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Entries in film festivals (230)

Thursday
Apr172014

Cannes '14 line-up announced

Tim here. It's Christmas morning, everybody: the Cannes Film Festival announced its line-up today for this year's edition, running from May 14-25.

Opening Night
Grace of Monaco (dir. Olivier Dahan; starring Nicole Kidman)

Official Selection
Sils Maria (Olivier Assayas)
Saint Laurent (Bertrand Bonelo)
Winter's Sleep (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
Maps to the Stars (David Cronenberg) Yes No Maybe So
Two Days, One Night (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne)
Mommy (Xavier Dolan)
The Captive (Atom Egoyan)
Goodbye to Language (Jean-Luc Godard)
The Search (Michel Hazanavicius)
The Homesman (Tommy Lee Jones) Yes No Maybe So
Still the Water (Naomi Kawase)
Mr. Turner (Mike Leigh)
Jimmy's Hall (Ken Loach)
Foxcatcher (Bennett Miller) We Can't Wait
Le Meraviglie (Alice Rohrwacher)
Timbuktu (Abderrahmane Sissako)
Wild Tales (Damian Szifron)
Leviathan (Andrey Zvyagintsev)

Channing Tatum & Mark Ruffalo as brothers in "Foxcatcher"

Un Certain Regard
Opener - Party Girl (Marie Amachoukeli, Claire Burger, Samuel Theis)
Jauja (Lisando Alonso)
The Blue Room (Mathieu Amalric)
Misunderstood (Asia Argento)
Titli (Kanu Behl)
Eleanor Rigby (Ned Benson)
Bird People (Pascale Ferran)
Lost River (Ryan Gosling, directorial debut) formerly How to Catch a Monster, We Can't Wait
Amour fou (Jessica Hausner)
Charlies Country (Rolf de Heer)
Snow in Paradise (Andrew Hulme)
A Girl at My Door (July Jung)
Xenia (Panos Koutras)
Run (Philppe Lacôte)
Turist (Ruben Östlund)
Beautiful Youth (Jaime Rosales)
Fantasia (Wang Chao)
The Salt of the Earth (Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado)
Away from His Absence (Keren Yedaya)

Above: the first still from Ryan Gosling's LOST RIVER

All told, a nice mix of established auteurs, up-and-comers, and just enough new names that the Festival can't be accused of too much imagination (though the representation of women directors is still pretty grim). For myself, Winter's Sleep (over three hours long!), Leviathan, and Timbuktu leap out as being the films I'm most interested, by directors whose careers I'm excited to keep following; but what films are you all most excited to see?

Thursday
Apr172014

TCM: The Sublime Maureen O'Hara

Our new contributor Diana D Drumm reporting on the TCM Festival which recently concluded

Maureen O'Hara introducing "How Green Was My Valley" at TCM 2014

Even at 93, Maureen O’Hara is still sublime, crossing the threshold of everyday stunning into moment-stopping magnificence. Peering at you, you can’t help but feel wonder. Whether she’s speaking on the beauty of a life well-lived or correcting someone’s Spanglish pronunciation of “Rio Grande” (the actress is fluent in Spanish), she transcends her surroundings, even on the red carpet in front of Grauman’s or in front of a brimmingly packed house at El Capitan Theatre. She may not be as full-bodied as her Wayne-pairing prime (that was over 60 years ago, people), but she continues to exemplify a certain Old Hollywood quality unmatched by any contemporary equivalents and envied by her compatriots at the time (including close friend and fellow famous redhead Lucille Ball).   

Considering O’Hara’s filmography (The Hunchback of Notre Dame, How Green Was My Valley, and The Quiet Man, to name just a few), it’s confounding that the Academy has yet to present her with an Honorary Oscar. As one of the last of a staggeringly bygone era, it was a true honor and privilege for TCM Classic Film Festival crowds to appreciate her live, though not nearly as much as she and her body of work deserves (yes, The Film Experience will keep nudging until the Academy announces something of import. She's 93! What are they waiting for?). [More...]

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Sunday
Apr132014

TCM Fest: Restorationists as Rock Stars

Film restorationists don’t feel like rockstars. But with this crowd…”

the TCM Festival is happening at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood

Mike Pogorzelski, director of the Academy Film Archive, chuckles as another round of cheers breaks out from the audience. Pogorzelski is introducing a 35mm print of The Lion in Winter that he restored from camera negative, and so far the audience has cheered for the words “35mm,” “restoration,” “Academy,” and “Peter O’Toole.” Typically, only one of those gets applause, but then TCM Film Festival isn’t your typical Hollywood film festival.

Every single film that plays at the TCM Film Festival is old. The newest film is Mr Holland's Opus, which celebrates is nineteen years old. This means that every single film, from the 35mm print of Stagecoach to the world premiere DCP of OKLAHOMA! (previously discussed), has arrived through the efforts of archivists and restorationists who preserve and revive these classics. Film restoration is usually an unsung part of the film industry, but the TCM Film Festival, with its concentration on celebrating old classics and announcing new restorations, might be the best publicity film restoration gets.

