Review: Dunkirk

dunkirk11Written & Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Starring:
Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D'Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance
Tom Hardy
Summary: From May 26 – June 4, 1940 nearly 400,000 Allied soldiers were stranded on the beaches of Dunkirk as German troops closed in on land and sabotaged evacuation efforts. Dunkirk tells this story from three perspectives: land, air and sea.

I've been looking forward to Dunkirk for at least a year. And it did not disappoint. (more…)

Advertisements

The Leftovers: Thoughts on the End of the Series

The last time Damon Lindelof wrote a series finale I cried for three days. Personally, I found ending of Lost highly emotionally satisfying, but I know that’s a controversial topic. Nonetheless, Damon Lindelof has proven himself capable of writing really powerful, emotionally affecting scenes between complex characters and I have a feeling we’re dipping right back into that well with tonight’s finale of The Leftovers. (more…)

#TryPod: For True Crime Junkies

truecrime

For True Crime Junkies

If I catch the first five minutes of 48 Hours I’m pretty much glued to my couch for the next hour. I.must.know.what.happens. And I want to know EVERYTHING there is to know about a case. Podcasts have really created a space for people who love true crime to dork out and these two shows are my favorite. 

mfmMy Favorite Murder, Feral Audio
Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff might be the biggest gift to the podcast world. I don’t know where these two were before this, maybe hiding in a writers room, but they are hilarious, authentic and the perfect hosts for this show. Every week each of them recounts a murder case and they occasionally read ‘Hometown Murder’ stories sent in by listeners. The stories they tell are super compelling, but the way they tell these stories and their side commentary about them is what makes this show so great. I regularly find myself laughing during this podcast…even though it’s about murder. However, Karen and Georgia are super respectful to the victims of the crimes they discuss. I love this podcast, not just because I love true crime, but also because I love their dynamic, I love their stories, and I love Elvis. SSDGM. Byeeeeee. 

lpolLast Podcast On the Left, Cave Comedy Radio
I didn’t like this show the first time I listened to it. It’s three male hosts that are pretty crass telling you a story about a murderer, cult  or science fiction myth, sometimes in excruciating detail. However, in time that’s exactly why I grew to love this show. Ben Kissel, Marcus Parks and Henry Zebrowski host Last Podcast on the Left and they are really three very funny guys who do their homework on these stories they choose to tell. I understand why LPOL isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I look forward to it every week. Hail Satan!

#TryPod: For Film Junkies

film junkies

For Film Junkies

There are SO many movie podcasts. Everyone has opinions about movies and everyone wants to share them, so I’m fairly picky about which film podcasts I’ll listen to. Here are some of my favorites.

TheFilmVault_300The Film Vault
This was the very first podcast I listened to. On a whim I thought I would try The Film Vault and I grew to really love that show. Anderson Cowan and Bryan Bishop host this ‘Top Five’ format show. They spend some time talking about movies they’ve seen in the last week before going through their ‘Top Five’ of the week. I like The Film Vault because it’s consistent, there is always a new episode up on Fridays and even if they cover a topic I’m not particularly interested in, I still enjoy the episode. Bryan and Anderson’s love/hate relationship is entertaining on its own, but they do give thoughtful analysis of the movies they see without giving away important plot points. The biggest thing that I’ve gained from this podcast is a reviewer whose opinion I trust. After many, many episodes of The Film Vault it has become clear that my taste in movies is nearly spot on with Anderson’s. So if there’s ever a movie I’m on the fence about seeing, I hold his opinion to a bit higher esteem than I would other movie critics. However, the biggest gift that The Film Vault has given me is to lead me to The After Disaster, a show so ridiculous that you should always make sure that the headphones are plugged in before you hit play.

