“The Vast of Night”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: June 3rd, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | 2 Comments »

I am at an age so advanced I grew up with 50s Sci Fi flicks.

Mostly B quality. Black and white. A knowing scientist, often in a relationship with the woman who discovers something weird going on in the outskirts of the small town. Always a small town. Invasion by aliens in flying saucers. Theremin soundtrack.

“In the Vast of Night,” at Amazon Prime, Andrew Patterson’s dazzling directorial debut takes that premise and makes something ab fab. Sophisticated, but respectful of the inherent fun of the genre.

When I read about this flick, I figured I’d enjoy it.

Little did I know how compelling and well-crafted it would be.

This is my favorite movie of the year.

And, I explicitly set forth why. But to learn that, you will need to listen to the boffo podcast below:

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— c d kaplan

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“Umbrellas of Cherbourg”: Cinema Rewind

Posted: May 29th, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

There are any number of aspects you might remember, if you viewed Jacques Demy’s iconic confection of a musical, “Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” when it arrived in America in the mid 60s.

That you saw it in what we used to call art houses. In my town, that would have been the Crescent Theater, where my first impression when attending a flick there while in high school was they sold coffee in the lobby.

How sophisticated, thought I.

Unless I saw it when off to college in a small Virginia town, where the State Theater showed foreign flicks, then still relatively new to our shores, and the Lyric, more mainstream fare.

Or, you might recall the sumptuous score of Michel Legrand, whose IMDb listing of credits includes an astounding 217 films. You’ve heard the theme song, “I Will Wait For You,” many times through the decades, if only from the Muzak in a department store.

Let’s face it, only Hank Mancini’s “Moon River,” might be more famous and resonant, when it comes to string-laden romanticism in the movie house.

Or, you might recall, and this is probably true for most, how beautiful the stars were. Read the rest of this entry »


“Sorry We Missed You”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: May 25th, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

It is a story as old as the existence of society.

There are always those who struggle to make it financially.

Thus it is to the credit of director Ken Loach, that “Sorry We Missed You” presents a tale that might be well worn, in a manner that rivets.

Earnest hardworking family. Hubby takes a gig economy job, delivering parcels. But needs to buy a truck. So they sell his bride’s car, which she had been using to get around from patient to patient in her job as an in home caregiver.

Their relationship suffers. As does their relationship with their teenage son, who begins acting out. And with their adolescent daughter, who bears the weight of the whole sad situation.

They can’t seem to get over the hump.

This is not an easy movie.

But the tale is told with craft, and significantly more subtlety than one might imagine.

For more perspective, and where to stream one of the best new films of the year, listen to this podcast:

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— c d kaplan

You can now subscribe to all my posts here. Simply fill out the easy form below, and you will receive them in your email inbox. For Free. 


“Have a Good Trip Adventures in Psychelics”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: May 15th, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

This new Netflix documentary is just odd to me.

Not that I’m not interested in hearing the stories famous entertainers might and do share about their experiences while tripping.

Because, as I discuss in the podcast below — which you should absolutely listen to — I, myself, am a man of experience, and thus could compare tales.

It’s simply that I’m not sure what the end game is here.

Which is to opine that this irreverent bit of cinema, entertaining as it might be to some, including me, lacks focus.

Not that it really matters, but I wonder what was the filmmaker’s purpose?

Anyhow, like I said, you can get a significantly better sense of it all, and some of my own forays into rainbows and tracers, by listening to the podcast below.

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— c d kaplan

 

You can now subscribe for FREE and get all my posts here, delivered directly to your email in box. Just fill out the simple form below. 


“Young Adult”: Cinema Rewind

Posted: May 12th, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

This is the first in a series, called, duh, Cinema Rewind, of undetermined duration, in which I discuss movies from the past that I’ve just taken a second look at. 

There is something about the end of high school that’s the great dividing point in many peoples lives.

What has been prescribed for us through age 18 has now ended.

How does the ark of life turn from there?

It’s a fascinating subject to me, and there have been any number of films through the decades that have examined it.

It is the underlying premise of “Young Adult,” in which Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron), unhappy with her alcoholic life as a ghost writer in Minneapolis, decides what she needs to do is go back to her small Minnesota town, and win back her HS BF Buddy Slade (Patrick Wilson).

Even though he is married, happily. And he and his bride have just had a baby.

There’s more about the totality of the plot in the podcast below.

I want to make special mention here of a most poignant scene late in the film, one of many, when Mavis is having coffee with Sandra (Collette Wolfe), the sister of Matt (Patton Oswalt), a high schooler who meant nothing to Mavis when she was Queen of the Hop, but with whom she’s just spent the night, and you know. Read the rest of this entry »


“Natalie Wood – What Remains Behind”: Film Review/Podcast

Posted: May 10th, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | 1 Comment »

It was the time of Marilyn. Monroe, if you need to be spoon fed.

But the Hollywood star who always got to me during my teenage years was Natalie Wood.

