FilmWeek: ‘The Dark Tower,’ ‘Kidnap,’ ‘Step’ and more…

 

by FilmWeek 

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Idris Elba stars in Columbia Pictures’ “The Dark Tower.”
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Larry Mantle and KPCC film critics Tim Cogshell, Lael Lowenstein and Charles Solomon review this weekend’s new movie releases including:

Critics’ Hits

  • Lael: “Wind River,” “It’s Not Yet Dark” & “Step”
  • Charles: “Step”
  • Tim: “Some Freaks”

Mixed Feelings

  • Tim: “The Dark Tower”
  • Charles: “The Girl Without Hands”
  • Lael: “Some Freaks”

Misses!

  • Lael: “Kidnap”

Guests:

Tim Cogshell, film critic for KPCC and Alt-Film Guide; he tweets @CinemaInMind

Lael Loewenstein, KPCC film critic

Charles Solomon, film critic for KPCC, Animation Scoop and Animation Magazine

FilmWeek: ‘The Mummy,’ ‘It Comes at Night,’ ‘Megan Leavey’ and more, plus a chat with film historian Leonard Maltin

LISTEN HERE:  

FilmWeek: ‘The Mummy,’ ‘It Comes at Night,’ ‘Megan Leavey’ and more, plus a chat with film historian Leonard Maltin

Larry Mantle and KPCC film critics Justin Chang and Tim Cogshell review this weekend’s new movie releases including:

Critics’ Hits

  • Justin: “It Comes at Night” & “Beatriz At Dinner”
  • Tim: “Letters from Baghdad,” “The Hero” & “It Comes at Night”

 

Mixed Feelings

  • Justin: “My Cousin Rachel” & “The Hero”
  • Tim: “Megan Leavey” & “Beatriz At Dinner”

 

Misses!

  • Justin & Tim: “The Mummy”

 

Guests:

Justin Chang, film critic for KPCC and the Los Angeles Times; he tweets @JustinCChang

Tim Cogshell, film critic for KPCC and Alt-Film Guide; he tweets @CinemaInMind

FilmWeek: ‘Going in Style,’ ‘Smurfs: The Lost Village’ and more…

by FilmWeek

Larry Mantle and KPCC film critics Tim Cogshell, Peter Rainer and Charles Solomon review this weekend’s new movie releases including:

  • Going in Style” in wide release
  • Smurfs: The Lost Village” in wide release
  • Colossal” at ArcLight Hollywood & The Landmark
  • Gifted” at ArcLight Pasadena, The Landmark, AMC Century City and other select theaters
  • Their Finest” ArcLight Hollywood and The Landmark
  • Salt and Fire” at Arena Cinelounge Sunset
  • Your Name” (English dub release) at ArcLight Sherman Oaks and Laemmle’s Monica Film Center
  • Cezanne and I” at Laemmle’s Playhouse, Laemmle’s Royal Theatre and Laemmle’s Town Center
  • Tickling Giants” at Laemmle’s Music Hall

Critics’ Hits

Tim: “Cezanne and I”

Peter: “Their Finest” & “Tickling Giants”

Charles: “Your Name”

 

Mixed Feelings

Tim: “Gifted”

Peter: “Colossal”

Charles: “Smurfs: The Lost Village”

 

Misses!

Tim: “Salt and Fire”

 

Guests:

Tim Cogshell, film critic for KPCC and Alt-Film Guide; he tweets @CinemaInMind

Peter Rainer, film critic for KPCC and the Christian Science Monitor

Charles Solomon, film critic for KPCC, Animation Scoop and Animation Magazine

DIY Film Fest: Women I love, in 4 films I love, that need a little more love…

by Tim Cogshell | Off-Ramp

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Sharon Stone in “The Quick and the Dead”TRISTAR PICTURES

 

LISTEN HERE:  http://www.scpr.org/programs/offramp/2017/01/19/54508/tim-cogshell-s-diy-film-fest-women-i-love-in-4-fil/

I’m a sucker for girl talk movies, true love stories, and movies where a lady rides into the sunset after she shoots the bastard who killed her daddy – in the head. This DIY Film Festival is for films that I love, about women that I love, in movies that should have got a lot more love.

1. “Live Nude Girls” (1995)

“Live Nude Girls” was directed by Julianna Lavin, who directed this film, one episode of Party of Five in 1998, and nothing else.  This happens in Hollywood more often than you’d think, but it happens to female  filmmakers even more often than that. It stars Dana Delany, Laila Robins, Lora Zane, Cynthia Stevenson and, ironically, Kim Cattrall as the over or under sexed member of the foursome – depending on your point of view.

