By Ray Pride


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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“I really want to see The Irishman. I’ve heard it’s big brother Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece. But I really can’t find the time. The promotion schedule is so tight, there’s no opportunity to see a three and a half-hour movie. But I really want to see it. In 2017, right before Okja’s New York premiere, I had the chance to go to Scorsese’s office, which is in the DGA building. There’s a lovely screening room there, too, with film prints that he’s collected. I talked to him for about an hour. There’s no movie he hasn’t seen, even Korean films. We talked about what he’s seen and his past work. It was a glorious day. I’ve loved his work since I was in college. Who doesn’t? Anyone involved with movies must feel the same way.”
~ Bong Joon-ho

“But okay, I promise you now that if I ever retire again, I’m going to ensure that I can’t walk it back. I’ll post a series of the most disgusting, offensive, outrageous statements you can ever imagine. That way it will be impossible for me to ever be employed again. No one is going to take my calls. No one is going to want to be seen with me. Oh, it will be scorched earth. I will have torched everything. I’m going to flame out in the most legendary fashion.”
~ Steven Soderbergh