Talking Pictures At Home
Film critic Neil Rosen invites viewers to explore the movie industry with him each month, as he dives in to the latest releases from Hollywood and independent producers. Interviews with actors and other industry insiders, as well as commentary from fellow critics, provide varying perspectives on the ever-changing world of film.
>>> This week on another stuck at home edition of Talking
Pictures with Neil Rosen, we'll look at the new crime
thriller, Arkansas starring Liam Hemsworth and Vince Vaughn.
Bad Education based on a real-life school scandal with
Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney, plus the new SciFi satirical TV
series Upload, and the romantic comedy anthology series Love
Life starring Anna Kendrick.
We've got all that and many more movie picks coming up.
♪ [Opening Music]
I'm Neil Rosen. Welcome to Talking Pictures.
It's our monthly critic round table show where we debate
what's worth watching and what's not when it comes to
new releases, hidden gems, and Hollywood classics.
We know the movie theaters are still closed because
of the pandemic and you're stuck at home and probably
craving some entertainment.
So along with my panel, who are also streaming from home, we
have plenty of movies and TV series for you to binge watch.
Joining me are Bill McCuddy from Gold Derby.
>>> Hi Neil. Glad you got my plant there.
It looks good.
>>> Lisa Rosman from Signs and Sirens.
>>> Hey Neil.
Thank you for my monthly opportunity to wear lipstick.
>>> There you go.
And returning to the show, our friend Jack Rico
from Showbiz Cafe.
>>> It's great to see you even during these times my man.
>>> Same here.
Well, let's start with a look at several new films
that are available on demand, beginning with a
new movie called Arkansas.
Let's take a look at a clip.
>>> We're going to go traffic drugs across state lines sir.
>>> If you boys catch yourselves starting to
complain about boredom, just remember it's a board
criminal who's a good criminal.
>>> This an order from frog?
We've been thinking about streamlining.
>>> You can't do that.
>>> We do a whole bunch we're not supposed to do.
Frog don't seem to mind.
>>> It's better to have to look for something to do than have
something to do look for you.
>>> Bill, tell us about Arkansas.
We've got Liam Hemsworth and Clark Duke selling drugs for
John Malkovich and Vince Vaughn.
Vivica A. Fox is also tossed in there.
What we have basically is an Elmore Leonard or kind of
Cohen brothers adaptation of a very popular book that's
basically about deep fried Southern drug running.
The big story here for me is besides that I enjoyed the
film a great deal and you can feel the sweat coming off the
screen, is that Clark Duke, this guy who was in that Showtime,
very bad comedians television, I'm dying up here, co-wrote
and directed this thing.
It's his directorial debut.
I enjoyed this film a lot and I highly recommend it.
>>> You know what?
I'm amazed that yet another film like this was made.
It's just that while people complain if there's more than
one female driven comedy in a given season, there's like an
endless appetite for hackneyed and badly paced crime movies
that star white dudes with inexplicably expensive haircuts.
Let no cliché go unturned in this film. Oh my God.
>>> Unfortunately, I think that even though it has some
clever moments, it really doesn't fill its potential and
it's very Quentin Tarantino like but if that's enough for you,
then this is a decent watch at least.
>>> Yeah, it is a Cohen brothers, Tarantino wanna
be but it doesn't come up to that level on any level.
There were some scenes that work and it had my
attention for a while, but I think midway through it
completely went off the rails.
The problem for me is Clark Duke, not so much in directing
and writing, which is weak, but he cast himself in the
movie, and I think he's miscast in the role, in the role
that he wrote for himself.
It doesn't really work for me.
If you're really stuck for something to watch and you like
this kind of thing, I would still pass on it despite Bill-
>>> Neil, you're wrong.
I'll hold up No Neil and you guys are really
wrong about Clark Duke.
I think he's going to be a star, director, and producer.
>>> We shall see.
All right, moving on.
Lisa, tell us about a movie called Saint Frances.
>>> Ordinarily, I don't have much patience for movies about
aimless millennials who are having a hard time adulting.
