Cinebuds weigh in on the small screen debut of ‘Hamilton’

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We’re 88Nine’s Justin Barney and Milwaukee Film’s Kpolly. We’re buds, we like cinema — we’re Cinebuds.

Kpolly here. An obscure little piece of theater called “Hamilton” is this week’s subject on Cinebuds. Probably none of you have ever heard of it, but don’t worry. We’re here to open your eyes. I think it’s going to be a popular show. Mark my words.

Mega-corporation Disney has seasoned its streaming service with a little more than all the “Ice Age” movies and vintage Spiderman cartoons. The addition of “Hamilton” has started a new life for the hit Broadway phenomenon. Those who are only familiar with it from the soundtrack and the various cobbled together YouTube clips can now experience Lin Manuel-Miranda’s masterpiece.  The story of one of the founding fathers of the nation old through contemporary music and some of the fastest and most varied rap stylings that stage has ever seen!

“Hamilton” | Courtesy Disney+

We’re giving our reactions to the small screen debut, and in my case, seeing it for the first time.  And we’ll talk about some other options for theater-lovers or Manuel-Miranda-heads!

Does Justin make a BOLD claim about the Tolkien movies? Yes. Yes, he does.
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Radio Milwaukee is on a mission, and if you came here in search of new perspectives on music or Milwaukee then you’re on a mission, too! Join today and you make it possible for us to keep discovering and learning together.

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Will Ferrell’s ‘Eurovision’ movie is as well-researched as it is goofy

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We’re 88Nine’s Justin Barney and Milwaukee Film’s Kpolly. We’re buds, we like cinema — we’re Cinebuds.

“Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” is the new Will Ferrell movie that hit Netflix last week. It’s written by Will Ferrell, who did a striking amount of research on this. His wife is Swedish, so he has been following the contest for years, and went behind the scenes to know how it really works. This was going to premiere in conjunction with this year’s real Eurovision, but, sorry, you know.

“Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of the Fire Saga”

The story is of Will Ferrell and his singing partner played by Rachel McAdams, and they compete for their homeland, which is Iceland, in the contest. And, you are probably going to like this, or not like this based on your feelings toward Will Ferrell. If you are in on his other kind of schlocky over-the-top lead parts, you are probably going to laugh along. If you hate him, you will hate it. If you hold him to a really high standard, you might be let down a bit. It delivers exactly what it promises, a goofy, but at times heartfelt movie about a goofy, but at times heartfelt contest.

Me and Kpolly go back and forth about our expectations and thoughts about Will Ferrell and what worked and didn’t work about “The Story of Fire Saga” in the podcast.

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Get all of 88Nine’s podcasts delivered right to you weekly at RadioMilwaukee.org/Podcasts. We’ve got podcasts about music, food and film, with fresh episodes dropping every week! And don’t forget to check out our new podcast “Backspin: The Search for Milwaukee’s First Hip-Hop Song,” a six-part exploration of the birth of Milwaukee rap. All episodes are streaming now.

Radio Milwaukee is on a mission, and if you came here in search of new perspectives on music or Milwaukee then you’re on a mission, too! Join today and you make it possible for us to keep discovering and learning together.

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Cinebuds review the Academy Award winning movies of the 1950s

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We’re 88Nine’s Justin Barney and Milwaukee Film’s Kpolly. We’re buds, we like cinema — we’re Cinebuds.

Here we continue our series talking about ALL of the Academy Award Best Pictures. The 1940s were marred by WWII, and many Best Pictures were showing support for the troops, or establishing a national morality in its wake. The 1950s show a step out of the stage acting and take a big leap into modernity. Camera techniques improve, productions move out of the studio and into the world, and most notably, movies are in COLOR. The ’50s are a wild display of variety and fun, starting with the Best Picture of 1950, “All About Eve.” There is a moment about three minutes into the film where the frame freezes and a voice over comes on to explain the action. I felt myself let out a shallow, “whoa.” It was a narrative technique that felt truly modern. It was a full 10 years before Godard’s “Breathless” and in some ways seemed to beat French New Wave to the punch. 

