Film Review http://culturecatch.com/index.php/film en Kosher Lesbians, Sad Hasidim, and Ethiopians in Love http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3852 <span>Kosher Lesbians, Sad Hasidim, and Ethiopians in Love</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/brandon-judell" lang="" about="/index.php/users/brandon-judell" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brandon Judell</a></span> <span>June 11, 2019 - 16:20</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/801" hreflang="en">Film Festival</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p> </p> <p>You might not know it but you've just missed out on the seventh year of the Israel Film Center Festival. The Center's goal obviously is to promote Israeli films year-round, showcasing offerings both new and some not so new. Based at the Marlene Meyerson JCC on Manhattan's Upper West Side, there's also a streaming site, so even if you're living in Omaha, you don't have to lack in <i>gefiltered </i>culture.</p> <p>(And if you <i>are</i> in Omaha, immediately catch up on Haim Tabakman's tale of Orthodox men in love, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwBaS6m3q5c" target="_blank"><i>Eyes Wide Open</i></a><i> </i>(2008); the wry comedy TV series<a href="https://vimeo.com/49752186" target="_blank"> <i>Arab Labor</i></a>; and Amos Gitai’s riveting look at the plight of Orthodox Jewish women forced into and out of marriage, <a href="https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x32fuqe" target="_blank"><i>Kadosh</i></a><i> </i>(1999).)</p> <p>As for the IFC screenings this year, imploding universes with engaging dramatis personae, most of whom were bathed in a sort of existentialist miserabilism, were showcased.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="782" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-06/red_cow_photo_1.jpeg?itok=r4vduII9" title="red_cow_photo_1.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Avigayil Koevary as Benny in Tisivia Barkai Yacov's Red Cow.</figcaption></figure><p>In Tisivia Barkai Yacov’s <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAwwes0Tank&amp;feature=youtu.be" target="_blank"><i>Red Cow</i></a><i>, </i>17-year-old Benny (Avigayil Koevary) with her ginger locks is not unlike the holier-than-holy calf that her devout, widowed father, Yehoshua (Gal Toren), has recently discovered. This is a special find because a rare red heifer is used for sacrifices in a ritual that is believed to usher in a new age for Jews. (Check out the Book of Numbers.)</p> <p>While the calf is isolated within a wire fence  --  it’ll be slaughtered in two years  -- Benny is penned in by her right-wing, pro-settler dad's extreme religiosity and by his involvement in the politics of East Jerusalem. Yehoshua and his followers clearly have no qualms about killing a few souls, whether Muslim or pro-peace Israeli, if it comes to that:</p> <blockquote> <p>"We need to get up on the rooftops with guns and refuse to be evacuated. . . . Israel is a Jewish state."</p> </blockquote> <p>In response, Benny admits, "Sometimes I feel like a complete gentile." She's not a happy camper, not until the lovely Yael enters her life and sets her body on "fire." They kiss . . .  they make love . . .  they are discovered by Dad. "You disgust me," he notes.</p> <p>What are Benny’s options? Not many.</p> <p>Well acted and helmed, the power of this troubled coming-out story stems mainly from its setting and its contemporariness. <i>Red Calf'</i>s a fine addition to the growing genre of kosher lesbianism that includes Avi Nesher's <i>The Secrets </i>(2007) and Sebastián Lelio’s <i>Disobedience </i>(2017).</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="442" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-06/redemption_photo_3.png?itok=zzA4gZER" title="redemption_photo_3.png" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>The men in the band reunite in Redemption.</figcaption></figure><p>Co-directed and co-written by Joseph Madmony and Boaz Yehonatan Yacov, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-H09i0IFqCo&amp;feature=youtu.be" target="_blank"><i>Redemption </i></a>could also have been titled <i>The Book of Job</i>. Yet another devoutly religious dad with a daughter to raise holds center stage here.</p> <p>Fifteen years ago, Menachem (Moshe Folkenflik) was a singer of a semi-well-known band, but he gave up music to study the Torah. That didn't work out too well so now he works in a small grocery store, sticking the prices on you name it. No wonder he's walks about depressed. To top matters off, his wife has died from cancer and his 6-year-old child, Geula (a terrific Emily Granin), is now suffering from the Big C and needs experimental, costly treatments that he can't afford.</p> <p>What's a guy to do? Why not go to a matchmaker to get a wife and then talk his former band members to reunite and play at weddings so he can make a living? The matchmaking doesn't exactly go so well because such a catch Menachem isn't, but the band does get together and surprisingly they are quite good. Only at these musical moments do you see how charismatic this man once was; otherwise, you might mistake him for a basset hound. Even his best friend Avi calls him "a regular stick in the mud."</p> <p>Happily, not to spoil it for you, Menachem winds up better off than Job, but still <i>Redemption</i> and <i>Red Cow</i> are not exactly advertisements for becoming a highly religious Jew. This might be one suspects because very few Israeli directors or screenwriters are of the Orthodox persuasion. Now if God had only given Moses a camera and some film, who knows?</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="639" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-06/fig_tree_photo_2.png?itok=61JDoMbc" title="fig_tree_photo_2.png" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Trying to keep love alive in Aalam-Warqe Davidian's Fig Tree.</figcaption></figure><p>The best feature though, and possibly one of the better films of the year, is Aalam-Warqe Davidian's <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjJdxqUO7O4&amp;feature=youtu.be" target="_blank"><i>Fig Tree</i></a><i>. </i>Here Betalehem Asmamawe, as a 16-year-old Mina, a young Jewish, impoverished Ethiopian girl stuck in the war-torn Ethiopia of 1989, gives a startling, vulnerable performance. She rummages through her soul to unearth a Juliet who must guard her Romeo, Eli (Yohanes Muse), from being torn away from her.