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Mike Leigh tells us the story of “Peterloo”

Now playing
Rory Kinnear, Maxine Peake and Neil Bell
Directed by Mike Leigh

You’re not alone if you don’t know much—or anything, for that matter—about the Peterloo Massacre of August 16th, 1819, when a confrontation between protestors in Manchester, England and the British cavalry turned violent. Peasants and tradespeople descended on a Manchester square to air their grievances, only to be met with armed resistance that resulted in well over a dozen deaths and hundreds of ... more >

WHEN LESS IS MORE: Talking with John Lee Hancock, director of “THE HIGHWAYMEN”

The Texas-born filmmaker previously directed "The Blind Side" (2009), "The Rookie" (2002) and "Saving Mr. Banks" (2013)
"The Highwaymen" stars Kevin Costner, Woody Harrelson and Kathy Bates

We all remember the slow-motion ballet of bullets that closed Arthur Penn’s 1967 “Bonnie and Clyde,” with Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway’s gangster-lovers meeting their violent demise on a rural Louisiana highway. It remains one of the most grippingly awful endings to a film, and as you watch it, it feels like it goes on forever. In reality it was just sixteen seconds. More than a ... more >

COUNTERPOINT: “Hotel Mumbai” (and interview with filmmaker Anthony Maras)

"They decided en masse, without any organization, to remain to protect one another"
Armie Hammer and Nazanin Boniadi
Directed by Anthony Maras

In November 2008, ten devotees of the extremist group Lashkar-e-Taiba staged a dozen terror attacks across Mumbai, resulting in over a hundred deaths. The final and most dramatic stage of the assault took place as the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, where several of the terrorists held the hotel under siege for three days, killing dozens in the process with automatic weapons and explosives while being ... more >

With “The Brink,” Stephen K. Bannon, death star of the alt-right movement, gets his day in the sun

Produced by AliKlay Productions, Claverie Films and RYOT Films
Directed by Alison Klayman

By the end of Alison Klayman’s Stephen K. Bannon documentary “The Brink” even the most liberal viewer may find themselves rooting for the alt-right agitprop mastermind. In “The Brink,” which opens Friday, Klayman presents a cinema vérité year in the life of Bannon, from the time of his firing from the Trump White House and culminating in the 2018 midterm elections, which saw the Democrats ... more >

THINGS YOUR FILM SCHOOL INSTRUCTOR DIDN’T TEACH YOU : Talking with Ondi Timoner of “Mapplethorpe”

"Mapplethorpe" comes out in theaters today
Hari Nef, Matt Smith and Brian Stokes Mitchell
Directed by Ondi Timoner

Filmmaker Ondi Timoner felt the best way to tell the story of Robert Mapplethorpe was in a narrative-versus-documentary format. Mapplethorpe, the vaunted New York photograper who died of AIDS in 1989, was well-known for his photographs of controversial material, including of New York’s gay scene, and for his early marriage to rocker Patti Smith. “I don’t tend to make documentaries about people ... more >

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When we walked on the moon. Talking to “Apollo 11” director Todd Douglas Miller

"The footage was so sparklingly restored that, but for the telltale late-sixties clothes and cars, it could have been made last year"
Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins
Produced and directed by Todd Douglas Miller

A half-century ago this summer two men stepped foot on the moon, the first time in our species’s history that human footprints were made on an object beyond Earth. Commemorations of the fiftieth anniversary are planned throughout 2019, and kicking off that great milestone is the new film “Apollo 11,” which begins its one-week IMAX run Friday before moving into general release March ... more >

REWIND | SBIFF2019 : “A thousand miles behind,” “Peel,” “Zulu Summer,” and “Hugh Hefner’s After Dark: Speaking Out in America”

Some parting words about the recently-featured Santa Barbara Film Festival

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. | The 34th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) ended over a week ago but organizers of this fete of movies, celebrities and all things cinema have already announced the 2020 iteration will be bumped up a bit next year to Jan. 15-25, which may put it in direct competition with other festivals like Sundance. No matter, as the 2019 version closed out with ... more >