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Entries in film festivals (312)

Monday
Aug222016

Ang Lee's 'Billy Lynn' to Launch at NYFF

By Chris Feil

Though New York Film Festival has already announced its splashiest titles for opening (Ava DuVernay's documentary The 13th), centerpiece (Mike Mills's 20th Century Women), and closing (James Gray's The Lost City of Z) galas, they still have another big world premiere up their sleeves. The fest has announced they will also host the first premiere of Ang Lee's high-tech satire Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk.

NYFF was a successful launching pad to Lee's Life of Pi a few years back, so the hope for repeated success is evident. Curiously, the film is premiering outside of the fest's three big slots but this could be a last minute addition. The initial whispers were that the film wouldn't be ready to play the festivals at all thanks to the post-production constraints of Lee's 120-frames-per-second lensing.

The premiere will also be the launching pad for the high frame rate speed, which is even faster than Peter Jackson's attempts with The Hobbit that went over quite poorly with the public. Lee's concept here is to use the medium to heighten the harsh realities of war and contrast that against life back home. This more emotional approach to technical innovation has us hoping that Lee gives us more Pi than Hulk, and the trailer sets the stage for potential weepy, hyper-real highs.

We'll find out if the risk pays off better than it did for Jackson at NYFF's world premiere on October 14 and when the film opens on November 11 - but how many theatres will be able to even show the film in Lee's intended format?

Friday
Aug192016

Review: Spa Night

by Sean Donovan

In Andrew Ahn’s feature length debut Spa Night, our main character David is introduced hunched over in a dimly lit sauna, a towel draped over his head. The sound mix emphases his heavy, sighing breath, which is audible but blocked by the weight of the towel. In this 2016 Sundance competition film, towels become a provocative motif, suffocating expression and concealing desire.. At the intersection of his existence as a second generation Korean American and a fledgling queer man exploring his sexual desires, pressure hits at David from multiple angles. The admiring but unenthusiastic praise which has greeted Spa Night’s release is a recognition of Ahn’s exciting early command of framing and craft, but fails to truly meet this remarkable film on its own level, that of a profoundly emotional, and refreshingly serious point of view. Jump on in! The water’s fine...

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Thursday
Aug182016

Elisabeth Moss Rocks The Bleeder

by Murtada

A clip should give us a small taste that makes us want to see the movie it’s from. Unlike trailers, clips can’t be manipulated with mood and music, which is why sometimes they are jarring and don’t work out of context. But not this clip.

This clip from The Bleeder has it all. It’s like a short film with a complete story. Even if you knew nothing about the movie, you’d still get a full portrait of two of its character. One is a philandering husband (Liev Schreiber), the other is his wife (Elisabeth Moss) catching him in flirting with another woman in a diner. We know the setting because of the spot on accent from Moss. And watching Moss talk we understand a lot about this marriage.

The Bleeder is a biopic of boxer Chuck Wepner who is the real life  inspiration behind Sylvester Stallone's Rocky Balboa. Schreiber is Wepner, Moss is one of his wives, Naomi Watts is another. The director is Philippe Falardeau (Monsieur Lazhar). The film will be playing both Venice and Toronto film festivals in the coming few weeks. However before this clip it was very low on my radar of upcoming movies. Now I really want to see it. If only to spend more time with that intriguing character Moss plays. Let's hope there's much more of Moss insulting Schreiber and telling it like like it is in that fabulous accent.

This clip rocks, and it did its job well selling the movie. Are you now sold on The Bleeder as well?

Thursday
Jul282016

Venice Film Festival Lineup Announced

What do Spotlight and Birdman have in common? Apart from being Oscar Best Picture winners starring Michael Keaton that is. They both debuted at the Venice Film Festival, that's what. The 73rd annual Venice Film Festival line-up has been announced, with the potential of another Best Picture winner in its midst.  As was previously announced, La La Land is opening the festival, and if you've  been watching the trailer on loop like us, it’s hard to get excited about anything else. But let’s take a shot...

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Thursday
Jul212016

Ava DuVernay Documentary to Open New York Film Festival 

by Murtada

The Fall Film Festivals (Venice, Toronto, Telluride, New York and London) are almost upon us. Or at least the announcements of their programmes are. TIFF announces next Tuesday, Venice at the end of of July. New York announced its opening night selection this week, Ava DuVernay’s The 13th, a documentary about the high incarceration rate, particularly of African Americans, in the United States.

The title refers to the constitutional amendment abolishing slavery:

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.”

The film mixes archival footage - from the civil rights movement, Ku Klux Klan to the Black Lives Matter movement - with modern day commentary to present the ramifications of the amendment and the history of racial inequality in the US. It’s an apt choice for all that’s unfolding in 2016. The 13th will be released in cinemas and on Netflix on October 7th.

Lupita Nyongo'o and Madina Nalwanga in Queen of Katwe

Meanwhile lists are also being made for what other movies will appear on the festival circuit. London will open with Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom, and Mira Nair’s Queen of Katwe will have its European premiere there, meaning it will debut somewhere on this side of the Atlantic first. Let’s speculate what else could play at New York, based on precedent that is arbitrary and will probably mean nothing in the end. But it’s fun to speculate:

• Damien Chazelle’s La La Land - this film, with the beloved trailer, will open Venice. Another Emma Stone film, Birdman, opened Venice and closed New York, it could happen again.

• Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk - because Life of Pi opened NYFF in 2012.

• Martin Scorsese's Silence - remember when Hugo started its Oscar campaign with a surprise screening in New York in 2011?

• Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals - the rumour is that it will play in competition at Venice. Come to New York soon after, Tom. We'd like to see Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal together in a movie, too.

• Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester By the Sea - there’s always a Sundance movie that makes it to NYFF, Whiplash and Brooklyn being the last two examples.

• Robert Zemeckis’ Allied - his last two films, The Walk and Flight, both played at NYFF before opening nationwide.

That's just a few titles, we will know much more in the next few weeks. Are you planning to attend any of the fall film festivals?

Friday
Jun102016

Sydney Film Festival: Tickled

Josh reporting on a hot find at the Sydney Film Festival.

When the credits rolled at the screening of Tickled at the Sydney Film Festival, the frantic dumbstruck reaction from the audience was palpable. You could see everyone turning to each other, wide eyed and picking their jaws up from the floor. The proceeding Q&A with the filmmakers had hands flying into the air with exasperated questions. And all this from a documentary about tickling!

Directed by Dylan Reeve and David Farrier, the latter who is also front and centre in the film, the film unravels the bizarre and gripping story surrounding Jane O’Brien Media and its non-monetised website generating videos of young athletic men tickling each other.

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Thursday
May122016

Actresses Adorn the Cannes Competition Posters

Daniel Crooke, here, nursing a serious case of intercontinental jealousy. Yesterday marked the kick-off of the 69th Cannes Film Festival with a typically out of competition Woody Allen picture (Café Society, met with polite nods and a lingering line of extra-textual inquiry) and today George Miller and his jury of wisecrackers and Kikis hunker down for eleven days of cinematic deliberation. To those of us salivating across borders for news of the Farhadi, Arnold, Dolan, or Almodóvar, let’s celebrate with one of Cannes’ greatest gifts: a proud tradition of actress-heavy posters. [More...]

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