Not only was she a really fine actor, who gave the world any number of strong, iconic cinematic performances.

But she was a very smart, most interesting person.

And, as is underscored in the new HBO documentary, “Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind,” she was a doting mother, who was willing to set career aside when need be to be there for her children.

This doc, as one figured it would, gets around to her untimely demise, her drowning off Catalina Island. Enough with that already.

But it also sets out that she should be remembered for much more than that.

For further details and discussion of the recommended documentary, listen to the podcast below.

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— c d kaplan

You can now subscribe, and receive all my posts in your email box. It’s FREE. Just fill out the form below.


“Unorthodox”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: May 4th, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

(Public Service Announcement: You can now receive all Culture Maven musings, delivered directly to your email inbox. It’s FREE. Just fill out the form at the bottom of the page.)

 

There’s a certain fascination with strict cultures around the globe, where stringent ways of living have been passed down by the elders through the centuries in order that a homogeneous society will be maintained.

Arranged marriages.

An abundance of rituals.

In modern times, it often chafes at the younger members born into the culture in a freer world.

This is a four part Netflix series based on a memoir by Deborah Feldman, who felt it necessary to escape a Hasidic community in Brooklyn.

Some liberties are taken in the series, but it remains a fascinating and compelling watch.

For more details, listen to the podcast below:

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“Bad Education”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: April 29th, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | 1 Comment »

It must be acknowledged that a tale of high school administrators embezzling money from a school system is not the most compelling or sexiest of topics.

To fashion an engaging movie from such a scenario takes serious craft.

Which director Cody Finley and writer Mike Makowsky have accomplished in the HBO Original, “Bad Education.”

Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney excellently portray the real life Frank Tassone and Pam Gluckin. Who a few decades ago were beloved by a Long Island school system, at the same time they were stealing millions of dollars from the system’s coffers.

They were outed by the high school newspaper.

“Bad Education” lays out the whole situation in an appealing way. Really good acting make that happen.

For more on this film, listen to the podcast below:

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“Run”: Review & Podcast

Posted: April 16th, 2020 | Filed under: Film Reviews Podcast, TV | No Comments »

Phoebe Waller-Bridge, for whom everything she touches these days turns to gold, is back at it.

This time as executive producer of a Sunday night HBO series, called “Run.”

Intriguing premise, here.

College sweeties move on with separate lives after graduation, but vow to reconnect and rendezvous immediately at a designated time and place, should one text “Run” to the other, with the same one word reply.

So Ruby and Billy abandon their current lives, and find themselves on an Amtrak heading west out of Grand Central Station.

The well-played, well-conceived opening episode sucked me in.

For more details, listen to the podcast below:

 

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“Somebody Feed Phil”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: April 12th, 2020 | Filed under: Film Reviews Podcast, Food, TV | 3 Comments »

This is the kind of gig I’d love to have.

Getting sent to major cities around the globe, hanging with the cool crowd, eating at the best restaurants, while cracking jokes.

Phil Rosenthal is the Man.

“Somebody Feed Phil” is the Netflix series, where we get to watch him live the life.

One of the episodes is his visit to New Orleans, which you may noticed is my favorite place to dine. And where I would be next week for JazzFest and feasting, but for you know what.

Anyway, listen to the podcast below for more on the show, and how I reacted when Phil was eating my favorite dish, Chicken a la Grande, at my favorite restaurant, Mosca’s.

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“Crip Camp”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: April 6th, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | 1 Comment »

As I’ve mentioned before, I cherish the moments when a film I’ve never heard of shows up out of the blue and steals my heart.

(Thank you, Jeff and Susan, my film buff friends, for the recommendation.)

Such is the situation with “Crip Camp,” an endearing documentary about how a summer camp in the Catskills in the early 70s just for kids with handicaps was the genesis of the disability civil rights movement.

But first, the camp allowed these amazing humans to feel their humanity and find some dignity.

Lots of sweet black and white footage from those camp days here. Followed by a chronicle how those from that experience were front and center, forcing Congress and the government to pass and then enforce empowering, long time coming, long overdue legislation.

For more, about this splendid bit of cinema, including where you can watch –It has a 100% Rotten Tomatoes rating — listen to the podcast below:

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“SXSW Short Films”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: April 2nd, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

Surfing about for something to read or watch or listen to on my laptop while dining last night, I came across a site that’s posted a bunch of short film entries to that portion of SXSW.

I’ve watched three so far, and each in its own way is pretty spectacular. I shall delve further.

One is a story that completely touches the dynamics of twentysomething relationships and mother/ daughter relationships in eight minutes.

Another is a sweet three minute animated tale about Christmas longing. It won the Grand Prize even though the festival, like everything else, was cancelled.

And perhaps the most artistic, creative documentary I’ve ever seen. An eleven minute telling of the crusade that saved a thousand broken musical instruments in the Philly school system, called “Broken Orchestra.” Relatively dry topic, incredible filmmaking.

For further details where to find these gems, listen to the podcast below:

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