Film Review Podcast: “War Dogs”

Posted: August 23rd, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

warindexThere are a couple of questions which I address in my review of this surprisingly engaging film, which is based on the improbable but true tale of a couple of twentysomething dudes in Miami and their involvement in the global world of arms sales.

First, if Miles Teller and Jonah Hill play a couple of dude pals in a flick, and one’s character is sympathetic, which one is it going to be?

Two, how much dramatic license is too much, when basing a film on a real life situation?

Hear those queries answered definitively below:

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The Spyglass Chronicles: 8/21/16

Posted: August 22nd, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Music, Spyglass Chronicles | No Comments »

chron“Night Moves” Full Contact Karaoke. St. Joe’s Picnic. A run of the mill version of the Bob Seger’s most astute classic by an earnest but mediocre garage contingent. (Great band name though.) Only a smattering of the large crowd at the beloved annual charity event were even around the stage at the time. Probably so they could set their beers down, while downing an uninspiring fried fish sandwich, sold from a booth nearby.

But the song took on meaning as the evening unfolded. The facility’s grounds were overrun by gaggles of recently teenaged girls and hordes of pubescent boys. They circled each other in droves, looking up from their phones, nervously laughing, pointing, whispering in their BFF’s ears.

They were workin’ on mysteries without any clues, tryin’ to lose the awkward teenage blues, waiting on the thunder in the summertime.

Sweet summertime summertime.

“Dust My Broom” Elmore James. I’m not much into musician’s bios. Friends have been gifting me them for years. They’re stacked in my book cases, most just partially read, some never opened. But an old college pal, as addled with the music as I, sent me Rich Cohen’s latest, “The Sun, The Moon and the Rolling Stones. Read the rest of this entry »

Film Review Podcast: “Hell or High Water”

Posted: August 22nd, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | 1 Comment »

hellimagesAs much as I think I know and observe about films, there’s always something new. Or, something that resonates, but exactly how and why don’t always register.

The opening shots of this enticing film, starring the ever effective Jeff Bridges, Ben Foster and Chris Pine, set the stage in a manner that very effectively draws the viewer in. Not until the NY Times had a piece in which director David Mackenzie explained the dynamic, did I realize the nuance involved in the set up.

And the brilliant opening is just one reason to like this engrossing film about two brothers on a bank robbery spree, hoping to get enough money to pay off the family farm. While being chased by a savvy Texas Ranger on the verge of retirement.

For a more complete review of this film, listen up:

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The Spyglass Chronicles: 8/16/16

Posted: August 16th, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Culture, Dining, Food, Music | No Comments »


“Affordable Shotguns Planned at Broadway, Baxter” Courier-Journal Headline. Geez, just what we need another gun shop. A discount one at that. Or, so I thought when reading that not so clear — to me, anyway — headline in the C-J. I thought it was referring to the next biz in the long vacant gas station/ convenience store there at that corner. Turns out it referred to “shotgun houses,” that were being turned over to Preservation Louisville Inc. by the developers of the new housing project. Guess the NRA and its acolytes have made me a little gun shy.

Margherita Pizza, Birracibo. Artisanal, my ass. Crafted by a hack is more like it. No subtlety whatsoever. Wimpy dough. (Would be a travesty to call it crust.) “Pomodoro” sauce that tasted like Chef Boyardee himself was in the kitchen. Overwhelmed with glops upon glops of tasteless cheese. So wet I almost asked our very attentive waitress for a mop during one of her many visits to the table. It’s what I get for suggesting to my pals we try out the new “Italian” place in Fourth Street Live. Never again.

“Bo Diddley” Bo Diddley. It reverberates through the speakers as mysterious and messianic as it did more than a half century ago. Read the rest of this entry »

Film Review Podcast: “Indignation”

Posted: August 15th, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

indigIt is the general consensus, among the film cognoscenti anyway, that there really haven’t been any worthy adaptations of Philip Roth’s novels.

I’d disagree about “Goodbye Columbus,” which I loved, but understand the critical consternation.

But that belief is not the case anymore. This James Schamus-directed  movie is exceptionally well-received. Deservedly so.

It is the story of a young fellow from New Jersey, who finds himself as a freshman at a conservative college in Ohio, where his innate confusion becomes even more manifest.

Like most his age, he is attempting to find his bearings, his place in life, comfort with himself.

Starring Logan Lerman, this is a most accurate portrayal of time and place and circumstance.

For more, listen up:

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Film Review Podcast: “Sausage Party”

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

spindexI must admit I was confused the first time I saw the trailer for this R-rated animated film about food in the supermarket with human traits and feelings.

Then I discovered the rating, and realized it’s not for kids at all, but the work of Seth Rogan and his bro pals and is thus as outrageous as one might expect from a flick more than likely conceptualized while its originators were sitting around trading bong hits, wondering what sort of outrageous animated feature they could concoct.

It is profane. And, without getting too highminded, in some ways, profound.

And it is very very laugh out loud funny.

But it is NOT for the youngsters Pee Paw and Mee Maw usually take to the movies on those days when you parents need a break.

For more details:

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Film Review Podcast: “Hunt for the Wilder People”

Posted: August 11th, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

huntindexMy guess is there are a whole lot of you cinema lovers out there who probably haven’t heard of this New Zealand film from zesty director Taika Waititi.

