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Entries in film festivals (306)

Friday
Jan092015

Binoche Has Gone Full Zhivago (65th Berlinale)

Berlinale cometh.

Not until February but Juliette Binoche is starting early since she's arriving by sled. But seriously that's the first image from the Opening Night film Isabel Croixet's Nobody Wants the Night. The film co-stars Oscar nominee Rinko Kikuchi (Babel) and Gabriel Byrne (as explorer Robert Peary) and takes place in 1908 in the Arctic and Greenland. My Binoche comes in waves and recedes with the tide and such but it's big and full right now after her wonderful work in Clouds of Sils Maria which will open in the US eventually. Promises promises. Binoche is always so wonderful.

Competition films this year include: Andrew Haigh's 45 Years (his first since Weekend!), Andrea Dresen's As We Were Dreaming, Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella, Peter Greenaway's Eisenstein in Guanajuato, Jayro Bustamante's Ixcanul Volcano, Terrence Malick's Knight of Cups, and Alexey German''s Under Electric Clouds.

50 Shades of Grey will also premiere at the festival. But frankly, it just doesn't seem kinky enough for Berlin. The city, not the festival. 

I can never go to the Berlin International Film Festival because it hits just days after Sundance and concludes just a couple weeks before the Oscar. *sniffle*

Tuesday
Dec302014

The Year in Review: Orphan Posts

This episode of year in review is super-needy and self-indulgent. You have been warned!

While we can generally count on you, the devoted readership, to comment at least a little bit on everything, mysteriously these written efforts went unloved.  At least visibly. Perhaps you loved them in silence? Or maybe you just missed them. If little orphan Annie can get a makeover and third filmed chance to find her sugar daddy (warbucks/stacks) these posts deserve a second chance!

• James Chinlund, Visionary Designer he made the ape forest in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and the tree spaceshipwhatsit in The Fountain. He is genius.
• Hong Khaou on Lilting I suspect this beautifully lensed and touching LGBT film starring Ben Whishaw hasn't yet found its audience because we posted about it a few times and always *crickets*.
• Beloved Sisters Germany's 3 hour Oscar submission is a romantic costume drama about an unconventional love triangle. It actually opened for Christmas just after missing the foreign film Oscar finalist list
• Blow-Up's Best Shots my favorite series to run is "hit me with your best shot" (returning in March!) but I'll admit I never have a clue which episodes will really grip you. I thought for sure this Michelangelo Antonioni episode would be a hit and it was very nearly the least popular Hit Me selection in years.
 

• and a few posts each from...
Tribeca & Sundance & TIFF & NYFF but, then again, commenting on film festival reviews is always lighter. This might not mean anything since those films are completely unknown entities when they are first written about. Even the ones that later spark much conversation like Obvious Child. Do you like the film festival coverage that we've really amped up the past two years? Please do let me know as it is a budget point for the site and money is always tight.

Finally... sometimes I think these two posts here and here were my favorites of the year which is perhaps not a good sign as to my mental health. But thanks for commenting on them!  No, no. I amend: This was actually my favorite post of the year. It shoulda gone viral. *sniffle*

 

Tuesday
Nov182014

Podcast: A Most Violent Citizen Four Theory in Selma, Alabama

Hooray!

It's a new festive and festivalish episode of the podcast. Since Oscar fever has begun to spread we refer to it even more than usual as we discuss the AFI premieres, Ava DuVernay's Selma with this podcast's boyfriend cinematographer Bradford Young, John Goodman's scene stealing in The Gambler, Jessica Chastain clawing her way into Supporting Actress, Citizen Four's competition for Documentary gold, and split reactions to The Theory of Everything

The podcast features Nick Davis, Joe Reid, Katey Rich, special guest Anne Marie Kelly, and your host Nathaniel R

38 minutes
00:01 Premieres: A Most Violent YearSelma, The Gambler
13:20 Jessica Chastain's fingernails
15:24 Sophia Loren's hips
18:10 Citizen Four 
28:17 The Theory of Everything


You can listen at the bottom of the post or download on iTunes. Continue the conversation in the comments! 

AFI Memories, Citizen Four, Theory of Everything

Sunday
Nov162014

Stockholm: Wrapping Up with Uma, Ingmar Bergman and ABBA!

Glenn's last report from the Stockholm Film Festival...

The Stockholm International Film Festival is now over and as I try and drain the last remaining symptoms of jetlag out of my body (not to mention any recurring dependence on restaurant food, great wine, and luxurious European comfort that such a trip offers) it’s time to take one last look back. I will miss seeing the image of Uma Thurman lording over her loyal subjects as I walk down Drottningattan every day.

The FIPRESCI jury – combined of myself, Quirijn Foeken of The Netherlands, and Dieter Wieczorek of France – awarded our price to Hungry Hearts from Italian director Saverio Costanzo. The film stars Adam Driver and Alba Rohrwacher (you may remember her from I Am Love) as a couple whose impending child brings about an avalanche of potentially fatal paranoia. It was the first film that we saw at the festival and despite some rallying by Rakhshan Bani-Etemad’s Tales, Xavier Dolan’s Mommy, and Dietrich Brüggemann’s Stations of the Cross, it just felt right.

For what it’s worth, this was my top ten, hastily scribbled on a napkin...

(ABBA, Bergman’s chair, drinks with Debra, Force Majeure, and more after the jump…)

 

Now that the winner of #sff14 has been announced, I can share this list of my top ten from the festival and what I voted for.

