The Academy Awards just backed off of a plan to add a Popular Film category to this year’s Oscars. The implication is that good movies are different from the movies people actually see. Those “good” movies – by Academy Awards standards at least – are often seen on the film-festival circuit, and don’t even hit theaters until the fall or winter. That means most regular folks don’t get a chance to see them before awards season.
But Chris Vognar is not most folks. As culture critic for The Dallas Morning News, he got to see some of the big, upcoming fall films at the Venice Film Festival.
Among Vogner’s top picks is the latest remake of “A Star is Born.” Originally made in 1937, with subsequent versions starring Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand, this version features Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.
“I think it’s a really solid Hollywood movie,” Vogner says. “I think it finds some new wrinkles in an old story, and manages to make it contemporary, too.”
And Vogner says Lady Gaga is a terrific actor.
Another, “First Man,” is the story of astronaut Neil Armstrong – the first person to walk on the moon. He’s played by Ryan Gosling.
“It’s a little melancholy,” Vogner says. “It might not be what people are expecting in a space- adventure kind of movie.”
A documentary about Steve Bannon, the ex-strategist for President Donald Trump, and former chairman of the far-right Breitbart News, is the subject of a documentary called “American Dharma.” Vogner says that Bannon and filmmaker Errol Morris seem to have “an odd mutual respect.”
“Dragged Across Concrete” – a film with Texas connections, thanks to producer Dallas Saonnier, who lives in the Lone Star State – stars Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn as cops who “go rogue.” Vogner describes it as a “high-end exploitation movie.”
Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.