</p> <p>As the film instructs during its opening footage, "In the midst of the civil war, young men are hunted down and forced to join the army of tyrant Mengistu Haile Mariam." Mina sees her male peers pulled out of classrooms and kidnapped off the unpaved streets of Addis Ababa. Her own brother has already lost his arm in this conflict.</p> <p>One mother notes of her son: "I wish I could put him back in my womb."</p> <p>To survive, Eli hides in a fig tree. Mina visits him daily, supplying food and company, and although they have not yet made love, the couple’s dancing hormones have found more childish outlets to express themselves.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Mina's grandmother is going black market to get the proper papers for the family to emigrate to Israel. If she succeeds, will Eli get to go, too? Or will he be lost to quirks of his country's history?</p> <blockquote> <p>"Life is hell, but we have to beat hell, don't we?" it is stated.</p> </blockquote> <p>Masterful cinematography by Daniel Miller and a sterling cast help recreate Davidian's childhood memories, having emigrated at age eleven near the end of the war herself. So with an unforgettable finale and all that has come before, one can only pray that <i>Fig Tree </i>garners the international attention it richly deserves.</p> <p>For more information on Israeli film and the Center's offerings. Check out: <a href="http://www.israelfilmcenter.org/" target="_blank">http://www.israelfilmcenter.org/</a></p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3852&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="VwYQmc_K20K58YCruqb7JFnEXTpR41qCMbSPxjp2EC4"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 11 Jun 2019 20:20:53 +0000 Brandon Judell 3852 at http://culturecatch.com By The Time I Got To... http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3844 <span>By The Time I Got To...</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/brandon-judell" lang="" about="/index.php/users/brandon-judell" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brandon Judell</a></span> <span>May 18, 2019 - 10:19</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/399" hreflang="en">documentary</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/WEaMka89dM4?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><i>Woodstock: Three Days that Defined a Generation</i></p> <p>It was by then the early morning of August 16, 1969. After spending the night frolicking in Central Park with me mates, I scurried to my ramshackle, walkup apartment with its bathtub in the kitchen, to bundle together some necessities to head to Woodstock. Sadly, Hypnos, the god of sleep, overpowered my sensibilities, and I conked out.</p> <p>My impatient pals had absconded without me, leaving me without a ride, and instead of bopping to Jefferson Airplane and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0-ZKaWVYSk" target="_blank">Creedence Clearwater</a>, I was forlornly traipsing to see <i>Easy Rider </i>at an Eastside theater very much alone on a lovely summer day. (I did, though, make it to The Isle of Wight the following year to see the Doors and Tiny Tim. A compensation of sorts.)</p> <p>I thought I had stopped kicking myself over that lost weekend, but now comes the latest documentary on the landmark concert, Barak Goodman's very thorough <i>Woodstock: Three Days that Defined a Generation</i>, and my loss is felt once again.</p> <p>Goodman's briskly paced take spotlights numerous performances (e.g. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-JW4DKxwQM" target="_blank">Joan Baez</a>; Santana; Crosby, Stills, and Nash), while avoiding being just a collection of concert clips. The doc is far, far more, focusing on the historical and sociological contexts of the event plus the business acumen of those dreaming up the fest and trying to make it a reality against all odds. What was expected to be a dream concert attended by 50 thousand counterculture music lovers became an unwieldy, yet harmonious, three days of peace, love, and music attended by over 400,000. Some hoped this cultural unity among the young would change the world. And it did for a while.</p> <p>Not in a good way argued ultraconservative pundit and supporter of "manly virtue," Harvard professor Harvey C. Mansfield. He insisted in an essay reassessing the era that "the late sixties were a comprehensive disaster for America." Others will argue that Woodstock and its era added one more rung to the ladder climbing towards the achievement of equality for Blacks, women, and the LGBTQI communities.</p> <p>Eventually held on Max Yasgur's 600-acre dairy farm in Bethel, New York, after half a million had already been spent on prepping another site from which the local community rescinded its permission, what led up to the festival was an unrelieved chaos. By the time the first of the 32 acts (Richie Havens) was to perform, the stage was barely completed, and the fence surrounding the venue was not. Consequently, there was no way to charge admission, so Woodstock became a free concert with the folks arriving nonstop by car and foot. One attendee noted: "It was like a field with people growing in it." A hungry, thirsty field. Soon food and water ran out, the Porta Potties were overwhelmed as were the medical staff with a constant flow of bad trips and other medical casualties such as eleven rat bites and one raccoon nip.</p> <p>Rabies aside, what this film does brilliantly is create an immersive experience. While there’s footage of the Vietnam War, Governors Reagan and Rockefeller ranting, plus some conservative backlash, for the most part, the doc is a joyous celebration of often high, half-naked young Americans swaying to song, sliding on mud, chanting, and celebrating the likes of Jimi Hendrix letting loose with a discordant "Star Spangled Banner."