Archive for October, 2015

Kurt Chandler Stepping Down At Milwaukee Magazine

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Kurt Chandler announced that he is stepping down as editor of Milwaukee Magazine, effective Nov. 13.

In an email the veteran journalist cited “the front and center management stuff” as reasons for his departure. It is “not something I will miss.”

He was senior editor and writer at the magazine when became editor in 2013. Prior to that he was a writer for hire with several non-fiction books to his credit and a writing instructor at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.

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“Steve Jobs” Restless, Seamless Portrait Of Tech Visionary

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Lisa, the daughter whose paternity Steve Jobs denied is the heart of the film about the late Apple CEO.

She even shares the name of a computer he denies was named after her.

She existed in real life and still does.

But in “Steve Jobs” she seems like a narrative barometer designed to register change in the misanthropic visionary played by Michael Fassbender.

Neither she nor the other supporting characters are seen outside his orbit and we always meet them under the same circumstances: in an auditorium shortly before a new product launch.

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“Truth”-iness: Equal Parts Finger-Pointing, Navel-Gazing

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Facts are proof. But “Truth” is a matter of perspective.

The failure of CBS News to prove the 2004 “60 Minutes II” report about then Pres. George Bush’s military record, or lack of it, led to the resignation of anchor Dan Rather and dismissal of the segment’s producer Mary Mapes.

The film of those events, by first time director James Vanderbilt and based on Mapes’ book, blames a failure of institutional oversight, the political concerns of the network’s parent company and a CYA corporate mentality for making them scapegoats in the affair.

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Program Director Jo Jo Martinez out at WMYX

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After 18 years  with the Entercom radio group Jo Jo Martinez is leaving WMYX-FM where she spent five years as program director according to

Martinez previously spent 13 years at Entercom’s WXSS-FM as music director and assistant program director.

In an email Brian Kelly, vice president of operations for Entercom in Milwaukee, confirmed her departure and said that he would absorb her programing duties.

Kelly said Entercom was now looking for an assistant program director and music director who can also do middays on WMYX.

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The Movie CBS Doesn’t Want You To See

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According to the Internet Movie Database there are 51 films or television episodes entitled “Truth.”

“Truth” opening here Friday, is one of them. But you won’t learn about it on CBS.

The film, about the 2004 “60 Minutes II” report on then-Pres. George Bush’s military service or lack of it, is an unflattering account of a journalistic humiliation that led to the resignation of anchor Dan Rather and also includes an attack on the political motives of CBS’ corporate parent Viacom.

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Child Soldier’s Humanity The Heart Of “Beasts of No Nation”

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The country in “Beasts of No Nation” is fictional but the problem is actual.

Since 2011, eighteen countries were reported as having used children in combat, according to Child Soldiers International, as portrayed in the film.

Sunglass-wearing, stick-chewing Idris Elba is a deadly charismatic African warlord with a ragtag army of boys fighting the government, and some have suggested an Oscar nomination for this performance after failing to receive one for “Mandela.

But the film is about the children. Especially Agu, orphaned when government soldiers shot his father after his mother fled the city. He escaped into the dense forest, beautiful when seen from above, deadly below.

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Del Toro’s “Crimson Peak” Is Totally Insane

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“Crimson Peak” is insane.

But you have to assume Guillermo del Toro knows what he’s doing.

Del Toro, of “Hellraiser,” “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “The Strain,” is a master fantasy storyteller.

With “Peak” he dips into all genre possibilities as if choosing just one would spoil the fun.

Along the way the over-the-top “Peak” suggests “Scream” without humor, for  knowingly playing with genre tropes, and the high campiness of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ without the songs, as a narrative inspiration.

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“Bridge Of Spies” Another History Class from Spielberg And Hanks

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“Bridge of Spies” is Capra-esque / John LeCarre mythmaking with Tom Hanks as equal parts Mr. Smith and one of Smiley’s people and Steven Spielberg applying the flawless visual touches he brought to films like “Lincoln.”

History class is again in session.

This time Spielberg and Hanks, who revived interest in the greatest generation with “Saving Private Ryan” set the way back machine for a Cold War espionage tale about superpower surrogates that unfolds against the backdrop of the division of Germany and building of the Berlin Wall.

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“The Walk” Between The Twin Towers Is Depth Defying

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Seeing “The Walk” in Imax 3D is depth defying.

Not since the Martin Scorsese film “Hugo” has a movie deserved to be made and seen in these formats. “The Walk” looks as if it was grown inside the 3D ecosystem rather than having the effect imposed on it.

Director Robert Zemeckis is a long time digitally expressive guy and knows his way around special effects films like “Back to the Future” and “Forest Gump” that also tap into the audience’s emotional response system.

“The Walk,” about a French aerialist’s dream of walking a tightrope between the Twin Towers in 1984 1974 begins blandly enough with his quirky backstory as a Paris street juggler.

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Is 15-Day Milwaukee Film Festival Too Long?

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Seventeen films will be shown Thursday, the last day of the Milwaukee Film Festival.

The last film I expect to see is “Cartel Land,” at the Downer, but I could stumble into “Beatles” at the Times.

Counting short films, the festival has presented more than 300 titles at about the same number of separate screenings.

Most people just see a fraction of the films presented by Milwaukee Film. I haven’t counted but I have seen less than twenty. And that’s counting the ones I saw in advance.

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