All About Eve

Of course, there were bloated, self-important period pieces dragging over the three hour mark and insisting that they were Important by sheer force that were simply irresistible to the Academy. “The Bridge on the River Kwaii” kicked dirt into the face non-English speaking countries war practices and furthered a narrative of racial superiority. “The Greatest Show on Earth” was dazzling when it was trying to be a documentary about how circus’ ran in the 1950s. But also tried to cram in four other dramatic arcs and ended up trying to say so much that it said nothing really at all. And “Ben-Hur” retreated right back into the studio comfort zone being a three and a half hour period drama which spent so much money that, to not get the Oscar would have been embarrassing. It holds up okay. And the chariot scene is cool. 

The highs in the ’50s were truly high. My personal favorite, and probably all around sleeper of the decade was 1955’s “Marty.” It was a story so simple and clear that it is kind of astounding that it won, though I think rightfully so. Ernest Borgnine plays a portly man that is having trouble finding love. That is it. It is unpretentious and elegant. The characters innocent and real. “Marty” was a real joy. So were the Vincente Minnelli movies. There were two of them, “An American in Paris” and “Gigi.” “An American in Paris” was so striking because it was in COLOR. The first to use color in ten years and only the second Best Picture to be in color. It sounds kind of unimpressive now, but after watching a month of black and white movies, seeing color was truly eye popping. And boy, do they use colors. The sets, the sounds, the COSTUMES. Everything about the Minnelli pictures is calculated and manicured to perfection. 

These are just my thoughts though. Kpolly agrees on some of the assessments, (I didn’t even get to how much we loved “On the Waterfront” here) and disagrees with others (you should hear his thoughts on Vincente Minnelli). Check it all out in the podcast below.

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Get all of 88Nine’s podcasts delivered right to you weekly at RadioMilwaukee.org/Podcasts. We’ve got podcasts about music, food and film, with fresh episodes dropping every week! And don’t forget to check out our new podcast “Backspin: The Search for Milwaukee’s First Hip-Hop Song,” a six-part exploration of the birth of Milwaukee rap. All episodes are streaming now.

Radio Milwaukee is on a mission, and if you came here in search of new perspectives on music or Milwaukee then you’re on a mission, too! Join today and you make it possible for us to keep discovering and learning together.

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Spike Lee puts his own spin on a war film with ‘Da 5 Bloods’

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We’re 88Nine’s Justin Barney and Milwaukee Film’s Kpolly. We’re buds, we like cinema — we’re Cinebuds.

“Da 5 Bloods” is the new Spike Lee joint. It’s a movie about the Vietnam War that was nearly directed by Oliver Stone, of course, but then Spike Lee got his hands on it and he did what Spike Lee does. He added history, he added style, he added a message that went further than a couple old veterans trying to relive their glory days.

“Da 5 Bloods” | Courtesy Netflix

At this point Spike Lee is prolific. You think you have seen a lot of Spike Lee movies, but believe me, you have not seen as many as you think you have. IMDB has him at 93 credits as a director. A lot of these are shorts, or weird projects, but Spike Lee has been good for about a movie once every two years since 1986. In the podcast me and Kpolly talk about some of those signature Spike Lee moves, how they work or don’t work here, Kpolly’s favorite joke of the movie, and plenty more in the review of “Da 5 Bloods.”

Like what you hear? Subscribe!

Get all of 88Nine’s podcasts delivered right to you weekly at RadioMilwaukee.org/Podcasts. We’ve got podcasts about music, food and film, with fresh episodes dropping every week! And don’t forget to check out our new podcast “Backspin: The Search for Milwaukee’s First Hip-Hop Song,” a six-part exploration of the birth of Milwaukee rap. All episodes are streaming now.

Radio Milwaukee is on a mission, and if you came here in search of new perspectives on music or Milwaukee then you’re on a mission, too! Join today and you make it possible for us to keep discovering and learning together.

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Movies that resonate and inspire during this moment of protest

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We’re 88Nine’s Justin Barney and Milwaukee Film’s Kpolly. We’re buds, we like cinema — we’re Cinebuds.

