Interview: James Ponsoldt (The End of the Tour)
Jul28

Interview: James Ponsoldt (The End of the Tour)

Steve Wagner interviews director James Ponsoldt about The End of the Tour, the critically-acclaimed biopic with Jesse Eisenberg, and Jason Segel as author David Foster...

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Interview: Ron Davis (3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets)
Jul23

Interview: Ron Davis (3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets)

When Michael Dunn murdered 17-year-old Jordan Davis in the parking lot of a gas station in Jacksonville, Fla., on Nov. 23, 2012, the bullets not only ripped through Jordan’s body but also tore open the hearts of his parents, Ron Davis and Lucia McBath, before finally slicing through the post-racial lie America pretends to believe about itself. Steve Wagner interviews Jordan’s father Ron Davis in a powerful exchange that takes on...

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Review: Mad Max: Fury Road
May18

Review: Mad Max: Fury Road

In the world of Mad Max, History just became Herstory. George Miller’s brilliant Mad Max Fury Road again posits the future of our survival, but this time, unlike the first three films, our best shot at redemption comes in the form of a fierce female warrior, who grabs the wheel from Max and drives off with his hero narrative in tow. True to the series, we’re in a dystopian future, a wasteland, where water (now more than fuel) has...

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Flick Nation Interview: Alex Garland (Ex Machina)
Apr11

Flick Nation Interview: Alex Garland (Ex Machina)

Welcome to the Stepford Years. These are the days where men expect, or at least lust/dream after, a lover who is fully realized, perfect in mind and body, and most importantly, compliant in every way…if you catch my drift. Call it coping with pornocopia. Those girls seem to know what a man needs, why can’t mine be like that? We see this meme proliferating now in our films, indeed, some of our best films of the past several years. Ex...

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Flick Nation Review: While We’re Young
Apr04

Flick Nation Review: While We’re Young

by Steve Wagner It is always more powerful and memorable when we are able to experience true issues in the guise of humor and comedy. This we often forget, until a “comedy” comes along and gives us more to think about than the last twenty dramas we’ve seen. Perhaps this is why comic actors continually surprise us with their ability to nail dramatic roles—the comedy they have mined has already trained them to find multiple layers of...

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Merchants of Doubt: Pretend Experts Cause Real Damage
Mar14

Merchants of Doubt: Pretend Experts Cause Real Damage

The documentary film Merchants of Doubt exposes deceptive corporate media spokesmen who essentially lie for a living. ***** by Steve Wagner Kurt Vonnegut, in the introduction to his 1961 novel Mother Night, offered a moral to the story he was about to tell. “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” In the context of the story, this principle concerns the war-time activity of an American agent,...

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Flick Nation Interview: Robert Kenner (Merchants of Doubt)
Mar13

Flick Nation Interview: Robert Kenner (Merchants of Doubt)

Steve Wagner interviews filmmaker Robert Kenner (Food, Inc.) about his latest documentary, Merchants of Doubt....

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The Wrecking Crew: The Sonic Building Blocks of the Wall of Sound
Mar06

The Wrecking Crew: The Sonic Building Blocks of the Wall of Sound

by Steve Wagner As I am clearly a passionate music guy (just talk to me for 30 seconds and it becomes obvious), I am frequently asked who my favorite band is. As the Beatles would be my somewhat clichéd but true answer, I often confound by answering, “The Wrecking Crew.” After I get that long stare, as they try to determine if they are forgetting some underground punk band or the early name of someone like The Velvet Underground, I...

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John Boorman’s Real Queen & Country: A Cinematic Master Brings the Love Home
Feb28

John Boorman’s Real Queen & Country: A Cinematic Master Brings the Love Home

The creative triumph of Richard Linklater’s Boyhood will likely be acknowledged, perhaps emulated, by filmmakers for years to come. As auteurs study the structural genius of Linklater’s masterpiece they may also draw inspiration from the type of story he decided to tell, and become familiar with other films that seek the same delicate dance between life and art. A wonderful place to start would be the autobiographical work from John...

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Blockbusters: Junk Food, or Essential Nutrition?
Jan31

Blockbusters: Junk Food, or Essential Nutrition?

by Steve Wagner Any Titanic haters out there? Wow, a lot of hands just went up! How many of you simply love L.A. Confidential? OK, just about everyone. I may be in some cold, deep water here (take the pun as you wish). I’ll begin by saying I thought this would be a fairly easy take on the subject of Oscar Best Pictures many of us love to revile…I would just need to be all “Blockbuster Baaad,” and “Art Film Goood.,” with a few fancy...

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The Wags Wire: I Snub You Are, But What Am I?
Jan19

The Wags Wire: I Snub You Are, But What Am I?

by Steve Wagner Before we dig into the convoluted mess created by Thursday’s Oscar nominations, let’s first define what an Oscar snub isn’t. Jennifer Aniston wasn’t snubbed, bless her. She just didn’t quite make the cut. She was fantastic in Cake, and many though she might sneak into the Best Actress race. Might. She was never a forgone conclusion. She is definitely knocking on Oscar’s door, but this year? Sorry, Rache. Ditto Angelina...

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The Wags Wire: Golden Clarity
Jan12

The Wags Wire: Golden Clarity

by Steve Wagner The Oscar-mometer just peaked at tepid, and that is where it is likely to stay through the end of Oscar 2015. This year looked to be a pile of question marks, with a few somewhat front-runners, but most categories in serious play. Last night’s Golden Globes, aside from once again delivering a fun, breezy, exciting awards show—with the best comedy team (Tina and Amy) in America—truly put the Oscar race in perspective,...

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When Elvis Met Nixon: Happy Birthday, King!
Jan11

When Elvis Met Nixon: Happy Birthday, King!

by Steve Wagner As we all know, Elvis never really left the building.  Fully deified by the end of the 1950s, Presley is the original mythic archetype of the “rock star,” and his image, music, and influence is still ubiquitous in western culture. Elvis would have turned 80 on January 8th, and beyond the somewhat scary proposition of actually imagining what that might have looked like, it is time for a tip of the hat and a curl of the...

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Steve Wagner’s Top Ten Films of 2014
Dec22

Steve Wagner’s Top Ten Films of 2014

by Steve Wagner Before we gaze into the crystal ball of films-recently-past and honor the best of 2014, I want to admit that one of the best times I had at the movies all year was watching It’s a Wonderful Life on television the other night. It had been at least 20 years since I last saw it, and I spent the entire three hours (including commercials) blubbering like a boohoo–completely immersed in the plight of George Bailey—as I...

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