Cinema

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Loft Cinema screening 70th Warren Miller Film: ‘Timeless’

Posted By on Wed, Dec 4, 2019 at 1:18 PM

With snowy peaks and frosty pines, it's not too hard to make winter landscapes look beautiful on film. And Warren Miller Entertainment knows this better than many, seven decades into filmmaking. But what makes their newest film Timeless so special, is that even compared to the 69 films preceding it, this snow sports documentary is particularly gorgeous.


Filmed on location in snowboarding and skiing meccas like Switzerland, Colorado and British Columbia, Timeless captures both the excitement and pristine beauty found on wintry slopes. As the film’s opening narration states: "If you're doing it right, the best winter ever is always the one you're in right now."

COURTESY: WARREN MILLER ENTERTAINMENT / CAM MCLEOD
  • Courtesy: Warren Miller Entertainment / Cam McLeod

Timeless is a combination of everything WME has strived for since Warren Miller first brought a camera to the ski slopes in 1949. Over an hour-and-a-half, the film documents gorgeous mountain ranges, snowboarding tricks, archival footage, sweeping helicopter shots and slow-motion athletes cutting wakes through fresh powder.


But perhaps the most interesting aspect of Timeless isn’t the stellar skiing shots, but the behind-the-scenes interviews on how they were captured. Timeless features interviews with cast and crew about ascending the rocky summits, sometimes more than 12,000 feet and in negative 40 degree weather, to get the ultimate shots and adrenaline rush.


The film also features more new athletes than ever before, including Olympic skier Jaelin Kauf, Jackson Hole’s 2019 Queen of Corbet’s Caite Zeliff and Canadian World Cup ski racer Erin Mielzynski. Returning athletes include Lorraine Huber, Tyler Ceccanti, Marcus Caston and Rob DesLauries.


“It’s incredible, looking at the fact that this is number 70,” says Timeless narrator Jonny Moseley. “Every year I still get that same feeling I got when I was a kid watching ski movies. I enjoy watching them now more than ever, and that is what Timeless celebrates.”


All-in-all it’s a grand, gorgeous dedication to the wonder of “winter stoke.”


The Loft Cinema is screening Timeless for one day only: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11. $21. 3233 East Speedway Boulevard. To purchase tickets, visit loftcinema.org/film/warren-millers-timeless. For more information, visit warrenmiller.com.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Movie Review: Knives Out

Posted By on Tue, Dec 3, 2019 at 1:00 PM

Very Good #4

Director Rian Johnson, maker of the divisive Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but also maker of the brilliant Looper, takes a crack at the whodunnit genre and comes up mostly aces.

Daniel Craig stars as private investigator Benoit Blanc, mysteriously hired by somebody in a rich family after the strange, supposed suicide death of their patriarch, mystery author Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer still going strong). There’s something fishy about his death, and his personal nurse Marta (the awesome Ana de Armas) knows something the rest of the family doesn’t know.

What transpires is a solid mystery with a fun set of characters featuring a stellar cast, including Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, LaKeith Stanfield and Chris Evans. Everybody has a blast, as does the audience, as Johnson takes the genre and twists it into an entertaining pretzel. Craig is especially good in a role that allows him to show his comic side, with Shannon and Johnson also impressive as a couple of paranoiacs. Above all, it gives the talented Armas a chance to really shine.

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Movie Review: Queen & Slim

Posted By on Tue, Dec 3, 2019 at 1:00 AM

Good #3

A movie about the worst Tinder date…ever. Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith star as the title characters, two young people who meet in a diner for an online date that only goes so-so. On their way home, where the date will not be continuing, they are pulled over by a cop who racially profiles them and bad things happen.

Queen and Slim go on the run, become social media celebrities, and yes, start liking each other a whole lot more.

Director Melina Matsoukas isn’t giving us a very original movie here, but the atmospherics are solid, and the performances truly drive the film. Turner-Smith is terrific as a lawyer who finds herself on the wrong side of the law, while Kaluuya brings a sweet sadness to the teetotaling Slim.

The film deals bluntly with its subject of police brutality, with both good and bad cops present in the movie. There’s no question why it’s being called the “black Bonnie & Clyde” in that the movie follows many of the same beats as the sixties classic. It stands as a decent statement on many current civil rights issues, and its a nice step forward for Matsoukas as a director to be reckoned with.

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Monday, December 2, 2019

Movie Review: The Irishman

Posted By on Mon, Dec 2, 2019 at 10:42 AM


Very Good #4

After a lot of publicity surrounding the digital de-aging or Robert De Niro and Al Pacino for the project, Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman arrives on Netflix, and it’s a typically very good offering from the auteur. It has a few problems, but the opportunity to see the likes of De Niro, Pacino and Joe Pesci in a movie together under the Great One’s tutelage more than overrides the shortfalls.