Kpolly here. The world is currently responding to the murder of George Floyd, with protests in all 50 states and 18 other countries around the world. Everyone has taken to the streets to raise their voices against institutionalized racism. It’s as heart-breaking as it is important. It’s terrifying. And it’s hopeful.  

A couple of dummies like us aren’t the ones that should be guiding the conversation, but we do know right from wrong. And we are more than willing to be in service of this movement. So, we’ll be cheerleaders.

“Selma” | Courtesy Paramount Pictures

This week on Cinebuds we are talking about the power that film has to move us and inspire us. Protest films of all kinds have documented or dramatized the efforts of individuals who work together for a cause. From the Civil Rights Movement to the AIDS activists in the ’80s, there are so many films to draw energy from. Even fiction films have portrayed the passion and the determination that we need right now. Draw on whatever you need to keep going. We’re just talking about a few of those films this week on Cinebuds.

We’re proud of the brave Milwaukeeans who are fighting — and everyone else around the world.

Like what you hear? Subscribe!

Get all of 88Nine’s podcasts delivered right to you weekly at RadioMilwaukee.org/Podcasts. We’ve got podcasts about music, food and film, with fresh episodes dropping every week! And don’t forget to check out our new podcast “Backspin: The Search for Milwaukee’s First Hip-Hop Song,” a six-part exploration of the birth of Milwaukee rap. All episodes are streaming now.

Radio Milwaukee is on a mission, and if you came here in search of new perspectives on music or Milwaukee then you’re on a mission, too! Join today and you make it possible for us to keep discovering and learning together.

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‘The Painter and the Thief’ offers plot twists that are almost too good to be true

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We’re 88Nine’s Justin Barney and Milwaukee Film’s Kpolly. We’re buds, we like cinema — we’re Cinebuds.

“The Painter and the Thief” is part of Milwaukee Film’s Sofa Cinema. Make sure to check on that cause they are posting cool new stuff every day. The movie itself delivers on its title. It is a documentary about a painter and a thief. Barbora Kysilkova is the artist. She makes large scale photo realistic paintings that are often dark or traumatic.

Karl Bertil-Nordland is our thief. He’s a junkie and there is a bit of him that lives the trauma that Kysilkova paints. They meet in court. After Karl steals her painting right out of the store window. Afterwards she asks him to pose for her.

“The Painter and the Thief”

And that could be the whole movie. Honestly, it’s what we both thought it would be. Seems like that is beginning middle and end right there. But its not. The movie takes place over an unusually long amount of time for what it sets out to do. You follow this unlikely friendship for at least a year. And in that year or two there are so many twists and turns that me and Kpolly had to look up if it was too good to be true because sometimes it really feels like it. We get into all the ebbs and flows in the podcast. Check it out below.

Like what you hear? Subscribe!

Get all of 88Nine’s podcasts delivered right to you weekly at RadioMilwaukee.org/Podcasts. We’ve got podcasts about music, food and film, with fresh episodes dropping every week! And don’t forget to check out our new podcast “Backspin: The Search for Milwaukee’s First Hip-Hop Song,” a six-part exploration of the birth of Milwaukee rap. All episodes are streaming now.

Radio Milwaukee is on a mission, and if you came here in search of new perspectives on music or Milwaukee then you’re on a mission, too! Join today and you make it possible for us to keep discovering and learning together.

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The most mouth-watering food films of all time

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We’re 88Nine’s Justin Barney and Milwaukee Film’s Kpolly. We’re buds, we like cinema — we’re Cinebuds.

Kpolly here. This week on Cinebuds we’re talking about the most mouth-watering FOOD FILMS of all time. Film about food is its own sub-genre and we’re all in.

Milwaukee Film decided to make “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” the May Members-Only screening* for this month (at-home edition, of course). It’s an amazing portrait of a man who works so hard and has such focus on his singular passion: making perfect sushi. His restaurant has worldwide acclaim and his story inspires. 
 
This got us thinking about all the food movies we love. This, and the hundreds of current food/travel shows that are streaming online. From the family fiction film “Big Night” (a classic of the genre) to the wild craziness of “Tampopo” (mmm… ramen).

