About Me

Sean Woodard serves as the Film Editor for Drunk Monkeys and a Co-Producer of the faith and spirituality podcast, Ordinary Grace. Focusing on a wide variety of interests, Sean’s fiction, film criticism, and other writings have been featured in Los Angeles Review of Books, NonBinary ReviewHorrorbuzz, Cultured Vultures, and Los Angeles Magazine, among other publications. He is currently a doctoral student at University of Texas at Arlington.

Film Columns and Essays

NOIRANTINE

The onset of the COVID-19 quarantine left me with two things: too much time on my hands and a plethora of books and films to (re)discover. I found myself delving into crime fiction with James Ellroy’s “L.A. Quartet” (The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L. A. Confidential, White Jazz), graphic novels (Hit: 1955, The Fade-Out), and my film noir collection on Blu-Ray. When Frida Programming Director Trevor Dillon asked us to pitch blog post ideas, I automatically came up with the title: NOIRANTINE.

Journalism

Rick Eisleben '69 Returns to Find Chapman Radio's Bold Spirit Still Thriving

The first two days had been a breeze, but lack of sleep eventually started catching up with Rick Eisleben as in spring 1969 he continuously spun vinyl in the broadcast booth of what was then called Radio Chapman. Somehow he made it through almost another full day as friends and colleagues “encouraged” him to stay awake — in one case by hovering over him with a Coke bottle full of water.

Catch This Flick: Oscar-Nominated "Cutie and the Boxer"

Noriko Shinohara could have done anything when she arrived in New York City as a 19-year-old art student. She chose to devote her life to avant-garde artist Ushio Shinohara, 22 years her senior and famous for his “boxing” paintings. Their 40-year marriage, plagued by alcoholism, an unstable lifestyle, and the sacrifices required to create their art, is chronicled in the Oscar-nominated documentary Cutie and the Boxer.

Johnny Carson Never Left; He Just Took a Broadcast Vacation

Where would we be without the wit of Johnny Carson on late-night television? The legendary chat show host visited America’s living room from 1962 to 1992, amusing the masses and keeping their eyes on the screen. Tonight, Turner Classic Movies launches Carson on TCM, a series dedicated to the best celebrity interviews Carson conducted. Each hour-long segment, which will debut on Monday nights in July, contains five interviews and will be followed by a feature film of the last interviewed actor.

The Vinyl Weighs a Ton but the Movie is Only 90 Minutes Long

To describe the music released by Los Angeles label Stones Throw Records as “eclectic” or “left-of-center” is an understatement on par with saying Kanye West has an ego. The diamond in the rough of indie record companies, Stones Throw was founded by Chris Manak (aka DJ Peanut Butter Wolf) in 1996 and has put its weight behind hip-hop, world music, and modern funk—to name just a few genres. The influential homegrown music label gets its due in Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton (This is Stones Throw Records).

"MacArthur Park" Comes to MacArthur Park. Finally!

“MacArthur Park” has been recorded and performed by everyone from Donna Summers to Richard Harris; it even inspired a Weird Al Yankovic parody. But until now the sprawling, seven-and-a-half minute song has never been performed at its namesake venue, MacArthur Park. In honor of its 45th anniversary the tune’s composer, Grammy award-winner Jimmy Webb, will play “Macarthur Park” when he opens the Levitt Pavilion‘s free summer concert series on June 15th.

Film Reviews

BACURAU an Exercise in Sustained Tension

Director Kleber Mendonça Filho’s (Aquarias) latest film (co-directed with Juliano Dornellos) is a meditation on the socio-political state in Brazil, the importance of community, and the effects of violence. Shortlisted for Brazil’s official entry for best foreign language film for the 2020 Academy Awards, Bacurau has garnered acclaim from audiences and critics alike since its premiere at Cannes, where it tied for a Jury Prize.

