Cinema

​Oscar de Leon: In the ‘Wake’ of greatness

December 4th, 2020

By Jillian Finkelson

jsfinkelson99@gmail.com

Oscar de Leon has been making films locally for years. His latest project has been nominated for the Exceptional Artistry Award.In his own words, Oscar tells HPR about the project and its journey to the film festival.

“Haylee Thompson (who runs Rethink) and her best friend David Triptow (who is the choreographer on the film) reached out to me about making a film for the festival and we started talking about ideas and influences to really find…

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‘On the Rocks’: Sofia Coppola Enlists Murray and Jones for a New York Story

November 14th, 2020

Sofia Coppola’s delightful distraction from national affairs sees the writer-director returning to her sweet spot: the tiniest whiff of autobiography in a story that, to paraphrase James Stewart’s Macaulay “Mike” Connor in “The Philadelphia Story,” eavesdrops on “the privileged class enjoying its privileges.” A mashup of thematic terrain explored in the cross-generational partnering of “Lost in Translation” and the father-daughter bonding of “Somewhere,” “On…

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Borat: Subsequent Movie Film

November 14th, 2020

The return of Sacha Baron Cohen’s fictional Kazakh journalist Borat Sagdiyev is deliberately timed to bring shame to the already circus-like Trump administration ahead of the national election held November 3. The first of three evolving onscreen title translations tags the project “Borat: Gift of Sexy Monkey to Vice Premier Mikhael Pence for Make Benefit Recently Diminished Nation of Kazakhstan.” While this “subsequent moviefilm” is statistically unlikely to move the needle…

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Spike Lee Visits David Byrne’s ‘American Utopia’

November 14th, 2020

David Byrne and Spike Lee embrace the inevitable comparisons between Jonathan Demme’s “Stop Making Sense” and their recently-released filmed version of “American Utopia.” Lee’s skillful screen translations of more than half a dozen live shows, including “Passing Strange” and “Rodney King,” position him as an ideal choice to capture the immediacy of the in-person event. Like Demme, Lee also takes the viewer to all kinds of places inaccessible to ticket holders, and…

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​Collecting Movies with Rachel Harrison Gordon

October 21st, 2020

By Greg Carlson

Rachel Harrison Gordon’s “Broken Bird” may be only ten minutes long, but it is a powerful debut and one of the best films of 2020. An autobiographical story about a biracial girl in New Jersey preparing for her bat mitzvah, the film premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and was included as part of the South by Southwest Film Festival’s collaboration with Amazon when the in-person version of the event was canceled as a result of the pandemic.

Greg Carlson: Are you…

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Kirsten Johnson’s ‘Dick Johnson Is Dead’

October 7th, 2020

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

Veteran cinematographer and documentarian Kirsten Johnson follows one directorial masterwork -- 2016’s “Cameraperson” -- with another. Stylistically distinct from “Cameraperson,” “Dick Johnson Is Dead” captures the filmmaker’s relationship with her father, a longtime Seattle-based psychiatrist whose declining health necessitates retirement and a move across the country to Kirsten’s place in Manhattan. During the physical and…

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A Virtually Unique Experience : Silent Movie Night with Classic Films and the Mighty Wurlitzer

October 7th, 2020

By Kris Gruber

perriex1@gmail.com

High Plains Reader spoke to Ryan Hardy, President of the Red River Organ Society, about the 47th annual fundraiser for the Mighty Wurlitzer. This year will be the first fully virtual event, with some special additions to the performances.

HIGH PLAINS READER: Can you share some of the discussion points that came up in planning this event, such as the logistics of performing virtually as opposed to in person?

RYAN HARDY: Our in-person Silent Movie Night has…

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Collecting Movies with Rachel Carey

October 2nd, 2020

photo provided by Rachel Carey

Rachel Carey is a New York-based writer and director. Her feature debut “Ask for Jane” is now available to view on demand from Amazon, Apple, Google Play, and other streaming services.

In addition to her work in the film industry, Rachel has also written and directed several plays and a television pilot. Her novel “Debt” was published by Silver Birch Press. You can learn more about Rachel’s projects at www.rachelcarey.net.

Greg Carlson: Where did you grow up?
Rachel Carey: I…

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Miranda July Mints “Kajillionaire”

September 25th, 2020

Polymath artist Miranda July adds an excellent new title to her filmography with “Kajillionaire.” As hard to reduce or simplify as “Me and You and Everyone We Know” and “The Future,” July’s latest movie -- which contemplates parenthood and family ties under the idiosyncratic lens of the filmmaker’s built-from-scratch microscope -- blends slapstick and sorrow like a latter-day Charles Chaplin. Like July’s previous films, “Kajillionaire” fixates on the human,…

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She Dies Tomorrow: Amy Seimetz Contemplates the End

September 15th, 2020

Well-deserved praise for writer-director Amy Seimetz’s efficient and provocative “She Dies Tomorrow” almost inevitably points to the film’s eerie timeliness as a metaphor for pandemic-inspired malaise and disequilibrium. More interesting, however, is the split among observers who interpret Seimetz’s intended tone in different ways. Some claim the movie is hilarious, others see it as terrifying, and another faction argues that it is tragic. Of course, it’s entirely possible…

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