</p> <p>Goodman's <i>Woodstock </i>is the ultimate nostalgia journey, yet while the film lives in the past, its message supplies more than an iota of hope that we can get along and make some positive changes in the future. Or as Max Yasgur noted to audience:</p> <blockquote> <p>"The important thing that you’ve proven to the world is that a half a million kids  --  and I call you kids because I have children that are older than you are  -- a half million young people can get together and have three days of fun and music and have nothing but fun and music, and I  --  God Bless You for it!"</p> </blockquote> <p>[<i>Woodstock: Three Days that Defined a Generation </i>had its world premiere at the <a href="https://www.tribecafilm.com/festival" target="_blank">Tribeca Film Festival </a> and will open in New York City on May 24th and in Los Angeles on June 7th.]</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3844&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="C7Oly1UztrDM27C4SGXEre6ozfgPUXMuX3ozG5SlDQw"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sat, 18 May 2019 14:19:51 +0000 Brandon Judell 3844 at http://culturecatch.com Cool Culture http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3801 <span>Cool Culture</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/index.php/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>December 29, 2018 - 00:02</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/758" hreflang="en">best of the year</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p> </p> <p>Here is my list of top-notch, dare I say, epic culture from 2018. Certainly in these digitally-enhanced days, it can be overwhelming to check out everything. I suspect I'll continue to discover more, as I read some of my peers' favorites. In any event, hope you have the time to check out some of my choices.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/TTf0Lc5YAcc?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><em>A Private War (</em>Aviron Pictures)</p> <p>A movie that will put war into perspective in a more than obvious way, the way that war correspondents do so every time they step onto the battlefield; telling the truth can be perilous to their lives. Sadly, giving voice to the voiceless will always be dangerous politics.Look for Rosalind Pike to get an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of the most celebrated war correspondent of our time, Marie Colvin. Ditto for the director Matthew Heineman and the movie itself. </p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ULUo0048xZE?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><em>Capernaum </em>(Sony Pictures Classics)</p> <p>This film shatters  humanity's inhuman way of handling our fellow humans with little to offer them in ways of support or empathy. Winner of the coveted Palm D'Or at Cannes, not hard to see why. Director Nadine Labaki's <em>Capernaum</em> ("Chaos") tells the story of Zain (Zain al Rafeea), a Lebanese boy who sues his parents for the "crime" of giving him life. It was made with a cast of non-professionals playing characters whose lives closely parallel their own. This emotionally-charged film will leave its mark on you for life.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/76bH1b9XreE?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><em>The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel </em>Season 2 (Amazon Studios) </p> <p>This is the best on-line/TV/episodic show of the past decade. Kudos Amazon Studios. Caveat alert! No, I've not seen The <em>Handmaid's Tale</em> yet. And I loved season two of Showtime's stand-up comedy period piece circa early 1970s <em>I'm Dying Up Here</em>. (Sadly executive producer Jim Carey's show got cancelled.) Season 2 of <em>Mrs. Maisel</em> may not pack the wallop of Season 1, but it's the devil in the details that had me binge view the new season. There is more focus on her Jewish family at home, in Paris, in the Catskills for the summer, her disastrous comedy road tour, et al. As a former TV agent that worked with comedians, I know a few things about the lives of comedians. The sophomore season focuses on Rachel Brosnahan's<strong> </strong>Miriam "Midge" Maisel trying to navigate her slow ascension into the world of showbiz while juggling the <em>mishegoss of her </em>upper-crust Jewish family on the Upper West Side of NYC. (I live on the Upper West Side and little has changed in the social fabric of our neighborhood.) Midge has to deal with all of it -- her Paris-based mother Rose (Marin Hinkle), her Columbia professor father Abe (Tony Shalhoub), her soon-t0-be-ex-husband (?) Joel (Michael Zegen), her foul-mouthed and badass manager Susie (Alex Borstein), her CIA-employed brother Noah (Will Brill) and neurotic sister-in-law Astrid (Justine Lupe), "in-your-face" father-in-law Moishe (Kevin Pollack), and even Lenny Bruce (the extraordinary Luke Kirby). I hope the producers and writers can pump up Season 3. Expect more Emmy nominations/awards for this show in 2019.</p> <article class="embedded-entity align-center"><img src="/sites/default/files/2019/2019-04/krrimstein-hannah.jpg" width="200" height="267" alt="Thumbnail" title="krrimstein-hannah.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p><em>The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt: A Tyranny of Truth</em> (Bloomsbury Publishing)</p> <p>Author/<em>New Yorker</em> cartoonist/CC contributor Ken Krimstein has released one of the finest graphic novels of our generation. Before you thumb your nose at the thought of "reading" a graphic novel one would be well-served to buy this novel and ingest it for yourself. Don't believe me? Cartoonist Roz Chast had this to say: "Ken Krimstein's deeply moving graphic memoir about the life and thoughts of philosopher Hannah Arendt is not only about Hannah Arendt. It's also, through her words, about how to live in the world..."</p> <p><em>Slave Play</em> Off-Broadway Play</p> <p>A riveting and complex portrayal of race, gender, and mental health in America presented by the <a href="https://www.nytw.org/" target="_blank">New York Theater Workshop</a>. Playwright Jeremy O. Harris rips apart history to shed new light on being black in the 21st century. Directed by Obie Award winner Robert O'Hara, it has already won the Rosa Parks Playwriting Award, the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, The Lotos Foundation Prize in the Arts and Sciences and the 2018 Paula Vogel Award. Look for it to move to a larger New York theater in the new year.