Cinema

​Before the Court: Leder Looks at Early Work of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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

Compared to the Betsy West and Julie Cohen documentary “RBG,” Mimi Leder’s period biographical slice “On the Basis of Sex” is nowhere near as notorious as one might hope, but the hagiographic reverence for Ruth Bader Ginsburg is tempered by enough heart and humor to overcome some of the film’s more predictable adherence to its genre. Like a good law student, Leder focuses on a presentation of the factual and procedural. That choice, similar to Reginald Hudlin’s time- and…

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A Heavenly Binoche ‘Let the Sunshine In’ for Claire Denis

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

The sensational Claire Denis adds another wonderful work to her impressive filmography with “Let the Sunshine In.” An ode to many things, including restless hearts, the frustrations of romantic freedom versus security, the impossibility, and ridiculousness of the fantasy sold by the Hollywood romantic comedy, the anxieties of middle age, and several more, “Let the Sunshine In” is foremost a showcase for radiant superstar Juliette Binoche. As the unlucky-in-love Isabelle, a Paris…

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Potent Memoir Confronts Child Rape: Jennifer Fox’s “The Tale”

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | December 19th, 2018

Veteran filmmaker Jennifer Fox’s “The Tale” addresses child rape in as straightforward and clear-eyed a manner as any film ever made on the painful subject. Fox’s background in nonfiction storytelling informs the movie’s magnetic investigative structure, which arranges and rearranges details both large and small as the adult Jennifer Fox (played brilliantly by Laura Dern) rethinks a sexual “relationship” she shared with two grown-ups when she was only thirteen years old.…

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The Ballad of Lee Israel: Heller’s Excellent “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | December 12th, 2018


“The Diary of a Teenage Girl” director Marielle Heller beautifully translates another personal autobiography to excellent results. “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” is based on the confessional 2008 memoir of literary forger Lee Israel, and Heller’s movie pulls off the impressive feat of bringing visual urgency to the typically uncinematic process of writing. Heller’s cast is uniformly excellent, but her collaboration with central pair Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant will…

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Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood: A Legendary Hustler Shares His Stories

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | December 5th, 2018

Based on the subject’s candid memoir, “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood” pulls back the curtain on the sexual escapades of Scotty Bowers, longtime bartender, World War 2 Marine Corps veteran, and pimp/arranger on behalf of movie stars seeking carnal pleasure in a time when anything outside the heterosexual binary could torpedo a career or invite a bust from the vice squad. Director Matt Tyrnauer dutifully follows the nonagenarian through the smoggy streets and up into…

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Art House Heist: McQueen’s Stylish Widows

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | November 28th, 2018

Were it not for Steve McQueen’s professed admiration of the 1980s television series upon which his new movie is based, “Widows” might seem an unusual choice for the prestige filmmaker of “12 Years a Slave,” “Shame,” and “Hunger.” An often ridiculous Chicago-set heist movie with thematic interests in race, politics, gender, and power, McQueen’s film is easily better than utterly forgettable junk like “Triple 9” and “Den of Thieves.” McQueen shares screenplay…

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The Old Man & the Gun: Lowery Directs a Redford Victory Lap

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | November 28th, 2018


For my money, David Lowery has been as much fun to watch as any filmmaker of his generation. He’s a veteran editor, and it shows in the sensibilities, qualities, and pacing of his previous trio of features, the curious line-up of “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints,” “Pete’s Dragon,” and “A Ghost Story.” Lowery has also directed episodic television, a whole bunch of short subjects, the 2009 feature “St. Nick,” and shares directorial credit with three others on the 2005…

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A Holiday Special in a Grindflicks Far, Far Away

by John Showalter | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | November 14th, 2018


photograph provided by Grindflicks Fargo

A long time ago (1977) in a galaxy far, far away (20th Century Fox) there was a film released called “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.” George Lucas introduced the world to his Flash Gordon-inspired space opera featuring a plucky Rebel Alliance of freedom fighters battling the oppressive regime of the Galactic Empire. The rest, as they say, is history. The tales of intergalactic derring-do captured the public’s imagination and “Star Wars” became an entertainment…

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Danse Macabre: Guadagnino Reimagines “Suspiria”

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | November 14th, 2018


WARNING: The following review reveals plot information. Read only if you have seen “Suspiria”

Luca Guadagnino’s ambitious reimagining of Dario Argento’s “Suspiria,” the first installment of the cult director’s Three Mothers trilogy, honors its inspiration with shocking spasms of gore and mind-bending phantasmagoria. Expectedly, Guadagnino also approaches the remake with carefully considered storytelling, stretching the 1977 film’s 98-minute running time to a near…

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Oh hi Mark…

by James Osborne | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | November 7th, 2018


graphics by Raul Gomez

If you Google something, anything, about halfway down the page you’ll find the “People Also Ask” section. The results of this section are, not surprisingly, determined by the most commonly asked questions which leads users to the most commonly clicked links. When I Googled “The Room Movie” last year “Is the movie “The Room” a comedy?” was at the top of that list.

By the way, "The Room", for those of you who just found out about media, is the 2003 film funded, produced…

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