’ve got you covered. Host Mark Olsen sits down with film reporter Jen Yamato to talk about specific genre films you may want to check out. Plus, television reporter Lorraine Ali joins the show to talk about the latest season of “Westworld” and how it relates to the real world a little more than you may realize.

Here are some related links mentioned in this episode:

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Mar 20, 2020
HBO's ‘McMillions’ recap, plus coronavirus hits the entertainment industry

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This episode was taped on March 11, 2020. Many new developments have emerged and continue to rapidly develop after the taping of this episode.) Entertainment business reporter Ryan Faughnder joins host Mark Olsen to talk about the impact of the coronavirus and how it’s affecting the Hollywood and entertainment industries. Plus, this week marked the final episode of HBO’s six-part documentary series, McMillions. Olsen is joined by two Los Angeles Times television writers to discuss all the series and how it brought the McDonald’s Monopoly scam to light.

Mar 13, 2020
Coverage from Harvey Weinstein’s trial, plus a ‘Love Is Blind’ reality show chat

This week we’re following some of the latest in pop culture and Hollywood. First, host Mark Olsen speaks with two reporters who were actually in the courtroom during Harvey Weinstein’s trial in New York. We take a serious look at the trial and discuss what happens next and whether the verdict marks a milestone for survivors. Then, later in the show, we shift toward a lighter conversation about the television sensation that so many people are talking about: “Love Is Blind.” Olsen is joined by Amy Kaufman and Yvonne Villarreal to discuss Netflix’s new reality dating show that has so many viewers talking.

Mar 06, 2020
Our ‘To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You’ inside look

The Netflix movie “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You” is out now and we take an inside look at the highly anticipated sequel. Host Mark Olsen sits down with entertainment reporter Jen Yamato, who recently spoke with star Lana Condor and author Jenny Han about the second installment of “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.” Olsen and Yamato discuss the Netflix film series and go behind the scenes of the teen romance movie. Plus, Olsen also talks with entertainment business reporter Ryan Faughnder about the ups and downs of the “Sonic the Hedgehog” movie release.

Feb 21, 2020
Post ‘Parasite’ Oscars recap plus an interview with Céline Sciamma

The Oscars are over and this year’s awards season has come to an end. Host Mark Olsen and a team of entertainment colleagues and critics recap the 92nd Academy Awards and share their thoughts on Parasite’s historic night. Plus, Olsen sits down with “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” writer and director, Céline Sciamma.

Feb 14, 2020
'And the Oscar goes to …': Our final 2020 predictions

The 92nd Academy Awards are almost here. Host Mark Olsen and a team of entertainment reporters and critics sit down for one final roundtable before the big night. Listen to hear final thoughts and predictions for what’s to come at this year’s Oscars. Plus, hear from entertainment, culture writer Carolina Miranda who breaks down this year’s Oscar nominated movies with a unique angle… architecture. Get a full roundup of Oscars talk right here in this week’s episode. 

Feb 07, 2020
Live from Sundance: ‘Zola,’ ‘Silvie’s Love,’ ‘Bad Hair’ and festival recap

“The Reel” is live in Park City at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Host Mark Olsen had a chance to catch up with some actors and filmmakers to explore different storytelling formats. He moderated a panel, taped live at Audible’s Sundance studio setup, which included Tessa Thompson, Colman Domingo and Justin Simien. Plus, Olsen sits down with a group of Times colleagues to recap and talk about the films of the festival.

Jan 31, 2020
Sundance preview plus this year’s overlooked movies

The 2020 Sundance Film Festival has just begun, and host Mark Olsen and entertainment business reporter Ryan Faughnder sit down to discuss the wheeling and dealing behind the festival. Plus, Olsen is joined by Justin Chang, Glenn Whipp and Jen Yamato, who sit down to talk about this year’s overlooked films and dive into the movies not being considered for major Academy Awards categories. 

Jan 24, 2020
Oscars Explained: Everything you need to know about the 2020 nominations

From this year’s most celebrated films to the biggest surprises, host Mark Olsen looks at the 92nd Academy Awards nominations from every level. First, Olsen sits down with entertainment business reporter Ryan Faughnder to dive into the business of awards season and how streaming services may be impacting the dynamics. Plus, Justin Chang, Mary McNamara and Glenn Whipp join the show to dissect the Oscar nominations and provide unique input on this year’s top films, why some face criticism, and which movies were left behind.

Jan 17, 2020
Screenwriting duo on writing ‘a tribute to Eddie Murphy’ in ‘Dolemite is My Name’

Screenwriting duo Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski talk with Mark Olsen about the film “Dolemite is My Name” starring Eddie Murphy as Rudy Ray Moore. Plus, Times film and TV writers discuss highlights from the 77th Golden Globe Awards.

Jan 10, 2020
Happy New Year

Wishing our listeners a Happy New Year! Thanks for joining us every week for “The Reel," we hope you’ve been enjoying the show. We look forward to sharing more episodes with you in the New Year. Keep checking back here every Friday for more. Happy Holidays!

Jan 03, 2020
Noah Baumbach on telling a love story through divorce in ‘Marriage Story’

Writer-director Noah Baumbach sits down with Mark Olsen to talk about his latest film “Marriage Story.” He describes the inspiration for his movie and how he was able to find love through divorce while creating the film. Plus, Times entertainment writers Jen Yamato and Justin Chang on "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" and "Cats."

Dec 27, 2019
The Safdie brothers on their 10-year journey to make 'Uncut Gems'

Writer-director brothers Josh and Benny Safdie talk about their latest film, “Uncut Gems,” and why it took them 10 years to finally get it off the ground. Plus, host Mark Olsen talks with Times reporter Amy Kaufman about the latest on Harvey Weinstein.

Dec 20, 2019
Director behind Beyoncé’s ‘Formation’ video makes her feature film debut with 'Queen & Slim'

Mark Olsen talks with director Melina Matsoukas about her transition from directing music videos to her directorial debut in feature film for “Queen & Slim.” Matsoukas is also known for directing Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” as well as “Formation,” which won her a Grammy Award for Best Music Video. Plus, Olsen sits down with Los Angeles Times entertainment reporters to talk everything about the Golden Globes nominations.

Dec 13, 2019
‘Rocketman’ star Taron Egerton on becoming Elton John

Host Mark Olsen talks with Taron Egerton, who plays Elton John in the film “Rocketman.” They discuss how Egerton prepared to portray the music-icon in the film. Egerton also talks about the close friendship he’s formed with the “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” singer. Plus, Olsen talks with television critic Lorraine Ali about all that’s happening with Gabrielle Union and “America’s Got Talent.”

Dec 06, 2019
Replay Episode: Tarantino Gets Personal with 'Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood'

*** SPOILER ALERT in second half of the show ***

Heading into the Thanksgiving holiday, here's a replay episode from one of our most popular shows. With a title that suggests the opening of a child’s storybook, Quentin Tarantino revisits the Hollywood of 1969 and that summer night 50 years ago when members of the Manson family set out for Benedict Canyon with murder in their hearts. 

The grisly slayings on Cielo Drive — including that of a very pregnant Sharon Tate — cast a long shadow over the romance of the ‘60s counterculture. Tarantino has said that Charles Manson’s ability to manipulate and control his followers still seems "unfathomable" to this day.

In "Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood," the writer and director takes the occasion to revel in the details of the era, complete with commercials, TV shows, songs, radio news and famous locations and restaurants around Los Angeles. But Tarantino also offers up a study of actors — their anxieties, insecurities and the pride they take in their performances. 

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the fictional actor Rick Dalton, and Brad Pitt as his stunt double, along with Margot Robbie as the very real Sharon Tate, the film is more emotional and personal than other Tarantino movies.

In fact, Tarantino — who grew up in Los Angeles — has called "Once Upon a Time" his "Roma."

Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) talks with Times film critics @KennethTuran and @JustinCChang, as well as film reporter @jenyamato and special guest Julia Turner (@JuliaTurner), Deputy Managing Editor of Entertainment and Arts.

Nov 29, 2019
Rian Johnson’s ‘Knives Out’: An Agatha Christie-style whodunit with a Hitchcockian thrill

Host Mark Olsen talks with “Knives Out” director Rian Johnson about his latest Agatha Christie-style whodunit movie. Johnson describes his film as a mystery with a Hitchcockian thrill set in 2019 America. Plus, Olsen talks with corporate media reporter, Meg James, about the so-called Paramount decrees that are being tossed out by the U.S. Justice Department. 

Nov 22, 2019
James Mangold on ‘Ford v Ferrari’ and Scorsese’s Marvel comments

Host Mark Olsen sits down with “Ford v Ferrari” Director James Mangold to talk about his latest action film starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale. Mangold also responds to the latest comments from Martin Scorsese about Marvel movies. Plus, you’ll hear from entertainment columnist Glenn Whipp, who talks about his experience following around comedian Louis C.K. on his latest world tour.

Nov 15, 2019
Lauren Greenfield’s ‘The Kingmaker’ examines extravagance, influence of Imelda Marcos

Host Mark Olsen speaks with director Lauren Greenfield about her latest documentary, “The Kingmaker,” which explores the extravagant lifestyle and rise to power of former First Lady Imelda Marcos in the Philippines. They discuss the origin of the story and what it was like for Greenfield to meet and cover Imelda Marcos. You’ll also hear from Glenn Whipp about the latest awards season buzz. Plus, Olsen talks with Jen Yamato about the Martin Scorsese controversy over Marvel movies.

