film

Arts & Culture
11:57 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Four Penetrating Documentaries Highlighted At 2014 Kansas City FilmFest

Writer and cultural critic Gore Vidal in "Gore Vidal: United States of Amnesia," spotlighted at 2014 Kansas City FilmFest.
Credit Courtesy gorevidaldocumentary.com

Film festival curators work diligently to give audiences an eclectic menu with as much breadth and depth as possible. The 2014 edition of the Kansas City FilmFest offers dozens of experimental, animated, and even “Afrofuturist” short films, as well as narrative comedies and dramas hoping to generate buzz. But from the offerings previewed by this writer, the strength of this year’s festival rests on its documentaries.

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Up to Date
11:42 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Up To Date's Indie, Foreign & Doc Critics' 'Three To See,' March 28-30

Judi Dench and Steve Coogan star in Philomena, which has charmed both of Up to Date's critics this week.

Here are Up to Date's critics' favorite indie, doc and foreign films showing on Kansas City-area screens the weekend of March 28-30. 

Click the highlighted links for Steve Walker's reviews of the films.

Cynthia Haines:

  • Tim's Vermeer
  • Her
  • Philomena

Steve Walker:

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Up to Date
4:46 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Up To Date's Indie, Foreign & Doc Critics' 'Three To See,' March 14-16

'Tim's Vermeer' is on Cynthia Haines' list this weekend.

Here are Up to Date's critics' favorite indie, doc and foreign films showing on Kansas City-area screens the weekend of March 14-16.

Click the highlighted links for Steve Walker's reviews of the films.

Cynthia Haines: 

  • Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me
  • Spinning Plates
  • Tim's Vermeer

Steve Walker: 

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Film
9:00 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Film Review: 'Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me' Is Broadway History In Black Tights

'Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me' is a salute to longevity, resilience, and sass.
Credit Sundance Selects

It's not often that a New York City institution actually leaves the city. But such was the case last year when 89-year-old Broadway legend Elaine Stritch returned to her Michigan hometown after some 60-plus years making any show, movie or television series she appeared in better than it would have been without her.

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Up To Date
12:48 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Up to Date's Indie, Foreign, & Doc Critics' 'Three To See,' Mar. 7-9

Backup singers are the subjects of '20 Feet From Stardom,' one of Cynthia Haines' 'Three To See.'
Credit Radius-TWC

Looking for a great film to see the weekend of Mar. 7-9? Here are Up to Date's critics' favorite indie, doc, and foreign films showing on Kansas City-area screens.

Click on the highlighted links for Steve Walker's reviews of the films.

Cynthia Haines:

  • Omar
  • The Rocket
  • 20 Feet From Stardom

Steve Walker:

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Up to Date
11:48 am
Fri March 7, 2014

What's Showing In Independent, Foreign & Documentary Film, March 7

A new documentary follows the career of veteran actress Elaine Stritch.

The film world is still all aglow with radiance from the recent Academy Awards, and our indie, foreign and documentary film critics are talking about some of the films in the limelight.

On Friday's Up to Date, take a trip into the treacherous Israeli-Palestinian conflict, have fun with veteran actress Elaine Stritch and her brassy personality and be a poetry superfan with Emma Roberts and John Cusack.

Our critics' list:

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Film
9:00 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Film Review: Three Wildly Different Restaurants Profiled In 'Spinning Plates'

Breitbach's Country Dining owner Cindy Breitbach
Credit Chaos Theory / Ambush Entertainment

Every restaurant prides itself on its distinct vibe. But Joseph Levy’s surprisingly moving documentary Spinning Plates discovers a mutual truth: whether you’re running a taqueria with a drive-through or an expensive restaurant gunning for a Michelin star, there are similar motives and emotions behind and on the table.

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Up To Date
5:37 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Up To Date's Indie, Foreign & Doc Critics' 'Three To See,' Feb. 28 - March 2

'Omar' is on both critics Cynthia Haines and Steve Walker's 'Three to See' list.

Looking for a great film to see the weekend of Feb. 28 - March 2? Up to Date's indie, documentary and foreign film critics share their three favorites showing on area screens.

Click the highlighted links for Steve Walker's reviews of the films.

