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Girls (and boys) on film

 MIFF 2014 features Glenn Close, Sara Driver, and a boy's unforgettable adolescence
The Maine International Film Festival, now in its 17th year in Waterville, remains one of the region’s more ambitious cultural institutions, less bound by a singular ambition than a desire to convey the breadth and depth of cinema’s past and present. (This, and a healthy dose of music and human-interest documentaries.) On that account, MIFF ’14 is an impressive achievement, offering area filmgoers its best program in years. With so much to survey, let’s make haste with the recommendations. (Particularly emphatic suggestions are marked in bold print.)  
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  July 11, 2014

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American values

Marion Cotillard gets a rough welcome in James Gray’s The Immigrant
The Immigrant  seamlessly folds elements of New York history and the American promise into a story about the varieties of captivity and loyalty.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  June 11, 2014

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Slow-burning horror

The Hanover House will make you a believer
When you’re making a movie about a haunted house, it’s best if the house is actually haunted (for authenticity’s sake, of course).
By: DEIRDRE FULTON  |  May 09, 2014

Capturing the County

Beneath the Harvest Sky makes it big
Hollywood is approximately 3,233 miles from Old Town. For Aron Gaudet, Old Town native and Maine filmmaker, it seemed even further.
By: CHELSEA COOK  |  April 23, 2014

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Character is political

Three Kelly Reichardt films coming to PMA
Kelly Reichardt, one of the most admired and resourceful voices in American independent cinema, appears at the Portland Museum of Art Friday night to participate in a weekend-long retrospective of her three most recent films.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  April 10, 2014

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Let's talk about sex

Lars von Trier gives you what he wants
Throughout its two volumes and four hours of explicit sexuality, masochism, philosophical debate, and self-analysis, Nymphomaniac remains the steadfast vision of a director talking to himself, and assuming you’ll be interested enough in him to listen and pay close attention.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  April 09, 2014



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Ashes and dioramas

Wes Anderson makes a film about nostalgia
History, rather than ennui, is the incursion that motivates this, his most antic and most somber work.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  March 28, 2014

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Creative genius(es)

Parsing the Chomsky-Foucault debate
Held in the Netherlands in 1971, the discussion is seen as a touchstone in philosophy circles, spanning human nature, creativity, politics, and more.
By: NICHOLAS SCHROEDER  |  January 23, 2014

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Passion of the strongman

A reclusive New Yorker takes the stage in Bending Steel
The film’s aim is modest and powerful: to focus on the physical and psychological hurdles Schoeck must overcome not only to become a true strongman, but also to become an engaging performer.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  January 09, 2014

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2013's best films are only united in their audacity

 From murders to musings
 From murders to musings
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  December 19, 2013

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Gifts for the tele- and cinephiles in the family

 Expand the home-theater library
These days, buying a family member a DVD or (now, for some) a Blu-ray can be a weird act.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  December 04, 2013



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Dissenters hold their own in a trio of documentaries this weekend

 Keep it down
Volume is important in each of the three documentaries screening at SPACE Gallery this weekend, under its Human Rights Film Series umbrella.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  November 14, 2013

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This year’s Camden International Film Festival unearths lovers, countries, and children at crossroads

 Culture wars
This would seem to be the year the Camden International Film Festival fully grows into its skin.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  September 26, 2013

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Performance and grisly reality collide in the astonishing Act of Killing

 Memories of murder
A group of genocidal Indonesian gangsters/government-sanctioned militiamen agree to discuss their crimes if they can do so on their own terms, by stylishly reenacting them in the mode of Hollywood genre films.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  September 13, 2013

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Blackfish exposes SeaWorld’s poor treatment of its prized possessions

 Bitter Orca
Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s unimaginative Blackfish has just enough gripping footage to make up for its unrelenting structural blandness.
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  August 08, 2013

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Never go far

 Without a little Big Star
 Without a little Big Star
By: RICK WORMWOOD  |  July 25, 2013



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Nine Maine-made quickies light up Waterville

 Get shorty
In this year’s Maine Shorts program at the Maine International Film Festival, nine films range from the silly to the elegiac.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  July 18, 2013

More highlights from MIFF’s selections

 Film extras
Other locally-focused film highlights at MIFF this weekend include what ought to be a fine and raucous screening of local cult classic documentary  Dead River Rough Cut  (1976)
By: CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  July 18, 2013

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Mayhem rules the summer box office

 Action! ... and ... action!
A notable underlying theme among this year’s summer crop is that, while Earth is being destroyed, the villains are not an external alien threat.
By: ELIZABETH GREENWOOD  |  June 07, 2013

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Spencer McCall’s bewildering The Institute

Life is elsewhere
Ostensibly, the first feature film by Spencer McCall seeks to provide a portrait of a San Francisco organization called the Jejune Institute, whose mission hovers somewhere between the poles of self-help, performance art, disinformation, and an alternate-reality game. But if this is a portrait, we're not in art class anymore.
By: NICHOLAS SCHROEDER  |  May 10, 2013
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