Metro DC-area Readers: Win Passes to See ‘Colette’!

Currently browsing posts by Jill Boniske.

Review: The Guilty

This Danish thriller aka Den skyldige is simply amazing. There is just one man on camera through almost all the film’s 85 minutes, and you can’t look away for a second. Asger (Jakob Cedergren) is a cop who’s been put on desk duty. Tomorrow is a trial and its outcome will decide if he’s back out with his partner. In the meantime, he’s answering the phone at 211 (Danish 911) and counting the minutes until he’s gone. That is until he answers a call and it’s a woman who’s being kidnapped.

Review: Garry Winogrand: All Things are Photographable

Garry Winogrand was one of the masters of street photography. He spent decades roaming New York, and later Texas and California, freezing the moments that made statements about the time and place. He died in 1984, leaving behind thousands of unprocessed rolls of film and unprinted photographs. But his work starting in the 1960s had already secured his place in the photography canon, thanks in large part to MOMA curator John Szarkowski. Garry Winogrand: All Things are Photographable is a loving portrait of the man and his art, and a visual treat for street photography aficionados.

Review: All About Nina

Nina (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is a foul-mouthed comedienne in New York struggling to make her mark. And she’s in a sick relationship with a married man. Something’s gotta change. Her only hope is a move to LA where there’s a competition that, should she win, she’ll get a one hour special all her own on a hit show called Comedy Prime. So NY girl heads to the coast. And she meets nice guy Rafe (Common) there. Only she’s really not that good at healthy relationships because she has all this baggage. So will she win the competition and figure out how to be with a guy who treats her right?

Manhattan Short Film Festival

To call it a festival is a stretch, but it’s a cool idea. A panel somewhere looks at a ton of short films from around the world and somehow chooses just 9 films to be watched and judged by everyday viewers like you and me. Their publicity says this is the 21st year! And I only heard of this a few weeks ago. There were screenings around the globe over a week and a half. Mine was at the local library, and I’d have preferred a real cinema, but…

Review: Tea With the Dames

The Dames in question are Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright and Eileen Atkins, four of England best actresses and life-long friends who meet up regularly at Plowright’s country home. This time director Roger Mitchell (Notting Hill) has brought a film crew and prods the ladies to tell their tales of the theater and the cinema. Chock a block with archival footage that takes us through their illustrious careers and lives, the documentary takes each Dame from childhood to old age with gossip and silly tales from beginning to end.

Review: The Sisters Brothers

It seems the western will never die. The allure of rugged men out there slinging guns and making their fortunes panning for gold was too much for French director Jacques Audiard (Rust and Bone, The Prophet) to pass up. And he didn’t’ even have to come to the US of A to shoot this his adaptation of Patrick deWitt’s rambling, sometimes funny novel. Who knew Spain and Romania could stand in for the American West? What The Sisters Brothers has going for it mainly is a great cast — Jake Gyllenhaal, Joaquin Phoenix, John C. Reilly and Riz Ahmed — and you’ll have to decide for yourself if that’s enough to make it worth your while.

Review: Hal

In the 1970s, there was a director who made an extraordinary series of socially conscious and brilliantly entertaining films. His name was Hal Ashby. From Harold and Maude to Being There, his films have endured, yet when people speak of filmmakers from that era, Scorsese and Coppola are most often the names that come up. Most likely that is because they continued to make great films while Ashby’s glory days lasted only a decade. Nevertheless, Hal is a great reminder of his creative genius and the still contentious relationship between art and commerce.

Review: Colette

Colette is considered to be the greatest French writer of the 20th century, and how she rose from her humble country girl roots to be the toast of Belle Époque Paris society is a truly entertaining and inspirational story. Bringing her to life in this fine biopic is Kiera Knightly in one of her best performances. Colette was an early fighter for women’s equal treatment and the film is a beautifully shot #GirlPower story. This not the big biography of Colette though. It’s the first chapter of her story, the story of how Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette became Colette, how she became a writer, and how she became an independent woman. There is so much more to her story, but this small part makes for a fun ride.

Review: Love, Gilda

I loved Gilda Radner! She’s the only celebrity whose death has ever made me weep. So when I heard there was going to be a documentary about her, I was thrilled. But while Love, Gilda is a nice walk down memory lane, it doesn’t really capture the magic that made so many of us adore Gilda. It’s a fairly chronological telling of her life story with a wealth of of archival footage and audio. And a lot of the film, despite being about one of the funniest, most joyful people ever, is kind of a buzz kill. But maybe it works best for people who didn’t know and love her from way back, with no memory of her boundless heart, like the director herself who only came to appreciate her after doing fundraising videos for Gilda’s Clubs, the cancer support centers started by Radner’s  husband Gene Wilder after her death.

Review: Kusama: Infinity

This documentary was full of surprises for me. I’ve been an art lover for as long as I can remember, but somehow missed knowing one of the most critically acclaimed artists of our time. Her name is Yayoi Kusama, and this film about her is eye-opening, even if you’ve seen her work in museums (as I apparently had without remembering her name.) Now in her late 80s and still working, her installations and retrospectives regularly sell out at top museums and galleries around the world. But her journey to acceptance was anything but easy. Hers is a story of overcoming personal trauma by turning it into a life’s work and embracing her unstoppable creative genius. It’s well worth seeing.