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Preparing for a debut of his short film on Tuesday for friends, family and a panel of local cinematographers, Mountain Pointe High School senior Vincent Cota was putting the finishing touches on the piece after school this week.
If you watch the trailer for “Renoir” – a new period drama from French filmmaker Gilles Bourdos – a variety of adjectives are bound to come to mind: conventional, humdrum, lackluster. Sure, they’re trying to sell the story of one of the all-time great painters in a mere two minutes, but nothing about it grabs your attention – let alone, compels you to sit through the actual film. Luckily, this is not exactly the case for the movie itself, which is exquisite to look at but unfortunately devoid of any real insight into Pierre-Auguste Renoir. You come wishing to learn about the artist and his work, but instead leave dwelling on the film’s more engaging supporting characters.
When one thinks of the Holocaust film genre, dramas such as “Schindler’s List” and “The Pianist” instantly come to mind for their harrowing portrayals of victims and survivors who suffered at the hands of Nazis. But what about the German survivors – more specifically, the children of Nazi war criminals forced to come to terms with the atrocities of their parents? This is a question posed by the exceptional new German-language film, “Lore,” Cate Shortland’s follow-up to her acclaimed 2004 feature “Somersault.”
It’s been nearly 10 years since his science-fiction indie “Primer” left audiences spellbound, which makes the arrival of Shane Carruth’s “Upstream Color” an even more momentous occasion.
Although we have yet to see an official trailer or production still, I already have mixed feelings about “The Delivery Man.” This upcoming dramedy starring Vince Vaughn follows a middle-aged slouch whose life is turned on its head when he discovers that he’s fathered more than 500 children as a sperm donor – 142 of whom wish to determine who their biological dad is.
In “Wrong,” a movie playing through April 12 at Harkins Valley Art theater, Alexis Dziena plays a love struck pizza-shop employee who leaves her husband for Jack Plotnick’s sad-sack protagonist, whose canine's disappearance sets off a bizarre and unpredictable chain of events.
You may better know her sister, Dakota, from box-office smashes like “War of the Worlds” and “The Twilight Saga,” but 14-year-old Elle Fanning has already made quite a name for herself among the arthouse set, appearing in such acclaimed works as “Babel,” “Somewhere” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” This month, she takes center stage in a new drama from writer/director Sally Potter entitled “Ginger & Rosa” – a coming-of-age tale set in 1962 London as the threat of the Cuban missile crisis looms overhead.
Riveting, intelligent and a masterclass in acting, “Beyond the Hills” is likely to be the best film you’ll see this spring or maybe even this year.
Phoenix Film Festival: This annual week-long festival draws over 20,000 movie buffs and includes new shorts and feature films alongside fan favorites.
Up there with “Stoker” and “Like Someone in Love” as one of the best films to hit theaters this spring, “War Witch” is devastating, beautiful and truly not to be missed. An Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, this gut-wrenching tale of a child soldier has been reeling in the accolades: Best Actress awards for young star Rachel Mwanza at both the Berlin and Tribeca film festivals, along with a whopping 10 honors (including Best Picture) at this year’s Canadian Screen Awards.
Larger-than-life and a true embodiment of New York’s audacious spirit, former NYC mayor Ed Koch lived his life in the public eye. With the bulk of his three-term career encompassing the turbulent 1980s, Koch went head-to-head with issues such as race relations, the AIDS crisis and the crack epidemic – drumming up controversy along the way while still maintaining his likable if outspoken persona.
Amidst a gloomy batch of nominees – addressing themes such as lost love, sacrifice and coping with death – “Curfew” springs forth as a welcome jolt of energy to the live action shorts. The premise is fairly simple: a dejected young man gets a call from his estranged sister, asking that he look after his 9-year-old niece for a couple hours. What transpires is a droll, heartfelt and often tender story that explores forgiveness and discovering a renewed sense of purpose in one’s life.
A Mesa Dobson High School graduate, and current student at Columbia College Chicago, will be on stage at the Academy Awards this Sunday night handing Oscar statues to the best of Hollywood.
A former board member and longtime volunteer, Jim Colletti returns to this year’s Sedona International Film Festival in an entirely new role: first-time filmmaker. Originally from New York, Colletti moved to the East Valley nearly 20 years ago – buying his first home in Chandler and opening a business in Gilbert before relocating to Mesa. He has been living in central Phoenix for about 2 years now, where he runs his graphic art/advertising agency Element Design along with his artist management/record label OEO Entertainment.
Few recent documentaries have stirred audiences quite like “How to Survive a Plague,” with its harrowing yet inspiring look into an oft-forgotten period of American history: the early years of the AIDS epidemic that rocked the nation in the 1980s and '90s. In his powerful filmmaking debut, journalist David France explores the ACT UP and TAG movements as they fought for change against an indifferent government and health care system, primarily told through activist-shot footage from those years.
It has been performed by the likes of Bob Dylan and Neil Diamond, and appeared everywhere from the 2012 Olympic Games to “South Park.” No longer just a musical staple of Jewish weddings and bar mitzvahs, “Hava Nagila” has become a global phenomenon that has captivated the masses with its simple message of happiness and gratitude.
A previous Oscar winner for her 2007 documentary short, “Freeheld,” director Cynthia Wade is back in the race this month for her new film, “Mondays at Racine.”
Director Kief Davidson’s journey through Rwanda and Sudan was not only a filmmaking venture, but a life-or-death trek for eight Rwandan children afflicted with rheumatic heart disease. A firsthand look into their lives and the high-risk surgical procedures they must endure, “Open Heart” is a powerful documentary bringing much-needed attention to a disease that affects nearly 18 million people worldwide.
When people think of Jewish film, their minds tend to jump right to two subjects: religion and the Holocaust. While the Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival certainly embraces those subject matters, executive director Jerry Mittelman ensures that they make up only a slice of the wide spectrum of films the fest has to offer.
“I’ll always have part of my heart there,” director Sam French says, discussing his move back to Los Angeles after working for nearly five years in Kabul, Afghanistan. It’s a Wednesday afternoon and French is swamped with interviews following the recent Oscar nomination for his live-action short film “Buzkashi Boys,” a portrait of two young teenagers living in modern-day Afghanistan who dream of playing the dangerous blood sport “buzkashi.”
Created by Arizona native Timothy Reckart, “Head Over Heels” puts an imaginative, whimsical twist on the tale of a married couple grown apart – he lives on the floor while she lives on the ceiling.
There is a scene in the documentary "Chasing Ice" that shows the edge of the massive Ilulissat glacier in Greenland collapsing — or "calving" — and violently crashing into the sea below. The piece of ice that breaks away is compared to the size of lower Manhattan, and appears taller than any building there.
It’s called “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” But with director Peter Jackson back at the helm, this 2012 blockbuster figures to be yet another epic along the lines of Jackson’s three “Lord of the Rings” takes.
This weekend is no ordinary homecoming for Phoenix native Carol Martori, but rather a cause for celebration.
Check this deal. Take four people out to an evening movie; buy each a ticket, a small popcorn and a small drink for a total of $24. Where? Well, you are about to find out. The costly holidays are upon us, so let’s save some money on movies.