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jOBjwkaW-T0?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>The Kinks - <em>Preservation Green Society Box Set</em> (Warner)</p> <p>Some have suggested that this is <em>the</em> quintessential Kinks album and one of <em>the</em> quintessential rock albums about English society circa mid-196os. This box set has the vinyl in stereo, mono, German pressings; CDs with bonus tracks including the one above. A treasure-trove and a must-own collection for any music fan!</p> <p><em>Stay</em> <em>Awake</em>: <em>Music</em> <em>from Vintage</em> <em>Disney</em> <em>Films</em> (A&amp;M/UMe)</p> <p>I admit a very soft spot for the early Disney films, and a massive disdain for rote covers of classic songs. Thankfully producer Hal Willner does as well. This is one of my favorite “cover” albums ever produced. So many amazing versions of amazing songs from amazing Disney movies. Check out my full review <a href="http://culturecatch.com/node/3796" target="_blank">here</a>. </p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-Jy6P9TltXQ?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>The Band - <em>Music from Big Pink (</em>Universal Music Group<strong>)</strong></p> <p>Much has been written about the legacy of The Band, architects and purveyors of the entire Americana movement, all of it deserving. One only needs to start with their genre-defining debut, one of the finest debut's by any band from the 1960s. Here it gets the royal vinyl treatment -- remixed and re-released as a double album, 180 gram, 45 RPM. Listen to the digital version of one of the greatest "American" songs ever written. Not bad for 4 Canadians and one badass drummer/vocalist from Arkansas.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/u4yA8zM0ifY?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Loma <em>Loma</em> (SubPop)</p> <p>From Shearwater vocalist Jonathan Meiburg, ethereal vocalist Emily Cross, and multi-instrumentalist/engineer Dan Duszynski comes this ethereal juggernaut. Sonically rich even ambient at times, but complex enough to require multiple listens to fully appreciate the magic created by this trio. Check out the video for "Black Widow" above.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/NewN2Mw2b78?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>The War and Treaty <em>Healing Tide</em> (Thirty Tigers)</p> <p>Won't find any false pretenses in this release. Gospel, funk, rock, soul... a heady stew of timeless music that will sanctify even the coldest heart!</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/VODKZxsRa_E?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>IDLES - <em>Joy as an Act of Resistance</em> (Partisan Records)</p> <p>Punk-rock fury from the UK. Visceral and in-your-face anger. Like PIL, like The Fall, like Gang of Four, like... shit, "anger is an energy." Just ask Mr. Lydon. Or the IDLES' lead singer. "I'm like Stone Cold Steve Austin, I put homophobes in coffins."</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bYOqO-zJzho?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Shame - <em>Songs of Praise </em>(Dead Oceans)</p> <p>The debut studio album by yet another British post-punk band Shame might have been released in January 2018, but it didn't find it's way to me until August. This London-based quintet has a killer guitar sound throughout and shares the same artistic aesthetics as Wire, The Fall, even Oasis on the fantastic ballad "Angie." For me, the best of the ten tracks is the Iggy Pop-like rocker "Gold Hole" (see video above). Nary a weak track, top to bottom. I picked it up on vinyl.</p> <p>Charles Lloyd &amp; The Marvels + Lucinda Williams <em>Vanished Gardens</em> (Blue Note/UMG)</p> <p>I saw them live at Jazz at Lincoln Center just last week. Charles Lloyd was revelatory, even at the young age of 80! And Lucinda held her own with these masters of jazz, even inspiring them. Their take on Dylan's "Masters of War" needs to be required listening.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0pv7rN-_IWU?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Natalie Prass - <em>The Future &amp; The Past</em> (ATO)</p> <p>Funky white girl lets some funky 1970s pop seep into the proceedings as well as a little help from her friend -- singer-songwriter, producer, arranger, and founder of Spacebomb Records Mr. Matthew E. White -- and results are smooth as silk. 12 undeniable songs, perfect for any road trip, holiday or otherwise.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/eZXS8Jpkiac?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Parquet Courts - <em>Wide Awake!</em> (Rough Trade)</p> <p>NYC's punk/alt/indie quartet made one of the best album's of 2018. Think Talking Heads meets The Clash and that's only a small influence-peddling comparison as the funky James Brown video above will prove. Released in May, the video above is from their sixth album and -- IMHO -- their most diverse, musically speaking, and best.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Zjs-ktomv4E?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>David Bowie - <em>New Let Me Down (2018)</em> (UMG)</p> <p>This version of Bowie's critically-spurred 17th album from <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Bowie" title="David Bowie">David Bowie</a> <em>Loving The Alien</em> (1983-1988) box set was originally released in April 1987 takes his original vocals, strips away the insipid '80's production value and adds "a brand new production" with new instrumentation overseen by producer/engineer <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mario_J._McNulty" title="Mario J. McNulty">Mario J. McNulty</a>. Bowie himself was never pleased with the "studio sessions" vibe of the album and started Tin Machine band with guitarist Reeves Grabel soon after.  