Cinema

​“Maiden” Doc Sails Around the World with Tracy Edwards and Her Crew

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | July 17th, 2019

Maiden screenshot

Legendary British skipper Tracy Edwards, who in 1989 led the first all-female crew of sailors to compete in the tough-as-nails, 33,000-mile Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race, makes for a convincing heroine in filmmaker Alex Holmes’ thrilling sports documentary “Maiden.” Named for the refurbished, King Hussein of Jordan-sponsored vessel Edwards piloted in the competition, the film unfolds with a strong sense of adventure and excitement -- due in part to the likely ignorance of a…

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‘Midsommar’ Crowns a May Queen in Aster’s Frightening Folktale

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | July 10th, 2019

“Hereditary” director Ari Aster’s sophomore feature “Midsommar” firmly cements the filmmaker’s auteur bona fides. A visually stunning slice of art-house “folk horror” that draws from several touchstone movies -- most notably Robin Hardy’s 1973 masterpiece “The Wicker Man” -- Aster once again explores the insidious devastation of grief, this time within the framework of a romantic relationship break-up. Bereft of jump scares and absent the visceral action of many of…

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​Filmmaker Rachel Lears Showcases New Progressive Voices in “Knock Down the House”

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | July 10th, 2019

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Writer-producer-director-photographer Rachel Lears teams with writer-producer-editor (and spouse) Robin Blotnick and producer Sarah Olson on advocacy doc “Knock Down the House,” now streaming on Netflix following a world premiere in January at the Sundance Film Festival. A direct response to the election of Donald Trump, Lears follows the grassroots campaigns of a quartet of political newcomers: Cori Bush in Missouri, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York, Paula Jean Swearengin in…

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​Here’s Mindy!

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | June 26th, 2019

Nisha Ganatra’s “Late Night,” featuring Mindy Kaling as both star and screenwriter, tackles a wide range of challenging topics. Toxic masculinity, white privilege, gender inequity, tokenism, quota-based hiring, and intra gender conflict and competition are a few of the areas under examination in the writer’s room and surrounding milieu of the multiple Emmy-decorated talk show hosted by Emma Thompson’s Katherine Newbury. Newbury’s vehicle faces waning ratings and the…

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​Martin Scorsese and Bob Dylan Make Believe in ‘Rolling Thunder Revue’

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | June 19th, 2019

Screenshot of Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story

Martin Scorsese embraces the prankster spirit of a longtime inspiration/subject in “Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story.” The confounding testimony is as much mockumentary as documentary, combining new interviews and gorgeous archival footage into an entertaining put-on. Not everyone, and not even every Dylan fan, will go along with the tall tales, but amidst the japes are several of the most riveting live performances of Dylan’s career. “Rolling Thunder Revue” is not,…

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​Talbot and Fails Team Up in Convincing Feature Debut

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | June 12th, 2019

Joining several recent titles that consider, among other things, gentrification and race in the San Francisco Bay Area, Joe Talbot’s feature directorial debut is left of the dial compared to the frequencies of “Blindspotting” and “Sorry to Bother You.” All three of these movies express complex emotional connections and relationships (“You can’t hate something if you didn’t love it first”) with the beautiful and infuriating dimensions of home and place in times of rapid…

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Philippe Celebrates 40 Years of Facehugging and Chest-bursting with “Memory: The Origins of Alien”

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | June 5th, 2019

Forty years ago this week, the release of “Alien” added a seminal text to the American movie library. Mixed reviews would, with time, give way to admiration from scholars and critics articulating what early adopters recognized from the first: Ridley Scott’s elegant, observant masterwork combines pinpoint design, allusive writing, and patient direction into a hall-of-fame nightmare. Exemplifying the ne plus ultra of the “old dark house” formula, “Alien” occupies a place at…

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​Olivia Wilde Makes Confident Directorial Debut with ‘Booksmart’

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | May 29th, 2019

“Booksmart,” Olivia Wilde’s great feature directorial debut, is -- like several of the very best teen/teensploitation/coming-of-age comedies -- about many things. But the one that resonates most is contained in the ancient maxim regarding the deceit in appearances. Both the filmmaking, which repurposes a healthy checklist of genre chestnuts in a consistently fresh package, and the journey of best friends and graduating high school seniors Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn…

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​Russo-Young Adapts “The Sun Is Also a Star”

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | May 22nd, 2019

Impossibly beautiful lead performers underline the YA fantasy aspects of Ry Russo-Young’s translation of “The Sun Is Also a Star,” based on Nicola Yoon’s bestseller. Russo-Young’s sharp handling of the 2017 adaptation of “Before I Fall” indicates her bona fides in the contemporary teen genre, but the filmmaker struggles to locate the intensity and urgency that fueled her previous feature, despite a plot with a built-in imperative. As star-crossed (potential) lovers…

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​Bristol Makes Bright Brooklyn Debut with “See You Yesterday”

by Greg Carlson | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | May 15th, 2019

Screen shot from See You Yesterday

Fargo-based filmmaker Matthew Myers recently remarked that director Stefon Bristol was, among other things, paying his bills by driving for Uber until production began on “See You Yesterday,” Bristol’s exciting debut feature. Myers produced the movie with Jason Sokoloff and Spike Lee, a professor to Bristol in the graduate film program at NYU. Bristol, who made a short version of “See You Yesterday” as his thesis film, collaborated with Fredrica Bailey on the original script.…

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Theatre

​Razor Sharp Theatre

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