Posted: November 19th, 2015 | Filed under: Film Reviews Podcast, Ruminations | No Comments »
I know it’s an acquired taste, but I love love love the Coen Brothers’ classic “Fargo.”
Thus I am so pleased that it fostered a TV series on FX Channel, with the same skewed perspective. Season 1, with Billy Bob Thornton as the evilest dude extant, was marvelous.
But, oh my, Season 2 — different characters, different plotline — is something else again. The scenario, the characterizations, the idiosyncratic perspective have risen to the level of the film.
My highest compliment. But, it’s twu, it’s twu.
For a further discussion of why you should and how you can catch up with this series if not already locked in, listen below:
Posted: November 16th, 2015 | Filed under: Culture, Music, Personalities | Tags: Allen Toussaint | 3 Comments »
This is the fifth in a series of rock & roll essays.
First the man, then the song.
The man was regal.
Allen Toussaint walked about — no let’s be accurate — Allen Toussaint carried himself, always, with aplomb. Chin up. Erect. Attuned to his surroundings, especially the sounds, in harmony with the melody of his whereabouts.
There’s an evocative moment in this BBC documentary, when, while walking the streets of NYC, he stops to tap a steel pole he intuits to be hollow. Just to listen how sonorous it may be. Then hearing the horn of a passing cab, observes it as a minor 3d of the pole’s ring.
He was a master at the piano, a master producer in the studio, a master songwriter, and far more important to the pantheon of contemporary music than his modest reputation outside of music’s insiders would indicate. If you aren’t aware, here’s a primer, his obituary in the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
He was impeccable, whether walking the promenade, or driving around in his Rolls Royce. Dapper. Bespoke. He was Saville Row, even if dressed on stage in a deep red blazer adorned with iridescent gold lamé fronds, an electric turquoise shirt, cravat of course with perfect Windsor, and his ever present stage affection for comfort, slip on sandals. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: November 12th, 2015 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »
Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette are best friends forever, since the day the former, an American youngster, shows up at the latter’s school. Obviously, their characters are played by kids in the first few scenes.
Then Collette, ever the wild child, marries a roadie when she comes up preggers.
While Barrymore apparently gets hitched in a more traditional fashion, spending the remainder of the flick with hubby Paddy Considine trying to swallow the watermelon seed.
Personal health issues ensue for Ms. Collette. That BFF thing with Barrymore is tested, as is her marriage to Dominic Cooper.
Does it all work?
Well, that’s what I’m here for, movie lovers.
Posted: November 12th, 2015 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »
There is no more successful franchise in the history of American cinema than the tales of He Who Would Be Known as Agent 007.
Bond. James Bond.
Well, heeeeeeeeeeee’s back. In Daniel Craig’s last turn as the suave British agent, who always singlehandedly fells world wide takeover conspiracies. All the while staying eminently dapper. And bedding the babes.
Is there something new in “Spectre,” that we haven’t seen before?
Legit query, since there certainly was in Craig’s first go round as the Brit agent,
Listen and find out.
Posted: November 9th, 2015 | Filed under: Music, Ruminations | 2 Comments »
This is the fourth in a series.
All the reigning theoretical physics ruminations and postulations remain a total mystery to me. Jabberwock.
String theory. Overlapping universes. Anti-universe. Parallel realities. The scientific contemplation that we might actually be or go somewhere else at the same time we’re here. Which, at some time or another, each of us feels the need to do.
There are arguably, or so it is posited by the Hawkings of the time, possibly other existences where one might find him/herself transported right now.
Are they more serene? Or chaotic? I gotta know. I gotta know right now.
Ya know, such hypothesizing defies understanding by the common man, simple blokes like me.
It’s hoodoo voodoo. Without a black cat bone.
What I do know with this ever present ever vexing love thang is there are times when you gotta get out of the place, if it’s the last thing you ever do. To a calmer space, less weltschmerz. At that same time, there’s oft that voice shouting, “Don’t go. Stay.”
There are simply intervals when a lover needs more space, somewhere out in another world, where he or she can grab a bucket of serenity, haul it back to the moment, dump it over his or her head, allowing it to wash away the confusion, get a sense if what’s happening is more than a dime a dance romance?
On occasion I’ve taken to hitching a ride on the mantra whispered in my ear by Dr. Flodstrom, my TM guide back in the 70s.
“In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” has also been go to comfort.
Different folks have different ways of getting there.
In dire straits, a lot of us turn to the shimmer. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: November 5th, 2015 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »
I mean, really, I must admit I’ve had trouble getting past that unwieldy title, since first hearing about this Sandra Bullock project.
“Our Brand Is Crisis” What’s that supposed to mean?
Is this some sort of Don Draper post-mortem, a documentary maybe about Mad Ave?
No. But, I’m not sure what the point is really? But there is an election here onscreen, and the point of the flick might be how elections are managed, how the voting public is manipulated. As if those are fresh new topics. Or, the point might be something else entirely. It’s hard to tell.
Anyhow, should you want to hear more about this movie, while actually considering the possibility of going to see it, I’d suggest you listen below:
Posted: October 30th, 2015 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »
It’s certainly a confirmation of Steve Jobs Computer Guru’s charisma, that, in the few short years since his passing, there have been three films released about his life.
