Culture Maven review: “Marriage Story” Thursday, Dec 12 2019 

Film review and podcast by c d kaplan

Now as the year is drawing to a close, movie fans finally get the tutorial on great acting they crave.

In Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story,” Scarlett Johansson is Nicole; Adam Driver is Charlie.

He’s a stage director, on the rise in NYC. Where she is an actor on the rise in many of his plays.

They are married. Their marriage is falling apart. They separate. She goes to LA to audition for a part in a TV series, taking their one son with her. She files for divorce.

The film is about how the two of them cope with each other and their situation.

Baubach’s direction, and Johansson’s and Driver’s acting create one of the year’s best films. Despite the awkward nature of the subject matter — divorce — this is an indelible, compelling film.

For more, listen to the podcast above.

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Culture Maven review: “Knives Out” Monday, Dec 9 2019 

Film Review and podcast by c d kaplan

There was Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes.

Then came Agatha Christie’s Mrs. Marple and Hercule Poirot.

And now we have Benoit Blanc, Daniel Craig’s oh so entertaining private investigator with a hilarious southern accent of dubious origin.

A patriarch author has been discovered with his throat slit, the morning after the family has gathered in his manor for his 85th birthday.

Was it suicide? Was it murder? If so, whodunit?

From such queries, murder mysteries are born.

“Knives Out” is an engaging modernization of the wise inquirer figuring out whodunit, while all the suspects are gathered.

For more insight, listen to the podcast above.

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The post Culture Maven review: “Knives Out” appeared first on 91.9 WFPK Independent Louisville.

Culture Maven review: “The Irishman” Monday, Dec 2 2019 

Film review and podcast by c d kaplan

Martin Scorcese once again looks at the mafia and union chicanery in his highly anticipated latest creation, “The Irishman.”

The film features a marvelously understated Joe Pesci as a mobster of influence, Al Pacino as Teamsters Union boss Jimmy Hoffa, and Robert DeNiro as Frank Sheeran, the referenced Irish fellow, who serves both the Mafia and Hoffa.

Scorcese is a master. And he takes his time telling this tale. The film’s run time is three hours and twenty minutes. Which has been the subject of some criticism.

(Warning: This review is longer than usual too.)

There is a whole lot to like and admire about this cinematic creation.

The question is whether it is a masterpiece or not?

For an opinion on that, listen to the podcast above.

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The post Culture Maven review: “The Irishman” appeared first on 91.9 WFPK Independent Louisville.

Culture Maven review: “Parasite” Monday, Nov 25 2019 

Film review & podcast by c d kaplan

South Korean director Bong Joon-Ho is proving himself to be legitimately considered among the premier contemporary film auteurs.

“Parasite,” his follow up to “Okja” and “Snowpiercer,” deservedly won the big prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

At its most simplistic, it is about a poor family of four who infiltrate as employees an unwitting family of considerable wealth.

The social observations and machinations are light and funny, at least for awhile.

The movie takes a turn 2/3s of the way through that is bracing.

For more details, but none that will ruin the film if you haven’t seen it, listen to the podcast above.

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The post Culture Maven review: “Parasite” appeared first on 91.9 WFPK Independent Louisville.

Culture Maven review: “Ford v Ferrari” Wednesday, Nov 20 2019 

Film Review & Podcast by c d kaplan

What we have hear is a well acted, well crafted, intended for a mainstream audience, niche film about the peculiarity that was the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans.

If you don’t even know what that is, then you might consider spending your cinematic allowance elsewhere.

Unless, that is, you really like Matt Damon, who here plays car designer/ maker Carroll Shelby, and Christian Bale, who takes a turn as Ken Miles, noteworthy car driver of that day.

This is a story about what happened when Ford Motor Company tried to change its image from stodgy to hip, by developing a race car that would win that heralded car race of the day.

For more details to help you decide whether to venture into the theater for this movie, listen to the podcast above.

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The post Culture Maven review: “Ford v Ferrari” appeared first on 91.9 WFPK Independent Louisville.

Culture Maven review: “The Laundromat” Friday, Nov 8 2019 

Film review and podcast by c d kaplan

Let’s be frank from the get go. Fashioning a mainstream film based on the global financial shenanigans that were exposed by the revelations of the Panama Papers is a seriously daunting task.

Even if it features such eminent actors as Meryl Streep and Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas.

Even if it’s directed by Steven Soderbergh.

If difficult to follow regarding the methods big corporata uses to hide assets, “The Laundromat” is somewhat enjoyable, and at moments, absurd and hilarious.

It is essentially a series of vignettes, which sort of work individually, but not so much as a whole.

For a more in depth analysis of the movie, listen to the podcast above.

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The post Culture Maven review: “The Laundromat” appeared first on 91.9 WFPK Independent Louisville.

Culture Maven review: “Jojo Rabbit” Monday, Nov 4 2019 

Film Review and podcast by c d kaplan

Jojo is an erstwhile, but confused member of Hitler’s youth during the waning days of the Third Reich.

His imaginary confidant and friend is none other than the Fuhrer himself, portrayed by Taika Waititi, the director.

One supposes said director is attempting to invoke some humor, some compassion, while still underscoring the horrors of Germany under Hitler.

What one sees on the screen is an incoherent mess.

Attempting to create beyond the bounds of propriety politically incorrect humor is always fraught with peril.

Waititi doesn’t come close to hitting the mark.

For details and observations about the movie, listen to the podcast above.

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The post Culture Maven review: “Jojo Rabbit” appeared first on 91.9 WFPK Independent Louisville.

Culture Maven review: “The Lighthouse” Wednesday, Oct 30 2019 

Film review and podcast by c d kaplan

The lighthouse keeper (Willem Dafoe) and his assistant (Robert Pattinson) do not know each other but are on an island for a month long stint to tend to the lighthouse.

It is a lonely and foreboding landscape in which they learn of and relate to each other.

Through their tasks and meals and bickering and drunken moments of revelry and rage.

This black and white film is bleak. For pure film lovers only, to be frank.

But there is beauty amid the madness portrayed, to be discovered in the craft of the cinema’s creation.

For a more in depth analysis, listen to the podcast above.

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The post Culture Maven review: “The Lighthouse” appeared first on 91.9 WFPK Independent Louisville.

Culture Maven review: “Zombieland: Double Tap” Tuesday, Oct 22 2019 

Film review and podcast by c d kaplan

There are all sorts of reasons, other than objective standards, why a critic might like or dislike a film. Circumstances other than the actual execution of the flick, like plot, acting, cinematography, the usual stuff that goes into forming an opinion.

So it was for me when considering “Zombieland Double Tap.”

Which I would have enjoyed for what it is, regardless of the personal connection I have with the film.

But there is sort of connection at least with the director, Or, actually, to be transparent, the director’s father.

All of which is explained in full, along with a more complete review of the movie, in the podcast above.

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Culture Maven review: “Succession” Season 2 Tuesday, Oct 15 2019 

Film Review and Podcast by c d kaplan

The new norm for TV/ Streaming series seems to be that each season is more or less self contained.

It hasn’t always been like that. There’s a great tradition of the season ending potboiler, which requires months of waiting around for the next season and installments to find out what happened.

So it is with HBO’s Sunday evening masterpiece, “Succession.” The Roy family and their conglomerates are under siege. Beleaguered is the word that comes to mind. Family patriarch Logan decides somebody’s got to fall on the sword for the good of the family and the brand.

So he makes a choice, but all doesn’t go as planned in the final scene of the season.

For more details, why you should catch up with this series if you haven’t been watching, listen to the podcast above.

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