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Curt Holman

Film and Theater Critic

Curt is Creative Loafing's long time movie critic who also covers theater, books and general culture for CL. He's an Atlanta native and has won numerous awards over the years for his film and theater criticism.

Articles By This Writer

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  string(78) "Lockdown invites a closer look at 'Becky,' 'Shirley,' and other VOD releases"
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  string(6245) "If there’s a silver lining to the COVID-19 lockdown, it may be the resurgence of interest in drive-in theaters. A venue like the Starlight Drive-In allows film fans to enjoy movies while social distancing. As of this writing, some of the Starlight’s fun qualities are still restricted: The concession stand is closed (but not the bathroom), and viewers are required to stay in their cars, as opposed to watching from lawn chairs.

The Starlight, like the pop-up drive-ins hosted by the Plaza Theatre, will offer a warm-weather transition to indoor movie theaters reopening en masse, which could be weeks away. And until that time, new releases will still be limited: The Starlight is mostly showing films that were in theaters when the lockdown began, like The Invisible Man. Hollywood is wondering whether Tenet, a new thriller from Inception director Christopher Nolan, will open on July 17 and restart the summer movie season, or get kicked further down the road

In the meantime, some major motion pictures are going straight to video on demand (VOD) or streaming services, like the Judd Apatow’s The King of Staten Island on June 12 or the original Broadway cast film of Hamilton debuting July 3 on Disney Plus. Also, captive audiences can pay more attention to the kind of low-budget or independent releases that they’d otherwise scroll right past on a streaming platform menu or Redbox kiosk.

In May, The Vast of Night had preview screenings at drive-ins, with the justification that the venues’ retro vibe suited Andrew Patterson’s nostalgic sci-fi thriller. Released on Amazon Prime Video on May 28, The Vast of Night takes place in small-town New Mexico in the early 1950s, with a framing device presenting the story as an episode of a “Twilight Zone”-esque TV series.

While most of the town attends a high school basketball game, a teenage switchboard operator (Sierra McCormick) and a young disk jockey (Jake Horowitz) discover a mysterious signal, and the more they try to determine its source, the deeper they become embroiled in a mystery involving unidentified flying objects.

Once you get past the film’s mannered introductory scenes, The Vast of Night delivers some extremely eerie set pieces that frequently have the heroes listening to long, increasingly unsettling stories. Unfolding approximately in real time, the film expertly creates a mood of dread while serving as a low-key love letter to old-school technology like audio tape recorders.

While The Vast of Night feels like a cunning throwback, Becky refreshes some of the tropes of the home invasion genre. A band of racist convicts terrorizes a family at a Southern lake house, only to have one of their victims turn the tables. The twist with Becky is that the avenging protagonist is the 13-year-old title character, played with memorable intensity by Lulu Wilson.

Becky’s screenplay was co-written by Lane and Ruckus Skye, Atlanta filmmakers who recently relocated to Los Angeles and showed considerable promise with last year’s backwoods crime drama Reckoning. Even more tautly constructed, the new film introduces Becky as grieving her deceased mother, feeling alienated at school, and resenting her father (“Community’s” Joel McHale) and his fiancé. When the others are held captive by white supremacists, Becky gets to express her rage with violence and finds she has a knack for it.

Available June 5, Becky effectively casts comedy actor Kevin James against type as the white supremacists’ leader, and also exhibits a gleeful willingness to show off some graphic practical gore effects. And while the viewer’s sympathies lie completely with Becky, we also grow increasingly uncomfortable with her violent side. There’s a joke that in Home Alone, Kevin McCallister’s vicious booby traps suggest he might be a budding psychopath. Becky explores the dark implications of a similar situation.


 Also available June 5, Josephine Decker’s Shirley offers a biographical portrait of author Shirley Jackson, renowned for such psychologically complex tales as The Haunting of Hill House. Shirley steers away from the horrific aspects of Jackson’s work — as well as the phony uplift of most biopics — to offer a knotty depiction of a famous artist and her creative process, as well as the constraints on women in mid-century America.


Not long after The New Yorker publishes her story “The Lottery,” Shirley and her husband (Michael Stuhlbarg) host a young professor (Logan Lerman) and his pregnant wife Rose (Odessa Young) as boarders. Rose initially finds Shirley both mean and highly perceptive, but the more she assists the reclusive author in both housework and in writing a new book, the more a bond develops between the two women.

With its dynamic of vicious behavior between two pairs of academics, Shirley echoes Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, with Moss digging fearlessly into Shirley’s self-loathing, resentments, and creative impulses. Her implosive performance is like the flip side of Moss’s explosive turn as a self-destructive rock star in 2019’s underseen gem Her Smell. Cluttered, claustrophobic, and at times difficult to pin down, Shirley is the kind of challenging film that deserves to be met halfway, even on VOD.

June 2 also sees the VOD release of Hallowed Be Thy Name, a thriller from Atlanta-based writer/director Taylor Ri’chard.

And speaking of local productions, the May release of “19 Covid Lane” on Youtube and the 19covidlane.com website showcases Atlanta film artists working in lockdown conditions.

A parody of quarantine-induced cabin fever clearly inspired by 10 Cloverfield Lane, the short depicts two young people sheltering in a bunker with a paranoid prepper. The three actors are very game, and the script crafts some good gags, with mundane tasks like taking out the weekly garbage presented with the menace worthy of a post-apocalyptic thriller by director Ryan Monolopolus. The only trouble with “19 Covid Lane” is that, if you’re already stressing about the virus, it doesn’t exactly offer escapism. —CL—

Screen Time is a monthly column about film and video from the big screen to streaming services."
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The Starlight, like the pop-up drive-ins hosted by the Plaza Theatre, will offer a warm-weather transition to indoor movie theaters reopening en masse, which could be weeks away. And until that time, new releases will still be limited: The Starlight is mostly showing films that were in theaters when the lockdown began, like ''The Invisible Man''. Hollywood is wondering whether ''Tenet'', a new thriller from ''Inception'' director Christopher Nolan, will open on July 17 and restart the summer movie season, or get kicked further down the road

In the meantime, some major motion pictures are going straight to video on demand (VOD) or streaming services, like the Judd Apatow’s ''The King of Staten Island'' on June 12 or the original Broadway cast film of ''Hamilton'' debuting July 3 on Disney Plus. Also, captive audiences can pay more attention to the kind of low-budget or independent releases that they’d otherwise scroll right past on a streaming platform menu or Redbox kiosk.

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While most of the town attends a high school basketball game, a teenage switchboard operator (Sierra McCormick) and a young disk jockey (Jake Horowitz) discover a mysterious signal, and the more they try to determine its source, the deeper they become embroiled in a mystery involving unidentified flying objects.

Once you get past the film’s mannered introductory scenes, ''The Vast of Night'' delivers some extremely eerie set pieces that frequently have the heroes listening to long, increasingly unsettling stories. Unfolding approximately in real time, the film expertly creates a mood of dread while serving as a low-key love letter to old-school technology like audio tape recorders.

While ''The Vast of Night'' feels like a cunning throwback, ''Becky'' refreshes some of the tropes of the home invasion genre. A band of racist convicts terrorizes a family at a Southern lake house, only to have one of their victims turn the tables. The twist with ''Becky'' is that the avenging protagonist is the 13-year-old title character, played with memorable intensity by Lulu Wilson.

''Becky''’s screenplay was co-written by Lane and Ruckus Skye, Atlanta filmmakers who recently relocated to Los Angeles and showed considerable promise with last year’s backwoods crime drama ''Reckoning''. Even more tautly constructed, the new film introduces Becky as grieving her deceased mother, feeling alienated at school, and resenting her father (“Community’s” Joel McHale) and his fiancé. When the others are held captive by white supremacists, Becky gets to express her rage with violence and finds she has a knack for it.

Available June 5, ''Becky'' effectively casts comedy actor Kevin James against type as the white supremacists’ leader, and also exhibits a gleeful willingness to show off some graphic practical gore effects. And while the viewer’s sympathies lie completely with Becky, we also grow increasingly uncomfortable with her violent side. There’s a joke that in ''Home Alone'', Kevin McCallister’s vicious booby traps suggest he might be a budding psychopath. ''Becky'' explores the dark implications of a similar situation.

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 Also available June 5, Josephine Decker’s ''Shirley'' offers a biographical portrait of author Shirley Jackson, renowned for such psychologically complex tales as ''The Haunting of Hill House''. ''Shirley'' steers away from the horrific aspects of Jackson’s work — as well as the phony uplift of most biopics — to offer a knotty depiction of a famous artist and her creative process, as well as the constraints on women in mid-century America.


Not long after ''The New Yorker'' publishes her story “The Lottery,” Shirley and her husband (Michael Stuhlbarg) host a young professor (Logan Lerman) and his pregnant wife Rose (Odessa Young) as boarders. Rose initially finds Shirley both mean and highly perceptive, but the more she assists the reclusive author in both housework and in writing a new book, the more a bond develops between the two women.

With its dynamic of vicious behavior between two pairs of academics, ''Shirley'' echoes ''Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?'', with Moss digging fearlessly into Shirley’s self-loathing, resentments, and creative impulses. Her implosive performance is like the flip side of Moss’s explosive turn as a self-destructive rock star in 2019’s underseen gem ''Her Smell''. Cluttered, claustrophobic, and at times difficult to pin down, ''Shirley'' is the kind of challenging film that deserves to be met halfway, even on VOD.

June 2 also sees the VOD release of ''Hallowed Be Thy Name'', a thriller from Atlanta-based writer/director Taylor Ri’chard.

And speaking of local productions, the May release of “19 Covid Lane” on Youtube and the 19covidlane.com website showcases Atlanta film artists working in lockdown conditions.

A parody of quarantine-induced cabin fever clearly inspired by ''10 Cloverfield Lane'', the short depicts two young people sheltering in a bunker with a paranoid prepper. The three actors are very game, and the script crafts some good gags, with mundane tasks like taking out the weekly garbage presented with the menace worthy of a post-apocalyptic thriller by director Ryan Monolopolus. The only trouble with “19 Covid Lane” is that, if you’re already stressing about the virus, it doesn’t exactly offer escapism. __—CL—__

''Screen Time is a monthly column about film and video from the big screen to streaming services.''"
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  string(6756) " SCREEN BECKY 3 Web  2020-06-03T20:37:38+00:00 SCREEN_BECKY_3_web.jpg    screentime Lockdown invites a closer look at 'Becky,' 'Shirley,' and other VOD releases 31423  2020-06-02T12:00:00+00:00 SCREEN TIME: Covideo on Demand? jim.harris@creativeloafing.com Jim Harris Curt Holman Curt Holman 2020-06-02T12:00:00+00:00  If there’s a silver lining to the COVID-19 lockdown, it may be the resurgence of interest in drive-in theaters. A venue like the Starlight Drive-In allows film fans to enjoy movies while social distancing. As of this writing, some of the Starlight’s fun qualities are still restricted: The concession stand is closed (but not the bathroom), and viewers are required to stay in their cars, as opposed to watching from lawn chairs.

The Starlight, like the pop-up drive-ins hosted by the Plaza Theatre, will offer a warm-weather transition to indoor movie theaters reopening en masse, which could be weeks away. And until that time, new releases will still be limited: The Starlight is mostly showing films that were in theaters when the lockdown began, like The Invisible Man. Hollywood is wondering whether Tenet, a new thriller from Inception director Christopher Nolan, will open on July 17 and restart the summer movie season, or get kicked further down the road

In the meantime, some major motion pictures are going straight to video on demand (VOD) or streaming services, like the Judd Apatow’s The King of Staten Island on June 12 or the original Broadway cast film of Hamilton debuting July 3 on Disney Plus. Also, captive audiences can pay more attention to the kind of low-budget or independent releases that they’d otherwise scroll right past on a streaming platform menu or Redbox kiosk.

In May, The Vast of Night had preview screenings at drive-ins, with the justification that the venues’ retro vibe suited Andrew Patterson’s nostalgic sci-fi thriller. Released on Amazon Prime Video on May 28, The Vast of Night takes place in small-town New Mexico in the early 1950s, with a framing device presenting the story as an episode of a “Twilight Zone”-esque TV series.

While most of the town attends a high school basketball game, a teenage switchboard operator (Sierra McCormick) and a young disk jockey (Jake Horowitz) discover a mysterious signal, and the more they try to determine its source, the deeper they become embroiled in a mystery involving unidentified flying objects.

Once you get past the film’s mannered introductory scenes, The Vast of Night delivers some extremely eerie set pieces that frequently have the heroes listening to long, increasingly unsettling stories. Unfolding approximately in real time, the film expertly creates a mood of dread while serving as a low-key love letter to old-school technology like audio tape recorders.

While The Vast of Night feels like a cunning throwback, Becky refreshes some of the tropes of the home invasion genre. A band of racist convicts terrorizes a family at a Southern lake house, only to have one of their victims turn the tables. The twist with Becky is that the avenging protagonist is the 13-year-old title character, played with memorable intensity by Lulu Wilson.

Becky’s screenplay was co-written by Lane and Ruckus Skye, Atlanta filmmakers who recently relocated to Los Angeles and showed considerable promise with last year’s backwoods crime drama Reckoning. Even more tautly constructed, the new film introduces Becky as grieving her deceased mother, feeling alienated at school, and resenting her father (“Community’s” Joel McHale) and his fiancé. When the others are held captive by white supremacists, Becky gets to express her rage with violence and finds she has a knack for it.

Available June 5, Becky effectively casts comedy actor Kevin James against type as the white supremacists’ leader, and also exhibits a gleeful willingness to show off some graphic practical gore effects. And while the viewer’s sympathies lie completely with Becky, we also grow increasingly uncomfortable with her violent side. There’s a joke that in Home Alone, Kevin McCallister’s vicious booby traps suggest he might be a budding psychopath. Becky explores the dark implications of a similar situation.


 Also available June 5, Josephine Decker’s Shirley offers a biographical portrait of author Shirley Jackson, renowned for such psychologically complex tales as The Haunting of Hill House. Shirley steers away from the horrific aspects of Jackson’s work — as well as the phony uplift of most biopics — to offer a knotty depiction of a famous artist and her creative process, as well as the constraints on women in mid-century America.


Not long after The New Yorker publishes her story “The Lottery,” Shirley and her husband (Michael Stuhlbarg) host a young professor (Logan Lerman) and his pregnant wife Rose (Odessa Young) as boarders. Rose initially finds Shirley both mean and highly perceptive, but the more she assists the reclusive author in both housework and in writing a new book, the more a bond develops between the two women.

With its dynamic of vicious behavior between two pairs of academics, Shirley echoes Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, with Moss digging fearlessly into Shirley’s self-loathing, resentments, and creative impulses. Her implosive performance is like the flip side of Moss’s explosive turn as a self-destructive rock star in 2019’s underseen gem Her Smell. Cluttered, claustrophobic, and at times difficult to pin down, Shirley is the kind of challenging film that deserves to be met halfway, even on VOD.

June 2 also sees the VOD release of Hallowed Be Thy Name, a thriller from Atlanta-based writer/director Taylor Ri’chard.

And speaking of local productions, the May release of “19 Covid Lane” on Youtube and the 19covidlane.com website showcases Atlanta film artists working in lockdown conditions.

A parody of quarantine-induced cabin fever clearly inspired by 10 Cloverfield Lane, the short depicts two young people sheltering in a bunker with a paranoid prepper. The three actors are very game, and the script crafts some good gags, with mundane tasks like taking out the weekly garbage presented with the menace worthy of a post-apocalyptic thriller by director Ryan Monolopolus. The only trouble with “19 Covid Lane” is that, if you’re already stressing about the virus, it doesn’t exactly offer escapism. —CL—

Screen Time is a monthly column about film and video from the big screen to streaming services.    Quiver Productions Lulu Wilson plays the title role in ‘Becky,’ co-written by Lane and Ruckus Skye.  0,0,10    screentime                             SCREEN TIME: Covideo on Demand? "
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  string(8205) "The last movie I saw in a theater was The Invisible Man in late February, blissfully unaware that in a few weeks, the whole world would be worried about an invisible threat. After almost two months of sheltering in place due to the coronavirus, I’m wistfully remembering past times at the cinema. 

One of my favorite experiences at the movies was a 2007 preview screening of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse at the Plaza Theatre. Having opened in 1939 — and survived the changes its Poncey-Highland neighborhood has undergone in the years bookended by urban flight and gentrification — the Plaza has shown its share of B movies, XXX-  rated fare and schlock in the ensuing decades. And, as usual for the vintage movie house that has survived such change, the evening brought out exactly the kind of film buffs who’d appreciate the double feature’s fake trailers, cameos, and simulations of old, scratched prints in a proudly resurrected film emporium that once screened exactly such pairings. It was a gory, raunchy delight.

And even though you can rent Rodriguez’ Planet Terror and Tarantino’s Death Proof, as well as find various bonus features online, home viewing can never match the charge of seeing Grindhouse with those people, in that venue. I find myself missing the ritual of passing under the Plaza’s art deco marquee, walking past the vintage movie posters in the lobby, smelling the fresh popcorn, and settling into the old-school cushioned seats before a show begins.

Atlanta has several theaters like the Midtown Art Cinema, part of the Landmark theater chain, that offer nice places to see art-house films. But the Plaza is the kind of independent theater that combines love of cinema with old-fashioned, idiosyncratic touches, feeling at once like a museum and a clubhouse, that make the mainstream cineplexes of the Regal or AMC chains feel cold and sterile. As a native Atlantan, I grew up in what now seems like a golden age of repertory movie houses, including the Film Forum, Garden Hills Cinema, the Screening Room, the Silver Screen and the Rhodes Theatre. With all of them long gone, the Plaza can feel like Atlanta’s last picture show.

The Plaza, like businesses worldwide, has been struggling to survive a landscape virtually bereft of customers now that the COVID-19 pandemic is holding hostage much of our daily lives. “This is the longest the Plaza has ever closed — by far,” said Chris Escobar, Plaza Theater owner and executive director of the Atlanta Film Society. “It’s never been closed more than a week, and that’s usually been for (repair) work or a filming.”

In mid-April, Escobar announced a partial but substantial furlough for the Plaza’s employees, with a limit of 12 working hours per week. He’s embarked on multiple different fundraising efforts and revenue streams, such as vouchers, concessions to go, and merchandise sales, as well as applying for such relief programs as the Federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Art House Convergence relief fund. 

“Right now I’d say we have a month left of being able to keep paying staff even on a limited basis without something big coming into play like the PPP program. Some of these things would add up and make that possible,” said Escobar, who acknowledged the uncertainty and enormity of the challenge facing the Plaza. He’s also negotiating with the theater’s property owner for flexibility: “They have a real opportunity to either be the hero or make it impossible for the Plaza to re-open.”

His choice was complicated by Georgia governor Brian Kemp’s April 20 announcement that movie theaters in the state could open on April 27. “I honestly didn’t think we would be allowed to re-open until June,” Escobar said in a statement on the theater’s Facebook page. “While nothing would make me happier than all of this being over and getting the ‘all clear,’ other than there being political pressure, I haven’t seen anything of the sort.

“This definitely feels like we’re getting pushed to sort this out on our own, and public health officials do not seem to be recommending this at this time,” the statement continued. “While we believe nothing is better than watching a movie in our theatre, we want to offer options that our customers are comfortable with and that keep our staff safe. We didn’t wait for government to start taking actions to operate more safely, and we aren’t going to drop our guard in any haste now.”

Escobar estimated that May 1 would be the earliest the theater would consider reopening in any capacity, most likely with some kind of alternate programming that permits safe social distancing, such as “Plaza Pop-Up Drive-In” screenings.

Meanwhile, the Plaza website (plazaatlanta.com) lists several ways to support the theater, including a page for GoFundMe donations toward a $25,000 goal as well as the option for private screening rentals of groups of less than 10 people. Subscribing to the Magnolia Selects curated film service using the code MOVIE589 will give the Plaza 100 percent of the proceeds. 

While home viewing is no substitute for being there, the theater’s virtual screening room can at least connect Plaza supporters to films. In partnership with Kino Marquee, a nationwide initiative from the Kino Lorber film and video studio, the Plaza is virtually screening the kind of hot art-house fare it would show in better days, including the acclaimed socially-conscious Brazilian western Bacurau and the Irish supernatural comedy Extra Ordinary featuring Will Forte.


Capital in the Twenty-First Century opened May 1 and offers 50 percent of its ticket sales to the Plaza Theatre. Based on the influential book of the same name by French economist Thomas Piketty (who appears in the film), the documentary presents an energetic and devastating lesson in economic history. The historical material covers pretty familiar ground, but the latter half offers powerful depictions of how wealth inequities create an increasingly unequal society with decreasing options for social mobility.  

In addition to Kino Marquee, Escobar says “We’re going to be launching a new digital platform in partnership with the Atlanta Film Society called ‘PlazaPlay,’ where our joined audiences can do individual rentals (and eventually a subscription) to a variety of indie, cult, and rep programming alongside companion content that includes special intros, Q&As, and more.”

Thinking back to the titles of Grindhouse, “Planet Terror” seems an apt way to describe the global attitude during the pandemic. One can only hope that, after 80 years, the Plaza will continue to be “Death Proof.”

 Double Up: The Plaza had its own big-screen cameo last fall by appearing in a scene in Doctor Sleep, based on Stephen King’s sequel novel to The Shining. Audiences seemed to sleep on the spooky follow-up, but sheltering-in-place gives viewers a chance to catch up. Why not schedule an in-home double feature of Stanley Kubrick’s classic The Shining followed by Mike Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep? You can even mix “Redrum” cocktails to go with it.

For lighter fare, try an evening of Emma. Autumn de Wilde’s new adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel Emma was one of the first films to respond to the restrictions against gatherings to become a “first-run” online release on March 20. Pair it with Amy Heckerling’s take on the story, Clueless, transferring the comedy of manners from Regency England to 1990s Los Angeles, with a hilarious, career-defining performance from Alicia Silverstone. (You could even make it a triple with Douglas McGrath’s 1996 version of Emma, starring Gwyneth Paltrow.)

And for seemingly light musical-comedies with a bittersweet edge, That Thing You Do! (1996) and Josie and the Pussycats (2001) offer breezy satire of the pop music industry with contributions from Fountains of Wayne’s singer-songwriter Adam Schlesinger that sound like authentic chart-toppers. Schlesinger died of the coronavirus in April, and his joyful pop remains the perfect tribute. —CL—"
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One of my favorite experiences at the movies was a 2007 preview screening of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s ''Grindhouse'' at the Plaza Theatre. Having opened in 1939 — and survived the changes its Poncey-Highland neighborhood has undergone in the years bookended by urban flight and gentrification — the Plaza has shown its share of B movies, XXX-  rated fare and schlock in the ensuing decades. And, as usual for the vintage movie house that has survived such change, the evening brought out exactly the kind of film buffs who’d appreciate the double feature’s fake trailers, cameos, and simulations of old, scratched prints in a proudly resurrected film emporium that once screened exactly such pairings. It was a gory, raunchy delight.

And even though you can rent Rodriguez’ ''Planet Terror'' and Tarantino’s ''Death Proof'', as well as find various bonus features online, home viewing can never match the charge of seeing ''Grindhouse'' with those people, in that venue. I find myself missing the ritual of passing under the Plaza’s art deco marquee, walking past the vintage movie posters in the lobby, smelling the fresh popcorn, and settling into the old-school cushioned seats before a show begins.

Atlanta has several theaters like the Midtown Art Cinema, part of the Landmark theater chain, that offer nice places to see art-house films. But the Plaza is the kind of independent theater that combines love of cinema with old-fashioned, idiosyncratic touches, feeling at once like a museum and a clubhouse, that make the mainstream cineplexes of the Regal or AMC chains feel cold and sterile. As a native Atlantan, I grew up in what now seems like a golden age of repertory movie houses, including the Film Forum, Garden Hills Cinema, the Screening Room, the Silver Screen and the Rhodes Theatre. With all of them long gone, the Plaza can feel like Atlanta’s last picture show.

The Plaza, like businesses worldwide, has been struggling to survive a landscape virtually bereft of customers now that the COVID-19 pandemic is holding hostage much of our daily lives. “This is the longest the Plaza has ever closed — by far,” said Chris Escobar, Plaza Theater owner and executive director of the Atlanta Film Society. “It’s never been closed more than a week, and that’s usually been for (repair) work or a filming.”

In mid-April, Escobar announced a partial but substantial furlough for the Plaza’s employees, with a limit of 12 working hours per week. He’s embarked on multiple different fundraising efforts and revenue streams, such as vouchers, concessions to go, and merchandise sales, as well as applying for such relief programs as the Federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Art House Convergence relief fund. 

“Right now I’d say we have a month left of being able to keep paying staff even on a limited basis without something big coming into play like the PPP program. Some of these things would add up and make that possible,” said Escobar, who acknowledged the uncertainty and enormity of the challenge facing the Plaza. He’s also negotiating with the theater’s property owner for flexibility: “They have a real opportunity to either be the hero or make it impossible for the Plaza to re-open.”

His choice was complicated by Georgia governor Brian Kemp’s April 20 announcement that movie theaters in the state could open on April 27. “I honestly didn’t think we would be allowed to re-open until June,” Escobar said in a statement on the theater’s Facebook page. “While nothing would make me happier than all of this being over and getting the ‘all clear,’ other than there being political pressure, I haven’t seen anything of the sort.

“This definitely feels like we’re getting pushed to sort this out on our own, and public health officials do not seem to be recommending this at this time,” the statement continued. “While we believe nothing is better than watching a movie in our theatre, we want to offer options that our customers are comfortable with and that keep our staff safe. We didn’t wait for government to start taking actions to operate more safely, and we aren’t going to drop our guard in any haste now.”

Escobar estimated that May 1 would be the earliest the theater would consider reopening in any capacity, most likely with some kind of alternate programming that permits safe social distancing, such as “Plaza Pop-Up Drive-In” screenings.

Meanwhile, the Plaza website (plazaatlanta.com) lists several ways to support the theater, including a page for GoFundMe donations toward a $25,000 goal as well as the option for private screening rentals of groups of less than 10 people. Subscribing to the Magnolia Selects curated film service using the code MOVIE589 will give the Plaza 100 percent of the proceeds. 

