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"Chris, you are very gifted as a reviewer. Often I will read your words about a movie I wasn't particularly drawn to and be "well, gotta see that now, don't I?" -Carmen

"Not sure how I feel about this new movie trend of Creepy [Prestigious Actress]. This year alone gives us Creepy Isabelle Huppert, Creepy Lupita Nyong'o, and Creepy Octavia Spencer." - Brevity

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Entries in California (26)

Friday
Mar152019

SLO Film Fest: Franchot & Fascism

by Nathaniel R

Walter Huston a fascist American president in "Gabriel Over the White House"

Those of us who live in big cities with dozens of theaters and access to films from around the world sometimes forget the need for communities of dedicated cinephiles elsewhere. Likeminded cinephiles are easy to find online and share obscure movie-watching with but IRL outside the biggest cities you often need a regional film festival to find them. Community, and not just of cinephiles, is what film festivals thrive on. The best regional festivals find ways to incorporate local groups and artists of multiple kinds. SLO Fest does that with local filmmakers of course and also local musicians like the Malibu Coast Silent Film Orchestra. But sometimes local groups sponsor specific festival selections.

For instance we were completely puzzled at the inclusion of a 1933 movie we'd never heard of in a festival that mostly centers around new films, docs, and discoveries, so of course we scheduled it. We arrived to Gabriel Over the White House completely curious. We knew only that Franchot Tone was in it (you know about our Franchot Tone problem. Ahem) and that is usually enough. And here's where the regional community feeling comes in...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Mar142019

SLO Film Fest: Katharine Ross and Hollywood Dynasties

by Nathaniel R

The opening night event about to begin

Film Festivals are a joy so we rarely pass up the opportunity to discover a new one. We're here in sunny but brisk San Luis Obispo (it's March in California) for the 25th annual edition of their film festival. San Luis Obispo was once named "the Happiest Place in America," by Oprah Winfrey, and at least four locals (kid you not!) tell us this within hours of our arrival! Does it live up to the title? It's hard to say but we did meet a gorgeous super nice 30something couple (hi Connie & Michael) who invited us to sit at their table at the opening night party and they seemed pretty happy to be there. Everyone else did, too. The fairly universal thing about film festival gathering is that everyone seems happy to be right there. Films were meant to be seen in groups, something we hope we don't lose with  'watch it on your phone / at home' ease of streaming.  It's the primal sitting 'round the fire' to listen to stories instinct. 

Speaking of old forms of storytelling, the opening night festivities went way back, pairing spoken word with music...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jan242019

Supporting Actor Fun: How were they nominated? What do they have in common?

RANDOM TRIVIA: Sam Rockwell is the only member of this shortlist that isn't tall! Did you know that 80% of the supporting actor category this year are 6'1" or taller? Only Sam Rockwell isn't at 5'8".

Did you know that 80% of the supporting actor nominees this year were born in California?! Now you do. Mahershala Ali (Green Book) was born in Oakland, Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman) in San Diego, Sam Elliott (A Star is Born) in Sacramento, and Sam Rockwell (Vice) in Daly City. The only non-Californian is Richard E Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?) and though you might have assumed he was born in London, you'd be wrong. He was born in Swaziland, in the late 50s when it was still a British protectorate. The country has been independent for 50 years now and last year rechristened itself The Kingdom of Eswatini. 

On the newly updated Best Supporting Actor chart you can read more trivia about the nominees, vote on who you think is best in the category every day, and share in our speculation about how they snagged those coveted nominations this year. 

ICYMI: Picture & Director charts are also robustly updated. All other charts are updated with the official nominees and preference polls if you'd like to start voting but are not fully filled in yet otherwise. 

Tuesday
Jan092018

Greta Gerwig's "Roots and Wings" Tribute

by Murtada

Before she was rushed off the stage by the ticking clock, Greta Gerwig still managed to be profound and touching when accepting the award for Best Film Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globes. That she managed to do that with just a few words is even more impressive.

I want to say thank you to my mom and dad and the people of Sacramento who gave me roots and wings and helped me get where I am today.

Early on in Lady Bird there’s a scene where Marion (Laurie Metcalf) drives around Sacramento with a peaceful smile on her face. Later on in the film Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan) talks about driving for the first time herself, and the connection between the mother and daughter and their love for each other and for the place they live in is revealed to us. I was reminded of that moment and how much it moved me while listening to Gerwig’s speech.

The places we come from give us our stories. Those are more poignant if while young we longed to leave those places, only later to discover how much they meant to us. Sometimes out of nowhere, we remember with a jolt of heartache. For me, it’s sleeping outside under a blanket of stars, in the warm clear nights of my hometown Khartoum. For Marion and Lady Bird it’s driving along the familiar streets of their hometown. We are where we come from, and where we come from is what gives us our unique stories. Gerwig lovingly captured that feeling in her film, and paid tribute to it with her speech. As Sister Sarah (Lois Smith) tells Lady Bird sometimes love is paying attention to the details that make up a story.

Don’t you think maybe they are the same thing? Love and attention?

Thursday
May182017

Beauty Break: Happy 90th Birthday to the Grauman's Chinese!

One of my favorite places in Hollywood turned 90 years old today. The Grauman's Chinese Theater, which often houses premieres and events, opened on this day in 1927, so its centennial is just ten years away. It's currently known as the TCL Theater and was called the Mann Theater before that but it's still popularly known as Grauman's. You can rename something as perks for modern corporations but sometimes the original name hangs around (as well as it should). Don't even get me started on beautiful Broadway theaters chucking their iconic stage giant names for "American Airlines Theater" or whatnot. DO NOT GET ME STARTED. 

The Grauman's most familiar pop culture aspect is its large collection of cement tiles out front bearing the handprints of movie stars from all eras. So it's time for a Beauty Break. Which of these ceremonies after the jump do you most wish you had been at? 

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan132017

Octavia Spencer is a Class Act

Octavia in Hidden Figures painting by Stella Blu

Octavia Spencer posted this painting above with the following message for screenings TONIGHT at the Rave in Baldwin Hills, Los Angeles

I've bought the 8 PM showing of Hidden Figures... if you know a family in need that would like to see our movie but can't afford it have them come. It's first come first served. My mom would not have been able to afford to take me and my siblings. So, I'm honoring her and all single parents this MLK weekend. Pass the word.

Very cool gesture from a very cool actress.

Saturday
Jan072017

Pfandom: Introducing Michelle Pfeiffer... "Miss Orange County"

Pfeiffer's Yearbook Photo (76?). Miss Orange County Win (78)

Pfandom. Episode 1.
Michelle Pfeiffer Retrospective. Every Saturday in 2017 at TFE
by Nathaniel R 

The time is spring 1978. Fountain Valley High School graduate and former Vons Supermarket checkout girl Michelle Pfeiffer is 19 going on 20 when she takes the Miss Orange County beauty pageant crown. She's dreaming of bigger things and community college isn't quite it.

The first bigger thing is the "Miss California" pageant. The young future-very-big-deal walks stiffly down a makeshift runway for Miss California in that highly practical ready-to-wear combo of swimsuit and high heels...

Click to read more ...