Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Supernatural Polygamy! Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands On This Week's Indie Memphis Movie Club

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2020 at 1:21 PM

Marriage is a sacred institution between two people and also sometimes a nude ghost. That's the premise of Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands, this week's Indie Memphis Movie Club selection.

Based on a bestselling novel by Jorge Amado, the 1976 film by director Bruno Barreto set a box office record in Brazil that held for 35 years. Sonia Braga (who later went on to star in Kiss Of The Spider Woman and the other current Indie Memphis Movie Club selection, Bacurau) plays Dona, whose rakish husband Vadinho (Jose Wilker) dies in the film's opening scenes. Their relationship was tumultuous and unstable, but sexually satisfying. Looking for more stability, she finds love with Teodoro (Mauro Mendonça), He's a good husband, but boring in bed. Then, Vadinho's thirsty ghost returns to haunt his wife, and Dora must find an equilibrium between the two marital extremes.

Tonight at 8 p.m., Indie Memphis artistic director Miram Bale and film writer Monica Castillo will host an online discussion of the film's history, impact, and meaning in our present moment. Go to the Indie Memphis website for more details, and check out the trailer.

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Monday, March 30, 2020

Music Video Monday: Stephen Chopek

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2020 at 11:36 AM


Hit the (virtual) road with Music Video Monday.

Memphis' one-man music video studio, Stephen Chopek, is back — or should we say, there and back again. Chopek has spent a lot of time on the road as a touring musician. He made the video for "Cherokee Arms" from clips he shot in transit.

"I moved to Memphis six years ago, and I was ready to write a song about living in Midtown," Chopek says. "Cherokee Arms is an apartment building on Madison Avenue that looks how Midtown Memphis feels to me — rough around the edges with strong character, understated with a solid presence, attitude with class. This video is all about getting there."

If you would like to see your music video featured on Music Video Monday, email cmccoy@memphisflyer.com

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Friday, March 27, 2020

Never Seen It: Watching Mad Max: Fury Road with Comedian Katrina Coleman

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2020 at 11:56 AM

Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road

In the Time of the Rona, I’m reviving my Never Seen It series, in which I convince a cool person to watch a classic film they have somehow missed.

To kick off the revival, I hit up Memphis comedian and You Look Like show producer Katrina Coleman on Twitter, where she’s been doing a nightly movie watch party under the hashtage #cowatch. Our conversation (which happened on the phone, not in real life!) has been edited for length and clarity.

Before Fury Road:

Chris McCoy: How are you holding up?

Katrina Coleman: Good. I made one final grocery trip and put it all up. We stocked up on everything…I’m worried, but we just gotta keep going. [#cowatch] is to keep our spirits up with banter. It’s like, I know what I'm gonna do tonight. I’m going to sit and watch a movie. Do you like to watch it with me and follow along? If it seems like it would interest you, we can all experience the same thing. Actually, one of the rules was not to watch movies like this. I love post-apocalyptic movies, but I was going to stay away from them for a while.

CM: Well, if you’re going to break the rule, this is the one to break it for. What do you know about Mad Max: Fury Road?

KC: I've been told over and over again I have to watch it. When it came out in theaters, I was a bad feminist if I didn’t see it. I avoided it because I was I felt like I had to like it…I know the basic plotline, and I’ve seen a lot of the gifs. And I loved Max Max and The Road Warrior.
120 minutes later…

CM: You are now a person who has seen Mad Max: Fury Road. What did you think?

KC: [incoherent screaming] What I have is guttural noises and joy! It is very good! My dad was a truck driver. I love violence. I love yelling. It was a moral story. I was supposed to be tweeting about it, but I kept getting really engrossed with it! Also, my daughter sort of watched it with me. She’s 10, but she has really adult tastes. She was also playing with Legos at the time, so we did talk a little bit about plot and what's happening and why people do the things they do. But it's beautiful to watch! I'm a big fan of action porn. It was really well done. I don't know a lot about movies, but I had so many feelings. Now I want to murder all dudes except for the ones who repeatedly show their loyalty. But to ally yourself, you have to throw yourself out of a moving vehicle and shoot another dude. You could gain my trust!

Nicholas Hoult as Nux.
  • Nicholas Hoult as Nux.

