Cinema

​A Portrait of the Portrait Artist: ‘All the Beauty and the Bloodshed’

November 27th, 2022

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

“Citizenfour” Oscar-winner Laura Poitras profiles photographer and activist Nan Goldin in “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed.”

Like its talented subject, the movie cannot be confined to a single category or story arc. Along with a penetrating, candid examination of Goldin’s career trajectory, the film spends considerable time on the artist’s efforts to hold Purdue Pharma and members of the Sackler family accountable for the overprescribing…

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​Dunham Adapts ‘Catherine Called Birdy’

November 17th, 2022

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

Premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, “Catherine Called Birdy” lands on Amazon Prime Video following a short theatrical window.

One of two 2022 films directed by the perpetually controversial Lena Dunham, the medieval bildungsroman was a labor of love based on the filmmaker’s professed affection for Karen Cushman’s 1994 Newbery Honor Book. Dunham, who also adapted the novel for the screen, delivers the most…

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​‘The Pez Outlaw’ Dispenses Entertaining Tale

November 17th, 2022

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

Amy Bandlien Storkel and Bryan Storkel dispense delights of all kinds in their breezy documentary “The Pez Outlaw,” an imaginative portrait of wily entrepreneur Steve Glew. A single-minded obsession with the colorful candy containers sets the stage for a tongue-in-cheek drama that casts Glew as himself in a series of “Unsolved Mysteries”-meets-Wes Anderson reenactments. Some viewers may not receive the title subject’s idiosyncratic…

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Marc Shaffer Explores the Legend of Helios in ‘Exposing Muybridge’

October 30th, 2022

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

Photography buffs and silent film aficionados will enjoy Marc Shaffer’s feature documentary “Exposing Muybridge,” a visually engaging account of curious cinematic forefather Eadweard Muybridge. Muybridge’s place as a film pioneer was ultimately secured via the influential motion studies he produced following his ill-fated collaboration with railroad baron Leland Stanford in the early 1870s.

But Shaffer attempts to put his subject’s entire…

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‘Both Sides of the Blade’: Denis and Binoche Team Again in Silver Bear Winner

October 24th, 2022

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

Known in the original French as “Avec amour et acharnement” (“With Love and Fury” or “With Love and Relentlessness”), the first of two Claire Denis features released in 2022 swapped original English language title “Fire” for the more satisfying and effective “Both Sides of the Blade.” The latter name is taken from a song by longtime Denis collaborators Tindersticks, and its evocative lines suggesting the pain of being cut in two…

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​‘Nothing Compares’: Ferguson Covers O’Connor in Strong Music Doc

October 22nd, 2022

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

In “Nothing Compares,” director Kathryn Ferguson builds an airtight case for the reevaluation of music icon Sinead O’Connor, the Irish recording artist who achieved worldwide success and critical acclaim during the course of a career that attracted negative media attention like a magnet collecting nails.

The film, now available on Showtime following a Sundance debut in January, transports viewers back three decades (and more) to focus initially…

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​Morgen Keeps His ‘Lectric Eye on Icon Bowie in ‘Moonage Daydream’

October 20th, 2022

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

Veteran documentarian Brett Morgen clamps down on the experimental and the experiential in “Moonage Daydream,” an odyssey traversing the starfields of the late, great David Bowie.

Touted as the first feature to be fully authorized by the Bowie estate (a claim that could signal something good or something bad, depending on how you feel about attached strings), Morgen’s film draws from a purported “five millions assets” to dazzle the senses…

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​Film Review: Prince-Bythewood’s ‘The Woman King’

October 2nd, 2022

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

Writing recently in The New Yorker, Julian Lucas shares commentary that places into context the ongoing controversies assailing Gina Prince-Bythewood’s historical action drama The Woman King.

Set in West Africa during the years encompassing the grim slave trade, the film has a champion and star in Best Supporting Actress Oscar-winner Viola Davis, who portrays with force and intensity the title character General Nanisca of the Kingdom of Dahomey (in…

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Wilde Directs Pugh in Midcentury Modern Thriller ‘Don’t Worry Darling’

September 25th, 2022

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

The chatter surrounding director Olivia Wilde’s new movie “Don’t Worry Darling” reached fever pitch in the days leading up to this week’s wide release. Cynics began to wonder whether the gossip – including a purported on-set rift between the director and star Florence Pugh involving the tabloid-ready romance that Wilde began to share with cast member Harry Styles – blossomed from the work of the savvy publicists tending to the hype. The…

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Smoczyńska Introduces ‘The Silent Twins’

September 19th, 2022

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

Making her English-language feature debut, Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Smoczyńska fails to replicate the quality and originality of either of her previous two movies. Both “The Lure,” which received a warm home media welcome from the Criterion Collection, and “Fugue” attracted well-deserved attention for Smoczyńska’s storytelling instincts and bold visual choices. “The Silent Twins,” adapted from Marjorie Wallace’s 1986 book of the…

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