December 2019 archive

The Best Television of 2019

The word most commonly associated with television at the end of the decade seems to be “overwhelming.” Talk to people about the state of the form, and they’ll tell you about all the shows that their friends have told them to watch and how there’s no time for all of them. This sense of fatigue …

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Video Interview: Greta Gerwig, Saoirse Ronan on Little Women

Celebrated writer/director Greta Gerwig updates the beloved American classic “Little Women” by not only revisiting the classic stories of the lives of the four March sisters in the aftermath of the Civil War, but also pays homage to the book’s author Louisa May Alcott. Australian entertainment journalist spoke to Gerwig and Golden Globe nominated Saoirse …

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Watchmen and My Family Tree

Though I knew my mother’s genealogy, I knew nothing of my father’s. All I had were lost memories and tiny paper trails. It took a television series, HBO’s “Watchmen,” to inspire me to solve that half of my mystery.  My great grandmother left Chaney, France in 1946 as Odette Cotillion and arrived at Ellis Island …

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A Letter to Roger About Michael Apted’s 63 Up

Dear Roger Ebert,  How have you been these days, Roger? It has been more than five years since you passed away in 2013, but I often cannot help but think of you whenever I encounter something great at a movie theater. At times, I wistfully reflect on how wonderful it will be if you were …

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Into the Dark: Midnight Kiss

The second year of “Into the Dark” has been notably more ambitious than the first. Apparently, Hulu has given the production a higher budget, and Blumhouse appears to be encouraging some interesting storytelling. The last two months produced a Pilgrim-centric Thanksgiving original film with a high gore quotient and a fun Christmas installment that played …

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Clemency

“I am invisible, understand, because people refuse to see me.” This excerpt from the prologue of Ralph Ellison’s 1952 novel Invisible Man is mentioned during a seemingly inconsequential moment in Chinonye Chukwu’s sophomore feature effort, “Clemency,” yet its essence reverberates through every frame. 2019 has been filled with films about wrongly incarcerated men, from Destin …

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Little Women and Gillian Armstrong’s Brilliant Career

“Little Women” was tailor-made to be adapted over time and evolve with generations, one of many stories that suit retelling. Think “A Star is Born” taking on new life throughout the decades with fresh eyes, tracking the pursuit of love, art and soul-draining demons until it’s nothing but an empty vessel. Or think about “Romeo + …

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Home Entertainment Guide: December 26, 2019

4 NEW TO BLU-RAY/DVD “Abominable” If your kids have seen “Frozen II” and “Jumanji: The Next Level” twice already, you may be looking for another (cheaper) option over the holiday break. The latest variation on teaching kids not to judge books by their covers is this iteration of the Yeti legend, in which a group …

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Spies in Disguise

Source: RogerEbert.com

1917

At a time when it seems as if cinema experiences a new technological breakthrough every few months, it’s oddly comforting that moviegoers can still be hooked by a film that’s presented as being one unbroken shot. Granted, it’s not a new idea, but the concept of an extended single shot, whether the shot is meant to stretch …

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Ip Man 4: The Finale

Movies about the legendary martial artist Ip Man have become their own small industry. Wong Kar-Wai’s “The Grandmaster” is the best of the recent works about the Foshan-born icon, but Wilson Yip’s “Ip Man” series is tough to beat for charm and verve. Yip started his career as an irreverent genre re-upholsterer, making violent, punk …

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The Song of Names

It’s 1951, and a major musical event is about to enliven London’s classical scene. The evening depicted in this movie’s opening will feature a young violin virtuoso, Dovidl Rapaport, playing a program of Bruch and Bach. Dovidl’s friend Martin, a fellow in his early twenties like the absent violinist, tries to reassure the older folks …

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Simplicity Means There’s Nowhere to Hide: Directors Nick Bruno and Troy Quade on Spies in Disguise

In an interview with RogerEbert.com, “Spies in Disguise” directors Nick Bruno and Troy Quane talked about designing their new animated film to look like some of the classic spy stories of the early James Bond era, standing in for stars Tom Holland and Will Smith in the recording room, and why the chase scenes and explosions …

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A Choreographed Dance: Sam Mendes, Krysty Wilson-Cairns, George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman on 1917

What made Alfred Hitchcock’s criminally underrated 1948 masterwork “Rope” so compelling wasn’t only the visual trickery it utilized to make the story of Leopold and Loeb-esque killers appear as if it unfolded largely in an unbroken take. It was the substance informing the style that kept the audience’s attention rapt, as the claustrophobic sequences mirrored …

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#370 December 24, 2019

Matt writes: As the days of 2019 grow short, let’s take a look at the Best Films of 2019, as chosen by the writers at RogerEbert.com. Our combined list includes such celebrated titles as “Marriage Story,” “Parasite,” “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” and “The Irishman.” You can find all the individual lists submitted …

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Video Interview: Jamie Foxx on Just Mercy

“Just Mercy” tells the true story of Walter McMillian (played by Jamie Foxx), who was wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to death. With the help of a young defense attorney Brian Stevenson (played by Michael B. Jordan), he is finally exonerated. Australian journalist Katherine Tulich spoke with Jamie Foxx on how he prepared for the …

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The Whole of Ourselves: Tim Blake Nelson and Karan Kendrick on Just Mercy

Just as the formidably accomplished lawyer Bryan Stevenson has a penchant for getting close to his clients, filmmaker Destin Daniel Cretton and cinematographer Brett Pawlak keep their camera fixed on the expressions of their characters, allowing their faces to tell the story. The new screen adaptation of Stevenson’s book, Just Mercy, marks the fourth consecutive …

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Just Mercy

“Just Mercy” has the misfortune of hitting theaters at the same time as “Clemency,” a more daring and better film set on a prison’s Death Row. Though the lead characters differ in intent—Michael B. Jordan’s activist Bryan Stephenson is trying to get prisoners off the row while Alfre Woodard’s warden Bernadine Williams oversees their executions—the …

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The Great Performances of 2019

What makes a great performance? People often conflate character with performance – thinking unforgettable characters must come from great acting. This is certainly partially true. There’s an art to crafting a character you’ll never forget. But why certain characters take up more real estate in our minds than others is still an issue that eludes …

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Thumbnails Special Edition: In Praise of Our Writers at RogerEbert.com

Thumbnails is a roundup of brief excerpts that usually introduces you to articles from other websites that we found interesting and exciting. In light of the holidays, I’d like to shine a light on some of our wonderful writers at RogerEbert.com, who have been profiled on other sites.—Chaz Ebert 1.  “Why Film Critic Scout Tafoya Sees …

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