Saturday, a world premiere digital restoration of A Hard Day’s Night screened at the TCL Chinese Theater. Richard Lester’s 1964 classic was originally shot in 35mm with a mono soundtrack, which isn’t well suited to a gigantic IMAX theater like the Chinese. However, the film has been remastered to crystal-clear 4K definition and--important for a rock n’ roll film--upmixed to 5.1 surround sound, bringing the Beatles 50 years through history. Those purists who would balk at the idea of changing a classic need not fear though, this digital restoration is (great) publicity for the Criterion’s Blu-Ray release of the film later this year, which will also have the original mono option available. A Hard Day's Night isn't the only world premiere with an accompanying DVD release: Blazing Saddles, OKLAHOMA!, and others will also soon be available. In fact, with so many DVD release advertisements being made at the festival, it can feel like the commercials TCM doesn't play on its station are happening here instead.

DVD release announcements are not the only purpose of the TCM Film Festival, however. Thelma Schoonmaker was there to discuss not only her multi-Oscar-winning career, but also the career of her late husband, Michael Powell at a screening of his Technicolor masterpiece A Matter Of Life And Death. I got the brief opportunity to meet her, and I promise to write about it as soon as I stop shaking.

In addition, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rolled out some of the hidden gems in its archive. One of its many growing collections is Hollywood Home Movies. Randy Haverkamp (Academy Programming Director) & Lynne Kirste (Special Collections Curator at the Academy Film Archive) talked a rapt audience through several scenes, including backstage footage from OKLAHOMA! and Gone With the Wind, and some scenes of Alfred Hitchcock goofing off with his daughter in 16mm. These are the glamorous home movies, but Haverkamp and Kirste were quick to encourage any possible collectors in the audience to see the value of even the bits of 16mm and 8mm that don’t have famous directors in them.Their presentation underlined the unspoken theme of the festival: film is our visual and cultural history, and before it disappears we need to save and spread as much as possible, or risk forgetting ourselves. Thanks to the TCM Film Festival for making that job seem a little more glamorous.

Saturday
Apr122014

TCM's Opening Night Red Carpet: Jones, O'Hara, Novak, O'Brien

Diana reporting from TCM Film Festival's Opening Night Red Carpet. The classic stars came out and Anne Marie and I talked to them.

Oscar winner Shirley Jones with her husband and the Oklahoma! premiere. [Photo: David Buchan/Getty Images]

4 P.M. Hollywood Blvd.
The red carpet is rolled out in front of Grauman’s, but crewmembers are still finagling with the Oklahoma! stop-and-turns as the press begins to descend on the barricades. Within a few moments, we chosen not-so-few (journalists, cameramen, bloggers) swarm to our allocated spaces along the carpet, with The Film Experience smack dab in front of the Grauman’s entrance. Tip sheet in hand and audio recorder on standby, we stand and wait.

5 P.M. The Red Carpet Opens
We are told that Shirley Jones has arrived. In the distance and with some squinting, you can see the Oklahoma! songbird looking bubbly yet elegant in a dark pantsuit with Marty Ingels, her husband of 37 years (a fact highlighted by him carrying a placard reading “37 YEARS”), by her side. As Jones makes her way down the press line, we press are prepping and mentally repeating our opening lines (mine involved her splendid performance in the 2005 revival of 42nd Street and her recent one-woman show at a Maryland Boscov’s), but alas she is called to take photos with Robert Osborne and then bypasses our section.

Leonard Maltin stops by. Being a fledgling critic myself, I jump to ask his advice to young critics and film journalists. Maltin says simply, almost pointedly, that aspiring critics just need to write, and read, but mainly write. He elaborated that he began writing criticism as a by-product of his passion for film history and that if he could have, he would have stayed solely a film historian. In regards to the festival itself, Maltin is there in an official capacity, moderating multiple talks (including Friday’s Club TCM talk with Quincy Jones) and hosting the Hubley Animation tribute, but is also looking forward to seeing as many of the screenings as he can, including Zulu.

Hitchcock ladies Kim Novak (Vertigo) and Diane Baker (Marnie) hit the opening night

Tiffany Vasquez, the TCM Ultimate Fan winner, is brimming with excitement at not only being on the red carpet but being there as a guest programmer, she will be introducing the 1948 noir The Naked City. Like most TCM fans would be, she was very nervous and intimidated by working with Robert Osborne in her onscreen introduction, but Osborne was so welcoming and gracious that he immediately eased her nerves [insert warm, fuzzy feelings]. Funnily enough, the New York City native originally wanted to submit Sunset Boulevard as her TCM Ultimate Fan entry, but decided to utilize her location, with The Naked City springing to mind, and shot the whole thing on the border of Queens and Brooklyn.