Cynthia Haines:

  • Gloria
  • Omar
  • Oscar Shorts

Steve Walker:

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Film
8:00 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Film Review: French Classic Of Family Betrayal Told 'In Secret'

Oscar Issac and Elizabeth Olsen carry on a torrid affair in "In Secret," based on Émile Zola's "Therese Raquin."
Credit Phil Bray / Roadside Attractions

Jessica Lange has been absent from the movie screens of late, focusing on chewing up the scenery on the small screen for three seasons of the FX series American Horror Story.

In the new film version of Émile Zola’s "Thérèse Raquin" called In Secret, Lange is the scheming matriarch in a single parent home in 19th century Paris who ill-advisedly locks her son and niece together in a passionless marriage. And as fans of the show know, Lange makes a very good schemer.

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Up To Date
2:17 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Up To Date's Indie, Foreign & Doc Critics' 'Three To See,' Feb 14-16

Paulina García plays a 58 year old divorcée in the film Gloria. It's on both critics Cynthia Haines & Steve Walker's "Three To See" list this week.

Looking for a way to spend Valentine's Day (and the weekend)? How about snuggling up with your loved one in a dark movie theater?

Here are Up to Date's critics' favorite indie, doc and foreign films showing on Kansas City-area screens the weekend of Feb. 14-19, 2014.

Click the highlighted links for Steve Walker's reviews of the films.

Cynthia Haines:

  • Gloria
  • The Past
  • Oscar-Nominated Short Films

Steve Walker:

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Film
9:00 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Film Review: 'A Separation' Director Unearths Complexities Of 'The Past'

In 'The Past,' Bérénice Béjo plays a woman who's asked her husband to return to Paris to finalize their divorce. She plans to marry her boyfriend, Samir (Tahar Rahim).
Credit Sony Pictures Classics

At the 84th Academy Awards in February 2012, the worlds of director Asghar Farhadi and actress Bérénice Bejo were serendipitously in synch. He won the Oscar for best foreign language film for Iran's A Separation, and she was nominated for The Artist, which went on to win Best Picture. Now their careers thrillingly converge in his extraordinary follow-up film The Past.

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Film
5:00 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Wilt Chamberlain Featured In Kevin Willmott's 'Jayhawkers'

Wilt Chamberlain played for the University of Kansas from 1955 to 1958.
Credit jakestakeonsports.com

At the outset and in the spirit of full disclosure, let me just say that I am a graduate of the University of Kansas and a huge fan of Wilt Chamberlain, aka “Wilt the Stilt," and “The Big Dipper.” He is widely considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Wilt Chamberlain also happened to play at KU.  He was a Jayhawk.

A new movie about Chamberlain’s brief time at KU is the subject of a film by Kansas filmmaker Kevin Willmott, premiering this weekend. It’s called Jayhawkers.

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Up to Date
1:06 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Oscar-Nominated Indie, Foreign And Documentary Film Shorts

An unconventional dish from Chicago restaurant Alinea, one of three eateries featured in the documentary 'Spinning Plates.'
Credit Kimberly Vardeman / Flickr-CC

Can you name one of the Academy Award nominated short films for this year? Let our film critics help you out. 

On Friday's Up to Date, our independent, foreign, and documentary film critics look at some of the lesser-known Oscar nominees, plus Spinning Plates, a documentary that gives audiences a taste of what it's like to own a restaurant.

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Up to Date
10:27 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Making A Pie, Telling A Story

Joyce Maynard speaks with Steve Kraske on Up to Date.
Credit Beth Lipoff/KCUR

The smell of pie might inspire most of us to get a fork and plate, but for one author, it means a story. 

In the first part of Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk with the woman behind the new Kate Winslet-Josh Brolin film Labor Day about writing, pie and more.

Guest:

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Up to Date
1:37 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Up To Date's Indie, Foreign & Doc Critics' 'Three To See,' Jan. 17-19

The documentary 'Bettie Page Reveals All' is on Cynthia Haines' 'Three to See' this week.

This year's Academy Award nominations are out, and to no one's surprise, independent, foreign, and documentary films are on the list.

