“A Black and White Night”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: March 27th, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast, Music | No Comments »

So, among the blessings in these strange and perilous times are the many musical events that can be watched on the interweb.

Just last night, I watched an entire concert of my favorite group, Tedeschi Trucks Band, from last fall at the Beacon Theater. They were smokin’ hot, and I actually was up and dancing during some of the tunes.

(Feel free to close your eyes at that the virtual visual, but it’s a moment to savor these days when we can be carefree.)

So, I thought of a concert film you might not know about.

“A Black and White Night” is a Roy Orbison made for TV gig, filmed in late ’87, and first shown the following January.

It is evocatively shot in, duh, high contrast black and white, adding to the panache.

His back up band is arguably as star studded a contingent as there’s ever been. I name names in the podcast below.

Orbison’s an icon from the first wave of rock & roll, but his voice was still in fine fettle decades later.

It’s available online, but you’re going to have to listen to the podcast to find out where. (See what I’m doing here, nodding like the woman in the H&R Block advert to my podcast link below.)

For more details, listen, you know, down below. It’s a great set of live music from one of the greats.

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“The In-Laws” (1979): Film Review Podcast

Posted: March 18th, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | 1 Comment »

So, in these weird times, I feel compelled to hip you to a funny movie.

It’s one of my favorite comedies of all time.

The original 1979 version of “The In Laws.” (Do not fall prey to the horrible remake.)

Vince Ricardo (Peter Falk) is a renegade CIA op, whose son is marrying the daughter of Sheldon Kornpett (Alan Arkin).

Ricardo induces Kornpett to help him with an errand in the days before the wedding. They end up in front of a firing squad in a banana republic, whose dictator, General Garcia, is played by Richard Libertini in a film stealing cameo.

The film is actually showing this Friday, March 20, on a cable/ satellite channel near you. And can also be streamed for a couple bucks at Amazon Prime.

For more details, and more info about the flick, listen to the podcast below:

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“Hoop Dreams”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: March 12th, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast, Sports | No Comments »

These are troubled times, kids, so before I start, let me add my voice to those who advise to take all precautions, and to follow the advice of medical pros who know what they’re talking about.

I know a lot of folks, like me, will be hunkering in the ol’ hacienda more than usual.

And, for those of us who love college basketball, we won’t be able to watch any as we’d normally be doing this time of year, because it’s all been called off, justifiably, in the name of national health and safety.

So, I recommend to my followers, as I’ve done before, the absolute best film ever made about basketball.

The filmmakers of “Hoop Dreams” followed a couple Chicago prep phenoms over almost 8 years, edited down hundreds of hours of footage and fashioned this incisive and intimate portrait of their lives and fortunes.

It’s available at Amazon Prime and maybe elsewhere.

For more on the film, listen to my podcast below:

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“Once Were Brothers”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: March 3rd, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast, Music | No Comments »

Saugerties, NY: 1968. The Band behind Big Pink‚ Easter Sunday, West Saugerties. Robbie Robertson, Richard Manuel, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, Levon Helm. ©Elliott Landy / The Image Works

I was chatting up some guy I didn’t know in the hallway before the beginning of the reunion concert I saw with Dylan and The Band in Bloomington in ’74.

The guy was talking about how “Dylan was OK,” but he was really there to see The Band.

I, of course, ever wise, and full with my own opinionation, dismissed his utterance as foolishness.

Upon further contemplation through the decades, I, like many, have come to understand the transcendence of The Band’s music and place within the pantheon of rock & roll.

Of course, they’re not Dylan. Then again, they’re a cut above and more significant than just about everybody else in the rock era.

“Once Were Brothers” is a Robbie Robertson-centric documentary about the group’s origins and demise. Lots of great footage. Some interesting interviews, especially with Ronnie Hawkins.

If you care about rock & roll, it is to be seen.

For more, listen to the podcast below:

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“The Assistant”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: February 26th, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

So, “The Assistant” arrived in town the same week that in a NY courtroom, Harvey Weinstein received the first of many guilty verdicts to come, one for rape.

Coincidence? I don’t know. But it’s a lede.

This film centers on a single workday of a young college grad, breaking into the entertainment business as the gofer/secretary of a mogul, whom she believes is a sexual predator.

We never see the guy, but hear him, and read a few of his emails.

This austere but very astute movie features Julia Garner as the assistant of the title. Her acting here is exemplary, underscored by her ability to project emotions and thoughts just by the looks on her face.

Besides the sexual harassment element, presented with power but subtlety, this also serves as commentary on office politics.

Kitty Green wrote and directed a searing yet understated contemplation of these most contemporary cultural issues.

