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Cinemaball 14: The Legend of Billie Jean (1985)

On this very special episode of Cinemaball, we celebrate Ebony’s achievement of scoring the first proper goal in the history of the game with an examination of her goal film, the overlooked 1985 teen power ballad of a movie that is The Legend of Billie Jean. Our conversation covers the film’s noteworthy respect for its young heroes (and, by extension, its young viewers, too), the unique power of a female hero who disrupts the gender binary, and the role that male entitlement plays as a...


Cinemaball 13: Broadcast News (1987)

This week on Cinemaball, Carolyn and Ebony take a close look at James L. Brooks’ 1987 masterpiece about the collision between professional ethics and personal desires, Broadcast News. The film features Holly Hunter in a breakthrough performance as news producer Jane Craig, a woman fiercely dedicated to maintaining high ethical standards for herself and her news crew, who finds herself falling for a man who represents everything she’s been fighting against. Meanwhile, another colleague, one...


Cinemaball 12: Raising Arizona (1987)

On the latest Cinemaball, Ebony and Carolyn venture to the deserts of the Coen brothers’ 1987 comedy classic, Raising Arizona. We get into Nicolas Cage’s indelible performance as a kind of living cartoon, the peculiar nature of this film’s American dream as a land where all of us can find grace, and the film’s impatience with certain specific types of masculinity. We also discuss the meticulous nature of the filmmaking on display, what exposure to filmmakers like the Coen brothers can do,...


Cinemaball 11: L.A. Story (1991)

On this episode, we arrive in perpetually sunny Los Angeles for writer-star Steve Martin's romantic ode to the city, L.A. Story. Ebony and Carolyn discuss the film's gender and class politics, Martin's distinct blend of zaniness and magic, and the way in which the film champions sincerity and depth of feeling. Unlike the movie itself, the podcast does not feature a Patrick Stewart cameo, but it does feature Carolyn briefly imitating Patrick Stewart's character. As always, we offer up our...


Cinemaball 10: Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

This week on Cinemaball, Ebony and Carolyn venture to the gloomy and foreboding realm of Transylvania via Francis Ford Coppola’s lurid 1992 adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. We get into the film’s bold visual style, the way it calls attention to its own artifice, and the film’s psychologically complex handling of the place where sex and death collide. Of course, we have plenty to say about Keanu Reeves’ much-maligned performance, as well as the way Anthony Hopkins creates a Van Helsing...


Cinemaball 09: Night On Earth (1991)

This week on Cinemaball, Ebony and Carolyn go on a globe-hopping adventure via the 1991 Jim Jarmusch anthology film Night on Earth! From Winona Ryder in Los Angeles to Armin Mueller-Stahl in New York and beyond, five cab drivers in five cities participate in the carnival of human life, in all its whimsy, happenstance, joy, and sorrow. Listen as we discuss Jarmusch’s knack for capturing the beauty of lived-in places, the gentle compassion the film has for its characters, and how, looking...


Cinemaball 08.5: Midseason Report

It’s time for our Cinemaball Midseason Report! Join Ebony and Carolyn as they provide a quick summary of the Cinemaball rules and a spirited recollection of the competition up to this point. Then, it’s the moment you’ve been waiting for as Carolyn reveals what movie we’ll be kicking things off with when Cinemaball resumes next week! If you’re new to Cinemaball, there’s never been a better time to hop in and become a listener!


CinemaBall 08: Hard Target (1993)

This week on Cinemaball, Carolyn scores a field goal with the John Woo-directed Jean-Claude Van Damme action flick, Hard Target! It’s got JCVD as a New Orleans drifter named Chance Boudreaux, Lance Henriksen in a scenery-chewing performance as Emil Fouchon, a man who makes his fortune by letting rich people hunt poor people, and Wilford Brimley as Chance’s Uncle Douvee. (It’s also got a scene in which Van Damme punches a snake.) It may not be a good film, but it sure is a fun one, and Ebony...


Cinemaball 07: The China Syndrome (1979)

This week on Cinemaball, Ebony and Carolyn endure the nail-biting tension of the 1979 nuclear disaster thriller, The China Syndrome! We discuss the ways in which the film taps into very real concerns of the period about the safety of nuclear power, the ways in which TV news can be a tool of corporate propaganda or a force for justice (yes, it’s about ethics in journalism), and how it functions as a critique of capitalism run amok. We applaud the film’s authentic little observations about...


Cinemaball 06: Romancing the Stone (1984)

Adventure! Romance! Racism! On the latest Cinemaball, Ebony and Carolyn swing into the 1984 swashbuckler Romancing the Stone, starring Kathleen Turner, Michael Douglas and a very funny Danny DeVito. Our conversation covers the interesting way in which the film depicts a scene from a romance novel, what was happening in actual romance novels at the time this film was released, the deeply racist depiction of Colombia and its people, the gleeful absurdity of the film’s plot, and much more.


Cinemaball 05: L.A. Confidential (1997)

This week, Cinemaball goes all stylish and dark as Carolyn and Ebony dissect the 1997 neo-noir classic, L.A. Confidential. Our hosts wax rhapsodic about the film's masterful evocation of a peculiarly Hollywood glamour; the seedy underbelly of the LAPD; and the dangerous allure of power.


Cinemaball 04: Louder Than Bombs (2015)

On this week’s Cinemaball, Ebony and Carolyn discuss the complex family drama Louder Than Bombs, which stars the captivating actor Gabriel Byrne as Gene, a man still trying to fully process the death of his wife, war photographer Isabelle. His sons, high-schooler Conrad and professor Jonah (played by Jesse Eisenberg) each have their own struggles, and over the course of the film we gain insight into the different meaning that Isabelle had for each of them. Our conversation touches on what...


Cinemaball 03: It Follows (2014)

Don’t look behind you, but on this episode of Cinemaball, Ebony and Carolyn talk about the terrifying horror film It Follows. (Caro is still recovering from her viewing experience.) We discuss the ways in which the film taps into some of our deepest fears around sex and death, the power of the various forms “it” takes, how the film uses its Detroit setting to great effect, and the small details that make its world feel just slightly displaced from our own. We end by each rating the film...


Cinemaball 02: Kickboxer: Retaliation (2018)

On this episode of Cinemaball, Ebony and Carolyn find themselves embroiled in the deadly underground Thai kickboxing scene of Kickboxer Retaliation! Join us as we go toe-to-toe with the film’s fight choreography, its representations of masculinity, and Mike Tyson’s acting skills.


Cinemaball 01: Highlander (1985)

On this, our inaugural episode of Cinemaball, Carolyn and Ebony dive deep into the 1985 cult classic Highlander! This quintessential 80s film gives us no shortage of topics to discuss, from French actor Christopher Lambert’s performance as a Scottish nobleman to Scottish actor Sean Connery’s performance as a Spanish (or perhaps Egyptian?!) immortal. We delve into the rich contrast between Lambert’s introspective hero, Connor MacLeod, and Clancy Brown’s scenery-chewing villain, The Kurgan;...


00 Cinemaball Premieres April 27, 2018!

Are you ready for Cinemaball? Tune in and find out what Carolyn and Ebony get up to when they're let loose with a couple of free hours, a remote control, and an Amazon Prime subscription. In our first teaser episode, Caro and Ebony sketch out the broad outlines of this off-the-wall movie review show, in which they'll force each other to watch and connect unrelated movies in an attempt to reach a hilarious cinematic goal. Ebony spikes the cinemaball into play by revealing their first...