Steve McQueen’s ‘Small Axe’ series is the director at his most experimental and beautiful

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

Director Steve McQueen has released a series called “Small Axe.” Is it a TV series? He says that it is, even though the Chicago Tribune, Consequence of Sound, and Vulture, among others, had individual episodes listed as their Best Film of the Year on their End-Of-Year lists. I think the point is that it doesn’t matter. The five episode collection by Steve McQueen is stunning no matter its label. 

“Small Axe: Lovers Rock” | Photo courtesy Amazon Studio

The series centers around the community of West Indian immigrants in England in the ’70s and early ‘80s. Each episode captures different aspects of, what come together as, systemic racism. All based on true events, McQueen begin in archival footage to create the full picture. It’s one that he lived. McQueen grew up the son of British immigrants from Grenada and Trinidad. He witnessed the police brutality, the faulty education system, and violent oppression himself. But, it is not heavy. Possibly the greatest episode in the series is the second film, “Lovers Rock.” The entire episode is a fly-on-the-wall observance of a house party where beautifully clad attendees dance to ‘70s Jamacian dub in a tiny flat. There is almost no narrative at all, just the beautiful observation of a happening time. It’s McQueen at his most experimental and possibly most beautiful. 

In addition to “Small Axe” we talk about our favorite segment, “What else are we watching?” which also sidebars into a discussion on some takes on Harry Potter, the HBO series “Barry” and Kpolly embracing his own sloth.

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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 “By Every Measure,” a six-part exploration of systemic racism in Milwaukee.

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Pixar successfully tackles big questions with ‘Soul’

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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 2015 Pixar did its deepest form of naval gazing with the revelatory “Inside Out.” Writer and director Pete Doctor carefully and successfully handled big questions of personal development in a way that was fun, thoughtful, and entertaining. Could he do it again? “Soul” is close to a companion piece of “Inside Out.” It is out to ask some big questions about each person’s purpose in life. It’s a large task that incorporates a struggling jazz musician, a therapy cat Tina Fey dropping legit philosophical theory in a barbershop, psychedelics, and a lot of beautiful scenes of an animated New York. 

“Soul” | Courtesy of Pixar

In addition to “Soul,” we do a big ol’ post holiday catch up. Kpolly is a little punch drunk on a joke that I didn’t get at first, but then come around to, I am astonished that he hadn’t watched “The Sound of Metal” yet, and Kpolly gets into horror movies two months after Halloween. Hear us talk about all that on this week’s episode 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 “By Every Measure,” a six-part exploration of systemic racism in Milwaukee.

Support from our community makes stories like the one you just read possible. Make a gift to support the team behind the programming you use and enjoy!

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Celebrating and lamenting the worst movies of 2020

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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. Last week the Cinebuds talked about their favorite films of the year. Well, it’s time to turn down the lights a little bit and get into the Worst Films. Don’t worry, we’re not getting too negative this week. It’s more of a celebration of bad films. As Mrs. Garrett says, “You take the good… You take the bad… You take them both, and then you have… the facts of life.”

Oh Mrs. Garret. The sage of ’80s television. (What’s our demographic?  Who’s going to get this reference?)

Mank is the worst part of “Mank” | Courtesy Netflix

Inspired by the sassiest of awards shows, The Razzies, which celebrate the worst films and performances of the year, we are digging into those films that didn’t do it for us. And yes, we WILL be talking about the feline film fantasy, “CATS,” once again. I know it was last year! But it’s still relevant!

We’re going to sneak in some chat about some good movies we’ve seen recently too. “You take them both… and then you have… the facts of life.”  Mrs. G? We need you now more than ever.

Enjoy!

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 “By Every Measure,” a six-part exploration of systemic racism in Milwaukee.

Support from our community makes stories like the one you just read possible. Make a gift to support the team behind the programming you use and enjoy!

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Cinebuds share their favorite movies of 2020

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

Yeah, it’s been a weird year for movies. We started normal, in theaters, then they came screaming to a halt, then for a ton of money on demand, and now kind of a hybrid of online rental and going straight to a streaming service for free. Usually our lists would consist of mostly movies that had come out in the past month or two, front loading for Oscar contention, maybe a couple sleepers from early in the year, but a lot of critical consensus. This year it feels like we hardly even watched the same movies. Yet, a lot of GREAT movies have been released in 2020. One pattern that we noticed was that there were a lot of really high quality documentaries that were released. Most of the blockbusters go shelved, but docs are kind of on their own stream of releases, and they came in strong this year. 