A photo posted by Glenn Dunks (@glennwithaniphonecamera) on Nov 11, 2014 at 6:20am PST

Click to read more ...

Friday
Nov142014

Stockholm Film Festival: 'Imitation Game', 'Mommy' and 'Human Capital' Shoot for Oscar Glory

Glenn has been attending the 25th Stockholm Film Festival as a member of the FIPRESCI jury where he saw a selection of Oscar hopefuls including ‘The Imitation Game’ and foreign language competitors ‘Human Capital’ and ‘Mommy’.


The Imitation Game
One of the curious things about festivals in a city like Stockholm is that, due to delayed distribution methods, films like Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman (the director’s memo about the name change apparently hasn’t crossed oceans) can compete for prizes alongside global curiosities like Pascale Ferran’s Bird People and Adilkhan Yerzhanov’s The Owners. They feel unfairly situated alongside arthouse titles from the whole globe.

My fellow jurors were surprised when I informed them that The Imitation Game was an Academy frontrunner. Given that the Oscar Best Picture competition at this stage appears to be quite polarizing and auteur-focused, I wouldn’t be surprised if Tyldum’s film about the cracking of the WWII enigma machine cracks its own way into the runaway position. Nor would I be able to be all that angry as it’s really a rather good movie that has been handsomely produced and features several great performances, including Keira Knightley who is, yet again, on film quality-raising duty. While I found its very British respectability somewhat hard to truly embrace, it meant that I was impressed it didn’t always merely go for the easiest of sentimental choices. There are rousing, emotional moments, sure, with plenty of speeches about what's right and just while they wear their primly knitted sweaters and suits, and the end especially will give plenty of viewers less ice-hearted than I a good sniffle, but for the majority of the film’s length it holds its cards relatively close to its chest. At least until the final act, where its quivering stiff upper lip gives way entirely. It’s the cup of Earl Grey of the season: reliably, dependably solid. B+

More films after the jump...

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Thursday
Nov132014

Stockholm Film Festival: The Franco and the Faulkner

Glenn has been attending the 25th Stockholm Film Festival as a member of the FIPRESCI jury. Today he looks at James Franco's latest creative endeavour, 'The Sound and the Fury'.

James Franco’s latest isn’t a part of the films I was sent to Sweden to judge, but in my apparent need to one day become the pre-eminent expert on the 36-year-old’s career, I decided to find time for The Sound and the Fury. His second Faulkner adaptation after last year’s As I Lay Dying shows that Franco is improving as a director when it comes to the creation of coherent and engaging cinematic worlds, but while somebody like the equally fast-moving Xavier Dolan is able to take his inspirations and weave them throughout his own auteurial style, Franco’s films still feel like he’s merely copying what he has seen elsewhere without putting his own stamp on it.

For instance, his misguided debut film about the murder of Sal Mineo, titled simply Sal, was Gus Van Sant lite to say nothing of My Own Private River, while last year’s Child of God was incredibly indebted to Debra Granik’s Winter’s Bone. Faulkner’s novel, from what I gather, isn’t the easiest to make work on screen and Franco with his editor Ian Olds have chosen an elliptical form that layers flashbacks upon memories within sun-drenched images of nature and human innocence to symbolize how precious this life is. It’s style is representative of the source material’s structure, but it comes off visually as derivative of other films, predominantly The Tree of Life and it’s swirling, time-skipping narrative.

For those unfamiliar, The Sound and the Fury tells the story of the Compson family, a formerly rich and powerful Mississippi dynasty who are devoured by misfortune and resentment. Divided into three chapters (the book’s fourth chapter is integrated throughout), each devoted to one of the family’s three brothers: Benjy (Franco, clearly having never seen Tropic Thunder), Quentin (newcomer Jason Loeb, anchoring the film’s strongest segment) and Jason (a slimy, cowardly Scott Haze, much improved over his similarly hot-tempered role in Franco’s Child of God). It was wise of Franco to not indulge in a lavish adaptation, keeping the ensemble low-key (he does, however, find time for cameos by Seth Rogen and Danny McBride – most unexpected Pineapple Express reunion ever!). Yet at the same time his devotion to the novel means more interesting characters don’t get the attention they deserve.

Ahna O’Reilly as scandalous sister Caddy, Joey King as her deserted child, and Loretta Devine as the long-serving family maid are all impressive – Devine especially gets one killer showdown with Haze that begs for a director to capitalize better on her intense face. Despite their stories feeling redacted with large blank holes of history left untouched, they are the more emotionally and dramatically complex characters. Perhaps a narrative shift to these unsung female characters is the brave direction Franco needed to allow his film to truly separate itself from both the novel and similarly-themed films. The film looks handsomely made, the period details appearing nicely deteriorated, but in terms of impact I was left wanting. The Sound and the Fury is a step in the right direction for Franco the director, but it still doesn’t quite suggest he’s on the verge of something truly great. Yet, at least.

Friday
Nov072014

Inside the Dolby. AFI Fest Begins!

Anne Marie and I had a stupendous time tonight at the premiere of A Most Violent Year which we were  mpressed by: tense, gorgeously shot, with a fiery Jessica Chastain and an ice cool Oscar Isaac. I'll tell you about it tomorrow. But for now -pics & tweets.

(We got there early and couldn't resist geeking out a bit inside The Dolby, the home of Hollywood's High Holy Night each year, The Oscars. [More photos after the jump]

 

I am inside the Dolby, land of Hollywood's High Holy Night. Streep is amused.

A photo posted by Nathaniel R (@nathaniel_tfe) on Nov 11, 2014 at 6:46pm PST

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