Sunday, January 24, 2016

Best and Worst Films of 2015

Today's episode of Sounds of Cinema looked back at the movies of 2015. Here are my picks of the best and worst films of the past year.


1. Room

2. Inside Out

3. The Revenant 

4. The Big Short

5. The Martian 

6. Mr. Holmes 

7. Beasts of No Nation

8. The Diary of a Teenage Girl

9. White God

10. Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief


1.      Aloha
2.      Entourage
3.      The Loft
4.      Hot Tub Time Machine 2
5.      Unfinished Business
6.      Get Hard
7.      War Room
8.      Seventh Son
9.      The Human Centipede 3
10.  Fantastic Four

You can find more, including rationales for each title and lists of honorable mentions, here.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

2015 End of the Year Countdown to Air on Jan. 24th

On Sunday, January 24th, Sounds of Cinema will look back on the movies of 2015 including a countdown of the ten best and worst films of the past year. Tune in to see if your favorites made the list.

Sounds of Cinema can be heard on Sunday morning;
 In the meantime, here are some best and worst lists from other critics:

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Films of David Bowie

Today’s episode of Sounds of Cinema took a look at the filmography of David Bowie. Here are some of the highlights of Bowie’s ventures in moviemaking.

The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)
David Bowie’s first starring role remains the essential piece of his filmography. In The Man Who Fell to Earth he plays an alien who is marooned on our planet and starts a technology company to generate the infrastructure and revenue needed to build a spacecraft to get home. A parable about capitalism and fame, The Man Who Fell to Earth is a flawed movie but it’s also unlike any other music-to-movie crossover project by a major recording artist.

Cat People (1982)
Many of the films David Bowie was involved in had strange sexual themes such as Lost Highway, The Hunger, and Just a Gigolo. Another was Paul Schraeder’s 1982 remake of Cat People for which Bowie provided the title song. It was reused by Quentin Tarantino in the soundtrack to Inglorious Basterds.

The Hunger (1983)
The Hunger was a highly influential vampire picture directed by Tony Scott. Bowie played the lover of an ancient Egyptian vampire queen who is about to trade him in for a doctor played by Susan Sarandon. The film inspired a late night cable erotic series for which Bowie acted as host.

Labyrinth (1986)
Moviegoers who grew up in the 1980s probably best knew David Bowie as the Goblin King from Jim Henson’s 1986 film Labyrinth. This particular title is unique in Bowie’s filmography in that it featured Bowie actually performing music. David Bowie usually either provided music for a movie or he acted in it but he rarely did both, which is quite unusual for a recording artist in a movie.

The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)
Martin Scorsese’s controversial adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis’ novel featured David Bowie in the role of Pontius Pilate. Interestingly, Scorsese had initially intended the role to be played by Sting.

Basquiat (1996)
Julian Schnabel’s biopic of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat featured David Bowie as Andy Warhol. Paul Morrissey, who worked with Warhol, praised Bowie’s performance.

Lost Highway (1997)
David Lynch and David Bowie collaborated on the television program Twin Peaks in which Bowie played Phillip Jeffries. Bowie reprised the role in the 1992 movie Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. He provided the track “I’m Deranged” to the Lost Highway soundtrack.

Moulin Rouge! (2001)
Moulin Rouge! was one of the most popular films of the past decade and one of its innovations was to use a soundtrack of contemporary music in an anachronistic setting. David Bowie’s “Nature Boy” bookends the film and Beck covers Bowie’s song “Diamond Dogs.”

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
One of the films to feature David Bowie’s music most heavily was Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. This picture features Bowie’s music throughout the movie including covers of his songs translated into Portuguese and performed by Seu Jorge.

The Perks of Being a Wall Flower (2012)
Aside from all of the music he created specifically for particular movies, the rest of David Bowie’s body of work was also featured memorably in many motion pictures and television shows. Among the most prominent uses of Bowie’s music was 2012’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower in which his song “Heroes” played an important part in the story.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Film Reviews: January 3, 2016

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

Sisters is just a few notches above Adam Sandler’s Grown Ups movies. It’s an uninspired slog and both Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are slumming it here.

The original Point Break has been imitated and parodied many times but it’s hard to imagine a shallower or stupider take on the 1991 film than this remake. There is a provocative idea at the center of this film but it is buried under bad acting and worse storytelling.

Concussion is an acceptable drama. It largely comes across like a television network movie-of-the-week but it’s well acted, competently done, and generally engaging. However, viewers should check out the documentary League of Denial, which can be found online

Daddy’s Home is one of the better comedies that either Will Ferrell or Mark Wahlberg have been involved in. The movie is quite sitcom-like but it is consistently funny and it is ultimately satisfying in exactly the way it intends to be.

People Places Things is a fine little movie about a family struggling with love and parenthood after a divorce. The film is sweet without becoming saccharine and it has interesting and engaging performances by its cast.

You can find full text of every review in the Sounds of Cinema Review Archive.