“Live Nude Girls” is a wonderfully funny and intimate movie about  four lifelong friends at an all night bachelorette party for one of them who is getting married for the 3rd time. This film is practically a blueprint for “Sex and the City” which started three years later. It’s frank and funny and sexy and filled with a female energy that reminded me of my very cool big sister and her amazing girlfriends, lounging in conversation, as I loitered near, always at the ready to fetch cigarettes and Fresca. It was the 70s.

2. “Living Out Loud” (1998)

“Living Out Loud,” directed by Richard LaGravenese, stars Holly Hunter, Danny DeVito, Queen Latifah and ecstasy – both the emotion and the drug. In the movie, Holly Hunter’s husband abandons her for a younger woman.

Sure, it’s a well worn premise, but it’s considered thru a wide range of emotions, spoken out loud, sung out loud, and even fantasized out loud. Hunter confronts her circumstances with philosophical introspection about the choices she’s made; with direct confrontation of those who’ve done her wrong … and with the occasional hit of ecstasy.

The highlight is this amazing dance sequence that I still find myself fantasizing about  from time to time. Occasionally, I’m even in it.

3. “Besieged” (1998)

“Besieged” is a Bernardo Bertolucci film starring Thandie Newton and David Thewlis. This is a love story about truest love.  Although, at first glance it might seem like a movie about stalker who plays the piano really well, David Thewlis portrays a man – a passionate composer and pianist – who falls in love with his African housekeeper on first sight. And why the hell wouldn’t he – she’s Thandie Newton – but his adoration is about much more than her beauty.

In her he sees pure intention, resilience, and a strength that his privileged existence could never know. Out of that comes a kind of love that leads him to  sell everything he owns, including his beloved grand piano, to give her the one thing she truly wants.

4. “The Quick and The Dead” (1995)

Last in my DIY film festival about women that I love, in films that I love, that need a little more love is “The Quick and The Dead.” This is Sam Raimi post-“Evil Dead” and pre-“Spiderman” directing a wicked Cowgirl movie. It stars Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman and Russell Crowe star alongside a young Leonardo DiCaprio, with Gary Sinise, Keith David, Lance Henriksen, Olivia Burnette, the great Pat Hingle, and the late Tobin Bell of the Saw films.

If you missed this wicked gunslinger revenge flick because you believed the middlin’ reviews from back in the day – you got suckered. It was accused of being too campy. Like that’s a thing.

In “The Quick and the Dead,” the Lady slaps leather with a bunch dastardly bastards, including the one that killed her daddy.  Like I said – I’m a sucker for girl talk movies, true love stories and movies where a lady rides into the sunset after she shoots the bastard who killed her daddy – in the head.

In Review – White Like Me (2013 – Documentary)

Link

On the heels of our two major party political conventions – I’ve been considering a film or two to suggest to the politically minded. Something to set the mood or inform the electorate, in a broad way, about the issues of the day.

To that end – the disparity in the diversity of the two major conventions was the thing that was most stark (all other content notwithstanding) to me.  Since the election – and before – of the first African American, sometimes known as Black – President of the United States, this disparity has been, ironically perhaps, most stark.

It is also ironic, that as the nation has nominated the first woman to be President of the United States in a major party – that race, not gender – is still the driving prevalent issue of our nation, even beyond domestic and foreign terrorism.

To that end, I was reminded of director Scott Morris‘ 2013 documentary White Like Me, featuring race-educator and author Tim Wise. The film explores race and racism in the U.S. through the lens of whiteness and white privilege. Or, in other words, most of the people at one of those conventions as opposed to some of the people at the other convention.

The things that Wise speaks to in White Me, explains those distinctions lucidly.

As it happens, the book Black Like Me (from which this film takes its cues), by journalist John Howard Griffin, was published in 1961 – the year I was born. The corresponding film was released in 1964 – a year of landmark civil rights legislation. Fifty plus years later our two primary party political conventions suggest that while changes abound – much as stayed the same.  Little “d” democrats were often southern and racist in 1961, while republicans were still rich and privileged and – well – republican. And race is still a central issue in the republic. Whether we want to think so – or not.

You only had to look at those two conventions. You could even turn the sound down. Which, occasionally, I did.

Scott Morris’ film is clear, concise and full of fact and example and history. As is Wise’s presentation, in whatever format. The movie is neither placid nor inflammatory (unless you’re already a little inflamed). It’s also not – not angry – yet not angry.

It even manages to be funny every now and again.

Like all contemporary documentaries it’s advocacy. Such is the nature of docs these days. That’s said – it’s accurate and well done advocacy that is most relevant to the politics and the zeitgeist of the very political – race conscious day.