Cinema

​“The Lego Batman Movie” clicks with fans

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | February 22nd, 2017

A virtually critic-proof three-ring circus of toy-based programming and winking self-reference guaranteed to give even the most devoted admirer whiplash, “The Lego Batman Movie” duplicates some of the charm of its 2014 Phil Lord and Christopher Miller-directed predecessor.

Led by Chris McKay, the “new” adventure is pure postmodern pastiche: a feature-length fantasia of Easter eggs, throwbacks, inside jokes, and mock lessons fully trading on the Dark Knight’s most commonly…

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​Friends try to weather changing circumstances

by Christopher P. Jacobs | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | February 22nd, 2017

The weather has been unseasonably fair this past week, although it probably won’t last.

MGM’s classic Gene Kelly-Cyd Charisse musical “It’s Always Fair Weather” (1955), a film perhaps more timely today than it was when first shown theatrically, made its Blu-ray debut last November. Not a big hit when it came out over six decades ago, the basic plot and characters have a timelessness that helped it last through two or three generations and still seem fresh, while other musical…

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​Spanish Film Club presents inspiring stories

by Ben Haugmo | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | February 15th, 2017

Two brothers, Juan Manuel and Sergio, stand in the middle of a field of ripe, green wheat. The wind causes the plant life surrounding them to sway and hiss, and is refreshing after their day of travel by tandem bike. The brothers have been riding for a long time, but are nearing the end of their 800 mile journey from Cuenca, Spain to the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.

Sergio, who is blind and autistic, cannot see his surroundings, but nonetheless sways his head almost in time with the tall…

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Goodman revisits Oklahoma City

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | February 15th, 2017

Veteran filmmaker Barak Goodman’s “Oklahoma City” is a timely and sobering historical document with unsettling connections to the ugly “alt right” rhetoric touching the increasingly tense national political climate.

Following a Sundance Film Festival world premiere, the feature debuted on PBS’ “American Experience” February 7, 2017. In the film, Goodman uses the shocking events of April 19, 1995 as the foundation for a larger discussion about the toxicity of…

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​Romance in the air – local screenings plus notable Blu-rays

by Christopher P. Jacobs | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | February 8th, 2017

Next Tuesday is Valentine’s Day, and to get movie lovers in the mood, this coming Sunday afternoon MSUM will have a free public screening of classic silent comedies with romantic themes, all accompanied live on the Mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ in Weld Hall’s Glasrud Auditorium. Showtime starts at 2:00 p.m. February 12. Admission is free.

The program entitled “My Funny Valentine” will include three short examples of how movie legends Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, and Buster Keaton…

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​Ready for “Raw”: Ducournau’s debut feature a genuine rush

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | February 8th, 2017

A sinewy, blood-drenched feast of old-fashioned gore and fresh storytelling, first-time feature writer-director Julia Ducournau’s “Raw” is the cannibal horror comedy you never knew you needed. Made with a level of confidence not seen in filmmakers with half a dozen completed movies, “Raw” builds a wholly engrossing and fully functioning universe in which to contain its walloping frights and freak-outs.

Ducournau explores several juicy themes without shortchanging any one of…

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Into the Inferno

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | January 25th, 2017

Inspired by the work of volcanologist Clive Oppenheimer and his 2011 book “Eruptions That Shook the World,” Werner Herzog dazzles and mesmerizes viewers of “Into the Inferno,” a nonfiction examination that encapsulates the essence of the legendary filmmaker’s lasting appeal. Narrated by Herzog in the familiar style, poetically juxtaposing bleakly comic admonishments about collective human foolishness against sobering facts that can take one’s breath away, “Into the…

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Have a Shakespeare festival with recent Blu-rays

by Christopher P. Jacobs | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | January 25th, 2017

Last April was the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. His uncannily thoughtful and brilliantly poetic reworking of old stories, historical lives, and original material into immensely popular stage productions have inspired numerous films over the past century. These range from close adaptations of Shakespeare’s texts to fresh and unusual interpretations to very loosely incorporated plot and character elements in completely different settings. Not surprisingly, last…

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​Master and Servant: “The Handmaiden”

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | January 18th, 2017

Master director Chan-wook Park’s diabolically pleasurable “The Handmaiden” delights the eye with its sumptuous costumes, production design, and photography, and also tickles the imagination with its structural gamesmanship. While it seems that the majority of films tagged “erotic psychological thrillers” fail to satisfy even one of that trio of descriptors, Park – at the top of his strong game – delivers the goods and then some. Inspired by Sarah Waters’ novel…

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​Overlooked thriller turns 40

by Christopher P. Jacobs | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | January 18th, 2017

Jodie Foster today is known primarily as a film director and as an Oscar-winning actress for “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991) and “The Accused” (1988). Some may also remember her as a child actress in TV and children’s films of the 1960s and 70s.

Mature for her age, by age 13 she broke into serious and adult roles as a key supporting character in Martin Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver” (1976) and the lesser-known but even more challenging and complex title role in the…

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Music

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A virtually critic-proof three-ring circus of toy-based programming and winking self-reference guaranteed to give even the most devoted admirer whiplash, “The Lego Batman Movie” duplicates some of the charm of its 2014 Phil…

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