Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

All content by Tom Horgen

Cinematic specificity

Published April 28, 2005

This can never be said enough: Movie-going in the Twin Cities wouldn't be the same without the Oak Street Cinema. Since 1995, the little movie palace has given film-lovers the chance to see classic, independent...

Apartment of flying daggers

Published April 21, 2005

Stephen Chow is China's most popular comedian. His claim to fame? He writes, directs and stars in hilarious kung-fu movies that make a lot of money. The filmmaker has found success by innovating in a genre...

Means of Production

Published April 21, 2005

It's Saturday night, and local hip-hop producers Benzilla and Elex are out looking for records. Not to listen to, though. These guys are crate diggers. They dig through dusty bins at used record shops,...

Original, mortal and deadly

Published April 7, 2005

E very once in a while, a new film comes along that rewrites the language of cinema. Quentin Tarantino did it with "Pulp Fiction." George Lucas did it with "Star Wars." And way back when, D.W. Griffith...

Riding rap’s high horse

Published February 17, 2005

There's room for everybody in hip-hop these days: men, women, blacks, whites, gangstas, revolutionaries and nerds. Sage Francis often gets lumped in with the last category: the nerds. Nerd rap is political,...

All that heaven allows

Published February 10, 2005

Spanish director Pedro Almodovar is approaching that point in his career when we should probably be calling him a master. He knows it too. The opening credits of his latest gender-bending, sex-obsessed...

Eyes on the prizes

Published February 3, 2005

If the most conservative members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had their way, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg would probably win Oscars every year. Those guys, luckily, take breaks....

Send lawyers, guns and money

Published January 27, 2005

At first, "The Documentary" seems like the strangest title you could come up with for a gangsta rap album. It comes from The Game, Dr. Dre's latest protege and a money pit in the making. Dre signed the...

Come fly the bleak, uncertain skies

Published January 27, 2005

This might sound familiar. A right-wing president is re-elected on the promise of bringing U.S. troops home from an unwinnable war. A rebel who despises the president's crooked, capitalistic empire then...

Some desperate glory

Published January 20, 2005

A great bleached-blond poet once asked, "Hi kids, do you like violence? Wanna watch me stick 9-inch nails through each one of my eyelids?" And his audience answered emphatically, "Yes. Yes, we do." Because...

Seduction of the innocent

Published December 9, 2004

Author Warren Ellis changed the world of superhero comics forever in 1999. First, with his comic book "The Authority," he asked the question: What would real people do with real superpowers? Would they...

Making movie magic from scratch

Published December 2, 2004

It has begun. The University used to be a barren wasteland for students hoping to learn about film production. You could talk about movies all day long in film studies classes, but getting behind the camera...

He watch channel zero

Published November 18, 2004

Eminem is a pop culture addict. Thoughts of Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Paris Hilton dance around in his head like little kids on Jacko's bed. This addiction serves him as both vice and virtue,...

Lewd did I live & evil I did dwell

Published November 11, 2004

Vordul Mega says life in his neighborhood is disgusting. Not the people, though. Not the single mothers who work endlessly. Not the kids who play in urine-drenched hallways. The people are beautiful. It's...

What’ll we do without him?

Published November 4, 2004

Before he created soul music, Ray Charles was great at mimicking other musicians. He did a mean Nat King Cole impression. Early on in this biopic, a young Charles tries explaining this talent to a girl...

The world that’s owned by idle drones

Published October 28, 2004

In the new documentary "Michael Moore Hates America," it only takes Minneapolis director Michael Wilson a few minutes to find a black man mowing his lawn in suburbia. Wilson doesn't believe in white flight...

Elvis ain’t a hero to Mos

Published October 21, 2004

Mos Def hates Limp Bizkit. He hates Linkin Park. He hates rap-rock. To the Brooklyn MC, hip-hop isn't just something you try out. Or pimp out for that matter. What's worse, thieves such as Fred Durst remind...