Thankfully, I don't even have any patience for the
word adulting, but this quiet indie is wonderful.
It's about a 34 year old underachiever who's actually
played by the film's screen writer, Kelly O'Sullivan.
She lands a nannying job for a well off lesbian
couples bratty daughter.
Just as she discovers she herself has an
Mostly this movie works because it's melancholy humor highlights
everybody's humanity, and also the child actor here,
Ramona Edith Williams, is such an unexpected delight.
She's going to be a great actress at 80.
>>> Well, listen like Lisa said, this is a, one of those
millennial generation sort of films that everybody seems to
be like underachieving, and it's very reminiscent of
Lena Dunham's sort of storytelling.
The film has some great lines.
It's charming, it's candid, but I think what glues everything
here together is that family sensibility where Kelly
O'Sullivan, the character of Bridget, when she meets,
you know, Frances essentially, that's when the movie really
sort of stretches itself into this really good place.
And the ending is what this movie is all about.
So you got to stick there to the ending but it
definitely warms the heart.
And I would say it's one of the better picks of this week.
>>> Well, I like everything up until the ending
and I liked the ending. So, I like all of this film.
I think that, I think that little girl is, not since, I'm
going to go out on a limb here and say, not since somebody
like Tatum O'Neal, have we seen somebody that really
could, as a, as a child actor bloom into a great actress.
She steals the movie and yet she has the support
of a great cast that it could have been cliché-ish.
It wasn't. It felt lived in.
And I, I really liked this film a lot.
>>> Well, I mixed a slightly positive on this.
On the mix side, there are a lot of scenes that meander
where she's deep in contemplated thought, or she's walking
around with the kid, takes the kid to the park, and
that just goes on for a while and it's a little boring.
But on the positive side, the actress who plays the kid,
as you mentioned, Ramona Edith Williams is great.
Say what you want about this movie, whether you like it
or whether you find it boring in spots, the character
certainly do ring true.
Next up is the movie The Trip to Greece.
Jack, tell us about it.
>>> Well, you can watch this movie on demand, but The Trip
to Greece reunites, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon once again.
They've done these films before.
And essentially now they traveled to Greece for an
article where they had to retrace Odysseys' journey
from Troy to Ithaca.
And in between these meals where they go to restaurants
and hotels and travel, you know, the beautiful
parts of ancient Greece.
It's very reminiscent of, of films like Dinner with
Andre where the plot is essentially, it doesn't exist.
But the dialogue is where the magic is, and the chemistry
of their friendship is what usually, and it keeps this
movie sort of a float all the way through the end.
Look, it's not the best movie that they've done.
It's not maybe even the best movie or a franchise, but
with all panoramas and the chemistry and the beautiful
sceneries, it gives you sort of a sense that you want
to be there and you can't.
>>> Listen, I'm a huge fan of this series.
First of all, what I liked about it, they finally got to
check that they had to pay.
It was 370 Euro for a meal.
I've always wondered what these guys were
paying for these meals.
But what I didn't like was there's the manufactured kind
of storyline that happens late in the, in the movie.
I'm not going to give it up but I'm very surprised that both
director and the star involved decided to have it involved
in the film because they made the decision to put it in.
It was very disturbing.
And I didn't like it and I'm not recommending it for that reason.
>>> Yes, it's a lighthearted series.
If you look at all the films, and again, I won't
reveal the ending either, but they take a dramatic turn.
And why Michael Winterbottom and Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon
decided to go that way, it doesn't gel with the rest of
the series and this movie.
I just kinda thought that threw it off. Go ahead Lisa.
>>> I mean, honestly though, how many fancy vacations on
a film productions dime do these two dudes actually need?
I mean, the last film ended on a perfect note that would
end the franchise perfectly.
Instead, we have this fourth installment with their
standard celeb imitation.
The standard send up on Coogan's massive ego, their
standard obligatory self reckoning about loneliness
and aging and settling down.
And then I agree like the final bit was so contrived, cue the
violins, end the franchise.