“Big Night”

These films have a unifying theme hat anyone in the world can get on board with. The love of food and the spectacle of seeing a master prepare a meal is something that transcends boundaries.  

I could have talked for hours about this subject. But, I got hungry. Enjoy.

*What’s a Members-Only screening at Milwaukee Film, you ask? Oh, just one of the sweet perks of our membership program. No big deal. Except that it IS a big deal. Milwaukee Film, just like Radio Milwaukee, has amazing benefits for all of you that support us with your membership.  Check it out! Also, to be a member of Milwaukee Film AND Radio Milwaukee? I mean, that’s a truly elevated human being. A cool kid. A real mensch!

Like what you hear? Subscribe!

Get all of 88Nine’s podcasts delivered right to you weekly at RadioMilwaukee.org/Podcasts. We’ve got podcasts about music, food and film, with fresh episodes dropping every week! And don’t forget to check out our new podcast “Backspin: The Search for Milwaukee’s First Hip-Hop Song,” a six-part exploration of the birth of Milwaukee rap. All episodes are streaming now.

Radio Milwaukee is on a mission, and if you came here in search of new perspectives on music or Milwaukee then you’re on a mission, too! Join today and you make it possible for us to keep discovering and learning together.


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Cinebuds review the Academy Award winning Best Pictures of the 1940s

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We’re 88Nine’s Justin Barney and Milwaukee Film’s Kpolly. We’re buds, we like cinema — we’re Cinebuds.

In quarantine I have decided to take on a big project that I think every movie person has on their list of things to do, but kind of requires a worldwide pandemic accompanied by a months long stay-at-home order to finally get into. I have made it a mission to watch every Academy Award winning Best Picture, starting at the beginning.

We covered the 1920s and ’30s in a previous episode, so please check that out if you are into this. So let’s get into the 1940s. A couple big things happened in the ’40s that help us understand the movies awarded at the time, one is WWII, whose influence is inseparable from the awards at this time, and another is the Hollywood blacklist, which happened at the tail end of the decade and isn’t as obvious as the war, but is apparent enough and good to know about.

“Casablanca” – it holds up

Overall, it is the war that casts a shadow on nearly every film of the decade. America entered the war on Dec. 7, 1941. The best picture of 1942 is given to “Mrs. Miniver,” a movie about a wife whose husband and son bravely go off to the war, and she’s at home, but also does her part in the war effort. It isn’t even thinly veiled propaganda, it just is propaganda. And that may be a critique of the movie, but it is fascinating in the moment because it shows how awarding a film, “Best Picture” is an award and it is also a message.

The Academy also awards “The Best Years of Our Lives,” in 1946. In retrospect it is a flawed and bloated movie that doesn’t hold up over time, but it follows the story of three men returning home from war and the struggles and successes that they have incorporating back into a post-war society. If the awards were done in a vacuum, “The Best Years of Our Lives” doesn’t stand a chance, but because the award sends a message about the nations virtues and values it wins out. In the post-war awards we also see the Academy defining the moral character.

“The Lost Weekend” (1945), “Gentleman’s Agreement” (1948) and “All the Kings Men” (1949) all take a stand on a moral viewpoint. “The Lost Weekend” takes on alcoholism, “Gentleman’s Agreement” tackles anti-semitism, and “All the Kings Men” political corruption. For me, it is super cool to see the Academy kind of parse out the national character and build a national moral identity based, or reflected by art.

Then there are the true blue standouts. If there is one best pic you have seen from the ’40s it’s probably “Casablanca” (1943). Honestly, I was a bit worried going in. It’s got so much acclaim that its hard to live up to. But, boy, did it live up. “Casablanca” is just as good as everyone remembers it to be. I have never wanted to be in a place more than I wanted to be in that bar in “Casablanca” in the early 1940s. It’s incredible place setting, Bogart is the ultimate cool, and the love triangle is compelling and understandable.

