BIRDMAN Review | NYFF 2014

by     Posted 39 days ago

birdman-review

You would think that one movie that blurs the line between reality and fiction to convey the challenges of being an actor would be enough for one week, but Birdman is just as absorbing as Clouds of Sils Maria and also offers up a totally unique experience.  It’s neat that Michael Keaton portrays a former superhero movie star after having played Batman himself and the one-shot shooting style is an absolutely astounding technical achievement, but the best part is that both are used in ways that serve the story, not as alluring gimmicks.  If it were the other way around, Edward Norton’s Mike Shiner wouldn’t approve of it.

CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA Review | NYFF 2014

by     Posted 43 days ago

clouds-of-sils-maria-image-juliette-binoche-kristen-stewart-slice

During the Clouds of Sils Maria post-screening Q&A, Juliette Binoche pointed out, “Kristen [Stewart] just takes the text in the morning, she reads it two times and she knows it.”  Binoche on the other hand, noted that she requires far more prep time.   There are no biographical elements in Olivier Assayas’ latest, but there’s definitely some life imitating art (or art imitating life) going on and it adds yet another highly provocative notion to the already deftly layered and remarkably thoughtful feature.

JAUJA Review | NYFF 2014

by     Posted 44 days ago

jauja-image-viggo-mortensen-viilbjork-malling-agger-slice

Lisandro Alonso’s Jauja opens with a stunningly picturesque two-shot of Viggo Mortensen and Viilbjørk Malling Agger.  The two sit side-by-side, Agger facing the camera and Mortensen with his back to the lens, discussing her desire to own a dog.  The entire conversation plays out in that one shot, but it works.  The colors are so vibrant, the topic of conversation is relatable and their affection for one another is palpable as well.  Unfortunately, that’s the only time the performances and the beautiful backdrop can carry the minimal amount of coverage and sluggish pace.

TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT REVIEW | NYFF 2014

by     Posted 46 days ago

two-days-one-night-slice

Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne pose a number of very intriguing questions in their New York Film Festival entry, Two Days, One Night.  If you had to choose between getting a raise and laying off a colleague, which would you go for?  And what if you were that colleague?  Would you fight for your job even after being betrayed by your co-workers?  Those are the predicaments that the characters in the film face and while they are engaging to a point, the execution feels frustratingly lifeless, depressing and repetitive – although that’s likely the point.

INHERENT VICE Review | NYFF 2014

by     Posted 47 days ago

inherent-vice-josh-brolin-joaquin-phoenix-slice

After the New York Film Festival screening of Inherent Vice, writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson and a good deal of his cast took the stage for a brief Q&A.  At one point, Anderson discussed Howard HawksThe Big Sleep and noted, “I saw The Big Sleep and it made me realize, I could not follow any of it and it didn’t matter because I just wanted to see what was gonna happen next.”  Anderson does manage to achieve that to a degree in Inherent Vice, but it winds up making the film even more of a disappointment because what happens next is rarely satisfying.

GOODBYE TO LANGUAGE Review | NYFF 2014

by     Posted 53 days ago

goodbye-to-language-slice

I’d like to consider myself someone who’s open to all styles of art, unique forms of expression and storytelling techniques, but perhaps I have to draw the line at Jean-Luc Godard’s latest, Goodbye to Language. The thing only clocks in at 70-minutes long, but the screening felt like an eternity and even after it finally ended, I was stuck with the frustration of having wasted a morning and was left with a nasty headache to go along with it.  This movie is playing in some of the most prestigious film festivals around the world yet has claimed a top spot on my worst of the year list and is pretty high up amongst my worst of all time selections as well.

