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‘Lucy in the Sky’ offers careful metaphor, slightly disjointed

‘Lucy in the Sky’ (dir. Noah Hawley) opens with astronaut Lucy Cola (Natalie Portman) looking from the outside to the world she left behind. It appears as a sphere strung with lights of connection. She’s told to come in, but she asks for another moment. The vast vista is exchanged for a view from earth, a fast-moving amalgam of cars and faces and

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‘Monos’ is unstuck in time — and sticks with you

In ‘Monos,’ the lack of a centralized, framing point of view, the young children who lack a fixed identity and the absence of much context make the film difficult to predict. Choices that lead to unexpected consequences are less revelations of character than witnesses to forces that alter our sense of what life and survival mean. […]

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‘Joker’ is dreary fan-fiction, but you could see worse horror movies this October

I fell down a Wikipedia rabbit hole a few months back and stumbled upon the page for the “‘My Way’ killings.” Apparently, in the ’00s, at least a half-dozen karaoke singers were killed while singing Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” at bars in the Philippines. Fighting is not uncommon at these bars, but for whatever reason, “My Way” seemed to be an especially […]

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Lush and moving, ‘Aquarela’ is the quintessential film for the new FilmScene Chauncey space

Aquarela is shot at 96 frames per second, four times faster than most film. And, at last Friday’s opening, Iowa City’s FilmScene — Chauncey is the only theater in America where you can see it in its intended format. Combined with the new 7.1 surround sound system and the new chairs, the space itself is […]

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The evils of white supremacy are on stark display in ‘The Nightingale,’ a grim rape-revenge drama set in colonial Tasmania

On Friday, Aug. 23, FilmScene opened Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale for a limited run. Art house audiences know Kent from her critically lauded horror film The Babadook (2014), which chronicles the mental deterioration of single mother, Amelia, reeling from her husband’s death and desperately struggling to parent her young son. The Nightingale also features a […]

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The South won the war, and this sword proves it! ‘Sword of Truth’ milks conspiracy theory for comedy

You don’t have to believe a conspiracy theory to buy into it. Sword of Trust, the latest film from indie queen Lynn Shelton, follows four adults who dabble in the world of Deep State conspiracy in hopes of a pay-out — and, adversely, a little enlightenment. The tight 90-minute comedy is now playing at FilmScene. […]

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Within these walls: Belonging, change and ‘The Last Black Man in San Francisco’

Joe Talbot’s film — his first — is a collaboration between the director and his friend/scriptwriter/main character Jimmie Fails, who tells a story at least partly autobiographical about changes to the city of San Francisco and the struggles that members of its lower classes face as they adapt. […]

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‘The Dead Don’t Die’ is summer blockbuster parody, Romero homage and philosophy treatise rolled into one

I appreciated ‘Broken Flowers,’ enjoyed ‘Coffee and Cigarettes,’ have a copy of ‘Paterson’ that remains unwatched — and loved ‘Only Lovers Left Alive.’ I was thus incredibly excited to see that Jim Jarmusch was exploring the horror genre again in ‘The Dead Don’t Die,’ playing now at FilmScene. […]

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‘Late Night’: A relentlessly entertaining and engaging comedy

As superhero movies and Star Wars flicks continue to reign as the most popular entertainment to see on the big screen, it becomes increasingly harder for completely original stories to grab people’s attention. With Late Night, we have a great example of why we should be going out and supporting original stories. […]

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Colorful romp ‘Rocketman’ struggles in singer’s youth, hits stride when John does

Rocketman, a biographical film about Elton John which takes full control of the color wheel and coats it in feathers and sequins, started showing at FilmScene last Friday. The film, directed by Dexter Fletcher and starring Taron Egerton as John, poignantly shows audiences what it looks like for a rockstar to be put under too […]

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