Cinema

​Fritz Lang silent classics on Blu-ray

June 1st, 2016

Austrian-born director Fritz Lang is best known for his massive silent science-fiction epic “Metropolis” (1927) and his moody, influential crime thriller “M” (1931), both made in Germany.

He started writing films as early as 1916 and directed over 40 features in various genres between 1919 and 1960. Among Lang’s finest work are his last two silent features, which made their U.S. Blu-ray debuts this February from Kino, filling in the gap between his legendary “Metropolis”…

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​Black merges slapstick and sleuthing in ‘The Nice Guys’

June 1st, 2016

Shane Black’s most satisfying film to date, “The Nice Guys” absolutely pulverizes lurid period milieu, shaggy dog private investigation, “Chinatown” corruption narrative, odd couple buddy bromance, and slapstick noir parody in an industrial blender set to emulsify on maximum torque.

Pairing Ryan Gosling – as the world’s worst shamus – with a teddy bearish and relaxed Russell Crowe as a stone-faced straight man, “The Nice Guys” works, against the odds, as a…

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​A Very funny, very Maria Bamford look at mental illness.

May 30th, 2016

By Alex Huntsberger

ahuntsberger@gmail.com

Comedian Maria Bamford isn’t shy about her mental illness; she’s talked openly in her act and in interviews about being diagnosed with Bipolar II (hypomanic episodes) and OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). In fact, Bamford is quite the opposite of shy. She’s upfront and forthright and working to destigmatize mental illness in society-at-large.

But this doesn’t mean that Bamford’s new show, Lady Dynamite, which dropped on Netflix last…

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​Visit the islands with classic tropical ‘docufiction’

May 25th, 2016

Now that summery weather has arrived, people are thinking about vacations, but travel remains both expensive and increasingly inconvenient. Movies, however, provide instant low-cost mini-vacations from troubles of the real world. The tropical south-seas island settings of two recent Blu-ray releases from Kino make ideal escapes from the familiar ND-MN environment and provide vivid glimpses of indigenous cultures. Last December new restorations of the film classics “Moana With Sound”…

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​Life’s a parade in “Under the Cherry Moon”

May 25th, 2016

As an unapologetic admirer of all things Prince, I for one was pretty grateful that “Under the Cherry Moon” was a radical departure from “Purple Rain.” Several years before “Graffiti Bridge” offered a sorta/kinda sequel to the 1984 smash, Prince – with enough earned clout and power to essentially do whatever he wanted to do – sent Mary Lambert packing (a shame) and busted out a black and white quasi-period fantasy that chilled the blood in most critics’ veins and…

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​Intriguing crime classics new to Blu

May 20th, 2016

Two often-overlooked classic noir thrillers featuring stars in atypical roles are available on Blu-ray this month from Kino, one coming next week (May 24) and the other released May 3.

An out-of-work vet with some psychological problems accepts a job as chauffeur for a wealthy gangster, and soon becomes dangerously involved with the gangster’s beautiful wife. The basic premise of “The Chase”(1946) adapted by Philip Yordan from a novel by Cornell Woolrich, is a standard outline for…

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​Foster Returns to Director’s Chair with “Money Monster”

May 20th, 2016

“Money Monster” is Jodie Foster’s first feature directorial effort since 2011’s curiosity “The Beaver,” blending elements of social satire, bomb vest thriller, and conspiracy drama – all of it unfolding in close to real time. Stars George Clooney and Julia Roberts, reuniting in roles they can manage while asleep, play cable TV host Lee Gates and director Patty Fenn of the titular investment/infotainment spectacle. The two, along with the rest of their crew, are forced to…

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​Addiction and Artists

May 19th, 2016

“We Are the Only People We Know” is a documentary film project, helmed by former Fargo resident, Ella Rowe. The documentary will provide intimate portraits of artists battling addiction. According to the project web site, viewers will be “invited into the lives of select individuals, who will allow us to take a very real look at the day to day realities of the creative mind in recovery. We will travel with them, holding their hand through the painful recollections, crying with…

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SCI-FI A STAPLE OF 1950s DRIVE-IN FARE

May 11th, 2016

May (sometimes April or June, depending on the weather) is traditionally the month that drive-in movie theatres reopen for the season in towns still lucky enough to have one. Fargo-Moorhead and Grand Forks have been without drive-in theatres for over a quarter-century, and the final remaining North Dakota drive-in closed four years ago in Williston. However, there are still a few surviving in Minnesota and South Dakota.

Their heyday was the 1950s and 60s and their most popular programs…

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Some Kind of Friend: “Purple Rain” Returns to Cinemas

May 11th, 2016

Following the death of Prince on April 21, 2016, televised and theatrical screenings of “Purple Rain” were among the first and most potent opportunities for public expressions of grief. While unavailable on Netflix and HBO Go, the movie was scheduled by MTV and VH1 immediately, and several multiplex chains, including AMC, Carmike and Marcus, booked limited engagements of the cinematic phenomenon.

Originally produced on a budget of 7.2 million dollars with no guarantee of full studio…

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