808 Documentary Film Review (Alex Dunn, 2015)

Out of all the inventions to have contributed to the increasingly relevant history of electronic music, the TR-808 from Roland likely has the strongest legacy. From Brian Eno to Marvin Gaye to Kanye West, the unique sounds of the TR-808 have dominated the electronic-sonic vocabulary since its invention in 1980, even as new technology is developed to replace the unique sounds of the now antiquated (and highly sought-after) instrument. Alex Dunn’s debut documentary feature, 808, attempts to paint a compelling narrative for the technology — from inception to the present, from the roots of hip-hop, all the way through dance/house/electro and back to pop. 808 gathers an impressive list of producers, MC’s and DJ’s to illustrate what the 808 meant

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Beats of the Antonov – Documentary Film Review (Sudan, 2014)

Hajooj Kuka’s short yet powerful Beats of the Antonov is a poignant documentary on the war-ravaged border between North and South Sudan, set against the backdrop of refugee communities who have only one another to cling on to. Yet thanks to Kuka’s insistence on giving the refugees a voice to speak, Beats of the Antonov is an optimistic film that shows how communities can thrive even as people actively try to destroy them.

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H. Film Review (Rania Attieh & Daniel Garcia, 2014)

All too often, apocalyptic films foretell the coming of the end in the form of big blowouts rather than a slow dismantling. In the overly-Hollywood 2012, buildings collapse and helicopters fall from the sky for no seemingly reason whatsoever. In War Of The Worlds and Independence Day, intergalactic monsters take over, causing environmental catastrophe and obliterating all that human beings hold dear. Gripping as those examples may be, there are times when the macro observation of a situation may not be the most interesting story. In the face of some real human catastrophes, as in 9/11 or Columbine, hurricanes or typhoons, the personal narratives that emerge — often long after the fact — can sometimes be even more fascinating. And it is from those closer looks that film like H. focuses its attention, encouraging viewers to slow down even as the world of Troy, New York, is crumbling around them.

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SIFF 2015 – Seattle International Film Festival Film Previews & Selections

SIFF 2015 (Seattle International Film Festival) really shows off its vitality as the longest film festival in North America this year. Operating a host of its own theatres this year, from the SIFF Cinema Uptown and SIFF Cinema to the newly acquired SIFF Egyptian, SIFF is going strong, and this year, many of our top picks are centered around recent political happenings, music trends, food, murder, and freedom.

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Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem Film Review (Israel)

Set almost exclusively in a tiny courtroom, Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, is an Israeli-French film about a couple’s lengthy battle for divorce. Simple from its get-go, the film’s major strengths lie in its tense appeal and multiple layers of meaning, which build slowly through use of seemingly trivial gestures. Director-siblings Ronit Elkabetz and Shlomi Elkabetz use the limitations of space, time, and color to give viewers a glimpse into Israeli society, where religious views and patriarchy can dominate female rights. This film was seen as a part of Portland International Film Festival (PIFF) 2015.  

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The Gambler Film Review: A Dying Breed?

Runner Runner (2013), which starred Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake, also garnered dismal reviews as well as dire box office takings. The indie film Poker Movie, which featured a psychopathic killer and a number of poker-playing police officers, failed to even make the cinemas regardless of its stellar cast. But arguably the most disappointing was The Gambler, Rupert Wyatt’s remake of the 1974 classic that originally starred James Caan and was loosely based off a novella by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

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The Tribe – Плем’я – Plemya Film Review (Ukraine)

Calling to mind controversial films like Gaspar Noé’s Irreversible (2002) or Harmony Korine’s Gummo (1997) and Kids (1995), The Tribe can be construed by some as a film of senseless depravity. Over the course of two hours, it is unrelenting as it bleakly follows the lives of an isolated group of deaf-mute schoolchildren that perpetuate a hierarchical system of bullying, violence, and prostitution within the confines of their school and its adjacent living quarters. The film boasts proudly that no spoken words and no subtitles are necessary to convey its themes of love and hate — and in this regard, The Tribe is, from the get-go, unlike any other. Bold and polarizing, it wordlessly pulls one deep into its trenches,

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Portland International Film Festival (PIFF) 2015 Film Previews & Selections

The Portland International Film Festival (PIFF) is back, this year with numerous can’t-miss films from all corners of the globe. The festival screenings kick off February 5, 2015, and continue through February 21 at various theaters around Portland. Over the next several weeks, check back here for in-depth reviews of those screenings — but in the meantime, study up; we’ve culled together a list of the most tantalizing offerings you’ll want to check out.

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Top Grossing Marvel Character Movies

Stories of superheroes have been a popular form of entertainment ever since comic books were introduced into the mainstream, but these days, it is the numerous comic book films produced annually that are making the greatest impact. Marvel has benefit from this popularity the most, releasing up to 3 films a year, the most recent being Guardians of the Galaxy. Comic book franchises have some of the highest grossing films of all time, but here are the top 5 featuring their superheroes. This post is a sponsored advertisement.

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I Origins Film Review & Interview w/ Director Mike Cahill: Notes on Spiritual Subjectivity and Artistic Magnetism

An I Origins film review and interview with director Mike Cahill, intertwined with personal anecdotes and musings on past lives, coincidence, and the ability of art to attract like-minded individuals across distances.

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Brian Reitzell Retrospective Feature: From Film Soundtracks to Auto Music

Kraftwerk’s 1974 album, Autobahn, was inspired by the feeling of traveling freely along the open German motorways it was named after. Forty years later, a different driving journey serves as a guiding force behind Brian Reitzell’s debut album, Auto Music: Reitzell’s commute to and from work in Los Angeles. Its motorik kinship with other Krautrock greats is keenly present on tracks like “Auto Music 1″, echoing as it does Can’s formative free-form instrumentation and the metronomic pulse of Neu!. In that sense, the song and album’s influences feel expertly curated–which isn’t surprising, given that Reitzell is the same man who is responsible for the Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Just Like Honey” playing over the closing scene in Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation–as well as getting My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields to contribute to that film’s soundtrack after a long spell out of the spotlight.

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Alice Cohen Animator Interview & Music Video Retrospective

“What appeals to me is the potency in the image — the object itself, or the mysterious atmosphere it holds. A truly beautiful image has the power open up this whole inner world; it’s like a visual “key” that unlocks and fires up your imagination.” – Alice Cohen

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