Sunday, December 4, 2016

Dev Patel in LION

As I write this, the FXM cable channel is airing THE RAINS OF RANCHIPUR.  The glossy 1955 Fox drama starring Lana Turner and Richard Burton is a remake of Fox's 1939 film, THE RAINS CAME starring Tyrone Power and Myrna Loy.  In both films, a spoiled aristocrat Anglo wife in a loveless marriage falls for a handsome noble Indian while she's in India.  During her stay, a disastrous flood occurs which causes a cholera epidemic.  Tyrone Power and Richard Burton were white actors in "tropical" make-up to play the Indian objects of desire.  If this movie was remade today, the romantic Hindu role could go to the talented young British actor, DEV PATEL.  He's no longer the gangling, sweetly geeky guy of SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL and the HBO series, THE NEWSROOM.  He's now a handsome hunk and his hunky new appearance is one of the best visuals in LION.
I loved Dev Patel in LION.  I had a lukewarm reaction to the movie on the whole.  It's a film determined to make you cry.  Did it make me cry?  No. I wasn't manipulated by the calculated tear-jerker elements of the screenplay.  Based on a true story, Dev Patel plays a young man born into the abject poverty of India.  When he's about 5 years old. he gets separated from his family.  He's separated thousands of miles away because he wandered off from his family on a train and fell asleep in a different car.  When he awoke, he was alone and about to have the kind of bleak childhood experiences that would've inspired Charles Dickens to write another novel.
20 years later, he's the adopted son of an Australian couple with quite the sunny disposition.  Saroo (Patel) has been living a comfortable life with them.  Rooney Mara stars as Saroo's girlfriend.  But Saroo is suddenly haunted by memories of his miserable youth, separation and previous family members. This will cause friction with the couple that adopted him.  Nicole Kidman stars as the Australian woman committed to giving the adopted child a better life.
Saroo's flashbacks cause him to consult maps to trace his origins.  It's then that LION becomes one long commercial for Google Earth.  Here's a trailer.

Why didn't it make me cry?  Well, we have the first half with the remarkable Sunny Pawar as little Saroo in nightmarish conditions as a lost boy.  Cut to grown Saroo in middle class comfort.  Then his early memories start bothering him.  There wasn't a smooth transition from bleak boyhood to pleasant middle class young manhood and flashbacks of despair.  The screenplay needed something more.
There's good acting in LION.  Patel is good and looks good.  Back in the day, the shots of Dev Patel shirtless in blue jeans would've been printed on posters to adorn the bedrooms of teen girl movie fans.  He's definitely now romantic lead material.  Kidman has a deep personal attachment to adoption and it shines through in her performance.  I didn't like the way the girlfriend role that Rooney Mara plays was written.

Saroo's desire to relocate his birth mother, to rediscover his roots, could cause major tension with the the Australians who adopted him and gave him a new life.  This business is something he needed to bring up with them private.  But his Caucasian girlfriend casually nags him to bring the subject up while she's a guest at the family dinner table with him, his special needs adopted brother and his Australian parents.  The family dinner table is the biggest birthplace of drama since ancient Greece.  What the heck was she thinking?  I found myself wishing that Saroo's girlfriend had been the one who got lost in Calcutta.  However, the young man will trace his roots and come to learn more about the woman who adopted him.

LION runs about 2 hours and 10 minutes.  With a tighter and smoother script, it could've been delivered in a touching 1 hour and 50 minutes.

I did love seeing Dev Patel "grow up" in this movie and take on a new image.  I hope Hollywood tosses him some of the same script opportunities it usually sends to James Franco, Ryan Gosling and Chris Pine.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Brad Pitt Goes Old Hollywood in ALLIED

