Matt writes: One of television’s greatest trailblazers, Norman Lear, turned 100 on July 27th. In his "breakfast thoughts" video posted on Instagram during the final day of his 99th year, he spoke about the importance of “living in the moment. The moment between past and present, the hammock in the middle of after and next. The moment. Treasure it. Use it with love.” Thank you Norman for all you have done with your century’s worth of moments to make the world a better place. Your gifts keep on giving, and our lives are all the richer for it.
Matt writes: We have lost so many legends in the early days of 2022, none of which were more towering than Sidney Poitier, who passed away on January 6th at age 94. He made history as the first Black performer to receive a Best Actor Oscar for 1963's "Lilies of the Field," yet that is merely one of the essential titles in his filmography. In 1967 alone, he starred in three bonafide classics—"In the Heat of the Night," "To Sir, With Love" and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner"—the last of which received four stars from Roger Ebert upon its initial release. Yet my personal favorite film of his was Daniel Petrie's 1961 screen version of Lorraine Hansberry's masterpiece, "A Raisin in the Sun," in which Poitier delivers a climactic monologue that is one for the ages.
A report from SXSW 2016 on the latest from Ti West, Keegan-Michael Key & Jordan Peele, John Michael McDonagh and more.
"The Innkeepers" is streaming online through Amazon Instant and Vudu. It is also offered on some cable systems' On Demand channels and opens theatrically in a limited release February 3rd. The official website is here.
by Steven Boone
The trailer for "The Inkeepers" betrays a basic insecurity common in low-budget indie films nowadays: They want you to think they're as loud and hectic as their big-budget counterparts. They're afraid you won't show up otherwise. And so this horror film which builds its scares slowly, stealthily and through the peculiar quirks of its characters is sold as just another clangy, generic mainstream fright flick. Mercifully, the actual film shows only a little of this poisonous "ambition." It's mostly just a good old-fashioned ghost story, well told.
This film's wealth of personality is apparent early on, as director Ti West takes his time recording the subtle oddball chemistry between Claire (Sarah Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy), the only staff on duty at the Yankee Pedlar Inn. Luke is obsessed with documenting a legendary ghost at the Pedlar for his website. He is surprised to find that Claire, his secret geek-girl crush, is just as fascinated by the subject. For a healthy stretch of the film we just watch them goofing off and pranking each other when not rendering poor service to the inn's only two guests (one played by Kelly McGillis from "Top Gun," appearing about 15 years older than her actual age--the biggest jolt of the movie, for a viewer over 30).
Post your own CIFF feedback
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.