CM: So like Nux. When starts out and he's like an incel, kind of like Trump follower, or an alt-right teenage bro.

KC: Actually, what I was seeing was just Lord of the Flies. That's what happens—unsupervised violence; total, sterile teenage boyhood.

CM: But then by the end, he sacrifices himself for everybody.

Riley Keough as Capable. Keough is Elvis Presley's granddaughter.
  • Riley Keough as Capable. Keough is Elvis Presley's granddaughter.
KC: Yeah. But he still doesn't do a 180, where he's a completely different person. In his final moment, he asked someone to witness him. In his mind he's realized that Valhalla waits for him, not for the glory of the warlords, but for the glory of sacrifice. That trait is always there and it's beautiful, but it was used for good. The idea that these were boys, but they don't live very long, so they just throw themselves into the machine for the defenses of whatever cause. But all it took, was the one tiny relationship building with him and [Capable]. It might've been the first time he fell asleep peacefully with someone. He spoons for the first time and it just changed his whole life.

CM: I love the scene where he eats the bug off of her. He’s like, “Oh! Protein!” It’s such a primate thing to do, to eat a bug off your partner.

KC: They’re tasting life for the first time, in a super base, disgusting way. This movie is very verdant while being like gross. It's very fleshy. There's a lot of, there's a lot of life in it. I don't know how to explain that, but it's pro-life, in that it is for life. The stakes are very high. It sort of views all lives together as one thing, and then the desert and the violence and the death is another thing. It struck me the moment when Max comes back, he's covered in blood. He's like, what is this? It’s mother’s milk—which we've already established earlier in the movie is literally human milk—and he uses it to wash the blood off of him. That hit me in a weird way. That part upset me the most… It's almost like a religious moment.

CM: You're an outspoken feminist. What did you think of this movie from that standpoint?

KC: Well, I have a point of frustration—it’s the concept of the Netflix category, “strong female lead,” like that’s a whole movie. So, like for someone with strong feminist values, it's just cool to watch a movie where you see people that look like you and your friends. It's also equal opportunity. Like, the grannies are getting in it! They're punching folks and shooting people. Everyone's on an equal level here.

But of course, it resonates with me that the male representation is just destruction, control, and ownership. "That's my child! My property!" Compared to the feminine sort of propagation, the mother with the seeds and how that was what she just kept trying to do. Just kept trying to keep planting, just keep going.

The wives who almost want to go back because they value continuing over anything else. The concept of preservation is built in so hard, and that's why Furiosa just one such character, because she values preservation. But she will destroy to get it, which makes her very specifically non-binary. like her ruthlessness and the moment where she says, no, we're not going back [for Splendid]. She has to verify that there's nothing to go back for. She says, "Did you see it? Did you see it?" She went under the wheels. But did you see it? Like that's what makes her really a trans character. Because it's usually what makes male characters really striking, when they have the moment of nurturing, the reluctant father figure.

CM: Interesting. Yes. That makes me think about Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan. He’s like the tough sergeant the whole time, and then like towards the end you find out he’s, like, an elementary school teacher. He gives that energy out just a little bit every now and then…that nurturing energy.

KC: We, as humans, love to see a badass that will take anything's ass. If we can kind of quietly believe that person would protect us. I think that's part of what sort of holds us to a hero. Like, if some bad shit went down, this person who just just absolutely opened fire and murdered all these people and cut them in half, they do it to keep me safe.

Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa
  • Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa
CM: And Charlize Theron…

KC: I mean, a performance for the ages! So much of it is non-verbal. I love her as an actress, just full, like, full stop, obviously.

CM: [Cinematographer John Seale] shoots her sometimes like…it's almost like he's shooting architecture. She's just carved out of stone, you know? When I first saw this movie, I compared her performance to Clint Eastwood’s The Man With No Name.

KC: She’s quiet, and communicates everything with her eyes and micro-expressions. She has such a talent for the smallest things…And then there’s the big meme moment—“That’s bait.” I had never seen it in context.


I also appreciate how every line that Tom Hardy delivered, he sounded like he had just woken up. I know I've always been on the fence about that guy, but he's really great in this.
Tom Hardy as Max Max Rockatansky
  • Tom Hardy as Max Max Rockatansky
CM: Max, though, is almost like a like a sidekick in his own movie.

