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Entries in film festivals (263)

Saturday
May032014

Hot Docs '14: In the Spotlight

[Amir, our Canadian correspondent, is reporting from The Hot Docs Film Festival, the biggest documentary festival in North America currently underway in Toronto.]

 One of the tendencies that festival-goers develop over time is finding connecting threads between films that might otherwise be completely unrelated. This unconscious search for umbrella themes, even if unintended by festival programmers, intensifies when you sit down to write about the films. At first glance, there is little connecting three films about aging Belgian transsexuals, Argentinian civilians on camera, and Turkish-American political pundits. Beneath the surface, though, all deal in some way with a desire for self-expression in the spotlight.

Before the Last Curtain Falls follows a group of gay and transsexual performers who get together in the later years of their lives to put on an avant-garde show called Gardenia. When the film begins in the hauntingly beautiful city of Ghent in Belgium, where the performers hail from, the show has already become a massive international success and it is returning home for one final performance after more than 200 outings. Director Thomas Wallner combines interviews with the cast members with footage of the show to paint a portrait of each of them, drawing on their experiences of sexual identity struggle, social oppression and therapeutic theatre work.

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Wednesday
Apr302014

Hot Docs '14: Actress

[Amir, our Canadian correspondent, is reporting from The Hot Docs Film Festival, the biggest documentary festival in North America currently underway in Toronto.] 

Where does an act end for a performer? What happens if the persona seeps in so deep that the performer can never shake it off? Can an actress adopt the traits of the characters she once embodied so deeply that she permanently remains in their skin? How far can passion for the craft take an artist? These are all questions that Robert Greene’s intelligent, artfully constructed documentary, Actress, poses to the audience in the first few minutes.  

The subject, Brandy Burre, played the part of Theresa D’Agostino, a recurring character over a 15-episode arc in the third and fourth seasons of The Wire. She was never a star, but her future seemed bright, having taken a prominent role in one of television’s best reviewed series...

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Wednesday
Apr302014

Tribeca Is a Wrap for The Film Experience

Thanks for following along with our Tribeca adventures and remember to follow Glenn, Diana, Jason, Abstew and myself on twitter for continual movie madness. Here are the 40 films we reviewed this year in alpha order...

a still from Der Samurai

5 to 7 (Diana)
About Alex (Glenn)
Alex in Venice (Glenn)
The Bachelor Weekend -Irish comedy (Nathaniel)
Bad Hair -Venezuelan childhood drama (Nathaniel)
Beneath the Harvest Sky (Glenn)
Boulevard -with Robin Williams (Nathaniel)
Bright Days Ahead (Abstew)
The Canal -horror (Jason)
Chef -starry indie from Jon Favreau (Abstew)
Dior and I (Glenn)
Electric Slide -hipster 80s crime drama (Nathaniel)
Every Secret Thing -mystery with Dakota Fanning (Nathaniel)

Extraterrestrial - horror (Jason)
Gabriel - with Rory Culkin (Abstew)
Glass Chin - with Corey Stoll (Diana)
Goodbye To All That (Diana)
In Your Eyes - Joss Whedon online film (Jason)
Indigenous -horror (Jason)
Just Before I Go -Courteney Cox directing (Glenn)
Life Partners (Jason)
Loitering With Intent -starry indie (Nathaniel)
Lucky Them (Abstew)
Mala Mala -drag documentary (Glenn)
Match - with Patrick Stewart (Nathaniel)
Ne Me Quitte Pas (Diana)
Night Moves -from Kelly Reichardt (Glenn)

Jack O'Connell (300: Rise of an Empire, Starred Up, Unbroken) is the next big thing Now: In the Wings of the World Stage -Kevin Spacey & Shakespeare (Abstew)
The One I Love (Glenn)
Preservation (Jason)
Der Samurai -queer horror (Nathaniel)
Something Must Break (Jason)
Starred Up -prison drama (Abstew)
Summer of Blood -hipster horror (Jason)
Third Person (Diana)
Vara: A Blessing -foreign melodrama (Nathaniel)
Venus in Fur -Roman Polanski's adaptation (Glenn)
X/Y (Glenn)
Zero Motivation -Israeli military comedy (Diana) 
Zombeavers -horror (Diana) 

previously in festival coverage:
forty-two films from Sundance
next:  Amir @ Hot Docs / Diana @ Cannes

