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Thumbnails 11/8/19

Thumbnails is a roundup of brief excerpts to introduce you to articles from other websites that we found interesting and exciting. We provide links to the original sources for you to read in their entirety.—Chaz Ebert


"'The Garden Left Behind' to Screen at Film Girl Film Festival": My review at Indie Outlook of Flavio Alves' prize-winning drama screening this Sunday at Andrea Thompson's female-focused film festival in Milwaukee.

As a dear friend of mine once observed, a person’s mere existence can serve as a protest, and Tina is living proof of that. Not only is she a trans woman applying to receive treatment in the form of a testosterone blocker, she is also an undocumented immigrant from Mexico living with her grandmother in New York City. This makes her a ripe target for the sort of prejudice empowered by our current president, and yet—as proclaimed by an activist in the powerful clip embedded below—she has the right to exist. When a trans woman is left hospitalized after being brutally beaten by police officers, Tina joins her defiant sisterhood in taking to the streets, publicly revolting against the escalating scourge of hate crimes. A closing footnote to the film arrives in the form of a GLAAD statistic citing 2018 as the deadliest year on record for transgender people in America, with nearly all of the victims being trans women of color. There’s no question this horrifying trend has been aided immeasurably by our government’s systemic attack on the inalienable rights of trans citizens. Just this past Friday, the Trump Administration announced that it would be ending civil rights protections for health and human service programs, approving anti-transgender discrimination in such lifesaving services as HIV prevention and housing for homeless youth, all in the name of preserving ‘religious freedom.’”


"Once Upon an Epic Panel at the New Beverly: Tarantino, DiCaprio, Pitt and Robbie Reunite to Talk 'Hollywood'": As observed by Variety's Chris Willman.

“Moderator Jim Hemphill mentioned that DiCaprio had worked with everyone from Al Pacino to Luke Perry on the film. And guess which one of those two the actor leaped to talk about? ‘Honestly, as soon as I saw Luke on the set, I was brought back to my teenage past and felt starstruck,’ DiCaprio said. ‘I remember being a young actor and he was television’s James Dean figure, the guy that everyone was crazy about. It was honestly this feeling of anxiety before I got to talk with him. Even my friend who’s named Vinnie who was on the set that day said: ‘Holy shit, it’s Luke Perry!’ I got to finally sit down and talk with him, and man, he couldn’t have been a gentler soul. He was so giving, and there was a purity and an honesty to him in talking about the industry and where his career was at and a gratefulness to be on that set working with Quentin. … It was a fantastic moment getting to spend the day with him and getting to know him, and it was obviously tragic and sad news when we heard what happened.’”


"Not just Gilda, but Rita too": Rebecca Martin of Cinema Femme pens a beautiful, deeply personal essay about how "Modern Love" and "Euphoria" provide uncommonly authentic portrayals of bipolar disorder.

“Some days you are on top of the world, and you are showing what you feel is your best self. Then it hits you, the debilitating depression, that turns you into the opposite of the ‘fun’ you, or the ‘impressive’ you. It’s not the side you want people to see. Why? Because you’ve been diagnosed, there is a word for what you are that is associated with ‘crazy.’ The whole picture is that there are the highs and the lows, but in today’s age, there are ways to manage bipolar with medication and therapy so you don’t fly super high or super low. In this episode, ‘Lexi’ paints the whole picture. I have been fortunate to not have had a super manic episode in a while. I can tell when I’m getting manic, but before I looked at it like a super power. You feel like you can do or be anything, as Lexi illustrates in her manic state at the grocery store. The colors are vibrant, the peaches are so luscious, and the people are so invigorating. During these states, you are able to achieve things that most people cannot, meaning your energy and drive makes you quite effective, yet it’s also a little difficult for you to connect with the people who are back on the ground. Exuberance is more of a balanced form of ‘mania.’ Kay Redfield Jamison, psychologist at John Hopkins, who also is bipolar, has written several books about the topic of mania, and one book is dedicated to the word ‘exuberance.’ See this quote below, which I feel encapsulates the grocery store scene between Lexi and Jeff (Gary Carr), and accurately portrays what it’s like to feel this oneness and an exuberant connection with all that’s around you.”


"Why Films About the Past Should Embrace Horror": According to The Washington Post's Melissa J. Gismondi in her essay on Robert Eggers' "The Lighthouse."

“What distinguishes Eggers’s films from a historical perspective is his painstaking research. ‘My entire process is research-based,’ he explained recently to Vox. Often starting with a historical folk tale, Eggers not only uses archival records to set the scene and dress the characters, he also takes the language of the past to fashion how they speak. This research enables Eggers to tell stories from the past that we rarely engage with, let alone take seriously. These are stories of fear and terror that are rooted in a belief in the spiritual or supernatural world and how it afflicted humans before the 20th century. Eggers’s first film, ‘The Witch’ tells a story which he dubbed ‘a Puritan’s nightmare.’ The movie starts with the banishment of a family from their community in 1630s New England, after the father, William, spars with fellow settlers over differing interpretations of the Bible. The family finds itself alone on a wagon, leaving the physical and spiritual safety of the enclosed settlement. Like many Puritans did, the family sees the wilderness that engulfs them as a source of both terror and salvation. In a stirring image, they fall to their knees and pray, while staring up at the foreboding forest. ‘What went we out into this wilderness to find? Leaving our country, kindred, our fathers’ houses, we travailed a vast ocean. For what? For the Kingdom of God,’ William prays.”


"The Irishman": Martin Scorsese's crime epic, released today in various theaters around the country, is given a rave review by Alejandro A. Riera of Culture Bodega

“Much has been made of the youthification process of the three leads which de-aged them for some of the flashbacks. Except for one or two glitches, I found the effect as unobtrusive as the layers of makeup, prosthesis or weight loss and gain actors have endured for their roles since the silent era. Especially because the technology leaves the actor’s key tool untouched: the eyes. De Niro’s and Pesci’s eyes reveal so much, particularly the latter, who, as Bufalino, leaves behind the nervous energy of his past performances to deliver one so quiet, so full of grace and dignity and wisdom that when he finally reveals his true colors at the end, the effect is as deadly as any of the brutal executions enacted or described on screen. Pesci may have been coaxed out of retirement for this role; but if this turns out to be his last performance, not only is he leaving on a high note but he also leaves us, the moviegoer, with a sense of regret of what could have been had the film industry paid more attention to his versatility. But let’s go back to the eyes: By leaving these actors’ gaze intact, free of any digital manipulation (outside of a color change here and there), Scorsese and the magicians at Industrial Light and Magic add to this film’s sense of loss: these are old men’s eyes staring out of those digitally rejuvenated faces which underlines the fact that we are listening to (and seeing) an old man’s reminiscences.”

Image of the Day

Stephen Galloway of The Hollywood Reporter explores whether Netflix can land three Best Picture nominations in his latest column.

Video of the Day

Critic Pam Powell of Reel Talk with Chuck and Pam (find them on Facebook here) conducts an exclusive video interview with actors Ed Skrein and Luke Kleintank from the new Roland Emmerich war film, "Midway," for WCIA

Matt Fagerholm

Matt Fagerholm is the former Literary Editor at and is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association. 

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