Cinema

​Conspicuous Consumption: Baumbach Takes on “White Noise”

January 7th, 2023

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

Noah Baumbach’s ambitious, hysterical adaptation of Don DeLillo’s famously “unfilmable” modern classic “White Noise” is – given the bona fides of the source material – certain to divide opinion. For the supporters, the director’s cinephilia sparks and shimmers from one giddy moment to the next. Nobody will overlook the homage to Godard’s “Weekend,” but the filmmaker just as enthusiastically embraces the 1980s-era Spielbergian…

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​Schrader Dramatizes a Contemporary Reckoning in ‘She Said’

January 7th, 2023

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

Few reviews of Maria Schrader’s sturdy “She Said” go without mentioning “All the President's Men” and “Spotlight.” The new film, in line to pick up some award season recognition on the basis of its subject matter alone, follows the work of Pulitzer-winning New York Times reporters Megan Twohey (played by Carey Mulligan) and Jodi Kantor (played by Zoe Kazan) as they doggedly pursue on-the-record confirmation of the sexual misconduct,…

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​Singin’ in the Hurricane: Chazelle Takes Us to Wild, Old Hollywood in ‘Babylon’

December 18th, 2022

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

How many “Babylon” reviews and essays will at some point use the words orgiastic and overlong to describe Damien Chazelle’s raucous Hollywood fable? To date, the filmmaker remains the youngest winner of the Oscar for Best Director, which he received for “La La Land” during a ceremony enshrined in Academy legend for the embarrassing Best Picture envelope gaffe at the end of the telecast. That film, which also mines movie-mad dreamscapes,…

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​Elvis Mitchell Asks ‘Is That Black Enough for You?!?’

December 15th, 2022

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

Veteran critic Elvis Mitchell’s excellent documentary/essay “Is That Black Enough for You?!?” gazes deeply and lovingly at the rich and varied historical contributions of African American film artists, focusing especially on the vibrant and tumultuous 1970s. Extending beyond Blaxploitation to consider the complete cinematic spectrum from independent productions to the output of the major studios, Mitchell’s guided tour is every bit as…

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​A Portrait of the Portrait Artist: ‘All the Beauty and the Bloodshed’

November 27th, 2022

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

“Citizenfour” Oscar-winner Laura Poitras profiles photographer and activist Nan Goldin in “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed.”

Like its talented subject, the movie cannot be confined to a single category or story arc. Along with a penetrating, candid examination of Goldin’s career trajectory, the film spends considerable time on the artist’s efforts to hold Purdue Pharma and members of the Sackler family accountable for the overprescribing…

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​Dunham Adapts ‘Catherine Called Birdy’

November 17th, 2022

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

Premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, “Catherine Called Birdy” lands on Amazon Prime Video following a short theatrical window.

One of two 2022 films directed by the perpetually controversial Lena Dunham, the medieval bildungsroman was a labor of love based on the filmmaker’s professed affection for Karen Cushman’s 1994 Newbery Honor Book. Dunham, who also adapted the novel for the screen, delivers the most…

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​‘The Pez Outlaw’ Dispenses Entertaining Tale

November 17th, 2022

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

Amy Bandlien Storkel and Bryan Storkel dispense delights of all kinds in their breezy documentary “The Pez Outlaw,” an imaginative portrait of wily entrepreneur Steve Glew. A single-minded obsession with the colorful candy containers sets the stage for a tongue-in-cheek drama that casts Glew as himself in a series of “Unsolved Mysteries”-meets-Wes Anderson reenactments. Some viewers may not receive the title subject’s idiosyncratic…

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Marc Shaffer Explores the Legend of Helios in ‘Exposing Muybridge’

October 30th, 2022

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

Photography buffs and silent film aficionados will enjoy Marc Shaffer’s feature documentary “Exposing Muybridge,” a visually engaging account of curious cinematic forefather Eadweard Muybridge. Muybridge’s place as a film pioneer was ultimately secured via the influential motion studies he produced following his ill-fated collaboration with railroad baron Leland Stanford in the early 1870s.

But Shaffer attempts to put his subject’s entire…

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‘Both Sides of the Blade’: Denis and Binoche Team Again in Silver Bear Winner

October 24th, 2022

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

Known in the original French as “Avec amour et acharnement” (“With Love and Fury” or “With Love and Relentlessness”), the first of two Claire Denis features released in 2022 swapped original English language title “Fire” for the more satisfying and effective “Both Sides of the Blade.” The latter name is taken from a song by longtime Denis collaborators Tindersticks, and its evocative lines suggesting the pain of being cut in two…

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​‘Nothing Compares’: Ferguson Covers O’Connor in Strong Music Doc

October 22nd, 2022

By Greg Carlson

gregcarlson1@gmail.com

In “Nothing Compares,” director Kathryn Ferguson builds an airtight case for the reevaluation of music icon Sinead O’Connor, the Irish recording artist who achieved worldwide success and critical acclaim during the course of a career that attracted negative media attention like a magnet collecting nails.

The film, now available on Showtime following a Sundance debut in January, transports viewers back three decades (and more) to focus initially…

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