6 P.M. The Clock is Ticking
With only a half hour until the show begins, two Hitchcock blondes whizz by with protective publicists/companions in tow -- Kim Novak and Tippi Hedren (both breathtaking and in pantsuits, the former’s dark and the latter’s light blue-and-green floral).

"Meet Me In St Louis"'s Margaret O'Brien who won the Juvenile Oscar of 1944 at the after party [Photo by Stefanie Keenan/WireImage]

Margaret O’Brien, in a stunning royal blue full-length gown and with tinted blue hair to match, says hello. As tiny and peppy as Tootie, even 70 years later, she said that Meet Me in St. Louis was her favorite filming experience, her most challenging performance was in Little Women but because she adored the role of Beth so much from the book and wanted to do it justice more than anything else. Lining up nicely with the festival theme of “Family: The Ties That Bind,” she also credited her mother as her biggest support throughout her career.

Trying to lob at least one question at the legendary and still fiery Maureen O’Hara, I asked how her evening was going (sometimes small talk can work wonders in easing to a star’s red carpet schedule). “I won’t know until the evening’s over,” the quick wit threw back.

Alec Baldwin with the legendary Maureen O'Hara who turns 94 this summer

6:30 PM Closing Time
Everyone is getting settled in for Oklahoma! and here’s Anne Marie’s write-up on the screening itself. More on the festival to come!

 

Friday
Apr112014

TCM Film Festival: OKLAHOMA! is better than OK

“So it’s a film festival, but for old films? Why?”

When I told folks how excited I was to finally go to the 5th annual TCM Film Festival this year in Hollywood, I got this question a few times. This isn’t just about the old adage “see a film on the big screen, like it was meant to be seen.” This is about celebrating the old and new: old films for new audiences, new restorations for old classics, old audiences sharing the new experience, and at the center of it all, Turner Classic Movies, which turns 20 this year, thereby becoming something of an old classic itself.

Last night, TCM rolled out the red carpet and opened TCMFF with a brand new restoration of OKLAHOMA!(1955) starring Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae. Diana and I were able to nab (literally) front row seats to the screening at the TCL Chinese Theater, and this may count as the first I’ve been glad to sit front and center. The reason for the hooplah surrounding OKLAHOMA! has to do with its history: When Twentieth Century Fox brought the Rogers & Hammerstein musical to the screen in 1955, they shot it twice: once in Todd AO 65mm widescreen, and once in a lesser 35mm widescreen. This is a fact that has mostly been relegated to behind-the-scenes trivia, and the difference between the two versions has been negligible in home theater viewings. I’ve seen one or the other a few times on TV (including TCM) over the years, so I thought I knew what to expect. And then the film started, the camera pushed through the corn as high as an elephant’s eye, and I realized how very important it is that we save moments like this.

Photo Credit: Mark Hill

Twentieth Century Fox provided a beautiful 4K restoration of the 65mm version, complete with a restored 6 track stereo score, to play on the Chinese Theater’s huge IMAX screen.  Speaking as someone who usually isn’t usually an OKLAHOMA!-lover, I fell in love. When Shirley Jones said Gordon MacRae was her favorite singer, surely she didn't imagine him on such a grand scale. The sheer power of it won me over. Personally, I'm usually a South Pacific kind of gal, but I've been whistling since I left the theater and I would feel like a bad cliche if not for the fact that my fellow Metro passengers nearly broke out into "Oh What A Beautiful Mornin" with me. If you can get cranky Angelenos on a rundown train to sing at 1AM, then you've clearly made an impression.

Film restoration is a tricky balance between preserving the original filmgoing experience while also using to best advantage modern digital tools. Turner Classic Movies has arguably been one of the most important commercial advocates for restoration, providing studios with large audiences via the small screen for 20 years. How grateful we can be to TCM that for a weekend in Hollywood they’re bringing back the oldschool via new methods.

Anne Marie is our resident classic movie freak. Follow her on Twitter and read her weekly series "A Year With Kate"

Wednesday
Feb262014

Burning Questions: Is '12 Years a Slave' Really Too Rough For Oscar?

Michael Cusumano here. Oscar balloting closed 24 hours ago and this final crunch before Oscar night has me pondering the gap between pre-Fall buzz and the reality heading into the big ceremony.

If the breathless predictions about 12 Years a Slave that sounded out of Toronto last September were to be believed there should have been zero suspense left in the Best Picture race long ago. Like The King’s Speech before it, McQueen’s film appeared to be such a direct hit to the Academy’s sweet spot that many called the race then and there. So what happened? 12 Years may still emerge victorious but why isn’t it rolling over the competition like a Sherman Tank? 

The popular theory is that 12 Years is turning off the more squeamish voters with its unsparing physical and emotional violence. These voters are supposedly fleeing to the comforts of Gravity, which is nerve-shredding but in the unthreatening context of an action-thriller. This seems logical enough but I wonder if it's too easy an answer.

Is 12 Years a Slave really too rough for awards voters? Or is something larger at play?

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