New film reviews and May special screenings | Film Reviews | Salt Lake City Weekly

New film reviews and May special screenings 

Music May, Napoleon Dynamite 20th anniversary, Cary Elwes talks Princess Bride and more

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Its Only Life - OSCILLOSCOPE
  • Oscilloscope
  • Its Only Life
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It's Only Life After All
Whether it was a necessity of COVID or a more deliberate artistic decision, director Alexandria Bombach's choice to interview the members of folk-rock duo Indigo Girls—Amy Ray and Emily Saliers—mostly separately results in something more intriguing than if they'd been side-by-side throughout. The documentary tracks their 40-year musical (but never romantic, they clarify) partnership from meeting as Georgia high-school classmates, through their rise to semi-celebrity, as well as the possible impact on their career trajectory of being both openly gay and openly activist in their politics. Bombach benefits from Ray being a compulsive documenter herself, with decades worth of audio tapes and amateur video chronicling their entire career. But the best material comes in the present-day interviews, as Ray and Saliers reflect on their individual journeys, including Ray expressing her doubts about measuring up to Saliers as a songwriter, and Saliers opening up about her years of alcoholism. The two-hour run time starts to feel a bit long, and Bombach does occasionally short-change us on what seems like key details, like the time frame for Saliers' path towards sobriety. It's still an enlightening piece of biographical journalism overall, thanks to the choice to focus not just on the professional life of Indigo Girls, but the personal world of each individual Indigo Girl. Available May 3 at Broadway Centre Cinemas. (NR)

Jeanne Du Barry - VERTICAL FILMS
  • Vertical Films
  • Jeanne Du Barry
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Jeanne Du Barry
Many biographical films struggle to make the leap from "this person existed" to "yes, but why should I care"—and this is one of them. Mononymous multi-hyphenate Maïwenn co-wrote, directed and stars as Jeanne Vaubernier, a 18th-century Frenchwoman of low birth who becomes a successful courtesan, first catching the eye of nobleman Jean Du Barry (Melvil Poupaud) and eventually becoming the favored mistress of King Louis XV (Johnny Depp). Maïwenn mounts a lavish production, focusing mostly on tension between Jeanne and the king's haughty daughters—and, eventually, the threat to Jeanne's status created by the arrival of future queen Marie Antoinette (Pauline Pollman). But while Maïwen's performance effectively captures the brash personality that would scandalize courtiers, there's not much sense for what we're supposed to glean from her rise and fall, or how much sympathy we're supposed to have for her simply by virtue of being a thumb in the eye of the aristocracy. And the same applies to Depp's portrayal of the King, who is sometimes interesting in his ability to make his unhappiness clear without uttering a word, yet generally seems more amused by Jeanne than genuinely affectionate towards her. The result is an odd sort of love story that expects the culture clash to be inherently worth our attention, even if the characters are thinly drawn. Available May 2 at Megaplex Jordan Commons. (NR)

May Special Screenings
Music May @ Salt Lake Film Society: Movies focusing on music and musicians take center stage at Broadway Centre Cinemas. After kicking off with the new Indigo Girls documentary It's Only Life After All (see above), the lineup includes the Amy Winehouse documentary Amy (May 10); Stop Making Sense (May 11); Martin Scorsese's The Last Waltz (May 12); Punk the Capital: Building a Sound Movement (May 17); The Decline of Western Civilization (May 18); Once (May 24); Almost Famous (May 25); Paris Blues (May 26); and May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers (May 31). slfs.org

A Tree of Life @ Park City Film Series: Director Trish Adlesic's 2022 documentary addresses the October 2018 mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA that left eleven people dead. The free community screening takes place Thursday, May 9 at 7 p.m. the Park City Library, and a survivor of the shooting is scheduled to attend for a post-film Q&A and conversation. parkcityfilm.org

Napoleon Dynamite 20th anniversary celebration: The cult comedy that debuted at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival is turning 20, and it's time to break out your tater tots and Vote for Pedro once again. The Ellen Eccles Theater in Logan hosts a special screening May 8 at 7:30 p.m. featuring guest stars Jon Heder (Napoleon), Efren Ramirez (Pedro) and Jon Gries (Uncle Rico). Tickets are $35 - $65. cachearts.org

The Princess Bride: An Inconceivable Evening with Cary Elwes: The Dread Pirate Roberts/Westley himself, actor Cary Elwes visits the Capitol Theatre (50 W. 200 South) for screenings of the beloved 1987 fantasy/comedy on Saturday, May 25 at 1 p.m. & 7 p.m. to share tales and memories from the making of the film. Tickets are $29 - $149. arttix.org

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Scott Renshaw

Scott Renshaw

Bio:
Scott Renshaw has been a City Weekly staff member since 1999, including assuming the role of primary film critic in 2001 and Arts & Entertainment Editor in 2003. Scott has covered the Sundance Film Festival for 25 years, and provided coverage of local arts including theater, pop-culture conventions, comedy, literature,... more

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