“Fargo Season 4”: Review/ Podcast

Posted: October 11th, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast, TV | No Comments »

I love love love the Coen Brothers’ “Fargo,” and am also a believer in Noah Hawley’s FX TV series, which is an offshoot of it.

“Fargo” is now in Season 4, and this time around is ostensibly about a 1950 gang war in Kansas City, between the entrenched local mafia and an ambitious gang of up and comers, led by Chris Rock’s Loy Cannon.

But what I love most about these series are the characters.

Most all quirky.

Often evil.

Sometimes both.

Jessie Buckley’s nurse Oraetta Mayflower is the one who has pulled me in this go round.

I’ve watched three episodes as of this writing, and am intrigued. But I haven’t a clue yet what her motives are.

Which is to say, I’m locked in.

For more reasons why you should consider checking out Fargo Season 4 on FX, listen to the podcast below

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“The Night Manager”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: August 11th, 2020 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast, TV | No Comments »

So, as such obsessions evolve, I find myself currently seeking out spy capers to fill the time during this, uh, pandemic.

I have two more episodes of “The Bureau” to watch, but must wait until they are revealed the next couple of Thursdays.

So I tracked down “The Night Manager,” a 2016 BBC six episode series from the pen of John Le Carré, available on Amazon Prime.

Tom Hiddleston has a career in the hospitality industry, until he’s drawn into international arms smuggling chicanery, after the mistress of the owner of a ritzy hotel where he’s working in Cairo, hands him some documents to copy.

He falls in with MI6 agent Olivia Coleman, who is obsessed with bringing down the bad guy, played with suitable arrogance by Hugh Laurie. Hiddleston goes deep cover, seeking to infiltrate the bad guy’s gang.

Intrigue ensues.

For more details about this addictive series, listen to my podcast below:

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“Red Oaks”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: June 19th, 2020 | Filed under: Film Reviews Podcast, TV | 1 Comment »

 

Life is just too strange these days.

I mean, really really really strange. Scary. Perilous.

So, what I’m looking for is something comfortable and entertaining. Simple, easy diversion.

Which I found in a recent but not brand new Amazon Prime TV series, “Red Oaks.”

Set in the 80s, around characters who are members or work at a not really tony country club, it proved familiar to me. So I powerwatched the 26 episodes in four evenings.

Though archetypes, most every character is sort of unique and well-played enough that I wanted to learn how their daily life situations played out.

There is nothing earth shattering here. No dazzling special effects, or groundbreaking insight into life. Just often funny, sometimes poignant situations for characters I came to care about.

I was smitten.

For significantly more detail — you probably want some if you think about diving in — listen to the podcast below.

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— c d kaplan

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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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PBS’s “Country Music”: Review & Podcast

Posted: September 20th, 2019 | Filed under: Film Reviews Podcast, Music, TV | 1 Comment »

It would seem to me that to call Ken Burns an American treasure would be understatement.

The fellow has provided history and cultural perspective on any number of topics through the decades with his excellently crafted PBS documentaries.

The Vietnam War.

Jazz.

The Civil War.

To name but three.

He, along with c0-producer Dayton Duncan, have done it again.

This time the subject matter is the history and evolution and importance of Country Music.

It is 16 hours long, divided into 8 two-hour episodes. The first four aired last Sunday through Wednesday. The final four shall commence for four straight nights, starting this Sunday evening. The series can also be streamed through the middle of October at pbs.org.

It’s a brilliant piece of documentary filmmaking, and a must see for all music fans.

For more insight on the series, listen to the podcast below:

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“Los Espookys”: Review & Podcast

Posted: August 27th, 2019 | Filed under: Film Reviews Podcast, TV | No Comments »

How often have I complained about the lack of comedic movies or TV series that are both unique and actually funny?

A lot. Too much probably.

So it is with great pleasure that I introduce those who aren’t aware of the sublime pleasures of “Los Espookys.”

Which is a six episode HBO series that centers on a quirky band of characters, who stage horror scenarios.

It is all too sublime and humorous.

Significantly more detail that should lure you into streaming this gem is provided in the podcast below. Even more than usual, it will be well worth your time to listen:

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“Fleabag”: Review & Podcast

Posted: August 9th, 2019 | Filed under: Film Reviews Podcast, TV | No Comments »

I stopped watching the first season of this most quirky and darkly comic British TV series after a couple of episodes.

To be honest, it just wasn’t working for me.

Creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s main character whom she also portrays — no real name given, just Fleabag — struck me as too disagreeable and not a very nice person. Thus someone I didn’t feel like spending much time with.