MAPS TO THE STARS Review | NYFF 2014

by     Posted 54 days ago

maps-to-the-stars-mia-wasikowska-julianne-moore-slice

I don’t like to admit it, but every now and then, I do enjoy picking up a tabloid.  Simply put, it’s fun to read about nonsense like what everyone’s wearing and see that celebrities are really “just like us.”  And the same goes for covering industry news as well.  I truly enjoy finding out what everyone’s up to, whether I’m a fan or not, and that’s a big part of the reason David Cronenberg’s latest works so well.  Maps to the Stars is a Hollywood satire that takes you behind the scenes and dishes out joke after joke at the industry’s expense, but screenwriter Bruce Wagner also slips in an offbeat and riveting mystery that makes the experience more than a fleeting laugh, but rather a dark, absurd and disturbing experience that’ll stick with you well after it ends.

First Look at LAST DAYS, Kathryn Bigelow’s PSA on Elephant Poaching Which Premieres at the 52nd NYFF

by     Posted 57 days ago

last-days-image

Kathryn Bigelow’s newest project may not be a military-themed thriller, but it could be her most important work yet.  The anti-poaching PSA Last Days is set to premiere Saturday, September 27th at the 52nd New York Film Festival, followed by a panel discussion titled “The Crisis in Elephant Poaching.”  Bigelow will moderate the panel, with WildAid’s Peter Knights, Assistant District Attorney of New York County Julieta V. Lozano, award-winning journalist Peter Godwin, and Somali human rights activist K’naan Warsame participating.  Tickets to the free event will be distributed one hour prior to its 6pm start time.

The PSA is one of a few anti-poaching projects to make headlines in recent years.  Leonardo DiCaprioTobey Maguire, and Tom Hardy have teamed up to produce an anti-poaching drama for Warner Bros. with Will Staples writing the screenplay.  Even more recently, Angelina Jolie is lining up her next next film as a directorAfrica, the biopic of paleo-archeologist Richard Leakey, who devoted his life to combating elephant and rhino poaching.  Bigelow gets the first crack at it this weekend with Last Days.  Hit the jump to see the first look at the PSA.

Oscar Beat: Which Awards Contenders Will Emerge from the Fall Film Festival Season?

by     Posted 85 days ago

fall-film-festival-preview-2014-foxcatcher-birdman

Ready or not, the awards season is about to begin.  Every year, Oscar season kicks off with the series of film festivals in late August and early September.  It’s at these festivals—Telluride, Toronto, and Venice—that a hefty number of the year’s Oscar hopefuls debut and begin what they hope will be long and prosperous campaigns.  Four out of the last five Best Picture winners screened at both Telluride and Toronto, and as the festivals are about to start later this week, now felt like a good time to preview the block of awards hopefuls that will be screening since the odds are pretty good that this year’s Best Picture winner will have debuted by mid-September.

Hit the jump for the Fall Film Festival Preview 2014 edition of Oscar Beat.

2014 New York Film Festival Lineup Announced; FOXCATCHER, WHIPLASH, MAPS TO THE STARS, CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA, LISTEN UP PHILIP and More

by     Posted 99 days ago

clouds-of-sils-maria-new-york-film-festival-slice

The Toronto International Film Festival is fast approaching, so a lot of our attention has been on that, but soon after Toronto wraps, the 2014 New York Film Festival begins, so it’s time to start considering that as well, especially because The Film Society of Lincoln Center just announced the main slate lineup.

I’ll be in New York City covering the event so I’ve already got my eye on the Opening Night Gala selection, Gone Girl, and the Closing Night Gala selection, Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, but now it’s time to make room for more like Bennett Miller’s Cannes 2014 hit, Foxcatcher, Maps to the Stars starring Julianne Moore, Damien Chazelle’s Sundance Film Festival award winner, Whiplash, and more.  Hit the jump to check out the full New York Film Festival lineup.  The festival runs from September 26th – October 12th.

