Film | Arts | Indy Week
Arts
INDY Week's arts blog

Archives | RSS | Follow on

Film

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Movie Review: A Murky Moral and the Diminishing Returns of Digital Dinos Weigh on a Once-Mighty Franchise in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Posted By on Thu, Jun 21, 2018 at 9:47 AM

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom ★★½ Opening Friday, June 22 The tension between science and consumerism is the narrative thread running throughout the Jurassic Park franchise. It’s a marvel to revive an iconic extinct species, but these dinos ain’t going to sell themselves. In 2015, Jurassic World saw the realization of John Hammond’s dream of a dinosaur-centric amusement park, at least until the customers became the day’s feeding. Now, at the outset of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, an erupting volcano threatens to turn the cloned dinosaurs living in and around the now-derelict theme park on Isla Nublar back into fossils....

Continue reading…

  • Pin It

Friday, June 15, 2018

Movie Review: At Least We Get Bening, Moss, and Ronan Mucking Around in Chekhovian Mischief in an Otherwise Standard The Seagull

Posted By on Fri, Jun 15, 2018 at 10:21 AM

The Seagull★★★ Now playing You love her But she loves him And he loves somebody else You just can't win —The J. Geils Band, “Love Stinks” It's summertime on a nineteenth-century Russian country estate, and love triangles are colliding in a tangle of messy geometry. The aging stage actress Irina is visiting her lover Trigorin, a famous writer from Moscow. Alas, Trigorin is bewitched by young Nina, who is with Konstantin, Irina's resentful son. Meanwhile, the schoolteacher Medvedenko is obsessed with Masha, daughter of the steward, whose wife, Polina, is in love with the town physician, Yevgeny, who's pursuing—you...

Continue reading…

  • Pin It

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Movie Review: Fourteen Years Later, Incredibles 2 Is Stuffed with Allusions to Contemporary Social Issues. But to What End?

Posted By on Thu, Jun 14, 2018 at 1:07 PM

Incredibles 2 ★★★½ Now playing Although the plot of Incredibles 2 picks up where its forerunner left off, it’s been fourteen years since the moviegoing public checked in on the Parr family. The storyline is uninterrupted, but the focus of the metaphors has shifted with the times. Whereas The Incredibles was largely a commentary on exceptionalism, its sequel adopts an array of more progressive social contexts. The end result is fun, funny, and timely, but not quite transcendent. The Incredibles’ failed, calamitous pursuit of the Underminer triggers the government to shutter the Super Relocation program, forcing superheroes to retreat...

Continue reading…

  • Pin It

Friday, May 18, 2018

Movie Review: Sebastián Lelio's Hotly Anticipated Disobedience Is a Strangely Flat Look at Lesbian Love in a Hasidic Community

Posted By on Fri, May 18, 2018 at 6:30 PM

Disobedience ★★½ Now playing Acclaimed Chilean director Sebastián Lelio's hotly anticipated Disobedience sets out to explore the complexities of lesbian sexuality within the conservative, hermetic Hasidic community. The film stars Rachel Weisz as Ronit and Rachel McAdams as Esti, former teenage lovers who became estranged when Ronit fled the restrictive life of the Hasidim to become a photographer in New York. When Ronit returns to attend her father’s funeral, she discovers that Esti has married Dovid (Alessandro Nivola), a close childhood friend of the two women. Cowritten by Lelio and Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Disobedience is flat in transmitting the sense of...

Continue reading…

  • Pin It

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Full Frame: The Price of Everything Is a Nuanced Indictment of Art's Relationship to Money

Posted By on Thu, Apr 12, 2018 at 12:27 PM

The Price of Everything★★★★½ Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, Durham I had been waiting for this documentary for almost ten years. In the early 2010s, I was an art history graduate student working at a mid-level gallery in New York’s Chelsea scene, wanting to experience the world of contemporary art firsthand. I was certainly in for a surprise, finding that art galleries were more akin to Wall Street than the avant-garde collective of makers I had romanticized. Instead, I witnessed the art market operating as a form of currency and exchange; paintings were financial assets analogous to stocks and...