Nov 08, 2019
'Harriet' director on bringing ‘a tremendous hero’ to life

Host Mark Olsen sits down with “Harriet” director and co-writer Kasi Lemmons to talk about creating a biopic based on the life of abolitionist leader Harriet Tubman. The movie is based on the true-events of Tubman’s life as freedom fighter. Lemmons tells Olsen that she’s not surprised it had taken so long to make a big-screen biopic of Tubman. She also elaborates on using research to accurately tell Tubman’s story. She says she read multiple books and all the research she could find on the subject so that she could get the story right. Lemmons, whose directorial debut was the 1997 film, “Eve’s Bayou,” also discusses how she landed the opportunity to direct “Harriet.” Plus, on today’s episode you’ll hear from entertainment columnist Glenn Whipp and film business reporter Ryan Faughnder.

Nov 01, 2019
HBO’s ‘Mrs. Fletcher’ explores a midlife sexual awakening

An empty nest and a midlife sexual awakening do not seem like things that normally go hand in hand. But that is the launching point for “Mrs. Fletcher,” the Tom Perrotta novel that’s now been adapted into a new limited HBO series, starring “Transparent’s” Kathryn Hahn. 

Perrotta, who is also the showrunner and executive producer for the series, tells host Mark Olsen that the seed for the story came to him seven years ago, when he dropped his daughter off at college. 

“Mrs. Fletcher” also follows the experiences of the title character’s college freshman son. Young, white, straight and self-centered, he finds out the hard way how his sense of entitlement collides with campus culture and sexual identity politics.

Perrotta has had several novels adapted for the screen, including HBO’s “The Leftovers”; the Oscar-nominated “Election” starring Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon; and the Oscar-nominated “Little Children,” starring Kate Winslet.

Also in this episode, as the heated competition in the video subscription world gets underway, Olsen talks with the Times’ TV editor Matt Brennan about the streaming wars. 

And in the “Glenn Whipp Awards Minute,” entertainment columnist Whipp discusses this year’s honorary Oscar winners who will be recognized this Sunday at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Governors Awards. 

Oct 25, 2019
'Jojo Rabbit' weaponizes comedy to remember the Holocaust

Taika Waititi is not interested in making movies that please everyone — he says that would be too safe and boring.

The writer and director of “Jojo Rabbit” — who also plays a cartoonish Adolph Hitler in a comic coming-of-age story about a Nazi youth who discovers a Jewish girl hiding in his attic — tells host Mark Olsen that he prefers making films that could end his career. 

Balancing satire and the Holocaust was always going to be tricky, and “Jojo Rabbit” has already divided critics. But only in America is ‘divisive’ a bad thing, the New Zealand filmmaker says — everywhere else, it’s considered art.  

Comedy, the filmmaker argues, is an effective weapon against bigotry and authoritarian leaders.

The movie is based on the book “Caging Skies” by Christine Leunens. Waititi added comedic elements and an imaginary Führer.

Also in this episode, Olsen speaks with the Times culture columnist and critic Mary McNamara about some of the revelations in Ronan Farrow’s new book “Catch and Kill,” including Farrow’s allegations that NBC News shut down his reporting about disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.  

And in the “Glenn Whipp Awards Minute,” entertainment columnist Whipp gives an early survey of the best actress race. 

Oct 18, 2019
'Parasite': A thrill ride about class warfare

“Parasite” is poised to be South Korea’s first-ever nomination for Best International feature, but it also looks to be competitive for best director, original screenplay and even best picture.

Rave reviews have poured in for the darkly comedic drama about social inequality, with some critics calling it director’s Bong Joon Ho’s masterpiece.

The much-anticipated movie is now out in limited release, and host Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) talks with film critic Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) and film reporter Jen Yamato. (@jenyamato)

Chang says “Parasite” is one of the best heist movies he has seen in quite some time, and he compares Bong to a conductor masterfully conducting a symphony.

Yamato says the class warfare themes in the film will be recognizable to everyone.

In our new culture news segment, Olsen discusses the official opening of Tyler Perry Studios with reporter Greg Braxton. (@GeBraxton)

And in the “Glenn Whipp Awards Minute,” Whipp (@GlennWhipp) gives the state of the best actor race after the openings of “Joker,” starring Joaquin Phoenix, and “Pain and Glory,” starring Antonio Banderas.

Oct 11, 2019
'Joker' gives a comic book villain a grown-up, nihilistic spin

Even before “Joker” opened in theaters, the film sparked debate over its violent content, and a narrative that seemed to track with that of the alienated, white male shooter who’s become our real-life recurring horror story.

An exploration of a familiar comic book character who has scared us for nearly 80 years, this iteration of his creation story is dividing critics over the sympathy it seeks to elicit for the Joker, played by Joaquin Phoenix.

Members of the Times film staff discuss “Joker” and the controversy surrounding it.

Film critic Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) says the film strives to have the sensibility of Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy, but it’s “nastier” and more “nihilistic and brutal.”

Entertainment columnist Glenn Whipp (@GlennWhipp) calls the movie “a cynical and glib treatment of societal malaise,” and he says it’s neither as edgy nor as nervy as it presents itself.

And film reporter Sonaiya Kelley (@sonaiyak) enjoyed “Joker” but found it “relentlessly dark,” and says that while she watched it, she kept checking the exits because she was afraid someone was going to come in and try to kill members of the audience.

With its premieres at major international film festivals, Warner Bros. is shrewdly positioning “Joker” as more artistically substantial than your average, blockbuster comic book movie, Chang says.

In our new cultural news segment, host Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) and Kelley discuss how the impeachment inquiry has impacted late-night TV and celebrity culture.

And in the “Glenn Whipp Awards Minute,” Whipp shares his thoughts about Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” after seeing it at the New York Film Festival.

Oct 04, 2019
Emmys Wrap: A win for the underdogs

Heading into this year’s Emmy Awards, there may have been tension between coronating beloved, long-running series and recognizing impressive, convention-bending newcomers, but in the end voters largely seemed to favor a recent crop of fresh, forward-thinking shows, including “Fleabag.”

That choice may have been because of what fans and critics were saying on social media about the programs they watch, says the Times TV editor Matt Brennan But it could also reflect that in the age of Peak TV with an ecosystem of 500 shows, it’s easier to split the sea of competitors and snap up a nomination — and a win. 

The 71st Emmys signaled that the world of TV has changed, with a wide-open landscape that spans multiple platforms, says Times TV Critic Lorraine Ali.

Comedy is having a moment. But, strong limited drama series with cinematic sensibilities — like “Chernobyl” and “When The See Us” — are also real standouts.. 

Host Mark Olsen talks with Times TV critic Lorraine Ali (@LorraineAli), TV editor Matt Brennan (@thefilmgoer) and TV reporter Yvonne Villareal. (@villareally). 

On this week’s episode, “The Reel” is also rolling out a couple of changes. Over the next few months of awards season, Olsen plans to check in with Entertainment Columnist Glenn Whipp (@GlennWhipp) in a segment we’re calling “Glenn Whipp’s Awards Minute.”

We’ll also start each episode off with a conversation on a news item from the world of culture. This week, Olsen and Ali discuss the chatter around “Joker,” and the fear from some people outside Hollywood that the film might inspire violence.  

Sep 27, 2019
'Downton Abbey’ and ‘Ad Astra’ offer grown-up entertainment

Two films designed for grown-ups hit theaters this weekend.

“Ad Astra,” a space thriller starring Brad Pitt, takes a moody, meditative approach to science fiction.

Director James Gray invests in character development and emotion, and the film is that rare fusion of blockbuster spectacle and thoughtful sensibility, says the Times’ Justin Chang (@JustinCChang).

Chang also tells host Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) that the plot of “Ad Astra” is “kind of preposterous,” but that’s why he likes it.

Pitt delivers a memorable performance, holding long close-ups as the camera gazes deeply into his eyes — the kind of scrutiny not many actors can pull off.

“Downton Abbey” picks up where the beloved television series left off, with 20 of the regular characters showing up in the theatrical release.

There’s an optimistic, uplifting spirit to the film, and the Times’ Kenneth Turan (@KennethTuran) tells Olsen that “Downton Abbey” offers an escape from the unrelenting news days of 2019. It’s a comforting, far-away world in which problems are solved and everything works out.

Sep 20, 2019
Bonus Episode: Highlights of the Toronto International Film Festival

In this special bonus episode, a team of Times reporters at the Toronto International Film Festival give the low-down on this year’s crop of films at the festival — both the hits and the misses.

Among the films premiering at this year's festival are “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood," starring Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers and Matthew Rhys as a cynical journalist who interviews him; "Knives Out," a whodunit with an all-star cast, including Jamie Lee Curtis, Daniel Craig, Chris Evans and LaKeith Stanfield; and Taika Waititi's "Jojo Rabbit," a satire about a young German boy and his imaginary friend, Adolph Hitler.

Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus), Justin Chang (@JustinCChang), Jen Yamato (@jenyamato), Glenn Whipp (@GlennWhipp) and Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA) also discuss films that premiered at the Venice and Telluride Film Festivals, including Noah Baumbach's “Marriage Story,” starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, and "Uncut Gems," starring Adam Sandler.

Sep 13, 2019
'Hustlers' draws inspiration from all women fighting to get by

Only eight months passed between the green light for “Hustlers” and its release date, but writer-director Lorene Scafaria fought for years to get the project off the ground.

Scafaria said films about women doing “bad things” are always hard to get made, but she found that the stigma associated with sex workers was also being attached to her telling of the real-life story of strippers who turned the tables on their Wall Street clients.

Speaking from the Toronto International Film Festival — where “Hustlers” had its world premiere — she told Mark Olsen that the movie explores what she calls “a broken value system,” where a woman’s worth comes from her beauty and body, and a man is judged for his wealth, power and success.

Starring Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu, the filmmaker said she drew inspiration from all women who hustle to get by, as well sports-themed films and gangster movies like “Goodfellas.”

Sep 13, 2019
Fall film festivals dominate awards season as the Oscars race begins

Awards season is around the corner and highly anticipated movies are on full blast at film festivals across the world. Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) talks with Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA), Glenn Whipp (@GlennWhipp) and Jen Yamato (@jenyamato) about what to expect from the onslaught of movies premiering across festivals as we head into awards season.

The Venice and Telluride Film Festivals kicked off this fall season, screening major titles like James Gray's “Ad Astra,” Todd Phillips' “Joker,” Steven Soderbergh's “The Laundromat,” and Noah Baumbach's “Marriage Story.” Next, filmmakers turn to Toronto, New York and London, ending the wave of key festivals sure to shape the fate of awards season.It’s the moment of truth for filmmakers who eagerly await reactions from critics and audiences. The post-festival rhetoric often forecasts which movies may receive awards season love, or which films leave audiences wanting more.

The Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu stripper drama, “Hustlers,” has audiences talking. There’s also Martin Scorsese’s “Irishman,” a three-and-a-half-hour-long crime drama starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino.Last year, movies like “Roma,” “A Star is Born” and “Green Book” left festivals feeling like top Academy Award candidates. We’ll see if the same proves true after this year’s fall festival season wraps up.

Sep 06, 2019
'The Terror: Infamy' Revisits a True American Horror Story

Set during World War II and the internment of Japanese Americans, AMC’s “The Terror” weds that real-life horror story with a tale of the supernatural.

But showrunner Alex Woo says the second season of the anthology series, titled “Infamy,” is not just a period piece. Instead, it uses the horror genre to bring a story from the past into the present to represent the fear and terror of American citizens betrayed by their own government. 

“Infamy” was intentionally cast with actors of Japanese descent, so the show is very personal for many of the people working on it, including star Derek Mio, who plays Chester Nakayama, a second-generation Nisei, or American-born Japanese. Mio’s grandfather’s family lived in the same Japanese American community portrayed in the show, the one that once existed on Terminal Island in San Pedro. Its residents were forced into internment camps after the attack on Pearl Harbor. 

The show also features George Takei, who was interned along with his family when he was 5 years old. Writers, directors and crew members also bring their personal and family experiences with the incarceration. 

Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) talks with Mio ( @derekzmio) Woo (@thealexwoo) and Times film writer Jen Yamato (@jenyamato).

Aug 30, 2019
‘Mindhunter’ Season 2: True crime with a social conscience

While Netflix’s “Mindhunter” is based in a time when serial killers were shocking and terrifying Americans, the second season of David Fincher’s true-crime drama feels especially topical and relevant for our time.

With a primary focus on the Atlanta child murders — a series of killings, mostly of black children in and around the city between 1979 and 1981 — the show examines disturbingly contemporary topics like distrust of police, embedded racism and white supremacist violence.

It also addresses questions of which crimes get investigated and which victims garner wide public sympathy.

The real-life Atlanta case was recently reopened because of continuing questions over whether the crimes were ever truly solved. While Wayne Williams was convicted of killing two adults —and is serving life in prison — he was never tried in the child homicides because of a lack of evidence.

“Mindhunter” also features portrayals of some of the most infamous serial killers in American history, including Charles Manson and David “Son of Sam” Berkowitz.

Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) talks with Lorraine Ali (@LorraineAli) and Matt Brennan (@thefilmgoer).

Aug 23, 2019
Craig Mazin on 'Chernobyl' and the 'Cost of Lies'

From the very first line of dialogue, Craig Mazin makes clear that “Chernobyl” is far more than a dramatization of the 1986 nuclear meltdown in the USSR.

Mazin, the creator and writer of the HBO miniseries, tells a story of the “cost of lies” and the real-life dangers that result from a culture disconnected from the truth. The Soviet system was built on propaganda and misinformation, and the heroes of the nuclear disaster are the people who sought the truth and stuck to the facts — even at great personal cost.

As he developed the story in 2016, Mazin saw parallels in American politics, with whole segments of the public growing untethered from the truth.

The five-part series resonated with viewers, and has drawn the largest audience for an HBO miniseries since “Band of Brothers.” It’s been nominated for 19 Emmys.

Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) talks with Mazin (@clmazin) about how the medium of episodic television gave him the space to tell a mystery — as well as a story of a culture, a system of government, and the nature of love.

Aug 16, 2019
'Succession’ on HBO Captures America’s New Gilded Age

HBO’s “Succession” wears its contempt for the billionaire class on its sleeve. 

Back for its second season, heroes are in short supply while an ensemble of entertainingly loathsome and amoral characters backstab and sabotage each other as they battle for power and control within a global media empire.  

The scheming family serve as stand-ins for the Murdochs or the Redstones. But the siblings’ angling for affection and love of their father has distinct echoes of President Trump’s adult offspring.

“Succession” takes you inside the privileged bubble of the .1 percent without glorifying that lifestyle.

The critically acclaimed series was nominated for five Emmys, including best drama, and Times TV editor Matthew Brennan (@thefilmgoer) says it’s the show you need to watch this summer.

Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) talks with Brennan and Meredith Blake (@MeredithBlake) about the show that’s hitting the political and cultural zeitgeist right on the nose.

Aug 09, 2019
'Can 'Hobbs & Shaw' expand the 'Fast and Furious' family business?'

"The Fast and the Furious" franchise had a humble beginning with muscle cars and sweat, and two guys in Los Angeles who found common ground. But the series long ago added an espionage element that took it to another level of wild storytelling and even wilder action.

Now in its first spin-off, “Hobbs and Shaw,” the multi-billion dollar franchise has also added science fiction and a heavy dose of comedy, mainly the lead characters — Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw, played by Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, respectively — slinging insults at each other.

Vanessa Kirby, best known for "The Crown," plays Hattie Shaw, one of the more complexly written female characters in the franchise.

Johnson, who is also one of the producers, uses the film to showcase his Samoan heritage.

Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) talks with Times film critic Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) and Fast and Furious superfans Jen Yamato (@jenyamato), film reporter for The Times, and BenDavid Grabinski (@bdgrabinski), a filmmaker and showrunner.

Aug 02, 2019
Tarantino Gets Personal with 'Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood'

*** SPOILER ALERT*** Spoilers start at 15:08.

With a title that suggests the opening of a child’s storybook, Quentin Tarantino revisits the Hollywood of 1969 and that summer night 50 years ago when members of the Manson family set out for Benedict Canyon with murder in their hearts. 

The grisly slayings on Cielo Drive — including that of a very pregnant Sharon Tate — cast a long shadow over the romance of the ‘60s counterculture. Tarantino has said that Charles Manson’s ability to manipulate and control his followers still seems "unfathomable" to this day.

In "Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood," the writer and director takes the occasion to revel in the details of the era, complete with commercials, TV shows, songs, radio news and famous locations and restaurants around Los Angeles. But Tarantino also offers up a study of actors — their anxieties, insecurities and the pride they take in their performances. 

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the fictional actor Rick Dalton, and Brad Pitt as his stunt double, along with Margot Robbie as the very real Sharon Tate, the film is more emotional and personal than other Tarantino movies.

In fact, Tarantino — who grew up in Los Angeles — has called "Once Upon a Time" his "Roma."

Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) talks with Times film critics @KennethTuran and @JustinCChang, as well as film reporter @jenyamato and special guest Julia Turner (@JuliaTurner), Deputy Managing Editor of Entertainment and Arts.

Deep spoilers involving the end of the film start at 15:08. Come back and listen to our writers’ analysis once you’ve seen "Once Upon a Time."

Jul 26, 2019
'The Farewell': Love, Lies, and Family Ties

‘The Farewell,’ a film about a Chinese American woman with an all-Asian cast and dialogue that is largely in Mandarin, has surpassed ‘Avengers: Endgame’ with the largest per-theater box office average this year. 

Starring Awkwafina — the scene-stealer from ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ — the heartfelt dramedy provides the latest evidence of the power of a key underserved audience. But ‘The Farewell’ also tells a universal story of family, love, and grief that anyone can relate to. 

When filmmaker Lulu Wang pitched the semi-autobiographical story of her family’s efforts to keep her grandmother from learning of her Stage 4 cancer diagnosis, studio executives pushed for a white love interest, and a Chinese version of ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding.’

But Wang stuck to her vision, and refused to resort to a predictable storyline.  

