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Death, rescue, racism and menstrual pads: A rundown of the Oscar-nominated documentary shorts

Plenty of politics play into the Oscar nomination process (often leading to some dubious selections in the Best Picture, Director and acting categories), but there’s one aspect of the Academy Awards circus that consistently feels pure and even altruistic: the spotlighting of short films. FilmScene is screening the Oscar-nominated short films in the animation, live […]

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An overly in-depth and totally not bitter alternative Best Picture list

After dozens of forays to FilmScene and local multiplexes in 2018, crunching countless popcorn kernels in anticipation of celebrating the best of the best come February 2019, it was both anticlimactic and disappointing to see a line-up of Best Picture nominees that included the likes of Bohemian Rhapsody, Vice, Green Book and Black Panther. That’s […]

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A valuable ally and a cunning enemy: Intrigue and rivalry shine in Lanthimos’ ‘The Favourite’

As with most of Lanthimos’ work, ‘The Favourite’ really defies category. Though the historical setting is inseparable from the narrative of the film, to call this a historical drama would clearly be wrong — the choreography, the foul-mouthed modern insults and the mostly casual regard for historical accuracy would all disqualify it. […]

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Alfonso Cuarón’s masterpiece ‘Roma’ is now on Netflix — but it’s worth a trip to FilmScene

There’s a fine line between a movie that’s “artsy” and one that’s “artistic,” at least in my mind. Artsy films I associate with a palpable (and largely unearned) sense of importance, originality and depth. They may be unnecessarily abstract, employ an unsteady cam ~for realism~ and cannot end until at least one character has floated […]

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‘At Eternity’s Gate’ is a well-worn story worth the retelling

‘At Eternity’s Gate,’ now playing at FilmScene, offers little new to the lore and legacy of van Gogh. Nonetheless, an homage to one of the very founders of modern art — as well as the idea of the modern artist — by one of its 21st century practitioners feels right, and Schnabel’s admiration for his subject informs every moment of this film. […]

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‘Wildlife’ transcends Oscar trappings with slow-burn drama and Carey Mulligan

Wildfires rage in the hills surrounding a small Montana town in the 1960s. A father, humiliated by his boss while working at a golf course, joins a group of firefighters battling the blaze for weeks on end at $1 an hour. His wife resents her husband’s pride and temporary desertion of his family, and becomes […]

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FilmScene’s featured Oscar contenders continue with ‘Beautiful Boy,’ a familiar but effective addiction narrative

You know this story. Whether or not you’ve read David Sheff’s memoir Beautiful Boy or Nic Sheff’s memoir Tweak, you’ve likely heard — or lived — the film’s central scenario: a parent tries desperately to save their drug-addicted child, but finds his best efforts further alienate or enable the child’s behavior; the child, meanwhile, struggles […]

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