Continue reading…

  • Pin It

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Full Frame: Fred Rogers, Who Benevolently Raised Generations of Children on Public Television, Gets His Due in Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Posted By on Wed, Apr 11, 2018 at 11:28 AM

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?★★★★½ Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, Durham Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, the story of the nationally beloved TV icon known as Mr. Rogers, captures the incredibly genuine nature of the late Fred Rogers. This man was not making a television show to strike it rich, wield power, prove someone right or wrong, or make something of himself. He made the show because he cared so deeply about children, about helping them process their thoughts and feelings in a complex world of adults who told them they would understand everything when they were older. Through...

Continue reading…

  • Pin It

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Full Frame: Connecting 306 Hollywood to Other Artworks About Rifling Through Someone's Stuff

Posted By on Sun, Apr 8, 2018 at 8:24 AM

Those of us who caught 306 Hollywood at Full Frame on Friday had a front-row seat to the evolution of the definition of “documentary.” An anthropological study of the filmmaking team’s grandmother after her death, it's nonfiction only in the broadest sense. Brother-and-sister duo Jonathan and Elan Bogarin excavate their grandmother’s home, organize her possessions by type or color, use magical-realist devices to visit the past, and reenact their process with stylistic flair. They use dance, theater, visual art, and straight-up library-style cataloging to get at the nature and meaning of their grandmother’s life. In interrogating their grief, they...

Continue reading…

  • Pin It

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Full Frame: Talal Derki Daringly Infiltrates a Jihadist Community in Of Fathers and Sons

Posted By on Sat, Apr 7, 2018 at 10:03 AM

Of Fathers and Sons★★★★ Friday, April 6 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, Durham Have you ever glimpsed life inside a radical Islamic caliphate? If you’re reading this, you probably haven’t. Anyone who has is most likely still living inside it, not sharing its story with the world. Though they are an extreme minority to the overwhelming majority of peaceful Muslims, jihadists magnetize global media attention with their egregiously violent acts. Still, we seldom see their day-to-day life. Journalists and documentarians can't just walk in and out of radical Islamic communities. Well, not unless they have the daring to temporarily...

Continue reading…

  • Pin It

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Full Frame’s 2018 Lineup Dives Into the Complexities of the Criminal Justice System

Posted By on Thu, Mar 15, 2018 at 2:02 PM

The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival just released its full lineup for 2018, and it appears this year's list will be as groundbreaking as ever. Durham's annual festival will include screenings of thirty-two feature films and ten shorts from across the world on April 5–8, which will be shown at Carolina Theatre and other venues in downtown Durham.  This year's thematic program is hosted by the legendary, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Joe Berlinger. The program delves into the true-crime genre to contend with the complexities of America's criminal justice system. Berlinger is best known for Brother's Keeper, a pioneering film in...

Continue reading…

  • Pin It

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Movie Review: Ava DuVernay's A Wrinkle in Time Builds a Bold, Chaotic Bridge Between the Twelve-Year-Olds of the Sixties and Today

Posted By on Thu, Mar 8, 2018 at 9:39 AM

A Wrinkle in Time★★★ Opening Friday, March 9 Before the screening of A Wrinkle in Time I attended, the women on either side of me were musing about how the Madeleine L’Engle book was their favorite when they were twelve. The film is a bold, messy adaptation of the classic novel, but for a new generation of twelve-year-olds, it could prove to be a similar touchstone. This is hardly a passive, by-the-numbers checklist of plot points, the fate of most YA books translated to the big screen. Following Selma and 13th, director Ava DuVernay saturates the film with colorful...

Continue reading…

  • Pin It

Friday, February 16, 2018

Movie Review: Believe the Hype About Black Panther, an All-Time Great Superhero Saga

Posted By on Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 10:23 AM

Black Panther★★★★★ Now playing At first, I was worried about the direction of the Marvel Cinematic Universe after it was acquired by Disney. Disappointed by the progression of the Star Wars franchise (which is also now owned by Disney), I had reservations about Mickey Mouse’s fingerprints getting all over one of the most royal heroes in the Marvel universe. But my reservations evaporated during the first ten minutes of Black Panther, without a doubt one of the greatest superhero movies of all time. With a star-studded cast—including Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, the king of Wakanda and Marvel’s first black...

