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Talking Movies: Forty Years of The Godfather

Forty years ago, throughout the spring and summer of 1972, a mob movie was making a killing at the box office, which was something of a surprise to its production company.  Paramount had wanted Sergio Leone, of spaghetti-western fame, to direct it. They settled for a fairly young director whose biggest success at the time […]

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Talking Movies: Score One for Skin

If you like sex and art (especially in that order of enthusiasm), then you should definitely make a point of getting to the Englert on Friday, May 18, to see the Iowa premiere of Frederick Wiseman’s Crazy Horse, a documentary about Paris’s legendary cabaret. To sweeten the deal, FilmScene, the host of the event, has […]

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Talking Movies: Is Wes Anderson a Sellout?

Have you seen the new Wes Anderson?  No, I don’t mean the new Wes Anderson film (that would be Moonrise Kingdom, set to premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival!), I mean the new Wes Anderson ad for the Hyundai Azera–two ads, in fact, which his ardent fans pass around the internet as if they […]

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GLBT Film Series

Beginning April 1, a new movie-going opportunity will be available to those eager for thought-provoking cinema downtown.  Larry Rogers, a self-described “ex-ex-gay senior citizen,” has put together a film series called “Let’s Talk Inclusive.”  The movies, which show at 1 p.m. in the Senior Center, explore different forms of sexuality and how they fit into […]

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The Gold Rush: The Best of All Possible Films

  Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush, playing from Mar. 3 through 8 at the Bijou in its lusciously-restored original 1925 version, is as unmixed a pleasure as I know. It’s what religious optimists imagine creation to be: “The best of all possible worlds”—hilarious without being cruel, romantic without being saccharine, deep without being heavy-handed, with […]

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2011 Movie Of The Year: The Tree of Life

In 2011, a year of many good movies (my own motley list includes: Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Bridesmaids, Weekend, The Muppet Movie, Buck and Rise of the Planet of the Apes), one stands out in every possible way: Terence Malick’s The Tree of Life. Naturally, we in Iowa City never got to eat of The […]

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Talking Movies: Great Weekend

You’re likely to feel some righteous indignation immediately after watching Andrew Haigh’s Weekend—the new British, mumblecore, gay-romance movie—at the Bijou from Dec. 2-8. No, I don’t mean that you’ll be bothered by the gay sex. Regardless of your sexual politics or persuasions, you’ll be struck by the movie’s candor and humanity. Nor do I mean […]

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Oops, Netflix Did it Again

Now Showing Global Lens 2011 Since 2003 the Global Lens film series has been providing a platform for interesting movies from around the world. Their board, including such modern masters as Lars von Trier, Pedro Almodóvar and Béla Tarr, has chosen nine fascinating films which premiere at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, […]

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Talking Movies: The Future Is Now

Richard Wagner dreamt of a Gesamtkunstwerk, “a total artwork,” a theatrical production that puts the entire human imagination into play and expresses nothing short of the truth. Metropolis–Fritz Lang’s operatic, balletic, mythic, expressionistic, crazy, nightmarish, silent movie–is about as gesamt a Kunstwerk as there is, especially if you add to it the live music of the Alloy Orchestra, who will perform their great score to a screening of a restored Metropolis on Sept. 30 at the Englert Theatre. […]

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Talking Movies: Is Quentin Tarantino Overrated?

The featured director this month in the Englert’s American Filmmakers Series is Quentin Tarantino. True Romance, which he wrote but didn’t direct, is showing Tuesday, May 10, and Pulp Fiction, his dubious masterpiece, plays the following Thursday. Does the director of Kill Bill: Vol. 2 and Inglourious Basterds deserve to be ranked alongside John Cassavettes, […]

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WikiLeaks and the Movies

In a recent “dump” of diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks, Putin and Medvedev were compared to Batman and Robin. The Slovenian philosophical rock star Slavoj Žižek has taken the simile further and compared Julian Assange, the spooky mastermind behind WikiLeaks, to the Joker in The Dark Knight. In Christopher Nolan’s twist on the Batman myth, the […]

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