Ahead of its time

Published October 14, 2004

Movie-lovers love film festivals. They have to. It's where they discover filmmakers still untouched by Hollywood's corrupting reach. But let's face it, most film festivals still have their handful of stinkers...

Hip-hop knowledge, but at what price?

Published October 7, 2004

Talib Kweli isn't stupid. The street philosopher knows you can't reach the people if you're broke. And airtime costs money nowadays. That hasn't stopped the Brooklyn, N.Y., MC from staying political. But...

What would Jean do?

Published September 30, 2004

With 2003's release, "The Black Album," a reflective Jay-Z showed us what a retirement album sounds like. With "This Week," Jean Grae shows us what it sounds like when you're about to become Jay-Z. OK,...

Phantoms in the darkness

Published September 23, 2004

Here's what Hollywood knows about the Middle East: Arabs are either terrorists whoregularly pester Arnold and other celluloid superpatriots, or they're a lowly bunch of people, besieged by eternal war. One...

Fighting for the right to fight

Published September 16, 2004

You don't as much watch Zhang Yimou's "Hero" as you witness it. This is the Super Bowl of kung fu war epics. A film seeking to surpass all those that have come before it. "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"...

Revenge of the cyborgs

Published September 16, 2004

There are three kinds of Japanese-anime fans. There are the super-geek fans who watch every movie and every episode of every anime they can get, usually downloaded off the Internet. There are also the...

Three years in the life of

Published September 9, 2004

Sept. 11 is upon us once again. In these times, with November approaching, the anniversary of the 2001 attacks has become a lightening rod for conservatives, liberals, Bush, Kerry, whoever, to drum up...

A call to arms

Published May 6, 2004

Right now, Disney is paying some kid in Haiti two bucks a day to sew Mickey Mouse T-shirts so another kid in suburbia can remember his vacation. At the same time, other corporate leviathans are spreading...

Laser light legacy

Published May 6, 2004

Take a break from the megaplexes this summer and check out these 10 soon-to-be-released DVDs. Release dates are subject to change. "Enter the Dragon - Special Edition" - May 18 This two-disc re-release...

Walking through the darkness

Published April 29, 2004

When the Wu-Tang Clan's debut, "Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)," hit the streets in 1993, most rap heads put the Ghostface Killah near the back of the monster nine-emcee lineup. But now, with the RZA...

How the other half gazes

Published April 29, 2004

Near the end of "In the Company of Women," a new documentary about female directors, filmmaker Nancy Savoca delivers a lucid summary of the past, present and future of the female voice in cinema. "There's...

If there is a film-nerd heaven

Published April 22, 2004

When hard-core film buffs go to sleep at night, Cinema Revolution is what they dream about. It's a sleekly designed DVD rental store that specializes in foreign and independent films. While there are other...

Old scratch

Published April 15, 2004

There is a tendency in U.S. cinema to demand a certain seriousness from superhero movies. The "X-Men" and "Spider-Man" franchises crank out high drama, striving to be taken seriously. The first "Batman"?...

Rap is not afraid of you

Published April 15, 2004

There are people who will hear Minneapolis rapper P.O.S.' debut, "Ipecac Neat," and with knowledge of his background - a black kid raised on punk rock - try to rationalize the album. They'll try to divorce...

Cut deep down the middle

Published April 8, 2004

The Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival pushes into its second week today. The festival celebrates its halfway point tonight with a screening of the Swedish documentary "Presence" at 7:30...

Presence

Published April 8, 2004

WDir. Jan Troell hen you live and die by the click of a camera, the moment is everything. "That's why we take pictures - we want to look at time." So says Georg Oddner, the renowned Swedish photographer...

Yoshino’s Barber Shop

Published April 1, 2004

UDir. Ogigami Naoko topia has its costs. And they're often not too pleasant. In "Yoshino's Barber Shop," a small Japanese town maintains its apparently idyllic routine by abiding strictly to tradition....