This one, directed by Danny Boyle, and featuring Michael Fassbinder, may be the most compelling, even though one of the previous ones was an actual documentary.
Aaron Sorkin wrote the screenplay here, so you know there are lots and lots and lots of words uttered. And it’s uniquely staged in three acts, focusing with how Jobs is purported to have dealt personally with the people in his life.
It is not the most flattering portrayal, to understate the obvious.
Which doesn’t mean it isn’t compelling cinema.
For further examination of the film, listen below:
Posted: October 27th, 2015 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »
Okay, so you got Bill Murray, the old Bill Murray we love so much from the halcyon early days of SNL, the Bill Murray who was Carl Spackler in “Caddyshack,” the Bill Murray of “Stripes” and “Ghostbusters.” The devil may care, too cocky for his own good Bill Murray.
And you got Barry Levinson, who has directed some of the truly entertaining and observant films of our time, “Diner,” and “Tin Men” and “Avalon” and a few more.
So “Rock the Kasbah” would thus would have to be pretty funny, right? A couple hours in the theater to take our minds off of more serious matters, make us laugh.
Well, uh, no.
Here are the reasons why:
Posted: October 26th, 2015 | Filed under: Music, Ruminations | 2 Comments »
As the story goes, Rick Hyde, who later compiled the compelling, have-to-have-if-you-love-this-music, four disc “Doo Wop Box,” was sitting in a Miami Beach bar in the 80s. It was well past midnight, and he was trying to convince a well-heeled record exec to underwrite a compilation of old R & B groups.
At some point, he tried to explain the phenomenon of The Orioles, one of the seminal early Doo Wop ensembles.
At which juncture, the eavesdropping barkeep, a white woman who would have to be an octogenarian these days, interjected, “Oh my God, The Orioles! That Sonny Til!” Then she broke into a verse the group’s signature tune, “It’s Too Soon To Know.”
The voice of Sonny Til — born Earlington Tilghman — was as smooth and sweet as warm butter and hot maple syrup, the real stuff that oozes from trees, not faux breakfast syrup. The kind of voice that, in the post WWII era, turned teen girls, even those in the conservative heartland, wet and dewy, regardless of their heartfelt proclamation to save themselves for their wedding night.
Forty years later, that lady behind the bar remembered the moist. With extreme fondness.
(I remember my spine turning to icicles when, after not hearing it for more than a decade, I heard my favorite Doo Wop tune, The Volumes’ “I Love You,” sometime in the late 80s at a record store. It still gives me chills.)
Doo Wop, truly groundbreaking, of all the subsets of rock & roll is probably the most misunderstood, the most under-appreciated. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 21st, 2015 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »
Nobody in these times quite captures what mainstream America wants to see, and provides it with such technical acumen as Steven Spielberg.
His characters connect.
The geometry of his screen is precise.
He avoids the kind of confusion that might appeal to dilettante audiences, but is an anathema at the cineplex to most.
And he’s chosen in recent times to examine historical moments, which might otherwise have gone unnoticed or forgotten.
So it is, with “Bridge of Spies,” a 50s cold war drama, featuring everybody’s favorite everyman, Tom Hanks.
For a more detailed review:
Posted: October 19th, 2015 | Filed under: Culture, Music | 5 Comments »
This is the second of a series. The first, on the song “Astral Weeks” can be found here.
Soon enough I’ll get to “Round Eye Blues,” one of the great songs you’ve likely never heard, by one of the seminal rock & roll bands you’ve probably never heard of, Marah, off of the best rock & roll album most people never heard, “Kids From Philly.”
But let’s start with Carnie Wilson of the celeb daughter girl group, Wilson Phillips. But, more salient to this discussion, she is the daughter of musical savant, Beach Boy Brian Wilson.
(Actually Wilson might not technically be a Beach Boy anymore. At some point recently, scumbag Mike Love, who apparently controls the band name and franchise legally, kicked Brian Wilson out of the band. Which is a scenario of such abject absurdity, it would take far more space, and too much wasted energy to dissect.)
Anyhow, Wilson the daughter, has been quoted at several places as sharing this memory from her youth. “I woke up every morning to boom boom-boom pow! Boom boom-boom pow! Every day.”
This is a reference to drummer Hal Blaine’s iconic kickoff to the Ronettes’ seminal smash, “Be My Baby.” Which, as most of us who grovel for every bit of rock & roll trivia know, is Brian Wilson’s favorite song of forever, one he claims to have listened to thousands of times, and the guiding light to the genius evolution of “Pet Sounds” and beyond.
Said classic tune is the key the opens the door to “Round Eye Blues,” but you’ll have to stick with me for a bit until I get there. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 14th, 2015 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »
It takes a brave man or woman, a truly courageous person, one with focus and confidence and a strong will and a bit of craziness to craft such an outrageous act as that perpetrated by Phillipe Petit in the 70s.
He walked on a wire one August morning in the 70s that had been jerryrigged from one tower of the World Trade Center to another. And, he was up there for 45 minutes, one time actually lying down on the wire high above Manhattan.
This is a dramatic version of the man’s obsession and the rag tag gang who helped him pull it off.
It’s engagingly directed by Robert Zemeckis, wise choice indeed for the task.
For more reasons why you might choose to see this entertaining bit of cinema, listen below: