by Steven Rosen
12 days ago
Live score played on toy instruments highlight Mini Microcinema's end
lived in Los Angeles, one of the most unforgettable events I attended was a
screening of films by the 20th-century Russian animator Ladislaw
Starewicz, who used insects in his amazingly inventive animated films. (He also
the insects into various settings and then shot the stop-motion films frame by
frame. A Jazz/New Music group called Tin Hat Trio played a live score to
accompany the visuals.
behold, the Mini Microcinema on Tuesday (April 19) is presenting Starewicz’s
films in the auditorium of Covington’s Carnegie. And there will be a live
score played by Little Bang Theory, a group led by Detroit composer Frank Pahl.
They play children’s instruments and toys.
be a reception starting at 6 p.m. and the performance gets underway at 7 p.m.
It is free. This is the last event for the Mini during its residency at The Carnegie.
It should be a rewarding one. For more information, please visit www.mini-cinema.org.
0 Comments · Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Cincinnati Art Museum’s free “Moving Images” film series
resumes after a short hiatus with one of the great documentarian Albert
Maysles’ last films, 2014’s Iris.
0 Comments · Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Actor/director Don Cheadle’s Miles Ahead — a
poignant exploration of famed Jazz musician Miles Davis — was filmed in
the Queen City, and the Esquire is rolling out the red carpet this
weekend for an advanced screening and celebration.
0 Comments · Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Cinema in the City is the
title of a three-film series, beginning tonight at the Esquire Theatre,
which looks at how classic films portray urban living.
0 Comments · Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Last week, I joined the legion of readers descending, en masse, upon bookstores and Amazon for a chance to delve into New York Times film critic A. O. Scott’s Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think About Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth.
0 Comments · Tuesday, January 26, 2016
The Cincinnati Art Museum’s monthly Moving Images film
series starts off 2016 with short documentaries about two contemporary
German photographers named Thomas.
by Kerry Skiff
Posted In: Literary
at 11:18 AM | Permalink
Movie screening at Kenton County Public Library's main branch
While this time of year is the season to go out and explore
various holiday happenings, sometimes it’s nice to have a quiet movie night. As
a seasoned college student, some of my favorite times with friends are the
nights we hole up in bed and watch a Disney film. So when I saw that the Kenton
County Public Library’s main branch was hosting a free movie screening last
Tuesday, I found myself venturing to Covington for the event. The screening was
of the 1993 film, And the Band Played On,
a docu-drama depicting the beginnings of the AIDS virus in America. The screening
was held on Dec. 1, World AIDS Day, as a way to spread education and awareness
of the virus.My first worry was about walking in a few minutes late, but that concern was
quickly doused when I entered the large but empty room. The film had already
been started and was running through the beginning credits at the front, where
dozens of vacant chairs sat in rows facing the screen. As there was no one in
the audience to protest, I settled down, taking up more than my fair share of
seats as I cozy. After about an hour, I looked around and noticed that I was
still alone, a fact I attributed to the cold and rainy weather of the day. The film itself was an interesting depiction of how the U.S. medical and
political communities first handled the virus, especially in the wake of a
changing presidential administration and the changing dynamics of the gay
community at the time.
“This is the third year we have screened this film,” says
Gary Pilkington, Adult Program Coordinator for the Kenton County Public
Library. “At previous screenings, most people enjoyed the film. They don’t
usually think about AIDS very much in their day-to-day lives, so this helped to
re-focus their awareness.”
According to Pilkington, it’s important to host events that bring
attention to health concerns in the community. “We chose to screen And the Band Played On … to help the
community understand that HIV and AIDS haven’t disappeared,” he says. “Most
people don’t think twice about it unless a major celebrity reveals they have it
or are HIV-positive … It has reached the point where it isn’t in the public
consciousness as much as it had been, yet it is still a real threat to health.”
I learned a lot about AIDS from the film, since most
of my prior knowledge had been brief training on how to safely avoid
contracting HIV and AIDS from the lifeguard training I received years ago.
While I personally enjoyed the film, it was disappointing to see that no one
else took advantage of the free screening, but perhaps with better weather and more
awareness the next showing will be packed.Find this event interesting? Check out similar events at the Kenton County
Star Wars Bash: The Force Awakens at the library with themed crafts, food and a
Film Friday Matinee: Come to the library for a showing of Far From the Madding Crowd.
Classic Movie Matinee: Join the crowd for a special showing of holiday film Christmas in Connecticut.
by Steven Rosen
Posted In: Movies
at 11:15 AM | Permalink
The film joins 'Carol' as a Cincinnati-related movie garnering praise
to be another very artful Cincinnati-related movie, besides Carol, that is on important Best Films
of 2015 lists, wins critics awards and even figures in Oscar nominations.
wouldn’t be Don Cheadle’s Miles Ahead,
which like Carol was predominately
filmed in Cincinnati but set in New York. Sony Classics isn’t planning to
release that Miles Davis biopic, which Cheadle directed and stars in, until
this is a film that is set in Cincinnati but wasn’t shot here because it’s an
animated feature for adults that uses stop-motion puppets.
