Archives for June 2013

Funny Lady Mae West

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As part of the Funny Lady Blogathon, hosted by Movies, Silently, I have selected the incomparable Mae West (1893-1980). In researching for this piece, I soon realized that I could not do her full biography justice, so I refer you to her official website (http://allaboutmae.com), the Turner Classic Movie Database entry for a fully fleshed out retrospective on her life. For my piece, I have decided to pick up a few career highlights as well as dedicate a section to some of my favorite quotes from her.

The former vaudeville star made a seamless transition from the Broadway stage to film, where she entertained audiences and challenged conventions of femininity and sexual mores, most notably through her provocative turns of phrase.

Born Mary Jane West in Brooklyn, New York to a former prizefighter father and fashion model mother, she seemed destined for stardom at an early age. By age of 14, she was a staple of the vaudevillian circuit. She ultimately decided to take a turn on Broadway. West wrote several plays – the first, titled, Sex, (which she also wrote, produced and directed) led to her arrest for “corrupting the morals of youth.” A year after the arrest in 1928, Mae West scored a bona fide hit in the form of the play Diamond Lil, all about a woman living during the Gay Nineties.

A few years later, Hollywood came a calling and she signed a contract with Paramount Pictures. Her motion picture debut was at age 38 in Night After Night, costarring George Raft. It was in this film that she quipped (go to the 40 second mark of the clip):

The next year saw her reprise her Diamond Lil character in She Done Him Wrong a movie that featured the then unknown Cary Grant and was the first high profile role in his career. The success of the film brought Paramount back from the brink of bankruptcy and was matched in her next film (and second on-screen pairing with Grant), titled I’m No Angel, the most commercially successful film of West’s career.

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Over the next few years, and with the institution of the Production Code, West battled constantly with the powers that be that wanted to curb the more suggestive elements they saw in her projects. One of her last major roles was in the 1940 feature My Little Chickadee, costarring W.C. Fields. It was a film marked by their mutual dislike for one another.

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By 1943, her film career stalled and she would not return to the big screen until 1970, with the release of Myra Breckinridge, which starred Raquel Welch. Her final screen appearance came in 1978’s Sextett.

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Notable Quotables

In her relatively brief on-screen career, it would appear that Mae West definitely lived by her own words You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough. Below I have chosen some additional funny quips and double entendres (Source: All About Mae):

  • When I’m good I’m very good but when I’m bad I’m better.
  • It’s not the men in my life that counts – it’s the life in my men.
  • I go for two kinds of men, the kind with muscles, and the kind without.
  • Too much of a good thing… can be wonderful.
  • I generally avoid temptation unless I can’t resist it.
  • Marriage is a fine institution but I’m not ready for an institution.
  • I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.
  • It’s better to be looked over, than overlooked.
  • I don’t like myself, I’m crazy about myself.
  • I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor… believe me, rich is better.
  • It’s hard to be funny…when you have to be “clean.”
  • She’s the kind of girl who climbed the ladder of success…wrong by wrong.
  • When I’m good I’m very good, but when I’m bad I’m better.

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Be sure to check out some of the other awesome ladies highlighted in this wonderful blogging event!

Funny Lady Blogathon

 

“I’m So Excited”, or Am I?

I dunno. First, I must admit that I while I am familiar with the work of Pedro Almodovar, his are not films I clamor to see on the regular. I mean my intention is always to venture off into his whimsical world, but some how or other, the universe deems it not to be the case.

Well that is until now. As my personal entree into the cinematic sensibilities of the highly acclaimed director, I am not sure what to make of I’m So Excited. One thing is certain: I left the screening a bit confused by what I saw.

