CIVIL WAR – Review by Susan Granger

Deliberately pushing all your ‘fear’ buttons, Alex Garland’s Civil War is obviously intended to be a cautionary tale but it falls short in so many ways. The dystopian story begins sometime in the near-immediate future in war-torn New York City, where water is rationed and residents are battling the police. Several military-embedded journalists are preparing to undertake the precarious drive to Washington, D.C. hoping to interview the divisive President, who has disbanded the FBI and ordered air strikes on civilians.

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CIVIL WAR – Review by Susan Kamyab

Filmmaker Alex Garland’s fourth directorial feature hits harder than most war films. Civil War is a painfully realistic portrayal of a journey across dystopian future America driven by haunting characters, graphic visuals and heart-pounding sound effects. The film focuses on a team of four journalists following the Second American Civil War. Caught between the American government and “Western Forces”, they set out on a suicide mission through a surge of war crimes to reach the president before rebel coalitions strike the White House.

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CIVIL WAR – Review by Diane Carson

Civil War warns but doesn’t inform. Writer/director Alex Garland’s new film Civil War is just that, about a U.S. civil war. Don’t look for any issues beyond learning that California and Texas, yes, those two alone and together, have. As a dystopian reality terrorizes the country, four journalists undertake a road trip from New York to Charlottesville, Virginia, front lines of the rebellion.

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CIVIL WAR – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

In Civil War, writer-director Alex Garland depicts the last days of democracy, staging intense courtyard firefights, street riots, and soldiers firing RPGs at the Lincoln Memorial. Yet his dystopian vision isn’t just out to provoke. Reminiscent of other journalism war films such as 1984’s The Killing Fields, with characters struggling to make sense out of chaos, this is an intelligent, propulsive, and shattering film about the costs of division and the toll of recording history.

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CIVIL WAR – Review by Leslie Combemale

What’s in a name? In the case of writer/director Alex Garland’s Civil War, it might mean the difference between the success of a worthy film and a stumble at the box office. He’s not trying to make a stand about what’s happening in America. He’s not trying to be subjective in that way. Civil War is more about the impact of combat journalists committed to uncovering the raw truth of war; that it is brutal and senseless. Folks walking into the theater hungry for him to take a political stand about the potential dangers of polarization currently happening in the US will not be sated. If, however, they are looking for a powerful cinematic experience that shakes them to their foundations, that they’ll get. Not exactly an enjoyable experience, Civil War is a near-constant assault to the senses that amps up the tension moment by moment to the film’s last frames that will become essential viewing in anyone’s list of great war movies.

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CIVIL WAR – Review by T.J. Callahan

They shoot journalists don’t they? In Alex Garland’s Civil War they sure do…and everything else that moves within an inch of its life. This Civil War is not an historical drama, but a cautionary tale of what could lie ahead for the United States when democracy teeters on the brink of collapse. Set in the near future, Civil War is an almost documentary type chronicling of embedded war journalists on a road trip to Washington, D.C. trying to get one last interview with the President before he flees the White House. Civil War isn’t meant to be political. Garland doesn’t even give a reason for the unrest. All we know is California and Texas have seceded from the Union and have banded together to form the Western Federation in an attempt to take control of the dystopian government. There’s no right or wrong. No good or bad.

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LOVE LIES BLEEDING – Review by Sarah Vincent

Believe all the hype surrounding Love Lies Bleeding, a stylish, brutal, licentious visual feast set in November 1989 that infects a love story with a sick coating of criminal corruption. Stuck in a dead-end New Mexico town where the denizens range from seedy to rotting, Lou (Kristen Stewart) works as a gym manager at a dingy warehouse facility where hirsute, perspiring men dominate. Estranged from her father, Lou Sr. (Ed Harris), the owner of an outdoor gun range who resembles the Crypt Keeper, Lou seems resigned to cleaning up the messes around her and living in loneliness. So, when the golden, glowing muscular out-of-towner Jackie (Katy O’Brian) walks into her gym, Lou shoots her shot and scores. Oblivious to the dysfunctional family dynamics and Lou Sr.’s criminal operation, Jackie finds herself in the middle of a criminal underbelly enterprise that is the life blood of this community and becomes overwhelmed.

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Celine Song on PAST LIVES: Switching from Theater to Film – Wendy Mitchell Interviews

Celine Song’s first day of shooting her debut feature was not the warmest welcome to her new career. The experienced playwright and theatre director was shooting a boat scene, cruising past the Statue of Liberty forPast Lives, but there was a record-setting storm in New York City. “I’ve never been on a film set before, and I show up on this set and it’s raining so hard you can’t see in front of your face,” Song says. “We’d had this really productive prep and we were feeling very prepared.” But they had not quite envisaged a storm of epic proportions. The crew and producers assured her it would clear — and, she reveals, “It did clear up and it was amazing.”

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Greta Lee and Celine Song talk PAST LIVES – Jennifer Green reports

For a film about the deep connections we have with others and how destiny shapes which relationships come and go in our lives, it would seem appropriate that the talents behind the film also share deep bonds. In fact, Past Lives writer-director Celine Song says she’s convinced she was married to actress Greta Lee in a past life. That’s the kind of connection the two forged working on one of this year’s standout films, now widely considered a top contender for recognition this awards season. Song and Lee shared details of their work, and the meaningful on- and off-camera relationships behind their poignant film.

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DREAM SCENARIO (Middleburg FF 2023) – Review by Leslie Combemale

The idea for Dream Scenario sounds fascinating and clever. Nicolas Cage stars as a hapless, uninteresting professor who starts showing up in dreams for people all over the world, becoming a celebrity overnight. Nic Cage fans will be entertained, with the actor showing the restraint and nuance needed to properly anchor this bizarre concept. The movie does highlight the best and worst aspects of being pointed to by the fickle finger of fame, but a limp second half loses the momentum for what could have been a far more compelling story.

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