KC: So, one of my favorite things is the same thing I love about Die Hard. Like, how many hit points does this dude have? How is he standing up?

CM: That’s almost his function as a hero. Luke Skywalker’s function is to fight evil with his lightsaber. Max Rockatansky’s function is to take a punch and keep getting up.

KC: He gets shot literally in the face and is only saved by his crazy ideations of grief.
Courtney Eaton as Cheedo The Fragile
  • Courtney Eaton as Cheedo The Fragile
CM: [Cheedo The Fragile], she's the one who tries to run away, but the other wives talk her out of it. This time, I read that whole scene as a feminist allegory. You know, "Give him another chance! He’ll be good to me this time."

KC: You know, that is a constant struggle. If we conform enough, if we cater to the patriarchy…It's usually the older feminist, the ones who've been very successful in business, “The Pantsuits”, they call them, who tell us younger feminists to just go with it. Learn to smoke a cigar, learn to take the jokes, learn to deal with it. Yeah. That is super common. And it happens with younger feminists, but absolutely. And I think it's also been expressed in my colonialization the idea of just go with it to survive. How much is too much? Different people have different levels of how much is too much. Some people can take quite a lot of degradation before they believe it's worth risking their life.
Hugh Keays-Byrne as Immortan Joe
  • Hugh Keays-Byrne as Immortan Joe
CM: So, things have a bit of an apocalyptic feel right now, because of, you know, the plague. How did it feel watching Fury Road in this moment?

KC: It was wild. Comparing my life personally, at this time, has seen very small changes. Earlier, I went to the grocery store, but I saw the world in very different way. I also love post-apocalyptic fiction. I love considering it and thinking about it. Where would I stand? What would it be? How would I maneuver out of this world? The line, “Don't get addicted to water!” is the one that hit me hard. Even in such a dismal place, propaganda is still working well.

What we're experiencing right now in our country is 100 percent result of propaganda. It's like, it's all propaganda's fault that it's so scary. There's a thousand people on the ground with their buckets. Only the first 50 or 60 managed to fill up their buckets with water. The war machines, they don’t have to be as big as flashy as they are. The chrome and shiny warlords don't have to dress the way they do. It's just control. And that's the thing that's the most upsetting though about watching it, the thing that kinda just brings it home. If the prisoners figured out that they outnumbered the guards, it would be over real quick.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Indie Memphis Weekly Film Series Goes Virtual

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 2020 at 3:49 PM

  • Bacurau
For years, Indie Memphis' weekly film screenings have been a highlight of life in the Bluff City. The organization, whose acclaimed annual film festival is the largest in the region, brings films to the big screen that otherwise won't play theatrically here.

This month, Indie Memphis, teaming with Malco Theatres, was scheduled to open its own dedicated movie theater in Studio on the Square. Obviously, the opening ceremonies have been delayed due to the ongoing pandemic lockdown. So Indie Memphis is doing what a lot of arts organizations are doing right now—going virtual.

The Indie Memphis Movie Club will be bringing you the same kinds of quality films you've come to expect from them at home. Instead of one screening a week, the films will be available for a full week. On Tuesdays, IM will bring you an online Q&A with the programming staff and special guests—usually the director or others involved in the production of the film.

The first week's film is Bacurau. Directors Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles's film is a huge hit in their native Brazil. The barbed political satire centers on a rural Brazilian village that suddenly finds itself missing from maps. The inhabitants try to cope as they find themselves under attack from mysterious forces, including maybe UFOs. Check out the trailer:

You can find out more about Indie Memphis' latest plans and activities on their new and improved website

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Monday, March 23, 2020

Music Video Monday: Mark Edgar Stuart With Garrison Starr

Posted By on Mon, Mar 23, 2020 at 11:12 AM

Music Video Monday finds joy in togetherness.

