Des Moines Tag

Des Moines Film Society: The Top 10 Films of 2019

From Disney’s unprecedented dominance at the box office (aggravated by the worrisome Disney/Fox merger and launch of the Disney Plus streaming service) to the emergence of Netflix as a legitimate awards contender, 2019 was a tumultuous year for cinema — one marked by shifts in viewing habits and viewing tastes.    But beyond the deadening debate surrounding Marvel movies as “true cinema” and the increasing corporatization of films from art to asset, there was actually plenty to...

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Des Moines Double Feature: “Mean Streets” & “The Irishman”

Want to know which movies are worth your time? The Des Moines Film Society has you covered, with the Des Moines Double Feature! In this series, we highlight two movies that pair well together, revealing aesthetic and thematic insights about each other.   This week, we’re shining a spotlight on two masterful films from opposite ends of Martin Scorsese’s incomparable career: “Mean Streets,” from 1973, and “The Irishman,” from 2019. Although separated by nearly a half-century of...

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Des Moines Double Feature: “Jojo Rabbit” & “Pain and Glory”

Want to know which new movies are worth your time? The Des Moines Film Society has you covered, with our new series: the Des Moines Double Feature! Every so often, we'll be recommending two of the best movies currently playing at Des Moines-area theaters.   This week, we're highlighting two vastly different films from two singular artists working at opposite points in their respective careers: the wildly irreverent satire "Jojo Rabbit," from upstart director Taika Waititi, and...

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“Parasite” Reviewed: A Cinematic Sleight of Hand

“You know what kind of plan never fails? No plan at all.”   So says Kim Ki-taek (Song Kang-ho), the patriarch of the impoverished family at the center of “Parasite,” director Bong Joon-ho’s deliriously funny and darkly disturbing thriller about the unforeseen misfortunes that can alter life’s trajectory.   For Ki-taek, making plans seems to have been a futile exercise in his life. He is an unemployed car driver, forced to live in a "semi-basement" apartment with his evidently...

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“Joker” Reviewed: Predicting the Punchline

Few films in recent years have generated as much excitement, controversy and, yes, fear as “Joker,” director Todd Phillips’ dark and twisted origin story about the infamous DC Comics villain. Scrutinized for its potential to inspire real-world violence, “Joker” details one lonely man’s transformation from outcast to killer — all from a highly subjective (and arguably dangerous) point of view.   The fact that “Joker” has elicited such scrutiny, igniting a debate over the moral responsibilities of...

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“Ad Astra” Reviewed: Ambling into the Unknown

The future looks strangely familiar in “Ad Astra,” director James Gray’s space drama about mortality, legacy and familial disturbances.   From the airline-esque accommodations on a shuttle to the moon to a lunar base’s neon Subway sign, there are many times in “Ad Astra” in which we’re left with an uncanny feeling of time periods intersecting, of futuristic facilities being saturated with present-day ephemera.   In other words, what we deem familiar becomes strange. Out of place.    So it goes...

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Music in the Movies of Quentin Tarantino

This summer, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film (tenth, if we’re counting the two “Kill Bill” installments as separate entities), splashed onto cinema screens. The poignant ode to the end of Hollywood’s golden age proved to be as joyously indulgent as any of Tarantino’s other films — many of which resemble a collage of the director’s most cherished cultural artifacts.   The most obvious of these artifacts is, of course, film. Tarantino’s love...

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“Birth of the Cy-Hawk” Documentary to Premiere Across Iowa

The Iowa-Iowa State football rivalry is one of the most widely celebrated (and hotly contested) sports feuds in the Midwest — and, indeed, the entire country. The annual fall game pitting Cyclones versus Hawkeyes never fails to incite a wave of pride, passion and competition from fans across the state.   And it’s all in the name of one highly coveted prize: the Cy-Hawk trophy.   But this iconic trophy didn’t just come to exist out of thin air....

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“The Farewell” Reviewed: An Honorable and Honest Deception

It’s not easy saying goodbye.    Writer-director Lulu Wang confronts this uncomfortable truth, ironically enough, through a series of lies and deceptions in “The Farewell” (A24), her incredibly poignant ode to the shifting nature of family, culture and life itself.   Inspired by Wang’s own family experience (or, “based on an actual lie,” as the opening title card playfully puts it), “The Farewell” follows a Chinese-American family who decides not to tell their grandmother that she’s been diagnosed with...

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50 Years Later: Three Films from 1969 that Changed America

From the Apollo 11 moon landing to the birth of the gay liberation movement, 1969 was a year that brought historic change to America.    The cinema, it turned out, was no different.    Merely a year after the new Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating system marked the official death knell for Hays Code-era censorship, American moviegoers were more eager than ever to explore radical, new stories at the theater in 1969.   From Sam Peckinpah’s ultra-bloody western “The...

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