Northern Iowan

‘Phantom Thread’ weaves tale of toxic love

Daniel Day-Lewis and Vicky Krieps star in

CLINTON OLSASKY, Executive Editor

February 1, 2018

The obsessive impulses that arise out of the often toxic intersection of artistry and affection are at the forefront in “Phantom Thread,” the new drama directed by acclaimed filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson (“Magnolia,” “There Will Be Blood,” “The Master”). Set in the couture culture of 1950s London,...

‘The Greatest Showman’ fails to deliver

CLINTON OLSASKY, Executive Editor

January 25, 2018

Released a mere seven months after the Barnum & Bailey Circus took its final bow after 146 years, “The Greatest Showman” serves as a timely homage to one of the most iconic and enduring traveling shows in American history. “The Greatest Showman” focuses on the life of P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jack...

‘Jumanji’: welcome to boredom

CLINTON OLSASKY, Executive Editor

January 22, 2018

Marketed as a stand-alone sequel to the original 1995 film starring Robin Williams, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” shares little in common with its predecessor in terms of tone, story or characters. The new film centers on four high school students who are magically transported into the world of J...

‘The Post’ delights, informs, inspires

CLINTON OLSASKY, Executive Editor

January 18, 2018

Set against the politically turbulent backdrop of the Nixon administration, “The Post” is a late career highlight for legendary director Steven Spielberg that serves as a potent reminder of the immeasurable value a free press carries in the fight for democracy, truth and justice. The film, which take...

NI film critic’s top movies of 2017

CLINTON OLSASKY, Executive Editor

January 11, 2018

2017 was a truly raucous year. The American people’s mettle was tested by unpredictable and impulsive leadership, continued clashes tied to the racial divide and a wave of sexual misconduct allegations that poured endlessly out of Hollywood. And yet, through it all, we went to the movies. Given t...

Heartfelt dark comedy a success

CLINTON OLSASKY, Executive Editor

December 7, 2017

With themes of retribution and redemption coursing through its deceptively simple story, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” offers a wholly satisfying depiction of loss and the often unexplored aftershocks that follow. The film follows Mildred Hayes, played by Frances McDormand, a mother wh...

‘Coco’ expertly plucks heartstrings

The new Pixar film

CLINTON OLSASKY, Executive Editor

November 30, 2017

Inspired by the Mexican holiday the Day of the Dead (more commonly referred to by its Spanish name of “El Dia de los Muertos”), the new Pixar animated film “Coco” may be one of the heralded studio’s most visually resplendent and emotionally affecting movies to date. The film centers on the story of Mi...

‘Express’ remake goes off the rails

CLINTON OLSASKY, Executive Editor

November 16, 2017

The year is 1934, and Belgian detective Hercule Poirot is the most famous detective in the world. Shortly after solving a theft in Jerusalem, Poirot boards a train travelling from Istanbul to London, only to soon become embroiled in yet another case after one of the train’s 13 passengers is mysterious...

‘Marshall’ is supreme disappointment

The new biopic

CLINTON OLSASKY, Executive Editor

November 6, 2017

Thurgood Marshall was one of the most influential figures during the Civil Rights Movement, alongside the likes of Malcolm X, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. Only, instead of public demonstrations and marches, Marshall’s own fight to end racial discrimination largely took place in the courts...

New biopic serves up inspiration

CLINTON OLSASKY, Executive Editor

October 26, 2017

Forty-four years ago, an estimated 90 million people fixed their eyes on what would go down as one of the most famous tennis matches in history: the proverbial “Battle of the Sexes” between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. The enduring impact this matchup had on the treatment of female athletes...

Sci-fi sequel is superb successor

CLINTON OLSASKY, Executive Editor

October 16, 2017

More than three decades ago, director Ridley Scott (“Alien,” “The Martian”) revolutionized the science fiction genre with his 1982 opus “Blade Runner.” Misunderstood upon its initial release, the film is now widely regarded as a masterpiece for its futuristic set design and cinematograph...

‘American Made’ educates, entertains

The new biographical crime film

CLINTON OLSASKY, Executive Editor

October 9, 2017

Given its labyrinthine plot of deception, corruption and excess, it may be hard to believe that Doug Liman’s new biographical crime film “American Made” is actually based on true events. The film follows infamous pilot and drug smuggler Barry Seal (Tom Cruise) as he deals with the Medellin Cart...

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