IT FOLLOWS

How much does a script really matter? When famed Japanese director Akira Kurosawa penned Something Like An Autobiography, he put the onus of the movie on the page, “With a good script, a good director can produce a masterpiece; with the same script, a mediocre director can make a passable film. But with a bad script even a good director can’t possible make a good film.” If there is an exception to this rule, it is the latest movie from writer/director David Robert Mitchell, It Follows, which opens in the theaters this Friday. That is not to say that Mitchell’s … Continue reading IT FOLLOWS

TCM FILM FESTIVAL 2015

For classic movie lovers, there is no greater film festival that the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival. Back for the sixth consecutive year, TCM Film Festival is held over four days in Hollywood (March 26 – 29) and boasts 82 films — 43 of which will be projected on 35mm (Patton will be shown on glorious 70mm!) — all screened in the classic cathedrals of Hollywood Boulevard with actors, actresses, cinematographers, directors, documentarians, editors, historians, producers, production designers, sound designers, writers and many more special guests present to celebrate the flickering image. The theme for this year’s festival is “History According … Continue reading TCM FILM FESTIVAL 2015

BALLET 422

Founded in 1948, the New York City Ballet is one of the foremost creative dance companies, staffed with a full orchestra, lighting department, production crew and 91 full-time dancers. But even at the top, there is a pecking order: Principals, then Soloists and finally, the backdrop, known commonly as the Corps de Ballet. There are 50 dancers that make up NYCB’s Corps de Ballet and Justin Peck is one of them. But Peck, a member of NYCB since 2007, is tapped for other things and the twenty-five year old is handed the privilege of choreographing a ballet for the 2013 … Continue reading BALLET 422

SERENA

If names were enough to equal box office, Serena would be a bona-fide hit. “Serena! Starring Academy Award® Nominee Bradley Cooper and Academy Award® wining Jennifer Lawrence! Directed by Academy Award® wining director Susanna Bier! Two desperate souls lost in North Carolina’s Smokey Mountains. See it!” Alas, a movie is not comprised solely of stars, but story, character, aesthetic and movement. All of which, Serena lacks. In spades. Set in Depression Era North Carolina, Serena attempts to paint a picture of a rugged America and of rugged and hardened Americans. Attempts, but does not succeed. Cooper plays Pemberton, a tentative … Continue reading SERENA

SHE’S BEAUTIFUL WHEN SHE’S ANGRY

femŸ·i·Ÿnism /ˈfeməˌnizəm/ noun 1: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes 2: organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests                                                         -Merriam Webster The word feminism dates back to the late 19th Century, it is of French origins, but it didn’t enter the popular vocabulary until the 1960s when women from San Francisco to Boston to Chicago, and everywhere in between, decided that it was high time … Continue reading SHE’S BEAUTIFUL WHEN SHE’S ANGRY

AN HONEST LIAR

Few had the magic touch quite like James “The Amazing” Randi. Born Randall James Hamilton Zwinge, the eighty-six year old Canadian-American is much more than just a magician; Randi is a born raconteur and a phenomenal showman. The new documentary about his life, An Honest Liar, opens with archival footage of Randi placed in a straightjacket and hung from the rafters by his feet. A young lady sings “The Magic Touch” while Randi struggles to escape, which he does, just as she is wrapping up the song. Escaping for a straightjacket isn’t really a trick, it’s a skill learned and … Continue reading AN HONEST LIAR

TIMBUKTU

Some movies need time and distance to establish themselves and prove their greatness. Timbuktu only needs seventeen minutes to establish itself as a masterwork. The scene in which this happens is a simple one, it is set in a sand dune and contains four characters, spare dialogue and little action. Satima (Toulou Kiki) and her daughter, Toya (Layla Walet) are washing their hair when a jihadist and his translator approach. These dunes are home to Satima, Toya and Kidane (Ibrahim Ahmed), their husband and father, who is off with his cattle herd, something the jihadist is well aware of as … Continue reading TIMBUKTU

BOULDER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL – 2015

  Situated in beautiful downtown Boulder, BIFF runs from March 5 – 8 and attracts roughly 25,000 festivalgoers. The festival covers four venues, thirty-plus features, fifteen or so short subjects, filmmaker talkbacks, Q&As, musical performances, cooking demonstrations, specialty events and lounges around town to take part in. Under the direction of Robin and Kathy Beeck, BIFF curates its program from thousands of entries as well as a few hand-selected invitees. I had the esteemed pleasure of sitting on this year’s selection committee, but unfortunately none of the movies I selected for exhibition made the final cut. However, none of the movies I selected were as good … Continue reading BOULDER INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL – 2015

THE SALVATION

1870, America: a train rounds the bend and stops at a dusty horse town to deliver a wife (Nanna Øland Fabricius) and son (Toke Lars Bjarke) to the husband and father who hasn’t seen either in a decade. They seemed doomed from the start, but maybe that just the ominous score accompanying their arrival. That husband and father is Jon (Mads Mikkelsen – providing another stellar performance), a Danish soldier who has relocated to the Wild West to start again and build a new life in a new country. Jon is happy to see his wife and meet his son … Continue reading THE SALVATION