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Monday, May 18, 2020

Couch Cinema: 'Normal People'

Posted By on Mon, May 18, 2020 at 5:00 PM

  • Hulu Originals
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:
“Normal People” (Season 1, 12 episodes, 2020)

Where to see it:

The deal:
Based on the best-selling 2018 novel by Sally Rooney, “Normal People” follows the evolving relationship between Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell (Paul Mescal), who grew up in the same town in Ireland’s County Sligo. We meet them as high schoolers: Both are intellectual achievers, but Connell is a beloved athlete and Marianne a pariah. Social class separates them, too: Connell’s mom (Sarah Greene) cleans the mansion where Marianne’s mom (Aislín McGuckin) presides.

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Saturday, May 16, 2020

Stowe Jewish Film Festival Goes Virtual

Posted By on Sat, May 16, 2020 at 2:05 PM

Still from 'Crescendo' - COURTESY OF MENEMSHA FILMS
  • Courtesy of Menemsha Films
  • Still from 'Crescendo'
Now in its fifth year, the upcoming Stowe Jewish Film Festival is embracing social distancing with an all-virtual experience. And — more importantly, perhaps, for anyone who's running out of thought-provoking streaming options — it's free. For that, founder and cochair Edee Simon-Israel thanks "generous sponsors" and "our marketing and technology partner," Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center, which served as the fest's venue in 2019.

The fest will last three weeks, starting May 24, with each of three films available to stream for three days.

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Monday, May 11, 2020

Couch Cinema: 'Upload'

Posted By on Mon, May 11, 2020 at 5:00 PM

Nathan (Robbie Amell) discovering his new world in "Upload" - COURTESY OF AMAZON STUDIOS
  • Courtesy of Amazon Studios
  • Nathan (Robbie Amell) discovering his new world in "Upload"
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:
“Upload” (season one, 10 episodes, 2020)

Where to see it:
Amazon Prime Video

The deal:
In 2033, no one has to die — no one who can afford to have their consciousness digitized and uploaded to a virtual afterlife, anyway. Twentysomething tech bro Nathan Brown (Robbie Amell) hasn’t yet made provisions for his own untimely demise, which occurs in the pilot episode when his self-driving car rams itself into a truck.

Luckily (or unluckily) for him, his image-obsessed girlfriend, Ingrid (Allegra Edwards), comes from a 1 percent family with “unlimited data.” As medical personnel fight for Nathan’s life, she persuades him to let himself be preemptively uploaded to the swanky Horizen Lakeview, a rustic grand hotel inside a computer server. (Exteriors were filmed in a real place: Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, N.Y.)

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Monday, May 4, 2020

Couch Cinema: 'What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael'

Posted By on Mon, May 4, 2020 at 5:56 PM

  • Photo Courtesy of Deborah Feingold
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 movie:
What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael (2019)

Where to see it:
Until May 15, stream the movie for $10 per household as part of the Vermont International Film Foundation’s Virtual Cinema program. On VTIFF’s page, you’ll find instructions for viewing the movie on your TV, plus an interview with the director from Seven Days contributing writer Luke Baynes.

The deal:
If you were a movie lover in the 1970s or ’80s, you already know the work of Pauline Kael (1919-2001), who reviewed for the New Yorker from 1968 to 1991. Her opinions were strongly worded, contrarian and frequently very funny. They carried so much power that Bob Fosse and George Lucas, both directors she’d skewered, inserted parodic references to her into their work (remember evil “General Kael” from Willow?).

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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Vermont Screenwriter John Fusco on the Future of Film and Bringing 'The Highwaymen' to the Screen

Posted By on Wed, Mar 27, 2019 at 4:34 PM

John Fusco with Woody Harrelson - COURTESY OF JOHN FUSCO
  • Courtesy of John Fusco
  • John Fusco with Woody Harrelson
Dropping out of high school at age 16 doesn’t guarantee international fame and fortune. At the same time, it hasn’t exactly held John Fusco back. Nope, he’s squeaking by.

The Vermont-based screenwriter, producer and series creator is leading a ridiculously rich existence, in fact. If there were a prize for most movie-like life, it would be sitting on his mantel beside the ones he received the year before and the year before that.

Here's an example: After he dropped out of school, Fusco traveled the American South in search of Delta blues musicians who’d never had a top-10 record but were pioneers and innovators of the form. He played music himself here and there and took factory jobs to finance his research. He got his GED. He went to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. His bachelor’s thesis was the 1986 Columbia Pictures hit Crossroads, starring Ralph Macchio as a young guitarist traveling through the South to learn about the blues.

