18 items from 2015
Chicago – Friday, May 1st, kicks off one of 2015 Chicago’s most special events, the Chicago Critics Film Festival (Ccff) – a film festival as programmed by the members of the Chicago Film Critics Association. The place to be is at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago, and the titles included are an exciting batch of movies making their premiere here.
Many of the films had their world premiere at festivals like Sundance, Toronto and South X Southwest, and HollywoodChicago.com contributors Nick Allen and Patrick McDonald have been sampling the best of the festival, and offer this preview of the kick-off weekend. Each capsule is designated with Na (Nick Allen) or Pm (Patrick McDonald) – to indicate the author – or encapsulates the official synopsis from the festival.
Be sure to check back with HollywoodChicago.com on Monday, when we finish our preview of the festival by looking ahead to the weekday schedule, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
Chicago – Exclusive! Free festival 7-packs! In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 50 pairs of guaranteed festival 7-packs up for grabs to the third-annual Chicago Critics Film Festival at the Music Box Theatre from the Chicago Film Critics Association!
The festival runs from Friday, May 1 to Thursday, May 7, 2015 at the Music Box Theatre. The festival will premiere more than two dozen films to Chicago that are hand-selected by Chicago critics. The films, which include the latest works from Joe Swanberg, Bobcat Goldthwait, Andrew Bujalski, James Ponsoldt, Francois Ozon and many more, are recent film festival hits from Sundance, South by Southwest, Cannes, Venice and Toronto and more. The full 2015 Chicago Critics Film Festival schedule can be found here. Read a preview of the festival here.
Each HollywoodChicago.com winner will win Two festival 7-packs of guaranteed tickets to experience the following Chicago premieres at the times and dates below »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
Sometimes, the English language plays along. A god-like king of dreams has died, and so there is a wake. Dreams, in the literal sense at least, die upon the dreamer’s waking, and so, too, in The Sandman when Morpheus is no more: the dreamers wake.
There is a sense of quiet throughout this chapter, a quietude. And more so: gravity. Not for lack of words; there are plenty of words throughout these pages. Instead, the quiet, grave, pensive sorrow filling each panel seeps from the pencil lines and muted hues, the scored shadows along most of the edges, and all the downcast eyes. Though the chapter is not rich with plot, it gives an inescapable sense of motion, an undercurrent — the characters are all drawn toward the last page, the last panel. It’s the greatest, grandest view of the Endless we’ve yet seen, but also in many ways the coldest, »
- Matthew Cheney
A review of this week's "Community" coming up just as soon as you bring me five cans of olives... Of the remaining season 1 regulars, Chang is the one Harmon and McKenna have given up on trying to integrate into the group in any meaningful way. But Annie's been closer to Chang status than you might expect from one of the remaining members of the original study group. Last year, Harmon told me how excited he was to finally write for Annie as a woman, which was evident in season five's early episodes like Jeff's first day as a teacher and the Fincher parody. Unfortunately, she fell off the map midway through the season, and on a whole she feels like a character the show (both Harmon and McKenna and, briefly, Port and Guarascio) has struggled with a lot since the end of season 2. When you take away her crush on »
- Alan Sepinwall
If you know who Bobcat Goldthwait is, chances are you’re keenly aware that comedy tends to have a strong pull on basically everything he’s ever done. His feature film career includes dark comedies like Shakes the Clown, World’s Greatest Dad, and God Bless America, and between those ventures he’s a driving force behind stand-up comedy specials or series for well-known jokers like Patton Oswalt, Demetri Martin, Marc Maron, and even Dave Chappelle back when he had his own show. With that strong trend of comedy, Goldthwait’s sudden venture into the lands of horror with Willow Creek, a film about sasquatches in the Pacific Northwest, will catch any fan off-guard. It’s easy to find the traces of Goldthwait’s sense of humor amidst the horror, but it’s just also quite clear that Goldthwait has a firm grasp of what creates and fuels the undercurrent »
- Lex Walker
Directed by Bobcat Goldthwait
Comedian and activist Barry Crimmins is a very simple man. He has but two humble objectives in his life; “Overthrow the United States government and close the Catholic Church.” Bobcat Goldthwait’s assured documentary, Call Me Lucky, spends half its running time paying homage to Crimmins’ invectives and the other half illuminating their painful source. It’s hilarious, heartbreaking, and life-affirming stuff from a director who continues his evolution into a serious filmmaker.
