Friday, April 22, 2016

Charles Ferguson's "Time to Choose"

Watch: Celebrate Earth Day With Powerful Trailer For Climate Change Documentary 'Time To Choose'
The PlaylistBy Jordan Ruimy | The PlaylistApril 22, 2016 at 4:24PM

Documentary filmmaker Charles Ferguson? shows no fear when it comes to tackling controversial subject matter, with the director taking on the Iraq war with "No End In Sight" in 2007 and the economic crash with 2010's Oscar winning "Inside Job." Both are in depth, incendiary works, and showcased a real no-nonsense finesse for the craft of non-fiction feature filmmaking.
Next on Ferguson's plate was an ultimately abandoned CNN documentary about current presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. It seems like the Clintons had no interest in seeing the wholesome, well managed image they have built over the years touched up upon by Ferguson. The director later toldHuffington Post, "...nobody, and I mean nobody, was interested in helping me make this film. Not Democrats, not Republicans – and certainly nobody who works with the Clintons, wants access to the Clintons or dreams of a position in a Hillary Clinton administration." Given the current political climate are any of us that surprised by the Clintons' reaction?
Ferguson hasn't let the failure of that project diminish his ambitions. Narrated by Oscar Isaac, "Time to Choose" tackles another timely and relevant subject, climate change, with Ferguson traveling from Appalachian coal country to Nigerian oil fields all the way to Indonesian rain forests to show us just how drastic and dangerous the environmental situation has become. “We do have a clock in front of us" the trailer warns, but it's not too late, as there are still possible solutions, but acting swiftly is the only way to combat this very real enemy. 
The film had its debut at last year's Telluride Film Festival, where it received positive notices from critics, and it will open on June 3rd in select theaters. Watch the trailer, two clips, and talk with the director below.

A24 is dropping the ball on the masterful Krisha

Krisha is the best move released so far this year. It has an 87 Metacritic score and 96% RT score, YET there has been no promotion and has barely left the usual L.A, NY, Chicago metro areas. What gives? Well a little emailing here and there and I found out that its distributor A24 has no intention to push the film. They signed a two-pic deal with its director Trey Edward Shults as a way to get the second film he will direct. They don't care about Krisha. Grave mistake, Krisha is a masterpiece. I do hope they change their minds and go on forward by distributing it properly. My fellow critic from the Miami Herald groaned "It hasn't even opened here! They're all about Green Room right now and hinting at De Palma". No disrespect to Green Room, one of the best films of the spring, but A24 needs to get their act together and promote the visionary, masterful Krisha.

Cannes 2016 lineup good to go

Anything surprising here? I am very much looking forward to this lineup, but no Scorsese, Malick or Beatty? A little disappointing, but not the end of the world. We are likely going to have a great year this year. Also the Director's Fortnight lineup looks just great with new films by Kim Nguyen, Jodorowsky, Paul Schrader among many many many more. The special screenings this year will be Spielberg's The BFG, Jodie Foster's Money Monster and Shane Black's The Nice Guys, really just no complaints on my part. Glad I'll be there on May 11th.


Opening Film

Andrea ARNOLD (United-Kingdom)
Xavier DOLAN (Canada)
Bruno DUMONT (France)
Ken LOACH (United-Kingdom)I, DANIEL BLAKE
Brillante MENDOZA (Philippines)
PARK Chan-Wook (South Korea)AGASSI
Paul VERHOEVEN (Netherlands)ELLE

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Cafe Society poster is a beauty

"The Meddler" is Susan Sarandon's best performance in 20+ years

From my TIFF AwardsDaily review 9.16.15
"You heard me right. Sarandon’s performance as a middle aged, eccentric, neurotic, Jersey mom that moves to L.A. is hilariously spot on. The premiere had many industry people eating up every line delivered by Sarandon. When was the last time you can truly say she’s had a role that fit her immeasurable talents? 1995’s Dead Man Walking — in which she was directed by then husband Tim Robbins — comes to mind. That was 20 years ago, but this performance is bound to get some heads turning if handled properly and Sony Pictures Classics knows what kind of brilliant performance they have here. The character study that director Lorne Scafaria deftly handles with comical hand-held shots is an all out showcase for Sarandon. The film has just been screened today for the press and is expected to have a 2016 release, that is unless the studio decides to gives Sarandon the much-needed awards push this year."

