Film Review Podcast: “The Accountant”

Posted: October 21st, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

accindexWhat an interesting, unique character Ben Affleck gets to portray here.

An obsessive compulsive autistic accountant, who happens to be a master marksman and black belt in the Asian arts of street fighting.

He has a small practice in a strip mall in rural Illinois, helping out family farmers with their taxes. And also travels around the globe, doing financial work for drug dealers and arms dealers.

He gets in the middle of a scenario at an apparently legit robotics company, which is mysteriously missing money. Mayhem and plotline incomprehension ensue.

For a more in depth take on this movie, listen below:

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Film Review Podcast: “Mascots”

Posted: October 21st, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

masindexI’m not sure if “This is Spinal Tap” was the first of the cinematic genre whose films have come to be labeled Mockumentaries.

But it’s as good a place to start as any, since that movie and core ensemble begat “Waiting for Guffman,” “A Mighty Wind,” “Best in Show,” and now, “Mascots.”

It’s a Netflix release. So it can be seen on the internet, at least if the hackers aren’t causing havoc as they have this Friday as I post this. It may also be seen in some theaters, but none in my town.

Christopher Guest again directs this rave up of a competition to declare who is the best sports mascot. Many of the old faces from those flicks mentioned above are still around, along with some new ones.

How does it fare?

To be honest, not very well, not very well at all.

To discover why, listen to my podcast review below.

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Film Review Podcast: “The Girl on the Train”

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

girlindexEmily Blunt drinks a lot and stares a lot.

Through the window of the commuter train she rides daily into NYC and back.

Stares at the home where she once lived at her ex hubby and his new wife and baby.

Stares and fantasizes about the couple living a few doors down who always seem to be making love.

The woman in the second house comes up missing.

Blunt gets involved.

Coincidences — oh so many coincidences — ensue.

Listen up for a more detailed critique:

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Film Review Podcast: “Snowden”

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

snowindexThere is one thing that can be said for sure of Oliver Stone.

The director does not shy away from taking on the most controversial of imbroglios involving the U.S. government.

One might even offer that he goes out looking for them.

Then he usually shouts his opinionated take with a bull horn.

His latest “Snowden” is frankly quieter and more moderate than his previous such efforts.

If no less opinionated.

Sorry for the tardiness of this review, which many of you will have to stream to see, but all is explained if you listen below:

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A Short Tribute to James Bickers

Posted: September 30th, 2016 | Filed under: Personalities, Ruminations | Tags: | 7 Comments »

bickMy long time radio host and on air adversary James Bickers has passed away.

He was a friend.

He was a good guy.

He was a loving husband.

He was a loving father.

He was beloved by his adoring listening audience.

A short remembrance and tribute:

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Film Review Podcast: “Eight Days A Week”

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

beatindexThere’s one thing that’s most fun about this Ron Howard documentary remembering the years when the Beatles became a phenomena, and still toured for concerts around the globe.

Which is what a truly fine rock & roll band they were. Once Ringo came on board, the Fab Four really rocked.

So, with all the concert footage, there’s that.

Plus the interviews with George and John and Paul and Ringo, so we get a sense what it felt like inside that craziness.

Another major take away is that, given the fragmented, diverse media sensory overload of today, such a universal pop cultural fascination is unlikely to ever happen again.

For a more in depth take on this most fun film, listen up:

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Film Review Podcast: “Sully”

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

sullyindexClint Eastwood is still at it, sitting in the director’s chair, making films about strong men who perform capably in dire situations.

His latest subject is Chesley Sullenberger.

He’s the pilot who, soon after takeoff, landed his plane with 155 aboard in the Hudson River, when both engines blew because of birds. All were saved.

Who else could play the pilot but Tom Hanks?

That’s right. Nobody.

It’s a crisp tale, professionally told. An engaging film.

For more, listen up:

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Film Review Podcast: “Complete Unknown”

Posted: September 12th, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

cuindexI love films with lots of holes in them.

I cherish movies where all is not revealed even at the end.

Movies that leave it to the audience to work out what might have happened?

“Complete Unknown” is a film fraught with unknowns.

Rachel Weisz and Michael Shannon star.

The question is: Does it leave out too much?

Might the filmmakers have provided a bit more insight?

Listen up for my take:

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Film Review Podcast: “Equity”

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

eqindexGiven the high stakes involved in the world of high finance and corporate IPOs, it shouldn’t surprise that there is oft treachery involved.

Nor that, like many institutions, gender politics rears its ugly head way way way more than it should.

What is surprising is how those two issues can be merged into a fascinating film that examines the realities without preaching.

“Equity” takes a look at the process of a big money IPO from a distaff perspective.

It’s a marvelous and revelatory film.

For more details:

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Review Podcast: “The Night Of”

Posted: September 2nd, 2016 | Filed under: Film Reviews Podcast, Ruminations, TV | No Comments »

nightindexI have written about it a couple of times previously, but feel compelled to share — or reiterate — some final thoughts on this compelling HBO mini series.

It’s ostensibly about a college student charged with murdering a woman whom he meets by chance, but it really has much more depth and is not a run of the mill whodunit.

The uniformly excellent portrayals carry along a compelling storyline. Riz Ahmed. John Turturro. Amara Karan. Jeannie Berlin. Michael K. Williams. They are all marvelous here.

I was addicted.

Listen further for reasons why you might want to check it out, if you weren’t watching during its summer Sunday night run.

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The Spyglass Chronicles: 9/01

Posted: September 1st, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Culture, Music, Ruminations | 2 Comments »

chron“The Night Of” HBO. For many viewers the denouement of this addictive mini-series was as dissatisfying as that moment from yesteryear as the screen went black with Tony Soprano and his family sitting in the diner, with some mysterious dude lurking near the Men’s Room door.

Because Naz’s guilt or innocence remains hanging in the air, along with the fate of Freddy, Chandra, Jack and Naz’s dad’s life as a cabbie, many of the locked in audience feel cheated.

I frankly love the curiously satisfying ambiguity of it all.

Sure, I’ve got theories about the cat, the raison d’être of Jack’s eczema, why Chandra would fall for her client and turn into a drug mule and whether Andrea’s financial guy was really, you know, the guy whodunit. And, as a former barrister, the courtroom scenes, if effective as TV drama, were laughably out of sync with what really happens in front of a jury. But that’s been going for decades.

For one thing, lawyers and prosecutors don’t get to comment to the jury after a witness’s answer. Just sayin’.

I’m taking a macro view of the compelling drama. This was not a “Who killed Laura Palmer?” situation. The murder and its solution were but a means to tell a greater tale.

Matters of consequence in life don’t always end wrapped up in a bow. Chance circumstance can shift one’s whole life path. Initial impressions of people aren’t always correct. Values often are corrupted on emotional whim. Earnest people with flaws fail sometime, and succeed sometime.

This well but not perfectly crafted tale touched all that. Read the rest of this entry »

Film Review Podcast: “Don’t Think Twice”

Posted: August 30th, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

dontindexI’ve been at this business/ pleasure of reviewing films for a good awhile now.

Yet, I’m still amazed at which films have the big publicity making machinery behind them. And which don’t.

The astute Mike Birbiglia written and directed “Don’t Think Twice” is a gem like many others that never receive any publicity, thus never reach an audience. Because not enough people ever get the message.

This one focuses on the interaction of a small improv comedy troupe in NY whose personal bonding begins to fray when one of its members gets the nod to join the cast of the SNL-like TV show, i.e. the big time.

The film is more about the human condition and relationships than the world of comedy, but is perceptive and entertaining on both fronts.

For more, listen below:

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