Paul Thomas Anderson’s INHERENT VICE to Have World Premiere at New York Film Festival

by     Posted 124 days ago

inherent-vice-new-york-film-festival

The New York Film Festival made a hell of a first selection by nabbing David Fincher’s Gone Girl as its opening night film, and now the fest’s second selection makes it an even more enticing destination.  Writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice will have its world premiere at NYFF 2014 on October 4th, as the pic as been selected as the fest’s centerpiece gala.  The Thomas Pynchon adaptation is led by Joaquin Phoenix, with an eclectic cast that also includes Josh Brolin, Reese Witherspoon, and Owen Wilson.  Per THR, NYFF director Kent Jones describes Inherent Vice as “a journey through the past, bringing the texture of the early ‘70s SoCal counterculture back to full-blown life.  It’s a wildly funny, deeply soulful, richly detailed, and altogether stunning movie.”

With the one-two punch of premiering Gone Girl and Inherent Vice, NYFF is giving the traditional festival juggernaut TIFF a run for its money.  Read a synopsis for the book after the jump.  NYFF 2014 runs from September 27th through October 13th, and Inherent Vice opens in limited release on December 12th. 

David Fincher’s GONE GIRL to Open the New York Film Festival

by     Posted 127 days ago

gone-girl-new-york-film-festival

Director David Fincher’s next film has secured a prime awards debut.  Variety reports that Gone Girl has been selected to open this year’s New York Film Festival—a prestigious honor that usually coincides with the kick-off of an Oscar campaign.  Fincher’s dramatic thriller is an adaptation of the Gillian Flynn novel of the same name and stars Ben Affleck as a man who becomes the prime suspect in his wife’s disappearance.  Fincher has some good experience with NYFF, as his masterful The Social Network premiered there in 2010 and went on to nab a slew of Oscar nominations before it was eventually steamrolled for Best Picture and Best Director by the forgettable The King’s Speech (I’m not bitter, I promise).  More after the jump.

NYFF 2013: HER Review

by     Posted 1 year, 39 days ago

her-joaquin-phoenix-slice-1

We ascribe technology a personality and vice versa.  We say our machines “hate” us when they break down.  Programs illustrate the interests of the user.  Spike Jonze’s Her may seem like an outrageous concept—a man falling in love with a computer—the idea is closer than we think, and its immediacy isn’t just a social concern.  It’s an existential concern as the film attempts to provide the contours of a soul through the absence of a body, a past, and society.  Her is a fragile, delicate movie that requires the audience’s absolute indulgence, but the rewards are some head-spinning questions coupled with a tender, funny, and touching love story.

NYFF 2013: NEBRASKA Review

by     Posted 1 year, 43 days ago

nebraska-bruce-dern-will-forte-slice-1

In the past, I’ve made jokes about how progress on social issues is inevitable because the people holding antiquated values will die off soon.  Nebraska made me feel a little guilty about those jokes.  I don’t feel guilty because I’ve come to agree with their discriminatory viewpoints, and the movie doesn’t address those kinds of attitudes associated with the red-state heartland.  I feel guilty because I’ve been so casual with the lives of old people who probably never had much to begin with.  With his newest film, director Alexander Payne has created a deeply compassionate picture of elderly life, social decay, economic immobility, and put it into a moving father-son road trip story.  Anchored by strong performances from Bruce Dern, Will Forte, and June Squibb, Nebraska is funny and touching quest to find the good life at the end of life.

New Trailer for THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY Plus the 25-Minute New York Film Festival Press Conference

by     Posted 1 year, 44 days ago

the-secret-life-of-walter-mitty-ben-stiller-slice

20th Century Fox has released a new trailer for The Secret Life of Walter MittyBen Stiller (who also directed the film) stars as a daydreaming Life Magazine employee who has to start going on real adventures in order to track down an elusive photographer (Sean Penn).  Steve and I saw the movie this weekend.  He liked it; I didn’t.  The trailer is a fair representation of the film, and even though it goes through a lot of the plot, the trailer doesn’t really give anything away since everything is so spaced out and mixed up.

Hit the jump to check out the trailer along with the New York Film Festival press conference.  The film also stars Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott, Shirley MacLaine, Kathryn Hahn, and Patton OswaltThe Secret Life of Walter Mitty opens December 25th.

Click Here