Cinema

​Animators Tiernan and Vernon Pay a Call on “The Addams Family”

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | October 16th, 2019

Screenshot of The Addams Family

Admirers of previous television and film incarnations of Charles Addams’ legendary collection of macabre icons have another variation to contemplate, but the computer-animated feature from “Sausage Party” directors Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan fails to measure up to either the 1960s ABC series or the pair of Barry Sonnenfeld-directed features released in the early 1990s. Certainly, the new movie could be much worse, but very little of Addams’ brilliant satire is on display.…

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​Lynn Shelton Goes South in ‘Sword of Trust’

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | October 9th, 2019

Screenshot of the movie Sword of Trust

Birmingham, Alabama-set “Sword of Trust” is filmmaker Lynn Shelton’s first feature to be located outside the Pacific Northwest, and the change of scenery results in what might be the writer-director’s most satisfying movie to date. Sharing screenplay credit with “Saturday Night Live” writing veteran Mike O’Brien, Shelton continues to encourage the improvisational work of her cast members. That approach can often backfire, but the impressive skills of the ensemble turn the…

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​Joanna Hogg Directs a Dazzling Honor Swinton Byrne in ‘The Souvenir’

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | October 2nd, 2019

'The Souvenir' screenshot

A carefully crafted and intensely observant fictionalization of writer-director Joanna Hogg’s experiences once upon a time in film school in the early 1980s, “The Souvenir” is essential viewing for devoted cinephiles. Semi-autobiography may be an appropriate descriptor for the movie, but “The Souvenir,” which collected the World Cinema Dramatic Prize at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, should not be confined to a lone category like memoir. Hogg’s wide embrace folds around…

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​Rethink Dance Film Festival

by Brittney Goodman | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | September 25th, 2019

For the second year, the Rethink Dance Film Festival is coming to Fargo, a collaboration of The Human Family and the Rethink Dance Company. The program is on Tuesday, October 8 at the Fargo Theatre’s Second Screen at 7 pm. Nine films from all over the world will screen in this program of dance films. Tickets are $7 in advance and $10 at the door. The event sold out last year, so advance tickets are a wise idea.

The Rethink Dance Film Festival showcases artists in front of and behind…

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​James Gray Takes Brad Pitt to Outer Space in ‘Ad Astra’

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | September 25th, 2019

Arthouse sensibilities converge with a major star (having a major year) and elite visual effects in James Gray’s “Ad Astra,” a movie poised to earn the filmmaker his best notices to date in a career spanning 25 years. Set in a near future where space travel to outposts on the moon and Mars functions with the charmless tedium of our contemporary airlines, astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) is tapped to participate in a curious mission: reach out with a message to his previously…

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Hear our voice!

by Sabrina Hornung | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | September 18th, 2019

Cover design by Raul Gomez

When asked about the origins of the LGBT Film Festival, Raymond Rea, MSUM film instructor and LGBT Film Festival founder said, “When I lived and taught in San Francisco I taught many classes on many variations of Queer Film. So, on moving to F-M and starting to teach in the Film program at MSUM I had the drive to keep that area of focus going by leading a Queer Film Series.”He went on to say, “We met on Wednesdays nights, I introduced a film, we watched and then discussed. That…

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​All that’s fantastic

by Sabrina Hornung | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | September 18th, 2019

Still frame from the film Chinatown

The year 2019 ushers in the 17th annual Fargo Fantastic Film Festival, which will be featuring over 250 films this year alone. The festival not only features filmmakers from over 40 countries, it holds a special section for local talent from all levels of expertise. We had the opportunity to speak to Tony Tilton, the man behind the Fargo Fantastic Film Festival and Mr. Valleycon himself.

High Plains Reader: Can you tell us the origin story of the Fargo Fantastic Film Festival (FFFF)--Was…

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​Live That Fantasy: Lorene Scafaria’s “Hustlers”

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | September 18th, 2019

Based on “The Hustlers at Scores,” Jessica Pressler’s 2015 “New York Magazine” article, Lorene Scafaria’s “Hustlers” dives headfirst into the world of sex work through the eyes of the women who make a living at it. Shaping her narrative around the complexities of female friendship and the pressures wrought by the financial crisis of 2008, Scafaria -- who also wrote the screenplay -- convincingly paints a psychologically resonant portrait that allows the viewer a seat on…

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​A Bloody Horror Take on an Old Saturday Morning Favorite

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | September 11th, 2019

Marketed as “The Banana Splits Movie” even though the only on screen titles stick with “The Banana Splits,” Danishka Esterhazy’s bottom-shelf slasher flick marks the first R-rated adaptation of a Hanna-Barbera property since the dawn of the brand more than 60 years ago. A brazen attempt to cash in on the curiosity of audience members old enough to have enjoyed any of the 31 episodes of “The Banana Splits Adventure Hour” that debuted on NBC in 1968 and stretched until 1982…

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​“Ready or Not” Seeks Bloody Fun

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | September 4th, 2019

Ready or Not screenshot

The Radio Silence creative team that includes directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett and producer Chad Villella mark a career highlight with “Ready or Not,” a rollicking horror-comedy that happens to be Fox Searchlight’s widest release to date. The movie’s thematic elasticity -- which many critics peg as a timely critique of Trump-era, one-percenter avarice -- plays to multiple audiences. Politics, however, don’t need to stand in the way of the film’s breathless race…

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