Jonathon Sharp

(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

(credit: Tribeca)

Movie Blog: ‘The Broken Circle Breakdown’ Review

Bluegrass, sex and the shadow of death. Those are the elements that bind together the lyrical and longwinded Broken Circle Breakdown, a drama that simultaneously tells two stories: that of how a young couple fell in love, and how their love failed.

11/23/2013

(credit: France 3 Cinéma)

Movie Blog: Highlights Of ‘Images Of Africa’ Film Festival

Despite the snow and the cold, the Twin Cities are a place many Africans call home, and those over at the Film Society of Minneapolis/St. Paul decided to celebrate that fact with a festival called Images of Africa.

11/15/2013

(credit: Sound Unseen)

Movie Blog: Highlights From 2013 ‘Sound Unseen’

Are you ready to rock, Twin Cities? Hüsker Dü and The National are waiting in the wings to bookend the 2013 Sound Unseen Film/Music/Art festival, which opens today and runs through Sunday, Nov. 17.

11/13/2013

(credit: Zeitgeist Films)

Movie Blog: ‘Let The Fire Burn’ Is Searingly Brilliant

An astounding work of documentary film making, Let The Fire Burn uses only archival footage to tell the devastating story of Philadelphia’s 1985 police raid fiasco, which turned a working-class neighborhood into a fiery war zone, a living hell that claimed 11 lives, including those of five children.

11/08/2013

(credit: Jacques Productions )

Movie Blog: The First-Ever Reel Abilities Film Festival

The trailer above is for Wampler’s Ascent, a film following Steve Wampler, who has cerebral palsy, as he does some 20,000 pull-ups to conquer the 3,000 foot face of Yosemite’s iconic El Capitan. Part determination doc, part nature flick, the film is just the thing you’d want to kick off the Twin Cities’ inaugural Reel Abilities film festival: five days of inspiring stories and profound insights into realities not often explored in today’s cinema.

10/30/2013

(credit: Strand Releasing)

Movie Blog: ‘Zaytoun’ & ‘Zigzag Kid’ Reviewed

Eran Riklis’ Zaytoun tells the odd-couple story of an Israeli soldier and a Palestinian boy as they journey through peril and personal prejudice toward home and eventually friendship. It’s a promising concept — just watch the trailer above — but Riklis doesn’t get the better of it. Instead, the film flounders in a muddled tone and that muck of mucks: sentimentalism.

10/25/2013

(credit: Kartemquin Films)

Movie Blog: ‘Trials of Muhammad Ali’ & ‘After Tiller’ Reviewed

There are two ways of looking at the great boxer. One has only to do with us, the American public; and the other has to do with him: the man, the fighter, the political and spiritual figure. Siegel’s film takes the latter approach, showing that the heavyweight champion’s most grueling fights weren’t ever in the ring.

10/18/2013

(credit: IFC Films)

Movie Blog: ‘Blue Caprice’ & A Culture Of Violence

Remarkably, all the killing that takes place in Blue Caprice is anything but sensational. Moors describes the movie’s tone as that of a “sad poem” or requiem only occasionally broken up by the crack and vacuum of rifle fire. Style-wise, Blue Caprice is no triller, and there’s no cat-and-mouse game between cops and criminals. This is a twisted family drama with a father, a son and a blue 1990 Chevrolet Caprice.

10/11/2013

(credit: Magnolia Pictures)

Movie Blog: ‘Good Ol’ Freda’ & ‘When Comedy Went To School’ Reviewed

So who’s Freda? She’s the band’s longtime secretary, who literally grew up with the Beatles, and saw their lives like no other fan girl did.

09/27/2013

(credit:  Movimento Film)

Movie Blog: ‘Il Futuro’ Review

The luster of eroticism — a naked 19-year-old girl polished in olive oil — doesn’t do all that much in Il Futuro, a film that tries to be literary but comes off as something more pretty than poetic.

09/24/2013

(credit: LITTLE MAGNET FILMS)

Movie Blog: ‘Museum Hours’ Review

In Museum Hours , director Jem Cohen does this beautiful trick where he takes details of Vienna’s cityscape (a dreary playground, for instance, or a remnant of WWII weaponry), and splices them together with tiny details of old, old paintings. The wonderfully executed yet simple technique produces this lovely little feeling, a sort of emotional reminder that art reflects life, and vice versa.

