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Laughter in the dark: ‘The Death of Stalin’ turns grim history into comedy

Stalin was one of the bloodiest tyrants of the 20th century, an era that had no shortage of bloody tyrants, so it’s only natural to wonder whether his final days, filled with murderous paranoia, and the bureaucratic struggle to seize power following his death are really fitting material for a comedy. The Death of Stalin follows the path cut by Mel Brooks, whose classic comedy The Producers, which revolves around a musical about Hitler, hit movie theaters just 22 years after the end of World War II. […]

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Talking Movies: Finding America at Hardacre

17th Annual Hardacre Film Festival Tipton High School Auditorium — Saturday, Aug. 2 This year the Hardacre Film Festival will not be located in the lovely Hardacre Theater, which is currently undergoing renovation. Instead, three feature-length docs and various shorts will play on Aug. 2 at a one-day event in the newly renovated Tipton High […]

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Talking Movies: Watch Robot Jox instead

Pacific Rim (2013), Godzilla (2014), The Edge of Tomorrow (2014), Transformers 4 (2014): mechs, monsters, quasi-mechs who are monsters. Summer films have easily identifiable trends, and recently the trend has been a potentially pernicious (but sometimes enjoyable) kind of technological fetishism operating at all levels: Characters in films meld with machines while we the audience […]

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Talking Movies: The year’s most overlooked foreign films

In a mid-career interview with Swedish television, Ingmar Bergman was asked about how a filmmaker should treat his or her audience. He responds by telling a sort of morality tale about a Chinese wood carver during the Middle Ages who is asked to sculpt a wooden bell stand for a local temple. The carver makes […]

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