Johnny Szlauderbach

REVIEW: ‘Dark Night,’ movie violence

By Johnny Szlauderbach / February 18th, 2017 / 0 Comments

In silent, extreme close-up, we see a face. The expression is rapt, the makeup-caked eyes wide and unblinking. Light flickers, bouncing off her visage in rapid fire, and we get the sense that she’s surrounded by darkness. Just when we’re oriented—this must be a movie theater—the light abruptly switches to blue long enough for us…

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Kansas City theater will participate in Reel Film Day, screen 35mm prints of ‘Kill Bill’

By Johnny Szlauderbach / February 17th, 2017 / 0 Comments

In a move sure to inspire much rejoicing (and, from your less-cinephilic friends, much shrugging), Alamo Drafthouse has just announced that March 5 will henceforth be known as “Reel Film Day,” a national celebration of 35mm celluloid. (Written cardinally, March 5 is 3.5—get it?) Partnering with Kodak, the theater chain will ring in the holiday…

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REVIEW: ‘A Cure for Wellness,’ nightmare factory

By Johnny Szlauderbach / February 16th, 2017 / 0 Comments

The whole reboot craze could, arguably, be traced back to a movie that wasn’t even a reboot. Pirates of the Caribbean took a familiar piece of intellectual property and built a juggernaut blockbuster out of its spare parts. And like all fads, there’s always something to the original that explains the allure. Sure, Pirates (and,…

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REVIEW: ‘Julieta,’ ordinary spectacle

By Johnny Szlauderbach / February 2nd, 2017 / 0 Comments

  After three decades, Pedro Almodóvar remains among contemporary cinema’s key iconoclasts. A flamboyant stylist bursting with outsized empathy, he ushered the international queer movement into the mainstream with proudly gaudy excess, refining his trademark fixation on women over a career unlike any other. While stateside contemporaries like Todd Haynes and Gus Van Sant lead with…

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REVIEW: ‘Split,’ reverse psycholgy

By Johnny Szlauderbach / January 20th, 2017 / 0 Comments

M. Night Shyamalan has always been a better entertainer than artist. Despite an almost preternatural sense of staging and framing, he’s a showman at heart. Whatever he lacks in self-awareness, he makes up in self-seriousness and ego. Maybe that’s why his latest, “Split,” simultaneously looks like a return to form and an indication that this…

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REVIEW: ‘La La Land,’ nothing but stardust

By Johnny Szlauderbach / December 16th, 2016 / 0 Comments

There’s a story, perhaps apocryphal, that after Jacques Demy turned in his first draft of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, its producers had three notes: make it in black and white, change the title, and cut the songs. They were wrong, of course, but it speaks to the movie’s power that it would’ve worked anyway; beneath…

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REVIEW: ‘Rogue One,’ imperial march

By Johnny Szlauderbach / December 13th, 2016 / 0 Comments

  The new Star Wars movie is dark, both figuratively and literally. Positioned by director Gareth Edwards as a corrective to The Force Awakens, the most expensive reunion special of all time, it eschews that movie’s giddy cynicism and big names in favor of obsessive, miscalculated seriousness. It belongs somewhere on the autism spectrum. Set…

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REVIEW: ‘Nocturnal Animals,’ loving its own reflection

By Johnny Szlauderbach / December 8th, 2016 / 0 Comments

Against the opening credits, nude women joyfully gyrate in slow motion. Their obese bodies surge and swell with the weight of ocean waves. One twirls a baton, others shake pompoms or hoist sparklers. Each is on her own stage, flanked by crimson-red curtains while patrons roam the gallery. Is it art or empty provocation? Susan…

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