“7 Chinese Brothers”: Jason Schwartzman takes a Big Gulp out of life


“7 Chinese Brothers” has its Madison premiere Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Union South Marquee Theatre, 1208 W. Dayton St., as part of the UW-Cinematheque fall series. Not rated, 1:16, three stars out of four.

There’s a scene in “7 Chinese Brothers” where somebody tips over a barrel of loose change. As the pennies, dimes and nickels go  cascading across the cement floor, I thought to myself “Yikes, that could be the movie’s entire budget, right there.”

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Instant Gratification: “Listen Up Philip” and four other good movies to watch on Amazon Prime and Netflix

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Pick of the week: “Listen Up Philip” (Amazon Prime)My full review is here. Jason Schwartzman is hilariously awful as an arrogant young writer who finds that success only feeds and confirms his misanthropy in this acerbic comedy from Alex Ross Perry.

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Come talk “Listen Up Philip” with me at Sundance on Tuesday

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Just a reminder that I’m hosting another Sundance Screening Room post-show chat this Tuesday, Oct. 28, after the 7:05 p.m. showing of “Listen Up Philip” at Sundance Cinemas.

Last month’s chat for the political documentary “Pay 2 Play,” which was co-sponsored by the Cap Times, was a lot of fun,with some 80 people showing up. But it was a pretty politically-focused chat with Nation and Cap Times columnist John Nichols co-hosting, so it’ll be nice to get back to some good ol’ movie movie talk with “Listen Up Philip.”

And the movie will give us a lot to talk about — Alex Ross Perry’s merciless look at a “notable” writer (Jason Schwartzman) and how success only seems to exacerbate his arrogant, thoughtless nature has been compared to Woody Allen, but most expressly to novelist Philip Roth, who Perry cites as a clear influence. Here’s my review, and here’s a fascinating interview Twitchfilm did with both Perry and Schwartzman about making the film.

So we’ll meet in Sundance”s Overflow Bar at about 9  p.m. or so — no extra charge. Hope you can join us!



“Listen Up Philip”: He’s hard on himself, but harder on you



“Listen Up Philip” is now playing at Sundance Cinemas. R, 1:49, three stars out of four. I’ll be hosting a post-show chat after the 7:05 p.m. show on Tuesday, Oct. 28 at Sundance Cinemas.

You know those movies about an abrasive curmudgeon who, in the end, redeems himself and becomes a caring person? “Listen Up Philip” is emphatically not one of those movies.

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