Film Review Podcast: “The Meddler”

Posted: May 26th, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

medindexOne of the recurring topics when folks gather these days to discuss the state of the world of cinema is this: Whatever happened to decent, meaty, significant lead roles for women over 30, over 40 and beyond?

Aren’t there plenty of good female actors other than Helen Mirren and Meryl Whatshername, who seem to get the few good ones written?

Of course, there are.

Susan Sarandon is one such actor, and she has turned her character Marnie in “The Meddler,” an overbearing widowed mom, into a screen gem.

Rose Byrne is her daughter. J.K. Simmons, a suitor smittened.

For more insight, listen up:

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Film Review Podcast: “Money Monster”

Posted: May 24th, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

mmindexFollowing in the footsteps of last year’s justifiably heralded “The Big Short,” here’s another movie about the ramifications of a manipulated financial market.

And how the small guys and gals are affected.

Jodie Foster directs. George Clooney and Julia Roberts star.

But there’s one ninety second or so scene, when neither of the above the title stars appears that is very wise, very insightful about the state of American culture today, and, for me, makes the movie.

For a more in depth discussion of the movie, and of that scene in particular, listen up:

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Film Review Podcast: “The Nice Guys”

Posted: May 20th, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

niceindexWhat’s not to like here?

It’s the 70s.

It’s L A.

There’s a mystery involving the porn industry, smog, the Justice Department, Detroit’s Big 3, a missing daughter, a precocious daughter, a dead porn star named Misty Mountains, Ryan Gosling, Russell Crowe, Kim Basinger.

And a youngster named Angourie Rice just about steals the whole boffo popcorn comedy flick.

For more details, listen up:

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Film Review Podcast: “Dark Horse”

Posted: May 19th, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

darkindexOh how . . . especially where I reside, in horse country at the home of the Kentucky Derby . . . oh how we love a tale of a group of ordinary folks, banding together, getting a racehorse and actually winning some races.

“Dark Horse” is just such a tale.

A documentary actually, since the tale is true.

Folks in a small Welsh village — Yes, Wales, over the pond in Great Britain — buy a nag of a broodmare, get her in foal, then race the offspring, whom they named “Dream Alliance.”

The story is charming. The folks are charming.

The film is charming.

Listen further below, to learn if you’ll be charmed, I’m sure:

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Film Review Podcast: “The Family Fang”

Posted: May 13th, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

fangindexNicole Kidman and Jason Bateman are the adult children.

Christopher Walken is their father.

When they are children, called Child A and Child B, dad (and mom) include them in their lifestyle of performance art.

As adults, the kids have issues. Imagine our surprise.

It’s all revealed when the family is thrown together by circumstance.

For more details, listen up:

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Film Review Podcast: “Elvis & Nixon”

Posted: May 12th, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast, Ruminations | No Comments »

elindexOf all the American cultural icons of the 20th century, I would propose that folks remain most curious about Richard Nixon and Elvis Presley, two men whose lives were classic Greek tragedies.

They met once.

At the White House, when Elvis, on a whim, it seems, decided he’d knock on the door, see if Nixon was home, and request an ordination as an undercover Federal drug enforcement agent.

Other than a photograph that still stuns upon every viewing, nothing much is known about their meeting.

Conjecture has ensued.

The film “Elvis & Nixon” is just that.

For more details, listen up:

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Film Review Podcast: “Sing Street”

Posted: May 8th, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

singindexNothing groundbreaking about sweet little romantic movies about high school kids forming bands, so they can impress a someone upon whom they’ve developed a crush.

Most are hackneyed rehashments, but in the hands of a crafty writer/ director like John Carney (“Once”), they are borne fresh and charming.

Which is the case for “Spring Street.”

And, if you take the time to listen below, as well you should, you are in for a treat.

Having seen this entertaining musical, I have come to the conclusion that there is a major movie star on the rise.

