3 items from 2015
Gianni is mad as heck and maybe isn’t going to take it, at least for now, in Gianni Di Gregorio’s wanly congenial “Good for Nothing.” The weakest of the helmer-actor’s three features (“Mid-August Lunch” remains the best), this Ok tale of an amiable schnook learning that a little nastiness gets you further than perpetual niceness is unwaveringly sunny, like the forgettable comedies Fred MacMurray made for Disney in the 1960s. Lacking the cross-generational appeal of Di Gregorio’s previous efforts, “Good” did next to nothing at home, though French and Swiss releases plus TV sales should help the balance sheets.
The world seems to be conspiring against poor Gianni (Di Gregorio): His ex (Valentina Gebbia) is demanding, his neighbor (Giovanna Cau) is a termagant, and just when he thought he could retire, the law changes and he’s forced to keep working for another three years. »
- Jay Weissberg
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has unveiled its 2015 line-up which includes films representing 54 countries, 23 world premieres and 53 U.S. premieres. The U.S. premiere of Niki Caro’s McFarland USA will close out the 30th fest. Based on the 1987 true story and starring Kevin Costner and Maria Bello, the film follows novice runners from McFarland, an economically challenged town in California’s farm-rich Central Valley, as they give their all to build a cross-country team under the direction of Coach Jim White (Costner), a newcomer to their predominantly Latino high school. The unlikely band of runners overcomes the odds to forge not only a championship cross-country team but an enduring legacy as well.
The festival runs from January 27-February 7.
Below is the list of World and U.S. Premiere films followed by the list of titles by sidebar categories.
A Better You, USA
Directed by Matt Walsh
Cast: Brian Huskey, »
- The Deadline Team
A self-acknowledged "showcase for Academy Award frontrunners," the Santa Barbara International Film Festival is often overlooked for the actual films that earn it festival status. An amalgamation of international discoveries and ’merica’s circuit highlights, the Sbiff curates a week of best-of-the-best to pair with their star-praising. The 2015 edition offers another expansive selection, bookended by two films that aren’t on any radars just yet. Sbiff will open with "Desert Dancer," producer Richard Raymond’s directorial debut. Starring Reece Ritchie and Frieda Pinto, the drama follows a group of friends who wave off the harsh political climate of Iran’s 2009 presidential election in favor of forming a dance team, picking up moves from Michael Jackson, Gene Kelly and Rudolf Nureyev thanks to the magic of YouTube. The festival will close with "McFarland, USA," starring Kevin Costner and Maria Bello. Telling the 1987 true story of a Latino high school’s underdog cross-country team, »
- Matt Patches
3 items from 2015
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