>>> There's also not as much attention paid on the food
preparation in those five top star restaurants, which, which
is kind of an interesting component to these movies,
which was not here as well.
A Sea Trip to Italy, I think that's the best one.
I'm going to talk about a relatively new HBO movie
called Bad Education.
Now, this is based on a true story that began back in 2002
in Roslyn, New York, where the affluent top ranked school
district there was ripped off to the tune of close
to $11 million by a couple of high ranking officials.
Hugh Jackman, Allison Janney, and Ray Romano are on hand.
They're all great and the surreal embezzlement scandal
is played out here as a satirical, dark comedy.
It's funny, and it all works.
I really recommend this.
>>> You know what? I really dig this film.
It's a wonderful use of Jackman and Janney.
They're both such wonderfully riot actors, and when
they're edited quickly this way, they, they work best.
I love how information is imparted as the movie moves on.
I mean, we know the premise.
Everyone heard about the scandal and still there were
moments I was surprised.
Also, such a good comment on the conundrums that are facing
public educators right now.
>>> I really, really enjoyed this film.
It's perhaps my favorite film that I've seen so far this year.
Bad Education outside of the great performances and the
incredible writing, these are, this is a film about
the complexities of the human condition, but for me,
the big feat here was the student journalism aspect of
it that exposed the fraud.
And I think this is the type of film that should
be shown in high school journalism classes or
university journalism classes.
It should be there whenever you talk about journalism films,
this should be in that list because it was that good.
>>> For me, one of the delights of this thing, besides
the fact that I think it's one of Hugh Jackman's best
performances, what I find nice about the script is that we're
not really sure who is as guilty as they are at the beginning
and it plays out in a nice, a nice kind of a reveal that I
think people will really enjoy.
So yeah, my favorite movie of the year, not, not yet,
but definitely can be seen if not by high school students,
by people who run the money for any high school.
>>> You know, there was some great TV series
that are streaming right now to binge-watch.
We're going to tell you about a few starting with
something called Upload. Here's a clip.
>>> I really don't think we need upload.
I'm feeling pretty chill.
>>> Vitals are still going down.
>>> The machines wrong.
>>> Baby don't try and talk this out okay?
Now if you could just old fashioned die or we
could be together forever.
>>> You know, I think you are so amazing but ah...
>>> But what?
>>> But forever it's just like so long to think about.
>>> Lisa, tell us about Upload.
>>> You know, I did not expect to love this movie.
It's a SciFi Amazon Prime series, but it's from Parks
and Recreations creator, Greg Daniels, which is
why I paid attention.
Parks and Rec was like my favorite show ever.
This one is set in 2033 Brooklyn and LA.
And it's basically about a tech startup bro, who when he
dies in a freak accident has his consciousness uploaded
into a corporate owned cloud.
It's basically like a fancy retirement community.
It's a really brilliant and complex look at how even
death and the afterlife are commodified these days.
And it sounds like it could be preachy and kind of
dark, but instead it's just pointed and really funny and
probably enough, it's actually kind of a romcom as well.
>>> Listen, I think it has a creative premise
with an innovative knack for how the future of the
world is going to look like.
But you know, for me, the problem was that if you
remove all the visual gadgets that you don't really have
much to stand on on this.
it was a struggle for me to watch in many moments.
And, you know, it just reminded me like, it's a derivative
between Black Mirror episodes and Johnny Depp's movie
Transcendence, where his soul —
>>> [Laughing] Nothing derives from Transcendence.
Nothing. I can't believe you said that.
That's the worst movie ever made. Oh my God.
>>> You're right about Black Mirror Jack.
Same premise as San Junipero, Black Mirror.
>>> So I've seen this before and I've seen
it done so much better.
So that, that, those are my thoughts.
I wasn't really crazy about them.
>>> Well, everything that Lisa likes about it,
not surprisingly, I don't like.
I wish that it wasn't romcom-ish.
I wish that these guys had put together something like
dark mirror or like that, because the premise is
really interesting to me.
