Movie Blog

(credit: Disney)

Movie Blog: This Week’s Best Bets

It’s August already. How is that even possible? Any day now, you’ll be seeing back-to-school shopping displays at Target and planning out a visit to the Great Minnesota Get-Together. Already that nostalgia for summer is welling up as the nights get increasingly cooler. Already I’m drinking beers on rooftops and patios wondering how many of these I’ll have before the leaves start falling and the sun goes down with the workday.

08/04/2015

(credit: Walker Art Center)

This Week’s Best Bets: ‘Barbarella’ In Loring Park, Robin Williams’ Final Film

It’s the dog days of summer, and there’s a bunch of great cinema to experience in the Twin Cities.

07/27/2015

(credit: Magnolia Pictures)

Movie Blog: This Week’s Best Bets

Somehow, summer is halfway over. That being said, you should probably spend as much time as possible out enjoying the warm season on a lake or a patio.

07/20/2015

(credit: TriStar Pictures)

10 Best Summer Blockbusters Ever

For movie fans, there are two distinct seasons: awards season and summer. Some people consider them the respective high and low points of the year. These people are killjoys. Though Hollywood studios’ continuing habit for holding their most “important” releases until November and December grates, at least the payoff is some of the finest, biggest dumb entertainment that obscene budgets can buy. There’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, as the ten movies I feature here prove.

07/20/2015

(credit: A&E Films)

‘Cartel Land’ Is A Brave Look At The Drug War; J.Lo Adds Nothing To ‘Lila And Eve’

Questions about vigilantism are at the heart of Cartel Land, a gripping documentary on the people risking their lives taking a stand against Mexican drug cartels on both sides of the border. Directed by Matthew Heineman, whose camerawork is athletic and fearless, the movie unfolds like a blockbuster action flick, not unlike executive producer Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker or Zero Dark Thirty. The film starts in Mexico, in the dead of night, with masked men cooking meth, explaining that while the drugs might wreak havoc in America, it’s the only way for them to escape poverty. What choice do they have?

07/17/2015

(credit: Walker Art Center)

Movie Blog: This Week’s Best Bets

With the holiday weekend come and gone, perhaps there’s a bit more free time in your schedule for movies. If that’s the case, you may want to check out the Walker Art Center’s Summer Nights/Cool Cinema series, which starts this week.

07/06/2015

(credit: Cinema Guild)

Stunning & Enigmatic: ‘About Elly’ Reviewed

Emotionally explosive and wonderfully amorphous, “About Elly” is a 2009 film out of Iran getting its well-deserved release in the U.S. just now. Directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Asghar Farhadi (“A Separation”, “The Past”), the film is a naturalistic drama that could easily be described as a thriller. Its characters are believable and mysterious, and the film highlights, to Western eyes, the weight honor holds in cultures built around it.

07/03/2015

(credit: Gaumont)

Movie Blog: 10 Best Fireworks Sequences

It’s the Fourth of July, which means fireworks displays galore. But if you happen to be stuck inside this evening, you’ll probably want to take in a great display via a classic movie. These are 10 of the top best scenes involving fireworks in movie history.

07/02/2015

(credit:  Magnolia Pictures)

Mesmerizing & Frustrating: ‘The Wolfpack’ Reviewed

The “Wolfpack” raises far more questions than it answers, and that’s both why the documentary is so compelling and, at the same time, somewhat frustrating.

06/25/2015

(credit: RKO Pictures)

Movie Blog: 10 Best Movie Fathers Ever

It’s been a few years since I ran down my top 10 lists for the best and worst movie mothers. And until now, it never occurred to me to put together a list of their […]

06/16/2015

(credit: Warner Bros.)

Movie Blog: 10 Worst Movie Fathers Ever

Though I found myself struggling to come up with a shortlist of candidates as compelling as the collection that formed the distaff side, the horror genre alone ensured that there would be no shortage of contenders.

06/16/2015

(credit: Samuel Goldwyn Films)

‘Live From New York’, ‘The Farewell Party’ Reviewed

A history of “Saturday Night Live” that isn’t afraid to dive into the show’s issues of diversity and identity, “Live From New York” is a compelling and effectively moving portrait of a program than in 40 years has gone from being an avant-garde game-changer to an American institution.

06/12/2015

(credit: Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul)

‘Slow West’ & ‘100-Year-Old Man Who Jumped Out The Window’ Reviewed

One of the best films to screen at the latest Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival, Slow West blends a Coen brothers-like sense of humor with Tarantino-smacking violence to create a frontier story that’s hard to pin down and also forget.

