Another chance to catch Swinton’s masterful performance

03/11/2012 12:00 AM

08/08/2014 10:09 AM

Tallgrass and Tilda — There’s a poetic sense of doom that permeates “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” a drama with horror overtones starring Tilda Swinton as Eva, a mother who tries to understand the increasing malevolence of her first-born child, the titular Kevin (played by Ezra Miller with an icy stare).

Right from birth, Eva never seems to bond with the child, which is explored in the film in flashbacks. And when he reaches his teen years, things really start to go bad. His inappropriate and deliberately malicious behavior could be a good argument for birth control.

Eva fears that he’s not so much ornery as he is evil. Eventually, Kevin goes on a killing spree at his high school.

Swinton won raves and many accolades for her performance (she was a favorite for an Oscar nomination, but didn’t make the nominee list). She’s a marvel to watch — director Lynne Ramsay smartly employs lots of closeups to showcase Swinton’s internal pain. We see the dismay in her eyes.

It’s a dark film, but one that surely will spawn discussion. And it ignites a slow burn.

“We Need to Talk About Kevin” was shown at last year’s Tallgrass Film Festival, but the Tallgrass Film Association is bringing the film back for an encore as this month’s Third Thursday screening, which will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at Murdock Theatre, 536 N. Broadway. The film also will be shown at 7 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday at the Murdock.

Tickets for all screenings are $10 ($8 for students, teachers, seniors, military and TFA members). For more information, go to

New festival launches — The Lawrence Arts Center will host the Free State Film Festival, a new festival to be held May 11-13.

The festival’s goal is “to provide a fun, nurturing, creative environment for our guests and patrons through a unique celebration of film, music and visual art,” according to its website.

The program will include several curated feature films, networking opportunities, and short film and experimental short film programs.

Submissions are open for short films; go to Deadline for entries is March 31.

Pass on “Project” — I had the displeasure of going to see “Project X.” Please, don’t do the same.

Sure, I was seeking something mindless, but not inane. The “story” follows three unpopular high school friends who throw a birthday party as a ploy to become popular. But the party escalates to explosive proportions.

The movie is so bad that it marks the demise of the high school sex comedy, which has given us raunchy but memorable films such as “Risky Business,” “American Pie,” “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “Porky’s.”

“Project X” steals from all those films, and lazily regurgitates them, with wholly unlikeable, unoriginal characters and a plotless story. It also uses the very tired premise of “found footage” with poor results.

The whole thing is just an excuse to show topless girls in a swimming pool — topless girls who are supposed to be high-school age, mind you. It’s kind of creepy. And that only skims the surface of the film’s offensive sexism.

Oh, and one more thing: For a comedy, it’s about as funny as a colonoscopy, which I would rather endure than watch this film ever again.

About Movie Maniac

The Eagle's Rod Pocowatchit offers his musings on the screen scene.

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