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But to be fair, confusion, as a state of mind, is not always a bad thing. As a result, I went all Pollyanna and decided to turn my bewilderment on its head and make this a ‘teachable moment’ for myself. In order to do this, I made it mandatory that I ground my understanding the film’s purpose and its place in the oeuvre of Almodovar. I did this in two steps:

1. Review the Film’s Synopsis

A technical failure has endangered the lives of the people on board Peninsula Flight 2549. The pilots are striving, along with their colleagues in the Control Center, to find a solution. The flight attendants and the chief steward are atypical, baroque characters who, in the face of danger, try to forget their own personal problems and devote themselves body and soul to the task of making the flight as enjoyable as possible for the passengers, while they wait for a solution. Life in the clouds is as complicated as it is at ground level, and for the same reasons, which could be summarized in two: sex and death. © Sony Classics

Sure I probably should have read this BEFORE attending the screening, but I didn’t. No going back now. That said, while this scenario leaves out several plot points (mainly as to the state of the passengers on-board), I think you get where this is going. Fair enough, the interlocking themes of sex and death are glaringly obvious, so at least on paper, this has the potential to be an interesting story to tell cinematically.

2. Reviewing Almodovar’s Bio- and Filmography

Well, well, Pedro’s CV is quite impressive (DUH) and, as I said at the open, includes several films that remain on my ‘must-see’ list in spite of the fact that I never actually get around to seeing them. These include Talk to Her, Volver (which I actually own but am too lazy to put in the DVD Player), and The Skin I Live In. With all of the praise heaped on these films, one could only expect a ‘return’ to his earlier days of offbeat comedy to be warmly greeted by long time admirers, while at the same time offering a wonderful point of entry for newbies such as me.

I should also state for the record, that I’m So Excited definitely tested by ability not to be affected by the general buzz I hear surrounding a film. So even before I entered the screening, my expectations were dampened by the grumblings of “not a return to form” and other such sayings. I tried in earnest to dismiss these proclamations and go in with an open mind. Yet, taking all of these factors into account and having some distance from the film, I still find myself scratching my head on this one. Sure, I chuckled a few times at its absolute ridiculousness, but after all is said and done …

… my final take on I’m So Excited is that while it is a certainly campy romp (again not a bad thing as a concept), it travels quite far into the absurd. Overall, it felt like a bit of a jumble, with plot strands that are (apparently) intended to be intertwined and central to the whole narrative, instead feeling like they were arbitrarily thrown on the screen.  The set pieces pop and many of principal characters are lovely to look at, but ultimately it all fell a little flat for me.

I think I will pop in that Volver DVD this weekend.

Tuesday’s Overlooked: Hitchcock Silents

This week’s selection(s) is a preview of what’s to come at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). The Hitchcock 9, is a touring series of the entire surviving collection of Hitchcock films from the silent era. From Jun 29—Jul 3, 2013, the series makes its stop here in the greater New York City area.

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When most people think of Hitchcock, it is the Hollywood classic suspense thrillers. What I find so fascinating about these little-seen British silents is that while many of the titles would not be considered typical of the “Master of Suspense,” there are cinematic techniques and conventions that would later end up in many of his signature movies to be seen.

Check out the BAM trailer for the week-long screenings here:

My recommendations?

  • THE LODGER (considered the most “Hitchcockian” of his silents)
  • MANXMAN
  • BLACKMAIL

I for one am going to catch The Lodger and the 1927 Hitchcock adaptation of the Noël Coward play Easy Virtue. The most exciting bit? The opportunity to catch these films with live music accompaniment.

For more information, The New York Times published an in-depth piece on the film series last week.

Lastly, special thanks to the British Film Institute who curated the extensive restoration project and chronicled it in their “Restoring Hitchcock” website:

An Interview with Musician Elliott Wheeler

On May 30, I spoke with Sydney-based musician Elliott Wheeler, one of the collaborators who worked on the soundtrack for Baz Lurhmann’s The Great Gatsby.

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Mr. Wheeler is the founder of Turning Studios. A classically trained musician, he studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and Sydney University. Over the years, he has worked as a composer and producer on several films, documentaries, commercials, and theater compositions.