Will this tale of an American immigrant family be the indie hit for the summer of 2019? 

Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) talks with Times film critic Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) and Times film reporter Jen Yamato (@jenyamato).

Jul 19, 2019
'Too Old to Die Young': Nicolas Winding Refn Pushes the Boundaries of TV

In a world of instant clicks and information on demand, director Nicolas Winding Refn took his time to tell the tale of 'Too Old to Die Young,' his new series on Amazon Prime. 

The Danish filmmaker — best known for the film 'Drive,' starring Ryan Gosling — has fully embraced the streaming revolution to experiment with pacing, narrative and character development. The 10-episode neon-lit noir features extended pauses between lines of dialogue. Miles Teller, who plays a crooked cop and vigilante assassin, leads a large, ensemble cast. 

Refn says the 13-hour show — which he prefers to call a 13-hour movie — reflected his reaction to the “insanity” of the 2016 US presidential election.  

Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) talks with Refn (@NicolasWR) about his vision, his casting choices, and why he loves to set his stories in Los Angeles.

Jul 12, 2019
An Ode to Michael Mann's 'Heat'

Michael Mann’s 1995 'Heat' has become the definitive LA crime film, but probably no one has done more lately to celebrate the epic tale of cops and robbers than a movie critic in Sydney, Australia.

Since the summer of 2017, Blake Howard (@BlakeisBatman) has been subjecting the film — starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro — to a minute-by-minute analysis on his podcast, One Heat Minute. He and his guests have unpacked the nearly three-hour cat-and-mouse caper with admiration and reverence, and an affirmation of their love for cinematic culture. 

Howard initially hosted guests who were friends and local movie buffs. But as the podcast garnered more attention, he added an array of international guests, including people who were involved in the making of the film.

For the final episode — minute 166 — Howard welcomes the director of 'Heat,' Mann himself. 

Mann and 'Heat' fan Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) talks with Howard about why he took on the project, his passion for the movie, and how his roster of guests came together. 

It’s a couple of cinephiles talking.

Jul 05, 2019
'The Hills' Reboot & Reality TV's Hold on American Culture

Once upon a time in America, reality TV used to be about the rich and the famous. 

But THE HILLS changed the rules of the game in 2006 — merely being rich or appearing to be — was good enough to get you famous.

The MTV docu-soap spawned a thousand copycats —  including the Housewives and the Kardashian franchises — and turned the US into a country obsessed with reality TV, the genre that launched a presidency.   

Eager to get back in the limelight, some of the stars of THE HILLS are back on MTV with NEW BEGINNINGS. But will the public have sufficient interest in the older cast members contending with the everyday challenges of domestic life — marriage, children and divorce-- that people watch reality TV to get away from?

Times film writer and host Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) talks with @thefilmgoer and @AmyKinLA, author of “Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America's Favorite Guilty Pleasure.” 

Jun 28, 2019
The Teenage Wasteland in HBO's "Euphoria"

HBO is pushing the envelope with its new teen-centered drama, EUPHORIA. Sex influenced by pornography, wanton drug use, aimless youth: It’s a horror movie for parents.

But is it a fair representation of the 9/11 generation — the first set of kids to come of age with smartphones perpetually in tow?

Host Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) talks with Times TV reporter @villarrealy.

On a lighter note, Olsen also talks with @cashleelee and @thefilmgoer about the return of YOUNGER, the hit romantic dramedy back for its sixth season. With its deep fan base, the TV Land series seems to have cracked the code for keeping appointment television relevant in a streaming world.

Jun 21, 2019
'Last Black Man in San Francisco': Gentrification & Heartbreak in The City by The Bay

"The Last Black Ma In San Francisco" is a film about a friendship, a family, a house, a city, and its community. San Francisco serves as a stand-in for cities across the country undergoing gentrification.

The film — which won two prizes at the Sundance Film Festival — captures the deep sense of loss that overcomes families who are pushed from their homes and stripped of their communal experience.

It’s another installment in the recent wave of films out of the Bay Area, made by people of color — about people of color.

Host Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) talks with colleagues @GerrickKennedy, @JustinCChang and @JenYamato.

Later on, Olsen talks about LATE NIGHT with critic @KennethTuran and film editor @geoffberkshire. What’s the future for this kind of smart, charming mid-level gem in a streaming world? Will they continue to fill up theaters?

Jun 14, 2019
Resistance & Representation on Demand: The TV Landscape for Summer 2019

The revolution is being televised after all.

On streaming platforms, a rebellion against powerful political, social and cultural forces is growing stronger than ever.

THE HANDMAID'S TALE is eerily channeling American women’s fears over the future of reproductive rights. The four-part series WHEN THEY SEE US, is powerfully capturing the racial bias and inequities in the criminal justice system.

Netflx, Hulu and other platforms are also challenging the old rules of the casting game and increasing the visibility of communities vastly underrepresented on screen.

And on cable, women across the socioeconomic divide are making trouble and challenging the patriarchy in both BIG LITTLE LIES and CLAWS.

On this week’s episode, THE REEL explores the shows that have sprung forth from the cracks where network executives have feared to tread.

Guest hosts Lorraine Ali (@LorraineAli,) the Times TV critic, and Jen Yamato (@JenYamato,) a film reporter for the Times, sit in for Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus.)

Later on, Olsen is back to dive deeper into BIG LITTLE LIES. The HBO hit was originally envisioned as a one-off, single season series, but fans demanded more from the Monterey Five.

Jun 07, 2019
'Deadwood' Springs Back to Life

"Deadwood" is back, and as Al Swearengen would say, it’s about bleeping time.

The show that died too young is now a film, and the return trip in "Deadwood: The Movie" — set some 10 years later — gets down to unfinished business in the once lawless town in South Dakota.

On this week’s show, host Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) talks with Ian McShane, the actor who brought the corrupt, foul-mouthed Al Swearengen to life, as well as the director, Daniel Minahan, who captured the now older and wiser characters meeting up again in a Deadwood poised on the edge of legitimacy.

Diehard fans are sure to be pleased, especially since the series was unceremoniously canceled in 2006, leaving so many loose ends — and in spite of its critical acclaim. But Minahan also told Olsen that he made a film with an eye towards drawing newcomers to the show’s original three seasons.

McShane says it wasn’t a challenge to reprise his role - Swearengen is the kind of character people don’t forget.

May 31, 2019
Saying Goodbye to Some of Our Favorite TV Friends

Game of Thrones, Jane the Virgin, Veep, The Big Bang Theory, Broad City, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: These are only some of the shows signing off this year.

The end of so many beloved and long-running series will leave a hole in our hearts and disrupt our viewing patterns — and leave us searching for new and different television companions to fill their place.

Why the rush to the exit?

And why is it so hard for creators to stick the landing when they wrap their shows?

On this episode, The Reel is not ashamed to say that there’s a grieving process in saying goodbye to our trusted friends on TV. Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) talks with @latimes critics and reporters @LorraineAli, @MeredithBlake, @villarealy and @marymacTV, who are working through the pain with you.

May 24, 2019
Is Southland Tales Misunderstood Prophecy? A Conversation with Richard Kelly.

Richard Kelly’s SOUTHLAND TALES is infamous both for its immense ambition and its disastrous reception. With a cast that includes Dwayne Johnson, Justin Timberlake, Mandy Moore, Amy Poehler, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Sean William Scott, the film is a sprawling saga of crime, identity, and conspiracy in Los Angeles that touches on government surveillance, armed resistance, corporate intrusion, and celebrity culture — told with equal parts anger, humor, disillusionment and apocalyptic rapture.

The version of the film that first premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006 will have its first-ever screening in the city in which it is set when the notorious Cannes Cut of the movie – some 20 minutes longer than the 2007 theatrical version – plays at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on May 23.

Host Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) sat down with Kelly (@JRichardKelly) to talk about the different versions of the film, his new hopes for its future and what it meant to him then — and means to him now.

But first, the end of Game of Thrones. Fans have been grumbling about the show’s pacing and character development since the start of this final season, but it reached a crescendo after last week’s penultimate episode. While it’s always hard to say goodbye to a good friend, the show has come to represent something larger, and now seems to parallel the tumult in our own culture and our own national politics. Olsen talks with @LorraineAli.

May 17, 2019
Charlie Says: Were the Manson Girls His First Victims?

The summer of Manson is upon us. Ahead of the 50th anniversary of the mass murder masterminded by Charles Manson, a wave of content is coming our way.

The grisly slayings of eight people — including the very pregnant Sharon Tate — cast a long shadow over the romantic adventure of the 60s counterculture, fascinating and haunting us to this day.

Out now in theaters is CHARLIE SAYS, the second of a trio of Manson family films this year. Rather than focus on the violence, CHARLIE SAYS is a sensitive, psychological portrait of three of Charlie’s girls -- as they descend into the madness of Manson’s world, and with the help of a grad student, go through a deprogramming process in prison.

LA Times film writer Mark Olsen ( @IndieFocus) talks with the movie’s director Mary Harron and writer @turnerguinevere, the filmmakers behind AMERICAN PSYCHO. Harron and Turner discuss their efforts to capture the domestic abuse and manipulation within the Manson family, along with the sexism of their freewheeling commune life.