Anomalisa and was written and
co-directed by the always-adventurous Charlie Kaufman, who wrote Being John Malkovich and Adaptation and also wrote and directed Synecdoche, New York. (The co-director
is Duke Johnson.) Anomalisa started
life as a 2005 play called Hope Leaves
I have not
seen it, but going by online and print stories from those who have, it is the
tale of a depressed, married motivational speaker who, on a trip to Cincinnati
that features a one-night hotel stay, believes he has found his ideal mate. But
there may be complications.
voices the lead character; Jennifer Jason Leigh is the woman he is attracted
to. All other characters are voiced by Tom Noonan and have the same faces. That
latter fact is important because it could be interpreted as a characteristic of
a delusion called Fregoli Syndrome. In fact, the hotel in the film is named
financed, partly through Kickstarter, Anomalisa
has won raves since premiering at Telluride and Venice film festivals in
September. Britain’s Sight & Sound,
one of the world’s most important film journals, has just ranked it the 11th best new film of 2015 — Carol ranked
second. And both it and Carol are
Best Feature nominees for the Independent Spirit Awards.
It has been
acquired by Paramount Pictures and is getting a limited release at the end of
this month, after playing at film festivals, to qualify for Academy Awards. A
huge poster board for its (still-undetermined) Cincinnati opening is already up
at Esquire Theatre.
If all this
sounds too good to be true, there is a catch. Advance reports and early reviews
don’t make it appear that Anomalisa’s
depiction of Cincinnati is an especially complimentary one. In fact, the city just
might have been chosen intentionally as an appropriate place for someone like
the film’s principal character, Michael Stone, to have an emotional crisis.
Rodrigo Perez’ review on Indie Wire began:
apologies in advance to the people of Cincinnati, in the worldview
of Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson's Anomalisa, or at
least to the misfortune of its characters, the Queen City represents a
soul-crushing dullness and boredom that could drive any man mad. For customer
service guru and author Michael Stone (brilliantly voiced by David Thewlis as a
classic Kaufman-esque misanthrope), already fundamentally unhappy and in the
midst of a huge existential crisis, Cincy is a grueling hell on Earth of
fatuous people and irritating small talk.
fairness, it could be any faceless and anonymous city — part of Kaufman’s aim
is to examine and send-up the mundanity of the business trip and that odd
experience of feeling like an alien exploring the world of this not-quite-real,
single-serving fantasy existence where people wait on you hand and foot.”
its take on Cincinnati, the work that went into making Anomalisa is impressive. According to the Crafting Anomalisa short, it involved the creation of 1,261 faces
and 1,000 costumes and required 118,089 frames of film to reach its final 90-minute
by Steven Rosen
Posted In: Film
at 01:41 PM | Permalink
Cincinnati-filmed Carol has just won
the first big critics poll of the year — the New York Film Critics Circle Award
for Best Film of 2015. The announcement was made this afternoon, following
voting by the group.
Todd Haynes from the novel The Price of
Salt by Patricia Highsmith, it concerns a lesbian relationship in the New
York of the early 1950s. It stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.
film’s award, Haynes received a Best Director nod; Phyllis Nagy got Best
Screenplay and Edward Lachman got Best Cinematography.
two actresses both have leading parts, they may have split the vote — Saoirse
Ronan received Best Actress for her part in the film Brooklyn.
Carol is in four theaters in New York and L.A.
and is getting a very slow national release to build word-of-mouth, hopefully
through awards and nominations.
Here is the
Variety story on today’s awards.
by Tony Johnson
at 05:39 PM | Permalink
comes to the James Bond pictures that have hit theaters in my lifetime, none hold
a more important place in my memory as Daniel Craig’s embodiments in Casino Royale and Skyfall. So when I saw Spectre,
the fourth and final Daniel Craig-led installment in the iconic spy series, it
was more than just a Bond movie. It was a conclusion to a span of my young life
that stretches across more than nine years. The franchise reboot came at a time
in my life when a love of movies was only beginning to mature. It’s been a long
time. Come to think of it, I didn’t even have a Facebook account in the Casino Royale days. A lot has changed
since the first time we saw Craig take on Bond.
James Bond changed with times? Sure. But his challenges and villains haven’t.
There’s honestly nothing exhilaratingly new brought to the series with Spectre — unless if you count Bond
occasionally seeming superhuman in gunfights (I expect better than the “all the
bad guys missed eight times” shtick when I watch Bond films). It’s mostly the
usual routine just blown to larger proportions. The Bond girl has vital
information and there’s another girl he seduces for some other important leads.
