Blog Directory CineVerse: December 2017

Music to your eyes (and ears)

Sunday, December 31, 2017

On January 10, CineVerse will kick off a Quick Theme Quintent—A Block of 5 Rock Docs. “Quick-theme” months explore movies tied together by a theme. Over the next 5 weeks, CineVerse will feature five acclaimed and innovative rock concert documentaries. Week 1 (Jan. 10): “Monterey Pop” (1967; 79 minutes), directed by D.A. Pennebaker. Plus: Part 1 of “Woodstock” (1970; 95 minutes), directed by Michael Wadleigh.


CineVerse takes a break on Dec. 27 - happy holidays!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Due to the Christmas and New Year's holidays, CineVerse will not meet on Dec. 27. We will reconvene on Wednesday, January 3. Happy holidays!


CineVerse rings in a rockin' New Year

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Curious to learn what's on the schedule for CineVerse in January and February 2018? The picks may be music to your ears--especially our first five dates of the year. Learn more by viewing our next two-month calendar, available here.


A miracle that's lasted 70 years

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Cineversary comes back to CineVerse on December 20, this time bearing a holiday gift: a celebration of the 70th anniversary of “Miracle on 34th Street” (1947; 96 minutes), directed by George Seaton; Plus: stick around for a trailer reel preview of the January/February CineVerse schedule.


"Different kinds of happy..."

Thursday, December 14, 2017

"Sweet Land" is the kind of under-the-radar indie darling that serves as a hidden treasure film that rewards those few viewers, who choose to seek it out, with a tender, moving cinematic experience. The marketing for the film may lead you to believe that it's another period piece romance with heavy comic undertones and a meet-cute premise that centers around a mail-order bride. The mail-order bride part is true, but the rest of that subgenre baggage falls away when the viewer quickly discovers that this isn't going to be a typical romantic drama from the Hollywood cookie cutter assembly line. Among the observations shared during last evening's CineVerse discussion are the following points:


  • It’s visually poetic and beautiful in an unspoken way, without much dialogue or action.
    • DVD Talk reviewer Brian Orndorf wrote: (Director Ali) “Selim concentrates on the looks and silence between these two, toying with the language barrier to create a more soulful way to express attraction.”
  • The film is American made, yet has European sensibilities and a slow-paced foreign feel to it.
  • The cinematography is majestic and epic, capturing the idyllic Midwestern countryside; it helps that the picture is shot on location in southern Minnesota.
  • Despite the fact that multiple languages are used (English, Norwegian and German), the filmmakers don’t use subtitles; this is arguably appropriate, considering inability to communicate and understand one another is a major theme of the movie.
    • Selim was quoted as saying: “"I thought it was an interesting love story more than anything, because of the language barrier they have. And I think it's a metaphor for most men and most women who speak an entirely different language and have to find something more than the intellectual power of words to communicate." 
  • Interestingly, we don’t see a change of seasons reflected in the land or countryside, even though time passes in this story. Doing so may have interrupted or diluted the geographic beauty the filmmakers wanted to maintain.
  • There are no predictable romantic tropes, such as flirtatious behavior, passionate kissing or embracing, or a steamy sex scene. There are also no overly melodramatic moments, sudden tragic events, spicy twists or other cliché story devices endemic to many romance films.
  • The movie doesn’t try to preach or sermonize to the viewer with some kind of higher moral lesson or over-sentimentalized/excessively romanticized parable. This is a very simple story about two characters who look and feel like real people.
  • Forbidden romance, and its allure and stigma. 
  • The experience of American immigrants and the culture shock they encounter.
  • Xenophobia and fear and mistrust of the outsider, even if that fear is unwarranted.
  • Lack of communication and the inability of men and women and all human beings, to some extent, to properly communicate.
  • The benefits and drawbacks of living in small town USA and being a part of a tight-knit, rural, countrified community.
  • Days of Heaven
  • The Quiet Man
  • It’s a Wonderful Life and other Frank Capra films
  • In America
  • The New Land (1972)
  • Babette’s Feast
  • Sarah, Plain and Tall


Arranged marriages only work in the movies...or do they?

Sunday, December 10, 2017

On December 13, CineVerse will showcase “Sweet Land” (2005; 110 minutes), directed by Ali Selim, chosen by Peggy Quinn.


