Island life: Two films, one fresh at FilmScene, seek emotional rescue and explore isolation

In 2010, Judith Scharansky, a graphic designer who grew up in East Germany and was thus restricted in her ability to travel abroad, published a book called Atlas of Remote Islands: 50 Islands I Have Never Set Foot on and Never Will. In this small but entertaining volume, she reminds us that “paradise is an […]

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Talking Movies: Shot in a single 138-minute take, can Victoria live up to its bold premise?


Victoria opens Oct. 23 at FilmScene. I chafe at the word “gimmick.” It’s often used in lieu of something more meaningful to describe the experimental, the exciting, or the formally different. By calling something a “gimmick,” an audience doesn’t have to admit its discomfort with the unfamiliar. But that’s not the case when I call […]

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Talking Movies: ‘The End of the Tour’ aims high, stumbles

The End of the Tour

The End of the Tour Screening Sept. 4 through Sept. 10 at FilmScene It’s tricky making a movie based on a book of interviews with a guy concerned about being interviewed because no matter what, he’ll seem disingenuous. The guy in question is David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel), and his interviewer is David Lipsky (Jesse […]

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Talking Movies: The search for the next summer classic


By Scott Samuelson & Warren Sprouse It may not be much of an exaggeration to say that summer movies have shaped the American cinematic identity more than any other part of the movie calendar. Sure, no one thinks that any serious movies get released during the summer months, and that quality studios go into a […]

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Talking Movies: Reel talk on film festivals

Walnut Grove

I’ve begun to have mixed emotions about film festivals. I used to love them without reservation. I still love them, but with a few reservations. Take the Iowa City International Documentary Film Festival, known as IC Docs, which is exclusively focused on short documentaries, at the Adler Journalism Building (Room 105) on April 10 and 11… […]

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Talking Movies: David Robert Mitchell’s ‘It Follows’

Writer/Director David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows hits many of the notes that are by now (beyond) familiar to horror aficionados — it is, in part, a good summary of the horror movie tropes of the last 25 years or so. The film includes a relentless stalker, the thematization of teenage sexuality, a handful of fake-out jump scares, unseen-but-material malevolent beings, scary children, heroes who make terrible decisions and a moment of shocking gore. But this rather typical assemblage of tropes and characters belies the film’s originality, which consists more in the effective and often unique way these elements are deployed. […]

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Talking Movies: ‘Night of the Baby Sitter’ arrives in Iowa City

Filming for Night of the Babysitter, a horror film shot right here in Iowa City, wrapped up earlier this month. Needless to say, the idea of a cinematic thrill-fest shot right in our own backyard is appealing in its own right, but Babysitter appears to be far more than your typical slasher flick. Little Village […]

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