“Ocean’s 8”: Film Review & Podcast

Posted: June 8th, 2018 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

Even though they tend to follow a well set plotline, I cherish the well done caper flick.

So, even though I’d seen the trailer for this female-centric reboot of the Ocean’s franchise so many times it felt this morning when it had actually arrived like I’d already seen the flick, I checked it out.

It met all the requirements of the genre, and did so in a glossy, summertime popcorn movie sort of way.

Which was just all right with me.

Of all the stars — Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna and  Awkwafina — it was Ms. Hathaway as a too full of herself famous person who came with the most game. Though all were fine.

Spoiler alert: The ladies get away with the jewels.

Imagine our surprise.

The fun is in the getting there.

For more, listen up:

Audio MP3

“Deadpool 2”: Film Review & Podcast

Posted: May 25th, 2018 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

Is there any need for one of my lengthy and verbose written contemplations of this comic book super hero “satire”?

Uh, no, not really.

Should I at least give you a clue, some evidence perhaps, whether it is as good as, less than or better than the original?

Uh, no, not really.

I’ll leave the parsing to the those who idled away too much of their misspent youth at the Great Escape.

I found this moderately entertaining, but would have preferred more satire and less boilerplate comic book violence cinema stuff.

(And, you might wonder if I noticed that the poster I downloaded for the visual here is in a foreign tongue? Yes, I did, but, uh, so what.)

Here’s more:

Audio MP3

“Disobedience”: Film Review & Podcast

Posted: May 18th, 2018 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

At a turning point in the film, “Disobedience,” there is a long, telling tracking shot of Ronit (Rachel Weisz), who has returned to London from NYC for her father the rabbi’s funeral, and childhood friend Esti (Rachel McAdams) walking down the street, getting reconnected.

Ronit has escaped or been pushed away from the orthodox Jewish community in which she grew up, and she wears no wig, as social mores would dictate for the women there. She nonchalantly, at a key moment in the dialog, combs her fingers through her hair.

It is oh so subtly evocative.

There are many such touches in this elegiac, somber contemplation.

We have just learned that Ronit and Esti were lovers, and that Esti is married to the third member of their childhood trio, Dovid, (Alessandro Nivola).

This is mature cinema, the contemplation of passion and emotion in an insulated community.

It’s excellently played. And, as with all good films, all good art really, asks way more questions than it answers.

For more detail and discussion of “Disobedience,” listen below:

Audio MP3

“Chappaquiddick”: A Film Review

Posted: May 14th, 2018 | Filed under: Cinema | No Comments »

Those who were around and of age, members of my generation, the War Baby Generation, at least many of us, remain fascinated with the phenomenon that was the Kennedy’s, such a unique political force it became.

JFK was the first media age superstar president. His assassination in November ’63 is our “I remember exactly where I was” moment, more so even than 9/11.

Then there was brother Bobby’s ascension. And his assassination.

Then came the rise of last brother standing Teddy, insecure but haughty, a reluctant scion of the family. The machine was in place for him to seek the White House.

Then came Chappaquiddick. It’s the island off Martha’s Vineyard, where Kennedy, drunk, drove a car off a bridge after leaving a summertime celebration, killing the only passenger, a young woman, a former aide of brother Bobby’s, Mary Jo Kopechne. Read the rest of this entry »


“Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: May 11th, 2018 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

I was really bummed when I missed this true story of a late in life romance of 50s film noir femme fatale Gloria Grahame and Peter Turner, an actor 30 years younger than her. It was gone from the theater in a blink of the eye in my town.

I wanted to see it, because, for one, it stars Annette Bening, who is always great.

And, because it’s a movie about movies, at least peripherally. And movie stars.

And it came well reviewed.

Well, I caught up with it last evening on the Amazon, and am glad I did.

It’s simply a well made, lushly shot, superbly acted tale that compels.

For more info, listen up:

Audio MP3

“Love After Love”: A Film Review

Posted: May 10th, 2018 | Filed under: Cinema | 1 Comment »

It’s a coy beginning to Russell Harbaugh’s “Love After Love.”

Perched in a window alcove, coffee cup in hand, brow furrowed, yet posed like a Land’s End advert, is Suzanne, an ever radiant Andie McDowell.

She is in conversation with Nicholas, Chris O’Dowd.

The subject is happiness. The nature of their relationship is uncertain.

He mumbles something like, sure I’m happy but we’ve just had this tiff. She projects concern and parries.

The immediate wonder is the nature of their connection?

Which we find out as the scene ends. Read the rest of this entry »


“Tully”: Film Review & Podcast

Posted: May 4th, 2018 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

There are times when films deserve to be made, should be made, even if the subject matter is disturbing to many, even most. Even if the end product, no matter how well crafted, is not “entertaining” in the classic sense of the descriptor.