Like Lenny Bruce and George Carlin before him, Barry Crimmins wasn’t afraid to add some substance to his stand-up comedy routine. He championed the Boston-area comedy boom in the ‘80s, leading to an increased awareness of stand-up comedians that continues to this day. Perhaps it’s not a stretch to say there would be no Seinfeld or Louie without Crimmins’ efforts back in the day. A ferocious performer »
- J.R. Kinnard
The District by Hannah An opens to the public tomorrow, and in anticipation of their grand opening An and her staff welcomed Indiewire and our friends to celebrate another greatl year at the Sundance Film Festival. Read More: The 2015 Indiewire Sundance Bible: Every Review, Interview and News Item Posted During Run of Festival Notable attendees included: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, director of U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize Winner "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl;" Bobcat Goldthwait, director of the documentary "Call Me Lucky;" Sean Baker, director of "Tangerine," which will receive distribution through Magnolia Pictures this summer; Gregg Turkington a.k.a. Neil Hamburger, star of Rick Alverson's second feature film, "Entertainment;" and James Ponsoldt, director of "The End of the Tour," which was picked up out of the festival by A24. The event was produced by Audrey Cavenecia of Infidea Studios and also included an »
- Shipra Gupta
I admit that when I first saw Bobcat Goldthwait on screen sometime in the 1980s, he of the Grover voice making me laugh in the second Police Academy movie, it never occurred to me that he'd be helming one of the most powerful and moving documentaries of the year. In the best, most charitable way, Call Me Lucky is a passion project for Goldthwait. The director traces the career of the film's subject, his mentor Barry Crimmins, as we learn of the rise of the Boston comedy scene and the wealth of talent that emerged from there. Crimmins was an astute chronicler of the time, a political comedian who raged with the best of them but did so with a specificity and eloquence that's...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
A tribute to an underappreciated comedic talent that takes a startling midpoint shift toward much graver material, “Call Me Lucky” is a terrifically engaging surprise. Bobcat Goldthwait’s documentary feature manages to avoid both excessive cronyism and soapboxing as it traverses from a portrait of his professional mentor, influential standup Barry Crimmins, to something that could scarcely be less of a laughing matter. Acclaim is likely to push the pic from the festival circuit into some theatrical play, with cable and other home-format sales a given.
“Call Me Lucky” immediately establishes its subject as a simultaneously nurturing, courageous, intimidating and angry figure who walked away from a degree of national success more than two decades ago. The reasons for that prove very complex. But first, the film focuses on Crimmins’ earlier years as a furiously committed purveyor of comedy — both his own and that of younger hometown acquaintances Goldthwait and »
- Dennis Harvey
“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s visually inventive comedy-drama about the friendship between a misfit teenager and a classmate diagnosed with leukemia, received both the grand jury prize and the audience award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival on Saturday night. Part cancer-themed tearjerker and part tribute to obsessive movie love, “Me and Earl” was acquired by Fox Searchlight earlier this week in one of the festival’s biggest deals.
This marks the third year in a row that one movie has taken both top prizes at Sundance, following the lead of “Fruitvale Station” in 2013 and “Whiplash” last year. “Me and Earl’s” victory was even more noteworthy given what many considered one of the stronger U.S. dramatic competitions in recent memory, with strong critical and audience buzz for “Dope,” “The Witch” and “The Diary of a Teenage Girl,” all of which also received prizes.
- Justin Chang
Sundance Film Festival director John Cooper dropped by the Airbnb lounge on Main Street, where we had a sweet small crowd, and interviewed two buzzy documentary directors, Bobcat Goldthwait ("Call Me Lucky") and Crystal Moselle ("The Wolfpack"). Eric and I barely mentioned the words "Oscar" or "awards." Ok, so we mentioned Sundance 2014 debut film "Boyhood." And many Oscar-bound docs do debut at Sundance, like Rory Kennedy's "Last Days in Vietnam." What will this year's crop yield? »
- Anne Thompson
If comedian Barry Crimmins' own words in Bobcat Goldthwait's documentary "Call Me Lucky" are to be believed, he has only two simple requests: to overthrow the government of the United States, and to close the Catholic Church. One clip featured in the film has him opening his act by puffing on a cigar, before proclaiming that he's "been on a bit of a health kick lately." That revealing observation is one of only a few moments where this complicated unsung hero of his craft speaks for himself. It's unfortunate that the film doesn't include more footage of his performance skills, to the extent that viewers experiences more commentary about his comedy than the work itself. At the same time, the approach speaks to the obscurity of Crimmins' career — and it's just as well, given how many angles of his life the film is interested in exploring — but the »