For more insight into the movie, listen the podcast below. (Caveat: It was inadvertently recorded at a low level. You might need to turn up your volume.):

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“American Factory”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: February 16th, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

A General Motors factory closes in Dayton, Ohio, putting many out of work.

The facility is purchased by a Chinese auto glass manufacturing company, and reopens under that new leadership. Many of the former GM workers are rehired.

This compelling documentary examines the culture clash, both personal and industrial.

Beautifully shot, and with almost unfathomable access to the people involved and situation, this is fascinating contemplation.

For more on the movie, listen to the podcast below:

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“Miss Americana”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: February 7th, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | 1 Comment »

Oh my, how we do crave knowing about the private lives of the stars who float our boat, what they’re really — I mean, really — like?

Music faves. Sports stars. Hollywoodland elite.

And, at least among a certain generation, there’s no bigger pop star than Taylor Swift.

The singer hit the scene — hugely — at a tender age. Platinum albums. Awards. Social media icon. Boyfriend issues.

But, what’s she really like?

The Netflix documentary, “Miss Americana,” is actually a way more intimate look into Swift’s private life than one might expect.

Her song writing methods. Her interaction with fans. Her insecurities.

Many, though I doubt all, are laid bare.

For more information and my review of the doc, listen to the podcast below:

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“Louisville Jewish Film Festival”: Podcast Preview

Posted: February 4th, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

The 2020 Louisville Jewish Film Festival opens this Saturday, February 8, with a showing of the documentary, “Fiddler on the Roof: A Miracle of Miracles.”

It runs through the beginning of March at various venues.

The offerings include the usual potpourri of documentaries, dramas and comedies. Many showings will be accompanied by lectures and discussions.

There’s a nifty satire, playing Saturday, February 29, at the Village 8 Theatres, titled “Tel Aviv on Fire.”

The screenplay was written by native Louisvillian, later professor of film at Columbia University, Daniel Kleinman, who will be in attendance and speaking at the showing.

For a complete list of the films and venues and schedule and ticket info, click here.

For more info, and a preview of a fascinating documentary about Carl Laemmle, on the pioneers of the industry in America, listen to the podcast below:

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“The Gentlemen”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: January 28th, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

Before Guy Ritchie went off and married Madonna, then unmarried her, before he ascended to the A List of directors, which allowed him to sit in the chair for the Sherlock Holmes remake abominations, before all that, he jumped on the scene with some clever Brit crime capers.

One was “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels,” which was pretty good.

The other was the funny and engaging “Snatch,” a masterpiece of the genre, which I simply adore.

Well, he’s returned to the scene of the crime, literally and figuratively, with his current release, “The Gentlemen.”

It tells the tall tale of a bunch of too glib scoundrels, attempting to outdo each other to take over a huge pot growing and distribution operation.

For more details, and an assessment of “The Gentlemen,” listen to the podcast below:

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“Little Women”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: January 19th, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

Greta Gerwig’s take on the Louisa May Alcott classic is refreshing.

And fresh. Or, so I’m told.

I’ve never read the book. I cannot recall seeing any of the six or so cinematic renditions.

So, though I knew the name Jo Marsh, and the standing of the iconic character among the females of the populace, the film was essentially new to me. Thus, not having seen Winona Ryder’s or June Allison’s take, Saoirse Ronan’s energetic portrayal is the one that resonates.

Gerwig’s creation is presented in a non-linear fashion, which I thought worked remarkably well.

I really enjoyed this movie.

For more information, listen to the podcast below:

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“1917”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: January 15th, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

Of course, a well crafted film about two young soldiers sent on an impossible mission during WWI is going to elicit emotions.

Sam Mendes award-nominated “1917” certainly does that.

Dean-Charles Chapman and George MacKay as the earnest but fearful duo sent off by Command on the perilous mission are marvelous.

Especially MacKay, whose participation is kind of an afterthought. His is a marvelous 1917 face.

But the movie is filmed as a one shot, as if there were no edits. Which is frankly a bit of trickeration.

That aspect is too ever present during the run time, is a bit showy if you ask me, and somewhat distracts and detracts from the movie.

Though the movie remains nonetheless an emotionally impactful cinema experience.

For more, listen to the podcast below:

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“The Two Popes”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: January 9th, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

It is very rare, very very rare, when a Pope resigns.

But that’s what Pope Benedict (Anthony Hopkins) did, which allowed for the election of his successor, the current Pope Francis (Jonathan Pryce).

The former was a solitary man, very conservative, resistant to change in the church.

The latter, just the opposite, a real reformer and man of the people. Not to mention a huge futbol fan.

This incredibly well acted and fascinating film purports to tell the story of the relationship of the two.

For more details and perspective, listen to the podcast below:

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