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PODCAST: Oscar Chat with Mike Cohen of WILS Lansing, MI

I want to send a big THANK YOU to Mike Cohen of WILS Lansing, Michigan for having me on yesterday. I had a blast talking about the 2016 Oscars with him, but I was totally WRONG about a few things. First of all, Jennifer Lawrence DID win the Best Actress Golden Globe this year, but it was for a “Comedy or Musical.” I always forget that they break up the categories. Also, Idris Elba CAN’T be an African American because he’s BRITISH! Man, I’m repeatedly smacking my head over that one. Please listen to the podcast below and feel free to tell me what else I was wrong about, except my Oscar picks. We all know I’m right about those. Thanks Again Mike!

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PODCAST: Hashing Out the 2016 Oscar Nominations on WCSX

I love talking to Trudi & Jim on WCSX in Detroit because they just let me GO. Other radio stations that I review movies for keep me under 10 minutes, then go back and edit me down. Some people have even told me to keep it under 3 minutes, which is next to impossible. My friends in Michigan, however, don’t give me time constraints which is why this little ditty clocks in at a half-hour. IT’S CRAZY, RIGHT? We discussed the highs and lows the the 2016 Oscar Nominations, and I had to pull the soap-box out a couple of times. You can listen to that by clicking HERE and make sure you check out Trudi & Jim any time you’re in Detroit, on 94.7 WCSX.

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Dishing “The 2016 Golden Globes” on GOOD MORNING TEXAS

I joined my friends at Good Morning Texas today, to talk about The 2016 Golden Globes and it was SO MUCH FUN! Seriously, I wish I could get up every morning and talk trash about celebrities with Jeanette Chivvis, Victoria Snee and Jane McGarry. The only thing I would change is the hair, make-up and clothes part because that’s REALLY STRESSFUL. Maybe we could just sit around in bathrobes, with our hair pulled back and clay-masks on our faces. That’s way more my speed!

We started by discussing The Revenant, and all the awards it scored at the Globes. We mentioned Arthur Redcloud from Colleyville, who plays a major role in the movie, and an article about him that ran in Guidelive recently. That was written by my friend Tommy Cummings, and you can read it by clicking HERE. Then watch us drool over Michael Fassbender and fight about Jennifer Lawrence’s cut-out dress by clicking HERE. Can’t wait until the Oscars!

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PODCAST: Chatting About the BEST of 2015 Movies (including that little “Star Wars” pic) with Krys Boyd on “Think”

I joined Krys Boyd on NPR’s Think yesterday, to discuss Star Wars: The Force Awakens and some of the other best movies of 2015. We were also joined by Chris Vognar from the Dallas Morning News and KERA’s Stephen Becker. They are both film nerds of the highest order so the pressure to perform well was pretty high. I was up for the challenge though, because I relish any chance to talk about movies with those guys. Click HERE to hear the show, and listen carefully for the moment Chris Vognar calls the rest of us children and when I debuted the word “porn-y” on NPR.

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The DFW Film Critics Association Picks The BEST of 2015

Did I tell you that I’m a member of the DFW Film Critics Association? Of course I did, because I brag about it constantly. See, I started covering movies as a side-gig to my regular radio job. I never expected anyone to pay attention to my reviews, much less take them seriously. I was shocked when the DFW Film Critics Association approached me because some of my favorite critics EVER are members. I sit with them at the screenings now, and it feels like I’m sitting at the Cool Kids Table.

Anyhow, the DFW Film Critics Association voted over the weekend and released a list of our BEST of 2015. I’ll post them below, along with MY picks, which didn’t always make the cut. I’d like to add that we are presenting this list in honor of Philip Wuntch, a longtime critic for the Dallas Morning News who passed away this October. Track down The Lady Eve, one of his all-time favorite classics, and watch it with Wuntch in mind.

BEST PICTURE OF 2015- Spotlight
Okay, this one was tough for me because Spotlight was my favorite movie of the year until this past weekend, when I saw The Revenant. It did come in 2nd place and I was happy to see that one of my other favorites, Sicario also made it in the top 5. Continue reading →

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MOVIE REVIEW: “Room” is Worth Every Agonizing Moment

I saw a movie years ago called Kiss the Girls, about a serial killer who kept women hidden in underground rooms. The notion terrified me. It was a fictional story based on a James Patterson book, but the idea of being trapped like that seemed too horrible to ever be true. Then I started hearing REAL stories of women who were held captive for extended periods of time with startling regularity. It made me wonder just how many women are being held against their will at any given time and if there was ever anything I could do to help them.

Author Emma Donoghue has had those same thoughts since hearing the story of Elisabeth Fritzl in Austria. She was locked away by her own father for 24 years, and even had 7 children by him while trapped behind that locked door. Elisabeth Fritzl is the woman who inspired Donoghue to write the best-selling book and screenplay for Room. Continue reading →

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FREE MOVIE PASSES: See Oscar Contender “Room” With It’s Author!

Room stars Brie Larson as a woman who is held captive in a 10-by-10 foot space with her young son. She does everything she can to help him lead a normal life, until the day they try to escape. This brings mother and son to the biggest challenge they’ve ever faced: the outside world.

Room is based on the best-selling novel of the same name, written by Emma Donoghue. It’s a work of fiction, but Donoghue based her book on the harrowing true stories of Jaycee Dugard and Elisabeth Fritzi. Both of these women were kidnapped and held in hidden rooms for years. They were also repeatedly raped and eventually gave birth while still in captivity.

The big screen version of Room is already getting Oscar buzz, specifically for Brie Larson’s performance. It also won the Toronto International Film Festival this year, which has a history of picking Academy Award Best Picture contenders. There’s even a fair amount of Oscar chatter for young Jacob Tremblay, who plays the movie’s 5-year-old boy.

Best of all, I have free passes to see Room and guess who’ll be sitting in the audience with you? Author Emma Donoghue will be at the screening too, so make sure you stick around for the Q&A after the movie. Take a minute to watch the trailer, then print out your pass to get in. You should probably bring some tissues too because this one looks like a weeper!
Click HERE for your passes!

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MOVIE REVIEW: “Digging For Fire” & Why It Pissed Me Off

Married couple Tim (Jake Johnson) and Lee (Rosemaire DeWitt) are staying at a friend’s mountain home when they discover a gun and what might be human remains buried nearby. Tim is intrigued and wants to dig further while Lee wants to put the gun back and forget they found anything. She leaves with their child for the weekend and Tim invites friends over to continue searching. Digging for Fire on the surface is about these mysterious bones, but underneath lies a serious study of marriage, aging and the ever present spectre of mortality.

Digging for Fire was directed by Joe Swanberg and co-written by he and Jake Johnson. The script was essentially a 3-page long outline so actors were required to improvise most of their dialogue. Swanberg is known for this style of movie-making but when it comes to a film like this, I think it works against him. This is a very personal story about spouses who have hit an unpleasant plateau. That said, they never register as people who’ve EVER been in love. Tim and Lee barely connect with each other and seem so focused on their own dissatisfaction that they never stop to think about the other. Instead, they barrel forward, making horrible and potentially marriage-killing choices. Continue reading →