Seeing in the dark

Published April 1, 2004

Around the world in 80 days? Forget about it. The Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival explores the cinematic universe in just two weeks. "It's the largest film event, if not one of the largest...

Pirated Copy

Published April 1, 2004

IDir. He Jianjun f you've gone to the movie theater or watched an award show lately, you've probably seen the commercials and heard the rhetoric condemning film piracy. Here's a movie that offers a somewhat...

The guy who knows everything

Published March 25, 2004

Johnny Depp continues his conquest of all roles weird with the suspense-thriller "Secret Window." Neurotic behavior hasn't been paid this much attention since Woody Allen started mumbling for effect. Unfortunately,...

Resistance to tyrants

Published March 25, 2004

The Battle of Algiers" places the grit of violent revolution at our fingertips. It's physical. It muddies our shoes with bloody streets and fills our lungs with the smoke of exploding bombs. The 1965 film...

Top 5 things that we picked of the week

Published March 25, 2004

Here are the top five ways to spot a "backpacker" (a pretentious underground hip-hop fan). 1. Backpacks They wear backpacks. All the time. To shows. To the record shop. All the time. 2. Elitist ramblings They...

Chasing light

Published March 11, 2004

The 13th annual Susan Himmelman-Shapiro Twin Cities Festival of Jewish Film will give filmgoers plenty to talk about. Many of its films are unexpectedly timely, and to the surprise of its organizers, the...

The loneliest number

Published March 11, 2004

Federico Fellini's "8 1/2" usually lands in the top 10 whenever critics are polled for the best films of all time. And cineastes such as Roger Ebert and Martin Scorsese consider the 1963 film, about a...

Better must come

Published March 4, 2004

Hip-hop can be a fierce platform for articulating social unrest. But artists rarely rhyme at length about, much less devote entire albums to, political commentary. Public Enemy and KRS-One used to do it....

Unto a good land

Published March 4, 2004

The Tibetan Film Festival offers people a chance to explore a fascinating culture that is rarely mentioned in the mainstream United States, except for when the Beastie Boys or Richard Gere yell "Free Tibet!" The...

Dominance and submission

Published March 4, 2004

Here we go again. Ashley Judd returns like a bad headache to pester us with another movie about someone killing someone. And yes, she's hell-bent on figuring out why. Story-wise, Judd's thrillers might...

Known for dropping science

Published February 26, 2004

On any given night, when ?uestlove cracks the drum sticks and Black Thought's vocals ride in on a wave of sound, The Roots deliver the type of rap show you can't get anywhere else. It's not just because...

Three bums and a baby

Published February 19, 2004

Tokyo Godfathers" has nothing to do with the Japanese mob. Well, that's not entirely true; the Yakuza do make a brief appearance. But the actual pith of this story lies in the bonds of family, real and...

The way the system works

Published February 19, 2004

Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange" has been lauded for its gorgeous, almost poetic vision, but disdained for its flirtation with merciless, predatory violence. Concentrating on the masturbatory camera...

Dancing the plot away

Published February 12, 2004

As far as story goes, nothing really happens in "The Company." This new film from director Robert Altman is intended to be an exploration of the day-to-day mechanics of the prestigious Joffrey Ballet of...

McNamara’s wall

Published February 12, 2004

The human subject of this documentary, Robert McNamara, will probably go down in history alongside Donald Rumsfeld, the man steering President George W. Bush's war machine, as one of this country's most...

A stranger from the north

Published February 5, 2004

Guy Maddin makes family melodramas. That's what the Canadian director will tell you, anyway. Dreamy, family melodramas. And he's isn't lying. Although when his name comes up, it's often mentioned along...

Crises on the high seas

Published February 5, 2004

With a plethora of acclaimed documentaries, film circles rightfully dubbed 2003 "the year of the doc." And lucky for the Twin Cities, the University Film Society is making sure we don't miss one of the...

