Film Review Podcast: “Anomalisa”

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

anomindexCharlie Kaufman has as unique and out of the ordinary perspective as anybody working in American film today.

He’s the creative mind behind “Being John Malkovich,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “Synechdoche, New York.” Which are three of the quirkiest but still entertaining films you’ll ever see.

Well, he’s back in the theaters, with a stop action animation drama about a man with things on his mind.

It’s called “Anomalisa,” and it is like none of his previous cinematic endeavors, and nothing else you’ve seen before at the cineplex.

For a more in depth take on the film, listen to the podcast:

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Film Preview Podcast: “Rock In The Red Zone” @ Jewish Film Festival

Posted: January 31st, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | 1 Comment »

redindexThe 18th Louisville Jewish Film Festival opens this Saturday evening, with a showing of the comedy “Dough” at Wyatt Hall on Bellarmine’s campus.

For a complete list of films, including synopses, dates, times, venues and links to trailers, click here.

I had the good fortune to preview one of the movies, director Laura Bialis’s documentary, “Rock In the Red Zone.”

It’s a fascinating portrait of the vibrant and political music scene in Sderot, an Israeli town, hard by the border with the Gaza Strip. Which proximity affects the lifestyle and living situation of the town’s residents. And its rock & roll.

For further info on all the intriguing movies in this year’s festival, click here.

For a complete review of “Rock in the Red Zone,” listen below.

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Film Review Podcast: “Youth”

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

youindexYou know how you can see a painting, and go “whoaaa, this gal’s trying to be a Van Gogh wannabe,” or hear a tune and wonder, “why can’t this group escape sounding like Beatle copycats,” or, as in the case of the movie “Youth,” and its director, Paolo Sorrentino, question, “Is this guy and his movie paying respectful homage to the great Federico Fellini, or is it a ripoff?”

As Sorrentino’s last movie, Oscar winning “The Great Beauty,” is so reminiscent of “La Dolce Vita” that it had to be purposeful, “Youth” hearkens back to the master’s “8 1/2” and “City of Women.”

So is this Sorrentino contemplation of what life and the creative process means a worthy paean to Fellini, and capable of standing on its own, or is it stolen property?

Well, I’ve got an idea, which you can hear below, along with more intriguing details of “Youth.”

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Film Review Podcast: The Danish Girl

Posted: January 17th, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

danindexI doubt in the last year or so there’s evolved a sociocultural shift in attitude greater than that toward the transgendered.

While not totally accepted yet in all strata of society, for these people there is certainly a greater compassion than ever before.

Certainly more than in the 1920s in Europe, which is when and where “The Danish Girl” is set. It is based on the true story of a Danish artist, who was among the first who had sexual transformation surgery.

The movie is visually splendid, and emotionally evocative. Alicia Vikander and Eddie Redmayne star.

For further insight, listen below:

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Film Review Podcast: “The Revenant”

Posted: January 14th, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

revindexWas it not just last year that director Alejandro González Iñárritu dazzled the award bestowers with his artsy flick with its artsy title, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Innocence)?”

Why, yes, it was.

Well, the director is back with his heralded, Golden Globe-winning and now Oscar-nominated tale of revenge in the old old West, “The Revenant.”

And it features two of the leading actors of the day, going mano a mano on the frozen tundra, Leo DeCaprio and Tom Hardy.

The film is worth seeing, if only for Emmanuel Lubezki’s transcendent cinematography.

Ah, but there are other considerations, which I discuss fully in the podcast below:

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Film Review Podcast: “Hateful 8”

Posted: January 6th, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

8indexSuch is the cult iconage that’s developed around Quentin Tarantino, his releases are always eagerly anticipated.

Such has been the case with “Hateful 8,” featuring some long time Tarantino stalwarts. Primarily Samuel L. Jackson. But also Tim Roth and Michael Madsen, who hearken back to his breakthrough flick, “Reservoir Dogs.”

This tale of some B.A.D. varmints in the Olde West, sheltered up in a roadhouse, during a blizzard is plenty long. It clocks in at just short of three hours of running time.

