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We now have no fewer than four big screen versions of A Star Is Born.

There's the 1937 original, the Judy Garland/James Mason remake, the Barbra Streisand/Kris Kristofferson remake... and now's there's the Lady Gaga/Bradley Cooper remake, which is directed by Cooper, and which might just take the fall movie season by storm.

This hour: a Noseish (but not quite actually The Nose) look at the phenomenon of A Star Is Born.

Brandon Giesbrecht / flickr creative commons

So, when Prince died (which was two-and-a-half years ago), we announced that we were finally going to retire our theme song (which was a Prince song). And then we promptly did... nothing at all.

Earlier this year, though -- and in typical Colin McEnroe Shovian fashion -- we decided that this non-problem was a big problem. And so, in order to try and hopefully finally fix this non-problem big problem, we did a whole show about theme songs -- ours and other people's.

Catherine Sebastian

Joyce Maynard has been writing for over 45 years about the kind of human experiences we're often taught to keep hidden - stories  about envy, anger, vanity, self-pity, pride.  

We read her stories because they offer a chance to first confront and then forgive ourselves for how those emotions can shape us into people we don't like. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The celebrity profile is dead. Or dying, at least, according to The New York Times. Case in point: the Times's own terrible profile of the great Maya Rudolph. Counterpoint: The Washington Post's fascinating, and self-eviscerating, profile of the formerly great Chevy Chase.

And: Nicole Holofcener's new movie is a Netflix adaptation of Ted Thompson's novel of the same name, The Land of Steady Habits. You'll never guess where it's set. (Actually, you might not. I'm pretty sure it's never said in the movie, and they shot it in Tarrytown, New York. But it's meant to be Westport, Conn., which is why The Nose is covering it.)

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Actress Cynthia Nixon lost the Democratic gubernatorial primary in New York yesterday. Did she lose because of the kind of bagel she eats? Probably not. But from the Nose's point of view, what could really matter more than that?

And Vulture, last week -- "as the discourse rages on about whether or not political correctness is destroying comedy (spoiler alert: it isn't)" -- ran a piece on the jokes comedians regret. But here's the real question: Do we want comedians regretting their jokes, tasteless or not?

Mike Mozart / flickr creative commons

Here's the money quote from a recent Washington Post story on entertainment in the Trump era: "People look at politics when deciding how they feel about a host or actor. Pop culture has now become one more thing that divides us, just like cable news and social media." The Nose couldn't pass that up, and this not-quite-The-Nose show can't pass it up either.

hobvias sudoneighm / flickr creative commons

Semiotics is the study of sign process, which is to say: it's the science of the search for meaning.

And then, part of the underlying premise of semiotics -- which just happens to be part of the underlying premise of The Colin McEnroe Show, itself -- is that there's meaning... everywhere.

Jan Lewandowski / Flickr Creative Commons

Mimes have been gesticulating their way into our hearts (or nightmares) for a lot longer than you may think. While it may have been the legendary Marcel Marceau who popularized the mime, people have been communicating through movement since the very beginning.

Warner Bros. Pictures

The Nose is off this week, but we bring you some pop culture topics anyway:

Jon M. Chu's Crazy Rich Asians is the number-one movie in the country, and it's expected to hold onto the top spot on the charts through this weekend. It's on the cover of Time magazine, and it's seen as "a major step forward for representation -- and the industry."

And: Hits are down, and strikeouts are up. Pitching changes and replays are at an all-time high, and take-out slides and home-plate collisions have been banned. As such, baseball greats find the game "very difficult to watch." Is baseball in trouble? (Spoiler alert: Probably not.)

Focus Features

August 16 -- yesterday -- is kind of an oddly busy day in the history of popular culture. In 1954, the first issue of Sports Illustrated was published. In 1962, Pete Best was fired from The Beatles. In 1948, Babe Ruth died. In 1958, Madonna was born (and so she turned 60 yesterday). In 1977, Elvis Presley died. And yesterday, a new August 16th-shaped dot was added to the timeline of pop culture: the death of Aretha Franklin. The Queen of Soul was 76 years old.

And: The new Spike Lee joint, BlacKkKlansman, is set in 1970s Colorado Springs, Colo., and it tells a story that's about race relations in all of America right now, today. It's "a slapstick comedy, a blaxploitation throwback, and an incendiary Molotov cocktail thrown into the foray of the modern multiplex," and it's being called Lee's "hardest-hitting work in decades."