The film is based on the book about Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran (De Niro) called I Heard You Paint Houses (which is actually the name of the film in the opening credits). Sheeran was a labor union and occasional hitman who had ties to Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino). The film, like the book, claims that he was the actual triggerman in the assassination of Hoffa.

The film covers a long timespan. We see Sheeran from his thirties up until shortly before his death in his eighties. All ages are played by De Niro, and the much ballyhooed digital de-aging of De Niro (along with Pacino and Pesci) is mostly a bust. There are moments where De Niro looks perhaps a tad younger than his 76 years (he might pass for 58), but it always looks like bad makeup, dye jobs and funky lighting rather than high tech effects masterfully at work. Plus, these are old voices coming out of digitally enhanced, oddly smooth faces. Not to mention obviously stiffer postures.

Distracting effects aside, De Niro, Pacino and Pesci are priceless in their parts, no matter what age they are depicting. Scorsese has made a nice companion piece to his gangster epic Goodfellas (as a Scorsese fan, I consider Casino one of his few missteps), an ugly depiction of the loneliness and alienation that results from things like shooting your friends in the head.

While Goodfellas had a rather likeable, and unintentionally funny, antihero in Ray Liotta’s Henry Hill, none of the main guys in this movie are likeable, especially Sheeran. De Niro depicts the guy as a meathead, a lackey who takes orders from the likes of Pesci’s Russell Bufalino and Pacino’s Hoffa. Sheeran provides few excuses for even uncomfortable laughter; he is quietly despicable and evil at his core.

Pacino is the film’s most fun as a blustering, ice cream obsessed Hoffa. He’s also the angriest guy in the movie, with Pacino sinking his teeth into many an opportunity to go from zero to one hundred in mere screen seconds. Pacino shares a couple of scenes with Stephen Graham as Anthony Provenzano, one of the men suspected of participating in Hoffa’s eventual disappearance in ’75. Pacino and Graham square off in a way that goes right into the “Best Pacino Moments” time capsule.

The film has an epic scope at over 3 ½ hours. I suspect there will be a lot of pausing for bathroom and snack breaks in one’s household due to its presence on Netflix, and that’s too bad. I think Scorsese should’ve put an intermission in the middle, perhaps choosing his preferred moment for the viewer to gather themselves up for the finale, a fine finale at that.

For Scorsese fans, seeing De Niro and Pesci sharing scenes again, talking Italian and dipping bread in wine, is a holiday season cinematic gift like no other. This is De Niro’s best work in years, and Pesci gets a chance to play subdued in a Scorsese flick, which pays major dividends. He depicts Bufalino as a quiet, polite, extremely dangerous man, and it’s mesmerizing.

With the decade coming to a close, The Wolf of Wall Street remains champ as Scorsese’s best effort in the last ten years. That’s more high praise for Wolf than a putdown of The Irishman, which is a fine film in its own right, if something short of a masterpiece. It’s a movie that fits comfortably in the gangster genre, while perhaps firmly shutting the lid on it as far as Scorsese and De Niro are concerned. If it’s their last film together, they are going out on a high note.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Dolemite Is My Name

Posted By on Tue, Nov 5, 2019 at 12:44 PM

Very Good

This movie stands side by side with the best of Eddie Murphy’s Golden Age. A consistently funny  biopic honoring comedian-actor Rudy Ray Moore, it’s clear that Murphy’s heart is in this project full force. It’s the best performance he’s ever delivered in a movie … period. The film takes us on a tour of Moore’s rise to fame, starting with the creation of his Dolemite character (a campy hybrid of Shaft and Huggy Bear from Starsky and Hutch), and his poetically profane comedy albums. Moore mixed profanity with rhyming in ways that have earned him a “godfather of rap” moniker, with rap giants like Snoop Dogg, who appears in this film as a record store DJ, saying they wouldn’t have careers if not for Moore. Clearly, Moore helped lay the groundwork for the likes of Murphy and his standup greatness as well. Which makes it all the more appropriate that Eddie headlines this movie. Murphy, playing Moore, finds himself very much occupying a prototypical Eddie Murphy movie like those from his early days. It’s consistently funny and powered by Murphy’s infectious charisma. Murphy is commanding in a way that, quite frankly, I forgot he was capable of. Whether he’s recreating some terrible Kung Fu antics, or reacting uncomfortably on the phone as a studio guy rejects his movie, Murphy shows that he indeed remains one of the greatest screen talents. I now must make this perfectly clear: Murphy is awesome in this movie. (Streaming on Netflix)

