Category Archives: Summer Movies

Fact, Fiction & Ab Fab!

Nothing had worked. Not threats or negotiations, not shutting down the betting parlors or opium dens, not house-to-house searches or throwing Chinese offenders into prison. Not even executing them. New York’s District Attorney was running out of ideas and more people were dying every day, as the weapons of choice evolved from hatchets and meat cleavers to pistols, automatic weapons, and even bombs. Welcome to New York City‘s Chinatown in 1925. In Tong Wars: The Untold Story of Vice, Money, and Murder in New York’s Chinatown, author and historian, Scott D. Seligman scrupulously documents three decades of turmoil, with characters ranging from gangsters and drug lords to reformers and do-gooders to judges, prosecutors, and cops. It’s a true story set in Prohibition-era Manhattan and at last, unravels much of the legendary mystery of Chinatown. Don’t miss Scott D. Seligman discuss his riveting new book on the next edition of Life Elsewhere.

It’s late summer, 1921: Disgraced former lightweight champion Pepper Van Dean has spent the past two years on the carnival circuit performing the dangerous “hangman’s drop” and taking on all comers in nightly challenge bouts. But when he and his cardsharp wife, Moira, are marooned in the wilds of Oregon, Pepper accepts an offer to return to the world of wrestling as a trainer for Garfield Taft, a down-and-out African American heavyweight contender in search of a comeback and a shot at the world title. Pepper and Moira soon realize that nothing is what it seems: not Taft, the upcoming match, or the training facility itself. Champion Of The World, is the masterful debut novel from author and sportswriter Chad Dundas. Hear the interview on our upcoming show.

Bob Ross, respected film and media critic returns to Life Elsewhere with his Summer Movie picks, beginning with The Infiltrator, starring the increasingly popular Bryan Cranston as a US Customs agent. Bob also offers his take on the new, all-female Ghostbusters; Woody Allen’s latest, Cafe Society; Jason Bourne; Star Trek Beyond; a Ben Hur remake, and the much-anticipated Absolutely Fabulous, the big-screen adaptation of the cult British TV series.

It’s a bumper-packed edition of Life Elsewhere. Hear it first, Sunday at 12 noon ET on WMNF on the new, spiffy, cool, app.

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An Engaging, Insightful Discussion about TV and Movies with Experts, Eric Deggans and Bob Ross

If you missed the latest edition of Life Elsewhere, no worries, the Podcast is available here. Eric Deggans, TV critic for National Public Radio, explains the difference between News and Infotainment. Film and media critic, Bob Ross joins the program to discuss this summer’s releases and forthcoming cinematic highlights. Plus, you’ll hear this week’s Hit That Never Was, “Shoulda” by Jamie Woon.

Coming up in a couple of weeks, Eric Deggans will return to Life Elsewhere to talk about his book Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation.

    

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TV News or Infotainment?

with Eric Deggans, TV critic for NPR

Eric DeggansOnce upon a time, we listened and watched when the newscaster spoke.  If  Walter Cronkite adjusted his glasses to read the update on the news coming out of Dallas,  we paid attention to his every word.  He had no props, there were no computer generated graphics or a Richard Quest screeching at us while prancing around a hologram. Yes, TV news has changed since the days when a seasoned journalist like Walter Cronkite announced the death of the President. Today, if Anderson Cooper has his jacket off and flashing his guns in a tight black T shirt, then he is signaling to us, it’s a news story from somewhere outside the comfort of the studio. That somewhere could be anywhere, so to help us better understand a plethora of experts will unravel headache-inducing animated charts and graphs and looped footage. Such is the way of TV news in 2014. If Cronkite were around today, would he embrace the magical technology available? Probably, but the question is, would he stop being a journalist and start performing as an entertainer?

Summer Movies, The Good, The Bad & The Familiar

with Bob Ross film & media critic

Bob RossSequels dominate this year with flicks about Spider-Man, Transformers, Expendables, talking turtles, talking apes and animated dragons. Thankfully the season isn’t totally about would-be action blockbusters, there are documentaries covering a wide range of issues and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman is receiving rave reviews with two posthumous performances. Clint Eastwood and Roman Polanski (curiously)  take on material from Broadway and Woody Allen returns to France. Which ones will get Bob Ross’s Good, Bad or Familiar award?

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