“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

“1971 The Year Music Changed Everything”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: May 27th, 2021 | Filed under: Film Reviews Podcast, TV | 2 Comments »

I was in the middle of it.

More or less.

All the chaos and change that was the counter culture in 1971.

As an idealistic, self righteous new attorney, trying to quell the world’s ills, while consuming as much rock and roll as possible.

Who dropped out for awhile from the courthouse scene to, uh, drive a Gracie Maid ice cream truck. Then return, when a bit more prepared for adulthood. Such as it was.

So, I’m alway interested in these looks back at what we refer to as “back in the day.”

This one on Apple TV has lots of new, previously unseen footage, if not a lot of focus. The latter of which trait may actually be appropriate for the subject matter.

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

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“Ted Lasso”: Film Review Podcast

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

So, I’ve been wanting to watch this heralded Apple TV comedy series for awhile.

But, you know, how many streaming services does a guy need to subscribe to? Enough has always been more than enough.

But I needed a new phone, and the purchase of yet another Apple product — as if I didn’t have more than too many already — gave me a free year of their TV foray.

Now I know why all the fuss over “Ted Lasso,” the coulda/ woulda/ oughta been cloying and overbearing tale of an American football coach from the Heartland, transplanted to Merrie Ol’ to coach an EPL soccer outfit, facing relegation.

It’s just darned charming.

Not a sports fan? Don’t be deterred. The setting is but a vehicle for the storylines.

This is television for the times, when folks are craving something optimistic and sweet and empowering. And funny.

For more insight on why I recommend “Ted Lasso,” listen to the podcast below:

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“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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“Another Round”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: April 28th, 2021 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

Thomas Vinterberg’s “Another Round” just won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Or, whatever they call that category.

It is the story of four high school teachers, all mired in one form of “mid life crisis” or another, who decide to test out an actually posited theory that people should maintain a blood alcohol level of .05, to be more productive, happy, etc, etc.

Each gets positive results in the initial stages of their daily imbibing. So they kick it up a notch, then another.

There are consequences, but, as best I can tell, no lessons learned by the characters.

I just don’t get this movie.

Is it about systemic alcoholism in Denmark?

Is it actually a comedy as some critics believe? Could fool me.

Whatever. I simply don’t understand the accolades and awards.

For more details and perspective, listen to my podcast below:


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“As Tears Go By”: Rock & Roll Repast

Posted: April 26th, 2021 | Filed under: Music | No Comments »

The image is iconic as any from the mid 60s, when mainstream media was taking notice.

The musical fad of teenagers, the one that rocked forth the previous decade, obviously had traction.

Rock & Roll. In all its many manifestations. Blasting from transistor radios, strapped to bicycle handlebars. Pouring from new stations on Friday night’s in the parents’ borrowed station wagon.

The vision, that moment from the boob tube, as it was still dismissively called, black and white. From “Hullabaloo,” which along with “Shindig” was one of two primetime network acknowledgments of the burgeoning culture.

Paul Anka introduced Brian Epstein. Brian Epstein introduced her.

And, there she was, in all her innocence — or so we thought — dressed on Carnaby Street. Straight hair. Bangs. Pale. Impassive.

Perched by some production designer, supported by one arm, her legs tucked under her, immobile on a cube, but for the slightest occasional tilt of the head or time keeping twist of the ankle. Her voice sweet, a whisper. Read the rest of this entry »

“Sound of Metal”: Film Review Podcast

Posted: April 20th, 2021 | Filed under: Cinema, Film Reviews Podcast | No Comments »

Riz Ahmed, whom you might remember from the TV series, “The Night Of,” plays Ruben, a recovering addict who is the drummer in a thrash metal duo with his girlfriend Lu, portrayed by Olivia Cooke.

After the set up of their career, such as it is, and their tender relationship, he discovers he’s losing his hearing, and then becomes deaf.

He ends up in a rural haven for the hearing impaired, who are also recovering from substance abuse.

Ahmed brilliantly portrays his character, who somewhat acclimates to his situation, but also longs to continue his life as it was with Lu.

Given the subject matter, much of the movie is silent. Yet Ahmed deftly expresses his emotions through his face and eyes and body language and demeanor.

The actor’s performance is truly worthy of the nomination he’s received for Best Actor statuette.

For considerably more information, and my take on the movie, listen to the podcast below.

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