Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Time to start writing movie reviews again

It's been quite a while... far too long, really.  But I'm finally starting to feel an impulse to write movie reviews again.  So watch this space, there will be some coming soon (will probably keep them fairly shortish).

Movie Reviews and News

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Sunday, 28 May 2017

"Wind River" - Trailer

A homicide investigation in an extremely remote place - looks pretty intense!

Movie Reviews and News

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Tribeca Wrap: Tribeca Film Festival attendance and video highlights

New York, NY [May 1, 2017] – After 12 days filled with world premiere film and television screenings, cutting-edge virtual reality experiences, the inaugural Tribeca Games Festival, momentous talks, and once-in-a-lifetime concerts and reunions, the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T, today announced an estimated attendance of more than 153,000 people to 531 screenings and talks, the virtual arcade, and games with an additional 3,800,000 people participating in 15 talks and post-film conversations from afar via Facebook Live. [Note: This is record-setting from recent years and surpasses last year’s attendance, even though in 2016 there were 556 screenings and one of the main theaters being used in 2017 had its seats reconfigured to enhance the audience’s movie-going experience, which resulted in 25% less total seating capacity.]

From April 19 – April 30, the Festival presented 97 features, 57 short films, 31 immersive storytelling projects, 15 television shows, and 16 N.O.W. (New Online Work) projects from 42 countries over the course of the 12 days.

“With film always at our core, the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival continued to break boundaries – this year with television, virtual reality, online work, and gaming – to stay ahead of the convergence of storytelling mediums,” said Jane Rosenthal, Co-Founder of the Tribeca Film Festival and Executive Chair of Tribeca Enterprises. “Bringing great stories and great storytellers to our growing audience, no matter what screen or platform, is why we continue to do what we do each year.”

Below are highlights and clip handout of conversations, concerts, interviews, and select moments from the Festival:

As the Festival wraps up, 11 of the films available for acquisition have announced distribution deals, with additional offers on the table and deals to be announced soon.

Apple Music jumped into the film festival marketplace for the first time and bought two films.
The Orchard locked deals for three narratives, all of which have some dark undertones to them.
     Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: The Bad Boy Story (World premiere) bought by Apple Music - All rights
     Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of our Lives (World premiere) bought by Apple Music - All rights
     ELIÁN (World premiere) bought by Gravitas Ventures - U.S. theatrical, digital and video rights
     The Endless (World premiere) bought by Well Go USA Entertainment - North American rights
     Flower (World premiere) bought by The Orchard - North American rights
     From the Ashes (World premiere) bought by National Geographic Global Networks - Worldwide rights
     November (International premiere) bought by Oscilloscope Laboratories - North American rights
     The Reagan Show (World premiere) bought by Gravitas Ventures/CNN Films - North American theatrical and streaming rights and CNN Films has acquired North American broadcast rights
     Super Dark Times (North American premiere) bought by The Orchard - Worldwide rights
     Take Me (World premiere) bought by The Orchard - Worldwide theatrical, digital rental and sales, cable/satellite VOD, airline, DVD and soundtrack rights. [Netflix will release the film on its worldwide streaming platform later this year.]
     Tom of Finland (North American premiere) bought by Kino Lorber - North American rights

With 97 feature films presented this year, the festival offered narrative and documentary selections covering an immense array of stories and perspectives.

While debuting 77 new feature films the Festival also paid respect to the past with the 25th anniversary of Aladdin, the 25th anniversary of Reservoir Dogs, followed by a conversation with director Quentin Tarantino and the full cast, the 15th anniversary of Bowling for Columbine with director Michael Moore, and The Godfather 45th anniversary.

Reservoir Dogs video highlights:
       [Video: Reservoir Dogs Casting]

Bowling for Columbine video highlights:

Here is video from post screening Q&A’s from a few films:
       Buster’s Mal Heart
       Love After Love:
       Mike and the Mad Dog
Among this year’s films, the spotlight shone on the award winners:
     Audience Awards - The Divine Order (Die göttliche Ordnung), directed and written by Petra Volpe, was chosen to receive the Narrative award and Hondros, directed by Greg Campbell, was chosen for the Documentary award
     Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature - Keep the Change, written and directed by Rachel Israel
     Best International Narrative Feature - Son of Sofia (O Gios tis Sofias) written and directed by Elina Psykou
     Best Documentary Feature – Bobbi Jene, directed by Elvira Lind
     Best New Narrative Director – Rachel Israel, director of Keep the Change
     Albert Maysles New Documentary Director Award – Sarita Khurana and Smriti Mundhra for A Suitable Girl
     The Nora Ephron Prize: Petra Volpe, writer/director of The Divine Order
Tribeca continued to take the movie experience beyond the screen by turning special performances into cultural moments. Here are highlights as well as footage ICYMI.