He's a handsome and appealing movie star, the kind that top Hollywood studios mass produced in the 1940 and 50s.  Notice that I wrote "movie star" instead of "actor."  The reason for that is that I always catch him acting in his performances.   And I don't mean that as a slap.  He gives me the vibe of basically being just a hot-looking, cool dude who makes moves.  You really don't go to a Brad Pitt movie to see him "act" the way you go to see Daniel Day-Lewis or Sean Penn act.  You go to be entertained by Brad Pitt the movie star.  Did you see TROY? There was handsome Brad Pitt in a Trojan War epic as Achilles, the Greek hero.  Did you hear Brad speak?  He sounded like he was from the Beverly Hills, California section of ancient Greece.  And that's why his supporting cast had the likes of Peter O'Toole, Julie Christie and Eric Bana.  They did the real acting while Brad looked handsome.  That same format is at play in his new feature.
In ALLIED, the action-packed World War 2 spy thriller, we have Brad Pitt and the most excellent Marion Cotillard as agents on a secret mission to kill Nazis.  They meet in Casablanca where they are ordered to pose and man and wife.  They carry out their mission behind enemy lines.  Brad has to speak French in his role.  Marion Cotillard, Best Actress Oscar winner for playing the late legendary French singer Edith Piaf in 2008's LA VIE EN ROSE, was born and raised in Paris.  She already knows how to speak French.
The two secret agents wear fabulous clothing.  The costume design calls to mind Hollywood classics of the 1940s.  They have steamy sex during a sandstorm.  The two people with fake identities fall in love.  They get married and have a baby.  She gives birth during a London blitz and her screams can be heard over the bombs.  Things quiet down for them in London until...Max the intelligence officer (Brad) is informed that his French Resistance fighter wife (Marion) may really be...a Nazi spy.  Is she or isn't she?

Here's a trailer for ALLIED.

ALLIED would've probably been a big hit with young audiences back in the 1970s.  Why?  The movie CASABLANCA was hugely popular on college campuses.  I attended Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Every single time CASABLANCA was rented and shown on campus, the audience was packed and there were always cheers and enthusiastic applause when the Claude Rains character orders "Round up the usual suspects."  That was the decade in which young film fans fell in love with CASABLANCA.  You see the CASABLANCA love in Woody Allen's 1972 hit, PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM.
ALLIED is great eye-candy.  The production design and costumes call to mind Hollywood's classic era -- the era in which Warner Bros. made CASABLANCA.  However, there are elements of this entertaining movie that would've made it perfect fodder for an excellent spoof with guest stars on THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW.  There's a nighttime scene in which Max (Brad Pitt) sneaks into Nazi territory to interrogate a drunken Frenchman in jail.  It's not a funny scene, but I giggled because the Frenchman was Harvey Korman, if you know what I mean.  And then there's Brad trying to emote and speak French at the same time.

I already mentioned Brad as an ancient Greek in TROY.  Did you ever see Brad as Heinrich, the Austrian mountaineer in SEVEN YEARS IN TIBET?  I watch that film to feel better about myself.  It empowers to know that my German accent is better than Brad Pitt's.

I'd like to know what co-star Marion Cotillard was thinking in their scenes when Brad was speaking French.  She must've wanted to turn to him like Dianne Wiest in BULLETS OVER BROADWAY and say, "Don't speak. Don't...SPEAK."

The British actors in the supporting cast around Brad are very good.  Cotillard is wonderful.  The story does have suspense.  Halfway through it, I could not figure out if she was or wasn't a spy.  I was caught up in the mystery. ALLIED was directed to Robert Zemeckis.  He gave us FORREST GUMP, CAST AWAY, FLIGHT and BACK TO THE FUTURE.  He knows how to spend money and get the most out of special effects.  There are thrilling special effects in the wartime scenes.  There's suspense in this romantic thriller.  The production values are rich.  Brad Pitt is once again a hot-looking dude.  If only the movie had more a Hitchcock touch and less of a possible Carol Burnett spoof quality.


