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‘First Reformed’ is a stark reflection on climate change, hypocrisy and ‘God’s plan’

“Can God forgive us for what we’ve done to this world?” That is the question which Michael, the radical environmental activist, poses to a disturbed pastor at the beginning of First Reformed. It is the question that haunts this small, brutally beautiful film, the latest from writer-director Paul Schrader, the cinema legend who penned the scripts for Taxi Driver and Raging Bull […]

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‘One October,’ from Iowan-turned-New Yorker Kacy Ross, comes to FilmScene

It’s 25 minutes in before anyone in the film One October uses the word gentrification. But every shot, every beat of the film is infused with the specter of that term. Rachel Shuman’s 2017 documentary, showing tonight at FilmScene, is a narrow snapshot of a changing city, on its surface. […]

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‘Tully,’ written by UI grad Diablo Cody, is bound to be a classic film on motherhood

With “Tully,” a film still squarely in Diablo Cody’s wheelhouse, the University of Iowa alumna and 39-year-old mother of two drops (most of) the whimsy and tackles a special sense of fatigue and dissatisfaction. Think “Bad Moms” but with a lot more depression, breast pumping and literary references. […]

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‘A Quiet Place,’ written and produced by Iowans, was made for thriller fans

A Quiet Place, floating on a cloud of high praise and a big opening weekend, has perhaps been overinflated. Nevertheless, the suspense-thriller, penned by Iowan filmmakers, is deliciously unsettling. […]

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Rest easy, Iowa City: ‘The Miracle Season’ is good, or at least good enough

If you’re like me, you’ve been nervous about the story of Caroline Found and the 2011 West High volleyball team being “Soul Surfer”-fied. But rest assured, the film holds up. Here are the highs, lows and uncanny bits about watching a very Iowa City story on the big screen. […]

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Vino Vérité presents a grittier sort of foodie documentary

Fans of chef-focused, “food porn” documentaries like Chef’s Table or Anthony Bourdain’s The Mind of a Chef will enjoy 42 Grams, a somewhat gritty documentary following a Chicago chef’s journey from underground food to a critically acclaimed restaurant. […]

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A story divided: I, TONYA’s deft perspective shifts

I, Tonya Film Scene — opens Friday, Jan. 12 For people of a certain age, the 1994 incident involving Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding and a premeditated attack on her team-rival Nancy Kerrigan has a permanent place in the memory banks. Many recall those events very clearly, as well as the drama that played out […]

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A-List: ‘Saving Brinton’ explores a forgotten chapter of the silent film era

Setting up in small towns from Minnesota to Texas, the Brintons’ traveling cinema show was for most Midwesterners of the era a first encounter with moving images. Unfortunately, in 1919, seemingly at the height of the traveling show’s popularity, Frank Brinton passed away. When his wife died in 1955, her estate’s executor moved the collection to his basement — where it remained until Mike Zahs learned of its existence in 1981. […]

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The smiling ‘Lady Macbeth’ — stark period horror comes to Film Scene

On their wedding night, Katherine’s husband, Alexander, asks if she is cold, and asserts, “This house gets very cold.” But Katherine smiles at him reassuringly and insists in earnest, “I’m thick-skinned.” It’s the last time Katherine will appear so innocent and eager-to-please, but she is not wrong. Her skin proves to be very thick indeed. […]

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Interview: Filmmaker David Byars discusses the Patriot movement ahead of Vino Vérité’s screening of ‘No Man’s Land’

This Sunday, July 9, documentarian David Byars is bringing his incendiary new film, No Man’s Land, to FilmScene as part of the Vino Vérité series, presented by FilmScene, ‘Little Village’ and Bread Garden Market. Tickets are $20 for FilmScene members, $25 for the general public. The film begins at 7:15 p.m., with hors d’oeuvres & wine tasting preceding at 6:30 p.m. A wine and dessert reception with the filmmaker begins at 8:45 p.m. […]

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Tight, entertaining ‘Colossal’ makes its own rules

Spanish filmmaker Nacho Vigalondo’s latest film, Colossal, is at once an intimate substance abuse drama and a kaiju-style creature feature. Much like his previous feature films, including Timecrimes (2007) and Extraterrestrial (2011), Vigalondo is able to strike this seemingly-odd balance with surprising grace simply by setting a very real, very interior story against a distant backdrop of intense science fiction. […]

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