But the jokes, even though when, even when they're good,
they land a little oddly.
They're in an odd world, like the show itself, so
that that didn't work for me.
I wish it was serious.
I wish it was straight.
>>> I think it's terrific.
I think the two leads are great.
Robby Amell, Andy Allo.
I like the fact that on paper this heaven sounds terrific,
but it's not the paradise that it's all cracked up to be.
And I also, you use the word commodified
Lisa, I agree with you.
I like that just like in life, in death here, there's
depending on how much money you make, there's a different
kinds of, there's the low level heaven, there's the
four star, five star heaven.
I think that's terrific as well.
I highly recommend the show. Okay --
>>> Wish it worked as well as you two think it does.
>>> You're on point Bill. No. Bill is wrong.
Here's my sign.
Bill is wrong.
>>> Can't wait. Yeah, there's the sign.
I cannot wait for season two.
All right, Jack, there's a series on Netflix.
Tell us about it, called Hollywood.
>>> Hollywood, isn't that the theme song of your show, Neil?
>>> [Laughing] Um, a hybrid of it, I think,
you know, but anyway, go ahead.
Lay it on.
>>> Hollywood is from producer Ryan Murphy's
latest mini series, starring Jeremy Pope, Daron Criss, Patti
LuPone, Jim Parsons, Dylan McDermott, amongst others.
And it's the new trend of re-imagining moments where
we feel that should have been retold more accurately.
And reminds me a lot of the New York Times ‘69 project
now and not too long ago, where Ryan Murphy wants to
reimagine Hollywood history told from a point of view
where homosexuality and diversity wins, and I love
that premise very much but unfortunately, throughout
the seven episodes I had, my patience was so challenged and
something that was so great.
If you want to see a series where justice sort of takes
place, this is the one to watch.
But unfortunately, I think the entertainment
value here is very low.
And I would nix this.
>>> You know, as with all Ryan Murphy projects,
this one starts so strong and charismatically and it's
kind of sputters to a stop.
I mean, there's great performances from the
elders in the cast.
Especially Holland Taylor, Rob Reiner, I mean,
Patti LuPone, I love her so much.
But the younger characters here are so woefully generic and I,
you know what, overall, I'm just really over revision as history,
even if it progressed as an ideological standpoint that I
agree with like this one does.
>>> Listen, this is a hot mess.
You're right, Ryan Murphy always delivers crazy stuff.
And the problem is you can rewrite history as long as we
understand and what parts of it you're rewriting and some of
the things they get wrong here are really notable and I just
think that it's a noble misfire.
I wanted to like it more.
There are parts of it I can't take my eyes off of, and then
at the end of an episode I go, no, I'm not staying with this.
>>> Well, the problem for me is sort of what
Lisa's saying, is this revisionist history thing.
The first, you can do, the ending is so
crazy to this thing.
The last episode, episode seven goes, it is so unrealistic that
it almost negates the entire thing that came before that.
I won't give that away, but in a million years, what they present
to you at the end, cannot and could not have ever happened.
And if you want to do something that's unrealistic like
that, that's okay if you do that the whole way through.
But the first three or four episodes are played relatively
realistically and straight so when it makes that turn
in the last episode, to me, it was just so absurd.
Ryan Murphy said I wanted to present the Hollywood that
I wanted to believe could have existed back in the
forties but I don't buy it.
You either have to have that theme go this whole
way through or not.
>>> The length to which Ryan Murphy has taken this
is just too far over the top.
>>> Love Life is the name of a new 10 part series
on a brand new streaming service called HBO max.
It stares Anna Kendrick is a single woman living in New York.
And each self contained half hour episode looks at a specific
relationship in her life.
One episode is about the time her older ex-boss turned
into her lover, another looks and how the guy from
an uneventful one night stand becomes sort of stalkery.
There's one about a guy she become serious with and they
decide to live together.
It's all very clever and well-written.
Kendrick is excellent here.
She also serves as an executive producer, so does Paul Feig
who directed Bridesmaids and the show has fine dramatic
and comedic elements.