09/20/2013

viola

Movie Blog: ‘Viola’ Review

“Are you in a relationship or a routine?” That’s the central question poised to Viola (María Villar) toward the end of Matías Piñeiro’s pithy and poetic drama by the same name.

09/17/2013

(credit: Magnolia Pictures)

Movie Blog: ‘Drinking Buddies’ Stronger Than 3.2 Rom Com

The trailer for Drinking Buddies goes down like something you’ve tasted a hundred times before, a rom com in which two couples somehow swap lovers and end up all the happier for it. Coming off more Hollywood than “mumblecore,” the preview makes you feel as though you know what you’re getting into — the tried-and-true altered just so much by indie influence, the cinematic equivalent of Blue Moon.

09/13/2013

inch

Movie Blog: ‘Inch’Allah’ Review

Inch’Allah is the story of a French-Canadian obstetrician walking the cultural and concrete wall dividing Palestinians and Israelis. While she tries to tread lightly — befriending those on both sides of the conflict — our pretty doctor can’t help but tumble when the story pushes her into tragedy.

08/30/2013

Honey & Bees At The Minnesota State Fair

You Can Help The Hardest Workers At The Fair…Or Anywhere

If honey bees were to disappear, the world — not to mention the State Fair — would grow to be a much bleaker place. “Apples, oranges – things like that – they’d all be gone,” said Emily Campbell, the 2013 American Honey Princess.

08/26/2013

(credit: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

Movie Blog: Werner Herzog Takes On Texting And Driving

Werner Herzog — the Bavarian art-house master — isn’t one to back down from a challenge. The self-described “soldier of cinema” once hauled a steamboat over a mountain for Fitzcarraldo, trekked through the Sahara to capture […]

08/15/2013

(credit: Walker Art Center)

Movie Blog: Talking About ‘Killing’ With Joshua Oppenheimer

Listening to Joshua Oppenheimer is like listening to a waterfall. You sit down, ask the filmmaker a question and hundreds and hundreds of words pour forth.

08/11/2013

(credit:  Magnolia Pictures)

Movie Blog: ‘Blackfish’ Bites Into SeaWorld

Blackfish, an investigative documentary that’ll probably have you canceling any plans to SeaWorld, had me harking back one the most beloved movies of my childhood.

08/02/2013

(credit: Samuel Goldwyn Films)

Movie Blog: ‘Still Mine’ Review

I went into Still Mine fearing that it’d be a based-on-true-events love story with way too many tiny violins for my taste. Fortunately, my fears were (mostly) unfounded.

08/02/2013

(credit: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Sundance London)

Movie Blog: Q & A With ‘Blackfish’ Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite

SeaWorld is not at all happy with Gabriela Cowperthwaite. She made Blackfish, a documentary about killer whales and the consequences — in some cases deadly — of keeping them in captivity. And let’s just say SeaWorld doesn’t end up looking too pretty.

08/01/2013

(credit: Drafthouse Films)

Movie Blog: Rock Doc Week With ‘Band Called Death’, ‘Big Star’

The great Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini once said that there’s only a few stories. That aphorism bore true, I found, when watching two rock ‘n’ roll documentaries slated to come out this weekend — A Band Called Death and Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me.

07/26/2013

(credit: PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Movie Blog: ‘More Than Honey’ Gives A Hive-View Look Into What’s Killing Bees

And right now I’m even tempted to describe the doc as refreshing and nutritious as honey. And so I will. More Than Honey is just that — it’s smart, multi-layered, glittering with interesting characters, varied scenes, and Planet Earth-pretty images of bees, flying, working, mating, dying, enduring. More Than Honey is easily one of my favorite science docs this year. And while it’s not all doom-saying, don’t thinks movie won’t give you pause. Ands loads to think about.

07/12/2013

(credit: Samuel Goldwyn Films)

Movie Blog: ‘SOMM’ Is Like ‘Top Chef’ But With Wine

I’m a total sucker for almost any cooking competition show or documentary that features people who’ve mastered, through years and years of practice, the art of making beautiful, edible things. Think of Top Chef or Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

07/05/2013

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