Does another trip to the United Kingdom mean another podcast bites the dust?
From the popular London newspaper The Guardian comes Film Weekly. Every week an episode of this podcast clocking in at around forty to forty five minutes in length is published. The podcast centers on interviews conducted by the lone host, film critic from another British newspaper The Observer, Jason Solomons. He interviews various figures in film and also has a segment where he is joined by another critic to offer very brief reviews of a few select films opening in British theaters that week.
Episodes Listened To
#Unknown: Tyrannosaur unearthed with Paddy Considine & Olivia Colman
#Unknown: Jessica Brown-Findlay on Albatross
#Unknown: Thandie Newton on Retreat and taking to the stage
The obvious comparisons to Film Weekly are The Treatment and Mark Kermode And Simon Mayo’s Film Reviews. Those shows cover similar ground as Film Weekly does, but Film Weekly falls well short of measuring up to either of those podcasts. Film Weekly tries, I’ll give the show that much, but it comes across as an inferior product through and through and it really shows. It’s not even that Film Weekly is trying to be either of the other two aforementioned podcasts, but it feels like it is and that is a major detriment to the show.
The interview aspect of Film Weekly is where the comparison to The Treatment comes into play. On The Treatment Elvis Mitchell asks tough questions and explores the minds of his guests and their projects. On Film Weekly Jason Solomons conducts an interview in the style of an Access Hollywood or E! News. Maybe it’s the format, maybe it’s what The Guardian wants, or maybe it’s the way Mr. Solomons feels is best to conduct an interview. Whatever the reason the interviews on Film Weekly are very soft. I didn’t learn anything about Thandie Newton during her interview, I didn’t gain a better understanding of what drives her as an actress. I learned that she has a new project that she wants to talk about and Mr. Solomons was more than willing to gush all over her in helping her talk about her new project.
The connection to Mark Kermode And Simon Mayo’s Film Reviews comes about in the form of the reviews. Misters Kermode and Mayo offer the same brief reviews that Mr. Solomons and a guest critic do. The difference is that Misters Kermode and Mayo have developed a friendly and funny rapport. They are able to get right into a review and create a fun atmosphere for the audience at the same time. Mr. Solomons and whatever guest critic he has on sound like they are reading from pre-written cue cards, offering their own individual takes on the films regardless of what the other person has to say. The way that Misters Kermode and Mayo go about reviewing a movie is lots of fun, the way that Film Weekly goes about reviewing movies is uninteresting and clunky.
The comparisons to other podcasts are apt, Film Weekly is an inferior version of two other very specific podcasts. I didn’t even realize that Jason Solomons was a critic until I was researching Film Weekly after the fact. That right there should tell you about the way his critical analysis, or lack thereof, comes across in every episode. In just a few sentences you’ll get to The Bottom Line section where you’ll be told to unsubscribe from Film Weekly. That’s the best course of action I can recommend in a world where The Treatment and Mark Kermode And Simon Mayo’s Film Reviews exist alongside Film Weekly. I don’t watch E! News or Access Hollywood for a reason, and it’s my same distaste for that sort of superficial Hollywood star format that made it easy for me to give up on Film Weekly.
The Bottom Line