The Rats and People Motion Picture Orchestra Minnesota melds classical training with a love of silent film

The Rats and People Motion Picture Orchestra Minnesota is one of the newest bands to join the community of musicians performing silent film scores in the Twin Cities. Lately, the group has also been among the busiest. 

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Racial satire 'Dear White People' filmed at University of Minnesota, stars homegrown talent

(Photo courtesy of Lionsgate Films) Brandon P. Bell as Troy, the son of a college dean, in Dear White People

The title of the new film Dear White People leads the average mind to think, feel and question: What if there was a new film entitled “Dear Black People” in this era of President Barack Obama?

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Courage under fire: Girls on film

The Twin Cities Jewish Film Festival is spotlighting two female driven, award-winning films this week.

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REVIEW | "Panacea" with The Poor Nobodys at the Twin Cities Horror Festival

The music of The Poor Nobodys gives context to the modern silent film Panacea in the Twin Cities Horror Festival; photography by Dan Norman

When they described the film Panacea in the publicity materials for the Twin Cities Horror Festival as being in the style of David Lynch, it was a very apt way to sum it up. I recall being in the middle of watching Lynch’s Inland Empire and feeling like I was dreaming, even though I knew I was still awake and aware of being seated in someone’s living room watching something on a television screen. The combination of visuals and the soundtrack were so hypnotic that I began to lose track of the boundary between the thing on screen and in my ears, and the context of me and my place in reality. The work the musical group The Poor Nobodys do with Panacea elicits the same response.

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Twin Cities Film Fest 2014, Part II

Photo courtesy Time Lapse

The 2014 Twin Cities Film Festival is about at the halfway point, and it looks like things are moving along pretty well. Several sold out screenings and good buzz are making TCFF a serious calendar item in the local cinema scene. As I said in the first post, I can’t make specific comments about the films, but here’s a survey of the closing movies that I think are worth mentioning.

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Creeps, crawls, candy and more: Halloween highlights in the Twin Cities

(Photo by Henry Hendricks)

Halloween is lurking around the corner, promising another year of spooky good times and monstrous spending. The National Retail Federation’s (NRF) annual consumer spending survey projects Halloween spending could reach total sales of $7.4 billion this year, up from $6.9 billion last year.

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Flyway Film Festival lures Twin Citians across the river October 23-26

How is the Flyway Film Festival, happening this week in the Wisconsin river towns of Pepin, Stockholm, and Maiden Rock, different from other film festivals? A well-known producer visiting the Flyway once told me, off the record: “Nobody’s trying to suck up to anybody here. People say what they really think about the films and nobody acts pretentious, the way they do at most festivals.” (You can see why this person did not want to be quoted by name.)

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Twin Cities Film Fest preview, part one

(Screenshot from The Heart Machine trailer, below)

The Twin Cities Film Fest 2014 is upon us. The fest runs from October 16th to October 25th, screening at a single location in the Showplace Icon West End cinema. The metro is lucky enough to have several film festivals sprinkled throughout the year, and each one has its own kind of focus. Twin Cities Film Fest looks to aim toward a spot in the upper tier of the indie film festival circuit, showcasing films that have done well at Sundance, South by Southwest and others. Not quite as international as Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival, not quite as doggedly independent as Minneapolis Underground Film Festival, the TCFF program focuses on mostly domestic films that are on the cusp of wider release or deserve wider attention. Additionally, there is a very healthy showing of locally filmed or produced movies.

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Chaplin's 'The Gold Rush' to show as part of Walker Art Center Birthday Bash

Many of the most defining moments of Charlie Chaplin’s career come from his 1925 film The Gold Rush: Chaplin’s Tramp, hollow-eyed from hunger, eating his own shoe. The Tramp transforming into a giant chicken as his starving friend Big Jim hallucinates. The Tramp and Big Jim, scrambling to stay alive as their shack teeters on the edge of a cliff. Chaplin transforming two rolls speared on forks into a pair of nimble, dancing feet. The Gold Rush is one of Chaplin’s most fully realized expressions of lightness and darkness, comedy and tragedy—and a great introduction to Chaplin and silent comedy, too.

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