“CODA”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: August 16th, 2021 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

Sîan Heder’s film about a conflicted high school girl won most all the major awards at Sundance.

No surprise. For so many reasons, it’s a keeper.

“CODA” can be streamed at Apple TV.

High schooler Ruby (Emilia Jones) is the only hearing member of a Gloucester, Mass fishing family. So, she’s been their communicative connection with the rest of the world since a very young age.

She loves to sing. An opportunity to go to the prestigious Berklee school presents itself.

Her family — mother and father, Tony Kotsur and Marlee Matlin, brother, Daniel Durant — need her to stay, so the they can survive financially.

This film is not only deftly crafted, but the sweet ending is welcome in this troubled world of ours.

For significantly more detail and insight — yes, more than usual — listen to my podcast below:

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— c d kaplan


“McCartney 3 2 1”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: August 3rd, 2021 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

I got into an argument once with a couple of music loving pals — guys who really know their stuff generally — both of whom took a strong stand that the Beatles have been overrated.

Well, forgive them, they know not what they’re talking about.

They’re dead wrong.

This six-part Hulu series underscores just how brilliant most of Lennon, Harrison, Starr and Sir Paul’s creative output remains. They are deservedly considered the greatest pop group ever. It’s not close.

What we get is McCartney in a studio with producer Rick Rubin, going into a smidge of Beatles history, but mostly talking about various and sundry aspects of some of the songs the foursome created in the studio with George Martin.

I came away with an enhanced view of the group’s magnificence and McCartney personally.

For more insight and info, listen to my podcast below:

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“Afternoon Delight”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: July 26th, 2021 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

In a time when, for better or worse, the world is opening up again, here’s a review of another film I streamed, this one at Amazon Prime.

How I got to it, and why I felt the flick worthy of public review are all revealed in my podcast below.

So, hint hint, listen to it.

The primary reasons are boffo acting performances. By the woefully underrated Kathryn Hahn. By on the rise actor, Juno Temple. And Josh Radner as Hahn’s hubby.

Temple plays a stripper/ “sex worker,” who ends up through coincidence and circumstance living with the couple.

Their lives change.

For more details, and my take on this intriguing movie, listen to my podcast below:

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“Schmigadoon”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: July 18th, 2021 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast, TV | No Comments »

When I first read about the new Apple TV+ series, “Schmigadoon,” I couldn’t stop saying it out loud.

And, smiling every time.

What a concept.

Cecily Strong and Keegan-Michael Key play a struggling couple, who go to a retreat in the woods to rekindle their relationship. They get lost hiking in the rain and fog and end up in . . .

. . . Schmigadoon. Which is a singing, dancing 50s Broadway musical of a town.

Two episodes are now available. Four more coming up, a week at a time.

Fascinating idea. Really well executed.

For more details and insight into “Schmigadoon,” listen to my podcast below:

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“Zola”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: July 12th, 2021 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

So, after a couple step backs, when I was apparently not quite ready to venture to my favorite movie house — Baxter Theaters — I took the plunge.

Comforted by the sight of a couple of staff members who worked there 16 months ago before the COVID, it felt right.

The experience felt somewhat unique. The movie, “Zola,” is indeed one of a kind.

It’s the first ever, or so it is said, developed from a series of tweets.

Zola (Taylour Paige), a stripper/ waitress, meets Stefani (Riley Keough) at the restaurant. The next day, at the latter’s insistence, they’re off to Florida with a couple of fellows, intent on making $5 Gs a night, pole dancing.

Zola finds herself in a heap o’ heap. Stefani has pulled her into a lair of unexpected misadventures.

For more details about “Zola,” a movie I really liked and thought distinctive, listen to my podcast below.

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“Summer of Soul”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: July 5th, 2021 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

OK, first of all, let it be known that the full title of this to-be-seen musical/ sociopolitical documentary is “Summer of Soul (Or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised).”

So, yes, there is some cultural stridency contained. But it comes in appropriate proportion, and is more than outweighed by a great number of searing musical performances. Some truly surprising, like that of the 5th Dimension.