But first, Olsen chats with critic and self-described Manson head @katiewalshstx , who calls CHARLIE SAYS a deeply feminist film that captures the toxic masculinity and sexual manipulation practiced by Charles Manson.

May 10, 2019
Killing Eve: Women Are So Over Being Underestimated

Women love true crime, but they’re also fed up with maneuvering the male-dominated workplace, being underestimated and checking their emotions at the door.

Enter KILLING EVE, the right show for the right time.

Featuring a fearless, high-fashion assassin and the astute MI6 agent pursuing her, the psychosexual thriller — made by women and starring women — unapologetically exudes femininity from head to toe.

The series has found its audience and is on a roll by playing into the emotions of the cultural moment. Host Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) checks in with Times television team members @LorraineAli and @villarealy halfway through the second season.

Later on, horror filmmaker @rox_anne-b makes her feature directing debut with BODY AT BRIGHTON ROCK. Olsen talks with her about the glories — and risks — of filming in the great outdoors and keeping genre fans surprised. (Second segment starts at 20:00)

Let's listen in.

May 03, 2019
Avengers: Endgame. Time for the Curtain Call.

SPOILER ALERT: Spoilers start at 18:10!

Eleven years, 22 films, $18 billion and counting at the global box office: Avengers: Endgame is finally in theaters, bringing to a close a chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

It’s been a big emotional investment for fans, and judging by the reaction of some of its stars, it’s been one for the actors as well.

Meanwhile, over the course of the franchise, MCU’s longform storytelling has redefined Hollywood.

Fans have had a lengthy relationship with these characters. Are they ready for the endgame?

Today’s episode is in two parts: The first is spoiler-free, but that is followed by a section for people who have seen the film. So listen for the cues and come back to take it all in, both before and after your trip to the theater. There’s a lot to process.

Let’s listen in.

SPOILER ALERT: Spoilers start at 18:10!

Apr 26, 2019
Game of Thrones: We Can't Quit You.

HBO may not have known it had a hit on its hands in 2011, but the premiere of the final season of GAME OF THRONES shattered ratings records for the network.

Viewing of the series has reached a fever pitch and blown up Twitter, while fans divine clues over who will live, who will die, and who will win the Iron Throne.

LA Times film writer Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus ) is joined by @marymacTV, @tracycbrown  and @MeredithBlake  to ponder deep cuts and the series' role in the history of modern television.

When was the last time the public had to say goodbye to a show long before growing tired of it?

Apr 19, 2019
Heathers Turns 30: How Very.

When the movie HEATHERS was shown at the 1989 US Film Festival, now known as Sundance, the Los Angeles Times film critic Sheila Benson wrote: “No amount of production sheen or acting skill seems excuse enough for the film's scabrous morality or its unprincipled viciousness.”

In The New Yorker, Pauline Kael wrote the script for the black comedy “promises that the picture will lift off into the junior division of Blue Velvetland. But layers of didacticism weigh it down.”

But HEATHERS has survived the test of time to become a cult sensation, and is now being celebrated on the 30th anniversary of its theatrical release.

With its big hair and big shoulder pads, the film took on the nasty high school caste system in a way that was ahead of its time. HEATHERS turned the common cruelty of most teen films of that era on its head. In a conversation with LA Times film writer Mark Olsen, (@IndieFocus ) the movie’s writer, director and one of its Heathers explain that the film was designed as an antidote to John Hughes movies.

And later, Fosse/Verdon fans don’t want to miss Olsen's talk with Steven Levenson, the Tony-winning writer of Dear Evan Hanson, and a writer and executive producer of the miniseries on FX.

Apr 12, 2019
I Don't Want to be Buried in a Pet Sematary

The master himself, Stephen King, has said PET SEMATARY “is a scary movie. Be warned.”

It explores grief, emotion, guilt and love. You could say it’s a family film -- in a terrifying, don’t bring your little ones kind of way.

LA Times film writer Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) is joined by one of PET SEMATARY’s stars -- actress and filmmaker Amy Seimetz -- who talks about elevating a horror picture to an art film, creating female characters typically not seen on screen, and finding your own people in the indie film world.

Then, fans of iconic Broadway and the movie musical: We have your number. Olsen talks to Andy Blankenbuehler, the choreographer of Hamilton, who also choreographed Fosse/Verdon, the new FX miniseries that chronicles the creative and romantic partnership between Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon.

Apr 05, 2019
Check Out and Enjoy the Ride: 'The Beach Bum' Riffs on Classic Stoner Films

Six years after SPRING BREAKERS, Harmony Korine is back with a new film, THE BEACH BUM, out now in theaters. The wildly creative filmmaker and fine artist is a teller of modern-day tall tales, something of a cross between a burnout Mark Twain and an Andy Warhol of the Florida Keys. Korine talks with LA Times film writer Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) about how he’s skirting autobiography in his work, the casting choices he made for THE BEACH BUM --  like Matthew McConaughey, Martin Lawrence, Snoop Dog and Jimmy Buffett -- and how he feels about being a perennial Hollywood outsider.

But first, The Times' Yvonne Villarreal (@villarrealy) spoke with the showrunners for the recently canceled Netflix show, ONE DAY AT A TIME.

Emotions -- and opinions were strong. Is diversity and inclusiveness really happening in Hollywood? Does the cancellation signal that the American Latinx experience is almost being erased from the airwaves?

What happens when a show is more than just a show?

Mar 29, 2019
Jordan Peele Aims to Scare People's Pants Off

The much anticipated follow-up to Jordan Peele’s GET OUT is out now in theaters. And Peele delivers the film he set out to make- one that scares people's pants off. In the process, he has reclaimed the art of the horror genre.

LA Times film writer Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus ) talks with Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) and Jen Yamato (@jenyamato ) about how US is in some ways a political film about contemporary America. But it's also a horror flick with a black family at its center, instead of the conventional white one.

And Olsen continues the rest of his SXSW interview with Ethan Hawke, Logan Marshall-Green and Jason Blum on their film, ADOPT-A-HIGHWAY.

Hawke opens up and has lots to say on acting, actors turning to directing, film school, Steven Spielberg, and following your heart.

Mar 22, 2019
The LA Times at SXSW, America's "Punk Rock" Festival

The Los Angeles Times is in Austin for South by Southwest, the the annual festival of film, music, technology, art, culture, tacos, barbecue, partying - and something of a laboratory think tank for the future.

Times film writer Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) talks with @marcmaron, who's expanding his wings as a movie actor, along with director @lynnsheltonfilm, who saw him as a star. Olsen also interviews @alexgibneyfilm, whose documentary about Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, THE INVENTOR: OUT FOR BLOOD IN SILICON VALLEY, is set to debut on HBO.

And in a preview of next week's episode, Austin native Ethan Hawke shares his affection for SXSW, and says "its DNA is a little more punk rock than any other festival in America."

Mar 15, 2019
‘Captain Marvel’: The MCU comes of age with a female lead

With its first female-led installment in the Marvel Studio franchise, most people are asking what took so long? But in one corner of the Internet, CAPTAIN MARVEL is a bridge too far, especially for those angered by star Brie Larson's progressive calls for diversity and inclusivity. LA Times film writer Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) is joined by Kenneth Turan (@KennethTuran), Jen Yamato (@jenyamato), Justin Chang (@JustinCChang), Tracy Brown (@tracycbrown) and Sonaiya Kelley (@sonaiyak ) to discuss the politics surrounding CAPTAIN MARVEL and the merits of the film itself -- its indie directors, its '90s nostalgia and its cast, including Reggie, the cat thespian.

Mar 08, 2019
Oscars 2019: An Academy in Transition?

Despite what's been called a "despicable" Best Picture win, L.A. Times feature writer and reviewer Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) talks with Justin Chang (@JustinCChang), Mary McNamara (@marymacTV) and Glenn Whipp (@GlennWhipp) about how real change may have arrived at the Academy. Plus, Jen Yamato (@jenyamato) and Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA) get their Gaga fix on, and share the scoop on what was going on off-camera at the Academy Awards.

Mar 01, 2019
Oscars 2019 Preview: What to expect from this year's Academy Awards

On this week’s episode of The Reel, L.A. Times feature writer and reviewer Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) previews the 2019 Academy Awards with Justin Chang (@JustinCChang), Mary McNamara (@marymacTV) and Glenn Whipp (@GlennWhipp). They discuss their favorite films of the year and explore some of the possible outcomes in this year's top award categories.

Feb 22, 2019
Interview: Director Spike Lee opens up about Oscar-nominated 'BlacKkKlansman'

On this week’s episode of The Reel, L.A. Times feature writer and reviewer Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) is joined by Director Spike Lee and two of his longtime collaborators, composer Terence Blanchard and editor Barry Alexander Brown. They discuss the success of their latest, “BlacKkKlansman” and the lasting impact of the film.  

Feb 15, 2019
Interview with Steven Soderbergh: Inside new movie ‘High Flying Bird’

On this week’s episode of The Reel, L.A. Times feature writer and reviewer Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) was joined by Director Steven Soderbergh, to talk about his new film “High Flying Bird,” which premiered at Slamdance Film Festival last month. The Oscar-winning filmmaker takes us inside his movie-making process, including what it's like shooting a movie entirely on a smartphone.

