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Entries categorized as “The Fourth Wall” 46 results

Kevin Fullam writesThe Fourth Wall: Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Welcome to The Fourth Wall, CHIRP's e-conversation on cinema. This week's subject is the Melissa McCarthy movie Can you Ever Forgive Me?

This edition is written by CHIRP Radio volunteers Kevin Fullam and Clarence Ewing.

Kevin:

A little preamble here: when I was a kid, I was a huge comic-book geek. I may be a jaded cinemagoer today and thus nonplussed by the current wave of superhero movies, but I was a big-time Marvel Zombie from about 1984-90, enough so that I would frequent local comic-book shows to hunt down various back issues. The comics dealers would often sit side-by-side with sports memorabilia folks, and while I was also a baseball fan, the idea of collecting cards or autographs never seemed very appealing? To me, the entertainment value from a signature or card featuring a bunch of numbers on the back (which anyone could find elsewhere) paled mightily when compared with a tale about Spidey's latest exploits.  While it was cool to have a comic "collection," it would've been meaningless to me without the stories therein. 

This takes me to Can You Ever Forgive Me?, the recent film about writer Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy) and her forgery schemes of the 1990s. When the story opens, Israel is sitting just one step above "destitute" -- unemployed, months behind on her rent, and far removed from the days when her agent would promptly answer her calls. While doing research on 1920s entertainer Fanny Brice at the library, a personal letter from Ms. Brice slips out of a dusty old tome... and Israel soon finds out from her local bookseller that such celebrity correspondence is worth serious coin. What's more, the letters are even more valuable if they include a bit o' personal flair from their authors. So, whom would it harm if Israel tacked on a saucy line or two to embellish the note, right?

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Share April 12, 2019 http://chrp.at/1rwv Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: The Fourth Wall, Movies

Kevin Fullam writesThe Fourth Wall: The Best Movies of 2018

Welcome to The Fourth Wall, CHIRP's e-conversation on cinema. This week's subject is the Best Movies of 2018.

This edition is written by CHIRP Radio volunteers Kevin Fullam and Clarence Ewing.

Kevin:

I think I can best characterize my favorite cinema of 2018 in two words: Quiet Desperation. Here's my Top 10. What are yours?

1) Leave No Trace -- Ben Foster plays a PTSD-stricken vet who lives with his teenage daughter in the woods outside of Portland, until he's forced to vacate and falls into the hands of social services. One of the rare films that truly has no villains; almost everyone the pair meets is trying to help and do right by them in some way, but Foster's unspoken past won't let him re-integrate with society. His daughter (Thomasin McKenzie in a brilliant performance), however, isn't bound by those same constraints, and doesn't understand why they can't be part of a community.

2) The Rider -- Chinese director Chloé Zhao turned her camera on the world of horse farming and rodeo riding in South Dakota, and essentially posed the question, "What if you knew you were put on Earth to do one thing... and then were no longer able to do it?" Enter rodeo rider Brady, who has just suffered a severe injury at the start of the film, and finds himself facing this very dilemma. When I first saw the film, I was astounded at the level of authenticity, and then I learned that Zhao's cast was comprised entirely of non-actors. Brady Jandreau really is a horse trainer, and the people playing his father and sister are in fact his real family.

3) Roma -- Another first-time actor, Yalitza Aparicio, stars as a maid for a well-to-do family in 1970s Mexico, during a time of political unrest. "Quiet desperation" is the name of the game for many of the films on this list, and especially so for Aparacio's Cleo, whose navigation through socioeconomic spheres brings to mind a (much) less-stuffy version of British "upstairs/downstairs" tales like Gosford Park. Shot in B&W by Alfonso Cuarón, who also wrote the screenplay -- it's a semi-autobiographical depiction of his own upbringing.

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Share February 23, 2019 http://chrp.at/1qFE Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: The Fourth Wall

Kevin Fullam writesThe Fourth Wall: I Don’t Feel at Home In This World Anymore

Welcome to The Fourth Wall, CHIRP's e-conversation on cinema. This week's subject is the Netflix movieI Don’t Feel at Home In This World Anymore.

This edition is written by CHIRP Radio volunteers Kevin Fullam and Clarence Ewing.

Clarence:

Ruth (Melanie Lynsey), a nursing assistant in an unnamed town somewhere in America, is at a crisis. It's not just that other people suck, as evidenced by the many little things she experiences during her day that prove how selfish, thoughtless, and nasty humans are. It's how all those little things add up to one big thing, a black hole of Life that only leads to the other black hole of Death.