Here are Up to Date's critics' favorite indie, doc and foreign films showing on Kansas City-area screens the weekend of Jan. 17-19.

Click the highlighted links for Steve Walker's reviews of the films.

Cynthia Haines:

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Up to Date
12:24 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

What's Showing In Independent, Foreign & Documentary Film, January 10

'August: Osage County' is on our critics' list this week.

The latest round of film releases coming to area theaters have heavy subjects to say the least.

On Friday's Up to Date, our independent, foreign, and documentary film critics return with some praise and some scorn for the latest films to hit the silver screen.

From the story of a family that is ruined by cancer, prescription drug abuse, and divorce to the intimate tale of a man who falls in love with a computer personality, these powerful narratives are sure to raise a few tears and some divisive opinions.

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Film
8:42 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Film Review: A Family's Heirlooms Are Spite And Malice in 'August: Osage County'

Meryl Streep (bottom) plays Violet Weston, the matriarch of a screwed up family, comforted - sort of - by her daughter Barbara (Julia Roberts).
Credit Weinstein Company

If done well, movies about dysfunctional families are able to elegantly dance that fine line between humor and pain. Terms of Endearment succeeded at finding that balance, as does the film adaptation of Tracy Letts's Pulitzer Prize-winning play August: Osage County, where an unplanned death reopens life-long yet still festering wounds. The Weston clan of Osage County, Okla., must have a family tree that looks like a weeping willow. It is headed up by Beverly (Sam Shepard), a college lecturer and occasional poet, and his poly-addicted wife, Violet (Meryl Streep), who personifies how pills came to be known as mother’s little helpers. Of their three grown daughters, only Ivy (Julianne Nicholson) has stuck close to home; Barbara (Julia Roberts) and Karen (Juliette Lewis) long ago picked up stakes for relationships by turn strained or serially monogamous.

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Up to Date
12:54 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Up To Date's Indie, Foreign & Doc Critics' 'Three To See,' Jan. 3-5

'The Great Beauty' is on Steve Walker's list this weekend.

Looking for a great film to see the weekend of Jan. 3-5? Up to Date's indie, documentary and foreign film critics share their three favorites showing on area screens.

Cynthia Haines:

  • 12 Years a Slave
  • Philomena
  • American Hustle

Steve Walker:

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Film
6:00 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Film Review: Even In Spiritual Decline, Rome Remains 'The Great Beauty'

Toni Servillo plays a writer pondering what he has accomplished and what he may still achieve in 'The Great Beauty.'
Credit Courtesy of Janus Films

Throughout Paolo Sorrentino’s exuberant and strange film The Great Beauty,  a 65-year-old writer whose only hit novel was published 40 years prior struggles with his own reputation and mortality, as well as that of his beloved Rome, Italy. According to Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo) and his jaded circle of friends, Rome is over and done – finito. As one of his friends says, the only decent people left in Rome are the tourists.

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Up To Date
11:58 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Up To Date's Indie, Foreign & Doc Critics' 'Three To See,' Dec. 27-29

Credit Paramount Vantage

Looking for a great film to see the weekend of Dec. 27-29? Up to Date's indie, documentary and foreign film critics share their three favorites showing on area screens.

Cynthia Haines:

  • American Hustle
  • Philomena
  • 12 Years a Slave

Steve Walker:

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Up to Date
12:40 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Up To Date's Indie, Foreign & Doc Critics' 'Three To See,' Dec. 20-22

"The Punk Singer" tops critic Steve Walker's list of indie, documentary and foreign films showing this weekend.

Looking for a great film to see the weekend of Dec. 20-22? Up to Date's indie, documentary and foreign film critics share their three favorites showing on area screens.

Cynthia Haines:

  • American Hustle
  • Philomena
  • 12 Years a Slave

Steve Walker:

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Film
6:00 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Film Review: 'The Punk Singer' Who Influenced Rock Stars More Famous Than Her

'The Punk Singer' provides a glimpse at the life of artist and musician Kathleen Hanna.
Credit Allison Michael Orenstein

On the basis of Sini Anderson's enlightening and electric documentary The Punk Singer, many will come to consider its subject, Kathleen Hanna, one of the most influential musicians they've never heard of. But they can't walk away forgetting her.