Drawn together

Published January 29, 2004

The world of comic books is a strange one. As an industry, and maybe more importantly, as an art form, comic books have endured much change in the past 20 years. The comic world has gone through revolving...

A labyrinth of pain

Published January 22, 2004

Monster" thrusts unto us the brutal story of Aileen Wuornos, a drifter prostitute who, after being convicted of killing six of her johns, was christened "America's first female serial killer." The film's...

Persistence of vision

Published January 22, 2004

LOS ANGELES - It's difficult not to stop and stare at the roving, iced-out celebrities when you're in Hollywood. And at a recent press junket for "Win a Date With Tad Hamilton," the new romantic comedy...

It hurts too much to cry

Published January 22, 2004

A quick glance at Radio K's latest compilation might make you think its station programmers only show love to the whiny indie rockers who always seem to need love most. But a closer listen reveals a healthy...

Nothing is free

Published December 11, 2003

It appears director Jim Sheridan gulped down a little too much Spielberg when putting his new Irish exposition together. Sheridan, known for the trio of intense, Irish-focused dramas he made with Daniel...

Pick your poison

Published December 11, 2003

The screenplay for the "House of Sand and Fog" is an impassioned one, but it becomes so intoxicated with its own unbridled intensity that it can't see the ridiculousness it falls into in its final act. Up...

Beyond black and white

Published December 4, 2003

Savage American Indians are back on the big screen. And with them, do-gooder Ron Howard finally gets his hands dirty. The director of "A Beautiful Mind," "Apollo 13," "Cocoon" and other all-white schmaltz...

Honor among thieves

Published December 4, 2003

Near the end of "The Last Samurai," as our heroes prepare for their last battle, Tom Cruise, now an honorary swordsman, finally dons the blood-red, full-bodied warrior armor that you've seen in all the...

The man who wasn’t there

Published November 26, 2003

As the title character in "Bad Santa," Billy Bob Thornton is what cynicism looks like when fully realized into a fleshy, organic being. Bold. Seething. And in this case, deadly funny. He is cynicism with...

Shall he return?

Published November 20, 2003

Jay-Z has released eight solo albums in eight years. "The Black Album" is supposedly his last, his final contribution to hip-hop. But many people speculate that this early retirement is just a ploy to...

Tales from the crypt

Published November 20, 2003

Tupac: Resurrection," the new documentary about the life and death of Tupac Shakur, opens with the slain rapper telling us that his life is "a story about ambition, violence, redemption and love." These...

Welcome to the real world, baby

Published November 13, 2003

With the continued popularity of television shows such as "Will & Grace" and "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," the homosexual image as it relates to the mass media is in the midst of a tug of war....

Hip-hop thunder shakes the cities

Published November 13, 2003

The heavens have been rumbling for quite some time. Cloud masses are scorched bright and red; thunderclaps are heard in the distance. The hip-hop gods are thinking. They ponder: How to reward a burgeoning...

The ways of the world

Published November 6, 2003

Welcome to the United States. Your guide will be a 73-year-old documentary filmmaker who has been exploring the inner thoughts of the world's most powerful country for decades. In the past 40 years, Frederick...

Too clever by half

Published November 6, 2003

Somewhere in this mess of a movie, beneath the dismembered arms and legs, and the severed heads, and the puddles of blood, there is a feminist critique struggling to break through. Jane Campion, the once-revered...

Poetry in motion

Published October 30, 2003

What can we learn from this film - a film about the life and self-inflicted death of legendary American poet, Sylvia Plath? Sadly, about as much as reading the introduction to an anthology of her work. That's...

On the road again

Published October 30, 2003

Here is a film that contains messy, digital video camerawork, nasty characters and a political agenda that's teetering between triumph and collapse. Sounds bad, right? Quite the contrary. The fact that...

Is different new? Is new good?

Published October 23, 2003

Let Me Be Your Band," a hilarious documentary about one-man bands opens with a hipster twentysomething exclaiming, "anything that's out of the ordinary is good." In these times of pastiche and constant...

