The Farewell Party
High drama and lowbrow, morbid humor get stitched together in this successful tragicomedy about terminal patients and assisted suicide. Works better than expected.
* This filmography is not intended to be a comprehensive list of this artist’s work. Instead it reflects the films this person has been involved with that have been reviewed on this site.
An analysis of recent faith-based releases, including "God's Not Dead" and "Heaven Is For Real."
A set visit to LAIKA's "The Box Trolls."
The latest and greatest additions to streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, and more.
NBC hopes an Olympic-sized push will bring audiences to two new sitcoms while ABC launches another dating comedy and FXX pushes the envelope.
Sheila writes: The Sundance Film Festival of 2014 is over, and it's been thrilling to keep up with the dispatches and reviews coming out of Park City, Utah. So many films, so little time! The Rogerebert.com correspondents Sam Fragoso and Simon Abrams have been filing reviews at a breathtaking speed. We have a roundup of all of their coverage on Rogerebert.com. Please do check it out! And for those who enjoy parodies, the video below has been making the rounds of film sites so I thought I would share it. The humor site Funny or Die has put together a fake trailer filled with "Sundance Film Cliches", all in one place.
Marie writes: Much beloved and a never ending source of amusement, Simon's Cat is a popular animated cartoon series by the British animator Simon Tofield featuring a hungry house cat who uses increasingly heavy-handed tactics to get its owner to feed it. Hand-drawn using an A4-size Wacom Intuos 3 pen and tablet, Simon has revealed that his four cats - called Teddy, Hugh, Jess and Maisie - provide inspiration for the series, with Hugh being the primary inspiration. And there's now a new short titled "Suitcase". To view the complete collection to date, visit Simon's Cat at YouTube.
Marie writes: I've been watching a lot of old movies lately, dissatisfied in general with the poverty of imagination currently on display at local cinemas. As anyone can blow something up with CGI - it takes no skill whatsoever and imo, is the default mode of every hack working in Hollywood these days. Whereas making a funny political satire in the United States about a Russian submarine running aground on a sandbank near a small island town off the coast of New England in 1966 during the height of the Cold War - and having local townsfolk help them escape in the end via a convoy of small boats, thereby protecting them from US Navy planes until they're safely out to sea? Now that's creative and in a wonderfully subversive way....
Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, who won a screenwriting Oscar for "The Descendants" talk about "The Way, Way Back," which they wrote, produced, directed, and appear in as actors. They talk about casting Steve Carell as a bad guy, what acting has taught them about directing, using Spotify to pick the songs for the movie, and the very important task they forgot on the first day.
Marie writes: Welcome to "Good Books", an online bookseller based in New Zealand. Every time you buy a book through them, 100% of the retail profit goes directly to fund projects in partnership with Oxfam; projects which provide clean water, sanitation, develop sustainable agriculture and create access to education for communities in need. To increase awareness of Good Books' efforts to raise money for Oxfam, String Theory (New Zeland based agency) teamed up with collaborative design production comany "Buck" to create the first of three videos in a digital campaign called Good Books Great Writers. Behold the award winning animated Good Books Metamorphosis.
Marie writes: Now this is something you don't see every day. Behold The Paragliding Circus! Acrobatic paragliding pilot Gill Schneider teamed up with his father’s circus class (he operates a school that trains circus performers) to mix and combine circus arts with paragliding - including taking a trapezist (Roxane Giliand) up for ride and without a net. Best original film in the 2012 Icare Cup. Video by Director/Filmmaker Shams Prod. To see more, visit Shams Prod.
Marie writes: As some of you may have heard, a fireball lit up the skies over Russia on February 15, 2013 when a meteoroid entered Earth's atmosphere. Around the same time, I was outside with my spiffy new digital camera - the Canon PowerShot SX260 HS. And albeit small, it's got a built-in 20x zoom lens. I was actually able to photograph the surface of the moon!
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Marie writes: Remember Brian Dettmer and his amazing book sculptures? Behold a similar approach courtesy of my pal Siri who told me about Alexander Korzer-Robinson and his sculptural collages made from Antiquarian Books. Artist's statement:"By using pre-existing media as a starting point, certain boundaries are set by the material, which I aim to transform through my process. Thus, an encyclopedia can become a window into an alternate world, much like lived reality becomes its alternate in remembered experience. These books, having been stripped of their utilitarian value by the passage of time, regain new purpose. They are no longer tools to learn about the world, but rather a means to gain insight about oneself."