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Up to Date
1:55 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

What's Showing In Independent, Foreign & Documentary Film, December 13

'The Armstrong Lie' is on our critics' list this week.

Lance Armstrong’s fall from grace after years of secrets and denials was ripe for telling on the silver screen. When the complicated web of performance-enhancing drugs collapsed, his career lay in ruins.

On Friday's Up to Date, our indie, foreign and documentary film critics share their reviews of the latest films to hit area screens and talk about their favorites of this year.

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Up to Date
1:54 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

The Film Critics' Top 10 Indie, Foreign And Documentary Films Of 2013

The Crash Reel is just one of the films in our critics' top 10 for the year.

It's that time of year again, and Up to Date's independent, foreign and documentary film critics have picked their favorite films of the year. Drumroll, please, for Cynthia Haines, Steve Walker and Bob Butler's choices. 

Here are their favorites (in no particular order) with some descriptions from Steve Walker:

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Film
7:00 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Film Review: Alex Gibney Documentary Unravels 'The Armstrong Lie'

The documentary Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney started to make in 2009 about Lance Armstrong ended up being something else entirely. Called The Armstrong Lie, the film contains footage that was shot as recently as May 2013, including the minutes following Armstrong’s confessional but smug and non-contrite interview with Oprah Winfrey.

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Up to Date
11:18 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Up To Date's Indie, Foreign & Doc Critics' 'Three To See,' December 6-8

Philomena is on Steve Walker's list this weekend.

Looking for a great film to see the weekend of Dec. 6-8? Up to Date's indie, documentary and foreign film critics share their three favorites showing on area screens.

Cynthia Haines:

  • Muscle Shoals
  • 12 Years a Slave
  • All is Lost

Steve Walker:

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Up to Date
10:46 am
Fri December 6, 2013

DVD Gurus: Reporters On Film

Ace in the Hole is one of the DVD Guru's favorite films about reporters.

From a manufactured media circus, to a desperate game of cat-and-mouse with a serial killer, Hollywood sure knows how to romanticize journalism.

On Friday's Up to Date, DVD Gurus Mitch Brian and Jason Heck join us to talk about some of their favorite films that feature reporters. We'll dive into some thrilling vampire conspiracies, reports gone wrong, and others that are sure to set off the investigator in everyone.

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Film
5:19 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Film Review: In 'Philomena,' The Cruelties Of Youth Are Forgiven

Judi Dench and Steve Coogan become unlikely allies excavating her past in 'Philomena.'
Credit The Weinstein Company

In Stephen Frears' heartfelt and moving Philomena, the most effective shots are among the simplest a filmmaker can employ: tight close-ups. In this case, the camera’s focus is on the furrowed, and inspiringly lived-in face of the great Judi Dench. Playing a woman who longs to discover the whereabouts of the son taken from her when she was a teenager, Dench gives the title character a strength and resolve that has gotten her through the fifty years since she last saw her son.

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Up to Date
1:04 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Up To Date's Indie, Foreign & Doc Critics' 'Three To See,' Nov. 22-24

'Blue is the Warmest Color' is on Steve Walker's list this weekend.

Looking for a great film to see the weekend of Nov. 22-24? Up to Date's indie, documentary and foreign film critics share their three favorites showing on area screens. 

Cynthia Haines:

  • 12 Years a Slave
  • Muscle Shoals
  • Dallas Buyers Club 

Steve Walker

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Film
6:00 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Film Review: 'Dallas Buyers Club' Becomes A Haven For People With AIDS In The 1980s

Rayon (Jared Leto) and Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) become unlikely allies in 'Dallas Buyers Club.'
Credit Focus Features

In 1985, just a handful of years into the AIDS epidemic, if someone appeared gaunt, splotchy, and paper-thin, it was suspected that they had contracted HIV. Though gay men made up a large percentage of those infected, the virus was transmitted via body fluids like blood and semen - with no regards to sexual orientation. Still, any man who contracted HIV during that Age of Ignorance was branded a contagious homosexual. As was Ron Woodroof, the profligately heterosexual rodeo cowboy robustly played by Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club.

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