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Entries in film festivals (318)

Wednesday
Apr292015

Tribeca: Suffer the Little Children

Here's Jason with a real pair of downers to conclude our Tribeca Coverage. Thanks for reading along. Next up in the festival game: Cannes...

Bridgend -- I'm a little perplexed about Bridgend winning half of the awards at the fest; besides a few arresting visuals I found the film moribund on arrival. The film fictionalizes the true-life story of a town in Wales where a mysterious rash of suicides has plagued the hills. Lead actress Hannah Murray (best known in the US as Gilly on A Game of Thrones, although I didn't recognize her once while watching the movie and I'm a big Thrones fan) gives us a vivid enough slide into Crucible light hysteria but I never really bought what the movie was selling - it skims over too many unreasonable plot holes in deference to its stifling mood, and at times is downright silly with trying too hard. A literally shitty sex-romp on a dirty mattress in the woods is somehow played straight, even as visions of Divine in Female Trouble flood our minds.

Meadlowlands -- Also suffering from all outward signs of Film Festival Depression, where people suffer beautifully, so beautifully, Meadlowlands does have a few nice performances even as it wrings every manipulative drop out of Dead Kid Grief it can. Olivia Wilde and Luke Wilson play parents whose cookie-munching moppet gets snatched at the start of the first reel; the kid's never more than a plot device through which we can watch them suffer, and suffer they do, beautifully. Wilson gets the less overbearing arc to play which is good since he's an actor I appreciate for his low-key style; Wilde smartly under-plays her over-drawn hand (cutting and autistic kids, oh my) but man alive by the time the elephant shows up all I could think of was "Don't think about elephants."

OUR COMPLETE TRIBECA 2015 COVERAGE
18 reviews. A round of applause for Joe, Jason, and Abstew

 

Tuesday
Apr282015

Tribeca: Tastes Like Applesauce

With another dispatch from the Tribeca Film Festival here's Jason on a new lo-fi comedy.

I can remember it taking me halfway through writer-director Onur Tukel's previous outing, the hipster-vampire sex-comedy Summer of Blood (which showed at last year's festival; he's becoming a annual TFF figure), to find myself slipping over from a sort of sneering distaste for him as an on-screen presence - ahh yes, he plays his own main characters too! - to actually vibing on what he was doing: thankfully he does seem to get that he's the most annoying man in the room at any given time. 

With his new movie Applesauce (and I'll be damned if I know why it's called Applesauce, even after actively spending some time trying to suss out the title) it was like starting over from Square One again - am I gonna find my way to the joke again?... 

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Monday
Apr272015

Hot Docs "Best of Enemies"

Amir continues his coverage of Toronto's Hot Docs festival. Will he spot any future Oscar nominees?

It is hard to imagine today that there was once an America where political debates in the media were sensational, not just sensationalized. Harder yet is to envision a time when conservative political commentators weren’t complete buffoons, but rather eloquent, smart thinkers. That is exactly the time that Best of Enemies transports us to, Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville’s film about the televised debates leading up to the 1968 Republican and Democratic national conventions. ABC, then trailing as America’s third network and in search of a ratings boost, decided to pit two of the country’s most famous commentators against one another: the liberal Gore Vidal and the conservative William F. Buckley Jr. The two were known to dislike each other and their pairing on live TV was sure to cause a stir.

Their prediction proved to be correct when on the 8th night of a series of incendiary discussions, Buckley reacted to Vidal’s name-calling and being labeled a “crypto-Nazi” with a momentary burst of anger...

Now listen, you queer, stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I’ll sock you in the face and you’ll stay plastered.”

 

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Monday
Apr272015

Tribeca: King Jack

Tribeca might be over but the Team has still got a few reviews for you. Here's Jason on one of the Audience Award winners.

What happens when you see too much of a person you know in a movie? I don't mean literally. Sadly I am not acquaintances on a first-name-basis or even a-polite-nod-in-the-hallway with Chris Evans, so when I finally see the new Avengers movie I'm not gonna be all, "God I just can't buy him as Captain America. That's Lil' Chrissy up there!" No what I mean by "seeing too much of a person you know in a movie" is when a character reminds you so much of a person from your life that it ultimately becomes distracting. You find yourself paying more attention to the ways that character interacts with their real-world counterpart, your friend or mother or whatever, than ever getting lost in the movie itself. As an outside example, Sandra Bullock was just straight-up playing my boyfriend's sister in The Blind Side - it was like at least three or four steps beyond uncanniness. It was impossible to take any of that movie seriously after that.

I had a bit of that going on with King Jack... 

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Friday
Apr242015

"Listen to Me Marlon"

The Hot Docs 2015 Film Festival started in Toronto yesterday. Our Canadian correspondent Amir is on hand to cover the proceedings.

The best film of last year’s Hot Docs festival was Robert Greene’s Actress, a rich and moving film about the life of The Wire’s Brandy Burre. It went on to become one of the most praised films of the year; and it’s easy to imagine the same level of acclaim for this year’s buzziest title at the festival, the similarly actor- centric Listen to Me Marlon. As the title suggests, British director Stevan Riley’s film is about Marlon Brando, and it defies any expectation one might have going into a documentary about a deceased actor.

That this film has been made is something of a miracle to begin with. Brando apparently recorded more than 200 hours of audiotapes about himself, of which none has been available to the public heretofore. Riley has been granted access to these by Brando’s estate and has assembled and edited them for the voice-over narration of his film. There is no new footage and no interviews shot for this film, only archival material from Brando’s performances, his television interviews and some behind the scenes footage and rare videos of his personal life. The result, a raw and immensely personal look at the actor’s life, is absolutely mesmerizing...

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Wednesday
Apr222015

Cannes Lineups: Director's Fortnight

Previously in Cannes news
The Coen Bros led Jury and the Lineups for Competition and Un Certain Regard 

While the competition & un certain regard films are the "star headliners" as it were, they aren't always the ones that garner the most critical buzz or sales or what not. So let's look at what's coming in the Director's Fortnight sidebar. While this section is non competitive, the films are eligible for the Camera D'Or prize if they are among the first films in a director's career, though that's tough to win since they're competing with first films in other sections, too. The last few winners of this prize were: Beasts of the Southern Wild (Oscar nominee Best Picture), Ilo Ilo (Oscar submission Best Foreign Film) and France's Party Girl.

Opening Film

In the Shadow of Women

In the Shadow of Women (France) dir: Philippe Garrel. 
A romantic drama about documentary filmmakers in Paris 

Closing Film

Dope (US) dir: Rick Famuyiwa
This action comedy about high school hip-hop fans who get caught up in a drug deal gone wrong was a huge hit at Sundance (our quick take). It has supposedly been edited since then, which would probably only strengthen it. It's very funny but a bit bloated. 

The Rest of the Lineup is after the jump

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