Archives for September 2014

On Now: NYFF52

Oh yeah there is the tiny little matter of the 52nd Annual New York Film Festival kicking off this weekend.

Hopefully it will not be as confrontational as last year, when I attended a screening of Blue is the Warmest Color and post-screening was ‘approached’ by someone questioning why I was watching the film and what did I think about the misogyny contained therein. Actually, that reminds me – Pro-Tip: Even if I agree with your argument(s), accosting me and bellowing questions at me is not the way to sell your POV.

Mini-rant over.

Anyways, better forward planning this year means that my NYFF dance card will be a little more full and allow me to provide a slightly more adequate level of coverage.

LifeofRiley1

Life of Riley

Among the films that will be attended (and subsequently covered) are:

GUYS AND DOLLS

Guys and Dolls

 

In addition, I will be attending the panel Women’s Impact: Producing in a Convergent World.

You may be asking yourself: Why no Gone Girl? If I am honest, I never got caught in the frenzy that the source material caused in the bibliophile community, so even with Fincher at the helm, this has a wait until later … vibe for me.
Overall, scheduling conflicts this year mean that I have had to massively scale back my moviegoing ambitions and stick mostly to the Friday night – Sunday screening window, which means I miss out on films such as:
  • The 50-Year Argument
  • The Blue Room
  • Saint Laurent
  • All About Eve
  • Two Days, One Night
  • National Gallery
  • Jauja
(visit the NYFF52 Main Slate page for film details)
Lastly, are you going to be the Big Apple for any of the film fun? What are you looking most forward to?
Photo credit: Film Society of Lincoln Center, host of the New York Film Festival.

ILC Quick Take: The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them is the feature-film debut for director Ned Benson. Originally set up as two longer films, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her, respectively, the film stars Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy.

eleanorrigby

We open with the knowledge that something horrible has happened to disrupt the lives of Eleanor (Chastain) and Conor (McAvoy). As the story unfolds, it becomes very apparent that an unspeakable tragedy has fallen upon them, and despite at one time appearing deeply and passionately in love with one another. This is essentially the central question of the piece – can two people in love find their way back to one another as they make their way out of a dark place?

Ultimately, that is for the audience to decide, because the ending of The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby is left very purposely ambiguous.

One of the USPs of the film, besides a stellar main and supporting cast that includes Viola Davis, William Hurt, Isabelle Huppert, Ciaran Hines, and Bill Hader – is the film’s origins. As previously mentioned, the film started its life as two separate films, Him and Her – the same story told uniquely from each member of the couple’s vantage point. In that way, I suppose it is an achievement to take two separate stories and mesh them into one cohesive narrative.

Alas, when all is revealed, I felt a little let down. Sure it’s a sad story, but maybe the level of expectation formed in my mind muddled by reception (as I imagined a totally different direction of the journey of their separation and the possible way back).

And then, again, that ending; I was fine with it, but also acutely aware that others in the audience were clearly not. If it was the aim of the film – to have people question and dialogue about what happens next, I am not sure it is a “mission accomplished.” There is ambiguity that leads to inquiry and debate and then there is that which leads to vexation and indifference. I feel that this may be leaning towards the latter.

So in the end, this is a film bolstered by the performances (an assemblage of amazing talent) and not by the story.

Out of five hearts, I give this one ILC heartILC heartILC heart .

Photo Credit: The Weinstein Company

Festivals, Festivals Everywhere!

Hi All!

First things first — massive apologies for the absence as of late (save some intermittent tweeting). Truth be told, I have been in the final stages of moving house (still kinda sorta am) and it took a lot more time and energy out of me than I had anticipated. Alas, I am a little more settled now and can get back to the business at hand.

And what I time I chose to return. As you may be well aware, we are entering the “serious season” for cinema-goers (i.e. Awards Contenders Season) and the film festivals of this month and next have a lot on offer.