While home viewing is no substitute for being there, the theater’s virtual screening room can at least connect Plaza supporters to films. In partnership with Kino Marquee, a nationwide initiative from the Kino Lorber film and video studio, the Plaza is virtually screening the kind of hot art-house fare it would show in better days, including the acclaimed socially-conscious Brazilian western ''Bacurau'' and the Irish supernatural comedy ''Extra Ordinary'' featuring Will Forte.

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''Capital in the Twenty-First Century'' opened May 1 and offers 50 percent of its ticket sales to the Plaza Theatre. Based on the influential book of the same name by French economist Thomas Piketty (who appears in the film), the documentary presents an energetic and devastating lesson in economic history. The historical material covers pretty familiar ground, but the latter half offers powerful depictions of how wealth inequities create an increasingly unequal society with decreasing options for social mobility.  

In addition to Kino Marquee, Escobar says “We’re going to be launching a new digital platform in partnership with the Atlanta Film Society called ‘PlazaPlay,’ where our joined audiences can do individual rentals (and eventually a subscription) to a variety of indie, cult, and rep programming alongside companion content that includes special intros, Q&As, and more.”

Thinking back to the titles of ''Grindhouse'', “Planet Terror” seems an apt way to describe the global attitude during the pandemic. One can only hope that, after 80 years, the Plaza will continue to be “Death Proof.”

 ''Double Up'': The Plaza had its own big-screen cameo last fall by appearing in a scene in ''Doctor Sleep'', based on Stephen King’s sequel novel to ''The Shining''. Audiences seemed to sleep on the spooky follow-up, but sheltering-in-place gives viewers a chance to catch up. Why not schedule an in-home double feature of Stanley Kubrick’s classic ''The Shining'' followed by Mike Flanagan’s ''Doctor Sleep''? You can even mix “Redrum” cocktails to go with it.

For lighter fare, try an evening of ''Emma''. Autumn de Wilde’s new adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel ''Emma'' was one of the first films to respond to the restrictions against gatherings to become a “first-run” online release on March 20. Pair it with Amy Heckerling’s take on the story, ''Clueless'', transferring the comedy of manners from Regency England to 1990s Los Angeles, with a hilarious, career-defining performance from Alicia Silverstone. (You could even make it a triple with Douglas McGrath’s 1996 version of ''Emma'', starring Gwyneth Paltrow.)

And for seemingly light musical-comedies with a bittersweet edge, ''That Thing You Do!'' (1996) and ''Josie and the Pussycats'' (2001) offer breezy satire of the pop music industry with contributions from Fountains of Wayne’s singer-songwriter Adam Schlesinger that sound like authentic chart-toppers. Schlesinger died of the coronavirus in April, and his joyful pop remains the perfect tribute. __—CL—__"
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  string(8676) " Plaza 02  2020-05-11T15:55:01+00:00 Plaza_02.jpg    screentime Saving a local landmark; screening double features at home 31006  2020-05-01T04:00:00+00:00 SCREEN TIME: Protect the Plaza jim.harris@creativeloafing.com Jim Harris Curt Holman Curt Holman 2020-05-01T04:00:00+00:00  The last movie I saw in a theater was The Invisible Man in late February, blissfully unaware that in a few weeks, the whole world would be worried about an invisible threat. After almost two months of sheltering in place due to the coronavirus, I’m wistfully remembering past times at the cinema. 

One of my favorite experiences at the movies was a 2007 preview screening of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse at the Plaza Theatre. Having opened in 1939 — and survived the changes its Poncey-Highland neighborhood has undergone in the years bookended by urban flight and gentrification — the Plaza has shown its share of B movies, XXX-  rated fare and schlock in the ensuing decades. And, as usual for the vintage movie house that has survived such change, the evening brought out exactly the kind of film buffs who’d appreciate the double feature’s fake trailers, cameos, and simulations of old, scratched prints in a proudly resurrected film emporium that once screened exactly such pairings. It was a gory, raunchy delight.

And even though you can rent Rodriguez’ Planet Terror and Tarantino’s Death Proof, as well as find various bonus features online, home viewing can never match the charge of seeing Grindhouse with those people, in that venue. I find myself missing the ritual of passing under the Plaza’s art deco marquee, walking past the vintage movie posters in the lobby, smelling the fresh popcorn, and settling into the old-school cushioned seats before a show begins.

Atlanta has several theaters like the Midtown Art Cinema, part of the Landmark theater chain, that offer nice places to see art-house films. But the Plaza is the kind of independent theater that combines love of cinema with old-fashioned, idiosyncratic touches, feeling at once like a museum and a clubhouse, that make the mainstream cineplexes of the Regal or AMC chains feel cold and sterile. As a native Atlantan, I grew up in what now seems like a golden age of repertory movie houses, including the Film Forum, Garden Hills Cinema, the Screening Room, the Silver Screen and the Rhodes Theatre. With all of them long gone, the Plaza can feel like Atlanta’s last picture show.

The Plaza, like businesses worldwide, has been struggling to survive a landscape virtually bereft of customers now that the COVID-19 pandemic is holding hostage much of our daily lives. “This is the longest the Plaza has ever closed — by far,” said Chris Escobar, Plaza Theater owner and executive director of the Atlanta Film Society. “It’s never been closed more than a week, and that’s usually been for (repair) work or a filming.”

In mid-April, Escobar announced a partial but substantial furlough for the Plaza’s employees, with a limit of 12 working hours per week. He’s embarked on multiple different fundraising efforts and revenue streams, such as vouchers, concessions to go, and merchandise sales, as well as applying for such relief programs as the Federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Art House Convergence relief fund. 

“Right now I’d say we have a month left of being able to keep paying staff even on a limited basis without something big coming into play like the PPP program. Some of these things would add up and make that possible,” said Escobar, who acknowledged the uncertainty and enormity of the challenge facing the Plaza. He’s also negotiating with the theater’s property owner for flexibility: “They have a real opportunity to either be the hero or make it impossible for the Plaza to re-open.”

His choice was complicated by Georgia governor Brian Kemp’s April 20 announcement that movie theaters in the state could open on April 27. “I honestly didn’t think we would be allowed to re-open until June,” Escobar said in a statement on the theater’s Facebook page. “While nothing would make me happier than all of this being over and getting the ‘all clear,’ other than there being political pressure, I haven’t seen anything of the sort.

“This definitely feels like we’re getting pushed to sort this out on our own, and public health officials do not seem to be recommending this at this time,” the statement continued. “While we believe nothing is better than watching a movie in our theatre, we want to offer options that our customers are comfortable with and that keep our staff safe. We didn’t wait for government to start taking actions to operate more safely, and we aren’t going to drop our guard in any haste now.”

Escobar estimated that May 1 would be the earliest the theater would consider reopening in any capacity, most likely with some kind of alternate programming that permits safe social distancing, such as “Plaza Pop-Up Drive-In” screenings.

Meanwhile, the Plaza website (plazaatlanta.com) lists several ways to support the theater, including a page for GoFundMe donations toward a $25,000 goal as well as the option for private screening rentals of groups of less than 10 people. Subscribing to the Magnolia Selects curated film service using the code MOVIE589 will give the Plaza 100 percent of the proceeds. 

While home viewing is no substitute for being there, the theater’s virtual screening room can at least connect Plaza supporters to films. In partnership with Kino Marquee, a nationwide initiative from the Kino Lorber film and video studio, the Plaza is virtually screening the kind of hot art-house fare it would show in better days, including the acclaimed socially-conscious Brazilian western Bacurau and the Irish supernatural comedy Extra Ordinary featuring Will Forte.


Capital in the Twenty-First Century opened May 1 and offers 50 percent of its ticket sales to the Plaza Theatre. Based on the influential book of the same name by French economist Thomas Piketty (who appears in the film), the documentary presents an energetic and devastating lesson in economic history. The historical material covers pretty familiar ground, but the latter half offers powerful depictions of how wealth inequities create an increasingly unequal society with decreasing options for social mobility.  

In addition to Kino Marquee, Escobar says “We’re going to be launching a new digital platform in partnership with the Atlanta Film Society called ‘PlazaPlay,’ where our joined audiences can do individual rentals (and eventually a subscription) to a variety of indie, cult, and rep programming alongside companion content that includes special intros, Q&As, and more.”

Thinking back to the titles of Grindhouse, “Planet Terror” seems an apt way to describe the global attitude during the pandemic. One can only hope that, after 80 years, the Plaza will continue to be “Death Proof.”

 Double Up: The Plaza had its own big-screen cameo last fall by appearing in a scene in Doctor Sleep, based on Stephen King’s sequel novel to The Shining. Audiences seemed to sleep on the spooky follow-up, but sheltering-in-place gives viewers a chance to catch up. Why not schedule an in-home double feature of Stanley Kubrick’s classic The Shining followed by Mike Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep? You can even mix “Redrum” cocktails to go with it.

For lighter fare, try an evening of Emma. Autumn de Wilde’s new adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel Emma was one of the first films to respond to the restrictions against gatherings to become a “first-run” online release on March 20. Pair it with Amy Heckerling’s take on the story, Clueless, transferring the comedy of manners from Regency England to 1990s Los Angeles, with a hilarious, career-defining performance from Alicia Silverstone. (You could even make it a triple with Douglas McGrath’s 1996 version of Emma, starring Gwyneth Paltrow.)

And for seemingly light musical-comedies with a bittersweet edge, That Thing You Do! (1996) and Josie and the Pussycats (2001) offer breezy satire of the pop music industry with contributions from Fountains of Wayne’s singer-songwriter Adam Schlesinger that sound like authentic chart-toppers. Schlesinger died of the coronavirus in April, and his joyful pop remains the perfect tribute. —CL—    Courtesy of the Plaza Theatre KEEP THE LIGHTS ON: The Plaza Theatre’s vintage marquee on Ponce de Leon.  0,0,10    screentime                             SCREEN TIME: Protect the Plaza "
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Friday May 1, 2020 12:00 am EDT
Saving a local landmark; screening double features at home | more...
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  string(5856) "As this was posted prior to concerns regarding the global coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, please check to see if these events are still occurring. Be safe. Be healthy. Wash your hands.

Blood on Her Name and The Dark Red are a pair of low-budget, Georgia-filmed thrillers that you have to track down. Blood on Her Name was released on video on demand (with a stint at Studio Movie Grill in Marietta) on February 28, while The Dark Red screens at The Plaza Theatre on March 6 and makes its streaming debut the same date.

Blood and Red are both worth the hunt, proving that tightly-written screenplays and committed acting can still emerge from limited resources. Directed by local filmmakers Matthew Pope and Dan Bush, respectively, the taut tales each focus on compellingly flawed female protagonists.

In Blood on Her Name, Bethany Anne Lind plays Leigh Tiller, whom we first see in a garage alongside a recently murdered body. Like a Hitchcock suspense film, Blood captures the tension and dread of trying to conceal a crime without things spiraling out of control. And Leigh tends to be her own worst enemy, tempted to return the body to the victim’s family, despite the personal risk.

The screenplay, by Pope and Don M. Thompson, gradually reveals that Leigh is grappling with family issues on both sides. Her father (terrific character actor Will Patton) is a police officer near retirement with a history of secrets, while her son (Jared Ivers) has had troubles with the law that threaten to ruin his life. The viewer soon realizes that Leigh’s seemingly self-defeating motivations turn on the axis of those relationships. Lind’s performance is a tour de force of raw feeling, to the point that Leigh’s emotional transparency gives her no “poker face.” Her intensely mixed emotions are always clear as day.

The Dark Red’s structure is a little more complex, as we find young Sybil (April Billingsley) in a mental institution, trying to convince her psychiatrist (Kelsey Scott) that her unborn child was surgically removed and stolen by a cultlike organization. Sybil’s flashbacks reveal her increasingly horrific story, while her doctor warns that the only conspiracy may be her own tendency to schizophrenia.

Bush was one of the three directors of The Signal, a 2007 sleeper hit that helped establish Atlanta’s indie horror scene. (Another co-director, David Bruckner, recently screened his new film The Night House at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.) Bush shifts gears between genres in The Dark Red switching from paranoid thriller to horror to revenge flick. 

Bush credits his creative partners with strengthening the film’s feminine point of view, saying in an email, “Our female ‘keys’ — director of photography, production designer, stunt choreographer, costume designer, and our female lead — all worked together to help me honor a female perspective while telling this story.”

The film’s themes of psychic powers feel a little undercooked, but Billingsley gives a wrenching, powerful performance, transforming herself from desperate victim to dedicated avenger, and longtime Atlanta actors Rhoda Griffis and Jill Jane Clements give strong moral support. Both Blood on Her Name and The Dark Red suggest, in very different ways, how bad an idea it can be to come between mother and child.

Blood on Her Name. B+. Stars Bethany Anne Lind and Will Patton. Directed by Matthew Pope. Available on demand.

The Dark Red. B. Stars April Billingsley. Directed by Dan Bush. Available on demand and screening at the Plaza Theatre on March 6.

No Strings Attached: An under-appreciated boon of our current streaming options is the increased outlets for short films — if you can find them. In January, Netflix released David Lynch’s “What Did Jack Do?” a self-conscious exercise in hard-boiled clichés, with Lynch interrogating a talking monkey. But usually, shorts pop up on platforms without warning.

Such is the case with Amazon Prime’s “Nature Calls,” billed as “a New Puppet Order live-action cartoon.” Directed by Darrell C. Hazelrig with Atlanta-based New Puppet Order, the short shows a young woman drop a cell phone during a hike, which disrupts the natural order as flora and fauna fight over it. A purposefully goofy homage to Looney Tunes animation, “Nature Calls” uses puppets for slapstick and puns: A tree stump gets the phone and starts dating on “Timber.” Its broad silliness is probably best suited to kids and puppetry fans, but it’s nice to know that “Nature Calls” is out there.

Coming Attractions: Landmark Midtown Art Cinema has an intriguingly diverse line-up for its Classics Series in March, showing Tuesday nights through March 31. On March 3, catch Wanda, the 1970 directorial debut of neglected female filmmaker Barbara Loden, March 10 features Putney Swope, a satire of U.S. race relations and advertising industry from cult director Robert Downey Sr. His A-list son, Robert Downey Jr., stars in Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers, a surreal meditation on violence and media, screening on March 17.

On March 24, Monty Python’s Life of Brian offers an irreverent but pointed spoof of Christianity that serves as a timely tribute to director Terry Jones, who died in January. And March 31 presents Do the Right Thing, Spike Lee’s blazingly creative, perpetually relevant drama on race relations, which celebrated its 30th anniversary last year.

And speaking of the classics, Silver Scream Spook Show brings its campy hijinks back to The Plaza Theatre on March 14 for a screening of 1935’s Bride of Frankenstein, the most highly regarded of the old-school Universal monster movies. —CL—

Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services."
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  string(5956) "''__As this was posted prior to concerns regarding the global coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, please check to see if these events are still occurring. Be safe. Be healthy. Wash your hands.__''

''Blood on Her Name'' and The ''Dark Red ''are a pair of low-budget, Georgia-filmed thrillers that you have to track down. ''Blood on Her Name'' was released on video on demand (with a stint at Studio Movie Grill in Marietta) on February 28, while ''The Dark Red'' screens at The Plaza Theatre on March 6 and makes its streaming debut the same date.

Blood and Red are both worth the hunt, proving that tightly-written screenplays and committed acting can still emerge from limited resources. Directed by local filmmakers Matthew Pope and Dan Bush, respectively, the taut tales each focus on compellingly flawed female protagonists.

In ''Blood on Her Name'', Bethany Anne Lind plays Leigh Tiller, whom we first see in a garage alongside a recently murdered body. Like a Hitchcock suspense film, Blood captures the tension and dread of trying to conceal a crime without things spiraling out of control. And Leigh tends to be her own worst enemy, tempted to return the body to the victim’s family, despite the personal risk.

The screenplay, by Pope and Don M. Thompson, gradually reveals that Leigh is grappling with family issues on both sides. Her father (terrific character actor Will Patton) is a police officer near retirement with a history of secrets, while her son (Jared Ivers) has had troubles with the law that threaten to ruin his life. The viewer soon realizes that Leigh’s seemingly self-defeating motivations turn on the axis of those relationships. Lind’s performance is a tour de force of raw feeling, to the point that Leigh’s emotional transparency gives her no “poker face.” Her intensely mixed emotions are always clear as day.

''The Dark Red''’s structure is a little more complex, as we find young Sybil (April Billingsley) in a mental institution, trying to convince her psychiatrist (Kelsey Scott) that her unborn child was surgically removed and stolen by a cultlike organization. Sybil’s flashbacks reveal her increasingly horrific story, while her doctor warns that the only conspiracy may be her own tendency to schizophrenia.

Bush was one of the three directors of The Signal, a 2007 sleeper hit that helped establish Atlanta’s indie horror scene. (Another co-director, David Bruckner, recently screened his new film ''The Night House'' at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.) Bush shifts gears between genres in ''The Dark Red ''switching from paranoid thriller to horror to revenge flick. 

Bush credits his creative partners with strengthening the film’s feminine point of view, saying in an email, “Our female ‘keys’ — director of photography, production designer, stunt choreographer, costume designer, and our female lead — all worked together to help me honor a female perspective while telling this story.”

The film’s themes of psychic powers feel a little undercooked, but Billingsley gives a wrenching, powerful performance, transforming herself from desperate victim to dedicated avenger, and longtime Atlanta actors Rhoda Griffis and Jill Jane Clements give strong moral support. Both ''Blood on Her Name'' and ''The Dark Red ''suggest, in very different ways, how bad an idea it can be to come between mother and child.

__''Blood on Her Name''__. B+. Stars Bethany Anne Lind and Will Patton. Directed by Matthew Pope. Available on demand.

__''The Dark Red''__. B. Stars April Billingsley. Directed by Dan Bush. Available on demand and screening at the Plaza Theatre on March 6.

__No Strings Attached:__ An under-appreciated boon of our current streaming options is the increased outlets for short films — if you can find them. In January, Netflix released David Lynch’s “What Did Jack Do?” a self-conscious exercise in hard-boiled clichés, with Lynch interrogating a talking monkey. But usually, shorts pop up on platforms without warning.

Such is the case with Amazon Prime’s “Nature Calls,” billed as “a New Puppet Order live-action cartoon.” Directed by Darrell C. Hazelrig with Atlanta-based New Puppet Order, the short shows a young woman drop a cell phone during a hike, which disrupts the natural order as flora and fauna fight over it. A purposefully goofy homage to Looney Tunes animation, “Nature Calls” uses puppets for slapstick and puns: A tree stump gets the phone and starts dating on “Timber.” Its broad silliness is probably best suited to kids and puppetry fans, but it’s nice to know that “Nature Calls” is out there.

__Coming Attractions__: Landmark Midtown Art Cinema has an intriguingly diverse line-up for its Classics Series in March, showing Tuesday nights through March 31. On March 3, catch ''Wanda'', the 1970 directorial debut of neglected female filmmaker Barbara Loden, March 10 features ''Putney Swope'', a satire of U.S. race relations and advertising industry from cult director Robert Downey Sr. His A-list son, Robert Downey Jr., stars in Oliver Stone’s ''Natural Born Killers'', a surreal meditation on violence and media, screening on March 17.

On March 24, Monty Python’s ''Life of Brian'' offers an irreverent but pointed spoof of Christianity that serves as a timely tribute to director Terry Jones, who died in January. And March 31 presents ''Do the Right Thing'', Spike Lee’s blazingly creative, perpetually relevant drama on race relations, which celebrated its 30th anniversary last year.

And speaking of the classics, Silver Scream Spook Show brings its campy hijinks back to The Plaza Theatre on March 14 for a screening of 1935’s'' Bride of Frankenstein'', the most highly regarded of the old-school Universal monster movies. __—CL—__

Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services."
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Blood on Her Name and The Dark Red are a pair of low-budget, Georgia-filmed thrillers that you have to track down. Blood on Her Name was released on video on demand (with a stint at Studio Movie Grill in Marietta) on February 28, while The Dark Red screens at The Plaza Theatre on March 6 and makes its streaming debut the same date.

Blood and Red are both worth the hunt, proving that tightly-written screenplays and committed acting can still emerge from limited resources. Directed by local filmmakers Matthew Pope and Dan Bush, respectively, the taut tales each focus on compellingly flawed female protagonists.

In Blood on Her Name, Bethany Anne Lind plays Leigh Tiller, whom we first see in a garage alongside a recently murdered body. Like a Hitchcock suspense film, Blood captures the tension and dread of trying to conceal a crime without things spiraling out of control. And Leigh tends to be her own worst enemy, tempted to return the body to the victim’s family, despite the personal risk.

The screenplay, by Pope and Don M. Thompson, gradually reveals that Leigh is grappling with family issues on both sides. Her father (terrific character actor Will Patton) is a police officer near retirement with a history of secrets, while her son (Jared Ivers) has had troubles with the law that threaten to ruin his life. The viewer soon realizes that Leigh’s seemingly self-defeating motivations turn on the axis of those relationships. Lind’s performance is a tour de force of raw feeling, to the point that Leigh’s emotional transparency gives her no “poker face.” Her intensely mixed emotions are always clear as day.

The Dark Red’s structure is a little more complex, as we find young Sybil (April Billingsley) in a mental institution, trying to convince her psychiatrist (Kelsey Scott) that her unborn child was surgically removed and stolen by a cultlike organization. Sybil’s flashbacks reveal her increasingly horrific story, while her doctor warns that the only conspiracy may be her own tendency to schizophrenia.

Bush was one of the three directors of The Signal, a 2007 sleeper hit that helped establish Atlanta’s indie horror scene. (Another co-director, David Bruckner, recently screened his new film The Night House at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.) Bush shifts gears between genres in The Dark Red switching from paranoid thriller to horror to revenge flick. 

Bush credits his creative partners with strengthening the film’s feminine point of view, saying in an email, “Our female ‘keys’ — director of photography, production designer, stunt choreographer, costume designer, and our female lead — all worked together to help me honor a female perspective while telling this story.”

The film’s themes of psychic powers feel a little undercooked, but Billingsley gives a wrenching, powerful performance, transforming herself from desperate victim to dedicated avenger, and longtime Atlanta actors Rhoda Griffis and Jill Jane Clements give strong moral support. Both Blood on Her Name and The Dark Red suggest, in very different ways, how bad an idea it can be to come between mother and child.

Blood on Her Name. B+. Stars Bethany Anne Lind and Will Patton. Directed by Matthew Pope. Available on demand.

The Dark Red. B. Stars April Billingsley. Directed by Dan Bush. Available on demand and screening at the Plaza Theatre on March 6.

No Strings Attached: An under-appreciated boon of our current streaming options is the increased outlets for short films — if you can find them. In January, Netflix released David Lynch’s “What Did Jack Do?” a self-conscious exercise in hard-boiled clichés, with Lynch interrogating a talking monkey. But usually, shorts pop up on platforms without warning.

Such is the case with Amazon Prime’s “Nature Calls,” billed as “a New Puppet Order live-action cartoon.” Directed by Darrell C. Hazelrig with Atlanta-based New Puppet Order, the short shows a young woman drop a cell phone during a hike, which disrupts the natural order as flora and fauna fight over it. A purposefully goofy homage to Looney Tunes animation, “Nature Calls” uses puppets for slapstick and puns: A tree stump gets the phone and starts dating on “Timber.” Its broad silliness is probably best suited to kids and puppetry fans, but it’s nice to know that “Nature Calls” is out there.

Coming Attractions: Landmark Midtown Art Cinema has an intriguingly diverse line-up for its Classics Series in March, showing Tuesday nights through March 31. On March 3, catch Wanda, the 1970 directorial debut of neglected female filmmaker Barbara Loden, March 10 features Putney Swope, a satire of U.S. race relations and advertising industry from cult director Robert Downey Sr. His A-list son, Robert Downey Jr., stars in Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers, a surreal meditation on violence and media, screening on March 17.

On March 24, Monty Python’s Life of Brian offers an irreverent but pointed spoof of Christianity that serves as a timely tribute to director Terry Jones, who died in January. And March 31 presents Do the Right Thing, Spike Lee’s blazingly creative, perpetually relevant drama on race relations, which celebrated its 30th anniversary last year.

And speaking of the classics, Silver Scream Spook Show brings its campy hijinks back to The Plaza Theatre on March 14 for a screening of 1935’s Bride of Frankenstein, the most highly regarded of the old-school Universal monster movies. —CL—

Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services.    ‘BLOOD ON HER NAME’ WHAT’S MY NAME? Bethany Anne Lind stars in “Blood on Her Name.”  0,0,1    screentime                             SCREEN TIME: Two tough mothers "
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  string(5406) "Event movies don’t have to involve star wars or superheroes, although those have been some of the most reliable blockbusters in recent years. Sam Mendes’ war film 1917, opening in Atlanta on January 10, offers a harrowing, one-of-a-kind spectacle that would be significantly diminished by home viewing.

Mendes, the director of Skyfall, loosely based the film on stories his grandfather told about his service in World War I. The story’s simplicity could suit a video game, as two British corporals (George MacKay and Game of Thrones’s Dean-Charles Chapman), take a dangerous mission to cross potentially hostile territory to deliver a message that could save more than a thousand fellow soldiers.

What could be called the gimmick of the film is that 1917 is presented essentially in real time, in what resembles one continuous shot. The viewer feels very much like a third person following the other two as they make an odyssey from an unspoiled pasture in Northern France to the muddy maze of the British trenches and then out across the hellscape of no man’s land and beyond.

Chapman and MacKay capture the mixture of camaraderie, fatalism, and sensible concerns of young, ordinary men under enormous pressure, although the script lacks the complexity of Christopher Nolan’s comparably stressful Dunkirk. 

But you could say that with 1917, the style is the substance. Acclaimed cinematographer Roger Deakins provides some of his finest work by framing the dangers of frontline combat. 1917 changes the rhythms we’re used to in movies — we quickly realize that if something goes wrong, the perspective won’t cut away, and the viewer is as vulnerable as the characters. One of the best films of the year, 1917 gives the audience the uncanny, breathless feeling that the wartime peril is actually happening to them. You could call it the next-worst thing to being there. 

