Cinema

​Bharoocha Flexes ‘Golden Arm’

October 17th, 2021

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

Maureen Bharoocha’s “Golden Arm” applies the irresistible combination of long-haul trucking and competitive arm wrestling in the tradition of Menahem Golan’s 1987 Sylvester Stallone cult nugget “Over the Top.”

Close friendship replaces father-son bonding as the emotional heartbeat of the story, and Bharoocha, working from a very funny screenplay by Ann Marie Allison and Jenna Milly, capitalizes on the opportunity to imagine a cartoonish…

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​Collecting Movies With Anthony Strand

October 10th, 2021

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

Before she introduced us, mutual friend Morgan Davy told me that Anthony Strand had the uncanny ability to remember the exact running time of every movie he had seen. And he has seen a lot of movies.

Strand was born in 1984, under the sign of “Amadeus,” “This Is Spinal Tap,” and “The Muppets Take Manhattan.” He currently lives in Roseville, Minnesota, with his wife Rosalynn and their two children. He is a school librarian in Farmington,…

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​David Chase Tells a New Sopranos Story in ‘The Many Saints of Newark’

October 3rd, 2021

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

I love “The Sopranos.”

I have spent many hours with the show, re-watching favorite episodes, reading popular and academic books and essays deconstructing the series, queuing up clip playlists on YouTube to numb the pain of months in pandemic-imposed isolation.

Like many others for whom David Chase’s vivid universe is “our thing,” I awaited “The Many Saints of Newark” with an equal amount of excitement and trepidation. I hoped that it…

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​An Actor’s Life: Kilmer Talks About Being “Val” in Ting Poo and Leo Scott’s Doc

September 26th, 2021

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

Ting Poo and Leo Scott may be the directors of record, but “Val” unfolds almost purely as the kaleidoscopic personal diary of subject and writer Val Kilmer, the mercurial one-time superstar who has spent more time in recent years dealing with throat cancer than pursuing screen roles. Kilmer’s initial public denial of his diagnosis -- which in retrospect seems entirely in keeping with his idiosyncratic approach to the line between the real and…

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A Little Joy Into Your Humdrum Lives: ‘Kid 90’

September 20th, 2021

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com


Equally frustrating and fascinating, Soleil Moon Frye’s quasi-confessional nostalgia documentary “Kid 90” (2021) will attract pop culture consumers of a certain age lured by the promise of pre-internet home movies and video diaries capturing an astonishing number of young performers before, during, and in some cases at the peaks of their fame.


Frye is still best known for headlining the NBC sitcom “Punky Brewster,” which debuted in 1984…

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Remembering Matt Myers

September 15th, 2021

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

Matt Myers died unexpectedly on August 20 while exploring Iceland with Dr. Jacqueline Bussie, his partner of 38 years.

We are still trying, without success, to make sense of it.

His large circle, which touched both coasts and for the last decade met in the middle in Fargo, North Dakota, mourns his loss. Like many, I received the terrible news in a state of stunned disbelief. Matt had an appetite for life, for love, for creativity, for adventure, for…

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Heather Ross Examines the Life and Career of Legendary Improviser Del Close in ‘For Madmen Only’

September 6th, 2021

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

Filmmaker Heather Ross combines a variety of striking visuals -- including creative nonfiction reenactments, animated comic book panels and collages, archival stills and film clips, vintage stock footage, and conventional talking heads -- to assemble “For Madmen Only: The Stories of Del Close.”

Described by Bill Murray and others as “the most famous person you’ve never heard of,” Close was the monumentally influential mentor who counted…

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​Natalie Morales Makes Solo Directorial Debut With ‘Plan B’

August 30th, 2021

By Greg Carlson

gregcalrson1@gmail.com

Busy performer Natalie Morales makes her solo feature directorial debut with the winning road-trip teen comedy “Plan B.” Equally raucous and heartfelt, the movie follows in the footsteps of Olivia Wilde’s influential “Booksmart” by focusing on the relationship of two close high school friends.

And not unlike the frequently-discussed phenomenon sometimes called “twin films,” (like “Dante’s Peak” and “Volcano” in 1997,…

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​Cousins Jessie and Jessica Barr Introduce ‘Sophie Jones’

August 22nd, 2021

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

Cousins and co-writers Jessica Barr (who also plays the lead) and Jessie Barr (who also directs) build a thoughtful and sensitive coming of age drama in “Sophie Jones,” which made its world premiere this past autumn as part of the 2020 Festival du Cinéma Américain de Deauville.

The movie is now available to rent from the major streaming services and should not be missed by fans of personal, low-budget, indie storytelling.

Braiding together…

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​Sian Heder Sundance Winner “CODA” Released in Cinemas and On-Demand

August 17th, 2021

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

Writer-director Siân Heder steers “CODA” through the treacherous shoals of cinematic cliche, drawing on a deeply talented cast and a strong command of world-building verisimilitude.

Since the film’s debut at the virtual 2021 Sundance Film Festival, where it received a quartet of awards, critics and early viewers have sustained a steady level of buzz ahead of wider release. Scooped up by Apple for a Sundance record 25 million dollars,…

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