LATEST ARTICLES / The Niles Files

Saturday, July 8th


The Fingernail Letters, 7: From Hulot to Dougie
Tati Playtime

Exploring the soulful influence of French director Jacques Tati on David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks: The Return.”




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Tuesday, July 4th


The Fingernail Letters, 6: “Of my life.” The Miracle of Dougie Jones


Why Kyle MacLachlan’s Dougie Jones, an avatar of human innocence, is the most joyful, beautiful character in current American movies, pointing to our sympathetic capabilities as viewers.




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Saturday, June 24th


The Fingernail Letters, 5: “A Lovely Turn of Phrase”
Atomic Bomb

“Between two worlds” from the Fire Walk With Me poem not only pertains to the supernatural and secular, the surface countenance and the internal, but also to the literal and symbolic. Forms burst through the safe space of abstraction.




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Sunday, June 18th


The Fingernail Letters, 4: “There they are, Albert. Faces of Stone.”


What is the relationship between the images in “Twin Peaks: The Return” and the reality they represent?




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Wednesday, June 14th


Fingernail Letters, 3: Through a Glass Box Darkly


“The conclusion of the Glass Box sequence is not a Puritanical horror movie trope of unrestrained sexuality being punished. Rather, the monster is summoned by voyeurism.”




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Monday, June 12th


The Fingernail Letters, 2: “Listen to the sounds.”
Cooper

“The false-starts, arbitrary incidents, and dead-ends amounting to a hill of beans are less of a conceit than a leitmotif leading to an overarching theme.”




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Thursday, June 8th


Fingernail Letters, 1: A Twin Peaks Blog (Introduction)


Introduction to a summerlong blog about David Lynch and Mark Frost’s return to “Twin Peaks.”




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Friday, February 24th


The Kids Are All Right: The High Charms and Low Stakes of “La La Land”
La La Land

A reference in “La La Land” to a little-seen postwar Kurosawa film sheds light on some flaws of this year’s Oscar front-runner; plus a slate of predictions for Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony.




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Monday, January 16th


The Niles Files: Cutting a Man to Pieces
Paterson

Jim Jarmusch’s “Paterson,” starring Adam Driver as a bus driving poet, is the director’s warmest film, examining the thin lines between creator and creation, fortune and misfortune, comedy and tragedy.




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Friday, January 6th


The Niles Files: Like a Prayer
Silence

Martin Scorsese’s “Silence” is an astounding and challenging work undermining the expectations of its audience as much as it upsets the aspirations of its characters.




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Wednesday, November 23rd


The Niles Files: Kelly Reichardt’s Animal Kingdom
Certain Women

“Certain Women,” Kelly Reichardt’s latest marvel, examines history, dialogue, and the clarity between human beings and animals.




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Thursday, July 14th


The Niles Files: Reboot of Laughter and Forgetting
Ghostbusters

The new “Ghostbusters” mostly dances to its own beat rather than pandering by syncing up to its classic brand. What emerges is a solidly cast Paul Feig comedy.




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Wednesday, May 25th


The Niles Files: Born Again
The Christians

An overview of Walking Shadow’s stellar production of “The Christians,” at the Mixed Blood Theater, alongside Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s “The Book of Mormon,” currently at the Orpheum, which in tandem dig into a contemporary American spiritual crisis.




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Thursday, March 24th


The Niles Files: Superheroes on Celluloid at Willow Creek
Batman V Superman

Starting this weekend, the local Willow Creek Theater will be screening “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” in the rare 70mm format.




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Friday, March 11th


The Niles Files: A Flood of Particles
Knight of Cups

Terrence Malick’s “Knight of Cups” opens this weekend, a bewildering and astonishing movie-as-museum-exhibition.




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Wednesday, February 24th


The Niles Files: Don’t Have What I Ordered: Annual Probing Oscar Analysis Yo!
The Revenant

Film critic Niles Schwartz finally weighs in with his predictions for the 2016 Oscars.




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Wednesday, January 6th


The Niles Files: My 2015 Film Prom
Chi-Raq

Pairing together 20 films on a Top Ten List of waltzing motion pictures, it’s the 2015 Year in Film.




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Friday, December 25th


The Niles Files: Funny and/or Die
The Big Short

Adam McKay leaps from farcical comedies to true-life satire with his adaptation of “The Big Short,” a self-congratulating examination of bankers who saw the recent economic collapse looming.




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Friday, December 18th


The Niles Files: Manplanet Comes Back to Earth
Manplanet

After a 12 year hiatus, local space band Manplanet returns Saturday night to the Triple Rock, and we’ve received some special transmissions from them before they land back on earth.




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Thursday, December 17th


The Niles Files: The Force a’Shakin’
Star Wars

The Star Wars saga continues with J.J. Abrams’ “The Force Awakens,” an effective though all-too-safe mystery box that is so focused on the future that it never quite sees where it is or what it’s doing.




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Wednesday, December 9th


The Niles Files: ‘Twixt Myth and Ornament
In the Heart of the Ocean

Though intermittently vivid, Ron Howard’s whaling adventure “In the Heart of the Sea” demonstrates how easy it is to go soft in the face of both literature and history.




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Wednesday, November 25th


The Niles Files: Back to the Future
Creed

The best film opening this holiday weekend is Ryan Coogler’s “Creed,” an unexpectedly effective crowd-pleaser that builds atop the “Rocky” saga while revising it.




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Thursday, November 5th


The Niles Files: The Laying on of Haynes


The Walker Art Center presents director Todd Haynes in dialogue Friday evening, along with a retrospective of some of his most acclaimed films, including “Far From Heaven,” “Safe,” and “I’m Not There.”




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Wednesday, July 8th


The Niles Files: Summer Nights, Cool Cinema at the Walker
Do the Right Thing

Drawing from various retrospectives, the Walker Art Center begins its Summer Nights / Cool Cinema series this week.




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Thursday, February 26th


The Niles Files: Screwing the Middle Class
Fifty Shades of Grey

Looking at “Fifty Shades of Grey” as a subtly derisive and class conscious critique of the phenomenon surrounding the film.




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Friday, February 20th


The Niles Files: Lonely Workaday Film Columnist’s Oscar Predix
Theory of Everything

Niles doesn’t want to talk about movies as much as he wants to talk about himself in his last minute bid at Oscar punditry.




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Monday, February 2nd


The Niles Files: The Best Films of 2014
Boyhood

At long last, film columnist Niles Schwartz lays out his selections of 2014’s best films, a year that, from “Grand Budapest Hotel” to “Gone Girl” to “Birdman” to “National Gallery,” repeatedly considered the notion of Life as Art.




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Wednesday, November 26th


The Niles Files: “National Gallery” on Display at the Walker
National Gallery

Frederick Wiseman’s “National Gallery,” a stirring and fascinating documentary that goes behind the masterpieces and into the offices of London’s National Gallery, plays this weekend at the Walker Cinema.




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Tuesday, November 11th


The Niles Files: Seeing and Hearing Sound Unseen’s Mastermind
Jim Brunzell

A spotlight on Jim Brunzell, back in Minnesota this November to program the Twin Cities’ celebrated fusion of music and movies, Sound Unseen, now in its 15th year.




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Wednesday, November 5th


The Niles Files: Godard’s 3-D Monster Movie Miracle
Goodbye to Language

Jean-Luc Godard’s 3-D marvel “Goodbye to Language,” a glowing and provocative cinema essay on technology and history, screens this weekend at the Walker Art Center cinema.




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