Continue reading…

  • Pin It

Friday, February 9, 2018

A Raleigh Crowd-Funding Campaign Is Raising Money to Help African-American Teens See Black Panther

Posted By on Fri, Feb 9, 2018 at 12:58 PM

The buzz around upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movie Black Panther has been spectacular—not just because it looks like an amazing movie, but also because it represents an overdue but full-throttle pivot in the white-dominated world of superhero movies. The film, which opens February 16, has an African-American director (Ryan Coogler) and a strong African-American cast, with Chadwick Boseman playing the titular king of the Afrofurtuist nation of Wakanda. It’s an exciting chance for a generation of young African Americans to see themselves heroically projected on the big screen—but what about those for whom a trip to the movies is...

Continue reading…

  • Pin It

Friday, February 2, 2018

The Race Is On to Raise $150,000 to Save the Chelsea Theater

Posted By on Fri, Feb 2, 2018 at 7:51 AM

Last November, Chapel Hill’s Chelsea Theater quietly broke the news that it would probably not renew its lease when it expires at the end of March. (The art cinema mainstay has been in continuous operation since 1990.) Since then, under the rallying cry “Save the Chelsea,” a local group has created an exploratory committee and advocacy effort to raise enough funds to take over the lease, hoping to make an offer to retiring owner Bruce Stone by the end of February.  In December, the group circulated a public survey to gauge interest in saving the theater and test the ideas of making...

Continue reading…

  • Pin It

Friday, January 5, 2018

Movie Review: I, Tonya Cribs Scorsese's Tricks for a Uniquely American Tale of Crass Competition and Class Conflict

Posted By on Fri, Jan 5, 2018 at 9:51 AM

I, Tonya★★★★ Now playing Director Craig Gillespie’s dark comedy about disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding liberally borrows Martin Scorsese’s filmmaking trademarks, starting with his penchant for kinetic biopics. There are slow-motion pans, fast dolly zooms, a period-appropriate rock soundtrack, and actors who break the fourth wall. Heck, the final shot is of the blood-stained mat in a boxing ring. But if you’re going to ape Scorsese, you might as well do it right. Gillespie breathes a breezy, fresh perspective into a true American tale seemingly picked clean by the tabloid media that was just starting to infiltrate the mainstream when...

Continue reading…

  • Pin It

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Movie Review: All the Money in the World Is Solid, but the Real Drama Lies in the Last-Minute Recasting of J. Paul Getty After Kevin Spacey's Downfall

Posted By on Sun, Dec 24, 2017 at 10:01 AM

All the Money in the World★★★ Opening Monday, Dec. 25 There’s a really interesting movie around All the Money in the World, but it’s not the one being released on Christmas day. Instead, it's the making-of retrospective I hope we'll see someday, which will detail the Herculean task of recasting and reshooting the film's lead actor a month before its release. After multiple sexual harassment and assault allegations came to light in October against Kevin Spacey, who had already filmed his scenes as industrialist J. Paul Getty, director Ridley Scott recast Christopher Plummer in the role. Plummer shot his scenes...

Continue reading…

  • Pin It

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Movie Review: For Better and Worse, Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water Is a Beautiful Children’s Movie for Adults

Posted By on Thu, Dec 14, 2017 at 5:00 PM

The Shape of Water★★★ Opening Friday, Dec. 15 Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water is a moral tale for troubled times. An Amazonian sea creature held captive in a Cold War-era American research lab is watched over by tyrannical government functionary Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon). He tortures the creature and plans to vivisect it in order to one-up the Soviet Union in the race for scientific knowledge. All goes smoothly until a mute janitor, Elisa (Sally Hawkins), starts to fall in love with the creature and tries to save it from certain doom. The screenplay by del Toro and...

