Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival

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Movie Blog: This Week’s Best Bets

April is fast approaching, and that means the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival needs to be on every Minnesota cinephile’s radar.

03/30/2015

(credit: Drafthouse Films)

Movie Blog: This Week’s Best Bets

A few days ago, the list of features for this year’s Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival dropped. There are more than 170 movies in the lineup, and, as you can imagine, there’s a lot to look through.

03/16/2015

(credit: Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul)

Movie Blog: Bill Pohlad’s ‘Love & Mercy’ To Close Out MSPIFF 2015

Bill Pohlad, known for producing such powerful films as 12 Years a Slave, Tree of Life and Brokeback Mountain, will have a director credit on a film slated to cap off this year’s Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival.

02/04/2015

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Movie Blog: ‘Blue Ruin’ Review

Blue Ruin is a great American revenge movie, because it doesn’t play out like most great revenge movies. In it, the target — the villain who must die, the object of the hero’s obsession — is confronted and dealt with before we even have a good grasp on who the hero is, or what’s going on. As such, the focus is on the aftermath: the consequences of killing, of eye-for-an-eye justice. And amid all the bloodshed and dark humor is a message about violence in America, I’m just not sure what it is yet.

05/16/2014

(credit: Lionsgate)

Movie Blog @ MSPIFF, Day 17: ‘Dom Hemingway’ Director Q&A

Sometimes it takes months and months for movies that play the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival to show up in general release in the Twin Cities. Even more often, films from the festival roster don’t show up again at all. And then every once in awhile an MSPIFF selection pops into theaters in a matter of days.

04/19/2014

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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: Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images)

Working For The Weekend: Entertainment Best Bets

It’s nearly the weekend, and now’s the time to figure out your entertainment plans. Many kids will be on the hunt for eggs, while other folks can run the sweetest race in town. And it’s also your last chance to hit up a film festival.

04/17/2014

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Movie Blog @ MSPIFF, Day 14: ‘How To Disappear Completely’

That’s not Thom Yorke on the, ahem, “Motion Picture Soundtrack” for How to Disappear Completely. It’s the spare, oddly dispassionate beats of Eyedress, which lace Raya Martin’s dark and foreboding mystery with an aura of […]

04/16/2014

(credit: The Film)

Movie Blog @ MSPIFF, Day 13: ‘The Dog’

At age 11, I first saw Dog Day Afternoon as an edited-for-TV Sunday afternoon movie on a dreary fall day. The lonely kid version of me was absolutely riveted by the guns, the screams, the […]

04/15/2014

(credit: The Cinema Guild)

Movie Blog @ MSPIFF, Day 12: ‘Manakamana’

Directed by Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez but supervised by Lucien Castaing-Taylor (whose Leviathan was among last year’s most memorable films, documentary or otherwise), you might say that nothing happens in Manakamana. Or you could […]

04/14/2014

(credit: Cohen Media Group)

Movie Blog @ MSPIFF, Day 11: ‘The Last Of The Unjust’

At age 88, filmmaker Claude Lanzmann is cinema’s greatest torchbearer for the preservation of first-person holocaust remembrances. He’s most famous for his epic documentary Shoah, which is nine-and-a-half incredible hours of interviews with holocaust survivors, […]

04/13/2014

(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: Menemsha Films)

Movie Blog @ MSPIFF, Day 8: ‘Aftermath’

Władysław Pasikowski’s Aftermath, a work of fiction, was met with outrage by some of the Polish media upon release. It was even labeled by some as anti-Polish for suggesting that some citizens may have been more than complicit with the Nazis during the occupation. Set in the past decade, the film tells the tale of two brothers, one who left 20 years earlier to work as an asbestos remover in Chicago, while the other stayed in Poland to run the family’s farm.

04/10/2014

(credit: Strand Releasing)

Movie Blog @ MSPIFF, Day 7: ‘The Strange Color Of Your Body’s Tears’

I never understand why some people object to movies wherein the surface is the primary element and the rest is not necessarily subjugated but at least is entirely informed by that element. But there is admittedly something to be said for discipline.

04/09/2014

(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: Jeonwonsa Films)

Movie Blog @ MSPIFF, Day 5: ‘Nobody’s Daughter Haewon’

It’s a little difficult to recommend today’s selection if you aren’t already familiar with the films of South Korean master Hong Sang-soo. Like many auteurists’ pet faves, he tends to allow elements and themes to flow freely between his films, and the result is a body of work that’s greater than the sum of its parts.

04/07/2014

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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: Jafar Panahi Film Productions)

Movie Blog @ MSPIFF, Day 2: ‘Closed Curtain’

I know it’s perpetually bad form to criticize the critics when it comes to covering festival movies, but sometimes it’s inevitable when it feels like critics are the only ones talking about a given film. But to hear people accuse “Closed Curtain” of being self-pitying, well, cry me a river.

04/04/2014

(credit: Fox Searchlight)

Movie Blog @ MSPIFF, Day 1: ‘Belle’

While at this time last year, very few people had likely heard the name Solomon Northup (the victimized protagonist of the Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave), it’s a safe bet far fewer still had ever heard of Dido Elizabeth Belle Lindsay.

04/03/2014

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Movie Blog: Full List Of MSPIFF Titles Released

The words that I wrote last year still ring true, and thankfully earlier than usual this year: “There are few things sweeter than the sight of grass peeking through the snow after a long, hard winter season. But the opportunity to see new movies from world-class auteurs and local up-and-comers alike is among those things.”

03/07/2014

(credit: The Film Society of Minneapolis-St. Paul)

Movie Blog @ MSPIFF, Day 17: ‘Tutti Giù’

Three stories, one city. That’s the narrative conceit director Niccolò Castelli deploys in Tutti Giù. And to help whip it all together there’s the kinetic energy of pretty X-Games-style photography. The movie’s three Italian-speaking Swiss […]

04/27/2013

(credit: The Film Society of Minneapolis-St. Paul)

Movie Blog @ MSPIFF, Day 15: ‘Ape’

Young comedian Trevor Newandyke doesn’t find much success on stage, or in any area of his life. His only pleasures include listening to his Walkman, watching daytime TV and indulging in pyromania.

04/25/2013

(credit: The Film Society of Minneapolis-St. Paul)

Movie Blog @ MSPIFF, Day 13: ‘Minnesota Narrative Shorts’

It seems the Minnesota shorts programs get richer or at least fuller with each passing year. There were no less than three programs this year, and that’s just to cover the narrative features. Here are […]

04/23/2013

(credit: The Film Society of Minneapolis-St. Paul)

Movie Blog @ MSPIFF, Day 12: ‘Polluting Paradise’

Polluting Paradise is a doc about what happens when a massive landfill is placed just a stone’s throw from a garden-like landscape home to generations of Turkish tea growers.

04/22/2013

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