Cinema

​Robots and rocky romance on Blu-ray

by Christopher P. Jacobs | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | September 27th, 2017

Artificial Intelligence, robotic workers, unmanned space travel, fatherless children, and Korean conflicts are all recent hot news topics. In September of 1954 all of these were major themes of a low-budget sci-fi thriller targeted at children but with enough plotting and subtext to keep adults interested (perhaps more so today as a cultural artifact than during its original release as popular entertainment).

Earlier this month Kino-Lorber released “Tobor the Great” to Blu-ray. Also…

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​“Strong Island”: Powerful Sundance Special Prize winner available on Netflix

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

“Strong Island,” Yance Ford’s vital cinematic elegy to his slain brother, is a gripping documentary presented with control and precision. That careful formality serves both the story and the filmmaker’s underlying thematic questions addressing the absurd but commonplace outcomes of the notion of justifiable homicide and the use of reasonable fear as a means for perpetrators to claim self-defense.

In 1992, Ford’s then 24-year-old sibling, William Ford, Jr., was shot to death by…

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​Classic romantic comedies: melodrama and wild farce

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

Rom-coms are a staple of modern movies and have been for well over a century. This summer two very different variations on the genre spotlighting iconic 20th-century superstars made their Blu-ray debuts from Kino-Lorber.

One is a classic updating of a popular 19th-century stage play, the other a wacky cartoon-like sequel to a western comedy musical.

“Zaza” (1923) was a vehicle for popular and rising silent legend Gloria Swanson, directed by prolific and versatile Hollywood veteran…

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Aronofsky wants you to love “Mother!”

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | September 20th, 2017

WARNING: The following review reveals plot information. Read only if you have seen “Mother!”

With a tongue-in-cheek exclamation point distinguishing it from the likes of Joon-ho Bong’s superior 2009 film and the more than 180 other movies sharing the title, Darren Aronofsky’s “Mother!” offers fair warning to the curious.

Eschewing proper names for characters and saddling them instead with the likes of Penitent, Defiler, Herald, Pilferer, Supplicant, Hewer, Lingerer, and…

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​Controversial epic now on Blu-ray

by Christopher P. Jacobs | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | September 13th, 2017

With 2017 so far one of the lowest summers for movie attendance this century, the year 1946 was perhaps the all-time peak year of movie attendance, with close to 60% of Americans providing 90 million individual ticket sales, according to statistics from “Variety” and other sources. The number two-grossing movie released that year (which actually premiered in late December but played throughout 1947) was producer David O. Selznick’s trouble-plagued “Duel in the Sun.” Its…

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​“Tulip Fever” Wants to Bloom

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | September 13th, 2017

The snaky production history of the long delayed “Tulip Fever,” detailed most thoroughly in a “Telegraph” article by Adam White, proves more intriguing than the final version of the movie. Wilting in cinemas during a particularly painful Labor Day weekend, the arrestingly photographed period melodrama was at one time expected to attract award season accolades under the careful orchestration of Harvey Weinstein, apparently looking to duplicate some of his “Shakespeare in…

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​Restored German masterwork showcases acting, camera

by Christopher P. Jacobs | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | September 6th, 2017

The first Academy Award ceremonies were held in 1929 but covered the 1927-28 movie season that began 90 years ago this month. That first year, the Oscars for Best Actor and Actress and a few others covered two or more films the nominee had made, rather than one specific title.

The very first winner for Best Actor was internationally acclaimed character actor Emil Jannings, a major star in Germany since the 1910s, who happened to be making films for Paramount in Hollywood during the late…

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​9th F-M LGBT Film Festival

by HPR Staff | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | September 6th, 2017

By Brittney Goodman and Tom Bixby

The Fargo-Moorhead LGBT Film Festival, now in its ninth year, will be showing a variety of LGBT-themed films starting this weekend but with an expanded program this year, September 11-16 with five screenings, each with distinct content.

The Festival “seeks to celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender lived experience through the visions of innovative film and video makers. We seek films and videos that enrich, entertain, and encourage a sense of…

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​Brent Brandt bringing a little bit of Hollywood to town

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | September 6th, 2017

On Wednesday, September 13, actor and filmmaker Sean Astin will visit the Fargo Theatre to share conversation about his life in the movie industry. Cinephile, film festival producer, and enthusiastic LaserDisc collector Brent Brandt will co-host the event. Brandt talked movies with HPR film editor Greg Carlson.

High Plains Reader: After co-founding the South Dakota Film Festival and living and working in Aberdeen for years, you recently returned to Fargo-Moorhead. What brought you…

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​The Safdie Brothers serve up a ‘Good Time’ in gritty thriller

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

Joshua and Ben Safdie, the NYC brothers whose independent spirit draws from a wide range of cinematic sources, reach their widest audience yet with “Good Time,” a frantic thriller that aspires to 1970s-era Big Apple grit.

Martin Scorsese is the first name on the end credit thank-you list, and “Good Time” will remind some viewers of “Mean Streets” and “Taxi Driver.” Multiple comparisons have also been made to “Dog Day Afternoon,” and the Safdie’s love-it-or-leave-it…

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Spirit Talk

by HPR Staff

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Music

Back in the saddle

by Sabrina Hornung

After a long hiatus members of Teenage Lobotomy reunited for the first time in 22 years at Center Fest in Robinson North Dakota this summer. With influences such as Husker Du and the Circle Jerks their high energy immediately had…

Director Craig William Macneill speculates on the infamous legend surrounding Massachusetts murder suspect Lizzie Borden in “Lizzie,” a long-germinating labor of love for star Chloe Sevigny. Working from a screenplay by Bryce…

It may be cliche to say the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, but when wet plate artist Shane Balkowitsch found out that his 15-year-old daughter Abby Balkowitsch was following in his photography footsteps, he was…

by Stella Mehlhoffstellamehlhoff@gmail.com“Our mission is to invigorate civic conversation through intimate and transformative storytelling.” This statement posted on Theatre B’s website and tacked to their studio wall in…

In the approximately three years I’ve been writing for the High Plains Reader it seems I’ve always circled back to comedian Adam Quesnell. First, I wrote about his farewell show before he set out from Fargo and the comedy…

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