A tale of 5 sisters

Thursday, December 7, 2017

There's a haunting visual lyricism and nonverbal poetic beauty infused in Sofia Coppola's "The Virgin Suicides" that helps this film rise above your standard crop of coming-of-age movies about the challenges of adolescence. It's striking how the narrative skips and jumps around the collective memories of the boys telling the story, often providing short and incomplete portions of a scene or shot that would likely have been fleshed out by other filmmakers with more exposition and detail. The effect, like an impressionistic painter, is to provide just enough of a glimpse at a moment in time for the viewer to figure things out for themselves about a character or situation. Instead of taking the audience from A to B to C to D, "The Virgin Suicides" often goes right from A to D, forcing the viewer to figure out what happened in between on their own. That can be challenging and frustrating for some, but rewarding for others who like to come to their own conclusions about the story and the people that populate it. There was a lot to discuss during last night's review of this film. Here are the points most noteworthy:


  • It’s directed by a woman but told from the point of view of males – consider that the original novel was written by a man and concerns the nostalgia men feel for females they felt were out of their leak or unattainable when they were younger. Coppola has intuitive sensibilities that aren’t limited by her gender, and she seems tap truthfully into the feelings of awkward teenage boys. 
    • Salon reviewer Stephanie Zacharek wrote: “In the old days, you might have said those girls were imprisoned in the male gaze. But Coppola's picture is completely nonjudgmental about the narrators' love for the Lisbon girls…The picture has a feminine sensibility in terms of its dreamy languor, the pearlescent glow that hovers around it like a nimbus.” 
  • The point of view is detached and distanced, coming from the males who put the Lisbon girls on a worshipful pedestal; hence, many questions remain unanswered and the reasons why the girls chose to kill themselves remain enigmatic and mysterious. This is more of an open-ended film with unresolved issues and unanswered character motivations; but these loose ends are fitting, considering that we’re getting the testimony of boys who didn’t know the girls very well and are reminiscing them through the sentimental but subjective lens of their observations. 
    • This film isn’t preoccupied with solving the mystery of why the girls committed suicide and answering every practical question; instead it’s concerned with reminiscing, reflecting, and romanticizing the past. 
  • Despite its ominous title and somber subject matter, the movie isn’t too depressing or emotionally overwhelming. It’s arguably infused with a feel-good visual poetry and enough smile-worthy moments to keep viewers from feeling the blues throughout. 
  • "The Virgin Suicides” is also ineffective period piece that harkens sentimentally to a bygone era and a time when teenage love was likely felt and treated differently than today. 
  • The conflict between internal and external forces. In an essay for The Dissolve, Genevieve Koski wrote: “All of Coppola’s films reveal themselves as being about characters seeking a balance between their inner and outer lives.” 
  • Isolation and alienation. 
  • Inner and outer reflection, as exemplified by the motif of reflective images via glass or windows. 
  • “Material possessions as signifiers of an internal life,” according to Koski. “The various baubles and trinkets populating (Coppola’s) films become outward signifiers of an internal emptiness of some kind or another.” Some of these material possessions include photos, makeup, candles, bras, tennis shoes and other artifacts. 
  • An American preoccupation with happiness, keeping up appearances, and maintaining the status quo. Consider how Mr. Lisbon is focused on the TV baseball game when the priest visits to console the family over the suicide of their daughter. 
  • How memory fades and decays over time. 
  • How ordinary, mundane life can be horrific. 
  • The inability to look beyond the surface: the boys infatuated with the Lisbon sisters limit their feelings and experiences to what they can see. 
  • Ordinary People 
  • Picnic at Hanging Rock 
  • Carrie 
  • Stand By Me 
  • My Summer of Love 
  • Girl, Interrupted 
  • Prozac Nation 
  • American Beauty 
  • Lost in Translation 
  • Marie Antoinette 
  • Somewhere 
  • The Bling Ring 
  • The Beguiled


Talent runs in the Coppola family

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Make a date with CineVerse on December 6: “The Virgin Suicides” (1999; 97 minutes), directed by Sofia Coppola (daughter of Francis Ford Coppola), chosen by Farrell McNulty, will be on the menu. Plus: enjoy a trailer reel highlighting Coppola’s major works.


  © Blogger template Cumulus by 2008

Back to TOP