The bad guy gets a scar on his face and the cars are fast and the explosions
are bigger than ever before. It’s great fun, but it felt a little too
self-aware for 007. Occasionally Spectre felt
stuffy when it could have flourished. I prefer my spy thrillers lean and mean,
especially when James Bond is putting it on the line, and that is not what we
shortcomings, the opening sequence brings us a scrappy, resilient 007 that
we’ve come to expect, know and love. He follows an enemy target through the Day
of the Dead festivities in Mexico City, up into a hotel and across a roof, all
to the sound of the city and a pounding percussion score. Bond kneels and peers
through a laser-sighted combat riflescope to take down some international
terrorists. But when someone lights a cigar, the smoke exposes the rifle’s
laser. It’s a mistake that, for the moment, costs him his opportunity to
complete his mission. He goes on to inadvertently blow up a building, almost
gets crushed by falling chunks of rubble, leaps to a safe platform, then falls
conveniently onto a loveseat. He brushes himself off and chases his target
through a grand showing of the Day of the Dead’s festivities, and at this point
we realize how rhythmic the picture has been. Bond continues to chase the
terrorist onto a helicopter, punching up the target and the pilot. The English
spy nearly falls to his death before he takes care of his enemies, and after he
comes inches away from flying the chopper into the holiday festival crowd, he
flies triumphantly into the sunset, grinning to himself as he goes. Much of the
sequence is shot in long tracking and crane shots.
Sam Mendes’ best moments of the film feel similar to the accomplishment of the
first scene, with perilous encounters and gutsy execution from everyone’s
favorite womanizer on government payroll. With the ultra sleek cinematography
provided by Hoyte van Hoytema (The
Fighter, Her), the tone of the picture
— especially its action — seems all at once sophisticated and chaotic. Hoytema
may well be a modern master at manipulating and capitalizing on a sort of spatial
tension to coincide with what we witness. There are no problems with how the
film is presented or how it looks. It’s the makeup of what the film presents.
A good example of what Spectre
lacks may be Dave Bautista’s role as
the mightily violent Mr. Hinx. Hinx is a massive, intimidating colossus who
greets us by gouging a guy’s eyes out. He chases down our suave hero for a good
portion of the picture, and he (almost) never says a word. He just fights,
chases and ultimately meets his match in James Bond. It’s fine popcorn entertainment.
But it doesn’t raise the stakes in the world of 007. It’s just more of the
same. “I’m out of bullets,” he tells an enemy at a crucial moment. Maybe the
writers were out of ideas.
sort of dissatisfaction can be said of Christoph Waltz’s role as the mastermind
conspirator. He is trumpeted throughout Spectre
as Bond’s greatest challenge yet. But the man known as Franz Oberhauser is not
as effective as he is feared. He brings Bond into his lair to —guess what — be
mean to him then kill him, instead of
just kill him. You would think that people dealing with this particular spy
would learn — you don’t capture him. Kill
him immediately, or he will ruin everything. But even the most brilliant
madman in all of Bond-world can’t figure that one out. It may be the most
disappointed I’ve been with a Christoph Waltz performance.
it’s not cliché when a Bond villain gets duped twice in the same movie, though,
and this one absolutely does. To his credit, Waltz’s villain does command a
very narrow, automated drill through the spy’s head a couple of times, so he
doesn’t go down without giving his enemy a good scare.
didn’t want a good scare with a couple of twists thrown in to catch me off
guard. I wanted to seriously think there was no way Bond could make it out of
the mess he found himself in. My generation’s 007 shouldn’t have gone out this
way, but he did. He deserved better, if you ask me. He arrived nearly 10 years
ago after a brief hiatus, ready to break our hearts and save the day. Now, as
he goes, he leaves us empty-handed and wishing he had stayed for one last
mission accomplished. But, just like the women he woos and loses and (almost)
never fails to leave, we should only be glad we got a peek into the make-believe
life of a daring, handsome, instinctive saboteur that is bigger than any single
villainous counterpart, any single actor or any single movie. Period. 007 is a
monument to Hollywood, to cinema, to blockbuster filmmaking that is engrained
in the DNA of Western pop culture. And if we’ve learned anything about James
Bond over the years, it’s that he will always be back. And when he does return,
he’ll be looking a bit younger than when we last saw him, but we’ll recognize
him. Whether its Jude Law or Tom Hardy or Chiwetel Ejiofor or someone I haven’t
heard of, for around two hours we’ll only see James Bond. And he very well may
learn a trick or two from those that have come before him. Let’s hope his
opponent –— and everyone behind the cameras and at the writing tables, too —
can keep up the pace. Grade: C –