1917. A-. Stars Dean-Charles Chapman and George MacKay. Directed by Sam Mendes. Rated R. Opens Jan. 10 at area theaters.

King of All Media: January 12 marks the debut of the HBO miniseries “The Outsider,” set and shot in Georgia, which serves as a reminder of the remarkably enduring career of writer Stephen King. With a name often synonymous with the horror genre, the 72-year-old writer is seeing a resurgence in adaptations, from theatrical films to streaming services.

The current wave began with the success of It, saw a recent financial disappointment with Doctor Sleep (an adaptation of King’s own sequel to The Shining) and includes Hulu’s “Castle Rock,” an uneven but sometimes fun original series that riffs on established King themes and locales.

Adapted by author/screenwriter Richard Price, HBO’s “The Outsider” has a sharply different vibe, and if you didn’t know it was based on a King novel from 2018, you wouldn’t guess based on the first episodes. “The Outsider” depicts detective Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn), who arrests beloved teacher and coach Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman, star of the locally-shot “Ozark”) for the horrific murder of a young boy. Maitland asserts his innocence, but for every piece of evidence that supports his alibi, more puts him at the crime scene. 

The longer the show unfolds, the more likely it seems that something supernatural is at play. For Georgia viewers, “The Outsider” provides the diversion of watching out for local actors and settings, with the first episode giving Claire Bronson a wrenching turn as a mother of the murder victim.

From the outset, “The Outsider” plays less like one of King’s killer-clown thrill-rides, and more like a downbeat law-and-order procedural such as HBO’s “The Night Of,” another project written and produced by Price, who specializes in prestigious crime projects. “The Outsider” can be serious to the point of austerity, and specializes in dim lighting and compositions that put characters deep in the background or half-obstructed. It serves as a reminder of the sheer volume and diversity of King’s work in film and TV. Perhaps his own streaming service isn’t far away.

Coming Attractions: Other high-profile Atlanta productions are coming up this month. The comedy Like a Boss pairs Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne as small-business partners who sell out to a cosmetics mogul (Salma Hayek) and live to regret it.

Bad Boys for Life (January 17) reunites Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in the third entry of the buddy-cop series, with Belgian directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah taking over from Michael Bay. (Perhaps they’ll try to solve the mystery of why the studio didn’t save the title Bad Boys 4 Life for the fourth movie.)

And A Fall from Grace (January 17) offers the latest romantic thriller from Tyler Perry, making his first theatrical release for Netflix.

Finally, a non-Atlanta production worthy of note is Weathering With You (January 17 at Atlantic Station), an anime romance about a student who befriends a girl who seems capable of controlling the weather. Weathering, directed by Makoto Shinkai, is from the creators of 2016’s hit Your Name and seems like a comparable anime love story, bound to find a devoted following without crossing over to the U.S. mainstream. —CL—

Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services.

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  string(5524) "Event movies don’t have to involve star wars or superheroes, although those have been some of the most reliable blockbusters in recent years. Sam Mendes’ war film ''1917'', opening in Atlanta on January 10, offers a harrowing, one-of-a-kind spectacle that would be significantly diminished by home viewing.

Mendes, the director of ''Skyfall'', loosely based the film on stories his grandfather told about his service in World War I. The story’s simplicity could suit a video game, as two British corporals (George MacKay and ''Game of Thrones''’s Dean-Charles Chapman), take a dangerous mission to cross potentially hostile territory to deliver a message that could save more than a thousand fellow soldiers.

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Chapman and MacKay capture the mixture of camaraderie, fatalism, and sensible concerns of young, ordinary men under enormous pressure, although the script lacks the complexity of Christopher Nolan’s comparably stressful ''Dunkirk''. 

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''1917''. A-. Stars Dean-Charles Chapman and George MacKay. Directed by Sam Mendes. Rated R. Opens Jan. 10 at area theaters.

__King of All Media:__ January 12 marks the debut of the HBO miniseries “The Outsider,” set and shot in Georgia, which serves as a reminder of the remarkably enduring career of writer Stephen King. With a name often synonymous with the horror genre, the 72-year-old writer is seeing a resurgence in adaptations, from theatrical films to streaming services.

The current wave began with the success of ''It'', saw a recent financial disappointment with ''Doctor Sleep'' (an adaptation of King’s own sequel to ''The Shining'') and includes Hulu’s “Castle Rock,” an uneven but sometimes fun original series that riffs on established King themes and locales.

Adapted by author/screenwriter Richard Price, HBO’s “The Outsider” has a sharply different vibe, and if you didn’t know it was based on a King novel from 2018, you wouldn’t guess based on the first episodes. “The Outsider” depicts detective Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn), who arrests beloved teacher and coach Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman, star of the locally-shot “Ozark”) for the horrific murder of a young boy. Maitland asserts his innocence, but for every piece of evidence that supports his alibi, more puts him at the crime scene. 

The longer the show unfolds, the more likely it seems that something supernatural is at play. For Georgia viewers, “The Outsider” provides the diversion of watching out for local actors and settings, with the first episode giving Claire Bronson a wrenching turn as a mother of the murder victim.

From the outset, “The Outsider” plays less like one of King’s killer-clown thrill-rides, and more like a downbeat law-and-order procedural such as HBO’s “The Night Of,” another project written and produced by Price, who specializes in prestigious crime projects. “The Outsider” can be serious to the point of austerity, and specializes in dim lighting and compositions that put characters deep in the background or half-obstructed. It serves as a reminder of the sheer volume and diversity of King’s work in film and TV. Perhaps his own streaming service isn’t far away.

__Coming Attractions:__ Other high-profile Atlanta productions are coming up this month. The comedy ''Like a Boss'' pairs Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne as small-business partners who sell out to a cosmetics mogul (Salma Hayek) and live to regret it.

''Bad Boys for Life'' (January 17) reunites Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in the third entry of the buddy-cop series, with Belgian directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah taking over from Michael Bay. (Perhaps they’ll try to solve the mystery of why the studio didn’t save the title ''Bad Boys 4 Life'' for the fourth movie.)

And ''A Fall from Grace'' (January 17) offers the latest romantic thriller from Tyler Perry, making his first theatrical release for Netflix.

Finally, a non-Atlanta production worthy of note is ''Weathering With You'' (January 17 at Atlantic Station), an anime romance about a student who befriends a girl who seems capable of controlling the weather. ''Weathering'', directed by Makoto Shinkai, is from the creators of 2016’s hit ''Your Name'' and seems like a comparable anime love story, bound to find a devoted following without crossing over to the U.S. mainstream. __—CL—__

''Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services.''

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  string(5984) " 1917 3 Res Web  2020-01-03T16:05:43+00:00 1917-3_res_web.jpg    screentime World War I film brings combat to life; Stephen King returns to Georgia with “The Outsider” 27179  2020-01-03T16:04:08+00:00 SCREEN TIME: ‘1917’ puts viewers in the trenches jim.harris@creativeloafing.com Jim Harris Curt Holman Curt Holman 2020-01-03T16:04:08+00:00  Event movies don’t have to involve star wars or superheroes, although those have been some of the most reliable blockbusters in recent years. Sam Mendes’ war film 1917, opening in Atlanta on January 10, offers a harrowing, one-of-a-kind spectacle that would be significantly diminished by home viewing.

Mendes, the director of Skyfall, loosely based the film on stories his grandfather told about his service in World War I. The story’s simplicity could suit a video game, as two British corporals (George MacKay and Game of Thrones’s Dean-Charles Chapman), take a dangerous mission to cross potentially hostile territory to deliver a message that could save more than a thousand fellow soldiers.

What could be called the gimmick of the film is that 1917 is presented essentially in real time, in what resembles one continuous shot. The viewer feels very much like a third person following the other two as they make an odyssey from an unspoiled pasture in Northern France to the muddy maze of the British trenches and then out across the hellscape of no man’s land and beyond.

Chapman and MacKay capture the mixture of camaraderie, fatalism, and sensible concerns of young, ordinary men under enormous pressure, although the script lacks the complexity of Christopher Nolan’s comparably stressful Dunkirk. 

But you could say that with 1917, the style is the substance. Acclaimed cinematographer Roger Deakins provides some of his finest work by framing the dangers of frontline combat. 1917 changes the rhythms we’re used to in movies — we quickly realize that if something goes wrong, the perspective won’t cut away, and the viewer is as vulnerable as the characters. One of the best films of the year, 1917 gives the audience the uncanny, breathless feeling that the wartime peril is actually happening to them. You could call it the next-worst thing to being there. 

1917. A-. Stars Dean-Charles Chapman and George MacKay. Directed by Sam Mendes. Rated R. Opens Jan. 10 at area theaters.

King of All Media: January 12 marks the debut of the HBO miniseries “The Outsider,” set and shot in Georgia, which serves as a reminder of the remarkably enduring career of writer Stephen King. With a name often synonymous with the horror genre, the 72-year-old writer is seeing a resurgence in adaptations, from theatrical films to streaming services.

The current wave began with the success of It, saw a recent financial disappointment with Doctor Sleep (an adaptation of King’s own sequel to The Shining) and includes Hulu’s “Castle Rock,” an uneven but sometimes fun original series that riffs on established King themes and locales.

Adapted by author/screenwriter Richard Price, HBO’s “The Outsider” has a sharply different vibe, and if you didn’t know it was based on a King novel from 2018, you wouldn’t guess based on the first episodes. “The Outsider” depicts detective Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn), who arrests beloved teacher and coach Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman, star of the locally-shot “Ozark”) for the horrific murder of a young boy. Maitland asserts his innocence, but for every piece of evidence that supports his alibi, more puts him at the crime scene. 

The longer the show unfolds, the more likely it seems that something supernatural is at play. For Georgia viewers, “The Outsider” provides the diversion of watching out for local actors and settings, with the first episode giving Claire Bronson a wrenching turn as a mother of the murder victim.

From the outset, “The Outsider” plays less like one of King’s killer-clown thrill-rides, and more like a downbeat law-and-order procedural such as HBO’s “The Night Of,” another project written and produced by Price, who specializes in prestigious crime projects. “The Outsider” can be serious to the point of austerity, and specializes in dim lighting and compositions that put characters deep in the background or half-obstructed. It serves as a reminder of the sheer volume and diversity of King’s work in film and TV. Perhaps his own streaming service isn’t far away.

Coming Attractions: Other high-profile Atlanta productions are coming up this month. The comedy Like a Boss pairs Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne as small-business partners who sell out to a cosmetics mogul (Salma Hayek) and live to regret it.

Bad Boys for Life (January 17) reunites Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in the third entry of the buddy-cop series, with Belgian directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah taking over from Michael Bay. (Perhaps they’ll try to solve the mystery of why the studio didn’t save the title Bad Boys 4 Life for the fourth movie.)

And A Fall from Grace (January 17) offers the latest romantic thriller from Tyler Perry, making his first theatrical release for Netflix.

Finally, a non-Atlanta production worthy of note is Weathering With You (January 17 at Atlantic Station), an anime romance about a student who befriends a girl who seems capable of controlling the weather. Weathering, directed by Makoto Shinkai, is from the creators of 2016’s hit Your Name and seems like a comparable anime love story, bound to find a devoted following without crossing over to the U.S. mainstream. —CL—

Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services.

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  string(5512) "Audiences have multiple choices for Christmas movies this Yuletide season, including the rom-com Last Christmas, the slasher remake Black Christmas, and numerous streaming debuts on Netflix, Disney+, and, inescapably, Lifetime. FYI, Lifetime’s Cherished Memories: A Gift to Remember 2, by Atlanta playwright and screenwriter Topher Payne, premiered in November.

Perhaps the most usual and affecting new movie to watch at the holidays has almost no apparent Christmas content at all. The dramedy A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood eschews wrapping-paper color schemes and remixed Christmas carols, but provides a uniquely powerful exploration of such ideas as good will and forgiveness, which often receive little more than lip service in the average holiday movie.

Tom Hanks plays Fred Rogers, the beloved, cardigan-wearing creator of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” The film is no biopic, though, but draws inspiration from the 1998 Esquire magazine profile “Can You Say… Hero?” by journalist Tom Junod (currently a Marietta resident). Matthew Rhys plays Lloyd Vogel, a fictionalized version of Junod who’d rather write a hard-hitting expose than a 400-word puff piece on a saintly children’s TV host.

But Fred Rogers proves more complex than Lloyd expects, less interested in talking about the burden of fame than probing Lloyd’s own personal problems, which include raising a baby son while harboring deep resentments over his deadbeat dad (Chris Cooper). Lloyd and Rogers’ interview scenes unfold like lightly comedic power struggles, with Rogers’ blithe kindness deflecting Lloyd’s confrontational interrogation. It’s initially jarring to hear Hanks speak in Rogers’ trademark lilt, but Hanks’ innate affability perfectly matches Rogers’ gentle spirit.

The screenplay, directed by Marielle Heller, frames the story as an episode of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” with Lloyd, incongruously, as a special focus. Transitions show New York City and Rogers’ Pittsburgh home as miniature models in the style of the show’s opening. Rather than play as ironic comedy, Neighborhood embraces a more bittersweet surrealism, tonally comparable to Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are. Rogers famously avoided talking down to children in exploring how to deal with emotions and occasionally difficult issues such as death and divorce; the film uses vintage videos and an extended dream sequence to apply a similar sensibility to a grown-up audience.

Perhaps Neighborhood spends more time with Lloyd’s family scenes than it really needs, but it earns its moments of catharsis. As Rogers dismantles Lloyd’s cynicism, it doesn’t over-sentimentalize Rogers. He makes time for young fans no matter how much it puts his show behind schedule, to his colleagues’ consternation, and emphasizes that niceness is a practice: Being Mister Rogers is something he loves, but also something he works at.

Late in the film, Lloyd and Rogers share a moment of therapeutic silence that, in its softness and duration, feels boldly different from a conventional Hollywood movie scene. Hanks holds an extended, wordless close-up that would be uncomfortable if the actor weren’t as beatific as Buddha. It’s one of many moments that can bring a viewer up short, to wonder “Why not try and treat other people with more compassion?” A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood can make you reconsider your own behavior, no matter what time of year you see it.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. B+. Stars Matthew Rhys and Tom Hanks. Directed by Marielle Heller. Rated PG-13. Now playing at area theaters.

Coming Attractions: On December 8, the Atlanta Comedy Film Festival at Wild Heaven Beer offers a showcase of short films, television episodes, music videos, and “micro shorts” all meant to make you laugh. facebook.com/AtlantaComedyFilmFestival 

The latest Star Wars film, The Rise of Skywalker, opens December 20 and has not screened at press time. But if you crave a family-friendly sci-fi spectacle that’s closer to home than a galaxy far, far away, local writer Jon Waterhouse has published a story in the 22nd issue of the comic book Star Wars Adventures focusing on the tauntauns — those goatlike alien steeds Luke Skywalker rode in The Empire Strikes Back. Waterhouse will be signing copies of the issue on Thursday, December 12 at Decatur’s Little Shop of Stories.

December 12 will also see a special screening of the 1984 horror comedy Gremlins at the Plaza Theater. Star Zach Galligan is scheduled to be on hand for director Joe Dante’s bratty but beloved film about how a band of little monsters wreak havoc over Christmas at a small town. 

Fans of reality television and unusual documentaries should check out 63 Up when it opens at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema on December 13. The ongoing project began in 1964 when the BBC profiled 14 seven-year-old children, and director Michael Apted revisited them with a new film every seven years since. The ninth episode, 63 Up, finds the subjects in their 60s, measuring their youthful dreams against their middle-aged realities, and offers a one-of-a-kind portrayal of life across half a century.

Finally, if you’re looking for holiday gift ideas with an Atlanta movie fan in mind, consider a T-shirt from the venerable video store Videodrome, which offers three designs at $25 a piece. You can support a landmark of local film culture by both buying one and wearing one. -CL-"
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  string(5648) "Audiences have multiple choices for Christmas movies this Yuletide season, including the rom-com ''Last Christmas'', the slasher remake ''Black Christmas'', and numerous streaming debuts on Netflix, Disney+, and, inescapably, Lifetime. FYI, Lifetime’s ''Cherished Memories: A Gift to Remember 2'', by Atlanta playwright and screenwriter Topher Payne, premiered in November.

Perhaps the most usual and affecting new movie to watch at the holidays has almost no apparent Christmas content at all. The dramedy ''A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood'' eschews wrapping-paper color schemes and remixed Christmas carols, but provides a uniquely powerful exploration of such ideas as good will and forgiveness, which often receive little more than lip service in the average holiday movie.

Tom Hanks plays Fred Rogers, the beloved, cardigan-wearing creator of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” The film is no biopic, though, but draws inspiration from the 1998 ''Esquire'' magazine profile “Can You Say… Hero?” by journalist Tom Junod (currently a Marietta resident). Matthew Rhys plays Lloyd Vogel, a fictionalized version of Junod who’d rather write a hard-hitting expose than a 400-word puff piece on a saintly children’s TV host.

But Fred Rogers proves more complex than Lloyd expects, less interested in talking about the burden of fame than probing Lloyd’s own personal problems, which include raising a baby son while harboring deep resentments over his deadbeat dad (Chris Cooper). Lloyd and Rogers’ interview scenes unfold like lightly comedic power struggles, with Rogers’ blithe kindness deflecting Lloyd’s confrontational interrogation. It’s initially jarring to hear Hanks speak in Rogers’ trademark lilt, but Hanks’ innate affability perfectly matches Rogers’ gentle spirit.

The screenplay, directed by Marielle Heller, frames the story as an episode of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” with Lloyd, incongruously, as a special focus. Transitions show New York City and Rogers’ Pittsburgh home as miniature models in the style of the show’s opening. Rather than play as ironic comedy, ''Neighborhood'' embraces a more bittersweet surrealism, tonally comparable to Spike Jonze’s ''Where the Wild Things Are''. Rogers famously avoided talking down to children in exploring how to deal with emotions and occasionally difficult issues such as death and divorce; the film uses vintage videos and an extended dream sequence to apply a similar sensibility to a grown-up audience.

Perhaps ''Neighborhood'' spends more time with Lloyd’s family scenes than it really needs, but it earns its moments of catharsis. As Rogers dismantles Lloyd’s cynicism, it doesn’t over-sentimentalize Rogers. He makes time for young fans no matter how much it puts his show behind schedule, to his colleagues’ consternation, and emphasizes that niceness is a practice: Being Mister Rogers is something he loves, but also something he works at.

Late in the film, Lloyd and Rogers share a moment of therapeutic silence that, in its softness and duration, feels boldly different from a conventional Hollywood movie scene. Hanks holds an extended, wordless close-up that would be uncomfortable if the actor weren’t as beatific as Buddha. It’s one of many moments that can bring a viewer up short, to wonder “Why ''not'' try and treat other people with more compassion?” ''A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood'' can make you reconsider your own behavior, no matter what time of year you see it.

__''A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood''__. B+. Stars Matthew Rhys and Tom Hanks. Directed by Marielle Heller. Rated PG-13. Now playing at area theaters.

__Coming Attractions:__ On December 8, the Atlanta Comedy Film Festival at Wild Heaven Beer offers a showcase of short films, television episodes, music videos, and “micro shorts” all meant to make you laugh. ''[http://facebook.com/AtlantaComedyFilmFestival|facebook.com/AtlantaComedyFilmFestival]'' 

The latest ''Star Wars'' film, ''The Rise of Skywalker'', opens December 20 and has not screened at press time. But if you crave a family-friendly sci-fi spectacle that’s closer to home than a galaxy far, far away, local writer Jon Waterhouse has published a story in the 22nd issue of the comic book ''Star Wars Adventures'' focusing on the tauntauns — those goatlike alien steeds Luke Skywalker rode in ''The Empire Strikes Back''. Waterhouse will be signing copies of the issue on Thursday, December 12 at Decatur’s Little Shop of Stories.

December 12 will also see a special screening of the 1984 horror comedy ''Gremlins'' at the Plaza Theater. Star Zach Galligan is scheduled to be on hand for director Joe Dante’s bratty but beloved film about how a band of little monsters wreak havoc over Christmas at a small town. 

Fans of reality television and unusual documentaries should check out ''63 Up'' when it opens at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema on December 13. The ongoing project began in 1964 when the BBC profiled 14 seven-year-old children, and director Michael Apted revisited them with a new film every seven years since. The ninth episode, ''63 Up'', finds the subjects in their 60s, measuring their youthful dreams against their middle-aged realities, and offers a one-of-a-kind portrayal of life across half a century.

Finally, if you’re looking for holiday gift ideas with an Atlanta movie fan in mind, consider a T-shirt from the venerable video store Videodrome, which offers three designs at $25 a piece. You can support a landmark of local film culture by both buying one and wearing one. __-CL-__"
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  string(6156) " SCRN Neighborhood2 Web  2019-12-03T22:36:09+00:00 SCRN_neighborhood2_web.jpg    screentime movies film “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” ignores biopic clichés for surprisingly perfect holiday fare 26534  2019-12-03T22:30:46+00:00 SCREEN TIME: Mister Rogers movie offers “Neighborhood” watch jim.harris@creativeloafing.com Jim Harris Curt Holman Curt Holman 2019-12-03T22:30:46+00:00  Audiences have multiple choices for Christmas movies this Yuletide season, including the rom-com Last Christmas, the slasher remake Black Christmas, and numerous streaming debuts on Netflix, Disney+, and, inescapably, Lifetime. FYI, Lifetime’s Cherished Memories: A Gift to Remember 2, by Atlanta playwright and screenwriter Topher Payne, premiered in November.

Perhaps the most usual and affecting new movie to watch at the holidays has almost no apparent Christmas content at all. The dramedy A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood eschews wrapping-paper color schemes and remixed Christmas carols, but provides a uniquely powerful exploration of such ideas as good will and forgiveness, which often receive little more than lip service in the average holiday movie.

Tom Hanks plays Fred Rogers, the beloved, cardigan-wearing creator of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” The film is no biopic, though, but draws inspiration from the 1998 Esquire magazine profile “Can You Say… Hero?” by journalist Tom Junod (currently a Marietta resident). Matthew Rhys plays Lloyd Vogel, a fictionalized version of Junod who’d rather write a hard-hitting expose than a 400-word puff piece on a saintly children’s TV host.

But Fred Rogers proves more complex than Lloyd expects, less interested in talking about the burden of fame than probing Lloyd’s own personal problems, which include raising a baby son while harboring deep resentments over his deadbeat dad (Chris Cooper). Lloyd and Rogers’ interview scenes unfold like lightly comedic power struggles, with Rogers’ blithe kindness deflecting Lloyd’s confrontational interrogation. It’s initially jarring to hear Hanks speak in Rogers’ trademark lilt, but Hanks’ innate affability perfectly matches Rogers’ gentle spirit.

The screenplay, directed by Marielle Heller, frames the story as an episode of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” with Lloyd, incongruously, as a special focus. Transitions show New York City and Rogers’ Pittsburgh home as miniature models in the style of the show’s opening. Rather than play as ironic comedy, Neighborhood embraces a more bittersweet surrealism, tonally comparable to Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are. Rogers famously avoided talking down to children in exploring how to deal with emotions and occasionally difficult issues such as death and divorce; the film uses vintage videos and an extended dream sequence to apply a similar sensibility to a grown-up audience.

Perhaps Neighborhood spends more time with Lloyd’s family scenes than it really needs, but it earns its moments of catharsis. As Rogers dismantles Lloyd’s cynicism, it doesn’t over-sentimentalize Rogers. He makes time for young fans no matter how much it puts his show behind schedule, to his colleagues’ consternation, and emphasizes that niceness is a practice: Being Mister Rogers is something he loves, but also something he works at.

Late in the film, Lloyd and Rogers share a moment of therapeutic silence that, in its softness and duration, feels boldly different from a conventional Hollywood movie scene. Hanks holds an extended, wordless close-up that would be uncomfortable if the actor weren’t as beatific as Buddha. It’s one of many moments that can bring a viewer up short, to wonder “Why not try and treat other people with more compassion?” A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood can make you reconsider your own behavior, no matter what time of year you see it.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. B+. Stars Matthew Rhys and Tom Hanks. Directed by Marielle Heller. Rated PG-13. Now playing at area theaters.

Coming Attractions: On December 8, the Atlanta Comedy Film Festival at Wild Heaven Beer offers a showcase of short films, television episodes, music videos, and “micro shorts” all meant to make you laugh. facebook.com/AtlantaComedyFilmFestival 

The latest Star Wars film, The Rise of Skywalker, opens December 20 and has not screened at press time. But if you crave a family-friendly sci-fi spectacle that’s closer to home than a galaxy far, far away, local writer Jon Waterhouse has published a story in the 22nd issue of the comic book Star Wars Adventures focusing on the tauntauns — those goatlike alien steeds Luke Skywalker rode in The Empire Strikes Back. Waterhouse will be signing copies of the issue on Thursday, December 12 at Decatur’s Little Shop of Stories.

December 12 will also see a special screening of the 1984 horror comedy Gremlins at the Plaza Theater. Star Zach Galligan is scheduled to be on hand for director Joe Dante’s bratty but beloved film about how a band of little monsters wreak havoc over Christmas at a small town. 

Fans of reality television and unusual documentaries should check out 63 Up when it opens at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema on December 13. The ongoing project began in 1964 when the BBC profiled 14 seven-year-old children, and director Michael Apted revisited them with a new film every seven years since. The ninth episode, 63 Up, finds the subjects in their 60s, measuring their youthful dreams against their middle-aged realities, and offers a one-of-a-kind portrayal of life across half a century.

Finally, if you’re looking for holiday gift ideas with an Atlanta movie fan in mind, consider a T-shirt from the venerable video store Videodrome, which offers three designs at $25 a piece. You can support a landmark of local film culture by both buying one and wearing one. -CL-    Courtesy of Sony Pictures HI, NEIGHBOR: Matthew Rhys (left) and Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.  0,0,10    screentime movies film                             SCREEN TIME: Mister Rogers movie offers “Neighborhood” watch "
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Tuesday December 3, 2019 05:30 pm EST
“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” ignores biopic clichés for surprisingly perfect holiday fare | more...
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  string(63) "Atlanta’s 32nd annual LGBTQ event presents films with urgency"
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  string(6486) "Ever since its founding in 1987, the Out on Film Festival has presented LGBTQ-themed documentaries and narrative films that speak with urgency to the United States’ ongoing cultural conversation. Opening September 26, the 2019 festival presents 126 shorts, web series and feature films that include lighthearted comedies, but many of the films address issues of sexuality, gender identity, and human rights with passion and relevance.

