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"Summer 1993. Just beautiful." - Sarah

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Entries in Reviews (613)

Tuesday
Jun192018

Doc Corner: In the Shadow of Kubrick with 'Filmworker'

by Glenn Dunks

Sometimes you really can tell a book by its cover. Or in this case, a movie by its poster. The artwork for Tony Zierra’s Filmworker shows a photograph of Stanley Kubrick on set with his long-time yet little-known collaborator Leon Vitali hovering behind him. Kubrick, normally the focus of these sort of non-fiction works, is unusually blurred. Our eye naturally focuses on Vitali despite Kubrick’s appearance that can’t be entirely obscured no matter how hard they try.

It’s fitting for Filmworker, a documentary about Vitaly not Kubrick. Although, as was probably always inevitable about a film about the people around one of cinema’s most commanding and famous names, Kubrick remains a constant presence who is too hard to ignore...

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Monday
Jun182018

Stage Door: Anika Noni Rose Brings Raw Sensuality to "Carmen Jones" Off Broadwa

Stage Door is our intermittent theater column in which we often feature plays and musicals with film connections. Please welcome guest contributor Erica Mann...

The moment Carmen Jones walks onto the stage of Classic Stage Company, it’s like time completely stops. It’s not just because the character is played by the incomparable Anika Noni Rose whose illustrious career has spanned stage (a Tony win for Caroline or Change), TV (Bates Motel, The Good Wife), and film (Dreamgirls, For Colored Girls, The Princess and the Frog). Her presence as the namesake is that powerful from the moment she sets foot into the spotlight.

Oscar Hammerstein II's adaptation of Bizet's opera Carmen became a classic screen musical in 1954 starring Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte but has rarely been seen on the NY stage. CSC's production is the first major New York revival since the 1940s. Carmen Jones is the story of love, lust, betrayal and tragedy with the action moved to the 1940s in the American south. Corporal Joe, stationed at an army reserve and working in a parachute factory, falls in love with the stunning Carmen Jones. Aware of his feelings, Carmen convinces him to change his life trajectory in pursuit for a life in Chicago with her. Things change when those initial feelings become blurry and passion turns into jealousy...

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Thursday
Jun072018

Review: "Hereditary"

by Chris Feil

Hereditary gives so much: a bold lead performance from Toni Collette, genuine skin-crawling scares, and a stream of ominously manicured imagery to obsess over on multiple viewings. And yet its mightiest power is how and when it withholds. Layers revealed in its central family mystery only yield more questions and terrifying unreconciled implications on its descent into madness. You think at first the film is keeping you at arm’s length, when really it is picking you up by the shoulders and placing you down precisely where it knows it will unnerve you most. Letting it get its sadistic claws on you is simply one of the year’s essential cinematic experiences.

The feature debut of writer/director Ari Aster, Hereditary is uncommonly patient in delivering on its horrific promises. The film is less of a slow burn than an enticing bear trap, meditatively luring the audience with all of its pieces before suddenly closing its jaws on us with furious velocity. But that’s the thing about nightmares: rarely do they announce their punishment immediately. Hereditary is as wise and calculating as a demon ready to pounce.

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Friday
Jun012018

Review: "Adrift"

by Chris Feil

Adrift opens with one of the more terrifying examples of recent one-take fakeout shots - the camera weaves in and out of the water overtaking the cabin of a yacht, as a bloodied Shailene Woodley comes to. Frantically, we follow her above deck to see the half-sunken ship is as irrevocably damaged as we feared. But the panic really comes as the camera dizzyingly reveals nothing but empty steady ocean surrounding her.

The film abruptly flashes back, alternating between her story leading up to crisis and her struggle for survival at sea. Woodley is Tami, a young world traveler avoiding a tumultuous family history at home in America. She meets a handsome and similarly dispositioned Richard, played by Sam Claflin, and their romance is fast and escapist. A lucrative job sailing an older couple’s yacht across the Pacific sets them on a course for disaster, one that leaves Richard incapacitated and Tami left with minimal sailing skills, no tools for communication, and a ship barely capable of more than a steady drag towards an imprecise destination.

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Friday
May252018

Review: Mary Shelley

by Jason Adams

In the summer of 1816 one of the most legendary of literary happenings occurred - the poet Percy Shelley and his wife Mary went to stay at the poet Lord Byron's house near Lake Geneva for the summer. Mary's step-sister Claire wrangled them an invite (or so she said) since she was having an affair with the spitefully torrid Lord himself. Also joining them at the house was the Lord's physician John Polidori, who also fancied himself somewhat of a writer. And birthed from those weeks of most gothic merrymaking was basically the entirety of the horror genre to come: Mary Shelley would come up with her lovely little monster Frankenstein, while Polidori would write "The Vampyre," the inspiration for a certain Bram Stoker a swift generation later.

The story of that time and place has been well-trod by fiction before...

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Thursday
May242018

Review: "Solo - A Star Wars Story"

by Chris Feil

Han Solo isn’t exactly a character that has our affections enmeshed in his origins. As played in the original Star Wars saga by peak hunk Harrison Ford, Han is about 50% swagger, 30% smart ass, and 20% emotional walls. He’s a crucial element, but one whose history isn’t essential to the story we all know and love - so in tracing his beginnings, Solo - A Star Wars Story needs a strong point of view to be more than a spin on the hampster wheel. It’s sadly almost there...

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