Wednesday
Apr302014

Tribeca: "Glass Chin," A Glossy Neo-Noir

Here's Diana with our final Tribeca Film Festival 2014 review

It’s a chilly, damp night in a small urban city. On a nightly jog, a sweatpant-outfitted man and his dog trudge and bound respectively through the empty streets, with rain-drizzled lampposts to light the way and Laura nyro’s “Gonna take a miracle” playing to set the mood (both diegetic and nondiegetic). The pair slow down at a red-lit alleyway and stop at a hole-in-the-wall bakery. After a breather on the song’s bridge “It’s gonna take a miracle, yes, it’s gonna take a miracle,” the man takes out his earbuds to order a pain au chocolat. The shop owner tells him it’s the last one on the house and the jogger assures him that he’ll pay up soon. He is a man on-the-outs, not truly desperate but not nearly satisfied with the cards he was dealt and picked up along the way.

Bud “The Saint” Gordon (Corey Stoll) is a former professional boxer, whose post-retirement restaurant flopped and who didn’t have a Plan C lined up. [More...]

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Monday
Apr282014

Tribeca: An Order of Schmaltz

It's our last day of Tribeca reviews. Here's Abstew on "Chef"

It is definitely a good time to be a foodie. We live in a golden age where an ingenious pastry chef can fuse together a croissant and a doughnut to create the wonder that is the Cronut. (And then make people wait hours in line for the possibility of a taste.) It's a time where celebrity chefs from shows on The Food Network and Cooking Channel are greeted with the same sort of adoration and enthusiasm once reserved for rock stars. Where food-based reality shows like Top Chef and Hell's Kitchen aren't just niche programming but hugely successful phenomenons. So it's surprising that film hasn't entirely caught up with the trend. But writer/director/and actor Jon Favreau aims to correct that with his culinary-set film, Chef. [more...]

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Monday
Apr282014

Jane Campion's Gorgeous Cannes Jury

Cannes is but 17 days away and we'll have a TFE team member there this year! Alas it's not me so I'll have to be envious of Diana as she jets off to France in two weeks. We already knew that the brilliant auteur Jane Campion, who regained some cultural caché recently with Top of the Lake (she never lost it with us: Bright Star, hello!) would preside over the jury but this morning the full nine member panel was announced.

Joining Campion this year is a great mix of onscreen talent that happens to include a few people The Film Experience is generally just gaga for from left to right: TFE's favorite Mexican actor ever since Amores Perros, Gael García Bernal;  the future reinterpreter of The Little Mermaid, one of our favorite ladies Sofia Coppola (USA);  former Bond Girl Carole Bouquet will represent the hometeam of France; A Touch of Sin/Platform director Jia Zhangke (China) who I was literally just talking about at brunch yesterday; TFE's favorite Korean actress Jeon Do-Yeon (Secret Sunshine, The Housemaid); the other Mad Dane Drive's Nicolas Winding Refn (Denmark); Hollywood star, experimental indie fixture, and Wes Anderson repertory company player Willem Dafoe (USA); and Leila Hatami, the beautiful Iranian star of A Separation.

 I am in a puddle for this jury. LOVE. 

Monday
Apr282014

Tribeca: Locked Up with Daddy Issues

More Tribeca reporting from Abstew

Later this year, young British actor Jack O'Connell has the potential to breakout in a big way when he takes on the lead role as real-life hero Louis Zamperini in the Angelina Jolie directed Oscar-bait film, Unbroken. But before seeing him in the noble prestige film in December, O'Connell gets down and dirty in David Mackenzie's excellent prison drama Starred Up. Eric Love (O'Connell) is a 19-year-old inmate that despite his young age is such a violent threat that he has been 'starred up' to join older convicts in a high security adult penitentiary. O'Connell bites into the role, and quite literally - in an early tussle with the the guards he clamps down on one of their testicles. O'Connell makes his dangerous young prisoner unpredictable and unsettlingly charismatic.

Although we are never informed of what Eric has actually done to land him in prison, judging from the way he quickly acclimates himself in his new cell (fashioning a weapon out of the melted end of a toothbrush and the blade of his safety razor, knowing the perfect hiding place to store it when he needs it), it's not hard to imagine prison has already played a large part in shaping his young life. Perhaps his issues can be traced back to his own convict father? As fate would have it, Eric's new confines include none other than his fellow inmate, dear ol' dad, Neville (Aussie actor Ben Mendelsohn once again bringing nuance and complexity to the role of a volatile thug, as he did in both Animal Kingdom and The Place Beyond the Pines).

More...

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