6 items from 2014
Beverly Hills — Last week saw the world premiere of Ava DuVernay's "Selma" at AFI Fest after it had been advertised as a 30-minute footage presentation. But there was a lot more to the story behind the scenes. The plan had long been for Paramount to drop the full film as a surprise to the crowd that turned out for the presentation, assuming DuVernay could get the edit where she wanted it to be in the days leading up. Then, the festival dropped a shocker on both festival attendees and those involved with the "Selma" event: Clint Eastwood would take advantage of the Veteran's Day holiday to premiere his "American Sniper" as a secret screening right after Team "Selma" cleared the Egyptian Theatre. The pressure was on. In the end, though, it all worked out. "Selma" played like gangbusters with a deafening standing ovation and a lively post-screening Q&A moderated by actress Alfre Woodard, »
- Kristopher Tapley
What Richard Linklater’s Boyhood accomplishes is due the highest praise; as a feat of extended cinematic biography, there have been few experiments as rounded, detailed, and character-developed as this twelve-year gamble.
Nailing my heart to the wall with a good growing-up tale is a favorite cinematic past-time going back to a lot of young, smart French faces in the 1950s and 1960s; Russian kids with militarized gazes but poetic minds; the amazing Killer of Sheep’s gentle look at black youth in 1970s Los Angeles. Richard Linklater has contributed his share of closely-observed movies on adolescence, from his debut self-starring film It’s Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books (1988) and breakout indie ramble Slacker (1991)to the evergreen Dazed & Confused (1993) and Before… series (1995-2013), Linklater returns to the philosophical delusions of youth and retrospect realities of age again and again. Boyhood is one of his most generous gifts yet, »
- Gregory Fichter
"Chameleon Street" is one of the most slept on films to come out since the late eighties. Wendell B. Harris wrote and directed this film and he based it on the life of a con man named Douglas Street. He took the film to Sundance in 1990 and won the Grand Jury Prize, but ended up leaving without a major distribution deal. If you haven't seen it, buy it, don't rent it. Like "Killer of Sheep," you will have to see it more than once to fully appreciate it. If you've never heard of the film, maybe you've heard of Mos Def and Talib Kweli. On their first album together, the self-titled "Black Star" album, they sampled "Chameleon Street" for the intro »
2013’s inaugural Bal Goes to Cannes, a showcase for a bevy of Latin American pix-in-post, was a milestone, the first Works in Progress event ever organized by the Cannes Market.
Co-run by Bal, the industry strand of Buenos Aires’ Bafici Festival, the second Bal Goes to Cannes, which runs May 20 at the Palais des Festivals, will take a “further step in the same direction, highlighting films that otherwise wouldn’t be in Cannes” says Bal co-director Violeta Bava.
Showcasing excerpts from four unfinished features — Matias Pineiro’s “The Princess of France” and Luis Ortega’s “Lulez,” both from Argentina, plus Mexican Nicolas Pereda’s “The Absent” and Brazilian Andre Novais Oliveira’s “She Comes Back on Thursday” — Bal Goes to Cannes highlights four directors who are hardly unknown.
Pineiro was chosen in 2012 by the New York Times as one of the world’s rising directors and his “Viola” was selected for Toronto, »
- John Hopewell
I sadly can't say that I've kept fully abreast of Henry G. Sanders' acting career, since his star-turn in Charles Burnett's 1979 magnum opus Killer Of Sheep; But, a glance at his IMDb resume informs me that he's certainly been busy over the the years, albeit in what would be described as *bit* parts in TV and film projects - small screen classics like Hill Street Blues, Diff'rent Strokes, Murder, She Wrote, Miami Vice, Cagney & Lacey, Matlock, L.A. Law, and Grey's Anatomy, most recently, and on the big screen in Bull Durham, the American remake of Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless, and, just last year, the Jackie Robinson bio 42. He often played unnamed stock characters »
- Tambay A. Obenson
Always outspoken, determined and confident – Spike Lee has been one of the most active and influential artists making movies in America for the past thirty years. Although it is important to mention his influence as an African-American filmmaker, he also stamped a style and tempo which snapped at the heels of narrative with colour, energy and bite. He has made films that were unanimously praised, caused debate and even ones that have been generally panned – but his films are never ignored.
When Sidney Poitier slapped actor Larry Gates in the 1967 film In the Heat of the Night, it was seminal – one of the first instances of a black man striking a white man on the silver screen. It jolted people and it mirrored a social spirit of a nation in a split instance, a way that cinema only can. But the man behind the camera, in the producers chair and »
- Hassan Vawda
6 items from 2014
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