Marie writes: the ever intrepid Sandy Khan recently sent me a link to ArtDaily where I discovered "Hollywood Unseen" - a new book of photographs featuring some of Hollywood's biggest stars, to published November 16, 2012."Gathered together for the first time, Hollywood Unseen presents photographs that seemingly show the 'ordinary lives' of tinseltown's biggest stars, including Rita Hayworth, Gary Cooper, Humphrey Bogart and Marilyn Monroe. In reality, these "candid' images were as carefully constructed and prepared as any classic portrait or scene-still. The actors and actresses were portrayed exactly as the studios wanted them to be seen, whether in swim suits or on the golf course, as golden youth or magic stars of Hollywood."You can freely view a large selection of images from the book by visiting Getty Images Gallery: Hollywood Unseen which is exhibiting them online.
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Marie writes: It's that time of year again! Behold the shortlisted nominees for The Turner Prize: 2012. Below, Turner Prize nominee Spartacus Chetwynd performs 'Odd Man Out 2011' at Tate Britain on October 1, 2012 in London, England.
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Marie writes: I recently heard from an ex-coworker named Athena aka the production manager on an animated series I'd painted digital backgrounds for. She sent me some great photos she'd found on various sites. More than few made me smile and thus inspired, I thought I'd share them with club members. I've added captions for fun but if you can come up with something better, feel free to submit your wit by way of posted comment. Note: I don't know who the photographers are; doesn't say. (Click pics to enlarge.)
"I want a peanut for every photo you took of me..."
Hi, this is Gerardo Valero and today I'd like to talk to you about "Changing Lanes" in which Ben Affleck plays the typical bright but self-absorbed, school-smart Yuppie who gets to marry the boss' daughter but his knowledge of the ways of the world are rather limited, specially since he's mastered the art of lying to himself all his life. His best friend and ex-lover played by the always excellent Toni Colette is much more self-aware than him but she doesn't have his ambitions, or simply put, she knows the ways of the world too well to want anything to do with what it would require from her, to take the next step in life. It is only because of her love for Banek that she tries to help him by providing ill-advised solutions to his problems, which despite her good intentions only make things worse.
An old friend and I reunited for the first time in 13 years in Washington, DC last month, and the talk eventually turned to Facebook, the primary way we've managed to keep in touch, at least recently. I have a particular trait, usually reserved for after a night out on the town, by which friends can easily identify the level of my joviality, when I post videos of classic rock songs. Despite my assertion that a certain amount of fastidiousness should be necessary when it comes to sharing links on Facebook, I tend to disregard my own advice and post widely popular songs by legendary bands, for which I apologized to my friend.
AP -- BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – The science-fiction blockbuster "Avatar" won best drama at the Golden Globes and picked up the directing honor for James Cameron on Sunday, raising the "Titanic" filmmaker's prospects for another Academy Awards triumph.
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Tina Mabry's "Mississippi Damned," an independent American production, won the Gold Hugo as the best film in the 2009 Chicago International Film Festival, and added Gold Plaques for best supporting actress (Jossie Thacker) and best screenplay (Mabry). It tells the harrowing story of three black children growing up in rural Mississippi in circumstances of violence and addiction. The film's trailer and an interview with Mabry are linked at the bottom.
Kylee Russell in "Mississippi Damned"
The winner of the Audience Award, announced Friday, was "Precious" (see below). The wins came over a crowed field of competitors from all over the world, many of them with much larger budgets. The other big winner at the Pump Room of the Ambassador East awards ceremony Saturday evening was by veteran master Marco Bellocchio of Italy, who won the Silver Hugo as best director for "Vincere," the story of Mussolini's younger brother. Giovanna Mezzogiorno and Filippo Timi won Silver Hugos as best actress and actor, and Daniele Cipri won a Gold Plaque for best cinematography.
A man who has received a large sum of money hires people to re-enact scenes from his own life, staged on the actual locations and on sets he has constructed for the purpose.