So, let’s take a look at our Top 10 Movies of 2020.

“Mucho Mucho Amor”

Kpolly’s Top 10 of 2020

10. Shirley

9. The Photograph

8. In My Blood It Runs

7. The Twentieth Century

6. So Late So Soon

5. Dark City Beneath the Beat

4. Mucho Mucho Amor 

3. ???

2. ???

1.???

Justin’s Top 10 of 2020

“Palm Springs”

10. Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (lolol had to have a weird comfort one for a weird year. Available on Netflix)

9. Time (Amazon Prime)

8. Dick Johnson is Dead (Netflix)

7. Mucho Much Amor (Netflix)

6. Oliver Sacks: His Own Life

5. All In: The Fight For Democracy (Hulu)

4. Palm Springs (Hulu)

3. ???

2.???

1.???

We did actually finish our lists, but you will have to listen to the podcast to figure them out.  

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 “By Every Measure,” a six-part exploration of systemic racism in Milwaukee.

Support from our community makes stories like the one you just read possible. Make a gift to support the team behind the programming you use and enjoy!

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The Cinebuds had very different impressions of ‘Uncle Frank’

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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 new film from Alan Ball (the Oscar-winning writer of “American Beauty”). “Uncle Frank” stars Sophia Lillis and Paul Bettany as the titular* Frank. (*anytime I get to use that word I always giggle…)

Frank lives in New York with his boyfriend in a carefree, open-minded community, far from his southern home and family who are quite the opposite. When Frank’s super angry and problematic dad passes away he returns home for the funeral and one last cruel gesture from his dead pops.  

“Uncle Frank” | Amazon Studios

Is this film an attempt at Oscar bait in a year that doesn’t have a lot of Oscar fish? (I was really proud of that metaphor, but not sure it tracks… I’m sticking with it, though!) Is it a formula for a journey of discovery film?  And if so, is it a good one? We ask the big questions here on Cinebuds!

We’re a straight man and another straight man (apologies), so we cannot properly assess the validity of this film’s relevance in the LGBTQ+ community. But, I am from Missouri (which is technically the Midwest, but culturally it’s the worst bits of the South), so I can assess the Southerness of it with a bit more credibility. We’ll discuss that and more. This week our “What Else Have You Been Watching” portion is jam-packed with cinema that got us all a-flutter. Enjoy!

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 “By Every Measure,” a six-part exploration of systemic racism in Milwaukee.

Support from our community makes stories like the one you just read possible. Make a gift to support the team behind the programming you use and enjoy!

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Satisfy your wanderlust with these escapist movie picks

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

With Covid-19 hitting record highs and us being at home forever and now the sun going down at 2 p.m. it’s got us wanting to escape into our screen. If we can’t travel in real life, we are in luck, because over 100 years of cinema has us covered. 

“Around the World in 80 Days”

I thought big. I thought, “What is the movie I know that was shot in the most locations?” My answer: “Around the World in 80 Days.” The movie itself is basically an excuse to shot in as many locations as humanly possible. And they did. “Around the World in 80 Days” shot in 112 locations, on 140 sets, in 13 countries. Many of the shots are purely to show the culture and landscape of the world as it was in 1956. Pre-globalization. Early days of travel. Regional culture is so visible and beautiful in this movie. Even if the script is just okay, it’s the closest thing we are getting to truly globetrotting right now. 

Kpolly went narrow. The first movie he picks is Agnes Varda’s “Faces Places.” It’s a film that takes place solely in France. But it’s not the France that is in every movie, it’s dirt road, blue collar, pastoral France. Possibly even more romantic than Paris, only in a different way. Varda and visual artist JR get in a van and make art in this open road weird little buddy comedy doc that is so charming. 

From there we go on to even more films with even more locations, and, I finally give in. I succumb to the world and watch and review “The Queen’s Gambit.”

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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 “By Every Measure,” a six-part exploration of systemic racism in Milwaukee.

Support from our community makes stories like the one you just read possible. Make a gift to support the team behind the programming you use and enjoy!

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Sofa Cinema brings back a Milwaukee Film Festival favorite, ‘The Donut King’

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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 Donut King” was a runaway fan favorite at this year’s Milwaukee Film Festival — so much so that The Oriental Theatre is bringing it back to their Sofa Cinema platform for all those who missed it or who want to watch it again, and there is good reason to do so. 