But, so positive were the reviews for Season 2, I decided to give it another chance. It’s on Amazon Prime.

The first episode of the second go round is a perfect comedic depiction of every uncomfortable family dinner you’ve been to that blew apart because of underlying dysfunction, sibling rivalry, problems with in laws, mommy or daddy issues, parental discord or any and all of the above.

Loved it. It was too good. And the season just got better from there. Some of her redeeming social values come forth.

Waller-Bridge’s character pulls the audience in by breaking the fourth wall. She’s constantly turning her head to the camera and sharing intimacies just with us.

Often such affectations As talking to the audience can be off-putting. Here it only enhances what I will now admit is an idiosyncratic comedic gem to be savored.

Did I mention she has a tryst with a priest in a confessional?

For more perspective and detail, listen to the podcast below:

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“The Sopranos”: A Look Back

Posted: May 3rd, 2019 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast, TV | No Comments »

Well, truth be told, for me, it’s not a look back.

The mea culpa: I never watched an episode of the iconic HBO TV series when it first aired for six seasons. (Which I realize is yet another diminishment of my adopted moniker, the Culture Maven. Fake sobriquet? Arguably.)

Anyway, since there’s been some buzz on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the series about the Family Soprano, and the Jersey mob, run by patriarch Tony, and/ or Uncle Jr., I decided it was time after this score of years to check it out.

So, I’ve been streaming it season by season on Amazon Prime for the last couple months.

What you will hear below are my observations, colored by hindsight.

Let’s be clear though, as much as I’ve been taken in by “The Sopranos,” especially the universally marvelous characterizations and acting, I still consider “The Wire” a cut way above anything else that’s ever aired.

You should still listen to my observations.

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“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”: A Reconsideration of S2

Posted: December 11th, 2018 | Filed under: Culture, TV | No Comments »

The other day, an old college chum sent me a review of a film he figures I’d be interested in.

In the missive, he said something to the effect of, I guess you don’t like to read reviews in advance, so it won’t color your take on films.

To which I responded, au contraire, I read far too many reviews in advance, have favorite reviewers who are go to, and I’m sure that habit, for better or worse, does color my perspective.

I also have my own personal predilections which affect my take on a movie or TV series. Coen Brothers always get a break in advance.

Or a second season of a series I loved the first time around, like “Mozart in the Jungle.”

Or, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”

At the bottom here, you can listen to my podcasted review of Season 2, rendered for my FPK reviewing duties after watching the first three of the ten episode second season of the beloved, award-winning Amazon Prime comedy.

After consuming, in short time, the rest of the Season 2, I need to posit a more refined and considered take that is positive, but not as much so.

At the time when the series is set, the 1950s, there was a common if sexist in retrospect saying, “A girl has the right to change her mind.”

Well, I’m changing mine. At least, somewhat. Read the rest of this entry »


“The Norsemen”: TV Review Podcast

Posted: October 5th, 2018 | Filed under: Film Reviews Podcast, TV | No Comments »

I’m not going to say a whole lot about the Netflix comedy series “The Norsemen,” now in its second season.

Because it is most difficult to describe. Since it’s a comedy set in Norway in the year 790 and features all Norwegian actors, speaking English thankfully.

It is intelligent. It is droll. It cleverly weaves current day social motifs into its ancient setting.

Most important: It’s funny. Very very funny.

For more, listen below:

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“Killing Eve”: A Review & Podcast

Posted: June 1st, 2018 | Filed under: Film Reviews Podcast, TV | No Comments »

So I ran into my friend Jane last week, who advised her latest TV obsession was the BBC America series, “Killing Eve.”

Which struck me, because in the few days before I’d run across a number of reviews online, all of which were of one mind with praise.

Then, a few days later, I happened to run into some other pals, Mike and Wendy, film and TV buffs with good taste. When I asked if they’d watched “Killing Eve,” they immediately came with the compliments.

So I went home and streamed the first episode of the eight part series that has completed its first season cable run. Hooked, I watched another. Being somewhat compulsive, then another.

Consumed two more the following rainy afternoon. Then the final three episodes that night. Love when something like this lures me into the power binge.

Sandra Oh portrays a British MI5 agent obsessed with female serial killers. Jodie Comer plays a contract killer for a secret international cabal. Or, so we’re led to believe.

Hunter vs. the Hunted. And then the vice versa.

Obviously I was and remain fascinated — there will be a Season 2.

For more details, listen below:

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