This "reinvented" version is extraordinary as it includes elements of the original tracks along with new recorded tracks by some of the artists who worked with Bowie during his lifetime. A stand-alone new vinyl version will be released in February 2019. </p> <p>For more of my favorite music from 2018, check out my <a href="https://open.spotify.com/user/puffdusty/playlist/5Ku1x0C0nevIwS5nejTZwy?si=5dIVE0dxSbKOlBQMbc5Zqw" target="_blank">Spotify</a> playlist. It's much more extensive.</p> <p>What was on your radar for 2018?</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3801&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="ww0MDHBCEfCZuRyBJ7lIyMVAwTqeX8ZjKy7CVkmEGgc"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sat, 29 Dec 2018 05:02:00 +0000 Dusty Wright 3801 at http://culturecatch.com A Costly Triumph of The Truth http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3782 <span>A Costly Triumph of The Truth</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/index.php/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>November 1, 2018 - 10:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/189" hreflang="en">movie review</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/588" hreflang="en">A Private War</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wSPiztNsmDA?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>This masterpiece is one of the finest films ever made about how individual looks at war. It's born a very micro but also a very macro examination based on the very real award-winning journalist and war correspondent Marie Colvin. This brave human ultimately lost her life in 2012 in Syria, but suffered the psyche wounds one would expect when trapped in a"private" view of man's death and destruction of fellow man. <em>A Private War</em> will resonate with the viewer long after the final credits have faded. </p> <p>Rosamund Pike's Oscar-worthy performance shakes you to the core. We feel her pain and frustration as her heroic, but life-threatening journeys consume her every waking moment as she pursues the truth in both her actions and words. She literally lived in the middle of every conflict she covered and so afforded her the profound truths that her newspapers, periodicals, and columns covered for the rest of the world to ingest. Whether her words struck the right chord in each individual reader depended on that individual's view of the world.</p> <p>As Marie Colvin once so brilliant wrote:</p> <blockquote> <p>"Our mission is to report these horrors of war with accuracy and without prejudice. We always have to ask ourselves whether the level of risk is worth the story. What is bravery, and what is bravado? Journalists covering combat shoulder great responsibilities and face difficult choices. Sometimes they pay the ultimate price."</p> </blockquote> <p>And for me, that quote is the essence of of the critically acclaimed documentary filmmaker Matthew Heineman's adaptation of her life. Quite a remarkable piece of filmmaking for a feature film debut. Kudos to writer Arash Amel, as well. Based on a Vanity Fair profile from 2012, where much of the writer Arash Ambel based this script, we see how her fearless and rebellious spirit cost her loving relationships, created mental health issues aka PTSD, cost her an eye, and ultimately her life. The film also depicts the journalistic relationship Miss Colvin had with renowned war photographer Paul Conroy (Jamie Dornan).</p> <p>This harrowing but thoughtful movie should not be missed.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3782&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="1ALo823tTjmkj88AbbGLcPNY6z0u4ZAhXpiJ7J1-srA"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 01 Nov 2018 14:00:00 +0000 Dusty Wright 3782 at http://culturecatch.com Birth of A Star http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3784 <span>Birth of A Star</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/mark-weston" lang="" about="/index.php/users/mark-weston" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Mark Weston</a></span> <span>October 25, 2018 - 10:21</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/120" hreflang="en">film review</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/446" hreflang="en">film</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/189" hreflang="en">movie review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-10/casey-killoran-viral-beauty.png?itok=mmFcdIQJ" width="1200" height="675" alt="Thumbnail" title="casey-killoran-viral-beauty.png" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>Right now, the entire world seems to be in love with the Bradley Cooper/Lady Gaga vehicle <em>A Star Is Born</em>.  </p> <p>But guess what?  There is another film out there that is so indy it is mini-indy – make that micro-mini-indy -  and in it, you can witness the actual birth of an actual star.  Her name is Casey Killoran.  She plays a Staten Island millennial named Marsha Day in a movie called <a href="http://www.viralbeautymovie.com" target="_blank"><em>Viral Beauty</em></a>.</p> <p>For those of us over 40, that sounds like the title of a medical drama.  But the younger crowd will instantly know that it is about our social media and internet age.  Marsha Day becomes a social media celebrity when her online quest for a boyfriend goes viral.  Marsha is a beautiful young woman who is curvaceous, and thus becomes an icon for real women everywhere and a target for vicious fat-shaming.  </p> <p>The film is formulaic and literally skin deep, as Marsha meets her Prince Charming and struggles to lose thirty pounds to fulfill the contract of her diet product endorsement. And, if the film was made with less panache and a lesser cast, it wouldn’t be worth your time.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-W89yoX43qI?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Director David Tyson Lam provides a jaunty landscape, both on line in its verite blogging and in its gorgeous depiction of a latter day romance with New York City that goes beyond the boundaries of Manhattan.  The music is great and the cast of kookie internet bloggers is hysterically funny – led by the celebrity narration provided by a winning, if too-loud Perez Hilton.  And the tuxedo cat Mister Kittsy almost steals the show.</p> <p>But <em>Viral Beauty</em> will not be remembered for its story, direction, cinematography or commentary on our celebrity culture.  <em>Viral Beauty</em> will be known as the film that introduced Casey Killoran to Hollywood and the world.  Ms. Killoran employs a Staten Island accent that is so authentic it alone captures a certain type of New York milieu – a working class cousin to the Boston Southy characters made famous by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in <em>Good Will Hunting</em>.  The film essentially charts Ms. Killoran’s character’s make-over from ugly duckling to – ahem, “viral beauty” – but Ms. Killoran is so touchingly real, so full of enthusiasm and joie de vivre that her natural beauty is evident from the first moment to the last.  Behind the working class veneer, Ms. Killoran imbues Marsha Day with both impeccable comic timing and a deep emotional intelligence.  </p> <p>In short, Casey Killoran carries this movie, exhibiting a range that more experienced actors rarely achieve.  Yes, I am gushing, but I defy you to see this film and not fall head over heels in love with her. </p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3784&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="crMIBLUqFeYYDM3gNidlRhqNIuTyMz4e92azxaQTr4Q"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 25 Oct 2018 14:21:32 +0000 Mark Weston 3784 at http://culturecatch.com Tom Cruise Becomes Almost Huggable Again http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3736 <span>Tom Cruise Becomes Almost Huggable Again</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/brandon-judell" lang="" about="/index.php/users/brandon-judell" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brandon Judell</a></span> <span>July 15, 2018 - 15:38</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/522" hreflang="en">Mission Impossible</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/120" hreflang="en">film review</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/523" hreflang="en">Tom Cruise</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wb49-oV0F78?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>This latest installment of the <i>Mission Impossible </i>franchise is unmitigated fun with its deliciously overwrought motorcycle chases, hellish helicopter skirmishes, frenzied fisticuffs, plus rooftop jumpings galore. My favorite is the bathroom decimation.</p> <p>More beneficial to our joy is that Mr. Tom Cruise has stopped making gossip headlines in recent years. He's only garnered press for injuring himself during an <i>MI </i>stunt. There's no added Oprahesque/religious/marital baggage to distract us from sitting back and being totally enveloped in this "global cultural icon's"* portrayal of the troubled Tom Hunt as he puts aside his own personal problems to safeguard the world from three plutonium bombs that have fallen into the hands of those who will sell them to terrorists.</p> <p>The plot itself is much too complex to try to introduce to you here. (Something about a bonkers anarchist (Sean Harris) and his group, the Apostles, and their desire to overthrow world order.) And, yes, there are moments when you are about to say, "Huh!" But before you can scratch your head in bewilderment, the film hurtles forth at such a great speed from Belfast to Paris to London to Kashmir that you've forgotten that it might not at all make sense. It sort of does though in retrospect.</p> <p>Aiding Mr. Cruise are his regular sidekicks: Simon Pegg as Benji and Ving Rhames as Luther. Both add much needed humor to the proceedings. Rebecca Ferguson also appears again as Ilsa Faust, the ass-kicking, sharp shooter who has won over Hunt’s heart. And if the Oscars come up with an award for best cameo, Wolf Blitzer will definitely get a nomination for his solid comic turn here.</p> <p>Then there's Henry Cavill as an overly attractive stick-in-the mud CIA agent. Perfect typecasting.</p> <p>As for writer/director Christopher McQuarrie's helming, although he lacks Paul (<i>Bourne Ultimatum)</i> Greengrass's artfulness, his sensibility is a perfect complement to a large popcorn and a Coke. The man, who won an Oscar for <i>The Usual Suspects </i>screenplay in 1996, tries to pull out all the stops here, and he pretty much succeeds.</p> <p>The result will be a huge hit, or is one already, which means get ready for <i>Missions Impossible 7, 8,</i> and <i>9 -- </i>and at least another two decades of the personable Mr. Cruise doing what he does best.</p> <p><em>*As noted in the film's production notes.</em></p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3736&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="iA8RT-cnj-oDnDorEQyLdDv1f-Yea89xNda_AXApWl0"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sun, 15 Jul 2018 19:38:32 +0000 Brandon Judell 3736 at http://culturecatch.com The Painter & The Bull http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3730 <span>The Painter &amp; The Bull</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/index.php/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>June 29, 2018 - 23:38</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/446" hreflang="en">film</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/120" hreflang="en">film review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/f3HSYOMfAz0?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><em>Woman Walks Ahead</em> (<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DirecTV_Cinema" title="DirecTV Cinema">DirecTV Cinema</a>) </p> <p>Producer Rick Solomon said it took him 17 years to get his movie made! Based on true events, this compelling movie tells the story of Catherine Weldon (Jessica Chastain), a widowed "feminist" artist from Brooklyn, New York who, in the 1880s, heads out to the Badlands to paint Lakota Sioux chief Sitting Bull, the Native American hero who defeated General Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. More like a "bull" in the proverbial "china shop," she is up against it from the start. This is the America that was brutal to Native Americans and women alike, relegating them second class citizens; misguided machoism masquerading as paternal protector.