Cinema

​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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​Gurinder Chadha Listens to the Boss in ‘Blinded by the Light’

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | August 28th, 2019

Based on a memoir by journalist and superfan Sarfraz Manzoor, the inoffensive music-themed bildungsroman “Blinded by the Light” licenses the songs of Bruce Springsteen to communicate the growing pains shaping the life of 16-year-old Javed Khan (Viveik Kalra) in late-1980s Great Britain. Javed, whose mother and father came to England from Pakistan in search of opportunity, contend with the genre’s familiar parental roles: exaggerated disdain for the “rebel” attitudes of their…

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​Andrea Berloff’s Directorial Debut “The Kitchen”

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | August 28th, 2019

A dispiriting negative critical consensus and the worst opening numbers to date for Melissa McCarthy and Tiffany Haddish nailed shut the coffin lid of Andrea Berloff’s directorial debut “The Kitchen,” which the veteran, Oscar-nominated screenwriter adapted from the Vertigo series of the same name. The disappointing reaction to the story of a trio of mob wives who successfully run an organized crime operation in New York in the late 1970s is not particularly surprising. The month…

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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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Theatre

​Razor Sharp Theatre

by HPR Contributor

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