Film Review: Wild Nights with Emily


History isn’t always written by the winners. Sometimes, it’s written by mediocre opportunists capitalizing on the talents of others. Regardless, history has always had a patriarchal hue, even when written by women. We now know that Emily Dickinson was not a spinster recluse, but a passionate and vibrant woman who understood that if she wanted to follow her heart in the 19th century, she would have to do so in secret.

Madeleine Olnek’s third feature film, Wild Nights with Emily, is more than just an attempt to right the way history has wronged Emily Dickinson (Molly Shannon). Though the story takes a few narrative liberties, a great deal of it is based in fact. Olnek used Dickinson’s letters and poems – with permission from Harvard University Press – in order to piece together an honest supposition regarding Dickinson’s personal life. She suggests that the person responsible for creating and perpetuating the myth was likely also a victim of her time. Mabel Todd (Amy Seimetz) forged Dickinson’s persona without ever actually meeting the woman. Furthermore, she did so whilst carrying on an affair with Emily’s married brother, Austin (Kevin Seal). Seimetz plays Todd with a lighthearted humblebrag swagger atop a desire to do what she felt was necessary to get Dickinson’s work published. Todd erased the name “Sue” from many of Dickinson’s more impassioned works. It’s likely that she wasn’t acting completely out of self-interest. She thought that the world wasn’t ready for a lesbian poet, but that Dickinson’s verse was too revolutionary to keep hidden…

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Film Review: Porno


Porno is a promising feature debut from director Keola Racela and his college collaborators, writers Matt Black and Laurence Vannicelli.

The story kicks off in July 1992, with a group of devout teenage employees closing up their small-town movie theater. But these God Warriors are all carrying Christian guilt. Todd (Larry Saperstein) and Abe (Evan Daves) are best friends with conspicuous voyeuristic tendencies. Chastity (Jillian Mueler) is dabbling in Gothdom but still loves the Lord. Ricky (Glenn Scott) just got back from a “transformative” camp run by the theater owner and spiritual mentor, Mr. Pike. Heavy Metal Jeff (Robbie Tann) doth protest his straight edge ways too much. While the Jesus crew debate which of the latest releases should close out their evening (it’s between Encino Man and A League of Their Own), an inebriated tramp crashes through the lobby and disappears through a previously concealed doorway. Their curiosity gets the better of them and they wander into a burned-out basement filled with remnants of a very different kind of movie theater. The sort of place that showed titles like “10 Foot Hole 10 Foot Pole” and “Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em.”…

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