Cinema

​Tangled Up in ‘Madame Web’

February 26th, 2024

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

In a short piece published recently in The New York Times, author Callie Holtermann summarizes the responses to director S.J. Clarkson’s “Madame Web,” attempting to make some sense of the many sticky strands of social media hot-takes, as well as fan and critical backlash to the latest installment in the SSU – Sony’s Spider-Man Universe. Like the existential dread and loneliness captured in Dan Walsh’s webcomic “Garfield Minus…

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​Cody and Williams introduce ‘Lisa Frankenstein’

February 21st, 2024

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

The mixed reviews for “Lisa Frankenstein” are not necessarily indicative of the movie’s charms, which reside primarily in the colorful production and costume design, game performers, choice soundtrack, and frequent references, throwbacks, and homages. Set in 1989, not coincidentally the year of “Heathers” at the Sundance Film Festival following its 1988 Milan premiere, the twisted story from screenwriter Diablo Cody and director Zelda…

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​‘Scrambled’ has heart as well as laughs

February 15th, 2024

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

Following a 2023 South by Southwest world premiere, writer/director/star Leah McKendrick’s “Scrambled” gets a well-deserved theatrical run in U.S. cinemas. The busy and talented moviemaker, whose online presence in projects like the series “Destroy the Alpha Gammas” and the short Poison Ivy origin story “Pamela & Ivy” earned critical acclaim and caught the eye of Sony Pictures (among others), draws from her own experiences with egg…

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​The 2024 Fargo Film Festival Preview

February 15th, 2024

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

The 2024 Fargo Film Festival will take place March 19 to 23 at the Fargo Theatre. Tickets for individual sessions, as well as ticket packages, will go on sale prior to the festival. Audience members can visit fargofilmfestival.org for more information and to see announcements about programming as the schedule is finalized.

The Fargo Film Festival began in 2001 and has grown from a two-day event, in which a couple dozen movies were screened, to its…

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​Ortega is an apt pupil in “Miller’s Girl”

February 5th, 2024

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

Following a world premiere at the Palm Springs Film Festival, Jade Halley Bartlett’s feature debut as writer-director received a January theatrical release via Lionsgate. Despite the provocative subject matter and the presence of Jenna Ortega in the leading role, the absolutely dismal box office returns and mixed reviews of “Miller’s Girl” suggest the movie will soon be mostly forgotten. But for those willing to embrace the hothouse tone of…

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Stationary: Cowperthwait’s “I.S.S.” Could Use More Gravity

January 30th, 2024

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

Science fiction thriller “I.S.S.” managed a woeful seventh place at the box office over its opening weekend, collecting $3 million dollars from a 2,500+ theater release. To make matters worse, negative word-of-mouth will shut down any potential rebound. A small handful of critics have praised director Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s B-movie sensibilities, but the cumulative impact of the “Blackfish” documentarian’s movie — essentially left for…

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Get In, Loser: “Mean Girls” Musical Expands the Brand

January 22nd, 2024

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

The new “Mean Girls” movie, based on the Broadway musical that was in turn inspired by the 2004 film directed by Mark Waters, originated with Rosalind Wiseman’s 2002 book “Queen Bees and Wannabes.” All three adaptations were written by Tina Fey, who reprises her onscreen role as math teacher Ms. Norbury. Along with an avalanche of puff pieces and side-by-side comparisons debating the relative merits of the various incarnations, publicity…

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‘How to Have Sex:’ Molly Manning Walker’s Provocatively-Titled Debut Feature Arrives

January 18th, 2024

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

The rough UK equivalent of America’s hedonistic spring break rite of passage, the annual descent of sun-seeking young people on tourist-friendly coastal resorts in Greece, Spain, and other spots following stressful academic exams conjures up youthquake fantasies and parental nightmares in equal measure. The provocative title of filmmaker Molly Manning Walker’s feature directorial debut “How to Have Sex” partially obscures the layered meanings…

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Oren’s Horse Sense: The Charms of ‘Piaffe’

January 11th, 2024

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

  The combination of biographical information and artist statement found under the “about” tab at Ann Oren’s website partly reads, “By dissolving distinctions between plant, animal and human, she asks what it is to be human in an ecosystem immersed in digital culture. Questions about intimacy and identity keep emerging through various audio-visual approaches, while exploring gender, fictosexuality, animality, interspecies and other hybrid…

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She’s Alive: Stone and Lanthimos Bring ‘Poor Things’ to Life

December 22nd, 2023

By Greg Carlson 

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

In a movie year that brought to life an iconic plastic fashion doll and a theoretical physicist who ushered in the Atomic Age, there was no shortage of memorable characters.

But for my money, the crown for the most remarkable cinematic creation of 2023 sits atop the head of reanimated adventurer Bella Baxter. Brought to life (after death) by Emma…

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