Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sounds of Cinema's 10th Anniversary

This weekend marks the tenth anniversary of the first broadcast of this show. Sounds of Cinema (which was originally called "Maverick at the Movies" from 2004 - 2008 when it ran exclusively on 89.7 KMSU FM "The Maverick") has lasted far longer than I had expected and I hope to continue to bring this program to you each week. Being on the air is a privilege, one I take very seriously, and I'm grateful to have been able to do this for so long.

Sounds of Cinema has been possible because of the support of the staff of 89.7 KMSU FM in Mankato and 89.5 KQAL FM in Winona and I thank them for their continued encouragement, indulgence, and assistance. I'd also like to recognize Joe Tougas and Ann Fee of The Frye, the official band of Sounds of Cinema, for their support. And of course I must thank the listeners. There are so many options available to you on air and online (not to mention all the other things you could be doing besides listening to the radio) and I appreciate that fact that you've taken time out of your week to tune into the show.

Part of the reason I do this program each week is that I believe in the mission of Sounds of Cinema, which is to to provide an outlet for serious discussion about film. So much of what passes for entertainment news is just mindless noise and commercials for media conglomerates masquerading as art appreciation. I hope I've been able to offer some constructive criticism and inject useful information into the world and into your movie-going experience.

Thank you very much.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Film Reviews: May 11, 2014

Here is a summary of the films reviewed on today's show:

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 isn’t bad but it’s simultaneously too much and not enough. In the effort to set up a vibrant world for future Spider-Man sequels the filmmakers have sacrificed the storytelling integrity of this picture. It is certainly entertaining but the narrative is a mess.

The Unknown Known would make a great entry in a film series about the post-9/11 era and it complements Errol Morris’ 2008 documentary Standard Operating Procedure, but on its own the picture does not shed much new light on the wars, the George W. Bush administration, or even on Donald Rumsfeld. Like most of Morris’ work it is thought provoking and well-made and the picture certainly merits viewing, especially as we wrestle with the legacy of the George W. Bush administration. In the end, it may be what is unacknowledged by Rumsfeld and even by the filmmakers that is most revealing.

The Armstrong Lie is terrific documentary filmmaking. This picture tells a story of corruption, hubris, and deceit that is as riveting as anything in fiction while also managing to provide insight into the way in which fans, journalists, and sponsors will enable their own deception. Alex Gibney has emerged as one of the best documentary filmmakers working today and this is one of this most important works.

Full reviews can be found in the review archive

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Film Reviews: May 4, 2014

Here is a summary of the films reviewed on today's show: 

The Other Woman isn’t terrible but it isn’t especially memorable either. It's clumsy and unimaginative, the kind of comedy that groups of people might watch together as part of a social gathering but on its own merits The Other Woman is pretty weak.

Filth is a strange movie in that it is simultaneously novel and familiar. The visual style and James McAvoy’s performance give the movie an edge but the picture’s themes and outrages have already been explored in other movies and it does not add much to the genres of the addict or the corrupt cop. It is a well-made film but like a lot of movies based on shock and awe the thrill subsides quickly.

The filmmakers of Brick Mansions try to do something provocative but they make a pig’s ear out of their politics. The movie is serviceable as an action adventure but enjoying it requires the viewer to ignore the pervasive use of racist imagery. Whether we should let that imagery go for the sake of entertainment is debatable.

Let the Fire Burn is a riveting story that successfully places the viewer back in the moment of the 1985 MOVE standoff. This is also an important documentary and viewers should take time to watch this picture and consider its implications and its bearing on contemporary society.

Remember you can find full reviews in the Sounds of Cinema review archive