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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Film Review Podcast: “Florence Foster Jenkins”

Posted: August 28th, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

ffjindexIt has become cliché in the world of cinema.

Another Meryl Streep movie.

Another Meryl Streep Oscar nomination.

So it appears it shall be again next awards season. America’s most revered actor is playing again on a screen near you. She has the lead role in the eponymously named “Florence Foster Jenkins.”

Ms. Jenkins, a real person in the mid 20th C, was a patron of the arts in NYC, who fancied herself a singer, though her voice was awful. She rented out Carnegie Hall for a concert nonetheless.

The film is touching, funny and somewhat sad.

For further details, listen below:

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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 »

chron

“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 »