Jonathon Sharp

(credit: Radius)

Movie Blog: ‘The Unknown Known’ Reviewed

Toward the end of The Unknown Known, Donald Rumsfeld says he’d loved to have known what was going through the mind of Saddam Hussein’s right hand man, Tariq Aziz, during the final years of the dictator’s regime. “[Aziz] is a perfectly rational, logical individual,” the Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush says. “You wonder: What goes on in a mind like that?”

04/25/2014

(credit: Atmo Media Network)

Movie Blog @ MSPIFF, Day 16: ‘An Arctic Space Odyssey’

Clocking in at under an hour, An Arctic Space Odyssey traces the story of a group of men who worked for a year on a satellite station on an island that could be considered the […]

04/18/2014

(credit: Memento Films International)

Movie Blog @ MSPIFF, Day 15: ‘ILO ILO’

What makes Ilo Ilo more than just another family drama is the nuance with which writer/director Anthony Chen builds his characters. While each one appears based on a stereotype (the commanding mother, the shy maid, the troublesome son), they also have certain flaws or attributes that make them, as individuals, appear much more human than the usual fare that alights in family dramas, which are so fatally prone to melodrama.

04/17/2014

(credit: BBC)

Movie Blog @ MSPIFF, Day 10: ‘Google And The World Brain’

Since antiquity, humankind has dreamed of a library robust enough to store, and distribute, all of our accumulated knowledge. And with every technological step forward in publishing, thinkers have dreamed of how that vast well of information, if easily available to common people, could change the world.

04/12/2014

(credit: Plattform Produktion, Magic Hour Films)

Movie Blog @ MSPIFF, Day 6: ‘Concrete Night’

Rippling, oozing, flowing: Concrete Night is moody Finish noir film awash in smoke and liquids. Submerged at the start, the camera shows us the main character, a teenage boy named Simo (Johannes Brotherus), struggling in a dream sequence to swim […]

04/08/2014

(credit:  Pulpa Entertainment)

Movie Blog @ MSPIFF, Day 3: ‘Stop The Pounding Heart’

Italian filmmaker Roberto Minervini has created one of the most gorgeous and subtle films on Christianity in America that I’ve ever seen. Using real-life goat farmers from rural Texas, his film both documents a lifestyle and explores the complications […]

04/05/2014

(credit: Magnolia Pictures)

Movie Blog: ‘Nymphomaniac: Vol. II’ Review

At the center of Nymph()maniac: Volume II is the interplay of sex and cruelty, love and pain. While masochism becomes the well from which the protagonist, Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg), draws pleasure from middle age, it’s the people whom she loves or trusts that hurt her most. Likewise, it’s only those whom she’s closest to that she ever seeks to wound.

04/04/2014

(credit: IFC Films)

Movie Blog: ‘Two Lives’ Review 

The film is set in the year 1990, just after the fall of the Berlin Wall. We meet Katrine in an airport in Germany, and due to her wearing a disguise, we know that she’s up to something fishy.

03/28/2014

(credit: CERN)

Movie Blog: ‘Particle Fever’ Review

Particle Fever is a science documentary that, once it gets going, feels almost like a thriller. In it, director Mark Levinson follows a handful of physicists, both theoreticians and experimentalists, who are deeply invested in what the biggest, most intricate tool in human history can tell us about the universe.

03/24/2014

(credit: Magnolia Pictures)

Movie Blog: ‘Nymph()maniac: Vol. I’ Review

If you were afraid Nymph()maniac was going to be nothing more than pornography masquerading as art-house, don’t worry. The sex doesn’t come off as steamy or exciting as much as raw, monotonous and sort of funny.

03/21/2014

(credit: Music Box Films)

Movie Blog: ‘Generation War’ @ The Lagoon

Sympathizing with Nazis is something the viewer is pushed to do in “Generation War,” a four-and-a-half hour German miniseries that was originally titled “Our Mothers, Our Fathers.”

03/14/2014

(credit: Adopt Films)

Movie Blog: ‘Bethlehem’ Review

You can’t watch Bethlehem, a film that comes out Friday, without comparing it to Omar, which played in the Twin Cities only weeks ago. Both films are thrillers following young Palestinian men who are forced to work as informants for Israeli intelligence, and their lives are eventually torn apart. Bethlehem was Israel’s submission for Best Foreign Film, and Omar was Palestine’s. And while the latter got an Oscar nomination, it’s the former that’s the stronger, more nuanced look at a land divided.