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences this week announced changes to the annual Oscar awards, including a new category recognizing "outstanding achievement in popular film." Eligibility requirements and other details haven't been announced, but that hasn't stopped the film world from having strong opinions.

And: Bo Burnham is a comedian, musician, and actor who was a teen YouTube star. He’s directed a few comedy specials -- including Chris Rock's Tamborine -- and as of this week, his feature film directorial debut, Eighth Grade, is in wide release. Its "queasy verisimilitude" has earned it a 98% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Alfred A. Knopf, Publisher

The Times of London has said that Martin Amis "is as talented a journalist as he is a novelist." His latest collection of essays and reportage covers 1994 through 2017, Travolta through Trump.

Amis joins us for the hour.

Paramount Pictures

Colin's quite fond of this little piece of trivia: Tom Cruise was five years older during the production of Mission: Impossible -- Fallout than Wilford Brimley was during the filming of Cocoon. And it seems we're all okay with Tom Cruise as a 56-year-old action star. Fallout's opening weekend was the biggest for a Mission: Impossible movie and the second-biggest of Cruise's career.

Fallout is the best-received movie in the M:I franchise too. If you had to pick the five best blockbusters of this decade, you could put together a totally reasonable list made just of Tom Cruise movies. (Here, look: Edge of Tomorrow, Jack Reacher, and the last three Mission: Impossibles. See?) In fact, at this point, if you like high-concept summer popcorn movies, but you don't like comic books/Star Wars/Star Trek/Harry Potter/etc.... what else even is there besides Tom Cruise movies anymore? Not much.

Republic Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

Ariana Grande already had a top 10 hit from her forthcoming album, Sweetener. As of this week, she's got songs at numbers six and eleven on the Billboard Hot 100 with the debut of her single "God Is a Woman." The song and its video have become somewhat controversial in certain corners of the internet.

And: Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl was a literary phenomenon in 2012. In its wake, film/television rights for her previous novels were snapped up. And now, six years later, HBO is airing an eight-episode (and only eight episodes, by the way) miniseries adapted in part by Flynn and starring Amy Adams.

Netflix

Hannah Gadsby is an Australian comedian and writer. Her new Netflix special is Nanette. There are certain ways it's a different sort of comedy special than you're used to. It's, for instance, more of an art history lecture than you'd probably expect. Its audience laughs much less than you're used to. And it'll probably make you cry more than other specials have. Those idiosyncrasies are just some of the reasons Nanette is "the most discussed comedy special in ages."

Chion Wolf / WNPR

They made a documentary about Mr. Rogers. Does The Nose really have a choice but to go see it? No. It does not. But then, it's "a vital doc," "a tearjerker with a purpose," and "the film we need right now" with "the hero 2018 needs." So we probably should've gone to see it regardless of whether the guy was a public broadcasting icon or not, no?

Disney

There are three movies that deserve the credit (blame?) for the superhero/comic book movie renaissance/boom(/apocalypse?) that we've been living through now for nearly a decade and a half: Batman Begins (2005), Spider-Man 2 (2004), and Brad Bird's The Incredibles (2004).

thierry ehrmann / flickr creative commons

From his rapid-fire stand-up comedy riffs to his breakout role in Mork & Mindy and his Academy Award-winning performance in Good Will Hunting, Robin Williams was a singularly innovative and beloved entertainer. Dave Itzkoff's new biography is Robin.

And: For the tenth anniversary of his death, a look back at the work of George Carlin.

Chion Wolf / CT Public Radio

Ocean's 8 is about as 2010s a movie as there's ever been. It's a reboot sequel of a series that started with a remake. The fun part, though, is that this movie (unlike the four that precede it) stars eight women. And the even funner part is that it's the number one movie in the country. Our all-star, all-lady (plus Colin) Nose has thoughts.

Universal Pictures

The Fast and Furious franchise includes eight feature films and two short films, and it looks like it's about to include a series of spinoff films. It's Universal Pictures's highest-grossing film franchise with a combined box office of more than $5 billion.

Uhh, how did that happen?

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Solo is the tenth feature-length, live-action Star Wars film. It is the fifth Star Wars prequel. It is the second Star Wars anthology film (following 2016's Rogue One), and it's the second Star Wars movie to come out in just the last six months (along with The Last Jedi).

It is, though, a number of Star Wars firsts too: It's the first Star Wars picture to have its director(s) fired midway through production. It's the first to star Woody Harrelson. It's the first Star Wars movie that may well lose money.