Plus, you know, you get Mahalia Jackson, Nina Simone, Sly & the Stone Family, David Ruffin, the Chambers Brothers, and the proverbial many more.

The footage is from a series of concerts in Harlem in the summer of ’69. Which celluloid has been sitting in storage until drummer of The Roots Questlove fashioned this well-crafted documentary.

It can (and should) be seen on the big screen in theaters. And also can be streamed at Hulu.

For much more insight and info, listen to my podcast below:

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“Lansky”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: June 30th, 2021 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

The baseline question for any filmmaker who wants to tell yet another story about the Mafia is this: Is there anything to say that Martin Scorcese and Francis Coppola haven’t already said, and said really really well?

Eytan Rockaway certainly thought so.

Thus he wrote and directed this sorta biopic of aging Meyer Lansky, telling is story to a writer, to be published only after his death.

Rockaway’s choice of Harvey Keitel to play the financial wizard of the mob was spot on.

Keitel excels.

As for the rest of the flick, well, listen to my podcast and find out whether it’s worth your time or not.

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“Gunda”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: June 18th, 2021 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

Oh my, how I’ve missed it.

Sitting in a real movie theater.

Watching a film on a big screen.

With a real sound system.

No popcorn, yet, but still . . .

I made it to the lovely intimate theater at the Speed Museum to watch this universally heralded documentary about, of all things, farm animals.

Though it’s come and gone from the theater, it’s worth checking out when it streams.

Do not be put off by the quirky subject matter. “Gunda” is as evocative as it is visually and aurally exquisite.

For more on the film, and the totality of the circumstance, listen to my podcast below:

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“Johnny Guitar” & “Trading Places”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: June 7th, 2021 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

Yes, there are totally legitimate reasons, other than mere convenience, why I am reviewing these two totally different movies together.

At least in my mind.

Mainly because I watched them back to back the other night. For reasons which I actually do explain in my most boffo podcast below.

Also contained therein is actual talk about the flicks themselves.

One, a sort of psychological 1954 western featuring Joan Crawford and Sterling Hayden.

The other, a silly and funny comedy, with a passel humorous folks, including Eddie Murphy, Jamie Lee Curtis and Dan Aykroyd. And the proverbial many, many more.

So, take a couple of minutes and listen:

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“Plan B”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: June 1st, 2021 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

The set up for this delightful and astutely observed teen comedy isn’t anything unique.

Sunny (Kuhoo Verma) thinks she might have gotten pregnant, when she lost her virginity, at a party she hosted, while her doting mother was out of town.

So she and her runnin’ podner, Lupe (Victoria Moroles), head off into the night in search of a Plan B Morning After pill.

Comedy and adventures forth come for the bright, engaging and often potty mouthed besties.

Lessons are learned.

“Plan B” is available at Hulu.

I was charmed.

For more info and insight, listen to the podcast below:

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— c d kaplan


“Gambit” & “Gambit”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: May 11th, 2021 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

Remakes are always fascinating.

For me anyway. Since, as you might guess, watching films is one one of my addictions.

I like heist flicks. And I came upon an article about caper movies. Several of which I hadn’t seen. Or, frankly, heard of.

Like “Gambit” from the early 60s, starring Shirley MacLaine and Michael Caine.

But, when I went to the interweb for more info, what popped up was a remake from ’12, starring Cameron Diaz and Colin Firth. And written by the Brothers Coen, Joel and Ethan.

I power watched them both on Amazon Prime on the same day. (What I do for my not so adoring public.)

My take?

Listen to my podcast:

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“Nomadland”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: May 4th, 2021 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

I guess I could have watched “Nomadland” well before it won so many awards.

Oscars. Golden Globes. BAFTAs.

But I didn’t.

I certainly had a sense of how stark a contemplation it proved to be. And, frankly, needed during the year long pandemic, pre-vaccine shutdown, a smidge more entertaining escapism during my viewing hours.

The film is dry. And evocative of these strange, plate-shifting times. But is it a metaphor?

It is often most touching. But, without a lot of humor, though it is filled with a sense of community and humanity.

For more observations on “Nomadland,” listen to my podcast below:

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