Two of the 2019 festival’s highest-profile documentaries directly address the current political climate, but from different angles. The opening night film For They Know Not What They Do uses the evangelical, conservative backlash against the legalization of gay marriage to profile four Christian families with LGBTQ children. One evangelical Christian couple speak wrenchingly of their gay son and how failed conversion therapy had disastrous consequences.

Three of the four family stories prove particularly compelling, drawing on issues of drug addiction, terminal illness, and, unexpectedly, the 2016 massacre at the Pulse night club in Orlando. Director Daniel Karslake enfolds such additional topics as various “religious freedom bills” introduced in recent years to make anti-gay and trans bigotry legal. For They Know Not What They Do doesn’t quite have time to do justice to some of its topics — it feels like a four-hour miniseries compressed into 90 minutes — but it’s a film of enormous power.

Gay Chorus Deep South also uses the 2016 election as a jumping-off point by documenting a performance tour of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus of the red-state South. The stakes are high politically and personally — many of the interviewees, such as conductor and artistic director Timothy Seelig, had nightmarish experiences coming out in Southern religious communities

The tone tends to be one of hope and reconciliation, with the chorus members having far more positive encounters than they expect. A local activist suggests, in the most polite way possible, that the “big city” tour may be unintentionally condescending to the gay people in small Southern communities. A drag queen’s Patsy Cline number even adds a note of broad comedy to the film’s choral performances, which are uniformly uplifting and sincere. (The Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus and Women’s Chorus will perform before the September 29 screening.)

As the title Saint Frances suggests, Christianity plays a major role in Alex Thompson’s bittersweet dramedy. Winner of the Audience Award at the South by Southwest Film Festival, Saint Frances follows a 34-year-old underachiever (Kelly O’Sullivan) dealing with the emotional and physical aftermath of a recent abortion who takes a nannying job for a devoutly Christian lesbian couple. Thompson and her cast explore some knotty issues, including post-partum depression, abortion rights, and religious faith, with wit and insight. Plus, young Ramona Edith-Williams gives a grounded performance as a precocious six-year-old who never gets too cute.

It would be nice to say the same of Hannah Pearl Utt’s Before You Know It, but the likable comedy plays it a little too cute in its portrayal of two sisters (Utt and co-writer Jen Tullock) dealing with their playwright father’s (Mandy Patinkin) failing theater. A family tragedy reveals that the mother they never knew (Judith Light) is very much alive and starring in a long-running soap opera. Before You Know It feels cut from similar cloth as the Manhattan romantic comedies Woody Allen used to make, with charismatic performances from Light and Patinkin as well as a lighthearted turn from “Luke Cage”’s Mike Colter. Some of the comedy feels a bit contrived, and Utt underplays her character to a fault, but the film’s sincerity can’t be questioned and leaves the viewer interested in the filmmaker’s next work.

The festival closes October 6 with HAM: A Musical Memoir, a recording of a one-man musical by “Star Search’s” Sam Harris. The October 1 Centerpiece Screening may be Out on Film’s most highly touted movie, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, which won the Best Screenplay Award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and makes its Southeastern premiere. Like most of the festival’s line-up, it suggests that even a French historical drama set in 1770 can directly reflect today’s headlines.

Out on Film Festival. Sept. 26-Oct. 6, Landmark Midtown Art Cinema, Out Front Theatre, and the Plaza Atlanta. Check outonfilm.org for program information.

Space Force: I saw the epic space drama Ad Astra at Parkway Pointe’s AMC Dolby Cinema, which unquestionably kicked the experience up a notch. The presentation includes top-notch sound and projection along with vibrating seats during key action scenes. The shaky seats don’t really add that much — in my experience, they’re more intense during the pre-movie showcase than the films themselves — but Ad Astra deserves better than the dim projection sometimes offered by local film chains. In a screening with sharp, clear resolution, scenes on the surface of the moon, for instance, are the next best thing to being there.

Ad Astra suggests Apocalypse Now transported to our solar system, swapping the madness of the Vietnam War for the inhospitable emptiness of outer space. Brad Pitt plays an astronaut emulating the career of his long-lost father (Tommy Lee Jones), whom he learns may be alive and in Neptune’s orbit. While grappling with his daddy issues, Pitt’s character delivers frequent psychological self-assessments that play almost like theatrical monologues.

The title is Latin for “to the stars,” signaling that director James Gray isn’t afraid of seeming self-important. Fortunately, the film’s deliberate pace and contemplative tone are interrupted fairly regularly by wild, outlandish action sequences — it seems equally influenced by the high tension of Gravity and the heady themes of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Ad Astra has big ambitions but also leaves room for, say, a moon buggy chase scene and shoot-out that still feels consistent with its story.

Some of the recent, thoughtful science fiction films like Blade Runner 2049 have been given cold shoulders by audiences, so don’t let Ad Astra slip away. But be sure to spring for the deluxe presentation. It’s worth it.

Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services."
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  string(6570) "Ever since its founding in 1987, the Out on Film Festival has presented LGBTQ-themed documentaries and narrative films that speak with urgency to the United States’ ongoing cultural conversation. Opening September 26, the 2019 festival presents 126 shorts, web series and feature films that include lighthearted comedies, but many of the films address issues of sexuality, gender identity, and human rights with passion and relevance.

Two of the 2019 festival’s highest-profile documentaries directly address the current political climate, but from different angles. The opening night film ''For They Know Not What They Do'' uses the evangelical, conservative backlash against the legalization of gay marriage to profile four Christian families with LGBTQ children. One evangelical Christian couple speak wrenchingly of their gay son and how failed conversion therapy had disastrous consequences.

Three of the four family stories prove particularly compelling, drawing on issues of drug addiction, terminal illness, and, unexpectedly, the 2016 massacre at the Pulse night club in Orlando. Director Daniel Karslake enfolds such additional topics as various “religious freedom bills” introduced in recent years to make anti-gay and trans bigotry legal. ''For They Know Not What They Do'' doesn’t quite have time to do justice to some of its topics — it feels like a four-hour miniseries compressed into 90 minutes — but it’s a film of enormous power.

''Gay Chorus Deep South'' also uses the 2016 election as a jumping-off point by documenting a performance tour of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus of the red-state South. The stakes are high politically and personally — many of the interviewees, such as conductor and artistic director Timothy Seelig, had nightmarish experiences coming out in Southern religious communities

The tone tends to be one of hope and reconciliation, with the chorus members having far more positive encounters than they expect. A local activist suggests, in the most polite way possible, that the “big city” tour may be unintentionally condescending to the gay people in small Southern communities. A drag queen’s Patsy Cline number even adds a note of broad comedy to the film’s choral performances, which are uniformly uplifting and sincere. (The Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus and Women’s Chorus will perform before the September 29 screening.)

As the title ''Saint Frances'' suggests, Christianity plays a major role in Alex Thompson’s bittersweet dramedy. Winner of the Audience Award at the South by Southwest Film Festival, ''Saint Frances'' follows a 34-year-old underachiever (Kelly O’Sullivan) dealing with the emotional and physical aftermath of a recent abortion who takes a nannying job for a devoutly Christian lesbian couple. Thompson and her cast explore some knotty issues, including post-partum depression, abortion rights, and religious faith, with wit and insight. Plus, young Ramona Edith-Williams gives a grounded performance as a precocious six-year-old who never gets too cute.

It would be nice to say the same of Hannah Pearl Utt’s ''Before You Know It'', but the likable comedy plays it a little too cute in its portrayal of two sisters (Utt and co-writer Jen Tullock) dealing with their playwright father’s (Mandy Patinkin) failing theater. A family tragedy reveals that the mother they never knew (Judith Light) is very much alive and starring in a long-running soap opera. ''Before You Know It'' feels cut from similar cloth as the Manhattan romantic comedies Woody Allen used to make, with charismatic performances from Light and Patinkin as well as a lighthearted turn from “Luke Cage”’s Mike Colter. Some of the comedy feels a bit contrived, and Utt underplays her character to a fault, but the film’s sincerity can’t be questioned and leaves the viewer interested in the filmmaker’s next work.

The festival closes October 6 with ''HAM: A Musical Memoir'', a recording of a one-man musical by “Star Search’s” Sam Harris. The October 1 Centerpiece Screening may be Out on Film’s most highly touted movie, ''Portrait of a Lady on Fire'', which won the Best Screenplay Award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and makes its Southeastern premiere. Like most of the festival’s line-up, it suggests that even a French historical drama set in 1770 can directly reflect today’s headlines.

''Out on Film Festival. Sept. 26-Oct. 6, Landmark Midtown Art Cinema, Out Front Theatre, and the Plaza Atlanta. Check outonfilm.org for program information.''

__Space Force:__ I saw the epic space drama ''Ad Astra'' at Parkway Pointe’s AMC Dolby Cinema, which unquestionably kicked the experience up a notch. The presentation includes top-notch sound and projection along with vibrating seats during key action scenes. The shaky seats don’t really add that much — in my experience, they’re more intense during the pre-movie showcase than the films themselves — but ''Ad Astra'' deserves better than the dim projection sometimes offered by local film chains. In a screening with sharp, clear resolution, scenes on the surface of the moon, for instance, are the next best thing to being there.

''Ad Astra'' suggests ''Apocalypse Now'' transported to our solar system, swapping the madness of the Vietnam War for the inhospitable emptiness of outer space. Brad Pitt plays an astronaut emulating the career of his long-lost father (Tommy Lee Jones), whom he learns may be alive and in Neptune’s orbit. While grappling with his daddy issues, Pitt’s character delivers frequent psychological self-assessments that play almost like theatrical monologues.

The title is Latin for “to the stars,” signaling that director James Gray isn’t afraid of seeming self-important. Fortunately, the film’s deliberate pace and contemplative tone are interrupted fairly regularly by wild, outlandish action sequences — it seems equally influenced by the high tension of ''Gravity'' and the heady themes of ''2001: A Space Odyssey''. ''Ad Astra'' has big ambitions but also leaves room for, say, a moon buggy chase scene and shoot-out that still feels consistent with its story.

Some of the recent, thoughtful science fiction films like ''Blade Runner 2049'' have been given cold shoulders by audiences, so don’t let ''Ad Astra'' slip away. But be sure to spring for the deluxe presentation. It’s worth it.

''Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services.''"
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  string(7033) " Gaychorusdeepsouth Bridge Resized  2019-09-25T15:29:26+00:00 gaychorusdeepsouth_bridge_resized.jpg     Atlanta’s 32nd annual LGBTQ event presents films with urgency 23853  2019-09-25T15:25:58+00:00 SCREEN TIME: Out on Film Festival captures the culture jim.harris@creativeloafing.com Jim Harris Curt Holman Curt Holman 2019-09-25T15:25:58+00:00  Ever since its founding in 1987, the Out on Film Festival has presented LGBTQ-themed documentaries and narrative films that speak with urgency to the United States’ ongoing cultural conversation. Opening September 26, the 2019 festival presents 126 shorts, web series and feature films that include lighthearted comedies, but many of the films address issues of sexuality, gender identity, and human rights with passion and relevance.

Two of the 2019 festival’s highest-profile documentaries directly address the current political climate, but from different angles. The opening night film For They Know Not What They Do uses the evangelical, conservative backlash against the legalization of gay marriage to profile four Christian families with LGBTQ children. One evangelical Christian couple speak wrenchingly of their gay son and how failed conversion therapy had disastrous consequences.

Three of the four family stories prove particularly compelling, drawing on issues of drug addiction, terminal illness, and, unexpectedly, the 2016 massacre at the Pulse night club in Orlando. Director Daniel Karslake enfolds such additional topics as various “religious freedom bills” introduced in recent years to make anti-gay and trans bigotry legal. For They Know Not What They Do doesn’t quite have time to do justice to some of its topics — it feels like a four-hour miniseries compressed into 90 minutes — but it’s a film of enormous power.

Gay Chorus Deep South also uses the 2016 election as a jumping-off point by documenting a performance tour of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus of the red-state South. The stakes are high politically and personally — many of the interviewees, such as conductor and artistic director Timothy Seelig, had nightmarish experiences coming out in Southern religious communities

The tone tends to be one of hope and reconciliation, with the chorus members having far more positive encounters than they expect. A local activist suggests, in the most polite way possible, that the “big city” tour may be unintentionally condescending to the gay people in small Southern communities. A drag queen’s Patsy Cline number even adds a note of broad comedy to the film’s choral performances, which are uniformly uplifting and sincere. (The Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus and Women’s Chorus will perform before the September 29 screening.)

As the title Saint Frances suggests, Christianity plays a major role in Alex Thompson’s bittersweet dramedy. Winner of the Audience Award at the South by Southwest Film Festival, Saint Frances follows a 34-year-old underachiever (Kelly O’Sullivan) dealing with the emotional and physical aftermath of a recent abortion who takes a nannying job for a devoutly Christian lesbian couple. Thompson and her cast explore some knotty issues, including post-partum depression, abortion rights, and religious faith, with wit and insight. Plus, young Ramona Edith-Williams gives a grounded performance as a precocious six-year-old who never gets too cute.

It would be nice to say the same of Hannah Pearl Utt’s Before You Know It, but the likable comedy plays it a little too cute in its portrayal of two sisters (Utt and co-writer Jen Tullock) dealing with their playwright father’s (Mandy Patinkin) failing theater. A family tragedy reveals that the mother they never knew (Judith Light) is very much alive and starring in a long-running soap opera. Before You Know It feels cut from similar cloth as the Manhattan romantic comedies Woody Allen used to make, with charismatic performances from Light and Patinkin as well as a lighthearted turn from “Luke Cage”’s Mike Colter. Some of the comedy feels a bit contrived, and Utt underplays her character to a fault, but the film’s sincerity can’t be questioned and leaves the viewer interested in the filmmaker’s next work.

The festival closes October 6 with HAM: A Musical Memoir, a recording of a one-man musical by “Star Search’s” Sam Harris. The October 1 Centerpiece Screening may be Out on Film’s most highly touted movie, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, which won the Best Screenplay Award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and makes its Southeastern premiere. Like most of the festival’s line-up, it suggests that even a French historical drama set in 1770 can directly reflect today’s headlines.

Out on Film Festival. Sept. 26-Oct. 6, Landmark Midtown Art Cinema, Out Front Theatre, and the Plaza Atlanta. Check outonfilm.org for program information.

Space Force: I saw the epic space drama Ad Astra at Parkway Pointe’s AMC Dolby Cinema, which unquestionably kicked the experience up a notch. The presentation includes top-notch sound and projection along with vibrating seats during key action scenes. The shaky seats don’t really add that much — in my experience, they’re more intense during the pre-movie showcase than the films themselves — but Ad Astra deserves better than the dim projection sometimes offered by local film chains. In a screening with sharp, clear resolution, scenes on the surface of the moon, for instance, are the next best thing to being there.

Ad Astra suggests Apocalypse Now transported to our solar system, swapping the madness of the Vietnam War for the inhospitable emptiness of outer space. Brad Pitt plays an astronaut emulating the career of his long-lost father (Tommy Lee Jones), whom he learns may be alive and in Neptune’s orbit. While grappling with his daddy issues, Pitt’s character delivers frequent psychological self-assessments that play almost like theatrical monologues.

The title is Latin for “to the stars,” signaling that director James Gray isn’t afraid of seeming self-important. Fortunately, the film’s deliberate pace and contemplative tone are interrupted fairly regularly by wild, outlandish action sequences — it seems equally influenced by the high tension of Gravity and the heady themes of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Ad Astra has big ambitions but also leaves room for, say, a moon buggy chase scene and shoot-out that still feels consistent with its story.

Some of the recent, thoughtful science fiction films like Blade Runner 2049 have been given cold shoulders by audiences, so don’t let Ad Astra slip away. But be sure to spring for the deluxe presentation. It’s worth it.

Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services.    Courtesy of Out on Film Festival WE SHALL OVERCOME: A scene from Gay Chorus Deep South in Selma, AL  0,0,1                                 SCREEN TIME: Out on Film Festival captures the culture "
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Atlanta’s 32nd annual LGBTQ event presents films with urgency | more...
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  string(6161) "The forecast for the month of August and the rest of autumn will be a mix of local film events that often spotlight Georgia artists as well as the now-familiar slate of Hollywood films shot in and around Atlanta.

Gilda Sue Rosenstern: The Motion Picture! Atlanta actor/filmmaker Kelly O’Neal directs, writes, and stars in this comedy about a half-Jewish Southern belle who must change her lifestyle when her father stops paying her bills. Funded partially through Kickstarter and making its Atlanta debut, the cast includes the late musician Col. Bruce Hampton. (6:30 p.m., Aug. 12 at The Springs Cinema and Taphouse.)

Atlanta Underground Film Festival. Founded in 2004, this annual event recognizes independent features and short films from around the world. Productions with Georgia connections include the shorts “Encounters,” “Peggy” and “Molly” as well as the feature Pageant Material, Jonothon Mitchell’s riff on “Cinderella” about a gay teenager in a small town who dreams of competing in a teen drag pageant in Atlanta. (Aug. 15-18, Synchronicity Theater, auff.org)

Bronzelens Film Festival. The 10th annual celebration of independent films and industry professionals of color presents nearly 100 documentary and narrative features and shorts, with Georgia-based productions including Mackleen Desravines’ legal drama Smoke, Ruckus Skye’s rural thriller Reckoning, and Jodi Gomes’ documentary One Child Left Behind: The Untold Atlanta Cheating Scandal (Aug. 21-25, Hyatt Regency Atlanta and other venues, bronzelens.com)

Dragon Con Independent Film Festival.  Part of Labor Day Weekend’s sprawling pop culture convention, this mix of panels, screenings, and other activities showcases live-action and animated shorts and features from outside the mainstream. (Aug. 29-Sept. 2, within Dragon Con at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, www.dragoncon.org)

SCAD AnimationFest For its third year, SCAD Atlanta programs a weekend of panels and screenings devoted to the art of animation in TV and film. (Sept. 26-28, location TBD, scad.edu/scadfilm) Dates at https://www.scad.edu/scadfilm/festivals

Volcanoes: The Fires of Creation 3D. The IMAX theater at Fernbank Museum of Natural History heats up with this big-screen spectacle about volcanoes and their role in both destruction and creation. (Fall, TBA, Fernbank Museum of Natural History, fernbankmuseum.org)

Out on Film Festival. One of the city’s major film events, the annual LGBTQ film festival celebrates its 32nd year with  another lineup of narrative and nonfiction films, including the documentaries Holly Near: Singing for Our Lives, Unsettled: Seeking Refuge in America, and Gay Chorus Deep South, a documentary in which more than 300 singers from the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus tour the Southern states following the 2016 presidential election, with a pre-screening performance by the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus. (Sept. 26-Oct. 6, Landmark Midtown Art Cinema, Out Front Theatre, and the Plaza Atlanta, outonfilm.org)

Atlanta DocuFest The event focuses on independent nonfiction shorts and feature-length films from around the world. (Nov. 7-10, Synchronicity Theatre, docufest.com)

Of the “Y’allywood” film and television productions shot locally, two speak directly to recent Atlanta history. On August 16, Netflix drops the second season of “Mindhunter,” an impeccable period drama about FBI agents studying and pursuing serial killers. The second season includes the notorious Atlanta Child Murders of 1979-1981, and it’ll be interesting to see its perspective on the controversial issue of Wayne Williams’ guilt.

The drama film Richard Jewell casts actor/comedian Paul Walter Hauser as the security guard who became a suspect and was then exonerated in the Centennial Park bombing at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. It began filming in Atlanta in June, which would normally be too late for release by the end of the same year, but director Clint Eastwood makes a specialty of quick shoots and rapid turnaround times. Last year’s The Mule began shooting locally in June of 2018 and had Oscar-contention screenings by December, so don’t be surprised if Richard Jewell has a similar schedule.

Here are some other high-profile Georgia shoots — enjoy them now in case Hollywood moves elsewhere following the state’s anti-abortion policies:

Gemini Man (Oct. 11) Oscar-winning director Ang Lee uses CGI to cast Will Smith opposite his younger self in this sci-fi thriller in which an aging hitman discovers he has a clone.

Zombieland: Double Tap (Oct. 11) Before “The Walking Dead,” the 2009 post-apocalyptic horror-comedy Zombieland brought the undead to Georgia. The sequel reunites stars Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg, and Abigail Breslin.

Doctor Sleep (Nov. 8) More than 30 years after writing The Shining, Stephen King penned a sequel, with the film adaptation casting Ewan McGregor as Dan Torrance, whose psychic powers helped him survive the malevolent Overlook Hotel as a boy. Director Mike Flanagan specializes in literate horror tales, having filmed Netflix’s “The Haunting of Hill House” also around Atlanta.

Buried Alive Film Festival The 14th annual independent horror film festival delves into the depth and breadth of today’s scary movies. (Nov. 13-17, 7 Stages Theatre, docufest.com)

Jumanji: The Next Level (Dec. 13). Dwayne Johnson stars in two this jungle-themed, family-friendly adventure yarn filmed partially in Atlanta, offering a sequel to the hit Jumanji reboot, adding Danny DeVito and Danny Glover to the videogame-style hijinks.

“Watchmen” (Fall, TBA) Damon Lindelof, one of the masterminds behind “Lost” and “The Leftovers,” takes on one of the 20th century’s most acclaimed graphic novels. Unlike Zack Snyder’s faithful movie adaptation of 2009, this HBO series riffs on the book’s themes of the dark side of a world with superheroes, and features Jeremy Irons, Regina King, Tim Blake Nelson, and Don Johnson.

Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services."
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  string(6305) "The forecast for the month of August and the rest of autumn will be a mix of local film events that often spotlight Georgia artists as well as the now-familiar slate of Hollywood films shot in and around Atlanta.

__''Gilda Sue Rosenstern: The Motion Picture!''__ Atlanta actor/filmmaker Kelly O’Neal directs, writes, and stars in this comedy about a half-Jewish Southern belle who must change her lifestyle when her father stops paying her bills. Funded partially through Kickstarter and making its Atlanta debut, the cast includes the late musician Col. Bruce Hampton. (6:30 p.m., Aug. 12 at The Springs Cinema and Taphouse.)

__Atlanta Underground Film Festival__. Founded in 2004, this annual event recognizes independent features and short films from around the world. Productions with Georgia connections include the shorts “Encounters,” “Peggy” and “Molly” as well as the feature ''Pageant Material'', Jonothon Mitchell’s riff on “Cinderella” about a gay teenager in a small town who dreams of competing in a teen drag pageant in Atlanta. (Aug. 15-18, Synchronicity Theater, auff.org)

__Bronzelens Film Festival__. The 10th annual celebration of independent films and industry professionals of color presents nearly 100 documentary and narrative features and shorts, with Georgia-based productions including Mackleen Desravines’ legal drama ''Smoke'', Ruckus Skye’s rural thriller ''Reckoning'', and Jodi Gomes’ documentary ''One Child Left Behind: The Untold Atlanta Cheating Scandal'' (Aug. 21-25, Hyatt Regency Atlanta and other venues, bronzelens.com)

__Dragon Con Independent Film Festiva__l.  Part of Labor Day Weekend’s sprawling pop culture convention, this mix of panels, screenings, and other activities showcases live-action and animated shorts and features from outside the mainstream. (Aug. 29-Sept. 2, within Dragon Con at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, www.dragoncon.org)

__SCAD AnimationFest__ For its third year, SCAD Atlanta programs a weekend of panels and screenings devoted to the art of animation in TV and film. (Sept. 26-28, location TBD, scad.edu/scadfilm) Dates at https://www.scad.edu/scadfilm/festivals

__''Volcanoes: The Fires of Creation 3D''__. The IMAX theater at Fernbank Museum of Natural History heats up with this big-screen spectacle about volcanoes and their role in both destruction and creation. (Fall, TBA, Fernbank Museum of Natural History, fernbankmuseum.org)

__Out on Film Festival__. One of the city’s major film events, the annual LGBTQ film festival celebrates its 32nd year with  another lineup of narrative and nonfiction films, including the documentaries ''Holly Near: Singing for Our Lives'', ''Unsettled: Seeking Refuge in America'', and ''Gay Chorus Deep South'', a documentary in which more than 300 singers from the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus tour the Southern states following the 2016 presidential election, with a pre-screening performance by the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus. (Sept. 26-Oct. 6, Landmark Midtown Art Cinema, Out Front Theatre, and the Plaza Atlanta, outonfilm.org)

__Atlanta DocuFes__t The event focuses on independent nonfiction shorts and feature-length films from around the world. (Nov. 7-10, Synchronicity Theatre, docufest.com)

Of the “Y’allywood” film and television productions shot locally, two speak directly to recent Atlanta history. On August 16, Netflix drops the second season of “Mindhunter,” an impeccable period drama about FBI agents studying and pursuing serial killers. The second season includes the notorious Atlanta Child Murders of 1979-1981, and it’ll be interesting to see its perspective on the controversial issue of Wayne Williams’ guilt.

The drama film __''Richard Jewell''__ casts actor/comedian Paul Walter Hauser as the security guard who became a suspect and was then exonerated in the Centennial Park bombing at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. It began filming in Atlanta in June, which would normally be too late for release by the end of the same year, but director Clint Eastwood makes a specialty of quick shoots and rapid turnaround times. Last year’s ''The Mule'' began shooting locally in June of 2018 and had Oscar-contention screenings by December, so don’t be surprised if ''Richard Jewell'' has a similar schedule.

Here are some other high-profile Georgia shoots — enjoy them now in case Hollywood moves elsewhere following the state’s anti-abortion policies:

__''Gemini Man''__ (Oct. 11) Oscar-winning director Ang Lee uses CGI to cast Will Smith opposite his younger self in this sci-fi thriller in which an aging hitman discovers he has a clone.

