Cinema

​Blu-rays boost reputations of forgotten films

by Christopher P. Jacobs | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | March 29th, 2017

A few big-name stars or even an all-star cast certainly do not guarantee that a movie will be top-notch entertainment, but are usually an effective way to attract viewers. Sometimes it might even be a warning that the story may have difficulties holding interest on its own or is otherwise just a routine example of its genre.

With most movies, it’s generally best if one watches without preconceived expectations, as overly-hyped films may easily be disappointing and overly-disparaged…

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​Always Shine

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | March 29th, 2017

Sophia Takal’s sophomore feature “Always Shine” deserves a spot among the best films of 2016. Razor sharp, spellbinding, and intense, the film is too slippery to be pigeonholed in a single genre, and to call it a “psychological thriller” fails to adequately capture the scope of its ambitions.

Showcasing superb performances by leads Mackenzie Davis and Caitlin FitzGerald, “Always Shine” teases cinephiles as a boiling, bubbling metafiction: a movie about the movies and the…

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​2017 Fargo Film Festival

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

By Kaley Sievert 

Movies have this magic. An emotional pull that lures audiences into their universe. Filmgoers can get lost in stories painted in dazzling lights, electric colors and robust sounds. They mourn over the hardships of the characters on screen, experience nostalgia when a relatable childhood memory flashes in front of them, and hold their breath in anticipation for the monster lurking around the corner.

Crowds are starting to feel that pull again as the annual Fargo Film…

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​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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Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

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Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

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By Anthony Paul [Editor’s note: This piece contains language that some readers may find offensive]It has been all over social media and the news lately, how our president and commander-in-chief called and spoke with one of these…