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Josef Woodard

Stories by Josef

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Coen Brothers’ ‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’

Good Ol’ Yet New-Fangled Magic

It adds up to that good ol’ yet new-fangled magic.

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The History and Jazz of Monterey

Woodard Travels Up the Coast to Steep in California Tradition and Music

Woodard travels up the coast to steep in California tradition and music.

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‘The Happy Prince’ Details Life of Oscar Wilde

Rupert Everett Is a Magnetizing Center of Narrative Storm

Rupert Everett is a magnetizing center of this film that inspires and meanders by turns.

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‘The Guilty’ Is Intense, Twist-Filled Film

Excitingly Cerebral and Touchingly Human

Director Gustav Möller’s movie is as exciting as a cerebral, filmic venture and touching as a fully, knotty human story.

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‘Tea with the Dames’: Revered Actresses Talk Career, Life

Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright, and Eileen Atkins in Conversation

Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright, and Eileen Atkins venture down their respective and collective memory lanes.

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Call to Action Film Festival

SBIFF Showcases Social, Environmental, Political Slate of Docs

SBIFF showcases a social, environmental, and political slate of docs, as well as community-engaging panel discussions with artists and community leaders.

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‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’: Chloë Grace Moretz Gives Slow-Burning Performance

Film Avoids Hysterical Depiction, Artfully Deals with Volatile Subject of Conversion Therapy

The film avoids hysterical depictions of the conversion campaign, instead artfully dealing with realities of a volatile situation with too much relevance in the modern moment.

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Regina Hall Shines in ‘Support the Girls’

Sisterly Support in Man’s World is Story’s Maxim

The balm of sisterly support in a man’s world serves as the story’s moving maxim.

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Jennifer Fox’s ‘The Tale’ Untangles Blurred Memories

Story Lingers in Mind Thanks to Deep Dive by Director

The film lingers in the mind longer than its headline-tapping relevance thanks to the deep dive made by the director.

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Montana’s Tippet Rise Art Center

A Blissful Art and Music-Enhanced Destination

A blissful art and music-enhanced nature destination.

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‘Love, Cecil’ Captures Life of Photog Cecil Beaton

Documentary Does Smashing Job of Filling in Blanks of Multitalented Brit

Lisa Immordino Vreeland’s documentary does a smashing job of filling in the blanks and chronology of this restless, multitalented Brit.

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Birthday Tripping with Mickey

It’s a Smaller World, After All

It’s a smaller world, after all.

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Gillian Flynn’s ‘Sharp Objects’ Comes to TV

HBO Adapts Book into Stylish, Arty Thriller

HBO adapts book into stylish, arty thriller for the small screen.

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French Cinema Takes Over Riviera

SBIFF Presents Its Seventh Wave Film Festival

SBIFF presents its seventh Wave Film Festival.

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Asian American Film Series at the Alhecama

Features and Documentaries Screen on Fridays in July

Features and documentaries screen each Friday in July.

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Andrea Riseborough Shines in ‘Nancy’

Actress Is Cosmic, Elusive Star of Film

This impressive first feature film drops us into the murky world of Nancy, who may or may not be a woman kidnapped as a young girl.

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‘Lost in Space’ Is Netflix’s Latest Binge-Worthy Series

Series Deftly Blends Family-Friendly Elements with Bizarre, Scary Forces

The series deftly blends family-friendly elements with bizarre, scary forces.

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‘Babylon Berlin’ Is a Seductive, Gritty, Film-Noir-Basted Wonder

Netflix Original Series Explores 1929 Germany’s Weimar Republic

Netflix’s original series explores Germany’s fragile but culturally fertile Weimar Republic in 1929.

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‘Ismael’s Ghosts’ Gets a Bit Too Undone at Times

Stew of a Film That Never Fully Satisfies

It’s a stew of a film that lures viewers into its tasty trap without fully satisfying.

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Dark Comedy ‘Barry’ Dazzles in Series Opener

Bill Hader Stars as Reluctant Hitman in Fab New Show

Bill Hader stars as a reluctant hitman in his fab new show on HBO.

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‘Itzhak’ Gives Glimpse Into Violinist Itzhak Perlman’s Life

Touching, Persuasive Documentary on the Celebrity Virtuoso

Director Alison Chernick presents a touching and persuasive documentary on the celebrity virtuoso.

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‘Ramen Heads’ Takes Viewers on Mouth Watering Journey

Japanese Doc Delves into Specialized World of Gourmet Ramen Makers

Japanese documentary delves into the specialized world of legendary gourmet ramen makers.

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‘Leaning into the Wind: Andy Goldsworthy’ Is Dreamy and Visually Gorgeous

Documentary Paints Portrait of Artist Who Continues to Evolve and Invent

Thomas Riedelsheimer’s documentary paints a portrait of an artist who continues to evolve and invent.

‘Oh Lucy!’ Goes Dark Before the Light Comes in Again

Woman Who’s Comes Apart Looks for Way Back to Normality

The film tells of a woman coming apart and looking for a way back into normality that has suddenly morphed.

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‘Wormwood’ Probes Mysterious Death of CIA Biological Warfare Scientist

Errol Morris’s Docudrama Scrutinizes Frank Olson’s Alleged Suicide

Errol Morris’s docudrama scrutinizes the alleged suicide of Frank Olson, who was found dead outside N.Y.C.’s Hotel Statler in 1953, having fallen from a 13th-floor window.

