Podcast: Marvel at Horror Film Unfriended, a Surprisingly Good Movie About the Internet

Categories: Film and TV

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Unfriended
On this week's Voice Film Club podcast, we marvel at teen horror film Unfriended, and while it is "85 minutes of watching someone else use a computer," the filmmaker's adept at turning a screen into a natural storytelling platform: "Director Levan Gabriadze summons up exquisite unease just by the way a cursor darts about a desktop."

But before that, we call up our own Stephanie Zacharek to ask about her Pulitzer Prize finalist recognition. Then we examine a new faith movie with a terrible message named Little Boy, before moving to Forbidden Games, an old faith movie with a powerful message. Finally, we discuss how HBO is moving High Maintenance from the Web to the TV (be sure to read our interview with High Maintenance creators Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair, too). Oh, and do follow us on Twitter at @VoiceFilmClub.

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The Tyranny of Pew-Pew: How Fun Fantasy Violence Became Inescapable

Categories: Film and TV

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Disney/Marvel
Busting your blocks, whether you want it or not
A while back, a friend expressed concern that her son, a ten-year-old, was watching too much My Little Pony. "It's a sweet show," she said, "but it's not what I'd choose for every day."

I asked what show she would prefer that he watch.

"Well, his dad has him started on that new Star Wars cartoon," she said. "So there's that."

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Voice Critic Stephanie Zacharek Named Pulitzer Finalist -- Here's the Best of Her Recent Writing

Categories: Film and TV

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Stephanie Zacharek, the Village Voice's chief film critic, was named a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for criticism. Zacharek's in excellent company: Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times won the award for her stellar TV criticism, and film critic Manohla Dargis of the New York Times was also named a finalist.

The Pulitzer judges singled out Zacharek's work for combining "the pleasure of intellectual exuberance, the perspective of experience, and the transporting power of good writing."

We concur.

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How the Creators of High Maintenance Crushed the Stoner Stereotype

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Photo by Jena Cumbo for the Village Voice
Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair, the couple behind the critically acclaimed Web series High Maintenance
"It's OK, I'm the guy who can do this!"

Katja Blichfeld is trying to pick a morsel of beet salad from her teeth, and her husband, Ben Sinclair, is doing his best to assist: leaning over in his chair, his arms outstretched, index finger poised in midair. Blichfeld demurs; Sinclair insists. "If anyone should do it," he says, "it should be me!"

Blichfeld and Sinclair, the couple behind the critically acclaimed Web series High Maintenance, are grabbing a late-afternoon bite at the lobby restaurant of the Standard Hotel in the East Village. They have a room upstairs where they're sketching out the next round of episodes (they spent the winter in L.A., and still have subletters living in their Ditmas Park apartment). It's the first day of spring, and outside, fat, wet crystals of snow quickly coat the ground.

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Six Exciting Indie Films Opening This Weekend in NYC

Categories: Film and TV

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What's Simon Pegg up to this week? Find out in our digest of this week's interesting new indies.
Each week new movies open in New York (and online) by the dozen. The Voice reviews all of 'em. Here are some you might not have heard about that got our critics excited, for better or worse. Browse our entire film section over at villagevoice.com/movies.

World cinema punches back just one week after Furious 7. New and new-ish films from global greats rule New York screens this week: Olivier Assayas's Clouds of Sils Maria, of course, and Asghar Farhadi's long-delayed About Elly.

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Podcast: Ex Machina Asks If a Robot Can Think -- and Is She Coming On to You?

Categories: Film and TV

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Universal Pictures
Ex Machina
Reviews and discussion of Ex Machina, Dior and I, Clouds of Sils Maria, The Longest Ride, and About Elly are all on this week's Voice Film Club podcast, which includes Alan Scherstuhl and Stephanie Zacharek of the Village Voice, and Amy Nicholson of the LA Weekly.

[Subscribe to the Voice Film Club podcast on iTunes]

Six Low-Flying Indie Movies out This Weekend in New York City, 4/3/15

Categories: Film and TV

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© 2014 - Possible Films
Aubrey Plaza in Ned Rifle
Each week new movies open in New York (and online) by the dozen. The Voice reviews all of 'em. Here are some you might not have heard about that got our critics excited, for better or worse. Browse our entire film section over at villagevoice.com/movies.

Finally, just as it's warm enough to be outside, the art houses are giving you reasons to stew in the dark.

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Film Podcast: In Defense of Furious 7

Categories: Film and TV

Furious 7 and While We're Young are two very different movies — one's all synchronized driving and explosions, the other's all sorta-depressed New Yorkers who don't drive — but both receive generally positive reviews from Alan Scherstuhl and Stephanie Zacharek of the Village Voice, and Amy Nicholson of LA Weekly, who again get together via the magic of the internet for the Voice Film Club podcast.

Amy also recommends White God, a movie that stars about 150 dogs who start a revolution on the streets of Budapest, while Alan suggests Lambert & Stamp, a documentary about the early managers of English rock band the Who.

Send all Vin Diesel impressions and impassioned defenses of Generation X's Ben Stiller to filmpod@villagevoice.com.

[Subscribe to the Voice Film Club podcast on iTunes]

'They Had Done Their Homework': Meet Victor Kovner, Attorney for The Jinx Filmmakers

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Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office
Sometimes life imitates art. Other times art intimidates life. That seemed to be the case with the HBO documentary series The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, which, over the course of a decade, tracked the shady past of the New York City real estate scion, in particular the trail of deaths that seemed to follow him. The final episode of The Jinx contained a shocking revelation: Durst, after an on-camera interview with filmmaker Andrew Jarecki, wandered into a hotel bathroom still wearing his microphone and made what sounded like a full confession. The shock was compounded by real-life events. The day before the finale was set to air, the FBI arrested Durst in New Orleans for the murder of Susan Berman, a friend of his who was killed in Los Angeles in 2000.

In a media landscape transfixed by artfully told true-crime stories (The Jinx comes on the heels of NPR's wildly popular Serial podcast), the show's presentation of its case against Durst — not to mention the timing of Durst's arrest — raised a host of questions regarding the lines between entertainment and jurisprudence, chain of custody, and the legal responsibilities of documentary journalists. The Jinx navigated this thicket with the help of Victor A. Kovner, a partner at Davis Wright Tremaine with a long history of providing pre-print or pre-broadcast review to media outlets (including, from the mid-1960s until the mid-2000s, the Village Voice).

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Brooklyn Jeopardy! Contestant Seizes Opportunity to Invite Alex Trebek to Her DJ Night

Jill Locascio was cruising during her run on Jeopardy!, which aired Monday. With $5,000 after the first round, she was in the lead — and it was one the academic librarian kept after the second round, too, boasting $13,400 in winnings by that point. She was crushing categories on French composers and (naturally, it would seem; the color black dominates her wardrobe) coolly fielding an item about goths.

But the next question posed was her downfall.

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