Drowning in cliches

Published October 23, 2003

It's kind of a burning feeling. Right in your gut. We've all felt it. When a movie of heavy, emotional power is taking you down one path - a path you're finding quite fascinating - and then boom, turns...

Going back to the roots

Published October 16, 2003

Here's a little story that must be told..." So go the famous words of Rodney Cee, chilling on a Bronx stoop in the 1982 film "Wild Style," one of hip-hop's most revered artifacts. And indeed, as hip-hop...

Breaking into the movies

Published October 16, 2003

While there is rarely a film festival not worthy of your attention, University students and Minnesotans alike should take particular pride in this one. Its name is the Strictly Midwest Movies and Short...

Melodrama gold

Published October 9, 2003

Along with "The Sopranos," "The Wire" and a few other shows, "Alias" is one of the few reasons we can still look to television for any trace of artistic merit. The spy drama is in its third season, but...

The kind of thing that money just can’t buy

Published October 9, 2003

The baby trade. What a nasty little phrase. It's the topic at hand in "Casa de los Babys," the latest moral treatise from indie master John Sayles. In his newest film, the maverick director serves up a...

Fun at the expense of others

Published October 2, 2003

School of Rock" contains the funniest scene in all of film so far this year. Jack Black, in all his buffoonery, begins his first day as a fifth-grade substitute teacher by furiously ripping up his class's...

Through the looking-glass

Published October 2, 2003

Lost in Translation" is, on the surface, the kind of second film you want from Sophia Coppola, the visionary director of "The Virgin Suicides" and daughter of Francis Ford Coppola. The movie is a technical...

With fiends like these

Published September 25, 2003

Into the rabbit hole we fall again. Leather-clad body armor, twin automatic pistols, glorious slow-motion. A feast for the eyes. But this isn't "The Matrix." This is horror. Vampires, werewolves and thousands...

Art films, indies and more

Published September 18, 2003

So it's Friday night and you're jonesing for a flick. You could do the proverbial "I'm a freshman at college" thing and watch your "Fight Club" DVD for the hundredth time. Or you could strap on your boots,...

The woods are lovely, dark and deep

Published September 11, 2003

Cabin Fever" is a beautifully shot, sometimes funny, sometimes scary horror film. As a relentless homage to late 1970s/early 1980s horror, it positions itself as a throwback, a return to films like "The...

There’s a battle outside ragin’

Published September 11, 2003

Early on in this conundrum of a movie, Bob Dylan, or Jack Fate, as he's called in "Masked and Anonymous," is released from prison. He returns to the streets of an unnamed city, in an America scorched by...

In a New York state of mind

Published February 13, 2003

Spike Lee's new film acknowledges the Sept. 11 terror attacks. But the tragedy and its aftermath do not consume "25th Hour," rather they become useful devices in the director's agenda - a critique of the...

8 Miles High and Rising

Published November 14, 2002

Respected critics have let the prospect of Eminem's acting ability plunder their reviews of "8 Mile." This hotbed of anticipation was like a vice grip that needed unwinding. So let's unwind quickly. He...

He the Deejay

Published October 10, 2002

El-P and his Def Jux monolith hovered over Minneapolis several weeks ago. But underground hip hop has felt this looming presence for more than a year. Since mid-2001, when El-P introduced Cannibal Ox to...

All’s Welles that Ends Welles

Published September 26, 2002

Orson Welles made more movies than Citizen Kane. It's true. And while the rest of them aren't stuck in a vacuum where every film critic, filmmaker and filmgoer constantly cheers "best film ever," they...

Slug loves Christina Ricci

Published September 19, 2002

From Felt: A Tribute to Christina Ricci's opening thunder, Murs lays it down. He punches your eardrum and adjudicates, "This is goddamn American rap music." This is hip-hop. But Slug is co-starring, which...