Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sunday Nightcap 2/5/12 Film Series, festivals, Iron Lady and a few links

It's Sunday and the Super Bowl is done, the GIANTS HAVE WON, and now it's time for a few thoughts before I pour myself into bed (Thank you Giants for winning, please don't make it such a nail biter the next time)

As you’ve no doubt seen tickets are on sale for the NYICFF. I personally have tickets for 11 films, John and Randi, have tickets for about four films, MrC and Mondocurry are still adjusting their schedules. While it looked liked we might be able to report on everything the physical restrictions of the festival (it’s all over Manhattan) makes it impossible to do so. However its early and we’re going to make a game go of it. Keep reading during the start of the festival for reports. A word of warning, Friday the festival organizers said several films are almost sold out...and it's still a month until things begin.

Also the Japan Society's Love Will Tear Us Apart series is on sale. There are lots of great films in the series so take a look and find something. Be warned, the series runs at the same time as the first three weeks as the NYICFF so if you're planning to do both, pick your show times carefully.

The Bela Tarr retrospective has started at Lincoln Center. If you’ve ever wanted to see his films on the big screen, now is your chance. However you do have to hurry since the series is winding down and will soon be replaced with the Raquel Welch one.

The Film Society also has posted the schedule for this years Film Comment Selects. There are a few goodies here, though to be honest not as exciting as either of the previous two years…then again, as with most film festivals, often what appears to be dead year often reveals many hidden gems… My biggest problem right now is being what I want to see conflicts with what I already have plans for. (Addendum:Sadly I think that I will have to sit this years series out since I really can't make the schedule work for me short of taking lots of time from the day job)

With festival season going into full swing between now and the middle of July (Film Comment Selects, Rendezvous with French Cinema, NYICFF, New Directors New Films, Tribeca, Brooklyn, NYAFF, Japan Cuts to list just the majors) I was wondering if you prefer when we give ourselves over to a festival, such as we did with last years New York Film Festival and to some degree the New York Asian Film Festival, running reviews in real time; or do you prefer that we counter program running reviews of both festival selections and other unrelated titles.

I’m asking because I’m curious how to plan our coverage of the festivals. Our coverage as we are planning it right nowis going to be a mix. Between now and Tribeca we’ll be running parallel coverage with regular and festival reviews. With Tribeca, the hope is that we’ll be able to get enough coverage to run all Tribeca coverage for the course of the festival (depending on whether we can get press credentials). Honestly with Tribeca averaging around 100 features real time total coverage is going to be the only way to go.

I suspect that if we do real time coverage its going to be only Tribeca, NYFF and NYAFF, however I’d like to get your feed back.

I want to point out that this past weeks vacation film marathon was the result of a reader suggestions. JDK, long time friend of the blog emailed with the idea to me along with the first four suggested titles and I dove in. While not the greatest films ever it was a good excuse revisit some old friends I hadn’t seen in a while.

I know we have some suggested titles in the cue, but as always we will take more, just be patient since programming the blog is very much subject to whimsy and what strikes our fancy at any moment. I have a log book of ideas that is several hundred titles long, and the only reason many of the titles haven’t been written up is that I got distracted when i sat down to write. Honestly we’re two weeks short of two years and after well over 1200 films reviewed I’m still shocked at how many films we haven’t done.

I saw the Oscar Nominated Iron Lady this week. I was hesitant to see the film because critical reaction to the film was so poor. It seemed that everyone disliked it except for Meryl Streep’s performance. Having seen the film I’m left to ponder what their real beef was. The film is about Margret Thatcher as an older woman. Living more or less alone, her husband having died several years earlier, is still with her in her thoughts. As she ponders what to do without him, and with his stuff, she begins flashing through her life and what brought her to this place.

It's not straight history or a straight biography and the film is better for it. The fragmentary nature of the tale allows for a deeper understand of the lady herself, which is the point. It also allows for the film to miss the pitfalls of Clint Eastwood’s J Edgar which was a dull retelling of Hoover’s life.

The film’s big asset is Streep and she gives one of those scary good performances where you not only forget who is up there on the screen, but you also will be hard pressed to know who is up there,(okay its not Thatcher, but its not Streep either) Its one of the best performances of 2011 and probably the best performance of Streep's career which is saying a great deal.

Honestly the film is better than the critics have said, mostly I think because they were expecting something else. I dare you not to get choked up during a late in the game scene has Streep crying out not to be left alone. A very good film that’s sure to gain in stature over the next couple of years this is almost certainly going to give Streep her third Oscar.

While giving capsule reviews of a sort, I do want to report on a truly terrible film I saw called 7 Days of Night. This is a film about a group of people staying in an abandoned asylum for a week in the hopes of winning a million dollar prize. Of course the place is supposed to be haunted.

The film goes off the rails at the start by not looking like anyone connected with it could put up a million dollar prize. The equipment brought in is lacking, a few regular flash lights and camcorders (for a week, really?) Outside of the interviews with the contestants, which look like they were shot on a low grade camcorder. The film whips around and bounces so much it looks like a blind Chihuahua on triple espresso shot it. Everything last years masterpiece Grave Encounters did right, this does wrong. It also comes damn near close to completely killing the found footage genre. Its horrible…and that’s even before we get to the plot or the characters. Avoid this one.

I think thats it for the major stuff this week.

As is normal here are some links before I go:

The Muppets Show Crew Video

Maurice Sendak on the Colbert Report

Truthful posters for Oscar nominated films

Elton John and Michael Caine sing pub songs

White board recreations of famous paintings

The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore

(This week's films-Tarzan)

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