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Monday, February 18, 2019

Jennifer Garner Talks Child Welfare This Week in Burlington

Posted By on Mon, Feb 18, 2019 at 10:39 PM

  • Courtesy of Save the Children Action Network
  • Jennifer Garner and two friends
Jennifer Garner is known for her ass kicking on "Alias," her winsomeness in 13 Going on 30, her red-carpet outfits, her celebrity marriage to (and recent divorce from) Ben Affleck and, perhaps slightly less prominently, her work as an ambassador for the international charity Save the Children. This Thursday, that charity work brings the movie star to Burlington, where the public can see her — space permitting — at a "special conversation on the importance of high-quality child care" at Merrill's Roxy Cinemas in Burlington.

Garner's conversation partners will be Save the Children Action Network CEO Mark Shriver and Aly Richards, CEO of Let's Grow Kids, a Burlington-based organization that aims "to ensure affordable access to high-quality child care for all Vermont families by 2025," according to its website.

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Friday, September 21, 2018

Jay Craven Describes His Film 'Wetware,' Screening This Week

Posted By on Fri, Sep 21, 2018 at 4:36 PM

'Wetware' film still - COURTESY OF JAY CRAVEN
  • Courtesy of Jay Craven
  • 'Wetware' film still
On Saturday, September 22, in Burlington, Vermont filmmaker Jay Craven offers two preview screenings of Wetware, his 10th feature. Craven is well known for his period adaptations of  Vermont-centric novels by the late Howard Frank Mosher, including Where the Rivers Flow North (1993) and A Stranger in the Kingdom (1999). His latest is a distinctly different venture.

Rife with moody neon and existential angst, Wetware takes place in the near future, in which human genetic enhancement technology is being woven, with snags, into the fabric of everyday life.

The Vermont International Film Festival and Kingdom County Productions present two benefit screenings tomorrow at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. at the Film House of the Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center. Proceeds support KCP youth education programming. On Saturday, September 29, Town Hall Theater in Middlebury hosts one preview screening.

In advance of this weekend's screenings, Craven fielded questions from Seven Days.

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Friday, July 20, 2018

'The King' Comes to the Queen City: Filmmaker Eugene Jarecki Talks About His New Doc

Posted By on Fri, Jul 20, 2018 at 12:15 PM

  • Courtesy of Eugene Jarecki
  • Eugene Jarecki
Talking Trump-era politics with Eugene Jarecki is probably the equivalent of playing chess with Boris Spassky or standing across a tennis court from Roger Federer. The field is not level. You are not remotely in the same league. And that’s what makes it so much fun.

The Peabody and Emmy award-winning director of such acclaimed documentaries as The Trials of Henry Kissinger (2002), Why We Fight (2005), Reagan (2011) and The House I Live In (2012), the Mad River Valley resident has been named a Soros Justice Fellow at the Open Society Foundations and a senior fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.

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Friday, June 15, 2018

Local Film 'The Nightingale Chronicles' Shows in Burlington This Month

Posted By on Fri, Jun 15, 2018 at 1:43 PM

The Nightingale Chronicles trailer from Harry Llama on Vimeo.

A Franklin County film production will hit a Burlington big screen on June 26.

The Nightingale Chronicles, written and directed by East Fairfield resident Harry Goldhagen, stars Bruce Jones as a womanizing glamour photographer who faces an unexpected reckoning with his past when he accepts a photo-essay assignment from a smarmy agent (played by former “Late Night Saturday” host Tim Kavanagh). His subject: a reclusive Vermont doctor (Dawn Kearon).

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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Vermont Gets ClickHoled: No Indie Films Here, Please

Posted By on Wed, Aug 2, 2017 at 1:17 PM

Vermont will be taking no part in mumblecore™ — at least not according to ClickHole. Yesterday, the Onion's delightfully irreverent content platform posted the piece, "Supporting the Arts: Vermont Is Offering a Tax Credit to Incentivize Indie Filmmakers to Stay the Fuck Out of Its State With That Bootleg Duplass-Brothers-Rip-Off Bullshit."

The title pretty much lays it all out, but it's a great full read anyway, especially if you get thrills every time you see the word "Vermont" in a major outlet, real or otherwise.

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