Friday, December 2, 2016


Some of the brightest stars and greatest artists of classic Hollywood films were not seen on the screen.  They were in the production team behind the camera.  Such is the case with the often overlooked yet highly entertaining and action-packed MGM melodrama, GREEN DOLPHIN STREET released in 1947.  Jazz singers and musicians know the song "Green Dolphin Street."  It originated as the theme for this movie.
The top star is Lana Turner at the height of her MGM fame.  This film is not often mentioned when folks talk about Lana Turner features.  However, it's one that shows she was more than just a glamour girl.  GREEN DOLPHIN STREET, like THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, boasts one of her best dramatic outings.  In fact, if you've seen Lana as Georgia Lorrison in Vincente Minnelli's THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, GREEN DOLPHIN STREET is exactly the quality of film Georgia would've made after she established herself as a top Hollywood star, one that had finally gotten over Jonathan Shields (played by Kirk Douglas).
As for this story:  It takes place in 1840.  It's a historical costume drama.  We're taken to an island in the English Channel.  A wealthy, loving older couple has two lovely daughters.  One with a great head for business is played by Lana Turner.  The other sweet daughter is played by the perfectly cast Donna Reed.  The two sisters have a romantic eye for the same man.  He has a romantic eye for one of them.  But he drinks.  When he sends a letter asking for the hand of one in marriage, he writes the name of the wrong sister.  Lana, as the more voluptuous and business-savvy sister, gets the marriage proposal and eagerly sails off to accept.  The other sister appears happy but she's really crushed. The sisters were close.
That's just the beginning.  Later, in New Zealand, there's an earthquake as major as the one that some think sank the Lost Continent of Atlantis, there's a native uprising and there's a man secretly in love with the Lana Turner sister knowing that his friend married her by mistake.
There's good high drama in this movie.  Back at the English Channel, the mother lies deathly ill.  A priest has been called.  Gladys Cooper, so excellent as the manipulative and domineering mother opposite Bette Davis in NOW, VOYAGER, is the other kind of mother in GREEN DOLPHIN STREET.  She's warm, loving, tender and truthful.  She has a deathbed confession scene that is just beautiful.  It's beautifully acted and it's beautifully shot by master cinematographer George J. Folsey.
I first saw this movie on local TV when I was in high school and I couldn't take my eyes off the gorgeous composition of this shot and the lighting.  This scene with Gladys Cooper, Donna Reed and Edmund Gwenn is my favorite one in the whole film.

The dying mother knows that her dear daughter feels her life no longer has meaning now that the man she felt she loved married another.  Someone she also loves.  He married her sister.  The mother tells her daughter something about her young life and love that her daughter never knew.  Her father is present too, listening to his dying wife's revelations.
That crucifix, that candle will be symbols in the daughter's life to come.  She'll feel lost and wind up here.
And then, to keep from drowning, she will have to climb up the inside of a large rock to safety.
There will be a candle in her future and her spirit will find light again.
There's wonderful cinematography throughout this film.  That one deathbed scene shot --- wow.  It get me every time.  So simple, so beautiful, so rich in soulfulness.  I love that shot and that entire scene in GREEN DOLPHIN STREET.
 Cinematographer George J. Folsey's other credits include THE GREAT ZIEGFELD, MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, THE CLOCK and ADAM'S RIB.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Fierce and Fabulous Harvey Fierstein

Spend the night of December 7th with Harvey Fierstein.  That's when HAIRSPRAY LIVE! airs on NBC.  In this live adaptation of the big Broadway hit musical -- a musical version of the John Waters' cult comedy, HAIRSPRAY -- Harvey recreates the role thousands and thousands of us loved seeing him do on Broadway.  He won a Tony for that 2002 performance.  The multi-talented and charismatic Harvey was on NBC's daytime show, ACCESS HOLLYWOOD LIVE on Nov. 29th to promote the upcoming show. The true gentleman explained that the film version of the Broadway hit, in which John Travolta put on dresses for the role Harvey did, was one thing.  The upcoming NBC version is different and will try to capture some of the live zest and attitude of the Broadway production.  Harvey wrote the script for the TV adaptation.
A few friends and I were lucky enough to see the original Broadway cast early in its run.  Let me tell you, the audience had one great big love affair with Harvey Fierstein as Edna Turnblad.  I am thrilled that Harvey gets to recreate the role for a whole new -- and bigger -- audience.
I've interviewed Harvey on TV a few times and loved every single chat.  He's wise, witty and loves to dish.  It's the wisdom of Harvey that always gets me -- the wisdom, the absolute respect and reverence he has for theater, his activism and his willingness to share his knowledge with someone who will listen.  He inspires you to be your true self, find your voice, give it clarity, make it colorful and contribute to the world around you.  That's some of the message of HAIRSPRAY LIVE!
By the time I relocated to New York City for my first TV job in Manhattan, Harvey Fierstein was already a Tony winner.  As a playwright, his TORCH SONG TRILOGY won the Tony Award for Best Play on Broadway.  TORCH SONG TRILOGY also brought him the Tony for Best Actor of 1983.  In the play, he was Arnold Beckoff.  Arnold is a Jewish drag queen/singer in the New York City of the late 1970s/early 80s.  Arnold has a special man in his life.  Arnold also becomes a single parent raising a gay teenager.  Arnold has to deal with his obstinate and disrespectful mother who's visiting from Florida.  Harvey recreated his role in the 1988 film version of TORCH SONG TRILOGY co-starring Anne Bancroft and Matthew Broderick.