When Memphis singer/songwriter Mark Edgar Stuart was stuck in a creative rut, he needed collaboration to help him out of it. "I’d been spinning my wheels creatively for most of 2019," he says. "I wanted to shake things up, and get outside of my creative comfort zone. I met Brandon Kinder at Ditty TV. Though we come from different musical backgrounds, I always admired him as a songwriter and a producer. I had written a song for my wife, a good old-fashioned love song, and he recommended that it be a duet. He suggested Garrison Starr. That seemed pretty far-fetched at the time. To me she was a star. I’d been a fan of Garrison since the Highland strip days back in the 90s. She accepted the invite and the song was complete. I figured you can’t have a single without a video, so with my phone I filmed my recent vacation to Puerto Rico with my wife. I thought it was kinda fitting, the two of us making 'One More Memory For The Road.'"

A virtual trip to Puerto Rico doesn't sound too bad about now, does it?

If you would like to see your music video featured on Music Video Monday, email cmccoy@memphisflyer.com. 

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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Malco Theatres Go Dark To Fight Spread Of Coronavirus

Posted By on Tue, Mar 17, 2020 at 5:22 PM

The Malco Paradiso theater in East Memphis
  • The Malco Paradiso theater in East Memphis
Malco Theatres has announced the closure of all of its theaters beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020, due to the ongoing threat of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. “The health and safety of our guests and employees is of the highest importance”, said David Tashie, President and COO, “We will continue closely monitoring the situation and when given clearance, be ready to resume normal operations.”

Malco operates 33 movie theaters with more than 340 screens in Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, and Louisiana. Vice President and Director of Marketing Karen Melton said in an email that the temporary closures were "in compliance with local, state and federal directives concerning COVID-19."

Melton encouraged Malco patrons who wish to support the theater chain to buy gift cards for use when the theaters re-open, and to support all local businesses affected by the pandemic emergency. 

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Thursday, March 12, 2020

Oxford Film Festival Postponed Indefinitely Due To Coronavirus

Posted By on Thu, Mar 12, 2020 at 4:16 PM


The 2020 Oxford Film Festival, scheduled to take place March 18-22, has been postponed indefinitely due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. “We have concluded that the only responsible decision is to postpone the 2020 festival until later in the year," says OFF board chair Sparky Reardon. "While we are heartbroken to have to make this decision, our first priority must be the health and safety of our community, our attendees, our supporters, and our filmmakers."

The annual film festival, which was scheduled to kick off next Wednesday with a selection of Mississippi films before proceeding with a gala screening of the 1990s cult classic Pump Up The Volume on Thursday, attracts filmmakers and cinephiles from all over the United States. Several Memphis filmmakers were scheduled to present their work at the festival, which maintains close ties to the Mid South filmmaking community.

Earlier today, Mississippi health officials confirmed the first case of COVID-19 had been identified in the state. The patient is an adult male from Forrest County who recently returned from a trip to Florida. There is no indication the patient has connections to the film festival, but state health officials have recommended citizens avoid mass gatherings.

Given the fluid situation, the OFF has not yet set a date for the rescheduled festival. “It is our intention to present the full slate of exceptional films, speakers and panels at a later date when the festival may be held under conditions deemed safe by governmental and health authorities,” says Reardon. 

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Tuesday, March 10, 2020

From Ava Gardner to Reese Witherspoon to King Kong, a Classic Week at The Movies

Posted By on Tue, Mar 10, 2020 at 4:25 PM

Eva Gardner in Pandora and the Flying Dutchman
  • Eva Gardner in Pandora and the Flying Dutchman
It's a week of classics on the big screen in Memphis. First up, tonight, March 10th, a new regular film series begins at Black Lodge. Steve Ross, who recently retired as Professor Emeritus of the University of Memphis' Communications and Film Department, was approached by his former film students Chad Allen Barton and Stephen Hildreth and Lodge owner Matt Martin to share some of his favorites with audiences.

“I immediately thought of Black Lodge as the perfect venue for a series of American films from the 1950’s—specifically, glossy melodramas by directors like Vincent Minnelli and Douglas Sirk," says Ross. "These were enormously popular films that were too overwrought, too excessive, and too flamboyant to be taken seriously by critics at the time of their release. Black Lodge has never shied away from films that some might condemn as disreputable. And Written On The Wind is one of the most disreputable examples of high-gloss melodramas with sly undercurrents of satire running through them."

