“Dom Hemingway”: Jude gets on the wrong side of the Law

Film Review Dom Hemingway

Sean Weitner saw “Dom Hemingway” at the Wisconsin Film Festival, and it’s already back in town for an engagement at Sundance Cinemas. Here’s his review:

Are we far enough past the mid-’90s scourge of having every grim, violent, often dull moviemaker being hailed as “the next Tarantino” for me to pay that compliment to Richard Shepard? The label is an oversell, but Shepard picks up the best part of Tarantino-ism: Polishing and electrifying his personal cinema history to make one from the heart that pinballs through a playfield of references.

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Wisconsin Film Festival: Italian thriller “Salvo” has a grasp that exceeds its reach

SALVO swarthy dude with gun

One more from last week’s Wisconsin Film Festival, as Sean Weitner writes about the Italian crime thriller “Salvo”:

The most common cause of disappointment at the movies is that the filmmakers’ reach exceeds their grasp. Could have been great if they knew what to do with their cast, if their story was as clever as they wanted it to be, if they had found a novel way to build a scene or shot instead of sticking with the tried-and-true.

Not so with “Salvo,” from directors Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza. Their grasp is enormous, and are due the same compliment that was extended to the Coens, the Wachowskis, Lawrence Kasdan, Wes Anderson and many others: For their debut feature, they have made a low-budget crime film that demonstrates a tremendous amount of cinematic thinking.

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Wisconsin Film Festival: The amazing, marketable cinematic poetry of “Visitors”


Sean Weitner writes about “Visitors,” which played to a packed house at Sundance Cinemas on Tuesday night:

“Visitors” is a mesmeric, meditative film, and those aren’t subjective judgments. Stitched together from long shots of people’s faces, abandoned skyscrapers, decaying statuary, wintry swampland, the moon and a Bronx gorilla, this non-narrative film conjures a mood of ominous ruin.

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Wisconsin Film Festival: Paul Verhoeven tries crowd-sourcing film in “Tricked”


So, remember all that build-up to the Wisconsin Film Festival on this blog? Remember how I said over and over to check back for daily coverage of the festival? Some of you may have seen me on Twitter calling myself the “Helen Thomas of the Wisconsin Film Festival” since I had covered it every year since it started in 1999.

Yeah, about that.

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Wisconsin Film Festival: Rediscovering Ken Loach’s weird and wonderful “Black Jack”


Sean Weitner weighs in on Ken Loach’s “Black Jack.” It plays a second time at the Wisconsin Film Festival on Thursday, April 10 at 4 p.m. at Sundance Cinemas.

“Black Jack” is the forgotten third feature of British director Ken Loach (“The Wind That Shakes the Barley,” “The Angels’ Share“), released in 1979 and based on a 1969 children’s novel of 18th century adventure. It’s a doozy.

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UPDATED: 38 sellouts at this year’s Wisconsin Film Festival


Today’s the last day to buy advance tickets for the 16th annual Wisconsin Film Festival through wifilmfest.org. Starting Thursday, the first day of the eight-day festival, tickets will be available for a film at the venue on the day of the screening (meaning you can buy a ticket for an evening show that morning, which is a smart strategy). Even for the films below, which sold out all their advance tickets, a limited number of rush tickets will likely be available — just get in line at least an hour before the screening and cross your fingers.

Hopefully this list of advance ticket sellouts will help you plan out your fest. 

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Wisconsin Film Festival Spotlight: “Dangerous Acts Starring the Unstable Elements of Belarus”

Dangerous Acts Starring the Unstable Elements of Belarus

The Wisconsin Film Festival starts on Thursday, April 3, and we’re zooming in on one of the many films that still have advance tickets available via wifilmfest.org. Today, Sean Weitner takes a look at “Dangerous Acts Starring the Unstable Elements of Belarus.” Make sure to check back to Madison Movie for daily coverage throughout the eight-day festival.

Dangerous Acts Starring the Unstable Elements of Belarus,” (Friday, 12:15 p.m, UW-Cinematheque, and Tuesday, April 8, 9 p.m. Sundance)

Neither screening of this documentary has sold out, so heads up: You can still get a ticket to what could be *the* chatter-churning title of the festival. As a piece of filmmaking it’s commendable, though not sensational, following the life and (especially) work of Belarus Free Theatre, a guerrilla avant garde troupe hounded by “the last dictatorship of Europe,” that of Alexander Lukashenko. Their work is imagination as protest, protest as art, art as guillotine. It’s agitprop to engage both sides of #wiunion, because who can’t root against Lukashenko?

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