Continue reading…

  • Pin It

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Movie Review: Justice League's Concoction of Snyder's Bombast and Whedon's Wit Actually Kind of Works

Posted By on Thu, Nov 16, 2017 at 2:18 PM

Justice League ★★★½ Opening Friday, Nov. 17 Earlier this year, after the death of his daughter, Zack Snyder—the de facto patriarch of the DC Extended Universe—stepped away from post-production on Justice League, which brings together Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman with other classic DC Comics characters. Enter Joss Whedon, who directed both Avengers films. The result is a Justice League that seems born of two fathers, combining Snyder’s bombastic iconography with Whedon’s crowd-pleasing wit. Superman/Kal El (Henry Cavill) died at the end of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and his legacy is now the stuff of black bunting and...

Continue reading…

  • Pin It

Movie Review: Lady Bird, a Winning First Film from Greta Gerwig, Is Alert to Class but Falters on Race

Posted By on Thu, Nov 16, 2017 at 11:01 AM

Lady Bird★★★ Opening Friday, Nov. 17 In many ways, Lady Bird is a winning directorial debut by Greta Gerwig, who also wrote the film. It captures the fuzzy nostalgia as well as the pains of coming of age at the start of the twenty-first century, as the Iraq War blares through the television in the background of a bustling Catholic family’s life. Saoirse Ronan plays the title character, a slightly rebellious Sacramento teen battling for autonomy with her financially struggling, overwhelmed nurse mother, Marion (Laurie Metcalf). But for all of Lady Bird’s blurred lucidity, its anxieties about race and the...

Continue reading…

  • Pin It

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Chelsea Theater, the Last Old-School Art Cinema Standing in Chapel Hill, Might Close at the End of the Year

Posted By on Wed, Nov 15, 2017 at 3:56 PM

Though the Chelsea Theater is a Chapel Hill institution, it has never made a big deal about itself. Tucked away in the Timberlyne strip mall, almost literally in the shadow of the Regal multiplex, the little-art-house-that-could has discreetly held its ground in a volatile cinema market for almost thirty years. So it’s no surprise that the Chelsea recently slipped a major announcement onto the “News and Notes” page of its ancient website, where no one would ever think to look. Unless a buyer comes through, the theater’s long legacy looks likely to end when the calendar rolls over to 2018....

Continue reading…

  • Pin It

Friday, November 3, 2017

Movie Review: Goodbye Christopher Robin Is Too Squishy to Bear

Posted By on Fri, Nov 3, 2017 at 1:42 PM

Goodbye Christopher Robin ★★ Now playing There's a certain kind of overproduced classic rock sound that makes me lunge for the car radio dial whenever it rolls around. The 1970s band Boston is an infamous example of this production style, which polishes every sonic texture to a smooth and unnatural sheen. When I hear a Boston song, I think, No actual live group of musicians has ever sounded like this. The same holds true for certain overproduced films, usually somberly reverent British period dramas, and I have the same reaction: no actual group of living people ever sounded like this—or...

Continue reading…

  • Pin It

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Movie Review: In Thor: Ragnarok, a Stodgy Franchise Springs to Life with Demigods Delightfully Out of Their Element

Posted By on Thu, Nov 2, 2017 at 4:40 PM

Thor: Ragnarok ★★★★ Opening Friday, Nov. 3 There’s a short sequence early in Thor: Ragnarok in which an Asgardian acting troupe plays out the events of 2013’s Thor: The Dark World. The scene is framed as a lark, from its dialogue to the cameos from famous actors playing Thor, Loki, and Odin, which I won’t spoil. It’s also a sidelong admission that the Thor, nay, the entire Avengers franchise, had become too stodgy—self-parodies in which dour characters yammer away, with faux gravity, about Infinity Stones and interstellar realms. Thor: Ragnarok is the fun(ny) Guardians of the Galaxy sequel we didn’t...

