“The Salesman” Is A Bleak Iranian Allegory

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Beyond the best picture snafu Oscar night there was another upset – the Iranian film “The Salesman” winning best foreign language film over German language frontrunner “Toni Erdmann.”

It was only the third Iranian film nominated for the Oscar, two of which were directed by Asghar Farhadi, who won Oscars  for “The Salesman and “A Separation”  political and social allegories in the disguise of domestic dramas.

If all you know about Iran is what you hear on the news you have a right to be afraid.

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Brutal “Logan” Either End Of A Franchise Or Birth Of One

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“Logan” steps out of the digital superhero fantasy world and into a more realistic, one leaving a trail of sometimes headless bodies behind.

“Logan” is the new and “final” entry in Marvel’s X-Men Wolverine series, and is either the end of a franchise or the birth of one.

It’s 2029 and mutants have been put down or like Professor X are hiding. X has a dementia that results in earthquake type effects that Wolverine, played by Hugh Jackman, controls with medication. The grey and infirm Logan is not in great shape either.

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“La La Land” An Ambitious, Optimistic Dream World

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Peter Cushing isn’t the only venerable film institution revived this moviegoing season. Cushing, who died in 1994, is digitally recreated as the villainous Grand Moff Tarkin in the “Star Wars” film “Rogue One.”

It’s harder to say just when the movie musical died. Was it the 1960s, when bloated spectacles like “Paint Your Wagon” hit the screen?

When last sighted, movie musicals like “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” “Mama Mia,” “Hairspray,” were adaptations of stage plays.

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“Star Wars” Hits A Triple With “Rogue One”

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If “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was a home run, “Rogue One” is a triple.

(Can you tell I miss baseball?)

It has been said that with the rebirth of the franchise a new Star Wars film will be released every year for the rest of your life.

If so, “Rogue One” is one of them. This latest chapter (fourth in chronological order, eighth total films released) in the saga by “Godzilla” director Gareth Edwards occurs just prior to the first original film.

The empire and Darth Vader, still, again and forever voiced by James Earl Jones, is already testing the planet killing Death Star. “Rogue One” tells the story of how Princess Leia and the Rebel Alliance got the plans that helped them destroy it in “A New Hope.”

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“Moonlight” Is A Desperately Needed Act Of Grace

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“Moonlight” is a desperately needed act of healing grace.

It’s a fluidly styled triptych portrait of flawed people facing character defining moments.

We are all more than we front – Hillary calls it public and private lives – and our behavior and actions hide as much as they reveal.

None more so than the troubled black youth who grows up in three chapters, from bullied grade school aged son of a crack addict and sexually confused adolescent with one friend into a drug dealer whose hyper masculine facade hides his secret pain.

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Cubs Win Packer-Sized Rating, Fox Point Man’s Cubs’ Film

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The Chicago Cubs dramatic extra innings World Series victory over the Cleveland Indians earned a remarkable 32.5 household rating. That means about 291,000 television households in the Milwaukee area watched the game on Fox affiliate WITI-TV. (Though Joe Buck haters might have had the sound down.)

That’s twice the rating of first game.

Also: I previously wrote about a Milwaukee native John Scheinfeld’s 2010 film about the Cubs called “We Believe.” He previously directed “The US v. John Lennon” and his latest film “Chasing Trane,” about John Coltrane, is touring the festival market.

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Football Free Final Debate Doubles Ratings

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Local ratings for the final presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were almost double those of the previous debate, due to the absence of competition from Green Bay Packers football.

Of course controversies surrounding both candidate could have also added to interest in the debate.

The cumulative rating for all four network affiliates was a 23 rating, or about 206,000 television homes.

WMVS-TV, FOX and MSNBC additionally earned a cumulative 10.8 rating, or the equivalent of 96,700 TV homes. That brings the total local audience for the debate to 302,700 TV homes.

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Milwaukee Viewers Vote Overwhelmingly for Packers v. Debate

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There is nothing undecided about Milwaukee viewers. They cast their vote for the Green and Gold.

In head to head competition with the tawdry presidential candidate tire fire airing on three other local channels, the Green Bay Packers game against the New York Giants posted a robust 43.7 rating on NBC affiliate WTMJ-TV (Channel 4).

That’s the equivalent of 391,420 TV homes. A local rating point is the equivalent of 8,957 television homes.

The presidential debate – seen locally on Fox affiliate WITI-TV (Channel 6), ABC affiliate WISN-TV (Channel 12) and CBS affiliate WDJT-TV (Channel 58) – earned a cumulative 17.6 rating the equivalent of 157,643 TV homes.

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Packer Ratings Take A Big Dip But Dominate

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It’s not surprising that on the first day of the 2016 football season, the Green Bay Packers game against the Jacksonville Jaguars – and other games – were Sunday’s most watched programming.

It is surprising, however, that the overnight rating for the Packer game dipped almost nine points compared to the season opening game in 2015.

Sunday’s game earned a 38.3 rating for Fox affiliate WITI-TV (Channel 6). This means 337,882 TV homes were tuned in.

In 2015 the opening game against the Chicago Bears earned a 46.7 overnight rating, or 411,987 TV homes.

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Eastwood and Hanks’ “Sully” A No-Nonsense Everyman

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Mustaches loom large in Clint Eastwood’s “Sully.”

Large, because I saw it in IMAX where size matters.

This trivial observation, however, also speaks to a commitment to the literal that is peculiar to Eastwood’s films.

Since the pilot Chesley Sullenberger, who landed an Airbus jet in the Hudson River saving 155 “souls” and his co-pilot Jeff Skiles, both had cookie dusters in real life, so do Tom Hanks and Aaron Eckhart, the actors who play them.

It’s the sort ordinary detail, that like a scoop of vanilla, gives Eastwood’s storytelling a bland name.

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