“The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: September 2nd, 2021 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

It was obvious from this film debut in 1966 that Alan Arkin would become an icon of screen comedy.

Here he plays a member of the crew of a Russian spy submarine, that gets stranded on a sandbar off the coast of a Massachusetts island. He leads a landing party to commandeer a boat to pull them free.

The citizenry panics. It was, after all, the middle of the Cold War, when the movie was set.

The Oscar-nominated film is silly and funny and entertaining. Arkin is brilliant. (He was also nominated for a statuette.) So, too Jonathan Winters, Brian Keith, character actors Ben Blue and Tessie O’Shea.

But, most especially, Paul Ford, as the bombastic old military guy, who is ready to start World War III.

I came across Norman Jewison’s flick at Amazon Prime, when I was looking for something mindless and funny. I hadn’t seen it since its release back when.

For more, listen to my podcast below:

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Sweet Abbey, Long May You Run

Posted: August 29th, 2021 | Filed under: Ruminations | 4 Comments »

Sad-Eyed Lady of the Highlands/ Where the sad-eyed prophet says that no man comes/ My lonely eyes, my second-line drums/ Should I leave them at your gate/ My sweet sad-eyed lady as I wait? — After Bob Dylan

Abbey had me at first lick.


A couple of years earlier, Joanie and I had lost Lila the Love Dog, whom my bride brought into our relationship. Never having had a dog my whole life, my relationship with that loyal black lab taught me the reasons why people do.

They look in your eyes.

They steal your heart.

There was one of these please-take-us-home rescue dog events at Hogan’s Fountain.

Joanie was ready. I wasn’t sure.

While I was sitting on the ground as Joanie looked around, Abbey ran up to me and started licking my face.

I was a goner. Read the rest of this entry »

“Ted Lasso S2”: TV Review Podcast

Posted: August 23rd, 2021 | Filed under: Film Reviews Podcast, TV | No Comments »

Like many, I totally fell for Season 1 of the incredibly endearing Apple TV+ series, “Ted Lasso.”

Loved the characters. Loved the situations. Loved the cornpone wisdom of Jason Sudeikis’ fish out of water midwesterner, who finds himself coaching an English soccer club.

So sweet it was, I frankly wasn’t sure it could hold together for another go round.

Well, the second season is now unfolding on a weekly basis. Five episodes in, and your inveterate critic remains smitten. Maybe even more than ever.

In a world run amuck, it’s an entertaining, delightful, appealing respite.

It just makes me smile, and feel good inside. What a blessing that is.

For more insight, listen to my podcast below:

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“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

“Bosch”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: August 12th, 2021 | Filed under: Film Reviews Podcast, TV | 1 Comment »

Because it seems that I, like most of the rest of the TV/ Streaming/ Movie Going public, can’t get enough grisly police dramas, I finally settled into watch a series at Amazon Prime that’s been around awhile. Another reason is that heading back into the movie house remains fraught with peril.

So, “Bosch.”

That it was developed by Eric Ellis Overmyer informs why, despite some hackneyed plotlines, it’s a cut above most of this kind of fare. Overmyer was involved with “The Wire,” which I know that you know that I consider the Gold Standard.

LA Homicide Detective Harry Bosch a/k/a Hieronymus Bosch (Titus Welliver) — yes, like the 16th C Dutch artist of the oh so grisly “Garden of Earthly Delights” — does have some family history that makes him unique. But the character will feel familiar.

Great intuitive cop. Renegade. Always stepping over the line. Constantly in trouble with some in chain of command. Affairs with fellow officers. Divorced, rarely seeing daughter who adores him.

There are also some peripheral plotlines, which I could do without. Like the Assistant Chief of Police who wants the top job, so cuts a deal with the DA, who is running for mayor. Been there, done that.

Season One features two main plotlines. The discovery of a 12 year old’s bones, buried in the hills of Laurel Canyon. And a serial killer, Raynard Waits, easily the most interesting character in the initial ten episodes, excellently played with acute, understated menace by Jason Gedrick.

There are other subtle touches that intrigue. How Bosch’s life is filled with redheaded woman, for one. The nuanced characters of fellow homicide detectives, know as Crate and Barrel, for another example.

There are 68 episodes of the series through a number of seasons.

Meaning, given my fascination, I’ve only 58 more to power watch.

For more, 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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