FILM REVIEW 45 Years

Watching Andrew Haigh’s sublime 45 Years felt like viewing a film from the late Ingmar Bergman. The film shares the same probing psychological examination and tense emotional drama with a majority of the Swedish director’s works, but Haigh’s picture departs through its sensitivity to its subject and characters, as well as its distinct visual style. Centered on the week leading up to Kate and Geoffrey Mercer’s (Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay) 45th wedding anniversary, the narrative focuses

FILM REVIEW Son of Saul

A contender for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, László Nemes’ debut feature, Son of Saul, is a harrowing philosophical tale that reminds us that the horrors of the past are still ever present. Photographed entirely with a 40mm lens in the Academy ratio (1.37:1), the film opens with an out-of-focus long shot; after a few moments, blurry people approach the camera and the long-shot becomes an extreme close-up. This method has been done before in a different manner by the late Sergio Leone fo

Sundance hit bangs the drums

There’s a story Professor Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons in an Oscar-worthy role) tells freshman Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller) during his first semester at a music conservatory that becomes the motif for Damien Chazelle’s film, “Whiplash.” It’s the legend of how jazz drummer Jo Jones threw a cymbal at a young Charlie Parker for making a mistake. The story goes Charlie Parker learned from the humiliation and came back a year later and became arguably the best jazz trumpeter of all time. Fletcher

Interviews

FILM All the Colors of Giallo Cinema: An Interview with Mikel J. Koven

Drunk Monkeys staff writer Sean Woodard had the opportunity to speak with horror film and folklore expert Mikel J. Koven to coincide with Sean’s film column on Lucio Fulci’s Don’t Torture a Duckling. Mikel J. Koven is senior lecturer on Film Studies at the University of Worcester in the U.K. and author of La Dolce Morte: Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film and Film, Folklore, and Urban Legends. Join us as we delve into the macabre territory of the Italian Giallo genre.

Book & Music Reviews

Fighting Trump, the Early Years

Jeffrey C. Isaac, professor of Indiana University, Bloomington, and former editor of Perspectives on Politics, has a series of essays and opinion pieces called #AgainstTrump: Notes from Year One. In one respect, the American public have heard many of his arguments elsewhere. But as an artifact of its time, perhaps readers can see how journalists like himself who were labeled “enemies of the people” used their resources and writing abilities to document this important era of American history.

American Resistance, Explained

Biggers does an exemplary job of unpacking concepts and historical events and presenting them in an easily digestible way for the general reader. But I was still confounded by his intended audience. While the tone of the book is fairly objective — especially when presenting historical events or influential figures — its overall slant would most likely appeal to those who are more of a politically and socially liberal persuasion.

MUSIC / Unwrapping Jim Croce’s Christmas Song, “It Doesn’t Have to Be That Way” / Sean Woodard

But amid all the covers of classics your mother should know, there are a few musical gifts hidden deep within the Christmas tree boughs if anyone wishes to search for them. One of those songs is Jim Croce’s “It Doesn’t Have to Be That Way.” It remains one of my favorite songs he composed. Recorded in 1973, the song serves as the closing track of Croce’s Life and Times album. The record, which also contained the No. 1 U.S. Billboard Hot 100 hit “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown,” proved to be one of the singer-songwriter’s most commercially successful.

Postcards from the Edge: The Voices of Hard Times in Today’s United States

MY MATERNAL GRANDFATHER, whom I call Tata, tells me stories about his days as a fruit picker on a crew with Japanese, Mexicans, Filipinos, and displaced Oklahomans from the Dust Bowl who labored from sunup to sundown. Tata would get blisters on his hands from planting acres of small trees and hoeing crop lines, and he’d get paid six cents per box of oranges picked. With the money earned, he’d go to the picture show to watch a Western double feature. When I hear these stories, I feel as if Tata’

Content Writing

The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue - Presented by Horrible Imaginings

Horrible Imaginings presents Spanish director Jorge Grau’s 1974 zombie film, The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue (Let Sleeping Corpses Lie). When a cop investigates the murder of a woman’s estranged husband, he suspects a couple visiting the English countryside are responsible. Unbeknownst to him, a new radioactive device that serves as an alternative to pesticide being used by farmers is raising the dead . . . and they have a ravenous appetite for human flesh!

The Wizard of Gore – The Frida Cinema

American Genre Film Archive presents The Wizard of Gore, a magic-themed offering from splatter master Herschell Gordon Lewis. Montag the Magnificent is a reluctant magician whose grisly stage mutilations become real just hours after the audience leaves the theater. As the mesmerist’s illusions become bloody reality, spellbound audience member Sherry (Judy Cler) gets him on her daytime TV show, Housewives’ Coffee Break. When Montag agrees, he stares into the camera and hypnotizes the viewing aud

Fiction

Screenplays

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