- Ibad Shah
Park City - When you cover film and pop culture for 17 years, you end up writing about an incredibly broad spectrum of topics. Even so, there are things that are obviously more important to you or that you care about more, and for me, one of the things that I have always felt strongly about is stand-up comedy. I took a shot at it early on in life, and very quickly realized that it wasn't for me. As much as I admire the craft, the lifestyle was simply not something I would have survived. There were a number of reasons, but it was a very basic decision when it came down to it. I had something else I loved more, and I can't imagine putting yourself through everything it takes to become a truly great stand-up if you don't love it above and beyond anything else. I'm still friends, though, »
- Drew McWeeny
"I want to prove F. Scott Fitzgerald wrong," Bobcat Goldthwait told me, "that there are no second acts." Not only has he directed seven films over the past decade, but he's also having a blast directing "Community." "Call Me Lucky," his third Sundance debut and first documentary, is a profile of standup comic Barry Crimmins. Goldthwait's last fiction film "Willow Creek" was a found footage Bigfoot movie with the filmmaker "interviewing actual folks in a town and putting them in a suspense scary buffet movie." So it was natural that he should go full documentary for "Call Me Lucky," which started with Goldthwait's best friend of 33 years, Robin Williams (he still gets teary when his name comes up), who was trying to make a scripted narrative movie about Crimmins. "It seemed like it was hard to get going that way," said Goldthwait. "So Robin suggested we make it as a documentary. »
- Anne Thompson
The Sundance premiere of Bobcat Goldthwait's documentary "Call Me Lucky" at the Library Theater this afternoon was bound to be a powerful experience, since the movie chronicles the defiant struggles of outspoken political activist and comedian Barry Crimmins, who was raped during his childhood decades ago. In the movie, Crimmins is seen continuing his furious agenda, which includes a desire to "overthrow the U.S. government" and "close the Catholic church." It also chronicles his triumphant efforts to trap child molesters using AOL chatrooms in the mid-nineties, a feat that ultimately led to changes in U.S. policy. But even before the movie started, Goldthwait—another veteran comedian whose career has taken on new dimensions, with his ongoing efforts as an independent filmmaker—had the room in tears. It was the first time he had presented a new movie in the wake of Robin Williams' suicide last year. »
- Eric Kohn
Call Me Lucky is Bobcat Goldthwait’s documentary portrait of fellow comedian Barry Crimmins, who is not as famous as he should be for his barbed political satire — and whose outsider activism led him to dark places, as this documentary reveals. To visually capture Crimmins on and off stage, Goldthwait turned to his frequent cinematographer Bradley Stonesifer, who previously screened at Sundance with Lee Toland Krieger’s dramatic feature, The Vicious Kind. Below Stonesifer answers questions about that collaboration and doing big theatrical lighting on a shoestring budget. Call Me Lucky premieres January 27, 2015 in the Sundance Documentary Competition section […] »
- Scott Macaulay
While political and eco-themed documentaries are once again prevalent at Sundance, portrait docus dominate this year’s nonfiction lineup.
Kurt Cobain, Barry Crimmins, Marlon Brando, Tig Notaro, Robert “Evel” Knievel, Warren Jeffs and Nina Simone are among the many famous and infamous figures being explored by Sundance veteran directors including Bobcat Goldthwait, Amy Berg, Liz Garbus and Brett Morgen.
Like last year’s Sundance hit “Life Itself” (one of 15 docs on the Oscar shortlist) this year’s crop of profile-driven pics veer away from the standard chronological bio
doc and delve into lives using impressionistic techniques.
In assembling HBO’s “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck,” director Morgen used new and previously unseen archival footage — including Cobain’s Super-8 movies, his spoken word poetry and autobiography, his sculptures, his photography and his sound design pieces — to reveal a more “humanistic portrait” of Cobain.
The overarching goal of the doc, Morgen told Variety in November, »
- Addie Morfoot
At a loss for what to watch this week? From new DVDs and Blu-rays, to what's streaming on Netflix, we've got you covered.
New on DVD and Blu-ray
Laika's latest stop-motion film is about a kiddo named Eggs (Isaac Hempstead Wright) who is raised by a gaggle of trolls under the streets of Cheesebridge. It got pretty good reviews, as well as an Oscar nomination, and while it hasn't snatched up as many eyes and hearts as "Coraline" or "ParaNorman," it's still a solid kid's movie. The Blu-ray includes audio commentary from directors Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi, as well as a few other extra goodies.
Scarlett Johansson's actioner has been available digitally, but now you can snag it on Blu-ray.
Guy Maddin's wonderfully weird ode to his hometown is finally on Criterion. In addition to your typical Criterion updates -- a high-def digital video transfer, »
- Jenni Miller
18 items from 2015
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