Highly anticipated titles like Knives Out, Harriet, Jojo Rabbit, and A Hidden Life will be coming to the Chicago International Film Festival next month.
An overview of twelve films in the 2019 Venice Film Festival that get my thumbs-up vote.
It's a good thing Ebertfest is no longer called the Overlooked Film Festival. One of my choices this year, "Frozen River," was in danger of being overlooked when I first invited it, but then it realized the dream of every indie film, found an audience and won two Oscar nominations. Yet even after the Oscar nods, it has grossed only about $2.5 million and has been unseen in theaters by most of the nation.
Those numbers underline the crisis in independent, foreign or documentary films--art films. More than ever, the monolithic U.S. distribution system freezes out films lacking big stars, big ad budgets, ready-made teenage audiences, or exploitable hooks. When an unconventional film like "Slumdog Millionaire" breaks out, it's the exception that proves the rule. While it was splendid, it was not as original or really as moving as the American indie "Chop Shop," made a year earlier. The difference is, the hero of "Chop Shop" wasn't trying to win a million rupees--just to survive.
Have you heard about the new thriller involving U. S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald? The story calls him "Dubois" and he's played by Matt Dillon, but he's Fitzgerald, all right. Kate Beckinsale plays "Rachel Armstrong," who is clearly New York Times reporter Judith Miller, in Fitzgerald's famous 2005 case involving the Valerie Plame affair.
"The Aviator" leads with 11 nominations. Jamie Foxx was nominated in two categories. A little film named "Sideways" won five nominations, but one of them was not for its star, Paul Giamatti. "Finding Neverland" was the dark horse, in a tie with "Million Dollar Baby" with seven nominations apiece.
Howard Hughes: Leonardo DiCaprio, Katharine Hepburn: Cate Blanchett, Ava Gardner: Kate Beckinsale, Noah Dietrich: John C. Reilly, Juan Trippe: Alec Baldwin, Sen. Brewster: Alan Alda, Professor Fitz: Ian Holm, Jack Frye: Danny Huston, Jean Harlow: Gwen Stefani, Errol Flynn: Jude Law, Johnny Meyer: Adam Scott, Glenn Odekirk: Matt Ross, Faith Domergue: Kelli Garner, Mrs. Hepburn: Frances Conroy, Robert Gross: Brent Spiner, Louis B. Mayer: Stanely DeSantis, Joseph Breen: Edward Herrmann
CANNES, France Euzhan Palcy strikes me as proof that great directors can come from anywhere but they must know they are directors, and trust that they are great. As a 10-year-old schoolgirl on the Caribbean island of Martinique, she made her own movies at night in her room, casting shadow-plays on the wall. By the age of 17, she had produced short documentaries for the local TV station and recorded albums of songs and stories for children.
Q. I saw "Starship Troopers" this weekend, and paid particular attention to the scene in which school kids stomp a bunch of cockroaches. It appeared to me that at least some of the beasties that got stomped were real, since they were walking around, but the film had the usual SPCA thingy at the end. Was this a special effects shot? Or did the SPCA lower their standards after Men in Black? (Dominick Cancilla, Santa Monica, CA.)