Review: ‘Catch and Kill: The Podcast Tapes’ debuts parts 3 & 4 tonight on HBO & HBO MAX

Catch and Kill: The Podcast Tapes, a six-part, half-hour documentary series, brings to life Ronan Farrow’s intimate, revealing interviews with whistleblowers, journalists, private investigators and other sources, conducted for the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist’s podcast and best-selling book, Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies and A Conspiracy to Protect Predators.

Directed by Emmy-winners Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato (HBO’s Carrie Fisher: Wishful Drinking), the series expands on the podcast and book with never-before-seen footage and new insights into this culture-shaking story. Interviews are interwoven with additional sound and imagery from documents, audiotapes, photos, archive footage, and illustrations. With fresh perspectives and detail — not just on the harrowing effort to expose one powerful predator, but on the systems that help cover up terrible crimes to this day — the series presents new revelations in the reporting on one of Hollywood’s most ungettable stories.

Reporters Ken Auletta and Kim Masters explore the roadblocks that stalled their years-long quests to expose Weinstein.​

Catch and Kill: The Podcast Tapes is set during a period of recent history when the world seemed unrelentingly bleak. The documentary demonstrates that even during those dark times, however, courageous individuals worked hard to expose the truth for the sake of justice.

Throughout six 30-minute episodes, Ronan Farrow guides viewers through a complex web of conspirators fighting against his journalistic investigation into the “open secret” of Harvey Weinstein’s rape offenses. While many may be familiar with the outlines of the case, like the many credible allegations of abuse and how Farrow’s New Yorker story helped trigger the #MeToo movement, the documentary focuses on many lesser-known aspects of the saga. 

Model Ambra Gutierrez reveals the high-stakes police sting operation that captured a chilling admission from Harvey Weinstein – and her plan to preserve the evidence after authorities declined to prosecute.

Each episode in the series uncovers a new layer in a complex web of protection, manipulation, and gentlemen’s agreements that Harvey and others have relied on to shield them from critique and consequences for decades. The thesis of this project is clear: Society should not be content with the conviction of high profile men like Harvey Weinstein alone. Instead, we must dismantle the complicit power structures that allowed Harvey Weinstein’s abuses to continue for years without repercussions. Farrow makes clear that media companies, attorneys, and literal spies worked together to shield powerful men from criminal prosecution and public contempt. 

Although I intended only to watch the first two installments, I ended up binging the rest of them in a single afternoon. Every chapter in the series is intriguing, closing on a cliffhanger that compels you to roll into the next. 

It is said that the arc of the universe bends towards justice. Although there is still a long way to go, Catch and Kill instills a sense of hope that perhaps many of the traditional systems of power that have kept bad men on top for generations are more tenuous now than they have been before.

The documentary series debuted on HBO & HBO MAX with two back-to-back episodes MONDAY, JULY 12(9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT), with new episodes airing back-to-back subsequent Mondays at the same time.

 

Tribeca Film Festival 2019 Podcast Interview: Jeremy Gardner, Christian Stella, and Brea Grant share all the gory and gorgeous details of ‘AFTER MIDNIGHT’ (Something Else).

AFTER MIDNIGHT (Something Else) Podcast

AFTER MIDNIGHT (formerly titled Something Else) was one of the most unique selections in this year’s festival. Both a monster movie and a love story, the film’s deliberate structure is a standout all on its own. The writing is fresh and funny and the use of light makes it a joy to watch. There are brilliantly theatrical moments. I believe this film would actually translate incredibly well onstage! When you see it, you’ll know what I mean. It’s a complete compliment. I sat down with co-directors Christian Stella and Jeremy Gardner (who also stars and wrote the script) and star Brea Grant to chat all things AFTER MIDNIGHT. How did the script come about? What in the world were they thinking with certain choices? What did Brea think the first time she read the script?  We talk favorite movie monsters, and how the filmmakers of one of my favorite films The Endless, Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, got on board. You can read my full review of AFTER MIDNIGHT here, but give a listen to the awesome time we all had together. Be warned, when I walked into the room, Christian, Jeremy, and Brea had all been in the super cool bathroom of our interview room at The Roxy Hotel taking a photo, and I’m disappointed in myself for not getting in on the selfie action on my way out the door. Also, when you hear us refer/talk to “Ted”, we’re actually talking to We Are Still Here and Mohawk filmmaker Ted Geoghegan who just so happened to be in our presence. No big deal. Anyhow, without further ado, here is our podcast talking all things Tribeca, monsters, and AFTER MIDNIGHT.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR(S)

Jeremy Gardner and Christian Stella are the filmmakers behind the indie zombie film The Battery and survival comedy Tex Montana Will Survive! Lifelong friends, both directors were born and raised in Florida.

FILM INFO
  • Section:
    Midnight
  • Year:
    2019
  • Length:
    83 minutes
  • Language:
    English
  • Country:
  • Premiere:
    World
  • Connect:
CAST & CREDITS
  • Director:
    Jeremy Gardner and Christian Stella
  • Producer:
    David Lawson Jr., Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead, Arvind Harinath
  • Screenwriter:
    Jeremy Gardner
  • Cinematographer:
    Christian Stella
  • Editor:
    Christian Stella and Jeremy Gardner
  • Executive Producer:
    Venu Kunnappilly
  • Cast:
    Jeremy Gardner. Brea Grant, Henry Zebrowski, Justin Benson, Ashley Song, Nicola Masciotra

Shocking Tribeca doc ‘DREAM/KILLER’ finally gets released in theaters!

dream killer posterOne of the most acclaimed docs from this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, dream/killer,  is being released in NY today and in LA next Friday, Dec 11th. Fans of the podcast Serial and HBO’s The Jinx, this film is right up your alley, I highly recommend  you seek it out!Ryan Ferguson dream killer

In the fall of 2005, 19-year-old Ryan Ferguson was convicted of murder and sentenced to 40-years in prison based on someone else’s dream.  Over the next ten years while Ryan languished in prison, his father Bill engaged in a tireless crusade to find justice.  dream/killer tells the story of this extraordinary father’s journey to free his son.Courtroom still dream killer

When Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt was brutally murdered in the newspaper’s parking lot, the crime went unsolved for two years, leaving the affluent college town desperate to bring home justice. At the time, it was the only unsolved murder in the city. A break in the case lead police to Chuck Erickson, who confessed to the crime, implicated Ferguson as an accomplice and left America with one of the country’s most outrageous miscarriages of justice.The Ferguson family dream killer

The documentary uses archival footage from when Ryan was first arrested, interviews with him in prison, and court hearings that reveal the strengths and the flaws of the American judicial system. The arguments of the ruthless prosecutor and Ryan’s brilliant defense attorney are also depicted to show how easily the system is influenced.  Interspersed with footage from the Ferguson family archive, dream/killer looks at the personal consequences of a wrongful conviction.

dream/killer – OFFICIAL TRAILER (2015) from Bloom Project on Vimeo.

You can check out my original review and listen to my exclusive interview with Ryan and Bill in the link below. This is one extraordinary story and family.

Review/Interview with ‘Dream/Killer’ subject Ryan and Bill Ferguson

Girls On Film Podcast: ‘Steve Jobs: The Man In the Machine’ – Liz & Melissa discuss Alex Gibney’s Documentary

Steve Jobs, Woodside CA 1984

This week’s podcast is dedicated to Alex Gibney‘s documentary, Steve Jobs: The Man In the Machine. Liz and I attended a screening, Q&A and reception where Gibney spoke with the press audience. After, Liz and I realized that as a user and non-user of Apple products, we had a great opportunity to discuss the film from both perspectives. Read More →

‘Big Eyes’ Interview: Liz’s chat with screenwriters Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski

BIGEYES

I was lucky enough to attend the press junket for Tim Burton‘s new film, BIG EYES (review coming soon!). Afterwards, I had the opportunity to sit down with the incredibly talented and successful writing partners Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander. Read More →

Girls On Film Podcast: Brendan Gleeson, John Michael McDonagh & Kelly Reilly Chat About ‘Calvary’

Calvary (4)

Kelly Reilly as “Fiona” and Brendan Gleeson as “Father James Lavelle” in CALVARY.

CALVARY’s Father James (Brendan Gleeson) is a good priest who is faced with troubling circumstances brought about by a mysterious member of his parish. Although he continues to comfort his own fragile daughter (Kelly Reilly) and to help members of his church with their various problems, he feels a foreboding sinister force closing in, and begins to wonder if he will have the courage to face his own personal Calvary.

In this episode of Girls on Film, Liz and Melissa talk about Calvary. Read More →

Liz’s Interview: ‘Emoticon’ Director/Co-Writer/Actor Livia de Paolis

How do we navigate relationships in an age of relentless technology? We are more likely to shoot someone a text than call them. Writing letters is a thing of the past. When does technology hinder our ability to connect on a human level? Have we gone too far, already?

Emoticon is a brilliant new film starring Director/Co-Writer/Actor Livia de Paolis. As a graduate student of anthropology, Elena explores ways to complete her PHD thesis on “modern means of communication.” Dating an older man with two teenaged kids becomes a means to discover how to connect to both generations as well as herself. Read More →