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The world lost one of its most powerful literary voices when Toni Morrison passed away on August 5th at the age of 88.  For New Jersey, we lost someone who became such a part of the fabric of our state - especially in Princeton - that she was among the initial inductees to the New Jersey Hall of Fame.  ... READ ON

Writer/director William McGregor’s feature debut Gwen is an effective example of what can be achieved on a low budget with a small but talented cast and a striking location. Where most British indie filmmakers struggle to mine the cinematic potential of Britain’s over-exposed urban areas, McGregor sets his folk-horror tinged gothic drama in the spectacularly moody Welsh valleys.... READ ON

Filmmaker Brad Mays thought he had wrapped up filming everything for his documentary, Two Trentons: An American City Speaks and then the Art All Night tragedy happened.  He was actually wrapping up the film at the festival, but quickly realized he was no longer done and he was now making a different movie.... READ ON

“I’m a Down Syndrome person,” proclaims Zak (Zack Gottsagen), the unique protagonist of first time filmmakers Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz’s The Peanut Butter Falcon. “I don’t give a shit,” is the terse response from Tyler (Shia LaBeouf), the troublemaker who reluctantly takes Zak under his wing. It may seem like a cruel exchange, but for Zak - and, indeed, for representation in mainstream cinema - it’s an important moment, the first time another human has refused to reductively define him by his condition.... READ ON








In recent years there has been much talk among the cultural commentariat regarding the need for onscreen diversity. Of course everyone should be able to see themselves represented in movies, whether that be by a reflection of their race, gender or sexuality; but it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that artists don’t need to share your own specific cultural attributes in order to speak directly to you. As a white Irishman, I’ve seen the distinctive traits of my culture represented a lot more accurately in Japanese and Korean cinema than in the movies of my own country’s film industry. As a teen I found the music of U2 so alien that Bono and co. might as well have come from another galaxy rather than a few miles down the road from my house; rather I connected, like so many young working class kids in the British isles have over the decades, with the music of African-Americans; Miles Davis showed me what he was feeling with his heartfelt music, unlike Bono, who simply told me his troubles in his lyrics.... READ ON

“Doesn’t this seem familiar?”, one big cat asks of another in director Jon Favreau’s remake of Disney’s much loved 1994 animated musical The Lion King. Yes, yes, it sure does seem familiar. Remake, rinse, reboot, repeat. Such is the circle of life for Disney as the studio continues their campaign to wring every last dollar out of their back catalogue with a series of ‘live action’ remakes that are now arriving at a pace few parents could afford to financially keep up with. We’re only halfway through 2019 and we’ve already had remakes of Dumbo, Aladdin and now The Lion King.... READ ON

There’s a famous gag in the climax of Back to the Future in which, having traveled back to 1955, Michael J. Fox’s Marty McFly finds himself fronting a band onstage at a high school dance. McFly picks up a guitar and performs a version of Chuck Berry’s ‘Johnny B Goode’, a song which wouldn’t be recorded until 1958. The school kids love this new sound, but McFly pushes his luck with some Van Halen-esque metal strumming. “I guess you’re not ready for that yet,” McFly observes, “but your kids are gonna love it!”... READ ON

Jesse Ross was a student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City when he traveled to Chicago with classmates to participate in a model United Nations conference in November 2006.  Filmmaker Brian Rose, a grad student from the Kansas City area, was in Chicago just a few days earlier visiting a friend.  The two did not know each other, but their paths would ultimately meet when Rose created the documentary When I Last Saw Jesse.... READ ON

Among the many films screened at the recent New Jersey International Film Fest at Rutgers was Anywhere Is Here, the debut feature film from Ian Lettire.  The screening took place not long after Lettire graduated from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.... READ ON

The late George A. Romero always claimed that critics would bash his movies, but whenever they visited his sets they always wanted to play zombies. A zombie movie seems like something that would be a lot of fun to take part in, which may explain why Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die boasts such a stacked, star-studded cast, like a ‘70s disaster movie but for hipster thespians. I hope everyone had fun making The Dead Don’t Die, because I sure did not have fun watching it.... READ ON


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