When someone breaks into her house and steals her sainted grandmother's silverware, an act the authorities respond to with almost complete apathy, Ruth decides that she's had enough. She takes matters into her own hands with the assistance of Tony (Elijah Wood), a loner neighbor with whom she's just made peace over dog poop. Together, they aim to find the people who have violated the sanctity of Ruth's property and then...well, they'll cross that bridge when they get to it. But at the end of that bridge are some nasty hombres led by a guy named Marshall (David Yow, who is also the lead singer for legendary noise rock band The Jesus Lizard).

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Share January 25, 2019 http://chrp.at/1qRh Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: The Fourth Wall

Kevin Fullam writesThe Fourth Wall: Drinking Buddies

Welcome to The Fourth Wall, CHIRP's weekly e-conversation on cinema. This week's subject is the 2013 comedy-drama Drinking Buddies.

This edition is written by CHIRP Radio volunteers Kevin Fullam and Clarence Ewing.

Kevin:

We've delved into the world of marriage in The Fourth Wall via Revolutionary Road, but I don't think we've done the same with dating and singledom? Countless hours and millions of dollars have gone into trying to figure out which sorts of people are compatible. And parsing it further, which traits are compatible. Christian Rudder turned the "science" of compatibility into a dating website (OKCupid) and later a book (Dataclysm) which revealed all sorts of interesting societal quirks that were gleaned while trying to crack this mystery. 

[Something that CHIRP listeners might appreciate is the Dataclysm breakdown of musical preferences in dating profiles by race. In a finding that will likely surprise no one, there apparently ain't a band that denotes "whiteness" more than Belle & Sebastian. Ha!]

In Hollywood, the notion of compatibility has historically been rather simple. How many times have we seen partners portrayed as being completely alike... or polar opposites? "Let's draw up a man and woman who have nothing in common, and watch the sparks fly when they meet!" Though I generally get the feeling that when film and television depict already-established couples, they're often more alike than not? Steven and Elyse Keaton of Family Ties. Claire and Cliff Huxtable of The Cosby Show (uh, too soon...?). Any of the mob wives on The Sopranos. (We would expect them all to be as shallow and materialistic as their criminal husbands, and we are not disappointed.) 

In director Joe Swanberg's 2013 film Drinking Buddies, we follow a pair of seemingly disparate Chicago couples. Kate (Olivia Wilde) is a free spirit who's also the marketing arm of Revolution Brewing, and she's seeing Chris (Ron Livingston), an introspective bookworm and music producer. Meanwhile, Kate's co-worker, the gregarious Luke (Jake Johnson) is a toiler on the brewery floor who lives with Jill (Anna Kendrick), a sweet, well-manicured woman who enjoys fine arts in her spare time.

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Share September 14, 2018 http://chrp.at/1rEp Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: The Fourth Wall

Topics: drinking buddies

Kevin Fullam writesThe Fourth Wall: Good Time

Welcome to The Fourth Wall, CHIRP's weekly e-conversation on cinema. This week's subject is the heist thriller Good Time.

This edition is written by CHIRP Radio volunteers Kevin Fullam and Clarence Ewing.

Kevin:

"Bank heists are performed by professionals. Amateurs, don't try this at home -- and especially not in an actual bank." -- K.J. Fullam

What would Danny Ocean & Co. make of the sibling duo of Connie and Nick Nikas? The ramshackle robbery engineered by the latter at the outset of 2017's Good Time is probably an accurate depiction of what would occur if one of us tried to knock over a bank and had, oh, an hour or so to prep beforehand. 

The ultra-suave Rat Pack this is not. Connie (Robert Pattinson) is a deadbeat who, while dragging along his mentally-handicapped brother Nick, clumsily robs a NYC bank to the tune of $65,000. Unbeknownst to him, the money is marked, and thanks to explosive dye packs, the two of them are soon literally marked as well. Nick is woefully unequipped for the ensuing getaway; he quickly gets hauled in by the police and is set to be shipped off to Riker's Island. As most of the stolen money is ruined by the dye and thus not enough to cover the bail, Connie is forced to ad-lib an assortment of schemes over the next 24 hours in the hopes of freeing him... with misfortune befalling any unfortunate soul who gets sucked in along the way.

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Share August 15, 2018 http://chrp.at/1rvQ Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Categorized: The Fourth Wall

Topics: good time

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