03/07/2014

(credit: Magnolia Pictures)

Movie Blog: Nordic Lights Film Festival 2014 (In Brief)

If this relentless, frigid winter has you cooped up all Bergmanian — contemplating your sanity, the meaning of life — why not venture out this weekend to find solace (or at least some fun) in a celebration of modern Scandinavian cinema?

02/28/2014

(credit: Adopt Films)

Movie Blog: ‘Omar’ Review

Nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar, Omar is a thriller following a twenty-something Palestinian title character as he tries (and often fails) to manage the political and romantic intrigues that take over his life.

02/21/2014

(credit: Focus Features)

Movie Blog: Remind Yourself Why You Love Wes Anderson

Listen up, American movie fans. Until the end of this month and into the beginning of March, you can revisit (or acquaint yourself, perhaps) with the super-stylized worlds of America’s most beloved auteur.

02/17/2014

(credit: Drafthouse Films)

Movie Blog: ‘A Field In England’ Review

A Field in England is a testament to what weirdness the husband-and-wife, writer-director combo Ben Wheatley and Amy Jump can conjure up with just a handful of ingredients.

02/14/2014

(credit: The Weinstein Company)

Movie Blog: Philip Seymour Hoffman Week At St. Anthony Main

If you haven’t paid your cinematic respects to the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, Minneapolis’ St. Anthony Main Theatre has pretty much the perfect opportunity in the coming days.

02/13/2014

(credit: Janus Films)

Movie Blog: This Week’s Best Bets

It’s the week of Valentine’s, but I’m not sure if love is in this frigid, arctic air. While there’s certainly no lack of romantic films slated to play in the Twin Cities, there’s no real surplus of them either. And that’s cool with me.

02/10/2014

(credit: ShortsHD/Magnolia Pictures)

Movie Blog: Predictions For Oscar-Nominated Shorts

For the last few years, I’ve pointed out that winning your Oscar pool in some ways depends on being smart about your selections in the short film categories. That everyone usually has a pretty solid idea of what’s going to win in the major races is mostly a given. Down ballot? A whole ‘nother ball game.

01/31/2014

(credit:  Magnolia Pictures)

Movie Blog: Great Docs You Missed But Are Now On Netflix

Here are five excellent documentaries that are now on Netflix Instant. So when you’re out of TV shows to binge on, pop these into your queue.

01/20/2014

(credit: HBO)

Movie Blog: ‘Crash Reel’ Review

As the Sochi Olympics loom, this is, without doubt, the documentary to see. Directed by Lucy Walker, The Crash Reel is a powerful and sobering look at the blood on the snow of the action sports world that forces us to question our devotion to sports cliches like “go big or go home.”

01/13/2014

(Tribeca Films)

Movie Blog: ‘Truth About Emanuel’ Review

Submerged, sublimely it starts. Light slices through water, and we hear the voice of Emanuel, a beautiful teenage girl, who’s enveloped in her life’s great tragedy: the death of her mother. The 17-year-old (played by the British actress Kaya Scodelario) tells us she killed her mom, and that she’s “not supposed to be here.” Her mother died giving birth to Emanuel, and she blames herself, going so far as to say she’s a murderer.

01/10/2014

(credit: Warner Bros.)

Movie Blog: Top 10 Movies Of 2013

Everything came in pairs this year at the movies. It was this evenly split field that inspired us to present our lists of the year’s best films side-by-side. Though our lists boast a number of different titles, one thing is certain: 2013 was one hell of a singular year at the movies.

12/31/2013

(credit: IFC Films)

Movie Blog: ‘Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?’ Review

How does the world seem to you? Do you grow older, finding you have a pretty good understanding of the way things work socially, politically and scientifically? Or do you find yourself often puzzled, caught up in a web-like mess of extremely complex systems you have no clue how to grapple with despite honest attempts to learn a thing or two each day?

12/13/2013

(credit:  Indigo Film)

Movie Blog: ‘The Great Beauty’ Review

In The Great Beauty, director Paolo Sorrentino channels a Rome as classical and surreal as anything made by the great Golden Age master Federico Fellini. Within the first 15 minutes of Sorrentino’s latest, hints of the Italian titan’s La Dolce Vita and 8 1/2 flash before one’s memory, but this time in pulsing electric, rapturous colors.

11/29/2013

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