During my first New York City TV job, two years as an entertainment reporter for WPIX/Channel 11, I saw Harvey a lot doing what he could to help his brethren in the gay community during the dark days of the AIDS crisis.  He was a grassroots activist.  His were not red carpet appearances with a TV crew present.  He wanted to get the message out to his community to be aware, to be sexually safe, to be as informed as possible.  I participated in a confidential weekend medical seminar.  Held in conjunction with Manhattan's GMHC (Gay Men's Health Crisis) non-profit organization, this seminar sought 800 men to participate. The purpose was to promote safe sex practices and give medical information.  The GMHC tried hard to get public service mentions of this on local news programs.  I did a piece on it for WPIX after passionately pitching the gravity of it to my boss several times.  I did a piece on the upcoming seminar and attended the 1986 seminar.  On the panel were doctors from here in the U.S. and overseas.  Also on the panel...Tony winner Harvey Fierstein because he cared and he was/is a liaison to the gay community of New York.  He attended both days of the 2-day seminar.  We loved him.

In the early 1990s, I'd come off three great years on VH1 (where Harvey was a guest on my talk show) and I was working on a WNBC/Channel 4 live weekend local news program that had premiered in 1992.  About the November 20th weekend of 1993, my interview of Robin Williams aired.  He was promoting his soon-to-open comedy, MRS. DOUBTFIRE.

I'd also taped a very good interview of Harvey Fierstein.  He played the brother to Robin's character in the movie.  He's the make-up artist who helps him choose a temporary female identity.
Harvey and I talked about the movie and working with Robin Williams, of course, and about barriers he had to break through in his career after he won the Tonys and starred in a movie.  He was not getting a lot of work because...well, let's just say his representation needed to be more enlightened about diversity.   Harvey's a writer and an actor.  A fine actor.  But if good scripts were being cast, Harvey would not get submitted to audition unless the script called for a "flamboyantly gay" character.  It was frustration many actors feel.  Many actors who are or aren't gay -- but are placed in a little box by people in the industry -- know that frustration.  

The head of 20th Century Fox film publicity and Robin Williams' then wife were in the room for my conversation with Harvey and complimented me on a good interview.

My good interview of Harvey Fierstein didn't air that weekend in 1993 on the local New York City morning news program.  Why?  Because the WNBC news director -- who is long gone from the station -- said "I have a problem with him being openly gay."

I reminded him that Harvey won Tony Awards for playing an openly gay man on Broadway and for writing the play.  He still refused to air the interview.  Our interview was so family-friendly it could've aired on a Disney Channel.  But the WNBC news director had "a problem" with Harvey Fierstein being openly gay.  In 1993. I got more vocal about my displeasure with the lack of positive gay images on TV.  At the time in my personal life, I was caregiver to my partner who'd been diagnosed with full-blown AIDS.  I was advised by a few gay co-workers months earlier to keep mum about that for fear of losing my job.  Those were dark days.

Look at all the openly gay talent you see on TV now.  There's openly gay talent on WNBC news programs.  I am overjoyed that Harvey is doing HAIRSPRAY LIVE! on NBC.  And wherever that former news director is today....he should only stay there.
 I love actor, writer and AIDS activist Harvey Fierstein.  I am grateful for his presence.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