‘The Insult’ Tackles Simmering Socio-Ethnic Rage Lebanese Christian and a Palestinian

Drama Moves Beyond Insult that Serves as Kindling for Simmering Socio-Ethnic Rage.

Courtroom drama moves far beyond the trivial insult that serves as kindling for simmering socio-ethnic rage.

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'Our Cartoon President’ Satirizes POTUS, or Does It?

Series Raises Question: Is This Farce, Reality TV, or Both?

The scare factor underlying this series on Trump follies is its proximity to the chilling non-cartoon world over which the Trumpster has dominion.

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SBIFF 2018 Wrap-Up

An Enlightened Escape Route

The festival came to a close on Saturday night, with a heartwarming and civic-minded roster of Santa Barbara documentaries.

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SBIFF 2018: Day 10

Deer in the Dreamlights

A strong undercurrent in the film is the power and the dreams, which become both a retreat from the concrete reality and a literally connective tissue between our lover protagonists.

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SBIFF 2018: Day Nine

The Lure of a Mysterious ‘Woman’

Chilean filmmaker makes a “trans-genre and transgender film.”

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SBIFF 2018: Day Eight

Sam Rockwell and Other Actors in Hollywood’s Side Lights

The crop of celebrities honored at this year’s award tributes is low-key, in that the klieg lights are being shone on actors who have artistically prospered in the chameleonic side lights of Hollywood.

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SBIFF 2018 So Far

Tributes, Panels, and Films Light Up the City

SBIFF has once again lit up our city in the manner to which we’ve grown accustomed, propitiously timed during the lead-up to the Academy Awards.

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SBIFF 2018 Day Seven

Directors as Cultural Superheroes

On that stage was genuinely an all-star collection of uniquely creative voices, whose work this year all deserved their Oscar nominations.

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SBIFF 2018: Day Six

Behind and Beneath the Scenery

Film artisans take center stage, and more must see films.

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SBIFF 2018: Day Five

Holding Court in a Divided World

The Lebanese film The Insult is a fascinating variation on the courtroom drama genre and a potent and contemporarily important tale of tolerance.

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SBIFF 2018: Day Four

Chasing Cursors and Screen Time

Screenwriters talk about their craft, Virtuosos get loose, and more films gems.

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SBIFF 2018: Day Three

Immortal Chameleon

During Gary Oldman’s Maltin Modern Master Award tribute it was clear that we were in the presence of a true acting chameleon.

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SBIFF 2018: Day Two

Reality Check-In

From the category of docs, one of the more powerful entries is ‘Living in the Future Past,’ a masterful ecological cautionary.

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SBIFF 2018: Day One

Out of the Cold

Opening night film, ‘The Public’, was one of the best festival-opening features in recent memory.

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‘The Polka King’ Explores the Unjustly Maligned and Ignored Musical Tradition

Jack Black Stars as Real-Life Bandleader Jan Lewan

Viewers at once are immersed in a polka-lined world and view it from a half-satirical remove.

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Suicidal Impulses Thread Through ‘Happy End’

Tale of Dysfunctional Family Dotted by Calamities amid Calm Circumstances

This tale of dysfunctional family ties is dotted by calamities amid deceptively calm circumstances.

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Shakespeare on Film Series at Pollock Theater

The Bard Goes Hollywood at UCSB

The Bard’s “Hamlet,” “Macbeth,” and more translated to the big screen.

‘In the Fade’ Is an Indictment of Hate and Xenophobia

Chilling Film Has Renewed Relevance in the Age of Trump

This chilling film about intolerance has renewed relevance in the age of Trump.

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‘She’s Gotta Have It’ Emphasizes the Feminist Narrative

Spike Lee’s TV Series Creates Brooklyn-ized Audio-Visual-Cultural-Carnal Tapestry

Creating a Brooklyn-ized audio-visual-cultural-carnal tapestry is part of Lee’s overall goal here, which he nicely achieves.

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Josef Woodard’s 2017 Top 10 TV and Films

The Year’s Best TV and Film

The ‘Indy’ film/television critic shares his favorite big- and small-screen offerings of the year.

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‘Godless’ Considers Little-Tapped Possibilities in Western Narrative

Scott Frank’s Seven-Episode Series Lures Viewers into Terrain Both Familiar and Fresh

Scott Frank’s seven-episode series lures viewers into terrain both familiar and fresh.

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‘The Breadwinner’ Is Anguished and Charming Film About Life Under Taliban Rule

Animated Film Lays Out Hardships In Tapestry of Fable-Like Storytelling and Harsh Realities

Hardships are laid out in a tapestry of sweet, fable-like storytelling and the harsh realities of the day.

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Reviewed | ‘BPM (Beats per Minute)’

Historical Slice of Life in the AIDS Struggle

Film conveys a historical slice of life in the AIDS struggle with a strong, supple cinematic voice.

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‘Mindhunter’ Is Latest Binge-Worthy Netflix Show

David Fincher’s Morbidly Hypnotic TV Series

David Fincher’s morbidly hypnotic series explores the psychology and behavioral science aspects of crime fighting.

‘The Square’

Illuminating, Sly, and Beautifully Made Film a Must-See

The illuminating, sly, and beautifully made film is a must-see in S.B.'s suddenly busy art-house scene.