2013 has been quite the year for Wheeler; in addition to the release of the Gatsby soundtrack, he also has the following two projects lined up: soundtrack work for George Miller’s next “Mad Max” film, Fury Road and Rob Conolly’s adaptation of Tim Winton’s The Turning. If that weren’t enough, this past May heralded the release of his first solo studio project, The Long Time.

The following is an abridged version* of our conversation, containing some of the “best bits.”

 

First, I wanted to talk about your work on The Great Gatsby; I’m curious to find out a little bit more about your specific involvement in the project.

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I was approached by Baz (Lurhmann) and Anton Monsted, the music supervisor and co-producer on the film, back in June last year. The job was two-fold – first was to start doing the work that the music editors couldn’t do with the music that was coming in. Being able to do transitions between a certain style of track or getting one of the pieces of music to fit in a particular way that was beyond this normal music editing. The second role was just to help Baz be able to explore some of the concepts of what some of those tracks might sound like in different styles. So, what would it be like if we were to ‘jazzify’ one of the Jay-Z tracks or Lana Del Rey tracks; what would that sound like? And that’s sort of what my role really evolved into – I was really allowing Baz to explore what all these songs would sound like in different incarnations and in 20’s style, as well as going over (to London) and working with Bryan Ferry and his jazz orchestra, or some of Craig Armstrong’s original themes. Craig Armstrong was the headline composer on the score and so we recorded a few things as well in that 1920s style. There were so many people who were involved with the soundtrack, but Craig Armstrong’s original score is absolutely incredible and he recorded that over in London. Craig’s score is integrated perfectly into the film and his scenes for the different characters are so strong and they’ve given such a great particular, which is what an original score should always do. But then you’ve got all the work that Baz, and Jay-Z, and Anton who was bringing the artists in and collaborating. My role is very much to help Baz be able to make all of those different artists weave together and become part of the fabric of the film rather than something that’s “just voices.”

 

Of all of the tracks that you worked with on the Gatsby soundtrack, which one was the one that gave you the most satisfaction and why?

It is a tough question – of course there were so many different styles. I might name three.

The Florence and the Machine track, which I arranged the strings and we recorded over at my studio. That was a really, really exciting track to be a part of because it was a section in the film that we had been trying lots and lots of different ideas on and then Florence came and got involved and just instantly hearing her voice over the particular scene that it’s used for suddenly brought the entire thing to life. It was one of those beautiful moments when you’re doing screen composition where – it’s just one of the parts that absolutely locks in … and it was just incredibly exciting.

The second one is the Lana Del Rey track (Young and Beautiful). It was a track that we just were living and breathing throughout the process and had to go through so many iterations. Craig had a beautiful version of it and we did a number of different versions. We did a fantastic foxtrot that we got to record with Lana and the track appears in one scene that was really fun to able to get that style. Then having Lana sing back over the arrangement was a real thrill. She’s got amazing vocals and you expect her voice to be absolutely beautiful, because you know what it sound is, but hearing her sing it in a different idiom was really exciting.

And the third one, I’m just going to say that working with the Jay-Z material, which was a number of different tracks that we worked on with Jay, but that was an absolute thrill because his material just sounds so incredible already when it turns up and the production on it is so fantastic. But the level of complexity in his actual production is so superb that when you’re having to put material over the top it’s a conundrum [because] it already sounds so good that you don’t want to put stuff in there that doesn’t need to be in there. But at the same time, anything you add on top just fits so well with the track, because with hip-hop, you’re used to hearing those samples that fit very easily within the language. It was just a thrill to do.

