“Raising Voices” is the theme of Modfest 2017, and anyone who was energized by the politicized acceptance speech delivered by Vassar alumna Meryl Streep at the Golden Globes Awards may want to check it out.
On the surface, A Monster Calls looks a CGI-heavy thrill ride for the YA crowd, and the elaborate special effects involved in bringing one of Great Britain’s ancient yew trees to terrifying life are indeed impressive. But this is no conventional monster movie. It’s a powerfully emotional, intimate parable about the internal struggle between denial and acceptance in a child whose beloved parent is dying of a slow, wasting disease.
Upstate Films in Rhinebeck will host a film screening of Our Man in Havana (1960) on Sunday, January 15 at 12:30 p.m. Those planning to attend are invited to read the book on which the film is based beforehand, sign up for Oblong’s book group, then stay after the screening for a book-versus-movie discussion.
Eva Hesse’s sculptures were different: Though mainly employing latex, fiberglass and plastics as materials, they were messy, complex, organic, out-of-control. Art critic Arthur Danto described her work as “full of life, of Eros, even of comedy.” She died too young of a brain tumor – in 1970, at age 34 – to enjoy the level of critical regard that would eventually attach to her oeuvre, but today she is seen as a pioneer of Post-Minimalism.
Surprisingly, director Damien Chazelle’s original concept for La La Land – a student film from his Harvard days, titled Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench and developed with then-classmate Hurwitz – was set in Boston. It wasn’t until they adapted it into one of those paeans-to-itself that Hollywood loves so much that they were able to find backers. (The critical and commercial success of Chazelle’s 2014 project, Whiplash, didn’t hurt either.)
A documentary film revealing the exhaustive records, both visual and audio, that the photographer compiled while living next door to a NYC loft that was a Mecca for jazz artists from 1957 and 1965. Smith installed microphones throughout the building, even in the stairwells, capturing off-the-cuff conversations between legendary artists along with their musical collaborations.
The Japanese like to visualize good fortune to come by making their first calligraphy of the year an auspicious Chinese character called a kanji, encapsulating the particular flavor of positive energy that one next wishes to embody. The practice is called Kakizome, meaning “first writing.”
An assortment of picks from our movie critic.
Viola Davis’ big soliloquy is a stunner, cementing her ever-growing reputation as one of the greatest actresses of our time.
Gareth Edwards’ “filler” project is about 100 times better than George Lucas’ prequel trilogy (though that’s not saying much).