Indiana Jones, War Horse and Alpha Dog: Defending Movies Critics Hate

Categories: Film and TV

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On this week's Voice Film Club podcast, film critics Alan Scherstuhl, Amy Nicholson and Stephanie Zacharek defend movies that most critics hate, namely Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, War Horse and Alpha Dog. We also recommend a few new films, including Blue Ruin, Fading Gigolo and Next Goal Wins.

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Time Is Illmatic: New Doc Goes Behind the Scenes of Hip-Hop's Greatest Album

Categories: Film and TV

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Albert Samaha
Few pleasure like Nas, in a black beanie, performing Illmatic.
Nas entered the Beacon Theater in a suit. It was a nice suit, a cool grey number with a blue tie, well-tailored. He looked sharp. But Nas in a suit is not the same as, say, Jay-Z in a suit. Jay-Z in a suit looks like a man who has worked hard all his life so that he can rock a Tom Ford custom that costs more than a new Saturn. His legend is rooted in his arc, from drug dealer to rap star to mogul. Not a businessman, but a Business, man. Jay-Z in a suit is a visual manifestation of his legacy.

Nas in a suit looks merely like a man who knows how to dress for an occasion. This particular occasion was the premier of Time Is Illmatic, a documentary about his first album, at the Tribeca Film Festival. Nas in a suit is not Nas. Because no matter how many quality albums he has given the world since 1994, Nas is frozen in time in a black beanie, a black jacket, and brown Timbs, standing outside the Queensbridge projects with a bottle of cognac in his hand and a dozen of his people crowded around him.

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The Ten Best Movie Performances by Nicolas Cage

Categories: Film and TV

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Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in Joe.
As video-on-demand continues to become the preferred route of distribution for a certain kind of independent film, much is being made of Nicolas Cage's willingness to slum for a paycheck, with recent examples including already-forgotten, small-screen-friendly items like Seeking Justice, Trespass, Stolen, and The Frozen Ground. (His character names in these projects -- Will Gerard, Kyle Miller, Will Montgomery, and Jack Halcombe -- are as interchangeable as the titles of the films.) Aside from citing the obvious appeal of doing work for money (a defense Cage himself brought up in a recent interview with The Guardian), it's also possible to back Cage by acknowledging the consistency with which he's taken on "serious" roles over the years.

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Film Podcast: Only Lovers Left Alive Is One of Our Favorite Movies This Year

Categories: Film and TV

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Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston in Only Lovers Left Alive.
On this week's Voice Film Club podcast, this paper's film critics discuss Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive, starring Tom Hiddleston and David Gordon Green's Joe, starring Nicolas Cage.

"I loved this movie so much," says film critic Stephanie Zacharek of the vampire film Only Lovers Left Alive. "It might be my favorite Jim Jarmusch movie...This movie, especially being made at this point in his career...this movie is filled with mournfulness for all of these things that seem to be kind of floating out of our culture and out of grasp -- the idea of actual books where you can turn a page, or records that you put on a record player and listen to, opposed to just downloading music and having it exist in some invisible cloud library somewhere."

To listen to the full podcast, subscribe on iTunes or listen below.

Podcast: Scarlett Johansson Impresses in Under the Skin and Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Categories: Film and TV

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Scarlett Johansson in Under the Skin.
On this week's Voice Film Club podcast, it's all about Scarlett Johansson, who has two movies coming out this week at opposite ends of the commercial spectrum: Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin and Anthony and Joe Russo's Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

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Listen: The Sex-Filled Nymphomaniac: Vol. I, a Joyful Muppets Most Wanted and SXSW Film

Categories: Film and TV

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Christian Geisnaes
Nymphomaniac: Volume I
On this week's Voice Film Club podcast, We're split on Lars Von Trier's Nymphomaniac: Volume I, but laughed throughout the the latest Muppets movie. The Veronica Mars movie is worth your money, and so is The Great Invisible, a revealing doc about the BP oil spill, which was named the top doc at SXSW. We recommend Jodorowksy's Dune, The Missing Picture and those Say Yes to the Dress episodes on Netflix.

[Subscribe to the Voice Film Club podcast on iTunes]

Podcast: Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel Is Surprisingly Great

Categories: Film and TV

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On this week's Voice Film Club podcast, L.A. Weekly film critic Amy Nicholson admits her surprise at actually enjoying Wes Anderson's latest movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and discusses her recent longform piece on the death of the romantic comedy.

The Village Voice's Alan Scherstuhl and Stephanie Zacharek join in to discuss the Oscars, and the pod ends with hearty recommendations for Elijah Wood in Grand Piano, and the brain-busting documentary Particle Fever.

[Subscribe to the Voice Film Club podcast on iTunes]

They're Just Like Us: Life as a Voice-Over Artist is Really Just a Constant Hustle

Categories: Film and TV

(Video by Meredith Rosenberg for the Voice.)

"Whether the general public chooses to acknowledge it or not, voice-over matters," asserted Geena Davis, playing a hard-boiled Hollywood exec in Lake Bell's sparkling comedy In a World... "Everyone watches movie trailers, everyone sees commercials on television or they hear them on the radio and that is power."


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Is the New Jesus Movie Son of God Tea Party Propaganda?

Categories: Film and TV

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Hey, girl.
That Bible miniseries, originally aired on the History Channel, won notoriety by casting an actor who resembles Barack Obama in the crowd-pleasing role of Satan.

The producers -- Roma Downey, who plays Mary here, and Mark Burnett, who pioneered the watch-skinny-people-suffer genre with Survivor -- insisted that this was a coincidence, despite the fact that they had aggressively targeted the series to the likes of Glenn Beck. America, then, is wondering: Does this theatrical sequel feed more chum to the Tea Party? Or is it, as a product of what Tea Partiers insist is a liberal Hollywood, chock-full of liberal propaganda? Both sides may have a case.

(Also, you can read our review of the film here.)

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The 2014 Oscars Predictions Show! Plus Liam Neeson Forever Kicks Ass

Categories: Film and TV

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L.A. Weekly film critic Amy Nicholson and the Village Voice's Stephanie Zacharek and Alan Scherstuhl ask, "do the Oscars really even matter, guys?" They come to a few conclusions, but only after discussing just how much ass a middle-aged Liam Neeson can kick on an airplane in Non-Stop. Settle in for another Voice Film Club podcast.

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