__''Zombieland: Double Tap''__ (Oct. 11) Before “The Walking Dead,” the 2009 post-apocalyptic horror-comedy ''Zombieland'' brought the undead to Georgia. The sequel reunites stars Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg, and Abigail Breslin.

__''Doctor Sleep''__ (Nov. 8) More than 30 years after writing ''The Shining'', Stephen King penned a sequel, with the film adaptation casting Ewan McGregor as Dan Torrance, whose psychic powers helped him survive the malevolent Overlook Hotel as a boy. Director Mike Flanagan specializes in literate horror tales, having filmed Netflix’s “The Haunting of Hill House” also around Atlanta.

__Buried Alive Film Festival__ The 14th annual independent horror film festival delves into the depth and breadth of today’s scary movies. (Nov. 13-17, 7 Stages Theatre, docufest.com)

__''Jumanji: The Next Level''__ (Dec. 13). Dwayne Johnson stars in two this jungle-themed, family-friendly adventure yarn filmed partially in Atlanta, offering a sequel to the hit ''Jumanji'' reboot, adding Danny DeVito and Danny Glover to the videogame-style hijinks.

__''“Watchmen”''__ (Fall, TBA) Damon Lindelof, one of the masterminds behind “Lost” and “The Leftovers,” takes on one of the 20th century’s most acclaimed graphic novels. Unlike Zack Snyder’s faithful movie adaptation of 2009, this HBO series riffs on the book’s themes of the dark side of a world with superheroes, and features Jeremy Irons, Regina King, Tim Blake Nelson, and Don Johnson.

''Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services.''"
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  string(6735) " Film01 Screen Time1 1  2019-08-01T21:05:21+00:00 film01 Screen Time1_1.jpg    screentime movies The season gets cool with local film productions, festivals, and more 21454  2019-08-01T21:02:55+00:00 SCREEN TIME: Atlanta’s Fall Film Events jim.harris@creativeloafing.com Jim Harris Curt Holman  2019-08-01T21:02:55+00:00  The forecast for the month of August and the rest of autumn will be a mix of local film events that often spotlight Georgia artists as well as the now-familiar slate of Hollywood films shot in and around Atlanta.

Gilda Sue Rosenstern: The Motion Picture! Atlanta actor/filmmaker Kelly O’Neal directs, writes, and stars in this comedy about a half-Jewish Southern belle who must change her lifestyle when her father stops paying her bills. Funded partially through Kickstarter and making its Atlanta debut, the cast includes the late musician Col. Bruce Hampton. (6:30 p.m., Aug. 12 at The Springs Cinema and Taphouse.)

Atlanta Underground Film Festival. Founded in 2004, this annual event recognizes independent features and short films from around the world. Productions with Georgia connections include the shorts “Encounters,” “Peggy” and “Molly” as well as the feature Pageant Material, Jonothon Mitchell’s riff on “Cinderella” about a gay teenager in a small town who dreams of competing in a teen drag pageant in Atlanta. (Aug. 15-18, Synchronicity Theater, auff.org)

Bronzelens Film Festival. The 10th annual celebration of independent films and industry professionals of color presents nearly 100 documentary and narrative features and shorts, with Georgia-based productions including Mackleen Desravines’ legal drama Smoke, Ruckus Skye’s rural thriller Reckoning, and Jodi Gomes’ documentary One Child Left Behind: The Untold Atlanta Cheating Scandal (Aug. 21-25, Hyatt Regency Atlanta and other venues, bronzelens.com)

Dragon Con Independent Film Festival.  Part of Labor Day Weekend’s sprawling pop culture convention, this mix of panels, screenings, and other activities showcases live-action and animated shorts and features from outside the mainstream. (Aug. 29-Sept. 2, within Dragon Con at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, www.dragoncon.org)

SCAD AnimationFest For its third year, SCAD Atlanta programs a weekend of panels and screenings devoted to the art of animation in TV and film. (Sept. 26-28, location TBD, scad.edu/scadfilm) Dates at https://www.scad.edu/scadfilm/festivals

Volcanoes: The Fires of Creation 3D. The IMAX theater at Fernbank Museum of Natural History heats up with this big-screen spectacle about volcanoes and their role in both destruction and creation. (Fall, TBA, Fernbank Museum of Natural History, fernbankmuseum.org)

Out on Film Festival. One of the city’s major film events, the annual LGBTQ film festival celebrates its 32nd year with  another lineup of narrative and nonfiction films, including the documentaries Holly Near: Singing for Our Lives, Unsettled: Seeking Refuge in America, and Gay Chorus Deep South, a documentary in which more than 300 singers from the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus tour the Southern states following the 2016 presidential election, with a pre-screening performance by the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus. (Sept. 26-Oct. 6, Landmark Midtown Art Cinema, Out Front Theatre, and the Plaza Atlanta, outonfilm.org)

Atlanta DocuFest The event focuses on independent nonfiction shorts and feature-length films from around the world. (Nov. 7-10, Synchronicity Theatre, docufest.com)

Of the “Y’allywood” film and television productions shot locally, two speak directly to recent Atlanta history. On August 16, Netflix drops the second season of “Mindhunter,” an impeccable period drama about FBI agents studying and pursuing serial killers. The second season includes the notorious Atlanta Child Murders of 1979-1981, and it’ll be interesting to see its perspective on the controversial issue of Wayne Williams’ guilt.

The drama film Richard Jewell casts actor/comedian Paul Walter Hauser as the security guard who became a suspect and was then exonerated in the Centennial Park bombing at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. It began filming in Atlanta in June, which would normally be too late for release by the end of the same year, but director Clint Eastwood makes a specialty of quick shoots and rapid turnaround times. Last year’s The Mule began shooting locally in June of 2018 and had Oscar-contention screenings by December, so don’t be surprised if Richard Jewell has a similar schedule.

Here are some other high-profile Georgia shoots — enjoy them now in case Hollywood moves elsewhere following the state’s anti-abortion policies:

Gemini Man (Oct. 11) Oscar-winning director Ang Lee uses CGI to cast Will Smith opposite his younger self in this sci-fi thriller in which an aging hitman discovers he has a clone.

Zombieland: Double Tap (Oct. 11) Before “The Walking Dead,” the 2009 post-apocalyptic horror-comedy Zombieland brought the undead to Georgia. The sequel reunites stars Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg, and Abigail Breslin.

Doctor Sleep (Nov. 8) More than 30 years after writing The Shining, Stephen King penned a sequel, with the film adaptation casting Ewan McGregor as Dan Torrance, whose psychic powers helped him survive the malevolent Overlook Hotel as a boy. Director Mike Flanagan specializes in literate horror tales, having filmed Netflix’s “The Haunting of Hill House” also around Atlanta.

Buried Alive Film Festival The 14th annual independent horror film festival delves into the depth and breadth of today’s scary movies. (Nov. 13-17, 7 Stages Theatre, docufest.com)

Jumanji: The Next Level (Dec. 13). Dwayne Johnson stars in two this jungle-themed, family-friendly adventure yarn filmed partially in Atlanta, offering a sequel to the hit Jumanji reboot, adding Danny DeVito and Danny Glover to the videogame-style hijinks.

“Watchmen” (Fall, TBA) Damon Lindelof, one of the masterminds behind “Lost” and “The Leftovers,” takes on one of the 20th century’s most acclaimed graphic novels. Unlike Zack Snyder’s faithful movie adaptation of 2009, this HBO series riffs on the book’s themes of the dark side of a world with superheroes, and features Jeremy Irons, Regina King, Tim Blake Nelson, and Don Johnson.

Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services.    Bronzelens Film Festival SAD, BUT TRUE: The poster for One Child Left Behind: The Untold Atlanta Cheating Scandal at the Bronzelens Film Festival.  0,0,10    screentime movies                             SCREEN TIME: Atlanta’s Fall Film Events "
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Thursday August 1, 2019 05:02 pm EDT
The season gets cool with local film productions, festivals, and more | more...
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  string(73) "SCREEN TIME: Atlanta Shortsfest showcases new wave of movies in miniature"
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  string(6230) "Something was missing when Toy Story 4 opened to wide acclaim on June 21. The latest witty adventure of Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and company marked Pixar Studios’ first release in more than two decades with no animated short preceding it.
Pixar’s shorts have been more than just a charming throwback to the era when cartoons, newsreels, and short features were part of the moviegoing experience. In the mid-1990s, they were probably the most prominent example of new short films as an art form. Two decades later, in a media landscape shaped by YouTube and viral videos, shorts see a lot more love.
Locally, the annual short film festival Atlanta Shortsfest showcases movies of under 45 minutes. “Atlanta Shortsfest typically screens right under 100 films per year, and this is our 10th season,” says founder Eric Panter. “Each year, around 20 percent of the films screened are Georgia-based filmmakers.”
For 2019, out of nearly 1000 entries, the festival will screen about 90 works, 15 from Georgia, from July 11-13. Part of the Atlanta Film Series, a four-month showcase of small film events that includes Atlanta DocuFest, Atlanta Underground Film Festival, and Atlanta Horror Film Festival, Shortsfest gives awards for documentary, animated, local, LGBTQ, and many more categories, including best director, actor, and actress.
The festival screens the shorts in blocks of about 90 minutes each, which frequently exhibit the work of established filmmakers exploring ideas that may not support a feature film, as well as fledgling artists trying to advance their careers and creative abilities. Shorts often serve as calling cards for new directors. “The Neighbors’ Window” is the first fiction from Marshall Curry, a multiple Oscar nominee for documentaries, and crafts a lovely story of an overwhelmed mom fascinated by the passionate young couple she can see in a neighboring apartment.
It’s a fun surprise whenever famous performers turn up: Tom Stern’s funny, feverish “Adams” adapts a short story by the great George Saunders, casting Patton Oswalt as a family man increasingly obsessed with his neighbor (“Portlandia”’s Fred Armisen) and willing to go to extremes to protect his family.
Milla Jovovich stars in “WithorWithout,” Benjamin Howdeshell’s extended music video for the Berlin-based band Parcels. Not just a vehicle for a pleasantly placid pop song, the film unfolds in the form of a home invasion horror story (some shots seem inspired by Jordan Peele’s Us) and manages to pull the rug out from under the viewer at least once in seven minutes. Chris Wood’s “The Stew” unfolds like a “Mr. Show” sketch in its depiction of a passive-aggressive married couple, played by Melissa Benoist and Carlos Valdes (both regulars of The CW superhero shows).
The title is fairly self-explanatory in the Atlanta-made “I Think My Dead Sister is Following Me Around,” from David Nobles. A young woman grapples with her strained relationship with her late sister in a tale that flirts with humor but is more of a bittersweet character study that has echoes of David Lowery’s “A Ghost Story.”
Outside of film festivals and compilations like the annual Oscar Nominated Short Films, it can be a challenge to find worthwhile shorts among the countless available in YouTube, Vimeo, and other online outlets. Sometimes fan films inspired by famous franchises can be surprisingly sophisticated. Earlier this year, 20th Century Fox celebrated the anniversary of Alien by releasing six fan films that explored tropes in the sci-fi series. Noah Miller’s “Alien: Alone” delivered the best by portraying the unlikely bond that forms between the survivor of a spaceship disaster and something inhuman.
Streaming services sometimes provide shorts, with Amazon Prime hosting Ray McKinnon’s Oscar-winning, Georgia-made dark comedy “The Accountant” from 2001, possibly the sharpest and least sentimental film ever made about the South. Donald Glover’s “Guava Island,” at nearly an hour, may push the definition of a short, but as a parable of art vs. capitalism in developing countries, connecting Childish Gambino songs, it’s an energetic work that can tide us over until the next season of “Atlanta.”
And even though Pixar released a short-less Toy Story 4, it’s not stinting on brief animations: Its YouTube channel releases the Pixar SparkShorts, developed by studio employees in a six-month time frame. The February release, “Kitbull,” offered an extremely sad but ultimately uplifting portrayal of a friendship between a stray kitten and a fighting dog.
With so many shorts being made and so many means for potential viewing, it feels like a golden age of short films is about to begin. It may even have already begun, but the audience hasn’t found them yet. Little movies could be the next big thing.
Atlanta ShortsFestShortsfest, July 11-13, Synchronicity Theater, 1545 Peachtree St., Suite 102. $12 per block online, $14 per block at box office, $25 day pass. $50 two-day pass. atlantashortsfest.com.
Coming Attractions: Of all the summertime releases shot in Atlanta, probably the big marquee name is “Stranger Things,” returning for a third season of 1980s nostalgia and kids hunting monsters. The next batch of episodes drop July 4 and will prominently feature “Starcourt Mall” (actually Gwinnett Place Mall given a retro makeover).
Summer movies shot in Atlanta include June 14’s blaxploitation reboot Shaft with Samuel L. Jackson and the July 12 action/comedy Stuber, which stars Kumail Nanjiani as an Uber driver hijacked by a police detective played by Dave Bautista.
My favorite summer shout-out in an Atlanta production appeared in Godzilla: King of the Monsters. In a sequence with monstrous “titans” emerging across the world, one of the locations was Stone Mountain, leaving viewers to wonder: Is there a Georgia-themed monster we don’t know about? Were the mountain’s Confederate carvings mistaken for kaiju? Maybe the Altamaha river’s legendary Atlamaha-ha took a wrong turn somewhere.
Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services."
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  string(6258) "Something was missing when ''Toy Story 4'' opened to wide acclaim on June 21. The latest witty adventure of Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and company marked Pixar Studios’ first release in more than two decades with no animated short preceding it.
Pixar’s shorts have been more than just a charming throwback to the era when cartoons, newsreels, and short features were part of the moviegoing experience. In the mid-1990s, they were probably the most prominent example of new short films as an art form. Two decades later, in a media landscape shaped by YouTube and viral videos, shorts see a lot more love.
Locally, the annual short film festival Atlanta Shortsfest showcases movies of under 45 minutes. “Atlanta Shortsfest typically screens right under 100 films per year, and this is our 10th season,” says founder Eric Panter. “Each year, around 20 percent of the films screened are Georgia-based filmmakers.”
For 2019, out of nearly 1000 entries, the festival will screen about 90 works, 15 from Georgia, from July 11-13. Part of the Atlanta Film Series, a four-month showcase of small film events that includes Atlanta DocuFest, Atlanta Underground Film Festival, and Atlanta Horror Film Festival, Shortsfest gives awards for documentary, animated, local, LGBTQ, and many more categories, including best director, actor, and actress.
The festival screens the shorts in blocks of about 90 minutes each, which frequently exhibit the work of established filmmakers exploring ideas that may not support a feature film, as well as fledgling artists trying to advance their careers and creative abilities. Shorts often serve as calling cards for new directors. “The Neighbors’ Window” is the first fiction from Marshall Curry, a multiple Oscar nominee for documentaries, and crafts a lovely story of an overwhelmed mom fascinated by the passionate young couple she can see in a neighboring apartment.
It’s a fun surprise whenever famous performers turn up: Tom Stern’s funny, feverish “Adams” adapts a short story by the great George Saunders, casting Patton Oswalt as a family man increasingly obsessed with his neighbor (“Portlandia”’s Fred Armisen) and willing to go to extremes to protect his family.
Milla Jovovich stars in “WithorWithout,” Benjamin Howdeshell’s extended music video for the Berlin-based band Parcels. Not just a vehicle for a pleasantly placid pop song, the film unfolds in the form of a home invasion horror story (some shots seem inspired by Jordan Peele’s Us) and manages to pull the rug out from under the viewer at least once in seven minutes. Chris Wood’s “The Stew” unfolds like a “Mr. Show” sketch in its depiction of a passive-aggressive married couple, played by Melissa Benoist and Carlos Valdes (both regulars of The CW superhero shows).
The title is fairly self-explanatory in the Atlanta-made “I Think My Dead Sister is Following Me Around,” from David Nobles. A young woman grapples with her strained relationship with her late sister in a tale that flirts with humor but is more of a bittersweet character study that has echoes of David Lowery’s “A Ghost Story.”
Outside of film festivals and compilations like the annual Oscar Nominated Short Films, it can be a challenge to find worthwhile shorts among the countless available in YouTube, Vimeo, and other online outlets. Sometimes fan films inspired by famous franchises can be surprisingly sophisticated. Earlier this year, 20th Century Fox celebrated the anniversary of Alien by releasing six fan films that explored tropes in the sci-fi series. Noah Miller’s “Alien: Alone” delivered the best by portraying the unlikely bond that forms between the survivor of a spaceship disaster and something inhuman.
Streaming services sometimes provide shorts, with Amazon Prime hosting Ray McKinnon’s Oscar-winning, Georgia-made dark comedy “The Accountant” from 2001, possibly the sharpest and least sentimental film ever made about the South. Donald Glover’s “Guava Island,” at nearly an hour, may push the definition of a short, but as a parable of art vs. capitalism in developing countries, connecting Childish Gambino songs, it’s an energetic work that can tide us over until the next season of “Atlanta.”
And even though Pixar released a short-less ''Toy Story 4'', it’s not stinting on brief animations: Its YouTube channel releases the Pixar SparkShorts, developed by studio employees in a six-month time frame. The February release, “Kitbull,” offered an extremely sad but ultimately uplifting portrayal of a friendship between a stray kitten and a fighting dog.
With so many shorts being made and so many means for potential viewing, it feels like a golden age of short films is about to begin. It may even have already begun, but the audience hasn’t found them yet. Little movies could be the next big thing.
''Atlanta ShortsFestShortsfest, July 11-13, Synchronicity Theater, 1545 Peachtree St., Suite 102. $12 per block online, $14 per block at box office, $25 day pass. $50 two-day pass. atlantashortsfest.com.''
__Coming Attractions:__ Of all the summertime releases shot in Atlanta, probably the big marquee name is “Stranger Things,” returning for a third season of 1980s nostalgia and kids hunting monsters. The next batch of episodes drop July 4 and will prominently feature “Starcourt Mall” (actually Gwinnett Place Mall given a retro makeover).
Summer movies shot in Atlanta include June 14’s blaxploitation reboot ''Shaft'' with Samuel L. Jackson and the July 12 action/comedy ''Stuber'', which stars Kumail Nanjiani as an Uber driver hijacked by a police detective played by Dave Bautista.
My favorite summer shout-out in an Atlanta production appeared in ''Godzilla: King of the Monsters''. In a sequence with monstrous “titans” emerging across the world, one of the locations was Stone Mountain, leaving viewers to wonder: Is there a Georgia-themed monster we don’t know about? Were the mountain’s Confederate carvings mistaken for kaiju? Maybe the Altamaha river’s legendary Atlamaha-ha took a wrong turn somewhere.
Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services."
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  string(6716) " ST The Stew  2019-07-05T18:03:43+00:00 __ST_The_Stew.jpg     Are we seeing a golden age of short films? 20101  2019-07-05T17:57:11+00:00 SCREEN TIME: Atlanta Shortsfest showcases new wave of movies in miniature jim.harris@creativeloafing.com Jim Harris Curt Holman  2019-07-05T17:57:11+00:00  Something was missing when Toy Story 4 opened to wide acclaim on June 21. The latest witty adventure of Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and company marked Pixar Studios’ first release in more than two decades with no animated short preceding it.
Pixar’s shorts have been more than just a charming throwback to the era when cartoons, newsreels, and short features were part of the moviegoing experience. In the mid-1990s, they were probably the most prominent example of new short films as an art form. Two decades later, in a media landscape shaped by YouTube and viral videos, shorts see a lot more love.
Locally, the annual short film festival Atlanta Shortsfest showcases movies of under 45 minutes. “Atlanta Shortsfest typically screens right under 100 films per year, and this is our 10th season,” says founder Eric Panter. “Each year, around 20 percent of the films screened are Georgia-based filmmakers.”
For 2019, out of nearly 1000 entries, the festival will screen about 90 works, 15 from Georgia, from July 11-13. Part of the Atlanta Film Series, a four-month showcase of small film events that includes Atlanta DocuFest, Atlanta Underground Film Festival, and Atlanta Horror Film Festival, Shortsfest gives awards for documentary, animated, local, LGBTQ, and many more categories, including best director, actor, and actress.
The festival screens the shorts in blocks of about 90 minutes each, which frequently exhibit the work of established filmmakers exploring ideas that may not support a feature film, as well as fledgling artists trying to advance their careers and creative abilities. Shorts often serve as calling cards for new directors. “The Neighbors’ Window” is the first fiction from Marshall Curry, a multiple Oscar nominee for documentaries, and crafts a lovely story of an overwhelmed mom fascinated by the passionate young couple she can see in a neighboring apartment.
It’s a fun surprise whenever famous performers turn up: Tom Stern’s funny, feverish “Adams” adapts a short story by the great George Saunders, casting Patton Oswalt as a family man increasingly obsessed with his neighbor (“Portlandia”’s Fred Armisen) and willing to go to extremes to protect his family.
Milla Jovovich stars in “WithorWithout,” Benjamin Howdeshell’s extended music video for the Berlin-based band Parcels. Not just a vehicle for a pleasantly placid pop song, the film unfolds in the form of a home invasion horror story (some shots seem inspired by Jordan Peele’s Us) and manages to pull the rug out from under the viewer at least once in seven minutes. Chris Wood’s “The Stew” unfolds like a “Mr. Show” sketch in its depiction of a passive-aggressive married couple, played by Melissa Benoist and Carlos Valdes (both regulars of The CW superhero shows).
The title is fairly self-explanatory in the Atlanta-made “I Think My Dead Sister is Following Me Around,” from David Nobles. A young woman grapples with her strained relationship with her late sister in a tale that flirts with humor but is more of a bittersweet character study that has echoes of David Lowery’s “A Ghost Story.”
Outside of film festivals and compilations like the annual Oscar Nominated Short Films, it can be a challenge to find worthwhile shorts among the countless available in YouTube, Vimeo, and other online outlets. Sometimes fan films inspired by famous franchises can be surprisingly sophisticated. Earlier this year, 20th Century Fox celebrated the anniversary of Alien by releasing six fan films that explored tropes in the sci-fi series. Noah Miller’s “Alien: Alone” delivered the best by portraying the unlikely bond that forms between the survivor of a spaceship disaster and something inhuman.
Streaming services sometimes provide shorts, with Amazon Prime hosting Ray McKinnon’s Oscar-winning, Georgia-made dark comedy “The Accountant” from 2001, possibly the sharpest and least sentimental film ever made about the South. Donald Glover’s “Guava Island,” at nearly an hour, may push the definition of a short, but as a parable of art vs. capitalism in developing countries, connecting Childish Gambino songs, it’s an energetic work that can tide us over until the next season of “Atlanta.”
And even though Pixar released a short-less Toy Story 4, it’s not stinting on brief animations: Its YouTube channel releases the Pixar SparkShorts, developed by studio employees in a six-month time frame. The February release, “Kitbull,” offered an extremely sad but ultimately uplifting portrayal of a friendship between a stray kitten and a fighting dog.
With so many shorts being made and so many means for potential viewing, it feels like a golden age of short films is about to begin. It may even have already begun, but the audience hasn’t found them yet. Little movies could be the next big thing.
Atlanta ShortsFestShortsfest, July 11-13, Synchronicity Theater, 1545 Peachtree St., Suite 102. $12 per block online, $14 per block at box office, $25 day pass. $50 two-day pass. atlantashortsfest.com.
Coming Attractions: Of all the summertime releases shot in Atlanta, probably the big marquee name is “Stranger Things,” returning for a third season of 1980s nostalgia and kids hunting monsters. The next batch of episodes drop July 4 and will prominently feature “Starcourt Mall” (actually Gwinnett Place Mall given a retro makeover).
Summer movies shot in Atlanta include June 14’s blaxploitation reboot Shaft with Samuel L. Jackson and the July 12 action/comedy Stuber, which stars Kumail Nanjiani as an Uber driver hijacked by a police detective played by Dave Bautista.
My favorite summer shout-out in an Atlanta production appeared in Godzilla: King of the Monsters. In a sequence with monstrous “titans” emerging across the world, one of the locations was Stone Mountain, leaving viewers to wonder: Is there a Georgia-themed monster we don’t know about? Were the mountain’s Confederate carvings mistaken for kaiju? Maybe the Altamaha river’s legendary Atlamaha-ha took a wrong turn somewhere.
Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services.    Chris Wood Carlos Valdes: digs into “The Stew” at Atlanta Shortsfest.  0,0,17                                 SCREEN TIME: Atlanta Shortsfest showcases new wave of movies in miniature "
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Article

Friday July 5, 2019 01:57 pm EDT
Are we seeing a golden age of short films? | more...
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  string(65) "SCREEN TIME: Atlanta Film Festival turns spotlight on local scene"
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  string(57) "43rd cinematic celebration screens home-grown productions"
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  string(6136) "Last year, the Atlanta Film Festival programmed such films that won national acclaim, including the Mr. Rogers documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, the drama Blindspotting with Daveed Diggs, and critically beloved Eighth Grade.

One of this year’s highlights promises to be the April 5 opening night presentation of The Farewell, a drama starring Awkwafina that was a hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Writer/director Lulu Wang will be in attendance. The ATLFF’s closing night production, Them That Follow, looks at a community of Appalachian snake handlers and stars newly-minted Oscar winner Olivia Colman opposite “Justified”’s Walton Goggins. Goggins had an early career breakthrough starring in the Oscar-winning short film “The Accountant,” which first played at the ATLFF and remains one of the best films ever made about the South.

This year, the 43rd festival drew from a record-breaking 8,400 submissions to present 31 features and almost 100 short films from April 4 through14. The ATLFF estimates that 20 percent of the productions have Georgia connections, either coming from native Georgian filmmakers or being filmed in the state. While the festival screens documentaries and narrative features from around the world, it also conveys the many facets of the expanding local motion picture industry.

One impressive local debut is Reckoning, by Ruckus and Lane Skye. The married filmmakers make the most of a limited budget in an Appalachian thriller with echoes of “Justified” and Winter’s Bone. Danielle Deadwyler gives a compelling performance as Lemon, a mother of a young boy, whose missing husband’s poor choices entangle her between two feuding families.

