WXXI AM News

film

Is the new Ghostbusters movie any good? That's one question. Then there's the question of why it's become so polarizing. And one of the cast members recently said that she's tired of hearing the term "female comedian," because we never use the term "male comedian." Why are women treated differently on screen? We discuss all of that and more. Our guests:

  • Beth Winslow, actor and comedian
  • Eric Stevens, pop culture writer and LEGO designer
  • Char Broome, comedian who performs under the name Char B

Why are politicians so self-destructive? That's what you might find yourself wondering after you head to The Little to watch Weiner, which some critics have called the best political documentary ever made. It's hard to watch at times; the former Congressman takes his own career apart, while nearly destroying his family.

We talk to the filmmakers, as well as a panel that will discuss why the pursuit of power is so corrosive. Our guests:

  • Dr. Kathleen Donovan, assistant professor in the Political Science Department, Legal Studies Program, and Statistics Program at St. John Fisher College
  • Joe Rittler, former chief of staff for the Democrats in the Monroe County Legislature
  • Dr. Hinda Mandell, assistant professor in the School of Communications at RIT

Rochester native Robert Forster joins us to talk about his new film, The American Side, a mystery/thriller/noir about a conspiracy involving scientist Nikola Tesla. The film will be screened as part of a special event at The Little Theatre on Thursday.

The American Side kicks off our discussion of summer films, from movies for film lovers, to popcorn flicks and more. Our guests:

Chris Wilmot wants Rochester to become more of a film town. His aim is to bring in mid-budget films, more than a million dollars, to shoot in a new Rochester studio. Others want Rochester to bring in blockbusters like Spider-Man. Still others think it's more realistic to promote smaller films with local talent.

In the middle of the debate are your tax dollars, which are required to lure the marquee films. Our guests discuss the movie scene:

The Rochester International Film Festival kicks off Thursday, with a variety of films, documentaries, and animations submitted by independent filmmakers. We meet some of them, including:

  • Joseph Bellavia, Rochester-based director of Long John
  • Pete Ireland, Sydney, Australia-based producer, writer, and director of Chip
  • Ian Massry, cinematographer, storyline producer, and editor of 59 Days of Independence
  • Josephine Perini, media, hospitality/events coordinator for Movies on a Shoestring, Inc.

We preview The Little Theatre's upcoming Science on Screen event by talking about Hitchcock's Psycho and psychology in filmmaking.

Our panel of experts discusses about how filmmakers use visual techniques to control the minds of moviegoers. We break down Psycho's famous "shower scene," and explore what rules, if any, exist in modern films. Our guests:

  • James Cutting, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Psychology at Cornell University
  • Les Friedman, Ph.D., professor and former chair of the Media and Society Program at Hobart and William Smith Colleges
  • Bri Merkel, special events manager for The Little Theatre

Film critic Jack Garner is in studio to preview the Oscars. He shares his selections for the various categories, including Best Picture. He also weighs in on the lack of diversity in the nominees, which has become a growing controversy.

In the United States, more than two million Americans are in prison, and 50 percent of those inmates have children under the age of 18. That means more than 1 in 28 children have a parent in prison, up from 1 in 125 children 25 years ago.

In Ontario County, volunteers have teamed up to help re-connect families through literacy: the Storybook Program offers imprisoned parents the opportunity to record audiocassettes or CDs of themselves reading to their children. The program is the subject of a new documentary called Turn the Page, which has been submitted for the Unite Rochester Challenge. It will be screened at The Little Theatre on February 11.

We discuss the Storybook Program, the documentary, and the prison system in America. Our guests:

  • Linda Moroney, filmmaker and director of Turn the Page
  • Claire Kremer, founder of the Storybook Project

Did The Big Short succeed in its mission? The Oscar-nominated film was designed to help Americans -- especially Americans with no background in economics or finance -- understand what caused the 2008 financial meltdown.

Our panel includes several people who saw the film. They articulate what they've learned, and our economics professor determines if the film has accomplished its goals. Our guests:

  • Amit Batabyal, professor of economics at RIT
  • Bryan Ball, Woody Battaglia, and Tom Proietti, sharing what they've learned from the film

Sympathy, Said the Shark is a new film written, produced and directed by a couple of guys who grew up across the street from each other in Sodus. They have aimed to create a different kind of thriller with this film, and they join us to talk about their techniques.

The Little Theatre will host a Rochester premier for the film on January 13, with the filmmakers joining the audience. Our guests: 

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