YouTube Red Originals

You remember the dress, right? In case you don't: Three years ago, a poorly-lit photograph of a dress pretty much tore the internet to pieces. Some people saw a black-and-blue dress; some people saw a white-and-gold dress. The black-and-blue-dress people couldn't understand how the white-and-gold-dress people were living their lives; the white-and-gold-dress people called the black-and-blue-dress people "fake news" (no they didn't).

Well, this week there's a new the dress. Except it's a the dress for your ears, not your eyes. It's an audio file. Some people hear the word "laurel." Some people hear the non-word "yanny." And the dispute over which word is right and which word is wrong is very important (no it isn't).

Carlos Mejia / Connecticut Public Radio

Donald Glover can do anything. He's an actor and a comedian, he's a singer and a songwriter, he's a rapper and a DJ. Mainstream audiences know him from Community and maybe the FX series he created, Atlanta. Nerdy audiences know him as the voice of Spider-Man, and they're about to know him as a young Lando Calrissian.

But Glover's music -- he sings and raps as Childish Gambino and DJs as mcDJ -- has never quite punched through into the wider popular consciousness, despite some chart success. Until this week, maybe. The new Childish Gambino video, "This Is America," which dropped last Saturday in concert with Glover's hosting Saturday Night Live, has just about 75 million views on YouTube. It is "a milestone" and "a media phenomenon," and it has finally made Glover "a superstar."

Adam Tiner / flickr creative commons

Lauren Bacall probably does have the most famous line about smoking in all of cinema. But there are other good ones too. "What are you gonna do? Charge me with smoking?" "Smoke if ya got 'em." And many more.

Cigarettes have been such an integral part of movies for so long that one big concern in the lead up to Disney and Fox's planned merger is -- seriously -- all the smoking in Fox movies.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

This week's Nose tackles Kanye's bromance with President Trump. And we've got an update on monkey selfies!

Plus: Courtney Balaker's Little Pink House, which opens today at Real Art Ways in Hartford, tells the story of Kelo v. City of New London. Catherine Keener plays Susette Kelo. There's an unnamed version of Governor John Rowland. Keith Kountz makes an appearance. The movie is kind of Erin Brockovich, but on the Connecticut Shoreline in the Late '90s/Early 2000s. The Nose has seen it.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The original Lost in Space, an Irwin Allen series that aired on CBS for three seasons in the 1960s, was a marginal ratings success with seemingly outsized cultural impact. The show is still remembered for its campy humor, its catchphrases, and its not-possibly-designed-in-any-decade-but-the-1960s robot.

Netflix's new Lost in Space, on the other hand, tells the Swiss-family-Robinson-in-space story as a relatively serious family drama with super high production values and the mostly serialized narrative that's become the custom on prestige TV. The Nose has thoughts.

Brandon Giesbrecht / flickr creative commons

So, when Prince died (which was two years ago), we announced that we were finally going to retire our theme song (which is a Prince song). And then we promptly did... nothing at all.

Over the last few weeks, though -- and in typical Colin McEnroe Shovian fashion -- we've decided that this non-problem is a big problem. And so, in order to try and hopefully finally fix this non-problem big problem, we're doing a whole show about theme songs -- ours and other people's.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Wes Anderson is a... particular sort of filmmaker. With his typewriters and his pipe smoking. With his monochrome sets and props and costumes. With his perfectly symmetrical compositions. The one place where Anderson's tweeness is maybe softened a bit is in his old-school, stop-motion, animal-centric animated films. There was Fantastic Mr. Fox. And now there's Isle of Dogs. Dogs isn't without its own problems, though. The Nose weighs in.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Walt Disney’s hit film "Black Panther" broke new ground as the first mainstream superhero movie with a predominantly black cast and plenty of strong leading women. The film’s music also opens new doors: introducing authentic African sounds into an action-packed Marvel movie score. Central to those sounds is the talking drum from West Africa which can be heard sailing above many of the orchestral and choral arrangements.

Warner Bros. Ent.

Ernest Cline's novel Ready Player One is a futuristic nostalgia bomb that lovingly apes Spielbergian 1970s and '80s pop culture. Steven Spielberg's film adaptation of Ready Player One could have been a self-aware, winking paean to the current Urban Outfitters kitsch for which Spielberg's somewhat responsible. Instead -- and perhaps not surprisingly -- it's a bigger, nostalgia bombier futuristic adventure filled with more decades' worth of pop culture references even than the book is. For better or worse. The Nose has thoughts.

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