Joe Bendel

Joe Bendel
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Based in New York, Joe Bendel has reviewed film, television, music, and theater for nineteen years, in print and online. In addition to his site, J.B. Spins, he frequently contributes reviews to The Epoch Times, specializing in mystery/thriller series, documentaries, and Asian cinema. As a critic he has attended in-person international film festivals, including Sundance, Slamdance, Fantasia, and the New York Film Festival, as officially accredited press. He has also written for Nightfire, Libertas Film Magazine, and Signal to Noise (the dearly departed experimental music print magazine). He has over twenty-five years of experience in the book publishing industry and has taught film and music survey courses at NYU’s School of Continuing Studies. Bendel also coordinated the Jazz Foundation of America’s instrument donation drive for musicians displaced by Hurricane Katrina. He is a graduate of Wittenberg University and the University of Denver Publishing Institute.
Based in New York, Joe Bendel has reviewed film, television, music, and theater for nineteen years, in print and online. In addition to his site, J.B. Spins, he frequently contributes reviews to The Epoch Times, specializing in mystery/thriller series, documentaries, and Asian cinema. As a critic he has attended in-person international film festivals, including Sundance, Slamdance, Fantasia, and the New York Film Festival, as officially accredited press. He has also written for Nightfire, Libertas Film Magazine, and Signal to Noise (the dearly departed experimental music print magazine). He has over twenty-five years of experience in the book publishing industry and has taught film and music survey courses at NYU’s School of Continuing Studies. Bendel also coordinated the Jazz Foundation of America’s instrument donation drive for musicians displaced by Hurricane Katrina. He is a graduate of Wittenberg University and the University of Denver Publishing Institute.

The Big Cigar is Too Flawed to Fully Recommend / Review on Apple TV+

©Courtesy of Apple TV+   A movie production is always good cover for a caper, because they are supposed to be frantic and disorganized. It worked for CIA Officer Tony Mendez, when he smuggled Americans out of the Canadian embassy in Iran, as Ben Affleck dramatized in Argo. Leftwing producer Bert Schneider tried to do…

Daniel Yoon’s Ultra-Independent East Bay

©Photo by Daniel Yoon, Level 33 Entertainment  A mid-life crisis is hard enough without losing your sanity. Jack Lee worries about his state of mind, but from time to time he also suspects the ringing in his head might signify something beyond the boundaries of our assumed world. Regardless, his depressing life is an absolute…

The Idea of You : A Couple’s Night of “Stream and Chill”

Photo by Courtesy of Prime Video – © Prime Video Solene Marchand is an early Millennial, so she can maybe partially relate to Gen X. Hayes Campbell is Gen Z, but he is relatively early Gen Z, for what that is worth. There is only sixteen years difference between them, in contrast to the full two…

The Roundup: Punishment: Don Lee’s Beast Cop is Back

©Courtesy of Capelight Pictures International Det. Ma Seuk-do makes Jack Reacher and the Rock look puny and weak. South Korea’s criminal underworld refers to him as the “Beast Cop,” but he is an old softie at heart. When the mother of a murdered programmer commits suicide out of grief, he takes it hard, so he…

City Hunter / Review : It’s All Very Slick, But Still Faithful to the Fans

Ryohei Suzuki, Fumino Kimura, ©Courtesy of Netflix  Like all long-running manga-anime series, the “City Hunter” franchise has a complicated history of adaptations. Technically, this is the first live-action Japanese film based on Tsukasa Hojo’s Shonen series, but previous non-animated film adaptions were produced in Hong Kong (starring Jackie Chan and Gary Daniels) and France (as…

The Hazy Days of Art College 1994

©Courtesy of Dekanalog Like many young people, the Chinese art students in this film largely ignore politics. Very few of them could have conscious memories of the Cultural Revolution, unlike superstar Chinese artists Ai Weiwei, Cai Guo-Qiang, and Wang Guangyi. However, these artists-in-training consciously aspire to their level of success. They also hope to make…

One with the Whale, on PBS’s Independent Lens

©Courtesy of ITVS St. Lawrence Island is part of Alaska, but geographically, it is located closer to Russia. Many of the indigenous Yupik people have adopted Christianity and an American identity, but they still retain their traditional customs. By necessity, that also includes diet, notably including whale meat. Without successful whale hunts, the entire Yupik…

Spy x Family Code: White / Review

© 2023 Crunchyroll LLC You could compare the anime Forger family to “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”—the Doug Liman movie more than the neurotic Donald Glover series. Loid Forger, a.k.a. Westalian secret agent “Twilight,” recruited Yor Briar to act as his pretend wife for a long-term mission. Just as she believes Twilight is a psychiatrist, he remains…

“Sugar” : Review / Recommended for Fans of Weird Noir Thrillers

©Colin Farrell in “Sugar,” premiering April 5, 2024 on Apple TV+. In some ways, John Sugar shares similarities with the 1980s TV detective “Remington Steele.” They are both draw inspiration from their love of classic cinema to solve cases, while trying to keep their past lives shrouded in secrecy. However, they are very different in…

STEVE! (Martin): A Documentary in 2 Pieces / Review

©Part 2. Steve Martin in “STEVE! (martin) a documentary in 2 pieces,” premiering March 29, 2024 on Apple TV+.   He once played “The Man with Two Brains,” so it makes sense that a Steve Martin documentary would come in two feature-length parts. The first, simply titled “Then,” methodically chronicles each step in his stand-up…