“Elvis”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: June 26th, 2022 | Filed under: Cinema, Culture, Film Reviews Podcast, Music | No Comments »

It is a significant topic as deep and long as the entire 20th C.

Elvis Presley.

Elvis.

Baz Luhrmann has attempted to tackle it, in his latest release, simply titled, “Elvis.”

Austin Butler is magnificent as Presley, who was known as the “King of Rock & Roll.”

Tom Hanks not so much as the equally important for the tale to be told manager, the self-proclaimed Colonel Tom Parker.

Because I grew up with Elvis and rock & roll, I have many thoughts and emotions about Presley, as well as about Luhrmann’s manner of telling to tale.

For significantly more details of my thoughts on both, listen to the podcast below:

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“The Old Man”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: June 22nd, 2022 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast, Streaming, TV | No Comments »

It seems that thirty years ago, CIA agent Dan Chase (Jeff Bridges) went rogue on an operation in Afghanistan.

His superior Harold Harper (John Lithgow), now with the FBI, got drawn into the situation.

It did not go well, or so we learn. But has been swept under the carpet.

Now it’s back, and Chase is being hunted down for termination with extreme prejudice. Why we do not exactly know, at least after two episodes.

Harper is again in the middle of things.

So goes this intriguing new mini-series, “The Old Man,” available on FX and Hulu.

For more reasons why you might choose to watch, listen to my podcast below.

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The Importance of Elvis

Posted: June 20th, 2022 | Filed under: Cinema, Culture, Music, Personalities | 1 Comment »

This piece was originally published at the turn of the century. It has been very slightly edited for clarity and content in advance of the release this week of the Elvis Presley biopic.

In his book “The Fifties,” David Halberstam chronicles the most misunderstood of the century’s decades. In the tome, he relates a conversation where noted composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein discussed political and social trends with Dick Clurman, an editor at Time magazine. Halberstam quotes Bernstein: “Elvis Presley is the greatest cultural force of the twentieth century.”

Incredulous, Clurman suggests some other choice, Picasso perhaps.

Bernstein, not to be deterred, retorts: “(Elvis) changed everything — music, language, clothes, it’s a whole new social revolution . . .”

Elvis Presley is LEO’s Person of the Century.

That is not a typo. No Henry Ford or Winston Churchill or Bill Gates or FDR or Einstein or Rosa Parks or Jackie O could meet our standards at Louisville Eccentric Observer for such critical status.

Elvis Presley is the wise choice, the eccentric choice, the correct choice. Love him or loathe him. Pity his Greek tragedy of a life. Ignore him if so inclined. But don’t make the mistake of dismissing Elvis as irrelevant.

Elvis was the undisputed King of Rock & Roll but no longer a major player on the music scene twenty two years ago when he died ignominiously in his throne room. The causes: Terminal, drug-induced bloat and chronic ennui. He had become the caped, prescription pill-addled Elvis who arrived for a White House audience with Richard Nixon, carrying a handgun as a gift, then requesting a badge to fight drug abuse.

We chose the Elvis who in the summer of 1953 entered the Memphis Recording Service studio at 706 Union in Memphis to record an acetate for his mama. The Elvis who the following year, at the insistence of guitarist Scotty Moore, and with encouragement from Sam Phillips’ secretary Marion Keister, waxed revved versions of Bill Monroe’s “Blue Moon of Kentucky” and Arthur Crudup’s “That’s All Right Mama.” The songs changed Elvis’ life forever.

And the lives of all who heard them.

And life itself.

As Renaissance Woman Caroline Dahl titled her magnificent needlepoint seen above, Elvis was “The New King of Heaven and Hell.”

Elvis Presley. The world’s been a different place since. Read the rest of this entry »


“JazzFest A New Orleans Story”: Film/ Review Podcast

Posted: June 16th, 2022 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast, Music, New Orleans | No Comments »

If you are here, you understand that I am obsessed with the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

JazzFest.

I’ve attended 34 of them, all but one since 1988, and refer to the gathering to honor the culture, cuisine and music of the Crescent City as “the gravitational pull of my year.”

So, when a new documentary about the Fest came out, I was all over it. Watched it the first moment available on Amazon Prime. (Even though it’s being screened in theaters nationwide, none are doing so in my town.)

That was a week ago. The delay in this review is simply explained.

Such is my emotional attachment to Fest, it’s taken this long for me to conjure a reasonably objective assessment of the flick.

Which doc is, despite some personal objections I have to editorial decisions made, an invigorating take, which depicts the Fest in all its glory.

I recommend you watch. After, of course, listening to my significantly more informational podcast review below:

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“The Conversation”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: June 9th, 2022 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | 2 Comments »

Though almost fifty years old, this Francis Coppola film starring Gene Hackman is a relevant today as it was when released.

It’s about privacy and security and paranoia.

Hackman plays Harry Caul, a professional bugger, hired to tape a conversation with a couple having an extra-marital affair.

Mystery subtly evolves when Caul, and the audience, start to wonder what’s really going on.

The film deservedly won many awards.

For further reasons why, listen to my podcast review below:

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“Emergency”: Film Review/ Podcast

Posted: June 2nd, 2022 | Filed under: Cinema, Culture, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

Is it possible to take a hackneyed movie genre and turn it into something else entirely?

Like, say, the it’s the last night of school before vacation let’s party til we puke and do stupid things flick, and use that premise to make a comment on socio-cultural reality, all the while being entertaining.

The answer we now know is Yes.

Thanks to “Emergency,” available for streaming on Amazon Prime.

