Des Moines Film

Kasey Dunifer: The Oscars 2022 — Picks, Predicts & Snubs

Like a nerdier March Madness, the Oscars also provide their fair share of upsets, shoe-ins, and predictions from fans. Below are my picks (who I think should win), predicts (who I think will win), and snubs (who should have been nominated) for ten categories at this year's Oscars.   1. BEST PICTURE To continue the analogy, I look at this year’s Best Picture nominees a little like this: 1-seeds: “The Power of the Dog,” “Belfast,” and “West Side...

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Clinton Olsasky: Remembering Sidney Poitier in Five Legendary Performances

Trailblazer. Icon. Legend.   Those are just some of the words that have been used to describe Sidney Poitier since his passing at the age of 94 last month.   But truth be told, words alone could never fully convey the sheer impact that Poitier had on the American film industry and, more importantly, on American culture at large.   Often starring in movies that either directly or indirectly addressed race relations in America, Poitier was the only regularly cast Black...

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Clinton Olsasky: My Top 10 Films of 2021

2021 was a mixed bag for the film industry, which is still rewriting its own rules in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.   On the one hand, moviegovers across the country were able to safely return to theaters following the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.   On the other hand, the pandemic has refused to let up in many parts of the country, forcing the industry to offer more at-home viewing options than ever before.    Streaming giants like Netflix...

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Kasey Dunifer: The Power of the Dog

THE POWER OF THE DOG - Review/Analysis   After more than a decade’s long break from feature filmmaking, Jane Campion returns in full force with her unconventional Western, “The Power of the Dog,” an adaptation of the 1967 novel of the same name by Thomas Savage. A master of period pieces (her most notable being the 1993 film, “The Piano”), Campion reminds us of the eloquent heartbreak of her craft, this time in 1925’s rural Montana.   The film...

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Clinton Olsasky: ‘The French Dispatch’ & ‘Spencer’

The Des Moines Double Feature is back! In this semi-weekly series, we at Des Moines Film will spotlight two movies that prompt critical discussion. In some cases, these may be two new releases currently playing in Des Moines-area theaters. Other times, we may choose to compare a new release with a classic film or even spotlight two classics.    This week, we take a look at two new award season contenders from two celebrated filmmakers: “The French...

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My Top 10 films of 2020(ish)

by Ben Godar, Director of Des Moines Film   The best thing about looking back at the year 2020 in film is that it means the year is over. The fact that The Oscars are happening in late April feels somehow appropriate for this long, long year. Here's my Top 10 films that were released or at least made their way to me in this strange 2020+.   10. Bacurau How you see a film can be just as important...

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‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ Reviewed

When it comes to race, Hollywood has a long and uncomfortable history of romanticizing and oversimplifying American history, often transplanting Black experience into the reductive points of view of white characters. From "Gone with the Wind" to "Green Book," ostensibly Black-informed stories have too often been whitewashed, wringing out the authenticity, beauty and pain of Black realities.   Fortunately, "Judas and the Black Messiah" breaks away from this trend. The historical drama, which focuses on the betrayal...

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Des Moines Film Society: The Top 10 Films of 2020

Let’s face it: 2020 was a crazy year. The coronavirus pandemic upended normal life as we knew it, while racial unrest shed an even brighter spotlight on the deepening political divisions that have defined the last few years.   Meanwhile, movies have rightfully taken a backseat, with the pandemic leading to the closure of thousands of theaters and numerous delays of studio blockbusters.   And yet, against all odds, 2020 has yielded a number of great films, many of...

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100 Years Later: ‘The Phantom Carriage’ Is Still the Greatest New Year’s Movie

On New Year’s Day 1921, the world of cinema changed forever.   That was the day that “The Phantom Carriage,” one of the great masterworks of the silent era, was released. Now, exactly 100 years later, the film continues to transfix viewers through its sheer artistry and thought-provoking, life-affirming story.   The movie, directed by pioneering Swedish filmmaker Victor Sjöström, broke new ground on several cinematic fronts. In terms of visual effects, Sjöström made innovative use of double exposure,...

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Clinton Olsasky: Remembering Kirk Douglas: Five Legendary Performances

Last month, the red-hot glow of one of the film industry’s brightest (and longest) burning stars was extinguished.   That star was the incomparable Kirk Douglas, who, at the age of 103, became one of the oldest living and last surviving icons of the Golden Age of Hollywood.   The fact that Douglas’ life burned so bright and so long is appropriate, as many of the screen legend’s best performances were marked with a fiery intensity that was rarely...

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