I recommend too: Welcome to Smodcast. . .

Kevin Smith, like him or loath him there's no denying the guy has had an impact on filmmaking as sizable as the gut he's always quick to draw attention to. From Clerks to the up-coming Cop Out, the indie director has had a career of varied success. Over the years, he may have lost favor with some critics, but despite all his up's and down's he has managed to hold on to a diehard troupe of fans who are all eager for anything Smith-related.

Flocking to his numerous Evening With performances and snapping up as many signed View Askew products as they can get their hands on, the fans have become his rock. Never one to shy away from publicity or the opportunities presented by the internet, when Kevin Smith announced that he was to start producing a podcast with producer and long time friend Scott Mosier, he took one more step forward in interacting with his fans.

Released weekly, (with a few exceptions) Smodcast, a mish-mash of Smith, Mosier and . . . well you're not that stupid, began in February 2007 and is still going strong today. Discussing everything from his personal life to his experiences with some of Hollywood's biggest stars, Smodcast does something interesting and unique.

It breaks down the barrier between fan and director, giving you a glimpse behind the scenes of not only his day-to-day life but the movie industry of which he is a part of. The processes, the decisions from big business suits - Smith's frank explanations of the various situations he's found himself in over the years are delivered in the foul mouthed conversational style which fans of his movies have come to love.

Smith has never been the type to shy away from talking about himself, and at times Smodcast feels like Smith's weekly therapy session, however Scott Mosier forms the perfect co-host grounding the director with his low key witticisms. Mosier is the brains of Smodcast - the cultured traveler to Smith's self-confessed New Jersey-ite. Just don't ask them anything about Helen Keller.

As with any Smith production there's a fair amount of crude jokes and detailed descriptions of all manner of hypothetical scenarios that always tend to lean towards the sexually explicit and are always hilarious. Nothing is sacred and Smith rarely holds back.

It has inspired Smod-art - hilarious paintings based on various episodes and is one of the top rated free podcasts currently available. Whether you're a fan of Kevin Smith's work or not, Smodcast is an interesting look at the man and the business he's in. With equally hilarious co-hosts making the occasional visit and with it being free, you really have no excuse. So go shoot the shit with Scott and Mosier.

Subscribe to Smodcast here: www.smodcast.com

Or listen to Scott and Kevin read live exerts from the Smodcast book, reciting each others lines talking about an unusual form of heroism.

Documentary: The Devil and Daniel Johnston.

Many of you may already be familiar with the bittersweet documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston, but if you're yet to experience it, now is as good a time as any.

Released in 2006 and filmed by indie documentary filmmaker Jeff Feuerzeig, it's the story of haunted genius. Growing up, the California born Daniel Johnston was full of artistic talent but plagued by a series of mental health problems.

From the brief highs of his professional career to the profound lows of his personal life, we see Johnston as a tortured soul. Musician and artist, in his prime he was revered by bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam and yet oblivious. Fuelled by an unrequited love, when he released his creative energy he in turn cleansed his demons and the young man full of promise could be glimpsed once more. However the calm was not always long lasting.

By combining home movie footage (of which there was plenty) with candid interviews of friends and family, Feuerzeig chronicles Johnston's unusual life.

The result is a tale of a man at war with himself and his own mind, touching, heartbreaking and at times funny, it's guaranteed to stay with you.

Thankfully, since the documentaries release in 2006, Daniel's mental health has improved and he continues to play music and tour. In fact he'll be in the UK later this year.

Up In The Air - Reviewed

Ryan Bingham lives in the air. Travelling from company to company, hired to let employees of other companies know they're fired, he has no home or time for commitments. Ryan is married to his job and in case you were wondering, Ryan Bingham loves his life.

Jason Reitman's follow up to 2007's Juno sees the director aim slightly higher than teenage indie comedy. With Up In The Air he proves he can handle adults just as well as sassy knocked up teens whilst keeping his alternative rom-com charm.

George Clooney may have been no stranger to the big screen in 2009, starring in no less than three films during late November and early December, but no performance is as intimate or compelling as Ryan Bingham.

Makes you wonder if Clooney, a self confessed ladies man with no intention of settling down anytime soon can see the comparison, but maybe that's what makes him so interesting to watch.

Giving self help talks on the dangers of life commitments, Ryan asks audiences to pack their lives into a backpack; their possessions, even their relationships - all to re-enforce his simple life philosophy. As he eloquently puts it "the slower we move the faster we die" and as such Ryan has an inability to stay in one place for too long.

When Natalie, a young professional with her eyes on the prize but her heart on her sleeve suggests firing people via webcam, thus making travelling unnecessary Ryan's cushy existence is thrown, well, up in the air.

Battling his corner, he attempts to prove to Natalie that the face-to-face approach is crucial by inviting her on a firing spree. All the while aiming for ten million frequent flyer miles, an achievement only seven other people have accomplished. These are the things that Ryan finds important, and he's confident that he knows what he wants.
At least he thinks he does. Along the journey, it becomes clear that Ryan is more confused than he lets on. Achieving his goals only to question whether they're what he really wanted, and with young Natalie fighting the corner of love and companionship, soon he beings questioning his philosophy on life.

At its core, Up In The Air is a study of relationships, how they define you, how they consume you and how they can save your life, even if they do tend to ground you in one place.

Reitman proves once again that he's one of today's best indie filmmakers, Jason Bateman puts on a serious face and you can no doubt expect to see more of Anna Kendrick in the future. Famous faces including Zack Galifianakis, J.K. Simmons and Danny McBride appear briefly, cleverly mixed with what appear to be real life testimonials from recently unemployed members of the public, however they all carry the same message: everybody needs a co-pilot.

Up In The Air is at cinemas 15th January.