Overall, it's a very realistic show as it looks at dating, sex,
and relationship amongst millennials in New York City.
>>> You know, Anna Kendrick is absolutely wonderful as she
always is, and she elevates this material so much that it really
took me a couple of days to realize I didn't like the series
because it's so hackneyed.
I mean down to the fact that it literally has that British
narrator and that sort of fake documentary storytelling thing.
There are a few episodes that are absolutely excellent,
but I feel like overall, this could have been made decades
before, especially given it sort of dime store, mealy mouth,
pseudo feminist revelations.
I wish I had a sign saying, Lisa is wrong, Jack, go ahead.
>>> It's very charming, very humor, and it's a look
at Manhattan and the dating life in the 20, 30 year olds
but this is a decent look but nothing that really excites me.
I think there's no fireworks.
>>> We see how her characters outlook on
love and relationships changes as she matures.
And I think that's a key element that both of you guys missed.
>>> People were afraid of him.
We were his teammates and we were afraid of him,
and there was just fear.
>>> I'll just throw it to you.
>>> The fear factor of, of MJ was so, so thick.
>>> He was a jerk.
He crossed the line numerous times but as time goes on
and you think back about what he was actually trying to
accomplish, you're like, yeah, he was a hell of a teammate.
>>> He was pushing us all to be better.
>>> That was a clip from the new documentary
series The Last Dance.
It's Jack Rico's personal choice as we go around the panel with
our critics picks of month. Jack.
>>> Well, you can watch this on demand and The Last
Dance is ultimately the best love letter to Michael
Jordan sports legacy so far.
It's a long form documentary once you like
OJ Simpson's documentary.
And it covers 1997, 98 championship that they had,
the Chicago Bulls.
Over the course of 10 hours they had discovered 10,000
hours as well of archives that had never been seen before
that were in the NBA and it has a lot of flashbacks of
him starting in the sports.
But what this documentary is more than anything,
is the mindset of someone who is a winner.
A winner in the way that most of us have never seen
in our generation, and it also really exposes a lot
of his mindset between how he became this winner.
He's a global icon.
He's inspirational and everyone seems to be talking about this.
The ratings have been crazy high, and to me it's a
masterpiece of documentary.
>>> You know, the timing of this is brilliant given
how starved people are right now for live sports.
Even I'm starving for live sports, which is honestly not a
sentence I thought I would say.
Basically this is an argument for Michael Jordan's brilliance,
but it's a really compelling one, and let's face it,
Michael Jordan is brilliant.
So I found this entertaining as hell.
>>> I think it's one of the best sports documentaries
that I've ever seen.
I'm not a Chicago Bulls fan and I'm a casual basketball
fan, and I didn't think that this would grip me
for 10 hours, but it did.
It's really fantastic.
Bill, what's your pick?
>>> I have a documentary called Call your Mother,
which is on Comedy Central and also other platforms.
It basically asked the question, where did you
get your sense of humor.
And someone who has always felt like my mom was pretty
funny, I enjoyed the premise of this, but Louie Anderson, David
Spade, Judy Gold, all sitting down with their moms, many of
their moms, and describing the material that was about them,
how it was inspired by them, the DNA basically of where
their sense of humor came from.
I recommend it.
>>> I enjoyed mom's finally getting their due
for influencing some of the funniest people that
we've seen on TV and film.
It's a different angle in the standup comedy world.
I'm not used to seeing it as much.
But it's a welcome celebration of the power of mothers
and the influence that they have over their children.
>>> I like how some of the comedians tell you that they
have to censor their act when they're performing, when
their mother or parents are in the audience, and some other
comedians are like, no, I'm not censoring anything at all, which
I thought was kind of funny.
You get to see a softer side of these comedians.
I think that was good too.
It's on Comedy Central on demand, free.
I would check it out.
Lisa, what's your pick this month?
>>> Oh, you know, I'm on this seventies kick right
now during quarantine, and this one is The Long Goodbye.
