“1917”: Film Review Podcast Wednesday, Jan 15 2020 

Of course, a well crafted film about two young soldiers sent on an impossible mission during WWI is going to elicit emotions.

Sam Mendes award-nominated “1917” certainly does that.

Dean-Charles Chapman and George MacKay as the earnest but fearful duo sent off by Command on the perilous mission are marvelous.

Especially MacKay, whose participation is kind of an afterthought. His is a marvelous 1917 face.

But the movie is filmed as a one shot, as if there were no edits. Which is frankly a bit of trickeration.

That aspect is too ever present during the run time, is a bit showy if you ask me, and somewhat distracts and detracts from the movie.

Though the movie remains nonetheless an emotionally impactful cinema experience.

For more, listen to the podcast below:

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“The Two Popes”: Film Review Podcast Thursday, Jan 9 2020 

It is very rare, very very rare, when a Pope resigns.

But that’s what Pope Benedict (Anthony Hopkins) did, which allowed for the election of his successor, the current Pope Francis (Jonathan Pryce).

The former was a solitary man, very conservative, resistant to change in the church.

The latter, just the opposite, a real reformer and man of the people. Not to mention a huge futbol fan.

This incredibly well acted and fascinating film purports to tell the story of the relationship of the two.

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

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“Uncut Gems”: Film Review Podcast Sunday, Jan 5 2020 

Adam Sandler is truly charismatic as a frankly disagreeable character in the Safdie brothers film, “Uncut Gems.”

Howard Ratner is a NYC jeweler, who is also a compulsive gambler, and therefore never quite even with all the people he owes big money to.

His wife in the burbs is divorcing him. Because of the mistress he keeps in a fancy apartment in the city.

He has a raw chunk of opal he thinks is worth a million that he is going to sell at auction, and then pay everybody off.

At least that’s his plan.

But matters never seem to pan out for him.

To learn more about this incredibly energetic movie, listen to the podcast below:

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“Dolemite is My Name”: Film Review Podcast Sunday, Dec 29 2019 

Eddie Murphy is somewhat of an icon.

Yet it’s been years, frankly, since he’s been front and center and on the nation’s lips.

Which he was recently after a triumphant return to SNL, as a guest host. He trotted out many of his favorite characters from his days on the show.

Well, he’s also returned to the screen, playing another icon from days gone by.

That would be Rudy Ray Moore, who aspired to stardom while working in a record a shop in the 70s. His comedy records struck a nerve in African American neighborhoods across the country. Which success he turned into a movie franchise in the era of Blaxploitation.

Netflix’s “Dolemite is My Name” is Murphy as Moore as Dolemite, and the story of his ascendence to fame and fortune.

This is a generally blemish free telling of his rise.

But, with Murphy if full Murphy mode, it’s way entertaining.

For more details, listen to the podcast below:

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“Queen & Slim”: Film Review & Podcast Wednesday, Dec 18 2019 

First time feature director Melina Matsoukas “Queen & Slim” addresses the dilemma, can a film which deigns to center on the racial divide in America also be entertaining, engaging and mainstream?

The bottom line answer is yes.

Though there is a bit too much polemic in the final third.

Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith play a couple who do not know each other out for dinner.

Their connection is fitful to non-existent.

As he is driving her home, they are stopped on a deserted street by an agitated policeman played by Sturgill Simpson. Because of the officer’s antagonism, the encounter spirals out of control, and he ends up accidentally dead.

The couple goes on the lam.

The film depicts their interactions with each other, and with those they meet along the way.

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

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“Knives Out”: Film Review & Podcast Sunday, Dec 8 2019 

So it all started, more or less, with Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, a guy who could figure out whodunit from the color of a speck of soap on hallway carpet.

Then came Agatha Christie and her two investigators who could figure out. Bombastic Hercule Poirot. And elderly Mrs. Marple, played to the hilt by Margaret Rutherford in the British film series of the early 60s.

Now, in an homage to Christie, we have Benoit Blanc, played with delightful relish, and a horrid but oh so charming southern accent, by Daniel Craig.

A family patriarch is discovered with his throat slit, the morning after the family gathered at his manor for an 85th birthday party.

Suicide? Murder? Enter private detective Benoit Blanc to figure it all out.

For more details, listen to the podcast below:

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“The Irishman”: Film Review & Podcast Sunday, Dec 1 2019 

Martin Scorcese’s heralded “The Irishman” finally made it to Netflix.

Which is where I watched it, because the film is thee hours and twenty minutes long. And I wasn’t about to even attempt sitting in a theater seat for that period of time.

What we have here is ground previously tilled by the main players.

Scorcese, the director. Joe Pesci as a mob boss. He’s delightfully understated. Robert DeNiro as the Irishman, Frank Sheeran. And Al Pacino, again chewing scenery as Teamsters Boss Jimmy Hoffa.

With Scorcese in the director’s chair, this is, of course, a master class in the art of filmmaking. Settings. Cinematography. Editing. Dialog. Acting, for the most part.

But, is the movie a masterpiece?

For the answer to that, listen to the podcast below, which like the film itself, is longer than usual.

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“Parasite”: Film Review & Podcast Sunday, Nov 24 2019 

Celebrated director Bong Joon-Ho’s latest “Parasite” is a lot of movie.

Which statement, truth be told, I uttered over and over to myself upon leaving the theater and walking to my car.

“That’s a lot of movie.”

Until I couldn’t help but laugh at myself.

It would not be fair to share many of the plot points of the film, especially the turn it takes near the end.

It is about class disparity and envy. At least on its face.

But the incredible creation, winner of the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival, is about much more.

For more observations and detail, but no spoilers, listen to the podcast below.

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“Ford v Ferrari”: Film Review & Podcast Tuesday, Nov 19 2019 

Some films are easier to review than others.

This is one of those others.

Not because I didn’t enjoy my time with “Ford v. Ferrari,” because I did.

Not because it isn’t a well made, invigorating film, because it is.

Not because it’s not well acted, which it is, featuring Matt Damon and Christian Bale.

Because, well, I just wonder, even given all that, how many mainstream moviegoers are interested in a retelling of the story of the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans, as intriguing as it might be.

So, caveat emptor, this movie might really be for car enthusiasts only.

Listen to my podcast below. It may or may not help you decide.


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“The Laundromat”: Film Review & Podcast Friday, Nov 8 2019 

Given how Hollywoodland works, it ever surprises me when a film such as “The Laundromat” gets made.

The movie is essentially about how billionaires and corporations, some legit, some not, hide money and assets by setting up shell companies, mostly in the Caribbean.

How is such a focus made palatable for the popcorn munching public?

Well, director Steven Soderbergh, working with a top shelf cast including Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas, gives it a shot.

As an erstwhile comedy no less.

While the movie works occasionally, and is in parts truly funny, in the end it simply doesn’t coalesce. Despite the stellar talent on board. There’s an attempt to tell the tale through vignettes, which are only vaguely related to each other.

I didn’t hate the flick. Actually I found it mildly engaging.

I had a few chuckles, but in the end, didn’t understand the global financial market anymore than when I clicked start on Netflix.

For more details, listen to the podcast below.

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