Cinema

​Media satire classics on Blu-ray double-feature

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

Lately (especially over the past year) media coverage has been almost as much about biased media coverage as it is about the stories that the media typically cover. But a cynical view of how slanted and exploitive media reports can be is nothing new.

Less than two years ago, Lewis Milestone’s newspaper genre classic “The Front Page” (1931) finally came out in a high-quality Blu-ray edition from Kino Video.

Based on a darkly satiric hit 1928 Broadway play, the double-plot deals with…

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​HPR Exclusive: Brett Haley Interview

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

Writer-director Brett Haley spoke with Greg Carlson ahead of the Fargo Film Festival’s screening of “The Hero.”

Greg Carlson: Congratulations on “The Hero.” I was at the second Sundance screening. The one where you had been up all night and had just sold it.

Brett Haley: That was a great screening.

GC: We are so happy to have “The Hero” at the Fargo Film Festival.

BH: I am very excited about the film. It is getting released by The Orchard. They’re a great fit for us, and…

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​Noteworthy noir new to Blu-ray

by Christopher P. Jacobs | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | March 15th, 2017

Big news for film buffs lately was the long-awaited February Blu-ray release of film noir classic “The Big Sleep” (1946). But three notable noir variations on a theme also came out on Blu-ray in recent months, another major classic and two lesser-known titles that deserve more widespread recognition. None is truly an archetypal film noir like “The Big Sleep,” or say “Out of the Past” or “Double Indemnity,” but all share a number of elements identified with noir (postwar…

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​The Hero

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

Filmmaker Brett Haley carves out a juicy and glorious victory lap for golden-voiced treasure Sam Elliott in “The Hero,” a thematic companion piece to the warm “I’ll See You in My Dreams,” which gave Blythe Danner a similar showcase. Elliott is Lee Hayden, an imagined version of the actor himself. In his early seventies and paying the bills with commercial voiceover work for Lone Star BBQ sauce (“The perfect partner for your chicken”), Lee spends his considerable downtime…

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​Dark, troubled times call for noir thrillers

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

The genre, or as some say the style, of film noir, which deals with crime and various other unsavory activities usually happening at night, developed in Hollywood around 1940.

Its focus on mostly antiheroic protagonists and a pervasive sense of doom separates it from standard crime or mystery-thrillers, consciously or unconsciously reflecting the dark times of a troubled world during World War II. Even the “good guys” have their bad points and sometimes may be nearly as corrupt…

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​James Baldwin immortal: “I Am Not Your Negro”

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

In Raoul Peck’s monumental documentary “I Am Not Your Negro,” one of the best moments – and there are several dozen from which to choose – comes courtesy of a clip from the 74th episode from the first season of “The Dick Cavett Show.”

Originally aired June 13, 1968, the broadcast included an intellectual joust between James Baldwin and the Yale philosopher Paul Weiss. After listening to a ponderous, condescending, and clueless Weiss counter his initial comments, Baldwin…

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​Obscure movie rarities get Blu-ray release

by Christopher P. Jacobs | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | March 1st, 2017

Grapevine Video has recently started releasing a few films on Blu-ray (BD-R), films that major distributors are unlikely to consider worth their effort. This is partly due to the films’ extreme obscurity, but also the fact that many survive only in old 16mm prints that often look quite sharp, but cannot quite rival the clarity of films whose camera negatives or original 35mm prints still exist.

Grapevine’s Blu-rays present the films “as-is,” with no digital cleanup work or…

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​‘Dina’ looks at love

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | March 1st, 2017

The U.S. documentary grand jury prize winner at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles’ “Dina” is an empathetic portrait of love and resilience.

Following the ups and downs of the wedding preparations undertaken by title subject Dina Buno and her husband-to-be Scott Levin in greater Philadelphia, the film cultivates and carefully manages its precise point of view. Buno and Levin live with a number of recognizable neurodevelopmental disorders, and the…

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​“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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Cinema

​Killer serial makes Blu-ray debut

by Christopher P. Jacobs

“Daredevils of the Red Circle.” Who are they? What is it? Before the internet, before television, serialized drama was still a significant part of popular culture. Novels were serialized in magazines and newspapers going back…

Artist Anna Lee brings years of knowledge to Fargo in new workshopsOrganizing and participating in locally-grown fashion shows, years at corporations like Target. And now working as an independent artist, Anna Lee has done it all,…

When we had a chance to catch up with Corey Ruffin, the mastermind behind the Grand Rapids-based traveling burlesque troupe Super Happy Funtime Burlesque, he was at the repair shop getting a tune-up on their tour bus. The retired…

Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

This Memorial Day weekend, thousands of hands will be reaching into icy cold coolers for a refreshing beer to wet the whistle. Mark Bjornstad, co-founder and president of Drekker Brewing Company hopes that at least once during the…

Wellness

​Gut instinct

by Amber Schmidt

While many of us suffer with the occasional upset stomach, long-term digestive issues can lead to increased problems down the road. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, an estimated 60 to 70…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

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