     Opening Night at Radio City Music Hall was a stellar evening for the world premiere of Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of our Lives. Following the documentary, the sold out crowd was treated to a once in a lifetime concert with legendary musicians Jennifer Hudson, Barry ManilowEarth, Wind & FireKenny GDionne Warwick, and Aretha Franklin.
     Sean “Diddy” Combs aka Puff Daddy held court on the red carpet and on stage for the world premiere of Can't Stop Won't Stop: The Bad Boy Story at the Beacon Theatre. The hip hop doc was followed by a celebratory reunion concert with Bad Boy originals Faith EvansLil’ Kim and Mase.
     Concert footage:
     Musician and actor Common performed a lively and soulful concert, including the debut of a new song, following his Tribeca Talks: Storytellers conversation with director/screenwriter Nelson George, and the screening of a never-before-seen extended version of Letter to the Free (Directed by Bradford Young).
        Concert and talk clips:
     The inaugural Tribeca Games Festival kicked off with a performance by British electronic music producer and multi-instrumentalist Mura Masa who had the crowd on their feet.
        Concert broll:
     Early 80s punk and new wave music was reinvigorated at the world premiere screening of Dare to be Different, which chronicles the Long Island, New York radio station WLIR that introduced the music to the U.S. The post-screening concert included members of A Flock of SeagullsThe Alarm, and Dave Wakeling of The English Beat.
     Legendary blues artist Taj Mahal teamed up with environmental artist Wyland and the Wyland Blues Planet Band to perform a concert at the Festival Hub following the premiere of Wyland’s short film Blues Planet: Triptych, which explores the Gulf oil spill disaster and its aftermath.

     As the television landscape continues to evolve in cinematic directions, Tribeca offered a special treat for TV fans, blowing up the small screen to theatrical proportions and bringing it to life with in-person talks from the dynamic storytellers on both sides of the camera. The second annual Tribeca TV Festival featured 15 shows with five series premieres including The Handmaid’s Tale [Video of talk with cast and creators]and Genius [Video of talk with cast and creators], four season premieres including Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Episodes, [Video of talk with cast and creators] and Another Period [Video of talk with cast and creators]  three independent pilots, one feature documentary, and one very special sneak peek. Audiences responded with packed theaters… because TV is better shared.
       The Sinner director Antonio Campos on premiering at Tribeca: “Film festivals all over the world are recognizing what television is doing, and I think it’s really appropriate that Tribeca is showing TV shows, and I’m really honored to show it here in my hometown.”  While Paul Reiser of There’s… Johnny!’ said about the Tribeca Film Festival: “What’s cooler than being here in New York City?”
       Tribeca’s Jane Rosenthal presented legendary documentarian Ken Burns with  the Citizens Filmmaker Award, and then the audience was treated to a special one-hour sneak peek of his  upcoming 18-hour PBS documentary, The Vietnam War. [Video of Ken Burns receiving award]
     The inaugural Tribeca Games Festival premiered to sold-out enthusiastic crowds. The Festival kicked off with the New York premiere of Telltale Games’ first-ever crowd play of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale series, Episode 1 and a concert with British electronic producer and multi-instrumentalist Mura Masa, which brought down the house. Saturday featured a captivated crowd for keynotes withsome of the top game creators, including legendary creator Hideo Kojima, who flew in from Japan, Ken Levine, and Sam Lake – each of whom has transformed the industry with their unique and visionary storytelling.
       Why a Games Festival? Tribeca Co-Founder Jane Rosenthal said to the crowd, “At the end of the day, good storytelling is good storytelling, no matter the medium.”