Listen up for the details of the future:

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Film Review Podcast: “Keanu”

Posted: May 4th, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

keanindexIf you’ve ever had the real pleasure of seeing Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key on their way funny Comedy Central show — now sadly RIP — you know how funny they are.

Among the best. Showing reverence for African American culture while skewing its foibles is their way. They do it so well, they can be spoken of in the same sentence as the Family Wayans and their seminal “In Living Color.”

The duo is off in separate directions, but first took their shtick to the big screen with “Keanu.”

Does it work as well as the TV series?

Listen up, and find out:

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Film Review Podcast: Everybody Wants Some

Posted: May 4th, 2016 | Filed under: Ruminations | No Comments »

linkindexA lot of films miss the mark.

It seems coming of age in one’s teens flicks more so than other genres.

There have been so many of them — especially about the male of the species — that the propensity for triteness and trickeration is way too prevalent.

So, thank heavens for Richard Linklater, who has ventured into this territory several times.

His movies are wise. And perceptive. And, probably most important, entertaining.

Such is the case with his latest, “Everybody Wants Some.”

For the full skinny, listen up:

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JazzFest ’16: An Early Wrap

Posted: May 1st, 2016 | Filed under: Culture | Tags: | No Comments »

jz1imagesIt rained all day/ And it rained all night/ Some folks got lost in the flood/ Some got away alright

— “Louisiana 1927” (Randy Newman)

I got away alright.

I’d like to say it was a future vision of the muck, mire and deep muddy water the JazzFest grounds would turn into during the precipitation that plagued the festival’s second weekend activities, and that’s why I slipped out of a town a couple days early.

Truth be told, enough was enough.

Three sumptuous days of Fest opening weekend, several+ incredible meals, bon homie with old pals and lots of tuneage, and I was ready to come home.

Understand, I am by nature voracious.

My inclination is if one is good, two (or more) is obviously better. Whether it’s chocolate chip ice cream. Or an especially snappy shirt, available in several patterns.

Or weekends in New Orleans for the Jazz & Heritage Festival, the love of my life. Read the rest of this entry »

JazzFest ’16: Daze Between

Posted: April 27th, 2016 | Filed under: Culture, Music, Ruminations | Tags: | 1 Comment »

jz1imagesThe Fest rests on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, before picking up again for a long Thursday through Sunday second hootenany.

The period is cannily and most aptly dubbed the Daze Between.

While there are many turista who keep decent hours — lots from Australia and China, it seems — there are also a great number of bleary eyed folks, who when visiting this partiest of the party towns welcome their days/daze here at noon and beyond.

You know, there are evening shows that start at 2:00 in the morning. Rule, not the unusual exception.

 * * * * *

Which is why I’m grateful for the shows, with starting times suitable for old farts.

Like Monday’s 7:00 PM first notes by Aurora Nealand & the Royal Roses at Maison on Frenchman Street.

The Bechet-inspired clarinetist/ vocalist is an amazing talent. Read the rest of this entry »

JazzFest Sunday: The Tradition Carried On

Posted: April 25th, 2016 | Filed under: Culture, Music | Tags: | 1 Comment »

jz1imagesThere’s a hole in the festival this year.

Allen Toussaint is gone.

Of all the incredible, important, influential artists from this town, the ones so infused with the spirit force of New Orleans music that it permeates most all their output, Toussaint was the most notable.

I sadly note that, in a year when a lot of artists are acknowledging the passing of Prince or other beloved musicians — the subdudes memorialized an influence, Papa Dooky Edwards — I haven’t yet heard a mention of Toussaint’s passing.

(Of course, since I can only be at one stage at a time, it doesn’t mean, there weren’t shout outs. And there’s a whole set of tribute for him on the final Sunday.)

So, it was a relief, and a great pleasure, to hear Henry Butler & Jambalaya’s set at Congo Square.

It was seriously New Orleans-centric. Read the rest of this entry »