Tag Archives: Curt Holman

Reconsidering Kevin Smith

Years ago, Kevin Smith left a bad impression with me, consistently missing comic book deadlines (though more recently he’s proven he can make comics deadlines). Tonight, my pal Curt Holman invited me to attend an advance screening of Smith’s new film (set to be released in October), Red State, at the Cobb Energy Centre.

As discussed in Holman’s recent interview with Smith: “Smith claims that Red State will be his penultimate film, and that he’ll retire from directing features after his upcoming hockey comedy Hit Somebody…He seems far more excited by the immediacy of social media through his Tweets as @ThatKevinSmith and his popular weekly podcast, the SModcast on Sirius XM Radio. Smith is frustrated with the long lead time to share Clerks-style comedy or the political arguments of Red State through the film medium.”

Smith loves talking to his fans, for example after the film showing, he took questions from the audience. He took more than 30 minutes answering the first two fans’ questions–and was still going strong when I left at 10:30 PM (deadlines and family commitments took priority, Mr. Smith, sorry).

As for the film? Smith cast John Goodman in a major role. For me, any movie with Goodman is a great film.

I may have judged Smith too harshly, clearly it’s time I reconsider his work. The man loves storytelling and comedy through podcasting–and those are three things that appeal to me.

Alonso Duralde on Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas

Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas

Longtime pal of mine and great critic/pop culture pundit Curt Holman introduces me to many fascinating creative folks through his writing–and he has for years. And every once in awhile he literally introduces me to talented people. The latter is the case with this week’s interview subject: Alonso Duralde, the author of Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas. Duralde and Holman are old friends–and while he and I have exchanged pop culture email exchanges in the past, this is the first time I’ve had a chance to discuss Duralde’s pop culture work with him. His latest book (published by Limelight) aims to be “the first film guide written specifically for holiday film viewing, including traditional classics alongside more unusual choices of films that are set at Yuletide without being thought of as ‘Christmas movies.’ The guide will spotlight Christmas-themed adult comedies, dramas, action thrillers, foreign films, and horror films—even a documentary—as well as movies for the whole family.” My thanks to Duralde for the interview (and Jamie Scot for his assistance in making this interview happen [as well as my pal Holman]). As a longtime Frank Capra fan (my late father had me watch It’s A Wonderful Life when I was seven), it’s an early Christmas present for me to encounter a critic who appreciates Capra as much as I do. After reading this interview, be sure to check out this preview of the book.

Tim O’Shea: In considering these holiday films are there certain ones you grew to see in a different light, be it more positive or negative?

Alonso Duralde: I was really surprised how politically progressive and bold the two Frank Capra films are. Both “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Meet John Doe” have things to say about corporate greed (and control of the media) and the disparity between rich and poor that are amazingly relevant to 2010 audiences. Capra gets a bad rap for being corny and sentimental, but I think he was making very incisive movies about what was going on in Depression-era America, and his messages remain very timely.

Continue reading Alonso Duralde on Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas

Podcast to Download: Running Dialogue

Running Dialogue

I love listening to podcasts as I do yard work. So last weekend, I enjoyed the October 1 edition of Running Dialogue, Creative Loafing’s Podcast About Movies, as I mowed the lawn. The podcast is hosted by longtime friend (and Creative Loafing pop culture critic [not his official title, just my label]) Curt Holman along with Collider‘s Matt Goldberg and /Film‘s Russ Fischer.

Last week’s episode partially focused its attention on the Aaron Sorkin/David Fincher film, The Social Network. Holman, Goldberg and Fischer did more than review the film, though, as they actually provided some great perspective on Facebook trends in general. Over the years, Holman’s periodic presence on local AM/arts radio has allowed his vocal chops to mature immensely. As my friend, I’ll admit my bias, but he is my favorite of the three hosts.

At present they’ve recorded 17 episodes and I heartily recommend you give the show a listen.

Recommendations: Holman Podcast, Upcoming Oscar Liveblog

My longtime friend, critic Curt Holman, is now part of the team behind the Creative Loafing podcast, Running Dialogue: A Podcast About Movies. This past Friday, they released the third episode of the podcast, in which Holman, “Collider’s Matt Goldberg and /Film’s Russ Fischer disagree vigorously about ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ consider the legacy of director Tim Burton and the future of 3-D, and end up – somehow – discussing the merits of seeing films in theaters vs. waiting for the DVD.”

In addition to mentioning the podcast, I want to heartily recommend that once the Oscar ceremony starts you should head over to Screen Grab, Creative Loafing’s Movie and TV blog where Holman and others will be liveblogging the event. I’ll likely be lurking in the comment sections, making snide asides as the show or the blog inspires me.

Film Criticism: Jonathan Rosenbaum

I derive great joy from films. Almost as much as I do from music. In film, the gratification is less immediate and harder to reach than when I listen to an engaging film. While I am a longtime friend of veteran film and theater critic Curt Holman–his friendship unfortunately does not grant me his same amazing level of film knowledge. And yet, there is a great deal that can be learned from critics like Holman (and a good critic typically has a great deal of wit, for example, my current favorite Holman line is in his review for 2012–“Director Roland Emmerich remains the John Holmes of disaster porn.” [that’s right, always wanting to inform his audience, Holman provides a link to John Holmes’ Wikipedia entry…]).

But as much as I enjoy Holman’s writing (along with the criticism of Roger Ebert and Mick LaSalle), I often think that I could learn more about film (and thereby get more satisfaction from films) by reading a greater variety of critical analysis. In my quest to broaden my film knowledge, I recently added former veteran Chicago Reader film critic, Jonathan Rosenbaum, to my RSS reader. Rosenbaum, a critic since the late 1960s, has filled his website with a staggering amount of his writings from over the years. How staggering? According to him:

I’ve published over 8,000 items since the late 60s. And according to my former technical adviser and helper Benjamin Coy, over 5,500 of these appeared in the Chicago Reader. Thanks in part to Ben’s diligent work, there are now (as of November 25, 2009) 7,722 separate items or “posts” on this web site (not counting items which have been prepared but not yet published) , which most likely include virtually all of my articles and capsule reviews from the Reader, approximately 160 Notes (some of which are republished texts), 49 other “featured texts” that haven’t appeared in the Reader, and, I would guess, many other posts that are either unwitting duplications or else mystery texts that haven’t yet been identified (unless that estimate of  “over 5,500”  was unduly conservative).

On a regular basis, Rosenbaum pulls from his archive of writing to revisit a review–maybe from the 1980s, maybe from the 1990s or more recently. A recent post revisited his 2001 review of Citizen Sarris, American Film Critic: Essays in Honor of Andrew Sarris, which ended with this broad perspective on cinema and the general study of it:

I don’t doubt that things are still growing and still possible for various crazed cinephiles today, so I’m not trying to pull any rank here. The point is that, cinema-is-dead theorists to the contrary, film history never even comes close to repeating itself, for better and for worse. And the prime lesson to be learned from Citizen Sarris, American Film Critic isn’t how much things were changed forever by one book called The American Cinema, because ultimately there is no forever in film criticism. The point is how much they’re still changing because of it, because with or without forever, ripples can last for centuries.

Rosenbaum has a wealth of experience that thanks to the Internet, is free to read, at his website. If you want to broaden your scope of film knowledge, you’d do well to visit the site. You won’t agree with everything, of course, but either way you’ll learn something.