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Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Vermont International Film Festival Returns With a Focus on Journalism

Posted By on Tue, Oct 13, 2020 at 12:52 PM

Still from A Thousand Cuts. - COURTESY OF FRONTLINE PBS
  • Courtesy of Frontline PBS
  • Still from A Thousand Cuts.
Cries of "fake news" fill the political sphere. Social media companies reckon with a misinformation epidemic. Newsrooms confront their own biases. Clearly, 2020 is a pivotal year for journalism, and this year's Vermont International Film Festival is taking a long, hard look at the profession.

Running from October 23 to November 1, this year's VTIFF is all virtual, with a program of 12 films arranged in six pairs. Each pair is accompanied by a Q&A. Ticket holders have a three-day window to view each film, with the livestreamed discussion falling within that window.

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Monday, August 31, 2020

Couch Cinema: 'Build the Wall'

Posted By on Mon, Aug 31, 2020 at 7:55 PM

Kent Osborne and Jane Adams in the Vermont-shot film Build the Wall - COURTESY OF NOBUDGE
  • Courtesy of NoBudge
  • Kent Osborne and Jane Adams in the Vermont-shot film Build the Wall
Where do we find entertainment these days? On our laptops and in our living rooms. The streaming options are overwhelming — and not always easy to sort through. So, in this weekly feature, I review a movie or series that might otherwise be easy to overlook.

The film
Build the Wall

Where to see it
YouTube

The deal
No, this movie is not a pro-Trump statement (though you will find plenty of impassioned defenses of the border wall if you simply plug the title into a search engine). It’s a low-budget, low-key drama that was shot by prominent indie film figures in Hardwick, Vt.

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Monday, August 24, 2020

Couch Cinema: 'At the Drive-In'

Posted By on Mon, Aug 24, 2020 at 8:05 PM

COURTESY OF MONELLI FILMS
  • Courtesy of Monelli Films
Where do we find entertainment these days? On our laptops and in our living rooms. The streaming options are overwhelming — and not always easy to sort through. So, in this weekly feature, I review a movie or series that might otherwise be easy to overlook.

This week, I’m complementing my cover story about Vermonters rediscovering the drive-in picture show in the summer of COVID-19 with a review of a 2017 documentary about some folks who were ahead of the curve.

The film
At the Drive-In

Where to see it
Kanopy, Tubi, Amazon Prime Video; rentable on other platforms

The deal
Located in rural Lehighton, Pa., the Mahoning Drive-In has been showing movies since 1949. Its single screen is one of the largest CinemaScope screens — designed for the widescreen spectaculars that flourished at midcentury — on the East Coast.

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Sunday, August 23, 2020

With Drive-In Up and Running, Essex Cinemas Prepares to Open Indoor Theaters

Posted By on Sun, Aug 23, 2020 at 4:55 AM

Essex Cinemas - MARGOT HARRISON ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Margot Harrison ©️ Seven Days
  • Essex Cinemas
On Friday, August 28, Essex Cinemas will open its indoor movie theaters for the first time since the March lockdown, with a raft of new safety precautions in place, according to Peter Edelmann, owner of the Essex Experience.

The move follows the reopening this week of select locations of  AMC Theatres and Regal Cinemas — national chains with no Vermont presence. "We're watching what they're doing," Edelmann said in a phone conversation.

He plans to start with a week of already released movies and "work out the logistics before bringing a new release in," Edelmann said. That could be Christopher Nolan's Tenet — which, after multiple delays, is currently scheduled for a September 3 release.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Couch Cinema: 'Support the Girls'

Posted By on Tue, Aug 18, 2020 at 1:11 PM

Regina Hall in Support the Girls - COURTESY OF MAGNOLIA PICTURES
  • Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures
  • Regina Hall in Support the Girls
Where do we find entertainment these days? On our laptops and in our living rooms. The streaming options are overwhelming — and not always easy to sort through. So, in this weekly feature, I review a movie or series that might otherwise be easy to overlook.

The film
Support the Girls

Where to see it
Hulu; rentable on various other platforms

The deal
Lisa (Regina Hall) is the general manager of Double Whammies, a Texas strip-mall restaurant devoted to “beer, boobs and big screens.” She cares a lot about her employees, sometimes to the point of running afoul of the owner, Cubby (James LeGros). On this particular day, a series of mishaps heats things to the boiling point.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Couch Cinema: 'The Goldfinch'

Posted By on Tue, Aug 11, 2020 at 11:22 AM

COURTESY OF AMAZON STUDIOS
  • Courtesy of Amazon Studios
Where do we find entertainment these days? On our laptops and in our living rooms. The streaming options are overwhelming — and not always easy to sort through. So, in this weekly feature, I review a movie or series that might otherwise be easy to overlook.

