This week's Movie Date podcast includes some heavy matters as well as some livelier ones. On the heavy side, Rafer and Kristen give a recap on the recent Woody Allen / Dylan Farrow drama (warning: if you're looking for them to come down on one side or the other, you're going to be disappointed). They also remember the brilliant actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, with the help of Hoffman's friend and former high school English teacher, John Baynes, of Fairport High School in Rochester, NY. On the livelier side, they review the star-packed WWII film, "Monuments Men," and the animated action adventure, "The Lego Movie." And, as usual, there's also listener mail and trivia.
The Opening Ceremony to the Sochi Olympics will feature an array of national anthems and the Olympics theme song. But for Russians, and Russian Americans, the music of Sochi and of the nation goes far beyond the slopes and podiums. John Schaefer, host of Soundcheck, shares some Russian tunes to enjoy during the Olympics.
This week's Movie Date podcast is going up a few days late, as Rafer and Kristen have been on vacation. Thanks for your patience! And now, with no further ado, reviews of the suspense/romance "Labor Day," starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin; and the bromance/chick flick "That Awkward Moment," starring Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan, and Miles Teller.
Today the New York Department of Financial Services begins its first of two days of hearings on digital currencies like Bitcoin. Charlie Herman, economics editor for WNYC, discusses how today's hearings could change our understanding of virtual currency. While Bitcoin may be on the rise, the currencies in emerging markets are on the decline. Gillian Tett, assistant managing editor and columnist at The Financial Times, predicted the early months of 2014 would bring this sort of turbulence.
In this week's Movie Date podcast, Rafer and Kristen try to squeeze as much as they can into half an hour. They begin with a review of the sci-fi semi-religious adventure movie, "I, Frankenstein." Starring Aaron Eckhart and Bill Nighy, it's written and directed by Stuart Beattie. Next, the great film critic Anne Thompson gives Movie Daters a dispatch from the Sundance Film Festival. When she's not rubbing elbows with Robert Redford, Thompson writes the Thompson on Hollywood blog at Indiewire. And then it's time to get onto the Movie Therapy couch, as Rafer and Kristen try to help a listener make the most of those months between her proposal and wedding. Next, there's a major correction to make. And finally, as always, Rafer and Kristen end with trivia. Phew! Buckle up because it's that kind of date.
Other Highlights From Today's Show: Governor Jerry Brown has declared a drought emergency for the state of California. What does this mean for cities like San Diego?...Our Movie Date team reviews this week's big release and gives their top picks for this year’s Sundance Film Festival ...The World Economic Forum will devote all of today to panels and talks on the threat of climate change. Is this a sign of things to come?
A growing group of scholars from around the world have begun studying songs in video games. These so-called “ludomusicologists” had their first North American conference last weekend, in hopes of legitimizing this type of music in the academic world. Steven Reale, assistant professor of music at Youngstown State University, shares why this form of musical composition and new field of study is gaining recognition world-wide.
Forty years ago this month, a game was introduced to the world that changed pop culture forever: Dungeons & Dragons. Helping The Takeaway to celebrate this milestone, and explain how Dungeons & Dragons withstood the test of time, is David Ewalt, author of "Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons and Dragons and the People Who Play It," and John August, a D&D enthusiast and screenwriter behind “Frankenweenie,” “The Corpse Bride,” “Big Fish,” “Charlie's Angels,” “Go,” and many other blockbuster films.
Motown has become an American institution. But Motown also had a spoken-word label called Black Forum, which was set up in 1970. Two years after he was assassinated, the label released a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Television and radio broadcaster, Alvin Hall recently completed a half hour story on the Black Forum label for the BBC. He shares what he learned and describes why Motown got involved in civil rights recordings.
In this week's Movie Date podcast, Rafer and Kristen recount their encounters with wildlife in the city and ponder the ways that dance-offs are better than shoot-outs. It's all in honor of the animated feature, "The Nut Job," the buddy cop comedy, "Ride Along," and the spy thriller, "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit." Rafer and Kristen also weigh in on the Oscar nominations, which were announced this Thursday. And there's a big trivia-related mea culpa as well!
