Cinema

Another Year of Theatre for the Brave and Curious

by HPR Contributor | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | August 14th, 2019

David and Carrie Wintersteen - photograph provided by Theatre B

By Scott Ecker
notharrisonford@gmail.com

Last Tuesday I joined many local artists and audience members for Theatre B’s season preview at the Hjemkomst Center. As one of their board members, I see Theatre B regulars very often. But the annual preview always makes me realize how much of a community this organization has cultivated. Every August I joined with a variety of ensemble and board members, participating artists, and fans to learn about the upcoming season. All of us there…

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​One Wedding, No Funeral: Wang Invites Us to ‘The Farewell’

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | August 14th, 2019

Writer-director Lulu Wang finds inventive ways to freshen up the terminal cancer tale in “The Farewell,” a worthwhile diversion to so much summer blockbuster fare. The popular subgenre, which comfortably intersects with drama, comedy, and romance, has attracted filmmakers and audiences for decades. Akira Kurosawa (“Ikiru”), Ingmar Bergman (“Cries & Whispers”), and Mike Nichols (“Wit”) all brought their considerable talents to the associated tropes of the category, and…

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​That Title Is Currently Unavailable: Chasing the Hard-to-Find Movie

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | August 7th, 2019

In recent years, scores of essays have addressed the rapid transformation of the home video industry. Focused on topics including the impact of Netflix’s streaming model, the death of the brick-and-mortar rental store, and the shrinking sales of physical media, most of the critiques lament one alarming reality: when it comes to tracking down and seeing specific movies, we can’t always get what we want. Whether we can at least get what we need remains an open question. Ryan Beitz…

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​Tarantino and His Wrecking Crew Catch the End of a Golden Age in ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | July 31st, 2019

For superstar auteur Quentin Tarantino, there’s no business like show business -- never has been for the whole arc of his career -- and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” doubles down on everything that fanboy and fangirl (mostly fanboy) disciples have studied with religious devotion since the days of “Reservoir Dogs.” A nonstop pastiche of pop culture references both iconic and obscure, the new feature embraces revisionism and fantasy in its interpretation of events surrounding…

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​Punching with Your Feet: Stearns Gets Dark in “The Art of Self-Defense”

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | July 24th, 2019

The Art of Self-Defense screenshot

Writer-director Riley Stearns confronts the foul odor of hypermasculinity and misogyny in “The Art of Self-Defense,” a pitch-black comedy featuring Jesse Eisenberg, Alessandro Nivola, and Imogen Poots. Eisenberg’s Casey Davies is another of the actor’s signature submissives, a “35-year-old dog owner” (according to a local news report) victimized by a group of motorcycle thugs while on his way to purchase chow for his dachshund. The brutal physical assault merely adds to…

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​“Maiden” Doc Sails Around the World with Tracy Edwards and Her Crew

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | July 17th, 2019

Maiden screenshot

Legendary British skipper Tracy Edwards, who in 1989 led the first all-female crew of sailors to compete in the tough-as-nails, 33,000-mile Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race, makes for a convincing heroine in filmmaker Alex Holmes’ thrilling sports documentary “Maiden.” Named for the refurbished, King Hussein of Jordan-sponsored vessel Edwards piloted in the competition, the film unfolds with a strong sense of adventure and excitement -- due in part to the likely ignorance of a…

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‘Midsommar’ Crowns a May Queen in Aster’s Frightening Folktale

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | July 10th, 2019

“Hereditary” director Ari Aster’s sophomore feature “Midsommar” firmly cements the filmmaker’s auteur bona fides. A visually stunning slice of art-house “folk horror” that draws from several touchstone movies -- most notably Robin Hardy’s 1973 masterpiece “The Wicker Man” -- Aster once again explores the insidious devastation of grief, this time within the framework of a romantic relationship break-up. Bereft of jump scares and absent the visceral action of many of…

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​Filmmaker Rachel Lears Showcases New Progressive Voices in “Knock Down the House”

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | July 10th, 2019

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Writer-producer-director-photographer Rachel Lears teams with writer-producer-editor (and spouse) Robin Blotnick and producer Sarah Olson on advocacy doc “Knock Down the House,” now streaming on Netflix following a world premiere in January at the Sundance Film Festival. A direct response to the election of Donald Trump, Lears follows the grassroots campaigns of a quartet of political newcomers: Cori Bush in Missouri, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York, Paula Jean Swearengin in…

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​Here’s Mindy!

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | June 26th, 2019

Nisha Ganatra’s “Late Night,” featuring Mindy Kaling as both star and screenwriter, tackles a wide range of challenging topics. Toxic masculinity, white privilege, gender inequity, tokenism, quota-based hiring, and intra gender conflict and competition are a few of the areas under examination in the writer’s room and surrounding milieu of the multiple Emmy-decorated talk show hosted by Emma Thompson’s Katherine Newbury. Newbury’s vehicle faces waning ratings and the…

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​Martin Scorsese and Bob Dylan Make Believe in ‘Rolling Thunder Revue’

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | June 19th, 2019

Screenshot of Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story

Martin Scorsese embraces the prankster spirit of a longtime inspiration/subject in “Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story.” The confounding testimony is as much mockumentary as documentary, combining new interviews and gorgeous archival footage into an entertaining put-on. Not everyone, and not even every Dylan fan, will go along with the tall tales, but amidst the japes are several of the most riveting live performances of Dylan’s career. “Rolling Thunder Revue” is not,…

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