The screening is free, and the show starts at 7 p.m. tonight. Check out the wild opening credit sequence of Written On The Wind to get a taste of delicious disreputability, 1956-style.

Tomorrow, Wednesday March 11th, Indie Memphis' weekly film series presents another melodrama from the 1950s. Pandora and the Flying Dutchman was Ava Gardner's first bona fide star vehicle. It's a weird supernatural thriller from director Albert Lewin that has Gardner cast as a femme fatale named for the demi-goddess of chaos and James Mason as the possible incarnation of the Flying Dutchman. Also, there are racecars. The 4K restoration of the film screens at Malco Ridgeway at 7 p.m.

On Thursday night at Crosstown Theater, the Arthouse series presents a doozy. Reese Witherspoon got an Oscar for playing June Carter Cash, but 10 years earlier she was a crazed Little Red Riding Hood taking preemptive revenge on big bad Kiefer Southerland in one of the weirder post-Pulp Fiction sordid crime pictures. Behold the sleazy glory of Freeway, playing at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday night.

On Sunday, March 15th at 1 p.m., Turner Classic Movies is bringing King Kong to the Malco Paradiso. Is it just me, or did it always seem like a really bad idea to bring the big ape to Broadway? This is not a hindsight thing. Just seems like common sense. But what do I know about showbiz?

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Monday, March 9, 2020

Music Video Monday: Alex da Ponte

Posted By on Mon, Mar 9, 2020 at 11:05 AM

Today on Music Video Monday, we've got a world premiere from Alex Da Ponte.

For her new song "Work To Do", da Ponte tapped Ryan Earl Parker to direct a unique music video. "It was all shot in one take, so we had to rehearse and really nail it. I loved that challenge. Ryan was so wonderful to work with. He came up with the concept for the video after really listening to the song. It was so clear that he really understood what I was trying to convey. He was also really encouraging and receptive to my suggestions. And it’s always a pleasure getting to work with my best pal, Breezy [Lucia], who was the producer and AC for the shoot. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, she is THE golden crew member for projects that come through Memphis. It was a really great team that Ryan and Breezy assembled for this. For a song that’s as personal as this one for me, I felt truly comfortable having it in their hands and I think that says a lot."

If you would like to see your music video on Music Video Monday, email cmccoy@memphisflyer.com.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2020

True Stories, Zombi Child, and Teen Wolf This Week at The Movies

Posted By on Tue, Mar 3, 2020 at 3:00 PM

David Byrne and John Goodman hit the mall in True Stories.
  • David Byrne and John Goodman hit the mall in True Stories.
Happy Super Tuesday. Hope you're all out voting today. Once you've made that decision, it's time to go to the movies.

Tomorrow night, Wednesday, March 3rd, Indie Memphis' film series presents Zombi Child. Bertrand Bonello's film takes the zombie myth back to its Caribbean roots. Before Night of the Living Dead, zombies were always associated with Hatian Vodou. Practitioners would prepare a powder containing pufferfish toxin that would paralyze the victim and make them appear dead. Then, once the funeral was over, they would revive the victim and enslave them. How often, or, even if, this ever happened is the source of much dispute, but Bonello uses the legend as a jumping-off point to tell a story of high school intrigue and body horror. This film has a look that reminds me of the hugely underrated Raw. The show starts at 7 p.m. at Malco Powerhouse.

On a completely different note, Malco's Throwback Thursday at Studio on the Square brings us a horror-comedy from the 80s with some higher-than-average star power. Michael J. Fox cashed in on his newfound Back To The Future stardom with Teen Wolf. The not-really remake of I Was A Teenage Werewolf has its moments, but it's no I Was A Zombie For The FBI.

Over at Crosstown Theater on Thursday, the Arthouse series serves up a cult classic. David Byrne burned down 30 Rock last weekend with his performance on Saturday Night Live. Let's just take a moment to watch before proceeding.


Anyway, in 1986, Byrne wrote and directed his only feature film, True Stories. It's an unconventional and difficult movie to describe — kind of a set of interlocking character sketches of people Byrne read about in supermarket tabloids, kind of a travelogue of the middle America the consummate New York art-punk discovered while on tour, and kind of a cross between a music video and traditional musical based on the underrated (there's that word again) Talking Heads album of the same name.

