Cinema

​Mad monster party: Vigalondo goes ‘Colossal’

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | May 24th, 2017

“Colossal,” Nacho Vigalondo’s highest profile film to date, mashes genres with a premise so otherworldly that it nearly gets away with its distressing supply of missed opportunities.

The gonzo suggestion that the actions of a giant monster looming over Seoul, South Korea are directly, psychologically linked to an American alcoholic will attract curiosity seekers.

Others will be intrigued by the presence of Anne Hathaway in the lead role of Gloria, whose booze-soaked…

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Diverse classic indie films new to Blu-ray

by Christopher P. Jacobs | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | May 17th, 2017

The number of vintage films getting new high-definition video masters and/or restorations has been increasing over the past year, with numerous new releases to the home market on Blu-ray from specialty distributors like Olive, Twilight Time, Criterion, and especially Kino-Lorber through its “Studio Classics” division.

Sadly, these rarely are carried in stores, so must be ordered online from the companies themselves or other online retailers. Last month two very different independent…

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​Bon Appetit: ‘The Dinner’ challenges the taste buds

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | May 17th, 2017

Immediately following the dizzy, frightening, ambiguous, disorienting final scene of Oren Moverman’s “The Dinner,” which ends with a character saying “I love you” and a cut to black, the credits roll while Savages’ “F*ckers” nails the prevailing mood on the soundtrack.

Jehnny Beth sings, “Don’t let the f*ckers get you down, don’t let them wonder why you frown,” as the audience stumbles into the light, hopefully to do a good deed or maybe take a shower. The song…

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​Vintage westerns remastered for Blu-ray

by Christopher P. Jacobs | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | May 10th, 2017

Republic Pictures was a small movie studio that was active from 1935 to 1959. Although it produced and distributed a wide variety of genres, it is best remembered for its low and modest-budget B-westerns starring the likes of John Wayne and Roy Rogers, and its action-adventure serials.

Representative examples of each cowboy star’s Republic work made their high-definition debuts this spring on Blu-rays from Kino Video.

John Wayne’s first starring role was in the 70mm western epic…

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​Gunning for the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | May 10th, 2017

WARNING: The following review reveals plot information. Read only if you have seen “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”

In the sequel, the franchise, and the series, the dialectical tension pitting familiarity against novelty challenges the storyteller to thread the eye of the needle. “Is it is good as the first one?” is, unsurprisingly, the question that drives conversation.

In “The Myth of Superman,” Umberto Eco recognizes a parallel conundrum for the mythological figure: the…

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​Westerns defying stereotypes, new to Blu-ray

by Christopher P. Jacobs | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | May 3rd, 2017

Westerns are no longer as prominent among movie release schedules as they used to be, but for over half a century they ranked among the most popular genres in America’s theatres, with various western subgenres. The form gradually faded away during the 1960s and 1970s as “revisionist” westerns replaced the classic formulas that were soon appropriated by modern police stories and then science-fiction sagas.

For the past generation, movie westerns (with a few exceptions) have tended…

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​“Casting JonBenet”: Kitty Green’s engrossing study of the unsolved crime

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | May 3rd, 2017

Available to view on Netflix beginning April 28, Kitty Green’s challenging, fascinating, and unnerving documentary feature “Casting JonBenet” is one of the best films of the year.

Ostensibly about the ongoing fascination and morbid curiosity surrounding the 1996 murder case referenced in the film’s title, Green’s conceit is to populate her study with actors -- almost entirely locals and wannabes from the areas surrounding the Ramsey family’s Boulder, Colorado home --…

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​“Tower” brilliantly explores a dreadful day in the modern history of school shootings

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | April 27th, 2017

Now on Netflix instant watch and not to be missed is director Keith Maitland’s “Tower,” one of the most memorable and gripping films of 2016.

Carefully, even meticulously, constructing a moment-by-moment chronological account of the 1966 University of Texas at Austin murders committed by Charles Whitman from the observation deck of the Main Building, Maitland’s film relies on the use of interpretive performance and rotoscope animation -- two fairly unorthodox stylistic choices…

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​Classic baseball movie now on Blu-ray

by Christopher P. Jacobs | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | April 26th, 2017

Besides income tax, April saw the beginning of baseball season, a game that has been considered America’s “national pastime” for over 160 years.

The ritual became immortalized in 1888 with the publication of Ernest Thayer’s famous comic poem “Casey at the Bat,” which immediately became a popular text for public recitations, the most famous of which was by stage star DeWolf Hopper, then 30 years old, who delighted audiences with his melodramatic interpretation for the next 47…

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​Mandatory evacuation, or what I did over the weekend

by Christopher P. Jacobs | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | April 20th, 2017

[Editor’s note: Wednesday marks the 20th anniversary of the evacuation of Grand Forks and the burning of the original High Plains Reader office. This piece was originally written Tuesday April 22, 1997.]

"Get up! There's water coming in the basement and we're being evacuated!"

It is about 6:30 Saturday morning. After four hours work at the Midco 10 Theatre Friday, getting the films and projectors ready for the weekend's shows, I had spent the rest of the afternoon helping my parents…

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Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

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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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