Film Review: The Snowman

by Carrie Kahn on October 20, 2017

This Snowman will leave you cold       

Detective Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender) searches for a killer, and we search for a good movie. Which of us will be successful?

Whenever a movie is based on a book, there are always those who will passionately argue that “the book was better.” Sometimes they’re right and sometimes they’re wrong, but, in the case of The Snowman, which opens today, I firmly believe the-book-is-better-crowd is correct, and I haven’t even read the book upon which the film is based. But, I have seen the movie, and, after watching it, I cannot possibly fathom that anything could be worse than this nonsensical, hastily thrown together, boring mess.
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Film Review: Dina

by Chris Piper on October 20, 2017

Love, across the spectrum

Dina and Scott do the wedding cake thing.

There are a few times in our lives when we as individuals, full of our specific collections of flaws and the fantastic, must navigate our way through life-changing and unforgettable events: school dance, funeral for a family member, wedding. Most of us struggle during these times to balance our individual responses and expressions with the expectations of family and community. The clear-eyed yet wholehearted Dina, opening today, asks us to examine a wedding through the eyes of a groom with autism, and a bride with a “smorgasbord” of neurological issues and an extremely violent romantic past. The film unflinchingly examines the power of our need to believe that love conquers all.

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Film Review: Marshall

by Carrie Kahn on October 13, 2017

A portrait of the justice as a young man      

NAACP lawyer Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman, l.) makes a point to the jury while defending his client.

You would be forgiven for assuming that a film that takes as its title the last name of its protagonist would be an all inclusive, sweeping biopic about that individual. But director Reginald Hudlin and the father/son writing team of Michael and Jacob Koskoff have something else in mind with their new picture Marshall. Though named for its central character, the film doesn’t chronicle the entire life of Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court justice; instead, it focuses on a single case that Marshall tried early in his career. As such, the film plays more like an episode of the Law & Order: True Crime series, and less like a dramatic biography. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it is something to be aware of should you choose to see this well-crafted picture.
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Kate, Idris, and a dog battle the elements: Who will survive!?      

Strangers Alex (Kate Winslet) and Ben (Idris Elba) must stick together to survive a plane crash in the Rocky Mountains in heart of winter.

I’ve always been a sucker for a good old fashioned, human-versus-the-elements survival story; 127 Hours is one of my all-time favorite films, and Everest, Into the Wild, and even Alive all captured my imagination and left me pondering the strength of my own survival instinct long after the credits rolled. Director Hany Abu-Assad’s new film The Mountain Between Us isn’t the best of this genre by a long shot, but it’s a decent enough addition to the canon, and, if the genre’s one you enjoy, you can easily add this picture to your viewing queue and feel okay about doing so.
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Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is here again, bringing a host of bands both new and familiar. The best music is not necessarily the most well known, and the greatest festival experiences are the surprises. Here’s the first of three posts to help guide your HSB journey, with recommendations, links, and descriptions.

On Fridays, the crowds are relatively light until the late afternoon, so you can wander more easily than on the other days. Those dastardly organizers, though — they always pit similarly great bands against each other at the same time slots, so there will be hard choices to make. [read the whole post]

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This show had all of the essentials needed for a great metal show. Andrew WK, the patron saint of partying, leading his six piece backup band of very loud and technically adept musicians. Two members of his backup band were women, which made the party even better, as did the pizza guitar he played mid-set. AWK is a live wire with big, metal voice, but at the show, he seemed a little dampened. It happens – a lot of us have had the crud, and if he did I hope he feels better. This didn’t lower show’s wattage though, or cause anyone to party any less hard. A great metal show also has a fist pumping crowd in the back,  and mosh pit up by the stage. Here, at an AWK show, all of these are accounted for. AWK writes great hooks that keep you moving and joyful, and his touring band brings them to a higher level of musicianship than the original recorded version. [read the whole post]

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Show Review: Deerhoof, Christina Schneider’s Genius Grant, Mayya and the Revolutionary Hell Yeah at Teragram Ballroom, 09/22/17

September 25, 2017

Deeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrhooooooooooofff! I cannot start this without immediately stating my bias. I love Deerhoof. I’ve been in love with this strange quirky band since I was 16 years old in high school, and a friend of mine played the cleanest version that exists of “Gore in Crown,” though we knew it as “Gore in Beans.” They […]

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Film Review: Battle of the Sexes

September 22, 2017
youtu.be/5AWP1K7FaFI

Stone and Carell serve up a winner in still timely ’70s tennis drama       Opening nearly 44 years to the day after the famous tennis match it’s named after, Battle of the Sexes chronicles the much publicized and widely watched (90 million viewers tuned in worldwide) 1973 match between then 29-year-old women’s champion […]

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Film Review: Brad’s Status

September 22, 2017
youtu.be/22w8T9K8iRU

A midlife crisis worth watching: Stiller shines in funny and poignant story   Ben Stiller, who can play middle-age angst like no one else (see While We’re Young, for example), is in fine form in writer/director Mike White’s new film Brad’s Status. Although the film’s premise about a soon-to-be-50 straight white man facing an existential […]

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Film Review: mother!

September 15, 2017
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If a stranger knocks at your front door… Standing before an unpainted bedroom wall, a young and thoroughly domesticated woman ponders which shade of eggshell will look just so. She mixes up a tester, applies a strip, and steps back to regard her work. Elsewhere an older man inhabits his writing study, conjuring magic onto […]

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