People who only know Elliott Gould from Friends or the
Oceans 11 movie can be forgiven for not realizing
how hot and rakish Gould was, in some key sixties and
seventies movies, but he was, and this one is my favorite.
It's a sunshine noir, adopted by Robert Altman, the great
Robert Altman, from the Raymond Chandler novel.
It's set in LA in 1973.
Gould plays detective Phillip Marlowe, but he's
about as far as you're going to get from Bogart ever.
He's more concerned with his cat, basically then the
murder that he's solving, which obviously also
makes me like the movie.
The plot is basically beside the point.
It's all stoned kaleidoscope imagery and hilariously
mumbled one liners and, oh my God, I love this movie.
Also, look out for cameo for a very young
>>> Well, despite Lisa sexually objectifying
Elliot Gould in his younger days, I really think this
is one of my very favorite Robert Altman movies.
It certainly holds together despite, as she said, not
having any much of a plot.
And he's great as Phillip Marlowe.
She's right, a long way from Bogart, but he's got the car.
He's got like an old forties Lincoln that
he drives around in.
And one really cool thing about this movie is that
the theme song plays in different incarnations
through the whole movie.
Really cool little noir-y touch.
And this is a, this is a good, good pick.
>>> Listen, 1970's films are terrific.
This is a really good one.
Gould is great.
So is Altman.
What more can I say?
Really good pick Lisa. Okay.
My pick, it's from 1996 and it's called That Thing You Do.
Now, it marks the directorial debut of Tom Hanks who
also wrote the screenplay. The time is 1964.
Beatlemania is in full force and a local garage band
from a small Pennsylvania town decide to record a demo
of one of their pop tunes.
The song is called That Thing You Do.
They wind up signing with a big record label.
The song unexpectedly becomes a huge hit.
And the next thing you know, these one hit wonders are on a
nationwide tour and performing on a national TV show.
Along the way they enjoy the perks of fame during
a brief rise to the top of the music charts.
Tom Hanks is also in it.
He plays the manager.
Liv Tyler is a romantic interest, and overall
it's funny, sweet, and it totally captures the era.
It's on Amazon.
There's also an extended, if you know the movie, there's
an extended cut, which is 40 minutes longer, which
you can get, and it adds more depth to the movie.
But a few weeks ago, which is really interesting,
the cast reunited for the first time in 24 years on
Zoom for a charity benefit where they do a commentary
during the whole movie and share a lot of interesting
background information on the making of the film.
And that reunion is available to watch on YouTube. Bill?
>>> I love this.
I love the movie, and I love what they did.
It kind of honored the guy who wrote that song,
He like, won a contest because about 300 people sent in
movie titled songs and they picked his ‘cause it was
kind of bouncy and Beetle-y.
And the real acid test for this song is in almost more than
any other movie I've ever seen, they play that one song over
and over and over again as they go from county fair to this
place, to that place, to radio station after radio station,
and you'll love that song.
It's so catchy.
It's like an ear worm and it's, it's great.
So, I'm glad it's getting some attention.
>>> You never get tired of that song.
Play it a hundred times.
You still don't get tired of it.
>>> And when this song came out, it was a top 10 hit when
I was living in Miami and [singing] that thing you do.
I mean, I couldn't stop singing the song.
And so my love for this film is more nostalgic and it's
just a such a feel good movie that if anyone is feeling
any sadness right now in life, this is the pick me up.
This is the feel good movie that you should watch.
[Singing] ♪ I can't take you doing that thing you do. ♪
>>> That's all the time we have and with any luck we've
given you some movies and TV shows to watch and pass the
time in this time of crisis.
I want to thank Lisa Rosman.
>>> It was so good to see you boys.
Stay out of trouble. Stay healthy.
>>> Bill McCuddy.
>>> Thanks Neil.
You're paying my cable bill right?
>>> And thanks for joining us again, Jack Rico.
>>> Health and love to everyone.
>>> Yes. Stay well everybody.
I'm Neil Rosen.
Join us next time on Talking Pictures.
♪ [Closing Music]