</p> <p>The film was directed by Brit <a href="https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1264352/" target="_blank">Susanna White</a> and written by Steven Knight. And while Weldon becomes politicized by the plight of Sitting Bull and his Native brothers and sisters, I wonder if his original script trumped up the popcorn romance that is hinted between subject and painter. The real life story suggests that Weldon was not interested in becoming Sitting Bull's third wife. It was the one aspect about the film that felt unnecessary. But given the charisma of the two leads perhaps their on screen chemistry muddied those waters. </p> <p>The entire cast is wonderful but this movie truly belongs to Greyeyes. It's a knockout performance and certainly Academy-award nomination worthy. This veteran actor is a Plains Cree from the Muskeg Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan, and he is riveting throughout -- whether digging potatoes or posing for his portrait. And Oscar winner Sam Rockwell as Col. Silas Groves is both menacing and funny, he understands the real danger of both the "savages" and the savage bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. As we know, politics are never easy to negotiate, even in the movies.</p> <p>Additional kudos to cinematography Mike Eley's stunning camera, with widescreen vistas shot in North Dakota and New Mexico that resonate like Ansel Adams' frontier photographs.  I can think of worse ways to spend a hot summer night than sitting through this excellent adult movie. </p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3730&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="MdxLzfOyJSVs9aSWlEpcV6QnmEB7GyLnYYGOELxyaa0"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sat, 30 Jun 2018 03:38:32 +0000 Dusty Wright 3730 at http://culturecatch.com A Fossil Goulash of Terrible Lizards http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3724 <span>A Fossil Goulash of Terrible Lizards</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/brandon-judell" lang="" about="/index.php/users/brandon-judell" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brandon Judell</a></span> <span>June 22, 2018 - 15:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/761" hreflang="en">science fiction</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1FJD7jZqZEk?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Victorian naturalist Sir Richard Owen, back in 1841, coined one of Stephen Spielberg's favorite words, "dinosaur," which is derived from the Greek for "terrible lizard."  Jump ahead 84 years to when Willis O'Brien directed what many consider to be the first film featuring these reptiles on steroids, <i><a href="https://archive.org/details/TheLostWorld1925FantasyAdventureFullFilmHighQuality" target="_blank">The Lost World</a></i> <i>. </i>Brontosauruses have never been allowed to be reclusive creatures again.</p> <p>Not long after came Michael Crichton with his 1990 blockbuster novel, <i>Jurassic Park</i>, which has now spawned five films of varying quality, the current <i>Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom</i> being possibly one of the more forgettable.</p> <p><i>Fallen Kingdom </i>is a sequel to<i> </i>record-breaking<i> Jurassic World </i>and a prequel to whatever's down the pike. The plot: Three years have passed when a soon-to-erupt volcano threatens the existence of Isla Nubar and all the DNA-engineered dinosaurs that roam upon its terrain. Should humans try to save these creatures or let God decide their fate?  At a congressional panel, Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) slumberously addresses the issue, noting man has proven unable to contro this technology. Our government sides with God and Ian, but not our heroine Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) who runs a dino-rights organization in sensible heels.* But what can she do with her group's lack of funds and political connections?</p> <p>Enter Eli Mills (Rafe Spall), who's employed by the bedridden Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), who was the wealthy co-partner in the creation of Jurassic Park. Mills tells Claire he will supply the cash and manpower to rescue the raptors, pterodactyls, and tyrannosauruses and then transfer the whole gaggle onto a deserted island his company owns with her help. Sounds good, and even Owen (Chris Pratt), who's living a solitary man's life in the woods, is convinced to join the venture so he can reunite with Blue, his favorite raptor. The chance to snuggle with Claire now and then is also a draw.</p> <p>Don't be fooled, heroes. One should never trust a poorly acted, one-dimension villain making believe he's a good guy. Yes, Eli Mills has other plans up sleeve. He's going to utilize the dinos for  . . . . My lips are sealed or maybe I just don't remember.</p> <p>What follows is the standard "good humans vs. bad humans" trope with a healthy dash of 'unrestrained capitalism is evil" for seasoning. Sadly, director J.A. Bayona, who proved his worth with <i>The Orphanage </i>(2007) and <i>The Impossible </i>(2012), telegraphs many of his thrill moments here. You're going to jump now and then because you've been trained to jump at these moments. Clearly, screenwriters Derek Connolly and Colin Trevorrow, who together also scribed the prequel, suffer from a momentary lack of febrile imagination here, a fear possibly of pushing the envelope.</p> <p>However, if you hunger for umpteen dinosaurs, you get that. If you need an adorable little girl (an engaging Isabella Sermon) to identify with, check. And if you desire an arm of a nasty being bitten off, check again. There are the thrills, but a lack of real <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuatWL_s-Hk" target="_blank">surprise</a>. Also, a bit more of that Pratt charm would have been appreciated. Still, I know I'll be queuing up for the follow-up. How many of us can resist the chance to watch the past pummel the present in order to control the future? It's the odd deliciousness of rooting for one's own demise. </p> <p><em>*Claire wore Melania pumps in the prequel, which is not the best footwear choice when trying to escape from an allosaurus or its ilk.