Buzz Blog | Salt Lake City Weekly

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Movie Reviews: New Releases for Aug. 6-7

An American Pickle, The Burnt Orange Heresy, Howard, She Dies Tomorrow and more
An American Pickle *** The absurdist premise in Simon Rich’s script—a Jewish immigrant in 1919 New York, Herschel Greenbaum (Seth Rogen), is accidentally preserved in a pickle vat before being revived a century later in modern Brooklyn—is dispensed with early on in a hilarious scene where journalists ask “What’s the science behind it?” and Herschel assures us that the explanation we never hear “satisfied everyone.” The film that follows becomes sort of a satirical mash-up of Austin Powers and Being There, as Herschel and his great-grandson Ben (also played by Rogen) become first friends, then rivals. The Eastern Europe-set prologue offers so many solid laughs that it’s almost disappointing when the contemporary plot kicks in, and leans into a few obvious culture-shock gags.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Music Update: Save Our Stages, Salty Cricket Summer Showcase

NIVA Needs our Help Back in the spring, when all the venues and bars in the country seemed to close their doors overnight, NIVA was born.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Movie Reviews: New Releases for July 31

The Go-Go's, Summerland, I Used to Go Here and more
The Cuban ** There’s what a movie is about in the “here’s the one-sentence synopsis” sense, and there’s what a movie is about in a thematic sense—and honestly, I have no idea what those two have to do with one another here. As for the former, it’s the story of Mina Ayoub (Ana Golja), a 19-year-old Afghan-born pre-med student at a Canadian university, whose job as an orderly at a senior care facility introduces her to Luis Garcia (Louis Gossett, Jr.), a once-celebrated Cuban guitarist suffering from vascular dementia and early Alzheimer’s. Mina begins drawing him out of his catatonia by playing traditional Cuban music and cooking him traditional Cuban food, which in theory is related to the idea that Mina wants to be a singer rather than a doctor (I guess?), which would create conflict with Mina’s aunt (Shohreh Aghdashloo).

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Movie Reviews: New Releases for July 24

Yes, God, Yes; The Rental; Radioactive; Helmut Newton: The Band and the Beautiful; SamSam
Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful *** Fashion photographer Helmut Newton steadfastly resisted the description of what he did as “art,” but Gero von Boehm’s documentary portrait grapples with some of the most complicated contemporary questions about artistic works: Does representation equal endorsement, and how do you separate the creation from the creator? Though Newton died in a 2004 car accident, von Boehm includes quite a bit of footage of the photographer at work on his provocative, often kinky images of frequently nude women, as well as interviews with former models for Newton including Grace Jones, Claudia Schiffer and Charlotte Rampling.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Movie Reviews: New Releases for July 17

The Painted Bird, Flannery, Runner
Flannery **1/2 PBS American Masters profiles of great artists often feel like dutiful checklists of a life story, but directors Elizabeth Coffman and Mark Bosco at least find something slightly more probing in their exploration of writer Flannery O’Connor. Certainly they touch on all of major factors that shaped her life and work, from the Georgia towns where she lived nearly all of her life to her Catholic faith to the battle with lupus that left her ill and isolated for 12 years.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Music Monday 7/13: Acoustic Music, Murray Music on the Lawn

Acoustic Music SLC hosts Tom Brosseau, Branson Anderson Not only has Acoustic Music re-opened its doors (with one-at-a-time and must-have-a-mask rules, of course), they’re helping to safely-as-can-be revitalize the existence of live music shows, too.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Movie Reviews: New Releases for July 10

Greyhound, The Old Guard, Palm Springs, Relic and more
Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets ***1/2 The concept is so simple, it's almost comical: Bill and Turner Ross (Tchoupitoulas, Western) spend 24 hours at a Las Vegas dive bar called Roaring 20s, which also happens to be the last 24 hours before the bar closes its doors for the last time. Except it’s not so simple, because they shot their “documentary” in New Orleans with a non-professional “cast.” With their signature observational style, the Ross brothers introduce us to collection of employees and regulars as indelible as any fictional creation: Shay, the tough bartender who's also trying to keep an eye on her teen son; David, perpetually looking to get someone to fight him; Pam, who's proud enough of her “60-year-old titties” to show them off; and especially Michael, an ex-actor who for all practical purposes lives at the bar.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Movie Reviews: New Releases for July 3

Hamilton, The Truth, John Lewis: Good Trouble, Aviva
Aviva ***1/2 Writer/director Boaz Yakin takes one of storytelling’s simplest setups—"boy meets girl”—and transforms it into something radically fascinating by making it “boy who’s also sometimes a girl meets girl who’s also sometimes a boy.” The more familiar modern spin is that Eden and Aviva fall for one another first as transatlantic email pen pals before beginning a tumultuous romance; Yakin complicates things further by double-casting both roles, with Eden (Tyler Phillips and Bobbi Jene Smith) and Aviva (Zina Zinchenko and Or Schraiber) alternately played by male and female actors (and occasionally the childhood or adolescent versions of themselvess). And that’s only the beginning of the formal hijinks Yakin is up to, as he also includes elaborate dance sequences, a meta-textual awareness by everyone involved that we’re watching a filmed version of their story, and plenty of full frontal nudity and graphic sex.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Life or Death Music Matters with Doug Kruithof

Protest songs have been a common theme in the music section of City Weekly lately, for obvious reasons.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Movie Reviews: New Releases for June 26

Eurovision Song Contest, My Spy, Irresistible and more
The Audition *** In a character study that walks a precarious tightrope between ambiguous and merely opaque, it’s left to the acting subtlety of Nina Hoss to find safe ground—which she’s more than capable of accomplishing. Hoss plays Nina, a violin teacher at a Berlin conservatory who takes a passionate interest in mentoring scholarship student Alexander (Ilja Monti), even to the detriment of her relationships with her husband (Simon Akbarian) and young son, Jonas (Serafin Mishiev).

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