It's now one of my favorite classic films to watch during the Christmas season.  It's brisk, goofy, glamorous and has big stars at Warner Brothers in a yuletide comedy.  The movie is 1942's THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER based on a Broadway hit in which dozens of celebrity names were dropped.  Monty Woolley plays Sheridan Whiteside, the role he originated on Broadway.  This volatile, meddlesome yet sentimental man in a wheelchair is loosely based on then popular theatre critic and radio personality named Alexander Woollcott.  Woollcott was a member of the famed Algonquin Table.  Bette Davis plays Whiteside's his long-suffering personal secretary, wrangler and friend, Maggie Cutler.
This New York City celebrity is on a personal appearance tour.  While in a small town, he breaks his leg and is confined to wheelchair in the home of a married couple with two grown children.  Well...Sherry thinks he's broken his leg.  He's really fine but he stays in the wheelchair.  He soon disrupts and takes over the household, inviting celebrity friends to pop over and giving sage advice to the two grown and frustrated children.  Because of him, things are topsy-turvy as Christmas Day approaches and Maggie works overtime to keep it all under control.
A private nurse is hired for the faker in the wheelchair.  Mary Wickes made her film debut as Miss Preen.  She and Monty Woolley were the only members of the original Broadway cast who repeated their roles in the film.  Maggie falls in love with a local reporter during the stay.  But Sheridan Whiteside has invited his fabulous friend, Lorraine Sheldon, to come over for a Christmas visit.  And to vamp her way into the getting the lead in a great play written by a local aspiring playwright.  The playwright happens to be Maggie's boyfriend reporter.  Ann Sheridan hits a major home run as the bitchy man-trap of a Broadway star.
That small town has never seen the likes of Lorraine Sheldon.  She carbonates the hormones of every red-blooded straight male she sees.  Sheridan Whiteside is a good friend to have.  He's been helpful in her career.  And he knows that Lorraine and Maggie are sophisticated rivals.  They can't stand each other.

No matter how famous Lorraine has become, no matter how much she has re-invented herself as a queen of Broadway, no matter how determined she is to wed her way into British society, there's still a touch of the Kansas City dame about her.  We see that in my favorite dress this vamp wears to meet a talented new playwright.
Look at the clasp detail on Sheldon's dress.  It makes Lorraine look like her tits are hitch-hiking.
It's so deliciously suggestive.  Chic and sophisticated with a slight unmistakable touch of the gutter.  I love it. The costume designer was the great Orr-Kelly.

Warner Brothers' popular star Ann Sheridan was nicknamed "The Oomph Girl" as the studio strapped her with a glamour girl image.
But Ann could act -- as she proved in the drama KING'S ROW -- and she had the right stuff for comedy as she proved in THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER.  She's one of the few actresses who ever stole scenes from Bette Davis in a Warner Brothers film.  This Christmastime comedy really sizzles when Ann Sheridan shows up.

THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER was done as a special telecast on NBC in 1972.  Orson Welles took on the Sheridan Whiteside role.  It wasn't very good.  But Mary Wickes got to repeat her Miss Preen role yet again.
Mary Wickes played a private nurse opposite Bette Davis in THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER and in NOW, VOYAGER.  In the 1960s, they played co-workers in an ABC sitcom pilot for Aaron Spelling called THE DECORATOR.  I kid you not.  A sitcom pilot.  Bette played an interior decorator.  The sitcom pilot didn't get picked up.

Happy Holidays.  Enjoy THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER.  And dig that dress.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


This film is a classic in the true sense of the word and not just because it's well over 20 years old.  THE THIRD MAN directed by Carol Reed and released in 1949.  Joseph Cotten starred as Holly Martins, a poor writer who's visiting poor post-war Vienna to reunite with an old friend named Harry Lime.  When he arrives, Harry seems to be deceased.  We follow Holly and the police as they investigate under the manholes, below the surface, in the sewers.  When Harry died, who was "the third man" at the scene?  Harry left behind a woman who is still in love with him.  Holly gets answers as he goes below the surface of their friendship.  There's a lot of mystery.  You have the feeling that Holly is being watched.  Some people are reluctant to talk about Harry Lime.  Cinematographer Robert Kraskher gave us classic, gorgeously atmospheric black and white shots.  You other classic film fans could frame stills from THE THIRD MAN and put them on your walls as art.
Carol Reed cast a fellow director in his film.  A fellow director who was also a good actor.  A good actor named Orson Welles.  And Reed gave Welles one of the best shots -- and roles -- of his film career.
The opening credits of the film are now famous too.  Zither music was used to play what became "The Third Man Theme."  The zither music was novel and different.
The year after the film's release, "The Third Man Theme" topped the international music charts.  The zither was even referenced during the "Girl Hunt" murder mystery jazz ballet number with Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in Vincente Minnelli's THE BAND WAGON (1953).
I also love this shot in the opening credits as the zither music plays and sets the tone for this tale.  Why do I love that credits shot so much?   For years, I always watched that credits shot and assumed it was just a zither as it played.  Then, during one repeat viewing, it hit me that it could also be a view from above street level.  A viewpoint of someone peering through blinds at a manhole on the street.  That makes sense if you've seen the movie.  There are two ways of looking at that opening shot -- just as Holly discovers there are two way of looking at his friend, Harry Lime.
THE THIRD MAN is a masterpiece.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Jessica Chastain and Female Film Critics