In one scene, Lemon must transport a jar of what we think is moonshine but discover is a terrifyingly caustic acid, and the tension the filmmakers build around the substance — seemingly harmless yet capable of shockingly sudden, violent consequences — matches their treatment of the mountains, which seem placid but contain hidden threats. Reckoning’s slow burn conveys the lengths to which a mother will go to protect her family. It features numerous memorable supporting players, such as PushPush Theater co-founder Tim Habeger as a cult leader and Catherine Dyer as a folksy home-cooking matriarch who’s also a scheming sociopath.

The surreal dark comedy Greener Grass, also filmed in Georgia, captures the sinister undertones of an even more harmless-looking location. Writer/directors Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe play a pair of soccer moms in an idyllic but creepy suburb where the adults all have braces and wear pastels, and everything operates under dream logic. At one point the wives chat at a party, kiss their respective spouses in uncomfortable close-ups, then stop and exclaim “Oops, wrong husbands!” and switch for the remainder of the film.

Greener Grass presents a sharp take on the competitiveness, self-consciousness, and passive-aggression of suburban moms in a film that looks like “Desperate Housewives” by way of David Lynch. DeBoer and Luebbe are veterans of Los Angeles’ improv troupe the Upright Citizens Brigade, and their cast includes D’Arcy Carden of “The Good Place” and Beck Bennett of “Saturday Night Live.” Overall, the film plays like a compilation of a weird, recurring “SNL” sketch from the Kristen Wiig era — just when it seems like it offers nothing but a variation on the same joke, it tosses out a fresh idea that buys a little more time. If not entirely satisfying, Greener Grass leaves you eager to see what DeBoer and Luebbe do next.

Jacqueline Olive’s powerful documentary Always in Season presents a scathing indictment of the legacy of American racism. In part, it offers an expose on the 2014 death of teenage Lennon Lacey, who was found hanging from a swing set near his home in Bladenboro, NC. The death was ruled a suicide despite the family and community’s belief that it was a lynching.


Narrated by Danny Glover, Always in Season presents impassioned arguments that the Lacey investigation was mishandled, set against a backdrop of the history of lynching. Deeply disturbing archival images show white throngs posing below dangling bodies. The film includes a fascinating portrayal of an Atlanta-based project: an annual reenactment of the unsolved Moore’s Ford Lynchings in Monroe Georgia. At times, Always in Season’s historic threads seem to distract from the Lennon Lacey case, to the point that it seems like the material might have been stronger as two separate short documentaries, rather than one full-length one. 

The shorts program, “It’s a Wonderful Day in the Neighborhood,” offers a kind of kaleidoscopic look at the diversity of styles and concerns in local filmmaking. As if in tune with Atlanta’s horror scene, Jared Callahan’s “Meat Eater” and Brian Lonano’s “Gwilliam’s Tips for Turning Tricks into Treats” have fun flipping grisly entertainment tropes upside down. Molly Coffee’s “Cracks” offers a snapshot of the punk scene in a dialogue-free character study about a young woman whose self-perception takes a blow after an assault.

Robyn Hicks’ “Nobody’s Darling,” unfolds as a lovely two-hander starring Caitlin Josephine Hargraves and P. David Miller, as a young hitchhiker and an older man who meet in a bar and make a deeper connection than anyone expects. And Lithonia High School serves as one of the backdrops of “dear, dreamer,” a short profile of YA author Jason Reynolds that celebrates the rhythms and possibilities of language.

Other local films include Pageant Material, a gay, Southern retelling of “Cinderella,” that was filmed in Georgia by director Jonothon Williams and culminates at a teen drag pageant in Atlanta. -CL-

Atlanta Film Festival, April 4-14. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave., and other locations. $12-$15 for general admission tickets. 470-296-0170. atlantafilmfestival.com

Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services"
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  string(6267) "Last year, the Atlanta Film Festival programmed such films that won national acclaim, including the Mr. Rogers documentary ''Won’t You Be My Neighbor?'', the drama ''Blindspotting'' with Daveed Diggs, and critically beloved ''Eighth Grade''.

One of this year’s highlights promises to be the April 5 opening night presentation of ''The Farewell'', a drama starring Awkwafina that was a hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Writer/director Lulu Wang will be in attendance. The ATLFF’s closing night production, ''Them That Follow'', looks at a community of Appalachian snake handlers and stars newly-minted Oscar winner Olivia Colman opposite “Justified”’s Walton Goggins. Goggins had an early career breakthrough starring in the Oscar-winning short film “The Accountant,” which first played at the ATLFF and remains one of the best films ever made about the South.

This year, the 43rd festival drew from a record-breaking 8,400 submissions to present 31 features and almost 100 short films from April 4 through14. The ATLFF estimates that 20 percent of the productions have Georgia connections, either coming from native Georgian filmmakers or being filmed in the state. While the festival screens documentaries and narrative features from around the world, it also conveys the many facets of the expanding local motion picture industry.

One impressive local debut is ''Reckoning'', by Ruckus and Lane Skye. The married filmmakers make the most of a limited budget in an Appalachian thriller with echoes of “Justified” and ''Winter’s Bone''. Danielle Deadwyler gives a compelling performance as Lemon, a mother of a young boy, whose missing husband’s poor choices entangle her between two feuding families.

In one scene, Lemon must transport a jar of what we think is moonshine but discover is a terrifyingly caustic acid, and the tension the filmmakers build around the substance — seemingly harmless yet capable of shockingly sudden, violent consequences — matches their treatment of the mountains, which seem placid but contain hidden threats. ''Reckoning''’s slow burn conveys the lengths to which a mother will go to protect her family. It features numerous memorable supporting players, such as PushPush Theater co-founder Tim Habeger as a cult leader and Catherine Dyer as a folksy home-cooking matriarch who’s also a scheming sociopath.

The surreal dark comedy ''Greener Grass'', also filmed in Georgia, captures the sinister undertones of an even more harmless-looking location. Writer/directors Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe play a pair of soccer moms in an idyllic but creepy suburb where the adults all have braces and wear pastels, and everything operates under dream logic. At one point the wives chat at a party, kiss their respective spouses in uncomfortable close-ups, then stop and exclaim “Oops, wrong husbands!” and switch for the remainder of the film.

''Greener Grass'' presents a sharp take on the competitiveness, self-consciousness, and passive-aggression of suburban moms in a film that looks like “Desperate Housewives” by way of David Lynch. DeBoer and Luebbe are veterans of Los Angeles’ improv troupe the Upright Citizens Brigade, and their cast includes D’Arcy Carden of “The Good Place” and Beck Bennett of “Saturday Night Live.” Overall, the film plays like a compilation of a weird, recurring “SNL” sketch from the Kristen Wiig era — just when it seems like it offers nothing but a variation on the same joke, it tosses out a fresh idea that buys a little more time. If not entirely satisfying, ''Greener Grass'' leaves you eager to see what DeBoer and Luebbe do next.

Jacqueline Olive’s powerful documentary ''Always in Season'' presents a scathing indictment of the legacy of American racism. In part, it offers an expose on the 2014 death of teenage Lennon Lacey, who was found hanging from a swing set near his home in Bladenboro, NC. The death was ruled a suicide despite the family and community’s belief that it was a lynching.

{img fileId="15757" imalign="center" width="900px" desc="desc"}
Narrated by Danny Glover, ''Always in Season'' presents impassioned arguments that the Lacey investigation was mishandled, set against a backdrop of the history of lynching. Deeply disturbing archival images show white throngs posing below dangling bodies. The film includes a fascinating portrayal of an Atlanta-based project: an annual reenactment of the unsolved Moore’s Ford Lynchings in Monroe Georgia. At times, ''Always in Season’s'' historic threads seem to distract from the Lennon Lacey case, to the point that it seems like the material might have been stronger as two separate short documentaries, rather than one full-length one. 

The shorts program, “It’s a Wonderful Day in the Neighborhood,” offers a kind of kaleidoscopic look at the diversity of styles and concerns in local filmmaking. As if in tune with Atlanta’s horror scene, Jared Callahan’s “Meat Eater” and Brian Lonano’s “Gwilliam’s Tips for Turning Tricks into Treats” have fun flipping grisly entertainment tropes upside down. Molly Coffee’s “Cracks” offers a snapshot of the punk scene in a dialogue-free character study about a young woman whose self-perception takes a blow after an assault.

Robyn Hicks’ “Nobody’s Darling,” unfolds as a lovely two-hander starring Caitlin Josephine Hargraves and P. David Miller, as a young hitchhiker and an older man who meet in a bar and make a deeper connection than anyone expects. And Lithonia High School serves as one of the backdrops of “dear, dreamer,” a short profile of YA author Jason Reynolds that celebrates the rhythms and possibilities of language.

Other local films include ''Pageant Material'', a gay, Southern retelling of “Cinderella,” that was filmed in Georgia by director Jonothon Williams and culminates at a teen drag pageant in Atlanta. __-CL-__

Atlanta Film Festival, April 4-14. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave., and other locations. $12-$15 for general admission tickets. 470-296-0170. atlantafilmfestival.com

''Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services''"
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  string(6758) " ATLFF Reckoning Web  2019-04-01T18:55:14+00:00 ATLFF-Reckoning_web.jpg    atlanta film festival 43rd cinematic celebration screens home-grown productions 15756  2019-04-01T18:50:19+00:00 SCREEN TIME: Atlanta Film Festival turns spotlight on local scene jim.harris@creativeloafing.com Jim Harris Curt Holman Curt Holman 2019-04-01T18:50:19+00:00  Last year, the Atlanta Film Festival programmed such films that won national acclaim, including the Mr. Rogers documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, the drama Blindspotting with Daveed Diggs, and critically beloved Eighth Grade.

One of this year’s highlights promises to be the April 5 opening night presentation of The Farewell, a drama starring Awkwafina that was a hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Writer/director Lulu Wang will be in attendance. The ATLFF’s closing night production, Them That Follow, looks at a community of Appalachian snake handlers and stars newly-minted Oscar winner Olivia Colman opposite “Justified”’s Walton Goggins. Goggins had an early career breakthrough starring in the Oscar-winning short film “The Accountant,” which first played at the ATLFF and remains one of the best films ever made about the South.

This year, the 43rd festival drew from a record-breaking 8,400 submissions to present 31 features and almost 100 short films from April 4 through14. The ATLFF estimates that 20 percent of the productions have Georgia connections, either coming from native Georgian filmmakers or being filmed in the state. While the festival screens documentaries and narrative features from around the world, it also conveys the many facets of the expanding local motion picture industry.

One impressive local debut is Reckoning, by Ruckus and Lane Skye. The married filmmakers make the most of a limited budget in an Appalachian thriller with echoes of “Justified” and Winter’s Bone. Danielle Deadwyler gives a compelling performance as Lemon, a mother of a young boy, whose missing husband’s poor choices entangle her between two feuding families.

In one scene, Lemon must transport a jar of what we think is moonshine but discover is a terrifyingly caustic acid, and the tension the filmmakers build around the substance — seemingly harmless yet capable of shockingly sudden, violent consequences — matches their treatment of the mountains, which seem placid but contain hidden threats. Reckoning’s slow burn conveys the lengths to which a mother will go to protect her family. It features numerous memorable supporting players, such as PushPush Theater co-founder Tim Habeger as a cult leader and Catherine Dyer as a folksy home-cooking matriarch who’s also a scheming sociopath.

The surreal dark comedy Greener Grass, also filmed in Georgia, captures the sinister undertones of an even more harmless-looking location. Writer/directors Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe play a pair of soccer moms in an idyllic but creepy suburb where the adults all have braces and wear pastels, and everything operates under dream logic. At one point the wives chat at a party, kiss their respective spouses in uncomfortable close-ups, then stop and exclaim “Oops, wrong husbands!” and switch for the remainder of the film.

Greener Grass presents a sharp take on the competitiveness, self-consciousness, and passive-aggression of suburban moms in a film that looks like “Desperate Housewives” by way of David Lynch. DeBoer and Luebbe are veterans of Los Angeles’ improv troupe the Upright Citizens Brigade, and their cast includes D’Arcy Carden of “The Good Place” and Beck Bennett of “Saturday Night Live.” Overall, the film plays like a compilation of a weird, recurring “SNL” sketch from the Kristen Wiig era — just when it seems like it offers nothing but a variation on the same joke, it tosses out a fresh idea that buys a little more time. If not entirely satisfying, Greener Grass leaves you eager to see what DeBoer and Luebbe do next.

Jacqueline Olive’s powerful documentary Always in Season presents a scathing indictment of the legacy of American racism. In part, it offers an expose on the 2014 death of teenage Lennon Lacey, who was found hanging from a swing set near his home in Bladenboro, NC. The death was ruled a suicide despite the family and community’s belief that it was a lynching.


Narrated by Danny Glover, Always in Season presents impassioned arguments that the Lacey investigation was mishandled, set against a backdrop of the history of lynching. Deeply disturbing archival images show white throngs posing below dangling bodies. The film includes a fascinating portrayal of an Atlanta-based project: an annual reenactment of the unsolved Moore’s Ford Lynchings in Monroe Georgia. At times, Always in Season’s historic threads seem to distract from the Lennon Lacey case, to the point that it seems like the material might have been stronger as two separate short documentaries, rather than one full-length one. 

The shorts program, “It’s a Wonderful Day in the Neighborhood,” offers a kind of kaleidoscopic look at the diversity of styles and concerns in local filmmaking. As if in tune with Atlanta’s horror scene, Jared Callahan’s “Meat Eater” and Brian Lonano’s “Gwilliam’s Tips for Turning Tricks into Treats” have fun flipping grisly entertainment tropes upside down. Molly Coffee’s “Cracks” offers a snapshot of the punk scene in a dialogue-free character study about a young woman whose self-perception takes a blow after an assault.

Robyn Hicks’ “Nobody’s Darling,” unfolds as a lovely two-hander starring Caitlin Josephine Hargraves and P. David Miller, as a young hitchhiker and an older man who meet in a bar and make a deeper connection than anyone expects. And Lithonia High School serves as one of the backdrops of “dear, dreamer,” a short profile of YA author Jason Reynolds that celebrates the rhythms and possibilities of language.

Other local films include Pageant Material, a gay, Southern retelling of “Cinderella,” that was filmed in Georgia by director Jonothon Williams and culminates at a teen drag pageant in Atlanta. -CL-

Atlanta Film Festival, April 4-14. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave., and other locations. $12-$15 for general admission tickets. 470-296-0170. atlantafilmfestival.com

Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services    Courtesy the Atlanta Film Festival RECKONING: Danielle Deadwyler plays a young mother embroiled in mountain intrigue, at the Atlanta Film Festival.      "atlanta film festival"                             SCREEN TIME: Atlanta Film Festival turns spotlight on local scene "
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Monday April 1, 2019 02:50 pm EDT
43rd cinematic celebration screens home-grown productions | more...
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  string(5133) "The documentary They Shall Not Grow Old presents World War I to modern audiences in a unique and powerful way. It also goes a long way to redeem the reputation of colorization.

They Shall Not Grow Old marks a welcome comeback for New Zealand director Peter Jackson, who evolved from no-budget horror comedies to grand-scale filmmaking with his adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, then seemed to lose some of his creative spark. 

It’s probably a coincidence that Tolkien’s WWI experiences informed his epic fantasy series, and Jackson seemed to get his mojo back with a powerful documentary about the Great War. They Shall Not Grow Old originated with Jackson and his team restoring hundreds of hours of archival footage from England’s Imperial War Museum to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the 1918 armistice. 

In the behind-the-scenes short that accompanies They Shall Not Grow Old, Jackson explains his goal to explode clichés and capture the ordinary soldiers’ experience of the war. The first section unfolds fairly conventionally in black and white, with voice-over narration from more than 100 English veterans discussing recruitment, training, shipping out to Europe, and approaching the frontlines. When the narrative arrives at the front, the silent, black-and-white image expands to fill the screen with vivid, full-color footage of trench warfare. It’s a breathtaking moment.

It’s hard to understate the controversy that surrounded colorization in 1980s film culture. While Turner Classic Movies is now synonymous with respectful presentation of classic films since 1994, in the late 1980s, Ted Turner was an aggressive proponent of colorizing the black-and-white films in his networks’ libraries. Usually this meant that classic films would be rendered in color decades after their release, contrary to the intent of their original cinematographers. 

Most of the colorized classics looked terrible, striving to approximate the look of early Technicolor but instead falling into an Uncanny Valley of sickly pastels. In 1986, film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert called it “Hollywood’s New Vandalism,” and the practice slowed down in the late 1980s when the threat to colorize “Citizen Kane” nearly set off a legal challenge. It’s still come up over the years — you can find some colorized classics on Amazon Prime, and novelties like the colorized Reefer Madness, which shows pot fiends blowing multicolored smoke in a labored gimmick.

The use of color in They Shall Not Grow Old has a strikingly different effect that runs counter to the kind of muddy, newsreel-style images of WWI we might remember. Jackson justifies the use of new, improved colorization with the argument that he wanted to present the war as the soldiers experienced it — and they didn’t experience it in black-and-white silence. The film’s transition to color has an enormous, immersive impact on the big screen; Jackson employs it along with other cinematic tools to approximate how combat famously has a quality of heightened realism for those who serve, compared to ordinary civilian life. 

Jackson doesn’t avoid the horrors of the war, which not only includes the heavy casualty rate but also gangrenous limbs and swarms of rats in the trenches. (It’s not a film for the squeamish.) But They Shall Not Grow Old captures the camaraderie among the soldiers as they share cigarettes and clown around for the then-novel movie cameras. Some of the narrators describe it as the best time of their lives. 

When discussing the addition of color and sound, Jackson engagingly describes the creative team’s obsession with accuracy. If a shot included someone talking on camera, a forensic lip reader would determine what they were saying. 

But while sound and color make the sequences a feast for the senses, the narrative approach of conveying the “everyman” experience has a flattening effect: None of the subjects or anecdotes really get a chance to stand out. The irony of They Shall Not Grow Old is that the details about making the movie can be a little more intriguing than the film itself. It also leaves viewers wondering if colorization, if approached with similarly good intentions, deserves a second look.

They Shall Not Grow Old. Four Stars. Directed by Peter Jackson. Rated R. Now playing at area theaters.

Turn On, Tune In: SCAD, the Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta, presents the seventh annual aTVFest (atvfest.com), a festival with panels and presentations devoted to television from Feb. 7-9. Guests include Ellie Kemper, who plays the titular role on Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” which dropped its final season in January.

The weekend includes screenings and panels devoted to such shows as NBC’s “The Village,” “Manifest,” “New Amsterdam,” and “The Enemy Within” (with Jennifer Carpenter and Morris Chestnut), as well as such fantastical shows as “The Gifted,” “The Passage,” and “American Gods,” along with presentations about how to break into television."
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''They Shall Not Grow Old'' marks a welcome comeback for New Zealand director Peter Jackson, who evolved from no-budget horror comedies to grand-scale filmmaking with his adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s ''The Lord of the Rings'', then seemed to lose some of his creative spark. 

It’s probably a coincidence that Tolkien’s WWI experiences informed his epic fantasy series, and Jackson seemed to get his mojo back with a powerful documentary about the Great War. ''They Shall Not Grow Old'' originated with Jackson and his team restoring hundreds of hours of archival footage from England’s Imperial War Museum to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the 1918 armistice. 

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It’s hard to understate the controversy that surrounded colorization in 1980s film culture. While Turner Classic Movies is now synonymous with respectful presentation of classic films since 1994, in the late 1980s, Ted Turner was an aggressive proponent of colorizing the black-and-white films in his networks’ libraries. Usually this meant that classic films would be rendered in color decades after their release, contrary to the intent of their original cinematographers. 

Most of the colorized classics looked terrible, striving to approximate the look of early Technicolor but instead falling into an Uncanny Valley of sickly pastels. In 1986, film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert called it “Hollywood’s New Vandalism,” and the practice slowed down in the late 1980s when the threat to colorize “Citizen Kane” nearly set off a legal challenge. It’s still come up over the years — you can find some colorized classics on Amazon Prime, and novelties like the colorized ''Reefer Madness'', which shows pot fiends blowing multicolored smoke in a labored gimmick.

The use of color in ''They Shall Not Grow Old'' has a strikingly different effect that runs counter to the kind of muddy, newsreel-style images of WWI we might remember. Jackson justifies the use of new, improved colorization with the argument that he wanted to present the war as the soldiers experienced it — and they didn’t experience it in black-and-white silence. The film’s transition to color has an enormous, immersive impact on the big screen; Jackson employs it along with other cinematic tools to approximate how combat famously has a quality of heightened realism for those who serve, compared to ordinary civilian life. 

Jackson doesn’t avoid the horrors of the war, which not only includes the heavy casualty rate but also gangrenous limbs and swarms of rats in the trenches. (It’s not a film for the squeamish.) But ''They Shall Not Grow Old'' captures the camaraderie among the soldiers as they share cigarettes and clown around for the then-novel movie cameras. Some of the narrators describe it as the best time of their lives. 

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But while sound and color make the sequences a feast for the senses, the narrative approach of conveying the “everyman” experience has a flattening effect: None of the subjects or anecdotes really get a chance to stand out. The irony of ''They Shall Not Grow Old'' is that the details about making the movie can be a little more intriguing than the film itself. It also leaves viewers wondering if colorization, if approached with similarly good intentions, deserves a second look.

''__They Shall Not Grow Old__. Four Stars. Directed by Peter Jackson. Rated R. Now playing at area theaters.''

__Turn On, Tune In__: SCAD, the Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta, presents the seventh annual aTVFest (atvfest.com), a festival with panels and presentations devoted to television from Feb. 7-9. Guests include Ellie Kemper, who plays the titular role on Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” which dropped its final season in January.

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  string(5843) " THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD Still 1 Web  2019-02-11T19:10:58+00:00 THEY_SHALL_NOT_GROW_OLD_Still_1_web.jpg    screen time curt holman movie review Colorized documentary offers immersive experience of men at war 13498  2019-02-11T19:05:09+00:00 Screen Time: ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’ reveals WWI’s true colors jim.harris@creativeloafing.com Jim Harris Curt Holman  2019-02-11T19:05:09+00:00  The documentary They Shall Not Grow Old presents World War I to modern audiences in a unique and powerful way. It also goes a long way to redeem the reputation of colorization.

They Shall Not Grow Old marks a welcome comeback for New Zealand director Peter Jackson, who evolved from no-budget horror comedies to grand-scale filmmaking with his adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, then seemed to lose some of his creative spark. 

It’s probably a coincidence that Tolkien’s WWI experiences informed his epic fantasy series, and Jackson seemed to get his mojo back with a powerful documentary about the Great War. They Shall Not Grow Old originated with Jackson and his team restoring hundreds of hours of archival footage from England’s Imperial War Museum to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the 1918 armistice. 

In the behind-the-scenes short that accompanies They Shall Not Grow Old, Jackson explains his goal to explode clichés and capture the ordinary soldiers’ experience of the war. The first section unfolds fairly conventionally in black and white, with voice-over narration from more than 100 English veterans discussing recruitment, training, shipping out to Europe, and approaching the frontlines. When the narrative arrives at the front, the silent, black-and-white image expands to fill the screen with vivid, full-color footage of trench warfare. It’s a breathtaking moment.

It’s hard to understate the controversy that surrounded colorization in 1980s film culture. While Turner Classic Movies is now synonymous with respectful presentation of classic films since 1994, in the late 1980s, Ted Turner was an aggressive proponent of colorizing the black-and-white films in his networks’ libraries. Usually this meant that classic films would be rendered in color decades after their release, contrary to the intent of their original cinematographers. 

Most of the colorized classics looked terrible, striving to approximate the look of early Technicolor but instead falling into an Uncanny Valley of sickly pastels. In 1986, film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert called it “Hollywood’s New Vandalism,” and the practice slowed down in the late 1980s when the threat to colorize “Citizen Kane” nearly set off a legal challenge. It’s still come up over the years — you can find some colorized classics on Amazon Prime, and novelties like the colorized Reefer Madness, which shows pot fiends blowing multicolored smoke in a labored gimmick.

The use of color in They Shall Not Grow Old has a strikingly different effect that runs counter to the kind of muddy, newsreel-style images of WWI we might remember. Jackson justifies the use of new, improved colorization with the argument that he wanted to present the war as the soldiers experienced it — and they didn’t experience it in black-and-white silence. The film’s transition to color has an enormous, immersive impact on the big screen; Jackson employs it along with other cinematic tools to approximate how combat famously has a quality of heightened realism for those who serve, compared to ordinary civilian life. 

Jackson doesn’t avoid the horrors of the war, which not only includes the heavy casualty rate but also gangrenous limbs and swarms of rats in the trenches. (It’s not a film for the squeamish.) But They Shall Not Grow Old captures the camaraderie among the soldiers as they share cigarettes and clown around for the then-novel movie cameras. Some of the narrators describe it as the best time of their lives. 

When discussing the addition of color and sound, Jackson engagingly describes the creative team’s obsession with accuracy. If a shot included someone talking on camera, a forensic lip reader would determine what they were saying. 

But while sound and color make the sequences a feast for the senses, the narrative approach of conveying the “everyman” experience has a flattening effect: None of the subjects or anecdotes really get a chance to stand out. The irony of They Shall Not Grow Old is that the details about making the movie can be a little more intriguing than the film itself. It also leaves viewers wondering if colorization, if approached with similarly good intentions, deserves a second look.

They Shall Not Grow Old. Four Stars. Directed by Peter Jackson. Rated R. Now playing at area theaters.

Turn On, Tune In: SCAD, the Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta, presents the seventh annual aTVFest (atvfest.com), a festival with panels and presentations devoted to television from Feb. 7-9. Guests include Ellie Kemper, who plays the titular role on Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” which dropped its final season in January.

The weekend includes screenings and panels devoted to such shows as NBC’s “The Village,” “Manifest,” “New Amsterdam,” and “The Enemy Within” (with Jennifer Carpenter and Morris Chestnut), as well as such fantastical shows as “The Gifted,” “The Passage,” and “American Gods,” along with presentations about how to break into television.    Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures  BACK INTO THE FUTURE: This still from ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’ contrasts the colorization with the original black-and-white image.      screen time curt holman movie review                             Screen Time: ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’ reveals WWI’s true colors "
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  string(1246) "When Creative Loafing launched its annual Fiction Contest almost 20 years ago, the dial-up Internet of the day could only hint at what online culture would become. But while countless apps, websites, and other communication platforms now exist, the hunger for human connection remains universal — hence this year’s Fiction Contest theme, “Connect.” The 2019 winners depict a young man questioning his status in a new relationship in a small surfing community; a young woman testing her limits on an Outward Bound trip; and a gym employee who suspects his best hope of connection swims in a fishbowl.  