  • Honorable mention: Cinemaddicts
    Anderson hosts this show with his friend Greg Srisavasdi, a professional movie critic. Cinemaddicts always covers films that are currently out in theaters and has a more academic approach where The Film Vault is a little more playful and informal. I get a lot of value out of Cinemaddicts, though, so I find it a good companion piece to The Film Vault.

chatterAwards Chatter, The Hollywood Reporter
I love the Awards Season, this blog was born out of a love for all things related to the Oscars so I will absolutely eat up a podcast about Awards Season. Scott Feinberg at The Hollywood Reporter has my career. His job is to cover all things related to the lead-up to the Academy Awards. He gets to do some incredible interviews and now those interviews take an audio form as well as a print form. In Awards Chatter Scott Feinberg talks to actors, writers, directors, producers, and more about their careers and the films that they worked on that are currently getting attetion. There’s a reason Scott Feinberg has this job and I don’t, he’s very good at it. He’s a great interviewer – he asks great questions and gives the interviewee room to give a full answer. I’ve learned a lot about the people who make the films that I love from Awards Chatter.

  • Honorable mention: The Awards Show Show, KPCC & Vulture.com
    Another great episode surrounding the Awards Season. Awards Chatter never offers you an opinion or critique of the nominations, Scott Feinberg is more of a journalist than a critic in his role, but The Awards Show Show offers great critique and educated opinions from people who see just about every movie nominated. I really valued their debates and discussions during this last Awards Season. 

#TryPod: Goofs and Giggles

goofs-gags

For Goofs and Giggles

Comedians have really found a home in podcasting. After Chelsea Lately went off the air (I still miss you, boo) many of the regulars on her show went on to have very successful podcasts of their own. If I’m in the mood for a new podcast, I immediately start browsing the Comedy category and the shows below are the créme de la créme of the Comedy channel. 

My_Brother,_My_Brother_and_Me_logoMy Brother, My Brother and Me, Maximum Fun
I would love to have been a fly on the wall in the McElroy household as those boys were growing up but I imagine I would have needed hernia surgery from excessive laughter. Oldest brother Justin McElroy, middlest brother Travis McElroy, and sweet baby brother Griffin McElroy started making a podcast as a way to stay connected when the three of them moved to opposite coasts, and we have the privilege of sitting in on that conversation. Most of the show is them just being goofy, but it’s all structured around them offering advice and answers to the ridiculous questions asked on Yahoo Answers. You might be inclined to think this is wholesome comedy by their tone and demeanor, but these three get as raunchy and explicit as anyone. They recently released a marijuana induced podcast titled “The McElroy Brothers Will Be In Trolls 2, Chapter 1” that is an absolute delight. Kiss your dad square on the lips. 

dollopThe Dollop, All Things Comedy
Who knew that American history was so fucked up? The Dollop is a “bi-weekly American History Podcast. Every week, Dave Anthony reads a story to his friend, Gareth Reynolds, who has no idea what the topic is going to be about.” I discovered The Dollop when Dave Anthony was a guest on an episode of My Favorite Murder and I immediately checked out their episode catalog; before I knew it I was hundreds of episodes deep into old episodes of The Dollop. That is the nice thing about this podcast, it’s always a story about history so, the episodes don’t really have an expiration date. Dave and Gareth are hilarious and they’ve unearthed some of the craziest stories about American history that you will be shocked you’ve never heard of. I knew I loved this podcast when I got to the “10 Cent Beer Night” episodes and laughed my ass off. Best of all, they sign cars.

#TryPod: For Cord Cutters

cord_cutters copy

For Cord Cutters

We all know it. Cable sucks.

I am a huge TV and movie junkie and even I couldn’t justify what I was paying for my cable package after a while. So, a couple of years ago I cut the cord. I got HBO Now, Hulu (which includes a seasonal upgrade to Showtime), continued my Netflix subscription (proud member since 2006!), tacked on an Amazon Prime membership and I am set. No DVR fees. No impossible cable company bills or millions of channels I don’t care about. It’s saved me at least $50 a month or more. I can’t recommend it enough.

However, one of the casualties of that decision were little things like cable news – not required viewing, but it’s nice to have from time to time. I found myself in need of this as the 2016 election was looming so I browsed through my podcasts and discovered that many TV networks release the audio of their programs as podcasts for FREE. 90% of my job involves me creating visual content, so I hesitate to say this, but…it’s surprising how little you need to see to get the full value of the program.

