120 – The Rehearsal Process

that's us!

that’s us!

All of my fans – the Cohen-heads – know what the main endeavor in my life has been of late: Fraggled Productions‘ upcoming run of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at The Cupcake Theater in Hollywood. After a long, arduous month of rehearsal, we open in two days (Friday, May 2nd). The entire cast and crew is primed to make a big splash in the world-famous Los Angeles indie theatre community. But such quality can only arise from hard work, dedication, and hours of talking and singing in weird voices.

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119 – Star Wars: Episode VII Cast Announcement

getting the band back together, for the first time

getting the band back together, for the first time

The Star Wars train is coming into the station, whether you want it to or not. I personally couldn’t care less, as the entire brand has been in shambles for years. There’s no where to go but up at this point. I’ll see the movie regardless, so the most frustrating part of this process has been the slow trickle of information from the Disney-Lucasfilm mega corporation. All of the secrecy involved in the pre-production phase seems unnecessary, but a crack in the armor of the leviathan has finally been exposed, in the form of a confirmed cast for the yet-un-subtitled Episode VII.

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118 – Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

last week tonight with john oliver

John Oliver: The British comedian you may not realize you know. After a pretty successful stint as the fill-in host on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, HBO snatched Oliver and former Daily Show head writer Tim Carvell from Comedy Central to start a brand new satirical news program for the pay cable station. What they got was… pretty much The Daily Show.

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117 – Blue Ruin (2013)

blue ruin

After Locke, featuring Tom Hardy talking for an hour and a half, it is understandable to be a little burnt out on dialogue. Luckily this weekend’s other big arthouse release, Blue Ruin, has got the cure for what ails you. The new movie from writer/director/cinematographer Jeremy Saulnier stars Macon Blair as a solitary man, out for revenge against those who stole his life from him before it could ever get started. But the actions that Blair’s Dwight takes will set off a brutal chain of events that cannot end well for anyone.

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115 – Brick Mansions (2014)

Brick Mansions

This fourth weekend of April looks to be a return to great limited-release cinema. After last week’s dismal options (more like Transcendenzzzzzzzzzzz, am I right?), we have two anticipated art-house films to look forward to: the Tom Hardy-led Locke and Jeremy Saulnier’s Blue Ruin. So, of course, my first movie of the weekend is going to have to be Brick Mansions. “Turn down for what?” the trailer emphatically cries to no one in particular. “Nevermind,” responds the unnamed accoster, “turns out there isn’t much to turn down in the first place.”

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114 – Belle de Jour (1967)

belle de jour

Roger Ebert was notorious for his love of the “boob” films of directors like Russ Meyer – so much so that the two men eventually worked together in a creative capacity. Of his many vices, “women” was probably the least harmful, but perhaps the most addictive. Despite his admiration of the female form, Ebert was far from a misogynist. His inclusion of Luis Buñuel’s Belle de Jour in The Great Movies is a testament to his dual fascinations with both sensuality and empowerment.

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113 – Fargo, “The Rooster Prince”

fargo the rooster prince

“The Rooster Prince,” Fargo‘s second episode, finds itself in the unenviable position of establishing what the show will be. The show’s pilot was surprisingly self-contained in an emotional sense. What I mean is, I would not surprised if an actual Coen Brothers film ended in fashion similar to the Fargo pilot. Creator/writer Noah Hawley left enough loose ends to pick up in this episode, but several of the characters are in drastically different positions.

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112 – Beauty and the Beast (1946)

beauty and the beast

Three The Great Movies reviews in a row? I’m on a roll. Today’s entry from Roger Ebert’s cataloging of essential films is Beauty and the Beast. But it’s probably not the one you’re thinking of. For clarity’s sake, let’s refer to today’s film as La Belle et la Bête, so as to remember we are talking about Jean Cocteau’s 1946 live action film, rather than the 1991 animated musical.

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