By MCN Editor


EXTREMELY WICKED, SHOCKINGLY EVIL AND VILE.  Was Zach Efron born to play Ted Bundy? Was Joe Berlinger born to dissect Ted Bundy? Seems like it: First, the four hour Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, premiered on Netflix in January 2019, and now comes the companion piece, the fictionalized Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (screenplay by Michael Werwie from the book “The Phantom Prince; My Life with Ted Bundy” by Elizabeth Kendall ), told largely from the perspective of Bundy’s girlfriend, Liz Kloepfer (Lily Collins [Read more.]

KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSEKnock Down The House is a superb survey of how to affect hearts and minds in latter-day retail politics. “We have to have the courage to say, ‘We can do better,’” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says early in director-writer Rachel Lears and editor-writer Robin Blotnick’s brisk, bountiful, bracing two-years-in-the-following vérité documentary “Knock Down the House,” a chronicle of four progressive women, from the Bronx (Oscasio-Cortez), West Virginia (Paula Jean Swearengin), Nevada (Amy Vilela) and Missouri (Cori Bush), running against entrenched, often self-serving incumbents in the House of Representatives in 2018. [Read more.]

THE LAST. Jeff Lipsky, a career film distributor with a parallel path as an independent filmmaker, has a bold, brash approach to stark, plain filmmaking: rawness, bluntness, breathlessness in the face of incest, abortion, cancer, suicide and now, the Holocaust and Jewish identity. [Read more.]

HAIL SATAN? The rollicking comedic politi-doc, “Hail Satan?” from Penny Lane (“Nuts!”; “Our Nixon”) shadows the Temple of Satan (which was recognized in April by the IRS as a religion) during public actions that militate for religious freedom for all and essential First Amendment rights, and mocks reactionary churls such as the Westboro Baptist Church and former Florida Governor Rick Scott. [Read more.]

ASK DR. RUTH. Ryan White’s sweetly adroit slice of a life, “Ask Dr. Ruth” glides genially on the charm of diminutive nonagenarian sex therapist Ruth Westheimer, lilting German accent intact, public service still first and foremost for her, memories of surviving the Holocaust readily tapped. [Read more.]


Mad Dog And Glory.  John McNaughton’s 1992 Mad Dog and Glory captures a Chicago and a Chicago filmmaking scene of a deep, done past. Written by New Yorker Richard Price, executive produced by Martin Scorsese and shot by Dutch master Robby Müller, McNaughton’s third fiction feature is a playful, sneakily funny neo-noir with colorful characters and slightly queasy turns that refracts its own historical moment, primarily as an artifact of an era when Chicago was a short-lived production center that sustained production and careers, and when the screwball comedy gift-of-a-girl premise wouldn’t prompt a batted eyelash. [Read more.]

Never Look Away. I hadn’t seen a whale in a while. Producer-writer-director Florian Maria Georg Christian Graf Henckel von Donnersmarck’s second German-language feature, the century-spanning Never Look Away (Werk ohne Autor) is a perverse psychological thriller, an art-history leviathan and a pastel lullaby of touchable things and thieved portfolios, a languorous three hours and eight minutes that peruses high art for the sake of hot ham. I looked forward to von Donnersmarck’s latest, despite hushed reviews from festival outings and a lackluster German release. The movie was thrashed in German-language reviews, but I don’t know how much is taking the film to task for its wholesale appropriation of the life of the living Gerhard Richter and the late Joseph Beuys. (Richter is eighty-seven.) Never Look Away is an uncommonly greedy magpie epic fictionalization of a living artist’s life: the screenplay’s inspiration, Richter, has objected in a now-notorious New Yorker profile-cum-hit piece on the eccentric filmmaker. [Read more.]

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“With any character, the way I think about it is, you have the role on the page, you have the vision of the director and you have your life experience… I thought it was one of the foundations of the role for John Wick. I love his grief. For the character and in life, it’s about the love of the person you’re grieving for, and any time you can keep company with that fire, it is warm. I absolutely relate to that, and I don’t think you ever work through it. Grief and loss, those are things that don’t ever go away. They stay with you.”
~ Keanu Reeves

“I was checking through stuff the other day for technical reasons. I came across The Duellists on Netflix and I was absolutely stunned to see that it was exquisitely graded. So, while I rarely look up my old stuff, I stopped to give it ten minutes. Bugger me, I was there for two hours. I was really fucking pleased with what it was and how the engine still worked within the equation and that engine was the insanity and stupidity of war. War between two men, in that case, who fight on thought they both eventually can’t remember the reason why. It was great, yeah. The great thing about these platforms now is that, one way or another, they’ll seek out and then put out the best possible form and the long form. Frequently, films get cut down because of that curse in which the studio felt or feels that they have to preview. And there’s nothing worse than a preview to diminish the original intent.Oh, yeah, how about every fucking time? And I’ve stewed about films later even more because when you tell the same joke 20 times the joke’s no longer funny. When you tell a bad joke once or twice? It’s fine. But come on, now. Here’s the key on the way I feel when I approach the movie: I try to keep myself as withdrawn from the project as possible once I’ve filmed it. And – this is all key on this – then getting a really excellent editor so I never have to sit in on editing. What happens if you sit in is you become stale and every passage or joke, metaphorically speaking, gets more and more tired. You start cutting it all back because of fatigue. So what you have to do is keep your distance and therefore, in a funny kind of way, you, as the director, should be the preview and that’s it.”
~ Sir Ridley Scott