"De Palma" a letter to Millennials

Dear Millennials,

I hope you do know that there is more to Brian De Palma than just Passion, The Black Dahlia, Redacted, Femme Fatale and Mission To Mars. In fact, those five movies are probably the five worst movies of his career, Bonfire of the Vanities notwithstanding. No kiddies, the De Palma I know is the man that was on such a roll in the 70s and 80s that you might say his winning streak was as grandiose as Scorsese's or Woody's. He was that good. Don't listen to the whiners that claim he was just ripping off Hitchcock, I think those people are gravely missing the point. No, De Palma was a master at building up sense, maybe the best one of his generation alongside Polanski. Try to get a DVD or, what is it now, Blu-Ray copy of Blow-Out and you'll understand why. If anything his movies were the greatest kind of homages to Hitchcock imaginable. Carlito's Way is one of the great gangster movies of our time. Yet, critics found ways to coplain about it and tarnish its reputation. Good thing some smart millennials have justly revived it these last couple of years. How about Dressed To Kill? The ultimate Hitchcock hommage in my books. It had everything you loved about De Palma,: Sex, murder, kinkiness and cross-dressing! Ditto Body Double which turned out to be the highest class kind of trash. He also ended up making a great war movie, Casulaties of War, which had the distinction of actually featuring a great Michael J Fox performance. For all his kitschy, obsessive ways, De Palma ended up being a master of -shock- restraint. Nothing restraining about his legendary horror flick Carrie, which is one of the great uses of the cinematic color of red I've ever seen. Lest us not forget his two drastically different takes on legendary gangsters: Al Capone in The Untouchables and Scarface. The latter being his most famous movie among you kiddies, no thanks to wannabe rappers around the world who thought of the despicable violator, as played in epic over the top fashion by Al Pacino, as heroic? Another unfortunately misunderstood De Palma film.

"A Hologram for the King" is well-made but ends up being a big WTF

I will not stress this enough in saying that there is a reason why a movie starring Tom Hanks is getting the always demise-ridden April release date it has gotten. A Hologram for the King is directed by Tom Twyker, a competent director whose done a few things I've liked over the years including an under seen gem called Heaven starring Cate Blanchett which was released in the early aughts. This new film is Okay, it does have better craftsmanship than most of the ludicrously unfathomable releases we've been getting this spring, but it's just not good enough for the talent that was involved.

Hanks is in a sort of mid-life crisis, and a well-respected architect, that goes out to Saudi Arabia with his team to convince royalty that they're hologram infused proposal is the best thing for real estate project being built in butt-fuck nowhere dessert-town Arabia. The odd-job of stereotypical characters do show up: The wacky tour guide, the well-educated love interest, foreign hostility, ethical translations being lost in the mix etc.

There are interesting tidbits here and there and Hanks, every the showman, delivers another satisfying performance, but there doesn't seem to be a point to the whole thing. The best part is actually Saudi Arabia itself which is such an intriguing, mysterious country. Plot strands do - however- get lost and never concluded, the narrative mingles its way through all sorts of unintentional messiness and the film concludes in such an abrupt manner. It's a big what-the-fuck, which is a real shame because I did have hopes for this film to be at the very least a solidly crafted movie.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

St. Vincent to direct Horror Anthology XX

If you've listened to her self-titled 2015 Grammy Award winning album you know how creative and artful St. Vincent can get. In those songs she used her glittering voice and blisteringly original guitar work to create the most melodic and beat-driven rock album of the last couple of years.

The singer-songwriter, whose real name is Annie Clark, will be tackling a different kind of art form for her next project. Magnet releasing has announced that she has been added to the list of directors that will helm the horror anthology "XX". She joins well esteemed names such as Jovanka Vuckovic, Jennifer Lynch, David's daughter, and Karyn Kusama who just released the gripping, already underrated creepfest The Invitation.

 "I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to explore the genre-film medium," said Clark via the press release. "I've long been a fan of Annie's work," said Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles. "We're excited to watch the singular vision she'll bring to this project."

Asghar Farhadi`s new film Gholam

Earlier this week many were stunned to learn that Asghar Farhadi's latest movie "Gholam" hadn't made the cut for Cannes 2016, especially after the world-wide accalaim both his 2011 film "A Separation" and 2013's "The Past" garnered.

Well, it looks like there was a reason for the exclusion. The film just wasn't finished. In fact, production just wrapped for "Gholam" this past week and a first look still was released as well.

A UK-Iranian production, the film stars Iranian born artist-photographer Mitra Tabrizian in the story of a cab driver haunted by his past and getting himself involved in current conflict with a total stranger.

The character of the cab driver was loosely influenced by a man Tabrizian photographed in 2006 as part of her "Border about exiled Iranians". Tabrizian also wrote the script with first-time screenwriter Cyrus Massoudi.

Monday, April 18, 2016


Cafe Du Monde's world famous beignets. A must if you're ever in New Orleans.

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