 

 

Moving on to other film projects you’re working on. Let’s start with The Turning.

theturningThe Turning is a wonderful book by Australian author Tim Winton and it’s a collection of 18 short stories that the producer Rob Connolly has tried to turn into a film. So, what he’s actually done is got different people to direct each one of those stories in whatever way they want and given the directors some amazing freedom. It’ll be really exciting to see the final result. Cate Blanchett is directing one; David Wenham, Mia Wasikowska, and 15 others. My role on this film was literally just doing the opening sequence with a wonderful friend of mine. A director called Marieka Walsh, who actually did the film clip for my “Baker Man” single. Marieka has done stunning animation; she is amazing. She’s literally drawing every single frame and taking a photo and then moving it on old school animation and the results just look incredible. So, she’s done a really beautiful opening for the entire film and I was scoring her opening.

 

Let’s talk a little bit about further detail about Fury Road and your role in that film. According to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), it’s scheduled for a 2014 release.

My role on Fury Road has been at this stage to work with George (Miller, the director) and Maggie (Sixel), the editor, to really just throw up the initial pallet of music. So, it’s a score composition, but also doing a lot of music editing. Actually in the initial process, it’s mainly music editing and trying different things up against different scenes. Just looking at what sort of music pallet is going to work with the film and then from there. If George wants a certain thing to happen and you just can’t find a way to do that with the additional interesting score then we begin to start writing and coming up with some original score to get through the film. It’s a wonderful film and George is extremely open in the score take. So, it’s been really exciting. The material that he’s provided has been interesting and he’s been very open to a lot of material that we’ve been working on.

 

 

We rounded out the conversation talking about his solo project, seven years in the making, The Long Time, an eclectic mix of jazz, neo folk and indie rock; here’s a sample, followed by what he said about working on the album.

It was so fun but also extremely challenging, because with film work, I’m used to collaborating with people and I love having those outside influence that come in and put pressure on the different parts of your creative process; that sort of pressure brings out different responses. I think every musician is curious to hear what they can do when they put a body of work together like that, but what was also fantastic is I would bring all the skills and the people that I’ve met on something that was just purely music based. A lot of those same players and all the singers that appear on the album are people I’ve been working with in my screen work. So, it was great. It was a very different process, but there are so many boundaries that you have with film work that I find extremely freeing. You’ve got a set perimeter and you get to explore your creativity within those set perimeters. [With film work] if you have a particular story to tell, a deadline to meet, or a particular ensemble that you’ve got to work with – I think sometimes limiting the number of choices that you have to make can be extremely fruitful in terms of your actual credit output. With an album you have a blank space of time and contributors and material and where you want to move it. It took me a long time to work out exactly what flavor and what format I wanted the album to be, but it was a wonderful process to do.

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The Great Gatsby soundtrack and The Long Time are currently available for purchase. Mad Max: Fury Road is in post-production and tentatively scheduled for release in 2014. The Turning is currently in post-production scheduled for release in August as part of the Melbourne International Film Festival.

*Thanks to Transcript Divas for their services.

Much Ado About Nothing: ILC’s Take on Whedon’s Take on Shakespeare

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It is often said that Shakespeare’s words are indestructible. In general I abide by this rule. But in the world of cinema, there have definitely been those films Shakespearian adaptations that I not responded so well to. For me, a lot of this sentiment boils down to whether or not I actually LIKE the play. For everyone, all Shakespeare material is not created equal.

Some go for the high drama of his tragedies. I myself am a lightweight and prefer the comedies, my favorite being the subject of today’s post. As I mentioned on Tuesday the 1993 adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing is the high water mark for what I want in a filmed Shakespearean adaptation. So when I heard that Whedon was treating audiences to his modern telling of the story, where I thought I would give pause, almost immediately excited and intrigued me. Ever since its premier at last year’s Toronto Film Festival, I have been eagerly awaiting its wider, theatrical release. After a brief and limited run in NY and LA today, the rest of the nation will finally get to see the wonders of Whedon in this film.

If you need for me to make it any clearer, I LOVED it. Even dresses up in a contemporary setting, the tale and the emotions wrought by the Bard’s words are for all time. And this film is a fine example of that.

