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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.