 

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Second place: “On the Guide Rope” by Chesney D’Avis




A young woman overcomes a childhood of illness and an overprotective mother by putting her life literally on the line in Chesney D’Avis’ high-tension tale. Judge Alison Law, host of the “Literary Atlanta” podcast, called it “beautifully written. Good use of suspense and emotional stakes.” Kamal described it as “a very well-narrated story with good command of how to incorporate back story. The language served the story well.” 



 


 

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Runner Up: “The Janitor” by Nathan Blankenship


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The only story in each of the top three picks of our judges, this contemplative tale uses tactile details to convey how the characters determine their place with each other and in the universe. Judge Katherine Hur, winner of Creative Loafing’s 2018 Fiction Contest, said, “I adored this story. The writing feels like heartache — a testament to the idea of strength in subtlety. The characters come off the page as real people, and the story is a compelling one.”

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A young woman overcomes a childhood of illness and an overprotective mother by putting her life literally on the line in Chesney D’Avis’ high-tension tale. Judge Alison Law, host of the “Literary Atlanta” podcast, called it “beautifully written. Good use of suspense and emotional stakes.” Kamal described it as “a very well-narrated story with good command of how to incorporate back story. The language served the story well.” 



 


 

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In a striking coincidence, Grossman’s story “Watch Me” was the third-place winner in ''CL''’s 2018 Fiction Contest, and his uncomfortably intimate look at contemporary obsession had the same placement among this year’s submissions. Hur says, “I remember reading Drew’s story from last year and being amazed by the psychology of his writing. This story pairs humor and sadness so well together, leaving us with a final image that is both utterly absurd and heartbreaking.”
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  string(4730) "In Vice, Christian Bale seems to be having more fun playing former Vice President Dick Cheney than he’s had with any role since American Psycho. This in spite of, or maybe because of, his physical transformation that involves a thickened waist and the thinnest of comb-overs. 

As one of the most taciturn yet powerful figures in modern American history, Cheney affords Bale little in the way of big, juicy speeches, or even occasions to raise his voice, and that seems to be just how the actor likes it. Bale adds a little charge to the way he answers fate-of-the-nation questions with a bland grunt. He finds the deadpan comedy when he pauses in a meeting with cohorts to declare from the corner of his mouth, “Sorry, uh, everyone, I, uh, think I should go to the hospital,” during a cardiac episode. 

The film’s snarky sense of humor is one of the signals that Vice is no conventional biographical film. It follows the outline of old-fashioned biopics by tracking a famous person’s career from youth to old age, giving the make-up artists a workout along the way. The most successful recent biopics tend to focus on a narrow but eventful window of time, like Darkest Hour’s run-up to the Dunkirk evacuation.

Vice finds a pivotal moment in Cheney’s early 20s when he gets a DUI as a young Wyoming lineman. An ultimatum from his wife Lynne (an effective but underused Amy Adams) prompts him to change his ways with a career in Washington politics, and he quickly finds a mentor in the brash Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell).

After serving in multiple presidential administrations, Cheney seems on the verge of retirement when the George W. Bush campaign gives him an opportunity to craft a new world order. Sam Rockwell avoids the easy clichés in playing Dubya, conveying a disinterest in governance but a crafty concern with his more personal agendas. Cast members doing iffy impressions of political figures include Tyler Perry as an upstanding, disappointed Colin Powell.

Vice focuses less on what makes the characters tick and more about the changes to American political norms that, the film alleges, Cheney either directed or abetted. The film continues the fascinating evolution of director Adam McKay, who began by helming silly Will Ferrell vehicles like Anchorman and has changed focus to complex — yet still funny — films about the corruption of American institutions. In some ways, Vice plays like a prequel to The Big Short, McKay’s light-hearted autopsy of the 2008 financial crash, with similarly playful music cues, montages, and cameos, and looks to be a comparable Oscar contender.

So, while Vice might come up short in exploring Cheney’s psychology, it us-es his career as a de facto essay on topics like “Unitary Executive Theory,” the increase in presidential powers, and the U.S. approach to privacy and torture during the War on Terror. The film views potentially dry, depressing material through a lens of satire: When Cheney and Rumsfeld consider the administration’s new war powers, Alfred Molina slinks into view as a waiter at a fancy restaurant to walk them through the menu: “We’re also offering an extraordinary rendition…” Jesse Plemons, as the film’s narrator, lays out some of this material while keeping his personal connection to Cheney secret until the end. 

Alternately amusing and infuriating, Vice openly acknowledges that some of its content is speculation. When Cheney chats with Lynne about whether he should be W.’s vice president, the narrator sighs that it would be nice if they gave speeches about their motivations — and then the couple shifts into a quasi-Shakespearean dialogue worthy of Macbeth and his wife. Even if you passionately agree with the film’s viewpoint, Vice seems to encourage you to take its presentation with a grain of salt, or at least do your own follow-up research. The fact-checking articles alone will be fascinating.

Vice. 3 Stars Christian Bale, Amy Adams. Directed by Adam McKay. At area theaters.




And the winners are: In its second year, the Atlanta Film Critics Circle (of which I’m a member) has named its awards for the best films of 2018, with The Favourite proving, uh, favored in the categories of Best Actress (Olivia Colman), Best Supporting Actress (Emma Stone), Best Ensemble, and Best Screenplay. Its Top 10 films are: 1. The Favourite. 2. A Star is Born. 3. Roma. 4. A Quiet Place. 5. First Reformed. 6. Eighth Grade. 7. BlacKkKlansman. 8. First Man tied with Won’t You Be My Neighbor? and 10. Black Panther. You can see the full list here. 

Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services."
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As one of the most taciturn yet powerful figures in modern American history, Cheney affords Bale little in the way of big, juicy speeches, or even occasions to raise his voice, and that seems to be just how the actor likes it. Bale adds a little charge to the way he answers fate-of-the-nation questions with a bland grunt. He finds the deadpan comedy when he pauses in a meeting with cohorts to declare from the corner of his mouth, “Sorry, uh, everyone, I, uh, think I should go to the hospital,” during a cardiac episode. 

The film’s snarky sense of humor is one of the signals that ''Vice'' is no conventional biographical film. It follows the outline of old-fashioned biopics by tracking a famous person’s career from youth to old age, giving the make-up artists a workout along the way. The most successful recent biopics tend to focus on a narrow but eventful window of time, like ''Darkest Hour''’s run-up to the Dunkirk evacuation.

''Vice'' finds a pivotal moment in Cheney’s early 20s when he gets a DUI as a young Wyoming lineman. An ultimatum from his wife Lynne (an effective but underused Amy Adams) prompts him to change his ways with a career in Washington politics, and he quickly finds a mentor in the brash Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell).

After serving in multiple presidential administrations, Cheney seems on the verge of retirement when the George W. Bush campaign gives him an opportunity to craft a new world order. Sam Rockwell avoids the easy clichés in playing Dubya, conveying a disinterest in governance but a crafty concern with his more personal agendas. Cast members doing iffy impressions of political figures include Tyler Perry as an upstanding, disappointed Colin Powell.

''Vice'' focuses less on what makes the characters tick and more about the changes to American political norms that, the film alleges, Cheney either directed or abetted. The film continues the fascinating evolution of director Adam McKay, who began by helming silly Will Ferrell vehicles like ''Anchorman'' and has changed focus to complex — yet still funny — films about the corruption of American institutions. In some ways, ''Vice'' plays like a prequel to ''The Big Short'', McKay’s light-hearted autopsy of the 2008 financial crash, with similarly playful music cues, montages, and cameos, and looks to be a comparable Oscar contender.

So, while ''Vice'' might come up short in exploring Cheney’s psychology, it us-es his career as a de facto essay on topics like “Unitary Executive Theory,” the increase in presidential powers, and the U.S. approach to privacy and torture during the War on Terror. The film views potentially dry, depressing material through a lens of satire: When Cheney and Rumsfeld consider the administration’s new war powers, Alfred Molina slinks into view as a waiter at a fancy restaurant to walk them through the menu: “We’re also offering an extraordinary rendition…” Jesse Plemons, as the film’s narrator, lays out some of this material while keeping his personal connection to Cheney secret until the end. 

Alternately amusing and infuriating, ''Vice'' openly acknowledges that some of its content is speculation. When Cheney chats with Lynne about whether he should be W.’s vice president, the narrator sighs that it would be nice if they gave speeches about their motivations — and then the couple shifts into a quasi-Shakespearean dialogue worthy of Macbeth and his wife. Even if you passionately agree with the film’s viewpoint, ''Vice'' seems to encourage you to take its presentation with a grain of salt, or at least do your own follow-up research. The fact-checking articles alone will be fascinating.

''Vice.'' 3 Stars Christian Bale, Amy Adams. Directed by Adam McKay. At area theaters.




__And the winners are: __In its second year, the Atlanta Film Critics Circle (of which I’m a member) has named its awards for the best films of 2018, with ''The Favourite'' proving, uh, favored in the categories of Best Actress (Olivia Colman), Best Supporting Actress (Emma Stone), Best Ensemble, and Best Screenplay. Its Top 10 films are: 1. ''The Favourite''. 2. ''A Star is Born''. 3. ''Roma''. 4. ''A Quiet Place''. 5. ''First Reformed''. 6. ''Eighth Grade''. 7. ''BlacKkKlansman''. 8. ''First Man'' tied with ''Won’t You Be My Neighbor?'' and 10. ''Black Panther''. You can see the full list here. 

''Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services.''"
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  string(5268) " VICE 1 Web  2019-01-11T15:23:23+00:00 VICE_1_web.jpg     Satiric humor spices up portrayal of institutional corruption 12484  2019-01-11T15:14:19+00:00 SCREEN TIME: “Vice” riffs on political power via the career of Dick Cheney jim.harris@creativeloafing.com Jim Harris Curt Holman Curt Holman 2019-01-11T15:14:19+00:00  In Vice, Christian Bale seems to be having more fun playing former Vice President Dick Cheney than he’s had with any role since American Psycho. This in spite of, or maybe because of, his physical transformation that involves a thickened waist and the thinnest of comb-overs. 

As one of the most taciturn yet powerful figures in modern American history, Cheney affords Bale little in the way of big, juicy speeches, or even occasions to raise his voice, and that seems to be just how the actor likes it. Bale adds a little charge to the way he answers fate-of-the-nation questions with a bland grunt. He finds the deadpan comedy when he pauses in a meeting with cohorts to declare from the corner of his mouth, “Sorry, uh, everyone, I, uh, think I should go to the hospital,” during a cardiac episode. 

The film’s snarky sense of humor is one of the signals that Vice is no conventional biographical film. It follows the outline of old-fashioned biopics by tracking a famous person’s career from youth to old age, giving the make-up artists a workout along the way. The most successful recent biopics tend to focus on a narrow but eventful window of time, like Darkest Hour’s run-up to the Dunkirk evacuation.

Vice finds a pivotal moment in Cheney’s early 20s when he gets a DUI as a young Wyoming lineman. An ultimatum from his wife Lynne (an effective but underused Amy Adams) prompts him to change his ways with a career in Washington politics, and he quickly finds a mentor in the brash Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell).

After serving in multiple presidential administrations, Cheney seems on the verge of retirement when the George W. Bush campaign gives him an opportunity to craft a new world order. Sam Rockwell avoids the easy clichés in playing Dubya, conveying a disinterest in governance but a crafty concern with his more personal agendas. Cast members doing iffy impressions of political figures include Tyler Perry as an upstanding, disappointed Colin Powell.

Vice focuses less on what makes the characters tick and more about the changes to American political norms that, the film alleges, Cheney either directed or abetted. The film continues the fascinating evolution of director Adam McKay, who began by helming silly Will Ferrell vehicles like Anchorman and has changed focus to complex — yet still funny — films about the corruption of American institutions. In some ways, Vice plays like a prequel to The Big Short, McKay’s light-hearted autopsy of the 2008 financial crash, with similarly playful music cues, montages, and cameos, and looks to be a comparable Oscar contender.

So, while Vice might come up short in exploring Cheney’s psychology, it us-es his career as a de facto essay on topics like “Unitary Executive Theory,” the increase in presidential powers, and the U.S. approach to privacy and torture during the War on Terror. The film views potentially dry, depressing material through a lens of satire: When Cheney and Rumsfeld consider the administration’s new war powers, Alfred Molina slinks into view as a waiter at a fancy restaurant to walk them through the menu: “We’re also offering an extraordinary rendition…” Jesse Plemons, as the film’s narrator, lays out some of this material while keeping his personal connection to Cheney secret until the end. 

Alternately amusing and infuriating, Vice openly acknowledges that some of its content is speculation. When Cheney chats with Lynne about whether he should be W.’s vice president, the narrator sighs that it would be nice if they gave speeches about their motivations — and then the couple shifts into a quasi-Shakespearean dialogue worthy of Macbeth and his wife. Even if you passionately agree with the film’s viewpoint, Vice seems to encourage you to take its presentation with a grain of salt, or at least do your own follow-up research. The fact-checking articles alone will be fascinating.

Vice. 3 Stars Christian Bale, Amy Adams. Directed by Adam McKay. At area theaters.




And the winners are: In its second year, the Atlanta Film Critics Circle (of which I’m a member) has named its awards for the best films of 2018, with The Favourite proving, uh, favored in the categories of Best Actress (Olivia Colman), Best Supporting Actress (Emma Stone), Best Ensemble, and Best Screenplay. Its Top 10 films are: 1. The Favourite. 2. A Star is Born. 3. Roma. 4. A Quiet Place. 5. First Reformed. 6. Eighth Grade. 7. BlacKkKlansman. 8. First Man tied with Won’t You Be My Neighbor? and 10. Black Panther. You can see the full list here. 

Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services.    Courtesy of Annapurna Pictures DICKING AROUND: Christian Bale plays Dick Cheney in ‘Vice.’                                    SCREEN TIME: “Vice” riffs on political power via the career of Dick Cheney "
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Friday January 11, 2019 10:14 am EST
Satiric humor spices up portrayal of institutional corruption | more...
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  string(35) "Netflix’s new classic, “Roma”"
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  string(35) "Netflix’s new classic, “Roma”"
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  string(5774) "Debuting a film on Netflix must be like experiencing the Zen koan about the tree falling in the woods: If no one knows it’s available, will anyone watch it? Particularly in the past year, the streaming service has been notorious for dropping an astonishing quantity of films and series with scarcely any advance notice.

After years of work and hustling to get their film completed, filmmakers must pray that subscribers will notice their labor of love in the “Now Trending” or “Popular on Netflix” columns alongside new seasons of, say, “The Great British Baking Show.” One of the year’s best films, Tamara Jenkins’ Private Life, spotlights funny but wrenching performances by Paul Giamatti and Kathryn Hahn as a pair of New York intellectuals struggling with infertility. It seems to have sunk without a ripple after its October 5 Netflix debut.

The streaming service began its bid for prestigious Oscar contenders with Beasts of No Nation in 2015. Its string of mixed successes, like Okja, changes this month with the December 14 premiere of Roma, following a brief but crucial theatrical run.

After making such Hollywood genre hits as Gravity and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, director Alfonso Cuarón returned to his native Mexico for a deeply felt drama inspired by his own childhood. Roma suggests that Cuarón set out to create an international classic worthy of the likes of Federico Fellini and Ingmar Bergman — and did it. It will be no surprise if future generations study Roma at film school. 

But you have to meet Roma halfway. The first half hour seems to present not a traditional plot so much as domestic activity, with housemaid Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio) helping to raise a brood of middle-class children in Mexico City. Their mother, Sofia, (Marina de Tavira) grows concerned over her husband’s increasingly frequent absences. At some point while watching their lives unfold, the viewer feels not like a dispassionate observer but part of the family, utterly invested in their personal struggles, with events becoming unexpectedly perilous. The section includes sequences of heart-in-your-throat suspense.

In Roma, Cuarón draws on everything he’s learned to date about long takes and composing his frames, so every shot is packed with information. Watching it resembles visiting a gallery of photography: A few minutes at a New Year’s Eve party at a swanky country house speaks volumes about Mexico’s political tensions in 1971.

The paradox of Netflix is that it gives films like Roma the potential for a much bigger audience than could see them on the arthouse circuit, without offering the ideal viewing experience. Today’s televisions offer bigger screens with sharper images, but a theater is still the ideal place to see a deliberately paced, black-and-white movie with subtitles. As much as people like to see big, special-effects-filled epics at the cinema, they’re less likely to be diminished by the distractions of home viewing than a quietly rewarding film like Roma.

Fortunately, Roma will have a brief run at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema beginning December 6, and even Netflix subscribers should make a point to see it on the big screen. Either way, it deserves viewing, and shouldn’t be yet another tree that falls without making a sound. 

Roma. 5 Stars. Stars: Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira. Directed by Alfonso Cuarón. Screens Dec. 6-9 at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema before debuting on Netflix Dec. 14.




Yas, Queen: Speaking of 2018’s best films, the historical satire The Favourite makes Dangerous Liaisons look like The Princess Diaries. Despite taking place in the court of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) in the early 18th century, The Favourite bears little resemblance to “Victoria” or other sleek dramas about the British royals. Instead, it presents courtly struggles as a blood sport, complete with savage wordplay and bedroom power plays.

Queen Anne suffers from ill health and a mercurial temper, and her reliance on her friend and advisor Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz) to run things makes Sarah one of England’s most powerful people. When Sarah’s bereft cousin Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives at the Queen’s country palace, she gradually ingratiates herself with the moody monarch, rising from her station as a servant and threatening Sarah’s position. 

The Favourite offers a reminder of how much the past sucked, especially for women with no resources. On arrival at the palace, Abigail endures verbal humiliation, corporal punishment, vicious pranks, and near-constant sexual harassment. Director Yorgos Lanthimos’s jokes and sight gags never blunt the film’s vision of social cruelty.

Stone effectively captures Abigail’s wounded innocence as she grows from hapless victim to icy schemer as a means of self-preservation. All three of the female leads give Oscar-worthy performances, with Weisz radiating ruthless confidence and Colman making sense of Anne’s mood swings: She’s like Alice in Wonderland’s combative Queen of Hearts suffering from a debilitating depression.

And despite taking place 200 years ago and a world away, The Favourite’s depiction of an emotionally abusive head of state who encourages flattery and petty rivalries may seem all too relevant.

The Favourite. 4 Stars. Stars: Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz. Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. Opens Dec. 7. At area theaters.

Coming attraction: Charles McIntosh’s anti-human trafficking short film “Safe Harbor” has its premiere at the Morrow Civic Center on Dec. 14. thereconciliationmovement.org




Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services."
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  string(5798) "Debuting a film on Netflix must be like experiencing the Zen koan about the tree falling in the woods: If no one knows it’s available, will anyone watch it? Particularly in the past year, the streaming service has been notorious for dropping an astonishing quantity of films and series with scarcely any advance notice.

After years of work and hustling to get their film completed, filmmakers must pray that subscribers will notice their labor of love in the “Now Trending” or “Popular on Netflix” columns alongside new seasons of, say, “The Great British Baking Show.” One of the year’s best films, Tamara Jenkins’ Private Life, spotlights funny but wrenching performances by Paul Giamatti and Kathryn Hahn as a pair of New York intellectuals struggling with infertility. It seems to have sunk without a ripple after its October 5 Netflix debut.

The streaming service began its bid for prestigious Oscar contenders with Beasts of No Nation in 2015. Its string of mixed successes, like Okja, changes this month with the December 14 premiere of Roma, following a brief but crucial theatrical run.

After making such Hollywood genre hits as Gravity and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, director Alfonso Cuarón returned to his native Mexico for a deeply felt drama inspired by his own childhood. Roma suggests that Cuarón set out to create an international classic worthy of the likes of Federico Fellini and Ingmar Bergman — and did it. It will be no surprise if future generations study Roma at film school. 

But you have to meet Roma halfway. The first half hour seems to present not a traditional plot so much as domestic activity, with housemaid Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio) helping to raise a brood of middle-class children in Mexico City. Their mother, Sofia, (Marina de Tavira) grows concerned over her husband’s increasingly frequent absences. At some point while watching their lives unfold, the viewer feels not like a dispassionate observer but part of the family, utterly invested in their personal struggles, with events becoming unexpectedly perilous. The section includes sequences of heart-in-your-throat suspense.

In Roma, Cuarón draws on everything he’s learned to date about long takes and composing his frames, so every shot is packed with information. Watching it resembles visiting a gallery of photography: A few minutes at a New Year’s Eve party at a swanky country house speaks volumes about Mexico’s political tensions in 1971.

The paradox of Netflix is that it gives films like Roma the potential for a much bigger audience than could see them on the arthouse circuit, without offering the ideal viewing experience. Today’s televisions offer bigger screens with sharper images, but a theater is still the ideal place to see a deliberately paced, black-and-white movie with subtitles. As much as people like to see big, special-effects-filled epics at the cinema, they’re less likely to be diminished by the distractions of home viewing than a quietly rewarding film like Roma.

Fortunately, Roma will have a brief run at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema beginning December 6, and even Netflix subscribers should make a point to see it on the big screen. Either way, it deserves viewing, and shouldn’t be yet another tree that falls without making a sound. 

__Roma__. 5 Stars. ''Stars: Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira. Directed by Alfonso Cuarón. Screens Dec. 6-9 at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema before debuting on Netflix Dec. 14.''




__Yas, Queen:__ Speaking of 2018’s best films, the historical satire The Favourite makes Dangerous Liaisons look like The Princess Diaries. Despite taking place in the court of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) in the early 18th century, The Favourite bears little resemblance to “Victoria” or other sleek dramas about the British royals. Instead, it presents courtly struggles as a blood sport, complete with savage wordplay and bedroom power plays.

Queen Anne suffers from ill health and a mercurial temper, and her reliance on her friend and advisor Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz) to run things makes Sarah one of England’s most powerful people. When Sarah’s bereft cousin Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives at the Queen’s country palace, she gradually ingratiates herself with the moody monarch, rising from her station as a servant and threatening Sarah’s position. 

The Favourite offers a reminder of how much the past sucked, especially for women with no resources. On arrival at the palace, Abigail endures verbal humiliation, corporal punishment, vicious pranks, and near-constant sexual harassment. Director Yorgos Lanthimos’s jokes and sight gags never blunt the film’s vision of social cruelty.

Stone effectively captures Abigail’s wounded innocence as she grows from hapless victim to icy schemer as a means of self-preservation. All three of the female leads give Oscar-worthy performances, with Weisz radiating ruthless confidence and Colman making sense of Anne’s mood swings: She’s like Alice in Wonderland’s combative Queen of Hearts suffering from a debilitating depression.

And despite taking place 200 years ago and a world away, The Favourite’s depiction of an emotionally abusive head of state who encourages flattery and petty rivalries may seem all too relevant.

__The Favourite__. 4 Stars. ''Stars: Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz. Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. Opens Dec. 7. At area theaters.''

__Coming attraction:__ Charles McIntosh’s anti-human trafficking short film “Safe Harbor” has its premiere at the Morrow Civic Center on Dec. 14. thereconciliationmovement.org




Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services."
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  string(6182) " ROMA 23491 001R Web  2018-12-10T18:18:34+00:00 ROMA_23491_001R_web.jpg     Netflix’s new classic, “Roma” 11771  2018-12-10T18:11:47+00:00 SCREEN TIME: To stream or not to stream? jim.harris@creativeloafing.com Jim Harris Curt Holman Curt Holman 2018-12-10T18:11:47+00:00  Debuting a film on Netflix must be like experiencing the Zen koan about the tree falling in the woods: If no one knows it’s available, will anyone watch it? Particularly in the past year, the streaming service has been notorious for dropping an astonishing quantity of films and series with scarcely any advance notice.

After years of work and hustling to get their film completed, filmmakers must pray that subscribers will notice their labor of love in the “Now Trending” or “Popular on Netflix” columns alongside new seasons of, say, “The Great British Baking Show.” One of the year’s best films, Tamara Jenkins’ Private Life, spotlights funny but wrenching performances by Paul Giamatti and Kathryn Hahn as a pair of New York intellectuals struggling with infertility. It seems to have sunk without a ripple after its October 5 Netflix debut.

The streaming service began its bid for prestigious Oscar contenders with Beasts of No Nation in 2015. Its string of mixed successes, like Okja, changes this month with the December 14 premiere of Roma, following a brief but crucial theatrical run.

After making such Hollywood genre hits as Gravity and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, director Alfonso Cuarón returned to his native Mexico for a deeply felt drama inspired by his own childhood. Roma suggests that Cuarón set out to create an international classic worthy of the likes of Federico Fellini and Ingmar Bergman — and did it. It will be no surprise if future generations study Roma at film school. 

But you have to meet Roma halfway. The first half hour seems to present not a traditional plot so much as domestic activity, with housemaid Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio) helping to raise a brood of middle-class children in Mexico City. Their mother, Sofia, (Marina de Tavira) grows concerned over her husband’s increasingly frequent absences. At some point while watching their lives unfold, the viewer feels not like a dispassionate observer but part of the family, utterly invested in their personal struggles, with events becoming unexpectedly perilous. The section includes sequences of heart-in-your-throat suspense.

In Roma, Cuarón draws on everything he’s learned to date about long takes and composing his frames, so every shot is packed with information. Watching it resembles visiting a gallery of photography: A few minutes at a New Year’s Eve party at a swanky country house speaks volumes about Mexico’s political tensions in 1971.

The paradox of Netflix is that it gives films like Roma the potential for a much bigger audience than could see them on the arthouse circuit, without offering the ideal viewing experience. Today’s televisions offer bigger screens with sharper images, but a theater is still the ideal place to see a deliberately paced, black-and-white movie with subtitles. As much as people like to see big, special-effects-filled epics at the cinema, they’re less likely to be diminished by the distractions of home viewing than a quietly rewarding film like Roma.

