Howie Movshovitz

Film Critic

Howie Movshovitz came to Colorado in 1966 as a VISTA Volunteer and never wanted to leave. After three years in VISTA, he went to graduate school at CU-Boulder and got a PhD in English, focusing on the literature of the Middle Ages. 

In the middle of that process, though (and he still loves that literature) he got sidetracked into movies, made three shorts, started writing film criticism and wound up teaching film at the University of Colorado-Denver. He continues to teach in UCD’s College of Arts & Media.

He has been reviewing films on public radio since 1976 (first review: Robert Altman’s Buffalo Bill and the Indians). Along the way he spent nine years as the film critic of The Denver Post, and has been contributing features on film subjects to NPR since 1987.

Ways to Connect

MENEMSHA Films

There are reasons for events like the Jewish film festival – and other festivals that celebrate and explore identities and cultures. One side of the equation is that mainstream films ignore things that make human beings distinct and interesting. But people want – and need – to see themselves and their ways of life taken seriously on screen. Another side of the equation is that it’s fascinating to see how other people live and think – and also to realize that human beings are the same in a lot of ways.

Molly Albright / Amazone Studios

Every review of the new Les Misérables will probably start the same way – this movie is not the megahit Les Mis or anything like it. It’s not even an adaptation of the original 1862 novel by Victor Hugo. The movie is directed and co-written by Ladj Ly, born in Mali, and this Les Misérables is unique.

Little Women
Columbia TriStar Marketing Group

Director and writer Greta Gerwig’s new adaptation of Little Women comes from a line that begins in 1932, and it seems that the movies are getting better with youth. Louisa May Alcott’s novel tells a story of four sisters growing up that is so specific and clear in character, emotion and event that it can thrive in any time period. It doesn’t date because aspiration, the conflicts between love and social obligation, and women’s need for independence still matter.

EPK TV

A Hidden Life is much too beautiful. It takes place in a remote Austrian village high up in the Alps. Terrence Malick films it with dramatic, sweeping shots of the landscape – the high peaks often in the background, lush fields close-up. Yet the subject is not beautiful in any conventional way. The story centers on a farmer in Nazi Austria who acts in conscience, and it doesn’t go well.

Ezra Ezzard (BBC)

British filmmaker Michael Apted’s movies range from big Hollywood biopics to small political documentaries. He was an assistant on that film, called Seven Up and he ran with it. Every seven years Apted has filmed those same people in movies called 14 Up, 21 Up, and so on until now those former 7-year-olds are 63 years old – and Michael Apted is 78.

Netflix

Movies about marriages – which are usually about divorces – are hardly new. In the 1930s and ‘40s Hollywood produced a slew of comedies about couples divorcing and then getting back together, and they were not trivial. They took on questions of truth, honesty and changing circumstances. Adam’s Rib from 1949 has Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn as two married lawyers fighting over marriage equality. Later came the vicious Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Kramer vs. Kramer, and a bunch of the now-disgraced Woody Allen’s movies about marriage.

Utopia

My skin curdles when politicians cite movies as their guides to governing the nation. Movies are dreams not position papers. Ronald Reagan looked to fanciful war films; Newt Gingrich wanted to imitate Boys Town and other romanticized versions of America in the 1930s. In Errol Morris’s American Dharma, Steve Bannon, the political operative and key advisor for a time to Donald Trump, waxes devotional over the 1949 Twelve O’clock High, a dreamy, idealized story about problems of command in an Air Force squadron stationed in England during World War II.

EPKTV

Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite is about as funny as anything that’s come down the pike in five or ten years, until it’s not funny anymore. The violent last half-hour is somewhat cartoonish, but it also whips your mind around as it changes gears with astonishing power.

Denver Film Festival

The 42nd Denver Film Festival runs October 30 through November 10th. The lineup includes 134 feature films and 130 shorts. Here are some especially good movies to catch in this year’s festival.

Well Go USA Entertainment

The characters in Takashi Miike's First Love spend a lot of time explaining what they're doing. That’s usually terrible filmmaking technique, but if they didn't tell the audience what’s going on, the movie might be impossible to follow.

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