Film Review Podcast: “Big Little Lies”

Posted: March 22nd, 2017 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast, TV | No Comments »

Yes, I know there’s usually a film discussed in this space.

That’s why I’ve been comfortable branding myself now and again as the Culture Maven on Film.

But, if you’ve been paying close attention during our time together here, you will note that on occasion I discuss a TV series.

So it is this day, as I expostulate on the glossy Sunday evening HBO soap opera, “Big Little Lies.”

Nicole Kidman. Laura Dern. Adam Scott. (Though in my podcast below I mistakenly and incorrectly say Adam Driver. Were I not so lazy, I’d re-record it.)

Heck, it’s worth a look see if only to find out what Reese Witherspoon’s character in “Election” — Tracy Flick — is like when she grows up and lives in sumptuous surroundings in Monterey.

For more on why you might want to take a look see, you know what to do:

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Film Review Podcast: “Paterson”

Posted: March 15th, 2017 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

I’m just not sure I’ve seen a film before which is essentially about poetry.

“Paterson” is just that.

Quiet.

Unassuming.

Contemplative.

Essentially it’s another little gem from the fellow who is arguably the most underappreciated director in all of American film: Jim Jarmush.

His films only very rarely fail to resonate.

This one certainly is quietly but certainly rich.

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Film Review Podcast: “I Am Not Your Negro”

Posted: March 9th, 2017 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

It seems to me, one guy’s opinion of course, that anyone with a reasonable sense of American society understands there has been and is now an undercurrent of racial tension ever present.

This film, based on the expositions of 20th century intellect James Baldwin, is an erudite consideration of that cultural dynamic.

The film is, for obvious reasons, provocative.

But it is not an in your face diatribe.

For anyone who wishes to expand his/her perspective on this issue, Raoul Peck’s deftly crafted, eminently watchable documentary “I Am Not Your Negro” is worth seeing.

For more, listen up:

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Film Review Podcast: “Get Out”

Posted: March 2nd, 2017 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

I’ve never been a big fan of scary movies.

Which aversion, and an exception, I explain in further detail in my podcast below. (That’s called a tease, something to whet your appetite.)

But, as a long time fan and one who recognizes the extent of Jordan Peele’s talents beyond the obvious comedic genius he possesses, I was looking forward to his film, “Get Out.”

As high as my expectations were, I wasn’t disappointed a bit.

It is a well realized film that is not only scary, but also funny and which presents astute observations of societal mores.

For more in depth discussion of this highly recommended movie, listen up:

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Film Review Podcast: “On The Map”

Posted: February 21st, 2017 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

How cool is that, especially this sacred time of year — tournament time — I can recommend to you my loyal readers a really well made documentary about . . . basketball.

Imagine that. Two of my obsessions merge. Movies. Hoops.

Double our pleasure. Double our fun.

The film expertly tells the tale of Maccabi Tel Aviv, the upset 1977 European Basketball Champions.

And how said improbable title help galvanize the country of Israel.

For more info about why you should see this film, which is a one and done, Saturday 7:30 Village 8 Theaters, listen below:

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Film Review Podcast: “LEGO Batman”

Posted: February 16th, 2017 | Filed under: Ruminations | No Comments »

LEGOs weren’t around when I was a kid. Heck plastic this and plastic that wasn’t around at all.

I led an Erector Set/ Lincoln Logs/ Lionel Train kind of adolescence.

But, at some point, LEGOs took over the world of youth toydom.

And, recently, these ubiquitous plastic thingies, some of which always end up between the pillows of the couch, have made inroads into Big Cinema.

First, “The Lego Movie.” Or, whatever it was called.

Now, “The LEGO Batman Movie.”

Talk about your branding coup. Wow.

Anyhow, here’s my review. Such as it is.

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Film Review Podcast: “Lion”

Posted: February 8th, 2017 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | 1 Comment »

Every once in awhile, along comes a film that grabs your heart even if it seems too good and gratifying to be true.

Which is why “Lion” works so well.

It actually happened.

Adolescent from rural India gets left accidentally at a railway station, ends up in Calcutta hundreds and hundreds of miles from home.

Through circumstance, guile, instinct and luck, he ends up with a loving adoptive family in Tasmania.

When he’s in his 20s, he decides he needs to try and find home and let his mother, brother and sister know he survived and he’s alright.

I’ll let you figure out how it ends.

For more, listen up:

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Film Review Podcast: “The Founder”

Posted: January 26th, 2017 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | 1 Comment »

One of the things I didn’t mention in my review of this film, the story of how McDonalds came about, was the historic footnote about my pal Moop and me and the first mid city Golden Arches in our burg.

We ate the first burgers off the grill.

So we got that goin’ for us, which is nice.

This is the fascinating and unflinching story of how the McDonald brothers in California invented the concept of fast food, and how Ray Kroc stole it from them.

It’s not like this is anything special as a film.

But it is an eminently fascinating story about the burger franchise that, to be fair, changed American culture.

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Film Review Podcast: “20th Century Women”

Posted: January 26th, 2017 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

There are those in the film criticism community, who are putting Annette Benning on the list of actors possibly jilted by not getting nominated for an Oscar.

She’s the focus of this slice of life film.

Which is in essence director/ writer Mike Mills remembrance of his mother and their relationship in the late 70s in California.

It’s well played by Benning, Lucas Jade Zumann as the Mills doppleganger, Greta Gerwig, Elle Fanning and the ever understated and marvelous Billy Crudup.

It’s a quirky little affair.

To assess whether you want to venture out to see it, listen up:

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Film Review Podcast: “Patriots Day”

Posted: January 20th, 2017 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

I did not intentionally wait until Inauguration Day to post my review of this aptly named movie.

But, all things considered, it is serendipitous.

The Peter Berg-directed “Patriots Day” tells the tale of how policing agencies tracked down the two brothers who set off bombs several years back at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Which is held annually on, all together now, Patriots Day.

While there’s more than a bit of God Bless America in the movie, I found it compelling and significantly more enthralling than expected.

Listen up to find out more details.

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Film Review Podcast: “Fences”

Posted: January 13th, 2017 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

fencesThere was a time, and I suppose it’s been decades ago, when it wasn’t that rare an occurrence that a stage play was turned into a film.

These days, not so much.

It is a tricky transformation, because the mediums — stage, film — are quite different in how they must present the story being told.

Stage plays tend to be more static, dialog heavy.

While cinema is by nature kinetic.

So the question, as it is with August Wilson’s “Fences,” is always whether the transposition works or not?

For my take on the Denzel Washington directed movie, featuring himself on screen, along with Viola Davis, listen below:

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Film Review Podcast: “Hidden Figures”

Posted: January 11th, 2017 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

hiddenClever title to this to be seen movie telling the heretofore relatively unknown stories of three African-American women, who broke the color and gender barriers at NASA in the 1960s.

“Hidden” because many stories of important people of color have been disregarded for decades.

And now we learn of the significance of Katharine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson.

“Figures” because these women were great with analytical mathematics, engineering and computers and were integral in the process of getting American astronaut John Glenn into orbit around the earth.

And back again safely.

For more reasons why I believe this is a movie to be seen, listen below:

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