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Of course it does take some talent to convey this to the audience – credit where credit is due and all. Aside from the direction, which has a wonderful lightness of touch (so appropriate for the source material), the black and cinematography (shot at the Whedon house, no less) definitely lends an interesting, breezy air to the proceedings. You can tell that this was a passion project and it was planned, created and played with a great deal of heart.

Much Ado About Nothing could not and would not work without the aid of some very capable acting. Whedon goes to his roster of Angel/Buffy/Firefly/Dollhouse alumni for many of the principle roles.

All of the little verbal tweaks made (including changing the gender of Don John’s villainous conspirators) was not at all jarring and only to make the film that much more interesting.

Overall, I say this is time well spent in the cinema and I encourage all to seek it out and enjoy. Oh yeah and it will make you laugh too! Check out the trailer, with music courtesy of Joss Whedon below:

 

My Thoughts on “Man of Steel”

So, I am not a master of properly putting my ‘reviews’ (I use the term advisedly) into prose form; the write ups usually turn into a muddle of random thoughts and ramblings about a given cinematic experience. I say this as a means of forewarning you that this post, my ‘review’ of Man of Steel will probably meet this threshold.

Immediately after the screening I attended yesterday and going into today, there are an overabundance of thoughts, feelings and words, plenty of words circling my brain as I search for a way to coherently describe all that I feel about Man of Steel. Without further ado, I am going to jump right into it. Again bear with me as this is not going to have the most logical of flows.

MAN OF STEEL

So Much Story, So Little Time

There were a lot of things going on in this film and maybe they could have pared it down a bit, but who I am to judge? It feels like a case of one (or many) set pieces too many. I particularly felt that the “battle royale” between Superman and his nemeses dragged on a bit.

But it is likely that I am over critiquing this aspect because as we all know Nolan and Goyer are masters at creating cinematic puzzles. We are barely at the assembly stage – with Man of Steel the puzzle box has been opened and all the pieces dumped on the table. How it all comes together is something that we will have the pleasure of watching over the next several years.

 

Symbolism Everywhere

Tying into what I mentioned above, between the allusions to immigration, Jesus Christ, eugenics and fate/destiny (to name a few), my senses were on symbolism overload. Just wanted to put that out there.

 

The Darkness and the Light

From the outset, the lasting impression from Man of Steel was the weightiness of the material. This most certainly was not the Superman tale of my youth.  At times I was worried that the gravity with which the material was presented would was going to really drag the movie down. One especially dark turn took place during a shocking, unexpected denouement, at least by Superman standards. Yet in the end I felt there were enough moments of levity to balance this out.

 

Getting to Know You

This is a theme that you will notice I stick with throughout this post but I think that it is worth mentioning that Man of Steel, if nothing else focused heavily on character development. Of course at the center of it is Clark Kent/ Kal El/ Superman and his struggle for identity, understanding who he is and his purpose. The search easily parallels that struggle we all face in our own lives, but it clearly takes on a different tone in a universe where Krypton and Metropolis exist. One aspect of the character and relationship development that did not work for me as well was the relationship between Clark and Lois Lane. After some long thought on this subject I have come up with the following theory – that story-wise, the relationship is such because the filmmakers were attempting to solve the age-old “inside joke” concerning people’s knowledge/ignorance of our superhero’s true identity.

MOS-08233C

 

Which Leads Me to the Acting …

In particular, I think that Cavill did a very good job in his portrayal; he was able to convey someone who was both foreign and still in touch with an earthly humanity (a stranger in a strange land).

Bye, bye camp villain – Michael Shannon is so menacing as a screen presence; I found myself equally exhilarated and frightened his portrayal as General Zod.

I do not know what it is about the Lois Lane character, but it seems as equally difficult to cast as Superman himself. You need someone who can hold their own with the Man of Steel as a believably spunky, rebel of a reporter. Amy Adams does not knock it out of the park but hers is such an affable screen presence that I can go with it.

