Cinema

​Boots Riley is “Sorry to Bother You”

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | July 11th, 2018

Boots Riley hallucinates a wildly funny feature debut with “Sorry to Bother You,” a sharp-fanged social satire that mashes up the innovative handmade aesthetics of Michel Gondry with the fierce truth-to-power consciousness of Spike Lee. As uneven as it is addictively watchable, the movie caroms from sharply on-point to murkily broad. Fans of alternate reality dystopian nightmares like Mike Judge’s “Idiocracy” and Richard Kelly’s “Southland Tales,” two of a smallish…

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Granik Returns with Compelling “Leave No Trace”

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | June 27th, 2018

Filmmaker Debra Granik’s “Leave No Trace,” based on Peter Rock’s novel “My Abandonment,” demonstrates some spiritual and stylistic kinship with the director’s tremendous “Winter’s Bone,” but the new film stakes out the emotionally intense territory shared by a father and his daughter living off the grid as a means of self-care/self-preservation and survival. Ben Foster turns in a predictably excellent performance as Will, a veteran with serious PTSD. Will’s…

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​Hereditary: Aster’s Horror Debut Keeps It All in the Family

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | June 20th, 2018

Scaring up early buzz as a premiere in the Midnight section of the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, Ari Aster’s “Hereditary” is the horror film of the year. Anchored by the vital performance of Toni Collette as grieving, disintegrating mother Annie Graham -- arguably the actor’s career-best work -- the movie’s other noteworthy MVP may just be Pawel Pogorzelski’s sharp cinematography, which features one breathtaking day/night cut so perfect it serves as a reminder that not even…

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​‘The Rider:’ Dreams Deferred, Dreams Fulfilled

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | June 13th, 2018

Writer-director Chloe Zhao’s sophomore feature “The Rider” cements her status as one of contemporary filmmaking’s most promising voices. A carefully curated blend of fact and fiction, the movie focuses on the aftermath of a traumatic head injury suffered by a young Sioux rodeo cowboy. Played by Brady Jandreau, the fictional Brady Blackburn is faced with an impossible choice: accept the reality that his riding days are done or court almost certain death by returning to…

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“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” Fred Rogers Documentary Brings Such a Good Feeling

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | June 6th, 2018

Mr. Rogers

In a bit of fortuitous timing. Oscar-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville turns his attention to public television superstar Fred Rogers, an almost universally beloved figure whose unwavering message of peace, friendship, love and kindness contrasts diametrically with today’s bullying tone of undignified late-night tweets issuing from a certain well-covered account. 

One wonders how Rogers, a devoted Republican, might have dealt with the grim political partisanship that currently…

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​RBG: Supreme Documentary Is a Must-See

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | May 30th, 2018

Betsy West and Julie Cohen assemble a welcome biographical portrait of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the octogenarian icon whose legacy already includes her groundbreaking work in the area of gender-based discrimination and her powerful dissents in cases decided by an increasingly conservative high bench. “RBG,” which playfully alludes to the meme-based appellation linking the jurist to hip-hop’s Christopher Wallace, a.k.a. the Notorious B.I.G., is but one boulder in…

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​Hedy Lamarr Doc Makes TV Premiere on American Masters

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | May 23rd, 2018

Writer-director Alexandra Dean’s “Bombshell” recounts the remarkable life and achievements of Hedy Lamarr, the Golden Age screen goddess whose physical beauty and career as a Hollywood actor long overshadowed her groundbreaking technological inventions. The documentary, which premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, will be broadcast on PBS as an installment of “American Masters” on May 18, 2018. The cult of Lamarr, which flowered following a 1990 “Forbes” profile by…

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​Fargeat Takes Ferocious “Revenge”

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | May 16th, 2018

Earning a limited theatrical release following a successful run of festival appearances and a streaming deal with Shudder, writer-director Coralie Fargeat’s “Revenge” simultaneously embraces and subverts many tropes of the rape-revenge subgenre. Powered by a supercharged central performance by Matilda Lutz, Fargeat’s film also draws from the implied isolation of its evocative locations and the saturated hues of Robrecht Heyvaert’s dazzling cinematography. Given the nature of…

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​‘Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot:’ Van Sant finally brings John Callahan’s story to the scree

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | May 9th, 2018

In the most Gus Van Sant scene in a very Gus Van Sant movie, John Callahan (Joaquin Phoenix) spills out of his wheelchair and into the street after picking up a little too much speed. The predicament elicits immediate concern for Callahan’s well-being, so the kind assistance from a group of skateboarding kids melts our fear into a glimmer of faith and hope for the world. “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot” is named for the pitiless, Vantablack caption accompanying one of…

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​Bergman Documentary Screens as Part of MSPIFF Retrospective

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | May 2nd, 2018

Jane Magnusson and Hynek Pallas’ “Trespassing Bergman,” an often playful deconstruction of the work and life of the legendary Swedish filmmaker through the eyes of a murderer’s row of auteurs, is a guaranteed ticket for the hardcore cinephile. Stacked with observations from Tomas Alfredson, Woody Allen, Wes Anderson, Harriet Andersson, Pernilla August, Francis Ford Coppola, Wes Craven, Claire Denis, Laura Dern, Daniel Espinosa, Michael Haneke, Holly Hunter, Alejandro Gonzalez…

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Music

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