Feb 08, 2019
ICYMI: Live from Sundance Film Festival with the LA Times

On this week’s episode of The Reel, L.A. Times feature writer and reviewer Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) was live in Park City, Utah for the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. After watching many of this year's movies and documentaries, he sat down with Justin Chang (@JustinCChang), Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA), Kenneth Turan (@KennethTuran) and Jen Yamato (@jenyamato) to discuss the best films they saw and why.

Feb 07, 2019
Oscar Nominations 2019: Snubs and Surprises

On this week’s episode of The Reel, L.A. Times feature writer and reviewer Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) sits down with Glenn Whipp (@GlennWhipp) and Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) to take an early look at the 2019 Oscar nominations. They discuss key takeaways from the nominated films, including an increase in internationally focused nominations and the significance behind the “best director” category.

Jan 28, 2019
Breaking down ‘True Detective’ Season 3 and ‘The Sopranos’ at 20

On this week’s episode of The Reel, LA Times feature writer and reviewer Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) sits down with Meredith Blake (@MeredithBlake), Robert Lloyd (@LATimesTVLloyd), and Yvonne Villarreal (@villarrealy) to discuss HBO’s latest season of 'True Detective' starring Mahershala Ali. They also reflect back on David Chase's HBO series ‘The Sopranos’ 20 years after its premiere.

Jan 18, 2019
Golden Globes and the Oscars Race

This week Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) leads a discussion about the importance of last week's Golden Globes and how they might shine a light on what we can expect from the Oscars as we start to wrap up awards season.

Jan 14, 2019
Mexico City with Alfonso Cuarón

This week Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) talks to reporter Carolina Miranda (@cmonstah) after she and director Alfonso Cuarón walked through the streets of the Mexico City neighborhood where he shot his film Roma.

Jan 05, 2019
Year in Review: Best in TV

Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) and TV writers Yvonne Villarreal (@villarrealy), Lorraine Ali (@LorraineAli) and Robert Lloyd (@LATimesTVLLoyd) break down whether 2018 was a good year for TV. They talk about Barry, Killing Eve, and more as they make their assessment about whether we've gone beyond the "peak TV" era.

Dec 21, 2018
Year in Review: Best in Film

Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) and film critics Kenneth Turan (@KennethTuran) and Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) break down their favorite movies of 2018, including Vox Lux, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and Black Panther. Sifting through the big studio blockbusters, independent films, foreign-language films, and documentaries their recommendations will add to your list of the "must watch" movies of the year.

Dec 20, 2018
Music in Film

This week LA Times music reporters Gerrick Kennedy (@GerrickKennedy), Mikael Wood (@mikaelwood), and Randy Lewis (@RandyLewis2) join Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) to discuss the intermingling of music and film. First, the group focuses on capturing live performance on film, as seen in the new Springsteen on Broadway special on Netflix and the archival the Aretha Franklin documentary, Amazing Grace. Then, the group discusses the act of music creation and recording on film, with A Star Is Born, Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book as the main examples.

Dec 13, 2018
Reactions: Golden Globe Nominations

This week Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) leads a conversation breaking down the Golden Globe nominations and what they mean for the awards season landscape. We discuss the controversial nominee Green Book, how Black Panther earned Marvel Studios it's first nomination, the crowd-pleasing results from the Globe's distinct drama and comedy categories, and what we might expect from the unusual host pairing of Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh. Mark is joined by Glenn Whipp (@GlennWhipp), Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA) and Ashley Lee (@cashleelee).

Dec 07, 2018
Bravo's Dirty John

This week, host Mark Olsen (@indiefocus) hands the mic to reporter Yvonne Villarreal (@villarrealy) as she interviews Alex Cunningham, the show-runner of Bravo's new TV series Dirty John. Based on the L.A. Times podcast by the same name, the show further explores the complicated and manipulative relationship between Debra Newell and John Meehan. Cunningham breaks down the show's casting choices, how the the series gives Debra a stronger voice and what fans of the podcast might expect to see on the TV adaptation.

Nov 29, 2018
Classic Rock in the Digital Era

Focusing this week on the music business, Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) sits down with music reporter Randy Lewis (@RandyLewis2), pop music critic Mikael Wood (@mikaelwood) and Times television critic and former music editor Lorraine Ali (@LorraineAli) to discuss the recent releases of Bob Dylan's "More Blood, More Tracks," which features unreleased takes from the session for his 1975 album "Blood on the Tracks," and the 50th anniversary remastered release The Beatles' "The White Album" with unheard demos and session tracks. What do these two pillars of the classic rock era still have to say to the modern ears of current audiences, and how does the contemporary music industry treat their legacy artists?

Nov 22, 2018
Oscars Preview

This week our team breaks down what to expect next year at the Academy Awards and which movies have already started to make a splash. Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) is joined by Glenn Whipp (@GlennWhipp) and Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA) to break down Marvel's history at the Oscars and Black Panther's potential for success, Netflix's drama Roma, and which movies have passed Amy's "cry test" this year.

Nov 16, 2018
Netflix & Classic Films

This week, Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) sits down with critics Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) and Kenneth Turan (@KennethTuran) to discuss the demise of FilmStruck, how streaming services like Netflix have impacted the types of classical films that were once available on FilmStruck, and, specifically, a brand new Orson Welles film now on Netflix that is one of Hollywood's most famous unfinished projects.

There are mixed feelings about all of the topics, and the conversation foreshadows what may happen to films like Orson Welles' Other Side of the Wind.

Nov 08, 2018
Interview: Luca Guadagnino

This week, host Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) interviews Luca Guadagnino, the director of the remade film Suspiria and also recently known for directing the award-winning movie, Call Me By Your Name. Guadagnino talks, among many other things, about the inspirations for his remake, his friendship with Tilda Swinton and her three roles in the film, and what the movie is actually about.

Nov 01, 2018
The Horror!

It's Halloween time, and to celebrate the occasion our team of reporters dives deep into some recent horror hits in film and television. Film critic Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) and reporters Libby Hill (@midwestspitfire) and Jen Yamato (@JenYamato) join host Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) to discuss the newest Halloween sequel as well as the remake of cult classic Suspiria and the new Netflix horror show Haunting of Hill House.

Oct 25, 2018
The Conners and Murphy Brown

This week, the L.A. Times team is joined by Joy Press, a former LAT staffer and writer of Stealing the Show: How Women Are Transforming Television, to discuss two recent TV reboots: The Conners and Murphy Brown. The group discusses how ABC dealt with Roseanne leaving her namesake show, the big reveal at the start of The Conners, and how Murphy Brown is faring in comparison.

Oct 18, 2018
A Star is Born

Film critic Kenneth Turan (@KennethTuran) and reporters Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA) and Jen Yamato (@JenYamato) join host Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) to discuss the new hit movie, A Star is Born. They talk all about Bradley Cooper's directing debut, how the movie compares to previous iterations, and Lady Gaga's performance.

Oct 11, 2018
The Suge Knight Trial

On the heels of producer Suge Knight's murder trial, LA Times reporters James Queally (@JamesQueallyLAT), Marisa Gerber (@marisagerber), and Gerrick Kennedy (@GerrickKennedy) join Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) for a deep dive discussion about his life, the trial proceedings, and particularly how the proceedings reflect his impact on the music industry.

Oct 04, 2018
The Cinematic Now

Numerous recent movies have been charged by an immediacy of anxiety, as many of the same feelings from the world-at-large have made their way onto our movie screens with an alarming speed and connection. Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) is joined by Times film reporters Jen Yamato (@JenYamato) and Tre'vell Anderson (@TrevellAnderson) and film critic Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) to talk about his current phenomenon and what we expect from our movies, what they can do to inform, explain or even distract us, taking in a broad range of titles from "Monsters and Men," "Fahrenheit 11/9," "Assassination Nation," "The Lie," "Suspiria" and others to get some sense of our Cinematic Now.

Sep 27, 2018
Emmys Recap

This week, we're recapping everything that happened at the Emmys. Reporter Yvonne Villarreal (@villarrealy) and TV critics Lorraine Ali (@LorraineAli) and Glenn Whipp (@GlennWhipp) join host Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) to break down the surprises and disappointments, the performances of this year's hosts, and the unexpected visit from Teddy Perkins.

Sep 20, 2018
Toronto International Film Festival

The Reel is at Toronto International Film Festival!

Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) breaks down the last few days at the film festival with reporters Tre'vell Anderson (@TrevellAnderson) and Jen Yamato (@Jen Yamato) and film critic Justin Chang (@JustinCChang). Hear about the festival's new diversity initiatives and this year's biggest films.

Sep 13, 2018
Fall Movies Preview

Our team breaks down what they think will be the best fall movies this year. Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus), Tre'vell Anderson (@TrevellAnderson) and Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA) pick their favorites and talk about memorable interviews they've had with the stars--including Lady Gaga.

Sep 06, 2018
Emmy Contenders & The Crown's Matt Smith

In this week's episode, Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) starts off leading a discussion about this year's Emmys contenders with Lorraine Ali (@LorraineAli) and Glenn Whipp (@GlennWhipp). Then, hear Yvonne Villarreal (@villarrealy) interview The Crown's Matt Smith on the show's last two seasons and how he feels about the United States' fascination with the royal family.

Aug 30, 2018
Interviews with "The Americans"

TV reporter Yvonne Villarreal (@villarrealy) interviews both Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell, who play Russian spies Philip and Elizabeth Jennings in the FX show The Americans. The pair separately discusses the shows many Emmy nominations and the many emotions felt while filming the final season.