05/22/2015

(credit: Magnolia Pictures)

‘Iris’ Producer Talks About The Life Of 93-Year-Old Fashion Icon

The penultimate film of Albert Maysles is a loving and inquisitive look into the life of a now 93-year-old fashion icon.

05/18/2015

(credit: Debra Spinney)

Big Bird’s Biggest Fan Is A Kid From Minnesota

Growing up as a kid with special needs, Nick Bertsch didn’t get invited to birthday parties or sleepovers. Making friends was tough, yet that didn’t stop him from becoming a close friend to one of TV’s most iconic characters: Big Bird.

05/15/2015

(credit:  Samuel Goldwyn Films)

Reviews In Brief: ‘Tangerines’, ‘Dior And I’ & ‘Girlhood’

A lot of power in a relatively small package, “Tangerines” is an anti-war chamber drama with the emotional thrust of a knife to the gut.

05/01/2015

(credit: Indiepix)

Day 17 @ MSPIFF 2015: ‘White Shadow’ Reviewed

Dozens have been killed and mutilated in Tanzania in the past 15 years, and all because they were born with albinism, a congenital pigmentation disorder. But these people were not targeted simply because of their unusual appearance. Some in the East African country believe harvesting the organs and body parts of albinos provides good luck.

04/25/2015

(credit: MSPIFF)

Day 16 @ MSPIFF 2015: ‘The End Of The Tour’ (Not) Reviewed

I sort of thought it would be fun to write a review of the new film The End of the Tour as short as David Foster Wallace’s masterpiece Infinite Jest is long. So … yeah. […]

04/24/2015

(credit: MSPIFF)

Day 15 @ MSPIFF 2015: ‘Heart Of Wilderness’ Reviewed

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a spiritual place for anyone who has ever ventured there, for an ordeal packed with unforgettable serenity. But even in the of the golden age of the Minnesota Film Board in the 1990s, a location scout could never convince anyone that the BWCA was a practical place to shoot for even an afternoon.

04/23/2015

(credit: Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul)

Day 14 @ MSPIFF 2015: ‘Antarctic Edge’ Reviewed

Science documentaries focusing on climate change in Antarctica, with gorgeous images of cerulean icebergs and throngs of wobbling penguins, are not exactly rare these days. Dena Seidel’s Antarctic Edge is the latest among them, and while it’s not as mesmerizing as last year’s Antarctica: A Year on Ice, it does champion an important group of people: the scientists spending huge chunks of their lives studying the frozen continent.

04/22/2015

(credit: MSPIFF)

Day 13 @ MSPIFF 2015: ‘I Touched All Your Stuff’ Reviewed

When press notes compare a documentary to Errol Morris, what does that typically tell you as a viewer? Does it suggest that you’re going to see a film that digs like a termite at its subject? Does it suggest to you a seamless blend of interview footage and dramatic recreation?

04/21/2015

(credit: Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul)

Day 12 @ MSPIFF 2015: ‘Theeb’ Reviewed

The beauty of director Naji Abu Nowar’s Theeb lies in its seeming simplicity. On the surface, it looks like a boy’s coming-of-age adventure story. Yet, on a deeper level, the film surges with western themes […]

04/20/2015

(credit: Long Shot Factory)

Day 11 @ MSPIFF 2015: ‘The Black Panthers: Vanguard Of The Revolution’ Reviewed

Stanley Nelson’s gripping and thorough documentary on the Black Panther Party is the first in his series of three films about the black experience in America. The documentarian — best known for the immersive and […]

04/19/2015

(credit: Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul)

Day 10 @ MSPIFF 2015: ‘Slow West’ Reviewed

Perhaps if one mixed the cinematic vision of the Coen brothers with the Rocky Mountain vistas and greasy leather hats of Red Dead Redemption, the result would be something like John Maclean’s incredibly stylish and […]

04/18/2015

(credit: T-Joy)

Day 9 @ MSPIFF 2015: ‘Hello! Junichi’ Reviewed

My introduction to Japanese artist and director Katsuhito Ishii was, oddly enough, at the 2005 Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival. I had no idea what I was getting into at a screening of The Taste Of Tea — a hilarious, quiet, outrageous, sensitive, violent, magical and sob-provoking tale of a multi-generational family.

04/17/2015

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