The film:
The Goldfinch

Where to see it:
Amazon Prime Video; rentable on various platforms

The deal:
In this adaptation of Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, a terrorist bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art changes everything for 13-year-old Theo Decker (Oakes Fegley). His mother is killed in the blast, setting him adrift to find a home first with the cultured matriarch (Nicole Kidman) of a Park Avenue family, then with his deadbeat dad (Luke Wilson) amid the foreclosed homes of Las Vegas, then with a sympathetic antiques dealer (Jeffrey Wright).

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Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Couch Cinema: 'The Old Guard'

Posted By on Tue, Aug 4, 2020 at 3:15 PM

Charlize Theron as Andy - AIMEE SPINKS/NETFLIX
  • Aimee Spinks/Netflix
  • Charlize Theron as Andy
Where do we find entertainment these days? On our laptops and in our living rooms. The streaming options are overwhelming — and not always easy to sort through. So, in this weekly feature, I review a movie or series that might otherwise be easy to overlook.

The film:
The Old Guard

Where to see it:
Netflix

The deal:
Her name is Andromache of Scythia (Charlize Theron), but you can call her Andy, and nothing can kill her. Stalking around in black jeans and sporting the deadpan charisma of vintage Clint Eastwood, Andy leads a team of centuries-old warriors with miraculous regenerative abilities. Joe (Marwan Kenzari) and Nicky (Luca Marinelli) date from the Crusades; Booker (Matthias Schoenaerts) from Napoleonic France. Together they while away their seeming immortality by fighting for good causes.

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Monday, July 27, 2020

Couch Cinema: 'Palm Springs'

Posted By on Mon, Jul 27, 2020 at 6:48 PM

JESSICA PEREZ/HULU
  • Jessica Perez/Hulu
Where do we find entertainment these days? On our laptops and in our living rooms. The streaming options are overwhelming — and not always easy to sort through. So, in this weekly feature, I review a movie or series that might otherwise be easy to overlook.

The film:
Palm Springs

Where to see it:
Hulu

The deal:
At a swanky wedding in the desert, two disaffected guests meet cute — sort of. Sarah (Cristin Milioti), the sister of the bride, is drinking hard and on the verge of making a scene. Nyles (Andy Samberg), a bridesmaid’s date, isn’t particularly concerned when he catches his girlfriend (Meredith Hagner) hooking up with a groomsman. In fact, he isn’t particularly concerned about anything, including the armed mystery man (J.K. Simmons) who appears from nowhere and attacks him just as he and Sarah are about to have an ill-advised hookup of their own.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Couch Cinema: 'The Great'

Posted By on Tue, Jul 21, 2020 at 8:00 AM

Elle Fanning in "The Great" - ANDREA PIRRELLO/HULU
  • Andrea Pirrello/Hulu
  • Elle Fanning in "The Great"
Where do we find entertainment these days? On our laptops and in our living rooms. The streaming options are overwhelming — and not always easy to sort through. So, in this weekly feature, I review a movie or series that might otherwise be easy to overlook.

The series:
“The Great” (10 episodes, 2020)

Where to see it:
Hulu

The deal:
In 18th-century Russia, a teenage princess arrives at the imperial court for an arranged marriage to the young emperor. Theirs is not a match made in heaven. While the bride, Catherine (Elle Fanning), is a dreamy bookworm who worships the thinkers of the French Enlightenment, the groom, Peter III (Nicholas Hoult), is a spoiled man-child who enjoys boozing, killing things, recreational sex and more boozing.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Couch Cinema: 'Homemade'

Posted By on Tue, Jul 14, 2020 at 11:52 AM

[image-1] Where do we find entertainment these days? On our laptops and in our living rooms. The streaming options are overwhelming — and not always easy to sort through. So, in this weekly feature, I review a movie or series that might otherwise be easy to overlook.

The film:
Homemade (2020)

Where to see it:
Netflix

The deal:
Want to check out Maggie Gyllenhaal’s home in Vermont? Here’s your chance. Let’s be clear, though: Nosiness about the celebrity next door is not the best reason to watch Homemade, Netflix’s new collection of 17 short films created by filmmakers in quarantine. With offerings from celebrated directors around the world, all pitting their creativity against the restrictions of lockdown, this wildly diverse anthology has a lot more to recommend it than voyeurism.

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