Byrne, who appears in the film as the narrator but doesn't sing, elevated a little-known character actor named John Goodman to what passes for a leading role in this meandering mini-masterpiece.

See you at the movies! 

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Monday, March 2, 2020

Music Video Monday: The Wealthy West

Posted By on Mon, Mar 2, 2020 at 12:40 PM

Music Video Monday is coming at you live.

Brandon Kinder of The Wealthy West and producer Jonathan Thomason recorded this heartfelt acoustic version of Kinder's song "Find You Somebody" live to tape. Think of it as a little something to soothe your troubled soul this stormy Monday.

If you would like to see your music video featured on Music Video Monday, email cmccoy@memphisflyer.com. 

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Friday, February 28, 2020

The Invisible Man

Posted By on Fri, Feb 28, 2020 at 9:42 AM

Elisabeth Moss is brilliant in The Invisible Man.
  • Elisabeth Moss is brilliant in The Invisible Man.
Would you rather have the power of flight or the power of invisibility? That’s a parlor game question designed to find out if you’d be a superhero or a supervillain. Why would you choose flight? The feeling of freedom, the immortal human dream of soaring with the birds, the ability to swoop in and rescue people in trouble. Why would you choose invisibility? To sneak around, engage in voyeurism, commit bank robbery, maybe try some light espionage, and just generally mess with people. Maybe the two abilities don’t flawlessly map to good and evil intent, but they’re illuminating.

Noted socialist H.G. Wells wrote The Invisible Man, his third science fiction novel, in 1897. Wells’ protagonist Griffin is a right bastard who intends to use his invisibility to conduct a “reign of terror.” The book got a fairly faithful adaptation in 1933 by the father of horror, James Whale. The high-visibility starring role made Claude Rains a movie star, and the Invisible Man one of the classic Universal Monsters. Over the years, everyone from Chevy Chase to Kevin Bacon have played some version of Wells’ transparent protagonist.

In the 21st century, Universal Studios has been obsessed with the idea of replicating Marvel’s success using its existing IP — which means, Universal Monsters. Their last attempt, 2017’s The Mummy, is one of the worst films of the last decade which reportedly lost more than $90 million. Showing rare wisdom, Universal execs decided to punt on the “Dark Universe” and go for a one-off Invisible Man movie produced by horror maestro Jason Blum.
This time around, the nowhere man Adrian Griffin is played by Oliver Jackson-Cohen. But he’s not the star of the picture. Instead, the film is led by Elizabeth Moss as Cecilia Kass, Adrian’s wife. Writer/director Leigh Whannell sets the stage for the story with a tense, cold opening. Cecilia awakens in the middle of the night in the sprawling beach house she shares with Adrian, packs a bag, and sneaks out through an intimidating array of security systems. Just when she thinks she’s escaped their abusive relationship, Adrian attacks; she and her sister Alice (Harriet Dyer) barely escape.

Cecilia goes to ground at the home of her friend James (Aldis Hodge), a police detective. She bunks with his daughter Sydney (Storm Reid), and for weeks, she is too paranoid of Adrian’s revenge to even leave the house. Then Alice comes with news: Adrian has been found dead of suicide. This doesn’t sit right with Cecilia at first. Narcissistic sociopaths like Adrian just don’t kill themselves — they’re usually more into homicide. But then Tom (a marvelously sleazy Michael Dorman), Adrian’s brother/attorney, informs her that Adrian set up a $5 million trust fund for her in the event of his death — provided she is mentally competent and doesn’t commit any crimes for four years. Cecilia tries to move on, but she can’t quite trust this kind of happy ending. That’s when stuff around her starts to move on its own.
Moss delivers a performance worthy of an artist at the height of her creative powers, playing each scene with perfect nuance. I’ll admit, I haven’t exactly been a fan of the past work of Whannell, who is one of the co-creators of the Saw horror franchise. But this time, he nails it. There’s nothing I love better than a high-concept, sci fi horror with sociopolitical resonance (yes, I’m a blast to talk to at parties), and The Invisible Man pushes all my buttons.