I know I hadn’t until hipped to it by a pal. And I’m glad I gave it a shot.

Low key. Charming. Quirky.

If a might formulaic.

Foster kid sent to live with elderly couple on the edge of the New Zealand bush. A connection eventually evolves, with some laughs and cuteness along the way. Only the hard hearted will not succumb to the charms of the haiku spouting kid, played by Julian Dennison.

For more, listen up:

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The Spyglass Chronicles: 08/08/16

Posted: August 8th, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Culture, Music, Ruminations, Spyglass Chronicles, TV | 3 Comments »

chronVittorio Storaro, Santo Loquasto “Café Society” Steve Carrell plays a namedropping super agent in 30s Hollywoodland. His deco wood-paneled office is, as my favorite movie critic Libby Gelman-Waxner would say, “to die for.” Kudos Santo Loquasto, head of production design.

The Los Angeles scenes are sun-splashed amber glorious. You can visualize Gloria Swanson lolling by her pool. Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro has again worked his visual magic.

Despite its thin veneer of a plotline — boy falls for girl who is involved with older man, confusion ensues — Woody Allen’s latest is not without its visual charms. The octogenarian is to be forgiven if he doesn’t hit a vein of gold every time out these days. He’s at an advanced age, when most directors have long since given up the chair. But Allen’s keeping a full workload. He’s released a film a year since 1966.

He’s tired. His plot’s a might mundane.

But the flick looks mahvelous.

Lake Street Dive. Iroquois Amphitheater. Rachel Price lorded over the stage like Kathleen Turner’s Matty Walker chewing up and spitting out William Hurt’s Ned Racine in “Body Heat.”

This marvelous quartet is tight, no simple singer and back up, but . . . Read the rest of this entry »

Film Review Podcast: “Café Society”

Posted: August 5th, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

cafeindexThe WoodMan, that would be Woody Allen, for the few of you who never watched Bill Murray do movie reviews on SNL, is at it again.

Yes, he’s an octogenarian, but 80+ years old or not, he’s still cranking out a flick an annum.

Some are worthy. Some throwaways. And some have just enough pizzazz to go along with Allen’s almost always beautifully composed visuals to make them something to see.

Which is how I feel about this venture, much of which takes place in sun-drenched L A during its glory years, when all seemed new and magical out there, even if private dick J.J. Gittes was getting his nose slit.

For more on the new Allen film, featuring Kristen Stewart, Steve Carrell and Jesse Eisenberg, listen up:

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By the by, the movie’s poster is great, don’t you think?

— c d kaplan

Film Review Podcast: “Bad Moms”

Posted: August 3rd, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

badindexThis is a movie that’s long past due.

Mothers everywhere, or so I’ve been told, feel the need to break free every once in awhile. To shake the burden of making breakfast, making lunch, making dinner, doing the laundry, helping the kids with their homework, changing the sheets, going to the PTA, etc, while also working and seeking out some time for their own indulgences.

They love their kids . . . but . . . need a break.

And that’s the premise of this funny movie featuring Kathryn Hahn, Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Christina Applegate.

For more details, listen up:

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The Spyglass Chronicles: 08/01/16

Posted: August 1st, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Community, Music, Spyglass Chronicles | 3 Comments »

chron“Wild Night” Van Morrison (It’s Too Late To Stop Now, Vol. III)  The kid scores a fake ID, borrows a disco shirt from his older brother, heads into his first Saturday night out and about, and walks into the hot new bar in town. Morrison’s voice cracks,

“Ooooewuoooo Oooooooooooh Weee!!!!! Wild night is callin’.

VM’s Spring/Summer ’73 tour with the very hot Caledonia Soul Orchestra is Van Morrison at his loosest and best, scatting, soaring and swooping through melodies as only he can. 300 new minutes worth of live tuneage from that tour have just been released as “. . . It’s Too Late To Stop Now . . . Volumes II. III. IV & DVD.” Easy to understand why these versions weren’t included in the original volume. A burp here, a clank there, Morrison consumed by the music like a celestial mass sucked into a black hole, but so damn what?

Which is obviously what Morrison finally thought when he authorized this release forty years later. This is not some ersatz money grab, full of outtakes. The music is righteous.

Holly Houston Interview. Louisville Magazine. The local attorney/ activist/ Woman About Town dropped the F Bomb in one of her As to the zine’s Q & A. (Spelled as most mainstream mags are won’t to do, “f***ed.”) A reader, someone obviously on the sphincter transplant list, wrote a letter to Ed complaining. At the end of the reader’s screed, she asked, “My grandchild asked me what “f***ed” meant. What should I tell him? Please share this with her.”

Ever feisty, Ms. Houston answered for print. Read the rest of this entry »

Film Review Podcast: “Bear With Us”

Posted: July 29th, 2016 | Filed under: Ruminations | 2 Comments »

bearindexThere are lots of things to like about this new comedy, featuring Louisvillian Colin Smith, which played the Flyover Film Festival.

It’s in black and white.

The cinematography and editing are excellent.

And the plot, about a guy who takes his GF to a cabin in the woods to ask her hand in marriage — for the second time — goes deliciously and devilishly out of control about half way through the film.

The word cockamamie comes immediately to mind.

I found the farce, absurd and enjoyable.

Here are some further details:

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