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As part of the ongoing “New to Me” Film Festival — basically me watching lots of movies I’ve never seen — I’ve been watching a lot of Nicolas Cage’s more recent movies. He’s working a lot for financial reasons, sure, and for lower budgets, but Cage still seems excited by acting. He’s alive a…

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Here’s a prime example of Roger Ebert’s rule: “It’s not what a movie is about, it’s how it’s about it.”

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When you see a film, you don’t always know that it’s ahead of its time. That requires time passed and context. When I re-watched the original 1992 “Candyman” to get into the head space for Nia DaCosta’s new sequel, it struck me that here was a movie that used the horror genre to remind us th…

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Over 100 years ago in the fragrant Ithaca, New York spring of May 1914, a newlywed couple — stage actors from New York City — Thurlow Bergen and Elsie Esmond arrived in town to star in silent movies. They settled into a suite at the stately Ithaca Hotel and quickly began working on their fir…

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ITHACA, NY -- Cornell Cinema screens over 150 different films a year, five to seven nights a week in the Willard Straight Theatre. The space features the largest screen in Ithaca and has the facilities to handle archival 35mm reel-to-reel prints, DCP and other digital formats. Each semester-…

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Lisa Rovner’s “Sisters with Transistors” (Metrograph Pictures-Anna Lena Films-Willow Glen Films, 85 min.) states its theme right up front: “Sometimes women get forgotten from history.” Rovner’s documentary aims to jog the memory. When I was a kid, the musicians exploring synthesized music th…

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I think the first time I saw Udo Kier was in the Wesley Snipes Marvel vampire picture “Blade” (1998), but to be honest, I’d seen pictures of him in “Sex in the Cinema” articles in my dad’s Playboy magazines. Kier made his film debut in 1965, and now he’s got over 200 film credits on his resume.

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I get it, I get it. No Warner Brothers executive cares about the Looney Tunes except as intellectual property to be sold. Mel Blanc has been dead for decades and no one in the boardroom cares that Bugs Bunny and company barely sound like themselves. Geezers like me know that the true Looney …

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ITHACA, NY -- Currently playing at Cinemapolis, “Summer of Soul” is a powerful documentary that showcases the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival as a celebration of Black history, culture and fashion.

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In the last months before lockdown, some of the most fun nights I had were events at Cinemapolis curated and presented by Ithaca Fantastik. Now they’re back with a new series of flicks titled “Summer of Sleaze.” I spoke to Ithaca Fantastik’s Andrew Summers about the films being shown over th…

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Just when I start getting weary of the well-worn structure of the American Hollywood script rules — the inciting incident happens on page 10, make the hero more likeable, all these narrative procedures — French filmmaker Quentin Dupieux comes out with some wacky film that reminds me that you…

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Twenty years ago, the “Fast & Furious” movies used to be about street racing.

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Let us puzzle over the latest Christopher Nolan movie.

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Walking into Edgar Wright’s first documentary “The Sparks Brothers” (Focus Features-MRC-Complete Fiction Pictures, 2021, 140 min.), I confess I thought that Sparks was a one-hit wonder ‘80s new wave band, having only heard “Cool Places,” their 1983 collaboration with Jane Wiedlin. Little did…

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Back in 1998, I acted in a production of Larry Shue’s “The Foreigner” at the late, lamented Firehouse Theater. The play was directed by a rather amazing fellow named Stephen Cole. At our first script reading, Stephen broke down the formula of farce for the whole cast in about 20 minutes, and…

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I’ll always remember that “Raya and the Last Dragon” (Walt Disney Pictures-Walt Disney Animation Studios, 2021, 107 min.) was the first movie I saw in a hard-top theater after 14 months of COVID isolation. I’ll also remember it as one of those pivotal animated features in the evolution of th…

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I haven’t seen all that much manga and anime. I haven’t seen all of Hayao Miyazaki’s films by any means, but I have seen a few of the genre’s touchstone movies, like “Akira” and “Ghost in the Shell.” I also liked more recent entries like “Your Face” and “Weathering With You.” Truth be told, …

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If Bruce Willis starred in Ilya Naishuller’s “Nobody” (Perfect World Pictures-87North Productions-Eighty Two Films- Odenkirk Provissiero Entertainment, 2021, 92 min.) instead of comic actor Bob Odenkirk, there would be no surprise at all. Odenkirk plays an everyman family guy stuck on a trea…

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ITHACA, NY -- With the world on lockdown, what are we all watching? I posed that question to singer-songwriter Annie Burns of the Burns Sisters Band. They will be performing at the Trumansburg Conservatory of Fine Arts in an outdoor socially distant show on June 26.