Equal props to Russell Crowe and a sagacious Kevin Costner as Clark’s / Kal’s two dads – very good performances, gentlemen. Heck, solid performances all around. I suspect that in future installments a couple of characters (looking to you Perry White) will be a little more fleshed out.

MAN OF STEEL

 

But I Feel for Those Folks Who Were Less Than Enthusiastic About MoS, Too

I can totally empathize with the detractors and those who were a bit disappointed by the film. I do not think there is any denying that this is a very well made film. But what it boils down to in my opinion, is expectation. As I have chronicled on this blog since the first teasers for this film were released, my anticipation for the film has gone from zero to a moderate level of excitement. Even with that growing eagerness to see the film, my expectations were still managed so that in the end, I think I could be no less that satisfied with what I would eventually see. I know that for many fans of Superman and the overall comic genre, a lot was riding on this film to deliver in a way that some other superhero predecessors have done. As I have learned, the game of expectation comes is high stakes for the moviegoer. Go back almost 12 months to the day to see what I mean.

Another mark against the film that I have heard or read about is that many people were looking for a little more balance in the portrayal of Clark and his alter ego. My response to that is:  Man of Steel is CLEARLY the opening act in a three part story, so there is no need to introduce all aspects of the character(s) just yet. Think of this first installment as Superman 101. In other words, do not fret dear viewer, let’s just wait and see what is to come. On a side note: one does not have to be a complete dork to be a mild-mannered reporter for a major metropolitan newspaper; trust me, it can work.

 

In the End …

I could go on, but I won’t. Let me finish by saying the more I think about Man of Steel, the more I like it and what its creators were setting out to accomplish. It was an ambitious exercise to set about doing – taking a well loved set of characters and altering their universe in a way that may not be to everyone’s liking. Yes, there are pieces of the story and its delivery that work better than others, but in the end I can do nothing but recommend you see this film and judge for yourself.

 

 

Have you seen it? What do you think? Hit the comments section below.

 

 

 

Tuesday’s Overlooked: Much Ado About Nothing (1993)

In anticipation for my write up on Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing (opens nationwide on June 21), my post for this week is the Kenneth Branagh adaptation of the same play by William Shakespeare, which happens to be one of my favorite plays. Featuring an all star cast including Branagh, Emma Thompson, Denzel Washington, Keanu Reeves, Robert Shaw Leonard and a pre-Underworld Kate Beckinsale, this 1993 feature was made me fall in love with Shakespeare and Tuscany again (my first time was with the release of 1985’s A Room With a View).

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For those who do not know, Much Ado About Nothing is as it states on the tin, it is a frivolous, lighthearted comedy or at least as light as Shakespeare can go.

I cannot believe it is 20 years since its release!

Check out the trailer below:


Check out other great overlooked titles on Todd’s blog, Sweet Freedom!

Weekend Viewin’ Recap

This weekend saw a lot of movie-related activity on my part activity (see previous post), so I thought it right to provide a little recap for the events of the past couple of days.

NYCIFF, Night 1: As part of my coverage of this week long event, I attended my first screening, the World Premier of 10 Rules for Sleeping Around, a rather derivative ‘screwbally’ romantic comedy set in NYC (it gets props for that) whose highlight(?) for me was figuring out that at least some of what the “Brazilian Bombshell” was saying was actually Spanish.

This week, I have a few more screenings lined up; stay tuned to this space for my thoughts and reflections.

Man of Steel: The idea is that my thoughts will be posted in a separate and increasingly lengthy piece later today or early tomorrow (fingers crossed I can keep to that schedule).

MAN OF STEEL

Twenty Feet from Stardom: What more can I say? I LOVED LOVED LOVED THIS FILM. I cannot begin to explain how well this documentary – that chronicles among other things, the evolution and career ups and downs the people (mostly women) who end vocal support to some of today’s top musical acts. At the center of the story is Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee (2011) Darlene Love. Born with a lead vocalist’s chops, her story is an amazing one, that by the time the closing credits roll at the end of the 90 minutes, you fully appreciate and understand why such an honor was given to perhaps one of the best known backup vocalists of her era.