So, the question becomes, has Tarantino provided enough clever dialog to keep us occupied for that long, until the evil starts to play out, and we learn who’s zoomin’ whom, and which, if any, of these desperadoes shall survive?

As a long time Tarantino lover, I couldn’t wait to see this, his latest endeavor.

Did it work?

Listen up, and find out.

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Film Review Podcast: “The Big Short”

Posted: January 2nd, 2016 | Filed under: Ruminations | No Comments »

bigindexThere have, of course, been any number of films made about the most arcane of subject matters.

Though, I daresay, none where one of the prime plotline issues is default credit swaps.



“The Big Short” is Adam McKay’s truly entertaining movie, based on Michael Lewis’s book about that really juicy subject, the subprime mortgage crises of a few years back that almost felled the world’s financial markets.

Oh yeah, it’s a comedy.

I know, I know . . . but, should you see it, you’ll believe it.

For more, listen below:

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Film Review Podcast: “Carol”

Posted: December 29th, 2015 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

carindexIn “Carol,” Director Todd Haynes returns to a fascination of his, the culture of American romance in the early 1950s.

His passion for the era and its nuances of society are palpable in every lovely frame of this movie. It stars Cate Blanchett, who shall be up for the statuettes come award time, and Rooney Mara, who should certainly also be tapped.

This is based on a Patricia Highsmith novel about women in love, when such was considered a psychological aberration.

“Carol” is truly marvelous cinema.

For more details, listen to the podcast below:

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Film Review Podcast: “Joy”

Posted: December 29th, 2015 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

joyindexGiven that movie superstar Jennifer Lawrence and I come from the same town — Louisville KY — there’s abundant buzz in my burg regarding her latest film, “Joy.”

It’s based loosely on the life of the woman, first name you know what, who invented the Miracle Mop.

It’s directed by Davis O. Russell, who has for the third time gathered his go to triad ensemble. That would be Lawrence and Robert DeNiro and Bradley Cooper.

Given the track record of that Hollywoodland quartet, the film will surely be boffo, right?

Well, things don’t always go as they are planned.

How much does this film misfire?

Is it worth seeing anyway? (Hint: Probably. Ms. L is so very charismatic.)

But there are screen moments to savor.

All is discussed more fully in the podcast.

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Film Review Podcast: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Posted: December 24th, 2015 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

sfindexOh I doubt you’ve been waiting for my take on this franchise to decide whether you’re going to see the blockbuster or not.

But, if you’re not a real Star Wars acolyte, and wonder what someone similarly blasé about all the hubbub thinks of the film, I’m your guy.

And, you are at the right place.

Just click below for a more detailed review.

I’ll give you a hint. It’s far more enjoyable and engaging than I ever imagined.

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Film Review Podcast: “Sisters”

Posted: December 22nd, 2015 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast, Ruminations | No Comments »

sisindexSo this holiday comedy has Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, brilliant comedians.

And Maya Rudolph and John Leguizamo, who are both great, and willing to take their characterizations to the limit and beyond.

So, the flick, which also features James Brolin and Diane Wiest, as the sisters’ parents, has to be, like, you know, really funny. Right?

Well, yes . . . in parts.

Though the movie loses its way time and again.

In my podcast, I provide the whys and wherefores of how that happened. As well as providing enough info, so you learn whether you want to see it or not?

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Film Review Podcast: “Don Verdean”

Posted: December 17th, 2015 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

dvindexRare is the film, or any subject of consideration for that matter, about which I don’t have a definitive perspective. Which I’m more than willing to pontificate about, whether asked or not.

And I do review films as a vocation, so rendering a take on cinema is my raison d’etre.

But this film, which may be a commentary on religious zealotry, or a comedy about biblical fanaticism, or both, or neither, has me stumped.

While entertained somewhat, I’m simply not sure what the intended focus of the cinematic endeavor is?

Anyway, for more in depth ruminations on my quandary, listen below to my review of “Don Verdean.”

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