This isn’t a film about “what would you do if you could be invisible?” It’s about domestic abuse. Cecilia’s experience reflects all the familiar patterns of an abusive relationship. Adrian is controlling, right down to dictating what she eats and what she wears. He tells her she’s nothing, and he is the only one who understands her. He isolates her from her friends and family. Crucially, once the invisibility-related weirdness gets rolling, no one believes Cecilia’s version of events. In the context of “there’s an invisible dead man out to get me,” that’s understandable. In the real world, not believing a woman who says “my ex is stalking me and I think he’s going to kill me” all too often ends in tragedy. This version of The Invisible Man is both a terribly frightening horror film and a thought-experiment exploration of a pressing social issue worthy of grandmaster Wells himself.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

International Jewish Film Festival Finale and Do the Right Thing This Week in Theaters

Posted By on Tue, Feb 25, 2020 at 1:04 PM

Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles
  • Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles
The 2020 Morris and Mollye Fogelman International Jewish Film Festival ends today (Tuesday, February 25th) with a sure-fire crowd pleaser. Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles is a documentary about the origin and impact of Fiddler On The Roof, the 1964 musical about a Jewish community trying to stay together in Tsarist Russia.

The Best Musical Tony winner was one of the most successful Broadway plays of all time and has become a staple of musical theater, and a touchstone for Jewish diaspora communities all over the world. The acclaimed documentary puts the play and the film adaptation in context with the political and social forces that influenced the play's creation and its rise to take a place in the canon. The show starts at 6:30 at Temple Israel.

Cantor Abbie Strauss will open the program by singing several songs from the play, and at $5 for members and $7 for the community, you don't have to be a rich man to attend.

On Wednesday, February 26th, Indie Memphis presents Vitalina Varela, a film by acclaimed Portuguese director Pedro Costa. The screening starts at 7 PM at Malco Ridgeway.

The Malco Studio on the Square Thursday Throwback selection this week is Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing, the 1989 masterpiece that made the director a household name (even among people who never saw the movie) and, among other epochal accomplishments, introduced a guy named Samuel L. Jackson to a wider audience.

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Monday, February 24, 2020

Music Video Monday: Snazzy-Line ft. WEBBSTAR

Posted By on Mon, Feb 24, 2020 at 11:38 AM

Music Video Monday is beautiful.

It might be a dreary, drizzly winter day outside in Memphis, but it's warm and cozy in Snazzy-Line's new music video.

I usually try to come up with something witty to say about the videos in my intro, but "Beautiful" is just, well, beautiful. The neo-soulster's slick grooves are accompanied by gorgeous images courtesy of director Ryan Peel and Hotkey Studios. It's a sumptuous visual feast shot in Molly Fontaine's, a Memphis treasure. Check it out:

If you'd like to see your music video featured on Music Video Monday, email cmccoy@memphisflyer.com

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Russian Dramas, Bibi Netanyahu, and Back To The Future II in Theaters This Week

Posted By on Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 10:09 AM

Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly in the worst of all possible timelines in Back To The Future II.
  • Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly in the worst of all possible timelines in Back To The Future II.
There's a wide variety of offerings on big screens this week. On Wednesday, Feb. 19th at 7 p.m., Indie Memphis presents Beanpole, by Russian director Kantemir Balagov. Set in Lenningrad after World War II, Beanpole is the story of two best friends (Viktoria Miroshnichenko and Vasilisa Perelygina) who are trying to overcome their wartime trauma and are united by the unlikely idea of surrogate motherhood. Beanpole screens at Studio on the Square.

The Morris and Mollye Fogelman Memphis International Jewish Film Festival continues on Thursday, Feb. 20th with King Bibi, an intimate look at the career of outgoing Israeli prime minister Bibi Netanyahu. The meticulously researched documentary screens at the MJCC Belz Theater at 7 p.m.

Or, for something completely different on Thursday, you can see my favorite film whose story requires a diagram to explain. Back To The Future II was released in 1989, four years after the original film became a surprise hit. It's fascinating to watch today to see what it got right and wrong about the 21st century. For my money, the best scene in the film is when writer Bob Gale stops the action entirely to draw a diagram that explains the ingenious plot, which involves the accidental creation of an alternate universe. It's a lot more fun than it sounds.

See you at the movies! 

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