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Archive for April, 2011

Spring has been kind to New York film lovers. Over the past few weeks, three heavyweights of the 2010 festival circuit have hit our theaters: Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, Certified Copy, and Meek’s Cutoff. I’ve seen the three. I’ll discuss the three.

Let’s start with Meek’s Cutoff, which began its US theatrical run here on April 8.

Meek’s Cutoff is the third major feature from Kelly Reichardt, a director whose previous film, Wendy and Lucy, ranks among my favorites from the 2000s. Her newest movie represents a slight departure from the neo-neo realist style with which critics associate her. By that I mean: It’s a slow-burning western set in Oregon, not a slow-burning contemporary drama set in Oregon. The movie concerns a group of pioneers — three married couples and the x-factor Meek — as they travel westward in 1845. The married couples hope to cross the Cascade Mountains and start anew in Oregon. They’ve hired Meek to guide them across the arid terrain. As their journey continues, the couples must decide just how much authority they should afford Meek, a cocksure ruffian who bears more than a passing resemblance to Yosemite Sam.

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Thanks to Apple, a couple researchers, and this application.

My life on the East Coast (since June 2010)

My life in the Midwest (since June 2010)

Pretty weird. Pretty pretty.

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The birthers are back. Or were they ever really gone? Regardless, I’d like to share a video I helped make in 2009, when the birthers were an easy-to-mock fringe group. I wonder: When will this phenomenon stop being funny and start being really, really scary?

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An art-house haunted house.

I experienced Sleep No More cold. You should too. So if you think you’ll ever have the (off) chance of catching this monumental New York City production, you should stop reading after the first few paragraphs. You can also expect a few minor spoilers for Mulholland Dr. and Vertigo.

You enter the McKittrick Hotel, feel your way through a series of ink-black hallways, and — if you’re like me — ask yourself something of a philistine question: “Umm, where’s the stage?”

Welcome to Sleep No More. For the next three hours, this “play” will dismantle and reinvent the theater-going experience. It’ll do so through a panoramic assault of cinematic allusions and formal trickery. There is no stage. There is, though, a sprawling, six-story hotel, replete with mysteries, oddities, and the inescapable sounds of Bernard Herrmann. You’ll wander the immersive world, catch the occasional narrative scrap, soak in the ornate set design. This is a play sixth, a video game fifth, a role-playing fantasy fourth, a film-nerd fest third, a choose-your-own-adventure book second, and a haunted house first. I’ll consider myself lucky if I ever see a slice of stunt theater more impressive than Sleep No More. (more…)

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