CROSS.CULTURE.CRITIC. Podcast Reboots With New Co-host Joe Yerke

Podcasts are funny things. Unlike writing an article, I don’t start a podcast because there’s a particular point I want to make or because I have an agenda. For me, it’s a way to talk more about the things I love, and doing interviews scratches that journalistic itch I’ve had since leaving the newspaper world. It’s a way for me to wrestle with concepts that might be too sprawling to write about and, in the best instances, talk about those… Read more

“War for the Planet of the Apes” review: Hail, Caesar

  “War for the Planet of the Apes” is the type of movie I thought Hollywood had forgotten how to make. The third entry in the rebooted franchise is challenging, provocative and riveting entertainment. Boasting the best special effects and motion-capture work I’ve seen and an epic scope with strong biblical undertones, it’s a story of complex characters navigating muddy moral waters and the apocalyptic ramifications of violence. It’s troubling, astounding and difficult ⸺ and one of the best movies… Read more

Review: “Spider Man: Homecoming” Is Pure Marvel Fun

The most joyful moment — and there many — in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” happens  after a short prelude, as the Marvel production logo bursts onto the screen, accompanied by Michael Giacchino’s orchestral arrangement of the theme from the “Spider-Man” cartoon series (“Spider-man, Spider-man, does whatever a spider can…”). It makes a promise: after 15 years, two actors and five movies, Spidey’s finally part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — and it’s going to be fun. This isn’t Spider-Man’s first foray into the MCU of… Read more

Movie review: “Despicable Me 3” is a 90-minute headache

    Let’s get this out of the way: Your kids are going to love “Despicable Me 3.” My 5 year old cackled and cheered at every bit of mayhem. For the target audience, this film delivers. As for me? Five minutes in, I was ready to grab an aspirin but worried that the yellow-coated tablets would induce Minion-related flashbacks. The “Despicable Me” franchise finally goes the route of “Shrek,” with a clever opening chapter followed by sequels that squeeze every bit of… Read more

“Cross.Culture.Critic.” talks to Joe Yerke of the Insyderz!

Hey everyone, Episode 2 of my podcast “Cross.Culture.Critic.” went live this weekend, and I’m really excited for everyone to hear it! My original idea for the podcast, as I’ve said before, centered on the Christian music scene of the 90s and 00s. As a youth group kid in the mid-90s, I was greatly influenced by the music I listened to, and I’ve been curious what happened to some of the bands were regulars in my Walkman. The podcast idea changed… Read more

“The Women’s Balcony”: How a Jewish Movie Taught Me What Faith-Based Films Can Be

“The Women’s Balcony” is not traditional summer entertainment. A foreign film without a massive advertising budget, I wasn’t even aware it existed until a representative emailed me in advance of its debut at one of Detroit’s art theaters. A shame, as Emil Ben-Shimon’s film — the highest-grossing film in Israel — is a welcome antidote to summer’s orgies of destruction. It’s not surprising that the movie’s flown under the critical radar; foreign-language films about religion, gender roles and community can’t exactly compete… Read more

“Cross.Culture.Critic.” debuts today

As I’ve written before, in recent years podcasting has become a hobby of mine. I’ve found its a great way to dive into in-depth interviews and talk about things in more detail than I can on this blog. For over two years, I’ve co-hosted “It’s My Favorite” with two friends, and recording those episodes has been a monthly highlight for me. Awhile back, I co-hosted a podcast for the Detroit Film Critics Society, which was great fun. Although I had… Read more

“Cars 3” Review: How Lightning Got His Vroom Back

It’s official: I’m just never going to “get” Pixar’s Cars universe. Despite the studio’s ability to make me care for friendly monsters, plastic toys, foodie rats, wisecracking bugs and personified emotions, I’ve been left cold by the adventures of Lightning McQueen and his buddies. There’s just something about their design that makes it hard to connect. Aside from their windshield eyes and bumper-lips, these are still just vehicles moving around roadways and tracks, and something in me resists suspending disbelief, no… Read more

“It’s My Favorite” Talks All Things Summer

I’m going to keep this one quick. I’ve talked before about “It’s My Favorite,” the podcast I co-host with two good friends. As I’ve said, it’s a highlight of my month to meet with Matt and Beth and talk about movies, TV and whatever else happens to be on our mind. There’s always a lot to talk about and talking with them is often the most I laugh all month. Each month, we alternate episodes. On our “main flavor” episode,… Read more

Review: “It Comes at Night” Leaves Audience in the Dark

Last year’s “Krisha” was one of the most astounding directorial debuts I’ve seen. A disorienting, visually and aurally spectacular domestic drama told through the lens of a thriller, I was immediately a fan of writer-director Trey Edward Shults. The film’s unnerving tone made me eager for his return behind the camera with the full-fledged horror movie, “It Comes at Night.” Be careful what you wish for. Shults’ sophomore effort cements his reputation as a visual maestro, capable of creating a dread-soaked… Read more

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