</em></p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3724&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="icldaMqkaGj78Mg7OELFLKb9vUnZf-v0RhzIwtNrwDM"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Fri, 22 Jun 2018 19:00:40 +0000 Brandon Judell 3724 at http://culturecatch.com Kleenex Not Included http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3708 <span>Kleenex Not Included</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/mark-weston" lang="" about="/index.php/users/mark-weston" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Mark Weston</a></span> <span>June 11, 2018 - 10:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/296" hreflang="en">Fred Rogers</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/297" hreflang="en">Won&#039;t You Be My Neighbor</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/298" hreflang="en">Focus Features</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/299" hreflang="en">Mr. Rogers Neighborhood</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FhwktRDG_aQ?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><em>Won't You Be My Neighbor </em>(Focus Features)</p> <p>We're used to seeing Fred Rogers on a small, blurry TV screen -- mainly in black and white -- from the '60s and '70s. In the new documentary we see this earnest, driven man's face differently, on a big screen, in sharp hi def. We see the eyes twinkle and the mouth curl into a knowing smile. We see the virtues of compassion and goodness writ large. It is almost a religious experience -- religious in the purest sense, in the sense of what the best of us are capable of, of what we can aspire to, of what can inspire us.</p> <p><em>Won't You Be My Neighbor</em> is so saturated in genuine emotion and love it is difficult, a day later, to think of it analytically. Which is high praise. The craft of the doc is such that it is tremendously effective while its moving parts are virtually invisible. </p> <p>The film portrays Rogers as a tele-evangelist -- but not that kind.  He is an evangelist for decency and kindness and television is his medium.  He is a Seminarian who somehow missed the class called "What's In It For Me" that seems to be the favorite course of all the other tele-evangelists.  His course-work at Seminary were the nostalgic ones, the antiquated ones, you know, the ones about "there but for the grace of God go I" and "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."  As a man, Fred Rogers certainly was flawed.  But his calling -- to save an entire generation of children -- was not.</p> <p>The film is about the good we can be and the craven nastiness we too often are. Right wing headlines decrying Fred Rogers as a devil for suggesting that all children have inherent value worthy of love just by being their unique selves. Insane protesters at Fred Rogers' funeral forcing their children to hold placards declaring Rogers an instrument of evil.  Implicit in these attacks is the moral conflict embodied in Christ and the Pharisees.  </p> <p>I cried throughout. </p> <p>Yes, for the wide-eyed children that heard an adult say that he loves them for exactly who they are - for their fears and flaws and the ways they are different from the others.  But I also cried for the possibility embodied in Fred Rogers, the promise of love that may be simple but is never simplistic.  I cried for the morals of virtue and decency and kindness and -- yes -- wholesomeness.  I looked up that word, wholesome.  I found kindred words like innocent and honest and ethical and pure and good and virtuous.  Old-fashioned ideals that seem always to be out-of-fashion -- and now more than ever.  Unless there's a Fred Rogers around when we're young to bring out our better angels.</p> <p>See this movie, friends. Bring kleenex.  - <em>Mark Weston</em></p> <p><em>Mr. Weston is a cultural gadfly and world famous purveyor of happiness. He lives in New York with his family and dog and occasionally dallies in writing plays.</em></p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3708&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="0JOZPQJcQcRepqUw_Iazsj-3n0KotErecaSIYw9vOSE"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 11 Jun 2018 14:00:00 +0000 Mark Weston 3708 at http://culturecatch.com Lady Bird, Don't Fly Away! http://culturecatch.com/index.php/film/lady-bird <span>Lady Bird, Don&#039;t Fly Away!</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/index.php/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>February 19, 2018 - 10:22</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/183" hreflang="en">Lady Birdy</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/184" hreflang="en">Laurie Metcalf</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/185" hreflang="en">Saoirse Ronan</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/161" hreflang="en">Oscars</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/4vhPeNOHxsc?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>For those of you who've navigated the slippery slope of micro-managing, or trying to micro-manage a teenage girl's life, <em>Lady Bird</em> will thoroughly resonate with you. If you haven't, maybe not so much, even if you've raised teenagers in your household, especially for any mother who wanted more for her daughter than her own life. For me, it resonated on many levels -- from my memories of Catholic school to awkward hormonal expressions to trying to fit in when you don't feel like you fit in with anyone. Or the pressure of applying for college -- the cost, the admittance to top tier schools, the distance... oh, the humanity of it all. This film deals with all of that existential angst when your brain is trying to make sense of your adulthood looming in the near horizon.</p> <!--break--> <p>Oscar nominations for Saoirse Ronan (Best Actress) and Laurie Metcalf (Best Supporting Actress) and for writer-director Greta Gerwig (Best Director, Best Picture. Original Screenplay) are all justified for this heartfelt coming-of-age comedy-drama. Set in Sacremento in 2002, beyond the music and fashion of that decade, we are reminded of our country's ethos after the horrific events of 9/11. Regardless, this is a movie to take any 16-year old to and see; it may even help open up a healthy dialog about life.</p> </div> <section> </section> Mon, 19 Feb 2018 15:22:48 +0000 Dusty Wright 3675 at http://culturecatch.com