Fortunately, Roma will have a brief run at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema beginning December 6, and even Netflix subscribers should make a point to see it on the big screen. Either way, it deserves viewing, and shouldn’t be yet another tree that falls without making a sound. 

Roma. 5 Stars. Stars: Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira. Directed by Alfonso Cuarón. Screens Dec. 6-9 at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema before debuting on Netflix Dec. 14.




Yas, Queen: Speaking of 2018’s best films, the historical satire The Favourite makes Dangerous Liaisons look like The Princess Diaries. Despite taking place in the court of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) in the early 18th century, The Favourite bears little resemblance to “Victoria” or other sleek dramas about the British royals. Instead, it presents courtly struggles as a blood sport, complete with savage wordplay and bedroom power plays.

Queen Anne suffers from ill health and a mercurial temper, and her reliance on her friend and advisor Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz) to run things makes Sarah one of England’s most powerful people. When Sarah’s bereft cousin Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives at the Queen’s country palace, she gradually ingratiates herself with the moody monarch, rising from her station as a servant and threatening Sarah’s position. 

The Favourite offers a reminder of how much the past sucked, especially for women with no resources. On arrival at the palace, Abigail endures verbal humiliation, corporal punishment, vicious pranks, and near-constant sexual harassment. Director Yorgos Lanthimos’s jokes and sight gags never blunt the film’s vision of social cruelty.

Stone effectively captures Abigail’s wounded innocence as she grows from hapless victim to icy schemer as a means of self-preservation. All three of the female leads give Oscar-worthy performances, with Weisz radiating ruthless confidence and Colman making sense of Anne’s mood swings: She’s like Alice in Wonderland’s combative Queen of Hearts suffering from a debilitating depression.

And despite taking place 200 years ago and a world away, The Favourite’s depiction of an emotionally abusive head of state who encourages flattery and petty rivalries may seem all too relevant.

The Favourite. 4 Stars. Stars: Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz. Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. Opens Dec. 7. At area theaters.

Coming attraction: Charles McIntosh’s anti-human trafficking short film “Safe Harbor” has its premiere at the Morrow Civic Center on Dec. 14. thereconciliationmovement.org




Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services.    Courtesy Netflix PAST PRESENT: Roma on the beach.                                   SCREEN TIME: To stream or not to stream? "
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  string(129) "Joel Edgerton’s gay conversion drama captures Southern homophobia better than the horror remake evokes its haunting predecessor"
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  string(129) "Joel Edgerton’s gay conversion drama captures Southern homophobia better than the horror remake evokes its haunting predecessor"
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  string(5289) "Filmed in Atlanta but set in Arkansas, Boy Erased offers insight into how religious homophobia amid the American Bible Belt is more than a small-town phenomenon. The adaptation of Garrard Conley’s 2016 memoir feels firmly placed in the middle-class South, as college student Jared Eamons (Lucas Hedges) becomes forced to enroll in a gay conversion program. 

Russell Crowe plays the titular boy’s father, a Baptist pastor and salesman at a Ford dealership who arrives at work declaring “Morning! Let your light shine!” When he and his wife (Nicole Kidman) hear rumors that their son may be gay, the good ol’ boy bonhomie drops and Dad sends Jared off to a church-sponsored program called Refuge to “cure” him.

As Refuge’s head therapist Victor Sykes, Australian writer/director Joel Edgerton proves almost hilariously louche, with spiky hair and a thin mustache. Boy Erased finds some welcome humor in the program’s frivolous particulars, which suggest a combination of Sunday school, gender stereotyping, and exercises borrowed from TV therapists. But the impact on Jared and his classmates is no laughing matter, and Hedges ably conveys the character’s mixture of self-loathing, rage at adult authority figures, and gradual acceptance of his sexual identity. 

It’s serious stuff, and Edgerton’s direction maintains a respectful tone, but Boy Erased fails to hit hard enough. Kidman and Crowe give convincing portrayals of churchy Southerners struggling to reconcile their faith with their love for their son, but distract from the film’s most compelling aspects. Jared’s experiences in and out of the program, while difficult and complicated, don’t measure up to the harshness of some of his fellows’ treatment, with intimations of confinement and brainwashing. 

While Edgerton’s adaptation stayss admirably faithful to the spirit of its source, given the challenges to gay issues in contemporary politics, Boy Erased weakens the message.

Boy Erased. 3 out of 4 stars.  Stars Lucas Hedges, Joel Edgerton. Directed by Joel Edgerton. Rated R. Nov. 9. At area theaters.

Take My Breath Away: Famously dark humorist Michael O’Donoghue used to say that getting a laugh was the lowest form of humor. He may have been kidding, but director Luca Guadagnino seems intent on approaching his remake of Suspiria in a similar vein: with the idea that scaring people is the lowest form of horror. 

Released in 1977, Dario Argentino’s original horror film plays like a fever dream, delirious in its the surreal colors, art direction, and violence, as well as Goblin’s hypnotic score. But Suspiria’s story, about an innocent American woman joining a sinister Berlin dance company, was never its strength. For the remake, Guadagnino fleshes out the characterizations and adds subplots about Germany grappling with the legacy of World War II and 1970s domestic terrorism. The American (Dakota Johnson) now has an Amish backstory, as well as a more complex relationship with the company’s renowned choreographer (Tilda Swinton), who may be the leader of a coven of witches.

Guadagnino just received a Best Director Oscar nominee for 2017’s Call Me By Your Name, and it should have been fascinating to see his new film in conversation with the original, trying to be cerebral as well as sensual, with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke providing the soundtrack. Unfortunately, at two and a half hours (almost a full hour longer than Argentino’s film), the new Suspiria proves often inert, with murky plotting and an extended storyline about an elderly male psychiatrist (credited to “Lutz Ebersdorf” but Swinton in octogenarian makeup) investigating a dancer’s disappearance. 

Guadagnino’s Suspiria cuts loose in its last 20 minutes, offering the kind of lurid craftsmanship fans of Italian horror have been waiting for. Otherwise it only fitfully comes alive, mostly in the rehearsal scenes. It leaves you wishing Guadagnino had amputated all the politics and vague mumbo-jumbo aimed at providing Black Swan-style melodrama about a creepy dance school. Apart from Swinton’s arresting performance(s), the best thing about Suspiria is its reminder of the original’s haunting power.

Suspiria. 2 out of 4 stars.  Stars Tilda Swinton, Dakota Johnson. Directed by Luca Guadagnino. Rated R. Opens Nov. 2. At area theaters.

Coming attractions: Speaking of scary things in November, the Buried Alive Film Festival takes place Nov. 14-18 at 7 Stages. The 13th annual celebration of spooky cinema includes a screening of the 1920 classic The Golem, with a live soundtrack by Samadha; as well as 1987’s beloved The Lost Boys, featuring a performance by Blast Off Burlesque. 

Along with multiple feature films, the lineup includes multiple shorts programs, which could be particularly nerve-wracking: Contemporary horror shorts have often become effective delivery systems for jump scares and inventive set pieces. The Buried Alive Film Festival (buriedalivefilmfest.com) opens with the Sinema Challenge, screening the output of intrepid filmmakers given only 13 days to make a scary short. Now that’s brave.

Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services."
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Russell Crowe plays the titular boy’s father, a Baptist pastor and salesman at a Ford dealership who arrives at work declaring “Morning! Let your light shine!” When he and his wife (Nicole Kidman) hear rumors that their son may be gay, the good ol’ boy bonhomie drops and Dad sends Jared off to a church-sponsored program called Refuge to “cure” him.

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It’s serious stuff, and Edgerton’s direction maintains a respectful tone, but ''Boy Erased'' fails to hit hard enough. Kidman and Crowe give convincing portrayals of churchy Southerners struggling to reconcile their faith with their love for their son, but distract from the film’s most compelling aspects. Jared’s experiences in and out of the program, while difficult and complicated, don’t measure up to the harshness of some of his fellows’ treatment, with intimations of confinement and brainwashing. 

While Edgerton’s adaptation stayss admirably faithful to the spirit of its source, given the challenges to gay issues in contemporary politics, ''Boy Erased'' weakens the message.

Boy Erased. 3 out of 4 stars.''  Stars Lucas Hedges, Joel Edgerton. Directed by Joel Edgerton. Rated R. Nov. 9. At area theaters.''

__Take My Breath Away:__ Famously dark humorist Michael O’Donoghue used to say that getting a laugh was the lowest form of humor. He may have been kidding, but director Luca Guadagnino seems intent on approaching his remake of ''Suspiria'' in a similar vein: with the idea that scaring people is the lowest form of horror. 

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Guadagnino just received a Best Director Oscar nominee for 2017’s ''Call Me By Your Name'', and it should have been fascinating to see his new film in conversation with the original, trying to be cerebral as well as sensual, with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke providing the soundtrack. Unfortunately, at two and a half hours (almost a full hour longer than Argentino’s film), the new ''Suspiria'' proves often inert, with murky plotting and an extended storyline about an elderly male psychiatrist (credited to “Lutz Ebersdorf” but Swinton in octogenarian makeup) investigating a dancer’s disappearance. 

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Suspiria. 2 out of 4 stars. '' Stars Tilda Swinton, Dakota Johnson. Directed by Luca Guadagnino. Rated R. Opens Nov. 2. At area theaters.''

__Coming attractions:__ Speaking of scary things in November, the Buried Alive Film Festival takes place Nov. 14-18 at 7 Stages. The 13th annual celebration of spooky cinema includes a screening of the 1920 classic ''The Golem'', with a live soundtrack by Samadha; as well as 1987’s beloved ''The Lost Boys'', featuring a performance by Blast Off Burlesque. 

Along with multiple feature films, the lineup includes multiple shorts programs, which could be particularly nerve-wracking: Contemporary horror shorts have often become effective delivery systems for jump scares and inventive set pieces. The Buried Alive Film Festival (buriedalivefilmfest.com) opens with the Sinema Challenge, screening the output of intrepid filmmakers given only 13 days to make a scary short. Now that’s brave.

''Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services.''"
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  string(6001) " Boy Erased Web  2018-11-01T21:59:49+00:00 boy_erased_web.jpg     Joel Edgerton’s gay conversion drama captures Southern homophobia better than the horror remake evokes its haunting predecessor 10684  2018-11-01T21:55:06+00:00 SCREEN TIME: Real-life scares of ‘Boy Erased’ more chilling than ‘Suspiria’s sluggish witchery jim.harris@creativeloafing.com Jim Harris Curt Holman Curt Holman 2018-11-01T21:55:06+00:00  Filmed in Atlanta but set in Arkansas, Boy Erased offers insight into how religious homophobia amid the American Bible Belt is more than a small-town phenomenon. The adaptation of Garrard Conley’s 2016 memoir feels firmly placed in the middle-class South, as college student Jared Eamons (Lucas Hedges) becomes forced to enroll in a gay conversion program. 

Russell Crowe plays the titular boy’s father, a Baptist pastor and salesman at a Ford dealership who arrives at work declaring “Morning! Let your light shine!” When he and his wife (Nicole Kidman) hear rumors that their son may be gay, the good ol’ boy bonhomie drops and Dad sends Jared off to a church-sponsored program called Refuge to “cure” him.

As Refuge’s head therapist Victor Sykes, Australian writer/director Joel Edgerton proves almost hilariously louche, with spiky hair and a thin mustache. Boy Erased finds some welcome humor in the program’s frivolous particulars, which suggest a combination of Sunday school, gender stereotyping, and exercises borrowed from TV therapists. But the impact on Jared and his classmates is no laughing matter, and Hedges ably conveys the character’s mixture of self-loathing, rage at adult authority figures, and gradual acceptance of his sexual identity. 

It’s serious stuff, and Edgerton’s direction maintains a respectful tone, but Boy Erased fails to hit hard enough. Kidman and Crowe give convincing portrayals of churchy Southerners struggling to reconcile their faith with their love for their son, but distract from the film’s most compelling aspects. Jared’s experiences in and out of the program, while difficult and complicated, don’t measure up to the harshness of some of his fellows’ treatment, with intimations of confinement and brainwashing. 

While Edgerton’s adaptation stayss admirably faithful to the spirit of its source, given the challenges to gay issues in contemporary politics, Boy Erased weakens the message.

Boy Erased. 3 out of 4 stars.  Stars Lucas Hedges, Joel Edgerton. Directed by Joel Edgerton. Rated R. Nov. 9. At area theaters.

Take My Breath Away: Famously dark humorist Michael O’Donoghue used to say that getting a laugh was the lowest form of humor. He may have been kidding, but director Luca Guadagnino seems intent on approaching his remake of Suspiria in a similar vein: with the idea that scaring people is the lowest form of horror. 

Released in 1977, Dario Argentino’s original horror film plays like a fever dream, delirious in its the surreal colors, art direction, and violence, as well as Goblin’s hypnotic score. But Suspiria’s story, about an innocent American woman joining a sinister Berlin dance company, was never its strength. For the remake, Guadagnino fleshes out the characterizations and adds subplots about Germany grappling with the legacy of World War II and 1970s domestic terrorism. The American (Dakota Johnson) now has an Amish backstory, as well as a more complex relationship with the company’s renowned choreographer (Tilda Swinton), who may be the leader of a coven of witches.

Guadagnino just received a Best Director Oscar nominee for 2017’s Call Me By Your Name, and it should have been fascinating to see his new film in conversation with the original, trying to be cerebral as well as sensual, with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke providing the soundtrack. Unfortunately, at two and a half hours (almost a full hour longer than Argentino’s film), the new Suspiria proves often inert, with murky plotting and an extended storyline about an elderly male psychiatrist (credited to “Lutz Ebersdorf” but Swinton in octogenarian makeup) investigating a dancer’s disappearance. 

Guadagnino’s Suspiria cuts loose in its last 20 minutes, offering the kind of lurid craftsmanship fans of Italian horror have been waiting for. Otherwise it only fitfully comes alive, mostly in the rehearsal scenes. It leaves you wishing Guadagnino had amputated all the politics and vague mumbo-jumbo aimed at providing Black Swan-style melodrama about a creepy dance school. Apart from Swinton’s arresting performance(s), the best thing about Suspiria is its reminder of the original’s haunting power.

Suspiria. 2 out of 4 stars.  Stars Tilda Swinton, Dakota Johnson. Directed by Luca Guadagnino. Rated R. Opens Nov. 2. At area theaters.

Coming attractions: Speaking of scary things in November, the Buried Alive Film Festival takes place Nov. 14-18 at 7 Stages. The 13th annual celebration of spooky cinema includes a screening of the 1920 classic The Golem, with a live soundtrack by Samadha; as well as 1987’s beloved The Lost Boys, featuring a performance by Blast Off Burlesque. 

Along with multiple feature films, the lineup includes multiple shorts programs, which could be particularly nerve-wracking: Contemporary horror shorts have often become effective delivery systems for jump scares and inventive set pieces. The Buried Alive Film Festival (buriedalivefilmfest.com) opens with the Sinema Challenge, screening the output of intrepid filmmakers given only 13 days to make a scary short. Now that’s brave.

Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services.    Courtesy of Focus Features GET WITH THE PROGRAM: Writer and director Joel Edgerton plays the leader of a gay conversion program in ‘Boy Erased.                                   SCREEN TIME: Real-life scares of ‘Boy Erased’ more chilling than ‘Suspiria’s sluggish witchery "
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Joel Edgerton’s gay conversion drama captures Southern homophobia better than the horror remake evokes its haunting predecessor | more...
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  string(5180) "Bradley Cooper’s remake of the romantic showbiz melodrama A Star is Born proves that big movies require big ambitions. Now in its fourth incarnation, if A Star is Born weren’t so entertaining and sensitive, it would seem like a stunning act of hubris. Or two acts, really. 

First, the film gives pop diva Lady Gaga the chance to present herself as a genuine Hollywood leading lady, following jokey cameos and “American Horror Story” guest spots. In A Star is Born’s love story between two celebrity artists, one rising as the other declines, Gaga takes on into a role played by iconic actress-singers of past generations, Judy Garland in 1954 and Barbra Streisand in 1976. It’s like she’s pulling up a chair to the grown-ups table.

Meanwhile, Cooper isn’t just the film’s co-star and director, but produced it, co-wrote its screenplay, worked on some of its original songs, and does his own singing. If being an actor-singer is a “double threat,” how many threats is that? 

Seldom do projects take such ambitious swings and succeed so well, without feeling like ego trips. One of the impressive things about A Star is Born is that Cooper makes its outsized tale of love, fame, and substance abuse feel grounded, particularly in its whirlwind first half. Cooper plays roots rocker Jackson Maine, whose anthemic performances prove reminiscent of country music’s Sturgill Simpson. Jackson commands arena shows while struggling with alcohol, painkillers, and failing hearing.

One night Jackson leaves his limo seeking a drink in a random bar: when he notices that it’s drag night, he just smiles and shrugs, where a less generous film would make a gay panic joke. When former waitress Ally (Lady Gaga) takes the stage for a powerhouse version of Edith Piaf’s “La Vie en rose,” Jackson’s instantly smitten. 

He visits Ally backstage and they strike instant sparks. At one point, he leans in and peels off one of her fake eyelashes, a moment of both personal intimacy and symbolic relevance: Jackson’s openly ambivalent about show-business artifice, which becomes a source of tension when Ally’s increasingly glam career takes off later in the film. 

Jackson also proves sincerely interested in Ally’s songwriting efforts, and the day after she sings a few verses in a parking lot, he arranges to sing with her at one of her shows. Their duets superbly use the emotional impact of song to demonstrate their feelings for each other, just as their separate numbers reflect Jackson’s sense of isolation and Ally’s self-actualization.

Cooper directs himself in one of his richest and most likable performances, eschewing the aggressive smarm and sarcasm of his usual roles. With a gravelly voice that suggests years of hard use, Jackson has a rock star’s self-awareness while seeming like a nice guy, his alcoholism fueling his implosive, self-destructive behavior. 

Compared to the provocative theatricality of her stage persona, Gaga plays Ally with girl-from-the-block realism. You’re aware of the concentration going into the performance — she’s very, very focused on seeming natural — but Ally’s never less than compelling as she tries to pursue her career while dealing with Jackson’s demons. 

And one could not imagine a better cinematic showcase for Gaga as a singer: You can even imagine her making a credible run at a Best Actress Oscar, charged by the energy of her aria-like solos. Like Cooper, throughout the film she takes big swings and gets big hits.

Pretty scary, eh kids? Halloween is coming up, both the holiday and latest installment in the enduring horror franchise. Director David Gordon Green, known for both prestige dramas and comedies like Pineapple Express revives masked murderer Michael Myers in a sequel due on Oct. 19.

For a refresher in series’ lore, on Oct. 10 Landmark Midtown Art Cinema screens John Carpenter’s original Halloween, a sleeper hit that defined the slasher genre. Then, on Oct. 20, the Plaza Theatre takes a stab by presenting Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, a follow-up that brought back original scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis. Together, the three films give viewers a chance to see how a franchise evolves at 20-year intervals.

The Plaza screens several venerable shockers throughout the month. Oct. 5 presents the weird, nightmarish Phantasm, the hilarious, gory Re-Animator, and satirical Bubba-Hotep, which stars Bruce Campbell as an elderly Elvis Presley fighting a mummy at a nursing home. Oct. 12 offers Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes from 1977, while Oct. 18 sees Carnival of Souls, the kind of cult film where the low budget only magnifies the mood.
Finally, on Oct. 24-25, Fathom Events screens the remastered version of Night of the Living Dead at Atlantic Station, Regal Hollywood 24 and other participating theaters. Shockingly gory in its day, George Romero’s tale of ordinary people under siege from the undead set the template for decades of zombie apocalypses. The genre just doesn’t seem to die.

Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services."
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First, the film gives pop diva Lady Gaga the chance to present herself as a genuine Hollywood leading lady, following jokey cameos and “American Horror Story” guest spots. In A Star is Born’s love story between two celebrity artists, one rising as the other declines, Gaga takes on into a role played by iconic actress-singers of past generations, Judy Garland in 1954 and Barbra Streisand in 1976. It’s like she’s pulling up a chair to the grown-ups table.

Meanwhile, Cooper isn’t just the film’s co-star and director, but produced it, co-wrote its screenplay, worked on some of its original songs, and does his own singing. If being an actor-singer is a “double threat,” how many threats is that? 

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He visits Ally backstage and they strike instant sparks. At one point, he leans in and peels off one of her fake eyelashes, a moment of both personal intimacy and symbolic relevance: Jackson’s openly ambivalent about show-business artifice, which becomes a source of tension when Ally’s increasingly glam career takes off later in the film. 

Jackson also proves sincerely interested in Ally’s songwriting efforts, and the day after she sings a few verses in a parking lot, he arranges to sing with her at one of her shows. Their duets superbly use the emotional impact of song to demonstrate their feelings for each other, just as their separate numbers reflect Jackson’s sense of isolation and Ally’s self-actualization.

Cooper directs himself in one of his richest and most likable performances, eschewing the aggressive smarm and sarcasm of his usual roles. With a gravelly voice that suggests years of hard use, Jackson has a rock star’s self-awareness while seeming like a nice guy, his alcoholism fueling his implosive, self-destructive behavior. 

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And one could not imagine a better cinematic showcase for Gaga as a singer: You can even imagine her making a credible run at a Best Actress Oscar, charged by the energy of her aria-like solos. Like Cooper, throughout the film she takes big swings and gets big hits.

__Pretty scary, eh kids?__ Halloween is coming up, both the holiday and latest installment in the enduring horror franchise. Director David Gordon Green, known for both prestige dramas and comedies like ''Pineapple Express'' revives masked murderer Michael Myers in a sequel due on Oct. 19.

For a refresher in series’ lore, on Oct. 10 Landmark Midtown Art Cinema screens John Carpenter’s original __Halloween__, a sleeper hit that defined the slasher genre. Then, on Oct. 20, the Plaza Theatre takes a stab by presenting __Halloween H20: 20 Years Later__, a follow-up that brought back original scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis. Together, the three films give viewers a chance to see how a franchise evolves at 20-year intervals.

The Plaza screens several venerable shockers throughout the month. Oct. 5 presents the weird, nightmarish Phantasm, the hilarious, gory ''Re-Animator'', and satirical ''Bubba-Hotep'', which stars Bruce Campbell as an elderly Elvis Presley fighting a mummy at a nursing home. Oct. 12 offers Wes Craven’s The ''Hills Have Eyes'' from 1977, while Oct. 18 sees Carnival of Souls, the kind of cult film where the low budget only magnifies the mood.
Finally, on Oct. 24-25, Fathom Events screens the remastered version of ''Night of the Living Dead'' at Atlantic Station, Regal Hollywood 24 and other participating theaters. Shockingly gory in its day, George Romero’s tale of ordinary people under siege from the undead set the template for decades of zombie apocalypses. The genre just doesn’t seem to die.

''Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services.''"
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One night Jackson leaves his limo seeking a drink in a random bar: when he notices that it’s drag night, he just smiles and shrugs, where a less generous film would make a gay panic joke. When former waitress Ally (Lady Gaga) takes the stage for a powerhouse version of Edith Piaf’s “La Vie en rose,” Jackson’s instantly smitten. 

He visits Ally backstage and they strike instant sparks. At one point, he leans in and peels off one of her fake eyelashes, a moment of both personal intimacy and symbolic relevance: Jackson’s openly ambivalent about show-business artifice, which becomes a source of tension when Ally’s increasingly glam career takes off later in the film. 

Jackson also proves sincerely interested in Ally’s songwriting efforts, and the day after she sings a few verses in a parking lot, he arranges to sing with her at one of her shows. Their duets superbly use the emotional impact of song to demonstrate their feelings for each other, just as their separate numbers reflect Jackson’s sense of isolation and Ally’s self-actualization.

Cooper directs himself in one of his richest and most likable performances, eschewing the aggressive smarm and sarcasm of his usual roles. With a gravelly voice that suggests years of hard use, Jackson has a rock star’s self-awareness while seeming like a nice guy, his alcoholism fueling his implosive, self-destructive behavior. 

Compared to the provocative theatricality of her stage persona, Gaga plays Ally with girl-from-the-block realism. You’re aware of the concentration going into the performance — she’s very, very focused on seeming natural — but Ally’s never less than compelling as she tries to pursue her career while dealing with Jackson’s demons. 

And one could not imagine a better cinematic showcase for Gaga as a singer: You can even imagine her making a credible run at a Best Actress Oscar, charged by the energy of her aria-like solos. Like Cooper, throughout the film she takes big swings and gets big hits.

Pretty scary, eh kids? Halloween is coming up, both the holiday and latest installment in the enduring horror franchise. Director David Gordon Green, known for both prestige dramas and comedies like Pineapple Express revives masked murderer Michael Myers in a sequel due on Oct. 19.

For a refresher in series’ lore, on Oct. 10 Landmark Midtown Art Cinema screens John Carpenter’s original Halloween, a sleeper hit that defined the slasher genre. Then, on Oct. 20, the Plaza Theatre takes a stab by presenting Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, a follow-up that brought back original scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis. Together, the three films give viewers a chance to see how a franchise evolves at 20-year intervals.

The Plaza screens several venerable shockers throughout the month. Oct. 5 presents the weird, nightmarish Phantasm, the hilarious, gory Re-Animator, and satirical Bubba-Hotep, which stars Bruce Campbell as an elderly Elvis Presley fighting a mummy at a nursing home. Oct. 12 offers Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes from 1977, while Oct. 18 sees Carnival of Souls, the kind of cult film where the low budget only magnifies the mood.
Finally, on Oct. 24-25, Fathom Events screens the remastered version of Night of the Living Dead at Atlantic Station, Regal Hollywood 24 and other participating theaters. Shockingly gory in its day, George Romero’s tale of ordinary people under siege from the undead set the template for decades of zombie apocalypses. The genre just doesn’t seem to die.

Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services.    Warner Bros. Pictures  FORCE OF GRAVITY: Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga play musicians on different career paths in ‘A Star is Born’.                                   SCREEN TIME: Big swings see big success in ‘A Star is Born’ "
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Thursday October 4, 2018 05:46 pm EDT
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