Movie villains are everywhere in the films hitting the box office this week—from Victor Cherevin in the new film “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,” to the mysterious secret kingpin in "Ride Along," which stars Ice Cube and Kevin Hart. But where do these villains come from? Helping us to understand how our villains have evolved is James Furbush, he’s co-author of the essay “Hollywood’s Evil Men: A Symbol of America’s Collective Fears.” As usual, the Movie Date team—Rafer Guzman and Kristen Meinzer—give their reviews of the new releases.
On and off film, war isn't what it used to be. Nowadays, it seems like war films may represent a dual yearning to revisit combat experiences by those who served, and a desire to better understand conflicts by those who haven't. Award winning film author and lecturer Robert McKee has done extensive research on the depiction of war in the movies. He discusses how public sentiment and the kinds of wars we fight have changed what we see on the screen, and how the box office performs.
In this week's Movie Date podcast, Rafer and Kristen review the new Renny Harlin action flick, "The Legend of Hercules," starring Kellan Lutz. They also give their predictions for the major film categories of this weekend's Golden Globes (Sunday, January 12). And, bonus: this week's trivia winner gets a very special prize!
One of the biggest challenges in American cinema has been bringing the stories of war to the civilian big screen. "Lone Survivor" is a new film by director Peter Berg that attempts to bring the story of a mission gone wrong in Afghanistan to a civilian audience. Donna Axelson's son, Matt, was one of the SEAL team members killed in the mission. She discusses what it was like to see her son portrayed on film and shares her thoughts on how and why filmmakers should attempt to bring the realities of war to a civilian screen.
More than 1,000 people have been killed in the violence in South Sudan that erupted last month, following a power struggle between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar. The Takeaway talks with Alex de Waal, executive director of the World Peace Foundation at Tufts University’s Fletcher School, about the roots of the current crisis. Deb Dawson, of Fargo, North Dakota also weighs in. Dawson works closely with Sudanese Lost Boys and Lost Girls both in the U.S. and abroad.
The song that frames an Olympic figure skater's routine needs to have a variety of tempos. It needs to have emotional resonance and perhaps a little bit of edge. Most importantly, it needs to be something the skater can listen to over and over and over again. As competitors gear up for the 2014 Olympics, Kristi Yamaguchi, the 1992 Olympic Champion in ladies' singles, reflects on the kind of music that brings home medals.
Nothing says happy birthday to one of the world's most ruthless dictators more than a basketball game led by former NBA star Dennis Rodman. Today in honor of Kim Jong-Un's birthday, Rodman has assembled a 12-member team to play a game in North Korea. Is this just classic Dennis Rodman? Or is there something deeper going on? To help us get inside his head we've called upon William Rhoden, sports writer for our partner The New York Times.
The latest film by British director Stephen Frears is Philomena, the true story of BBC reporter Martin Sixsmith's effort to reveal the extraordinary tale of a mother’s search for her lost son. Whatever the subject, this filmmaker prefers stories that get to the heart of the matter, but he says that any genius in directing is about getting out of the way.
In this week's Movie Date podcast, Rafer and Kristen answer a few of the many listener letters they've recently received. Along the way, they try to lend some movie therapy and (hooray!) end up on a surprise speed date. Bonus: Rafer and Kristen have some big announcements to make. Among them: a recent smackdown with the Game Night Guys and an upcoming singles mixer at WNYC.
If Friday's winter storm has got you stuck indoors this weekend, the timing couldn’t be better because it’s officially the start of awards season, with the Golden Globes just 9 days away. Joining The Takeaway to fill you in on all the must-see films that you may have missed before awards season are Rafer Guzman, film critic for Newsday and Kristen Meinzer, culture producer for The Takeaway.