While I did not have the pleasure of attending the likes of Telluride or Toronto (I’ll throw Venice in there for good measure), I did follow some of the titles that were featured and here are some that I thought may be well worth a look-see. Click on the hyperlink to find out a little more about the titles:

  1. The Imitation Game dir. Morten Tyldum. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as brilliant Cambridge mathematician, cryptanalyst and pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing, who spearheaded the Enigma code-breaking operation during World War II and was later persecuted by the British government for his homosexuality.
  2. Mr. Turner – dir. Mike Leigh. Timothy Spall won the Best Actor prize at Cannes for his magnificent performance as J.M.W. Turner, in Mike Leigh’s gorgeously rendered biopic of the famed British landscape painter.
  3. Two Days, One Nightdir. Luc Dardenne, Jean-Pierre Dardenne. A working-class mother (Marion Cotillard) fights to hold onto her job, in the new film from master filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne.
  4. Beyond the Lights – dir Gina Prince-Bythewood. A rising young musician (Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Belle) falls into a passionate love affair with the cop assigned to protect her (Nate Parker), in this moving and inspirational romance from writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball).
  5. Before We Go – dir. Chris Evans. Chris Evans makes his directorial debut with this winning romance about two strangers (Evans and Alice Eve, Star Trek: Into Darkness) who spend a long, magical night in NYC after missing the last train at Grand Central Terminal.
  6. The Connection – dir Cédric Jimenez. Academy Award winner Jean Dujardin (The Artist) stars as French police magistrate Pierre Michel, who waged an obsessive six-year battle to bring down Marseilles’ infamous “French Connection” drug ring.
  7. Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet – dir Joann Sfar, Tomm Moore, Bill Plympton. Director Roger Allers (The Lion King) assembled an array of internationally acclaimed animators to realize episodes from the classic text by the renowned Lebanese poet, which are woven into the tale of a mischievous young girl (voiced by Beasts of the Southern Wild’s Quvenzhané Wallis) who attempts to free an imprisoned poet (Liam Neeson).
  8. Kill Me Three Times – dir Kriv Stenders. A small Australian town becomes a hotbed of scheming, scamming, blackmail and murder in this blackly comic, sun-scorched neo-noir, featuring a sterling cast that includes Simon Pegg, Alice Braga and Luke Hemsworth.
  9. Miss Julie – dir Liv Ullmann. Jessica Chastain, Colin Farrell and Samantha Morton star in this stunning adaptation of the classic August Strindberg play directed by legendary actress and filmmaker Liv Ullmann.
  10. Madame Bovary – dir Sophie Barthes. Mia Wasikowska stars as the disgruntled provincial wife yearning to breathe free in this gorgeously shot adaptation of Gustave Flaubert’s classic novel, co-starring Paul Giammati, Olivier Gourmet, Ezra Miller and Rhys Ifans. Again, I love period pieces even if they are on a slow path of destruction.
  11. National Gallery – dir. Frederick Wiseman. Master documentarian Frederick Wiseman (La Danse, Crazy Horse, At Berkeley) takes us inside the inner workings of London’s National Gallery. Folks, I love museums and seeing the BTS inner workings. This should be a treat.
  12. A Little Chaos – dir Alan Rickman. Commissioned to construct King Louis XIV’s garden at Versailles, a landscape designer (Academy Award winner Kate Winslet) battles professionally and romantically with the king’s chief architect (Matthias Schoenaerts, Rust and Bone), in this sumptuous historical drama from actor-director Alan Rickman.
  13. The Riot Club – dir. Lone Scherfig. Two young men are inducted into the exclusive, debaucherous company of Oxford’s elite “Riot Club,” in this scathing dissection of the British class system from Danish director Lone Scherfig (An Education).
  14. Girlhood – dir. Céline Sciamma, Céline Sciamma. Céline Sciamma Céline Sciamma (Water Lilies, Tomboy) returns to the Festival with this raw, raucous but tender look at a group of black high school students living in the tough banlieues of Paris.

I mean there are dozens more, put that would make this post a programming guide and I am sure no one has time for that, so …

——

Also on my radar (and also in the Greater New York Area) is the first annual Mount Vernon (NY) Film Festival (starts 9.25). Quite near and dear (it’s my hometown, y’all), I hope to have something up concerning this, although my current schedule will mean that I cannot actually attend any of the events.

Lastly, I am looking forward to Lincoln Center’s 52nd annual New York Film Festival (starts 9.26). A preview post will be up sometime this week.

 

In the meantime, what films are you looking forward to seeing from the festival circuit?

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Photo credit: Gabriel Flores Romero (Creative Commons)