Tribeca’s Immersive program continued to push the boundaries of storytelling through technology and creativity with 31 virtual reality (VR) and innovative experiences and installations from top creators and emerging artists, including 22 world premieres. Top creators in attendance included Chris Milk and Aaron Koblin of Within, Félix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphaël of Felix & Paul Studios, Gabo Arora, Maureen Fan and Eric Darnell of Baobab Studios, Eugene Chung and Jimmy Maidens of Penrose Studios, Imraan Ismail, Saschka Unseld of Oculus Story Studios, Marshmallow Laser Feast, and more.

[Broll video of the Virtual Arcade:]

Director Kathryn Bigelow and co-creator Imraan Ismail were joined on stage by surprise panelist Hillary Rodham Clinton during the Tribeca Talks: Virtual Reality, to discuss the world premiere of the virtual reality documentary short The Protectors: Walk in the Ranger's Shoes, which follows the rangers fighting to save the African elephant from poachers. Also on the panel were Andrea Heydlauf with African Parks, and Rachel Webber from National Geographic.
       [CLIP - FBInstagram] Clinton

Acclaimed director Alejandro González Iñárritu declared “VR is everything cinema is not” during his Tribeca Talk with Marina Abramović.
       [CLIP - FBTwitter] Iñárritu - “VR is everything cinema is not.”
       [STILL - Twitter] Iñárritu with creator Chris Milk

Over 20 Tribeca Talks took place over the 12 day festival with remarkable pairings that only happen at Tribeca. Highlights from the program include:

The Storytellers Series, which celebrates those who have pioneered their own forms of storytelling across multiple mediums, included conversations with:
     Barbra Streisand with Robert Rodriguez
        [CLIP] Streisand on sexism
        [CLIP] Streisand - “People would say 'how do you hold the notes so long?' and I said 'Because I want to.'"
        [CLIP] Streisand - on fear. “Fear is like an engine to create.”
       Bruce Springsteen with Tom Hanks
     Lena Dunham & Jenni Konner with America Ferrera
        [Full Facebook livestream]
        [CLIP - Twitter] Konner & Dunham on an interview question that triggered a "rage-spiral blackout"
        [CLIP - FBTwitter] Konner & Dunham reveal that they want Ferrera to run for office
     Kobe Bryant & Glen Keane with Michael Strahan
        [Full Facebook livestream]
        [CLIP - FBTwitter] Bryant: "The best way to inspire the next generation of athletes is through story."
     Common with Nelson George
        [CLIP - Twitter] Common on director Ava DuVernay
        [BROLL] - Concert and talk clips. Video credit: Tribeca Film Festival; Still image credit: Carolyn Amuaro for Street Dreams

The Directors Series brought together some of today's most groundbreaking filmmakers to discuss their careers and highlights including:
     Director Alejandro González Iñárritu with Marina Abramović
        [CLIP - Twitter] Iñárritu - "Filmmaking is an art that is not just born by one moment of inspiration."
        [CLIP - Twitter] Iñárritu on what he’s learned from working with actors
     Director Noah Baumbach with Dustin Hoffman
        [CLIP - Twitter] Hoffman on the improvisational backstory for his iconic Midnight Cowboy line.
     Director Jon Favreau with Scarlett Johansson
     Director Paul Feig with Michael Che

Tribeca Talks: Master Class returned this year to give attendees of the free event series an inside look at the filmmaking process with conversations focusing on cinematography, production design, sound design, and digital distribution. 
     Academy Award®-nominated cinematographer Ellen Kuras took the audience behind the camera, from choosing the right lenses to crafting a specific vision.
     Production designers Anne Ross & Scott Dougan spoke about creating the overall look and feel of different worlds and times.
     During the Dolby: Image and Sound Master Class, composer/sound designer Imogen Heap and co-directors Limbert Fabian and Brandon Oldenburg discussed the audio techniques used to tell the compelling story of their new animated short, Escape.
     The Future of Independent Film Distribution Master Class brought Amazon Video Direct's Matthew Norman and Dan Truong and Kino Lorber’s Richard Lorber together for a conversation about how digital technologies have impacted the way filmgoers consume movies and the new challenges and opportunities for the business of releasing them.

Tribeca Talks: Podcasts - Live from The Tribeca Film Festival
     Acclaimed comedian and actor Gilbert Gottfried and co-host Frank Santopadre were joined by Oscar-winning director Barry Levinson (Rain Man) for a live recording of their hilarious and informative podcast Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast!
       Slate’s Trumpcast explored the first 100 days of the Trump administration with host Jacob Weisberg and guests Slate Chief Political Correspondent Jamelle Bouie and author Virginia Heffernan.
       Franchesca Ramsey joined host Aisha Harris for Slate’s Represent podcast, which explores culture created by women, people of color, and those in the LGBTQ community.

N.O.W. (New Online Work)
Tribeca N.O.W. is a program that discovers, highlights, and celebrates New Online Work from independent storytellers creating and sharing their work in the online space.

N.O.W. Special Screenings, featuring high profile content from the industry’s leading online networks and talent.
     On Earth Day, Tribeca premiered Awake, A Dream From Standing Rock, a documentary that captures the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s peaceful resistance against the Dakota Access pipeline. An illuminating and moving panel followed with the filmmakers, Floris White Bull and moderator Doug Good Feather. The doc was then made available to stream for free immediately after the credits rolled on the film’s website
     Crypt TV’s Monster Madness, a series of several character shorts from the digital brand's scaremakers debuted. Eli Roth joined the Crypt TV team and filmmakers for  a conversation after the screening on the future of genre filmmaking and opportunities for up and coming horror creators. 
        [Full Facebook livestream]  Eli Roth, Crypt TV Chief Content Officer, Kate Krantz, and Crypt TV filmmakers, moderator Crypt TV CEO & Co-Founder, Jack Davis.
       Out of This World: Female Filmmakers in Genre brought fresh voices into the genre sphere with the premiere of diverse works from three trailblazing female filmmakers

Tribeca N.O.W. Showcase brought the latest work from 10 independent online creators to the big screen as official Tribeca selections. The curated group of creators, which included Bonnie Wright (Harry Potter), were also invited to showcase a piece of their past work on during the Festival.

The second annual Tribeca X Award went to Chris Fonseca: Keep It Moving, directed by Zachary Heinzerling for Smirnoff Ice by 72andSunny. The Tribeca X Award highlights excellence in creative, original and authentic storytelling that is sponsored or underwritten by a brand. Tribeca and The Atlantic – through its in-house content studio, Atlantic Re:think – announced the winner during the Festival at a special screening event. The short film was one of ten finalists selected from a field of 600 entries that represented the best in storytelling at the intersection of advertising and entertainment from the past year.


45th anniversary of The Godfather with Francis Ford Coppola

15th anniversary of Bowling for Columbine with Michael Moore

Copwatch with director Camilla Hall and subjects 

The Clapper with director Dito Montiel and cast including Ed Helms and Tracey Morgan

Dumb: The Story of Big Brother Magazine with director Patrick O'Dell, subjects Bam Margera, Steve-O, and more

World premiere of House of Z with director Sandy Chronopoulos and Zac Posen interviewed by André Leon Talley

Take Me with director Pat Healy and cast

World premiere of Genius with Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, and more cast and creators

World premiere of The Handmaid’s Tale with cast and creators

World premiere of new season of Another Period

Season premiere of Episodes with creators and Matt LeBlanc

Tribeca Talks: Storytellers - Lena Dunham & Jenni Konner with America Ferrera

Tribeca Talks: Storytellers - Kobe Bryant & Glen Keane with Michael Strahan

Conversation with Eli Roth following a Crypt TV program

Conversation after premiere of AWAKE, A Dream From Standing Rock Q&A with Digital Smoke Signals and Josh Fox

Movie Reviews and News

Tribeca Film Festival Audience Award Winners

NEW YORK, NY– April 29, 2017 –The 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T, tonight announced the winners of the two Audience Awards, sponsored by AT&T. Two awards – one for narrative and one for documentary – were given to the audience choices for the best films. The Divine Order (Die göttliche Ordnung), directed and written by Petra Volpe was chosen to receive the Narrative award and Hondros, directed by Greg Campbell, written by Greg Campbell, Jenny Golden, was chosen for the Documentary award. Each award comes with a cash prize of $10,000.  Additionally, as part of the Tribeca Film Festival Artists Awards program, Divine Order receives R.H. Quaytman: Delphi Landscape, 2017, and Hondros receives Urs Fischer boomboomboom, 2016, The Transit of Venus (Melanie). The winners were announced at the celebration of the 45th anniversary of The Godfather at Radio City Music Hall, which closed out the Festival’s 16th edition.

