The 39th Denver Film Festival — Day 6 & 7

I, DANIEL BLAKE When I, Daniel Blake was announced as the winner of the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, the critical press was stunned that anything could have topped Maren Ade’s German comedy, Toni Erdmann. Granted, comedy gets no love from juries, and I, Daniel Blake’s social consciousness makes it very much a movie of the moment, but neither should detract from Ken Loach’s moving portrait of human kindness and compassion. I, Daniel Blake isn’t just a middle finger to the establishment and the absurdities of bureaucratic rigmarole; it is a plea for human decency and a celebration of the small moments that … Continue reading The 39th Denver Film Festival — Day 6 & 7

The 39th Denver Film Festival — Day 4 & 5

ACTOR MARTINEZ If acting is reacting, what is Actor Martinez? Blurring the lines between documentary and fiction a Denver-based actor, Arthur Martinez (playing himself), hires two indie directors, Mike Ott and Nathan Silver (also playing themselves), to make a movie about his life. They oblige, and all three quickly disappear down the hall of mirrors that make up self-reflexive cinema. The audience is never quite sure if they are seeing the movie Ott and Silver are making, or if they are watching the movie Ott and Silver are making about the movie that Ott and Silver are making. It’s like Charlie Kauffman’s Synecdoche, New York with … Continue reading The 39th Denver Film Festival — Day 4 & 5

The 39th Denver Film Festival — Day Three

CALIFORNIA TYPEWRITER California Typewriter takes its title from one of the last typewriter repair shops in America. Located in Berkeley, Cali., California Typewriter opened over 30 years ago by Herb Permillion, an IBM repairman. Apple released the personal computer one year after Permillion opened up shop, but that didn’t deter him or his longtime repairman, Ken Alexander. Both men believe in the typewriter and know that if they hold on long enough, the typewriter will come back into vogue. They might be right, but they also might lose their shirts. With passion like this, who cares if you lose it all? But Permillion and Alexander aren’t … Continue reading The 39th Denver Film Festival — Day Three

The 39th Denver Film Festival — Day Two

DFF39 eases us into Day Two with only 11 movies, all of which are featured at the Sie Film Center of Colfax. From here on out, it gets crazy, but for today let’s all convene at Henderson’s for a drink and discussion. JACKSON Jackson is home to the last remaining abortion clinic in the entire state of Mississippi. There were more, but that was then. Now, the religious freedom movement has forced legislator’s hands and made women’s health clinics jump through almost impossible hoops to stay open. Only one has. Jackson, from documentarian Maisie Crow, is a ground-level look at what it takes to keep that … Continue reading The 39th Denver Film Festival — Day Two

The 39th Denver Film Festival — Day One

The 39th Denver Film Festival gets underway tonight with opening night film, La La Land, a modern-day musical set in the City of Angels where some dreams are realized while others are crushed underfoot. The movie stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, and Stone, along with writer/director Damien Chazelle, are set to attend the opening night festivities with a post-screening Q&A with Denver Post film critic emeritus, Lisa Kennedy. La La Land is currently under embargo, so I’ll leave it at this: La La Land is heart wrenching, acidic and poignant. Easily one of the best of the year and co-lead Ryan Gosling is magnificent. But … Continue reading The 39th Denver Film Festival — Day One

TCM FILM FESTIVAL — 2016

For classic movie lovers, there is no greater film festival than the TCM Film Fest in Hollywood, California. Every spring, throngs of moviegoers descend on the honorary capital of moviemaking for a feverish, bleary-eyed three-day celebration of the moving image. Now in its seventh year, the TCM Film Festival, running April 28–May 1, continues to expand the ever-growing TCM brand. What started simply as a TV channel has moved from mere programming to one of a historical and archival presence. TCM produces DVDs, Blu-Rays, various product lines, established a theme cruise, a Hollywood/New York movie locations bus tour and even … Continue reading TCM FILM FESTIVAL — 2016

What’s in a name?

How does one define a horror movie? Thrills and chills? Blood and guts? Elements of the supernatural and the super-demented? In a word, yes. All of these tropes are acceptable for the horror genre, yet they still remain restrictive. Using the word “horror” casts a wide net — covering anything from the personal to the political, the intimate to the public, the minimalistic to the graphic — leaving most viewers to identify horror movies the same way United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart defined pornography, “I know it when I see it.” The Stanley Film Festival (SFF), which recently … Continue reading What’s in a name?

STANLEY FILM FESTIVAL

Colorado is home to a plethora of film festivals — from the very small and local to the very large and international — but the Stanley Film Festival (SFF), playing April 30 – May 3, is a rare one. Existing left of center, SFF embraces all that is wonderful and demented about horror movies. Located in the haunted historic halls of the Stanley Hotel, SFF brings together classic and contemporary horror cinema and offers a slate of movies that range from high camp to deadly serious. Much like romance and comedy, horror movies use very specific moments and tropes to … Continue reading STANLEY FILM FESTIVAL

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

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