Continue reading…

  • Pin It

Friday, October 20, 2017

Movie Review: Less a Whodunit Than a “Who Cares,” The Snowman Is Truly Abominable

Posted By on Fri, Oct 20, 2017 at 5:15 PM

The Snowman★ Now playing In theory, there's a good movie swirling around The Snowman. The drab, snowy Norwegian setting is an effective canvas for a Nordic noir. The film has an award-winning director in Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), two Oscar-winning editors, a pair of Oscar-nominated screenwriters, and Martin freakin’ Scorsese as executive producer. The glittering cast includes J.K. Simmons, Rebecca Ferguson, Toby Jones, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Michael Fassbender as detective Harry Hole. But there’s an early, seemingly innocuous clue that things are awry when a character refers to a city being “a...

Continue reading…

  • Pin It

Movie Review: The Paintings of van Gogh Come to Dazzling Life in Loving Vincent

Posted By on Fri, Oct 20, 2017 at 12:05 PM

Loving Vincent ★★★½ Now playing The historical drama Loving Vincent, concerning the life and death of Vincent van Gogh, is being billed as the world's first fully painted feature film. Indeed, each of the 65,000 frames in this movie was hand-painted by a small army of artists over the course of seven years, with the intention of bringing the paintings of van Gogh to life. The outcome of all this effort is exceptionally vivid and beautiful. The film's animation technique essentially combines rotoscoping—painting on top of each film frame—with elements of form and style from van Gogh's most famous paintings....

Continue reading…

  • Pin It

Friday, October 6, 2017

Movie Review: Blade Runner 2049 Reminds Us It Works Best to Mess with the Classics When There's Actually Something Wrong with Them

Posted By on Fri, Oct 6, 2017 at 9:16 AM

Blade Runner 2049 ★★★★ Now playing Blade Runner was influential and groundbreaking cinema, a science-fiction film noir that applied classic philosophical and religious themes, particularly on creation and mortality, to humankind’s technological and moral trajectory. It is also insistently inscrutable and bears the scar tissue of excessive, repeated editing, first in a futile effort to make the theatrical release more accessible and then to restore director Ridley Scott’s original narrative vision. Like its retrofitted future, the film is heady bricolage. Set thirty years after the original, Blade Runner 2049 achieves the best of both worlds. The same basic premise remains:...

Continue reading…

  • Pin It

Friday, September 29, 2017

Movie Review: In Battle of the Sexes, Billie Jean King Overhand Smashes a Paper-Thin Glass Ceiling

Posted By on Fri, Sep 29, 2017 at 2:43 PM

Battle of the Sexes ★★★½ Now playing The most pitched battle in Battle of the Sexes is not strictly on the tennis court. Odds makers and popular opinion alike were very much against Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) in her famous 1973 tennis match against Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell). The question the match posed was not whether a professional female player could beat a male peer. It was whether the best female tennis player in the world could beat any competent man, in this case, a cartoonish, fifty-five-year-old former pro. The film’s true foil is a male-dominated culture ripe for...

Continue reading…

  • Pin It

Calendar



Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

I love stories like this.

by JoeJoey on A Villain Burglarized All Three Ultimate Comics Stores Last Night (Arts)

Mr. Woods must have seen a very different production than the one I saw or perhaps he was having an …

by Amy Ginsburg on Theater Review: Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater's Songs Can't Quite Shine Through a Patchy Production of Spring Awakening (Arts)

Sure he could have said more. But his answers, while terse, were responsive to the questions. And I've done a …

by Donald Tepper on A somewhat less than intimate interview with David Copperfield (Arts)

Any plans to bring Precarity to New Orleans?

by Mary Deemer Magee on Meet a Forgotten Legend of New Orleans Jazz in British Artist John Akomfrah's Precarity at the Nasher (Arts)

This review is idiotic.

by Fillum Critick on Movie Review: Deadpool Is Spider-Man But With Nudity, Gore and No Fourth Wall (Arts)

Comments

I love stories like this.

by JoeJoey on A Villain Burglarized All Three Ultimate Comics Stores Last Night (Arts)

Mr. Woods must have seen a very different production than the one I saw or perhaps he was having an …

by Amy Ginsburg on Theater Review: Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater's Songs Can't Quite Shine Through a Patchy Production of Spring Awakening (Arts)

© 2018 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation