It’s the big bang of both our 10th episode and the origins of the summer blockbuster, although this episode is not quite like the high-end production of your usual Hollywood films! With Hugo at Venice film festival, Kiriko & Tom attempt to determine the definition of a (summer) blockbuster, is it more than just a “box-office hit”? In conjunction with the upcoming Suspicious Minds program, a retrospective of Denis Villeneuve’s work, we also explore what is a so-called “intelligent blockbuster”, skeptical of Christopher Nolan and his apparent pioneering of this heightened term. By exploring the history of the summer blockbuster, we attempt to resolve what the future of this historic marketing strategy has in an industry now dominated by streaming platforms.

Next episode

In conjunction with the upcoming Camera Japan Festival at LAB111, a celebration of upcoming and contemporary Japanese films, we explore our own personal relationship to what Japanese cinema offers. The wealth of Japanese films are too rich to ever justly cover in a single episode, so instead we are joined by programmer and researcher of Japanese cinema Julian Ross, to explore an overlooked genre of Japanese film – Expanded Cinema, a radical form that subverts our understanding of what cinema can be and the audience’s relationship to the screen.

Film Club

After listening to this episode and hopefully gaining a greater insight into (the history of) the summer blockbuster, we have chosen Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016) as our film club choice for this episode. We would love to know what your thoughts are of this “intelligent blockbuster”, so leave your review either in the Apple review section for this podcast or send us an email to and expect to hear your review read out by Tom, using his best impersonations of movie celebrities.

Films mentioned

(click on the links for tickets to screenings at LAB111)

  • Godzilla vs. Kong (Adam Wingard, 2021)
  • The Card Counter (Paul Schrader, 2021)
  • Titane (Julia Ducournau, 2021)
  • The Suicide Squad (James Gunn, 2021)
  • Suicide Squad (David Ayer, 2016)
  • Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975)
  • Star Wars (George Lucas, 1977)
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (Steven Spielberg, 1982)
  • Ghostbusters (Ivan Reitman, 1984)
  • Batman (Tim Burton, 1989)
  • Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg, 1993)
  • Independence Day (Roland Emmerich, 1996)
  • Men In Black (Barry Sonnenfeld, 1997)
  • Batman Begins (Christopher Nolan, 2005)
  • The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008)
  • The Dark Knight Rises (Christopher Nolan, 2012)
  • Inception (Christopher Nolan, 2010)
  • Interstellar (Christopher Nolan, 2014)
  • Tenet (Christopher Nolan, 2020)
  • Iron Man (Jon Favreau, 2008)
  • Avengers: Endgame (Anthony & Joe Russo, 2019)
  • Dune (Denis Villeneuve, 2021)
  • Black Widow (Cate Shortland, 2021)
  • Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino, 2009)
  • Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994)
  • F9: The Fast Saga (Justin Lin, 2021)
  • Following (Christopher Nolan, 1998)
  • Memento (Christopher Nolan, 2000)
  • The Prestige (Christopher Nolan, 2006)
  • Polytechnique (Denis Villeneuve, 2009)
  • Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)
  • Sicario (Denis Villeneuve, 2015)
  • Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve, 2017)
  • Enemy (Denis Villeneuve, 2013)
  • Logan (James Mangold, 2017)
  • The Eternals (ChloĆ© Zhao, 2021)
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Ryan Coogler, 2022)

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