Cinema

​Video Sleuths Press Rewind in ‘Kim’s Video’

February 5th, 2023

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

The unbelievable fate of one of the world’s largest collections of physical movie media is the subject of “Kim’s Video,” a fizzy and entertaining nonfiction cocktail mixing essay-like asides on the power of cinephilia with an oddball odyssey involving the Italian Mafia.

Directed by David Redmon and Ashley Sabin, the feature premiered as part of the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.

In some ways, the timing is always right for a consideration of…

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​Beth de Araújo’s Gripping ‘Soft & Quiet’

January 29th, 2023

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

Beth de Araújo’s stunning “Soft & Quiet” plays out in real time, moving swiftly from its carefully calculated opening section to pick up speed as it rockets from one deeply unsettling sequence to the next. It is as terrifying as any film of 2022, a gripping thriller exposing grotesque anger and the jaw-dropping gears of the persecution complex embraced by the far-right. The first-time feature filmmaker wrote the screenplay after being inspired…

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​‘Corsage’: Kreutzer and Krieps Revise History

January 22nd, 2023

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

Marie Kreutzer’s “Corsage” reinterprets the historical biography of Empress Elisabeth of Austria, the Bavarian royal assassinated in 1898. Popularly known as Sisi or Sissi, she married Emperor Franz Joseph I when she was 16 and has attracted ongoing attention in multiple theater, film and television productions over the years, including fiction and nonfiction, animation, operetta, and ballet.

This past September, Netflix released the…

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​‘Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché’ Considers the Punk Legend From Her Daughter’s Perspective

January 15th, 2023

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

With co-director Paul Sng, Celeste Bell celebrates the legacy of her mother Marianne Elliott-Said – known better to the world as the inimitable X-Ray Spex leader Poly Styrene – in an intimate documentary that is part memoir and part biography.

Balancing the private and the public sides of the musician’s complex and complicated life, the filmmakers use their unprecedented access to cover both well-known and lesser-known dimensions of Poly…

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​‘The Eternal Daughter,’ Another Fantastic Hogg/Swinton

January 8th, 2023

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

Just as “Aftersun” explores the contours of a father-daughter relationship, Joanna Hogg’s “The Eternal Daughter” laser-focuses on the particulars of a parent-child bond. In this case, Hogg’s longtime friend, collaborator, and all-around force of nature Tilda Swinton plays both mother and daughter in a film linked to Hogg’s “Souvenir” series as a kind of spiritual/spirited sequel.

In an interview with David Sims in which the notion…

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​Aftersun: Charlotte Wells’s Debut Feature Among Best of 2022

January 7th, 2023

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

Shimmering like a mirage that retreats and dematerializes the closer one gets, “Aftersun” may just be the best movie of 2022. The self-described “emotionally autobiographical” feature debut of Scottish writer-director Charlotte Wells, the film is a treasure for those viewers who prefer ambiguity and understatement.

The deceptively straightforward story follows the low-key father-daughter holiday of 11-year-old Sophie (Frankie Corio) and…

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​Conspicuous Consumption: Baumbach Takes on “White Noise”

January 7th, 2023

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

Noah Baumbach’s ambitious, hysterical adaptation of Don DeLillo’s famously “unfilmable” modern classic “White Noise” is – given the bona fides of the source material – certain to divide opinion. For the supporters, the director’s cinephilia sparks and shimmers from one giddy moment to the next. Nobody will overlook the homage to Godard’s “Weekend,” but the filmmaker just as enthusiastically embraces the 1980s-era Spielbergian…

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​Schrader Dramatizes a Contemporary Reckoning in ‘She Said’

January 7th, 2023

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

Few reviews of Maria Schrader’s sturdy “She Said” go without mentioning “All the President's Men” and “Spotlight.” The new film, in line to pick up some award season recognition on the basis of its subject matter alone, follows the work of Pulitzer-winning New York Times reporters Megan Twohey (played by Carey Mulligan) and Jodi Kantor (played by Zoe Kazan) as they doggedly pursue on-the-record confirmation of the sexual misconduct,…

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​Singin’ in the Hurricane: Chazelle Takes Us to Wild, Old Hollywood in ‘Babylon’

December 18th, 2022

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

How many “Babylon” reviews and essays will at some point use the words orgiastic and overlong to describe Damien Chazelle’s raucous Hollywood fable? To date, the filmmaker remains the youngest winner of the Oscar for Best Director, which he received for “La La Land” during a ceremony enshrined in Academy legend for the embarrassing Best Picture envelope gaffe at the end of the telecast. That film, which also mines movie-mad dreamscapes,…

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​Elvis Mitchell Asks ‘Is That Black Enough for You?!?’

December 15th, 2022

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

Veteran critic Elvis Mitchell’s excellent documentary/essay “Is That Black Enough for You?!?” gazes deeply and lovingly at the rich and varied historical contributions of African American film artists, focusing especially on the vibrant and tumultuous 1970s. Extending beyond Blaxploitation to consider the complete cinematic spectrum from independent productions to the output of the major studios, Mitchell’s guided tour is every bit as…

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