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Monday, November 4, 2019

The King

Posted By on Mon, Nov 4, 2019 at 11:00 AM

Very Good

Part inspired by real events and the plays of William Shakespeare, Timothee Chalamet plays Hal, King Henry V of England, and it’s a barnburner of an acting turn. Chalamet has made a name for himself playing complicated, quiet characters before, but this one gives him a chance to rage on occasion, and he’s more than up to the task. Joel Edgerton (who co-wrote the screenplay) is on hand as Falstaff, Hal’s complicated right hand man, and Robert Pattinson, once again, shows that he just might be the finest actor of his generation with a brave and crazy performance as The Dauphin of France. Simply put, Pattinson’s accent in this movie is one of the greatest things I’ve witnessed in a movie this year, as is his final stunt in full armor. Director David Michod stages some fine action scenes, and Lily-Rose Depp makes a nice late film appearance as Catherine, Hal’s bride to be who will not stand for any of his toxic masculinity bullshit. Chalamet and Pattinson impress the most in a period piece film that works, a grand experiment that pays off. I want a sequel. (Streaming on Netflix)

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The Lighthouse

Posted By on Mon, Nov 4, 2019 at 8:19 AM

Excellent

Robert Eggers, the man who gave us The Witch, a gesture for which I’m eternally grateful, returns with this trippy, gothic sailor’s yarn about two very strange men (Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe) working a difficult shift in a lighthouse in the late nineteenth century. It’s close quarters for the two, with every fart being heard loud and clear, and every glitch in each other’s personalities grating on the sensibilities. As the trippy drama plays out, paranoia degrades into delusional mania, then straight on into psychopathic actions (or not, depending upon whether or not you view the whole thing as a fucked up dream). Shot in black and white with a scope that reminds of old silent movies, the two actors start in a truly intense place, and they ratchet it up from there. Dafoe is all strains of incredible as the weathered sailor restricted to land duty, and possibly in the game of driving his employees crazy, one right after the other. Pattinson matches him every step of the way, with a performance that reminds of early Brando. That’s right, I just compared him to Brando. Eggers is two films in, and this guy can direct with the best of them. Both of his films are like nothing I’ve ever seen before. The man is a true original, and these actors take the chance to work with him to the hallucinatory stars. I’m still not entirely sure what happened, but I know it disturbed the living piss out of me, and it contains two of the year’s best performances.

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Sunday, October 27, 2019

Puspa Lohmeyer's Short Film Anodyne Offers A Cure

Posted By on Sun, Oct 27, 2019 at 10:39 AM

Is it the massive Precambrian quartz crystal deposits—and the subsequent energy vortexes created—that account for the wellspring of creativity that emanates from this dusty old mining town?

Or was it the French champagne during the initial brainstorming session that served as conduit?

From the enchanted hills of Bisbee, photographer Puspa Lohmeyer assembled a cast from a creative group of friends—artists, musicians, burlesque dancers—with virtually no acting experience, to embark on a first-time foray into filmmaking.
anodyne.jpg

The result, Anodyne, a 17-minute film noir comedy.

XOXO caught up with Lohmeyer and cast members Tiffany Alexander and Ryan O’Rourke for a confab.

Originally from Germany, Lohmeyer came to the states after marrying her husband in 2001.

How did you get into art?

Puspa Lohmeyer: Growing up I was always interested in art. In high school that manifested itself mostly in drama class. But my immediate family isn’t really an artsy family. Very practical people. After high school I traveled a bit. But I didn’t allow myself to be an artist because I felt I had to be useful, contribute to society. I didn’t come from a place that had any appreciation or use for art. Art was considered a hobby.

When did you start shooting your own work?

Puspa Lohmeyer: It wasn’t until about eight years ago that I began doing my own photography and making art. As a photo retoucher I was bottled up, doing what the client wanted me to do. (After moving to Arizona), I meet all these creative people in Tucson. Stylist Sydney Ballesteros being one of them. So, now you are taking someone who came from the suburbs of Germany where art wasn’t appreciated as lifestyle. And then coming to Arizona and being immersed in this creative soup. …

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Staff Pick

Asleep at the Wheel · Merry Texas Christmas Y’all

Asleep at the Wheel returns to Tucson with their recent holiday themed concert series "Merry Christmas Y'all".… More

@ Fox Tucson Theatre Tue., Dec. 10, 7:30 p.m. 17 W. Congress St.

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