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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Film Review Podcast: “Passengers”

Posted: January 6th, 2017 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

passI understand that my status as one of the few, if not only, Louisvillian actually reviewing films in our town these days requires me to be especially attentive to those with a local connection.

And, you know, “Passengers” features our home gal Jennifer Lawrence, only the biggest movie star going.

So, frankly, I’ve been remiss in not getting to this movie sooner, so as to be able to provide you with the Culture Maven’s peculiar brand of cinematic edification.

My bad.

Sorry.

But I finally made it over to the movie house to view Ms. Lawrence’s latest.

And, as they say, here it is (My review that is.):

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Film Review Podcast: “Jackie”

Posted: January 3rd, 2017 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

jackPortraying historical figures on the big screen has always been a dicey proposition.

Especially when they are contemporaries, meaning we’ve heard them talk, seen footage, and probably developed an opinion about any events represented in a movie in which said person was involved.

Sometimes it works.

Often it doesn’t, because we have a fixed perspective on the person being portrayed.

Or, don’t really know what happened?

In “Jackie,” Natalie Portman attempts to recreate the famous first lady, whose husband John Kennedy was felled by an assassin’s bullet in Dallas in November, 1963, and how she reacted in the immediate aftermath of that event.

How successful is Ms. Portman’s performance?

Does this film resonate?

Listen below for the answers:

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Film Review Podcast: “La La Land”

Posted: December 29th, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

lalaI’ve never been one to get into the movie awards prediction biz.

I kind of always just allow it to play out, knowing full well which films I like the best.

What others, especially the voters for the Oscars, think is the “Best” movie matters not a whit to me.

That said I’m willing to proclaim at this early juncture which of the 2016 releases shall carry home the Oscar.

It’s “La La Land.”

To understand the many reasons behind my opinionation, you’ll need to listen below.

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Film Review Podcast: “Miss Sloane”

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

slIf you haven’t noticed — And, God Bless You if you are unaware — it’s been a very political year.

And it’s only just begun.

So, this film about lobbying is most germane.

Jessica Chastain is Miss Sloane, a hard charging, do anything to win the day advocate. Here, she’s fighting against some gun legislation after being on the other side.

These folks are hired guns you know.

If you like the Aaron Sorkin stuff, like “West Wing” and “The Newsroom,” this is right up your alley.

For more details, listen up below:

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Film Review Podcast: “Nocturnal Animals”

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

nocdownloadTom Ford makes very stylish films.

His latest is “Nocturnal Animals,” starring very stylish Amy Adams.

She’s gorgeous, rich but bored and unhappy.

Then she gets the manuscript of a novel, written by her first husband, Jake Gyllenhall.

It does not lighten her mood.

For more on this stylish film — Did I mention it’s stylish? — listen below.

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Film Review Podcast: “Office Christmas Party”

Posted: December 16th, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

ocpindexDuring the end of the year holiday season, when the studios release all the films they consider award worthy, the movie houses are full with great cinema.

Unfortunately, lots of it is very heavy, very intense.

Thus an antidote is required if one is to maintain any sort of equilibrium.

So, after four straight trips to the cineplex for increasingly intense movies, I chose to go in the other direction.

“Office Christmas Party” was just the ticket.

No more, no less than what I expected, a mindless comedy, devoid of pretension.

Exactly what I was hoping for.

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Film Review Podcast: “Manchester By The Sea”

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

mancindexIt is an annual rite of the movie industry.

The movies the studios think are the best are saved for release until December.

Partially because people go to the flicks a lot, so they don’t have to sit around the house and chit chat with Aunt Martha, while eating her fruit cake.

Mostly because studio moguls don’t trust the award voters to remember a film they’ve seen earlier in the year.

It is easy to understand why “Manchester By The Sea” is just now hitting the theaters.

It is brilliantly written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan. And exceptionally played by all, especially Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams.

More details in my podcasted review:

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Film Review Podcast: “Arrival”

Posted: December 9th, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

arrivalindexWhether you are a fan of science fiction or not, I trust you will agree it’s a good thing when such fare is presented with intelligence and legitimate contemplations which might alter how we view our real life.

“Arrival,” starring excellent Amy Adams as a linguist brought in to try to communicate with aliens that have descended in the American west, one of twelve different spots around the globe.

Along with scientist Jeremy Renner, such communication barriers are breached . . . more or less.

There’s also a contemplation of what time really is? A linear continuum as most of us believe? Or something else?

This is certainly among the more cerebral sci fi offerings of recent years.

For more in depth analysis, listen up:

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Film Review Podcast: “Moonlight”

Posted: December 7th, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

moonI’ll be honest.

Because of the intense content of this Barry Jenkins-directed film, it took me awhile to get to the theater to see it. (To be fair to myself, there was some heavy family stuff that also affected my inaction.)

But, now having viewed this, I understand why it is universally appearing on every Best Film of 2016 list.

It is exemplary film making.

Personal. Resonant. Sure to cause the stirring of emotions. Technically savvy. Well and courageously acted.

So, add my name to the list.

“Moonlight is the best film I’ve seen to date in 2016.

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Film Review Podcast: “Allied”

Posted: December 2nd, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

alliedindexI mean what more can you want from an old school potboiler?

Nazis as the bad guys.

Night clubs with swanky patrons in Casablanca during WWII.

Brad Pitt as the good guy, killing those Nazis yet again.

And Pitt’s eventual bride, Marion Cotillard, who may be a member of the French Resistence? Or a Nazi spy?

Does “Allied,” directed by Robert Zemeckis, live up to all that?

Listen below and find out.

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