“It is always exited to see what resonates most with the audience, and this year both the narrative and documentary winners represent smart filmmaking and impactful storytelling,” said Tribeca Film Festival’s Paula Weinstein. “On behalf of the Tribeca team, we congratulate The Divine Order and Hondros as the 2017 Audience Award winners, and hope moviegoers worldwide get to experience these powerful films.”

The runners-up were Saturday Church, directed and written by Damon Cardasisfor the narrative audience award and Shadowman, directed and written by Oren Jacoby, for the documentary audience award. Throughout the Festival, which kicked off on April 19, audience members voted by using the official Tribeca Film Festival app on their mobile devices and rating the film they just experienced on a scale of 1-5 stars. Films in the U.S. Narrative Competition, International Narrative Competition, World Documentary Competition, Viewpoints, Spotlight, Specials, and Midnight sections were eligible. 

Audience award winners and runners-up will screen Sunday April 30 at Cinépolis Cinema Chelsea along with the winners selected by the Tribeca Film Festival Jury, which were announced on April 27.
·       Hondros: 12pm & 4pm
·       Divine Order: 6:15pm & 9pm
·       Shadowman: 6:30pm
·       Saturday Church: 4:00pm

The Divine Order (Die göttliche Ordnung), directed and written by Petra Volpe. (Switzerland) - International Premiere. Political leaders in Switzerland cited ‘Divine Order’ as the reason why women still did not have the right to vote as late as 1970. Director Petra Volpe explores this surprising history through the story of Nora, a quiet housewife from a quaint village searching for the fierce suffragette leader inside her. With Marie Leuenberger, Max Simonischek, Rachel Braunschweig, Sibylle Brunner, Marta Zoffoli, Bettina Stucky. In Swiss-German with subtitles.
·       The film played in the International Narrative Competition section.

Hondros, directed by Greg Campbell, written by Greg Campbell, Jenny Golden. (USA) - World Premiere. Beginning with the war in Kosovo in 1999, award-winning photographer Chris Hondros served as a witness to conflict for over a decade before being killed in Libya in 2011. In Hondros, director and childhood friend Greg Campbell creates a portrait of a man with not only great depth and sensitivity, but a passion for his craft, and an unending talent for creating breathtaking imagery. Executive produced by Jake Gyllenhaal. In Arabic, English with subtitles.
·       The film played in the Spotlight Documentary section.

Saturday Church, directed and written by Damon Cardasis. (USA) - World Premiere. 14-year-old Ulysses is a shy and effeminate teen being raised in the Bronx by his strict Aunt Rose. He finds escape in a rich fantasy life of music and dance, and soon with a vibrant transgender youth community called Saturday Church. Damon Cardasis’ directorial debut is a rousing celebration of one boy’s search for his identity. With Luka Kain, Margot Bingham, Regina Taylor, Marquis Rodriguez, MJ Rodriguez, Indya Moore, Alexia Garcia.
·       The film played in the U.S. Narrative Competition section.

Shadowman, directed and written by Oren Jacoby. (USA) - World Premiere. In the early 1980s, Richard Hambleton was New York City’s precursor to Banksy, a rogue street artist whose silhouette paintings haunted the sides of Manhattan buildings. Like so many other geniuses of his time, he fell victim to drug addiction, even as his work continued to rise in both demand and value. Shadowman doubles as both a time capsule of a forgotten New York City era, and a redemption story.
·       The film played in the Documentary Competition section.

About the Tribeca Film Festival
The Tribeca Film Festival is a cultural event for the new age of storytelling that brings together visionaries across industries and diverse audiences. It celebrates the power of storytelling in a variety of forms – from film to TV, VR to online work, and music to gaming. As a platform for creative expression, independent filmmaking, and immersive entertainment, Tribeca champions emerging and established voices, discovers award-winning filmmakers and creators, curates innovative experiences, and introduces new technology and ideas through premieres, exhibitions, talks, and live performances. 

The Festival was founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff in 2001 to spur the economic and cultural revitalization of lower Manhattan following the attacks on the World Trade Center. With strong roots in independent film, the annual event has evolved into a destination for creativity, reimagines the cinematic experience, and explores how art can unite communities. 

Movie Reviews and News