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[Welcome to the Fourth Wall, CHIRP's weekly e-conversation on cinema. This week's subject is the film The Ides of March. This edition is written by CHIRP Radio volunteers Kevin Fullam and Clarence Ewing.]
Clarence: Kevin, after watching The Ides of March, I want to ask you about two of the bigger names in Hollywood in 2017.
First, a summary: Based on the novel Farragut North, the movie stars Ryan Gosling as Stephen Meyers, a hard-charging campaign manager who is working for Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney, who also directed, co-wrote, and co-produced the film). Morris wants the Democratic party nomination for the upcoming presidential election but, as is made clear several times, he is a Man of Integrity who will not compromise his principles to win any election.
Meyers and his senior campaign manager Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman) are locked in a metaphorical chess match with Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti), the campaign guru of Morris’ main opponent, to see who can collect the last batch of delegates needed to get their guy a shot at the White House. As events unfold, loyalties are tested and secrets revealed in a way that addresses the question, how far are you willing to go to get what you want?
[Welcome to the Fourth Wall, CHIRP's weekly e-conversation on cinema. This week's subject is the Terrence Malick film Song to Song. This edition is written by CHIRP Radio volunteers Kevin Fullam and Clarence Ewing.]
Kevin: Music reviews have never done much for me. Besides the fact that I find music to be a much more subjective art form than, say, narrative fiction, I simply have a hard time translating a paragraph or three about an album into an actual sound. Let me have a listen, and within a couple of minutes, I'll know whether I want to hear more.
Why am I mentioning this? Because I view Terrence Malick's last few films in the same light, from the acclaimed The Tree of Life (2011) to the new Song To Song. One knows early on whether Malick's style is for them, and I don't think it's possible for me to do his brand justice via print. His recent works all share an ephemeral quality which has polarized audiences and critics alike, featuring scenes that seem to have no clearly-defined beginning or end, oodles of internal monologues, and a dearth of exposition. (You'd think the monologues would actually translate into more exposition, but the voice-overs don't have much to do with the actual action on screen; more often, they're ruminations on life in general.)
Quick recap: BV (Ryan Gosling) and Faye (Rooney Mara) are budding singer/songwriters in Austin, Texas, where they're embroiled in a love triangle with big-time producer Cook (Michael Fassbender). The three pick up new significant others of varying durations, reflect on their aspirations and regrets, and bump into real-life celebs (including Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, and Val Kilmer, among others) along the way.
[Welcome to the Fourth Wall, CHIRP's weekly e-conversation on cinema. This week's subject is the Adam McKay film The Big Short. This edition is written by CHIRP Radio volunteers Kevin Fullam and Clarence Ewing.]
Clarence: Kevin, I watched The Big Short twice. In trying to form an opinion of it, I had to look up the word “ambivalent” to make sure I was using it correctly. Turns out I was. I am deeply ambivalent about this movie, and I can’t figure out exactly why.
A brief synopsis: The movie, based on the best-selling book by Michael Lewis, dramatizes events leading up to and immediately following the 2007-08 U.S. financial crisis where the housing market, once considered a bedrock of the economy, blew the F up as a result of Wall Street greed and incompetence.
Three separate groups of hedge fund managers (portrayed by a group of actors that includes Christian Bale, Steve Carrell, Brad Pitt, and Ryan Gosling) see the disaster coming and try to position themselves to make a ton of money by shorting (betting against) the value of the financial instruments they are convinced will soon be in the toilet. The story follows them as they encounter skepticism and ridicule from colleagues while discovering just how far the rot goes when it comes to high finance in the USA.
[Welcome to the Fourth Wall, CHIRP's weekly e-conversation on cinema. This week's subject is the recent smash Get Out. This edition is written by CHIRP Radio volunteers Kevin Fullam and Clarence Ewing.]
Kevin: At some point in the future, Clarence, we'll have to hold a larger discussion on the topic of horror as a whole? I'm a fan of the genre, but horror is often hamstrung by its own financial success. Studios know that there's a sizable chunk of young moviegoers (and let's be honest, they're the ones who drive box-office receipts) who will plunk down their dollars for any film inhabiting this world, and so we're often treated to lots of schlock as a result.
Get Out, however, is novel, and actually has some rather pertinent societal commentary to offer. In fact, it's a testament to the brilliant premise of the film that I walked out feeling a bit disappointed? But first, a quick, spoiler-free summary:
[Introducing The Fourth Wall, a new CHIRP Radio series featuring discussions about movies and other things worth talking about. The first conversation is by CHIRP Radio volunteers Clarence Ewing (listen to his radio show on Sundays form 2pm-4pm Central Time) and Kevin Fullam (film blogger and podcaster extraordinarie).]
CE: Hello, Kevin! Here it is, our new series where we’re going to talk about the movies. Many thanks for conceiving of this idea. I feel like, in our own small way, we can carry on in the Chicago tradition of Siskel and Ebert and, through conversation and kicking around ideas, gain some insight into a subject we enjoy.
I thought we could start things off by talking about movies in general. There was a time when I was almost as obsessed with movies as I was (and still am) with music. I even got THIS CLOSE to getting my own film production company off the ground a bunch of years ago. It fell apart like most startups with no money tend to do, but I learned some valuable lessons from the experience, as well as an appreciation for how hard it is to finance and make even the smallest, lowest-budget project.