6952Anderson Cooper 360, CNN
I look forward to listening to Anderson Cooper 360 every weekday. I like the array of guests he has on and though I think he has a bit of a liberal bend, Anderson Cooper does a great job of playing devil’s advocate and challenging the liberal pundits on his panel. He’s also a GREAT interviewer, there’s an interview that he did with Kellyanne Conway shortly after the Russian dossier was released that is excellent. This program doesn’t rely too much on visual content, so only rarely do I find myself misunderstanding a segment because I’m only consuming the audio portion.

6602The Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC
I really like Rachel Maddow but I understand why some people don’t. I don’t know that I’d say that her show is overtly biased, but she’s definitely coming at her stories with a perspective, but I still appreciate her candor, her interviews and her reporting. It’s easy to surround yourself with media that affirms your beliefs, but listening to Rachel Maddow on a daily basis gives me the opportunity to exercise my skeptic muscles. Occasionally her show will reference some visual content, but for the most part I find the audio-only version of the show to be pretty comprehensive.

Here’s a few other programs that you can listen to as a podcast:

  • Amanpour (CNN)
  • The Lead with Jake Tapper (CNN)
  • Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO)
  • NBC Nightly News
  • Meet the Press (NBC)
  • Face the Nation (CBS)
  • State of the Union with Jake Tapper (CNN)
  • This Week with George Stephanopoulos (ABC)
  • Fox News Sunday
  • 48 hours
  • Frontline (PBS)

#TryPod: TV Show Breakdowns

tv-breakdowns

For TV Show Breakdowns

baldmoveEverything Bald Move
Jim and A. Ron have built their own podcast enterprise that they run full time. They have great taste in TV, great perspectives to offer on different programs and they don’t take themselves too seriously. They take their work seriously out of respect for their members and those who are in the Bald Move Club (it’s like, $5 a month, and MORE than worth it for the quality and quantity that they produce). I look forward to hearing their breakdown of new episodes of different shows every week and they always deliver. This level of engagement with the shows that I’m watching has totally transformed the way that I consume television. I’ve listened to their coverage of Game of Thrones, Better Call Saul, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Fargo, House of Cards, Mr. Robot, Westworld – and my favorite is their coverage of The Leftovers. These two really appreciate how fantastic this show is, but they also provide a unique perspective on the cult element of the show as they are ex-Jahovah’s Witness members. They’re great. Love Bald Move.

rosebuddies_13Rose Buddies, Maximum Fun
Do you hate The Bachelor? Does everything about it kind of disgust you and you have no desire to watch the show? Listen to Rachel and Griffen McElroy talk through each episode in a hilarious and endearing way and before you know it, you’re spending three hours in front of your TV on Monday night wondering how long it’s going to take Nick to realize that Raven is perfect for him and realizing that Corn was given an unfair villain edit. I hate Rose Buddies for getting me into this damn show.

#TryPod: News & Politics

NEWS-POLITICS

Podcasts For News Junkies

thedaily

The Daily, The New York Times
New York Times correspondent Michael Barbaro hosts The Daily, a daily round up of what you “need to know that day” as well as topical stories and great interviews. It’s all wrapped up in a very well produced 30 minute package and I find that it’s a really great way to start my day.

nprpolitics_red1400px_sq-6bc03b536409ec88fd8d3abb637b560e93865bad-s300-c85NPR Politics Podcast, NPR
A group of NPR’s political reporters discuss what’s happening in the office of the president, congress and the White House at large. They drill down the implications of those politics and how they fit into the historical context of the US government. I’m drawn to this podcast because they are really great about presenting issues in a politically neutral way.

For Liberal Politics

podsavePod Save America/Pod Save the World, Crooked Media
Brought to you by former Obama campaign and White House staffers, the Pod Save podcasts bring intelligent thought, humor and satisfying outrage about what’s going on in American politics and the chaos of the Trump administration. Pod Save America focuses more on domestic policies, Pod Save the World focuses on international policies.

throwingshadeThrowing Shade, Maximum Fun
Erin and Bryan are just…everything. These two hilarious friends hash out “issues important to ladies and gays and treat them with much less respect than they deserve.” Throwing Shade is almost more of a comedy podcast, but their progressive stance on feminist and LGBT issues plays an important role. Can ya handle it?