They also touch on how the 1980's show about the Cold War went from period piece to contemporary flashpoint.

Aug 23, 2018
Best "Popular" Film and GLOW

Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) is joined by film critic Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) and writers Jen Yamato (@JenYamato) and Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA) to discuss the new and controversial Popular Film category announced by The Academy. They also break down their favorite summer movies.

Then, writer Yvonne Villarreal (@villarrealy) interviews the co-creators of Netflix's GLOW to talk all about the show.

Aug 17, 2018
Crazy Rich Asians, BlacKkKlansman, The Handmaid's Tale

After some time off, The Reel is back!

This week film critic Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) and reporters Jen Yamato (@JenYamato) and Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA) discuss the movies Crazy Rich Asians and BlacKkKlansman with host Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus). They discuss the importance of the films in their respective communities and the film world at large, as well as the genre-bending techniques each uses to stand out from the crowd.

Then, reporter Lorraine Ali (@LorraineAli) interviews The Handmaid's Tale show runner, Bruce Miller.

Aug 14, 2018
Interview: Kristine McKenna on David Lynch

Host Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) talks with writer Kristine McKenna about the process of writing Room to Dream, a new book that she co-wrote with David Lynch.

Room to Dream is part biography and part memoir of David Lynch. Due to this unconventional format, it offers a unique window into his singular vision for his life and art.

Jul 19, 2018
Emmy Nominations

Hear our reactions to this year's Emmys nominations and our team's predictions for who might win the night's most coveted awards. TV writer Lorraine Ali (@LorraineAli) and critic Glenn Whipp (@GlennWhipp) join Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) to discuss the different categories and talk about what else to expect as we prepare for the 2018 Emmy Awards.

Jul 13, 2018
Female Storytelling & Rage

A number of recent television shows, including the second seasons of “GLOW” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” and the premieres of “Sharp Objects” and “Dietland,” have dealt with female empowerment and rage in fresh and innovative ways, grappling with the roles set out for women in society. There’s also been a behind-the-scenes analogue for many of these shows as well, with women often in roles of creative control.

Times TV reporter Yvonne Villarreal (@villarrealy), television critic Lorraine Ali (@loraineali) and resident wrestling enthusiast Jen Yamato (@jenyamato) join Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) for a conversation on these exciting turns both in front of and behind the camera.

Jul 12, 2018
Diversity in Entertainment Journalism

As there has been increased attention given to issues of representation, inclusion and diversity regarding what goes on-screen and who is involved in making the movies that we see, there has also recently been a parallel conversation gaining momentum with regards to the media itself. Who are the people who write the reviews, cover the red carpets, attend the film festivals and how do their perspectives impact how movies are discussed and received? From the LA Times film team, Tre'vell Anderson (@TrevellAnderson), Jen Yamato (@JenYamato), Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) and Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) get into the nuance of what this all means for the media and the reviews and coverage of films such as “Sicario: Day of the Soldado,” “Nancy,” “Sorry To Bother You,” “Ocean’s 8” and “BlacKkKlansman.”

Jul 06, 2018
Why We Love Romcoms

Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) brings in reporters Jen Yamato (@JenYamato), Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA), and Yvonne Villarreal (@villarrealy) to talk about Netflix's recent wave of new romantic comedies. Focusing on the films Set It Up, The Kissing Booth, and Ibiza, the group discusses the timeless appeal of romcoms, why they are the perfect movies for summer, and how these type of movies and their inherent charm let actors become stars.

Jun 29, 2018
Interview: Aline Brosh McKenna

Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) interviews co-creator and showrunner of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Aline Brosh McKenna (@alinebmckenna). They discuss the dark, emotional places that emerge in the show's third season and talk about what's next for Rebecca Bunch.

Jun 25, 2018
Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) speaks to Academy Award-Winning Documentarian Morgan Neville about his most recent film, Won't You Be My Neighbor? The documentary celebrates the life and work of Fred Rogers, best known for his TV program Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. Morgan discusses the use of archival footage and new interviews in his film as well as the overarching theme of both his documentary and Mr. Rogers' program: the idea that culture matters.

Jun 22, 2018
Emmys 101: Part 2

As we continue our Emmys season discussion, Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) brings in TV critics Lorraine Ali (@Lorraine Ali) and Robert Lloyd (@LATimesTVLloyd) to talk with TV editor Greg Braxton. They discuss the TV era we're in today, which streaming services are dominating this season, and more.

Jun 21, 2018
Emmys 101: Part 1

Emmys Nominations are just around the corner, so host Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) spoke with reporters Glenn Whipp (@GlennWhipp) and Libby Hill (@midwestspitfire) about how the awards show has evolved over the years. They discuss if certain show formats are destined to win an Emmy and whether new shows, particularly on streaming services, get an advantage during nominations. To wrap up, the three discuss their personal favorite shows and whether they have a shot.

Jun 14, 2018
Interview: Jodie Foster

Two-time Academy Award winner Jodie Foster has been a presence in the entertainment business for more than fifty years, first as a child actor in films such as “Bugsy Malone” and “Taxi Driver,” then as an adult star in projects like “The Accused” and “The Silence of the Lambs” and later as a director herself. Recently in the LA Times building to promote the episode of the “Black Mirror” anthology she directed, she also stopped by The Reel recording studio to talk with Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) about the sci-fi crime drama “Hotel Artemis,” her first on-screen role in five years.

Jun 12, 2018
Ocean's 8, Hereditary and Clare Danes

Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) talks to film reporters Justin Chang (@JustinCChang), Jen Yamato (@JenYamato) and Tre'vell Anderson (@TrevellAnderson) about some new movie releases that you should keep an eye out for. And then, we listen in on an interview with Claire Danes about her new movie A Kid Like Jake.

Jun 08, 2018
The Bachelorette

New York Times Bestselling Author of Bachelor Nation and Los Angeles Times reporter Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA) talks with Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) about the new season of The Bachelorette. They also discuss what this franchise means for our culture and why this season is different.

May 31, 2018
The Gospel According To André

Reporter Tre'vell Anderson (@TrevellAnderson) had the chance to interview André Leon Talley the other day. The two spoke about the obstacles Talley has had to overcome in order to become the cultural icon he is today, the most meaningful parts of his career and, briefly, the Met Gala.

Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) debriefs this interview with Tre'vell, which serves as a perfect primer to the recently released documentary: The Gospel According to André.

May 29, 2018
David Chang on 'Ugly Delicious,' Majordomo and, Yes, That Review

Restaurateur and chef David Chang stopped by The Reel recently for a broad-ranging conversation with Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus). In talking about his Netflix series “Ugly Delicious,” Chang got into how his ideas about food find their way into his own cooking, including at the new Majordomo, his first restaurant in Los Angeles.

And, yes, Chang did address the much talked-about review of Majordomo by the LAT’s Jonathan Gold, which is so far the most notable piece of critical writing on the new restaurant – “I don’t even think the Gold review is a bad review,” Chang said before adding, “I’m sure we’re going to be talking about this review forever.”

May 25, 2018
Cannes Film Festival

Reporters Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA) and Justin Chang (@JustinChang) have just returned from Cannes Film Festival. They debrief the experience with host Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus), talking about the rules on Cannes' uniquely pompous red carpet, the live reaction to BlacKkKlansman, the lingering presence of Harvey Weinstein and an ice cream cooler party.

May 24, 2018
Deadpool 2

Host Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) talks with Jen Yamato (@JenYamato) and Tre'vell Anderson (@TrevellAnderson) about the making of the Deadpool franchise, it's unique marketing techniques, and how this new sequel stands out from the other superhero movies that have come out around the same time.

Also, our reporters frankly discuss the difficulties of asking tough questions at movie press stops while surrounded a hyped-up, fan-filled audience.

May 18, 2018
This is America & Kanye West

Donald Glover and Kanye West have almost simultaneously grabbed the national spotlight this past week. Reporter Tre'vell Anderson (@TrevellAnderson) talks with reporters Jen Yamato (@jenyamato) and Chris Barton (@chrisbarton) about the interwoven personas of Donald Glover and Childish Gambino, what questions Glover's new 'This is America' music video asks and how, if at all, he's connected to Kanye West's recent incendiary comments.

May 11, 2018
Review: White House Correspondents' Dinner

Did Michelle Wolf go too far or did she do her job? Were there any jokes about Sarah Huckabee Sanders' looks? What is the future of the White House Correspondents' Dinner?

Led by Yvonne Villarreal (@villarrealy), reporters Lorraine Ali (@LorraineAli), Chris Barton (@chrisbarton) and Greg Braxton discuss the controversy that ensued after Michelle Wolf's standup at this year's Correspondents' Dinner.

May 03, 2018
Avengers: Infinity War

WARNING: This episode contains spoilers!

Reporters Tre'vell Anderson (@TrevellAnderson) and Sonaiya Kelley (@sonaiyak) sit down with film critic Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) and film writer Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) to talk about the latest Marvel film, Avengers: Infinity War. They discuss how the film integrated the Black Panther story line, whether you need to be a die-hard Marvel fan to enjoy the movie and how a few shocking end twists might affect the future of Marvel movies.

