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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: Film Fests 2011

Is this heaven? No, it’s the Hardacre Film Festival, every bit as magical as a diamond in a cornfield where the ghosts of old baseball players congregate. Every August, in the town of Tipton, Iowa (population 3,155), great movies, filmmakers from all over the country and interesting Iowans magically appear in a gorgeous old movie […]

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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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Talking Movies: A Caricature with Character

Directed by Miguel Arteta–of Youth in Revolt and The Good GirlCedar Rapids represents yet another stereotypical journey through the comic banality of Middle America. Amusingly, the reviews of the film, good or bad, are more trite than the film itself–I’ll refrain from using such repossessed phrases as “hayseed” and “flyover country” or references to the wood-paneled veneer of Midwest structures. […]

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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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Talking Movies: Enter the Void

Gaspar Noé will be known to some for his 2002 film Irreversible in which two men avenge the brutal rape and murder of a woman played by Italian beauty Monica Bellucci. Though its style and substance (particularly the rape scene) are notorious, it’s unfortunate that its infamy has surpassed its praise because I revere Irreversible […]

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