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‘If Beale Street Could Talk’: the intensely emotional drama you’ve been waiting for

I was quite excited to see how Jenkins would follow up ‘Moonlight.’ ‘If Beale Street Could Talk,’ his third full-length effort, is already getting heaps of award buzz, and after seeing the film, I completely understand why. […]

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A new documentary highlights Holocaust writers and the ‘sacred memory’ they recorded

This Jan. 27, FilmScene will take part in a global screening event (one of two in Iowa) to remember the victims of the Holocaust. Connecting our community with the International Day of Commemoration, FilmScene will show the documentary ‘Who Will Write Our History’ and Agudas Achim’s Rabbi Esther Hugenholtz will moderate a panel discussion […]

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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 at five: Origin story and future projections

There was a hole left in the downtown Iowa City culture when, in 1999, the twin movie screens of Englert Theatre closed for the large scale renovation and reopening of the Englert Theatre that we enjoy today. This was made worse when the University of Iowa bought and closed the sole remaining theatre, Campus 3 in the Old Capitol Mall, in 2007 to convert into UI offices and, after the flood, to house the UI School of Music. Iowa City was left without a permanent downtown movie theatre for the first time in almost 100 years. […]

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FilmScene at five: Celebrating a milestone with Iowa City’s iconic art house theater

FilmScene is turning five on Thanksgiving of this year, just a wee kindergartner compared to many established theaters throughout Iowa. Yet, in that short time FilmScene has proved itself integral to the larger Iowa City arts community and has developed an impressive national profile. […]

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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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Nine disability friendly businesses in Iowa City to visit this holiday season

Here are a few suggestions for feel-good holiday giving from Seen & Heard, a new community integration project run by Systems Unlimited, which works to increase visibility for people with disabilities in Iowa City. Every single day since the project began in August, we’ve been out meeting with community leaders, enjoying Iowa City’s cultural opportunities […]

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Guadagnino’s ‘Suspiria’ a psychoanalytic playground with uncertain feminist cred

‘Suspiria’ is polarizing, as reflected on Rotten Tomatoes (currently 62 percent approval rating) with critics either praising Guadagnino’s bold and heady filmmaking or deriding the movie as pretentious and boring. Many critics, including this one, find it to be both at the same time. […]

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Up 3,000 feet without a rope: The horror and beauty of ‘Free Solo’

Edge-of-your-seat suspense. Sky-high stakes. Psychological intrigue. Queasy cinematography. And enough unadulterated fear to make your heart pound and palms sweat. Perhaps FilmScene’s most viscerally frightening showing this month is ‘Free Solo,’ a documentary about the death-defying free solo rock climber Alex Honnold.
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