HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS? MAYBE, MAYBE NOT: “Those aren’t pillows”. We’ve all been there. We have to be somewhere. We only have a certain amount of time to get there. And when we try…we hit nothing but obstacle after obstacle after obstacle. That’s right. It sounds like the perfect time for Episode 33 of Pop Art, the podcast where my guest chooses a movie from popular culture and I’ll select a film from the more art/classic side of cinema with a connection to it. For this episode, I am happy to welcome back a previous guest, film enthusiast and blogger movierob, who has chosen teen scene John Hughes’ first adult movie, the Steve Martin/John Candy farce, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, and I have chosen the classic Russian antiwar film, Ballad of a Soldier, both films about characters trying to get someplace by a certain time, and find it, well, just a tad difficult. And in this episode, we answer such questions as: Why did Planes, Trains and Automobiles get an R rating? What did Ballad of a Soldier signify when it came to Russian films? What was the original ending of Planes, Trains…? Who is “one righteous dude”? How successful was Ballad of a Soldier? What does Planes, Trains… say about class in the US? What was the director of Ballad… able to get away with more than other Russian filmmakers?

And be sure to check out movierob’s blog at https://movierob.wordpress.com/ Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 1/15-1/22/16

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My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 1/15-22/2016
out in the darkON NETFLIX: In Out in the Dark, an espionage thriller written by Yael Shafrir and Michael Mayer, who also directed, a gay Palestinian man is having an affair with an Israeli lawyer. When the Israeli secret police discover this, they take the Palestinian man in and threaten to reveal his sexual identify to his family if he doesn’t help them trap his brother who is working for the PLO. An exciting and taut drama.
balladON HULU: Ballad of a Soldier, made in 1959 after the thaw of Stalin, is the heartfelt story about a private who, after an act of bravery on the battlefield, gets leave to go home and see his mother, but hardly has time to get there and back. Written by Grigoriy Chukhray (who also directed) and Valentin Ezhov, it’s a get out your handkerchiefs story, but it earns its sentimentally validly as it traces the soldiers attempts to reach home and the people he runs into on the way.
lady in the vanFIRST RUN and OPENING: The Lady in the Van, Son of Saul, Band of Robbers, The Revenant, The Hateful Eight, Star Wars: the Force Awakens Continue reading