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4 articles


Extraterrestrial movie review: no intelligent life on Earth

6 hours ago

Utterly empty. It’s aware of the tropes of the new mythos of alien abductions, but makes no attempt to find anything even the slightest bit fresh in them. I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): so tired of traditional horror movies

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

It’s literally a Cabin in the Woods scenario in which the hapless 20somethings invoke — among all the many scary options for their own mass slaughter they didn’t realize they had — an alien abduction, and without Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins having made bets on it. When I said that Cabin “render[ed] all past and future examples of the genre superfluous,” this is precisely the sort of movie I was imagining could no longer be made in its wake… and frankly I’m astonished that anyone had the gumption to do so. Filmmakers Colin Minihan »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Mr. Turner movie review: in the concrete abstract

9 hours ago

This is no stuffy costume drama but a richly lived-in visit to early-19th-century England that is rough, bawdy, often funny, and more often unsettling. I’m “biast” (pro): I always expect greatness from Mike Leigh

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

I don’t know much about the painter J.M.W. Turner except that he was a precursor to the Impressionists, that his work, which we can see today was an early transitional sort of abstract, inspired future generations of artists to represent the world in ways that had never been imagined before.

Even this foundational basic is not the sort of thing that Mr. Turner cares to share with us. As grand as it is — the film frequently borrows the epic look and feel of Turner’s sweeping landscapes — history and scholarship are not its concerns. This »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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new and ongoing dvd & streaming releases, Us/Can/UK, from Oct 27-28

28 October 2014 6:38 AM, PDT

A simple listing, duplicated from the homepage, of new releases and other stuff currently available, for the benefit of those playing along by RSS or keeping up via the Daily Digest emails.

new Us/Can Oct 28    streaming only A Most Wanted Man A Thousand Times Good Night 22 Jump Street Into the Storm Stonehearst Asylum    dvd/streaming Begin Again Life of Crime Deliver Us from Evil Plastic Good People Moebius new UK Oct 27    streaming only Jersey Boys Tammy    dvd/streaming All Cheerleaders Die The Art of the Steal Godzilla The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared Mystery Road They Came Together Le Jour Se Lève (Daybreak) The Anomaly God Help the Girl God’s Not Dead

more recent releases Us/Can    streaming only Advanced Style Belle Beyond the Edge Camp X-ray Coherence The Congress Dinosaur 13 Frank Frequencies Happy Christmas How to Train Your Dragon 2 The Internet »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Le Jour Se Lève (Daybreak) movie review: man on the edge

27 October 2014 4:45 AM, PDT

Serious film fans will appreciate the 4K restoration of this 1939 French melodrama, which has been all but unseen for 75 years. I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

I don’t think I’d ever seen a French film from the 1930s before this one, and to say that I was shocked would be an understatement. While the Hays Code was newly censoring American films at that time, here we have nudity; implied extramarital sex (including one scene in which the couple lies together in bed talking; they’re fully clothed, but this is still nothing like what a Hollywood movie at the time could have gotten away with); and frank — not explicit but not at all coded or merely suggestive — talk about sex and, even more notably, about women’s desires.

The nudity was cut, as were some other bits, »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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