Apr 27, 2018
The Handmaid's Tale

Our reporters recap the powerful first season of The Handmaid's Tale, discuss and analyze the first few episodes of Season 2, and begin to determine how this equally impactful season might connect to recent real events.

Featuring reporters Lorraine Ali (@LorraineAli) and Yvonne Villarreal (@villarrealy), editor Mary McNamara (@MaryMacTV), and host and film writer Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus).

Apr 26, 2018
Celebrating 1968: Interview with Filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius

The year 1968 was one of cultural and political turmoil. To mark the year's significance, the L.A. Times published a package of stories and interviews on the various films, events and individuals that made the year so memorable. As part of this package, film reporter Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) spoke to filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius, an Oscar-winner for his film The Artist, about his film Godard Mon Amour.

Apr 20, 2018
Beyoncé at Coachella & What to Expect This Weekend

Our reporters discuss the most talked about performance at Coachella: Beyoncé's 2 hour set. They also predict what you can expect to see this upcoming weekend for round 2 of "Beychella".

Featuring reporters Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus), Tre'vell Anderson (@TrevellAnderson) and Gerrick Kennedy (@GerrickKennedy).

Apr 20, 2018
Scandal: The Legacy and Finale

One of the most talked about shows on social media is coming to an end. Tune in to hear entertainment reporters Yvonne Villarreal (@villarrealy) and Lorraine Ali (@LorraineAli) talk with editor Mary McNamara (@MaryMacTV) and writer Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) about the show's legacy, it's revolutionary audience engagement and it's tackling of contemporary issues.

Also, hear from the stars of the show and creator Shonda Rhimes as they reminisce before the big finale. 

Apr 19, 2018
Roseanne: Nostalgia and Modern Families

What should we make of the new Roseanne reboot? What about this moment in time has caused it to soar in popularity? And is it worth a watch?

Reporters and TV critics Lorraine Ali (@LorraineAli), Yvonne Villareal (@villarrealy), Greg Braxton, Mary McNamara (@marymacTV) and Robert Lloyd (@LATimesTVLloyd) talk with Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) about what they make of this TV phenomenon.

Apr 12, 2018
What to Watch: Blockers, A Quiet Place and More

Four of the movies released this week: Blockers, A Quiet Place, You Were Never Really Here and The Endless, all have notable storylines and directors. Film reporters Jen Yamato (@JenYamato) and Tre'vell Anderson (@TrevellAnderson) talk with film critic Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) about what makes these movies significant, why you should be looking out for these directors and which of these movies you should watch this weekend.

The conversation is moderated by film reporter Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus).

Apr 05, 2018
Isle of Dogs: Cultural Appropriation, Translation and Creativity

Since its debut, Isle of Dogs has been met with controversy over the question of the film's cultural appropriation and seemingly inexplicable setting in a future Japan. Our film critic, Justin Chang (@JustinCChang), tackled this problem and eloquently asked in his review, "does this white American filmmaker's highly selective, idiosyncratic rendering of an East Asian society constitute a sincere act of homage, or a clueless failure of sensitivity?"

In response to Chang's review, and Jen Yamato's (@JenYamato) subsequent discussions about the film on social media, Wes Anderson critics and fans have fought tirelessly over these questions, debating the relationship between appropriation and creative freedom.

Should the movie--like the dogs in it--be sent to Trash Island? Our reporters will debate this question, with Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) moderating, on this week's episode of The Reel.

Mar 30, 2018
Emmys Season and Outlander: Interviews with the Frasers

The Los Angeles Times Emmy Contender Chats have begun! The first interviews of the series featured the cast of Outlander. TV reporter Yvonne Villarreal (@villarrealy) spoke with with Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser) and Caitriona Balfe (Claire Fraser) about portraying their characters' grief, gaining inspiration from the novels and more on the latest season.

Listen to clips from the interviews as Mark Olsen of Indie Focus (@IndieFocus) talks to Yvonne about Emmys season and Outlander's cult status.

To see the full interviews with Claire, Sam and other Emmy contenders, go to

Mar 29, 2018
Female TV Directors, Jessica Jones and the Male Gaze

Join Assistant Managing Editor of Arts & Entertainment Mary McNamara (@marymacTV), TV critic Lorraine Ali (@LorraineAli), entertainment reporter Yvonne Villarreal (@villarrealy) and TV writer Meredith Blake (@MeredithBlake) as they discuss the realities of being a female director in television.

Our group of reporters will ask many questions of the TV industry, like: why is TV such fertile ground for female directors? How is Jessica Jones breaking the mold? What really is the male gaze--and how do we start representing the female gaze?


This podcast is supported by HBO. Watch the premiere of Barry this Sunday March 25th on HBO.

Mar 22, 2018
Oscars Recap: The Red Carpet, Drake Sightings, and Fist-Pumps

For our last Oscars-centric episode this season, Sarah Rodman (@SarahARodman) talks to Justin Chang (@JustinCChang), Glenn Whipp (@GlennWhipp), Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA) and Tre'vell Anderson (@TrevellAnderson) about their experiences covering the Academy Awards last Sunday.

From the red carpet to star-studded after parties to cheers and gasps in the press pit, these reporters saw and heard it all.


This podcast is supported by iTunes Movies. Get The Shape of Water and many other Award-winning films on iTunes. Go to

Mar 06, 2018
Covering the Oscars--and What Happened in 2017?!

Hear directly from L.A. Times entertainment reporters about how they cover the biggest night in Hollywood. Arts and film writer Jeffrey Fleishman (@JeffreyLA), film reporter Josh Rottenberg (@joshrottenberg) and Hollywood writer Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA) discuss where they were last year when the La La Land/Moonlight fiasco happened, why Warren Beatty refused to let go of the envelope and what we might expect from this year's ceremony.

Also, hear from Assistant Managing Editor Mary Mcnamara (@marymacTV) and Glenn Weiss, the director of the Oscars ceremony.


This podcast is supported by iTunes Movies. Get Get Out and many other Award-nominated films on iTunes. Go to

Mar 01, 2018
Bonus Episode: Greta Gerwig Interview

Film critic Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) sits down with Oscar nominated director Greta Gerwig to discuss her film, Lady Bird. In this exclusive interview they discuss various filmmaking topics, including the history of female directors, the role of spirituality in Lady Bird and the importance of fonts.


This podcast is supported by iTunes Movies. Get Lady Bird and many other Award-nominated films on iTunes. Go to

Feb 23, 2018
Oscars Break Down: Best Directors

Sarah Rodman (@SarahARodman) talks to awards show reporter Glenn Whipp (@GlennWhipp) and film critic Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) about the Best Director category. The team also casts their votes for who should win in each.


This podcast is supported by iTunes Movies.  Get Coco and many other Award-nominated films on iTunes. Go to

Feb 22, 2018
Oscars Break Down: Best and Supporting Actresses

Sarah Rodman (@SarahARodman) moderates a noteworthy conversation between Glenn Whipp (@GlennWhipp), Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) and Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA) as they discuss the Best and Supporting Actress categories. The team also casts their votes for who should win in each.


This podcast is supported by iTunes Movies.  Get The Shape of Water and many other Award-nominated films on iTunes. Go to

Feb 15, 2018
Oscars Break Down: Best and Supporting Actors

Sarah Rodman (@SarahARodman) leads a smart and energetic discussion between Glenn Whipp (@GlennWhipp), Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) and Jen Yamato (@JenYamato) as they discuss the Best and Supporting Actor categories. The team also casts their votes for who should win in each.


This podcast is supported by iTunes Movies.  Get Dunkirk and many other Award-nominated films on iTunes. Go

Feb 08, 2018
Sundance Recap and the End of an Era

Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) moderates a lively conversation between Tre'vell Anderson (@TrevellAnderson), Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) and Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA) as they break down their experience at the Sundance Film Festival this year. They discuss and debate standing ovations, documentaries, future Oscar contenders, freezing temperatures and more.


This podcast is supported by iTunes Movies.  Get Call Me By Your Name and many other Award-nominated films on iTunes. Go

Feb 02, 2018
Oscars Nominations, Reactions, and Looking Below the Line

Allison Janney, Willem Dafoe, and Guillermo del Toro react to their Oscar Nominations, recreate where they were when they found out, and explain what their movies mean to them.

L.A. Times film critic Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) and entertainment reporter Tre’vell Anderson (@TrevellAnderson) discuss diversity and inclusion—or lack thereof—within the various Oscar categories.


This podcast is supported by iTunes Movies.  Get Get Out and many other Award-nominated films on iTunes. Go to

Jan 26, 2018
TimesUp, the Sunken Place, and Oscars Predictions

In the inaugural episode, Lorraine Ali (@LorraineAli) and Jen Yamato (@jenyamato) discuss #TimesUp and the changing landscape of sexism in Hollywood in a post-Weinstein era.

Writer Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) shares highlights from this year’s star-studded Envelope Roundtables, including moments with Jordan Peele, Jessica Chastain, and Saoirse Ronan.

Finally, L.A. Times film critics Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) and Glenn Whipp (@GlennWhipp) weigh in with their predictions for nominees in the top categories at the 2018 Oscars, considering the implications certain nominations may have in the current cultural moment


This podcast is supported by iTunes Movies.  Get Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, MissouriThe Big Sick, and many other Award-nominated films on iTunes. Go to

Jan 19, 2018