Sean and Kuhnle are all set to be the first black dudes at their college to complete the seven stop Legendary Tour of parties before spring break.

Coming home for their “pregame,” they discover a white girl they don’t know, passed out stoned and drunk on their living room floor.

What to do?

The weirdness usually present in this genre of flicks comes about. But, so too, a take on what it’s like to be young and black in a moment fraught with peril in today’s culture.

This is not diatribe or finger pointing. What this is is an often very funny, continually entertaining and engaging, and periodically revelatory film.

For more, Listen to my podcast below.

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“Bad Luck Banging Or Loony Porn”: Review Podcast

Posted: May 28th, 2022 | Filed under: Cinema, Culture, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

Alrighty then, here’s something completely and absurdly different.

A Romanian film, shot during the pandemic in Bucharest.

About a respected teacher at an upscale school, who makes a private sex tape with her husband.

Which somehow gets uploaded to the interweb.

Parental disapproval ensues.

This fascinating film, which — Caveat Emptor — contains graphic imagery and lots of dirty, really nasty words, provides an interesting take on the culture of that country, as well as the racism, contention and hypocrisy that is endemic world wide.

Plus, it’s really funny.

Well done, it won the top prize at the ’21 Berlin Film Festival.

I’d suggest actually listening to my podcast before going to Hulu or Amazon Prime to watch.

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“Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent: Review/ Podcast

Posted: May 19th, 2022 | Filed under: Cinema, Culture, Film Reviews Podcast, Personalities | No Comments »

So, Nick Cage, he’s like a thing, right?

Because of his over the top acting style and other stuff, he’s more than an actor. A cultural icon, or, at least curiosity.

So it would seem.

He’s won an Oscar. He’s been in a 109 films. He’s made some bold choices in his portrayals, daring even.

Some hit. Some have you walking out of the theater, scratching your head. Even before the movie’s over perhaps.

He’s a flashpoint for aesthetic colloquy.

Now, he plays himself, along with his alter ego Sailer Ripley, his character in “Wild at Heart,” in what is either an astute bit of self deprecation, or vanity in the extreme.

Way more the former, I’d opine.

In “Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” you get all Nick Cage all the time.

It’s pretty danged funny. Astute. Often a brilliant send up of the movie industry.

For more on the movie, listen to my podcast below:

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“Slow Horses”: Review Podcast

Posted: May 13th, 2022 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast, TV | No Comments »

There are times when a singular aspect of a movie or TV series makes it all worthwhile.

Even though this six-part Apple TV+ series about MI5 spy agency is most engaging and watchable, the performance of Gary Oldman takes it to another level.

He’s the head of Slough House, where, for one reason or another, the agency has parked agents who have messed up or the powers in charge just want out of HQ.

Oldman’s character is a drunk.

He smokes too many cigarettes.

He is flatulent.

He constantly denigrates those who work with him.

But he’s a most astute operative, and I, for one, couldn’t get enough of him. It’s a master class in acting.

For more on “Slow Horses,” listen to my podcast below.

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JF First Weekend, Part Deux

Posted: May 4th, 2022 | Filed under: Food, JazzFest, Music | No Comments »

Though not a world traveler, I feel fairly comfortable opining that there are not any other cities around the globe with as musically an influenced culture as New Orleans.

No, Memphis, put your hand down.

From the time slaves were allowed to dance in what is now called Congo Square, just outside the Quarter past Rampart and Basin Streets, through the advent of jazz, the honky tonks of Storyville, the brass band tradition, Satchmo, Fats, T0ussaint and to this day, this city swings, sways and dances.

Even immediately after funerals to assuage the grief.

I can’t get enough.

So, I have contemporary local faves, some of whom I’ve already heard, some are playing this coming weekend. Then there’s the newcomers, carrying on the tradition, like Tuba Skinny, and others like Naughty Professor, extrapolating from it.

Below I chat about a few of the New Orleans/ Louisiana based acts that had my attention this past weekend

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JazzFest Weekend One, Part Uno

Posted: May 3rd, 2022 | Filed under: JazzFest, Music | 2 Comments »

Too much to say in one podcast about my return to New Orleans for the first JazzFest since ’19. So I broke it in half.

More important than the music or incredible food which inform this unique city’s culture, to see it resilient as ever, as alive as ever, warms the heart.

Just being back brings arguably the most joy.

But, of course, the soft shell crab at impeccable GW Fins, a late lunch at Peche and Crawfish Strudel at the fest bring joy to my taste buds.

Then, oh yeah, the music at the best music festival extant in the world’s most music centric city.

Name Drop Interlude: At my friends Marc and Jill’s crawfish boil the other night, I was chatting with a pal of theirs, whom I’ve know for years. Who, I just learned the other night was roommates in the early 60s in military school with Duane Allman. Who was good friends with Robert and his parents, who hosted Duane and brother Greg for holidays, and whenever they came to town to play. Just sayin’.

Below I discuss some of the non local acts that grabbed my soul.

Stay tuned, Part Deux Coming Soon.

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Back In New Orleans for JazzFest

Posted: April 28th, 2022 | Filed under: Culture, JazzFest, Music | 5 Comments »

My favorite thing in life, the New Orleans JazzFest, the best musical experience extant, is back after a two year hiatus because of You Know What.

So am I.

This will be my 33d Fest, the first in ’76.

Seven days of music on consecutive weekends, on ten stages inside Fairgrounds Racetrack complex from 11:30 in morning until 7:00.

Did I mention it’s in New Orleans, where you can also find something worthwhile to eat when out to dinner with friends?

I am beside myself with joy.

For the reasons why, listen below:

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