Recently, I saw Jessica Chastain as MISS SLOANE.  She took that role and bit into it like it was a succulent, juicy prime rib dinner.  And, baby, was it fun watching her take every single bite.  Miss Sloane is a lobbyist in Washington, D.C.  She's one of the best in the business and one tough opponent. In order to play the game, she sometimes has to break the rules.  When she supports background checks on guns, she is for it because of America's gun violence history "...between Columbine and Charleston."  When that happens, the big boys try to break her.  They can try, but it sure as hell ain't gonna be easy.  Miss Sloane is ready.
Miss Sloane is no saint.  She's not exactly what one would call a "good girl."  She has her imperfections and desires like we all do.  This makes her a fascinating complicated woman to watch onscreen.
Just last week, I had watched THE HELP again.  There was Jessica Chastain as the ditzy young Southern wife who hires her first maid and gets a lesson in how to fry chicken.
We love this bubbly 1963 character because she hires Minny (Octavia Spencer in her Best Supporting Actress Oscar-winning role) and embraces racial harmony.
In the town's caste system, she and Minny are both outsiders.  She treats Minny with respect and affection.
Chastain was also in the Best Supporting Actress Oscar category for THE HELP.  Her performance in MISS SLOANE is yet another display of the her terrific acting versatility.  In the 1940s or 50s, this role would've gone to a Barbara Stanwyck, Susan Hayward or Jennifer Jones.  In the 1970s, it would've been a Faye Dunaway vehicle.  It's that kind of role in a film driven by a strong actress.  Here's a movie promo.

In the Weekend Arts section of The New York Times on Friday, Nov. 25th, MISS SLOANE got some major space on a page.
 A big ad for MISS SLOANE that included six rave reviews.  All were from male critics.
On Twitter, Jessica Chastain tweeted this on Nov. 16th:  Hey #nastywomen -- If you love film and are good with a pen, how about becoming a critic?  We need female critics to bring balance & diversity."

Brava, Jessica!

If you've followed my blog posts, you know that I've written several times about TV's lack of race and gender diversity in the field of film critics on network morning news programs, local newscasts and on syndicated film review shows.  In my New York City years, I've reviewed film on local and network news programs -- but it was never easy to get those bookings.  I definitely felt executive resistance when I went for the opportunity.

New York City alone is at no loss for good veteran female film critics.  I know some of them.  I've seen many of them at movie screenings in Manhattan.

In 2012, I was half of an on-air team in a film review show pilot.  Film review shows aren't new, but this was one was had two black film critics.  We got the green light from a prestigious PBS station to shoot the pilot.  When I agreed to do it, I pushed for a woman named Mia Mask to be my on-air film review partner.  She's African American, great to listen to and teaches film studies at Vassar College.  Mia knows movies.  I wanted viewers to see that black women -- and other women of color -- can review new movies and discuss classic films.  Think about it.  When have you ever seen a black female movie critic on TV?

Well, the executives wanted the team to be two men.  Which it was.  And there you have it.  By the way, that TV pilot reportedly is "still under consideration."  To repeat, we shot it in 2012.

The need for Hollywood diversity doesn't just apply to onscreen work.  It also applies to those who write and talk about the work and images that Hollywood gives us.

The first man quoted in the newspaper ad is the excellent Justin Chang of The Los Angeles Times.  Justin can be heard regularly on news radio station KPCC out of Southern California.  Every Friday, this NPR station has "FilmWeek," a fine one-hour film review show during the AirTalk hosted by Larry Mantle.  (Tom Hanks is a huge Larry Mantle fan.  So am I.)  Not only is FilmWeek a stimulating, witty, informative hour of non-snarky movie talk, it presents weekly guest film critics in a panel that has refreshing gender & race diversity.  It's the kind of diversity in the film review field that network TV has yet to give us -- and it's almost 2017.

To hear recent FilmWeek shows on KPCC's AirTalk, go here:  FilmWeek can be heard live on Fridays at Noon Pacific Time.

One last thing about MISS SLOANE.  It's the kind of entertaining political thriller that I recommend you see again -- just to realize how clever and smart that woman truly is.  You'll catch more the second time around.

MISS SLOANE is now playing in selected cities.  It opens nationwide on Dec. 9th.