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Friday, February 17, 2017

Movie Reviews: The Great Wall, Fist Fight, A Cure for Wellness

The Salesman, Toni Erdmann
Two Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominees and the Oscar-nominated documentary shorts come to town, along with a trio of multiplex releases featuring broad comedy, rampaging monsters and eels (not all in the same movie). Maren Ade's sweet, weirdly hilarious Toni Erdmann (pictured) takes a familiar What Really Matters premise and crafts a unique portrait of a father/daughter relationship.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Movie Reviews: Lego Batman Movie, John Wick Chapter 2, Paterson

I Am Not Your Negro, Love Everlasting, Oscar Shorts, Fifty Shades Darker
If you've been putting off that trip to the movies, you can stop putting it off. This week's group of new releases make for one of the best weekends at Utah cinemas in recent memory.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Movie Reviews: Julieta, The Comedian, Rings, The Space Between Us

The post-Sundance week reveals delayed-from-2016 leftovers, DeNiro again trying to be a king of comedy and Pedro Almodóvar taking on Alice Munro. In The Comedian, Robert DeNiro (pictured) plays an ex-sitcom star in a premise that's like BoJack Horseman, only without the wit or pathos.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sundance 2017 Day 10 Capsules

Trumped, haunted and kidnapped
A Ghost Story (NEXT) **** The idea that a person in a sheet with two eyeholes could represent something transcendently mournful about humanity seems ridiculous, but that's exactly what writer/director David Lowery pulls off in this breathtaking work. It's best to go in mostly blind regarding plot details; suffice it to say that a married couple (Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara) is involved, along with the aforementioned linens-clad spectre haunting their home.

Faultline Film Awards

Previewing the signups and awards showcase happening at the U.
We literally just came out of the film festival mayhem today, and already there are local organizations working to create new film festivals and exhibitions. A brand-new showcase called the Faultline Film Awards was launched by the University of Utah students who help run the Daily Chronicle and Wasatch Magazine.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Sundance 2017: The Story So Far

One week in, a summary of this year's biggest festival stories.
Only a few days of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival remain, and it's been an odd year for the event. From the weather to the intrusion of real-world political events, Sundance often felt like the movies were less at the forefront than usual.

Sundance 2017 Day 8 Capsules

Hologram Hamm, Egyptian noir and journalism in peril.
Marjorie Prime (Premieres) **1/2 Writer/director Michael Almereyda adapts Jordan Harrison's 2015 Pulitzer Prize finalist play in a way that somehow flattens the human emotion into chilly science fiction, leaving its ideas to drift like thesis statements. In an unspecified near future, 86-year-old Marjorie (Lois Smith), experiencing progressive dementia, receives therapeutic assistance in the form of a holographic computer program simulating her dead husband, Walter (Jon Hamm) while being cared for by her daughter (Geena Davis) and son-in-law (Tim Robbins).

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Sundance 2017 Day 7 Capsules

Bad girls, bad cops and a bad take on societal isolation.
The Last Word (Premieres) **1/2 Were she to die tomorrow, the first sentence of Shirley MacLaine's obituary would read: “Oscar-winning actress who starred in such films as The Apartment and Terms of Endearment, and became known for New Age beliefs.” Her headstrong elderly doyenne Harriet in The Last Word wants to know how her obituary will read now, while she's alive. But as another character puts it, “she put the 'bitch' in obituary,” leaving the local paper's obituary writer (Amanda Seyfried) a tall task.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Sundance 2017 Day 6 Capsules

Rapping, stepping and dancing about architecture.
Patti Cake$ (U.S. Dramatic) *** A gender-flipped 8 Mile with more comedic flair? Sure, sign me up.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Sundance 2017 Day 5 Capsules

JonBenet, Blanchetts aplenty and a laugh-your-ass-off comedy.
Casting JonBenet (U.S. Documentary) **** The postmodern documentary advances with Kitty Green's Casting JonBenet, a film with nothing to say about the notorious unsolved murder of the 6-year-old pageant princess but a great deal to say about the world that made it notorious. Green does interviews and screen tests for a Ramsey docudrama, mostly of nonprofessional actors hoping to play the four Ramseys, the authorities and two outside suspects.

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