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September 18th, 2017

More thoughts from The Fourth Wall…

Check out a trio of new conversations on cinema and television!

After Love, an outstanding 2016 French/Belgian film about a marriage in the throes of a separation — but where both parties (and their school-age daughters) are still inhabiting the same home. As you might imagine, the atmosphere is rather tense…

Black Mirror, our first foray into Charlie Booker’s genius series about the impact that technology might have on societal interaction in the very near future.

War Machine, well… sometimes we watch these films so that you don’t have to! But it did inspire a fair amount of introspection about why most comedies leave me more than a bit wanting. This 2017 military satire would squarely fall in that category.

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August 24th, 2017

Lady Macbeth! Exit Through the Gift Shop! And more!

Check out some more e-conversations on cinema, both new and old! It’s The Fourth Wall, a regular exchange of thoughts between fellow CHIRP member Clarence Ewing and me on film. I also have listed our discussions separately on my Essays page.

[Clarence and I didn’t see eye-to-eye on Lady Macbeth, but I loved it — and watch for the name Florence Pugh in years to come. Tremendous performance.]

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February 9th, 2015

Where Have I Been?

Greetings everyone! Hope your 2014 was a bit healthier than mine? After recovering from a frozen shoulder (relating to a 2013 ruptured appendix), I came down with an abscess in my liver (!) that had me back at the good ol’ hospital and then home for a lengthy convalescence. This makes two straight years where I’ve gone home with tubes sticking out of me. Charming, eh? But I am finally healthy — thanks to terrific doctors — and rarin’ to go in 2015.

As far as my documentary, Enemies of the State, I’m happy to announce that not only have I shot new interviews (with the folks at The Dissolve among others), but I’ve picked up a fantastic editor, Alaric Martin, who is not only a sharp storyteller but also a treasure trove of cinema knowledge. It’s been a while since my last podcast, but you can check out all my Split Reel shows here at CHIRP Radio. I’m also thinking of doing something different with the format this year — namely, getting back to prose! I definitely need an excuse to write more, and I want to focus on essays relating to some of the lesser-known films I’ve enjoyed recently. (Werner Herzog’s Into The Abyss has sent me down quite a Time Sink of Thought recently.) My favorite films of 2014? Boyhood, Boyhood, and Boyhood. But if I had to pick two others… Nightcrawler and Wild.

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December 18th, 2013

December 2013 Update!

Hey folks — it’s been a while! The podcasts have been few but my doc project, Enemies of the State, is coming along — there are revised clips on its page here covering everything from our depiction of communists to our strange fascination (and even borderline-idolatry) of serial killers! And extended features on both the MegaCorp (did anyone catch The East earlier this year?) and urban dystopian themes are soon to come.

Questions? Comments? Drop me a line! kjfullam (at) gmail.com.

P.S. It’s been a great year for cinema-going in general — my top 3 thus far: Short Term 12, Before Midnight, and Sister (L’Enfant d’en haut).

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July 11th, 2013

Documentary Update!

Hello, folks! For those not in the know, I’ve been working on a documentary about the relationship between Hollywood villainy and societal fears (working title, Enemies of the State). It now has its own page on this website (see above), where you can catch various promos and whatnot — there’s a longer piece on Hollywood and war culture posted there if you’re so inclined. Below is the nuts-and-bolts two-minute pitch promo! And as far as Split Reel, stay tuned for a new show coming soon with author Katherine Rife about Quentin Tarantino films…
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“Washington and Hollywood spring from the same DNA.” — Jack Valenti, former president & CEO, Motion Picture Association of America

What makes a convenient Hollywood villain? Via interviews with filmmakers and cultural critics, Enemies of the State will examine the fictional depictions of societal fears throughout the years — everything from the threat of Cold War-era communism to artificial intelligence and urban dystopia. How has Hollywood reflected the shifting political and social climates of the country throughout the last century? What is the nature of the symbiotic relationship between popular culture and public opinion?

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May 6th, 2012

Dreams in Popular Culture, w/Molly McAshan

Much like the concept of time travel, the subject of dreams is a creative playground for filmmakers, both in terms of narrative as well as visuals — when you’re not bound by the laws of reality, you can go anywhere… and more importantly, be anyone. Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound and Ingmar Bergman’s Wild Strawberries broke new ground in presenting the world of dreams to mid-20th-century filmgoers, with the former enlisting the services of artist Salvador Dali for that very purpose. More recently, dreams have served as the stage for everything from the Nightmare on Elm Street horror franchise to Richard Linklater’s thought-provoking Waking Life, a series of vignettes discussing the nature of existence. Returning as my guest is mental-health professional and dedicated cinephile Molly McAshan (who shared my befuddlement at Christopher Nolan’s dream-within-a-dream [and then some] 2010 blockbuster Inception).

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March 24th, 2010

The War on Terror and Popular Culture, w/guests Andrew Schopp and Matthew B. Hill

My new show on cinema, Split Reel, has debuted — for now, you can listen at CHIRP (Chicago Independent Radio Project), but you’ll also be able to access archives here as well as subscribe to the podcast.

What were the “flash points” which signified the “War on Terror” was having a concrete impact on popular culture? If the Hollywood norm over the past decade has been to showcase films that highlight the failures of American policy rather than champion it… then how does this fit within the framework of rah-rah patriotism that erupted in the wake of 9/11? And what sort of impact will the new strain of anti-government movements have in the wake of the Obama White House administration? My inaugural guests? Andrew Schopp and Matthew B. Hill, co-editors of the recent book The War on Terror and American Popular Culture: September 11 and Beyond.

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January 6th, 2010

Brand-New Website in 2010!

With the advent of a new year comes a brand-spankin’-new website, which currently houses many of the episodes from my now-defunct show Under Surveillance on WLUW, and will feature everything from new radio projects to pop-culture essays. Feel free to drop me a line via the links below if you are so inclined — I’m open to questions, suggestions, and/or dinner ideas.

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January 14th, 2009

Nuclear War in Mass Media, w/guest Ian Abrams

“Duck and Cover” has been replaced by “Shock and Awe” in the public lexicon where military matters are concerned, but the prospect of nuclear war has loomed for decades, even as the tensions of the Cold War have faded*. How have the worlds of literature, cinema, and television portrayed the experience of nuclear armageddon and its aftermath? My guest is Ian Abrams, former screenwriter and current associate professor at the Westphal College of Media Arts and Design at Drexel University, and we’ll be examining everything from survivalist literary classics like Pat Frank’s Alas Babylon to Peter Watkins’ faux-documentary The War Game and the Stanley Kubrick dark-comedy classic Dr. Strangelove. [Originally broadcast on WLUW’s Under Surveillance in January 2009.]

* Check out this recent NY Times article concerning the worries over the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

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June 25th, 2008

2008 Presidential Race Recap, w/guest Alan Gitelson

After over a year of campaigning, slews of primaries and caucuses, and countless millions of dollars spent, both major parties have settled on their respective nominees… so now what? Loyola political science professor Alan Gitelson returns to join me in a look at the current state of the 2008 presidential race. Can we compare the Obama/McCain matchup to any historical presidential battles? How will the recent decision of Obama to bypass public financing for the general election impact the campaign? And will newly-crowned Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr siphon off sorely-needed votes from the McCain camp this fall? Alan Gitelson has provided election analysis for NPR, WGN, and countless other media outlets around the country. [Originally broadcast on WLUW’s Under Surveillance in June 2008.]

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Kevin Fullam is a writer and researcher, with extensive experience in fields ranging from sports analytics to politics and cinema.

In addition, he has hosted two long-running radio series on film and culture, and taught mass media at Loyola University.

Episodes of his two shows, Split Reel and Under Surveillance, are archived on the Radio page.