“The Donut King” | Greenwich Entertainment

As a documentary it is successful because it combines a lot of things that would make for a great doc on it’s own, but they are all part of one great story. It’s one part American Dream. The Donut King himself is Ted Ngoy, a man who started with nothing and built a donut empire in LA in the 1970s. Because it is about donuts in LA it is also an informative foodie doc about a niche food subculture. And on top of that, it’s a bit of a history of how America handles refugees and a history of Cambodia, where Ngoy came from. Because of this combination you get the story arc of a great rise and fall, an inspiration, the corruption of greed, a legacy that is still visible today, and a bunch of great facts. Who would have known that Duncan Donuts cannot break into Los Angeles because Cambodian run mom-and-pop donut shops rule the market? 

It’s informative, inspirational, tragic and very well done. In the podcast Kpolly goes into some kind of weird theory about Honeydip Donuts and a delivery man he had recently. I am not even touching that one here, and of course, we talk about what else we have been watching. Check the podcast 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 “By Every Measure,” a six-part exploration of systemic racism in Milwaukee.

Support from our community makes stories like the one you just read possible. Make a gift to support the team behind the programming you use and enjoy!

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‘His House’ offers a fresh perspective on the haunted house genre

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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. Horror movies. What are they? Why are they? And are they HOW….? Look, I’m terrified right now, so my sentences aren’t exactly well constructed. 

What I’m saying is that this week on Cinebuds we’re talking horror movies.  And the new film “His House” in particular.

“His House” | Netflix

Milwaukee Film had a whole festival (we’ll be talking about that too), so we were too occupied to delve into the genre of the season before Halloween, so we’re making up for lost time. And “His House” is a new offering on Netflix. Director Remi Weekes’ first feature offers a take on the haunted house story with a fresh perspective. Two asylum seekers, after a long traumatic journey from Sudan, attempt to settle in England and not only deal with issues of assimilation and identity, but they are also pursued by something otherworldly.  

We’ll discuss our reactions to the film and the current state of our ever-evolving appreciation of the genre — good and bad.

Sure, Halloween is over, but if Walgreen’s gets to start in on Christmas this early, we will damn sure feel free to extend our horror film watching season a little further!

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 “By Every Measure,” a six-part exploration of systemic racism in Milwaukee.

Support from our community makes stories like the one you just read possible. Make a gift to support the team behind the programming you use and enjoy!

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This is the last day to watch a film at the Milwaukee Film Festival this year

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The Milwaukee Film Festival is underway! Click here for all info on the fest. It’s all virtual this year, so no difficult schedules, no waiting in line, no uncomfortable seats! It’s the comfiest festival so far.

Here is how to fest.

Here is all the films.

And here is a list of events. Every night at 8 p.m. Milwaukee Film will be holding a get together called The Nightcap where we will all get together on our computers and check in and chat with directors, actors and maybe some other surprises too.

And every day, me and Kpolly are highlighting a movie we are watching and one that we think you would like too.

Today is the last day and we saved a fun pick for last: The Legend of Baron To’a

Fritz is the son of New Zealand’s most famous Tongan wrestler, Baron To’a. He’s not much of a fighting man himself, so when he returns home to sell his father’s house, he tries to stay neutral in the warring cul-de-sac. But when a street gang steals his father’s championship belt, Fritz employs his natural-born talents to get it back. Filmed with a predominantly Tongan cast, this movie is an action-packed ode to the martial arts film tradition.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Watch this doc about two Chicago artists’ relationship at the Milwaukee Film Festival right now

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The Milwaukee Film Festival is underway! Click here for all info on the fest. It’s all virtual this year, so no difficult schedules, no waiting in line, no uncomfortable seats! It’s the comfiest festival so far.

Here is how to fest.

Here is all the films.

And here is a list of events. Every night at 8 p.m. Milwaukee Film will be holding a get together called The Nightcap where we will all get together on our computers and check in and chat with directors, actors and maybe some other surprises too.

And every day, me and Kpolly are highlighting a movie we are watching and one that we think you would like too.

Today’s pick: So Late So Soon

Chicago artists Jackie and Don Seiden have been married for over 50 years. While Don works in more traditional media, Jackie’s materials are the world she inhabits through movement and, most recently, the space inside and out of their large and colorful Rogers Park home. One of Jackie’s former students, director Daniel Hymanson, lovingly immerses us in their world as they grapple with aging, revealing the same tenuousness of materiality that Jackie’s art interrogates.

Support from our community makes stories like the one you just read possible. Make a gift to support the team behind the programming you use and enjoy!

88Nine Radio Milwaukee