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Half-Metal Jacket, by Patrick Felton

16 Feb

queen-and-country

I hate to admit this, but I’ve never seen a John Boorman film. Despite my love of 70s cinema, somehow the filmmaker who made some of the most loved classics of the era, including Deliverance, has slipped through the cracks.

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Home Video Hovel: Disco and Atomic War, by Patrick Felton

24 Feb

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Icarus Films is putting out some of the most fascinating documentary content available for small screens currently. With Disco And Atomic War, the folks at Icarus have found yet another surprising and astonishing story from an alien world. This time, the documentary which premiered at Telluride in the fall of 2009  focuses on the nation of Estonia’s 40 year love affair with Finnish television. Directed by Estonian native Jaak Kilmi chronicles his own experience of watching Finnish television as a child and the impact that programs such as Dallas had on his community.

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Moving Forward and Looking Eastward, by Patrick Felton

15 Sep

negin-and-dean

As long as America has been a haven for immigrants, comedians have had a knack for finding collective goats to antagonize. An individual can walk into a comedy open mic night any night of the week and they are sure to hear lazy jokes about migrant workers in front of a Home Depot, or the proud people of Poland and lightbulbs. Whether good or bad, these jokes define the way that many Americans view “the other” in their lives. It should be no surprise then that so many comedians from minorities exploit or subvert these stereotypes for their own comic effect.

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Home Video Hovel: White Elephant, by Patrick Felton

3 Apr

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In his classic essay “White Elephant Art Vs. Termite Art” the critic Manny Farber described White Elephant Art as art which “pays strict obeisance to the canvas edge and, without favoritism, the precious nature of every inch of allowable space.”

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The BP Top Ten of 2012

24 Feb

bp top tenThis list was compiled from the individual top ten lists of Scott, Matt, Aaron, Patrick, Rita, Josh, Sarah, Dayne, Kyle, Tyler, and David.

Honorable Mentions: The Queen of Versailles, Life of Pi, The Avengers, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Silver Linings Playbook

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Oscar Nominated Documentary Shorts, by Patrick Felton

23 Feb

It seems that over time, the Documentary Shorts category of the Academy Awards has become a bit of a checklist. Indeed, this year like many other, the category seems to be dominated by a laundry list of serious-minded yet emotionally wrought films about “serious” topics. Sub Saharan Africa, poverty, homelessness, cancer – these are topics that should by no means be asked to be made into easy sits, nor should they be expected to be cold and clinical.

While these illuminations can feel enlightening, this approach can often do a disservice to its subjects. By drawing awareness to the negative elements, it separates the audience from the ability to connect with the subject. Visual elements can often linger on the bleak realities of poverty often void of life and color Treatment of the subject as pitiable creates a psychic wall of “otherness” between the world of the viewer and the world of the subject. Finally, these portrayals often rob their subjects of agency in the process of social mobility, as a helpless subject tends to be more emotionally compelling.

For better or for worse, this year’s bunch seem to typify this trend with overwhelming waves of well-crafted sentimentality. However, within these films exist surprising and unexpected glimpses of humanity that give meaning to the pathos. At their best, these films subvert the audience expectations of approaches to poverty, death, and even life itself.

inocente-oscar-nominee

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Patrick’s Top Ten of 2012

16 Jan

First, eligibility issues. I live in West Virginia, where we are lucky to get any of the cream of the crop within the calendar year it was released.

However, my rules for top 10 lists have traditionally included any film which had its first American theatrical run during that calendar year. This means that many of the films on my lists may have premiered at festivals or in their native countries in previous years.

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10. Ted

Once when I worked in the sports ticketing industry I spoke with a Catholic priest from New Jersey who had purchased tickets to a New Jersey Devils hockey game. When I asked him why a man of the cloth would go to support such a demonically named team, the father said to me: “From time to time, we must admire even devils.”

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Video Drone, by Patrick Felton

24 Dec

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Whenever a film does not work for me, it can often be helpful for me to reflect on one’s own ideals for what a film can and should be and compare them to those of the film in question. Even with this rule of thumb, occasionally there comes along a film so truly awful that no matter how hard I try, I can’t find anything nice to say about it.

Gut, the first feature from the single-named filmmaker Elias, is one such movie.

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Country Roads, by Patrick Felton

29 Jun

Pilgrim Song is the sophomore feature from Kentucky filmmaker Martha Stevens. After premiering earlier this year at the South By Southwest festival it has made its made its way to many regional film festivals in the Southeast and Midwest including the Nashville Film Festival, River Run Film Festival, Little Rock Film Festival, and Indie Grits Film Festival. Saturday June 30th the film will screen as part of Awesomefest in Philadelphia.

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A Flower Waiting To Bloom, by Patrick Felton

27 Jun

Few things are more refreshing than seeing the words “New Yorker Films” flash across the screen. Only 3 years after the film company shut down due to funding crises, the film world rejoices to see the legendary distributor of the world’s best art films back with new product. Its hard to imagine that Aladdin Distribution LLC, the new owners of the New Yorker Films library and moniker, ever imagined that their name flashed up on the screen followed by an opening scene where a Norwegian teenager masturbates on the kitchen floor while engaging in phone sex.

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