Mercury Retrograde Gangster

Ever since I got my iPhone, I’ve set its alarm to Aretha’s “Hello Sunshine” because I like having my dream mommy gently shake me awake every morning. Today I set the alarm to wake me to James Brown’s “Papa Don’t Take No Mess.” I’m going to muscle through this Mercury retrograde one way or another; I spent too long flat on my back to gracefully surrender to any “stop in your tracks” madness this time around. (Yeah, we’ll see how that goes.)

The Low Notes of ‘Pitch Perfect 2′

Here at Word and Film, we are not in the business of grading movies. But if I were to grade “Pitch Perfect 2,” the much-anticipated follow-up to the breakout 2012 musical comedy, I’d give it a solid B. As sequels go, that’s not bad, and the film deserves extra points for sidestepping the meta-movie trap into which so many comedic sequels fall. (Here’s looking at you, “22 Jump Street.”) But, though I’m a huge fan of its pop-feminism and hip a cappella (no, that’s not an oxymoron), “Pitch Perfect 2″ doesn’t quite hit the high notes of its predecessor. Chalk that up to a too-many-cooks-in-the-kitchen plot and a disappointing profusion of micro-aggression.… Read More

The Leonard Library Club: ‘Radio Days’

Today at Williamsburg’s Leonard Library Club we’re screening Woody Allen’s “Radio Days,” which is like a Norman Rockwell portrait directed by a Kosher Fellini and starring the deliciously cranky likes of Larry David, Jeff Daniels, Dianne Wiest, Diane Keaton, Mia Farrow and a pint-sized Seth Green. I regard this film as one of Woody’s best mid-career efforts. Don’t agree? Come discuss. Don’t like Woody? Come discuss that, too. I am leading the post-screening conversation, and hope it’ll be lively. It’s free, it’s going to rain this afternoon so you won’t be missing out on a gorgeous day, and it’s perfectly timed for the post-brunch crowd.… Read More