The 39th Denver Film Festival — Day One

The 39th Denver Film Festival gets underway tonight with the 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 La La Land isn’t even the best movie at … Continue reading The 39th Denver Film Festival — Day One

Born On This Day – September 29

“I don’t know anything about the way a film is born, nothing about the manner of it, the lying-in, the ‘big bang’, the first three minutes. Whether the images in those first three minutes are born out of their author’s deep desire, or if – in an ontological sense – they merely are what they are. I wake up one morning with my head full of images. I don’t know where they come from, or how or why. They recur in the following days and months; I can’t do anything about them, and I do nothing to drive them away. … Continue reading Born On This Day – September 29

ONLY GOD FORGIVES

Only God Forgives - Banner

Only God Forgives a very delicate, fragile movie. You might not think that, considering the level of graphic violence, but it is. My first viewing of this fever-dream was at the LA Film Festival in June, where a member of the LA Film Fest introduced the movie and told the audience that this was a different type of movie, try to let go and go along for the ride. For the next ninety minutes, I sat in my seat, completely stunned and virtually motionless. I sat with my eyes peeled open, allowing image after image, color after color, wash right over them. Scenes followed other scenes, characters made entrances and exits, and eventually, it all faded to black. For a minute, I wasn’t sure if God Only Forgives was a movie of a dream, or a dream I had, possibly a dream I had just shared with 808 strangers. After the screening, writer/director Nicolas Winding Refn held a Q&A. He said that he liked to think of his movies likes drugs, if Drive was like getting a bunch of really good coke and doing it all in one weekend, then Only God Forgives is like doing LSD. Not the kind that makes you want to run around and have sex, but the kind of LSD that makes you sit in a chair and want to become the chair. Refn admitted that he has never taken psychedelics, and neither have I, but at that moment, I could not have understood a director’s intentions more.

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Movie Beat – 03.29.13

Blancanieves – Snow White en español, re-telling of a  Grimm Fairy Tale in beautiful black and white photography by Kiko de la Rica and scored by Alfonso de Vilallonga. It was last year’s entry for the Foreign Film Oscar from Spain, but it will no doubt be called this year’s The Artist. Set in 1920s Spain, a young girl grows up with just a Father and learns his craft as a bullfighter. Hated and driven out by her evil stepmother, she joins a troop of traveling dwarves and becomes the most famous bullfighter in Spain.  Performances from Ángela Molina, Maribel … Continue reading Movie Beat – 03.29.13

Movie Beat – 01.11.13

The biggest movie news of the week are the Oscar nominations, but just because there are a bunch of movies from last year that you need to catch up on, doesn’t mean that there is some fresh fun out there today. Take a look and judge for yourself. $ellebrity – Kevin Mazur, who has made his living as a rock n’ roll photographer, puts together a collection of interviews, clips, and Cinema Verité style footage into a documentary about fame, celebrity, and most importantly, the voracity at which the public consumes it. This isn’t a documentary that provides an answer to the problem, because … Continue reading Movie Beat – 01.11.13