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Eric Kohn

Interactive Theater Blows My Mind: "Sleep No More."

  • By Eric Kohn
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  • May 4, 2011 12:00 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Art, particularly when it takes the form of a story, typically encourages a passive experience; the sensational interactive theater production "Sleep No More" works against that tendency. Loosely adapted from "Macbeth," the traveling show is currently housed at a warehouse in Chelsea, where it has been held over through June due to the hugely positive reception. I finally got a chance to try it out last Friday.

Bin Laden Lives...As a Joke: A Few Brief Clips.

  • By Eric Kohn
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  • May 2, 2011 1:19 AM
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  • 3 Comments
For many Americans, Osama bin Laden was a shadowy presence on par with Freddy Krueger, a phantom symbol for fear rather than a flesh-and-blood threat. The news of his death at American hands has been met with such high levels of jubilance partly because the words "bin Laden killed" sound so surreal. How do you kill an idea? Well, putting a bullet in the head of the real deal is certainly a good start.

Defending Elvis Mitchell. Sort Of.

  • By Eric Kohn
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  • April 25, 2011 4:05 AM
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  • 5 Comments
Defending Elvis Mitchell. Sort Of.

Video from Tribeca Opening Night.

  • By Eric Kohn
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  • April 21, 2011 6:16 AM
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  • 0 Comments
At the main site, Dana Harris offers some thoughts on the opening night of the Tribeca Film Festival, and I review its opener, "The Union." Here's some video I took from my limited vantage point.

Brief Thoughts on "Scream 4," or Wes Craven's *New* New Nightmare.

  • By Eric Kohn
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  • April 19, 2011 8:44 AM
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  • 3 Comments
In the dozens upon dozens of mixed reviews of "Scream 4" (or "Scre4m," rather, although I'm pretty certain that won't affect the way you think it), I find it surprising that hardly any have mentioned "Wes Craven's New Nightmare," a sly work with which the new movie is unquestionably in tune. In Craven's 1994 riff on the "Nightmare On Elm Street" franchise, which at that point was six movies long, the director and cast members from the movies played versions of themselves evading attacks from their own murderous creation, as Freddy Krueger inexplicably found his way into the real world.

In Praise of "Superjail!"

  • By Eric Kohn
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  • April 9, 2011 10:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments
"Late one night a few years back, I was flipping through channels and happened upon a cartoon experience that blew my mind several times over. It was beyond inane and irreverent, reaching a point of heightened nonesense. A smarmy milkshake pitted his ego against housemates made of fries and uncooked meat. Their front yard was filled with hungover fratboys from another planet who promptly killed themselves by wandering into an invisible forcefield. And before all of that, a mad scientist plotted evil from the Jersey Shore by yanking out his brain. He fell down dead, but his brain fired lasers at the doc's clueless assistant. Um, what the hell?

"Melancholia" vs. "Another Earth": Which "Invading Planet" Movie Will You See?

  • By Eric Kohn
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  • April 8, 2011 5:13 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The trailer for Lars Von Trier's dark family drama "Melancholia" hit the web today, catching fire immediately for its freaky apocalyptic imagery and intense performances by Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Anne Thompson compared the heavy symbolic content to Terrence Malick's "Tree of Life" trailer, which I broke down shot-by-shot a little while back. "Melancholia" isn't quite as visually dense, but it's certainly loaded with big ideas, although it have some company. "Another Earth," the low budget sci-fi effort directed by Mike Cahill and picked up by Fox Searchlight at Sundance this year, also involves the sudden arrival of a new planet adjacent to our own. "Another Earth" hits theaters July 20; "Melancholia" doesn't have a release date yet, although Magnolia Pictures will distribute it in the U.S.

My Dad Explains the Science of "Source Code."

  • By Eric Kohn
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  • April 4, 2011 4:12 AM
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  • 12 Comments
Ever since I caught "Source Code" at an early screening last month, I haven't been able to get its time-spinning, reality-defying concepts out of my head. The movie works quite well no matter how hard of you try to understand it, but since it deals with an imaginary technology that could--if it actually existed--prevent all kinds of disasters from taking place, it's hard not to wonder what it would take to bring its underlying concept to fruition. Partly inspired by these detailed attempts to decode the movie's ending, as well as a video produced by Wired about the science behind the movie, I turned to the one person whose opinion about these things I usually trust more than any other: My dad.

D.A. Pennebaker Discusses Richard Leacock and Leonard Bernstein.

  • By Eric Kohn
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  • March 25, 2011 2:57 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Yesterday's obituary for documentary icon Richard Leacock included quotes from some of the people he affected in his life who have since obtained influence roles in film culture, including Mira Nair, Albert Maysles and D.A. Pennebaker. That last source, the director of such cinema verité classics as "Don't Look Back," ran the production company Leacock-Pennebaker for several years, and shared a number of remarkable anecdotes about meeting and working with Leacock during the early stages of their careers. In the following excerpt, Pennebaker recalls his experience with Leacock during the production of "Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic in Moscow" in 1958. Bernstein was a friend of Leacock's in Harvard, but that didn't keep the documentarian from applying a true hands-on approach to the shooting process.

FP-Gate. League Responds, and a Red-Band Trailer Arrives.

  • By Eric Kohn
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  • March 19, 2011 4:11 AM
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  • 0 Comments
One of the more amusing evenings for me at SXSW this year arrived at the world premiere of "The FP," a bat-shit insane homage to crappy '80s movies with a modern twist, focused on warring gangs competing in a bastardized form of Dance Dance Revolution. Here's my review, and a snapshot from the afterparty.

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