That's a selective synopsis of the premise of "Remainder," a 2005 novel by Tom McCarthy. As I was sitting through "Synecdoche, New York," I couldn't help feeling that I'd somehow seen this done before (yeah, I know -- the movie is in part about that feeling)... and then I remembered "Remainder." The first-person narrator, who has suffered brain damage in an accident, becomes obsessed with meticulously reconstructing the events surrounding it. Having turned his apartment building, and the blocks around it, into a living set -- available round the clock for command performances, he stages a run-through of one sequence in a warehouse at Heathrow:
I'd had a raised viewing platform built, a little like an opera box, because I'd enjoyed watching the action in my building from above and wanted a similar option here. I'd established that I might roam around the re-enactment area itself, and that the re-enactors shouldn't be put off by this. I chose to begin watching the re-enactment from the platform, though.
Later, he describes his living role as actor, director and audience, revising and perfecting the re-enactment, which becomes a more-or-less permanent project:
View image Mark Wahlberg attempts to teach his Film 101 students how to craft a major motion picture.
The first sentence of "horror scholar" Kim Newman's stirring Guardian film blog defense of M. Night Shyamalan's "The Happening" is: "Here's the thing: 'The Happening' is not that bad."
After noting that the film opened to "near-universal derision in America and Britain," and acknowledging that Shyamalan's "scripts are sometimes mawkish, sometimes pretentious," Newman defends the writer-director's "knack for genuine 'jump' moments and whispered, intense conversations that raise a chill." Newman concludes: "Can it be a kind of racism that the Indian-born, Philadelphia-raised auteur is hammered for his apparent character (or funny name) rather more than, say, Quentin Tarantino or Spike Lee?"
Wow, so the best the "horror scholar" can muster on behalf of "The Happening" is that it's "not that bad" -- and the hostile reaction to Shyamalan must have to do with the filmmaker's "funny name" or his race? That's insulting. What about his Philadelphianism? Maybe that explains it.
"Man Push Cart."
Full list of nominees here.
I haven't seen all the nominees ("The Dead Girl," "American Gun," "Wristcutters: A Love Story," etc.), but, as always, there are some most welcome nominations. (Links below go to my reviews, festival coverage -- or even Opening Shots.)
"Man Push Cart," for best first feature (director Rahmin Bahrani), male lead (Ahmad Razvi) and cinematography (Michael Simmonds). Opening Shot treatment here.
"Half Nelson," for best feature, director (Ryan Fleck), first screenplay (Anna Boden & Fleck), male lead (Ryan Gosling), female lead (Shareeka Epps)
"Pan's Labyrinth," for best feature and cinematography (Guillermo Navarro). (But not Guillermo del Toro for director and screenplay?!?!?!)
"Old Joy," for the John Cassavettes Award.
Paul Dano for "best supporting male" (that's the IFP's category) in "Little Miss Sunshine," which is also nominated for best feature, screenplay, directors -- and Alan Arkin, also nominated for supporting male. I love Arkin (it's all about "Little Murders," people!), but I thought Steve Carell and Dano stole the movie, with Toni Collette and Greg Kinnear close behind.
Catherine O'Hara for best female lead in "For Your Consideration."
Robert Altman, best director for "A Prairie Home Companion."
Biggest disappointments: No documentary nominations for "51 Birch Street" or "The Bridge." The former may have been too deceptively simple and artless (in truth, it's a complex work of art) and the latter too cold and disturbing for many in the Indie tent-party crowd.
I'm still technically on break, but I'll be back to blogging (and editing) Wednesday.
Film festivals allow you to get way ahead on your movie viewing. At Sundance, Cannes, Telluride and Toronto you can see movies that will be released throughout the coming year and into the next. That's what Roger Ebert does every year, and here are some of the movies he's already written about for the next few months, into November....
View image: Cal Naughton, Jr. and Ricky Bobby drink beers and talk about peanut butter and ladies.
I've got reviews of four new releases on RogerEbert.com this week, and all the movies are actually pretty good (or even better) for a change!
"The Descent" -- the scariest and most cinematically adept horror-thriller in years. (Don't look it up, don't watch the TV spots or the trailer -- just go. Now. Read reviews later.)
"Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" -- Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly as NASCAR drivers. Did you laugh at that title? Then you'll probably laugh at the movie.
"Little Miss Sunshine" -- Steve Carrell, Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear, Alan Arkin. What more do you need to know? (Except, maybe, why they'd open a comedy with Carrell and Kinnear opposite a Will Ferrell comedy, in which Carrell was also offered a role but had to pass for scheduling reasons.)
"The Night Listener" -- a Hitchockian thriller, based on a novel by Armistead Maupin, also starring Toni Collette, and a performance by Robin Williams that is not only watchable but relatively nuanced. Who'da thunk it?