Other highlights in the film included:

  • “Seeing” the voice behind the Rolling Stones classic Gimme Shelter, Merry Clayton and her story.
  • Rediscovering Lisa Fisher, former solo artist who was a backup to Luther Vandross (himself a backup artist to David Bowie on his Young Americans track).

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On a side note (and a nice treat to boot) – although I did not attend the live Q&A screening at the film center, on my way into my screening, I saw Ms. Love leaving the theater.

 

How was your weekend at the movies? If you did not see Man of Steel, what did you see?

Weekend-ish Viewing

Well another Friday is upon us! For me this means a weekend spent mostly in the doors of various cinemas (including the home cinema) in the greater NYC area. Let me start with the …

1) 2013 New York City International Film Festival: This will be my first year covering the event. I am so excited! Starting this evening, I have a handful of screenings I will be attending over the course of the next week in addition to the Closing Night ceremony. Stay tuned for deets.

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2) Love Marilyn: This upcoming Monday night (6/17 @ 9:00PM EST) is the second installment of the HBO Documentary Summer Series, which brings to us the premier of Love, Marilyn. The documentary draws upon recently discovered personal effects from the star including papers, diaries and letters; read by an all-star cast that features F. Murray Abraham, Elizabeth Banks, Adrien Brody, Ellen Burstyn, Glenn Close, Hope Davis, Viola Davis, Jennifer Ehle, Ben Foster, Paul Giamatti, Jack Huston, Stephen Lang, Lindsay Lohan, Janet McTeer, Jeremy Piven, Oliver Platt, David Strathairn, Lili Taylor, Uma Thurman, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood.

I briefly mentioned my interest in seeing this doc in my June 2013 highlights, but allow me to go into further detail. I must admit, I never considered myself a HUGE Marilyn fan, but in recent years (in part due to tumblr of all things), I have become transfixed by her image and the mystique which surrounded her life and untimely death.

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3) Twenty Feet from Stardom: I became VERY interested in this film as a result of the trailer I saw which preceded the Whedonized Much Ado About Nothing (more on that later). Anyhoo, it is in limited NY/LA release for the next week and I will be headed to the Lincoln Center Film Center to catch this documentary about the singers behind legendary performers such as Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springteen, Mick Jagger and Sting (to name a few). It is nice to see them finally get some shine.

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4) Man of Steel last but certainly not least is the Nolan/Snyder imagining of the all-American (alien) superhero. I am going to see this with other paying customers on Sunday and YES in IMAX 3D. My justification is simple; it is likely the closest I will get to a three-dimensional Henry Cavill 🙂 Will report what I thoughts on the film next week.

MAN OF STEEL

Now it is you all’s turn – what are you tuning into this weekend? Hit the comments section below …

Sundance Screenplay Reading Series: Franny

This past Monday I had the great pleasure of venturing down to the 52nd Street Project Theater in NYC’s Hell’s Kitchen to witness something wonderful – that is, to be a part of a cinematic “work-in-progress.”

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In association with the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA), this event was part of the Sundance Institute’s Screenplay Reading Series of Works in Progress. The star of the show on this evening was the screenplay for a film entitled Franny, written and directed by 2013 Screenwriters Lab Fellow Andrew Renzi.

Over the succeeding 90 minutes, audience members were treated to a live reading of Mr. Renzi’s story of a young married couple moving back to the wife’ native Philadelphia and their relationship with the larger-than-life but clearly damaged man, who them is trying to recreate the past relationship he had with her late parents.

ILC’s Take: this event was a wonderful insight into how screenplays come together. It is equally delightful to see the actors slide into their roles.

I encourage anyone who has the opportunity to attend a live reading of a screenplay to do so. It is more exciting than you can imagine!

(Photo Credit: Sundance Institute)