Two movies of the decade not to sleep on: The decade starts with a bang. “Rebecca” which was made in 1940. Directed by Hitchcock. Starting Lawrence Olivier. In this still kind of early time for film, a lot of the movies have a very difficult time with editing or making a movie flow, but this one FLIES by. Twists and turns and ups and downs. It sticks out like a sore thumb with how ahead of it’s time it is. Also, “How Green Was My Valley” in 1941 was directed by eye-patch wearing, pipe smoking, beret donning John Ford, and stars Walter Pigeon, the last non-hunky leading man. It’s stylish and beautiful.

And then there is the worst of the decade. The film that you watch and think, “This was the best movie that was made in the entire year? How can that be?” The award for Worst-of-the-Best goes to 1944’s “Going My Way.” A film about a failing church that is saved by one man who gets a group of ne’re-do-welling kids to join a choir that is so good it saves the church from financial and moral ruin. Watch it if you want, but it is the epitome of the war and the blacklist coming together and Holluwood taking the safest sidestep it can by landing on the most boring film of the year.

Now there are opinions that we say in the podcast that I didn’t even mention in this sprawling review and Kpolly’s thoughts which are completely absent here, so check the podcast for all of it! 

Radio Milwaukee is on a mission, and if you came here in search of new perspectives on music or Milwaukee then you’re on a mission, too! Join today and you make it possible for us to keep discovering and learning together.

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Brian Dennehy gives a touching final performance in ‘Driveways’

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We’re 88Nine’s Justin Barney and Milwaukee Film’s Kpolly. We’re buds, we like cinema — we’re Cinebuds.

Kpolly here. This week we’re talking about the late, great Brian Dennehy and one of his last film performances in “Driveways.”

Dennehy is one of those actors that people either know or have heard of, but often can’t quite place. He’s appeared in over 180 films and TV shows, won a Golden Globe for “Death of a Salesman,” and has been cast in everything from bit parts to leading man. But, when I say he was Tommy Boy’s dad or the sheriff from Rambo, most people will light up. “Oh, yeaaaah!” 

“Driveways” was the last film of his released before he passed away just last month. “Driveways” ame to the Milwaukee Film Festival last year and director Andrew Ahn spoke about working with the larger-than-life veteran actor.  We’ll discuss Andrew’s experience in the podcast and the incredibly sweet and subtle film he made. The film tells the story of a mother and son who move into her sister’s house after her passing. The young boy (played expertly by Lucas Jaye) and the elderly man next door (Dennehy) strike up an expected friendship.  

“Driveways” can be seen on Milwaukee Film’s Sofa Cinema platform as of Friday, May 15. Just go to mkefilm.org/sofacinema.

Radio Milwaukee is on a mission, and if you came here in search of new perspectives on music or Milwaukee then you’re on a mission, too! Join today and you make it possible for us to keep discovering and learning together.

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Will Forte is a desperate satanist in ‘Extra Ordinary’

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We’re 88Nine’s Justin Barney and Milwaukee Film’s Kpolly. We’re buds, we like cinema — we’re Cinebuds.

Today we are talking about a NEW MOVIE. MKE Film is doing Sofa Cinema. It’s basically like a theater would run. They have three or four movies at a time. Most of them are movies that would have been in the theater right now, with a couple classics, like they would usually screen. You rent it instead of going in, but it’s nice to have your selection narrowed down and watch something new. 

Screening now is “Extra Ordinary.” “Extra Ordinary” is a Scottish film, with a really great lead from Maeve Higgins. In the movie, she is a driver instructor, who was formerly a medium. She’s brought back into the game by a cute man who’s daughter is possessed by an incantation placed by a one hit musical wonder and satanist played by Will Forte, who wants his next album to perform well and hopes sacrificing a virgin will please the dark lords and lead to a hit album. 

Will Forte in “Extra Ordinary”

The movie is set by its tone. Satanists and ghosts and stuff are scary, but everything in the movie is not taken too seriously. The good guys are not that good at being good, the bad guys are not great at being bad. The movie leaves a lot of room for it to be silly and smart. 

We go into why it is that Will Forte seems to work so well and what we thought about the whole thing in the pod. Check it.

Radio Milwaukee is on a mission, and if you came here in search of new perspectives on music or Milwaukee then you’re on a mission, too! Join today and you make it possible for us to keep discovering and learning together.

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