The new Diablo Cody-penned film starring Charlize Theron, is just such an endeavor.

“Tully” addresses a real life, every day, all too common issue; one I dare say I’ve never seen depicted realistically on the screen before.

Postpartum depression.

This movie is not a frolic. It has frankly caused some consternation among those who are intent in treating this very real issue.

It is not a comfortable film to watch.

But it is worthy, if only for peeling away some of the mystery and denial prevalent about this issue, which folks generally are loathe to recognize or even talk about.

For more on this thought movie, listen up:

Audio MP3

“Isle of Dogs”: Film Review & Podcast

Posted: April 13th, 2018 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

Wes Anderson stands with David Lynch as the most what’s-up-with-that? directors working in “mainstream” cinema these days.

The question that trails Anderson like a hellhound is whether he’s just in it for the quirky?

Really, think about it, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “Moonlight Kingdom” are intentionally weird.

Is that Anderson’s ultimate purpose?

I dunno.

But I do know that his latest, “Isle of Dogs,” is just as off the charts as those mentioned above and his previous creations.

It’s certainly interesting and unusual.

I liked it.

Listen here for more details:

Audio MP3

“Goldstone”: Film Review & Podcast

Posted: April 6th, 2018 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

Ivan Sen’s stark but riveting little film about a mining company’s shenanigans at an outpost of a town in the Australian Outback is laden with tropes from several genres.

There’s the degenerate lawman loner in from out of town to clean up a mess.

There’s the lone town cop, conflicted between his ethics and leaving well enough alone.

There’s the mayor on the take.

There are the natives, whose land is being raped.

And that ain’t all.

But even with all the been there done that, this gem works.

The land itself is a character, vast and foreboding. That’s what hold it all together and makes it work, cinematic clichés notwithstanding.

For further edification, listen up:

Audio MP3

“Unsane”: Film Review and Podcast

Posted: March 23rd, 2018 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

I had never heard of this film until the morning it opened in my town.

I read up a bit, and what got me to the theater, frankly, was learning that director Steven Soderbergh shot this himself entirely on an iPhone 7.

The parameters of which new fangled process added an eery quality to this excellent little film.

Claire Foy plays an intelligent young woman, who has moved to a new town because she was being stalked.

The pivotal question is whether that is actually happening, or whether she is simply hallucinating it?

She ends up unwittingly locked in a mental health facility after going to talk with somebody about what’s going on with her?

The stalker, it turns out, is an attendant at the facility?

Or, is she just imagining that?

This psychological drama is cleverly drawn up and adroitly presented.

For more, listen up:

 

Audio MP3

“Red Sparrow”: Film Review & Podcast

Posted: March 4th, 2018 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

In my neck of the woods, her hometown, the release of Jennifer Lawrence’s latest film is always a thing.

Her recent efforts in some truly mediocre cinematic concoctions have been the only thing worth considering.

But there’s always hope, right?

In her latest, “Red Sparrow,” she plays an intense, revenge-minded former member of the Bolshoi  Ballet, who suffers a career ending injury and is then coerced into becoming an undercover operative for the government by her uncle.

Ms. Lawrence’s ever present acting chops are the only thing worthwhile in this otherwise convoluted, too often vicious, occasionally sensual, ever mediocre offering.

Is watching Ms. Jen work her thespianic magic enough for you to head to the movie house?

It was for me.

You’ll have to make that decision for yourself.

For a more in depth consideration, including a startling revelation of what Ms. Lawrence’s character and your truly share in common, listen below:

Audio MP3

 


“Game Night”: Film Review & Podcast

Posted: February 24th, 2018 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

One of my guilty pleasure movies from the past is “The Game,” in which Michael Douglas plays a bored, rich fellow who gets involved with, well, this game, where he’s dropped into then trapped in an adventure/mystery with peril to his personal well being.

What’s real? What isn’t? Are these real bad guys? Or just actors that are part of the charade?

It’s a compelling cinematic premise.

So, when I saw the preview for “Game Night,” featuring Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams, with that general sort of plotline but played for laughs, I was all in.

The two leads, along with Jesse Plemons, who plays their eery, somewhat unhinged neighbor, work to make this thing work.

There are laughs. There is some intrigue. There are, of course, twists and turns, so the audience will be forced to wonder what’s real and what’s a ruse, as part of the scenario where one of their weekly game night crew of friends gets kidnapped?

For the life of me, I don’t understand why McAdams doesn’t get more work? She has the facility for comedy, which shows up here in what’s an ultimately thinner than one would like plot.

This could have been better with a shade more inventiveness and creativity.

But “Game Night” is a pleasant popcorn diversion, and hardly a waste of time.

Any laughs we can get in these troubled times is a good thing.

For more, listen up:

Audio MP3